Sunday, April 5, 2009

Notes from the home front

Hello, all - this is Tom. Price and I made it safely home, and I finally have gotten around to putting together a couple of videos that I would like to post. Also, I have some pictures from my time over in China that I wanted to post, along with my comments about them. I just finished emailing with Abby around 1:00 PM, which is 1:00 AM Monday her time. So, I want to get this posted before she wakes up and updates the blog herself.

Here we go!

This first picture shows Price asleep in the seat of the van we were riding in. In his right hand? A wipe! He will often ask for a wipe as a plaything while we're changing him. It's nice having kids who appreciate the simple things in life...

This next picture shows our Nanchang guide, Mary, explaining paperwork to Abby. Mary was very sweet, and very helpful the whole time we were in Nanchang.

This third photograph is of Price and Carmon on our bed in Nanchang. Price was being sweet to her, laying on her, patting her, and she started to smile at him, so out came the camera!

This next picture is of Price sitting in front of a lion statue (female, in case you're wondering - check the baby lion under her paw) at the Pavilion we toured. Price would all but shout "LION!" when he saw one in China...and there are plenty to see!

This picture is of a vehicle of some kind that we saw on the way to Yugan to tour the orphanage. The variety of vehicles on the road was stunning - only cars, buses and mopeds/bicycles looked familiar. We saw vehicles carrying everything; beds, rebar, sticks, people, bricks, huge bundles of something. I think the loading rule is, if the vehicle isn't overloaded, put more on!

This photo is of two young girls at the orphanage, who were enchanted with us, and Price in particular. One of them, the older one, is 11, and just showed up at the orphanage one day. The story on her was that her father beat her because 'he was crazy in the head' (the orphanage director's words) and they couldn't locate her mother. Yet, she was so happy - she laughed and smiled the whole time - and now she lives in the orphanage and helps out. Abby and I both thought there is so much need - just at this orphanage - and it is a shame we couldn't take a few more kids home with us...

This picture is of Carmon's nanny with Abby. We had a request for a still picture of the nanny, as some of the video was not viewable by some folks. Anyway, it was so sweet and touching to see how much this lady cared for Carmon. She replaced the original nanny in Dec, 2008, do she'd only had Carmon in her care for about 4 months - yet she still cried when we left with Carmon.

Now, for the first video. I had been taking video in small sections, so that we'd be able to upload it. The blog uploader limits you to 100MB in a single video, and some of the sections I took were too big. Now that I am home with the video editing software, I combined the video and created a format that makes the total upload smaller than 100MB. :) Now, I am sure that the above explanation is TMI for some, much the same as Abby's quest to get a razor and remove the stubble from her stubbly areas was for some. So, explanation over, here are the videos.

The first video is all the good footage from when we got Carmon in the hotel lobby. There are four sections to this video. The first is when we first see her and Abby is handed Carmon. Carmon doesn't appear to cry until after the nanny wipes her face / nose. Carmon doesn't really seem to enjoy having her face wiped with a cloth of any kind. Hopefully, that will get resolved. In the second section, Abby attempts to calm her with a bottle, but that doesn't work, so in the third section, the nanny hands Carmon a kleenex package. Carmon often likes to hold things, so it was no surprise that she took it. When that still doesn't calm Carmon, the nanny takes her - I guess she thought she'd be able to calm her. This is the section where I asked Abby why they took her away, and she said because "I couldn't calm her". In the last section, you can hear the associate director ordering (at least the tone suggests that to me!) the nanny to give Carmon back to Abby. Watch Abby's hands make a couple of small lunges for Carmon before she actually gets her back!

The last video is of our tour of the orphanage. There are seven sections to it. The first is a short view of the outside. My taping was interrupted when Abby asked me to go back to the van and get pictures she had brought to have identified. We got these pictures from Yugan visitors and we thought some of them might show Carmon, but we wanted the orphanage staff to confirm that. The second section is me walking into the orphanage, and shows the kitchen where they were cooking our lunch. The third portion is a quick look at the ladies room at the orphanage. I DID ask to use the men's room, but it was broken and the door chained, so I was directed to the ladies room. For those who don't know, they have 'squat potties' in some locations in China, and this was one of them. Being a guy, it didn't matter to me, though... :) Fourth, the ladies are looking at our pictures during lunch to see if Carmon is in some of them. She was in a couple, but not all of them. Then, the two girls who followed us around show up at the end of that section of video. Fifth is a view of the downstairs of the orphanage. Lots of floor space, but nothing in it! The sixth section is us walking down the upstairs hallway to Baby Room Two - where Carmon lived. Last, I panned around Carmon's old room, it is what the rooms typically look like. The bathroom / washroom is to the right of the desk as I pan around.

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