Monday, August 30, 2010


My baby started school today. Wow! I have a lot of feelings about it as I'm sure most moms do when their oldest starts school for the very first time. It's the end of a very special time and there won't be a time like it ever again. It makes me a bit sad but then I'm also excited and happy for her to be moving into this part of her little life. In the States we would have waited an additional year before heading off to kindergarten but here in China they have international schools that have K1 and K2 and since she is 4 1/2 then she is in K1. We went Saturday and met her teachers and saw her classroom and even met a few of the other students that will be in her room.
The school is called Newton International Kindergarten and it offers curriculum for both the international students as well as a chinese only curriculum (for the locals). We, of course, are in the international side but that also accommodates other nationalities other than just Americans and also some Chinese that want their children to learn English. Needless to say her classroom is very global and we LOVE that. She has 15 classmates and I'm guessing that about 10 or 111 are Asian and the other 4 or 5 are American, European and Indian. She has two teachers...Miss Lilly who is the Mandarin teacher and Miss Brittney who is the English teacher (I know huh....their names couldn't be more perfect).
The one thing I was a bit anxious about before Saturday was Xan's comfort level with her teacher. She has struggled just a bit with people speaking mandarin to her and not being able to communicate with them. I know that this will pass but it was still a concern that if she perceived her teacher couldn't "really" understand her then she might be more apprehensive about going and not enjoying it. you might imagine....God took complete care of my little anxious mother's heart and gave us Miss Brittney. When we met her on Saturday she was the sweetest thing and
-She is from Charleston, South Carolina
-She helps lead music at our local church (we recognized her and she did us as well)
-She has an adopted baby sister from China.
I mean really.......could HE have given us an any more perfect fit for Xan. Not only does she understand Xan but she talks "like we do"......southern drawl and all, feels that she is doing exactly what God called her to do, and has a very personal understanding of the miracles related to adoption. WOW!
So....this morning after her requested breakfast of blueberry muffins she put on her brand new dress, I fixed her hair (complete with large bow of course) and off we went to catch a taxi so Stan and I could take her to school. We actually rode over with some friends of ours who Xan plays with all the time and was also starting at Newton today in K2. Callie, her mom Julie and her little brother Porter all rode over with us. The girls parted ways at the staircase promising to see each other on the playground and on the bus this afternoon. We got to her classroom and it went as smooth as silk. Miss Brittney helped her put her backpack in her cubby, change to her indoor shoes (a China thing) and get all settled before she ran to us, kissed us goodbye and went on her way. She didn't shed a tear or even act sad. I did pretty good too until we turned to walk away and I watched her through the window. I'm not ashamed to say that I shed a few tears before getting back in the taxi and heading home.
Stan was off work today so we've enjoyed a lovely day of just being together. We ran some errands, tried out a new restaurant for lunch and then home to watch a movie together. I'm supposed to go meet her bus in about 15 minutes and I can't hardly wait to see her and hear all about it. God is so good isn't HE.
Well.....I know there are some grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who can't wait to see some pictures so here are a few.
Xan and Miss Brittney on Saturday at Orientation

Exploring her classroom

Checking out her new ride....

And here she is....all dressed up and ready to go!
Baba walking her to the taxi

Our little friend Callie met up with us on the sidewalk
and away we went......

Wow.....I love this little person (and that big person too) so much!

Here is a snapshot I took thru the window as we were leaving.

And there you have baby has begun her education. Like I said.....Wow!

PS- She bounded off the bus beaming and had a GREAT day. Her favorite part was coloring and she made 2 friends. Her teacher sent a note home that she was "a delight" and that her good manners were "refreshing. (you can go gag now but I am one proud momma today!)

Chat with ya later-

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dining with the Locals

We hosted our second group of caddies from Stan's club this past Sunday evening for dinner in our home. Our goal is to have all 150 caddies at least once this year and this time we had a grand gathering of 21. My menu was very southern with bbq chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes, and deviled eggs with cobbler for dessert. The caddies are all young women here in China but Stan had told me that they could eat like grown men so I was prepared for some mighty appetites. Stan's secretary always accompanies the team and acts as a wonderful translator and not surprising, with that many women there is never a lull in conversation or in the giggling. The food is always a guess because most of these girls have never eaten "western" style food but they request it and we aim to please so... It is fun to watch them try new things and they always want to know how to prepare whatever I've served. I'm flattered but then again....they don't have anything to compare it to. They were very leery of the deviled eggs at first but once I demonstrated how to actually eat it they were a big hit. They also devoured the green beans, which of course were cooked all afternoon with some bacon and onion. They couldn't imagine cooking something for 2 hours. That is such a foreign concept to those who have always only known stir fry or boiling. The mashed potatoes and chicken were also a hit but the cobblers were certainly not treated as they would have been in the US. You can see for yourself in the before and after pictures below.
Here are a few pictures from that evening.

The girl in the middle was singing for us and as you can see her friend is quite tickled by her rendition. These girls were a really fun group and we laughed all night.

The group photos

Apple cobblers..... before
Peach cobbler...... before

Yeah....I'm pretty sure that no where in America would 21 people come for dinner and leave any cobbler remaining. I can attest that it sure tasted good but the Chinese just aren't big on sweets. We've been enjoying the leftovers for a couple of days now so I guess there are worse things than your guests not liking dessert.

And here is a picture because I wanted to show you how we entertain here in China. I absolutely INSIST on only the best.

The funny part is that these "napkins" were super thin and left me wishing for some Bounty. :0

Chat with ya later~

Friday, August 20, 2010

Happy Camper

Yep today I am one happy camper. I have spent a great deal of time over the last 5 weeks preparing the necessary mountain of paperwork and documentation to update our home study and renew our approval from the US Immigration office (it expires every 18 months) for our second adoption. I was aware that our move to China would require us to do "some" paperwork and have a new social worker come and give our home a seal of approval but my expectations proved to be about 1/10 of what was actually required. Well, after a couple of days of just being plain overwhelmed (and sending out an urgent prayer request) I began tackling my mountain in true Everitt fashion.....I made a list. And let me tell you I worked that list and I begged, borrowed and stole (well I didn't actually steal but work with me here, ok?) from every person that could help me with any one of the 17 documents I had to gather from South Carolina, Texas and even a police clearance report from the local Chinese officials. {It was clean by the way}

So....I had to gather all these documents while the social worker was simultaneously creating a document proving that indeed we are STILL fit and STILL stable enough to bring an additional child into our home. (can you detect a hint of sarcasm). But, the LORD was gracious and sent the sweetest, Christian woman to be our social worker here in China (she works for a US agency) and we so enjoyed our day of interviews with Emily. In a nutshell, I had about 5 weeks and I needed to get all those documents created or completed and in my hands and then to the social worker's agency in Tennessee; the sw's agency needed the documents to complete the home study update; my adoption agency (America World) in Virginia needed to read and approve the home study update; and then all of those things had to be matched up with our application to the Immigration Services in Dallas. I'm telling you there were a lot of hands that had to touch these documents. Oh yeah......did I mention that it had to all be received by the Immigration Service on or before August 20 or else we would have to pay a hefty $700+ fee to get back on track.
Well as I'm sure you can tell from the title of my post all got signed, sealed and delivered and I have a fed ex confirmation to prove it. And, I might add, with one day to spare. I was one happy camper this morning when I tracked that package and got my confirmation. WooHOO!!!! might be asking yourself, what does this do for our process. Well- the short answer is not a darn thing. We still have our place in line (we've been here a year now) and we are still anticipating a long wait to receive the next member of our family. We know the LORD's timing is absolutely perfect b/c I have a precious little daughter who is sleeping soundly in her princess bed just one room away. We will continue to trust Him and walk where He leads but I have to be honest.....I'm sure hoping He leads us to my little girl soon. My arms are starting to ache for her.

Thanks to everyone who prayed for me during this particular part of our journey as well as those many, many who have supported our passion for adoption. God is good and we just get to go along for the ride.

Chat with ya later!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Oh the things a good friend will do for you......

I had a pleasant surprise yesterday when my doorbell rang and a Chinese man began speaking very rapidly and looking to me for a response. I smiled a sweet smile and in my best southern accent told him that I didn't understand a thing he just said but I'd be happy to give him a glass of sweet tea and we could wait for someone to translate (I'm kidding) He actually returned my blank stare and then he held up this.

Oh goodie.....I thought....what on earth is this and then I noticed the return address and a grin covered my entire face. Not only did my friend love on me a bit but she packaged it up and sent it all the way to China.

It was so stinkin fun to unwrap each little thing and I oohhd and awwwd over each one like it was a little piece of heaven. I'll share my moment with all of you and you can also take time to enjoy the love sent to my by my friend.

First....there were these. She had taken pictures of Xan and her bestie Eva before we left South Carolina and here was a bulging envelope with all these beautiful prints. I admit it....I cried.

Next I uncovered this little gem. Now I understand that not everyone would get as giddy as I did when I realized what piece of literary genius was in my hands but hey......a good southern girl needs her Southern Living fix and this one had peach cobbler on the cover. I promise you I will seriously read every single inch of this here publication. Oh the love I was feeling :).

I could actually smell this one when I opened the box. My friend introduced me to this sweet smelling candle a couple of years ago and we have shared a love for it ever since. Oh my house smelled good this morning!! (it's cranberry pomegranate......get it at walmart for $ ever!!)

Then, because she is such a good friend that she loves on my husband as well, these were also included. Stan was one very happy man I tell you......very happy indeed. (Xan too...he gave her 3).

There was one tragedy that occurred during the love package's journey over to me here in the Middle Kingdom and it made me quite sad. Apparently 3 rolls of bubble wrap and peanut packaging aren't enough for the trip 1/2 way around the world. The coffee however, made it just fine and I will be enjoying it for several days to come.

Thank you Heather! You made me feel incredibly special and loved.......I hope we can enjoy some coffee together sometime soon. Just call me when you are on your way and I'll make a fresh pot. Love you friend!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Living like the locals

Ok...Ok....I hear you. I know that 2 months is way too long to go between blog posts and I could go into all the excuses I have..... like the month long trip to United States which was wonderful, returning to China to receive, unpack and put away our shipment of personal belongings-also wonderful, and then updating our homestudy for adoption #2- LOTS of paperwork that I wasn't expecting but will be wonderful when the goal is reached and our next little one is in my arms. (I won't get all mushy on you already but just know that the very thought of holding her is what got me through the small mountain of paperwork required to let the US govt know that we are now living in China and still wish to adopt and that we still have a suitable home and that we still have a stable enough relationship to bring another child into our family.........can you detect just a hint of sarcasm.. :) But I won't go into all those excuses, that would be tacky- I'll just get started.

My mind is bubbling with ideas for blog posts and I thought I'd just jump back into sharing our daily life here in the Middle Kingdom.

We've done several things this week that certainly wouldn't have been activities we would have done before living here. There are so many day to day things that seem so different at first but then you get accustomed to them and actually begin to realize what a good idea some of them are. You begin to realize that the locals really do know a thing or two about living here. For example, the Chinese people do not want to have dark all....I mean they are serious about this. The skin creams they buy even have "bleaching" or "whitening" elements in them to help keep their skin pale. We've been told that the reason for this is if you have dark skin then you are looked upon as "poor" because you've probably been working outside as a farmer or laborer.....neither of which gains you much clout in society. You will see women with umbrellas all the time...some more decorative than others {read tacky}....but lots and lots of umbrellas everywhere and the sun is shining as bright as can be. Well, like I said, this seemed odd to us at first but we too adopted this practice this past week. We found that protecting ourselves from the beaming sun actually helped to keep us a bit cooler (novel idea huh?) and we want all the help we can get in that department. It is very hot and humid here in Suzhou. (in fact Stan just told me that it is 94 degrees and feels like 101 and it is 8pm) Here is Xan modeling her sun covering fashion for us.
We were on our way this particular afternoon to find a tailor that Stan had been made aware of by his Chinese tutor/teacher. We were armed with an address, some money, and our umbrellas and off we went for an Everitt family adventure. After a couple of phone calls to Stan's secretary to talk to the cab driver and give more instructions (apparently the address we had didn't make sense to him) we were dropped off right in front of this little shop. I stress little here because the place was seriously no larger than most of our living rooms. The walls were lined with all kinds of fabrics and a few mannequins modeling some of their craftsmanship scattered near the window and a salesclerk who spoke a bit of English and was extremely willing to help us with our selections. We went with the thought that we would just look around and get some ideas but we quickly got caught up in the "coolness" of the whole experience and before we knew it Stan had ordered 2 suits and a dress shirt all to be tailored for him. We chose the fabrics and the shop attendant made a quick phone call and about 2 minutes later 2 more people walked in. The woman who appeared sat down and wrote down every number the man blurted out while wrapping his tape measure every which way around Stan. They asked if we were in a hurry for these garments and Stan replied, "No, not at all." Ok they said....these will be ready next Tuesday then (8 days later). WOW...I wonder what they could do if we were in a hurry. :) The prices were incredibly awesome too and I'll let you know about the quality of the finished product next week after we pick them up.
Here are a few pics I snapped with our phones during his first date with the tailor.

Another wonderful little activity that we've adapted to quite nicely here in China is the availability and affordability of massages. Stan has even gotten a membership at the massage parlor that is located at a little shopping center here in our apartment complex. That sounds so sleezy...massage parlor....but I don't know what else to call it. It really isn't sleezy at all. Anyway, my point is that Stan frequents the establishment and actually has an employee that he prefers. They don't go by their names, only numbers- seriously, their name tags just have a number. Stan is fond of #16 and she apparently likes him too. He goes in for a massage about once or twice a week and this last time that he went in she was telling him that his "internal body temperature" was off. Yeah...your guess is as good as ours as to how she knew that from rubbing his back but she did and he didn't argue with her. She then removed this small stone from a rope necklace she was wearing and began rubbing his back with it. He said it felt like she was lightly scraping him but it wasn't painful or anything. She finished her scraping and then finished up with his massage. He came home and was telling me about this and then took his shirt off. Let's just say my mouth flew open and I didn't know what to think. Here is what I saw.

Now mind you, this was only about 20 minutes afterwards. He said it wasn't sore or tender to the touch at all but it sure looked awful. Apparently this is called gua sha (pronounced gwa shaw) and the Chinese believe that is removes toxins from your body ???? Ummm.....OK.

Today (3 days later) it still very much looks like he has been attacked the hickey fairy who thought it would be funny to mark him with some secret writings about his internal body temperature.....which by the way he says feels much more "normal" now. I'm sure #16 will be pleased.

Well I did it, jumped right back into the blogging world and I gotta say it's good to be back. I've got lots more to share so I'll be back soon.
Chat with ya later-