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Journey To Faye Diary

Jan 28th.
Land in Beijing, spend the week touring.
- Great Wall, Tiananmen, Forbidden City, Cloisonne Factory, Temple of Heaven, Wal-mart.

Feb 3rd.
Fly to Nanchang
- Meet Faye on Feb. 4th.
- Visit Fengcheng orphanage

- Lots of paperwork

Feb 10th.
Fly to Guangzhou
- Sightseeing
- More paperwork.

Feb. 13th.
Return to USA.
- Bond with Faye
- Return to salt mine
- Ungodly amounts of paperwork.


Date: 01/29/04
Status: Dazed and Confused

We landed in Beijing at 5:30pm local time. We made it but our luggage didn't, they don't know what happened to it but hopefully it will make it in on the next flight. We got here two days before the tour is supposed to start so we are just wandering around trying to get acclimated to the environment. It really sucks not being able to communicate, Jill and I keep wanting to speak Japanese but that only seems to confuse them even more. Jill is real happy about the fact that there are public bathrooms about every ten feet on all the streets here. Today we went to the Marco Polo bridge, a park(??) and have been checking out the local restaurants. I am amazed at how cheap things are over here. You can sit down to a good meal for around $5.

Brian & Jill @ the park Marco Polo Bridge City Street Jill on the Marco Polo Bridge

Date: 01/30/04
Status: Time Zones Suck

Our luggage arrived! Better late than never. It is pretty cold in Beijing today (about 39 deg.), nice to have a coat now. Jill and I spent the day in downtown Beijing checking out the malls and local venders. There are a lot of chain stores here including Starbucks Coffee. There are many open markets on the streets where you can barter for trinkets and things. I found a traditional Chinese dress shirt for 150 yuan (around $15). Bartering is actually fun once you get used to it, wish I could do it more in the states like at Albertson's. Most of the vendors know the basics of english, when it comes to selling anyway. There are also a lot of food vendors on the streets selling things like "starfish on a stick". Hmmm, do people actually eat that or is it one of those jokes they play on the foreigners, like getting them to eat fish eyes? Other families that are adopting childeren here are starting to show up. We had breakfast with one of them and spent the morning hanging out at the hotel waiting for our luggage and moving from room to room getting to know each other.

Catholic Church from the 17th century Downtown Beijing Downtown Beijing open market

Date: 02/01/04
Status: Bonding with Beijing

We have been on a rigorous tour through Bejijng over the past two days. I thought this was going to be relaxing but its more like Beijing tourist boot camp. We get up in the morning around 8am to catch the tour buss and we don't return untill 9pm. Where have we been, you ask? Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven and The Summer Palace just to name a few. Today we also had lunch at a local resident's house with the other waiting parents. It was real interesting to see how an average person lives here. I have so many pictures that my 1gig memory stick is starting to look small. There is not enough space or time here to write about everything so enjoy the pictures. Jill and I have been having a lot of fun bartering for "knock-offs" around the area. You can buy North Face Jackets, Rolex watches, Polo shirts and sweaters for around $20USD (Authentic, you ask? Ahh, at that price who cares?). Tomorrow we are going to see the Great Wall. I wonder if Amazon will ship memory over night to Beijing. We are starting to think a lot about Faye and are getting restless about finally getting her.

Brian w/ bird @ Temple of Heaven Brian & Jill on a Ricshaw A view from inside The Forbidden City Lunch @ a local resident w/ the other waiting parents
Tiananmen Square Jill & Brian @ Temple of Heaven 2

Date: 02/02/04
Status: We are soooo freakin cold.

Hello! Jill here today. It's Monday night, we're packing for our trip to Nanchang tomorrow. We are BESIDE ourselves with excitement for this next portion of our trip. The first order of business is that I want to clarify that we won't get Faye until Wednesday. We have a 2:30 appointment at the Civil Affairs Bureau in Nanchang. Apparently, we will get Faye along with 60 other families at the same time. Doesn't that sound crazy? We don't care though. In the end, we will have our daughter. So, if I calculate correctly, 2:30pm here, will be 10:30pm Tuesday night for you guys, so please pray for all of us!

Second order of business, a quick recap of events. While Brian was at the hotel relaxing last night, all of us were enjoying a hotpot dinner and an acrobatic show. I got pulled onstage with their clown/intermission entertainment. I was a dork, but we all got a laugh. We have very supportive fellow travelers who clapped and hooted encouragingly. Today, oh man, today, if you thought YESTERDAY's photos looked cold, mercy me, it was COLD today. We went to the Great Wall of China, and the wind was blowing very hard. It was spectacular. The sky was blue, and the view was amazing. Walking on the wall itself is a very athletic event. Brian went the distance to "the third watchtower" which is the token finish line, but I only made it just past the second. I would have made it, but we only had an hour, and this little girl needed to rest more often. But it was cool none the less. We also went to "The Secret Way", which was a path of statues leading to the Ming Tombs. It was very beautiful and very old, and there were no stairs, for which we were very grateful. We visited a silk factory and then had Peking Duck for dinner. Gosh, they're feeding us well.

We have had a very good time here, but are so eager to move on to the real reason we're here. Two more nights, and then, parenthood here we come!

Brian & Jill @ The Great Wall Picture from the wall Another picture from the wall The "secret way" to Ming's Tomb
Peking Duck w/ ASIA families Brian w/ Lion guard Jill w/ Elephant guard

Date: 02/05/04
Status: What a difference a day makes!

We have FAYE! She is absolutely adorable and we love her to pieces and we feel like she is adjusting fabulously. But man, it was not this way 24 hours ago! When we got her, we were crowded into a room in the Civil Affairs Bureau with 12 other families, and they called us up first, and just handed her, screaming to us, right there in the room, there was no quiet place or explanation or anything. So, I didn't cry until later, when the shock wore off. She was so upset, poor thing. She'd been on a bus for 1.5 hours, and then waiting for us, and she had at least 5 layers of clothes on, we had to take off a layer to find her hand so she could take the little key ring rattle we brought for her. We were so shell shocked at all the pandemonium, and then to leave, on the bus, with 12 crying babies and 12 families...that's when I (Jill) lost it. We were parents! When we got to the hotel, she was wet, and so we peeled off all her layers and changed her diaper, and put on clothes (she's right at 12 months!) and then she wolfed down a bottle and she finally calmed down a little. Today we have been discovering her personality, she is very friendly and outgoing, and has clear likes and dislikes. She has begun smiling and cooing and vocalizing (loudly!) and she likes BOTH Mommy and Daddy. Other families are not so lucky. We really worked at trading her off last night, even if she was upset. She got over it. Tonight we will give her her first bath with the Donnelly's, hopefully she won't tell we're novices. We are very very very much in love with her. We can't wait to introduce her to all of you. We are truly blessed. We are having a great time in Nanchang as well. There are firework shows almost every night and its good to be somewhere that is near where Faye came from. Love to all.

Faye just handed to Jill Jill w/ Faye Faye w/ Brian View of Nanchang
Faye asleep A view of Nanchang from our hotel

Date: 02/06/04
Status: Just the facts Ma'am!!

DUE TO COMPLAINTS FROM SOME "VISITORS" TO THIS SITE, I WILL NO LONGER BE POSTING PICTURES THAT DO NOT INVOLVE FAYE. I mean if you you've seen one foreign country you have seen them all right? Its not like China is 4000 miles away or anything like that. Its not like people might want to see pictures of the CITY FAYE CAME FROM or anything like that, man what was I thinking? Why did we send a rover to Mars anyway? Its just another stupid planet! ;) ;) But I digress...

Here are more pictures OF FAYE ONLY.

Brian w/ Faye What a cutie! Faye asleep on the bus Brian Jill and Faye @ Wal-mart

Date: 02/07/04
Status: Breaking in the parents

Okay, sorry for no news yesterday. I should never let Brian update this on his own. :) Faye is continuing to adjust famously. She has been very very responsive and playful. She likes to imitate and she really likes to have a toy in EACH hand.

She has had a difficult time with the whole Number Two business..but at least it started moving and she's getting over it I think. Last night was rough on all of us. I hope that's not TMI (too much information) but its what happened. ha!

We went to two government offices yesterday and promised to take care of Faye and never abandon her. Then we received our adoption certificate. It's official, she's a Donnelly, like it or not! I think she's okay with it.

Brian is an awesome Daddy. He was so nervous about it, but he's so in love with her...and he's really picking up on how to feed her and get her to go to sleep and acting like a monkey to make her laugh while Mommy changes her diaper...all that Daddy stuff. He's a pro, after only 48 hours! Truly, though, its very overwhelming. We are both sleeping soundly trust me! After all that tense-ness leading up to Faye now that we have her we're sleeping like babies ourselves, Im so relieved.

Today we have nothing on the agenda, Brian and Faye are sleeping while I escaped to the business office to check in on the world affairs...I guess I haven't missed much on american idol yet. :D Gosh, it seems like we've been gone for about 8 weeks or so. We want to go shopping for another suitcase, which means we have to cover ever inch of skin on faye except her face...people kind of look disaprovingly at you if you dno't have layers upon layers on your child...we have been very grateful for the little polar bag sleeper we brought which doesn't have any no one can tell there's only one layer on! We shall see how it goes.

[Brian] I really don't know what Jill is talking about with this monkey stuff, I do that all the time anyway. I will have more pictures as soon as the dork next to me gets off the only computer in China that excepts USB peripherals.


Date: 02/07/04
Status: Faye blah, blah, China, blah, blah

Nothing much to report on today. We went to visit a temple in Nanchang its supposed to be famous or something, whatever...I HAVE A DAUGHTER! We are still getting used to each other, although I think most of the shock has worn off. Faye is quite comfortable with expressing her dissatisfaction/needs in any situation now, she was quite reserved before. I knew it wouldn't last. Jill was quite reserved when I first met her... But I digress.

Yesterday the group here traveled to the orphanage that some of the Children that were adopted from lived. Jill and I opted out of this because Faye was one of the lucky few to have been in foster care with a family before we got her and she was never there.

I have become comfortable with most of the parenting needs on my end. Jill has been great all along. Tomorrow we need to fill out more paperwork for the American Embassy in Guangzhou in preparation for travel to there. There will be a bunch more paperwork to fill out over there during the four days that we are there but hopefully it will go smooth. As usual here are some more heart wrenching pictures of Faye.

Faye w/ a case of the squirmies Faye Laughing @ Brian Jill w/ Faye @ Temple Brian w/ Faye @ Temple
Faye w/ Dr. Susan

Date: 02/11/04
Status: Fun in the Goungzhou sun.

Hello everyone, sorry about the information blackout but we have had our hands full. We arrived in Guongzhou yesterday at around 8pm local time. The weather here is absolutely fabulous, it was around 65 today. We have gone from China's extreme cold to t-shirt weather. The atmosphere here is much better as well, the people are very nice (most speak english) and goods are dirt cheap. You can buy new music CDs for around $1.50 (feeling a little ripped off?).

The White Swan hotel is the best we have stayed in. It is filled with families from all over the world that are adopting from China. Unfortunately all three of us have come down with colds, Faye is caughing and sneezing (quite discustingly I might add) Jill and I are bed ridden for the rest of the day and probably tomorrow. Faye went to the Doctor today to be examined, other than some small issues she passed with flying colors.

Thank you everyone for the emails you have been sending, we have attracted quite a crowd and we are very happy to have heard from all of you! Please keep your comments coming. We are still counting down the days, although I wish we could spend more time in Goungzhou, Its a completely different world than Nanchang.


I'll have pictures as soon as I find a computer that will let me upload them.

Date: 02/12/04
Status: Ready to bail

Hello folks. I finnally got some pictures uploaded. This might be my last post from here, the internet is painfully slow and I don't think I'll have the time again. We just got a call from the American Embassy here saying that our application has been approved and we are clear to take Faye into the US. We leave tomorrow night after taking a day tour of Guongzhou (a tour, can you believe that?). I am mostly over the cold, Jill and Faye are still recovering. We look forward to seeing everyone again and hope all is well.

PS If you are having a bad day tomorrow, just kick back and repeat "At least I'm not on a 14hr flight from Guongzhou to Los Angeles".

You'll feel right as rain in no time.

Jill Strolling Faye Brian and Faye Goofing off Faye Getting Her Medical Exam A Street In Guongzhou

Date: 02/14/04
Status: Home Sweet Home!

WE ARE HOME! Everyone is well and accounted for. Thank you everyone for your love and support.


Date: 02/18/04
Status: Home Sweet Twilight Zone

This will be our final entry for the jouney to Faye, we will continue to post pictures of Faye and family events though so keep checking back.

We wanted to share some final thoughts about Faye and about coming home.

We are home. That's about all we can say for certain. We are all suffering from jet lag...Faye's schedule is a little more off than ours. After sleeping through the night every night in China...she has now been awake just about all night for three nights. Brian and I are tired and unpacking is getting done very slowly. We went out for the first time yesterday to do some grocery shopping. I know we're exhausted because today I found a package of mushrooms in the freezer! Rats. I love mushrooms too. Sometimes I turn around and think "hey! there's a baby in our house!" I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming and I'm also not babysitting. This is the real thing. We're glad to be home so we can try different foods on her. So far we have added prunes (thank goodness) cottage cheese, graham crackers, and green the eggs, applesauce and Chinese Food diet.

Our biggest fear coming home was the mutual adjustment of the child and our two spoiled, dopey dogs. So far, all has been fantastic. She tolerates them when grumpy and engages them when happy. They are interested in her all the time, but have really been good at restraining themselves. Dax tends to be the one to go sleep in the other room when she cries, and Chan is the one who will be running to wherever we are to make sure we've heard and are on top of the situation. They both have discovered that mealtime with a child is a wonderful thing for dogs. We will probably never have to sweep around her chair _ever_ and when I spilled an entire container of cheerios the other day...I just had to call the dogs and presto-whammo no more mess!

Another big adjustment has been that Faye has finally allowed us to set her on the floor. In China, she would only sit on the bed, or sofa...but never the floor. No wonder she couldn't crawl, roll over or sit up stably. Just in the ten days we had her in China she was sitting up much better, and she already has rolled over today, and she loves to stand, so we're foreseeing a very quick transition to walking. Yikes! Before you know it we'll be sending out graduation announcements!

Well, that's been our Journey to Faye. We can hardly remember life without her, and yet current reality still seems surreal. Truly, we are a little in shock. Faye is so amazing, she is charming, observant, quick to smile, not one to cry without a very clear reason, altogether a wonderful little girl. We couldn't have made this trip without all the support of our family, our work places, our many co-workers who hung in there with us and waited with us and our friends from around the world. Thank you all of you.

Dax scoping out the food dropings Jill Faye and Grampa Dave Jill Faye and Peter at the Airport Faye asleep in rocker Dax adjusting to the new addition Faye hangin in her crib

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