S: New Kid on the Block
BC: The End
FC: New Kid on the Block
1: Our Adoption Journey...
2: Gan Fu Hai | Born Oct. 21, 2010 Jiangxi Province, China | Height: 20.08" Weight: 7.05 lbs | ............................................ | At three months - height: 24"; weight: 14.3 lbs (January 17, 2011 Medical Report) | New Arrival! | Anna Elizabeth Hai Block | The orphanage director named Anna Gan Fu Hai (Fu Hai is the first name). Gan is the name of a river in Jiangxi Province. Fu means "fortune, luck and happiness" and Hai means "ocean or sea". We renamed her Anna Elizabeth Hai. Anna means "grace" or "favour", Elizabeth means "I pledge to God" and Hai (as above).
3: The day had finally come! After waiting five years, we got the call April 5, 2011 saying Anna's proposal had arrived from China! We didn't know anything about her until then. Randy was working, so I called him right away and told him the amazing news! Christene, our social worker, arrived later that afternoon with the package (see photo above). When Randy came home, we celebrated! We fell in love with Anna right away! The two photos on the left are what we received April 5th. We believe these photos were taken in January, 2011. The photo above is from her birth certificate. Likely taken when she was younger? So cute!!!
4: So excited to get more photos May 6, 2011 | Measurements: height 31", weight 18.7 lbs | More Photos!
7: Some of Julie's girlfriends spoiled her with a beautiful Baby Shower prior to leaving for China. Hosted by Lori, it was such a fun night. We were truly blessed with words of encouragement, support and many lovely things for Anna and us. This was one of six baby showers held over the next few months! Philippa hosted a work shower, Dave & Suzanne hosted a Bible Study shower, Julia had a family/friends shower, Miriam & Ann had a shower for North Shore friends and our neighbour, Beth, had a neighbourhood shower. So many loving and supportive family and friends to share this special journey with us. Thank you everyone!
8: On May 27, 2011, we boarded the 10.5 hour flight for Beijing. It was a long flight, but good to finally be on the plane. We spent two nights in Beijing before flying to Nanchang in Jiangxi Province May 30th to pick up Anna. So exciting!
9: China | Bound
10: We spent our first full day in Beijing visiting Tiananmen Square. This square was built to hold 1 million people standing! It's huge and very impressive. We stood in line to see the Tiananmen Gate Tower - the one with the picture of Mao on it - and had a good view of the square. It was a very hot, humid and smoggy day but we enjoyed it nonetheless. After visiting the square, we walked to an area which had hutongs (alleyways with traditional old Chinese homes) and ritzy shopping areas. We also saw a beautiful park (see next page). Lots of interesting sights to see! | Tiananmen | Square | Beijing
15: May 30th! The day we finally meet Anna! We woke at 4:30 am to catch an early flight to Nanchang. Michelle, our guide, met us at the airport in Nanchang. En route to the hotel, she told us the nannies would bring our babies right to our rooms. No time to unpack even! Here we are travelling with the other families in our group: Rachel, Brogan and Sarah (top right) and Henry, Michelle and Holly (bottom right). We are all excited, nervous, scared, excited... | The Day Has Finally Come!
17: Words can't express what it was like to hold and see Anna for the first time. It all felt a bit surreal. About 10 minutes after arriving in our hotel room there was a knock at the door. Five orphanage staff were there with Anna. They handed her over to us and we quickly took some pictures and exchanged some gifts. Anna did not cry when they left and we were even able to get a few smiles out of her in the first few minutes. She was very curious. We kept staring at her and she kept staring at us! "She's perfect" were some of the first words out of Julie's mouth. Perfect, indeed. | Our First | Meeting
19: 5/30/11 | May 30, 2011 marks the day we became a family. It's a day we will never forget. The first while was spent feeding Anna which was a little more involved than usual. The orphanage had given us some formula and cereal but we wanted to use our own too, so we had to figure out the right mixture. We also couldn't just use tap water. We had to get bottled water from our guide, boil it and then hope Anna would drink the formula and eat the cereal! She did pretty well. She had been hungry after the 2.5 hour bus ride to the hotel. A long journey for her too! She had likely never been outside the orphanage prior to this. It's hard to know what was going on in her mind, but she was indeed very curious. Love this photo of Anna and Randy! | FAMILY
21: It's Official! | Just two hours after receiving Anna, we went to the Provincial Adoption Office and Notary to make everything official. We had an interview to ensure we would take good care of Anna, official photos were taken and paperwork was signed. It was a long and tiring day (we didn't even have time to eat!) however it was all worth it. By the time we got back to the hotel, Anna was legally ours. Amazing! The photo on the left includes other new babies, Sonya (Henry, Michelle & Holly) and Fiona (Rachel, Brogan & Sarah). Top middle photo is the Chinese official who interviewed us. She also gave Anna a nice gift. Bottom photo is Randy and Anna with our guide, Michelle. She was wonderful and helped us with everything while in Nanchang.
22: The famous Teng Wang Pavilion in Nanchang was built 1600 years ago by Teng Wang, son of the emperor in Beijing. It overlooks the Gan River, an offshoot of the Yangtze, that Anna was named after. We are joined by Gayle, Glen, their mother, son & new baby, Thea, who they adopted from a Special Needs orphanage.
25: Bride getting ready photos | Visiting the Orphanage | We were fortunate to visit Anna's orphanage, the Jianxin Social Welfare Institute (SWI) in Jiangxi Province, which was about 2.5 hours by bus from Nanchang. This is where she spent the first seven months of her life. We passed through a city called Fengxin which was about 30 minutes from the SWI then had a very bumpy ride through the beautiful subtropical countryside of rice paddies and mountains. As we arrived at the SWI we were impressed by the cleanliness and beauty. The staff and nannies were so nice. We felt confident Anna was well cared for here. We visited "Baby Room B" and saw the crib Anna had slept in (indicated by pink star). Just outside her room was a beautiful courtyard (see above) and grounds. We're not sure how Anna felt being here. She wasn't quite herself this day but it's likely because she was getting sick as she had a fever that night.
26: Across from the SWI is the Police Station & Provincial Care Aid Station. Anna was found here on the steps (see below) on October 22, 2010, a day after she was born. She was left here so someone could find her. We're so glad they did!!
28: After all our paperwork was finalized in Nanchang we flew back to Beijing to get Anna's Canadian visa and medical exam. While there, we took in more sights, including the Forbidden City which used to be the Imperial Palace. Very impressive! It was an extremely hot day so we didn't spend a lot of time here, however, we did end up in a nice park and had a lot of attention while feeding Anna! | The Forbidden City
30: It was another extremely hot and humid day June 4th when we visited the Great Wall outside of Beijing. There was very little shelter from the sun beating down on us. As a result, Julie got heat exhaustion and a headache. It was still an amazing sight to behold. Randy did well carrying Anna up all the stairs! | The Great Wall
33: This Palace in Beijing is dominated by Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake. It was a very beautiful and relaxing place. We enjoyed walking around the lake and seeing the Seventeen Arch Bridge. | The Summer Palace
34: Our Last Full Day | On our last full day in China we took a group shot of the babies as well as their two siblings (see below). We then went to visit the Panda Zoo, went to a tea room, went for lunch and then quickly saw the Olympic Bird's Nest Stadium and Water Cube. We so enjoyed our time in China but were looking forward to bringing Anna home with us! We were so grateful to our guide, Ivy (below) who took such great care of us while in Beijing. It was a sad farewell.
35: On June 9th we arrived home with Anna. It was so good to touch Canadian soil and have Anna in our arms! Grandma and Granddad, Julie's parents, were waiting at the airport for us. Anna took to them immediately (see below)! | Welcome Home, Anna!
36: Bride getting ready photos
37: Everyone was so excited to meet Anna! On Julie's side of the family, she also got to meet her Uncle Russ (right), Auntie Karen (bottom left) and cousins Lauren & Adrienne (top left) as well as Uncle Steve, Auntie Kim, and cousins Charlotta, Ashley & Jack (bottom middle). The cousins doted over Anna and did not want to leave her side. Everyone wanted to hold her! Anna had a lot of fun as she loves people!
39: On Randy's side of the family, Uncle Mark and Auntie Theresa came to visit July 2011 (bottom left). There were lots of Skype calls with the rest of the family until we went to Toronto January 2012. Here we are with Opie and Nana (top left), Grandma (middle left), Uncle Sigi and Auntie Ingrid (above) and Auntie Kim (left). Anna loved meeting them all!
41: It's hard to believe we brought Anna home almost 10 months ago! She has been such an incredible blessing and joy to us. A definite gift from God and well worth the wait. We love her more than we can say! Thank you to all our amazing family and friends (some pictured here - we couldn't fit everyone!) who have shared this journey with us and continue to do so. We look forward to the days and years ahead. With much love, Julie, Randy & Anna | Blessed