Saturday, November 18, 2006

We made it home.....

Friday, November 17th we had our citizen oath at the US Consulate in Guangzhou, China for Sofia. (Sorry - no pictures as cameras were not allowed). On this day, 63 children were officially sworn in as US citizens. It was a amazing. Here's a picture of Dawn and Sofia on the way to the Consulate. After the ceremony, we went back to the hotel to finish packing.

Saturday, November 18th -
Our day started very early in the morning hours in China as we prepared for our return flight to the US. Here's on last picture of the boys with Judy our coordinator while we were in China (and if I said it once, I'll keep saying it over and over - SHE WAS GREAT!!! After that we left China and headed for Tokyo, Japan.

Once we were in Tokyo, it was a change of planes and off to Minneapolis, MN in our big 747:

After Minneapolis, we were off to Milwaukee where after a 27 hour day, we were met by several of our friends welcoming the whole Newsome family home. We again thank all of our friends and family for all your support and prayers. Sofia will come to know how special each and every one of you truly are.

When we got home, we enjoyed a meal someone had given us and let Sofia adjust to her new home. She seemed very curious and comfortable. The neighbors gave Sofia a welcome home gift which she (and the boys) opened in her new bedroom.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

November 16th - An end to an emotional day

Today turned out to be the most emotional day for us yet. We traveled to the orphanage where Sofia stayed from November 1, 2005 until we were able to get here to her. The orphanage had several little ones just waiting for a new mommy and daddy.

When we arrived, we were first met by several care givers of the orphanage (dressed as nurses), the Director of the orphanage (the lady in the dark suit clothes in the picture below) and all the kids. Sofia immediately recognized where she was and reacted with screaming and fear (I believe the fear was she was going to be left there again - not in how she was treated as she was treated as good as she could be). Again, the comfort for us was the comfort she had with mommy (and the rest of her family) holding her every step of the way.

Sofia had left her mark on the people who cared for her. The director of the orphanage was very happy to see Sofia and how happy we and she were with each other. The care givers also took special interest in Sofia and were happy we brought her back to say goodbye one last time. There was only one care giver (nurse in above picture) that Sofia had a positive reaction to and would allow to hold her. Sofia seemed ok with being back there once she realized that mommy and daddy weren't going anywhere and that Dawn wasn't putting her down or allowing anyone else to hold her from that point.

We were able to walk through the orphanage and that 's where we saw all the little kids. There were a couple of kids that recognized Sofia and ran to her to kiss and hug her. She responded to all the kids with apparent happiness. It was when we got to the room where the beds/cribs are that was the peak of the emotional roller coaster we were on today. When we walked in the room, Sofia immediately recognized her friend in the crib next to where she had been for over a year.

Sofia's name tag was still on the crib and the director let us take it with us. I / we couldn't hold back the tears when we saw the children just waiting for someone to take them home and to know that this is the very spot where our precious Sofi had been for so long. If the law allowed for it, the Newsome family would have grown by every kid in the orphanage today. (Several of the kids were in another room today thus the empty cribs. Sofia's crib -where she spent so many days /and time for the past year- was the blue one in the picture below).

I am thankful for all the orphanage did for Sofia and all the little children. With the limited resources they have , they do the best they can. We then left the orphanage for a trip into Foshan, where Sofia was abandoned.

After a short drive, we arrived at the location where Sofia's birth mother and father left her on November 1, 2005 . They left her at the door of the women's and children center. The pictures below show the very spot she was found (this to was a tearful occasion. To know that a mother and father loved their little one so much and knew that they couldn't care for her and that the only way for her survival was to give her up. Little did they know that on that day they were our angels who with their courage and faith along with God's blessing would deliver our precious Sofia to us.

Through the tears and emotions I told Dawn that Sofia was found once at this very spot by strangers passing by as an abandoned child and on this day she was found again by strangers passing by as a member of our family to never be left alone again.

As we headed back to Guangzhou, I again thanked God for Sofia. I looked up and saw this beautiful little face looking at me as to say, " Daddy - it's ok because we're together now".

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Night falls on China - November 15, 2006

Today was another beautiful day filled with great weather and more memories to last a life time. This morning was free time for us so we walk around the island and took a walking trip to another part of the city (I don't know how many miles we walk a day but I'm sure it would blow me away if I really knew):

Our "scheduled" day started in the afternoon with Sofia's medical exam. The only good thing about it (as Sofi was screaming during some of the procedures) was Sofia looked for us. Once Dawn would be able to hold her, she seemed to know things would be ok and found comfort in Dawn's touch. Here's some pictures from the exam (by the way - she's now over 15 pounds. When we first got her, she was unable to roll over and in the almost two weeks she's been with us she's able to roll over and over and over):

After the medical exam our GREAT guide (from our adoption agency) Judy had arranged for us to go to a wonderful ancient museum in Guangzhou. The name of the place was the Chen Ancestral Hall. This place was like so many here - absolutely incredible.

We were back on our private bus and headed back to the island where Judy had arranged for us to have a spectacular Chinese dinner in a private room of a restaurant. The food was out of this world. The fun wasn't over yet. After dinner we were off to a cruise on the Pearl River, which runs through Guangzhou, to see the wonderful lights around the city. Here's a picture of our beautiful Sofia waiting for the boat and just a few of the pictures of the city near the Pearl River:

After such an action packed day what else is there for a girl or girls to do but ..........

Tomorrow we're off to see the orphanage Sofia was in and the city she was found in. Again, we thank everyone for your support and continued prayers.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Nov 14 2006 Comes to Close

Well another day comes to a close here in China. It was a beautiful day with temps in the mid 80's and a slight breeze. Today turned out to be "free day" meaning we didn't have anything associated with adoption paperwork etc to do. Our coordinator (Judy) took us shopping at a mall that was mostly full of jewelry with a focus on pearls and jade.

Tomorrow we will have Sofi's health inspection and have her passport photo taken. Here's a few photos from the past day: Dawn and the kids, Zach with some statues, Sofia looking very cute, an entrance to a Chinese park, the kids hanging out on the bed right after Miss Sofia got up from her nap, Will at the Mall - we had to ride the elevator.

After the health inspection tomorrow, we are going on some more sightseeing tours with our coordinator Judy.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Hong Kong Survives The Newsome Boys

Well, we (the boys and I) made it back from Hong Kong. WOW WHAT A GREAT PLACE!!!!! Before our journey started we walked around with Dawn and Sofia:

The trip to Hong Kong started with a two hour express (bullet train) train ride from Guangzhou to Kowloon, China (which is the last stop before you get to Hong Kong Island but is yet considered "Hong Kong"). Of course Will loved it. Once we arrived in Kowloon, we took a taxi over to Hong Kong Island, where we would be staying.

To get Hong Kong Island, you take a tunnel that travels under the bay (the bay is the body of water inthe later pictures of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Harbor). This place was incredible. By the time we cleared customs, got to the hotel and settled in, it was night time. We walked around Hong Kong for a while (it's very busy and lots of people and traffic everywhere all the time) where it's just one street of lights and shopping after another and tehn we took another taxi up to Victoria's Peak. WOW ... its the highest point in Hong Kong and allows you to look down on the city and the views are's a few photos of our first night (by the way, our hotel room was on the 26th floor of our hotel and the boys loved it):

You can see in the night photos of Hong Kong above just how big the skyline is by aligning the bright white light building. It was one of those places you go where it just seems magical and it was.

The next day we were off on a tour of many places in Hong Kong. The first photo is of part of the city on our way to our first stop, at the oldest temple in Hong Kong - The ManMo Temple:

Next, we were off to Victoria's Peak for a day time view of things... (by the way it was still a beautiful view). To get there, we took a tram/train that traveled up the mountain at a 45 degree angle. The train is the oldest public transportaion in Hong Kong - over 100 years old:

Next, we were off to the last "on water" fishing village in Hong Kong ( the fishing village was on the other side of the island from Hong Kong Harbor - the view you see above). Hong Kong was actually a rather poor fishing community before it was turned into what it is today. Therefore, we were going to see the roots of Hong Kong. We took a Sampan Fishing Boat ride around that particular harbor and saw the Fisher Boat Community (a place where the people live, eat, sleep ...they do everything on the boats and seldom if ever go to shore). The accomidations were less than desireable for these people but it seems to work for them.

We went to an open air market and did some shopping and then also took time to go to one of the two beautiful of these in Hong Kong...........can you guess? That's right ...a

We finished our trip to Hong Kong by going back to the heart of the city and doing some walking around seeing the sights before we headed back to the train station. The amount of people in this area is amazing. We were told that there are approximately 2400 people per square foot of land. Here's some final photos of some of the wonderful craziness that is Hong Kong:

Only a couple of things could have made this trip even better. More money, time and Dawn & Sofia being there with us. I will certainly bring the family back for a vacation in Hong Kong.

Tomorrow, we're off to Sofia's health inspection for her exit visa and passport. She's doing very well and seems to be settling in with us. Thanks for all your prayers and support.