Friday, February 01, 2008

Callum: A new addition

I am not sure if you have been watching the news about the terrible weather in China. In some places it is the worst it has been in a life time. In Xian it snowed a lot before I left. The snow is not the bad thing, it is the fact that in Xian they do not have snow plows, salt and all the other good things that clear the roads. Shovelling sidewalks is not a big thing either. The snow here is really slushy and soon after it snowed it was so cold that it Xian turned into a massive ice cube, really dangerous for driving in if you know how the Chinese drive!! We went to the supermarket and with a whole weeks worth of groceries in two carts, waiting outside for 45 minutes trying to get a taxi which turned out to be a contact sport with all the pushing and the shoving.

On Wednesday January 16 at 6 am we got a call to say there was a baby at the the train station from one of the orphanages and by 6:30am we had a new baby at our foster home. The funny thing was I thought it was a girl because he wore pink. I emailed Claudine, a Scottish friend to give him a girl's name and had to write back again to say it was a boy. She and her two girls decided on the name Callum. He had spina bifida and I suspected that it was leaking but I was not sure. By the next morning there was no doubt because the spinal fluid was dripping out if his sack!! That is such a scary thing to experience because I had no idea just how bad it was. After some frantic scrambling, I had 45 minutes to get my things ready, we were out the door and on the way to the airport. The two of us were on the plane a few hours later on our way to Shanghai and Dr Bao. I am so grateful to him for being so dependable. I would hate to think of what would happen if he was not there. To make this story even more special....We had a volunteer visit a few months ago and she and her husband made a US$3000 donation a week before Callum arrived and it covered about 80% of Callum's hospital bill.

Hong Li was still at the hospital with Jack and so I asked for the two babies to be put into the same room and after Dr Bao checked Callum he did not think it was necessary to do the surgery immediately and that it could wait until Monday. There was spinal fluid but the sack maintained its pressure. So Callum had surgery on Monday and even though he has a mild hydrocephalus he did not get a shunt. Dr Bao want to check this when he comes back from LA.

In the meantime, many Chinese prepare to travel over Chinese New Year (CNY). It is estimated that about 200 million people travel to reach their families for this the most important event in the calendar year. Imagine the whole population of the France, Italy and the UK using the transport system to travel great distances!!! With this comes some really freaky weather at the worst possible time and most of China's travel is disrupted. I cannot even imagine what would happen in 800 000 people got stuck at a train station. That is exactly what is happening in Guangzhou, a city in China near Hong Kong. Due to the massive electricity failure the trains did not reach Guangzhou and there were all these workers and people waiting for a train in the rain. They have been camped out at the station for more than a week. Can you even imagine getting food, a place to sleep and many of the people have nowhere to go because the factories where they work have closed down for CNY. In the rest of China there have been traffic stuck on impassible roads for four and five days. The government estimated that there has been US$7.5 billion in losses in productivity and food, and that an estimated 60 people have died so far. The price of vegetables have sky rocketed. They activated 1.5 million police and have given out a half a million quilts.

Amongst all of this, I know about a family who live in Shanghai, ready to go and adopt their daughter in Hunan, but because of the 10 hour trip to the capital city for the child, there was no way that the adoption could take place. Can you imagine being so close to the gotcha date and then going into limbo because the snow has disrupted everything. Right now there are no dates to look forward to and that will remain like this until after CNY.

I was hoping to come home with the two babies last Monday but that did not happen, both Jack and Callum were kept in the hospital. That turned out to be a good thing because it snowed a lot for Shanghai. The schools kids kids even got a snow day. I loved seeing all the snow men everywhere. By Wednesday things were looking much better and I thought it might be a good opportunity to go home. After a few phone calls I got everything organized and we had a time for a flight, one of only 3 flights to Xian. I was just hoping that the weather would hold because they were predicting more snow on Friday. We made it home safe and sound. I was so nervous travelling with two small babies and the possibility of getting stranded with them made me so grateful for the plane that took off on time. We were home by 8:30pm.

I found an electric toothbrush for Antoinette, one of the Disney princesses for a handle. She was so excited. She loves brushing her teeth with an electric toothbrush. She then proceeded to brush her teeth with ketchup!! She insisted on going to bed with her new toothbrush. Funny girl!!! She was so happy to see me last night and hugged me for a long time. I, of course felt the same way. I have been told by the big O Antoinette has been matched with a family in Spain. It seems so far away to me. I thought it will now give me a reason to travel to Spain, a country I have never seen before. There is no other information at the moment and so I know our time together is really precious and that it is coming to a close soon. She is the last of the original six babies I started with in September 2005. I have had her since she was 43 days old and U-G-L-Y. There is nothing at that time that could have anticipated the gorgeous child that she has become and how much personality that she has. My heart is quivering at the thought of her leaving, but that is what I signed up for.

The babies were so happy to see me. They climbed all over me and that made it such a wonderful home coming. It is so amazing to me to have the trust and love of a child and when there are so many you feel their hugs and kisses so much stronger.

We are all at home now and I will be taking some Mouse CNY pictures soon. It is the year of the Mouse/Rat this year starting February 7. I have no idea what I am going to do. I was so silly to start this tradition with all the holiday pictures. It is a big job to do the all the Chinese and foreign holidays and then to think of something original. I am already preparing things for Easter. If I want something I have to think that far in advance.

Life, Love and Laughter,

Starfish Foster Home


April said...

I have been watching the weather and I have been praying that you would make it home safe and sound. So glad to have an update on you making it home and the precious babies also. Have a wonderful CNY.

redmaryjanes said...

I have been hearing about the harsh winter conditions in China right now. Half the Sky has begun a special fun to raise money for the orphanages.
I am glad that you all are well and that the surgeries were successful. Please stay warm and safe Amanda. Cherish this time with Antoinette.

Mob said...

What a mess over there. The weather is creating havoc. I'm glad your doing ok and things worked out well for little Callum.

Three P's in a Pod said...

Oh Amanda --I am so happy Antoinette is finally going to get er family...I am scared for her because I know how hard this will be for her...and you. She was one of your first. You will all be in my prayers.

I am so glad you are safe and Callum sounds precious.

I wish I could have met you when I finally got to come to China...maybe another time.

Have a wonderful, WARM CNY.

Trixie said...

Mouse ears!!! I would have sent big cheese hats (go Green Bay!) and mouse ears for your CNY photo session. You have GOT to post these dilemas sooner so that we can all put our thinking caps on...

A friend here has organized a big shipment to a friend in China who will then take it to the SWI. Hopefully it makes it there in time to do some good.

LJ said...

I SO enjoy reading your blog..and can feel the love you have for these precious children. Thanks for all you do.
We have 3 wonderful dd's from China, and I would love for them to meet you the next time we visit China.
Would love to see a pic of you with the children so I can know what you look like too. :-)