December 1, 2006


It’s official…in the eyes of the Chinese Government, we are Lydia’s forever family.  When we touch down in Chicago, on December 7, 2006 Lydia will be an American citizen!

We started off the day eating another delicious authentic Chinese breakfast consisting of noodles, dim sum (yummy dumplings filled with a variety of different things), fresh fruit, tea, rice, and roasted pumpkin. Next we headed to the Henan Provence Adoption Center to finalize our adoption.  We completed the necessary paperwork, got our official certificate and took some photos of the big event. Then we checked out of the hotel in Zhengzhou and were off on a three hour van ride to Lydia’s birth place – Luoyang.  The drive was beautiful beyond belief.  There were green fields of wheat, large stone mountainous areas, and a lot of rural farmland.  Lydia fell asleep about an hour and a half into the ride for a much needed nap.

When we got to the city, everyone was hungry so Zhou and Li, the orphanage director decided on a place for lunch.  We are really getting to see Chinese culture in action.  The restaurant was filled with locals, all eating large amounts of food!  Zhou tells us that the meal we at today was average.  It consisted of turtle soup, chicken and nuts, rice, noodles, a Chinese green vegetable that does not have an English translation (there are many like that), beans and hot peppers with sesame, and dumplings.  In this restaurant, there were no forks or knives, only chop-sticks, so we are getting better daily using them.  The drinks here are tea, sprite, and coke.  Many people drink hard liquor during the day with their mid-day meal, as well as beer.  It is difficult to find diet coke unless you go somewhere special!!  Smoking all over China is the norm.  It is difficult to find a non-smoking area here – where is the cancer in China?  I can’t figure this out – the life-span here is much longer than America.   And…there are a lot fewer overweight people here.  Everyone eats like crazy, but there aren’t many deserts, or snack foods.  Andy and I figure we will lose a few needed pounds here just by eating all of the fruit and veggies.

From lunch we headed straight to the orphanage.  We found out that the Luoyang Children’s Welfare Institute houses over 600 children.  Many of these children are in foster care.  Most appear to be school aged or special needs.  We observed students coming and going with foster parents throughout our hour visit.  A bus of special needs children were leaving when we departed.  We were told that they were there for the whole day (and return each day like this) to obtain rehabilitation services.

Li informed us that some students who do well academically even go to community college and return to live at the orphanage.  They are trying to do their best with the funding and facilities that they have.  It seemed to us that all of our agency’s referrals were living in foster care.  We have been in contact with another family who is waiting for their child from this orphanage, and had asked if we could meet him and take pictures for his future family.  Li told us that he was in foster care, but was gracious enough to call the foster mother and have him brought into the orphanage.  We were so appreciative of her and we know the Hedden’s are too.  We shared these pictures with them on-line already.

Andy and I are emotionally drained.  We were so fortunate to get to visit this facility and were happy to see the love that the caregivers have for the children there despite the total lack of funding and overcrowding.

Well, little miss sunshine just woke up for the day.  We’re happy to report that she slept through the night again (11 hours!!).  Today is a day of must needed rest and sight-seeing.  There are already people outside dancing in the park across the street to Chinese music that is playing throughout the park.  We can see and hear this through our hotel window on the 17th floor.  Blessings to all.  We thank all of you for your comments on the blog – we wish we could write you all back!  We look forward each day to read your comments and emails!!!  Please continue to respond as we will keep these for Lydia’s memory book.  We hope you enjoy the pictures.

With love from China,
Tami, Andy and Lydia


Oh, and YouTube and Google Video are throwing us fits – click this link for a cute video of the funny girl:


Google Video Version:


4 Responses to “December 1, 2006”

  1. 1 Marilou

    xie xie for the wonderful video! I am already enchanted with your little girl. I appreciate all your effort with the video and blog – you are awesome!

    Looking forward to the next entry!

  2. 2 Russ

    Love the human Frogger! Andy, whatever you do, do not leave China without taking a motorcycle taxi ride. It’s better than any theme park ride.
    Have fun and thanks so much for the Sam pictures.

  3. Tami and Andy this video is beautiful Lydia is just wonderful Congratulations to your whole family.

  4. 4 Lynne

    Hi Guys,
    Tim and I find ourselves getting up early and racing to the computer to see if there has been a new entry. It sure seems like there has not been much of an adjustment period for Lydia! Looks like she’s been with you guys forever! It was sure meant to be! What a blessing!

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