In November 2004 we started the journey to bring a baby home from China ... five years later, in October 2009, we met Isobel Pingqin.
Our little livewire known as Izzy.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Last post from Shanghai

We are doing our final packing now.  Have done our final shopping and our bags leave in just over an hour.

Izzy is still quite sick – I’m so glad you’ve all seen photos of our smiling and laughing girl because she isn’t like that at the moment.  I think we’re in for a bad night on the plane.  There are 6 babies booked on our flight so we won’t get a bassinet as they are allocated to babies in age order.

Izzy probably won’t be back to her happy self for a few days.



Shanghai - Day 14

Second last day – the time has gone so fast but I am looking forward to coming home.  Shanghai has been absolutely wonderful and I could stay here for 2 or 3 weeks to see everything there is to see – I’d just spend too much money at the shops.

This morning we went on the Maglev train – fastest commercial train in the world.  Top speed was 431km/hr but you wouldn’t have known you were going that fast because it was such a smooth ride.

Then back to the tailors market to collect all our clothes we had made, and a final group dinner.  We have been to the tailor’s market twice and the “fakes” market twice and our guide had warned us about pick pockets but we got though okay.   Not so lucky for one of the others in our group who had her purse stolen from her handbag.

Izzy hasn ‘t been well today and we have just returned from hospital.  She has been very wheezy and we’ve come home with four different medicines for her and she is now knocked out on the bed.  Dr said her cough will develop into Asthma if not treated so we’ll keep going with the medicine we got from hospital and I’ve already got an appointment with our GP for her on Tuesday.

Interesting comparison – we rang our guide to ask her to take us to hospital and translate for us.  She told me to have lots of money ready and my credit card.  Didn’t matter what it would cost because we have travel insurance.

So it came time to pay for the doctor, I’ve got my wad of cash ready, the cost was equivalent to $3 (three) Australian dollars.

Four different medicines, the cost is equivalent to about $14 Australian dollars.

I’m sure it is a lot of money for the locals. 

We get taxis all over the place and it only ever costs equivalent to about $3 – even when you’ve sat in the cab for about 30 mins, still only around $3.

We started packing our bags this afternoon, we’re worried about the weight of all our stuff.  I think we might be lucky and just scrape though. 
We have enough room in the bags, but will be close on the weight allowance.


Nearly time to come home

Here I come!


Thursday, October 29, 2009


The shopping in Shanghai is fabulous.  We have gone overboard and I’m wondering whether we might need to post some things homes.

These are shoes I’ve bought for Izzy – around $10-$12 a pair for leather shoes.


Shanghai - Day 13

This is some of the view from the top of the World Financial Centre.


Shanghai - Day 13

We didn’t go on any of the organised sight seeing this morning, it was time to let Ben and Izzy have a rest.  We have been dragging them around every day, all day and night and they are both exhausted.  We just went and saw a few things at our own pace.

Tonight we went the World Financial Centre – it was the tallest building in the world until recently (I think the tallest is now in Dubai).  It is over 400m tall and I think 101 floors (can’t remember exactly).  It has a rectangle “hole” at the top and there is an observation deck with a glass floor.  The view of Shanghai at night was brilliant.  We then went on a cruise down the river in Shanghai.

This afternoon we also got Izzy’s passport back with her Australian Permanent Resident Visa.  We could have changed our flight to come home tonight – we are now basically free to bring her home.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Being Blessed by the Buddha Monk

This was part of our blessing ceremony. 

Jade Buddha Temple


Jade Buddha Temple

Ben and Izzy are both sick of me making them have photos.


Shanghai - Day 12

I think we tried to fit in too much today – there is so much we want to see and do here in Shanghai and not enough days before coming home.

We started off this morning going to the Jade Buddha Temple so we could have the babies blessed by a Monk.  Ben, Izzy and I were blessed – Peter would have been but someone had to video the ceremony.

The picture of the man doing calligraphy was writing Ben and Izzy’s name in Mandarin and some good luck messages.  This was also blessed by the Monk.  The temple was beautiful, once again with stunning bonsai trees everywhere.  The Jade buddhas were incredible but we weren’t allowed to take photos.

We then went to a pearl factory (probably could have done without that), then went on to the “fakes” market.  We bargained a lot but probably still paid more than we needed to, but no one is going to tell you how much you really should be paying.  Still, we’re happy with our purchases!

Tonight we went to see the Chinese acrobats.  They were fantastic, but the same as Cirque Du Soleil Dralion which I saw last year which was a Chinese production – had I know they were so similar I wouldn’t have gone, especially given we had been dragging Ben and Izzy around all day.  I had to stand in the doorway for half of the show because Izzy was crying and people were giving me the evil eye.

Tomorrow we are not going on some of the scheduled sight seeing so Ben and Izzy can rest before another night out.

Izzy has passed her medical

Our guide told us tonight that all babies in our group (4) passed their medicals.  She will collect Izzy’s passport from the Australian Consulate tomorrow afternoon with her permanent residency visa in it.  We’re clear to come home with our girl!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Shanghai - Day 11


The role of a big brother


South Bund Soft-Spinning Fabric Market

Late this afternoon we went the fabric market to get Peter measured up for some suits.  It was AMAZING – you could spend all day there and spend an absolute fortune.  Peter, mum and I all got measured up for clothes – 3 suits for Peter, overcoat for Peter, overcoat for me, leather jacket for me, jacket for mum.  Going back on Thursday for fitting and get more stuff (we ran out of cash and needed to keep enough for our taxi back to the hotel).

We had attempted to get to this market last night and the taxi driver told the doorman at our hotel that he knew where it was.  Once the taxi was around the corner from the hotel it was clear the driver didn’t have a clue where to go.  So we told him to stop the car so we could get out and he was saying he would ring someone.  We said no (very much Amazing Race style – running out of time and wasting time in a taxi with a lost driver).  He wouldn’t stop until we opened the door while he was still going.

Got one of the girls from my work’s Shanghai office to help me with better directions and worked out perfectly – we got there today.

Definitely worth the wait...


Monday, October 26, 2009

One step closer?

Today we had Izzy’s medical at the doctor at the Australian Consulate.  It was pretty standard, measurements, asked us lots of questions about what we have observed over the last week, checking reflexes and then a blood test.  That was extremely traumatic for all of us.  Izzy is a well covered baby, ie thunder thighs and rolls and rolls.  So finding a vein in all that fat was very hard.  She was saturated with sweat when they finally were done, but at least they got a vein first go.  One of the other babies in our group took 3 attempts.

We won’t know until Thursday if everything is okay which is frustrating, if there is a problem I’ll be staying.  Izzy is very small for her age and behind with gross motor skills, however the doctor seemed pleased with what she was doing and I think it is to be expected that the babies from orphanages or foster homes haven’t had the opportunities that a baby in a normal home environment would have.

Big day today

Today we have to take Izzy to hospital for her medical by the Australian Consulate.  This will determine whether Australia will grant her a permanent resident visa.  If she doesn’t pass, they won’t give us a visa for her.  I know she has to have a blood test and lots of measurements, not sure what else they do.  That will happen 1pm Shanghai time (4pm Sydney time).  We won’t find out the results for a few days.  If there is a problem we’ll probably find out on Tues or Wednesday.  If all is okay, we will get her visa on Thursday.

And we're still learning more...

We’ve been wondering why Izzy can’t crawl and thinking that surely her foster mother hasn’t carried her for the last 16 months (her foster mother is nearly 60).  Yesterday Izzy showed us how she gets around – she is a bottom shuffler!  She moves around very efficiently.  We’ll have to practice some crawling when we get home.  She also has the chubbiest thighs I’ve ever seen – probably seem even bigger to me because I’m so used to Ben who is so slim.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Shanghai - Day 10

This morning we went  to a silk factory and saw how silk is made from silk worms.  We didn’t get to see the actual silk worms making their silk cocoons, just what happens once it has been harvested from them.

We then went to the French Concession area for lunch. 

Shanghai - Day 10 - French Concession Area

At lunch in the French Concession area.

Shanghai - Day 9

Our hotel, the Howard Johnson Plaza, in the background.


Shanghai - Day 9

This is Nanjing Road, a huge shopping mall and just outside our hotel.

Nanchang to Shanghai

Today was a day of mixed emotions – leaving Nanchang and our wonderful guide, Karen, to head for Shanghai.  Nanchang had grown on us over the last 8 days but we were all keen to move on.  Words can’t describe the crazy traffic in Nanchang, it truely has to be experienced.

We had no idea what Shanghai would be like, we thought it would perhaps be similar to Nanchang but maybe more fast pace.

Our flight was great and Izzy went well on her first plane ride.  There were 18 families from Spain on our flight with their new babies, as well as the four families in our group.

The ride from the airport to our hotel was filled with oohhs and ahhs – SHANGHAI IS AMAZING!  We have only been here a few hours and we know we already love it.  I can’t express in an email how amazing this place is.  As tired as we were when we got to our hotel around 5pm, we went out walking the streets until the shops shut at 10pm.

I THINK WE ARE IN SHOPPING HEAVEN.  We should have come here instead of Hong Kong for our first few days.  Shopping will be hard to fit in around Izzy’s sleep times but they are open until 10pm so I can always head out after she is asleep.  We are so excited about being in Shanghai.  Peter and I don’t think 6 days is long enough here – there are so many things we want to do.

The size of Shanghai is incredible.  Makes Sydney seem so small.  The freeway structures that we saw on the ride in from the airport were like nothing else.  I can’t wait to get out tomorrow and explore and see more.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Farewell Nanchang - Day 9

Our bags are just about packed and Saturday is the day to say farewell to Nanchang.  What a week we have had.  From first arriving in this city and not really liking it, to now feeling so at ease with walking around with thousands and thousands of people, dodging crazy traffic, communicating even though no one speaks English and getting to know our way around.  We can now sit in a taxi and not need to close our eyes (the driving was that scary on the first day) and we can easily cross the road and not be run over by buses, cars, scooters, motorbikes or pushbikes.

Room 2302 at the Galactic Peace International will always be the room where we got to know our girl.

Our bags will be collected at 10.30am.  Our driver will take our group, complete with four new baby girls, to the airport at 11am and we fly to Shanghai at 1.40pm.


Nanchang - Day 8

Today has been another lazy day, got up late or at least out for breakfast late, a quiet morning and a long walk this afternoon.

We have a passport!

We can now officially take Izzy out of the country so far as China is concerned.  Still have to pass the medical with the Australian consulate next week, but tonight we got Izzy’s passport.  One step closer!

Happy Birthday Pa


We tried to phone you on Friday morning but there was no answer.  Hope you had a lovely birthday.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Nanchang - Day 8

Tonight we should get Izzy’s Chinese passport.  That will mean we are half way towards bringing her home.  Will mean as far as China is concerned, we can take her with us. 

We then need her to pass the medical with the Australian Consulate next week.  Not sure what day that will happen, probably Monday.

Another morning of doing nothing – Izzy has a big sleep in the mornings so we are in the hotel.

Will have to get her used to the pram when we get home – I think she will hate the pram and car seat – over here people have babies on motorbikes and scooters, just sitting on their lap.  In cars they just sit on your lap – no safety.

How lucky are we... have been given this gorgeous little girl.


Giggling Girl

Today we did pretty much nothing.  Went out for a long walk this afternoon and that was it.  Tomorrow we’ll receive Izzy’s Chinese passport so we can leave the country with her.  Today we received  notarised copies of her Chinese birth certificate and adoption certificate stating that Peter and I are now her parents.

Tomorrow is our last day in Nanchang, we fly to Shanghai on Saturday morning.  Time to clean our room I think.

Day 4 with Izzy - I think she is starting to like us...

Tonight Izzy said “ma ma”.  Now it may well be referring to something other than me, but I was very happy with it!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Izzy wants us to hold her all the time – this is the first time we have been able to put her on the floor.  Only lasted a short time but was a step forward.