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Friday, September 5, 2008

Jade Pagoda and Still No Names

Friday, 05 Sept, 2008, 9:15 pm ish

We visited the Jade Pagoda today. We had no idea what we were in for and read somewhere that it was a good place to see. How big, how touristy, how religious, how popular? No idea. Honestly, it might end up being one of our favorite sights! The taxi driver didn’t know where he was going either, so we thought that a good sign and wouldn’t be covered with tourists. What a wonderful little place it was. Several Vietnamese burning incense and honoring the dead, (I think that’s what was going on anyway.) We were unsure where we could walk/look whilst still being respectful, and must have looked like pretty awkward big white people. One of the men that worked there brought us in and started to show us around. By the end we had this wonderful tour of the place complete with commentary of the many alters and significance of statues of Buddhas…. but all in Vietnamese, so we nodded a lot and took pictures of things they were seemly very proud of. Both Papa and I said how we wished we knew more about what we were seeing and could understand more. Many of the areas were covered in soot from the constantly burning incense. Our guide showed us how to “fan” good luck onto the babies with a fan from one of the alters. So each of the babies has a little good luck bestowed upon them from the Jade Pagoda. Then something about rubbing certain statues then the head of the baby for a good future. Small, and real, and smoky, and friendly, and worth every moment. It’s off the beaten path, and I recommend it highly. Give the first person who helps you a dollar, and they will be your guide for as long as you’re there. Just keep nodding like you understand.
Also a little note about the people here. We were about to cross the street to our hotel and faced a group of about 4 cyclo drivers looking for a job and a dollar. OK, I think, gotta get through this gauntlet. No, not today, we smile and say. In return they are not pushy but do say, OK, tomorrow. Then we stand at the street’s edge, hotel only 20 yards away, across the busy street, trying to gauge when to start crossing. One of the cyclo drivers comes over and offers me his hand. Come with me, he says, hold my hand and I’ll take you across. You scared and you close your eyes with me. He moves to my side with busy traffic, and we head across. He smiles the whole way. We come to the next street with traffic now coming the opposite direction. He moves to my other side offering me his other hand so he is closest to the on coming traffic. 20 yards with a smile and his hand, and this lovely Vietnamese man trying to gain our business tomorrow by being helpful today rather than rude or pushy. We run across this attitude everywhere. It is typical of these lovely people. The hotel door man rushes out to hold the baby as we get in or out of the taxi. The waiter at a restaurant offers suggestions because we obviously can’t read the menu. A man at the pagoda today gives us all apples. Another waitor helps Papa with his packages as we sit at a table.

Tomorrow we fly up to Hanoi. I will dearly miss this city. I hear folks say that Hanoi is their favorite of the two. I can’t imagine it so. This city is lovely and my children’s home and birth place. Primarily we’ve stayed in district 1. Again, I highly recommend this area. Everything you need is at your fingertips.

Sorry still no names for the babies. I know that this is getting pathetic. We think we have one of the names figured out but the other is still eluding us. Actually seeing these children and getting to know them makes it all the more difficult. Maybe tomorrow.

Little Man is turning into quite a ham. He mimics Papa all the time. He is taking a few steps and cruising along the furniture with great speed. He really doesn’t nap much and is quick with a smile. He sweats like there is no tomorrow and really doesn’t drink too much of his bottle either. Rather he loves solid foods and eats bananas and papaya and bread and cheerios. Seems the orphanage wasn’t keen on him wearing his braces thinking it might be cruel to have him wear them. It’s obvious he hasn’t had them on in months when they should have been on 23 ½ hours per day. So any correction that was done on his feet, wasn’t maintained. We’ll see the pediatric orthopedic surgeon when we get home. Not worried about it in the least. In our country we have the ability to fix whatever he needs.

Sunburn is an olympic competitor in speed bottle drinking and can down 8 oz of formula is just a couple minutes. She still quite overwhelmed by all the changes in her life and gets fussy easily when there is too much going on. Her motor skills are already stronger than the first day I saw her, and when she smiles it lights up the room. Her eyes still amaze me and still seem to be able to see my soul, just like those first pictures I saw so many months ago.

Adoption buddies-
My favorites things again:
---Again the Ergo. It’s hot here, but I can’t bring myself to bundle the babies in long sleeves and hats and socks. In the Ergo, I can tuck in their feet and arms and cover their head with the built-in hood and avoid the evil eye given by many of the older Vietnamese women when they see an uncovered baby.
---my 12 year old daughter. Can’t imagine this trip without her. Papa's back is bothering him and the extra set of hand is wonderful. She’s a delight and a dare devil, so not much phases her. What a lucky mama I am. She LOVES to play with the babies, and that’s just what they need.
---sleeping pills for the plane ride here. No explanation needed.
---the phone # of a good adoption docs, like the docs at Univ. of Wash. They are WONDERFUL!!!
---a nice hotel. We’re still in the hub of it all and don’t have to worry about getting a good night’s sleep.
---$2 bills
---a good camera to record every moment, and it even has ok video too
---a bottle brush to clean the bottles
---our fast-dry clothing that we can wash and will be dry very quickly
---skirts-the most comfortable in this heat for me
Things I can do without that I unnecessarily packed and hauled half way across the world:
---baby bottles, liners, formula, diapers. All unnecessary and take up space in luggage. I think the diapers here, Huggies, although expensive, are just fine. Use the bottle that comes with the baby. It’s just fine.
----That book I was gonna read on the plane. See note on sleeping pills above.
---hats for the babies. The Ergo takes care of this when necessary.


  1. Ok, I just have to tell you that as far as love and laughs go, my 2 favorite lines are;

    (love)--My 12 year old daughter (under favorite things)--thats one of the sweetest things Ive ever read!

    (laughs)--Use the bottle that comes with the baby. Im not sure of it was meant to be funny, but its hysterical!!!

  2. Photo commentary:
    Congratulations! You're actally getting close mantra has been GET CLOSER! The pictures are so wonderful to get a glipse of the Shaws Big Adventure. Appreciate the effort more than you know. Also Trisha,I clearly see another "like mother like daughter". Olivia is most beautiful while holding her new brother and sister. Thanks for letting us get that close too. Don't know how you have the time for it all. I'm in awe.

  3. He has got some great baby cheeks-weird, I know, but I love to smooch baby cheeks!

  4. I saw this entry title and I though JADE PAGODA was your daughter's (finally) chosen name.....I kinda like it!

  5. Ok, Melissa is too funny! I love having her as a friend. She always brings a special brightness to everything she touches! Secondly, I'm sure everyone is offering names,'s another...Jade.

    love you to bunches!

  6. I just saw another post and noticed the suggestion of Jade Pagoda...well, I promise my comments were untainted! I love the name Jade...boy or girl...actually!

  7. be sure to post a then and now vietnam picture!


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