Fred & Karen Barden
We are Fred and Karen Barden. We started the paper chase in 2/96 and our dossier went to China on 9/18/96. After a very long wait we got THE CALL on 7/7/97! Jim Clower of International Adoption Consultants was on the phone and told us he had a fax to send us. I screamed for Fred to turn on the fax and we sat and waited for it to come . It was like seeing our daughter being born as we sat there watching her picture being printed out. This is where I should say that we had requested an infant 3 to 12 months of age. My husband felt he could bond better with a younger baby. This baby would be his first child, I have 4 grown children from my first marriage. I had a very strong feeling for the last 2 weeks that our daughter would be about 18 months old. When we saw the DOB of 11/22/95 for our daughter I wasn`t surprised. I must admit that I felt badly for Fred but only briefly. We accepted our referral and now waited for travel permission . I started packing and probably packed and repacked at least 4 times !!! We finally got verbal travel permission so it was now time to pack for the final time !
We left KC for Lax on the night of 8/22/97. We got into Lax and while we were standing in line to get our boarding pass ,we met a lady and her 9 year old son that were also going to China to adopt. Small world as we discovered she only lives about 25 minutes from us! We arrived in Lax and got to meet the Pendergasts. They were in our adoption group but their daughter was in a different province. We flew China Southern from Lax to Guangzhou . It was a very long flight and we only took a couple of 20 minute catnaps. I had only slept 2 hours the night before so we were both very tired when we got there.
Upon arriving in Guangzhou we met another couple that would be flying to Nanning with us as that was where their daughter was. We met our guide and took a brief tour of Guangzhou then we waited at the airport for our plane to Nanning. It was a 40 minute bus ride from the airport to our hotel and we got to see the country side of Nanning . This was very interesting to see how the people lived, to see them walking their water buffalo by the roadside and working them in the fields. We arrived at the Majestic Hotel which was beautiful. We met up with several more families that were adopting , 2 of the families were also getting girls from Guilin as we were . We were told we had 20 minutes to shower, change and get to dinner. When we got back downstairs we were told the girls from Guilin would be there at 8:00 pm! We then went to dinner but I didn`t eat much as I was too excited ! We got back to the hotel around 7:45pm and Lucy told us to go to our rooms and she would come get us when the girls arrived !!
We sat in our room waiting and the time seemed to crawl by. Fred fell asleep and I paced the floor. Finally around 8:45 the doorbell rang and it was Lucy. She said the girls are downstairs !!! I yelled at Fred to wake up as the girls were here !!!! We started grabbing the cameras and went out to the hall to meet up with the other 2 couples. I had forgotten to take a toy so I ran back into the room and grabbed a small soft doll I had brought which had been a gift to Katie from the Pendergasts. We then all got into the elevator to make our way downstairs to meet our daughters and start this new exciting chapters of our lives !!!!!!!
We got downstairs and there were 3 "Aunties" and 3 little girls. I looked for Katie and she was walking around . She looked just like her referral pictures, she was beautiful !!!! She had on a striped shirt, split crouch pants with a diaper, and lime green sandals. We got to keep all the clothes she was wearing .Her toe nails had been painted with red nail polish ! She looked very healthy ! Her hair was not very long as they had kept her head shaved. When she saw all the strangers she wanted the "Auntie" to pick her up. I gave her the doll, talked to her and tried to get her to come to me. She looked at me and cried clinging to the "Auntie". I continued to talk to her and finally just took her. She screamed holding out her arms for that familiar person in her life. I felt so sorry for her that I handed her back to the "Auntie" . The "Auntie" walked around with her pointing to me and saying that`s mama. It was time for them to go so she handed Katie to me and they left. Katie was screaming and crying as we carried her to our room. Once we got there I put her down and she went to the door, pounding on it yelling the Chinese word for Auntie. I showed her a musical Winnie Pooh toy and how to push the button so it would play. She looked at it threw it down and continued to cry for about 45 minutes. She was very tired as they had taken a 7 hour train ride to get to us. I thought about giving her a bath but decided not to make her more upset with me . I just put her pajamas on her and put her back down as she was fighting me to get down. I longed to hold her tight and smother her with kisses but knew these actions would have to wait. Fred and I talked to each other using very soft voices, she sat on the floor listening to us. She started sucking on her fingers and closing her eyes. I picked her up ,put her in the crib and she fell asleep. She slept all night long !
When she woke up the next morning she looked around the room. I took her out of the crib and she cried just a little. I went into the bathroom to get ready to go down to breakfast and she came walking in holding her hands up for me to take her . As I picked her up she said mama !!!!!! What a wonderful moment that was !!!!!!!!!! I gave her a bath which she loved and still loves. We got dressed and headed off to breakfast. At this point I must say that she and the other girls ages 20 months & 2.5 years would not go to their dads, only the moms. Later on the 20 month old would . But Katie and the 2.5 year old would only let daddy walk them or play with them but screamed if they picked them up !
We got all our paperwork done on Monday and Lucy picked it up on Tuesday morning. We had to go to the train station after lunch . Katie had been on a train coming to us Sunday night ,now we were on a train going to Guilin with her ! It was very hot on the train but we got to see lots of sights ! Katie was very good on the train . She napped and played . I gave her the Winnie Pooh musical toy and she learned how to push the button so the music would play. This toy and the stacking cups we took turned out to be her favorite toys along with her Pat the Bunny book. In fact every time we got on a bus to go somewhere everyone got to listen to Winnie Pooh over and over :) !!!!!!! It was dark when we got to Guilin. We took a bus to the Universal Hotel . This hotel was a 3 star hotel and not nearly as nice as the Majestic!
On Wed. morning after breakfast we went to the department store where we bought a snuggli to use . Then we went to an art shop and to Fubo Hill. At Fubo Hill we went to a tea house and also had our picture taken with cormorant birds. On Thurs. we went on the Li River cruise . By now Katie is smiling and laughing a lot. She likes to play and laugh at daddy too. On Thurs. night the orphanage section chief came to our room along with our guide. We found out that Katie was left in front of the police station on April 15th, 1996. She was then taken to the Guilin Social Welfare Orphanage where the doctor estimated her to be 5 months old. I felt really emotional at the thought that her parents had tried to keep her so long ! We also found out that the section chief named her Lisi . He was very pleased we were keeping that as part of her name. On Friday we went to Reed Flute cave and a pearl factory. On the way back we got to go to the police station where Katie was found. The guide talked to them and told us we could take some pictures. That was a very emotional time for us too ! Later that night Katie and Daddy played the flashlight game. She would shine the flashlight at his feet and he would jump. She would laugh so hard, it was really cute. On Saturday morning we went to Elephant Trunk Hill, a jade shop and a shop where we got Katie`s chop. Sunday morning we got up really early and went to the airport to catch our flight to Guangzhou. We were really pleased that we got to see a lot of our daughter`s city.
Katie`s first plane ride was very short and she slept most of the way . After landing at the airport we went to our hotel. The White Swan was beautiful ! We all met and went to lunch, then the rest of the day was free. We went to the Shop On The Stair and a few other small shops. We also looked around some of the shops at the hotel. We bought an umbrella stroller for Katie . This was great to have as we did a lot of walking in Guangzhou and was great to use at the airports. We just took it on each plane with us.
On Monday we went to get the passport picture taken and then went to get her medical exam done. The wait for the exam was long but the exams were over very quickly. Katie got an MMR shot and was also given an oral polio . On the way out of the clinic we saw a group of kindergarten children. They all had a rope tied around their waist so they would stay together. I was amazed at this because this was how we did it with our 2 & 3 yr. olds at day care. I worked at a Day Care Center for 7 yrs. as an infant & toddler teacher. As the children passed they waved and said, "Hello, Hello, Hello." That afternoon we took a taxi with another couple and their daughter to the Hard Rock cafe and the department store. We ordered pizza from Pizza Hut for dinner and it was delivered to our hotel room. This tasted so good !! The Chinese food was okay but after eating it for 10 days we were now hungry for American food !
On Tuesday we all met for our group picture then went to the US Consulate for our paperwork and interview. It was such a great feeling to have all the paperwork behind us now ! Everyone gathered in Lucy`s room that night for a big pizza party ! Then it was on to packing to go home the next day.
On Wednesday morning we went to the Buddhist Temple to have Katie blessed. That was a very spiritual event . We were glad that we went. Then it was back to the hotel to get ready for lunch and then off to the airport. On the way to the airport our guide told us, no matter if you visit east or west home is best ! We had to agree with him . We were very glad to have traveled to China to get our daughter and to see her city and homeland but we were getting homesick. I missed my 4 grown kids and 5 grandkids and wondered about the new one due soon. I also missed our 2 cats.
The wait in line to get our boarding passes was very long and nerves were getting frayed. When it at last came our turn I sat Katie on the counter. I heard laughter and turned around to see what was so funny. Well Katie was making funny faces and doing the one we call her monkey face. Our daughter the comedian ! The people in line needed that bit of entertainment !
The plane ride again was very long and we only slept a few minutes but Katie slept all but about 2 hours of the trip. It was a night time flight so I wasn`t surprised that she slept. She had slept all night long every night since we got her. When we got to LAX and finally got through immigration and customs we found out we had missed our flight back to KC ! We ended up flying to Las Vegas with a 40 minute layover, then from there flew to KC. When we were flying over Vegas, Katie crawled onto her daddy`s lap to see and point at the lights ! She loves lights but I was still amazed as this was the first time she had sat willingly on his lap ! On the flight to KC I thought about our trip to China . I was surprised at some of the reactions the Chinese people had. I had read to always keep the kids covered but we all found the opposite to be true, at least the places we were at. They would point and tug on the girls clothes and tell our guides the girls were too hot. I had taken sleeveless and short sleeve short sets and dresses for Katie but several in our group had taken long pants and long sleeve shirts. I was also surprised that the Chinese people seemed so happy that we were taking the girls to America. They would say lucky baby and we would reply we are lucky to have her ! As we landed at the KC airport we were very eager to get home and start our life together as a family ! Part 4
We got to our house around 7:00am on September 4th. Katie had ridden in her car seat just fine. I had worried about that for nothing ! We came into the house and our 2 cats Abby and Jasmine came out to greet us . Katie started screaming, she was scared of them . I told my husband to take the cats to the basement for awhile ,then changed my mind. I decided she needed to get used to them being around. By that afternoon she was following them around. She also decided that daddy was an okay guy now and would go to him and let him carry her around. In fact the next weekend after we got home Fred left to go play golf and she stood at the gate and screamed dada for 10 minutes after he left. She would not let me console her.
Our neighbors that live across the street came over to see her. They are Katie`s "adoptive" grandparents and were very excited for her to be home. When they left she blew them kisses. My oldest son, his wife and son also came over to see her. That night we went out shopping to get her a new pair of shoes and I decided to get her ears pierced.
On Friday we took her to the doctor for her checkup. She had scabies which we all 3 got treated for . She also has mild eczema. The doctor told us to use Aveeno in her bath and to use Aveeno and or Eucerin lotion for her skin. These seem to be working great on her. She weighed 20 pounds was about 29 inches tall and appeared to be very healthy. They gave her a TB skin test and then we took her to the lab where they drew blood for several tests. They also did stool cultures and a UA on her. We`re very happy to report that all the tests came back negative ! The doctor said we have a very healthy little girl !
The next few days were very busy as Katie got to meet her other grandparents, sister, brothers, nieces ,nephews ,an aunt and cousins. She of course charmed them all ! In case some of you have not visited our website I have 3 sons ages 31,30, & 22 and a daughter age 28. I also have 4 grandsons. Joshua is 11, Austin is almost 4 , Cody is 2.5 and Jackson was just born on Sept. 26th. I have 2 granddaughters ,Brandi Ann is 6 and Allie is 8 months old. As you can see Katie has lots of playmates ! All her big brothers, and sister think she is one terrific little girl !!
Katie didn`t have any trouble at all adjusting to the time change. She has slept through the night every night since we brought her home . She also takes about a 2 hour nap every afternoon. Katie is growing and learning everyday ! She points to her body parts. Her elbow is her favorite . She has an Elmo bib and when you say Katie here`s your Elmo bib she will point to her elbow. Well they do sound a lot a like. She loves her musical toys and will dance when the music plays. She does all the hand motions to Itsy Bitsy Spider. She also loves to be read to, we read about 20 books a day to her. It`s a good thing I bought all those books when we were in the waiting period ! She likes to put on my old dress shoes, beads and a hat and walk around . She likes to play with dishes and will pretend to wash them in her play sink making a swish sound like the water is running. She even takes a rag and pretends to dry them. She prefers playing with her caucasian dolls even though I bought her several Asian dolls. She likes to color and to stick stickers on the paper. She is very social; waving, blowing kisses and making her monkey face for almost everyone she meets ! She only says hi, kitty, dada, mama, up and bye . The Parents as Teachers lady came today for her first visit and told me Katie is on target for her age of 22 months except for her speech. She said her motor skills and her ability to follow directions were very good ! She understands what you say to her and this is very helpful in learning to speak . I think this is great as Katie was never in a foster home, just the orphanage.
Katie is a beautiful, bright and happy little girl ! Fred had worried about being able to bond with a toddler. Well he found out he could bond with her even though she was 21 months old when we got her ! When he gets home from work she runs to him laughing and holding up her hands for him to take her ! She has adjusted so well to her new surroundings and bonded to us and us to her better than we would ever have thought possible. I should say that even though we requested an infant to a 12 month old we thank God for this child he sent us. We could have never chosen a child so perfect for us even if we had been given that chance !
We want to thank Jim Clower & Debbie from "International Adoption Consultants Inc." as without them and their efforts we would not be mama and dada to this little miracle we call Katie !!
Best wishes to those of you that have adopted, gotten referrals, had dossiers sent to China and received travel permission ! Good luck to those just starting out or still waiting ! Remember there is also a little miracle waiting for you at the end of this long process !!!!!!
Fred & Karen Barden
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