China Day 14: Panda World

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Last night was very difficult with Travis.  Although he went to sleep around 10:30 without any fuss, he awoke just 30 minutes later, crying and screaming (and I mean screaming) inconsolably.
He would do this for a good 5 minutes or so, then fall back asleep.  Every 15 to 30 minutes, he would wake back up, cry (fortunately not scream any more), kick his legs, hit his belly, reject any comfort from us, then fall back asleep.  We think he was only half awake to begin with.  Now and then, he would let me rub his tummy.  He continued this pattern all night, with maybe an hour and a half of solid sleep between about 6:30am and 8am.  Ken had put up with his constant kicking the night before, so around midnight, I told Ken to just sleep I would stay on Travis watch.  I learned he does better on the floor, where he's free to kick around.  I would crawl in the bed and sleep while he slept, then wake with him every 15 to 30 minutes in case he needed to see that he was still with us.  I used my waking time to pray and listen to some podcasts.  At around 5:30, I handed over the duty to Ken so I could get a little more sleep.  It's 1pm now and Ken and I are feeling fine.  I feel fairly well-rested despite our evening.  We are both praying seriously that Travis will get some solid, peaceful sleep. 

We ended up having to wake Travis in order to go eat breakfast and meet our guide at 9:30.  Travis is still pretty picky with his food, but we did discover he likes boiled corn on the cob. 

We had a hard time getting out the door, making our guide and driver wait about 45 minutes for us, but were finally at the nearby Panda World by 10:30.

Advice to future Fuzhou travellers: Don't take a stroller to Panda World.  It's 90% stairs.  Have a carrier ready, because it's NOT exactly safe for toddlers.  I was amazed at the design.  TJ and I were both holding Tian's hand, but he still could quickly and easily climb up the "gate" where he could have dropped down into any of the animal habitats.  So different from the US. 

Travis was terrified of the bears.  He wanted to stay in his stroller the entire time.  Tian, on the other hand, loved seeing the Pandas and wanted to climb right in with them.  

Warning to future Fuzhou travellers going to Panda World: If you have young kids (and even if you don't) you may want to skip the "museum."  Inside the museum, they had many organs in formaldehyde.  They had set up various organs from a wide variety of animals to compare to the panda.  The Giant Panda has a huge stomach!  There were other organs displayed, but as we rounded the corner, we noticed fetuses floating in jars.  Human fetuses.  We directed the kids around this display, but the girls had already seen it.  They asked if those were real fetuses and the guide said yes.  I just told her that was very disturbing to us since those fetuses represented human life.  Nothing else was said about it. They also had panda fetuses as different developmental stages, so I'm guessing they were there for comparison, by oh my!  It made my sweet Hannah cry.  Although is was disturbing, I almost wish I had taken a photo.  Even when the human fetus was a few inches long, it was very clearly a human baby.   

In all honesty, I wouldn't have minded my kids seeing that display under very different circumstances and with a lot of talking in preparation, but it was upsetting because of the atmosphere.  We were at the "Panda Zoo" having a great time and laughing at the animals, then....dead human babies floating in jars.  *shudder*

On to more pleasant things.  We enjoyed Panda World, although is was very quick and super humid.  at 11:15, we headed to the 3 Roads and 7 Alleys.  Photos will show it best.  We got a couple of small push toys for the boys, Starbucks (cue angels's been almost 2 weeks), and McDonald's ice cream for the kiddos.  

We had a few tantrums.  Travis throws them for who-knows-what-reason.  Tian throws them when he doesn't get his way quickly.  Tian is pretty easy to manage, though.  He's a spit-fire, but can understand our corrections.  I also believe he knows we love him and are his family, even if he's still adjusting.

Travis takes longer to communicate with.  He will close his eyes and start kicking when he's unhappy.  Often we have no idea why.  So, we have to just wait out the little fit, then show him we love him and will do what we can to comfort him.  We have to figure out what comforts him by trial and error.  On the van ride back to the hotel (fortunately, it was only about 5-7 minutes), both boys were screaming and crying.  Travis just because and Tian because I wouldn't let him kick the seat in front of him.  Whoo, that's when the stress and the sweat really kick in!  But by the time we got out of the van, Tian was fine. I gave him his bottle and he fell right to sleep.  Ken put the still-fussy Travis into his crib since he was kicking.  He had a 2-minute kicking and screaming fit, then Ken offered to hold him.  He gladly accepted and was happy and giggling within seconds, reading through a book with Daddy.

Now, he's begun pointing to pictures and looking at Ken to show him the sign.  He gladly copies.  Another first today:  He gave TJ a kiss.  (He already hugs us pretty readily.)  It was so sweet.  We can tell Travis is very bright.  Working to help him "catch up" will be a challenge, but we're ready for it ONLY with God's help.  

We've just ordered Papa John's (sounds wonderful...hope it tastes like home), Tian is sleeping, Travis is playing with Ken and the older Brownies are watching TV next door.  This afternoon, we plan to go on a walk to the park nearby and swim a little.  I'll add to this blog later....


  1. Hey Sarah,

    Sounds like some form of night terrors that Travis was having? Lucy had one last night but thankfully it only lasted 5 minutes. Sam used to get them too, but does not anymore and has not for a couple of years. The more tired Sam was, the more likely he would get them.
    I hear you on the 2-3 year old fits! Lucy hasn't thrown a big one in a few days, but she has had her fair share in the last few weeks. Praying for you!

  2. Oh, that not sleeping thing brings back plentiful memories. Hope the next few nights go better. Again, glad to see both boys making such great steps in progress and also it's awesome to see the older kids helping so much.

    I remember going to Panda World, but don't seem to remember too much about it. I think by the time we got to the museum the kids in our group were done, so we never saw what was in there...

    Also, we were starting to feel cooped up by this time in our trip (which probably goes double for you, with two province stays now). It felt like Guangzhou had more to do than Fuzhou does -- we felt trapped in our hotel in Fuzhou, but not so much in Guangzhou, as there seems to be a bit more to go do.

  3. Wow. Those night time crying episodes just break my heart. I'm sure the boys are just filled with so much uncertainty and I pray that they will quickly know that you are their providers and their comforters. Praying that God will give them everything they need to feel safe and secure.

    I LOVE that Travis is already learning to sign!

  4. Hi Sarah: I have enjoyed reading your blog and seeing your pictures each day. What you are doing for those two boys is amazing. They are both so precious and I know once they have more time to adjust things will get easier. Espcially with Travis' night time terrors. I've been praying for your entire family and for the boys to find comfort and security with their new family. Thanks for sharing your amazing adoption story. Have a safe trip back. -Debi Joy


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