Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Week Tomorrow

It's about 9:00 pm Sunday Dec.2 for us and we're thinking about many of you off to church. Missing worship with our family! Next Sunday we will be there!!

Everything is going well on this side of the world. Our hotel in GZ is fabulously beautiful, the breakfast buffet is awesome and the food our guide Elvin has taken us to has been muy delicioso (oops..wrong language...not sure how to say that in Chinese).  Elvis is very professional, knowledgeable, a great host, very paternal (which helps with the kids), kind and funny. We cannot say enough about how great he has been to us! 

Guongzhou is much different from Beijing and Wuhan. More "western", different traffic laws (not so much honking), more English speaking staff around the hotel and restaurants, etc..There are MANY adoptive families staying here, so we have support all around. We've borrowed meds from other families, shared stories, and just enjoyed some English conversation with those from our side of the world.

The Ch*inese people stare at Hannah constantly. It's getting annoying, but I suppose we should get used to it. They just don't see special needs around because often they are not accepted in this culture I guess.  If only they could get a glimpse into the personality of the little girl we know and love. Hannah-Guoyi is so incredible!!

Today I was pushing her in a stroller while mom and I were shopping at a department store around the corner. At one point I got down in front of her to talk to her since she had not actually "seen" me while I was pushing. She smiled, put her hands on my cheeks, babbling, and feeling around on my face. It was a very special moment for this Mama.  She did not seem to know how to be held (didn't wrap her legs around and hold on like Colson does). Well now when we pick her up she wraps around and sometimes will put her head on my shoulder and actually hug!  If I'm out of the room she is asking where I am within minutes.  She laughs with us, sings, misbehaves, eats like a PIG, whines for "M bou" (bread..cake like snacks her foster mother sent with her). We are beginning to tell her "no more", but it is a balance...we want her to trust us to provide for her, so we don't tell her no a lot.

We honestly do NOT know where her food is going. She looks anorexic she is so tall and thin, but she eats SO MUCH FOOD! She eats more than I do at some meals. She definitely out eats Colson!

She is still hesitant to take off her clothes to get a bath or shower. We've sponged bathed her, but only actually got her in the tub once! We just don't want to push the issue right now.

When we arrived in this city we had had a long day and she had her first plane ride as well. Coming to a new environment late at night when she was sick and tired was really hard! She had gotten familiar with where everything was in Wuhan hotel room and then we changed her surroundings again! She cried and coughed so much she was gagging that night. Cried herself to sleep after we sat in a hot, steamy shower room to settle her cough. The next morning she was fine.  I'm sure the long flight home and then another new environment is going to be difficult. We will be SO happy to be home and she will be SO overwhelmed yet again.  We are glad to have had this time with her here in Ch*na where we could ask our guide and servers what she is saying. There are several things she wants specifically, so it's great to have time to learn her words!

Here are some things Hannah likes: bananas, steamed eggs, noodles, noodles, and more noodles, her "bread" (packaged cakes), squirting the medicine in her mouth herself, "coke", warm water to drink (cultural), her backpack and coat, being pushed in the stroller (which we JUST got today), taking food that she does not want off of her plate, grabbing food from my plate, singing, tickling, stomping her new tennis shoes to watch the lights flash (what an amazing moment to see her excited about those!), clothes (new clothes), plane turbulence, steep slopes in the stroller, escalators....the list goes on.

She does NOT like: to take a bath/shower (at least not right now), keeping barrettes in her hair, and being told no more "bread". That's all I can think of right now. She is really easy going and happy most of the time (except when she is asking for something specifically and we are not understanding her).

Everyone else is doing well, but ALL are ready to come HOME! My dad's foot is really bothering him, and he did something to his shoulder moving luggage the other day, so that is aching too. He was ready to come home after a week:-) He and my mom are putting up with each other:-)

Colson is NOT liking his new little sister right now. Please pray for him. He wants it to be just "us" again. He is constantly saying ugly things about her for us to hear. It's hard not to react. It seems pretty immature to us, but we knew some of it was to be expected. He has ALWAYS been the jealous, controlling type.  We need wisdom for how to handle him and help him through this.  Hannah was "so cute" for about 24-48 hours and then it was downhill from there, but there are still times when she does something that cracks us all up..even little man:-) He cannot deny she is cute and funny. He is tired of hearing her ramble in her language. I will be sad when it is gone.

It appears that no one has taken photos off of their cameras for a few days, so I have no new ones to post tonight, but will try tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A few pictures

Today we visited the Yellow Crane Tower. That was beautiful and fun to see, but it was hard because Hannah had a rough night with her coughing and hasn't seemed up to par today. Baba carried her a lot to give her little legs a break.

Each evening around the same time, Hannah seems to go into a sad period. She just wanders the room or sits quietly not making a sound and not smiling at anything. But she quickly gets out of it after an hour or two. It's strange how it happens at the same time every single night. It is so hard for my mama's heart! Colson seems to be struggling more today. Not being as nice and not wanting to share me. I think he is a little homesick.

We also visited the orphanage today. It was a good visit. More on that later.

Hannah still will not let me get her in the shower or bath. I sponge bathed her tonight and she seemed to like it, but she will NOT take off clothes in the bathroom..only in the bedroom for P.J.s.

Here are a few more pictures for your enjoyment:-)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Cup Overflows

Well we arrived in Beijing on the 24th. Boy was that a LONG flight! I'm pretty certain that after this trip with so many flights, we will not be interested in flying again for a while. Poor Colson started getting sick the last 20 min.of the long flight, then had to get on another plane:-( After a few hours of off and on tossing his cookies, he was fine. We got in late Saturday night, had a very full day of sightseeing on Sunday and left early Monday morning for the flight to Wuhan where we got our Hannah-Banana!
 When we arrived at the place where we would meet her, she was not yet there and we learned that they were running late, so a lady had us come into her office to begin some paperwork. This is usually done the next day I believe. Well as soon as we sat down, we turned around to see Guoyi (Hannah) walk in, but they would not let us go. So Colson, Dad, and Mom were the first to meet her:-) At one point during all the discussions with head nannies and such, we heard Hannah singing. She was singing for my mom. She welcomed us all with a willing, open heart and left with us quite easily. It was on the ride after that when she suddenly got very quiet. I looked down at her to find silent tears dripping down her face and jacket. It was heart-wrenching. Once we got to dinner, she continued to cry silent tears that eventually turned into more. She kept saying she wanted to go home. The guide told her that we were her Mama and Baba and would take her to her real home. She continued to tell him she wanted to go to HER home. Can't blame here there! We were prepared for this. It makes sense doesn't it? It's healthy for her to desire her foster mother. It did not feel good to be taking her away from life as she knew it.

It is quite frustrating especially for Matthew, that he cannot understand all the things she says. Apparently she speaks a Wuhan dialect. We believe it is Mandarin, but a "southern" dialect. She understands Mandarin and has begun learning a few English phrases. After dinner we went back to the hotel. After checking out her surroundings, she pretty much climbed into bed with all her clothes (I managed to get her to let me take off 3 of the 4 layers she had on her body) in a pile tucked beside her and crashed! She is very congested, so she coughed much of the night, but never woke up crying or anything. The next morning she was quiet until Colson walked into the room (he had slept with my mom in the adjoining room). She gets very animated and playful with her big brother! He brings her some peace and security. The rest of the day was very pleasant, with no tears, lots of laughing and playing and imitating (she copies so much of what we say already). The only hiccup was on the way to the center where we would do more paperwork, she got car sick. We had a barf bag handy and I saw it coming in time:-) She told the guide she ate too much yogurt, but then when we were getting out of the car she wanted to take the yogurt! Mama had to put her foot down on that one! Inside we met the director of her orphanage. He seems to really care about the children. He said something like, "thank you. In this country she would not have much opportunity because of her vision problems, but with you she will have a lot of opportunities for a good life."

We have learned that Hannah cannot see much at all. This does not stop her! Hannah is: AMAZING, smart, curious, funny, talented, loving and last, but not least...beautiful! In the evening on this second day with her, she once again got silent and wandered around the room seeming lost...almost like she was waiting for something..home? It made us sad to not be able to help her much. We were also concerned about how she was feeling physically since she was coughing and so congested. Finally she opened up again when Baba (Daddy) opened up the container of play-dough. She and Matthew played and bonded over cheap, Rose Art brand playdough that made a mess:-)

 Hannah willingly holds our hands, allows Baba or Grampy to carry her. She also asks for Mama anytime I leave the room for a bit. This is a good sign! Once we were in the playroom with another adoptive family here and Matthew was swinging her in this little baby-like swing and she did not want it to stop. Well Matthew went to leave the room with Colson (who was acting out...imagine that:-). He forgot to tell her good-bye then remembered. He proceeded to come back in the room (I was wondering what he was doing) and walk over to her, tell her "Baba is going, but Mama is right here." It was SO sweet! Of course she probably only understood the "mama" "baba" part but how thoughtful of daddy to come back to tell her he was going! I believe Hannah already has daddy wrapped around her tiny finger. Speaking of tiny...I cannot tell you how sad it is to see how absolutely bone thin she is! And she is a great little eater. We are guessing (and hoping since it's an easy fix) that she has worms. I'm sure doctor Robert will treat her as soon as we get home! With that being said, she is also very tall for a 4 year old!

 Tomorrow we will do an orphanage visit. Please pray that our guide can make her understand that Mama and Baba just want to see where she played and went to school, but that we were getting in the car and coming back together. I'm sure it could be confusing. I pray that it does not give us a setback, but we are not overly concerned. She is very bright! Everyone else is doing fine. Colson has had a hard time with jet-lag, but is hanging tough. Ta-ta for now!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Still Waiting

Well we are getting closer to our travel to meet our daughter!  Currently we are waiting for an email notification from the National Visa Center. Once that is received I will forward it to our case worker and the agency will begin the process in China to get our "Travel Approval". After that we wait for an appointment date with the U.S. Consulate in China. Once that is received we can make our flight reservations and travel plans and apply for our Visas.

So what does this mean for travel time?  Your guess is (almost) as good as mine!  We were hoping for early November, but now I'm thinking more like middle to late November...maybe??  It just all depends on how fast things move. Things that are completely out of our control, but COMPLETELY in GOD'S HANDS!

Meanwhile....we continue to work on building up the account to pay for our travel. Mom and I worked super hard at tagging tons of stuff for the Charleston Repeats resale and I made $400! Woo-hoo!!  I sold all of Colson's baby equipment, clothes (of course I held on to some of was hard enough letting go of ANY), some toys, etc. I've also been consigning some of my clothes to my friend Beth's "Reinvented" consignment store.  They are sending me a check soon:-) Small, but it all adds up--right?!

Here is how you can help us AND get something fun in return.  You will notice an Adoption Bug notice on the left side of the blog. Adoption Bug allows us to sell a few of their t-shirt designs as a fund raiser with no work on our part besides the application. I just love some of their t-shirts! Here is the one I want, but there are a few others you may like to check out!

Adoption Rocks - Women's Tee

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

So where are we in this adoption process?

That is the question we are so often asked. It's hard to explain if you aren't familiar with the process, so let me explain as best I can. I may even get it wrong myself.  You see this is different from our Guatemalan adoption in 2005. 
Here is where we are and where we have to go:
-We are presently waiting for our LID (Log-in-date) from China. This means our dossier (paperwork/portfolio) is there and we are waiting to be acknowledged and "logged-in".
-Next comes another BIG step..LOA (Letter of Acceptance). This is China saying "yes" you may adopt said child.
-Then we file I-800 (getting US permission to adopt said child and bring her home as a U.S. citizen)
-Next is TA (travel approval). Usually once TA is issued it's about another month (I THINK) until travel.

All of these steps take time. LID to LOA is running anywhere from a month, to over three months!

So...while I am trying not to make hasty purchases for Hannah not knowing her size really, or her likes and dislikes (remember she is 4), it is hard to pass by cute girl stuff and not stop. This is all I have purchased to date.

 Cute Thirty-One backpack I found on clearance and her bedding!

Couldn't resist this dress..I figured it could be a little big or small and work next spring!
Princess dress up..once again..on clearance, and then a cute P.J. set from Costco. I love Costco a little too much:-)

We know Hannah is in foster care and has been since she was 9 months old. At this point we don't know if she has been with the same family all this time or not.  Why has she been in foster care for so long and not adopted? Only God knows!  Because she was meant to be with us? Now she is, but I don't think God ever meant for her to be abandoned as an infant. But what the enemy meant to harm, God will turn to good and use for HIS glory. That is our bring HIM glory.  
So my sweet Hannah Amelia...while we wait to meet your beautiful self, here is a verse I feel the Lord has given me for you!

Isaiah 43:1~"...Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine."  You belong to The Father Hannah Amelia. You are precious in his sight and he has you in the palm of His hand. He will never leave, nor forget you. You are not hidden from Him.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

He is Ready!

There was a time when we weren't sure Colson would EVER be ready to share the love in this house.

He likes being the center of attention (at home).

He has been known to show a fair amount of jealousy over us paying attention to any baby or younger child.

When he was much younger and I would ask if he ever wanted a brother or sister his response was, "No! Lily sister!"  This is Lily:

But ALAS he seems ready!

  He asks when we are going to get her. He talks about "when my sister is here..." He said, "Now she is feeling more and more like my sister."

First he had to work through some of his own questions and clarify some misunderstandings about his own adoption into this family. He processed more of his adoption, his feelings...we were able to clarify some things where he was confused. Then he had to process this idea of traveling across the ocean to the other side of the globe, to a foreign land with new language, new food, new customs. Watching a few great documentaries on Netflix, listening to our Mandarin CD and laughing at our lame attempts to learn it, reading memoirs from other families who adopted children with special needs from China were all things that aided in his ability to get excited about going to China and bringing home a sister!

I get it's a process. The way God moves in hearts and draws strangers who have never met, together as family is miraculous. This is how my boy has gotten to this place of contentment in knowing he has a sibling on the way...PRAYER! Continuous requests to our Father to draw our hearts together.  What a tremendous blessing it is to get to experience and be an active part in HIS miraculous work!  How absolutely amazing it is to see God work in our son's heart like this!

Does that mean we think this adjustment will be a walk in the park for us? It's doubtful that it will be so easy. But we will push through the tough patches with expectancy that HE will be there with us along the way...once again working his miracles, answering our prayers, easing the hurts, healing the pain, helping Hannah through her grief, guiding our path, bringing our joy, and making us a FAMILY.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."-Romans 15:13

Friday, April 6, 2012

Under Construction

"Girl Child" finally has a name chosen by her family. We have finally found a blog title I can live with. We are currently "under construction"...stay tuned.