Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday, September 25 ~ Last post from China!

Well, all but one of the bags are packed. That one will be packed just as soon as I finish typing this. We are coming home! Oh, what joy those words bring to my heart!

Today has been a challenge with Abbey. I really think it is bothering her to share her Mommy and Daddy with a little brother. The others have all been through it, and survived, so no doubt, she will too. I've really expected it. She's not blatantly mean to him, but will take things away from him and want to be held while he is being held.

Carolina boy

We've also discovered that this little fellow has a temper! Today, I put him down to pick up Abbey and he plopped his head back on the floor and began to scream and kick his feet. I was shocked and thought it was quite comical. He will find out very quickly that that will not get him anywhere with me. I just looked at him and waited until I was finished with Abbey to pick him up(by that point he was finished with his little fit). He also did the same thing in the bathroom, when I shut the door to keep him out of the toilet. But, the funny thing was that he knew that floor was hard, so he gently put his head on the floor to begin the tantrum.

Today we visited another park close to the hotel.
Catching a ride on Daddy's shoulders on the way to the park.

Our guide said that this sign at the entrance to the park said something about the success of a socialist economy.
It had a large lake with beautiful scenery.
Pretty scene in the park
Restaurant on the lake
Exercising in the park

They are busy decorating things for the National Day celebration. Abbey and a little 5 yr. old boy, who has been adopted also, became good friends today. They walked hand in hand around the park.
Abbey and her new friend Liam

Family photo with Liam added in

When I found out we weren't staying at the White Swan, I was quite disappointed. But, now, I'm so glad we didn't. We had to stay so long, we would have been absolutely stir crazy there. There are so many more things to do close to the China Hotel, and the rooms are bigger and nicer. My guide says they aren't giving out the Barbies anymore either. Again, I believe God went before us, and we ended up in the best hotel, despite our preferences.

Anna said someone said they didn't think we would want to see anyone at the airport when we get home, but that isn't the case. We understand the lateness of our arrival(10:20 pm), but if you are a night owl, and would like to meet us at the airport, we'd love to see you. If it it too late for you, we also understand.

It has been a unique journey, one I'm thankful to have been on. I'm now ready to get back to living life with John and six wonderful kids! I've learned more about the Lord, His love for me and way of leading me. It is truly marvelous in my eyes!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday, Sept. 24 ~ Swearing in Ceremony

The sweet sight we woke up to today

Today was an emotional day! We went to the US Consulate and took the oath, after which they issued Elijah a visa to immigrate to the United States. As soon as the papers in the envelope(which we have been warned not to dare open), have been given to immigration in Chicago, he will be an American citizen. Oh, how many days and nights have I dreamed of this day! From the start about a year and half ago, when John wouldn't hear of adopting, to me giving up on the whole idea, to God calling John to adopt again, to the tortuous paperwork, to the many delays for some reason or another, to not getting our TA in time, to not getting our consulate appointment in time, to not having seats on the airplane, all of this was to get to this day. And we are there! Praise be to God, the author and creator of all life! John and I cried at the end of the little ceremony. It is just such a feeling of relief and thankfulness. We aren't allowed to take any camera in the consulate, so there are no pictures. There were about 45 families joining us in the oath taking. It was short and sweet. The lady from the consulate actually said during her talk, "'s just that easy for your child to become a citizen." after she explained what we are to do next. We all were thinking, "Easy? It is a lot of things, but easy it isn't". But, it sure is a testament to how much we love these children, and how much they are wanted.
My little American girl
Almost one of America's newest citizens
Proud of his flag!

Elijah is coming out more and more. He actually went to sleep tonight without me rocking him. He had fallen asleep after his bottle, but woke up when we laid him down. He fought being rocked to sleep, so I just put him down. He screamed for about 3 minutes, then he went to sleep. He still wants to be held and will hold his arms up.
He also is quite a ladies man. Whenever a female speaks to him, he throws up those arms and flashes the cutest, toothless grin. He is walking more now, but is still a little wobbly. We call him Otis, because he walks like Otis Campbell from the Andy Griffith Show.

Two more sleeps and then we get on 3 planes and finally land in Raleigh!! While I'm dreading the long plane ride, I know it is a necessary evil. We are supposed to get to RDU about 10:20 pm on Sat. the 26th. It's so weird, we leave here at 9:30 am on the 26th and land there at 10:20 pm. (It will be Sunday, the 27th, 10:20 am here in China) Strange business this time change deal. It will be interesting to see how Abbey and Elijah adjust. I'm prepared to loose a lot of sleep.

Abbey and "Pandy"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday, September 23

The view from our hotel window.

Elijah was approved by the US Consulate to come into the USA. Tomorrow we will go to the consulate for a swearing in ceremony, and they will give us his passport with his visa. When we land in Chicago, we will give immigration paperwork and then we will have one of the US's newest citizens! A long, long journey will be ending, and, at the same time, beginning. All praises and honor go to the Lord, who knew the path we would take long before we did. He has gone before us and we have felt Him in very real ways throughout this whole process.
Today we really didn't do anything special. We were out of clean clothes, so we took our laundry to Shamain Island. While there, I was able to meet up with a blog friend, Becky, and her husband and new little girl. It is amazing how you can feel like you know someone that you've just met because you've read their blog, and know they share your heart for adoption. We had a great little visit with them.
I love getting laundry done. One of my dreaded never-ending tasks at home is doing the laundry. Here, you get your laundry back in these neat little plastic bags.
The neatly packed, clean laundry.

Elijah proved today that he has been watching things around here. We have our food supplies in one of our dresser drawers. He went into the drawer today and took out a lollipop. The only problem was that he put the wrong end in his mouth.
He also enjoyed his bath today. It just took him a little while to warm up to the idea of sitting in water. Tonight, he splashed and didn't cry at all.
Abbey is sad tonight, her friend, Tiger, is leaving tomorrow. She will miss her greatly.
Please pray for me. Tonight, I began getting a cold. My nose is running like crazy. I hope it will be all gone before we have to get on the plane..
I was so proud of myself today. Elijah and I were in the elevator when a Chinese man said something to me. I recognized the Chinese word for "China" and "baby" So, I figured he was asking if Elijah was Chinese. So, I shook my head yes. He then looked at me and asked, "Mama?" I nodded my head, yes. The man then looked completely befuddled as he got off of the elevator.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sept. 22, YueXie park and museum

John and the kids at the ram statue ~ there must be Carolina fans in China!

Today was a very nice day. Weather wise it felt so much better. The humidity was a lot lower. We took advantage and spent a lot of time outside. Across from our hotel is a public park. One thing I can say about the Chinese; they know how to build and maintain a park. It is extraordinary. There are lakes, waterfalls, statues and many kinds of flowers and plants. Another thing there is a lot of is...people. We spent several hours in the park today. We saw people playing badminton, hackie sack, dancing, exercising, singing and playing instruments.
Today, I also had a taste of what it must feel like to be a celebrity.
Almost every person that walked by would either take a double take
or out and out stare at us.
A few would ask about our kids. John loved to tell them that we had 4 more at home, just to see the reaction. We met a man who attended Michigan State and knew about Chapel Hill.
The tall guy wearing the Michigan shirt went to Michigan state

He talked to us a long time. The lady with him asked if Abbey and Elijah were brother and sister. I didn't try to find out if she meant bio, I just said,"They are now." We got many thumbs up along with many totally confused looks.
John and his papoose

After a nap in which we all slept, we went to visit a museum down from our hotel. When they were excavating to build our hotel, they discovered the tomb of a king. You can actually see the tomb, along with the remains and the artifacts that were buried along with the king. It is dated to one hundred years before Christ. It was very interesting.
This is a picture of the suit the king was buried in. It is made entirely of jade plates sewn together.

Our new cutie patootie!

Tomorrow we have to stay in the room between 11 and 12, in case our advocate has any questions from the consulate. If there are none, the US will grant Elijah a visa to come home. There was a little concern about the wording on our home study and gov. approval. But today, our advocate said she thought we were ok. We are approved to adopt "healthy or special needs, including heart defect and missing digits". It has been said that the specific special need has to be listed. Susan says that the translation says,"healthy or special needs, for example heart defect and missing digits", so we should be fine. Regardless, if you get a chance, please pray that everything will be approved tomorrow.
4 more sleeps and then we are home!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Guangzhou Zoo and he knows his name!!

Monday, September 21

Today, we went to the Guangzhou Zoo.
The zoo itself is more like zoos used to be in the US. The animals are for the most part in concrete cages. We were there in the morning, so it wasn't extremely hot. The funny thing about the zoo was an exhibit of Pomeranian. Yes, the dogs.
They had an exhibit featuring Pomeranian dogs. We thought that was quite funny. I guess they are rare in China? Anyway, Abbey had been talking about seeing a panda, and today she did.
Abbey's panda
Abbey, her friend Tiger, and Tiger's new sister, Wynter

Elijah not too impressed with the zoo
Two little joeys

We then went to a tea house. They shared some of the tea traditions of China, and we tasted several types of teas. The most wonderful things was that it was well air conditioned in there!Tea demonstration

Next, we headed to Shamain Island for lunch, shopping and checking the TB tests of a couple of our babies.(They were negative). Then it was back to the room. The hours of 4-8pm are the longest. We go swimming, and try to amuse ourselves. We walked to the park and ended up at Starbucks. It took a while for us to get them to understand that we wanted get Abbey a small cup of whip cream, but I think they finally got the idea.
Abbey had her first ice cream cone today. She's had ice cream before, but never in a cone.
One exciting thing: Elijah knows his name. Several times today, I'd call his name and he'd turn around and come to me. About his name, we had told several people that we were going to call him Eli, but we've changed our minds. He looks like an Elijah, and before John had said we should adopt, I was reading the Bible, and I really felt that God was saying he had a boy for us and his name was to be Elijah. So, we are going to call him Elijah.

Tonight, we found out that our boy has a temper. He fell asleep at 4:30 this afternoon. So, he didn't want to go to sleep tonight. John held him and wouldn't let him down to play, and he really pitched a fit. He finally did go to sleep. (He needs to learn we will win.) If all goes as it has, he will wake up screaming at 1 am. I'll put him in bed with us, and he'll sleep the rest of the night. I'm a little worried about how things will work when we are home. But for now, we are in survival mode.

Today, I was reflecting about how things have gone. I really feel that the Lord has gone before us. We have our moments of potential hair pulling out, "Calgon take me away" moments, but most of the time the kids are a joy.
Big sister at work!

I was reading the Bible tonight, and these verses struck accord with me:
Psalm 66:16-20
Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
I pray that I will always be able to, and recognize the opportunities to tell what God has done for me!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday, September 20

Today we took the bus (it seemed the AC worked better today) over to Shamain Island to go to church. This church is a government sponsored church.. The sermon was interesting. He preached on Romans 3:23, but no mention of Jesus during the sermon. He talked about the grace of God, but no mention that you get that grace through Jesus's death. Still, it was great to see so many people (it was packed) singing, "In Christ Alone".
Shamain Island Christ Church

We then had the red couch photos, ate lunch and did some shopping.

Elijah and his girls, (our travel group)
Elijah trying to figure Abbey out
Abbey and her friend, Tiger
John and the kids
Me and the kids
All of us (minus our kids that we miss at home!)Arms full of babies

The weather was brutal with extreme heat and humidity. So after recuperating in our room for a little while, we went to the pool. Elijah has been to the pool three times now. He doesn't cry(like he does during his bath), but he's not very happy. Tonight, though, he didn't cling quite as much. He even went under twice with no tears.

Pool timeElijah going under
Notice Abbey doing flips underwater ~ she just learned how to do this

Abbey has been a challenge many times during this trip. She just seems to go bonkers in new situations. We're working through it, and she does have times where she is calm, but she has definitely not been on her best behavior all the time. She is good with Elijah. They will tickle with Daddy, and we play patty cake that ends in tickling together.

Elijah is getting more mobile every day. He now walks more than he crawls. He loves to eat, but takes forever to gum food. Once he gets some teeth, I have a feeling he will eat us out of house and home. He babbles now, smiles at us (and young girls), puts everything in his mouth and is curious about everything. He still has a rash, although is is better. The Dr. said it was eczema, but I'm not so sure it isn't a virus, because it is now on his legs also. He has shown no reactions to the shots he got yesterday, thank the Lord!

Tomorrow we go to the zoo. Abbey is excited to see a panda. I'm sure it will be another sweat-fest!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Medical Exam (Saturday, Sept. 19)

Our newest cutie pie

I should have known today would be rough, when Abbey woke up at 4:45 am. Elijah had woken up crying sometime in the night, and I had put him in bed with us. So, naturally, Abbey wanted to get in also. Needless to say, we got up pretty quickly after that; four people in one bed is a bit crowded. We left the hotel at 9:30 to travel to Shamain Island for Elijah's medical exam. The bus we are on looks like it is from the 60's and the air conditioning doesn't work very well. The temperature was about 99 degrees with 98-100% humidity. Sticky! When we got to the clinic, it was a complete zoo. It was extremely crowded with babies screaming everywhere. Elijah passed all his examinations. He weighs more than I thought- 19.3 lbs and is 29 inches tall. The worst part of the morning, besides waiting in lines for 3 hours, was the Hague Plague's vaccination requirement. Our poor baby had to get 5 shots and oral Polio. He screamed bloody murder. John and Abbey were in there. It upset Abbey so bad that she wet her pants all over John. She has been so reliable with pottying, that I didn't even have anything to change her into. I didn't have time to go and buy her anything, because we were the last ones out of the clinic. The rest of our group was done shopping. So, I put one of Elijah's diapers on and she wore that and her shirt. We then went to Carrefour. I can imagine the comments about our girl parading in in a way too small diaper and a short shirt. Oh, well, as John says, they have their kids walking around with nothing on their bottom, at least she was covered. As I'm typing this, it is 10 pm and everyone is asleep. Elijah doesn't seem any the worse for having been a human pin cushion. We all survived!
Abbey asleep at the medical exam

Some tidbits about Elijah. He has been showing some of his personality. He loves to eat. With only 2 1/2 teeth he sometimes works on a piece of food for quite a while. He still takes a bottle several times a day. I tried a sippy cup today, but he didn't know what to do with it. He loves to be held and will put his arms up with his hand pointing down in a distinctive way(see picture). He loves to throw things. He's very curious and into everything. He's walking more and more every day. We took him to the pool, to Dozier-ize him. He's not a big fan. He didn't cry, even though I dunked him twice. He didn't cry, but he didn't smile either. He does cry in the bath, though. But, the tub is huge and cold. He sucks his thumb to go to sleep, which he hates to do. He will fight sleep with all his might. I knew that part was too easy with Abbey. I figured I hadn't paid my dues in that department. All in all, Elijah is pretty laid back and happy. We're enjoying playing and loving him! We can't wait to get home and share him with everyone!

Chewing his food. One night, he chewed a piece of chicken for 30 minutes before spitting it out
Elijah and his "pick me up" pose
The indoctrination has begun