Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Reunion Weekend- June 25-27

Isn't it amazing that you can go a year or two without seeing some people, and when you do, you can pick up the conversation just like you've always been together. That's how it is with all of the people we celebrated with this weekend. The bond of meeting our daughters is extremely strong. We so enjoyed the weekend. The girls are all wonderfully unique, yet alike in so many ways. For example, Esther sucks the back of her hand when going to sleep, just like Abbey. There were six families gathered together this year. We met at Don and Amy's beautiful and spacious home. On Friday night we reconnected over pizza and salad. Abbey and Elijah were thrilled to have a huge yard to run around and stretch their legs in.

Abbey and Elizabeth eating pizza

The next morning we gathered and some girls swam, some played on the trampoline and some played on the swing set. Guess what Abbey did? Of course, she swam.

Then we went to a local Chinese restaurant for lunch

Where we tried to get a picture of all of the girls
Abbey, Brooke, Ellie, Esther, and Emily(Ellie's big sister) holding Dorina
Elizabeth and her  parents didn't make lunch

It took about 5 tries to get this one. I soon found out that getting a good picture of all 6 girls would be a challenge. 

For example:
Dorina, Esther, Elizabeth, Brooke, and Abbey
(Ellie wasn't feeling photogenic)
And here:
Abbey, Elizabeth, Esther,Ellie, Brooke, but no Dorina
And here:
Abbey, Esther, Ellie, Dorina, Elizabeth but Brooke was upset.
And here:
Abbey and Ellie get tired of waiting for the others

I wonder if the orphanage had the same trouble in these pictures:
Gabrielle(not at reunion),Esther,Ellie and front row: Lacy and Hannah(not at reunion), Abbey(on the end)

Esther, Lacey, and Abbey

Esther, Lacey, Abbey and Ellie(on bottom)

We finally used the timer on my camera and got a great picture of everyone
except for Elizabeth, you can only see the top of her head

After lunch and naptime, we went back and all of the girls swam:


Abbey trying out her dive

Ellie asked her to show her how to dive

Guess who the last out of the pool was?

Elizabeth and Ellie chose to stop swimming to enjoy a story

And Elijah? He got lots and lots of attention. He didn't mind being one of 2 boys there at all! I imagine when he is older he will really enjoy it!
Dana fell in love with him

And he also enjoyed the swimming

All too soon, it was time to leave. Before we left, Dayton brought out his guitar and sang,"Happy Adoption Day". After a prayer time, we agreed to meet next year at Esther's home town of Indianapolis. By then she will have her little sister, Emma to join in the fun! 

And maybe we will be able to get a picture of all the girls together.

Next post... the Loooong trip home(with a few stops).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Friday, June 25th

Our morning began with this sight....

 There is something about sleeping children, isn't there?
 This is the first time they have slept in the same bed. They did really well.

Abbey absolutely adores staying in a "hotell" as she says it. She would ask how many more days she wasbe able to stay in hotells. She would get giddy right after we checked in and run around the room.  She also was excited to have a big bed that she could share with Elijah. Some nights were tricky getting both of them to sleep, but overall, they didn't cause too many problems.

We then began our trek to New York. We passed by New York City:

New York's skyline

We drove and drove. Both of us were astonished at the beauty of upstate NY. Neither of us had been there before. We both had the idea that all of NY was crowded and had lots of buildings and factories.

We didn't expect scenes like this
The Hudson river

And this

The kids did really well on this drive. They played, slept, ate and watched the portable DVD player.

 We were making great time and kept looking for things to do. The problem with the NY turnpike was that they did not post historical sights, then the sign for Hyde Park caught our eye. We knew this was the home of Franklin Roosevelt. We both were excited to see this and recognized that we may not get another chance to visit this historic sight. I have to say we were both excited, because many people have heard about John's obsession with battlefields, and the fact that I don't share that obsession. But a former president's birth place and life-long home is right down both of our alleys!

The house

The view FDR had from his bedroom

The grave of the Roosevelts

At the presidential library

Franklin and Eleanor discuss things with their smallest Chinese envoy

As I said, the kids did really well. At one point in the library, they were pushing my buttons. A lady looked at me and said, "Enjoy these years, they are the best times of your life!" I smiled politely and said, "Oh, I agree, I enjoyed the first so much I decided to do it again!"

We finally arrived at the Don and Amy's house. I'll talk more about the reunion picnic in the next post.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Abbey's 3rd gotcha anniversary! June 25

Three years ago, after a 18 month wait, our hearts were overjoyed with gratitude and love for this little girl.

It was love at first sight
For Me

and John

We knew that something wonderful had happened to our family

Now she's grown up so much, as has our love for her. She is such a joy, a dynamo who marches to the beat of her own drum

She brightens our lives, (and keeps us on our toes), every day!

We love you more than words can say, Abigail Grace FuXin!!!

This "Gotcha Day" is also special because we got to share it with five of the girls who also met their families on that day, as part of A Helping Hand's travel group 63.  We met in New York today to spend the weekend together celebrating the precious gifts we have been given.

Abbey, Ellie's Mom, Ellie, Esther, Elizabeth and Dorina

I'll be sharing more about our weekend in later posts.

Are we back in China??? June 24

Today we traveled from Washington, DC to Philadelphia. John really wanted to go to Independence Hall and to see the Liberty Bell. We came into downtown Philadelphia and found Independence Hall very easily, but what we couldn't find was available parking. The decks were all full. We rode around and finally found a metered space about 2 miles from the sights we wanted to see. The problem with the space was it was only available for another hour. So, we took off walking.

 Can you tell Abbey was sans nap and not exactly thrilled to be here

Another thing we hadn't expected was the fact that there was a limited amount of tickets given each day, and of course, the quota was already met for today. So much for seeing Indeped. Hall, except from the outside:

As we got in line for the Liberty Bell, we noticed these people looking at our children.  I asked them where they were from, and as I suspected, they were from China. I told them Abbey and Elijah were from Chongqing and Guangdong. Immediately they start to take pictures of our kids and us. They came and posed with us. It was just like when we were in China.

So, I took a picture of them taking pictures

 The woman with the umbrella pushed the stroller along with me the whole way

Abbey wasn't amused, and wouldn't talk to them. Elijah just sucked his thumb and acted as if they weren't there. I thought it was pretty neat. They gave us the "thumbs up" sign several times. 

After our few minutes of fame, we got inside and saw the infamous bell
Abbey was definitely in "a mood"

After getting out, John got a "real" Philly steak and cheese sandwich, and we watched a living history display

As we walked back to the car, the sky was getting dark. Right when we got settled into the car, the bottom dropped out. It rained buckets, hailed and the wind was blowing like crazy. (We saw on the news that night that there was lots of damage from the storm). Of course, because of the weather disturbance, we briefly lost contact for our GPS. That was a little unnerving. It came back though, and got us out of downtown Philly and onto New Jersey where we spent the night. We will head to NY tomorrow.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Our 26th wedding anniversary - June 23

 This is not exactly how I would have imagined spending our 26th wedding anniversary.  Today, John, Abbey, Elijah and I started a long journey to upstate New York to spend Abbey's 3rd gotcha day anniversary with the girls and their families that our travel group.  I'm sure that 26 years ago we never would have imagined that we would be traveling with 2 toddlers.

Things started off pretty well-
We stopped to eat at a museum picnic area

And let them stretch their legs

We wanted to try to see Beth in DC. She called and told us she could only meet with us at a certain time for about 30 minutes. John had his heart set on going to Mt. Vernon, to pay homage to his beloved George! We get there, pay our $30 to get in and start toward the mansion.

When we get closer, we notice a huge line. We are behind a school group. They only take 20 people in at a time. We have one hour before we have to meet Beth. We text her, and think that she gets the message. Apparently not, because she calls later, and is livid as she waits out in the wilting heat for us to meet her! So much for seeing Beth. 

Elijah doesn't want me to take a picture of the Potomac River

Abbey enjoys running around

John and his old pal, George's, tomb

As we travel, we realize that we left Elijah's "lovey", (required for sleeping),at home. We must find a Wal Mart to get a new lovey. We do, and everything is ok in Elijah's world. 

We find a place to eat and set out to go to the National Mall to take the kids' picture. We get lost and end up somewhere in DC. Eventually John decides to turn off the GPS and navigate the old fashioned way. He finds a parking space with 8 minutes on the meter. Of course, neither of us has a quarter to extend the time, so we run and start to take their picture. In my haste,  I couldn't get a decent picture of both of them at the same time.

This one was pretty good of Elijah

And this one is good of Abbey

We rush back to the car and on to our hotel. Abbey, John and Elijah get to take a dip in the pool. Tomorrow we will set off for Philadelphia and the next leg of our trip. I'm sure the day will be full of more adventures.