Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Few Days Home

Well we are still trying to find our new normal around here. This is our third day home...........I think I am finally over the jet lag. Baby girl is an awesome sleeper...............she takes naps and goes down all night for like 10 hours. We are blessed with her sleeping pattern. She is still crying alot during the day...........I know she is trying to adjust and figure our what is going on and who we are to her. She did reach for Joe in the Hong Kong airport which was a huge deal.

The boys are loving life with Mia.................wait until she is more mobile and gets into there toys. LOL

So what is Miss Mia doing now (Her special need was growth and developmental delays).......................

She can wave bye bye, say Dada, Mama, Uh Oh (and throw her hands up), she is walking with someone holding onto her hands, she can sit up great, scoot (not crawl but she can get where she wants to go), I gave her some baby food today and she ate it (we are having to start from scratch with her foods), she blows us kisses, and mimics all our facial expressions. We go to the International Adoption Doctor on the 19th, so I will update you when I have more on that.

If you could still keep us in your prayers as we transition and try to meet the needs of our daughter. Thanks so much for all the prayers and support.

The boys and their sissy before bed

Our little performer

Mommy wore her out grocery shopping!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The last couple of days...

Well, I was asked to do a "daddy post" to wrap up the trip.  I'm not sure what that is exactly, but I will catch you up on the rest of the story and give some final thoughts...

"Mind Your Head"  This could have so many meanings.  I loved all of the signs around the country that their meanings were lost in translation.  Almost every one was a little off.  Some, I just had no idea what they were trying to say.  This sign was on a low overhand in the hotel.  However, I think it applies to many facets of life.  To me, after waking up from our first night home, I feel like it means I need to gather my thoughts from this fog I'm in.

Let me backtrack a little.  Last post, Amber wasn't feeling well.  She ended up heaving in the bathroom that night, and felt really weak and nauseous the next day.  Still, she sucked it up and continued on (not like she had a choice).  We packed up and loaded our things in a minivan for the trip to Hong Kong.  The driver said it would take 4-5 hours depending on traffic.  I offered him an extra tip if he could get us there more quickly.  We took all the toll roads, short cuts, and FLEW down the roads to Hong Kong.  It only took two and a half hours!  Well worth the little extra money.

Here is Mia having fun on the Joy Ride to Hong Kong.  She is going to love roller coasters.  I was a little on edge since there are no carseats or seatbelts for her.

The landscape between Guangzhou and Hong Kong was beautiful.  Large rolling hills and interesting structures.

There were endless rows of high rise apartments.

Going across the bridge from mainland China into Hong Kong.  All of those raft looking things were oyster farms.

Mia finally had a major meltdown.  I think with more change and travel, she finally let it all out.  She kicked, screamed, and wouldn't calm down no matter what we did or didn't do.  I held her and she continued to kick and scream.  I finally held her against my chest and wouldn't let her push away until she was just exhausted and gave up.  From that point on, she has been ok.

This is where Mia rode the entire trip.  We heard all of the horror stories of adoptive children screaming during the entire flight home.  We were blessed to have an uneventful flight.  She was content the entire 14 hours of flying.  However, we did not sleep at all.  14 hours of flying, plus layovers and checkpoints made for a long day.  I think Amber and I stayed up for 36 hours.

What an awesome sight to see our friends and family waiting there at the luggage claim with signs and gifts.  I told Amber to wait until I got the camera so we could video the event, but she just couldn't wait and ran to them to wrap them up in her arms.

OK, time for the emotional part to this post.  I figure that's what all the girls want in a "daddy post."  Let me tell you from a father's point of view, the experience was lifechanging.  The travel was difficult, the hotels were interesting, the people were outspoken, the food was not what we were used to.  Was it worth it?  Absolutely!  I would travel the world all over again and face any obstacle in order to get this precious little girl.  When I first held her in my arms, I couldn't believe how God had orchestrated this event and brought this beautiful creation into my arms.  He entrusted me to protect, provide for, and love this adorable child.  Every time Amber asked what I thought, I would start to say "this is my little girl" but could never get it out because of the tears.

I am amazed at the nonstop ourpouring support from everyone we know and meet.  Every step of the way to getting Mia, we saw a community come together to make this happen.  From the post office employees, to the bank tellers, coworkers, close friends and family all took an active part in this adoption.  Everyone wanted to contribute something to support us.  Even the other adoptive families during the trip were supporting one another through love, advice, fellowship and prayer.  We were able to give some medicine to a family whose child had come down with fever.  The Boggs family let us borrow and ended up giving us an Ergo baby carrier (which saved my back) to tote Mia around half of China.

Through this I can see how God uses all sorts of people from many walks of life to provide for His people.  People like my father-in-law who funded the enitire process, my parents who helped watch our boys while we were away, our friends the Jordans who got us groceries so we would have food when we got home, our pastor and his wife who got us a Starbuck's card to help with the jetlag, our friend Amber who notarized all of our documents, Ann Marie an experienced adoptive parent who gave so much comforting advice, Mary who sent us tons of little girl clothes, and so many others that I would like to thank, but for the sake of space, I can't keep going.  I'm sure there were so many others that were used that I will never know or meet.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Shamian Island and US Consulate.........

Well, the last two days have been an adventure.  We got to visit Shamian Island, a beautifully landscaped area with victorian archetecture and cobble stone streets.  In the morning, we attended a Christian church service.  It was a Mandarin/English service.  It was awesome to hear the people praising God in their own language.  The chapel was packed out the door and people were even standing outside listening to the preaching through outdoor speakers.  We met a Chinese Christian shop owner who wrote Mia's name in Chinese script for free since we were adoptive families.  Shopping was fun too, not to mention tons of "squeaky shoes."  Yes, we bought a couple... well several pair for little miss Mia.  We took a taxi by ourselves back to the hotel.  It is a different experience riding through Chinese traffic in a little Hyundai.  Many squeals from Amber and honking horn by the driver.  Pedestrians beware!

The next morning, we went to the US Consulate to complete Mia's immigration paperwork, as you can see, she is sporting the red, white and blue!  They wouldn't let us take cameras or cell phones into the building, so no pics of the consulate appointment, sorry.

We pack up tomorrow afternoon, get Mia's final immigration papers, and head to Hong Kong for an overnight stay and fly home the next morning!  Can's wait to see the the family!

Overflowing church service!

Beautiful Shamian Island.  Lots of these statues.  Also, there were dozens of models getting photos in wedding dresses and evening gowns throughout the island.

She is dressed to shop!!!!!!  And enjoys every minute of it.

Painting calligraphy for all the adoptive families...

You would think we were famous, all of the people wanting pictures with us.

Mia showing off her American colors!  Oh, and Amber was so excited that she didn't cry when she went to pick her up out of her crib.  This was the first day that she didn't cry when we held her!  She was blowing us kisses, smiling, and laughing most of the day.

All of the sweet adoptive families in our group.

P.S.  This post was done by Joe.  I tried to make it like Amber would have written it.  Amber is not feeling well- achy and nautious.  Pray that she gets good rest tonight and feels better in the morning.  I'm hoping it is just from exhaustion and not the delicious Thai food we had for lunch.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Loving Guangzhou!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have never been so happy to be off an airplane as I was getting off the flight to Guangzhou................I know I am not a flyer but even the people that fly all the time said it wasn't a good flight. I prayed a lot of the time. China Southern Airlines not so much. We shook and went back and forth. OH MY is all I have to say, and if it weren't for a sweet dad in our group I would have been sitting with Mia (who was screaming) by myself next to to Chinese business men. I can laugh about it now that I am off the plane. We absolutely LOVE Guangzhou!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Our Hotel is Awesome and the city is really pretty. I can't wait to go out and explore. The night we got in we went and had Cantonese food and it was delicious!!!!!!!!!!!!! One of our favorite dinners since arriving in China. We had our medical exam today and paperwork party. Mia freaked at the medical exam which we expected she started to regress, but them it was like we turned a corner on the bus.................almost like she new Hey these people are here to stay and they are going to take care of me.

Yummy Chicken!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Daddy and Mia at the Medical Exam

Sweet Mia (Diane she is wearing her Swanky Baby Vintage from the gift certificate from Pearl River)

                                                Daddy and Mia and the Dr. at Medical Exam

Mia being her silly self in our Hotel Room

Last Day in Lanzhou

Well it is our last day in Lanzhou and we had a free what to do but shop of course. Let me tell you little Miss Mia loves to shop. She lights up when we are out waving to everyone and smiling. Cracks us up!!!!!!!! When we get in the room it is a different story. She is slowly still revealing herself to us each day. Here are just a couple pics of our last day.

Heading out to explore the streets of Lanzhou

At one of the main squares in Lanzhou

Have you ever seen so many shoes???????

Lanzhou Department Store Many stories high and of course we had to go to all the floors.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More of Mia

Ms. Mia

Playing on the floor with the other kiddos

Holding Jacobs hands and standing. So Awesome to see!!!!!!

She actually letting me hold and feed her. Yeah!!!!!!!!!

Ms. Mia is doing well today. Right now we take it day to day and try to meet her needs. We took her down to breakfast and the other families were down there. I sat her on the floor (which she has not been letting me do) and she played and laughed. She loves the Bogg's Family's Son Jacob (he is 14) she actually showed us this morning that she could scoot, stand and walk while Jacob was holding onto her hands. She wouldn't do it for me, but at least she was showing us. She loved all the attention this morning and was eating it up. Below is a clip of our precious girl playing last night in our room.

Lanzhou Zoo and Park

Well today started off Rocky with Sweet Girl, it was almost like she took a step back. By lunch she was doing better. Poor thing...........we just wonder what is going on in that head of hers. I know she is still guarding her heart. She trys to test us by pushing us away or hitting at me.............we just pull her in and hug her and tell her we love her. She did warm up by afternoon and even said her first word to us DADA. Yes she is a daddy's girl and he was beyond thrilled. I even think his eyes watered up. He was smiling from ear to ear.

We went to a huge park, zoo, and buddhist temple (not my favorite) today.............the park was beautiful with people doing Tia Chi all around. Joe even joined in with our guide Steed, he thinks he may start making his fire crew Tia Chi in the mornings at work. LOL!!!!!! At the zoo we got to see a lone Panda, Bears, Kangaroo, Peacocks, Wolves, and some other different animals. We did go to the Buddhist temple which gave me an overwhelming oppression in my spirit I could hardly stay there, It was almost like a burning sensation in my soul. It made me very sad to see people bowing to these cast idols to worship thinking they can help them or give them peace. It broke my heart knowing that the peace they seek can only be found in Christ Jesus and what Joy they could walk in if they only knew him. Before we came Joe and I prayed for divine appointments that he may give us. We are trying to live out our faith before the Chinese people. We pray publicly before our meals even in the Muslim restaurant. It has been a blessing to travel with fellow believers. Before we left Beijing our group had a time of prayer down by the indoor pool with other people around. I love it!!!!!!!!!! Trying to be like Jesus and be friendly, I pray for the people here to know the Lord there God and I am thankful that we will get to teach our daughter about her Heavenly Father.

Here are some pics of our day today...................

The entrance to the park we went to in Lanzhou

Joe doing Tai Chi

Joe and that is our guide Steed in the background

In the beautiful Park

In and around Lanzhou

Here are some pics in and around Lanzhou

Ms. Mia giving us her look.

Street Market in Lanzhou

Firetrucks going down the street

Squatty Potty (Which I have been avoiding at all costs) :)

Joe in the convenient store he frequents for cookies and Pepsi and yes that is the size

A temple on a mountain

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Just Because

Just because................... Gotta love her Hiney up in the air!!!!!

Third day in Lanzhou

Hi everyone this is our 3rd day in Lanzhou in the Gansu Province. Here are a few pics of our time today out and about. Joe and I are getting comfortable walking about town without our guide and doing our shopping too. The driving here is CRAZY!!!!!!!! I can't tell you how many times I have squealed in our bus thinking we were about to get in a wreck.

Mia is really warming up to us today. She started giving High Fives, smiling more, laughing, imitating our facial expressions, waving to everyone,  and she is letting mommy love on her now. Yeah God. I was rubbing her belly while she was laying on the bed and I got up and she cried for me to come back. Huge Step!!!!!!

Little Miss has it down, we have headed to the store with her about three times now and she waves to everyone and they oooh and ahhh over her. A older lady today even kissed her. Yes, there is no personal space in China, they are very much in your business. We just try to smile and nod. :)

Oh, and Joe is trying all sorts of Crazy Food. Me on the other hand have gone without some meals. Today we ate at a Muslim restaurant named Amber. It was interesting, they use a whole lot of curry spice. My favorite food was smooshed together corn in a pizza shape, it tasted like a corn fritter. Joe on the other hand dives into all the mystery meat. Not I. I live vicariously through him. LOL

Daddy and Mia before we left the Hotel today

The Streets of Lanzhou

In front of Mammoth fossil from Mia's town of QingYang

Shelly and precious Macy (Another family traveling with us)

Mia and Joe in front of inflated sheepskin raft for crossing the Yellow River

The Muslim Restaurant and our group

Oh, and the reason the girls are wrapped in blankets is because we keep getting told by the Chinese to wrap them up they are to cold. Really it is hot and they are sweating. There children are wearing snow clothes in 60 and 70 degree weather. Mia does not like to wear her hat very long before she is crying and trying to pull it off. That girl sweats.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Seeing Christ's Love for Us

It is amazing to see this little girl who was born in our hearts even before we had a picture of her. We knew whoever God wanted to be in our family we would love sooooo much. As I sit here this morning in China I am in Awe of our precious Lord and his love for us. I thought I got Christs' love, but this has really opened my eyes to how wide and how deep his love and grace run for us.

Our precious Mia has had a hard time, and I thank you for praying for her comfort. When I see her grieve or push me away my heart breaks because I know how much I love this little one, but she has know idea yet what that love and trust are.

In this I think of Jesus and how he must look at us sinners. He knows how much he loves us and I could just sense his heart breaking when we are not trusting in him. I can almost here him say in an audible voice Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest. Jesus' love is so Wide and So Deep for us.

I pray right now if you don't know your Heavenly Father Yet and are reading my blog that you will be overwhelmed by him right now and feel how wide and deep the Father's Love is for you. That you would take that step to trust him with your whole heart.

My prayer for Mia the whole time while we were apart and waiting to get her was overwhelming Peace and comfort from our Father in Heaven, and I continue that as we continue to pursue to win her heart that she will she Jesus' love through us.

Below in the next post is just a sweet song about finding Christ. Enjoy!!!!!!! May God's Love and Peace come over you today.

Find You On My Knees - Kari Jobe - Album Where I Find You

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Princess Sleeps

Precious girl took a good nap. She is really grieving and having a hard time. If you all could please, please pray for her. She just woke up and is crying again. It is the saddest cry I have heard. :(  We really covet prayers for her.