Tuesday, July 28, 2009

HOME....My Most Rambling Post to Date

It's 6:19 a.m. and I cant believe I have been up since four! Allie, Em & I (yep they are awake too) all seem to be having a hard time sleeping in and recovering from the time differences and jet lag. It's definitly harder without the adrenalin rush of going to China! I think I'll try staying up late tonight and see if that helps. If you know me at all, you know I love sleeping late and slow mornings, so this is just way weird to me :0)

KayLi on the other hand had one kinda rough night where she woke up crying twice, was easily consoled and since then seems to just love home. It is such a joy to see her here, playing where I have imagined and dreamed her to be for so long. Just thinking of it and writing this brings tears to my eyes for the one billionth time!

We had a pretty uneventful flight home from LA which was followed by such a sweet welcome! I'll post pictures of it when I coax them from everyone who was snapping away as I fought tears. So many people made posters and banners....sooooo sweet!

We were so surprised to see Allie's mom and sister here...they were very sneaky and told no one they weyre coming up. Ryan's best friend since forever and his little sister were also big surprises. It was wonderful to see everyone and overwhelming to know that so many gave up their Saturday night to welcome KayLi home.

My sweet friend Traci meet as at the airpot with her Little Asian Sensation. She wrote the sweetest post about our homecoming. You can check it out here. Thanks so much to everyone for making our homecming so special! You're the bestest!!!!

KayLi is such a little mimic...or as Allie so loving puts it "She's a little Chinese parrot that mocks me." At the airport she quickly caught on to the way we were going around hugging everyone and found it great fun to do the same. She is so much more outgoing than I ever would have imagined her to be. She's funny and charming and waaaayyyy more vocal than I thought was possible. I wrongly had this assumption that her cleft palate and speach impediment would have caused her to be a quiet child....yeah right! She's actually pretty loud and fits right in our nousy house. We are working on her understanding of "Shhhh."

And this house has been extra nouisy lately. Ryan, his best friend Josh and little sister Jordan, my brother Jason, sis in law Wendy, my 4 yr. old newphew Will, my mom, Allie's mom Sharon and sister Susan (who decided to skip the insanity and stay at a hotel) were all here for our first full day home Sunday. It's been crazy & wonderful all at once. Definitly not a quiet first few days home. Those days will come but for now, I'm thankful that everyone is getting to know KayLi a little. We are enjoying a full house. Sharon, Susan, Josh & Jordan all headed home yesterday morning. Followed by Ryan last night. Now it's just Jason, Wendy, Will and mom and I'll take them to the airport tomorrow afternoon. The house will seem empty, I'm sure.

Ryan is totally infatuated with KayLi! When it's not early and I'm not rambling, I'll post more about them....just too cute! The nannies really prepared KayLi for us. She seemed to regonize, him & both the grandma's from the photo album we sent. Which I think I will order a copy cat version of from Red Thread, since they asked to keep the origonal. It won't be the same one we sent but I think it will be good for KayLi to look through one just like it with us. Not to mention that she will have it to show her children.

We took KayLi to the doctor yesterday and were happy to discover that her ear infection has cleared up...thank you Jesus! Since KayLi's TB test in China came back possitive but her X-Ray was clear, our doctor ordered another skin test that will be read tomorrow. She obviously doesn't have TB but he wants to judge his own test before making any assumptions about whether she has been exposed to it. After he looks at it tomorrow we will come up with a game plan. He said that since she tested positive once she would always test positive, so I'm a little confused as to why he wanted to test again but I'll ask more tomorrow.

KayLi just woke up and our plan for the day is to head to the local farmers market....this girls LOVES fruit! So I better get a move on finally making breakfast. It's so nice to be able to cook for her! I promise more pictures and a cohesive post when life settles into a wonderful new normal. Until then we are totally enjoying the honeymoon!!!!

Oh, a small prayer request. One of the children in our travel group has the chicken pox, so KayLi has been exposed to them too. Please pray that she doesn't come down with them before we get her vaccinated. Thanks in advance for praying...you're awesome :0)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

One Step Closer to Home

After four long years, we finally got on that very long flight home. Doesn't KayLi look absolutely thrilled to start her new life in America? In truth, none of us were thrilled to get on this plane...such a necessary evil.

When we landed at LAX KayLi officially became an American citizen!!!! I took about six pictures trying to get the perfect one of her waving both the Chinese and American flags..this is the best I got. You already know what Allie looks like...who needs to see his head in every picture anyway? For the record, KayLi did really well on the flight. She took two pretty good naps and was such a trooper. Our only major issue was the loud very scary airplane potty! That is one evil potty!

After successfully navigating immigration, customs, LAX and a short taxi ride, we meet my Dad and Candi at our hotel. It was so nice to see familiar faces! Once we got settled in our room, they gave KayLi an early birthday gift...her first most likely. She had no idea what to think of wrapping paper, let alone the cute V-Tech laptop they gave her. She loved it soon enough though...just like them! We went to our all time favorite burger joint...In & Out and enjoyed REAL french fries. I have to get video of the way KayLi says hamburger...it's adorable! She is picking up the English names for new things very quickly. If she already knows what something is, she tells us what it is in Chinese and looks like us like we are crazy. We say English, she says Chinese. Over and over and over. It's actually pretty comical...they learn through repetition right?

Now we are waiting for our check out time and we'll get on the last two airplanes home! Just in case any of you are traveling anytime soon, I really recommend breaking up the flights and staying an extra night along the way if you can. It was wonderful to rest last night before heading home. We had a much easier time with jet lag on the way to China and so far we feel very rested on our way back. I'm sure we will be exhausted but nothing like some of the stories I've heard.

I can't wait to land in Midland! KayLi will meet her grandma, big brother, aunt, uncle, cousin and many wonderful friends that we consider family!

We are almost home!!!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Other Side of the World

While Emily, KayLi and I were having a quick breakfast, our guide called Allie and said that everything arrived at the consulate and all was well. Praise God! He is soooo faithful! He has seen us through this from start to finish and I can't stop praising Him for all He has done. We have watched him work not only in our family but in lives of the families we traveled with. This is only the beginning of the plans that He has for these children. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to seeing Him write their stories. I'm sure I'll be addicted to their families websites and blogs. There really are no words to describe how overwhelmed with gratitude I am for all God has done. He is simply awesome!

After we exhaled, we decided to finally visit the park across the street before the oath ceremony at three. I wish we had taken more time to really explore it more...it was sooooo beautiful. You would think that I wouldn't have been so surprised by the beauty but this country keeps taking my breath away.

It would have been so fun to go on a paddle boat with Emily. She really wanted to but we were afraid it would take too long and we were already so hot.

We did take the time to ride a small log ride type of ride. It was pretty funny that they named it "Water Surfing." It lasted all of a minute but was worth it to catch a slight breeze for a few seconds. It rained again this morning. so the humidity was crazy!

They also had several other amusement park rides, one of which was a small carousel. We thought that KayLi might like it. It started out ok...

but didn't end very well. We tried moving off the horse but she just wasn't having it.

We stopped to take one last picture by the park's entrance/exit and then it was down under the street, through the metro and back to the hotel. I was able to get a little packing done before we meet the last seven families of our group in the lobby.

It breaks my heart that they won't allow cameras at the oath ceremony. It's such a moving experience to stand there in a large room filled with adoptive families from all over America and complete the last task of the adoption process. I still can't believe that there are no more papers to be filled out or appointments to keep. She's really finally ours! I'm sure it will all sink in when we arrive home but for now it feels like a beautiful dream that I don't want to wake up from.

China is over crowded and smelly. Not speaking the language has been an issue but even still, I truly don't want to leave. KayLi's homeland is more beautiful than I could have imagined. I feel like I owe this country a debt that I will never be able to repay. I hate the thought of leaving here and possibly never coming back. I knew I would love KayLi but I had no idea I would China this much. I want to go home. I want my friends and family to see how amazingly precious KayLi is. I'm ready to begin the next chapter of our lives. But a huge piece of my heart will remain here forever...on the other side of the world.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

USCIS Prayer Request

Today was our consulate appointment, when our paperwork was reviewed by the American consulate to decide if all of our paperwork was in order and KayLi's visa could be approved. We and four other families had an issue with updates for special needs approval being sent from the US Citizenship & Immigration Services to the consulate. We will be trying to have those updates faxed to the consulate here asap and I will need to make phone calls to try and get that done at 9:00 pm here ( in 15 minutes) when they open at 8:00am in the states. One other family had the same issue yesterday and got things cleared up by this morning, so we are hopeful that we will get things sent soon and get things cleared up here tomorrow morning, since our oath ceremony is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. Please, pray that we fine favor and that paperwork flows smoothly to where it needs to be. One person needs to fax one paper to one office and everything will be fine. I am certain that God did not bring us this far in our journey to desert us in the final moments. This is just one last battle before we bring our daughter home.

Since the person with the vital paper was sleeping while we were trying to wait patiently, we decided to stroll around Shamian island again. I'm sorry that I was a little concerned with everything and didn't take many pictures today. I do like this picture of Allie pushing KayLi's loaded down stroller and Emily looking up at all the beautiful trees.

Thanks so much for your prayers!!!

We love Y'all!!!!

Got this little bit ago so I am adding it together for one awesome post! - TJ

I just got off the phone with the USCIS and was told that the necessary paperwork had already been sent to the National Visa Center! I had left her a message and so had the embassy here. We were hoping she would fax it directly to the consulate here but she said she had to send it to the National Visa Center and they would send it to the consulate. Praise God, she confirmed that we have already been approved for a special needs child and sent the paper work on with an expedited request! It could still get hung up at the NVC but we are choosing to trust that God will push it through quickly. Right now, it looks like when our guide calls the consulate in the morning they should have everything worked out. Please continue to pray that there are no hang ups at the National Visa Center and that they will also forward paperwork quickly. The woman at the USCIS that I spoke with told me they are having a lot of trouble with the new forms for updates. So if any of you are traveling soon, please make sure that any updates to your homestudy have been sent to the consulate by the USCIS. Check with your agency but I believe that the USCIS should send you a "Notice of Action" once they have been sent.

Thanks again for your prayers and praise God he is already moving on our behalf!!!!! He has shown us over and over on this journey and especially here in China what an awesome God He is! His heart for the orphan is HUGE! We have been watching Him transform a life literally right before our eyes. He is more worthy of our worship and our praise than I can very express in words!!!!!! I look forward to rejoicing with you all in person very soon!!!!

Sitting happily at the feet of the Father,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We LOVE Shamian Island!!!!

Our only scheduled event for the day was a group picture with about a third of the families in our travel group. The other two thirds went to two provinces and our group picture is comprised of the families that traveled to their child's province alone or with just one or two other families. KayLi didn't want to sit still so we didn't exactly get a great shot :0( Maybe the picture our guide took will be a little better.

We headed back to Shamian Island after our picture was taken. We REALLY love that island. It is an amazingly peaceful place in the middle of what feels like traffic chaos to these country folks. I've heard that the parks around our hotel are that way as well and I'm sure we will get to them before we leave. Right now we are thrilled with the beautiful trees on the island.

We also REALLY love Lucy's. So we headed there for lunch again today. While we waited for our food to arrive, we played our new favorite game....makin' silly faces at each other. Pitifully this face started the first time Emily told KayLi no. "Bu" is no in Chinese so KayLi had no idea what Emily was saying. She just mimicked the way Emily said it...chin down, eyes open wide and eyebrows raised! Eventually I'm sure she will learn the meaning of the word no but right now this face is cracking us up! I'm so thankful that she does understand what Bu means. She decided to play in the toilet today and I broke her heart by telling her bu in a firm voice for the first time. Seriously this was the first time I have had to scold her...pretty amazing. Typically most 35 month olds wouldn't be so fascinated by toilets but it was pretty obvious that KayLi had never seen one. Or at least not one like this before. We have a few pictures from an update the orphanage sent and in one of them there are potty chairs lined against a wall. I'm sure she used those but this girl LOVES to flush the toilet! I'm actually a little happy that she won't be using the frog potty chair I bought a couple days before we left. Oh and just for the record I figured out how to help a toddler use a squaty potty today...yeah. If you are traveling here and want a few tips, e-mail me. I'll save the rest of you from the gory details :0)

We can't help but stop and pose by the bronze statues! It's actually nice to see Chinese people pose with them too...it helps us feel less like tourist. :0) Since we couldn't read the plaque next to this statue we aren't sure if this statue depicts the progression of Chinese women or three generations of Chinese women. If any of you that have already been here have any idea, I'd love your take..

We found the coolest store called A Gift From China. It was founded as a non profit store by an English woman who adopted her daughter from here. All the profits go to help Chinas orphans. It was wonderful to shop a little while Allie, Emily and KayLi played with toys in a corner of the store. They had some of the cutest Chinese dolls and even some Christian things....sooo cute! You can even shop online at www.agiftfromchina.com They had so many things that I wanted and I'm sure I'll be visiting their site often once we are home.

One of our favorite purchases of the day were silk throw blankets for Emily & KayLi. Emily's is red & purple with flowers. It will look so cute in her room. KayLi's is pink and soft green with dragon flies...she loves loves to run her hands over it. She went right to sleep when I put it on her at the end of our gloriously slow day. Allie and Emily also found mandarin style shirts that they are thrilled with. Allies is cotton and he wants to get a couple more tomorrow. They both surprised me when they wanted them but I'm glad they like them...they look cute in them :0) Oh and I found some of the cutest little silk shoes for KayLi. They will look so sweet with Sunday School dresses!

Tomorrow is our consulate appointment and I would appreciate yours prayers that everything will go smoothly. The adoption is final here but now our government has to look through all our paperwork and issue KayLi a visa. It's the last hurtle to jump through and then we we will pick up KayLi's visa Thursday and head to LA on Friday. Then lastly we will leave LA for Midland on Saturday. Oh and please keep praying for KayLi's ear. She finished the antibiotics today but we wasted about four doses the first couple days when she would spit it out so bad...we finally started putting it in kiwi milk to get it down. Any port in a storm right? Anyway, she still messes with it a little but it doesn't smell anymore. I'm not sure if it's gone but it's A LOT better. So thanks so much for your prayers both past and present. I appreciate them and your sweet comments more than you know.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sights & Shops

Yesterday was a free day and it was soooooo nice to do some sight seeing and relax. Our guides scheduled a trip to a folk art museum that is housed in the Chen family temple. We loved the details in the architecture and the intricately carved wood....amazing really! We also liked the dog topiary that was in front.

Bronze statues like this one are becoming a common sight. There are some in a few parks and this was on in front of the temple. Poor KayLI looks as confused as I was about why Emily and Allie decided to pose like this.

After the museum we went to a tea store that taught you about the various types of tea here while you enjoyed tasting them. It was fun to see all the different types of tea pots and I was so excited to find KayLi a cute little tea set.

We spent a very relaxing evening in our room and KayLi had so much fun playing in the bath. It is is amazing to me how far she has come in such a short period of time. Some of the families have had a rough road but most like us has had rough moments that are surrounded by pure joy. KayLi loves to tease, tickle and be tickled. Especially by her JieJie.

Today we had to go back to the medical exam clinic and have KayLi's TB test read. All of the children over the age of two had to be tested and they were all fine. After that we found the famous Lucy's restaurant for a late lunch on Shamian Island. It was wonderful! Traci, I'm sorry I gave the impression that we have loved all the food. It has been a little frustrating. Several times we have ordered four or five dishes only to discover we like one or two of them. Pizza hut and Lucy are at the top of our list so far.

As soon as we finished eating we did some touristy shopping on the island. We found a store named Jordan's where the owner writes your childs name in Chinese characters for free. It's a fun little store that proudly boasts "No high pressure sales." We LOVED this sales approach! I could actually think about who Iwas shopping for and caluclate the exchange rates without someone asking constantly "You like this one? I make you good price."

This island, like every place else we have visited, is so beautiful!

I'm so thankful that KayLi lets me brush her teeth with out any problems. Tonight I let her brush them herself and was thrilled to discover that she knew what she was dong and did a good job of it. I think she may have a couple cavities, which is pretty common for cleft babies. Her palate doesn't look bad to me but what do I know :0)

Yeah....you gotta love this kid!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Catching Up

I guess I have some catching up and a little clarifying to do. We haven't had internet troubles, we have just been annoyed that we are at a five star hotel and have to pay for internet access. I kept thinking I would go down to Starbucks and get online for free there but it's not looking like that's ever going to work out. I called my mom, who called TJ and gave her some highlights to post but it's not nearly as fun without the pictures. Besides. literally playing the "telephone game" caused a few things to get mixed up in the relay. But it's all good...I'll correct them as I go along.

Allie's allergies acted up pretty good in Shandong so when we first got to the hotel in Guangzhou Emily and KayLi & I went exploring while he rested a little. We discovered that the China Hotel Marriott has a beautiful tea garden. So the girls posed for a few pictures for me while we walked around.

We also discovered a little playroom. KayLi absoultly LOVED this blue bouncy cow. She bounced all the way across the room and laughed harder than we had heard so far. If you happened to have an extra blue bouncy cow...I know I little girl who would love to have it!

Ok, I know two girls who would love to have it!

After Allie woke up we headed out to do the real exploring. We hadn't ventured far from the hotel when we went in a 7-11 to get a few bottles of water and found these tasty looking varieties of Pringles. If any of you are in the mood for some seaweed, clam or shrimp flavored Pringles I know right where you can find them.

Yesterday was the most stressful day of our journey so far. In the morning we had to leave the hotel early to go get the medical exams for all the babies. As all the families with their new children were meeting at the breakfast buffet, all we wanted to do was hear everyones stories of how things went in all the different provinces. Instead, we were rushing through the buffet, knowing we were going to take our children to get poked and prodded...just when they are beginning to trust us.

KayLi did fine until we took her shoes off. She really like her shoes! When we went to the ENT room, the doctor had to get a different doctor when she looked into KayLi's left (cleft side) ear. I was a little concern until the doctor said there was just a lot of ear wax. KayLi never even whimpered as they examined her ears and then removed more earwax than I have ever seen! I hope it releaves some of the pressure for her. The doctor said only her right ear is infected. This is the ear that you could smell infection in, so I wasn't surprised. It breaks my heart that she has been on antibiotics since Monday (gotcha) and here it is Saturday and it's still infected. I had hoped it would have cleared up by now. At least she doesn't mess with it as much. So maybe it's at least a little better.

Since KayLi is over two years old, she had to be TB tested. It was excruciating to watch her get stuck with a needle when she wasn't over the trauma of having her shoes taken off. We will go back tomorrow (Monday) and let the doctor read the results...I'm sure she's fine. I was so glad when we were able to take her outside and walk around a little while we waited for the other's to finish. It was also the first chance we had to visit with a few of the other families. It is amazing how different everyones experiences were. Even those who went to the same province, all had their unique stories to tell.

After the medical exams we headed back to the hotel and had a "paperwork party" to get our immigration paperwork in line for our side of the border. It lasted over three hours! When it was finally over, my brain was so fried, I literally couldn't remember my room number. I had to go back to our guides room to ask them what it was. One mom told me at dinner that she was shaking when it was finished! So many of us have had issues with immigration over the last four years that we are all scared to death to have any problems at this stage of the game. In my heart I know God will see us through this last major task but it is unbelievably stressful! I'm so thankful that our guides are very experienced and have a handle on everything.

On a lighter note, we all went to a Japanese dinner tonight that was very nice. I wish I had thought to take some pictures of us. At first we thought we would be sitting around the table, on the floor. But their was room for our legs under the table...you just feel like you are sitting on the floor. The food was very good but Allie said it wasn't as authentic as he had been hoping for. After such a crazy day it was nice to sit in a tranqual environment and enjoy a relaxing meal.

At the end of our super stressful day, we went back to our room to rest for some sight seeing the next day. When we went into our room we all stared to take off our shoes. When we did we kinda lined them up along the wall and it was so cute to watch KayLi sit down and take her shoes off and line hers up with ours. After just going through the shoe removal trauma at the medical exam, it was so sweet to see her happy about following our lead and willingly taking them off. Now she likes to line them up there if we don't put them in the right spot.

We watched Daddy Daycare to unwind before calling it a day and I think KayLi had the best seat in the house!

Now that we have internet access in our room again, I'll post about todays sightseeing tomorrow. It's after one am and I'm exhausted! One last thing...KayLi has soooo gotten over her fear of the bathtub. In less than a week she has already learned to not just tolerate it but LOVE it! She had so much fun playing in there tonight!

Love & Blessings from Guangzhou China!!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Internet troubles!

Internet has been a problem so Lisa called home and relayed a message for her blog.... via several phone calls so here goes....

They have met up with the other families that they are traveling with. At one point they were all in a room and of course all the kids took off their shoes. KayLi was not impressed I guess, started talking to the other kids (in mandrian!) and soon the shoes were lined up against the wall. In the hotel KayLi has a drawer that all her toys are kept in and when she is done playing she puts them up herself - without being told!

Allie and Lisa took KayLi to the doctor for her ear. They were amazed at the amount of wax that came out of her ears. KayLi is still taking medicine, but her ear is much better now.

KayLi is well behaved. she understands "no" and does not throw a fit when she hears it. She is also very cuddly and loves to be held by her daddy. Oh and typical of children from an orphanage she started out hoarding her food but in just a few days is already starting to share her food. Awesome!

For Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles; KayLi loves the dress up beads and her bows. She also gets very excited when they open the suitcase to find out what she gets to wear that day.

Thats all I have today. Hopefully soon we will get something from Lisa that I can post.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

We got off to a great start on our last day in KayLi's home province. Once KayLi bounced on her Baba's stomach for awhile, we had breakfast at the hotel's "western" buffet again. It's a great buffet but I have to admit that the pan fried dumpling (amazing!) and the steamed vegetables for breakfast are cracking us up. I have to remember to take the camera before we leave to get a few pictures of KayLi eating Congee. She LOVES it and eats it sooooo fast!

Then we headed to the notary office to pick up the last of our paperwork from here. KayLi really doesn't like the car. She got carsick on the way here from the orphanage so we think she may feel sick each time. She pouts pretty good each time we get in one. Please pray for our travels tomorrow. It's an hour drive to the airport and then the first airplane ride. Her left ear is still pretty bad. She messes with it a lot! I cleaned it a little today and you would not have believed what was on the q-tip. I have never seen black earwax before but it was almost black. We are planning to give her medicine before the flight but I'm still concerned...please pray hard.

It was such a huge relief to leave the office and know that all of the paperwork on China's side is finished. I'm not sure if you would call it a celebration but we went to McDonald's again for lunch. They have Hello Kitty happy meal toys and apparently when you order one this sweet person brings your toy to the table after you are seated. She and Emily were both sweet enough to humor me and let me take their picture!

Allie and Emily got ice cream cones before we left and is seems KayLi has never had ice cream before. I love the face she makes when she tries something new and isn't sure about it! We have seeen that face alot the last few days. She love french fries by the way.

She REALLY liked the ice cream!!! This was as soon as she swallowed!!!! 

Baths are not going well at all. She cries from start to finish with the worst of when you are washing and rinsing her hair. But after her bath she was very sweet. She has been playing with the little panda they brought with her and with the doll we brought. She was calling them both wawa until today. Emily watched Kung Fu Panda again and taught KayLi to say panda. So now she calls the panda "Panda wawa." She puts them both to bed on the pillow and speaks to them in Chinese a little. It's so sweet.

We are surprised at how much Chinese (or should I say Mandarine?) she speaks. Allie has been repeating words and phrases to her in English a lot and today she repeated several back to him. My favorite was "Howdy!" Then we cracked up at her because she started repeating Chinese words and phrases to him. We videoed for almost 45 minutes of it. She kept talking and he kept repeating what she said...she loved it! I can;t wait to show the guide tomorrow and learn what she is saying. When we get home I;m sure Allie will get it on Youtube and I'll post a link. It's hilarious how animated she was getting as she gave him his first Chinese lesson!

We noticed at in Beijing that a lot of the people her get very funny with how they pose when they are having their picture taken. You see people holding up the peace sign with their fingers A LOT but they also just pose in silly ways. It seems that KayLi has been taught to pose too. She loves sitting in the velvet chairs in our room and when I got the camera to take a couple pictures of the way she runs her hands over and over the velvet she immediately started posing. Is that the most beautiful smile you have ever seen or what!?!?

A little side note for the aunts and Grandma's who have been asking;
Most of her 3T clothing is bordering on too small and the size 7 white sandals don't fit. Mom, if you could get a soft bed rail before we get home it would be awesome...she is all over the place when she sleeps! It creates some seriously funny bedhead!!!!

Tomorrow we begin the last half of our journey here and I can't believe it's half over. It's a little bitter sweet. I'm so excited to meet up with our travel group and meet the families with their new children! Leaving here will be very hard though. I feel like I owe this beautiful place the biggest debt of gratitude ever.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Praise God for Third Days!!!!!!!

And for friends that pray hard!!! Today was sooooo much better than yesterday!!!! No meltdowns!!!!!

She woke up easier this morning and we didn't have to play our new game "Pass the Baby" for long before she was happy. We headed down to breakfast and from there to the Pearl Spring...one of seventy plus natural springs in Jinan. It was beautiful!!!! There are tons of Koi in the ponds that the springs form but KayLi wasn;t very interested. She was very happy just to walk around the park and try and make new friends.

This little girls grandma was trying to teach her granddaughter that KayLi was more than just a friend though. She keep telling her that KayLi was her Mei Mei (little sister). She was well intended but it basically just confused KayLi. She's already been told once this week that totally strangers are her family and you could tell she just didn't get it.

A little further into the park we found the source of the spring and it was so pretty!

Emily climbed to the top of these really neat rocks with steps carved into them.

But KayLi just wanted to continue wandering around to her hearts content...with her daddy follow close behind her. We tried to take a couple pictures in front of this pagoda but she wouldn't stand still!

Emily wasn't feeling well so we decided to head back to our hotel room and have some ramen noodles that we picked up at the store for lunch. KayLi LOVES noodles!!!!! And it freaked us out that the ramen came with a folded plastic fork in side.

I can't tell you how relieved I was when we tried to get KayLi to take a nap and it happened with only a minimum amount of whining. She messes with her ears so much when she lays down that we have started giving her children's Tylenol before she sleeps.

After her nap we just kicked it in our room for the rest of the afternoon. I think the mellow chill time was good for our bonding. We played with coloring books and KayLi thought it was soooo funny to put the stickers on her forehead.

Emily just thought it was pretty funny to watch Kung Fu Panda on the laptop in China.

Thank you all soooo much for your prayers and sweet comments. It has meant so much to know that yo all are lifting us up as we adjust to one another and all the changes. I can't believe how much easier today was! She is sooooooo sweet and girly!!!! She loves her hair bows! We can hardly get the dress up beads off of her. Each time we take out a new outfit or pair of pajamas she gets so excited. She loves it when Allie puts Germ x on her hands...like it's pretty lotion or something? I wish I had brought some pink nail polish...somehow I think she will love it too! Oh and for those of you that have asked, she's wearing the 3T clothes perfectly and her shoes fit!

Praise God for what he is doing in the precious child's life! It is amazing to see her enjoying our attention and love. Yesterday had it's ups and downs but like a couple of you commented...joy came in the morning!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Gotcha & Day Two

Before I attempt to run through the last two very over whelming days, let me first apologize for a few things. First of all for not posting. Thanks TJ, for grabbing a few pictures off Allie's Facebook! Also for how blurry our Gotcha Day pictures are. In the craziness of the moment, I didn't realize that my new camera wasn't set right when I handed it to our guide to take some pictures of us. Plus, I'm sorry for all the bad grammar...exhaustion and a lack of time are my feeble excuses. Sadly it will probably be an issue until awhile after we are home. And lastly for the fact that Allie isn't in any of our pictures. Each one that he is in, someone from the orphanage is also in. Since I can't put their pictures on the internet and can't crop them out on the laptop... well sorry. Oh and I guess I should apologize for how long this post will be since I missed yesterday but well, I really can't apologize much for that one :0)

When we first saw our guide at the airport, I asked her when we would meet KayLi. When she told us that she was already at the hotel waiting for us, I almost completely lost it. I was certain that we would be able to go to our room and collect ourselves before the big moment. Then I was just glad that I wouldn't have to wait for them to arrive. As soon as we pulled up to the hotel I could see her through the glass doors. I forgot all about our luggage and just went straight in to her. She seemed ok until she saw me crying, then she cried a little too but she still came to me. The doctor from the orphanage encouraged her and told her something, then she looked at me and said "Hi mama" I can't even describe what it was like to hear her say that, to see her and hold her for the first time. But I think that now I have an idea of what God must feel when we first accept him as our Lord and walk tentatively into His arms. Pure and complete joy.

After awhile we went to our room and KayLi was surprisingly very happy and animated. She loved her sunglasses! She kept looking through them and then over, watching the color of the lens change her view. Each time she would giggle as she pushed the glasses back up to her eyes. Just too cute! My poor camera still wasn't set right but I will always love this picture regardless of how out of focus it is.

We rushed down to the hotel restaurant to grab some lunch as quickly as possible. The guide and all three of the orphanage workers would be back in an hour to go with us to the civil affairs office as well as the notary office. I was really hoping we would have the rest of the day to spend in our room getting to know each other but the orphanage workers wouldn't be able to come back so this was it. At least it meant we would get a lot of it out of the way. Plus as we drove around Jinan to the different locations, I was able to ask the doctor from the orphanage many questions.

All of the orphanage workers were very caring and I was surprised by the number of pictures they took of us. He took my e-mail address and said he would send some to me. As well as some others that he had on his camera that he showed me. Stephanie, there was a very sweet one of KayLi & Selena that I pray he sends. He showed it to me when I asked if KayLi had a special friend. When KayLi saw it she called Selena something that was kind of like "Who who" so be sure to ask them what her nickname is. He also gave me a copy of KayLi's finding ad....a huge blessing. Lydie, when I asked about Alexandre's ad, he showed me that he is on the same page as KayLi. I didn't ask about Della or Selena's ads and I'm so sorry. Maybe if we have KayLi's translated, they are on it too. He said they are both fine but wouldn't elaborate much. I think he will give you a copy of theirs if you ask. They brought the two outfits we sent, the pink bear, both pairs of shoes, two hairbows and the cameras also. He showed me the photo album we had sent but asked if they could keep it as a souvenir. I wanted it for KayLi so badly but how could I say no when they had just given us a child? So many families never even know if their child received the care package. I'm thankful that it looked dirty and worn. I'm certain that they used it and taught her about us, she even says Emily!

After all the paperwork tasks of the day were complete we finally went back to our hotel for dinner and called it a day. KayLi did fine for about an hour, then she realized that she wasn't leaving and had a huge meltdown. Nothing we did was much comfort to her and she finally cried herself to sleep while Allie held and rocked her. We all went straight to bed, not knowing if she would wake up and have us up half the night. It was the most heart breaking thing ever to watch her mourn for all she has know in her life, with strangers trying to comfort her. It was the most helpless feeling not to have words that would ease her pain. The phrases we have learned must sound so strange to her with our lousy accents that lack any correct tones. I was so thankful that once she was asleep, she slept peacefully all night.

We woke up almost two hours before she did and just held our breath at the way she would react to waking up with strangers in a strange place. She didn't melt down again but she was very apathetic about it. She just sort of laid around on each of us, one after the other. It didn't take too long before some of her toys caught her eye and she was happy and animated again. We get dressed and headed down to breakfast and she went to town! She used her spoon with her left hand to eat her conji (sp?) and we are watching to see if she's left handed.

We headed across the street to do some shopping but the stores don't open until nine. We decided to get a couple sodas at Mc Donalds and she loved their little play area. She went straight up the steps to the slide.

It was so good to see her happy!

And amazing to finally see Emily be the big sister she has longed to be!

We headed back to the "supermarket" which is very nice...this was no Carrefour store! This is like a very nice mall with many flours and a small upscale grocery store all in one. We rented KayLi a stroller and when she liked it, we were on a mission to get one. Thank God we found one because gets heavy quick! Then we headed back to Mc Donalds and got lunch to take to the hotel. All that without a guide...pretty scary but we did it!

We were totally unsuccessful at getting KayLi down for a nap. She was doing the meltdown thing again and Allie eventually tried walking the hotel hallways with her in the stroller. She's fine on the move but really doesn't want to be in this hotel room. It didn't work, not much does once she's tired. Our guide called a little later and said we could go pick up KayLi's passport already. So by the time we took care of that it was time for dinner where KayLi was totally happy and animated again.

Unfortunately it didn't last. Almost as soon as we were back in the room she melted down again. We didn't even try for a bath tonight...last night's was a nightmare. We just got her into pajamas, passed her from person to person when she wanted to and eventually she crashed in Allie's arms....just like last night. Basically she was either very happy or terribly sad all day with very little in between. It's exhausting to watch her, so I can only imagine what it is all like for her. Sooooo many changes...my heart breaks.

I'm so thankful that we were able to bring antibiotics with us because she has ear infections in both ears that you can literally smell. The doctor from the orphanage told us that she has had several but that they always clear up.Which makes me think he knows she has them now. She's had three doses and the smell seemed a little less intense tonight but maybe I'm getting used to it. She messes with her right ear the most and it has the strongest odor. I was expecting an infection in her left ear but I'm certain it's worse in the right. Please pray that they heal quickly. Our flight to Guangzhou is Friday and we really for her ears to be cleared up before then.

These have been, beyond a doubt, the most joyous and challenging two days of my life. When she is understood and happy, her smile is huge and her laugh is contagious. But when she is confused or mourning over all she has lost, it is gut wrenching. Please pray that what I have read on so many blogs is true...that the third day is when they begin to accept the changes. We are almost helpless at comforting her once she begins to meltdown and we really need to see God's transforming power at work soon. I understand that bounding is a process and I am prepared for it to take time. But while we go through this process please pray that God will be our comfort and that He will give us wisdom. Pray that tomorrow there will be more joy than sadness and that KayLi will know how very loved she is.