Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We Are Home and Yes I am Finally Posting with Pictures

Okay I have heard you all loud and clear - update your blog Dawn!!!! We arrived home on July 10, but have been going non stop since then so I am just now getting to updating our blog and hope to be able to keep it updated more frequently now so you can follow along as we settle back in to life. This will be a longer post as I catch you up, so sit back and get a cup of coffee and enjoy!

We returned from China at 11:15pm on July 10. This was a 3 hour flight from Guangzhou to Beijing, followed by a 14 hour flight to DC, followed by an hour flight home. This was HARD! Grace sleeps light so every time a baby cried - she woke. And there were a lot of babies on this flight. Either that, or the people in front of us chose to keep their lights on to read, or she was wrestless sleeping on me. All of that made for a hard time for us. All things considered though I can't complain, she slept on and off, played, we walked some, she ate and watched a little Toy Story on the movie channel. As hard as this was, in hind site it was a blessing. Why you ask, well...

Because we headed straight home after being picked up by our boys and PawPaw. My dear friend Missy and her two little ones surprised us as well by being there with a big balloon at the airport. We then went home and we put our suitcases down, grabbed new ones and packed for Cooperstown, NY for Christian's baseball tournament, and by 2:00am we were on the road for a 12 hour drive to Cooperstown. Grace did not like the car seat, I chose to make her a pallet on the back seat of the van after her travels the past 24 hours and she slept half the trip. This meant a more enjoyable car ride, we got some sleep (except Guy who drove the whole time since when awake she wanted me). We had no issue with getting her on US time - this did it! She by the way is now adjusted to the car seat.

We arrived at Cooperstown and immediately called the coach who brought Christian out to meet his new sister...very cool! Everyone fell in love with her and she has transitioned so well, you would think she had been with us her whole life. One of the mom's and good friend, Mary Carol, made her a tshir with her brother's name on it and nick name "Angel Fish" and the Clash name on it along with a visor and she was officially one of the group! She played, laughed and hooted and hollered. Even managed to jump in a mud puddle - you will enjoy thsoe photos. Anything with water, one night what started out as washing hands become sitting in a diaper in the kitchen sink having an all out splash party. We stayed at a lake house and she loved it and loves the water. We even took a boat ride out with our good friends Mike and Pam and their son Cole and she loved that as well.

As for bonding with the kids, she has done great. Jonathon has her heart for sure as you will see in some photos. She adores him. I told him when he asked me, "Mom how can I love her so much and how come she loves me so quick?" I said, because God brings our children and brothers/sisters to us in different ways, most times by birth, but he chose her to come to us at 22 months from China, she has always been your sister and though she doesn't understand in her spirit she knows you Jonathon are her big brother and she knows you love her". It is so beautiful to watch.

Okay and I have to tell you this about Cooperstown. My son Christian's team is more than baseball..they have heart, and they love the Lord. This team played against some of the best in the nation and got further then they ever thought. There were more tears of joy shed by these kids, coaches and family members then I can count. Dreams were fulfilled on that field for these boys and lives were changed, one child even walked away for the first time believing in God. I am amazed how God moves everywhere we invite him! Okay so they placed 9th out of 103 teams. My son also walked away in tears when he pitched a complete game and was given the game ball and in the final game of the week, he hit an out of the park home run! This sealed the week!

We arrived home Friday July 16 and have been unpacking, doing laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning house, catching up on paperwork and life between all the visits of people who have loved her, prayed for her and waited to meet her for almost 4 years. We even pulled off watching one of Logan's games the Saturday we returned. In the midst of all of that we had doctor's appointments, dentist appointments, chiropractor appointments, it all seemed to hit our first week back. But we are settling in. Grace had a hard first doctor's appointment which included a TB test (results negative) and 5 viles of blood taken for blood work (all of which looks good so far). We are waiting for appointments to have her ears and eyes checked, but don't expect issues there. We are also waiting on appointment with pediatric ENT to have her neck checked. We will be seeing a doctor at Wake Forest. Oh she is 26 lbs - 50% on american charts for weight and 75% for height.

So in a nut shell Grace is doing great! She sleeps through the night, about 11 hours and then takes a 2 to 3 hour nap in the day. She loves animals, espeically cats and dogs and monkeys. She loves our animals, especially our cat Molly. She loves to eat! Hotdogs, sausage links, scrambled eggs, watermellon, blueberries, grapes, yogurt, applesause, corn on the cob and carrots are some of her favoirtes, oh and let's not forget M&MS and the Smarties her PawPaw has turned her on to. She grabs his pockets every time she sees him, she is a smart one! I have to take a break on the blueberries and applesause. She stands at the refrigerator and beats on it for more, but the diaper just can't take much more action! She is fun to watch! She is strong willed. She loves to figure things out, and she will!

I can't express how blessed we are. She has brought this family more joy than any of us imagined. She is a huge ray of sunshine to us. Her smile touches the depths of your heart, her laugh is contagious and the hope and strength she carries in her is an inspiration. She is our little miracle, our gift from God and truly completes our family. We waited so long for her...I would not have given up a day of our wait for another child, or a day of my prayer and fasting to seek the Lord that she is ours...she is ours and we are hers and our lives are forever changed. Sometimes I almost forget where she came from, the life she lived before, the fight she fought for her life, the grief and love her nannies extended to her, the unfathomable love of a mother who gave up her child so she could live...but I vow this, that I will never forget, for this was the hand of our God and I will always remember, always! I challenge each of you as you look in her eyes to see beyond the natural, see the unfathamable - the miracle, our gift from a gracious God. I am so honored he picked us to care for and love her and allows us to be her mommy and daddy, her brothers, her family.

Enjoy the photos...we are leaving Saturday for the beach with my sister and her kids for a week, so will have more photos upon our return next weekend.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Our Final Blog Update From China

Well this will most likely be our final blog update from China!  We are winding down. We took our oath yesterday at the US Consulate.  Today at 4:30 we get Grace's Visa and then we are good to come home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Pray for Grace. She has "tonsalitis" so is not feeling good and running a fever. We brought an antiboidic and are giving her tylonal.  We need her to be on the mend before we board a plane tomorrow or that will make for an even longer flight home. 
We leave our hotel tomorrow morning at 7:20am to head to the airport and begin our travels home.  Will be a long time of travel between flying time and layovers in airport between flights so please pray for us all, hard to do with a baby (especially one who is 1)high energy and 2) sick.
So think of us at 7:20pm Friday night your time in the U.S. that is when we leave our hotel to head to the airport and  begin our travels. We will arrive in Charlotte at 11:14pm Saturday night U.S. time. 
I also ask for prayers for our drive to Cooperstown, NY which we will begin as soon as we get home from airport and can switch out suitcases.  Guy and I will take turns driving up.  So pray that we feel rested and safely arrive in Cooperstown without missing much if any of Christian's games on Sunday.  I also ask for prayers for Grace in that 12 hour drive to Cooperstown after all that flying and that she is able to transition to U.S. time zone quickly (12 hour difference is big deal for a little one - causes their days and nights to be flipped).
Okay love you all and can't wait to get home and for you all to meet our beautiful daughter!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The last of the photos for today

Red Couch Pictures

We Are Getting Close ...2 More Days Til We Leave For Home!

We are getting very excited about coming home, just two more days.
We opted out of the Pearl River Cruise last night and went to a local french restaurant instead; good choice food was great and from what I hear not so good on the cruise.  There are a lot of models around with photographers taking their pictures on the island (one photo attached)
This morning we had our "group pictures on the red couch" this is always done at the White Swan Hotel at the end of a trip.  See photos I've attached.  Grace is napping now.  We have to go to the U.S. Consulate at 2:15 (be gone all afternoon) to say our "oath".  Then we are officially done with appointments.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Few More Photos For You

Consulate Appointmentment - PASSED!

Well this morning our CCAI reps went to the US Consulate for our Visa appointment interview with all our paperwork for Grace.  We had to hang around our room from 9:30-11:30 in case there were questions or problems with paperwork.  All went great!  Kids played and Kelly and I took the girls to the playroom some.  Then we went to lunch and kids are napping now.  Guy and Fred went out to do some last minute souvenir shopping and to grab some diapers and wipes we went through. 
Angel House (the foster care home Grace was at) found our blog and the 2 other families and pulled some photos of of us - pretty neat!  They are on their website!
They are having a Pearl River Cruise tonight.  Not sure yet if we will go.  Afraid Grace might get a little antsy and tired and not sure what they are serving for dinner yet. So we will see.  She loves the water and the lights out there will be beautiful.  We will either do that or try the French restaurant down the street. No other big plans, want to run out and get a few more things   -  I know I thought I was done shopping but after thinking about it may go grab a few more things I wish I would have picked up - get me off this island before I am BROKE!  Maybe do the pool a little later we will see.
Enjoy the photos of the girls playing this morning!