Tuesday, October 29, 2013

So close to home

Well friends, we are less than 24 hours from getting on a plane to head home.  I will say, this trip has given me new appreciation for our wonderful country.  We have problems, but it is amazing!!!  There are so many things that I have taken for granted for years that I have found a new appreciation for.  Being able to drink water out of the tap, being able to have something REALLY cold to drink, and some of the social gestures like a man holding the door for me, or someone letting me go in front because I'm pushing a stroller!  I truly miss the male chivalry that I've grown so accustomed to, and I appreciate my husband for being that kind of guy so much more now. 

It has been a long trip for sure.  I never thought I would survive leaving the boys for two weeks, but knowing they were home having fun with their friends and doing their tae kwon do, and being taken so well care of by my parents has made it so much easier.  That being said, I can't wait to get my arms around them!!!!  They are such troopers with all of this, and they are so excited to meet their sister.  She has been carrying around the book we sent to her for the last 10 days and today she started kissing their pictures.  With her smile, all the boys in our house are in big trouble!  I've already told her that cute won't take her quite as far with me as it does with daddy!
She has already learned that when she takes her bows out, she has to take them to daddy to get them back in, mommy has stopped that game already!

We are so ready to be back with our family and friends.  I think I have also taken for granted my friends, and being able to go next door or pick up the phone and call.  It is such a needed thing to have amazing friends, and I do.  We have been able to keep up with some notes and messages, but nothing beats spending a couple of hours just talking and being together.  It's hard to go through something like this without them.  I can't wait to have her meet them! 

For now, we are planning to take things one day at a time and see how she does.  We have been so blessed here, and her behavior has been amazing, and are hoping of course it keeps up, but who knows!  We are going to try to not overwhelm her with too many people, but here she has loved to go out and be around people, so I think she will be okay.  No parties for a little, but we do want to see everyone!!
These are the 5 kiddos from our travel group.  This pretty much sums it up...the little girl on the left is looking for her mom, who is trying to hide behind the couch so she doesn't scream.  It was just as funny to watch as it seems :)
This is our travel group.  It was a great group of people to travel with, it was nice to have other families to go through all of this with!

A girl's gotta have shoes, right?
Just a little side note while speaking of shoes.  If you see Jeremy, be sure to check out his feet.  We were out shopping with a guide and while on the subway, she looked down, and went nuts over his feet.  She told him that he could make alot of money as a Chinese foot model, as his feet were "perfect".  Who knew??  Guess maybe he missed his calling.  Guess if the restaurant has problems, we would have other avenues to explore....hehehe

Friday, October 25, 2013

Gotcha Day

I've been waiting to write this post until I had a better internet connection, and here in Guanzhou, it's much better, so here it goes.....

We flew out of Beijing on Sunday around lunch, and before we even could fly out, we were both stressed.  We didn't get to the counter to check in for our flight until about 40 minutes before the flight left, so that of course started everything off a little crazy!  We went right from the check-in through security, and then through the gate and onto a bus to the plane.  Nice to not have to wait, but a little nerve wracking being there "right on time".  So, we made the flight, had the pleasure of sitting in the middle seat in two different rows, and I got to sit next to the loudest snorer I've ever heard!  If I spoke Chinese, I considered telling him he might want to see his doctor about some sleep apnea...but, I wasn't sure how to translate all that!

We made it to the airport in Lanzhou, and met with our guide, Melody.  She was very nice, very fast, and very excited!  We had to try to keep up with her to make it to the car.  When we got in the car, she told us that they were on the way with our baby to the hotel, and she had about a 3-4 hour drive to get there.  She said we would change money with a "guy" in our hotel room before they got there.  Then, about halfway through the hour long trip to the hotel, she tells us that they actually are already there with her, and that they are taking her to get something to eat and then will meet us.  So, she says we will either change money or get our baby first....whoever is there first.  Uh, okay.....I can't even put into words what I was thinking/feeling.  She's giving us the run down of what we need to do when we get to the hotel.  Change money, find our gifts for everyone, find toys for the baby.  Okay, sounds easy enough.  Hahahahaha!  Like it happened just like that.....

We are driving past a cross street and I see 4 people walking together carrying a baby in a pink coat, and I say to Jeremy, "that's her."  I've been looking at those pictures for months, I could spot her anywhere.  She was less than a block from the hotel.  I didn't say anything to the guide, I figured she would think I was crazy!  We go into the hotel and the "guy" to change money is waiting in the lobby.  Jeremy is getting passports to check in and in walks these people carrying the little girl in the pink jacket.  I couldn't say anything, I couldn't believe it, she was there....in person....not a picture, but really our baby, in the same room.  She had no idea what was going on, of course.  Our guide had a stroller for her and they put her in, and I assume we got checked into the hotel, but to tell you the truth I have no idea what was going on.

Here comes the comical part.  It wasn't funny at the time, but looking back I wish I could have seen it from the outside.  From the beginning I've been terrified that we would offend someone, or do something that would make them take her away from us.  I'm probably paranoid, but the culture here is just so different.  That being said, picture this.  There is the "money guy", the orphanage director, a doctor (we later found out), the driver, a woman I assume was a nanny, and our guide and us all in the elevator going to our room.  We get to the room, and our guide tells us to find the gifts...what???  You want me to go through the luggage and find this stuff with everyone here and my baby here, and what????  So, of course my brain is gone and I couldn't for the life of me remember where those stupid gifts were.  After what seemed like an eternity, we managed to find some of them and threw things in a bag and handed them over, I asked my questions (though I'm pretty sure the answers weren't the most accurate), and all but the "money guy" left.  All I have to say is, thank God for Jeremy who had the sense to find the camera in there somewhere and snap some pictures!
The arms in this picture are of the "driver", but he was also there the next day at civil affairs and she obviously knew him pretty well, so not really sure who he was

No idea what to say to my daughter....

Candy is the universal language!!
So, Jeremy  handled all of the money stuff, and that was done, which is still weird that this little old guy came to our room to exchange money....but whatever, then we were left alone with this beautiful little thing.  We were soon off to get her picture made and do something else that i can't remember because the day is a blur....

Officially the craziest, most wonderfully wild day of my life.  I will never forget the sweating trying to find everything in our bags with all of these eyes on me.  Trying to not pull a bra or something out of the bags while digging....funny now....wanted to crawl under a rock then.....but would do it all again if it meant having this face smiling at me!!!
Yep, I could eat her!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hello from China!

Hello all!!  Many of you have already seen a few pictures from Gotcha day on FB, and I wanted to get a few up here also.  The internet here is not so good, so I'm going to try to just get a few pictures up.  It should be better in Guanzhou, so maybe we can get more posted then.  Lainey is doing so well, and truly even better than we could have hoped!  She's been laughing and talking and eating and sleeping.  We couldn't have asked for more.  She of course is gorgeous, and we are over the moon in love with her!!!!!
Her red footprint and our red thumb prints mean that our adoption is final and she is FOREVER ours!!!!!!

While we were doing the adoption paperwork, she was also hard at work!

Best.  Smile.  Ever.

We got her new shoes today, and she didn't take them off until she had to have a bath!         

We are doing so great!!  Her laugh is probably the best sound I have ever heard.  We have a few more days here in her province, so we are going to see as much as we can here, and then we head out on Friday.  We have gotten to facetime with the boys, but miss them so much.  I just can't wait until we can all be home and just be a normal family (well, as normal as our family can be anyway!!)

Thank you for your prayers, this is truly a prayer answered for us and we are so thankful for our many many many blessings.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Day We have Been Waiting For

Here we are....its GOTCHA day!!!!!!  it's 4 in the morning here, and to be honest, the alarm is set for about 445, but Jeremy has been up for a while, and I'm up, so I figured I'd take a minute to send out an update.  It was amazing yesterday to climb the Great Wall and see the Forbidden City.  Never in a million years did I think we would get to see these places.  Jeremy climbed as far as possible with another dad in our travel group and they were able to get some pretty incredible pictures up there.  I didn't climb quite as far, and realized how out of shape I am!!  Didn't help that I have a cold...but probably there's no good excuse!!

The Great Wall was really amazing, and I'm so thankful that we were able to see it.  This is truly a once in a lifetime trip!!

We will be flying out of Beijing at 850, and then they should bring Lainey to us around 2 or 3 at the hotel.  I was trying to pack things up last night and thought, what do I want to wear tomorrow when we meet our daughter.....for the record, there is no answer for that.  There is nothing that is worthy of that meeting!!  Next post will be pictures of our newest family member!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for praying, please keep up the prayers, especially today as Lainey's whole little world is turned upside down.  Pray that we can find the right way to comfort her and show her how much we love her!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The time is here....

Tomorrow is the day that we have been waiting for for close to two years.  Tomorrow is the day that our lives change forever.  Well, maybe not actually tomorrow, since it will be just spent on an airplane, but by far, this the most important flight either of us has ever been on.  Tomorrow, at 155 in the afternoon our flight will leave from Charlotte and get to Chicago, and then after a bit of a layover, we will be on the way to Beijing.  Truly, I never in a million years would have ever thought I would be saying that.  I've never had a great need to go to China, but now, since my daughter is there, it is the only place I need to be!  I feel like I should be running around getting things ready, but really....we are ready.  Bags are packed, plans are made, and we are ready.  I do feel strangely peaceful tonight.  I know that the boys are in good hands with my parents and with our friends who are helping to get them to some of their many places to be.  I know that He who has brought us here will be with us and will have control over everything and it really doesn't do me any good to stress.  I know I've said that before and not really meant it, but I really do feel like I have kind of let go of the worry for once.  Never thought I would say that one either!!

This will be a trip we will never forget.  But, I know that the next two weeks for Lainey are going to turn her entire world upside down.  I feel like we need to be as calm as possible to help her to handle all that this change is going to throw at her.  Please pray for her.  Pray that her heart will be ready for us, and pray that she will somehow feel how much we love her and only want her to be happy and loved.  Pray that she can somehow understand what parents are, and what a family is, so that she can know how much we love her.  As excited as we are to be her parents, she will not be feeling that.  We will do everything we can to show her how much love we have for her, and we pray that God will show us what is best for her. 

We should get her in our arms while you are sleeping between Saturday night and Sunday morning.  We will try to post pictures here and to FB as soon as we can, but it will not be until after we have been able to facetime with the boys so that they can "meet" her first.  And, the internet is pretty fussy over there, so it may take a little time.  Obviously our first priority is her and getting her settled, so we won't be doing anything until then.  So, be patient :)  Thank you to so many people who have supported us with prayers, words, time, money, we truly could not be doing any of this without the support you have given us, and I cannot tell you how much it means to us to have so many people in our corner to get her home.  Please keep the prayers coming, we SOO need those!!!

Next stop....CHINA!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Almost there....so many emotions

If you have been following along, you will know that we are getting close to having our Lainey in our arms!  One week from tomorrow we will get on a plane, then another plane, and then be on our way to China.  One week....just one week.  They will bring her to us on that Sunday, which is Jeremy's birthday (happy birthday daddy!!!!), and her adoption should actually be legally finalized on that Monday, the 21st.  She will be ours.  Forever.  I have already talked about the traumatic events that lead up to this day, and we will be trying to remember everything she's gone through before she gets to us, and try to remember that everything will be new to her also.

As we are so filled with overwhelming joy, I can't help but think of the incredible loss that has had to happen for us to be allowed to have her as part of our family.  She has a biological mother.  Words can't express the admiration and love that I feel for this woman.  I cannot fathom how difficult it must have been to make the decision to give your child up in the hope that she could have a better life, even if that is with someone else.  I look at my boys, and I cannot even think of what my circumstances would have to be to make that my best option.  I so wish that there was some way to let her know that her baby is loved, she will be taken care of, and that she will grow up in a family that will love her like she was born into our family.  I wonder if she goes to sleep thinking of what happened to her, I wonder if she has brothers and sisters, I wonder if she ever regrets that difficult decision.  I admire the strength she must have had to birth this child and care for her for months (she was not a newborn when found), and then have to wrap her up and leave her.  I wonder if she watched to make sure that someone found her, I wonder if she walks by where she left her and thinks of her.

For now, I can pray for this incredible woman.  I can pray that somehow she will know that she will be loved by another mother, that she will be loved by her other daddy, and that she will be loved by her brothers and other family.  I can pray that her heart can heal from this loss, and that she can have peace that she made the right decision.  I can pray that Lainey will always know that she is so blessed to have been loved by this first mommy, and that because she loved her so much, she also gets to be loved by this second mommy.  I can pray that there is enough room in her heart to accept me as her mommy and know that I couldn't love her more if I did carry her.  I know that being a mommy is so much more than carrying and delivering a baby, it's love, it's hard decisions, and it's trying to do what is best.  Lainey is so blessed that both of her mommies love her so much and will do whatever they can to give her the best life possible.  I hope that in some way this first mommy can know what a blessing this little one is to us.  We truly feel that God has led us to this exact child at this exact time, and could not be more blessed by the opportunity to be her parents.