31 January, 2014

Traveling Home

Let me tell you traveling to China on a rediculously long flight with very little sleep was impossibly hard. But flying back was just torture. 
13 bags to juggle between 4 adults with 
3 toddlers to carry 
30 hours of traveling with no sleep 

Not our best day.

We had a 4 hour layover in LA and even though it was airport food, this was the kids first meal in America. All three of them in their pajamas, ate their breakfast at dinnertime. 

Ian is easy to get to sleep - he just needs his thumb and his daddy. He still isn't at all interested in loving on me and would prefer anyone else to his momma.

Jovie is very hard to get to sleep - she is a belly sleeper and it was just so hard for her to get comfortable on the flights. She cried a lot until she wore herself out... Luckily she has a weak little cry. 
Mae has been asleep or watching a movie the whole time - she's going to need a detox from TV when we get home.

Cody and I were both on the isle the whole time and found it impossible for us to get comfortable enough to fall asleep too. So there just isn't a word to describe our exhaustion and I'm feeling so sick with bad sore throat and cough.

When we landed in Atlanta we found out how bad the ice storm was and that my sister and Jon could not get down to the airport to pick us up. We are standing at the carrousel getting our luggage and we are the only ones there in the airport. We have to figure out how to connect bags to bags to bags so that we can carry them and figure out where we are carrying them to. We found Marta and bought our tickets and went to stand outside and wait for the train. It is 17 degrees and brutally cold as we waited. A train came but we didn't think it was the one we needed to take but at the last minute someone working for Marta tells us not all the trains are running and to take that train - we moved us and all of our bags on as fast as we could. To see us running with all of our 13 bags and kids, just trying to make it before the doors close was quite a sight. We got on the train and after 20 minutes of jolting stops Ian throws up all over Cody. No warning, he just opens his mouth and vomited all over and over and over. Cody just looked and me and shook his head and laughed. Ian did this right as we had to get off to switch trains. In the freezing cold Cody peels off his and Ian's soaked cloths as I hurry to find something else in a suitcase for them to wear. They get dressed in under a minute and our train arrives as we rushed to stuff puke clothes in suit cases and take a mad dash to the train. 

Ian's coat was soaked so Cody wrapped him up in a blanket and put his hat on him. Such a miserable welcome home. ): 

My sister and Jon met us at the Sandy Springs train station and we quickly got everyone out of the cold and buckled in to start traveling toward home. There was ice and snow on the roads and everywhere lining the road were abandoned cars, it looked something from a movie. We missed the worst of the ice/snow storm thankfully or we wouldn't even have been able to get home at all. 

After 2 weeks in China it was amazing to walk through the door but it felt like a dream to finally be here with these two. It's like we've crossed a finish line. There's still many other races to run but this one has been won! We have our babies home! 
We ate something and all took long naps. We all could have slept the whole day but made ourselves get up so we could sleep at night and try to get back on schedule. It was nearly impossible to wake these two. 
I didn't want to overwhelm the kids with too much but we got out a few toys and watched them as they played. This sweet pumpkin is as happy as can be to sit in one place and play... Ian on the other hand is already opening my kitchen cabinets, climbing up the stool to the counter, opening the container to the fish food... I will be ordering about 5 baby gates today! 

Baths were how we kept them awake until dinner. I am so thankful to my sister who made us enchiladas. We all badly needed a home cooked meal. 

Jovie loved hers and got a second helping but Ian wouldn't even try his. They are so opposite, Jovie eats most things and Ian is very picky. 

Holly is home now too! I was so happy to see our big bear! When she came in Ian was afraid at first and Jovie was the one I was worried about being afraid. Jovie laughed at her and reached out to feel her and got a big kiss in the face - she shook her head no because she didn't like that but she still was a big fan of Holly. Ian started warming up to her and now seems to be fine with her. Holly is so calm and sweet with them. 

We made it to 8:00! Bedtime stories and off to bed!! How I love my family of 5 all snuggly and ready to spend their first night home. 

29 January, 2014

We are leaving!!

We are in our panda shirts today in celebration of going home!! 

They are loading our luggage as we take this last picture here! See you soon!!!

28 January, 2014

Consulate Day

This morning we woke up early to get ready for our Consulate Appointment. Our bus took us about 20 minutes to where our United States Conulate is here in Guangzhou to apply for the children's visas. This and the medical exam is why we have to go to Guangzhou after leaving our children's city of origin. 

They are very strict, no electronic devices (so I have no pictures for you), no water, no watches??, and everything you bring in must be in a clear bag. So we packed Cheerios, and diapers this morning for the babies and left Mae with mom and dad one last time. 
The building itself is designed on the outside and inside very modern and cool. The downstairs was where the Chinese people apply for visas and it was wall to wall people - the second floor we were by ourselves with all other adoptive parents excited to get home! 

We all stood and took an oath together and then gave our paperwork for each child and got fingerprinted. Done! Our guide will pick up our children's Chinese passports with their Visas tomorrow and just in time for us to FLY HOME!!!

Today was our LAST full day in China and boy are we glad!!!! 
When we returned to the hotel we took our family/group pictures. Jovie was not having it! I mean this girl can throw a fit! I didn't even know what she wanted except that she must have been tired. I pray this doesn't happen to us on the plane tomorrow!

This silly girl is loving her red Chinese dress and is dancing all around.
Our group of families is incredible! I will be very sad to say goodbye to them - this may be the last time we see them ): We are bonded to these folks for life though. We've shared so much with them over the last 2 weeks... And today we are sharing our lack of sleep and tremendous desire to all be home. I think Jovie is just melting down for us all (: 

Here's where Jovie finally calms down... 
And we were able to get a family picture quickly and take her to the room and make her a bottle and put her down for nap. 

We took the river boat cruise on the Pearl river tonight. This is something we enjoyed last time too. We are kind of  through with dragging the kids on tours and really only went to be with the other families in our group one last time. We enjoyed our time but Jovie had another melt down on the boat. 

I took her to the top deck and she calmed down. It's very awesome seeing all the lights on the giant buildings all up and down the river.

Mae was pointing out lights on buildings all around and loving it, and you know my dad likes a boat ride (: 

Ian liked it too and dad told him that if he likes boat rides, he's in the right family.

There is this one building that stands out from all the rest. It's shape and height alone are impressive but the lights change and are simply beautiful. 

Look at all the different ways it changes.

It went from glowing colors to shining its lights out on the river, once we were right up on it... Almost like it knew we were under it. All the people were ooooing and awwing.

Very pretty. 

We went back to put everyone to bed... Ian had a melt-down at bed. We have generally had a hard time with him at night. Some nights though he's cried and gotten all three crying at once. Yep, not fun.  We are learning that it may not be all sadness but some being almost three and not wanting to go to bed and realizing we let him out of his bed when he throws a fit. So what do you do? Parenting an adopted child that only speaks Chinese, in a hotel room across the world is tough!!  We can't wait until we are home!!!!!!

So we've heard there's snow at home??? How crazy! Well that might make it harder to come to the airport but our 6am arrival's not that pleasant either. 
Either way, I wanted to make sure to let everyone know our plans. 

We depart Guangzhou at 9:30pm Wednesday and fly 12 hours to LA—We fly 4 hours from LA to Atlanta and land at 5:47am Thursday morning. Oh I hope the babies sleep!!!  (Please please pray for our flight home) We are flying in on Delta flight 1354 to Atlanta.   We should be out at baggage claim at 6am and if anyone loves us so much they are crazy enough to come, we would LOVE it!! Our plan is to go to Chick-fil-a afterward and we would love everyone to join us there for breakfast. (I have to say though, that if things really aren't going well with the babies, we will not go of course.)

So please know they will be pretty scared by new people and very tired by this point too. So a few things that will help them is if you do not touch them, and we know this is very hard because they are very, very cute and you've all prayed for these children with us for so long. For now, please just love being able to see them in person, because seeing them in these pictures is not even close to capturing them. 

Please understand that you know them and have loved them, but to them you are all strangers... and the last time they were brought somewhere with a lot of people that look like we do, they were left there (with us). 

Also, we ask you, please do not give them any food at Chick-fil-A. Please let us be the ones that do that for them. Right now food comes from just daddy and mommy. We are trying to form a bond with them and providing for their needs and being the ones to hold and comfort them are the ways we are doing that. If they bond with you and then you have to go home, this might be really upsetting and confusing to them. Things with them are not as easy as they were with Mae. These children are very fragile right now. If you can please pray for their hearts as they enter into their new lives and go home. This will all be very overwhelming to them. 

Please do not take offense to this and we really hope this doesn't interfere with you coming!! We really, really want to see everyone and are blown away that you'd come for us. 

We are so home sick and can not wait to receive your hugs and see your faces!! We have a photo book for Mae of her time in China and she always points out everyone she knows at the airport. It's very special to all of us. 

I will try to blog one more time before we are home! 

27 January, 2014

One Whole Week!!

These precious children were placed in our arms one week ago. It's amazing, really, really amazing the transformation that has already happened in one week. The biggest being that today Ian was alright with me. We started off the morning rough though, I tried putting on his shoes for him and he hit me in the face and so I picked him up and looked him in the eyes and said "no hit", and he bent down and bit my shoulder. None of his hitting or biting hurts, but it does hurt my feelings. I started by carrying him down to breakfast and sat him by me only, so I had to be the one to help him and give him food. He wasn't happy and ordinarily wouldn't have eaten anything that came from me but he didn't have much choice! I guess he started seeing that I wasn't so bad or that you don't hit and bite the hand that feeds you. The above picture was at lunch time... He is okay with me here!!! I am in heaven to finally get my hands on him. I still know he prefers Cody but give it a few more days and I think I'll be getting as much love from him.
There's a garden and play area in our hotel on the roof of the fourth floor that was fun to go to today.
All of them were so excited to play and get some time outside! The temperature is perfect here - about 70 degrees.
Ian is making Jovie laugh. She thinks her big brother is so funny.
I put them in their shirts today with the Chinese characters for "Jie Jie", "Di Di" and "Mei Mei". (Big sister, littler brother, little sister).

Jovie is very cautious and didn't like the swing at all...
Ian on the other hand has no fear and took the biggest slide first. He's such a boy. He can get into anything, literally can open just about everything (water bottle, candy wrappers, zippers... We block off the bathroom and Mae can't get in but Ian has no problem sliding open the door. Baby proofing our house will be interesting! Cody calls him "Bam Bam" because this little boy is strong!

We went to dinner at a Chinese restaurant down the street from our hotel with our whole group. The food was DELICIOUS! Our guide ordered everything for us and we got to try a bunch of different things. There wasn't anything I didn't like. Cody was obsessed with the fried rice and said he wished he could eat it everyday.

I like Chinese beer, it's very light... And since you can't drink the water and have to order your drinks without ice, I prefer to drink the beer. 

All my little Chinese children can slurp a noodle (: Noodles are their favorite.

26 January, 2014

Medical Exam

This morning we had our medical exam for the babies... I'm not really sure why this is a mandatory part of the process but it is. ): The children go through an ENT test, get weighed and measured, temperature taken and then they have to strip down naked and thoroughly looked over. Sadly because our babies are over 2 years old they also had to have blood drawn to test for TB. If they test positive we have to go back for a chest X-Ray. We will find out the results tomorrow. We are just days away from being home and I hate all this unnecessary poking! What does it matter if they do have TB? 

They take the kids away from you and you can not go with them when they get their blood drawn. I had the special yogurt drinks ready for them when they came out and both of them cried and broke my heart. I cried too when Jovie got done because I have never heard her cry so loudly. 

After the medical exam we went to the "pearl market". This was a shopping center we'd been to before. There's no telling how many shops are in this HUGE, six story mall. Everything was closed for Chinese New Year though.
We bought a nice strand of pearls for Ian's future wife (: I love that!! We are already praying for his future spouse! We bought pearls for Mae and Jovie (we knew we'd be coming back for her future sister) last time we were in China, so they have matching ones waiting for them for their wedding day.

After we got back we just enjoyed playing in our room. Ian seems to act pretty good with me when we are here... 

The girls are so cute... Mae was putting on my shoes and Jovie keeps putting on Mae's and clomping all around. 

Ian's a little stud, isn't he??!? He loves a bath! 

McDonalds for lunch again! There's one right across the street (o: and all the kids like chicken nuggets. Ian likes his so much he wanted to save them in his special backpack. 

Mae and Ian have really bonded and you should hear the squeals and giggles coming from our room... I'm sure everyone on this hall hears us.

We bought the kids blocks at the Walmart and it's been the best purchase. They are really great quality and it's been something they all like and can play with together. Ian built his tall and then lined them all up. With each one he would squeal LOUDLY. He was very proud of himself. 

He's not all that into sharing and took all the blocks he could to the corner to play. His update we received did say he prefered playing by himself. He'll learn to have fun with his sisters soon, I think he already is figuring out he's got a pretty great big sister. 

Dinner was papa john's and it's just not the same pizza as back home (not worth going back to at least). The kids had noodles and seemed to like them though. We have to eat picnic style in our room but it seems to work! 

I wanted to make sure to say THANK YOU to all who are commenting and emailing!! It means so so much to hear for all of you at home. We are very home sick and counting down the days until we return! It feels nonstop with bonding and getting to know these babies, paying enough attention to Mae, someone getting into something, needing a diaper changed or nose wiped or whatever, and repeat — once we put them to bed we turn off the lights and are asleep when they are. I got to say this is EXHAUSTING! 

But we are happy with each days progress and absolutely loving each opportunty we get to know our babies better.  

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