Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bumpin' along

I *could* tell you things are as rosy as can be. But I'm not known for fibs.  That's not to say it's unexpected adjustment issues, it's not. Nor is it horrible or unmanageable. Maybe draining with so much going on and jet lag nipping at my heels each day.

BUT I might have been known to write to the other mom who was in our travel group and adopted a 9 year old that  we hung out with in Guangzhou and say "Is it the 6 month mark yet?" ALREADY. Shame on me.

Seriously. I want to ENJOY each step our newbie makes, to see her grow within the family in  a fast forward way that older child adoption brings. But my tired brain has been known to think "Really? You can't dress yourself? And you are almost 9?"  It makes me think of when I first found God and asked Him in to my life and I was so child like in my faith. Taking baby steps. He was so patient with ME, so I ask Him for patience with this child of His.

 Because I'm not used to having a toddler in the house and that's where she is pretty much right now. Watching her, providing for her, loving on her. All wonderful things I do enjoy.  Things tougher--- her acting as if she can't do a THING for herself, finding things she likes to eat.  The other kids-- yep, everyone is having to adjust and it's not been effortless.

Nope. We've had regressions-- big time. We've had "ah ha" moments with others showing things they need to work on to get where they need to be. 

One of the biggest issues became apparent quickly. We had to ban Chinese speaking with Phoebe. After we encountered one telling her we were going to "go back to China someday." Meaning the heritage trip we do plan on taking SOMEDAY for all our Chinese children to visit where they are from, but we would have NEVER told any of them we were "going back to China" less than a week home.

Because WE know they might take it wrong and think we are unhappy with them and returning them!  But as the one speaking Chinese said this we did not know it was being said.

Then we encountered another issue of the Chinese speaking siblings. Phoebe saying (ALREADY) she didn't want to learn English and she was going to Chloe and Paisley for all her needs. She would not even listen to me.

So when I banned Chinese speaking and instructed the kids to send her to me we had our first meltdown from her. She fussed, she cried. She refused to listen to me. So I made her sit. Till she was willing to listen to me. I have no doubt she understood me because I did have Chloe translate to her what she needed to do. (She also admitted later she knew what  I wanted her to do)

Well, we have a smart girl here because it took her a very short time to realize I would meet her needs, that she did indeed need to come to me or dad. And she is learning English words and ways to communicate with me and dad.  Without trying to have her sisters parent her. I've got flash cards ordered that should help too, giving her tools to use to learn and communicate here.

She still talks to the teens in Chinese here and there but they answer her in ENGLISH. They also tell me what she is saying when needed, but they do NOT answer her in Chinese unless I tell them to and I tell them what to say. Poor Chloe was so worried Phoebe wouldn't "like" them if they refused to answer her but I explained to her they aren't going to be able to go through life at her side translating for her, so they needed to help her and she would love them as her big sisters, NOT look to them to parent her.

Both Chloe and Paisley were getting burned out translating for her anyway, she tends to repeat things over and over which stopped quickly when they stopped answering her. She sees there is no point when she will not get an answer. And I told them to send her to me, she is not doing this to get any of her basic needs met, she is doing it to complain and act as if she is helpless.

She learned how to get in and out of the car, how to hook her seat belt. She's learning how to dress herself. How to take her plate and cup to the sink, how to put her clothes in the laundry.  All things that she "should" know but she doesn't. She was pampered, meaning everything was done FOR her and she had no desire to do anything for herself. As well as she compensates for her low vision I knew she was capable of much more self care than what she is doing. 

This is NOT to say she has not gotten showered in love and cared for as she should be, she's gotten LOTS of hugs, lots of kisses, told often she is loved. She is a lover, that's for sure. It's sweet to get those hugs and kisses and be told she loves us. And she does. That's very obvious. It's as if she was waiting for us all along and she finally has us. Total love. Just as God loves us. Even in our imperfectness. He never stops loving us and we will never stop loving her. She's part of our family.

Right now she's gotten Kat to understand she wanted to go downstairs with her (Kat is home with PINK EYE) and all with pointing:) Told ya she is smart. It's such a good sign that she responded so quickly with losing her communication crutch, although it was tough to do it, it's clearly the right thing to do for her. We've had a good day so far:)

She is no different than any other child adopted to an American family that doesn't speak Chinese in the home, besides the older kids telling me what she is saying, so I can indeed, meet her needs easier. Which helps even more to bond her to me. She is finding positive ways to communicate, repeating English words and that personality plus she has is shining on through.

She's figured out how to tell me when she is hungry (she comes and points to her open mouth) and when she is full or wants more. (She is saying "more") We are finding more things she is willing to eat and likes, she loves Cap'n Cr*nch cereal, corn dogs, some veggies, even meat. She said she did not like meat, well she must have meant those bones with tiny chunks of meat they serve in China because she's had chicken, beef, pork and fish all with second helpings? 

I'd like to get her eating healthier stuff but for now knowing she is getting her belly full is enough. She got sick of noodles VERY fast, so that left us scrambling to find ways to get her full. And we have not heard that her belly hurts since day 2 in China, she said it hurt when she was with "grandma"and with me some, I suspect it was hunger pains.

For her height, (about 4 ft 5) she is thin, only 54 lbs. I would say she probably falls in the underweight range, just like Kat. They are built like bean poles.  She's got another cold, teaching about blowing nose in tissues and not sniffling constantly have commenced. 

She's spent a ton of time playing Barbies, we dug out the ones Kat has never played with and the chest of Barbie clothes and she has all of them dressed and sitting on the coffee table. She's whispering to them:)

Yep, all "normal" stuff. 

Well, the kids are home and I've already heard "I'm telling MOM" so that's it for now. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sunday Best

Now before I go back to posting my regular 2-3 times a week (Yes, MOM that's all ya get because I have to take care of the children) I gotta share this picture of our gorgeous girl blessings from China.  

Beautiful inside and out, all 4.  We thank God for these precious and sooo wanted children of His. Once orphans. Now loved and cherished daughters of our hearts.

And just so you know all is normal around here, Chance said when I put Phoebe's hair up, "That's Chinese hair style."  Okay. Like, there's only so many ways to do hair that short Chance and I don't think China has a patent (yet) on that hair style.

  Funny guy we have here. Life would be so dull without him:)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Snow Day

Talking to Grandma
Out she went. First thing after an apple for breakfast, but not before we got Grandma on the phone, oh yes we did. Phoebe was d-e-l-i-g-h-t-e-d.  

To let Grandma know she was here, she was fine, she came on a plane, or two, or three, and all was okay with her world. That daddy is cool, the dogs are fluffy, that she's met and likes her new siblings:)

Next--outside to check out the snow.  She had never played in snow, so this was a treat, to safely arrive home then have a beautiful snow fall to wake up and play in.

Paisley held on to her, leading her around the yard in the snow. It wasn't a snow to make a snowman, or snowgirl, too powdery, but it was fun enough to play in.
To wonder at.

And wonder she did. Got cold as well, and pink cheeked. She stayed out quite a while for a girl who dislikes the cold. And her mama put only 3 pairs of pants on her- shame on ME (MOM) but the girl is learning we have HEAT in our home. It's warm in here. Always. Doesn't require 4 pairs of pants to survive.

She has stayed up all day, playing Barbies with Kat (and Camden too but he was only helping her, NOT playing with Barbies) playing with the dogs, chatting with all the kids, I think she has the same issue as we do at times, she sees Kat and thinks it's Paisley so she rattles off in Chinese at her. 

But as PLAY is a universal language they managed quite well even when an interpreter was not readily available. And it's for the good of her, she's not going to have trouble retaining her Chinese when all she speaks with her sibs is Chinese.

 I'm just hoping it doesn't hinder her English learning, but I don't think it will. She is very smart.

She played all day inside and out, went out in the snow twice. Her only worry -- her teeth. She's worried about getting teeth pulled. Again, being able to ease her fears, even just answer her questions in concern to a dental visit is such a blessing.

She is getting along with everyone, she seems very easy going and Camden said this evening, "Mom it's like she's always been here, she fits right in." Yes, I have to agree.

The other kids have marveled over her white hair, her white skin, she even had freckles but hers are pink- no brown color to them. I knew she would have to have one to two, as all my kids do:)

Daddy has gotten loved on, kissed and given giggles when she realized his face was smooth, he shaved:)  She's got the cutest giggles. We've heard them often.
The face of jet lag

Now about those other ones here, yep, I didn't forget them.  I sure did miss them. Let's see, Chase misses grandma. Apparently they got along like cookies and milk. Cooking together and everything. He's been his usual quiet self, but will answer Phoebe when she asks him something.

Chloe is so jet lagged it's not funny, poor girl was up at 5 am today and trying to sleep again at supper time.  She's very happy to be home, she missed everyone too. Hannah came and saw her, they really missed each other.

 I broke the news to Hannah that Chloe thinks they are going to live in China when they graduate school and work there, so she better get on learning Chinese asap.
Biggest to smallest

Chance has said "snack" in regards to why didn't we bring more, why didn't we buy more of ones he likes, can he have snack, when is snack time? I'm about ready to SNACK him.  (Read it again MOM it says SNACK not SMACK- we don't hit kids) He also has helped little sister when asked by her to explain or help her.

Paisley has been hanging out helping Phoebe, giving Chloe a much needed break and just being a wonderful help.Phoebe is very happy to have her help, she's so patient with her many repeated questions about everything. Yep, Phoebe is a curious one, for sure.

Camden has played with Phoebe and was showing her how we love on mama, she decided to give HIM a kiss on the cheek and he returned the love:)  He really missed me. He said he and grandma both decided they could not live with each other? 

Oldest to youngest
 I guess they are too much alike or something?  Poor grandma. And she was so kind to come and keep these kids straight and feed them all:(

Kat had a rough start to the day, she was fussy and crying. Adjustment, I think. But as the day went on and Phoebe was treated the same as the others, when any loving was given out it was for Kat too.  

She seemed to realize that she could help Phoebe too, she was not being left out or loved less. It got better from there. By the end of our day she wanted to bath with Phoebe and show her how to play in the tub.  And they did. It was lots of fun, although Phoebe did not stay in long. She's used to cold showers and doing them as fast as possible. 

Her first bath.  Seriously. Warm, fun, clean. She was jammied up, had a snack-- dry cereal- she didn't like the milk. She brushed her teeth and headed off to bed. After hugs and kisses that is. She is sleeping all night, unlike me, who is awake at  4- 4:30 am:( Jet lagged as well but getting rest, Daddy even cooked supper when I crashed at 4 pm on the couch.

There's our Saturday with our new treasure. Although I've thanked Him many, many times for this precious child, I can not wait for church to praise Him in His house for the blessing of this child. Just seems so much more powerful somehow. Our church family is dying to meet her as well.

He knows our hearts, but it never, ever is wrong to thank Him many times over for bringing home this little girl, as well as our other treasured children. We are honored to parent this crew and are thrilled with our last caboose, Phoebe. 

She's such a delight and a perfect fit to our family.  As He knew she would be:)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Home Sweet Home

We are HOME.

Thank you Jesus. We got in about 2 am. We didn't even unpack till today.  We tried to go right to bed. Well, I did anyway. I slept about 2 hrs and got up to see the kids before school.

The "girls" Chloe and Phoebe were up all night. Phoebe didn't let Chloe sleep, she took her to her room to watch TV and every time Chloe was almost asleep Phoebe shook her to keep her awake:( Poor Chloe.

We unpacked today then went to school. Yep. We took fun snacks to Kat's class and introduced Princess Phoebe to the class and teacher. We had a very informal talk about Phoebe, what she will need, what she will be like in class. Chloe went along to translate for Phoebe.

 It won't be right away Phoebe goes to school but I did not want her to worry about school, she had talked about being scared in China to go to school here and I was also trying to keep her awake. I can also see she is very social as well as bright and is going to go to school sooner than later.

The kids in the class were just wonderful, they all told her "goodbye" in Chinese, after she went around and each one said their name and she repeated their names:) She also took them chocolate New Year coins and some type of fruit/nut snack. We didn't stay long, as the kids were getting out of school early due to incoming snow.

Eating noodles even when exhausted:)
We were not even home yet, and the snow had started. It's snowed about 3 inches over the day and is still going strong. Although Phoebe is not. She is asleep. She was really bummed that she couldn't get an answer at foster grandma's to tell her we got here safe. We will try again tomorrow, she needs to talk to her:)

As for our homecoming, we got to the airport around 11 pm. We were greeted by Baba, big sister Malaree as well as Joy and Stephen and family:)   It was really neat. 

Phoebe hugged her daddy and kissed him, then she checked out his belly? Yeah, she decided after my hair scared her that dad's belly looked big in the pictures I had for her so she was "scared." I think she decided it was not big, he's just a normal guy, although she didn't like his whiskers- ha ha.

Daddy has figured her out already, she "acts" like she is scared, does this whole "oh, oh, oh," thing but she can easily be encouraged to try something- such as pet the dogs, and he had her holding them before too long and not scared at all.

So far she's had noodles and a banana, she's was pouting and whiny when we woke her for supper. She wants to sleep and I'm hoping it's late enough that she will be able to sleep all night and get on our time here.

I felt a bit overwhelmed as I was in the Dulles airport walking and realized, she's an American. She's going to get everything that comes with that, good medical care, dental care (she's got at least one small cavity and a totally black tooth-- not sure what is wrong with that one)-- she's going to be envied with that hair, she's going to get all the visual help she will need to do well in school. She got NO help in school in China, and she wasn't doing well.

Zonked on the couch
She's blessed and she's a blessing.  We are thrilled to have her home. We expect to see some sadness, some missing of grandma and all she was used to, but she truly needed to have a mama, a daddy, to be part of a family. She had the love of her foster grandma but she never would have had a FAMILY, no chance to do anything in China, get married, work, have any type of normal life:( 

And she's just a little GIRL. So sweet. So loving. So wanting to be LOVED. Cherished, treasured, she is WANTED. She knows this already.

 Just as every child deserves and needs. So MANY CHILDREN. My heart is broken for the others. Each one, needing and wanting the same thing and families out there. Please pray, God can and WILL move mountains, whatever your mountain IS, that keeps you from saying "Yes, we WILL." He will take care of the needs to make these children of His, YOURS-- He wants us to love them, and trust me it's very, very easy to fall in LOVE. 

She's a gift from God. We thank all that helped get her here and hope you enjoy watching her bloom. We couldn't be happier or more thankful for this child.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Homeward bound

 Yep, our time in China is coming to a close. Sad, but happy that the last leg of this trip is ending. We want to be home, missing everyone very badly.

We have been so blessed this trip-- from the people we have met, to the families we have seen be made, to the lessons learned, and the gift of a child to add to our crew.

Enjoying Chloe, as her talent here has shined and her help invaluable.  She "chatted" with all the girls, ours, Jean's 3 new ones, and Susan's new one, to help with issues of cultural differences.

Although there was much giggling, it was a good teaching time for them help guide them in their new lives, and it gave them to ability to ask any questions, although the only one jabbering on was MINE.

Yes, she's a question girl. Why do we do this and what if this happens and when will this be, and on, and on, and ON.  OIY. I can hardly wait for her to be fluent in English. Uh huh. 

In many ways I am thankful for that because it's a healthy curiosity, not fear. She wants to know. She wants to learn. She wants to fit in, be able to follow the rules and that's great.

We are basically packed, all but what we need for the night and tomorrow to go.

Chloe wants to try to find a pair of shoes before we leave so we are going out to see if we can find her what she wants. She's very picky so I don't know if we will be able to get her something.

We'll see. If not then we'll just enjoy walking around in the 70 degree weather with no coats- ha ha Baba, I know it's freezing there. Hard to imagine when we were HOT today outside.

I am so thankful to God for this trip of a lifetime, I never dreamed after the boys came home we would be chosen to be blessed with another China treasure. (As well as another with Paisley:) And trust me, this girl is a treasure. So many children here, so many stories from the adoptive families we have met, how each child is perfect fit for their family-- I can't help but wish for many more families to step up, come on, claim these treasures! 

If you don't believe me look at the transformation of our gem in just a short week? And it's only gonna get better and better.

EVERY SINGLE CHILD needs to have a family. It's so hard to understand how terrible it is that these children are in a country that sees them as the lowest of the low in society and they don't care to do more in many orphanages than to feed them. Clothe them. They are not LOVED. They are not TREASURED. They are not considered IMPORTANT.

Yet, God, our Father knows EACH ONE- He loves each one, He can and will provide the way.  Just as He loves us, He treasures US, we will love and treasure this child forever more.

Next post from HOME SWEET HOME.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Consulate appointment

We had our consulate appointment yesterday (today for you all). Ours was a bit later than the rest of the group, so we waited on them, then they waited for us.

All done, the steps to get Phoebe's visa that makes her a citizen as soon as she comes in to the USA. YEAH!

We'll get that back today (tomorrow for you all), then leave here Thursday morn. Please pray we are hearing a big storm for Pennsylvania coming and I really, really want to go home. 

We have over 2 hrs to get home from the airport of driving. We are so blessed to have a back up plan- actually 2 if we can only get to Harrisburg but the desire to see my own bed is great. As well as those people in my house too:)  Kidding MOM, I miss the people most.

Susan's Camille, Caitlin and my Phoebe
After our consulate appointment we went to the GuangZhou bookstore, huge, 9 floors of books. Phoebe picked out 3 books, and gave me the customary "Sank ahhh you mama" when I told her yes, she could have them.

 It was funny that in the check out line a school girl said "Hi" and I asked her why she was wearing thick black glass frames -- no lens?  Her friend had better English and said "Fashion".  Hummm. I think I'll pass on that one?

Phoebe read for a little while then returned to her Barbies. She loves her Barbies and will spend countless time dressing and playing with them.  She only has 2 here, one from Grandma and one from me, since I wasn't sure what she would enjoy playing with I only brought a few things.

Phoebe (youngest) Susan's Caitlin and  Jean's Mia
I finally caved and had McD's for lunch, it was super cheap and take out for us to eat in our room. Since we had been out since early am, it worked well. Rest time then a trip to the local "Trustmart" (their version of Walm*rt) for supplies to make it till Thursday.

On the way back to the hotel Phoebe looked up at me and said "I love you mama", in Chinese. First time she told me that on her own, not me saying it first:) It was sooo sweet and sincere. This child is just soaking in being loved and coming to loving us.

We fed the fish again, we can't miss that or Princess gets very sad.  She loves the little pond area and can navigate there pretty well. As well as boss the younger kids in a game of "follow the leader"- at least that's what it looked like to us parents:)

Then supper at Princess Phoebe got her first "No."  She asked for Sprite and although it would not have hurt, I figured she's gonna need to hear NO sooner than later. So I told her "No." She wasn't thrilled when she saw Susan's girls all getting it but I told her again, "No." She pouted a bit but bounced back when food arrived.

The only issues we have seen with her is very typical (and cultural)  for these kids - sometimes too rough in play, nose picking, using middle finger to point, lack of toilet paper use when peeing, burping and loud. Again, Chloe is a lifesaver and will be doing instruction 101 for Phoebe AND Caitlin today before we go home. (Don't worry MOM we "tip" her-- yep, she's getting RMB to help:) 

My fancy supper (about $6)
As for Chloe, she is having a blast here. English speaking friends around her age, being able to translate for all the littles, she's getting her fill of every snack she has missed for the last 3 years, and of the old soap opera type movies of weird hair on dudes and girls crying. 

Seriously who shaves the front of their head to the top then has a ponytail with elaborate braiding in back? (Hey we might just get a picture of that for "someone"  *Hi Mike* at church) Ha ha ha ha.

Chloe and Susan's Claire
Chloe has grown this trip, she is talking about helping families who are adopting, maybe as a guide, maybe on the USA side, but one thing she is sure about, she wants to adopt from here:) She's gone from a child, nervous about her poor Chinese education and language, to someone who is so useful to all the families here.

 It's given her confidence and maturity in regards to speaking Chinese. She has gone from wanting to pretend she doesn't speak Chinese to readily helping and it makes such a huge difference for us.

No manners left, sorry Baba
We get the things we WANT told to the new girls, the right food in restaurants, the right prices, no cheating us with her along, we can find our way if needed, no need to find someone who speaks English. She was able to read a letter one of the girls had written in Chinese to her family and came with it. She's really been just a total blessing.

So happy:)
We got back to the hotel around 8 pm and crashed. It's about 70 degrees and humid here-- our days are full and busy so they are really ready for bed early and go right to sleep. Today we have nothing planned except to get Phoebe's passport back with her visa to enter the USA.  Packing and saying goodbye to Susan and daughters- sniff, sniff, that will be tough. We have been together the whole time in GuangZhou and we will miss them. It's gone by fast but yet not, I am quite homesick.

Off to get the girls going and to breakfast:)

Monday, January 21, 2013

One Week

Just one short week ago we met a scared little white haired girl in an office where she was brought to meet her new family.  She had no idea what that really meant in terms of how her life would change.

She was not thrilled with my less-than-black hair. She was scared as all get out.  But as I have experienced 5 times prior, this child showed amazing strength and became my hero when she came with us and gave us a chance to show her what we are about.

Since then she has come to accept me as her mom, Chloe as her big sister, although maybe in the other order:) Either way, she has become one of us.  She is loved, cherished and cared about and for.

She's gone from a scared little girl to showing us her Princess side, to her fears. All great things for us to get to know her, to help guide her to ease her fears and to show her love, pure, complete love.

She's accepting love, even initiating snuggles, kissing my cheek, telling me she loves me. She knows I am keeping her legs warm (for now, wait till she gets to cold and snowy Pennsylvania) I've got her water to drink when she needs it. I forewarn her of any steps in her walking path, in case she doesn't see them. I rescue her from locked bathroom stalls. 

(For the record, I did not send said child into bathroom alone MOM.  She went with Chloe who was right by the door washing her hands in the sink when Phoebe went in and latched the door without Chloe catching her.)

She even JOKED today about the bathroom situation yesterday. Yep, this girl has spunk under her Princess cloak:)

She said today, in English,  "Let's GOOOOOOOO." All day when we went to go anywhere. Today was shopping on Shamien Island. Very different from when we were here last. So little left on the island.  Glad we did not stay there but very sad to see it so changed. 

 We went to the market as well and I got the Princess 2 pairs of shoes, and realized the red ruby slippers she's been wearing that she came with were too big. Not enough to fall off but they didn't fit-- oops. She says the cutest  English "Sank-ahhh you."  To me for buying her anything or helping her.

We rested then went out to feed the fish in the garden, a favorite late afternoon treat. She was running around with all the kids after feeding the fish when she suddenly sat down and looked miserable.

So when I made a fuss about "What's wrong?"  And Chloe came to translate, it was so cool that Jean's new girls Mia and Melissa, as well as Susan's new girl Caitlin were able to talk to her and ask her what was wrong then hear her say she was sad remembering her time at the orphanage and how the children made fun of her. She had told us previously that the kids there told her in the NINE days (from when she left foster care till she came to us) she spent there that we would make her have surgery to cut her eyes out!!

But when she shared how the kids picked on her there, Chloe was able to translate what I told her- "That she would NOT be picked on by us, her family. That we love her blond hair, her blue eyes. That her (Chloe) and the other older girls have come to America and are well cared for and like it there. And she, as well as the other girls around her were getting to go to America and have a family that love them, will care for them and always be there for them.

That each family thinks their child/ren are beautiful and are totally in LOVE with them and so thankful for them.

As usual she showed a very quick recovery, she said she can't wait to leave here and go HOME. I have no doubt God planned that so that the other girls could see someone else was feeling what they may be feeling but unwilling/unable to express. Phoebe is very open which is just wonderful for us to be able to help her. And Chloe is just a blessing beyond measure with her translation skills.

Hard to believe I've called her daughter for a mere week, she's one that it seems like we have been family for so much longer, as if we were always meant to be. We are indeed blessed by both our girls here, and counting down the days till we take this treasured daughter home.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

We cried

Today we went off to the Safari Park. Pretty cool. Or if you are Princess Phoebe "WOW" was the word of the day.

It was a nice overcast -- or was that smog-- but warm day, we actually got the Princess to go out in only 2 pairs of pants again today and a sweater only, with 2 shirts, though.

No winter coat--- WOW. 

Little Miss Princess wanted carried so mama put her in a rented stroller for some of the trip out, she shared with Miss Caitlyn who was adopted last week and is 9.  Both wayyyy too big for the stroller, but it was fun for them to feel special  and escorted around, and I noticed Phoebe used it to know what was in front of her as she pushed it for some of the time around the park. I did carry her some, which makes her soooo happy. She loves her pampering:)

She couldn't figure out that the panda and the bunny characters were not real, she wanted to "play" with them.  She did enjoy feeding the giraffes, the baby one was her favorite.
We came back to the hotel and went out to feed the fish and burn energy (the kids, not mine) before we went to supper. We had trouble finding the restaurant we wanted but we did eventually get there. Of course, 3 of the girls had to use the bathroom and it was out the door, down the block, in another restaurant? 

Anyway, they went. They were gone for quite some time and we were wondering what was taking so long when Susan's daughter came back and said I need to come "Quick."

My stomach dropped. I mean, I couldn't even imagine what the issue was. Here my poor child had latched the door then couldn't see to unlatch it and she panicked.  She was sobbing and screaming by the time I got there and the staff at the restaurant as well as Chloe had tried to instruct her how to open the door.

After they continued this without success and I don't think she was able to hear me over her panicked screams, I started crying and said "Get her out of there NOW."

No language translation needed. They brought in a dude, told her to stand back and he busted the door in. She was backed in a corner and she was beyond upset, so when I grabbed her and hugged her  she was pulling away and it took her a minute to look up and see it was ME. Once she realized it was me she let me comfort her. 

We both calmed down and went back to the restaurant where we ordered and she did go ahead and eat. She was also fine with me, I feared she would blame me, but clearly she did not. Matter of fact it didn't take long for her usual perky self to be back.

Yep, she's a talker. She's perky, bouncy.  She tried out some boundaries today, going too far ahead, running the stroller into people.  And she responded really well when corrected.  She even started repeating "Yes, no, up, down, good girl, step." She's learned "step" because she readily holds my hand as she knows I will forewarn her of steps coming up. She does really well with them but sometimes the depth throws her a little so she doesn't fall if she hangs on to me.

She's had a shower, medicine for her cough that is still lingering, although seems better, and she's tucked in bed now.  Very happy, I carried her around as much as I could which seems to tickle her to no end. 

We played out on the lawn before supper and I had to stop for a moment.

We had Chloe, adopted 4 years ago and so very helpful with her bilingual abilities, we had 3 preteens, a bunch of kiddos 10 and under, some newly adopted, some adopted as babies.  All beautiful, amazing kids in all various stages of adoption/family life. It was so moving to see where the kids will be (Chloe) and how far they have to go (Phoebe) but knowing they WILL get there. 

All the families here, each with a special story, I haven't met one family  that didn't say God showed them their child was meant to be within their family--- it's so neat to have such a fantastic group of people to share this journey with. This is us last night all having supper together:)  Suzanne with Grace and Anthony, Susan with Claire, Camille, and Caitlyn, Jean with Mia, Melissa and Sarah, and me with Phoebe (Chloe was camera girl:)

God has blessed us with so much on this trip, with this child, with the other children and their parents. Thanking HIM for His timing, His Love and His Amazing Grace when allowing us to parent these precious children of His.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Moved on

Well then. I no sooner got the internet working decent in Shanghai and boom, we move on to Guangzhou.

Oh well. You get what I can do- sorry MOM.

We were supposed to leave yesterday at 2 pm, well, that didn't happen. Of course not. I should have been prepared, I mean 4 trips here and now 3 have been flight delayed-- but this was a flight CANCELLED for no apparent reason. So we had to hang out for hours then rush, of course, to get our flights at a later time.

And I had packed the medicine and dressed the girl for Guangzhou.  Needless to say, it was almost traumatizing to Phoebe to have merely 2 pairs of pants on and no medicine available for her cough.

Once we DID finally arrive in Guangzhou, she was feverish, although she handled the flight well. She was nervous but did just fine. Not one complaint. Or maybe that was because she knows I don't understand her and Chloe was asleep because she complained plenty to the guide on the way to the hotel:(

We've adopted a PRINCESS Baba. Be prepared. She was pampered by her grandma and she expects the same.  It's funny how she has this habit of going "uh,uh, uh" and she bops up and down when she wants something. Cute now, maybe not so much in a few months:)  She reminds me soooo much of Diva Kat, I think they are going to be FAST friends.  Very similar but different enough to have their own ROYAL places in our home and family:) 

She also has this funny habit, aka soothing thing she does, she holds her hand to her face and kinda puts her lips between her thumb and pointer finger. She doesn't suck on her hand, but just has her hand there on her lips? Clearly a soothing thing, she does it at bed time and when she is nervous only.

  I'm used to Kat who bit her blankets for years, because she had a piece of rag they gave her in her crib as a baby and she bit it to sooth herself. So it's interesting that Phoebe has a similar type of soothing behavior still.

We did her medical exam today, between an undershirt, yarn pants, a long sleeved shirt, sweater, outer pants, and a winter coat, she actually was WARM.  She *might* actually believe we are going to keep her warm?  Or maybe not- ha ha.  She was highly offended they had to take her blood. Matter of fact-- they had to drag her in to do it.  No momma's allowed:(

We went to a store after the exam, she decided she wanted CARRIED to the bus, so I picked her up and carried her. And for the first time she told me she loves me:))))
So glad I could pick her up and carry her, it wasn't far, she's certainly not big, but she's not tiny either.

We learned Princess Phoebe is very ticklish, she also has the CUTEST ever dimples in her cheeks, 2 in each side. You can see them in the pic of her at the medical exam.  We see them often as they appear when she squints.

We seem to have gone from people being rude and mean, to people being downright ODD about our blondie girl.  We had 2 people just come up and grab her face today, made our guide MAD, I wasn't thrilled but it happened so fast I couldn't stop it. She was puzzled who was touching her-- she didn't see them coming at her. It's weird.

 I think the locals can't figure out if she is Chinese, they think she is American? I try to keep her covered up as best as possible but she ditches her hat and sunglasses the second she thinks I'm not looking- the booger:)

Tonight we are going to dinner with JEAN!!!! And her family, as well as another family here with our agency. All with older kiddos:) So fun to get these girls together and let them chatter away. There's quite a few adoptive families here and it's neat to see all the kids getting families.  And no, (MOM AND BABA) I haven't got the fever to do it again. I am thrilled we will be moving on to focus on the children we have and raising them.

Our last little treasure.  The caboose to the family train.  The gem God told me was ours almost 2 years ago. In my arms, telling me she loves me today. Blown away but His grace and goodness to honor us with parenting this child. For sure. Thank you FATHER.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Doing well

Let me tell ya, we got us a treasure here. She is sooo sweet but spunky, but funny, but smart. Just a total gem.

She was missing foster mom (grandma) so much. We were BLESSED to go see her yesterday. So very blessed. It's not normally allowed, but God knew the needs of this precious girl and it happened. We went to her home where she promptly told grandma her legs were cold and off they went, reappearing in her 4th layer of clothing. Yep, the 3 layers I had on her were not enough:)

Grandma loves this girl, and cared for her well. It was so obvious. Grandma also handed over this girl, very clearly to ME, as her mama, and told her to go with me, I am her MAMA and to be happy.  What a GIFT this woman gave this child. Love, as a grandma/mother, but room for parents, and the ultimate gift of letting her go for her best interests.

And trust me when I say it is in her best interest. To have her come to a family that loves her already, which I promised grandma we would ALWAYS love and care for her, but to leave this country that she is stared at, pointed at, and generally treated poorly. It's been annoying and sad to see people act so goofy at one little girl. Because under that white hair is just A LITTLE GIRL.

She told us today that the kids at school made fun of her, calling her "Little old man" because of her hair and grandma actually buzzed off her hair and wore a WIG on her to try to keep her from being picked on.  Unbelievable, huh?

Phoebe, is doing well again today, she clearly got great peace from seeing her beloved grandma and knowing grandma is ok and wants her to be with me. We took grandma lots of gifts as well as her giving Phoebe the BIGGEST stuffed monkey toy I have ever seen. That's gonna be fun to get on a plane with tomorrow:(

She's eating well, she's got a bit of a cold, now don't worry, grandma heard her cough and we now have 2 medicines we are to give her. Along with instructions to dress her warmer and never give her cold water.  Yep.

She's got a little friend, he's 8 and was in foster care as well, he was sent back to the orphanage the same time as her so they built a fast friendship, they had a play date today. He is a sweet guy, and the two of them together is a barrel of fun. The giggles, the chatter:)  Phoebe has started to come to me and chatter in Chinese but now she is understanding that I don't speak Chinese so she says "Mama timmadon" which means " momma don't understand" and she is smart enough to try out charades when Chloe is not readily available.

She also started repeating stuff I say in English. It's not going to take her long at all to learn English. She asked a bunch questions today of Paisley, yep, we got to Skype and give Chloe a break, Paisley answered a bunch of stuff relating to the dogs at home, the kids-- she is floored by how many siblings she has:)

I have trouble getting pics of her, not because of no flash to spare her eyes, it's because she's a blond flash of action that I can't catch on film. The girl is BUSY.  Not still unless she is sleeping or watching tv, which is what she is doing right now.

I *think* I have the bugs worked out of my internet issue but who knows. It's frustrating but I do the best I can. Tomorrow we move on to Guangzhou which will be a blessing to get to warmer climate, more adoptive families, although the ones here with another agency are really nice and we are enjoying the little time we have had together.

Noodles for lunch, so not sure what the plan for supper will be, I'm sure if Chloe has any say it will be street food again tonight, she is in Chloe heaven eating here. I can't complain I think I have spent a whopping $8 for 4 nights of supper for all?  We went to the grocery store today and got her suitcase of snacks, yep, more stuff to pack. OIY.

Well, I'm off to feed the girls supper, big and little are getting restless:)

I feel soooo blessed by this child, this little girl, the one I now call daughter:)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It's Official

She is OURS.  A daughter. As if born from us, they said and I said "Of course!"  An honor to adopt her.

Today has gone soooo well. She is a gem. Sweet as can be. She is a total diva, poses EXACTLY like her sister Kat, yells on the phone just like Paisley:)  She ADORES Chloe.  She told me today she was "so happy we came to her."  And that she is happy, she loves me.  She told the guide she understands me when I tell her I love her in English and Chinese.

She accepts my hand to hold, she is totally cool with my hair today. Phewww. I won't be coming home with dyed black hair (MOM).  She's a busy one, wanting to "go play" and yet she was able to sit and play a video game, color, etc.

She has thanked me for everything, for lunch, for buying her anything, for the hat I carry because she's COLD all the time, in 46 degrees today and 3 layers. We started with 2 layers and had to come back for a third before going to the Yu Garden. 

 She called her grandma again tonight after her bath, which she was quite unsure of all those bubbles I put in her bath. She asked me to wash her hair for her, at least I figured out that's what she wanted because Chloe had fallen asleep. It was cool to show her we could manage even without Chloe, even though it's a blessing to have Chloe to translate.

She told Chloe she likes her new name, although we aren't using it yet. So far it's Kai Yan. She has practiced saying the other kids names from pictures of them.  She is very interested in them, as well as Baba.

I'm having the WORST time getting my pictures off my camera and holding on to internet. I'm so frustrated. Trying to share with everyone but spending too much time trying to get it to post:(  So if I can't get on don't worry (MOM) everything is fine.

I can already see what a sweetheart she is and that we will be just fine:)  She is a total delight-- funny, smart, likes to sing, caring, respectful.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Getting better

Well, I know you want to know more about Phoebe. So here's the latest---

First Smile
She bonded quickly to Chloe. Thank God for Chloe. Chloe can understand her completely, except when she called her "Grandma" and they spoke a dialect/ too fast for Chloe to catch it all.

She's got the sweetest laugh. Yep, laugh. Laughing and being silly with her new hat, pj's and bathrobe before bed.

I guess somewhere between me feeding her lunch and supper, as well as getting her some gum and paper, she decided I was "okay" after all. At least that's what she told Chloe in the store, that she wasn't afraid of me anymore but now she would hide behind me and be afraid of Baba. And she wanted to know "easy" words to call us.(Chloe told her Mom and Dad." She calls me Mama. She checks me out every so often and I always smile at her:)

She has been intermittently sad today, I would say she was not well prepared for the adoption, didn't get what it meant really and didn't get the stuff we sent was from US-- even the pictures of us she had seen them but there was not really the connection made:(  Although I do believe Grandma (foster mom) did what she could and deeply loved this child. I'm SOOOO thankful for this grandma who clearly loved her and told her she needed to have a mama and baba. She left ROOM in this child's heart for US.  Thank you Jesus.

I've never seen a child come with so much STUFF. And not just what we sent her. I mean stuff they sent with her including a hard cover book made about her with many pictures of her including her first baby picture:)

She also came in the required 3 layers + of THICK clothing, now mind you, it was 50 degrees here today and I was sans coat, shocking ALL the local mama hens, yet she was wearing all that plus a thick pink coat and saying she was "cold." Thank goodness I threw in that hat and glove set at the last minute thinking she might need it.

At first she wouldn't take a THING off, nor would she take a THING we brought her. But she accepted the hat and gloves and then we got her in pj's and she's checked out everything else including tomorrow's planned outfit. Her favorite color is green.

Can't forget Chloe in here, WOW, can I say what a wonderful, precious gift to have her to translate and ease this child's fears. Even little things, like "Do our dogs bite".  She can answer her and Chloe said "Boy she likes to talk."  Yes, she's not quiet often.  Mostly when she is sad.

She seems very healthy, she has nystagmus, like Chloe, where their eyes dart side to side without control- it's a weak muscle and neither of them realize their eyes are doing it. Her skin is a bit dry, I lotioned her up at bedtime and she said "Thank you mama."  She has a slight cough. 

I was worried she would digress greatly from calling her grandma, but I could see she really needed to. Even though she cried on and off, she let me rub her back, wipe her tears and when she got off the phone she was happier.

She got ready for bed, crawled right in and is zonked now.

I can see what a gem she is. She is polite, sweet, and caring. It's so cute to hear "Jie Jie" and then her rattle off whatever it is to Chloe that she needs to know.  She's very interested in knowing things:)

So there you have it.  Not bad for my first time adopting this age.  I think it went very well.  Huge progress in such a short and eventful day.

She's gonna fit in perfectly, just as God planned.