Saturday, December 15, 2012

Breaking the Silence....

In the early days of our return from China I would update the blog in my jet-lagged state at 2 am... wide awake.  

In three weeks we will have had these two little munchkins in our arms for SIX months.  Oh wow.  
The time has completely flown by!  

If you have ever entertained the THOUGHT of adopting.  
Please do.  Really.  

Yes, really.

I am tired and my house is a mess.

But oh, the JOY!  

Pure joy.  

In October Eli celebrated his 2nd birthday:

Since their birthdays are quite literally 30 days apart, we had a birthday party for the two of them:

And then on December 5 we had Ian's cupcake:

I have had people tell us what a wonderful thing we have done for these boys.  

I beg to differ. 

These boys have done a wonderful thing to us.

They have stretched our hearts and caused them to overflow with love and adoration.  

Big Brother and Big Sister absolutely adore their siblings.  
They have told us often that, 
"It's like they have always been a part of our family!"

But of course, we are a very silly family:

If you had asked me 2 years ago what our family would look like today, I never would have dreamed it would look like this.  

When God tells us to do things that we are afraid of doing - because they are BIG things, like, oh, maybe *ahem* adoption....

It is because He wants to bless us beyond our wildest dreams. 

My advice?  

Let go. 

Take the leap.  

Be obedient and do what He says.  

Because the JOY is unable to be measured.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Shopping and Cruising!

Today we went to the Pearl Market.  

There were pearls piled up everywhere!

These women string pearls every day.  They didn't even have to look at what they were doing!

Next we went to Shamian Island.  There are a few fun shops and gardens and such there.  It was so peaceful and not-so-crowded.  We really liked it there.  

We went back several times before we left China.

This is one of many statues on the island.  Ian hopped right in there.  Eli would have nothing to do with it.  I tried again later in the week... I'll show you that epic picture later.

For dinner we took a cruise of the Pearl River.  The buildings lit up nicely.

I don't know who those two crazies in the foreground are.  :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Touring and Shopping

Today we visited a 1,400 year old Buddhist Temple.  

It was beautiful. 

And hot.


Covered in a rash. 

Hot. hot. hot.  


Still Smiling.

These are the main buddhist shrines in the complex.  

These statues are HUGE!

Next we went to the Chan family's ancestral home. 

It was very detailed, and a very busy place to go for the locals.

Big Sister says "cheese".

Then we went shopping.  

I found an artist who wrote the kids names in Chinese on a piece of artwork for them.

Then we came back to the hotel for an afternoon nap. 

This is Ian laughing at us.... instead of napping.

For dinner we went with our group to a Cantonese restaurant.  

I love how they feed large groups of people here.  You sit at a large round table with a massive lazy suzan in the middle.  They place all of the dishes in the center and you scoop out what you want.  The food was YUM!

Eli decided he was done with sippy cups!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Medical Exam

After a good nights' rest, the entire group loaded on the bus to go get the babies medical exams.  

Ian checking out the locals:

Notice one shoe already pulled off....

While Eli is already too cool for words; binki and all.

This is the Medical Exam place.  

The kids had to have their photos taken for their American visas.

After that, they checked the children's hearing and general well being, weight and whatnot.  

This is so boring.  Let's go back to the hotel!

Friday, August 3, 2012


After a very long day of traveling to Guangzhou, we were greeted by this gift basket in our hotel room:

And look who threw mommy's shoes away!
(And was quite happy about it!)

After this picture was taken, we went to bed.  

We spent the day traveling with two strollers and a 10 year old in a wheelchair.

In a not-so-wheelchair-friendly country.

Totally pooped.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lazy Day

So after the Longest Day Ever, we decided to just chill in the hotel at Zhengzhou.  

All.  Day.

Most of the rooms on our floor were adoptive families so we just opened our doors and all hung out in the hallway with our kiddos.  

It was a blast.  

I think we went downstairs ONE time to eat. 

Other than that, room service, baby!

Big Brother was sitting in my lap when Ian came and plopped down, too.  

What precious grins :)

We have discovered Eli's "I"m naughty" smile...

Brotherly bonding needs NO words...

Eli wearing Big Brother's hat.  

I just LOVE this picture!

Tomorrow we go to Guangzhou, where the American Consulate is.  

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Longest. Day. Ever.

So today Big Brother woke up sick.  Vomiting.  Diarrhea.  
Big problem.
We HAD to take a 4 hour (ONE WAY) van ride to Nanyang to apply for Eli's passport.  
Both parents HAD to be there.  
Big Brother could not leave the hotel room.  
He was THAT sick.
So our guide came and stayed with Big Brother and Big Sister while another guide took us to Nanyang.  
Several other families in surrounding hotel rooms checked in every hour and brought them food.
I was a nervous wreck all day.
All day.

 So the rest of the family got up and dressed and ready to go:

4 hour van ride there was uneventful with sleeping children.  Until we got to Nanyang and the driver decided to play chicken with the 18 wheelers coming towards us.  Notice Josh ignoring the driver and looking out of the side window.  
Notice Denise (another adoptive mom) behind Josh, fearing for her life.  

Eli holding mama's hand in the passport office.

Two cool dudes riding back to the hotel.

One conked-out, miserable, sick baby.

Big Brother felt a million times better when we returned, 9 hours later.  The only thing they suffered from was a little Cabin Fever from having been in the hotel room all day.  

Mama was SO glad this day was over...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Officially Official!

The next morning the boys woke up slowly.  Big Brother played games while Eli watched.  Ian took longer to wake up, obviously not a morning person.  However, we noticed that he was running a fever when we got him dressed, and he was pulling / tugging / scratching at his ears.  Thank Heavens I had brought some antibiotic ear drops.  Used those and gave him oral antibiotics that the guide gave me from a local pediatrician.

After breakfast, we went back to the place we had gotten the boys the day before.  There we were greeted by government officials who congratulated us and handed out the official documents stating that we were the official parents of these children.

 Announcement:  "You are now the official parents of these children!"

Official family photo.  Notice sick Ian is totally asleep.  Poor guy.

After that we went back to the hotel room to just chill / play / bond.  We started to see a little glimpse of a smile from Eli every once in a while.  He ran into the bathroom and grabbed Josh and laughed and laughed.  Very random and abrupt for him, and I'm so glad I caught this on film.  
Especially considering the sad face the night before.

Ian woke up and, even though feeling awful, always had a smile on his face.  He and Big Brother played while he continually removed his shoes.  (he still does that - can't keep shoes on the kid!)

We are hungry for lunch and decide to go to McDonalds.  Ian in the stroller, Eli pushing him and Big Brother playing peek-a-boo.

First french fry.  "Do I put this in my hair or my mouth?"

Eli's first McDonalds experience.

Walking back from McDonalds.  Big Sister is holding a sleeping Eli.

That evening after baths, I looked up and saw this:
Be still my heart.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gotcha Night

***To start at the beginning, please scroll down and see the previous post before this!  Thanks!***

Remember I said the boys were dirty?  

After we got back to the hotel room and the boys looked at us for a little while they started to decide that we were ok people.  

We carefully removed their clothing (and saved the outfits they were given to us in) and took baths.

Ian absolutely loved his bath: 
You couldn't wipe the smile off of that face!   
He splashed so much there was more water on me and the walls than in the tub!

 Eli was very curious as to what we were doing to Ian.  

... and he looked as though he was a little nervous about the whole "bath" idea.

And he was.  He never cried, just looked totally miserable and sad the whole time.  He didn't want to sit in the water.  He wanted to stand and let me splash his knees.  You could tell he had never had this type of bath before.

Look at this broken heart after his bath!  Made my heart break for him.  He had yet to cry over all of the changes that had gone on with him that day.  Shocked would be an understatement.
They slept that night silently... although I'm sure not very soundly.  
Don't worry sweet babies, you've found your forever family.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gotcha Day!

 Gotcha day was like a dream come true... literally.

I have dreamed of this day for many years.

I have specifically dreamed of these sweet boys for 10 months.

Crying and praying over their picture every night...

Wondering if they are being taken care of like they should be.

Big Brother and Big Sister were excited.  I felt like it was too good to be true.

And it was.

First to come in was Ian.  He cried his little heart out when the strange blonde headed lady with a big nose and an even bigger smile held him.

I had him in my arms.

I.  Had.  Him.  In.  My.  Arms.


The room was crowded, hot, bustling with people.  Excited ones, nervous ones, scared ones.  Crying babies everywhere.

But I had him in my arms and didn't notice anything else.

Ian's orphanage made him a photo album:

Then came Elijah.

I heard someone shout "The bus from Nanyang is here!"

I grabbed the video camera and ran to the door.

My heart was racing 90 miles per hour and tears and snot were flowing.

I saw him instantly and my heart melted a second time.

He did not cry.  He stared.

Terrified, but unable to cry.

He felt like he had always been in my arms.  Just natural.

He had a package of cookies in his hands.

And his foster mother sent him with a toy gift.

He.  Was.  Loved.  Thank you, God.

Both boys were dirty, and eaten up with bug bites.

We whipped out the sippy cups and snacks.

 When we got back to the hotel room we took their shoes off.

Look at the poor shocked faces:

 They went through a lot that day.

Everything they knew had been taken away from them.

Strange people with big noses and pale skin kept smiling and talking to them in a strange language.

They will warm up to us.

Thank you, God for your two precious additional blessings to our family.