Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Medical Update

We have had several doctor appointments since we arrived home with Charlotte.  The International Adoption Clinic at Vanderbilt is awesome & who we saw first.  They took bloodwork (9 viles to be exact!) to see the levels of her immunizations, so we don't have to repeat any that she has already had etc..  & they will check to see if she is anemic & a long list of other things.  They did a stool sample (yuck), a TB test and she even had an observation session with an occupational therapist.

The occupational therapist said she is doing GREAT and that she is right on target for her age. YIPPEE!  She said she thought we would see a big improvement in her English in just a couple months.  They also noted that Charlotte is really flat footed so, they said we need to let he go barefooted as much as possible at home.

We are seeing Dr. Kelly @ Vanderbilt as her cleft surgeon.  He was SO NICE and even Charlotte liked him.  He said her palate repair looked great and so did her lip repair.  He asked who had done it when we told him it was done in China, at their local hospital, he was really impressed.  He did say he noticed a slight sagging on 1 side of her lip.  I had not noticed it, until he mentioned it.  But, he said it takes a year and a half for the lip to fully recover from surgery & look its best.  So, we will wait until June & look at it again & if needed, he will do a lip revision then. 

I showed him the spot on the back of her head.  I thought it was a scar of some kind but, he knew immediately that it was a cutis aplaysia.  He said it a rare skin problem where you are born without skin there.  So it healed & it is virtually a scar with no hair growing out of it.  He said he wants to remove it, and that there is a very small 1% chance for her during her lifetime to develop skin cancer if we left it.  So she will have that removed along with the lip revision, if he thinks she needs it, in June. 

He said the next surgery would then be at age 4 for her nose repair. Then, a surgery at around age 8 or so, for the bone graft surgery to do the final repair to her cleft gum line.  We are really thrilled to have him as her doctor.  He referred us to a pediatric dentist, Dr. King, and we went to see him that same day while we were in Nashville. 

I had already noticed that one of her front teeth was brown & that it would need attention soon.  It was hard to see because it was in the indention where her gumline doesn't line up.  Dr. King wanted us to come back the next day to have that tooth extracted.  He said it was infected & if not taken out soon, it could spread infection in her bones.  When he realized she hadn't eatten since breakfast, he decided he could do it that afternoon instead if we wanted.

They gave her something that was suppose to calm her down and we had to wait for 45 minutes for it take affect.  I expected it to have a bigger impact on her but, they assured me she would do ok.  They took her back and she didn't cry so, maybe the medicine did work.  About 20 minutes later the nurse came back with her & her tooth for the tooth fairy & Charlotte was just sniffling.  I consoled her for a little while and she just laid her little head on my shoulder.  She slept the whole 2 hour ride home & when we got home, she acted like nothing had ever happened.  She is such a trooper!

And just because I couldn't leave this post without pictures....here are a few from the last week.

Her first Sunday to go to church..she LOVED it and kept pointing to the choir and then touching our faces and grunting to make sure we saw them too.  It was so cute! 

This is at Santa's Village....she LOVED the merry go round and had a little temper tantrum
when we had to get off. :)   

She just amazes us every day.  She started waving and blowing kisses right after we got home  Now, just a couple weeks later, she has added saying "bye, bye" and "hi" and in Wal-mart tonight she waved at anyone that would look her way! :) LOL!  So cute!  She is so outgoing!

We are so thankful to have her home and Christmas is going to be extra special this year! 

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas! 


A glimpse into her life while in Wuwei..

Since seeing Charlotte's picture for the first time in February, we had sent several care packages to her which included disposable cameras.  We received 4 cameras back the day we got her.  These were the ONLY things we received....no clothes besides the ones she had on, no pictures or anything.  We were not able to get the cameras developed while we were in China.  We were hoping there would be some pictures of her with her foster family but, there weren't any. :(  Just shots of her & the occassional feet or hands of someone unknown.  We are very thankful for these pictures though, so I thought I would share some of my favorites.

Here she is pretending to be on the phone! :) LOL!  She does this all of the time!  And her outfit...cracks me up!  I am not sure if it is a bathing suit or some weird sort of split pants. :)

 Here she is in the outfit we sent her in a care package.  We also sent the bunny she is holding. :)

We assume this is a picture of the Wuwei Children's Welfare Institute. If anyone can translate what this says & confirm this for us, please let me know.

We know this is the entrance to the Wuwei Children's Welfare Institute because our guide had described the orphange & told us about the beautiful entrance.

When I saw this picture at first, it broke my heart! This could be a poster for orphans and she is an orphan no more... Praise the Lord! To see what she has come from though, blows my mind...she is such a brave little girl!

P.S.  We had sent a journal from Ann at Red Threads and we did receive it the day we got her and the orphange director & assistant director had written her a special note in it.  Our guide translated them to English and he also wrote a note for her and we think this will be a nice keepsake for her.  They also gave us the full name of her foster mother so, our guide says when he travels to Wuwei (he does a few times a year) that he will try & connect with her & see if she has any baby pictures she would like to share & we will email him new pictures to give her if he does find her.  It breaks my heart that we have no photos of her younger than a year old. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Reality :)

Well we are slowly getting settled as a family of 6!  She has blended into the family just so easily it is the jetlag that has been more of a problem. :) 

I have read alot of adoption blogs as we contemplated adoption and then waited to bring Charlotte home.  Alot of them say they have a hard time feeling connected and finding it difficult to feel the same love & bond they have with their biological children.  I had some of these fears as we prepared to leave for China.  What if she rejects me?  What if I don't have a connection with her?

So now I want to share my feelings of our last few weeks together.  I want to be completely honest and not sugar coat it....we ABSOLUTEY, POSITIVELY, LOVE this girl and I know our bond will only grow with time but, I could NOT HAVE IMAGINED an easier transition for her to our family.  I sat there holding her last night and her little head laying on my chest and it just hit me...she isn't my biological child & no one will ever say she looks like me but, yet it really is THE SAME love.  It was like my heart doesn't realize that she isn't of my body and I've just felt the same as I did when I rocked my boys to sleep as babies.  . 

We all just adore her and her transition is absolutely nothing short of a miracle.  She seems like such a happy girl with us.  I only wish her foster parents & birth parents could see her and how she has adjusted.  Her foster parents must have been amazing & my mom said recently that her birth parents must have been smart because she is just a little genious baby & continues to shock us all. :) LOL!

We did courses online, read books & watched numerous videos on attachment and what to expect.  I expected a shy little girl that wanted me to hold her alot and I imagined spending alot of time at home just trying to get used to each other.  We have seen no signs of her having any anxiety or behaviors of having been neglected or in an orphanage.  What we have is one of the most outgoing little girls I know.  She smiles all of the time and loves being in bigger group settings.  So I have had to modify my thoughts on everything I expected & we are just taking 1 day at a time and loving her. 

Things about Charlotte:
1) She shakes her head back & forth for no
2) She loves other kids and isn't shy even in big groups
3) She is understanding almost all of what we say it seems...this has amazed me!
4) She LOVES to kiss us and is very affectionate.
5) She now loves all 3 of her brothers and her Baba so that is GREAT!
6) She is sleeping through the night again and now we just lay down with her (in our bed) and she goes right off to sleep without a whimper.  She does wake up occassionally to roll over & give me kisses in her sleep! So cute!
7) She likes everyone in our immediate family and if others try to get her to come to them, she most of the time will shake her head no & hold on tighter to us.  Sometimes she will go to someone though like at the Santa's Village she LOVED the merry go round and she gladly reached for my best friend because she was closer to the merry go round.  LOL! She cried every time we had to get off the merry go round. :) This is the only time I have seen her have a typical toddler fit. :) 
8) Communication with her is easier than I anticipated.  She points to my drink and then points to her mouth if she is wanting a drink.  She pulls my hand or gently pushes my head to get my attention & points at things.  The other day at the doctors office I was sitting in the floor with her playing as we talked to the doctor & she grabbed my hand & patted the chair. :) She wanted me to sit in the chair. Honestly she amazes us!
9) It's been a while since we have had a toddler but, she really seems more mature than most other 2  year olds.  I wonder if it is because there were no other children in her foster family...so she had just been around adults.  One day she spilt a drink on the floor and she looked up to me & just cried and pointed and just got the saddest look on her face.  I bet she got in trouble for accidentally doing things like that in her foster family because, she looked at me like she was in trouble.  I just kissed her & said "it's ok, it's ok".  There have also been other moments of rough housing with the boys that she looked at us & acted like she wanted to do it but, couldn't believe she wouldnt get in trouble for it. LOL! 
10)  She goes through phases of really disliking her car seat.  We heard this would probably happen and it has.

Thoughts on our trip to China:
1) I wish I would have repared my teenage son that Charlotte might think of him as an adult & that she may not immediately like him as well as our little boys.

2) I SO wish we would have stayed on Shamain Island!  The Garden Hotel was nice but, I thought we would get a suite and we just got a regular room & it was tiny & nothing special.  After visiting the island, things are so calm there and I would have loved that.  There are lots of things around the Garden but the traffic makes it more difficult to get anywhere with a stroller.  We also saw lots of beggars & handicapped people begging for food & money around the Garden & it was very disturbing to me.  I don't think I will ever get the picture of this one man out of my head. :( I think I would have felt safer on the island.

3) There is no way to adequately describe what a 14 hour flight is like.  I thought for international flights you would have more room...NOPE!  Your seats won't even recline more than 3 inches so it made it impossible to sleep.  There were 3 to a row and I was the lucky middle person between Jason (by the window) & a chinese woman on the aisle.  Everytime we needed to go to the bathroom or get out we all had to get up.  IF we ever go to China againm and we hope to, I will definitely be looking at upgrades.  I am not an extravagant person and usually am pretty thrifty, because I like to be...BUT, I will gladly pay more for better seats next time.

4) I am so thankful we went to Beijing for a couple of days beforehand.  The jetlag was hard & I was exhausted & about to pass out every day at about 4 p.m. and certainy would not have been in any shape to handle a toddler.

5) We enjoyed taking the train from Guangzhou to Hong Kong.  Why can't plane seats be this comfortable & roomy?  Don't hesitate to take the train...we checked some of our luggage & it was easy to get a taxi when we got to Hong Kong.

6) I would love to have spent atleast 1 more day & night in Hong Kong.  It was beautiful but we really didn't get to see much of it.  It felt so much more westernized compared to China and that was nice on the way home.

7) Our guide had us scheduled to do the regular city zoo in Guangzhou not the Safari Park Zoo.  We didn't realize this until that morning and even though the city zoo was nice, it was similar to any zoo we would see in the U.S.  In hindsight, I wish I would have told him beforehand that we really prefer to see things unique to China.  There are lots of more interesting things to see in Guangzhou.  Our guide in Guangzhou (Jack Mao), we loved but he mainly concentrated on the paperwork, so this was the only excursion we did with him.

8) Be careful when taking a taxi to Shamain Island.  A friend of mine, Kim & I, got in a taxi at the Garden & told the bellboy to tell our driver we wanted to go to Lucy's (a restaurant) on Shamain Island.  Well 30 minutes later we were on an island...just not Shamain Island and with a taxi driver who was really frustrated with us.  He stopped on the side of the road and pointed to this building and motioned for us to get out.  We tried our best to let him know this was not the right place. He just got really frustrated with us & kept motioning for us to get out, so we did.  We walked up to a convenience store & started asking people if they spoke English.  Finally we found a young guy that said he did & we asked him if he would mind helping us get another taxi on the street. He said I will just take you in my car....we said NO THANK YOU! LOL!  I was not about to come all this way & go missing in China!  So he did help us get a taxi again & after 30 minutes we were at Shamain Island! woohoo!  What a fiasco though.  So in hindsight, I would just ask to go to The White Swan because I hear all drivers know where that is. :)

You can click on any of the pictures below to make them bigger.

Saying goodbye to China...

and everything she had ever known...what a brave girl!

She LOVES her doll stroller!

She LOVES bubbles too!

Kendra, Ben & Charlotte at the 1st grade Santa's Village field trip.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

We are HOME sweet HOME!

Well we SURVIVED the L-O-N-G plane ride!  Charlotte was a trooper and only cried maybe 20 seconds the entire trip home.  It is still just a horrible flight....just brutal and I really think all the prayers worked because it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been.  We ended up getting into Newark and through customs and immigration quicker than we thought we would so we decided to take an earlier flight to Nashville.
So what was immigration like in Newark?  They were SO NICE!  We waited in line (It took us maybe 10 mins) and the officer asked for the brown envelope with her immigration papers & passport in it.  He opened it and checked it all out and stamped her passport.  Then he said the immigration office has all the adopted kids go to the office as well.  So he led us to this smaller room with a waiting room (only 2 people were there waiting) & there where 3 officers behind a counter. One of them called me up just as I sat down and he looked over everything and said "CONGRATULATIONS!" Of we went to collect our luggage and recheck them all again.

We arrived in Nashville around 4:15 p.m. (Way earlier than our 7:30 arrival we had planned) 12so our friends who had planned a  big celebration at the airport couldn't come.  We live 2 hours from the airport so literally by the time we decided on the earlier flight my mom & boys had to leave right then to come get us.  In fact we had to wait about 20 minutes for them to get there.  We walked out of the baggage area and the boys were grinning from ear to ear. Charlotte did so well with them.  She immediately held Drew and Ben's hands on the way home and they were all over her.  She was fine as long  as I was holdig her but, I told them to give her a little space. She has loved having brothers! 

She is warming up to Will little by little.  I think because he is a teenager (he is 13) & looks like a grown man that she thought he was an adult.  This was hard on him and something I had not anticipated. (her loving the 2 younger brothers but not our teenager)  His feelings were really hurt at first and when Jason was trying to talk to him about it in his room, he cried.  I wish I had realized this possiblity and prepared him better for this but, things are getting better with time.

The only real issue we are having is catching up on our sleep and getting her to sleep well since we have been home.  She has been waking up around 2 or 3 a.m. in the middle of the night. ugh!  Otherwise I think Jason and I would be almost back on track by now.

Things about Charlotte since we've been home:
1) She is saying &/or repeating words like: car, ball, truck, Drew, Ben, Will,
2) She likes my cell phone and will have long conversations (I think in Mandarin) while holding it up to her ear! LOL!
3) She absolutely loves her doll stroller and sometimes won't even go to sleep without her hand still being on it. :)
4) She loves some of her toys...her favorites right now are: her Leap Pad dog Violet (from Aunt Steff & Uncle Matt) & a dump truck at Meemaw & DeeDee's house.  I decided she needed a pink one-so we went to Walmart last night (her 1st trip to Walmart) and we got a big pink car for her to push that she loves. :)
5) She likes most food we have given her.  Her favorite so far has been the hashbrown casserole Ms Jenny brought us the night we got home.
6) She likes her clothes & shoes & hairbows!  We always show her herself after getting her dressed and she smiles.  Kim asked if she could try Charlottes hairbow on Mei-lei because to see if she would keep it in.  So she took it gently out of Charlottes hair & placed in in Mei-Lei...Charlottes got the famous pouty lip and started crying. :) 
7) She points  to everything she wants.  If she throws something, she points for you to go get it & keeps pointing at it & grunting! LOL!  So we have had a talk with the boys about using our words when we talk to her and also not getting things for her that she just points to them. :)
8) It takes her a little bit to warm up to people but, when she does, she then shows off by throwing a ball back & forth or her blocks. 
9)  She knows what the word "jump" means and LOVES to jump!  The problem is, she is also thinking it is cool to jump down our steps...not a good idea! :)  She will hold both of your hands and jump & jump if you tell her.  She also likes to hold 2 peoples hands and on the count of 3 for them to jump or pull her up in the air.
10)  She does NOT like saying goodbye to anyone in the afternoon or at night (she is fine during the day)....she will cry & cry even if she just met you. :(  Poor thing!
11)  She has a really quiet cry & sometimes she will do the silent cry which breaks my heart!
12) When we turn the Steven Curtis Chapman CD on in our car she tries to sing along with us! :)
13) It is easier to communicate with her than I thought.  She is able to communicate with us by gestures, etc...it is pretty amazing!
14) She is just about the cutest, smartest & bravest little girl we have EVER met & we love her so dang much!

This picture was taken on our last night in Guangzhou at an Irish Restaurant close to the Garden Hotel.  (L-R ) Mei-lei, Shawn, Kim, Charlotte, Kendra & Jason

Yes, I have a whole bunch of photos I need to download and put on here....I promise when I am more rested I will do that.

We can't truly express how grateful we are for everyone's prayers while we were gone.  It was an amazing experience that we will never forget but, we are so happy to be HOME!


Saturday, November 26, 2011

From Lanzhou to Guangzhou...

Charlotte had her first playdate with Taya.  They had been around each other all week but we hadnt let them get down in the floor to play together.  They played very well together and Charlotte liked sharing.  When Aaron got up and started saying bye bye Charlotte started crying. :) I think she really liked playing for Taya. :)

What we have been waiting on...Charlottes Chinese passport! :) Along with our 2 U.S. passports. 

Leaving Lanzhou and our guide aka Uncle Steed.  I cried when we left...we loved Lanzhou & Steed so much!

Our Gladney friends in Guangzhou...Shawn & Kim with their new daughter Mei-li are from Austin, TX and then there is me & Charlotte & our Gladney travel coordinator Gongzhan Wo who just happened to be traveling in China this month so, we got to meet him, and on the end is Jason.  The poster is of Edna Gladney (founder of our agency)

The medical exam...

She really did not care for them doing things to her. :)

 Our guide in Guangzhou, Jack, had on a cap from Leeland, Michigan which is where Jason vacationed as a child.  Small world!  He said an adoptive family had given it to him.

Outside the medical clinic

Our guide in Guangzhou, Jack Mao with us at the medical exam

Beautiful Shamain Island

The guys waiting on me & Kim to finish shopping on Shamain Island 

We are all doing pretty well. I ended up getting sick on the plane and sicker once we got to Guangzhou.  Some how I made it the room and collapsed.  Jason took Charlotte for a couple of hours and let me rest.  It was a hard night for them...she wouldn't go potty for him even though she kept motioning that she needed to go. UGH!  Anyway, I think it helped them bond though because today she has been smiling at him more and one time she didnt even cry when I handed her to him. 

Our hotel is very nice...it is huge and similar to the Opryland Hotel with a waterfall etc... but we did not get a suite like I had hoped.  The room is just a standard room.  I am wishing I had asked for a suite but, I assumed all rooms were suites at the Garden.  It is in a good location with lots of things nearby but, after visiting the island I wish we were on the island.  It is so quiet there and easy to walk around with her in a stroller.

We went to the medical exam this morning.  We ate the breakfast buffett and left for Shamain Island at 9:30 with our new guide Jack.  We really like him too.  Boy have we been blessed with great guides.  The medical exam consists of 3 different areas...one to measure & weigh the kids.  Charlotte weighed 27 lbs. :)  The 2nd station was ENT where they checked in her mouth, her ears etc.. And the final exam is where we had to take all of her clothes off and she did not like them touching her!

We did some shopping around the island after the medical exam and I found a few cute things for Charlotte. Now we are getting ready to go eat at The Banana Leaf restaurant ( a Tai restaurant) with our Utah friends and our Gladney friends. 

Thankfully I am feeling alot better today and hope to be back to 100% tomorrow.  Charlotte is doing just wonderful...laughing and smiling, playing games and even getting a little naughty with her spitting! LOL!  Daddy is sitting on the bed with her right now and she is laughing and spitting on him and he is smiling back at her while telling her no....like thats gonna work! LOL!  She already has him wrapped around her little pinky! LOL! 

Sending our love from China!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dear Charlotte

Dear Charlotte,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         When I rocked you to sleep tonight and looked into your beautiful brown eyes, I couldn't help but wonder...Did your birth mother look into these same beautiful brown eyes?   Or were you wisked away when they saw your cleft lip & palate, to be found by the nanny of the orphanage on that cold, early November morning? Did she wonder where you are right now?  Did your foster mother (your 2nd mama) lovingly take care of you? Did she teach you to spit shine the furniture as you showed us today? :) Is she missing you right now? I pray both of these first mamas in your life will be able to find peace in the role they played in your life.I sit here in Lanzhou, China the closest I will probably ever be to these 2 important women in your life and in a way it makes me sad to leave Lanzhou tomorrow. Going to Guangzhou is one step closer to home and our boys (your guo guos) but, it is one step away from everything you have ever known.

 I am your 3rd mama, your forever and ever mama and I pray I can be all you need me to be and more. This journey to you has been one of the best things to ever happen to me and I hope one day you will realize how much your 3 mamas have loved you.... 1 enough to give you up, 1 enough to care for you for almost 2 years and 1 enough to love you through anything that might come our way.  It was God's plan all along that on November 20th, 2011 that you would become our daughter and we love you very, very much!

Love, your forever & ever mama

We are doing good!

We have a VERY HAPPY girl today!  She loves her clothes...this outfit was from Aunt Tonya & Laura. :) She loves eatting her little bananas...they are about 2-3 inches long but taste the same as regular bananas. ;)

We are doing REALLY GOOD today!  She has smiled and laughed and been just really happy today.  She is talking more and of course we don't know what she is saying.  I am able to be away from her a little.  Like right now she is sitting on the bed by herself! YIPPEE! :)  She tolerates Jason right now.  If he tries to feed her she jerks away and won't eat it.  But if I pick up the same spoon she opens her mouth right up. LOL!  So stubburn! But she did play with him today and tolerated him holding her in the Ergo Carrier which was good for them both and good for my back! :)  We are getting ready to meet our friends and head to the city square. 

Things we know about Charlotte:
1) She likes to watch Chinese cartoons & points & talks to the tv
2) She can use chop sticks pretty well
3) She LOVES to be outside and she LOVES her stroller! She will go to our hotel door and start to push her stroller to the door if she thinks it is time to go out.
4) She likes to look at the boys pictures and occassionally will say "Guo Guo" when she points to the picture of them!
5) She came from a good orphanage...they use a special wheat additive to the formula in Wuwei to make the kids healthier and we can tell.
6) She likes to fold clothes.  She keeps a little washclothe of her blanket & likes to fold them neatly.  I think she must have folded clothes in her foster family.
7) She took the wash clothe and was wiping the desk in our hotel room off, then, she spit and rubbed some more.  So funny!
8) Our guide says when we drive around she talks about the big trucks!  :)
9) She is an easy going girl...and her smile will melt you heart! :)
10) She loves her little black boots.  I think it must have been ones she has worn for some time.  Her feet are TINY!
11) She eats bananas, rice congee, noodles, those little manadarin oranges and is very independant about it wanting to peel it herself and hand me the peeling. :)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING from China! :)  Love you all!
The is a replica of the horse statue that is from Wuwei that is now famous in China
and I believe is used as their emblem for tourism

This Buddha was beautiful!  We saw it when visiting the Budhist temple in Lanzhou.  It was one of several Budha...our guide said they believe in many Gods.

This is looking out of our window in our hotel.  It is a beautiful city but
you can't see clearly as the air is so polluted.

Apartments we can see from our hotel window.

More views from the window

Charlotte putting on makeup like she sees mama do! :)

We went out with our Utah friends and this was part of our Thanksgiving feast!  It was so yummy! Notice the chicken head though...yuck!  We had a very nice lunch with 2 different meat dishes, rice, noodles, and 2 desserts for $18 USD

Our Thanksgiving desserts...this one was like a custard pie and it was YUMMY!  And the other was like a pie crust and on the inside were peanuts and a sugar so it tastes a little like pecan pie.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We LOVE Lanzhou!

I had heard before we came that Lanzhou was fairly small and with not alot to do.  Well we LOVE it here!  It is absoutely BEAUTIFUL!  I like it much more than Beijing!

Today we went to a Budhist temple and it was gorgeous there!  Old people gather there in the mornings to exercise, dance, sing etc..  It was amazing to see them!  Jason joined a group playing hacky sac....well with a badmitton birdie that was weighted instead of a hacky sac.  We gathered quite the attention from everyone at the park.  They wanted to know why we had an Asian baby.  They all were very nice and comlimentary about adoption and some told us we were very good people and that they were thankful.  One woman said "She is a lucky girl!"  I told her "We are lucky parents" through our interpretor. :)  we truly are....she is perfect for us and we love her so much!

She seems to be doing better this afternoon.  We ate a Pizza Hut for lunch and we were so thankful for some food that is familiar. Afterwards I told Jason he had to carry her in the Ergo carrier because my arms have been killing me.  So he did and she cried and cried but, we were in a busy area so there was alot to distract her and she eventually got over it.  She has had more to do with him this afternoon and has had a REALLY good day today...smiling and laughing and talking more!  We love this girl SO MUCH!  She is just a doll!  and she amazes us she is so smart!

We met another American couple adopting here this week.  They are from Utah and we have LOVED getting to know them and their new daughter.  Their daughter has a heart condition and is a month older than Charlotte.  But she is not able to walk or crawl.  She was in a different orphange (not foster care) and you can tell she is a sweetie that is just eatting up all of the attention.  Our guide said they probably had 10 babied per nanny to take care of and they just did as good as they could.  She is alos VERY tiny and her color is bad...because of the heart problem.  They will be doing heart surgery in the states so keep this family in your prayers.

We have enjoyed skyping with some of our family this week.  It has made me feel close to the boys an dnot miss them as much.  And Charlotte walked over to the computer just a few minutes ago asking for Guo Guo and pointing. (that means big brothers!)  She has loved seeing everyone too! :)

Tomorrow we plan to celebrate Thanskgiving by going to a nice Western restaurant that our guide recommended with our new Utah friends.  We definitely have SO MUCH to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! 

The assistant Director of the Wuwei Orphanage.  He was so nice.  He told us he could tell we had already done alot for WuKexia and that we had good hearts.  He wanted to make sure we would have more surgeries for her palate if it needed it.  We assured him we would and that we already had an appointment the week after we get back.

From L-R  Melody (the Utah couples guide), our new Utah friends and their new daughter, in between them is their daughters orphange director, another helper form the guide service, Jason, Kendra & Charlotte, Wuwei Assistant Director, a nanny that came to help with WuKexia on the long car ride, our guide Steed (who we absoutely love!)

Monday, November 21, 2011

How is she doing?

Overall she is doing really well.  She smiled and laughed for the first time a few hours after we had her.  She has this really cute pouty face.  It is ADORABLE!  When they were trying to take her picture for her Chinese passport she diddnt cry but she would stick out her bottom lip. :)  Everyone in the store laughed and laughed at her.

She is grieving though fairly hard at times.  She will break out in a cry for no reason what so ever.  It makes me think something is hurting her but I know it isnt.  I think it is her broken heart....not knowing what is going on and who might leave her next. :(  It breaks my heart too. 

For some reason today she won't have anything to do with Jason.  We know this sometimes happens in the first few days but, man are my arms killing me!  And today she has decided she won't sit alone in the floor and play.  If she plays in the floor she wont let her butt be on the floor...she has to be in my lap. :)  She also wants to have her shoes on all the time.  If she doesn't have them on she points to them & grunts.  We know all of this normal...she has been SO BRAVE! But, if you think about it, pray for her...I can't imagine all that is going through her mind.


First smile! she & Baba were playing with stacking cups.

Playing with Baba before she decided she didn't like him.

Officially the newest McCuistion! :)

a smile for mama!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

We have her and she is BEAUTIFUL!

We met her in our room and she is amazing!  So smart!  She has been calling her brothers "guo guo" (which means big brothers) in their picture the last few hours!  She called Jason Baba! (which means daddy) And she really is potty trained.  She motions when she needs to go pee and has gone 3 times! :)

The first hour or so was pretty bad.  She was crying and wanted nothing to do with either one of us.  They said they had picked her up from her foster family just this morning.  The woman that is in the pictures she didnt know before this morning and the man is the Assistant Director of her orphanage and they were both so nice!

She is already a master at the stacking cups and loves watching Chinese cartoons. I think that might have helped as our language is so foreign to her.  After we turned on the tv, she has really opened up. :)

She is doing really good right now.  We heard her first laughs when we put stacking cups on our heads & then letting them fall. lol! Although I am a rasd worried about bedtime.  We got her around 2:30pm & it is now 7:30 p.m. so bed is coming soon...

We are sooooo happy & so thankful! Thank you so much for your prayers. They were certainly felt today.

with lots of love from China,

Saturday, November 19, 2011

We aren't in Kansas anymore....

This building was built specifically for the Olympics in 2008...it is called the Birds Nest

Street vendors selling sweet potatoes and roasted chestnuts....which made me sing Angela one of my favorite Christmas songs.  She said she had never heard it. :)

A rick shaw ride through the hutong.  This man was from Gansu province and only gets to see his family like once a year.

What is a hutong? It is an alleyway and all of these doorways off the alleyway lead to courtyard surrounded by rooms.  The hutongs were originally built by the Emperor to house the generals and army officials around the Forbidden City...so that they could get there quickly. No one else was allowed to live there. There are over 4,000 hutongs residences still in Beijing and it is something like I have never seen before.  The old people believe in feung sway (sp?) and that living on the ground/soil is healthier.  So many people have to live in high rises that these are very south after.  This hutong Angela said would cost $3 million U S Dollars! So these hutongs are for the wealthy!  It blew me away....we are definitely not in Kansas any more!  This is the real China.

The honeymoon room in the hutong! :) LOL!

There is a big courtyard and 4 buildings.  The building on the north is for the elderly or owners because of the way the sun sets and rises it is cool in the summer and hot in the winter.  The building on the south is for the servants because it is hot in the summer and cold in the winter.  The building on the east is for the son and the building on the west is for the daughter.

 A typical bedroom.

The hutong dining room...she made the men sit in the throne chairs. :)

The owners talking outside their home. 

The kitchen

The doorway to the courtyard