Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thoughts about China... encouragement for those that will soon travel!

I am sure that there will be more posts than this on this subject, but I wanted to share some thoughts with you now!  My hope is that this post will encourage people to pray.  In addition I hope that those that are still to travel to get their children will take some of what I have experienced to help you have the best experience possible!

As you know, we spent a few days in Beijing before we went to Myah's province.  I am so thankful for this time.  We were able to spend time seeing amazing sights and learning a great deal about history and culture!  It's not every day that you are in Asia and can go visit The Great Wall of China!!!  It was far more amazing in person than I could have ever imagined!  If you are trying to decide if it is worth the money to go to Beijing.... DO IT!!!  You will not be disappointed!!!

Before we left for China, we prayed that God would use us as a light for Himself.  God opened the doors for us to share our faith, even with just the tiniest of seeds.  One woman said to us that we were so happy and that she loved that!  My response to her was simple.  We are Christians and our joy comes from the Lord!  She said that she could tell we were Christians and was happy that it made a difference in our lives!  I pray that the time we had with this woman and our future contact will enable us to share more with her in the future!  While we were cautious with what we said to people, we also took the opportunities that were presented to us to share the love of the Lord with those that we met!  Listen the the Holy Spirit and share when you feel God's leading! 

Both Jeff and I were surprised when we arrived in China.  We fully expected something different then what we saw.  We both expected to so lots and lots of oppression.  Neither of us saw that, but rather we saw people living out their daily lives, just as we do here in the United States.  I have come to the conclusion that many if not most of the Chinese people do not have any idea the freedoms that most in the world experience. It reminds me to everyday be thankful for the freedoms we have here.  Let me never take for granted all that I have.

On that day that we first had Myah, we went out to find food for lunch and dinner.  As we walked I watched our sweet baby.  She was seeing things for the 1st time.  She was hearing sounds that she may have never heard.  The smells from the different dining establishments may have been completely new to her.  She had left the world and life she had always known and was now seeing and smelling things that were all new to her.  Likely, she had only left the orphanage only once before, when she went to the hospital for her lip surgery.  As I held her close to provide comfort and safety to her, I also wanted her to experience all that she could while we were there.  Certainly very little of what we did and saw will be remembered, but it was so fun watching her to point towards the sounds that she heard and the sights that she saw. 

There were certainly things about our trip that we didn't like.  There were times we were tired of eating Chinese food!  One of our hotels was not the finest.  Some of the streets that we walked were not the cleanest.  We saw poverty, homelessness, handicap people begging on the streets.  Certainly none of those were the ideal, yet there are what they are.  We spent many hours walking the city that Myah is from.  I tried to capture as much as possible in photos.  I watched the people, listened to the sounds, breathed in the smells.  Someday our daughter is going to what to know of the country of from which she came.  I want to be able to give her a big picture!  I would encourage you to not lock yourselves into your hotel room, but go out and walk, see, smell, touch and take it all in. 

There were 5 families in our travel group.  All of our children different ages, different personalities, and different special needs.  Some had been in foster care, others in orphanages.  Some had more significant physical delays than others.  Regardless of the places in which our children came, they all needed love and attention that only a family could provide.  Every day it was fun to see the personalities of our children come out.  It was fun to see them interact with the others.  Their personalities shined the brightest when we were out and about.  While the easiest thing to do might be to stay in the room, it may be the hardest for your child.  Myah's personality was different for us when we were in the room and she "came to life" when she realized we were leaving our hotel room.  Walk off all the carbs from rice and noodles, and go explore!!! 

The day we got Myah one of the nanny's from her orphanage came and talked to us about her schedule, eating habits, likes, dislikes.  While I am so glad to have that information, much of it was not how things worked for us.  The bottle she was used to taking at the orphanage, she refused to take for us.  The time that she was used to going to bed was when she was playful and full of lots of energy.  We were told she only napped in the afternoon, but we quickly (within a few minutes of having her) learned that she also sleeps in the morning.  She was only given very small pieces of food and was fed at the orphanage, but she was able to handle everything we fed her and at times really liked putting it in her mouth on her own.  I say this to remind you that just because they give you info about your child's life and schedule doesn't mean that it will work like that for you.  We let her call the shots and it seemed to work the best!

So there are some of my thoughts!  I hope they are helpful.  I am sure that there will be more to follow in the days to come!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How are things going? 10-27-11

Many have emailed and sent me Facebook messages, so I thought I should post here!  How have things been going?  Honestly, for the most part, pretty well.  This is what we have been up to and the challenges we have faced!

1st, Jeff went back to work on Monday.  I was concerned how things would go, since Myah had been favoring him over me.  I was thankful that Alexander did not have school that day, so we could take it easy.  Myah did beautifully that day.  When it was nap time, thankfully Samuel went to bed without a fuss and Myah and I laid down in my bed and slept for a few hours.  Monday night we went to church and passed out DVD's in the community and had dinner.  Myah did great in the stroller and Samuel thought he was big stuff to sit in the big boy seat in the stroller.

2nd, Tuesday was Myah's 1st doctor's appt.  She did really well and was not scared by the doctor at all.  He is very pleased with her growth and development.  We have opted to wait on immunizations until after the blood work that will be done at Children's Mercy's International Adoption Clinic that is scheduled for next Monday.  Both babies were fast asleep when we got into the car.  We had planned to visit daddy and work, so he could introduce Myah to his coworkers.  Since they were sleeping, I went through a drive thru and got our lunch, so they could sleep a bit, while we ate in the car.  Myah was a bit timid at times, but did much better when Jeff got her out of the stroller and carried her.  Sam was a hit too... and he scored fruit snacks, twizzlers, a bear, and many offers for chocolate treats!  (I said no to the chocolate, because of the mess and we had further plans.)  We came home for the babies to eat a late lunch and then headed to Alexander's school.  Many were excited to meet Myah there too.

I was concerned about how I was going to get the 3 boys to their classes at church last night, with the addition of a baby.  Everything worked great!  I put her in the carrier and I held Sam's hand!  Everyone got to their classes, Myah and I loaded the car to drive to the youth building for my class.  I put Myah back in the carrier and she actually slept for most of the evening.

3rd, the boys are very sweet to her.  There have been a few episodes where Sam and Myah both wanted the same toy.  Go figure!  Yesterday Sam had a spoon and Myah wanted it.  I got Myah a spoon too, and they were both happy.  Sam is a bit jealous when I am holding Myah.  Normal stuff.  He will soon learn that there is enough love to go around.  I have made extra effort to love on and give him attention, when Myah is not needing my attention too!

4th, last night after the boys were all in bed and asleep Myah began crying very hard.  I was holding her to put her to sleep when it started.  I first thought that she might want another bottle, BUT THAT DIDN'T WORK.  Maybe she had a tummy ache so I tried putting pressure on her tummy BUT SHE GOT MAD.  I walked with her, AND THAT DID NOT DO THE TRICK.  I tried feeding her baby prunes (yuck) and after a few bites, SHE PUSHED IT AWAY!  We had no baby gas drops, SO JEFF WENT TO BUY SOME.  While he was gone she started arching her back.  I put her on the floor to see if that would help.  SHE BEGAN ROLLING AROUND THE ROOM, AND THROWING TOYS AS SHE ROLLED INTO THEM.  I stayed close to her and moved anything that could have hurt her or something else, if she threw it. As she cried, and rolled I told her that I love her and she will always be ours!  I DON'T KNOW THAT SHE UNDERSTOOD, BUT I PRAY THAT THE LOVE I SHOWED HER WAS SINKING INTO HER HEART!

When Jeff got home, I held her to give her the gas drops.  She tried to push them away, but I got her to take them.  SHE STARTED TO CALM DOWN, AND I JUST HELD HER TIGHT!  She finally stopped crying and went to sleep.  She still whimpered for about an hour, so I held her until that completely stopped, before I put her in her bed.  She slept well all night!

What does this mean?  She could have had a bad tummy ache and all she needed to fix it was gas drops.... or she could have been grieving.  Newly adopted children need to grieve the loss of their nannies or foster families.  I TEND TO THINK THAT THIS IS WHAT WAS HAPPENING!  It was hard to experience this with her, but am so glad that it finally came!  I HOPE THAT IS THE END OF HER PAIN, BUT LIKELY THERE IS MORE TO COME!!!

5th, other great strides....  1st, we do not have to be in her sight line every waking moment!  She feels comfortable in our home to explore and for me to leave the room.  PRAISE THE LORD!!!  She has stood up in the middle of the room, without holding onto anything.  She quickly fell, but what a big step for her to make.  Talking about steps... SHE TOOK A FEW STEPS ON HER OWN!!!  I am not ready for that yet... so we won't be pushing that, but wow!!!  She seems to accept my care and attention as much as she does Jeff's.  THAT IS GOOD, SINCE I AM HOME WITH HER ALL DAY!

There is more to share, but it will have to wait.  MY BABY NEEDS HER BOTTLE!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Our first day home 10-22-11

The 4 travelers were awake by 4:30 AM.  Once we got ready for the day, we headed to breakfast.  Alexander got sick, so Jeff, Sam, Myah, Alexander and I skipped Denny's and went through the Jack in The Box drive thru.  We ran by Gymboree to exchange some clothes for a larger size and then came home. 

At lunch, the family went out FOR CHINESE FOOD, and Alexander and I stayed home.  They brought us food after they ate.  Jeff's parents went to the store and the rest of us slept.  When I woke up, our dinner had been prepared by Jeff's mom.  It was a treat to not have to cook.

After dinner, we showed them some of our pictures and then headed to bed.  As I write this, it is 6 AM on Sunday and we have again been awake since 4 AM.  I hope we can get on a normal schedule soon! 

Our final day in Guangzhou, China then off to Hong Kong and finally home! 10-20-11 and 10-21-11

On our final day in Guangzhou, China we decided to stick close to the hotel.  After breakfast we finished up packing and then went out to the garden area of our hotel to take pictures of Myah.  We could tell that she was a bit uneasy that day and was not very comfortable with being put down.  We worked together and hope that I can crop some pictures for some pretty portraits.

After we were done in the gardens, we went out to get lunch!  We planned on going to a Japanese place, but the lunch menu was not in English and noone was able to help up with translations.  We ended up back at the Mexican place! 

After lunch we walked around a bit....

and then went back to the room.

Mark and Charles, the little boys in our group came to our room to play for a while.

Our guide had gotten permission for us to keep our rooms until 4 PM.  Just before 4, the bellmen came and got our bags and the cleaning crew was there to strip the bed and get it ready for the next guests.

We went to the lobby and received the very important documents that we had to bring with us to the USA for Myah to become a US citizen.  We said goodbye to 2 familes that were not traveling with us to Hong Kong and packed the 2 vans with our luggage and 2 other families to start the drive.  We had to get out of the van to walk across the border out of  China, and our driver met us on the other side.
We were then able to drive through the Hong Kong border. 

Of the three families going to Hong Kong, we were in 3 different hotels.  Our's was the 1st stop, so we said goodbye to the 2 families that we had grown to know and love through our time in China.  I will say that the 2 familes that we said goodbye to in Guangzhou, we have grown to know and love too!  We checked into our room and then found out how to take the subway to downtown Hong Kong, so we could see the city lights.  Once off the subway, we took a 5 minute walk to the ferry so we could see the lights on the water.  We ate a LATE dinner and then took the ferry and subway back to our hotel and dropped into bed around midnight.

Myah is such a trooper, she slepted in the carrier and we were able to get her into her bed without her waking up.    At 6:30 AM the alarm went off.  Not our alarm, but the one that stays in the hotel.  We just laid in bed until 7:00, when we needed to get up.  We were showered, dressed and ready to eat breakfast and off to the airport by 9 AM.

Myah did rather well on the long airplane ride.  There was a spell that she was sooo tired and was struggling to go to sleep.  Jeff was finally able to get her to sleep by putting her in the carrier and holding her really tight.  I think that feels safe and secure in the carrier.

Upon arrival to Chicago, we went through customs and immigration and our precious Myah Faith WenXia Stone became a US Citizen.  We had a few hours to kill so Alexander did homework and Jeff and I made a few calls.  Our flight to KC was delayed but thankfully only by about 20 minutes.  All 4 of us slept for part of the flight, which was nice.

We arrived to KC and were greeted by the two little boys, Jeff's parents and my parents!  It was so so good to be back in KC.  We gathered our bags and drove back to Belton, and went to Bob Evans.  My sister, and 2 of her kids met us there.  We ate and visited and then headed home.

I was ready to get everyone settled down and in bed, but Zachary wanted his gifts, so we pulled everything out and it was midnight before we were all in bed.  It was so good to be at home in our home and sleeping on our own pillows in our comfortable bed!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

United States Consulate Appointment and some sightseeing and last minute shopping! 10-19-11

Today was a big day.  We dressed our Chinese born--- soon to be--- American girl in the RED -- WHITE-- AND-- BLUE!  She was super duper cute... if you ask me!  She waved her American Flag with excitement.  Notice also... that there is a short time when a hair clip was in her beautiful dark hair!!!

After the quick photo shoot in the lobby we boarded the bus to the US Consulate.  We took an oath that all of the information we have presented is true and accurate.  We then waited for our name to be called.  At that point we presented some documents, they reviewed some documents that they already had, I signed my name and we were done!

Once everyone in our group was finished we boarded the bus and stopped once to take some pictures! 

Once we were back at the hotel, we took some big group pictures.

we went to our room, took a few pictures

changed clothes and the 4 of us headed out for a bit.  We went to see a Buddist Temple. 

While I don't understand all of this religion, I will say that it made me sad to see people come and bring their offerings and pray to the idols that were before them!  So many people need Jesus!!!  We used our time there to talk to Alexander about how while we worship God, we need to make sure that we don't allow things in our lives to become idols.

After leaving there, we went back to the island to eat lunch, do a bit more shopping and take pictures of Myah on the famous "Red Couch." She was kind of a wiggle worm, so they are not the best pictures... but you get the idea!

We saw a few more bridal shoots. 

We did some shopping

ate lunch at the famous "Lucy's"

 took some pictures at some popular photo spots....

 Saw some model shoots....

and then took the taxi back to our hotel. 

Every evening we were greeted by this sweet gal as we got off the elevator.  She would point us in the direction of our room.  When we were leaving our room, she would race to greet us and put the elevator button for us!

We dropped our stuff off and then went by foot to an Italian Place that others in our group recommended!  After dinner, back to the hotel for the kids to go to bed and I went for a massage!  WOW, my back and legs feel good!  I am not sure I am fond of the tummy massage however!!

Tomorrow we pack our bags and begin our long travel home!  We will be taking a van from Guangzhou to Hong Kong, where we will spend the night.  On Friday, at around 11:45 AM we leave Hong Kong and will arrive to Kansas City at 7 PM on Friday night!  If only we didn't have to add 13 hours into the time (for time differences).  I am ready to be home, to kiss my little Sam and Zachary and to introduce the newest member
of our family to everyone in the U.S. of A!