Monday, October 5, 2009

It's All Good

Life is never perfect, but sometimes it's pretty close. My children are true siblings as they swing the pendulum of loving one another to tattle-telling and toy "hoarding". Hannah and Tian are spending a lot of time playing together. Yippee! All will be going well, and suddenly, Hannah will shift and want to know, "When does Tian have to go down for a nap cuz I need a break from him." She has been the only princess for so long, it's hard to get upset with this attitude.
Tian adores his Daddy and his sisters. He has warmed up to MaMa pretty well too! His English improves daily as does his ability to communicate his distaste for a few rules. He still loves to eat, and tries to eat all day! He told me supper was "Yuk" tonight. Didn't take him long to learn that one from his sister. I tried to explain that "No, thank you" was a better choice. How do you teach manners in English to a Chinese speaking 3 year old? Obviously, I was too harsh. He bawled, open-mouthed showing his "yukky" supper to the entire family.
Olivia is crawling. God bless her. She has been such a trooper during this change. I worry she has received the shaft as all eyes have turned from my precious 8 month old to her new big brother. Fortunately, only love rests in her eyes for him. She gives him that big toothy grin. He reciprocates in such gentle ways with her. Tian will caress her cheek or kiss her forehead. It's too sweet!
My marriage has strengthened as I watch my husband take on an entirely new devotion to our children. The man has even gotten a little more organized and has cleaned more like me. What a way to get into my heart...forget food, forget flowers, forget gifts. Honey, just clean the house, and I'm all yours!
Lastly, I must add that I am truly thankful that I serve a Lord who continues to teach me, who encourages me, and who re-teaches me each time I don't quite get His lesson. I am thankful for His patience. Worry overcame me a couple of weeks ago as I focused solely on my children. Sharing my concerns in prayer, God calmed my spirit and reminded me that obedience is much more important than a mission of changing the world. Wow! Utterly profound! Obedience- something that seems so simple. It's why I teach my children- to keep them safe. It's why He teaches me- to keep me safe in the center of His will. Thank you heavenly Father!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Home is sometimes my favorite place! In the presence of my family is always where I wish to be.

I had promised a family picture. Promise broken for now... the reality is that each attempt ending with someone crying. Notice the picture of the kids. Olivia is wailing and Tian is scratching a mosquito bite, and that's the best that we can do right now.

Jet lag, sibling rivalry, selfishness, and reality checks are real! We are battling each so your prayers are always appreciated.
We are, however, incredibly overjoyed in the happy moments. Yesterday I delighted in squeals that ruminated throughout the house. Hannah and Tian were chasing one another during a silly made-up game. Sweet kisses initiated by each of us are shared at random. Wrestling is a given when Daddy is around. Smiles and giggles are just as prevalent as tears and whimpers. Life is good; God is faithful! And, I'm sure that Mommy will often need Calgon and a back rub!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Last Day

First, happy day to Olivia! It's hard to believe that 7 months ago today, she was born. We are looking forward to seeing her with a toothy grin. Her first two teeth came in during our absence.

We are overjoyed!!! Our day tomorrow will begin at 5 AM China time (5 PM Eastern time). Add 28-30 hours to that and we will be home!  We cannot wait to hold our girls and have them meet their brother.

Tian continues to entertain us.  He's getting sweeter and more relaxed day by day.  We spent some last moments today wrestling, splashing in mud puddles, racing around the hotel, shopping, eating and eating some more.

Each day we have allowed Tian to choose his shirt. Today was a moment of truth when Tian told our guide that he liked his orange golf shirt.  He said that he liked it because it had "two buttons and that made it really nice". Wow!

Do not get me wrong...he is appreciative, and yet the boy is an absolute menace inside of the stores.  I'll just warn you ahead of time that if you ever see me in Wal-mart or Target, there will probably be a whirlwind circling around us. I'm sure to be that Mom that people point at and wonder why she can't control her children.  There are just some things that I cannot worry about right now. 

My next post will be a picture of our family reunion. Little girls, Mama and Daddy are coming. I really hope that no one stands in our path; Mama may be small, but she is bound to become the most powerful offensive lineman you have ever seen.  This girl is coming home to be with all of her babies!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Babbling Blog

Tian is napping as Mom and Dad are enjoying the air conditioning. Nothing really new to report. We met several other families yesterday at the US Consulate's office. We completed a swearing ceremony to attest that our paperwork is accurate. Aside from going through immigration in the States and applying for a US birth certificate, that was the last part of the paperwork process. Yippee!

Also while Tian is napping, we are enjoying a Pepsi and a Kit Kat! I have missed my chocolate here, not because it isn't available; it just hasn't been readily available and as cheap as at home. We went to Carrefore, a French version of Wal-Mart. Too bad we're so far from home. I could have had a little more fun there. I was also shopping with Chris and a male guide. Their boredom was evident...although, Tian loved looking at all of the boy toys (cars, remote control helicopters, transformers, etc.).

Tian is such a character. He starting his winking game again this morning...only he didn't realize that he needed to relax his eye after the wink was over. He kept his eye squinted for a little while as we laughed and tried to communicate that a wink is a quick action. The laughter fueled him even more.

Two nights ago we decided to eat something like ramen noodles in the room. I covered the table and floor with newspaper and let Tian eat until his heart was content. He so enjoyed eating and playing with his food. Last night as we were ready to leave for dinner, I asked him in Chinese if he was hungry. He answered very excitedly and ran to the table in the room. He pulled his chair up close and with eager anticipation stared down at an empty table. Again, we laughed and tried to explain that we were going out to eat. He understood and raced to the door saying, "Come on!" He is certainly a character. We look forward to being able to verbally communicate more in the future. He is sure to entertain everyone.

Supper last night was provided on a dinner river cruise. It was very relaxing. Of all of the times to forget our camera! There were so many lights; it looked like Christmas, yet with a rainbow of colors.

Hannah and Olivia, we love you so much! We are coming home very soon! To our family, we are almost there. We can't thank you enough for "putting up" with the girls. We wish we had enough money to send you on a child-free vacation!

Thanks again and again to our friends and family who have sent us comments. Your words have been an inspiration and a comfort to us. Almost every adoptive couple we have met here has been clear about one thing: God has paved the way and enabled us beyond any expectations. Even as we face the transitions before us at home, we should never doubt His faithfulness.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Short Post

We completed the adoption process yesterday!!! We will leave on Sunday; it's hard to sit here that long.

Picture captions: Tian as Daddy's little helper. He tries to help with chores. :) Second one is Tian enjoying fruit at breakfast.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Little Man

Our pictures are taking awhile to load, but I knew everyone was eager to see the "little man"! Tian is sporting his bedtime look- batman pajamas and a silly hat. One picture is him with a messy mouth; the boy loves fried noodles.
The countdown has begun! We have 4 and a half days before we leave for home! I never would have predicted that I would be so eager to return. Chris and I have ALWAYS enjoyed traveling. Having children does change a lot of things. I must remember this feeling next time I'm longing for a vacation. Nothing is better than being in the presence of the people I love.

Tian was a brave boy as he endured his first flight yesterday. Watching his face light up at the magnitude of the jets was fun. He made a boring day at a crowded airport a little less boring. He admitted to our guide that he was a bit fearful.

We can also now say that we were the family with the noisy toddler on the plane. Little man despises the seatbelt. Boy is Mommy dreading the car seat when we return home. I can't even allow myself to think about the flights home. I pray he sleeps a lot and that the other passengers have extra patience and ear plugs!

It is a nice change to be in Guangzhou. Every family who adopts in China has to come here to get a US visa for their little "immigrant". Tian handled the medical exam without so much as a complaint. The same cannot be said for his afternoon nap.

We did get in some cuddle time before nap. Tian still prefers Daddy, but Mama is seeing a little more love. He is so funny. In private, he wants to kiss all over us (he will kiss your feet if you let him). Once in public, he does not want Chris to kiss him. He pushes Chris away and then makes this cute little smirk as he looks at him out of the corner of his eyes. He rejects the affection as lovingly as he can.

He is into everything. Look out house! Look out girls; your room may never be the same.

Highlight of the day: a very American breakfast!!!! Tian enjoyed bacon, tator tots, and grapes. The boy loves to eat. He yelped, "OOOoooh yea BaBa" when asked if he was ready to eat. He eats substantially more than I do; he even had gained 2 pounds since his weighing in July. He may be small now, but we predict he is going to be a big boy.

Tomorrow, our paperwork will be filed with the American Consulate so that we can take Tian home. Once our plane lands in Chicago, Tian will be an American citizen. Did I mention that we will be home on Sunday? :) We will also enjoy some shopping tomorrow and a dinner cruise. I haven't really enjoyed the shopping here. You have to haggle with the salespeople to get a decent price. I would much rather just pay what is asked, provided that price is reasonable.

We again give thanks to God as He continues to strengthen and encourage us. This has not been an easy experience; it's very emotional. Nonetheless, this is the path that God has placed us on. I once heard a missionary inside of an African war zone say that we are never safer than in the center of God's will. I agree!