Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27

He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.

Ephesians 1:5-6

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.

Isaiah 1:17

Monday, December 9, 2013

Home a Little More than a Week!!!

We are HOME!!! I was hoping to have a post written after a week home, but life is a bit...busy to say the least. Our home coming was sweet! Our flight to America was uneventful and really not too bad. We ended up in the way back which was to our advantage as the staff was close by and couldn't keep their eyes of the kids! They talked to them and gave us drinks. Thankfully we had our own row because Nina made MANY trips to the bathroom. i think she really just wanted to get up and walk, which I dont blame her. One flight attendant looked at Isac and said, wow he is big for his age, he is like what, 9 months? I said no, 2 years old, then he looked shocked and said OH THEN HE IS SMALL! When we got to Chicago we had to go through security, where the woman had a lot more sympothy for Nina's crying and rushed Josh and I through. Then we had to go through customs and sadly we had to go get our food checked because we had brought breakfast off the plane for Nina since she had just fallen asleep towards the end of the flight (of course) and meat from other countries is taken away.This got Nina pretty upset as I think she thought we were going through security again but the woman working told us that she had been through enough and that Josh could walk away with her. What a relief!
The short flight from Chicago to Tampa seemed the worst. After not getting even a minute of sleep on the long flight, and the kids getting maybe about 2 hours, we were ALL DONE! Isac cried pretty loud for the beginning but thankfully he settled down and fell asleep. The ride foe me was torture! I felt more done I think than Isac. Even though the ride was only 2 hours, I was just SO DONE!
I was an emotional mess when we landed, knowing I was going to see my children's faces again! I felt like I couldn't say hi and give hugs to each of them enough! It was so good to be home!!!
The first few days Josh and I could tell Levi was being a little distant from both of us. We aren't sure if maybe he didn't understand why we had left and maybe he was confused or angry, but he came around pretty quick and was his old self. We were both VERY impressed with how well Levi acted towards Nina and Isac. Very willing to share and want to play with them both. Isac on the other hand wasn't too thrilled with having to share mommy and daddy, and I think some of it also had to do with the fact that he didn't understand Levi. Levi would try and get him to play and Isac would just get mad and run away. I have seen some changes in that though. There have been moments when Isac and Levi will be boys and run around in circles just giggling away! Giving me hope that they will be best friends and partners in crime in no time!
The girls have loved on and spoiled both Nina and Isac. Though Isac is eating the attention up! He loves being carried around and given kisses by his big sisters!

Isac is a fun loving laid back boy. He giggles and laughs and is so silly at times. His sleep is coming, he usually only wakes up once sometimes two times a night, but is pretty easy to rock back to sleep. We started putting him in the room with Levi. It seems to be working out so far since Levi sleeps pretty hard in the middle of the night when Isac wakes up. Isac's medical appointments have gone pretty good. He cried through the blood draw, but didn't fight, he smiles through the doctors appointment where we found out he is a healthy boy other than his high lead count. The doctor said she has never had a child with a lead so high so she is looking into what is the best action to take for him. Isac's little fits are less often. He still has them every once in awhile, but being home and some sleep (and NOT being on a plane) has made them much easier to handle!

Nina is defenetly coming into her own. When we first got home there was a lot of not trusting us, snatching things from our hands if we were handing it to her, not wanting us to touch her without being very slow and careful and trying a few times, and being very unsure about listening to simple commands like come or sit or eat. I have seen simple commands become much easier for her to obey right away, she gently takes things from us and when we reach for her hands she doesn't pull away. She still does have moments of stubbornness when she decides she doesn't want to listen, but those moments have been a lot fewer. She cracks us up when we put her in time in (like timeout only we sit near her instead of sitting her alone somewhere so she can learn we aren't sending her away, she just needs a break to obey), what seems like the end of her world quickly turns to an I love you and lots of kisses. Kisses-Nina LOVES kisses! She still hasn't figured out how to give them, but she doesn't mawl us quite like before. Watching life through Nina's eyes has been SUCH a joy!!! Her first bubble bath her eyes got so big and her smile just as big! I hated taking her out, but the water was getting so cold. Going for a walk and seeing her eyes wind with wonder watching leaves fall. Walking on the grass without shoes, it took her some time to step out on it and for awhile it was only on her tip toes, but eventually she was running! Going for a ride in the car look equally as fun as she enjoys watching everything outside as it goes! THe whole world is so new! We take for granted everyday the things we do on a normal basis, stickers, ice cream, bubbles and grass, all everyday things children play with but all so new to Nina. Nina wasn't as much of a fan of any of her doctors appointments, she screamed through everyone. She really tried to be brave, but it was too much for her. At her neurology appointment we learned that the seizures are coming from all lobes of her brain and that her brain is underdeveloped. The doctor gave us an idea of what she thinks it might be but she said she wont be sure until she has an MRI (scheduled for this Thursday).
Life since we have gotten home as been a whirlwind. Josh and I have both had moments of  being overwhelmed, exhausted and tired. Unfortunately the jet lag hit me pretty hard making me feel like I had the flu at times, but thankfully that seems to have settled down. We are all getting used to each other and medical appointments mixed with uncertain diagnosis, lack of sleep and teaching both of the kids how our family operates, all equal a LOT of work, but even with all of this, there isn't a moment when either of us doubt this is exactly where God wants us! Just like Our pastor preached on  Sunday, Moses wanted to just stay a Shepard, he didn't feel equipped to do the things God was asking of him, but he went never the less, and God did GREAT things through him. i praise God for asking us to step out in faith, though definitely not easy, it is a true honor, I just pray we will survive! LOL

Prayer request-Nina's MRI she will be sedated, but because we had to do it this week they fit us in in the afternoon, which means Nina can't eat till after. It's going to be a loooong morning! Also keep praying everyone will keep working on bonding, Isac is there, he knows who mommy and daddy is, Nina is getting there, but there are still times when she would go to anyone who would pick her up. We have been and will be staying close to home for awhile to help her work on this.

our Thanksgiving blessings and new American citizens!!!

done with all our flights-mama trying to wake us up to meet our family! I am trying!

I on the other hand am not trying-I just sleep with one eye open.

Our sweet family who came and met us on Thanksgiving!

Part of our Hernando adoption group came and met us on their Thanksgiving! Thank you Michelle!

We have alll of our babies together at last!!

First ride in her car seat-they both did SOOO much better than I thought they would!

Double trouble

Relaxing after a looong day!

The next day we tried to stay outside as much as possible to help the jet lag.

I see crazy things in our future!

A quick visit to Nana and Papa's-in the tree house

Meeting the donkey's

And tractor rides.

Worn out!!!

Fell asleep on the floor while mommy and daddy fought to keep us up till 8pm

Snuggles with big sister

I'm such a cheese

Our first but VERY COLD AND QUICK trip to the beach

My family

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Little sight seeing and a Moment Etched in My Brain

So Josh and I finally did it! We got a quick lunch, got a taxi and went across town to the Island. It was so cute and so much calmer than the rest of the city. I was able to meet up with an old college friend who lives near GZ. Super woman road buses and all sorts of things to come meet us but it was SO nice to see her!!!! She brought her super cute little blond haired blue eyes cutie with her. Isac was trying his darnedest to catch her eye. Flashing her a smile and trying to hold her hand. Everywhere we went the Chinese people would very obviously touch her and take her pictures! That would have driven me NUTS! Lainey seemed used to it. Poor girl, one man touched her arm and she said "me no like". I don't blame you sweet girl!!
At one point we were trying to figure out where to go and an older woman pointed to the kids and then pointed to me, asking if the kids where ours. I nodded yes and she did the Chinese thank you, hands together bowing and giving me a thumbs up many times. It was so sweet to see that were grateful. Not that their opinion matters, but I always wonder how some of them feel about seeing Chinese kids with us.
We bought the kids squeaky shoes and some silks and then grabbed another cab back to the hotel. We had another big day the next day so we wanted to make sure we had enough rest.

The next morning we spent the day trying to relax as much as possible and getting things packed. Our guide came to the room and we headed to the airport. As soon as we got to the security line Nina started getting nervous. The next few moments will forever be etched in my mind like many other memories. Josh of course was made to put Nina down so they could pat both of them down. Something Nina knew was coming, and the reason she gets so nervous.  She screamed and fought and Josh struggled to keep her calm while the pulled Nina away from him. While I struggled to get Isac and all of my stuff put through the scanner and get Isac down, a single picture is frozen in my mind, Nina being pulled in one direction from the security person and her pulling in the other screaming for Baba. The moment ripped my heart in two. A child who longed to have a love that greeted her with a smile, a kiss and an I love you every morning, a kiss when things weren't going her way and a baba who was there to wipe the tears away, tell her how beautiful she was everyday and endure every kiss given to show how excited she is to have such love, being taken from her in one single moment. Now is that what was really happening? No, we know it wasn't, but she didn't and it terrified her. Josh struggled to ask the security if this was really necessary to pull her away like that, but the moment came and went.
As we walked away Nina was still sobbing and fighting Josh in fear. She slapped him in the face a few times (her way of defending herself) but would quickly rub his face and kiss him. While we were walking to our gate a looked over and saw a Chinese man taking video of our beautiful little scene we were making. I was soooo done being in this country and going through security that I lost it. I turned to the man and waved like a crazy person saying, Hi there!!! Did you get it all!!! Okay so not one of my finer moments...

I must say though the actual flight went better than expected. We were on a plane that was as nice and big as our international flight. And actually better as it was newer! And something so sweet happened! Nina reached for me!!! She sat in my lap and...wait for it...fell asleep!!!! I just melted!
We had a very un- nice surprise getting off the plane, we got off the plane OUT SIDE!!! It was FREEZING and so windy! Isac who had fallen asleep did NOT like this! We watched as almost our whole HUGE plane tried to shove their bodies in the remaining spots left. We knew we weren't making this one. The next bus came and so woman insisted we get on before them! So sweet. Though this When we were getting off the plane Isac fell back asleep and Josh and I got our luggage and went to search for a taxi. And wouldn't you know it, you have to wit in line for a taxi?! It was a long line too! We watched as the lady in charge told some taxi's to move forward. This stirred some people to yell at her and as we were walking to a cab, some behind us were getting in each others faces. Happy to be away from the crowed we moved into a cab and tried to explain to the driver where we wanted to go, he had no clue so he went out and asked around. Josh and I were very nervous that this man would take us to the right place, but what choice did we have. It was quite the crazy ride. While leaving the airport we saw a loooooong line of taxis waiting to pick up people from the airport! It was so weird to see.
We finally got to the building that we hoped was our hotel. Josh asked me to try and get the taxi to stay while he went in to check if it was the right one but the taxi driver looked at me like I had 20 heads and said something in Chinese and then to another guy, I'm pretty sure I made out the words Americans LOL!
We got in our room and waited for the crib and both kids went down really quick!
The next say was a little nerve wracking as we were on so tight a schedule to get food in their bellies so Nina could take her meds and we could get checked out before the shuttle came to take us back to the airport. We actually got through security without too much hassle and the security seemed to be a little more compassionate about her being nervous. We were able to calm her pretty quick. An we waited for our flight and ate some snacks. The international flight went really well, well as good as a 13 hour flight can go with a 2 and 3 year old. They fell asleep at different times and neither got any asleep. The flight attendants were super friendly and very laid back. I don't think they ever checked our seat belts! LOL It was a nice change! They were so sweet to Nina and Isac too!
As we got off and went to our next flight we had to go through customs and then had to go through a check since we brought meat off the plane :/  opps! But the ladies were so sweet as Nina was getting nervous and they woman said she has been through enough I'm sure why don't you take her to another spot where she doesn't feel threatened, so Josh took her a few feet away.
We got to our next gate with plenty of time and ate breakfast changed clothes and got ready for 2 more hours.
The next flight was a little rough as I was just SO DONE and while I was DESPERATELY ready to see my babies, the idea that 6 kids was coming fast, was frightening! Isac screamed for the first half, which was hard because I felt bad for all the people stuck on the plane with him, but I felt bad for him because I knew he was just as tired and done as i was! Finally he and Nina fell asleep and we made it through the rest of the flight! All of the flight attendants congratulated us for our adoption.
We struggled to keep Nina awake (we didn't dare wake Isac) so she would sleep at night. And so she could say hi to her family!
My heart was so full seeing my babies again! I felt like I couldn't hug them or watch them enough!
Sleep that night was NOT good!! Nina and Isac cried most of the night and the next day was rough for them because they wanted so badly to sleep. But we did what we could to keep them going. We played outside A LOT!
The kids all got a long really well! Isac is struggling with sharing his mommy with Levi and Isac is being smothered by Emma but all and all they are getting a long better than I would have thought!
Pray for Nina has her seizures seem to be getting less often but a lot more intense. It may just be because her body is so tired but it is so hard to watch her go through them!

Our cheeser

wanting to play with him

hanging out in the park

not so clean river

I think Nina thought they were real at first

MMMMM Starbucks-in China they don't sell pumpkin spice latte's because pumpkin is so  cheap and they want to keep their "expensive taste" persona

hanging out with Lainey

hanging in Starbucks

checking herself out in her silks

handsome man

the best picture I was getting with Nina lol

plane ride to Beijing

listen to tv on the plane and he is OUT

here we go-were going HOME!

our newest American citizens

not even trying-he sleeps with one eye open

our family! SO GOOD TO BE HOME!

our full hearts in one van!

double trouble 

together at last

oh brother

playing with puppies

hanging in the treehouse

jet lag is no joke

snuggle bug