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

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

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Little Bit of All Things Crazy!

Sunday we didn't have anything on our list of things to do. I REALLY wanted to get over to  ShaMian Island, a place for shopping that all the adoptive parents talk about. Our plans were to hang out, eat lunch get in naps and go out! Wellll that didn't happen. Before lunch Isac was climbing a lattice in our room and before we could grab him he fell and hit his head on a medal door stop that was on the ground and had sharp edges. IT was a bad cut but THANKFULLY not on a temple and nothing we thought that would cause a concussion. Josh took him to the clinic in the hotel but the doctor was out and the nurse said he needed to go to the hospital. Blah, we've heard about hospitals outside of the US, even US ones have obvious germs everywhere, but we needed it to be closed up. Josh called our guide and she got to our room as soon as she could. I will stop and say our guide in GZ has been AMAZING!!!! She is so good at what she does!! Such a breath of fresh air! So Josh took Isac and I stayed with Nina, who was NOT happy baba was leaving. I prayed hard God would show me how to love her without pushing her as she doesn't reject me, but she is definitely a daddies girl right now. After he left she cried, I tried holding her, but that made her more mad. She went and got her coat and begged me to put it on. I put it on but tried to tell her we weren't leaving. She finally gave up and went and sat on the bed and I just watched from a distance. I was praying so hard as I really wasn't sure what to do and was so nervous. Do I go love on her and try and hold her? That just made her more mad, and because of her seizures, I was very nervous to do that, or do I just sit back and let her grieve in her own way. I watched her in the other room as she calmed down. A few minutes later she looked over at me a smiled.
A small part of us wonder if in her own little mind she was resolving that, that is just what happens in her world, people leave, and its time to move on. I went to her and we spent the time dancing, coloring, playing with her doll and kitchen stuff and eating snacks. It was a great time for both of us to bond more. I was super relieved when Josh called and told me everything was fine, he got 3 stitches and they were on their way back. And when he walked in the door Nina was even more excited I think than I was!
JOsh said he had such a great talk with our guide Grace. He said she told him the first time she did the travel for an adoption family she didn't like all the exchanging of money, she said it seemed too much like buying and trading the children. Then she said she had the chance to visit and orphanage and just saw how the kids just clung to her from the moment she walked in and were just begging for attention and love because there just wasn't enough help, that she changed completely to doing adoptions. Such a heart she has to want to bring these children to a forever home!
The rest of the day went pretty smoothly. We went out and got dinner despite the fact that Isac looked like a wounded war vet, because I needed to GET OUT!
Monday we again had no plans! We thought we would try again to go out to the island. We had gotten the chance to Skype many friends and family and were going to get ready to eat lunch and put the kids down for naps when we noticed Nina itching. My first thought was scabies, a bug sorta like lice in the way it spreads and they way you kills it, but it is on the skin! I looked it up but the bumps didn't look like scabies so I breathed a sigh of relief. But the poor girl was itching like CRAZY! She didn't really have anything different and was wearing clothes that she had worn before so we thought it was either from getting too hot, or just the change in all of the different things she was coming in contact with that she never had been before. We gave her a bath and they seemed to go away, but by the time we got all that figured out, it was too late to try and go to the Island.
Later Nina and I hit a VERY rough patch! I will spare you all the details but it was UGLY! I was so ready to swim back to the US it was that bad. She went to Baba and all was well in her world, but I sat in the bathroom and sobbed thinking about how I was failing at this role. How was I possibly called to something that I couldn't do?! Josh held me and let me cry and reassured me about what a couple that we had just met in the hallway and hour before said. They had told us that they adopted two boys and it was miserable! They said they never would have given up on them because they knew they were the ones called them to, but one was so far off what is medical reports had said and they said they had felt like they had done everything they could possibly do wrong. But now just 2 years later, the boys are thriving and God had called them back, so they must not have been too far off. That did bring comfort. Then I was able to chat with a mom who had adopted before and was here now again who reassured me nothing about this process is easy and to give myself a break. It is what it is...hard!
To love a child who doesn't know how to love the way your biological children do. To be patient with a child who doesn't know your language, who never had so much freedom and so many boundaries, toteach them to trust that every morning you will still be there when they open their eyes. IT's rough, it's beautiful, is ugly and it is amazing, all at the same time.

Later that night we were able to wonder around with another couple adopting and went to KFC and Haagen Dazs. We asked for it to go and they put dry ice in it?! You can imagine how much fun Josh was having with that! We waited till the kids were asleep to break out the ice cream! We needed the treat!
We had to go to bed early since we needed to be ready for our Consulate Appointment to start the process of our kiddos being US citizens!!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pictures From a Somewhat Better Day ;)

Trying on her new coat

hasn't taken her eyes of it yet!

We see you beautiful girl!

Burning some energy in the hotel

Do you see the sun?
Sad how excited we were to see McD's

Getting ready for the medical exams...needless to say this is one of the only pictures from that moment

Dinner...McD's and silence falls over the room!!!!!!

Our hotel is BEAUTIFUL outside (inside too :))

Plesant Goat to end the day :)