Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas.

I'm thinking about it even though you would never know it by looking at our house. I love Christmas. Like...LOVE it. I would drag it out for 6 months! So that tree needs to get up! ;)

A few days before Christmas, friends of ours are coming into town just for a day and half. We are really excited to see them AND she's an amazing photographer...and...you guessed it....family pictures! I've been told every year as we add more and more members to our family that I'll never keep up. Umm...don't ever tell me I'll never do something...b/c that fuels me to make sure ... ;)  Well we haven't missed a year and this year...well let's see.  Last year we had grown to a family of 9. The year before we had grown from a family of 6 to a family of 8.  This year...we went from 9 to 11. And next year...ok. I'll stop.

You can only imagine how exciting it is to coordinate this many outfits. :) I'm not a match-mama so that's out and well let's see what we can do to make it work.

Right after Christmas, Dean's family is coming for a week.  We are really looking forward to it!

Today a friend brought over her jumperoo so we could try it for Taizi. I was really quite shocked. He didn't tolerate it...he didn't like it....he LOVED it. He lit up and and was laughing and jumping and even...beaming!  His little tiny legs need this so badly but I'm always concerned about his heart.  He does very very little (like...swallow a bottle that pours into his mouth, he doesn't suck it) and his soaked in sweat.

We did make progress with insurance today and are told we may be ready to go tomorrow.

And then there's setting a doctor appt for me for December.  I really have no clue how far along I am but to guess I would say 9 or 10 weeks? I'm showing. I know, I know. That happens with your 6th baby, right? Well...I'm glad we've told people because I'm really showing.

My neighbor came to the door today and I heard the door bell when I was...well...you know...so I hurried out of the bathroom ... I'm sure with mascara down my face...feeling awful. And it was my neighbor. What was I thinking? I don't know...a neighbor kid? So of course I had to tell her really quick b/c I was looking rather scary I have no doubt.  On a good note...she brought us dinner! Dinner tastes so much better when it's a gift! :)

us.

So the days are a tad long around here but we are doing good.  Better each day.  Days long are due to me being so very sick. Yes I'm on medication for those of you asking ... but I'm still throwing up at least 3 times a day and very sick in between.

We should have insurance figured out today and I'll be so relieved b/c my heart is telling me not good things about Taizi.  There's symptoms we have not blogged about that have no good cause when you research...and we are concerned.  We are putting baby food into his bottle and he loves it. That's about as far as we can go with food for now.

Speaking with U of W they recommend we see our pediatrician before going to Seattle b/c they think Taizi needs urgent care and we don't want to wait.  We will have our ped call U of W so he knows what they want done and looked into.

Zihao is doing really really well.  He is showing a few attachment issues (I'm NOT a pro-label Mama so we are not talking about RAD nor do I think he has it...that term is thrown out way too loosely in the adoptive world). He is all of a sudden being very very touchy with anyone he sees, he will work to get their eye contact and would gladly run for a hug.  While he is adorable and super charming...please, we are asking that you not reach out and touch him :)  It takes a while to establish healthy boundaries and for now ... those are only with his immediate family :) We know that might seem like a lot to ask but we do thank you for respecting it.

Last night at bedtime I held Zihao and sang Jesus Loves Me. By the 3rd time he was smiling and very cute. Tirzah and Azlan were singing along. :)

Last night we went out for a drive (pregnant mama that's very sick...often just needs to get out of the house) and when we came home I had this spurt of energy that I took full advantage of! So did Dean~he never questioned me we just worked! We unpacked everything, cleaned all kids drawers, rearranged some dressers. Scrubbed rooms. Did laundry. Scrubbed showers, toilets and floors.  And when I saw that it was very good....I sat :)  And it felt so awesome to have it done!

Dean and I have been watching a show on iTunes called The Men Who Built  America. There isn't much that we will recommend but this is it!  No it's not a movie...or drama...or comedy. But it's about our history as a nation and it's very eye opening and it is intriguing and easy to watch. We have learned so much from these shows and they are 100% safe to watch.

Our neighbor just came over to welcome us home and to let us know she's bringing dinner tonight! How sweet is that?

:)


Monday, November 26, 2012

Ok so more of an update.

The KIDS and Dean are doing really really well. I'm sicker than sicker than...sick. :(  And well...my sense of smell is so amplified that even if it doesn't stink...it does to me.  And if it does stink...ohhhh...

I'll book doctor appts tomorrow morning and then likely work on getting Zihao and Taizi added to the insurance after that.  A little backwards but I think it will work.

Many of you have asked about the shirts Zihao and Taizi were wearing in China that were personalized. I purchased them from LayneJames.com and I have to say they are the highest quality, softest, most beautiful fabric ever.  And she does such a fantastic job on all things personalized. Bags, backpacks (she made Azlan and Zihao's backpacks for the trip) as well.

Others have asked about Zihao and Taizi's patch pants outfits. Another favorite seller of mine! She does AMAZING work, all of our clothing is made with upcycled materials (old shirts, scrap fabrics etc) and it's all custom. I have had many things made by her and recently ordered several more as they are the ONLY pants that fit Taizi!  http://www.etsy.com/shop/MyLittleAura?ref=shop_sugg is the etsy shop. Check it out and if you purchase be sure to tell both sellers that I sent you!

And I updated my profile for those of you ;) that needed that updated.  Can't build Rome in a day right? :) Baby steps. The unpacking the million and one suitcases actually take priority. :)

My sweet friend and neighbor is doing a gift card adoption shower for us on Saturday.  She is so excited about this and well...so am I! Desserts and coffee and instead of 'gifts' so an adoption is so much different than a baby shower...she is requesting only gift cards.  That way as the children keep growing at record paces...we will have some help along the way ;)  Courteney's number to call or text is 509-554-7484 and her email is courtney.frisbee@gmail.com if you want to participate from afar.

Again the biggest thank you to those of you that have not only followed our journey but have prayed for us day and night...oh we are so thankful.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Update on us

We are doing really fantastic.  Like really really well.

The biggest struggle would be Dean and I with jet leg.  WOah. Seriously.  Zihao and Azlan and Taizi are totally on track doing great. Izrael a tad off but she's doing good. She goes to sleep at like 3am and wakes at 2pm ;) Me...? I'm wired at 4am.

Ugh.

Tonight we just needed to get out. Our kids have been amazing. Seriously amazing.  We all loaded up and went to a park for a bit where we were slammed with the reality of the temperature change since leaving Guangzhou. Wow.  And I'm in flip flops. And...it's that or full boots.

We went to Bob's Burgers for dinner. Yes we did. Our whole family.  The kids were amazing and we had a lot of fun. It was a nice reward for the older kids since they have been so wonderful with Mama and Daddy sleeping odd hours and being trapped inside for several days on end.

We are really looking forward to tomorrow finding out when we can get Taizi seen so we have a plan.  He seems so at peace here...like he just knows he's home! And he LOVES the pack and play! So we are sticking with it! No more head banging on the side of the crib...now it's soft sides of the pack and play.

Thanks for thinking of us. We have had lots of notes asking us how we are doing. We appreciate all of the prayers, it means a lot. 


:)

Taizi sound asleep in his jumperoo. Yes that one eye doesn't fully close but it never blinks so it's amazing it closes at all


Friday, November 23, 2012

That was a blur.

Woah. Last night. Today. When...? What...?

I was up at 3:00 am only to find Dean downstairs with Azlan, Zihao and Izrael :) We were a tad messed up.  Dean went out to get formula and ended up landing on black Friday specials ... it was kind of funny. That's about the first and last year we'll get up for it...and it was by default :)

We put Zihao and Azlan back to bed and Dean went to bed and I stayed up a bit with Izrael. At about 4:30 I laid down with her in our bed as Taizi is in her pack and play.  She never moved.  From 4:30am until 2:30pm.  Not even joking. The kids could not believe it. Was so happy to see her catch up so much on her sleep.  Taizi did really well too. Z and A...? well they'll do better tonight.  They did both have a huge nap this afternoon.

It's now 11:30pm and I just laid down with Izrael and she's snoring within seconds.

I told Dean I needed to get out of the house and he said "good I'd love a frappe" :) I was hit by cold and rain the moment I stepped outside but it was refreshing.  Oh it felt so good to drive again :) And to see so much space between houses...to see houses at all!

Our kids are amazing.  Tirzah adores her new brothers. Azahria has held Izrael's hand non stop since we came home.  Zunduka has been smiling. Chazano keeps saying how thankful he is that we are home.  And Dean is considering carpeting our entire house :) He's like "the noise!" yah. It's a tad noisy.  But it's good.

When we were flying home there was one point in the night when the turbulence hit and my stomach turned to knots and I started praying and this is all I heard "Janice...Janice.  Operation Rescue is almost complete...you have nothing to be afraid of" and it's not left my mind since.  Operation Rescue.



Our trek home.

We finally got checked in at the Guangzhou airport and it took FOREVER. Supposedly security was high and other families who were in China adopting a year or 2 before said they have never gone through this process. It was slow. Painful. And...a little crazy.  This airport seemingly had no air conditioning and well...that added to the fun of it.

It all got a little crazier when we went through security. Friends of ours from Georgia were in front of us.  A daughter with severe special needs. They made her stand. She doesn't stand. Then they open sealed baby food and made her stand there and eat it right there...?  When we went through they pulled me close having all Zihao's Melissa & Doug plastic toys in a pile and said "You cannot take these on the airplane." I was sure it was a joke. And I was hot and sweaty and Zihao was now in full blown wail b/c he had to walk not be held and we were done.  A hand full of bright...clearly plastic, super cartoon ... snakes. Were being thrown in the garbage. We questioned them a few times and they kept saying "these appear very very dangerous to other passengers...they would scare people on the plane". Ok. I was like take the dumb snakes. This is unreal.  :)

We finally got to where we needed to go.

There were a few big prayer requests about this flight.
1. Me to have peace. Which I never have flying.
2. Flight to be smooth.
3. Kids to be awesome
4. For me to not be puking.  Yah. That's big.

For the first time in years...I had peace. Total peace on the flight. It was crazy.  And I couldn't explain it. I would think "I hate flying...why am I so calm...? What's going on...?" but I had no anxiety at all.  In that 3 hour flight I never felt a twinge of nausea which was the first time I had gone more than an hour in almost 3 weeks.  The kids did amazing and Izrael slept.  Seriously. Bliss.

For me...seeing clear sky on the plane is amazing. So if we are above clouds and it's clear blue sky and sun...I feel so much more peace. Or if I can see down clearly.  Well that 3 hour flight we were above the cloud covering (wayyy up there) and it was the first time we saw clear blue sky in 23 days and it was beautiful.  I said to God "this was such a gift for me...thank you" and I heard a "just wait til the next flight. I'm going to blow you away".  I was left baffled. The next flight was almost 10 hours and through the night...? It stayed in my mind.

We had NO time between flights and had a Korean Air had an escort to take us from one gate to the other b/c that's how late we were. We arrived in security at 6:00 and our next flight was scheduled to take off at 6:10!

We got on the plane and instantly we could see how spacious it was going to be. The entire row of 3 to the right of us was EMPTY and the seat in Dean's row was empty so we had tons of room. Ahhh.  We got settled in for the 9h50minute flight from Korea to Seattle.  Again I had this very real, inexplicable ... peace.  I wasn't nervous one bit.  This compared to complete and utter panic on the way here was a big contrast.

I had Izrael across my seat sleeping, Dean had Taizi in the baby basinett crying (getting close to sleep), Azlan reclined across the aisle and Zihao not happy that the stewardess wouldn't let him be on the floor so Dean had him pretty comfy in his bench.  I was watching a movie (which I rarely do on a plane) and I remembered "wait til the next flight...I'm going to blow you away".  I looked out my window and I was truly speechless. I kept trying to say something to God and I couldn't ...
The sky was more spectacular than I remember seeing it in a very long time. Like...as in you are at a lake...laying on a doc and the bright stars are there but the whole sky is just stars. As far as you can see.  Here we are...over the ocean. Flying through the night.  And the sky was unbelievable.  And I...with a song of thanksgiving...looked up to my Creator and said such a humble thank you. The gifts He had given me on this thanksgiving day were amazing.  I still had no sickness.  No appetite...had probably consumed 500 calories (95% of it liquid form) in 4 days but no sickness.  The children were snoring.  There were baby noises on the flight but they weren't from our rows.  I had perfect peace. My feet were up...my hands were not folded...I was leaning next to my window...and now this.

Finally when I could speak...I said "and who ever sees this? we are over the middle of the ocean...and sky screams YOU! Thank you for tonight. What a gift".

I smiled. But my spirit smiled.  The constant communication between my spirit and His Spirit has been so beautiful on this journey.

And suddenly I was humming.  I'm so excited to finally be home and google the words b/c I couldn't get more than one line...so let's see what it all says.

The line I kept humming was "every starry sky..."

Chris August "Starry Night"


From the birds that sing in the tallest trees
To the human life of you and me
From the desert sands to the place we stand
He is God of all He is everything
I'm giving my life to the only one
Who makes the moon reflect the sun
Every starry night that was His design
I'm giving my life to the only son
Who was and is and is to come
Let the praises ring cause He is everything
From the autumn leaves that will ride the breeze
To the faith it takes to pray and see
From the painted sky to my plank filled eye
He is God of all, He is everything
Hallelujah, hallelujah I believe
Hallelujah, hallelujah I believe
I'm giving my life to the only one who makes the moon reflect the sun
On that starry night, He changed my life
I'm giving it all to the only son who gave me hope when I had none
So let praises ring, yeah let the praises ring

See. Just plain wow.  He gives me one little line and knows that later I'm going to beam.  The song speaks my heart. I did give and I am actively giving my life to the only One...

I had the only opened window in the plane. In fact the stewardess asked me to close it and I looked at her and smiled and she said "ok...fine" :) There was no light coming in I just didn't want to miss it.  I did fall asleep for a few minutes I wouldn't say more than 30.  I watched the sun rise...ahhh.  Somewhere over the ocean. It's so beautiful.

But before than, in the night there was a patch of 'turbulence'. It wasn't much and not much at all felt in that huge plane but they put the seatbelt sign on. Rrrr. So they walked through the cabin, full lights on and made seatbeats go on.  Taizi was sleeping and I looked in Dean's row to see the stewardess say "hold him" pointing to Taizi. It was a funny moment.  My very passive, kind hearted husband said shook his head forcefully and said NO. I was laughing in the row behind him and she didn't argue with him :) He turned back to me and said "I am NOT picking him up. He finally settled and he's out" and of course just a few moments later the seatbelt sign was off and stayed off :)

We arrived in Seattle just a few minutes late and it was amazing to see such familiar landscape.  Ahhh. 

Immigration. All of that was fine until we were told to wait in a waiting room with a million people with little order and one man doing it all. Finally we were served with little room to spare bc of our connecting flight to Pasco. We did it and were fine. 

Getting on the plane to Pasco was pretty funny.  Of course there's no room to move and yah. There was a bunch of us with a lot of carry on luggage :)

We arrived to 5 huge signs welcoming us and beautiful little people all lined up for hugs and kisses. Some friends make it out to say welcome home as well despite it being Thanksgiving Day.  It was just wonderful.  We all loaded in the van, came home and were greeted to a house that was decorated for Thanksgiving. The table was set beautifully. The counter was full of fruit and baskets. The fridge and freezer were stocked! Thanksgiving Dinner was in the oven ready to serve.  

And we...with hearts full of thanksgiving...were humbled.  

What kind, thoughtful, loving people we have in our lives.  Seriously. Amazing.  To each of you...thank you.

We ate dinner which was incredibly amazing and we opened gifts from China and we all sat and talked.  Tirzah was cuddling Taizi and my heart was full.  No one has asked why he is the way he is. Children see so purely. They are just broken hearted for him...it's really beautiful.  We pray adults will be broken in the same way.  

Taizi and Izrael crashed at 6pm. Zihao and Azlan a little later and me not far behind. It's now 1:30am and I'm about to take Izrael back to bed. I just put Azlan and Zihao down with my only indication being Zihao was crying and grouchy so I'm pretty sure we'll call that bedtime :) 

Photos will come soon. My friend was there taking photos of our arrival I'll post when I have them.

From Pasco, WA...this family of 9 feels incredibly blessed to be united.  

Oh You are so good. And Your mercy endures forever!

**Let me say how amazing His very clear answer to my prayer was...the entire day of flying I didn't have nausea once.  Contrasted to all day nausea and throwing up 3-6 times a day.  Dean says it's more sometimes I don't count.  Well this morning I'm 100% back to sicker than ever. AS I was throwing up I paused to say outloud...with a smile...You are such a good God. Realizing the gift He indeed gave.

Azlan helping push Taizi into the Guangzhou airport


Daddy and Zihao (before the luggage was checked and Mr Zihao was forced to walk :)


Zihao on his first airplane ride! Guangzhou to Korea


Taizi LOVED it. 


Taizi's bed on the long flight from Korea to Seattle. The baby bassinet! Once he finally went to sleep he didn't move all night


Izrael taking up as much of my row as possible ;)


Poor Azlan. His row's arms didn't move :)


Zihao by Daddy


Ahh My sunrise




The kids all waiting in the airport!





YAY!!!! We are home!! (Zihao disappeared behind Azlan )


Azahria got the first hug :)



:)


Cute! Zunduka patting Zihao's head :)


Tirzah welcoming her new brother :)


:)


Taizi LOVED the balloon!


:)


The beautiful dining table we returned to!


Tirzah loving Zihao


One very very overtired, sick mama trying to put Thanksgiving dinner on the table 


Ahhhh. Perfect.


Tirzah in her new Chinese clothes cuddling Taizi


I looked over to see Azlan leaning over Taizi and talking away to him :)


And a rare eye-contact moment!




Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pray us home.

We are almost ready to leave.  By the time you are going to bed we are stepping on our first plane.

I remember my sweet sweet friend telling me once that her son was flying home from Vietnam I believe and it was some crazy circumstance and when he looked outside he saw...yes literally saw...angels all around the wings of the plane.  Oh I wish I would see them. And if I don't...I know they are there.  Moved by the prayers of His people.

Thank you for praying.

Please...pray us home to Pasco.

XOX

Thanksgiving x2



Our last day in China.

We spent most of the day in the hotel room making sure we were all rested up for the trip. What a contrast to our trip coming here, where Dean and I had no sleep the night  before.

We did venture out to Pizza Hut for dinner. The jury is still out on whether it was a good or bad idea ;) However, Pizza Hut is way better in China! Their pizza is great but then they have a full menu of Chinese food, cafe and desserts and american food.  I tried the same salad I had a few days ago that sat very well but tonight was different. My stomach is just not having it.

We left to go home and Azlan's flip flop broke. What impeccable timing! The very last day. However we do have other shoes anyway :)  So he had to ride the stroller that Dean was pushing and Zihao was in the ergo on Dean's back. I was pushing Taizi's stroller and carrying Izrael. Oh...tonight the looks turned to stops and stares ;) And well...admittedly...we looked a little 'hands full'.  4 however...is nothing compared to 9 and it has still felt like a vacation every time we go out and only have 4.  That said...give me 9! I can't wait to get home to our other 5.  Ahhh...so close.

We came home...kids are in bed, except Izrael who napped really late.  Taizi being deaf...she can make as much noise as she wants out here and he doesn't flinch.

So yesterday Taizi drank a total of 2 bottles. That was it. And you cannot get more into him no matter how hard you try. Remember this is the only source of liquid and nutrition he gets. 2...?  Today he had drank 1 until tonight...finally took 1 more.  He was laying on the floor before bed and he 'happened' to stick out his tongue.  Dean called me to come look and there's sores all over his tongue.  One right on the tip is rather massive...a large canker sore...? but there were many.  Ahh. Maybe this is the reason he's not eating? What are these from? His fever?  Oh...have we mentioned how ready we are to get home?  He also has this rash starting on his body...Izrael has it too however her immune system is very strong and she only has like 3 spots.  His came out of no where today and are spreading pretty quickly. Some are turning into sores. On his ear, his lip, his arms and hands.

Please ... though it goes without mention...pray for us.  For this flight. In many ways.  I will be a much better mama if this flight is just plain smooth and uneventful.  So that's important.  And for all of us. The children. How they are feeling.  Azlan and Zihao can sleep anywhere. They aren't much of a concern. And Izrael did well on the flight coming. Taizi would be the main concern.  When he starts crying...he's loud and sometimes it takes quite a while to calm him.  Oh ... we just need to get home to America.

And ... on Thanksgiving Day.

To name what we are thankful for right now...this blog might not contain it.

There's a song that often comes to mind and it has a line that says "Surrender is stronger... I don't need to be the hero tonight..." and I think we often think of surrender as the ultimate 'I give up'.
"I can't fight anymore".

How do you picture surrender?

Head bowed low. Arms over your head...but weak. Bent at the elbows.  Look of shame on your face. I give in.  Ok. I guess.

...?

See for me I see surrender as stronger.

Arms high. Stretched over your head. Head up.  Jaw firm.

"Let's do this!"

"Ok. I let go of my plan. Let's do Yours".

All in.

Surrender is stronger.

So tomorrow. We get Thanksgiving Day for 2 full days. We leave here on Thanksgiving day at 1:30pm and 15 hours later we arrive in Pasco, WA on Thanksgiving Day at 2:27pm.  What a day to get to live twice.

I'm thankful that He persisted with our hearts. He could have walked away. He could have said "ok...not you? I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I got this covered. Moving on."

But He didn't.

His grace prevailed.

He persisted.

He asked again.

And when we said "ok...later. We get it. Just not now".

He didn't give up.

But He didn't give up on Moses either.

Can you imagine telling God "um....I don't speak well" and God replying "I made your mouth!!" and Moses still balking.  ....?

Wait.  While you are still criticizing Moses...are you different?  The reasons we gave God were legit.  But in light of who was asking us...pathetic.  He made us. He knew us.  Every detail.

For Zihao and Taizi.  For God taking the most horrific situation imaginable ... forsaken by your birth parents....and making something beautiful.  That is redemption.

For Dean. Oh I'm so thankful for Dean.  For God working in his heart and breaking it for what breaks His.

For each child He Himself has given us.  In the end ... it's all about Him. That we can stand...and we will...each of us...before Him...and answer to Him...alone...what we have done with what He has given us.  Dean has mentioned several times on this trip the verse that keeps coming to his mind "to whom much is given...much is required".

Are you blessed? You know what I mean. Really blessed.  Financially blessed?  Every good thing comes from God.  And to whom much is given. Much is required.

And on this double-dose-Thanksgiving-Day...we are thankful for this very very unexpected threw-us-completely-of-our-groove baby that's on the way.  He is such a good Dad.  He only gives good things. His timing...is perfect.  He sees the end. He wrote the story!  Of course He knows how it ends.  And in the end...we too will say "remember how shocked and thrown off we were in China...? We can't imagine our lives any other way".

Beyond every physical thing He has given us...the most unmerited...purely-by-undeserved-grace-alone-gift...is that from Heaven He saw me. He saw my need. And He said "send my Son".  Jesus came. Lived. (Perfectly).  Died. (Unjustly) Freed me forever.  (Amazing grace!)  Someone had to pay for my sin.  The requirement was steep. Perfection.  No sin. Lived...and yet no sin.  Only one man had ever done it.  Jesus.  So He did it.  And forever...I will thank Him for paying my way.  Every other 'thanksgiving' pales in comparison.

Goodnight from China. Day 22 of this journey.  Oh day 23 how thankful I am for you!

***Added:

I started humming after I blogged this post and just asked Dean to name the song b/c it's driving me crazy. I love when God gives me this song that's oh-so-perfect for the moment.  Here it is:

Times by Tenth Avenue North (google it on YouTube. Listen to it)

"Times"

I know I need You
I need to love You
I'd love to see You but it's been so long 

I long to feel You
I feel this need for You
I need to hear You
Is that so wrong

Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh 
Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh 

Now You pull me near You
When we're close I fear You
Still I'm afraid to tell you all that I've done 

Are You done forgiving
Or can You look past my pretending, Lord
I'm so tired of defending what I've become
What have I become

Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh 
Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh 
Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh 
Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh 
Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh 

I hear You say
My love is over
It's underneath
It's inside
It's in between 

The times that you doubt me
When you can't feel
The times that you question
Is this for real 

The times you're broken
The times that you mend
The times you hate me
And the times that you bend 

Well my love is over
It's underneath
It's inside
It's in between 

The times that you're healing
And when your heart breaks
The times that you feel like you've fallen from grace 

The times you're hurting
The times that you heal
The times you go hungry and are tempted to steal 

In times of confusion
In chaos and pain
I'm there in your sorrow under the weight of your shame 

I'm there through your heart-ache
I'm there in the storm
My love I will keep you by my power alone 

I don't care where you've fallen or where you have been
I'll never forsake you
My love never ends
It never ends, mmmm




Tuesday, November 20, 2012

ahhh

Feeling SO much better. The worst flu combined with being very very sick with a pregnancy = I thought I was dying :( It was really bad.  I haven't shook like that ever.  I couldn't get warm and as soon as I did, I was sweating. Yet no fever. It was weird.

Anyway...that all stopped abruptly this morning and I'm back to just plain being sick and I can handle that much easier!

We've laid low this morning, I didn't do breakfast so I stayed and packed.  Our bags get picked up at 9:30 am tomorrow and we leave for the airport at 10 am. Our flight isn't til 1:30 or so.  Our fly from Seattle TO Korea was 12h10m. Our from FROM Korea to Seattle is 9h40m.  ? No questions here I'm so excited to be losing a couple hours! ;)  We do have almost 3 hours in Seattle but supposedly MUCH of that is taken up with immigration because of the adoption.  I don't remember that being a long process coming home from Zambia but we'll see.

We arrive in Pasco 2:27pm on Thursday. Of course Lord willing. Everything we do is Lord willing.  It's not something we just say...it's the way we live.

Thank you all for praying for us especially these last few days. Taizi still isn't back to himself as he's not eating much at all. The other kids seem to be back to normal and we are thankful this was a 36h fever deal instead of something worse.

Perhaps we'll get out of the hotel for a while for some 'fresh air'.

A sad reality. The last several days Dean has run out to 7-11 or Starbucks alone and each time he's been approached. Either to buy Cocaine, approached by prostitutes and this morning approached by men who handed him a business card that looked professional about massage until it included "sex and massage".  Seriously.  What strikes me is they wouldn't be approaching "american business looking man walking out of a 5 star hotel" unless it worked.

This world needs Jesus.


Tuesday

Tuesday.

Today was consulate day.  We made it to breakfast with 20 minutes to spare! ;)

We got to the US Embassy and I am oh so glad we made this pregnancy public.  I was not doing well. I was blacking out (lack of food would contribute to that) and kept having to kneel down in our group discussion. Yah.  

We went up stairs and waited for the procedure to begin.  We all said the oath together with our right hands in the air and then we were called up one by one for the officer to go through our documents.  

We met a few new families there which is the fun part of all these official meetings.  Families that are not with our group.  There was one family Dean and I both enjoyed talking to.  They were little people and adopted a little person from the most northern part of China. She was telling me they do ice sculptures in the summer there, it's near Russia! Crazy.  Super sweet people and very connected to the 'little people community'.  

We then got on the bus and came home. Ah bliss. I instantly laid down but was shaking so bad Dean had several towels on me to warm me. I'm not going to lie, the shaking is a little concerning. Our kids all had a 24-36hour fever bug and I'm thinking that's what it is but wow. :(

Everyone napped except Azlan. Yes Taizi's first afternoon nap! Crazy how he doesn't nap, we'll see if once we establish a routine at home maybe he'll start napping.  Zihao naps every day and today, he came home and laid down on his pillow and went to sleep without anyone telling him to.  He is very adorable. Shy but lots of personality under that shy little face.  At one point at the consulate today he wandered a bit behind the playhouse where we were sitting and I guess panicked. Another adoptive mom saw him and brought him to me. He was sobbing and ran to my lap where he just cried into my shoulder. The lady was impressed with his attachment to his new mama  ;)

At 4:30 today we met to go to Shaiman (sp?) Island. Seems to be an adoption trip hot-spot so we all boarded the bus to go.  I don't think I've said much about the driving here but it must be some of the best defensive driving skill in the world! They drive SO close to each other, pedestrians crossing freeways at will and seemingly very little accidents. It's quite crazy. There are times our mirror on the bus and the bus we are passing is merely a few inches apart!

We stopped at the 'squeaky shoe' hot spot first. Supposedly the good spot was not open because their selection was very very limited. I did get a few pairs for Izrael and Taizi but they were nothing super cute.

A few more stores later and we headed to Lucy's Cafe to eat. Ahh. Outside. Fresh air. Lots of adoptive families. American food. :) I hadn't eaten in a few days and so I tried a salad. It was wonderful except it consisted of 5 sprigs of lettuce and the rest were beautifully cut veggies. Hmm :)  Azlan was in heaven with his grilled cheese sandwich and asked me how much 1000 of them would be. I told him and he said "do you have enough money b/c I loved it and I"m super hungry" ;)

We met another amazing family tonight at Lucy's.  He's a pastor they have one adopted child from the US and just adopted 2 baby boys on this trip in China. They were very fun to talk to and we look forward to getting to know them more as we exchanged information.

Taizi was 'off' tonight. His body temp was high again and he wasn't grabbing for his bottle. He seemed to take longer to go to sleep tonight with lots of moaning but he's snoring now.  Zihao came home from the bus tonight and laid down beside me on the bed. I said he could play with Azlan and he just laid there. He's sleeping now too.  

On the bus I spent some time talking to Susan. She's the mom who adopted the 2 14 year old girls. Ahh she's amazing.  Her husband (who had to go home for work) retired from a career in the military and now, according to him, his 'day job' is he's an anesthesiologist :) Her boys whom she homeschooled the whole way and are now in college and very very bright are grown and out of the home.  She said it was the first time in 20 years we hit a 'life is good' spot and so much of her work was done….until…. :)  Ah I love their story.  These girls are so so blessed.  I wish she blogged but she said 'not yet'.

Please continue to pray for our family. I cannot fathom getting on a plane for as long of a trek as we have…the way I feel right now :( I have started taking Tylenol sparingly and it helps a lot.  Oh we are so on the count down to go home!

Looks like we'll be skipping the botanical gardens tour in the morning. This family needs to lay low.




Izrael...shopping :) Um...someone has gained quite a bit of weight after losing a penny as a body part! :)

My friend Julie and I :)

Sorry for no photos…haven't even sat at the computer long enough to load them :(

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sunday and Monday

Yesterday we went shopping at the real Chinese market. It was pretty interesting and we got a few cute things for the kids.  We have figured out that Zihao is exceptionally lazy ;) and though he is a ball of energy...when we go out he wants to be carried. Lovely;) Yes he's lighter than Izrael but still.

We came home and I was so very thankful to come back to the hotel. I think I shook the entire time at the market.

We did dinner with new friends (Breezy Acres Farm Blog on the left of my page). We love them!  I maintained composure until we got home. That's all that matters ;)

I woke in the night shaking. Freezing. And so so sick.  Well I wish I had known I was just getting a 24 hour bug b/c that would have helped. I had chills like never before and was throwing up.  It was lovely.  Dean took the boys (all 3) to the tour this morning where they had their TB test check and went to the zoo.

Oh last night for dinner we tried Zihao in the ergo...he loves it! Sweet. Because Taizi and Izrael sure don't and it was a lot of money!  So His Laziness gets free rides now ;) He giggles when he gets in :)

I stayed home with Izrael and I couldn't even stand up. If she went to the living room, I crawled out to see where she was going. It was awful.  When Dean got home he found some Tylenol and I felt 20x better very quickly :( Good to know I endured that from 4am or so til 2pm for nothing.

When Dean came home from the zoo both Zihao and Taizi had fevers. Taizi's was very high.  He responds very quickly to medication but it's a bear getting it into him! You have to force it b/c he takes nothing besides a bottle.  We did it and his temp went to normal very quickly.

We had our river cruise tonight and we had to choose who was going to go, because someone needed to stay with the little kids they just weren't feeling ok.  Dean opted to stay since I was home all day and I took Azlan.

He had a lot of fun.  A dinner cruise, that I didn't eat on but hey! I got to sit with sweet friends ;)  Then we went upstairs outside and that was perfect for me. Fresh air!

It was a couple hours long and we made it home in time for me to say "hi" and race to the bathroom to get rid of the few bites of corn Rebecca gave me to eat. ;)

Tomorrow morning is our consulate appt. We meet in the lobby at 9am.

At 4pm we go shopping, hopefully we are all ok to do that trek tomorrow.

Sorry for the very short, to the point, blog post tonight...it took great dedication for me to sit here and type what I did :)

Thanks for all the love you have shown our family especially yesterday when we announced a very surprise #10 is on the way.  It means a lot for us to have such supportive friends.  Thank you.

As a friend messaged me when she read the blog "God took a baby in Africa...and gave one in China. It really is a miracle".  Truly. Is.  Still shocked.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

The rest of the story.

When we arrived in Shanghai I didn't feel very well. But flying for a full day on no sleep...it all made sense.  However there  was this nagging feeling that ... well...something wasn't right.

Nanjing. Every morning I chose foods that would sit in a very off-stomach. Fruit.  All day I would be trying to maintain my composure and keep my mind off how I was feeling. I am actually good at that ;)

We fly to Guangzhou. I'm worsening.  I'm very very sick.

A very familiar sick.

Life has been busy lately. I'm rather clueless as to being late on anything but once I think about it...I panicked.

We went to a pharmacy and I grabbed a pregnancy test.

I have never seen a positive appear so quickly in my life.

And I cried.

Unlike every other positive I've ever seen...I wasn't crying tears of joy.  I cried. Cried.

What...? Pregnant?

I could not believe it.

I know you are probably thinking...you have 9. What's 10? Perhaps you are not shocked. But we are. SHOCKED.

Because even though we have 5 biological children (and lost 3 pregnancies)...we have not only had to 'try' but had to try with medication each time. The only baby without medication was Izrael. It was a very specific surrender...God told us no meds and that month a miracle happened. Izrael Promise.  Our promise baby.

The same horrific pain every month resumed and the same knowledge that we would need medication if we ever chose to go for number 10.

Yes I've talked about not sure if we were done.  But I'm young.  2 years?

We are IN China. Adopting 2 children. One with very severe special needs.

I'm throwing my guts up.

Trying to go on group tours, the many smells of China...constantly gasping for air, controlled breathing...projectile vomiting on a bus full of adoptive families would be rather awkward...don't you think?

And the day I blogged about SURRENDER...I wasn't preaching at you.  I was pouring out my own heart.  When Gwen wrote her comment in the comment section of Surrender post it really hit me. She said if only we'd give up our fear of what others think and embrace this crazy life God has planned for us...

I knew then.  And boy did I have to surrender my heart. Each morning I woke praying it was all a dream. Some random, funny, never-would-or-could-happen...dream. And every morning I woke slammed with the reality that this was no dream. This was our reality.

I kept hearing God whisper..."Janice...who are you that you mourn so deeply at the loss of 3 babies ... and now you grieve at the gift of life?  Not your time? It's all about you? Your plans? Your schedule? This isn't about you..." and my heart would buckle.  Clearly a miracle. Just not delivered on my schedule. At all.

If I were one of you that never felt better than when you are pregnant...this would be much much easier to accept that...9 months from now...we are expanding. But no. I'm so terribly sick that it's a daily surrender.  I've never struggled with it when it was my timing. My plan. My control.   But this is anything but.  (I do go on medication but I'm kind of without that here).

We were going to wait a few months and announce it later and we thought...since you are walking this journey with us...maybe you should know the rest of the story.

So yes. When I ate that chicken that had squacked its way to the kitchen in Zihao's foster home...I wasn't just holding my stomach for obvious reasons...I was very very sick. And I ate it. :)  And I forced myself to not think about it.

How many times we've gotten off the bus and I've raced ahead of Dean and the kids in the hotel room to the bathroom...I'm not sure.  And I sit here typing this with goosebumps. The familiar chill and head to toe nausea...that I recently thought "I'm not ready to go through that again for a very very long time".  yah. Well. Here I am.

And at the end of the day...it's Him we trust.  So we are trying to smile about it. We embrace life.  This one must be extra special.

Oh. Don't post about this on facebook.  Let people come and read about it here :)  

Consider yourself to now know...the rest of the story.

Saturday

Sorry running out of names for posts ;)

Today we all woke at 9am. Yes I just said that. Amazing right? So is. Unless you are meeting your group in the lobby at 9:30! Yes...that's us!  We were waking kids like crazy. I was throwing outfits out in the living room for Dean to dress kids and do make up at the same time.  Only us.

So Dean once again...went to the restaurant and grabbed a ton of fruit for our bus ride.

Think we'd learn..? :)

We loaded the bus, with a few more new families that just arrived yesterday.  We went to the medical appointment zoo place, as Rebecca calls it. Seriously. A zoo.  Families everywhere. Lots of crying. Lots of chaos. Was so thankful for Rebecca telling us all where to go.

We have heard this is pretty low-key. Don't expect to learn anything new...they just check the boxes and you are out of there.

Well the surgeon was NOT happy with Taizi's file. At all.  We took forever in there. We had to get Rebecca and the doctor was very animated and it was pretty easy to see what she was saying.  Rebecca told us she said this file is very very very incomplete.  It says cleft lip and palate and deformity of ears.  The doctor gathered very quickly that Taizi is deaf and severely delayed in many ways. She was appalled that he could not walk and was not eating food at 3.5years.  She also listened to his heart for a long long time and said there is a murmur.  You can feel the murmur with your fingers, I'd love to hear it through a stethoscope! Then we went to the ENT room once we finally left there and same thing. The doctor said "this child...cannot hear".

The good news is ... we knew all that. :)

There is no bad news.

We got out of there near noon and headed to a restaurant where we were all going for 'dumplings'.  It was interesting. SO different than where Taizi's orphanage officials took us in Taizhou City! That place was 5 star compared to today ;)

I had to go around the rooms to our group begging for formula and hot water and etc...b/c you know...we weren't prepared to be out that long and we have no way of doing that yet. Why we haven't just bought a thermos for hot water...I'm not sure. But the trip is almost over.

The food was pretty good.  There was plenty of it that's for sure.  Nothing too out-there came to our table and what we had was good. Our favorite was the potato noodles. They looked like noodles but the texture was definitely not... I guessed onion. :)  And there was a sweet and sour pork that was good.  Zihao ate lots! Azlan's favorite was they served Coke ;)

Azlan wasn't looking good and when we got home he had a fever. So he's stayed inside all day with movies on the ipad and Tylenol.  He looks a lot better tonight. Poor boy. We did a hero-pirade (Thanks Pooh Bear!) on the way back to the hotel for Azlan b/c despite feeling awful ... he still held Zihao's hand and was such a big boy this morning!

I went and did paperwork while Dean stayed with sleeping kids this afternoon.

Tomorrow we go do a bit of local market shopping in the morning...and hopefully wake to have breakfast.  ;)

Dean and Izrael are gone out now to get us food.  Zihao has brought every toy to me..one by one and told me to put it in his back pack. He has it on his back and there is no wondering what he's saying :) He says it with great volume and animation ;) So I've done this now probably 14 times for 14 different toys. Each time I've said "Thank you" knowing that someday he will say it to me.  The last time he turned and said "thank you" as clear as day and lit up with a smile! It was pretty adorable.

Off topic: in Africa I was out of mascara.  In China I apparently fried my expensive flat iron on day one in Shanghai.  So...thus the bad hair days in every picture. However...each morning when I put mascara on I think...I'd rather have mascara over a flat iron ;) Yes. The little things.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday

Today was more low key.  Breakfast then we met in the lobby for a tour. We regret not opting out of the tour and doing some of the things we have been wishing for a free day for...but oh well.  It was to the Chan Academy and I'm just not a history buff and with little kids...love kid friendly activities. This wasn't it :)

However we were with a fun crew so that made it all good.

Afterward we headed back and 2 of the little kids slept for a few hours.  I went out with a friend and the other kids to the play room. Once Izrael woke we all met and went shopping for a bit then went to an amazing Italian restaurant. Yes...who knew! :)

We were sad that the other family's new baby had a total melt down at that time so they got their food to go. We may try it again though b/c it was really good.

A few things we noticed today: Taizi is more relaxed each day. As in when we put him in his stroller, his arms go limp by his side. That's a very new thing. He always had hands in front of his face. Always. Even until a few days ago (when in the stroller).

We communicate great with Zihao who is mister personality. Very shy unless he trusts you but he clearly trusts us :) He is so loud, I'm curious to see what his hearing results are when we get home. Not sure ... but he's Azlan-loud.  He's a very strong personality but listens very well to Dean and I when we speak in a firm voice (which apparently his foster mom did).  He tells us he has to go potty by loudly grunting and wacking either the front or back of his pants. Yes, sir...that's how he does it! :)

I say it over and over and over again but Azlan...what a gift. He is either holding Zihao's hand or pushing a stroller or carrying something and has never once complained.  This child went from being baby of the family to the big boy here. We get comments on him all the time that other families "wish they had an Azlan with them" :)  I've seen him give his toys, his favorite toys to Izrael or Zihao a few times and say "promise you'll give it back" ;)  I can't say how perfect it was for us to bring him.  Not for what he's DONE for us but for how it's helped him. A few times him and I have had a real good laugh. Like tonight. Zihao handed him some random object then walked away. As soon as he did, Azlan threw the toy on the other side of the room and shrugged his shoulders.  I caught his eye and smiled and he started giggling and giggling as he kept re-enacting what happened. He was saying "seriously...did you see that thing? I didn't want that" and he couldn't even get the words out he was laughing so hard.  And in all of our 'little children' moments here lately...we had a big kid moment and laughed and laughed.  I cheered him for politely taking it from Zihao and not throwing it til he wasn't looking :)

He has Madagascar 2 on the iPad and tonight he was watching it and say "man I love this lion guy. His name is Azlan. I'm named after him. He's the best!" :) hahah...well it wasn't the time to tell him he wasn't named after THAT lion ;)

So I'm hearing lots of snoring which is a good thing. Taizi has been falling to sleep later and later. The good news is he's more and more comfortable and he'll fight bedtime. We do notice when we turn all lights off he panics. So sad. So one goes back on.

Tonight I feel the pain of being away from the children so strong. I just plain hurt and the hurt is so familiar.  Besides trusting my God to keep us all safe...it has helped the most to see how much fun they are having with the Hills.  We are so indebted to them for this amazing gift.  I love you Tirzah, Zion, Zunduka, Chazano and little Azahria Peace.  Counting down!!

Here's a few pics of our day.


Our group on the tour today.  Dean was taking the pic.  The lady beside me in purple has the sweeeeeetest little baby ever she just melts me.  The ones other side of me...have become great friends of ours. The ones on the far right side of the picture with the 2 teenage girls...amazing family. 3 grown children and God called them to 2 14 year old girls that were moments away from being unadoptable due to their age. I think I tear up every time I see them.

:)


The best part of the tour day: chatting haha. Could've done it anywhere...but oh well.


The sweet sweet girls talking to Izrael.  Seriously how could you not look at them and think "how blessed are you all?" they are just a few months apart in age and so beautiful!


Guongzhou tonight :)


Thursday, November 15, 2012

The last 2 days


Yesterday.  Our day was pretty low key with breakfast, later: naps for Zihao and Izrael and then we met in the lobby at 3pm for our trip to the police with our group. We all rode the bus again and the best part of the trek was talking to other families in the waiting area.  One in particular.  This family just shines. You ever meet someone and walk away thinking "wow there was something different about them!" ...? That was this couple. You could see Jesus in them.  And when they spoke...? In their soft, southern accent, they confirmed it.  They just adopted a precious little girl with serious disabilities. The mom looked at me and said "I don't even see them. I see someone I love so much".  Her hair is sparse and short like a newborn's. Her eyes don't focus. She's 23 lbs. She's 4.  She is so loved.

Later last night we went to dinner with 2 families. One is a dad here by himself with his new little girl.  One is a family from Portland area. He works at the Multnommah College. After talking for a bit, we mentioned we know someone that goes there (happens to be our pastor's daughter) and he asked if it was them by name:) Pretty funny. Here we are in China out for dinner with a couple and well...yah...small world.  

This morning we woke late. It's great with 4 little kids except...it was a bad morning to sleep in. We woke after 8. We had to meet at 9. We had to feed Taizi his bottles, dress everyone and eat breakfast. Well it didn't happen.  Zihao refused to go potty. That was a first. And a problem since he slept 11 hours and we were getting in the van for an hour ride (thought it was 2.5? It was 1).We got downstairs with all our stuff...I remember the gifts for his foster family...ran back up stairs...Dean got a to go bag for fruit for breakfast for the road...Taizi was meanwhile pouring his bottle all over his pants...and Zihao still needed to go potty but wouldn't.  I told Rebecca and she bent down and went on and on in Chinese in a stern voice and his eyes went to the floor and suddenly he was nodding. haha.  She went to take him potty and he completely put the breaks on his feet and wouldn't move until he caught Azlan's eye and he reached out for Azlan's hand! This was an awesome sign of healthy attachment. So Azlan went with them to the potty and she said he peed a flood. Fantastic. That would have been fun in the van! ;)

We got in the van, beautiful, full cold AC and were ready to go.  We love the drives (both in Nanjing, the train and now here). It's when you get to see real China. The countryside. SO beautiful. The trees are lush and beautiful and it feels like you are totally in a rainforest! Someone said today that we haven't seen the sun since we've been in Guangzhou and I hadn't thought of it but it's true.  We stopped and picked up Rose, someone who works for TCH (who organizes the foster care).  We arrived at Zihao's foster home). We opened the doors, the kids got out and I couldn't see them! I ran around the corner to see Azlan jumping and Zihao in his foster mom's arms.  Of course we were nervous. We knew this was the right decision to be here, for proper healing and closure yet... we didn't know how it was going to happen.  Our guide, for some reason...spoke very little english. This was a problem. It was just awkward. It's not like this is a family that was counting down for him to be adopted...they knew he had to be adopted...he had been on the waiting list for years...but they did love him. We felt out of place.  There was little eye contact with us. No hello. No handshake. And a guide...that spoke very little english. Not sure how that happened but it was a bit frustrating. She was so sweet just had never been a guide before and apparently they needed extras today so she was ours.  Going to an orphanage this may have worked but to someone's house...? So we went in and were served fruit. Zihao ate a ton.  The kids were all just sitting, playing and eating. Eventually we all went for a walk down the dirt road. Their view was beautiful...it actually reminded us a lot of Mexico. The houses. The dirt roads. The hills.  Both Dean and I said several times it reminded us of the times we spent in Mexico with the Thiessens years ago.  

As we were walking back this man starts walking towards us. Our guide tells us it's Zihao's foster dad. It was very interesting. He was very excited to see Zihao but .. Zihao did not run and jump or even stop to hug him.  He just kept going holding Azlan's hand.  

When we got back to the house the guide said "can you stay for lunch?" we had been prepared for this so we said sure. Not 5 minutes later, his foster mom walked by with a massive chicken squacking (sorry if chickens don't squack...this one was!!!) by it's neck! I grabbed my camera to snap a quick picture. Oh...my.  :)  Rebecca (one of the guides) was telling us this morning that this happened to another family and everyone was laughing...she told me to be prepared ;)The guide asked if we wanted to go to a park while she cooked. We laughed and hoped there were a few more steps to that chicken before cooking but said yes;)  

We got in the van to go to the park.  It was very pretty there. Hot but pretty.  We saw these go cart looking cars and asked about them. They were 80 cents for 5 minutes to drive. Yah give us one! We put the three kids on one and they could drive all around the big concrete area and it was soooo cute!! We walked around for a bit and then came back and rented 2 more.  We put Azlan and Izrael in one and Zihao in the other. Thinking him being all boy would love it...he could not grasp the idea of stepping on a peddle thing to make it move and steering. So I jumped in with him...with my knees rubbing my chin (not quite but you know;) and they were all laughing so hard.  Then we bought bubbles in the store.  Oh...Taizi loves bubbles.  Just a few minutes later the guide said "we must go. Lunch is ready" I have no idea how long it had been post chicken-squacking-by-dragged-by-its-neck-in-the-living-room but it was maybe 1 hour to 1.5? I looked at Dean and he's dying laughing. Yes. Yes let's go for chicken!!

Lots of neighbors came by and they would all talk with so much expression. Thats where it was hard not having a translator. Savor (from Nanjing) would have been awesome today. She was so funny always filling us in on what was being said. We were sensing with all the neighbors and foster parents that there was this displeasure with us having 9 children. We asked our guide if thats what they were saying and she said "yes...but I assured them you love him".  She said everyone was saying we look very very young and too young to have so many children. 

At one point we were playing with the kids with these bricks, building a little house. Taizi was not very happy and Dean was holding him. Zihao's foster mom came over with gusto and took him out of Dean's arms and brought him to where we were playing and put him down. Seemingly upset that we were not letting him play. She quickly discovered things were not ok as he couldn't stand. She tried and tried and he really started to cry. Dean came over and took him back (without the gusto ;) and he cuddled right into Dean's shoulder ;) It was a funny moment, clearly she didn't know of his special needs and thought he just wanted to play with everyone else ;)

We went back to the house they had the table all set.  We had soup to start which was just chicken broth. Zihao loved it and Azlan was served a big bowl. He looked at me terrified. I told him they can't understand him but he needed to always have happy expressions on his face. Oh he was so funny. It was just chicken broth...no big deal but they love to watch you eat and enjoy your food and he's forcing these fake smiles. A for effort!! :) Then it was veggies, said chicken...and rice.  The chicken had been apparently boiled so it was well cooked and chopped. Just chopped. So bones were chopped everything.  I took enough to be polite, Dean was going at it with chop sticks and all.  Izrael LOVED the soup and was copying how everyone else at the table was eating it!

There was very little conversation with us b/c well...our guide had very little english :( So we felt a little just on the outside and awkward but overall it was good.  At the end of the meal we took a few photos...they kissed and hugged Zihao and said good bye and we walked to the van. He hopped in the van on my lap...beaming. I had him blow kisses which he did...and wave away.  Not a bit of sadness or emotion.  It was actually amazing and I was thanking God.  

We drove home...Zihao fell asleep in the car.  

When we got home we called another adoptive family and asked them to meet us in the playroom. Once there we were surprised to see several other families there too.  The whole time Taizi was soaked sweating :( 

We went out to dinner with a family from Georgia that we love! They are so fun to be with and they are here adopting a baby girl. They have 4 bio kids and this is number 5 ... first adopted. Their story was amazing and I got goosebumps several times just hearing how God moved in their adoption journey.  We had a lot of fun out together and just really had a great time.  

We came home, bathed all the babies and this was the first time since the first day of us having Taizi that he relaxed in the bath and had fun. Oh...he's so so adorable.  Zihao is mister personality plus which is funny trying to tell him he's too loud etc when we don't speak the same language :) So we resorted to me screaming like him and then saying "no no Mama shhhh" and again...finally he seemed to connect the dots. ;)  He's doing great and seriously is attached to the hip to Azlan. He reaches for his hand ALL the time and wherever we go he initiates holding Azlan's hand. Azlan has been amazing with him. If Zihao is sleeping...Azlan holds Taizi. He really has been wonderful on this trip!

Talking tonight, both Dean and I feel today was again this closure for Zihao.  He loved his foster family but he seemingly already mourned.  He was right back in her arms but never hesitated to come home with his new Mama.  I think there was a lot of closure for him...as he now knows...he's going home...with his forever family.


In the lobby yesterday morning :)



Playing with Izrael. I never said this but he's only about 1/2 to 1 inch taller than her! She actually wears bigger shoes and bigger clothing size.


Azlan playing with Taizi in our bed this morning


Some of the beautiful country side taken out our van window this morning



Here he is! Disappeared once he knew where we were and jumped into her arms :)


I think we were in the living room.  Being served fruit!


His foster mom!


Taizi :) Staring at his hands but only briefly


Azlan was served tea. And was told to drink it with a smile ;)


There's the chicken!!!!


Some more fortunate chickens get to see another day...!




Meeting his foster dad on our walk


We found a pile of bricks...and Mama helped them make a 'house' ;)


Awww. Loving his Daddy!


At the park. Azlan was very amused by this boat. Tied up...and sinking ;)


Our little go cart rides


Azlan and Izrael


He clapped for me!! :)


Bubbles!!


At the park


Dinner time!


Izrael LOVEd the soup!


Foster mom and dad on the left


Holding on to both lives walking back to the van


Jumped in the van with us and smiled as he waved