Friday, May 29, 2015

Beihai trip, last day in Guangxi & more!!!

It is Saturday afternoon here and I know that I am a few days behind in posting.  Landry wants only me at this moment so usually when she is sleeping, I am too!  She is warming up to Brett more and more but still will not let him hold her.  We have decided from this point on to let Brett feed her as much as he can with her in my lap.  This girl loves food so maybe that will be the trick!  I am hoping she will be good to go by Thursday or this will be one long flight home!

So let's go back a few days....

On Thursday we traveled as a group to our children's orphanages.  They were about 3 hour drive each way so away we went flying down the highway with no carseats, babies in lap and backpacks filled with snacks.  It was a bumpy ride at times but amazing to get out of the city and see the countryside.  You don't often think of China having a countryside.

Leaving the city....

It was a 3 hour wrestling match with this girl who was quite tired of sitting on my lap!  I think she ate about 400 Baby Mum Mums!

Beihai is located on the southern coast of China so there are many fishing boats.

Very much what I had pictured in my mind.

We did a bit of shopping on old street which is about 800 years old. I was able to get some sea glass bracelets for her any myself and a few things for the boys as well.  Brett got some big rock that reminds him of bacon....hahaha, he cracks me up!

We had another fantastic lunch thanks to our foodie friend, David!  I am going to miss REAL Chinese food!!!!

This girl loved her congee and mama enjoyed an ice cold coke!

These are the gates to Beihai Social Welfare Institute.  This is where Landry spent most of her life, up to this point, at least.  In addition to orphans, there is also a section for the elderly.  I just stood here in awe imagining her as a newborn and what her parents must have felt leaving her here.  Her exact finding spot will be something that we will tell her one day when she wants to know. So, in the meantime, we will keep that information to our family.

Landry was not so sure at first and really wouldn't go to anyone.  I felt bad because her nannies wanted to interact with her and love on her but she wanted nothing to do with them.  She would immediately come back to my arms or make a beeline for me if she saw them approaching her.  Her main nanny was not here that day.  I was a bit bummed not to meet her in person but we have pictures of her.  I am hoping that this was a God thing and maybe it was best for our girl that she was not there.

They kept saying "Hei BeiBei" to her....sounds very much like "Hey Baby."  I asked our guide, David, what they were saying.  He said that was her nickname.  It means "dark baby" because of her dark complexion!  We were cracking up!!!  I also had the chance to ask our guide what her Chinese given name means.  Guo Chenxin means "Kingdom of the Wonderful Morning"- so beautiful!

This is the lady who was first to hold Landry when she was found!  We had her write a note to Landry telling her what she thought about her as a baby and what her hopes and dreams are for her.  I can't wait to have it translated one day!  We also left with a memory book that is filled with pictures and notes about our girl.  It is all in Chinese so will need to be translated as well.

This one lil guy was Landry's cribmate.  He was so precious and kept wanting to sit in my lap but she would have none of it!  I was really bummed not to be able to play with the other kids but so excited that she was so attached to me already.  We were able to leave with no issues of wanting to stay.  She was most content for me to scoop her up and walk right out.

On Friday, we had a lazy day of packing, more great lunch and then headed to the airport.  Landry got her passport and we were ready to fly to Guangzhou where the last week of our trip would take place. We said goodbye to David....which was hard because he is just the BEST!!!

We got to our hotel late last night and went straight to bed.  Here is our girl soundly sleeping in her bed.  I left the crib side down so that I could get to her easily if she woke in the night.  In the middle of a dead sleep last night I felt this little hand rubbing my arm.  It was her.  She had scooted all the way to the side of the bed and had her arm draped up so that she could touch me.  Awe, be still my heart!

And who doesn't love cute baby toes???  Especially "all lady like" baby toes:)

We had a great night sleep and woke to a happy girl this morning.  She is finally started to wake up and be comfortable with her surroundings instead of waking in terror and screaming.  We had breakfast and then headed with our group of 11 families....yes, 11 the medical appointment this morning.  We have a huge bus and it is so fun to see all these kiddos with their new families!  And I am finally embracing China humidity and refusing to even dry my hair....why bother!

We had 3 stations to visit.  The nurses station was first, then the ENT (above) and final stop was the general screenind by the MD.  She was so upset- I am telling you, she is terrified of strangers approaching her.  Breaks my heart!

Here she is with the doctor (before she started screaming and threw her head back into the wall).  He did confrim developmental delay, which we already knew as she is not walking and has some motor skill issues.  We are both very anxious to get back home and to our doctors so that we can start getting her better care.  Please pray for her health specifically as we are in a bit of unknown right now.  We are trying not to let our thoughts or google get the best of us and trying to take each day by day but it is hard being so anxious to getting home.

We have some fun days ahead of shopping and touring the city and then our final adoption Consulate appointment on June 2nd.

5 more days and we are Georgia bound!!!


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Days 2 & 3

Landry is napping right now so I am typing fast as our past 24 hours have not been best for sleep.  Her first night with us was fantastic as she slept about 9 hours in her crib.

Last night, not so much.

She was up every hour and fought for me to hold her yet did not want me to put her down.  To be honest, it was completly exhausting.  I know that she was grieving and I began to grieve too.  I felt helpless that I could not console her and really started to question will my love be enough.  I know that we were only 24 hours in to being her parents but it is hard. We were tired and emotions are always multiplied when lack of sleep creeps in.

Everyone says that adoption is not for the faint of why was my heart so faint last night?  

It is moments like this that get me so mad because I know that satan is just pacing about in joy for the doubt that is placed in my heart.  This is why people choose not to adopt, for the scary moments.  For the outside of your comfort zone moments.  For the what if moments. When you allow for those bad thoughts to take over what you do is leave very little room for the good stuff. You see the bad can be so much bigger than the good if you let it.  It can becomre all consuming. But what if you could push that doubt out.....just imagine what God can do when you make room for him in your heart.

I just kept saying over and over in my head that LOVE is a choice and we choose to LOVE her.  Sometimes it may not be enough and that is hard to wrap my had around.  But I do know this, we are her parents now and we choose LOVE.  She is ours and we choose LOVE.  Before she was formed in the womb of her birth mother, God had a plan for her to be in our family and we choose LOVE.

We choose LOVE.

The past day has been hard for all of us but today is a new day. And there have been plenty of great moments that far exceed the tough ones. Her personality is coming out more and more.  She is still a mama's girl but has certainly been up to interacting with Brett, especially if there is food involved.  

We have been skyping with the boys which has been great but makes my heart hurt.  Gosh, I miss week down and one to go!

Since I did not blog last night, I'll rewind back to Tuesday....

We were up early for breakfast.  Like I said before, Landry has slept 9 hours the night before so we were feeling pretty good.  Brett and I are still waking up around 4 am every morning for a bit.  I am guessing due to jet lag still.  We had a great breakfast.  It has been fun having Landry try new foods and she has certainly enjoyed them.  After we ate, we got our bags packed for the day and headed out with the rest of our group to have the adoption finalized.

At the notary office having all of our paperwork notarized before heading back to civil affairs.  She has SUPER stranger danger so thankful to Noah Abell for getting her to smile for us!

Signing our final papers.

Landry signed hers with her foot:)

This is a director at Landry's orphanage.  She was there for the finalization. Landry went right to her and melted into her arms.  It broke my a good and bad way.

Our Beihai babies, loved and spoken for.

We then came back to our hotel for a bit before lunch.  She is loving her daddy.

And is really starting to show her spunk!

We had lunch at the same restaurant as the day before and tried a few new things. How cute are these panda buns????? ( Don't worry Mookie, no pandas were harmed during the making of these delicious buns.)

This morning (Wednesday), we headed out to a park in Nanning.

How can we take a serious picture by these crazy things!

You may not be able to tell by this picture but I was SOOOOOO HOT!!!  I mean this has been one sweaty trip!

All of our Lifeline families including another family from New York that we have met as well at our hotel.

Our sweet girl, too tired to enjoy the park!  That's what happens when you are up every hour the night before.

And the crazy fish feeding area!  I'll have to post the video one day.....these guys were outta control!

The Pagota tower that Brett climbed.  

When we returned our awesome guide, David, took us to another fantastic place for lunch. It was called Pure Green and was Hot Pot Style.  So fun!  Very similar to a Melting Pot just SO much spicier.

The spread was amazing!!

And this picture that I found in the restaurant window truly describes how hot it was.  CRAZY hot!  We were dying laughing about how bad everyone was sweating from the spices and the hot "green beans" that we all had.  (yeah....they were actually peppers)  At one point some of it splashed on my nose and within minutes the edge of my nose went numb!

Tomorrow will be an emotional day as we will travel about 3 hours to Beihai where Landry is from.  We will visit her orphanage and this is where she will say goodbye to her nanny.  I am crying as I type this because I just can't imagine how difficult this will be tomorrow, for her and the nanny.  She loves our girl oh so very much.  

You might ask, why go?  

For the short term this might be very difficult for Landry and we might see some regression from her over the next few days.  For the long term, this is best for many reasons.  One is for closure.  For her to have the image of leaving there with us, her family.  The other is for memories.  To be able to show her years from now pictures and videos of where she was from and where she was found.  It can be quite healing for the hard moments that are to come months/years down the road.

So please keep us in your prayers tomorrow as we go on this difficult journey.  
Pray for Landry's heart and for our strength. 

Please also pray that we have a better night of sleep.  This mama surely needs it!

xo- Kelli

Monday, May 25, 2015

Safe in our arms.....

Our Gotcha day started with a super yummy breakfast (previous post).  We then came back to the room and started to prepare.  We reviewed paperwork, packed a diaper bag & showered off this crazy humidity!  We then met our guide, David, and the other famlies downstairs to go over the official paperwork.

Mommies fill out paperwork....I am guessing because we have better handwriting:)

Signing our names and then had to stamp our fingerprint on each signature.

Even Wicket made an appearance to help wth some paperwork!

We then went shopping together at a local market called, Ren Ren Le- it means The Happy Place!  We needed to get some supplies for our hotel room- baby food, water, snacks, etc.

Amy, David & Brett

This store was quite interesting and had everything you could ever need!
 (photo bomb creds to Ryan Abell)

This was their "sweets" section!  Luckily nothing was in English or I might have been in big trouble:)

David convinced us to get a bag of these- Cucumber Flavored Lays.  
Surprisingly, they are very tasty!

We then came back from the store and there was this little surprise waiting for us in our room!

A crib in our room- this is getting so real!

We had a few moments to get our loot settled and then headed back out for some lunch before we went to get our kiddos.  David is amazing and took us to a great Dim Sum restaurant.  He ordered everything for us and it was so yummy!  And so cheap, it was only about $6 per person and we were so full!

it is Chinese tradition to use your first cup of hot tea to cleanse your bowl, spoon and chopsticks. So when in China...

Chinese spring roll with red rice paper

Our spread....until more came!  Again, oh so yummy!!!

And then 2:30 rolled around and it was time to go.  We all hopped on the van and headed to get our babies. It was only about a 10 minute drive.

Bus ride to get our girl!!!  Look at that excitement on his face!
(photo bomb creds to Amy Abell)

To be quite honest, there was a bit of confusion when we first walked in.  I think the combination of nerves and excitement got the best of us.  You see our friends, The Abell Family, are adopting from the same orphanage. They had the babies in a front room but would not allow us to go in. So when we walked in and peeked through the doorway we saw a little girl running around playing with the Abells son and immediatley thought that had to be her.  But I was confused......she was running?  Our last update said that she could only walk with assistance.  She had long hair?  The last picture they sent to us had her head shaved.  She looked chubbier and no birthmark.  I was confused and while Brett was video taping her, I kept saying that she looked different and he agreed.  Well turns out, it wasn't her!  
AHHHHH- I felt so silly. 
Then Amy said, oh look there is another girl back there and she looks familiar, where do I know her from.  I peeped my head in the doorway and in the back corner, there she was.  THAT was my girl!!

My first glimpse of Landry!

And her first glimpse of us!

We then had to go in a room in the back where an official checked our passports and explained what they call, the Harmonious Period.  Basically they give us 24 hours to spend with her prior to signing any more documentation.

She was not so sure.....

It was heartbreaking to watch as she got upset and you could tell she was in shock.

But then we broke out the suckers and all was right with the world:)  
Amy & her cutie son, Tyson.

We came back to the room and I fed her a bottle.  She was not so sure about Brett.  We thought it might of been his beard so while she napped, he shaved.  Farewell, Vacation Brett!

Turns out that was a great idea because now she thinks he is quite funny, as most people do!

We woke from naps, ate some dinner and played.  She really perked up and her personality came out! We skyped with Pop (Brett's dad) and the boys and then Facetime with JuJu (my mom).  She was so interested in was very cute!  We were able to give her a bath, have another bottle and back to bed she went.......after I sat on the edge of the bed and rocked her for about 45 mins. (I'll call that 45 Minute Abs)  She stares at me so deep and I just love that she is already connecting with us.  She is still not so sure about Brett holding her but he can certainly play with her and make her laugh.

The feelings I have had today have been all over the board.....excitement, happiness, gitty and there have definitely been moments of fear and anxiety to be honest.  I hope to one day be able to articulate all that has been felt with pure honesty.  This is such an amazing experience and we are so fortunate to have her as our daughter.  God knew when she was formed that she would be ours! 

"Expect great things from God.  Attempt great things for God."- John Baillie

She is sound asleep now.  Brett and I both woke up about 30 mins ago and are now wide awake!
Tomorrow we will head back to the Civil Affairs office to finish our paperwork:)  Hopefully I can fall back asleep for a bit more until it is time to wake up.

xo- Kelli