Sunday, April 24, 2011

~Easter~







My parents drove in from PA for a quick 4 day weekend. They were so anxious to meet Summer. She took to them like it was the most natural thing in the world. I truly think sending over our photo books, labeling pictures really helped her in her transition. She amazed me with knowing who everyone was while we were in China... We had an awesome visit and I am so thankful they came out.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Back home...




Well, we made it back to the US on Saturday and since that day I still have been trying to recover from jet lag... not sure why this time around it has been so much harder. Maybe having three kids now has something to do with it, ha ha. When we came home some friends of ours decorated the outside of the house with decorations and then my mother in law and Chad decorated the inside. Summer was just elated with her new home. She ran up to Chad from the airport and gave him a big hug and Aiden. Needless to say Aiden and her have been little buddies. Every morning when Aiden wakes up he can't wait to see Summer.

It has been great - but I want you to know also there are times where you are like, "What did I do?"... especially when there is some friction, whining and crying from the kiddos. That is usually short lived but it IS an adjustment period. Taylor has had her feelings hurt with Aiden wanting Summer, we get the "Everything is about her now" or "Aiden wants Summer all the time"... but for the most part (95%) of the day things are running smoothly. I just am needing to get back into the swing of life. I have been SO SO tired since my trip home. I think the excitement of China and the whole adoption process has you all vamped up then when you get home it is a let down for awhile. Which is good because I am SO glad to be done with the paperwork, waiting on approvals, financial things etc... but now it is a new adjustment.

As for Summer, I still am waiting for her to grieve - I have not seen one tear yet which makes me worry if she is really internalizing things to much. Yet, I see a kid who LOVES to play with her siblings, loves her dad, has done well with meeting church friends - etc. It is almost to good to be true. OR I can think that God worked through and really prepared her for leaving all she has known for a family. I do think they realize at this age what they had to look forward to in China being in a foster home compared to having a forever family, I think it helps rationalize things. She is so sweet and has just been great. It is also so cool to see how many people in our church have opened their arms to her. She has so many people pulling for her and just loving her. It really brings tears to my eyes, I love this area for that reason alone!

Some of the little things we have learned in the few days we have had her at home - put the child safety locks on in the car. We were going down the highway and she opened her door, thank God Chad was with to grab it quickly. The other thing is - we should have had her foot measured sooner, she came to us in a size 2 and is a size 4 shoe! I asked her over and over if her feet hurt and she said no! And lastly - as we went out to eat the other day we were paying our bill at the cash register and I look down and she had no shoes on! - She left them under the table... So important lesson - make sure kids have shoes on when exiting the diner!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Banana Leaf Restaurant Guangzhou



Any of my adoption friends following this blog - the Banana Leaf restaurant across from The Garden Hotel (in the first Frienship store level 5) - awesome restaurant good food!

Jumped on me for a ride... love it!



I was walking by our bed and next thing I know Summer jumped on my back and gave me a hug! I couldn't resist a picture...

My crazy daughter...the laughs continue

The laughs continue.. fun day at the park today... Thai restaurant with friends tonight! Three days left and then back to "normal" life - whatever that means! Chad is home for a day and then leaves or a week... gone for a week in May and then gone for 6 months! One good thing summer coming up... I love the sun and warm weather... ready for the beach!

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Monday, April 4, 2011

A day at the park..with friends



Today has been a fun day... thank goodness for good sleep that can do wonders. Yesterday just was a long day - sometimes it gets old being by yourself and yesterday was one of them... Today we went to one of my favorite parks we have been to in China. We were there when we got Aiden and it brings back a lot of good memories. Beautiful park where the Chinese exercise together young and old and then there are rides in it for the kids as well. Wish we had one of those!

Tomorrow we go to the US embassy to go to meet with the Consulate worker about Summers Visa... then we get it Thursday and that will be it for the paperwork. We take off at 12:30PM on Friday and get back to the States in St. Louis at 9:00 PM (China is 12 hours ahead in case you are wondering). Looking back at my pictures it has been a great trip - just long. I have tried to soak in as much as I can and have Taylor experience as much as she could as well. I REALLY hope with my kids that I teach them not to be afraid to do things... that life is an adventure.

Today, Taylor and Summer have been buddies again... It is bound to happen hurt feelings etc. Wait till they share a room! Tonight we are going to the "Banana Leaf" Thai restaurant with the friends we have met here. I have to say it has been nice being in a group this portion of our trip - it helps pass the time.

I was thinking I need to soak up everything because soon we won't be here any more... and soon Chad will be leaving again for 6 months and I will be having all the kids... People wonder how I do things alone so much - well, if I didn't do it I wouldn't have what I have - or see what I have seen, and being a military wife what choice do I have right? Sometimes conditions aren't what I would like but it has made me into who I am and I hope to pass that on to my kids - to rely on themselves and the rest will fall into place.

No matter what life has thrown at me I always have one person with me all the time - and HE never leaves me... God is good! One day Chad and I won't have this crazy life of the Air Force and then we will look at each other like, "Now what do we do - this is boring!" - just kidding!

Down Day... getting ready to come home



Today, was one of those days were we went had one quick appointment this morning (TB test reading) and then we were dropped off at a shopping area. I have been to this place before and it isn't one of those markets were they are grabbing you to go in the back room to look at their watches and purses (well there were a few but not many) After looking around and navigating the stores that are 9 escalators tall and getting sandwiched in an elevator one to many times we decided to get a taxi and head back to our hotel... I have TRULY enjoyed my time here and am soaking it all up but it is just one of those days were you long for people not pushing you, feeling like you aren't going to get run over when you step onto the street and just to be able to have a good American meal besides Pizza Hut, Italian, KFC... etc. Okay now that I got that out I feel better, lol. Yes, I am only human... maybe I feel this way because when we flew into our taxi I banged my head off the door so I wouldn't get left behind and now I have a splitting headache!

It has been such a great trip but I am ready for "real life" to begin again. I feel SO blessed by experiencing China again for the 2nd time. I know we will be back again to bring our kids to their homeland. It really is a lot different then what we as Americans think of China. I love learning about the culture of my children. When I start to feel anxious and miss my familiar things I think of what Summer feels like being with us and what she will experience at home in the USA. Can you imagine not knowing much English and have no idea what anyone is saying around you? I can't imagine giving up so much just to have a family. Hopefully we live up to her expectations!

People wonder what we will be doing as far as English - well activities, church things and of course good old language programs... We are lucky to get Rosetta Stone through the Air Force for free - so that is something she will be trying out. I also have several apps that she can translate to us and vice versa. She already has the phrase, "Let's go" and "Taylor!!" down pat. Taylor and her had their first "tiff" today. Just normal kid stuff but it will be an adjustment. Taylor wanted her to play Chinese hackysack and Summer just wanted to do a puzzle... well Taylor got upset and then Summer threw the puzzle at Taylor... I am thinking "Well, they act like siblings already"! Then 30 minutes later they were playing together beautifully.... Seriously, being in a hotel no matter how nice it is after 2 weeks gets to anyone!

I am just going to upload a few photos I have had on my iphone... Hope all is well friends!

P.S. I love the video of Taylor playing hackysack - kids no know boundaries when it comes to fun!
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Sunday, April 3, 2011

In Guangzhou... having fun, wearing out a little








Just a quick ... I am beginning to wear down a little today! We had a fun day at the Guangxi Safari Park today with the other families we are here with. This is the first time we have had to share a guide and I have to say it is nice being with some other Americans and their kids are so adorable! One is even from Michigan so we had that in common (with Chad) - I will forgive them for being Michigan fans, lol. Seriously, it has been fun back in Guagnzhou. It is familiar and reminds of the last time I was here with Chad and Aiden.

We are staying at the Garden this time and it is a BEAUTIFUL hotel to say the least. Our agency got us a good rate and it was so well worth it. It has now been 10 days or so since I have been over here and I am getting tired. Enjoying our time and making the most of it but I am getting worn out! I really need to get myself back into the gym so I can keep up with these girls...

Speaking of the girls - they are still so cute together. The competitive side between them is coming out... Summer is right up there with Taylor with needing to be first with everything etc. They are just to cute and such a blessing.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

She was so loved...foster family, teacher

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My favorite clip by far...leaving the hotel when we got her

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A few more pics..









I thought I would post a few random pictures and video clips! Feel free to leave a comment if you want to be added as a friend on Facebook I have TONS more pictures and videos there. Just feeling so blessed and honored that we are parents to this beautiful girl who just wanted a family... I can truly say this trip has been so enjoyable and to see the love between Taylor and Summer is just amazing. She had so many firsts on this trip and will have so many more when we get home.

I told her about our church family through our guide. She started clapping her hands and singing. Our guide said she said, "Oh, I know what church is they sing like this ---- and pray to God". I thought she would have no idea - but guess where she learned it, TV! I showed her our friends in O'fallon and all the kids that want to meet her - she is SO excited. I was told she is timid - I haven't seen that one time! She is just such a blessing... (okay I will stop now, haha)

I love this verse..
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

Catching up from China!
















Sorry friends who follow me on this blog... I have been posting to Facebook videos and updates and thought I better update my blog. All I can say is this trip has gone so well. I could not have dreamed for things to have gone any better. With any adoption you should go in expecting the worse and praying for the best - just because these kids are going through SO much. I don't know how I would be if I left everything I knew and was put with strangers who didn't speak my language. Probably a crying mess! Summer has just been smiles ever since we got her. I TRULY believe that God has been in control and has warmed her heart to us even before she met us.

So many things happened on this trip that weren't suppose to happen that I was praying would. One of the biggest things was meeting Summer's foster mother. She was given up at 4 1/2 and lived with the same foster mother the whole time. I just felt it was REALLY important to try and learn as much about her past so I could tell her about it when she was older if she would forget. My guide in the very first hour said, "You will not be able to meet her as they think it would be more traumatic to say goodbye". I just know from my own loss of my son that even though it may hurt to say goodbye - closure is even better for the heart. How I wish I would have had that with him... I kindly told her that I would try and find a way if she couldn't.

Well the next day she had a big smile on her face and said that I could meet the foster mother, go to the orphanage and meet her teacher. I almost fell over. Nanning is hit or miss if they allow you to do this. When I got Summer she had a note for me from her foster mother with her address and phone number so I knew she wanted to as well. 5 years is a long time and I felt pieces of her past were important to know. Needless to say out of all the things we have done, places we saw I felt this was the best part of my trip.

Meeting her foster mother was just so special. Immediately upon arriving at the orphanage grounds (she lived near there) Summer saw her and sprinted off to hug her - I could tell she loved her very much. Her foster mother told me what Summer had told her 5 years ago about being abandoned outside of a department store... I always thought she was given up because she had a severe heart problem (the same kind Aiden had) - when they found her she was having blue spells... But she told her foster mother her mother gave her up because she was pregnant again. She remembered living on the 2nd floor under her parents store and her grandmother liked to knit. This information just broke my heart for her. I still believe that the heart issue had some to do with it - but the fact she knew she was pregnant and they gave her up - wow that is so sad. You have to love China's one child policy. She said she no longer remembers anything about them or why she was given up anymore (when asked by her mother and my guide).

We also met her teacher at her school and her classmates. We pulled up to the school and all the kids were lined up to be dismissed... had we been five minutes later we would have missed them. It was so amazing to see the love her teacher had for her. We spent an hour with the teacher - she went home and gave Summer 12 years of Chinese language books so she could try to still keep her language up. She told me I could email her anytime and SunFen could send her her Chinese lessons. How sweet is that? She told me that the teachers knew she was an orphan and never raised their voice to her but loved her. You could truly see this. She went up to her teacher and hugged her and was able to say goodbye to her friends. I was able to get many pictures - this was priceless for her.
She no longer has to worry about a family though does she? She is so sweet. To watch Taylor just glow with love for her - it is truly one of the best things to see. It shows that love grows in the heart and does not have to be biological. So many times in my videos Taylor looks like her eyes are moist but yet it is tears of happiness (she would never admit the tears but I could see them).

I would have loved for Chad to come with and miss the support... but I believe God allows certain things to happen the way he wants. It has been a blessing to spend a few days with Taylor alone to experience this together and then the bonding us three girls have done - it is unmeasurable. I am sure there will be trying times - but what person doesn't have these, but I am just so honored that God showed FAVOR on us with how well things have gone.

Not to talk about what happened in my past (for those following who may not know) I lost my son Chase full term a day before he was to be born 3 years ago. We tried for 6 years plus to get pregnant and then that happened and Chad was in Iraq (he was healthy). I am not going to lie and say, "Oh it wasn't hard and God took care of everything" - Well God did take care of everything but it wasn't without my struggles of dealing with grief for 2 years. I thank God I HAVE God because without him I would not have had hope for a future. I always wondered WHY God would have allowed that to happen but I truly believe he knew the bigger picture. He did give me peace and I feel like without Chase being born - I would not have Aiden who could have died without being adopted (he had a serious heart problem that was not fixed) and without Aiden I probably would not have adopted Summer.

We stepped out in faith knowing that adoption was always in our hearts. Even during all my fertility issues. We thought we would adopt and then when that happened it was like a big NEON sign saying, "Now are you ready?" I remember when we lost Chase - and seeing Chad say, "Heidi we need to start the adoption process now" "No more fertility treatments, hundreds of doctor appointments, etc". It gave me a hope. I can truly say that I am so blessed that I have a beautiful caring God loving daughter, the most happy little boy from China and now another beautiful daughter.

I know this all probably seems "cliche" but I just wanted to share how blessed I truly feel. I do still miss the son I never knew - but I KNOW one day I will see him. I believe God allows bad things to happen to people to give them a nudge in the direction they need to go. I feel this happening has made me a better person and has drawn me closer to God. Anyways, sorry to digress - (it is 5:30 AM as I write this) but I just wanted to share a little of our story.

When I see all these families around here with their new adoptive kids - you just know the love these children are about ready to receive and how their lives will change. Although Summer was loved by here foster mother - she ALWAYS wanted a family. She would see younger babies/siblings being adopted and just prayed someone would want an older child. I was told she could not wait for us to come to get her.

To see a child who is 8 giggle and laugh over the smallest things, like taking a bubble bath - you would have thought she won the lottery. She claps her hands and shrieks with joy. She went on a few amusement rides, she told our guide she never went to a park before... she had me in tears with her happiness. She got off of the bumper cars and just started jumping up and down. Then somehow Taylor got her on the swings and 2 roller coasters. She just LOVE them. They drew a crowd of people with their laughter.

Thanks for listening - I was in the mood to write today and this is what came out. I feel extremely blessed that Chad loves our kids know matter where they come from (as well as our relatives) and that we have been able to travel down this road. My favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you... not to harm you but to prosper you" (paraphrasing) Truly he has.