Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fall Fun and other stuff

This past week we have enjoyed doing fun fall things. Friday night football, pumpkin patches, hot apple cider, and costumes are just a few of the things we have started to enjoy. We went to the football game last Friday night. It was so great to have such beautiful weather to enjoy it. One of the ladies from our church sat behind us and shared her hot chocolate. Katy was lovin' that. Jack's love for this was written all over his face, quite literally I might add. Saturday we went to the very wet pumpkin patch. It was a beautiful day, but with all the rain, it was a bit muddy. It didn't stop the kids from lovin' the bounce houses and rides in the red wagon. The highlight for Jack was the train ride. His very expressive eyes in the picture should tell you that.

Well, I am learning how to be at home and now I am getting to be at home even longer. After much prayer and discussion, J and I decided that it would be best for Jack if I stayed home with him until after his surgery and recovery. This means I will be staying home until January 4. This is a HUGE step of faith for us. We are still in discussions with the school district to make the leave benefits equal between adoption and birth, but it has yet to be resolved. We are so thankful that we have some real estate opportunities as well as my parents being very generous which seem to make this possible. I am learning how to be a stay at home mom. I have always had summer vacation, but this is different. It has taken about three weeks to realize how this works. How to spend quality time with Jack and still get things accomplished at home has been a real challenge, but I am starting to get it. The Bible study I am doing right now could not be more ideal for such a time as this. I am learning how to believe God and break free to live the life God has intended me to have.

Jack and Katy have been doing so great with bonding. They really love playing together. It has been so great to see. I have been reminded so much in the last week that "bonding is a process, not an event." Katy has been teaching me this. She has really struggled with understanding her relationship with J and I with addition of little brother. Learning how to talk to Mama and Daddy to get her needs met and trusting us to do what we say have been the two biggest things that we are working through with her. Please pray for her and us as we learn more about each other.

On tap this week, investigating where Jack will go to school in January. Please pray for wisdom in this. We have a couple of options, just trying to find out the best fit. Jack has an evaluation with the speech pathologist from Children's Hospital. She is coming to our home. Hopefully, this will allow her to get a more thorough evaluation. I will post more after that evaluation.

Blessings to you!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Being at home

Hi everyone,

Jack and I are having a great time at home these days. He really loves playing at home. He has already run down the batteries on several of the "louder" toys. Of course, I haven't quite "found" the batteries to replace those toys yet. The picture has Jack with one of these toys. He still rides this toy all over the house. It has been very different being home with a 3 year old. He doesn't take naps on a regular basis. Although, yesterday he crawled up in my lap and fell asleep. So sweet! I didn't dare move. It was one of the dearest bonding times we have had yet. I am so amazed at how God has blessed our bonding. I could not have anticipated how well we are learning to love and know each other. Thanks to all of you who have been praying for this process.

Monday, October 5, 2009

New post coming

Yes, I am home. No, I haven't posted. We are doing well. Jack is adjusting so well. We have had a great week or so at home. We attended church on Sunday. It was so great to be there. I am in the midst of moving all the pictures from the trip from one computer to the other. I hope to post more pictures soon.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Welcome Home Jack!

So happy to announce the arrival of
Jack to the USA!!!

These are just a few pics snapped in the hustle and bustle of the family arriving from their two week trip to China late this afternoon. Several family members were present and lots of hugs, laughter and tears were shared. As soon as they get some sleep and find time, more family pics will be posted. Thank you for all your prayers and love.

Please continue to pray as the whole family adjusts to their "new normal". Blessings!

One very tired, but VERY HAPPY AND BLESSED family of FOUR!

Thank you, Lord, for safety, health and bringing Jack home to his forever family.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Winding Down the Trip

Daddy and Katy

Hey all,
We are so thankful that we have had 2 awesome days. Thanks so much for the prayers. We are grateful to have such a great group of family and friends lifting us up. We have enjoyed being in Guangzhou and have even ventured out on our own a little. Yesterday, we had to follow up with the TB test that Jack had done on Saturday. All was good. It just took about 45 seconds (after standing in line for 15 minutes). We have enjoyed shopping on Shamian Island. The weather was hot, of course, but we bought a stroller and that seems to have been our best investment yet. Jack LOVES the stroller. Whether he is in it and being pushed, or out of it and pushing it himself, he is quite content. We had dinner in the Japanese restaurant in the hotel on Monday night. After sitting in it to eat, he got out and pushed it around the restaurant. We were the only ones there, so the staff got a kick out of his maneuverability skills. We think he enjoys it because it has wheels. Seems to be his thing.

Slowly, but surely, Jack is becoming more and more comfortable with me. He loves playing tickle and snuggle and loves to give and get kisses from his mama. I am so grateful for that, but I don't think that Katy is quite as excited about this as I am. We have reached the point of JEALOUSY. Last night, while I was in the shower, both children were upset about it. When I tried to comfort one, the other got more upset. Finally, I got one child under each arm and both were content and fell asleep quickly. It's funny, I had a vision of this very thing before we left for China. Although, I was grateful that it happened in a king size bed instead of one of the oversize twins that are more common here. It made me very happy to have 2 children loving on their mama. We will continue to have to work with Katy on sharing Mama. She was more ready to share Daddy than me.

Yesterday, we ventured out on out own. We even took a taxi. Although, J and I both agree that the driving in Guangzhou is much more civilized than Wuhan. We went back to Shamian Island to finish shopping and eat dinner. We enjoyed dinner at the German restaurant on the island. We also got to play at the park. We thought it was very interesting that all the "playground" equipment was actually exercise equipment in disguise. We did quite a bit more shopping and have enjoyed getting to know some of the shop owners on the island. Emma and Jordan to be specific. We also bought a painting for our house that was painted by a man names "Kenny." He is an artist that trains and employs orphans that have aged out of the system, including those with special needs. We were very excited to see that there are some Chinese people who truly care about the plight of orphans in China too.

Katy won lottery! While in Wuhan, they gave us scratch off tickets with our dinner receipts. Katy scratched one off and won 20 Yuan. So she spent it on a picture of panda bears that a man painted using different parts of his hand. She bought it at a Folk Art museum here in Guangzhou. They had some beautiful embroidery pieces as well. The other people in our group couldn't believe that when we had come here with Katy it was actually hotter.

We go to our consulate appointment and swearing in ceremony this afternoon. We are looking forward to that. Please pray for some of the families in our group that are having problems with consulate paperwork. There are some glitches that we hope are getting worked out as I type this.

Finally, we hope you have enjoyed following us on the blog. I hope to get at least one more update in before we leave. Love and blessings to you all.

Jack at the park

Purple and Rosa tell stories

Purple bought a panda


They make parents wait outside for dismissal

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Next Stop

Hello from Guangzhou,
We have made it to Guangzhou. We had an interesting last day in Wuhan. It rained all day. We had promised Katy we'd go to McDonalds one more time. So off we went with two kids and 3 umbrellas. What a sight we were. Of course, once we got inside and ordered it stopped. It made it a little easier coming back, but it had slowed us down enough that when we got back we were scrambling to get the rest of the bags packed and ready to leave at 2:30. From there we picked up Jack's passport and final paperwork from the Chinese and headed for the airport. Jack has really taken to watching out the window. He doesn't seem to mind the cars being inches away from you. As we drove the airport, it appeared that all the traffic was merging into two lanes. The other family that was with us asked if they were merging 4 lanes into 2, Christina, our guide, replied that they don't have lanes, only suggestions. Thus, traffic in China is a little intimidating to say the least. We were sad to leave Wuhan. We loved our hotel, minus the beds, and it gave me the best birthday present I have ever received, a son.
Yes, today is my birthday. I know you all haven't woken up enough to tell my "Happy Birthday" yet, so I will cut you a break. Plus, if you post on here, I won't be able to see it, anyway. So you can save the well wishes until we get back. But, keep the prayers coming. We have definitely felt them. Today, we had Jack's medical appointment. It was interesting to be in the same spot that we were in last time with Katy. I am pretty sure we even had one of the same doctors. Jack did NOT like this appointment. From the pictures to the 6 shots he had to have, he was pretty unhappy all morning long. We stopped at the Carrefour(like walmart) on the way back. Daddy stayed in the bus with Jack while he slept while Katy and I shopped a little. It was really great to be back with the whole group from Beijing, plus all the new babies. We have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them. Katy was very happy to see her friend Olivia again. Tomorrow is our first real shopping day at Shamien Island. We are looking forward to that. Hopefully, we will sneak in a trip to the German restaurant sometime in the next few days. (Thanks for the tip, Joel and Amy) Continue to pray for Jack's transition into our family. Also, continue to pray for Katy too. She has done such a super job as big sister. J and I are tired, please pray for rest over the next few days. We feel much more relaxed here, very thankful for that. 5 days until we are home!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sweet Family Time

Katy and the Museum

Over the Bridge


Jack's Orphanage

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Here are a few Gotcha Day pictures.
Bec said most everything else was captured on video.

Our family continues to learn more about each other each day. So far, Jack has not said a word. His eyes are incredibly expressive so many times we can tell what he is thinking just by watching. Other times, he uses fits and crying to communicate. We know that with the unrepaired palette that language is difficult. He has yet to respond in Mandarin. We know that has to be part of his frustration, too. Not only does he not fully understand what is going on and why these people have me, but he also doesn't have words to communicate his needs. We are pretty sure that fits are what he has used for the last 3 years. He has just started to point to things which has been incredibly helpful. He has a very low laugh, much like his sister, loves to play ball, and hasn't let go of the cars we gave him since the first day. We toured a very interesting museum this morning. We are heading to Yellow Crane Tower tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Finally All Together!

Note: These are the pics and message I received this morning. It makes me think the "Gotcha Day" pics didn't come through unless Bec did not send them. Below is the second day pics. I'll see if I can contact them directly for first day pics.

Our family with the orphanage director

Wuhan has blessed us with a beautiful boy! We have enjoyed getting to know our quiet little man. For the first few hours, he said very little. He cried some when the orphanage director left the first time, but not the day after. On day 2, we have had more times of crying, but we are all learning how he communicates. He loves his cars and his ball. We have played a lot with them. We have felt the all the prayers, and we are so grateful for them. We spent a lot of time in the department/grocery store today. We walked by the M & M's and his face lit up. So great, he loves chocolate like his mama. But overall, he is a daddy's boy. He and Jarrod seem to have hit it off the best. Katy continues to be a great mother hen. She has really only gotten upset because he won't play with her enough. Praise God for the answered prayers in this area. We know there will be more rough days ahead with her, but right now, she is doing great! We hope you enjoy the pictures. Tomorrow we will be touring Wuhan. I hope to send great pictures of Jack's home city then.

Daddy's Boy
Mama and her kids

Big Sister, Big Helper

Monday, September 14, 2009

Quick Update

Hey all,
We got Jack!!! We picked him up about 3:30 Monday afternoon. He is so handsome! After playing with him for a while, he warmed up to all of us very quickly. We have had an awesome evening playing as a family. Katy is an AWESOME big sister. We are so proud of her. God is good! All glory belongs to Him as this was quite a miracle in our lives today. Since we have been up since 4 am I will wait and post pictures later. Thanks again for all your prayers. We have definitely felt them.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

We're Here!!!!

Well, we made it. We had a few minor hiccups on the plane ride over, but overall it was not bad. We spent the day today at the Summer Palace and The Great Wall. According to Little Swan, we have now seen the "Real" China, The Great Wall. Evidently, Beijing doesn't count. She has made a fast friend with a little girl from another family who is 7 years old. They giggled all day today while we were on the bus. She also kept going up the Great Wall today, which meant that Little Swan kept going, which also meant that Mr. J had too as well. Thank goodness that didn't mean me, too. The weather is very nice, a little warm, but we can see the sky. It really is blue here too. Last time, in July, not so much. Our guides even said we came at the best time of year to Beijing. In the evening we walked down by all the Olympic Event Stadiums. The breeze felt so good and it was just beautiful. We are very tired from our first day of big events. Only 2 days until we get Jack. We will post more soon.

Still Waiting....

Just wanted to let everyone know that I am still waiting for Bec to email me with some info. I know from experience that the jet lag alone is a killer! ; ) They have a lap top and will email as soon as possible. They will do sight-seeing with their group through Sunday and then will get to MEET JACK ON MONDAY!! Hang on for info as soon as it comes. Remember to pray for travel safety, energy and health!!!

By the way, this is Jana, personal friend from church who also has a daughter from China. The girls are what connected us two and a half years ago through our agency, AWAA. Here is our family so you can put a face with a name of who's posting. Becky said that they can't post on Blogger from China so she will be emailing me pictures and info and I will be posting them on this blog.

PLEASE feel free to comment so that the Mr. J., Bec, Little Swan and Jack will have your sentiments as a journal of sorts. If you do not have a Google account then just sign your comment as anonymous when prompted, but be sure and type your name in your comment so the family will know who posted.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Journey to Jack!

Follow along as Mr. J, Bec and Little Swan journey to China for Jack!! We have waited so long for this time to come and are so excited to journey along with them! Check in daily for updates as they come in all the way from the other side of the world.


Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6