Tuesday, February 28, 2012


During your first few weeks home, you're supposed to be establishing routines and norms for your child. I've been working hard to get Mollie into a groove without disrupting Sarah and Abby's lives too much. But last night, I realized we were all holding on by a thread. Changes were needed!
Today we had some talks. Talks about working together as a family, instead of expecting Mommy and Daddy to solve all the problems. Talks about flexibility and patience. Talks about love.
We also made some pretty big changes to our nightly routine. Instead of putting Mollie down first, I'm now trying to read to the big girls before I put Mollie to bed. And an even bigger change, we moved Mollie into a toddler bed in our room. I hope this will help everyone get to sleep and sleep peacefully. Of course it might just mean that now Perry will join me in my sleeplessness, but there's only one way to find out.
Praying for a peaceful night.

Psa 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012


Sometimes it's wonderful.
Like this afternoon, when she said "thank you Mama" for her banana. When she sat in my lap and let me read her an entire book. When she gave me a kiss, then walked from room to room looking for Papa, Sara, and Abby so she could kiss them too. When she looked around the table at dinner, while we were saying the blessing, with a huge smile on her face (even when she looked at Debbie Debbie!). Truly wonderful.

Sometimes it's a lot "messier." Like at naptime and bedtime today, when she decided to test out her fits again. Like the nights, when her coughs and cries of "Mama" keep me from getting much sleep. Like the sad moments when I tell her "no," and she decides whether to push me away, pitch a fit, or accept my answer.
We're working it out, with good days and bad days and lots of days filled with both. Today I was so thankful to my cousin (who is on a bit of an adoption journey of her own right now with fostered infant twins), for sharing this very special blog post..
Yes, it's messy. But God is at work. And his work is beautiful.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012


The posts don't come as easily now...
We're back in a routine. We've finally caught up on our sleep and gotten over our jet lag. Yep, it took two weeks.
Sarah and Abby are catching up at school and enjoying their activities again. Abby's last basketball game was today, and I'm not going to miss that addition to our schedule, but I am going to miss the games. I think it was really good for Abby to do something that Sarah didn't do. She needs to find her "thing" - any ideas? She is still struggling with some things, and I hope you'll all keep praying for her. There were times this week when we really really needed those prayers, and I felt them!
Mollie has had some ups and downs this week. She is learning how to handle her emotions better, and her tantrums don't come as easily as they used to. Praise! She is playing better, and loves her Bitty Baby from Uncle Todd and the Matchbox car I bought her at Walmart. She still won't let me read a book to her, or even flip through the pages and point at pictures. If you know me, and know how much I love books, you'll know that this is a source of irritation and frustration for me. She still gets in a bad mood and shuts us out when we tell her "no." It can be scary, I won't lie. I'm sure at least part of this is a communication problem, because I can only say "no," I can't always explain why. So it has to be frustrating for her. But when she shuts us down it worries me. We still don't have our sleep issues solved. They had gotten better but the past few days have been hard. She understands more and more every day but she still isn't very verbal.

I'm looking forward to this week. Tuesday we have a playdate with a friend who traveled to China the same time we did. It will be nice to spend some time with someone who really gets it. We have an appointment at the cerebral palsy clinic Thursday, and I think they'll help me understand her physical issues and develop a plan. And Friday we have our first post-placement interview.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Not Much News

We've been busy, and Mollie has been doing really great. She's going with the flow with most of our activities- church, running errands, even Spirit Night at the mall tonight. She definitely did not like the horses at the barn, but I'm sure even that will get better in time.

She is managing her temper much better, too. She really likes to be in control and her whole demeanor changes when I tell her "no," or when I tell her that she has to do something that she doesn't want to do. But a week ago, those things would have triggered major fits. Today, she gets sullen for a minute or two but then usually snaps out of it quickly. She has started cleaning up her toys when I tell her to, and she's letting me pick out her clothes without too much of a fight. She's definitely starting to accept that I'm the mom and I'm in charge. She still fights me about a nap, and I get that. I really think I wouldn't even be pushing the naps if I felt better, but I'm still sick with a cold, and I'm tired, so I need her to nap.

A friend of mine who also recently adopted wrote about worry. It's something I also struggle with. When Mollie has a tantrum, I worry if I caused it. I worry if I'm handling it the right way. I worry if I'm causing her more trauma. I worry.
I'm also worried about Abby. I won't share her secrets here, but I will ask for prayers. Please lift up Abby, and Perry and me in our dealings with Abby.
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

NOT a Typical Day in the Life of Mollie!

I hesitate to even write this post, because anyone who is familiar with the "rules" of the first weeks home post-adoption will know that we broke a bunch of rules yesterday. We're supposed to stay close to home, nesting and providing a safe, calm environment for Mollie to help with her transition. I get that, I really do, but we also have very active 8-year-olds with busy schedules. And, honestly, I needed some time with friends. So yesterday, Mollie's day looked like this:
9am: Tennis with Mrs. Lisa. While she kept her distance from Lisa, she loved hitting balls and picking them up!

12:00 Abby's basketball game - we decided to skip that and nap instead. Good plan, given the afternoon schedule...
1:00 Ice cream at The Whole Scoop. Unfortunately there was a team party there, and only one worker, and the place was under assault. Definitely too much for Mollie and me. We left, took Abby home to change, and went back at 2. Much calmer. Mollie got vanilla and loved it!

Then...we went to the bowling alley. I know, I know, there's probably not a worse place to take a newly adopted child. But one of my dearest friends was celebrating her birthday, and we really wanted to go. We took two cars, and I thought I'd just stay 10-15 minutes. But Mollie was excited to be there. She really lit up- she took her shoes off, put on bowling shoes, "threw" the ball down the lane, ate cheese sticks and fries (for those of you who were wondering-we are not back on the Paleo wagon yet) clapped for the candle-blowing, played video games, and made it two hours before finally letting me know it was time to go. I was so proud of her. I really think she can sense when people and events are special to us, and she rises to the occasion. The same thing happened at the airport, when I expected her to go into her shell, but she smiled and laughed instead!

We are still recovering around here. Perry slept with Mollie the past two nights because I was feeling sick. Now he's exhausted but I'm feeling better. Sarah and Abby are better but not 100% yet. I've been told it will take us 2 weeks, and I'm counting on that.
Today we went to church and she did pretty well. I took her back to Children's church during the sermon and stayed with her. Tonight we ate at La Brisa for my birthday.Tomorrow should be interesting because I'm taking the girls to the barn. If she was scared of cats and dogs, I can only imagine what her reaction to a horse will be!

I'm praying for my friend Brecca whose Gotcha Day was yesterday (her blog is on my blog roll), and also for my friend Barbie who gets her daughter from Mollie's orphanage in just a few hours.
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Thursday, February 16, 2012


I've taken lots of pics of sleeping children lately. I never would have guessed that we would still be jet lagged a week later, but we are. Especially the kids. I really hope we can all recover this long weekend.

This pic was taken at 4:30 yesterday morning. You can see Abby's feet, and Sarah is on the other side of the couch. We've all been meeting on the couch when we get up (too early) in the morning.

Sarah and Mollie having a dance party before school.

Mollie playing in the playroom. This is amazing progress, to see her sitting still and engaging in imaginary play. We even had a tea party!

Two sweet girls walking home from the bus stop.

Yesterday perry was riding bikes with S&A, and Mollie really wanted to be with them. So we pulled out an old bike, put the training wheels on, and let Mollie try it out! She was so proud. She doesn't have the hang of pedaling yet, but I have no doubt that she'll figure it out!

Mollie with her sweet friend Sara.

Enjoying lunch at Chick fil a with Rhonda today!

Today, at 5:00pm.

Bless her heart. Bless all their hearts! This is hard on them. They're tired and cranky and need their Mama, and I'm trying, but I'm tired and cranky too, and I have a new daughter who requires a lot of attention. I've promised them that it will get easier soon. Once we're sleeping better, and I get Mollie into a good routine, it will fall into place. This is just a season.
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9 ESV

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What a Difference a Day Makes

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Yesterday I was discouraged. It seemed like so many things were going wrong, and it was all much harder than I had expected, and I was exhausted. I just didn't know if I could do it much longer. I know that many of you are thinking, "why didn't she call me? Why didn't she ask me to help?" Or maybe you're thinking, "wait, I called her to see if she needed anything, and she said no!". I'm not very good at asking for help, so I didn't call anyone or reach out to my friends. I really need to get better about that, because I know that Perry and I are blessed to be surrounded by a great community of friends and family who want to help us. I'm praying about that. Anyway, today was so much better, and I think Mollie is making tremendous progress. I'm so proud of her!
Yesterday we sent S&A off to school, prayerful that they would make it through the day despite their jet lag and Abby's bad cold. We had a 10am appointment with Mollie at the International Adoption Clinic. We met with their social worker for an hour, and she was awesome. She was able to give us some advice and lots of insight regarding Mollie's behavior, and she asked questions that helped us think about our short time with Mollie and all the progress we've made. Mollie was an angel during this conversation; she played and had snacks and interacted with us, and the social worker thinks that she's doing great. In terms of emotional development, she said that we should consider Mollie to be about two years old, not four. She will have to learn to focus and play and interact with others, because she hasn't really had the opportunity to practice those skills. That has been obvious to us, so it was great to hear her acknowledge it and tell us that Mollie will probably catch up with her peers in about a year.
Then we met with the international adoption pediatrician. She talked to us about common issues with kids from international orphanages and did a short examination of Mollie. We had been concerned about some spots/scars on her body, and the doctor thinks it was likely chicken pox. The doctor tried to clean Mollie's ears, which are evidently filled with dried ear wax. Poor Mollie screamed and cried, and the sobbing continued for over half an hour while we tried to continue the appointment. It was exhausting and heartbreaking. She also has some rot in her back teeth which we'll have to address pretty soon.
After the doctor, we walked across the hall for an ultrasound. This is routine with kids from China, after the tainted formula a few years ago. They checked her liver and kidneys for any issues. Then we went to the lab, where they drew seven vials of blood. Poor baby. At this point, She was tired, hungry, and hurt. We all were. Such a long day. We'll go back in three weeks to get the results of her bloodwork and talk about her CP and plans for OT.
When we finally left the office around 2:00, we were tired, stressed out, and HUNGRY! But just as we got in the car, we received a call from the school nurse, and we headed to pick up Abby who had fallen asleep in the classroom and just couldn't make it any longer.
We finally got home and got a quick bite to eat. Mollie was crazy from exhaustion, and at 4:00 she put her head on Perry's shoulder and he took her to the bed. A 4:00 nap was far from ideal, but we didn't know what else to do! Her cold was getting worse, she was coughing a lot, and she needed rest. My sweet husband then went to the store to get a few things that were on my list. I had planned to do that after the doctor, but sometimes plans don't work out right!
We put the big girls to bed early and I carried Mollie upstairs, still sleeping from her nap, and put her to bed. I slept in the bed with her, instead of in the other twin bed in her room, because she wanted me. She held my hand and pet my head, and we cuddled up together all night. She was sick, coughing a ton, and I was so happy that she wanted me to comfort her. Another step forward!
Today was great. I was able to work out for the first time in three weeks. Mollie and I went to Target (I forgot to get a picture of her first Target run). She went down for a nap without crying at 11:15, and slept for 2 1/2 hours. I napped for about an hour (with Abby, who came home sick again), and it was glorious! I still have suitcases that need to be unpacked, but I got bills paid and managed to clean up a little bit. My Aunt Sue brought us dinner, with enough for another meal tomorrow night. And after dinner, I gave Mollie a bath, brushed her teeth, read her two books, and turned out the light. No fussing. No screaming. No tantrum whatsoever. It's a miracle, and I'm so incredibly proud of my sweet, precious girl.
Sorry no pics. Tomorrow we're meeting my coffee group of adopting moms, so I'll try to take some Starbucks pics.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Random Update

  • Mollie says "Mama, Papa, Sarah, Abbia, BA (Bailey), Dah Ee Ya (I swear this means I love you in her mind, because she'll say "Papa Dah Ee Ya" or "Mama Dah Ee Ya").  
  • She understands almost everything I say, and we are getting pretty good at communicating. She says something like "sasheeshee" when she needs to use the bathroom. 
  • She cups her hand and puts it to her mouth if she wants water. Today she did that and said "water."
  • She'll repeat "I love you" and the numbers one to five. We're working on "Please."
  • Abby and Sarah have taught her some hand motions/games, and she mimics them. She also gives high fives and fist bumps.
  • She was really sick yesterday - throwing up and very lethargic. She let me cuddle her most of the day and it was so sweet. 
  • When I was making breakfast this morning, I asked her to get the salsa out of the refrigerator. She opened the fridge and looked for it, but couldn't find it. I pointed it out to her, and she brought it to me.
  • She had a nasty, fall on the floor and beat your head FIT today when I asked her to potty before naptime. She knew I was about to make her take a nap, and she was MAD! After 25 minutes of screaming, she fell asleep on the bathroom floor. I picked her up and put her on the potty, and she did it! It was a Mama victory!
  • She didn't cry at bedtime tonight. I don't know why, or what might have been different, but we read a book in bed and turned out the light, and she was asleep (we both were!) in 10 minutes. Another victory.
  • She and Bailey have made friends. She lets him give her kisses. Remarkable! 
  • She still does not like Ellie!
  • She did great in church today. She like the music and loved the colorful screen. When they showed the video of her story, she watched and smiled as I talked, but hid her head when they showed scenes of her playing at the orphanage. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

After the Airport

We're exhausted.
I took a picture of Abby, Sarah, and Perry asleep on the couch today, while Mollie was awake. But I can't find the pic to share it with you. We had some good family time today with my sisters, parents, niece, and cousins. And Mollie was able to point to Perry's nose, ears, eyes, and mouth when asked, which I find amazing!
I copied most of the following post from jenhatmaker.com, with a few changes to make it fit our situation more (my words in italics). Many people have asked how they could be helpful, and since we've never done this before, I wasn't really sure how to answer. This post has some great ideas and guidelines. Her whole blog really has some helpful insights, if you are interested in the good, bad, beautiful, and ugly!

Supporting Families After the Airport

You went to the airport. The baby came down the escalator to cheers and balloons. The long adoption journey is over and your friends are home with their new baby / toddler / twins / siblings / teenager. Everyone is happy. 

How can you help? By not saying or doing these things: 

1. I mean this nicely, but don’t come over for awhile. (I think it's fine to come over, but I do ask that you don't stay long. 30 minutes at most. We're tired, and our new daughter is confused. Even angry at times. She will be here 14 more years, so don't worry - there's plenty of time to get to know her!) Most of us are going to hole up in our homes with our little tribe and attempt to create a stable routine without a lot of moving parts. We are trying to establish the concept of “home” with our newbies, and lots of strangers coming and going makes them super nervous and unsure, especially strangers who are talking crazy language to them and trying to touch their hair. 

2. Please do not touch, hug, kiss, or use physical affection with our kids for a few months. We absolutely know your intentions are good, but attachment is super tricky with abandoned kids, and they have had many caregivers, so when multiple adults (including extended family) continue to touch and hold them in their new environment, they become confused about who to bond with. This actually delays healthy attachment egregiously. It also teaches them that any adult or stranger can touch them without their permission, and believe me, many adoptive families are working HARD to undo the damage already done by this position. Thank you so much for respecting these physical boundaries. 

3. For the next few months, do not assume the transition is easy. For 95% of us, it so is not. And this isn’t because our family is dysfunctional or our kids are lemons, but because this phase is so very hard on everyone. I can’t tell you how difficult it was to constantly hear: “You must be so happy!” and “Is life just so awesome now that they’re here??” and “Your family seems just perfect now!” I wanted that to be true so deeply, but I had no idea how to tell you that our home was actually a Trauma Center. (I did this in a passive aggressive way by writing this blog, which was more like “An Open Letter to Everyone Who Knows Us and Keeps Asking Us How Happy We Are.”) Starting with the right posture with your friends – this is hard right now – will totally help you become a safe friend to confide in / break down in front of / draw strength from. 

4. Do not act shocked if we tell you how hard the early stages are. Do not assume adoption was a mistake. Do not worry we have ruined our lives. Do not talk behind our backs about how terribly we’re doing. Just let us struggle. Be our friends in the mess of it. We’ll get better. 

5. Please do not disappear. If I thought the waiting stage was hard, it does not even hold the barest candle to what comes after the airport. Not. The. Barest. Candle. Never have I felt so isolated and petrified. Never have I been so overwhelmed and exhausted. We need you after the airport way more than we ever needed you before. I know you’re scared of us, what with our dirty hair and wild eyes and mystery children we’re keeping behind closed doors so they don’t freak out more than they already have, but please find ways to stick around. Call. Email. Check in. Post on our Facebook walls. Send us funny cards. Keep this behavior up for longer than six days. 

Here’s what we would love to hear or experience After the Airport:

1. Cook for your friends. Put together a meal calendar and recruit every person who even remotely cares about them. We didn’t cook dinners for one solid month, and folks, that may have single handedly saved my sanity. There simply are not words to describe how exhausting and overwhelming those first few weeks are, not to mention the lovely jetlag everyone came home with. And if your friends adopted domestically right up the street, this is all still true, minus the jetlag. (You don't even need to be on the meal calendar. You can bring a frozen casserole for us to heat up when we are having an impossible day. Or a gift certificate to a place that delivers. Or offer to run by Cajun Cleaver on your way home to pick something up for us. I think dinner is going to sneak up on me most days!)

2. Offer to take our biological kids for an adventure or sleepover. Please believe me: their lives just got WHACKED OUT, and they need a break, but their parents can’t give them one because they are 1.) washing clothes  2.) holding screaming children, 3.) spending all their time at doctors’ offices, and 4.) falling asleep in their clothes at 8:15pm. Plus, they are in lockdown mode with the recently adopted, trying to shield them from the trauma that is Walmart. 

3. Thank you for getting excited with us over our little victories. I realize it sounds like a very small deal when we tell you our kindergartener is now staying in the same room as the dog, but if you could’ve seen the epic level of freakoutedness this dog caused her for three weeks, you would understand that this is really something. (Mollie is terrified of our cat and dog. I'm hoping it only takes three weeks to adjust!) When you encourage us over our incremental progress, it helps. You remind us that we ARE moving forward and these little moments are worth celebrating. If we come to you spazzing out, please remind us where we were a month ago. Force us to acknowledge their gains. Be a cheerleader for the healing process. 

4. Come over one night after our kids are asleep and sit with us on our porch. (Or better yet, bring Starbucks coffee at naptime.) Let me tell you: we are all lonely in those early weeks. We are home, home, home, home, home. Good-bye, date nights. Good-bye, GNO’s. Good-bye, spontaneous anything. Good-bye, church. Good-bye, big public outings. Good-bye, community group. Good-bye, Crossfit (do you hear my sobs? I miss Crossfit and don't know how long I'll be out of my routine) Good-bye, dinners out. So please bring some community to our doorstep. Bring friendship back into our lives. Bring adult conversation and laughter. And bring an expensive bottle of wine. Or some margaritas.

5. If the shoe fits, tell adopting families how their story is affecting yours. If God has moved in you over the course of our adoption, whether before the airport or after, if you’ve made a change or a decision, if somewhere deep inside a fire was lit, tell us, because it is spiritual water on dry souls. There is nothing more encouraging than finding out God is using our families for greater kingdom work, beautiful things we would never know or see. We gather the holy moments in our hands every day, praying for eyes to see God’s presence, his purposes realized in our story. When you put more holy moments in our hands to meditate on, we are drawn deeper into the Jesus who led us here. 

Here’s one last thing: As you watch us struggle and celebrate and cry and flail, we also want you to know that adoption is beautiful, and a thousand times we’ve looked at each other and said, “What if we would’ve said no?” God invited us into something monumental and lovely, and we would’ve missed endless moments of glory had we walked away. We need you during these difficult months of waiting and transitioning, but we also hope you see that we serve a faithful God who heals and actually sets the lonely in families, just like He said He would. And even through the tears and tantrums (ours), we look at our children and marvel that God counted us worthy to raise them. We are humbled. We’ve been gifted with a very holy task, and when you help us rise to the occasion, you have an inheritance in their story; your name will be counted in their legacy. 

Thank you for being the village. You are so important. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

US Soil!

Mollie is officially a US citizen! We are so happy to be back in the US. The flight was long, Mollie struggled with boredom (unfortunately she doesn't like tv), and I struggled with patience as she kicked the seat and screamed about sitting down. I tried to give her some melatonin, but she refused to eat or drink! Finally she drank some (spiked) milk, and then spilled it all over herself. Note to self: when traveling with a four-year-old, pack a change of clothes in your carry on!
About an hour before we landed, Abby threw up. Another note to self: eight-year-olds might need a change of clothes too! Now we're in the Delta lounge in Detroit. Abby is scared to get on another flight and is begging to spend the night here. Mollie is entertaining herself with band-aids. And the man behind us is concerned about Abby and keeps offering us medicine! (is he a doctor?)

Looking forward to the comforts of home!

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

On Our Way!

I'm typing this in the van on our way to Hong Kong. We had originally planned to take the train; I thought it would be faster and more fun for the girls. But it turned out to be a more difficult plan, involving luggage transfers and taxis, so we decided to take a "limo" (which in reality is a van. Driven by a crazy driver who has a tv show on and is talking on his cell phone, all while weaving in and out of traffic and cutting people off.). I hope you are all praying!!


We went to the zoo for a short time today; long enough to see the pandas

and feed the giraffes. After a nice lunch at Saba (notice Mollie's chopstick skills-she's eating rice!) with our friends from Houston, we packed up, received Mollie's Visa and Immigration paperwork, and hit the road. I think it's about 3 hours to Hong Kong.

We are all so excited about getting home and seeing our family and friends!

In Hong Kong now...we survived the van drive! It was definitely the scariest drive we've had, and everyone felt carsick, but we made it, and we passed through customs with no problems!
I definitely feel all the prayers; please keep them coming! I feel like we made progress with Mollie today, although I know that we still have a long way to go. But a couple of times today she almost had a fit, but we were able to calm her down and avoid it. She started pitching one tonight after her bath, same as always, when I tried to put her pajamas on her. But I was firm, and she quit quickly! We were all shocked and kept waiting for her to start up again, but she didn't! She crawled up into bed and settled in. It took her a long time to fall asleep, but I was so proud of her. Now I'm praying that she will control herself tomorrow! Please keep the prayers flowing all day tomorrow. We leave Hong Kong at 8:30pm Bham time Wednesday night, and arrive at 8:50pm Thursday night.
Blessings to all-

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Last Night on the Mainland!

This morning we all went to the US Consulate to take an official oath and to submit the documents for Mollie's Visa. We'll get her passport back tomorrow, with her Visa in it, and then we'll be able to leave for Hong Kong. I don't have any pictures of our official morning because cameras weren't allowed. I do have lots of other fun pics of our day, though!
Tonight we went on a cruise on the Pearl River. We almost didn't go; we are tired and Mollie was a real challenge today. But I'm so glad we decided to go-it was really fun and beautiful. Guangzhou is a spectacular city at night!
Tomorrow-the zoo, receive Mollie's visa, and a long drive to Hong Kong. Finally -we can see the light at the end of the tunnel! So excited about coming home!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Shamian Island

Today we went back to the medical office on Shamian Island to have Mollie's TB test read, then did some more shopping and ate lunch at Lucy's. It was a fun day and everyone was in a good mood. The island is very Victorian and not at all Chinese, except for the tourist shops. The famous White Swan hotel is on the island, but it's under renovation and we didn't even go see it.
After lunch and a little rest time in the room, we walked around a little bit then went to a casual Italian restaurant, Oggi's, for dinner. It was good and really could have been in any city in America.
The girls all took a bath together when we got back, and I loved listening to them playing and laughing and just being sisters. Kids are kids, no matter what the language, and Mollie adores her sisters. She knows their names and calls them when she wants them. She says Sarah pretty well but calls Abby "Abbia," again like a little Italian girl!
We had another battle at bedtime. I feel so sad for her when she gets so angry and frustrated, and I hurt for S&A because I know it's hard for them. I know this will get better eventually, and we'll trust God, our friends who have walked in our shoes, and our great adoption resources in Birmingham to help us through it. But there are no babysitters in my near future, that's for sure!
Tomorrow is a big day; our Consulate appointment. And tomorrow night we're going on a river cruise. And...tomorrow night is our last night in Guangzhou!! Woohoo- we're coming home soon!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

How DID We Get Here?

I'm not as introspective as Perry, but I do think he's right-we got here through a series of small decisions, and I think that it never really felt real to me until we got on the plane to head to China. At first, we went to a meeting to learn more about adoption, because we'd always thought it might be something we could do, someday. Then we decided yes, let's do this, so we started the paperwork chase. The paperwork is so overwhelming that it doesn't feel like you're adopting, because you're always so far from the finish line. We found Mollie and knew that God had chosen her for us, but still it didn't feel totally real because she was so far away and we couldn't get many updates on her. The journey continued, and we got closer to the finish line, but somehow it never felt overwhelming.
When we received our Travel Approval, I got scared. What were we doing? Were we really prepared for the changes we would have to make in our lives? Were our girls prepared for the sacrifices they would have to make? Would this be a blessing, or a mistake? What if? What if? What if?
But scary is where the good stuff hides sometimes. We have pulled together more as a couple and as a family to bless a precious little girl with a family and an amazing community. And in return this little orphan girl, a precious, strong-willed, resilient child of God has already blessed us more in our short time together than we ever could have imagined. I'm excited to bring her home, and I know that she is going to bless all of you with her laughter, her smile, and her fighting spirit.

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

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Almost Like Being on Vacation

We had a great day. We went shopping with a great group of people and found lots of bargains. S&A were thrilled to find a DVD store with $3-4 movies. I bought pearl necklaces for all the girls. Perry bought two watches. And we found nice souvenirs, not the cheap things we had seen in Nanjing. We shopped till we dropped and loved it. I'm not a shopper, and I wasn't ready to leave after 3 hours. I kept thinking about how much my sisters-in-law would have loved that place!

Tonight we walked to a Mexican restaurant with three other families. We were skeptical - how good could Mexican food be in China? But we were very pleasantly surprised - it was great! The chips, cheese dip, and margaritas weren't as good as Iguana Grill, or even La Brisa, but they far exceeded our expectations. Mollie had her first taste of Mexican food (I assume), and she loved it! She begged for more chips and cheese and ate hard shell beef tacos and soft shell chicken tacos. She is definitely not picky of food!

After dinner we got ice cream and headed back to the room. It was the first time since we left Beijing that it actually felt like a relaxing family vacation. Of course Mollie spoiled that illusion by pitching a fit at bedtime, but I guess I can't blame her for not wanting the day to end; it was wonderful.
Tomorrow we head back to Shamian Island to have her TB test read (it is fine) and do some more shopping. I can't believe it's almost time to head home! We'll leave Guangzhou Wednesday and spend the night in Hong Kong before heading home Thursday! We are so excited to come home and settle into our routine again.

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