Saturday, June 30, 2012

Plane Ride and Prayer Requests

So we made it to Guangzhou safely.
 I wish I could say that Addy-Kate really enjoyed her first airplane ride, but unfortunately she did not:(
We had to wake her up rather early this morning to head to the airport. 
One thing we have learned about our girl is that she is NOT a morning person;) She needs a little time to wake up each day, and likes to do so slowly;)
Anyway, I think she was still a little tired and just couldn't get comfortable on the plane.  
She has a little cold too, so I'm wondering if that had anything to do with her irritability.  
Finally, with only about 15 minutes left on our two and a half hour flight, she decided to take a snooze;) Bless her heart! After our flight today though, Shane and I are getting a little more nervous about that LONG 15 hour ride home we have coming up in less than a week. Please say a little prayer for us, if you don't mind! We sure could use it;)

Also, could you say a little prayer for my kids back home too?? We got a call from my sisters a few minutes ago and they said Riley just starting throwing up:( Oh y'all...I cried when I heard the news. It's hard enough being away from my kids when they are healthy, but it just breaks my heart to know that one of them is sick! I HATE not being there to care for them!!! Please pray this bug passes QUICKLY and that no one else will get it.The stomach bug seems so contagious:(

Anyway, the rest of our day today was spent settling in to our new hotel room. We are staying at the Garden in Guangzhou which is just beautiful. 
We took a little walk outside this afternoon just to become acquainted with our new surroundings. As we strolled around, we kept our eyes out for local places to eat that may serve food which remind us of home. Today, we found a Pizza Hut!!! 
We went in and ordered our favorite Hawaiian pizza topped with loads of ham and pineapple. It was absolutely DELICIOUS and Addy-Kate loved it too!!
Tomorrow morning, we will meet our guide to do a little sight-seeing and shopping. We will be joined by another adoptive family who is here with our agency too. We are already looking forward to a GREAT day;)

Friday, June 29, 2012

A few "first's" for Addy-Kate

 Today marks our very last day here in Xi'an city. It's hard to believe that we have been here almost an entire week. It's been wonderful, but we are definitely ready to enter this last leg of our adoption journey. Early tomorrow morning, we will board a plane that will take us to Guangzhou. The US Consulate is in Guangzhou and all adoptions are finalized in this city.
 We had planned to take Addy-Kate to another local park to play today, but we woke up to steady rain falling outside. The weather man was calling for rain storms all day long!  
 So instead of the park, we stayed busy this morning playing in our hotel.
Addy-Kate got to watch her very FIRST episode of the Wiggles...
 And had her very FIRST "airplane rides" with Daddy!
 She was all giggles and LOVED it!
She is staring to warm up more and more to her Daddy everyday.  When we first got her, she ONLY wanted Shane. She really wanted nothing to do with me on that first day, but that has quickly changed.
Now, she LOVES playing with her Daddy, but prefers me to care, carry, or comfort her.
Shane gave her her bath last night though, and she never let out a single whimper.
If only she realized that she already has him wrapped around her little finger;)
 By mid-morning, we decide to venture out for a little while, and Addy-Kate enjoyed her FIRST walk in the rain;)
For lunch, we decided to try the KFC near our hotel, and Addy-Kate had her FIRST (of many:) french fries!
It came as no surprise to us that she absolutely LOVED them! 
She's definitely not a ketchup kind-of-girl though;)

It's so much fun for Shane and I to watch AK experience all these "firsts"! We love seeing things through her eyes!
She is an AMAZING little girl and we feel incredibly blessed to be her parents!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Paperwork and Playtime

That about sums up our day today here in Xi'an. We did a little paperwork a had little play time.
 First thing this morning, we had to be at the notary office to gather the remainder of our adoption papers and decrees. After waiting quite a while, we were told that they weren't quite ready yet, and we had to come back this afternoon in order to pick them up. 
So off we went then to do a little sight-seeing.  
 Before heading to our first tour of the day, our guide let us stop here!
 Let me tell you, Shane and I both about did back flips when we saw this ole' familiar green sign. We haven't seen a Starbucks or had a really good cup of coffee in a little over a week! We walked in to the shop, and both of us stopped for a second just to inhale the wonderful aroma;) 
It smelled SOOOOOO GOOOOOD!!!!!! We both ordered large cups of coffee and Addy-Kate experienced her first ever Starbucks chocolate chip cookie!
 After our cup of coffee, we both felt ready to tackle the day. 
Our first stop was to the Bell Tower. 
This beautiful building marks the very center of Xi'an.
 From the top of the tower, we could look out and enjoy the breathtaking views of the city which gave us our daughter.
         Our next stop was the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
And yes...Addy-Kate decided that she preferred a nap instead of the tour;)
 When she woke up she was well rested and ready to play!!!
Oh y'all...
I wish I could articulate into words just how much we love this precious little girl. 
Her sweet little grin and sparkling brown eyes makes us melt!
She is a true answer to our prayers and our DREAM COME TRUE!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sight-seeing fun

 We've enjoyed another GREAT day with our Addy-Kate! She truly is coming out of her shell  more and more every day and we are beginning to see signs of a  little "stinker"  emerge. She is still all smiles and giggles though and just as sweet as sweet can be!.
 As we wait for AK's passport to be processed, we will spend the next few days sightseeing in her province. Today, we went to see the Terra Cotta Warriors.
This is a HUGE tourist attraction here in Xi'an and one of the many reasons people visit this city!
The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant excavations of the 20th century. 
It is a sight not to be missed by any visitor to China.
 It was an amazing sight to see and one I'm so glad we got to enjoy!
Our second stop of the day was to Huanqing Pond. This was a park filled with many natural hot springs. In ancient China, the emperor would reside here through out the cold winter months.
Addy-Kate has been so delightful on each one of these little tours. I can tell she is just taking it all in. The sights, the sounds, the people... Her world has changed so much over the last few days that I cannot even imagine what she must be thinking. 
And in another week, it's going to change all over again as we head home...

Her first pedicure...

 Addy-Kate had her first mini pedicure yesterday afternoon! 
 She was a little unsure at first, but once I showed her my painted toes, she sat so still and watched intently as I painted hers.
She was so proud of her new hot pink toes that she walked around for the next hour just staring at them.
Bless her sweet little heart;)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A day at the park...

Today, we had a so-called "free day"! We didn't have any paperwork to complete or any appointments to attend too. The day was ours to hang out and get to know our sweet girl a little more! 
 Our guide had mentioned that there was a park just a few blocks away from our hotel, so after breakfast, we decided to head there for a morning of fun!
 The "park" was actually an old amusement park which was no longer in business.
We enjoyed walking around and exploring this area of Xi'an!
I think Addy-Kate enjoyed it too. 
 She was still extremetly cautious and stayed with-in our reach at all times. 
 Everywhere she went, she would look over her shoulder and make sure that we were still there. 
 She is just the sweetest thing EVER and every day we are seeing more and more of her personality.
She is so smiley and hands out one of those infectious grins to everyone she meets!
Up until this point though, she has been really really quiet. She smiles and giggles, but has yet to speak a single word to us. We know she can talk because we have heard her say things in her sleep-ha;) Well, tonight at dinner she finally decided that it was time to talk to us. Wanna know what she said...She said "Mama"!!!!! Over and Over and Over again she called me..."MAMA"!!!!
I love this girl;)

Getting to know you...

 Yesterday was another day full of paper work. We had to meet our guide in our hotel lobby at 8:30am sharp.  Thankfully, AK had a GREAT first night with us and slept very peacefully in her crib all night long. A total answer to prayer!!! She woke up full of the sweetest smiles. She seems to have a smile on her face ALL the time, which is such a blessing to see! 
We got her dressed, which was sooo much fun for me;), and headed down stairs to have breakfast. 
After we finished up, our guide and driver picked us up from the hotel and it was off to the bank to exchange some money.
  We then headed back to the civil affairs office to pay some fee's and finish up some paper work. 
We had to sign (and fingerprint)  several documents and AK had to do a foot print. 
 We had the opportunity to see AK's nanny again too! 
 We thanked her for taking care of our girl and gave her a special gift. I was afraid that AK would scream and cry when she saw her, but much to our surprise, she was happy and content to stay in our arms;)
We actually met another sweet American family in the office too! They were there finalizing some of their adoption documents too. They were so kind and it was sooo nice to chat with them for a little bit. We will actually see them again soon because  they are staying at the same hotel as us in Guangzhou. We head there at the end of the week.
After we were done at the office, it was off to the police station to apply for AK's passport and (of course) sign some more papers;)

Finally, we were done with paper work for the day and we could head back to our hotel to relax and play with our girl. We spent the majority of the afternoon just playing and hanging out in our room. It was such a sweet time together. AK is slowly coming out of her shell. She is still very quiet and we can tell she is just taking it/us all in. She giggled at us for the first time ever...and Shane and I just about melted into a puddle.

Thank you to those of you who have prayed us through this special time. We feel so blessed to have been given this AMAZING little girl. God is sooo good and we are so thankful. If you wouldn't mind though, please continue to pray for us during this time away. As much as I love being here with my sweet girl, I am beyond homesick for my kids!! I miss them soooo much it hurts.  Please pray that the remainder of this time away will be peaceful and full of joy and that the days until we are home again would pass quickly!
Thanks y'all;)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Gotcha Day

Sunday was our Gotcha Day. I woke up early, like around 3am, and couldn't go back to sleep. I just laid there praying and thinking about what was going to happen on this very special day. I had dreamed about this day FOREVER, and couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that it was actually here. I was going to see and hold my baby in my arms...Forever!!! Finally around 6am, Shane and I got up and got ready for the day. We ate breakfast at our hotel and went for a little walk outside before heading back to our room to pack up our things. Our guide and driver were picking us up at 10am and taking us to the airport. On the way to the airport, Shane asked our guide if she had any idea on what time we would be meeting Addy-Kate. The itinerary we were given just said we would meet her at our hotel later that afternoon. Our guide made a quick call to our new guide in Xi'an and asked if she new the details of the day ahead. She hung up the phone, and looked back at both of us and said we would be meeting Addy-Kate RIGHT when we got off the plane! She was already in Xi'an and was waiting for us at the Civil Affairs office. She and her nanny had taken the night train from her orphanage, which was a good 12 hours away, and had arrived in Xi'an earlier that morning!!
Shane and I were both SHOCKED! We kind-of thought we had our minds wrapped around what the day might look like, but this wasn't at all what we had planned. We thought we may have a little time when we arrived in our new hotel in Xi'an to set up our room and get it ready for our girl. Now we didn't have any time at all. We would meet her RIGHT AWAY!!!! We were beyond thrilled with the news, but felt a little unprepared to receive our girl. When we got to the airport, we took a few minutes to rearrange our luggage. We took the diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, toys, and some goldfish out of our big suitcase and put it on my carry-on. That way, when we got off the plane we would be ready meet our baby.
Our guide, Sylvia, then helped us get our boarding passes and showed us how to get to our departure gate. 
We gave her a big hug, said goodbye and thanked her for showing us her city.
Before long, it was time to board our plane. Unfortunately, this is also were it started to rain buckets outside and our flight was delayed over and hour and a half. The time we were supposed to be LANDING in Xi'an was the time that we finally TOOK OFF from Beijing!!! 
We made up a little time in the air, but our plane was still over an hour late;( 
Thankfully, we were able to claim our luggage and locate our guide and driver quickly.
Shelly, our new guide, was super sweet and as we rode to the Civil Affairs office, she briefed us on all the details that would take place during the next few hours.
 When we arrived at the office, our guide led us into a small dark building. We got on the elevator and went to the second floor. When we got off the elevator, the power in the hall was out, so it was really dark. Then our guide opened the door to the office and I saw this beautiful face immediately!
Be still my heart!!!!!
It was LOVE at first sight!!! 
She was very unsure of me though...until our guide suggested I pull out some snacks.
That did it...Hook, line, and sinker...she was ALL mine!!
I couldn't believe that I was finally holding MY GIRL!!!
She, on the other hand wasn't too happy about it!
That's when Daddy stepped in and tried to calm her down!
Daddy sang "Jesus loves me" to her and she quieted right down!
I'll NEVER forget that moment!
Her new family!
Off to get her passport picture done and a new family photo of us for her adoption decree.
After a full and busy afternoon we finally checked into our new hotel and AK was ready for a bottle!
We still had a little paper work left to complete, so our guide came back with us to our room and helped us finish it up there!
After a L-O-N-G and very busy day, it was time for a nice warm bath!
She LOVED the tub and didn't want to get out!
Is she not the sweetest thing EVER!!!
All clean and dressed in some comfy pj's!
Oh my...What a DAY!!! 
And one that we will NEVER EVER EVER forget!!!!!
Praising the Lord for this amazing and precious gift!!!!!