Saturday, March 21, 2009

Three months later

It has almost been three months since we brought home Lydia on Christmas Day. It has been a challenging three months for sure, but when I look back now, it is hard to believe how well it has gone and how much Lydia has adjusted to her new life. She has stolen all of our hearts and even Caleb has adjusted to not being the youngest in the family. I think he really appreciates having a playmate and most of the time is very good to her. When we meet new people he is always quick to introduce them to his sister with much pride in his voice. She has differences of her arms, but this really does not slow her down one bit. She does seem to hit the ground a bit harder than a child with two full arms to break the fall, but otherwise, she can carry and manipulate things like everyone else. She is picking up on English very quickly and is bonding with all of us in the family. We did take her to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for her orthopedic evalution and found out she does indeed have scoliosis, which is something we discovered after we saw her. Thankfully, this is something that TSRH is treating and they are on the forefront of a new treatment for infant scoliosis that involves serial casting. We will begin this treatment the end of April. It will not be easy to have Lydia in a cast that means no baths or swimming pools but we are thankful for a treatment that does not involve surgery and might be completed still while she is young.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Home for Christmas!

We did arrive home in time for Chrismas, actually at 3AM on Christmas morning! It was a long trip and we are so very thankful that God provided as we flew space available on Southwest from LAX to Houston. The flights were supposed to be wide open for us to travel on but because of the recent bad weather and many flight cancellations the flights were full. We took the last three seats and George had to fly in the cockpit. It was a bit of a nail biter as the flights on Christmas were full as well. MANY prayers of thanksgiving were said by me on the plane as we flew the last leg of our flight. After arriving at the airport at 2am, our van had a dead battery. But, the parking lot van driver rescued us with cables and a jump start, so we were on our way very quickly. We were also blessed by the awesome volunteers at the USO at LAX when we were traveling and so thankful to have a safe and friendly place to relax and get a bite to eat as well. The kids did great on the trip and even slept a lot on the planes.
We had quite the welcoming when we arrived home even though it was 3AM. Everyone had fun meeting the newest family member and she did well but was certainly overwhelmed a bit. We are still trying to adjust to the time change, but had a wonderful Christmas Day celebrating our Savior's birth and enjoying our family, including Mary Ann's parents who were here to take care of the kids the past week. Lydia has had fun playing with new toys from Christmas and is laughing and smiling a lot. She is obviously still pretty insecure, so we plan to keep things quiet and stay home for a while. She has taken to her big sisters quickly but still plays hard to get with the men in her family. She is also terrified of the small dogs in the house and so we are hoping to ease her into a relationship with the dog soon.
Merry Christmas! We are certainly rejoicing! Thanks for your prayers and support!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Headed Home!

Today was our last full day in China and we went this afternoon to the US Consulate to pick up Lydia’s visa and have the swearing in ceremony. It is brief but moving as you look around the room and see all the special kids finally getting a family and ready to move on to their new homes in the US. The US representative working there shared that there were families there from twenty-one different states and representing all different kinds of vocations. The more-than forty children were diverse also, from babies to young teens, boys and girls, healthy and special needs kids.
This evening we had dinner with the family staying across the hall from us from Oklahoma. They are adopting a four-year old boy and have a four-year old bio boy. They have the same guide that we had two years ago, so we all had dinner tonight. It was great to see Bob again and tell him what we have been up to. We said goodbye to our other friends from our WACAP group and finished some last minute packing.
Tonight I showed Lydia some photos from home on our computer. She was trying to repeat the names of her brothers and sisters and did pretty well with most of them. She was laughing and really enjoying seeing all the silly photos of her new family. So, thanks for following our blog. We hope to be home on Christmas Eve, very late. Pray for a safe and smooth journey.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Shopping in Guangzhou

Our paperwork for our daughter’s visa was submitted today at the US Consulate. Tomorrow we will attend a ceremony where we take an oath and then they give us her passport with the visa that will allow her entrance into the US and give her automatic citizenship when she arrives on American soil.

This afternoon, Mary Ann went shopping with some others from our group at the toy market and George stayed back at the hotel for nap time. He and the kids did very well and he even gave Lydia a bottle after she woke up. Mary Ann enjoyed shopping and then came home with a suitcase full of fun presents. Then, we all went to the Shamian Island and ate dinner at Lucy’s, a fun restaurant that caters to the American adoption community. We had some great food and conversation with another American (and military, too) family at the table next to us. Then, we did some more shopping and Caleb had fun talking with the shopkeeper and playing with toys. It was really cold and windy out today, so we kept our outdoor shopping to the minimum. We can't wait to get her home and to see our family. Three more days 'til Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Video - Park Slide

Here's a video of Caleb and Lydia (and eventually mommy) sliding for the first time at a park on Shamian Island on Saturday.

Squeaky Shoes!

We bought Lydia squeaky shoes yesterday and so now when she is walking, we have a squeaker going with us everywhere. It is so funny and she seems to love walking now. Of course, we won’t let her wear those shoes to church.
We met our group this morning at the White Swan, the hotel where most of the adoptive families stay, and took a group photo of parents and kids on this infamous red couch. Of course, not all kids are interested in sitting on a couch and getting their photo taken so it was a bit of a challenge. Lydia did great and didn’t cry or run away like some did. Today we went on a tour to an art museum and to a temple in town. The kids did well with it and we enjoyed the tour guide since we had seen those places two years ago, but didn’t get all the info last time about the places. It is amazing to hear about all the ways they built things to try to help them have fewer evil spirits and better “luck.” If you have to walk over the threshold of the building, the ghosts or spirits will have to jump over the same threshold making it more difficult for them to get in. This afternoon while Lydia was taking her nap, I went shopping with the grandmother of one of the kids and our guide. She was looking for fabric to make some clothes for her grandchildren. We had fun and I even got some fabric, so I guess I will be sewing again, too. I also needed some more short sleeve shirts since it has been warm and I found nice polo shirts for under $4 each.
This evening George and I took the kids to one of our favorite restaurants near the hotel, The Guangzhou Restaurant that has been around for over 70 years. It seems like I never have two things that are the same when I have Chinese. I have had so many dishes this time that I have never had before, just like our first trip. And, I really have liked all of it. Caleb enjoyed the shrimp we had tonight. Lydia eats almost anything I give her, but she is not fond of pineapple. It is fun watching her eat noodles and slurping them in to her mouth gradually. She is also sleeping much better now and had not night terrors last night. She is talking and singing all the time now, so cute. I just wish I knew what she is saying.
In case any of you are wondering, Lydia has incredible fine motor skills. She has just three fingers on her right arm and one on her left. But, she loves to manipulate small items and is very precise. And, so far we have had zero potty accidents, even at night. She has been a little hesitant with George and he gets frustrated sometimes when she pushes his hand away or wipes off his kisses. I told him she is just playing hard to get. But, tonight when he left to go get his hair cut, she was looking all over the hotel room for Baba/Daddy. So cute! I can’t wait to tell him when he comes back.
We were glad to talk with the kids back home today and hear that my parents are now with the kids and they will now be eating well thanks to Grandma’s good cooking. We cannot wait to get finished here and get back to the family. Please pray that the flight we hope to travel on from LA to Houston on Christmas Eve actually has open seats for us. Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Move to Guangzhou

Sorry I didn’t get to blog yesterday. We packed our bags in the morning and then flew to Guangzhou in the afternoon. By the time we got checked into our hotel, it was dark and we were very hungry. It was great to get back to the hotel we stayed at when we adopted Caleb (2 years ago). We were here for over two weeks so we spent a lot of time here. Lydia did great with the flight and seemed to actually enjoy it for the most part. She is very quiet and easy going unless she is tired or hungry or in a scary situation (ie. doctor exam). She spends a lot of time in the sling and I have enjoyed that. But sometimes, we both are sweaty when we get her out of it. Last night on the bus to the hotel, she slept and was a sweaty mess when we got her out. Anyway, after checking into the Holiday Inn Shifu we set out for a walk to check out our old places to walk and shop. We ended up with Pizza Hut and enjoyed a nice dinner there. When we got back and got baths for the kids, I was ready to crash. In fact I think I fell asleep before they did. Our first few nights with Lydia, she slept through the night quite well. But the last couple nights she has had some “night terrors” or something. She was not up as many times last night so hopefully this will ease up and get better every night. Today we met the rest of our group on the island where the others are staying. We had the kid’s photos taken for their visas and had their medical exams done for the visas. Lydia was not too happy about that part and cried quite a bit. All of our paperwork is now ready for the US consulate appt. on Monday and we have the next few days to just enjoy the area here and do some power shopping. It is not too easy shopping with two toddlers, so I doubt I will get into too much trouble. (George is happy about that!) We saw our guide from Caleb’s adoption at the medical clinic and it was good to see him. We will try to get together some time for dinner with him.
Lydia is having so much fun playing with Caleb right now. She squeals with laughter and is just too adorable. I think it is safe to say she has all of us totally in love with her. Merry Christmas!