Saturday, July 26, 2008

China Video

My wonderful friend Deanna, also known as Lauren's mom, put together this amazing video for us of our first moment we saw Arianna in the Civil Affairs Office in China until the moment we flew off from Guangzhou, China. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

First week home!

Well, we have now been home for almost a week. And what a week it has been! It feels like it has been a month since we have stepped off the plane. So to recap what has been happening I will start with our flight out of Guangzhou, China.
We left our hotel the White Swan at about 5:45 am. We drove to the airport went through all the security and check in process and then sat and waited until it was time to board. When we boarded our first flight I told Arianna that she had to wear the seatbelt. She was not happy about that at all! She cried the first and only tears I have seen over the seatbelt! After about 10 minutes of trying to get out of wearing her seatbelt she finally realized I meant business and she was going to wear it whether she wanted to or not. She quite fussing about it and settled in. We never heard another peep from her the rest of the trip home. She was a wonderful traveler.
When we stepped off the plane at our final destination we had to go through US customs and Immigration. Boy, was that a pain! You wait and wait and wait in line only to be put into another line were you wait some more. When you finally get through the lines they take you to a room were, you guessed it you get to wait some more! About two hours after our plane landed we finally got to meet our friends and family that were waiting so very patiently for us. Arianna and her best friend Lauren also finally got to see each other again after a four month separation. They didn't rush into each others arms like I thought they would have, but they did have a very sweet reunion. We spent the weekend with Lauren's family and friends so that Lauren and Arianna could spend time together before we came home. I hardly saw Arianna the whole weekend, her and Lauren were having so much fun together. I was glad to see that they had the chance to see each other and spend that time together. I also enjoyed spending time with Lauren's mom. We have also become good friends, so it was just as enjoyable for me as it was for Arianna.
On Sunday we had a nice drive home and stopped and did some shopping along the way. The kids got some new back to school clothes, and I got some great deals on them. so we were both happy. After we got home we rested for awhile then went out to DQ to meet some friends to introduce them to Arianna.
On Monday I had to do some grocery shopping, I think that Arianna was pretty overwhelmed with the store and wasn't quite sure what to think. She was able to pick out some things that she wanted and hopefully will eat.
On Wednesday we went to the park to play, Arianna really enjoyed that! She just played and played. I'm sure we will be back to that park again soon.
On Thursday I introduced her to an online learning site and she spent most of the day working on her English. I was watching her and she was doing really well. I don't think it will take her any time to be fluent in English. She already has alot of words and understands quite a bit of what we are saying to her. Arianna is a very sweet girl and you only have to tell her once to do or not do something and she remembers it. She is picking up new words every day. She loves her sisters and bothers very much! It feels like she has always been here. The way they run around the house and play it makes my heart just melt. When she gives me kisses and tells me that she loves me, I am just a puddle on the floor. I am so thankful that she is our daughter, and that the Lord chose us to raise her.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Orphanage visit

Today we went to Arianna's orphanage. It was an interesting experience. Arianna was very happy to be able to go back and say goodbye to her friends and to show off her new family. When we got to the city that she is from she recognised it right away. She directed our driver to the right road to go down to get to the orphanage. When we drove through the gates she saw one of her friends walking around. She jumped up in the van and wanted to get out while it was still moving! We had to tell her to sit down again and wait until we were stopped before she could get out. We could not get the door open fast enough! After we got out she lead us right to the orphanage office and she ran in and said hello to everyone. All the people in the office were just as happy to see her. We could tell that she was very well liked by everyone there. We then went up to a reception room and had some local fruit and tea and visited with the vice director of the orphanage. A little later we got to visit the children that were in the orphanage and specifically Arianna's friends. Her friends were very happy to see her too. We had brought some treats for the kids that Arianna and Annika and Tim handed out. The kids all enjoyed them very much. There was one little boy that Lauren's mom and I wanted to know about, because he is good friends with Lauren and Arianna. I was able to find out his name and his age and that his file had been sent to the CCAA already. We found out that his file and Arianna's file and three other girls' files had been sent at the same time, but Arianna was the only one of the five children that had a family. It just tore my heart out to know that these beautiful children might not have a chance to have a family. I know that I will do everything I can to find out were the file for this little boy is so that I can advocate for him and he can find a family also.
After we spent time with the older kids we went upstairs to see the babies and Arianna's old room. There were only a few babies and as far as I could tell they all had SN's. There was one tiny baby who was very cute, but I don't know if it was a boy or girl. I think it was a girl,if it was and she was healthy she will most likely find a home with a family in China. The orphanage that Arianna comes from does a lot of domestic adoptions.
Arianna's room was nice, in that it was clean and neat. Her bed was a youth sized bed with metal rails all around it and a wooden board for the bottom. On top of the wooden board was a bamboo mat and a couple of blankets. There is a major problem with mosquitoes there so the windows had screens, but I don't think it helped much.
After our tour of the orphanage and the grounds, we loaded back up into the van and drove a short way to a Chinese restaurant. It was a very nice place, and we got to eat in a private room. After some tea and chatting for awhile our food started to come out. The first dish looked really good, it was some fried meat and onions and peppers. We were given one small piece of meat each to try first. We asked our guide what it was and she told us that it was Camel meat! I tried it, it tasted pretty good but it was very chewy and the texture left much to be desired. After that they started bringing out more and more and more food. Some of our choices were eel with it head still on the plate, abalone in the half shell, massive shrimp with two inch legs hanging down, whole small crabs shell and all, cooked lettuce, mushroom with fish meat, and watermelon. After a very short time Tim decided that he was way to full to eat any more. I was pretty brave and tried almost everything. Some was good,some was not. We spent about two hours just eating lunch and visiting with the orphanage staff. When we were done eating, we went outside and got pictures of everyone with the director.
We headed back to Guangzhou at about 1:45 pm. On the way back we ran into some road construction that we had to go around, so we ended up away from the expressway that we needed to be on. We ended up getting very lost! Our guide and driver had never been to the city that we were in so they didn't know how to get back onto the expressway, so we ended up paying a motorcycle taxi driver to lead us through the city and back onto the right road. It was quite the adventure! The drive back should have only taken us about an hour and 45 minutes but it ended up taking us until 4:00 pm to get back. At one point our guide said that we may need to stay the night in the other city! When she said that I started praying hard! When we got back to our hotel I thanked the Lord many times for getting us back safety and on the same day!
After all that we just had a nice quiet evening and cheeseburgers at Lucy's.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Visa Pictures and Medical Checkup day

Today was a pretty quiet day, all we had to do today was the Visa pictures and Arianna's medical checkup which is required to get a visa from the US consulate. It was very hot today, so we mostly stayed inside and rested. I also had to do the consulate paperwork today and that took about 1 1/2 hours to do with our guide. Tim stayed with the girls and they played a game or two and watched TV. This evening we went out again with our group to dinner at the Cow and Bridge. We also had three new families join us from their children's provinces. There is one little boy and two baby girls now in our group besides the families that are from Guangdong like us. I don't really have any pictures from today as there was not much to take pictures of. I wanted to get pictures of Arianna going through the different medical stations but it was very full in the clinic and I was busy with helping her. So the only picture I got was of her standing outside the clinic.
It was just another nice day, we are really enjoying ourselves but we are also getting homesick and missing our kids at home alot. I will be ready when it is time to go home.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Day 5 with Arianna

Boy, what can I say? It was just another wonderful day! Each and every day has been so wonderful and Arianna is so good and each day she gets even better. This has truly been one of the best experiences of my life. I just can't say enough good things about adopting an older child. Sometimes I think back to the beginning and think about some of the fears I had with adopting an older child, but Arianna has just blown out of the water any fears or thoughts of fears I had. She is just amazing! Her laugh is just so beautiful to hear, and when she kisses me and tells me that she loves me, I am just a puddle on the floor! She is truly a joy and is so much fun! Her and Annika get along so well, and play together all the time. She is also getting better with her English every day. Today she told me that she wants to be an English teacher. I thought that was very sweet. She also knows her ABC's and can read some English. She comes up with a new phrase she has learned every day also.
I think the highlight of her day though is getting to talk to her best friend Lauren. When it is time to call, she just lights up and is almost bouncing off the wall she is so excited. I love to hear Arianna and Lauren just chat away in Chinese. They get so animated when they talk. Well, it is time to get two tired little girls to bed!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Day Three with Arianna

Today was another wonderful day with Arianna. She is such a joy and so easy. I feel like I am on a very nice vacation. Today was a pretty quiet day, we mostly stayed in the room because it was raining all day. The weather has been really nice. Not to hot, but still very humid.
Arianna has warmed up to us today. Last night she would allow us to hold her hand and hug her, but she really didn't seem to want us to get to close. This morning when she woke up, I got down on the floor next to her. She said "MaMa" and grabbed my hand and held it close to her. After that she just opened up and by this evening she gave me a kiss on the check and was happy to give me a hug. We also had a lot of fun today playing tickle with her and Annika. She has the sweetest laugh. Arianna and Annika also chased each other around the room including over the bed. After a few minutes of that we decided it was time to get out of the room! Today has been such a good day and I know tomorrow will be even better. I know that life will never be the same again, it will just be better!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Annika and Arianna have very easyly moved into their roles as sisters. I love watching them walk around holding hands. I think they already have their own secret language. Arianna and Annika talk all the time, and Annika seems to understand her very well. I am so glad that we had the chance to add another child to our family. The people here ask how many kids we have and when we tell them that we have five children they say that we are a very lucky family. I agree.

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Monday, July 7, 2008


Here are some of the pictures from our day. I wrote a post on our Journey to Me website, so I won't repete here. I will say that she is just wonderful and we could'nt be happier!

We have Arianna

Today has been wonderful! Arianna is just too cute for words. She is a very happy little girl. Arianna and Annika have hit it off well, they are almost joined at the hip. We are having some technical difficulties in posting pictures, so I will get it figured out and post tomorrow. We are also very tired!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

We are in China!!!!

We got into Guangzhou at about 10:30 last night and arrived at our hotel at around 12:00am. We were very tired and ready for bed. Tim did mostly OK on the flights but his leg got very swollen. It is still a little swollen so we would love it if you would pray that would get better. We will be getting Arianna at about 2:30 today. It was so nice this morning to hang up her clothes and get things ready for her. I am praying that she will have a good trip to Guangzhou and that she will feel comfortable with us. I will post again after we get her settled in.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

4 days to go and a bump in the road!

Well, we are 4 days away from leaving for China! I am so excited that we are so close! I keep wondering about what Arianna is doing these last few days and what she is thinking about as she gets ready to leave the only home she has ever know forever. Is she maybe a little sad to leave her friends, but also happy knowing that it is her turn to have a family? Probably some of both and maybe some fear of the unknown. I have spent many hours over the last months praying for her and for us as we become a family.
We have also had some unexpected excitment this week because my husband Tim and our daughter Annika had an accident on Tim's motorcycle. On Saterday they were out on a fun ride on some country roads and came up on a stop sign without any warning. Tim looked both ways to make sure there weren't any cars coming and then grabbed the brakes. The front tire locked up and they hit some gravel on the road and rolled the bike. Both of them have pretty bad road rash, Tim tore up both his arms, fractured his pinky on his left hand and tore up his knee and leg on the left side. Annika scraped up her elbow and arm and possibly fractured her elbow. She has a few scraps on her back but otherwise is doing fine. Thankfully, things were not worse then they are and this will not delay our travel. But, I am about done in trying to deal with their injuries, caring for them, keeping up with Alenna, running errends, and taking them to the Drs.! I feel tired just writing it out! Tim and Annika do seem to be feeling better today, so I'm hoping they will be able to do more for themselves today and I can get back to getting ready for our trip!