And this isn’t the half of it!
In 10 short days all four of us will be on a jet plane bound for China! This is our schedule while we are there!
I’ll have a massive prayer list as we get closer, but here are the majors you can be praying with us! Be praying for Emma to be ready for all of the crazy amount of love that we are going to unleash on her! Pray for McKayla and Amelia to continue to be as excited and in love with Emma as they are right now. Pray for Jay and I to have an abundance of patience over the next 10 days as we get ourselves organized and sorted for our trip!
10/30 – Depart US at 7:15am
10/31 – Arrive in Beijing at 3:45pm
11/1 and 11/2 – Tour Beijing (try to get over jet lag!)
11/2 – Fly to Hefei, Anhui Province
11/3 – Gotcha Day! (Get our baby girl)
11/4 – 11/6 – Appointments and Government proceedings.
11/7 – Fly to Guangzhou
11/8 – Medical exam/TB Test in Guangzhou
11/9 – 11/12 – Touring, Shopping, Bonding time with Emma!
11/13 – American Consulate Appointment – Oath Taking Ceremony
11/14 – We go back to the American Consulate to pick up Emma’s passport with visa
11/15- Depart China at 12:40pm – Arrive Houston at 8:18pm
These are the newest pictures of our peanut…she is perfectly edible! Not long now, sugar bug!
The shirts are in!!!
When Jay and I sat down to talk through our t-shirt fundraiser, we initially set a goal to sell 50 t-shirts, which would help us raise around $750…which meant there would be further fundraising in order to hit our goal of $5,700, for our orphanage donation when we go to China. Last minute I changed it to 75 knowing it would be a stretch, but I wanted to try to hit $1,000.
With y’alls amazing love, support and prayers, we not only sold 104 t-shirts, WE RAISED $3,500! Add that to the amount we have been socking away, we are up to $5,200! Unbelievable!! Anytime that I have thanked someone for buying a shirt and said the words “Thank you”, I just kinda shake my head because I don’t feel like it does what I am feeling justice. We are utterly amazed by the outpouring of support we have been shown, not just from our family and friends, but by complete strangers who are forever part of our journey to our baby girl. There are no words…just know that our cup is overflowing.
With that said, I am in the process of sorting all of the shirts, to start delivering and mailing them to each of you. You’ve already done so much, BUT…I would really love it, if you could send me a picture of you wearing it, so I can make a little album for our baby girl.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you,
PS – If you somehow missed my 5,002 posts on Facebook about buying a t-shirt, we did order 10 extra…but we are already down to 4 in the following sizes, let me know if you want one:
Just as we get Amelia out of diapers, we think its time to add to our crew. As most of you know, we are in the middle of our second adoption for our baby girl from China. We are currently waiting for China to review our dossier (our life on paper) and give us the go ahead to adopt the most precious baby girl from a province in Eastern China…we can’t give any details online about her until we get their approval, (which is likely not until the end of August) but if you see me I would LOVE to show you her sweet face!
Just like with Amelia, we are required to give the orphanage a donation in the amount of $5,700 when we go get our baby girl this fall/winter. Our first go around, I thought that seemed like a huge chunk of change, but after seeing the impact that it makes on the children in the orphanage and the underpaid and overworked nannies, its not nearly enough.
With all that said, we are working towards raising funds for this “required donation” (those two words together make me laugh) by having a T-shirt fundraiser. Each shirt is $20 and comes in various sizes (YXS – 3XL) and two colors (grey or red). This fundraiser will only be open until June 30th, after it is over, shirts will be mailed to me and then we will get them to you! So expect delivery somewhere around the end of July!
Follow the link below to order your shirt today!
If you stopped by today you would find:
- Food on the floor…in addition to cheerios strewn about!
- A layer of dust on most of our furniture.
- A pile of clothes that either needed to be washed or folded & put away.
- A pile of c.r.a.p. (McKayla we don’t say that word!) in my bedroom that still needs to be unpacked from our trip to China, South Texas and Michigan.
- Dirty dishes in the sink.
- That our Christmas trees are still up, because when you don’t put your Christmas stuff out until Dec 22nd, you don’t feel like putting it away at the first of the year.
- A kleenex trail throughout the house from the strep throat and viruses that have been running through our family!
- That the bags under my eyes now have bags of their own!
- One tired mama, one tired dada and one slightly irritated big sis.
- That despite 1-9….we are all as happy as can be!
Sorry it has been so long…we’ve been a little busy! I also apologize for length of this post and the fact that it is mostly lists!
It’s hard to believe that tomorrow will mark 7 weeks that Amelia Joy has been in our arms. 7 weeks! And that we have been home for 5 weeks!! Much of the last month seems like a blur. I am so behind in returning emails, phone calls and texts…I promise to get back to each of you at some point!
Amelia continues to amaze us with her confidence and independence, she is such a joy! We had our Social Worker here two weeks ago for our first Post Adoption Report – she was amazed at how well Amelia was doing…she said “Amelia acts like she has been with y’all since birth”, which brought me to tears instantly, because she does!
In the last 5 weeks she has:
- Gained a pound
- Had 5 teeth come in (2 in the roof of her mouth poor baby!)
- Got 5 vaccinations
- Learned to say – My Dada, Kayla, Papa, Night Night, Hi, Bye bye, Up, Down, Pleee (please), Tata (thank you), No, Shoes, Uh oh
- Reduced her nap from 3 hours to 1! (thats partly why mama’s productivity has decreased significantly!)
- Continued to sleep 12 hours a night (although she still wakes up at 3am, fusses for a few minutes and then goes back to sleep)
- Mastered irritating her big sister by being her shadow.
- Learned to hop…which she loves to do!
We went to see Santa at Katy Mills Mall, when we were next in line but still waiting for our turn, Santa turned to us and said “If I say Big Blue House would you know what I am talking about?” I smiled and said “Yes sir…Show Hope” and he chuckled and said “Your daughter is beautiful!” With tears in my eyes I went on to tell him how we had only been home from China 2.5 weeks. He then asked if he could print a copy of our picture for his scrapbook at home. When we finally got a picture with all of us looking, Santa asked to pray over us and our family. As he prayed, I sat there with tears streaming down my face and snot running out of my nose, we are so blessed by the people God has put on our path!
McKayla…there is no one in this world that makes a better big sister than McMot. She is SO good with Amelia! They are really two peas in a pod. Don’t get me wrong, its not all bliss, they both do their part to irritate one another, but thats what siblings are supposed to do…right? She truly loves her sister and looks after her and loves playing with her. She has done incredibly well with the adjustment, Jay and I have done our best to give M one on one time so she doesn’t feel neglected. Although we don’t always get it right, McKayla knows that we are doing the best that we can, that we are all trying to find a balance and establish a new normal for our family of four.
As you might recall, we had a rather lengthy list of prayer requests, when I look back over them, I am blown away to see how each of them was answered. Thank you really isn’t enough to each of you that prayed over us!
- Safe flight – CHECK
- That we get Amelia okay and china says okay – CHECK
- Safe trip coming home. No accidents on the airplane – CHECK
- Keep our house safe – CHECK
- Help Ashok, Chamila and new baby (this was our housekeeper in Dubai) – CHECK
- To help Amelia’s heart to love and trust us and me, McKayla – CHECK
- Safety while in china – CHECK
- Keep us all healthy while in China – CHECK
- The paperwork would go smoothly and bless the whole process – CHECK
- Heather would be able to have a sense of peace and not to stress or worry about anything – CHECK
- Prepare us for the unknown – CHECK
- Safe and trouble free travel – CHECK
- Sleep – We are a family of sleepers…we LOVE our sleep and we NEED our sleep. Pray that we get over jet lag quickly, so that we will be alert and coherent when we get Amelia…we don’t want to miss anything on her Gotcha Day. Also pray that Amelia is comfortable enough to sleep soundly from the time we get her – CHECK
- Food – Being married to the worlds pickiest eater can make trips like this one stressful, pray that we find foods that Jay (and my mom) will be comfortable eating…otherwise pray that the oatmeal and peanut butter crackers I packed will sustain them! Pray that I don’t eat too many daring things…things I might regret later in the day. ;-) Also, pray for Amelia’s wee tummy, we won’t know exactly what she ate on a daily basis, so pray that her tummy won’t get too messed up – CHECK
- Patience – As I explained to McMot, “Mommy and Daddy are going to be emotional over the next couple of weeks, and with lots of emotion comes lots of stress, and with lots of stress comes lack of patience, I just need you to show us a little grace and just know that we are doing the best we can”. Pray that we have patience for each other and patience with the process of finalizing everything – CHECK
- Health – We will be exposed to SO many new germs, pray that our immune systems stay strong and are able to fight off any sickness. (especially with M feeling like she needs to touch everything and crawl on the hotel floor…pretty sure Jay just bathed her in antibacterial gel…geesh!) – CHECK
- Connie – My Mom joined us on this trip to help us look after and love on McKayla…not many mama’s could do this, but she is. Pray for her health, patience and energy – CHECK
- McKayla – We are SO blessed that we could bring McKayla with us…a trip she will never forget! Pray that God will use this time to draw us together as a family of four – CHECK
- Jay – What a mighty man I married! Pray that this man will continue to be so strong for his crazy girls…all three of us – CHECK
- Amelia – Oh sweet angel…I have dreamed of you for 10 years, and now you will soon be in my arms! Pray for my littlest daughter, that God would heal her heart of the grief and pain she is about to go through as she loses everyone and everything she has ever known. Pray that she is able to begin attaching to Jay and I, and also to her sweet sister that is not going to be able to help but smother her in smooches! Pray that she is patient with us as we try to feed her, change her and love her – CHECK
A few pics since we have been home!
I still have bracelets for sale…let me know if you want one, although we already made our donation to Amelia’s orphanage, JMot opened a savings account for us today to put the bracelet money in…it seems he feels like we aren’t quite done with China either! (Pray for us!)
In an effort to combat jet-lag, we are getting out of the house (our eyelids were getting too heavy).
Our first outing as a family of four! Amelia isn’t so sure about the carseat…but she’ll get use to it! We are headed to Katy Mills so McKayla can bungee jump (euro style) and then dinner with our small group!
In 3 hours we will be boarding our plane: 2 stops and 21.5 short hours later we will land in Houston! Please pray that it goes well! With Amelia being under 2, we opted not to get her a seat…why pay for one if you don’t have to, that was my practical side that made that decision, I could just beat that side of me up right about now. So we are hoping for a bassinet seat!! There is nothing Miss Independent could love less than to sit in my lap the entire way.
I just wanted to answer a few questions that I know many of you have:
When do you arrive in Houston? Can we come to the airport?
We land at Houston Intercontinental at 4:44pm on December 1st, we clear customs in LA, so we should be in baggage claim area by 5pm. We would love to hug your neck, so yes come see Amelia in person…I’ll do you one better, some of our family built a monstrosity in our backyard last weekend, so if you can’t make the airport scene, join us in our backyard for the big reveal for the girls. Although, as much as we would love for you to stay for hours while we rehash every detail of our trip, we are going to keep the backyard party to one hour so we can get the girls fed and to bed at a decent hour! Plus we don’t want to overwhelm Amelia!
How is Amelia doing? Will we get to hold her?
Amelia is doing fabulous! We have been blown away by how quickly she has taken to us…BUT (you knew there would be a ‘but’…didn’t you?) right now the most important thing for her is to continue with building our bond/attachment with her, so for at least the next 6-8 weeks, only me, Jay and McKayla will be holding, feeding and changing her. I’m going to be an overprotective Mama Bear, so try not to judge me! I promise you will get your chance to love on this little angel soon enough!!
Can we come over for a visit?
Short answer: Yes, most definitely!
Long answer: Yes, BUT (there it is again!) only a couple people at a time, no big parties…yet! Again, we don’t want to overwhelm Amelia with people who all just want to love on her, otherwise she could have come serious confusion issues when it comes to her bonding/attachment to Jay and I.
Will she need surgery?
When Amelia was 5 months old, she had her cleft lip repaired. Her cleft palate will still need to be fixed. We aren’t sure of how soon or how many surgeries will be required to fully repair her palate.
She is a bundle of joy and we want to share her with each of you, just try to be patient with us!
PS – If you think of any other questions, feel free to send me a message and I will add it to the list!
Since we got to Guangzhou, McKayla has been too busy to report in because she has had her friend Karsyn here and they have been having too much fun playing!
As y’all know, McKayla is very strong-willed and I love her for it! I remember when she was about 3, and dozens of people over her first 3 years would notice her strong-willingness (not sure that its even a word…but follow me) and comment on it, I, a clueless mother would take it as a compliment. Until one day it occurred to me that I don’t believe its meant as a compliment! HA! So I asked around, and my dear South African friend told me “there is nothing wrong with a strong-willed child as long as that child has a strong-willed parent.” Hello…have you met me? Why am I telling you all of this? Well because, I always thought Jay was a good man to not only put up with a strong-willed wife but also a strong-willed daughter. BUT, I think he is a GREAT MAN to put up with his strong-willed wife and TWO strong-willed daughters…LORD HELP HIM! That’s right…Amelia Joy is a feisty one and WE LOVE IT! Over the last 10 days she has shown us more and more of her sweet personality…and we are just eating it up! She fits our family so perfectly…surprised, not at all…the Big Man does His job so well, which makes me wonder why I always feel like I need to help Him sort stuff?!?!
Back to Amelia! She loves the funniest things…baby wipes can end a meltdown so quick you would think I was giving her a tranquilizer. She loves to sing Itsy, Bitsy Spider, Jay calls it her kryptonite because I tried singing it the other day when she was mad at me for taking something away and she kept shaking her head no and would look away, but then look back with her fingers together for the “itsy, bitsy spider” part. She is so funny! And man does she have a thing for Trains Hey Soul Sister – still need to catch her dance on video, its hilarious! I can’t wait for y’all to meet our little pumpkin!