Friday, March 30, 2007
Piper is as happy as ever and I think she gave me a hug today!
Hunter gets very annoyed when I talk baby talk to Piper. He tells me she doesn't like it when I talk like that and then he proceeds to tell me how she likes to be spoken to. I don't know how I ever made it through parenting Hunter and Ella before they could tell me how to do it. I get LOTS of advice from them.
Ella has decided that Piper's name should be changed to Hannah. Our interactions go something like this:
me: "Ella, could you get me a diaper for Piper?'
E: "you mean, Hannah?"
depending on how quickly I need Ella to get the diaper,
me: "yes, Hannah, please get me the diaper for Hannah"
So when the doctor asks me if I think she knows her name or not, it's kind of a difficult question to answer. Piper, yes, she knows Piper, but unfortunately she's beginning to respond to Hannah as well.
I think I have decided that it will be at least 10 years before I am ever fully caught up on laundry. I can't stop daydreaming about how in China our laundry arrived at our hotel door each day at 5:00 pm wrapped neatly in clear plastic packages. It was dreamy, and like almost everything in China, affordable.
I can't get my pictures to load right now, I will try again later...
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Scott passed the time on the bus on the way to the babies by taking lots of pictures like this one.
We are here!!!
The babies are here, the babies are here!!!
First moments together
Tonight, Scott and I keep converting to China time and remembering what we were doing at this time last month and remembering what we were feeling. That Monday morning, February 26th, we got up went and ate breakfast at our hotel with some of the other families from our group. We really enjoyed talking with people who had been through the exact same process as us. We were all dealing with major butterflies in our stomachs. I especially remember talking with one couple who were about to become parents for the first time. It was all so exciting! I wish I would've taken more video, I want to remember every bit of it.
We went to do some paper work (surprise, surprise) and then were told to all meet in the lobby at 1:00. Scott and I grabbed a quick lunch, although I couldn't eat much, as I was beginning to feel like I might throw up. I kept wondering if anyone has ever thrown up during the meeting of their child, I really thought I might. The feelings of the day were just a certain mixture that I don't know if I've ever felt, just extreme anticipation, excitement, nervousness, relief, joy...all mixed together. We met our group of 10 families and our guide XiXi (pronounced she-she) in the lobby and boarded the bus. We sat at the back with the Musgroves. She said it would take about 20 minutes to get there and I felt each one of those minutes like it was a day. Every turn, we would wonder, is that the building, are we here, is this it??? We ended up having to park about a block from the civil affairs building and walk through a very big, kind of city park, fountain area. As we walked we kept our eyes on the tall building ahead where we would meet Piper Grace in just a matter of minutes. People were stopping to look at this large group of Americans as we power walked straight ahead. It was just so exciting! We all just kept looking at each other, like "is this really happening?". XiXi escorted us into the building and we went straight into the elevator to up to the 8th floor where we would meet the babies. We had been given a sheet of paper with everyones names on it and the plan was that each name would be called in that order to receive their child. We were #4. The elevator doors opened and we walked through an entrance to a large room and lo and behold the babies were sitting right there with the nannies, all dressed in the exact same red outfit!!! The "plan" went out the window fast as we all started to attempt to locate our baby. They had all changed so much since their referral picture that it was hard to tell for sure. We didn't know it, but Piper was towards the back of the room. All I know is that within minutes XiXi was calling Piper's Chinese name, Xiu Fu Zhu. I can still hear her say it in my mind, she emphasized Zhu and we were by her side in half a second. Out of nowhere, Piper appeared and was being handed to me by her nanny. Piper Grace looked straight into my eyes and I was a goner. From that split second on, my heart was forever marked...I was Piper's mommy and nothing, nothing could have gotten her out my arms at that point. I was truly swept away, that's how it felt. All around us, within feet of us, our new friends were receiving their babies, there is just nothing else on earth like this experience. I have no idea how long we were in that room, maybe an hour or so, just getting to know our babies, soaking it all up. At one point we were called over to take our family photo that would go on Piper's adoption certificate, at another point we were called over for someone to check our passports and hers and have her footprint put on a document. A bit after this, Piper nestled her head against my chest and went to sleep. I loved holding her while she slept, we just kept looking at her and at each other. Eventually we all left the building together and walked back the same way we'd come, but this time with a lot more stares and smiles. We got on our bus and went back to the hotel. I think we got back about 4:00 or so. We went up to our room and played on the floor with our sweet little peanut. She seemed so calm and I couldn't believe how much she was already interacting with us. She just kept looking into our eyes and feeling our faces. We eventually went to dinner with the Musgroves and she seemed to really like being out and about. I remember thinking at that point that I couldn't believe that we'd just received the babies that afternoon, it seemed like they'd been with us for so long. It felt very natural, I felt like Piper's mommy. We went back to our room, got her in her pink PJ's, loved on her, sang to her and put her down for bed. I laid next to her and put my hand up, she put her palm up against mine, and that became our routine. Of course we watched her sleep! What most surprised me about the day was how calm and natural it all felt once we received the babies. From that point on, families were made, and that was that. I couldn't believe how much I already loved little Piper Grace. It was just immediate and full. I am still in awe of the gift we were given, truly amazing.
I am posting some pictures of the day that we didn't post before, mostly because I just want to see them again!
Thank you, Lord!
Scott has had to dive into work since we've returned from China after being gone for 2 weeks. They are working on a very big project that has involved lots of overtime and weekends. This has been hard on him and us, but in one of those disguised blessings twists, I think it has helped Piper that I have been the one to feed her every meal and do all of the care taking. All of the adoption experts will tell you that they have to securely bond to their mother before they can branch out and trust others. If Scott were home, he'd definitely be helping. She obviously loves him too and is so excited to see him when he comes home, but I think she's starting to see me as her ticket to a warm bottle and affection. This is good, very good. So, if Piper doesn't want to be held, please don't be offended...she's just learning to love and making up for lost time.
One month ago today we were arriving in China and preparing to meet PG the next day. 11:30 pm USA time tonight marks one month since we first held our bundle of cuteness. I hope to find some time later to truly reflect on that day and look through our pictures. It was an amazing, once in a lifetime experience, one I will always treasure.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Watch out American Idol, in an effort to entertain her little sister, Ella has discovered a hidden talent. She tells me this maraca is actually a hairbrush on the yellow side and a microphone on the red side.
Monday, March 19, 2007
PG has been home for 10 days now and life is good! She has settled into a schedule and when she is awake, she is so joyful. She loves playing with her blocks and toys, and especially Hunter and Ella. She loves being in her highchair and eating with the family. This morning I heard her wake up on the baby monitor, she started making little noises - babababa, na na na, etc. until Ella woke up. From that point on there was a lot of singing, giggles, and squeals.
I faced my fear and took all 3 kids to Walmart by myself. Hunter and Ella took turns pushing Piper in the small stroller we got in China while I pushed the cart. Somehow it went smoother than before Piper. Pulling into the garage with a full car after such a successful trip, I was feeling a bit smug. That lasted about 3 minutes until I went to get Piper out of car and she had "done her thing" and it was all over both her shirt and her pants. This is becoming a theme every time we go out. At least I got to clean her up at home this time as opposed to the front seat of our car. We found out on Wednesday that she has Giardia, which is a lower digestive tract illness, very common among orphanages and daycares. Antibiotics should clear it up, but it may take a while. This is probably the reason she got dehydrated when we first got home. It drives me crazy when moms go on and on about their baby's poop, so I will spare you the details. The words explosive and messy pretty much sum it up. Thankfully, she really likes taking baths.
Please pray this goes away soon, as it can be serious if she gets a stomach bug because she can get dehydrated very quickly. She does not seem bothered by it in the least. When we first got her, she did not like diaper changes, but now if we give her a Cheerio, she's happy for the entire 20+ minutes it takes me to completely clean her up.
While we were waiting to go get Piper, I would pray for God to give her joy and it is just amazing for me to see her joyful spirit. She seems to dive into new experiences and make the most of them. I love going to get her after a nap or in the morning, she flashes her big smile and is so excited to see me! When we were in China, I started this thing when I am feeding her the bottle where I say really slow "mama loooooves Piper!" Everytime I would say it, her eyes would get bigger and she would really listen. For the last few days when I say it to her, she stops sucking on the bottle and gives me a big smile.
Enough sappy mommy talk...
Looking for something to give your kids for Easter? (in addition to chocolate of course) Here's what we just ordered. We are really excited about it:http://mooreblog.typepad.com/mark_moores_blog/2007/03/keller_for_kids.html
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Someone asked us in the comments what got us interested in adopting, is it something we always knew we would do? The simple answer to that question is no, it's not something we ever envisioned doing. So how did we get here?
We believe it was God's plan all along for us, it just took us a little while to catch on.
Before we had our first child, who is now 6.5, we struggled with infertility and 2 very painful miscarriages. At that time we never discussed adoption, as we were just so focused on getting and staying pregnant. Finally Hunter came along and two years later, Ella.
My first memory of anything adoption related was when Ella was a little over 1 year old. I heard a couple telling their adoption story on the radio, though I don't remember any of the details, I remember being very touched by their story and for the first time, I remember thinking, "ok, I can see why someone might want to adopt".
At that point, it wasn't something I even really considered for us. Scott and I had never talked about it and I just assumed it wasn't something he would be interested in. Later that year, as Ella got closer to turning 2, we started talking about whether we thought a third child was in the future for our family. We both said that yes, we'd like to have another child, but I could not even imagine myself going through another pregnancy. My pregnancy with Ella was very hard, as I was contracting for the last 2 months of it every day, most of the day. In the back of my mind, I found myself thinking about adoption but was scared to say it aloud!
One day, out of the blue, Scott said "would you ever consider adopting?". My question back to him was, "would you???".
We decided to pray about it, and boy did we pray. I think we prayed more about this decision than anything else in our lives. We were at a time in our lives where we were very open anything God would have us do. We started researching different kinds of adoption, and after months of praying everyday and doing lots of research and talking to others that had adopted, we both felt very strongly that God was definitely leading us down this road.
Our hearts were broken for the little girls in China, who mostly because of the one child policy, were without families. As we read about the process for adoption from China, we both felt very strongly that this would be where our child would come from. In all our years of marriage, Scott and I have never been so united about a decision and each detail of that decision.
As we got more and more excited about adopting, I would make myself pray that if this was not what God wanted us to do, that he would put a roadblock in front of us. The process ended up taking a lot longer than we expected and my faith was tested all along the way. It took two years from the time we started collecting our paperwork until the time we a got a picture of Piper.
I keep a journal and entry after entry in those two years chronicle my hopes, dreams and fears concerning our adoption. I asked God over and over to confirm our decision and every time, He did in some way. All along He knew Piper and knew what a huge blessing He had in store for us. I could have never imagined the joy she would bring us. I could have never imagined how this experience would change us. I hope the next time He leads us somewhere, I will trust Him more and fret less. His ways and wisdom far, far surpass my understanding.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
What did we do for family entertainment before Piper? She has brought so much fun to our house with all of her antics, smiles and giggles. She and Ella are doing great sharing a room. I am very glad that we gave it a try. Both she and Hunter are really enjoying Piper. This morning Hunter and I were playing with her on the floor and I had Life Today on TV b/c Beth Moore was on. They started talking about caring for orphans and Hunter said, "I am really glad God told us to take care of orphans, or we wouldn't have known Piper." I feel the exact same way. Yes, God tells us to care for orphans, but the blessing ends up being on us. I just can't get over the thought of missing out on being Piper's mom. She is already such a big part of who I am.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Monday, March 12, 2007
Hunter is feeling better, but still seems a bit tired, although he hates when I say that.
I'm having trouble loading my pictures on the computer, so I will try again tomorrow. Until then, one of the guys in our travel group sent us this picture which was taken in Chongqing, our first city in China. It's worth the click and it reminds me of so many quirky things we saw there...http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=40673&in_page_id=34&ito=newsnow
Saturday, March 10, 2007
These pictures were taken just hours before Hunter woke up very upset b/c his throat hurt so badly and Piper began throwing up. At one point at about 1am everyone but Ella was in the living room either crying or on the verge of crying (me and Scott). Yesterday is one I'd love to forget. Piper, my mom, and me spent over 6 hours in a miserable ER with a very bizarre doctor and nurse to match. After a call to a pediatrician that morning, the nurse thought Piper was getting dehydrated so we should take her into the ER. The next 6 hours were frustrating, heartbreaking and just plain infuriating. The momma bear in me came out after watching Piper suffer through 3 failed attempts to start an IV. I don't have the heart to go into all of the details, but this Dr. was a real piece of work. At one point he asked me what the real story was of this whole adoption, was it an under the table kind of thing. When I told him it was completely legal and that we adopted her from an orphanage he stared me down. I stared him down back. After test after test that the doctor guilted me into, he sent in the nurse to release us without telling us one test result. I asked the nurse and she said, oh I didn't look at the results. After asking to see our Dr. buddy, he waltzes in with a "what can I help you with?"
What can you help me with? How about helping me with how you ever became a doctor. His line of thinking was so illogical that it can't be explained, I wish I would've had a video of the whole experience. I'm just glad my mom was there or I think it would've pushed me over the jet lag edge. Meanwhile, Scott had Hunter at the pediatrician where he tested positive for strep.
The bottom line for Piper is that she got 3 rounds of fluid and is feeling much better. She didn't sleep much last night, but we are hopeful this will be our night! Hunter is feeling a lot better after getting an antibiotic shot on his rear end, a first for him.
Today was a good day spent reconnecting and reclaiming the house after we hit home with all our luggage and China goodies. Hunter and Ella love making Piper smile and laugh. Piper is sleeping in her crib in her room with Ella tonight so we'll see how that works out.
I hope to report very soon that we all slept through the night. Maybe tomorrow?!!!
Friday, March 09, 2007
Our status as of right now: Hunter has a bad sore throat and all over body aches, I have pink eye, and sadly Piper has some sort of stomach virus. Scott and I got close to no sleep last night. Piper was really miserable and could not sleep. The only thing that seemed to help her feel better was when she saw Hunter and Ella this morning. She is finally asleep, so we are trying to get the laundry started. The laundry - goes on for miles.
Jet lag - whoever coined this term had never flown from China to the US with a 10 month old baby. The lag part of that is just way to mild. What we feel is more than just a "lag". If my brain were functioning right now, I could think of a much more descriptive term, but I think it may be days or weeks until that is the case.
In the big scheme of things, we are doing great - everyone is home, safe and sound and the kids seem like they are all going to adjust just fine. It's just temporary insanity we are dealing with, so we can get through that, but if you are not too worn out from praying for us already, we'd love if you would pray for us and especially Piper and Hunter, who seem pretty puny right now.
Someday we will sleep again, and boy is it going to feel good!
Thursday, March 08, 2007
our travel group, all the babies are within one month of age of each other, all from Xiu Shan
group of middle aged people playing hackey sack type game in the park
woman taking dance lessons by the Pearl River
Scott and I are both feeling a little weird, or I should say weirder than normal. Our middle of the night wake up call gave us time to talk through this amazing experience and sort out some of what we are feeling at this point. I've tried to give you an idea what our time in China was like, but in reality, there's just no explaining it adequately. It was an adventure of a lifetime in which we fell completely in love with little Piper Grace. I went there not knowing what to expect thinking I'd be counting down the days to go home. I knew I would love Piper, but I was totally unprepared for the depth and completeness of that love from the very beginning. I was unprepared for how different China would be, but I actually liked many of the differences rather than being turned off by them. At the same time, we are ready to go home. We miss Hunter and Ella so much and really need to see them. We were ready to leave China, but surprised by our feelings of loss from leaving there. China is such a part of our time with Piper Grace so far and we feel sad for the losses she has endured. Now that we know her and love her so fiercely, it is unimaginable to us that she almost spent her life in an orphanage and that she will have to face some very difficult questions some day. One thing we know for sure, God has a very special plan for her and will walk her through those things when the time is right. We will be right beside her and are glad that we got a taste of the country in which she was born. The whole experience is unique because of all it involves and because you do not do it alone. We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know some great people who were there for such a life changing time in our lives. Such a mix of strong emotions coupled with knowing that we get to see Hunter and Ella tomorrow and bring Piper home.
I learned a lot about myself on this trip that I am just beginning to sort through as well. I just never dreamed this experience would impact me so fully. One thing that keeps going through my mind is what if we would have given up on this long and twisty process? (tears rolling now)
I can't even conceive of missing this, of missing Piper, of not experiencing this blessing. It makes me wonder what other blessings I have missed because I have let my fear of the unknown keep me from following the road where Christ is walking. I don't want to miss another one that's for sure.
I could go on and on, it is 4:00 in the morning here after all and there's not a lot to do. No sleep in sight for me. Boy am I going to crash at some point! Blogger is not letting me post pictures right now, but I'll try again later.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
9:00 pm China time - Just got on the plane, none of us have a clue what we're in for
Sweeeet! We scored bigtime with our seats and this bassinet. Scott and I start talking about how great Piper's going to sleep in there for the entire flight and how we can't wait to do the same.
This bundle of contentment lasted, oh, about an hour.
The good news is that we made it to LA safe and sound, well maybe not so sound, but safe. We're in a hotel tonight and will back home tomorrow, Thursday that is. The flight started off great, but about an hour and half into it, things went South as we traveled east. Piper just couldn't get comfortable. The bassinet was too small, I was too hot, we just couldn't find our zone, and so we struggled and struggled to get some sleep. As I walked the aisles and did the mommy sway with Piper, I noticed something peculiar - every other person on the plane was sleeping. The lights were down low and I couldn't find one solitary person who was awake. Just me and Piper. At one point I just stared dreamily at the exit door, telling myself that at some point we would get off of this no good, terrible, rotten flight. It seemed like a very distant dream at about 2 am. The flight lasted 12 hours. We arrived in LA at 9:00 am China time, but it was not 9am, but 5 pm Wednesday. Funny, at our first 5 pm Wednesday we were at the US Consulate in China completing our adoption, and here we were, 5pm Wednesday - again - but this time landing in LA. Once we went through customs, and Piper's documents were stamped, she became a US Citizen. China still recognizes her as a Chinese citizen as well and she retains her Chinese passport, but now she can get a US one as well.
It will be interesting to see how tonight goes. She's crashed on the bed right now, but according to her regular schedule this would be her afternoon nap. It's 9 pm California time.
Scott and I are kind of sad to see this part of journey winding down. At the same time, it's really hitting us how much we miss Hunter and Ella and how much we want to find our new normal as a family of 5. Time has gone so fast, we can't believe we have actually left China and are back in the US. It kind of feels like culture shock.
Even with the sleep deprivation, our little peanut is still as sweet as ever. It's weird for us to think that none of our friends or family know her yet, she already has made such a huge mark on our hearts.
Goodnight from LA
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Tomorrow, we pack up - again - check out of our hotel, go to the swearing in ceremony at the US Consulate, get on a bus, go the airport, get on our 13 hour flight home, but this time with Pretty Piper Princess Grace. I think we need to start a prayer vigil that she will s.l.e.e.p. a very long time. This is the part of the trip that I have not been looking forward to at all. She did not earn the nickname "Hyper Piper" for nothing.
I still haven't learned to say goodbye in Chinese, but that sure would come in handy as we prepare to leave the country and as I close possibly my final post from China.
Get ready, US of A - Piper Grace is on her way!