Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Working our way to our new normal!

Ups, downs, and an overall sense of peace! That is what I can say to describe our first three days at home together! :) I'll write more soon - what I am now realizing is that I need to post in spurts - because my time and energy is just a bit low right now! I'll get back in the groove soon, but for now...the pics!! :) Love to all!! Happy Happy New Year! The Mongolds are sending hugs, kisses and all of our love to each one of you!

Click to play the first three days!
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Sunday, December 28, 2008

We are back and life is good

I promise to post pics soon and write more details soon as well. But I just wanted to put a quick note here to say that we are home and life is getting better and better each day. Josh and I both had a bit of a hard time with the time adjustment. I felt like death warmed over for two full days....even was yuck sick in my stomach and that kind of thing! Aghh....but truly - each day is getting better and today I can see the light! The weather is so warm and the sun is shining and it finally does not hurt my eyes! ha ha ha

The kids are taking to Josh much better than I anticipated. They are so nice to him and they taught him to do the stairs and how to play ball etc. etc. Will had a tough time for two days. He said things like "Mom..I don't like him...he slobbers" Or..."I don't want to bath with him...he might poop on me"!!

But last night I was bathing Josh and Will said...can I get in with him. And 30 min later..they were the best of friends. He told me today that Josh might even be his best friends! :) Oh...how wonderful little man Josh is fitting in. He is still timid...but is now giving food to the boys and following them around etc. etc. !

I felt very out of control the first few days as my tiredness was making everything seem so hard! Even Target shopping felt like a chore...but today....I see that it will all be ok! Better than ok!

Thank you to everyone for your kind e-mails and just the amazing love that you sent me each day that got me through this hard time. I will admit, that there were times that I didn't think I was going to make this happen and that I thought maybe I was not tough enough to get through this. But in the end...."We" did it!! :)

Thank you Mom, Alyssa, Brian, Bob, Dianne....Shelli, Erica, Mary Beth, Catherine....Dad, Steve, ....oh my....the list goes one. How very blessed I am....to my travel mates and for all the wonderful comments that so many of my best friends shared with me! You are the reason I am here to have this wonderful day! The only reason!! I love you all. I will post details of my travel and our first days together soon! For now....Bob and Dianne took the two older boys to lunch and the small men are sleeping...so I will sleep a bit with them! My days are better when I make up for my lack of night time sleep with a small nap! Me...napping? Yeah.....I am admitting that it is needed and that is the first step to recovery right!!

Happy New Year!! I love you all!!!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I almost forgot!

Hey there...I almost forgot:


Talk to you from the US!! I'm packin' up!!

This is my last post from here! I have to pack up the room and get ready for a 4am wakeup call! LAck of sleep may help us sleep on the plane - we will see! This is going to suck - like worse...than anything that sucks!! ha a h ah ha....but in the end....I will see my babies...and for that - BRING IT ON!! I can take ANYTHING!!! :)

All my love to the wonderful people who have shared this journey with me! Both here in China and Back at home. I have had more support than I ever thought possible and I love each one of you for allowing me to get through this....and through it feeling loved and supported! That is worth more than gold my friends.....more than gold!!

See you back in the states! Can't wait to post some photos of my 4 little men together! I promise not to take too long to do it!! And please please...to my wonderful travel companions.....we need to keep in touch. You are all such special people and fill a large spot in my heart! Let this be the beginning!! Not the end! The beginning of our lives with our new children and of our friendships!

Bye for now!

Click to play my last show from China!
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Last day in China! Oh My...BK&W...I'm coming!!!

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Consulate has approved our paperwork!!

Ok....great day in Adoption land!!! We were asked to stay in our hotel rooms today from 10:30am until we received a call from our CCAI representatives. At 11:30am, we got the call stating that the US consulate had approved our paperwork and we were ready to swear in tomorrow at 9am! So our bus pulls out early in the AM to head to the consulate building where we swear in. About a 30 min drive! After that....we can pack up....finish up our shopping....and get ready for our last night in China!!

Today was truly a fun day. I think it is getting easier to be here because we know that we are close to going home!?! If that makes any sense at all! So our friends Angela and Eric - who have adopted from China before - took us on a great walking tour of the city today. The real city...not the tourist district that we are staying in. We saw live chickens for 13RMB(chinese dollars) - more live scorpions than I even knew existed in the world????......many can's and dogs for sale (for pets...I promise!!).....so many streets lined with small shops and market type stands.....and just when that was over...there was a huge shopping district - like time square almost...but the shops are smaller and so are the people!! ha ha ha.

Southern China is known for the small stature of the people who are native to here. I stood next to a grown woman today - who had the tallest spike heals that her foot would allow....and she only came up to my chin?!?! Crazy! Seriously....I am like a blond amazon woman!! :)

The "Time Square area" was a really cool place! So busy...so many people and signs and lights and large TV screens etc. etc. We were the only Americans in the whole place!! We browsed and shopped and people watched. I bought josh candy strawberries? Yep....just like a candy apple at the fair...same smell....same taste...but it was 6 strawberries on a stick instead of an apple! Very cool!!

At some point there was a man that walked up to our group. (We were a group of 5 people and three Chinese kids).....and said - Hello, where are you from (in perfect English). He was Chinese by design, but from Boston. So it was fun to talk to him. He was asking why we were here and talking about how many people there are in Guangzhou. (more than the entire country of Germany...is what we were told!! Yikes) Anyway....as we begin to cut our conversation short with the man from Boston....we all look up and realize that there is a crowd of people standing around us....at least 10 people deep...just smiling and staring? Oh my....it was kind of creep for a second...until we realized how nice everyone was. Just very curious as to who we were and why we had Chinese Children! We casually smiled....waved hello - said hello and then kept on walking away. We would have loved to explain...but there was no microphone available....and heck...we don't speak Mandarin! he hee

This evening...josh was feeling tired so we didn't go to dinner with our friends, instead we ordered a bit of room service and then when our crew got back from dinner we just hung out in our rooms and passed time talking and watching our crazy kids play together. I swear the Little Maya, Josh and Leah think they are related! It will be sad for them to leave each other! But the fun thing is that each one of these crazy kids has super siblings to go home to! Leah has two older brothers who are the same age as Ben and Kyle and Maya has two brothers that are Ben's age and a couple years older than that! And Josh with his three brothers...none of these kids will be bored at home! We can't wait to get home to see our babies! None of the three of us brought kids with us and we have spent many a night....holding back tears....talking about our babies at home and how much we love and miss them!

So close now! One more day in China...and one whole day on a plane! Bring it on!! I want to hug my boys!!! :)

I have a few photos to upload, but I am so tired right now that I could drop? I am going to do that tomorrow before I pack up! Sorry guys! I am flaking on ya!! :) All my love - one more post from China! Whoo hooo!!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pictures that Steve just may get to see!!! :) Whoo hooo!!!

Hey Pete! You are truly the best friends - both you and Cath! Thank you!! Here are are a few that he might find great!! Lots of love!!! What a gift you have given STeve by sending these - I can't imagine how hard this is for him! Hugs to all 4 Rodgers!!

What a night....we finally Love the bath!

To say that before today...Josh hated the bath... is a huge understatement. I mean...it was like bathing a cat...he would scream and cry and try and jump out...and I just worked a quick as I possibly could to get him moderately clean and out...so that I could minimize the trauma! I tried putting toys in and making bubbles....I tried no toys and no bubbles...but nothing made him like the bath!

So tonight...I undressed him...and he started to freak out and cry as soon as the shirt came off. So I just quickly filled the tub and was ready for the 1 min bath....when all of a sudden...he splashed water all over me and cracked himself up. And then it began...the love of bath time. He stayed in for 20 min...he was a prune...and he is FINALLY truly clean! Love it! I wonder if you can fit 4 boys in one garden tub? I think we need to try!! :)

Click to play bath time
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The red couch event....

Each day a little closer to home. Each day a little closer to our children. Each day a little closer to each other. Each day is a constant reminder of how blessed we all are.

Today was red couch day. What does that mean? Well....the hotel that we are in - the White Swan - is directly attached to the US Embassy. So this hotel is the primary place of temporary residence for all adopting parents during their final week of the adoption trip. It takes about 4-5 days to process the Visa paperwork that allows our children to enter the US and so this is where we all hunker down while the process unfolds! Anyway - in the lobby of this grand hotel, is a red couch. And each travel group of adopting parents and kids that come through this hotel....take photos of the kids, together, on the red couch as a symbol of the unity that we now have with each other, the journeys end and of the blessings that we all share!! Today was that day!! :) The slide who has a few of the photos!!
tomorrow is the consulate apointment and then from there....we just wait to be sworn in the next day! And then home we come! Whoo hoo!!! love to you all!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


The photo below is hard to read I know...but I had to take a photo anyway - for memory sake!! It reads ...Examination room for Adopted Children! This is the room that we all pass through - no matter if you are Special Needs Adoption, or traditional adoption....we all need to have our babies examined before we can process our visa paperwork for the US embassy! They documented that Josh did have Hypospadias and Chordee, and that they did not find any other things wrong with him that we were not aware of. They checked height and weight, heart, temp, and looked the body over for any visible abnormalities that were not already known. This all took about a fraction of a min? Think they were really thorough??!?! ha ha ha......Yeah....me neither! I would call this day "Check in the box" day!! :) It has to be done......and we want you to take this baby to the US....so we will check the box for you and say Have a nice day!!: )

Whatever!! I was one of the lucky ones. Josh thought the doc was quite funny and you can tell my boy has been to his share of "pee pee" docs! Because when the doctor started poking and prodding down there...he never even stopped playing with his toy? Didn't even care a bit! some kids were very upset by this crazy appointment. And truly....I was upset for them. At least 30 screaming babies...no one knew where to go next....everyone running into each other!! ha ha...."Cluster F&*!" is an understatement!!! :)

But another appointment down...and one step closer to the end!! Whoo hooo...or the beginning...however you want to look at him...HOME...here we come!!! We have visa paperwork to do this evening and then I am not even sure what is tomorrow!! ha ha ha...but I'll read the paper before I go to bed and be prepared - I PROMISE!!!

I'm kind of like a flight risk for our guides now? They call me every morning and every afternoon and every evening. They even called 10 min before we had to be in the lobby today and "Kathy" looks up from her phone...presses the button...looks over at me (who by the way is early and IN the LOBBY) and says..."Oh...I was calling you - you are on time today?!?!" I mean seriously....ONE MISTAKE and I am all but wearing a letter I for Idiot! ha ha ha ha.....Oh my.....too funny! I swear....It won't happen again ladies!!! :)

After the doc appointment, we promptly went to Starbucks!! Whoo hoo....three other families were there - it was so nice and relaxing!! Our children seemed to just come alive in Starbucks....they smiled and laughed!! See....they are so smart aren't they!!! :) It was wonderful! Josh ate almost an ENTIRE sticky bun? He has not been eating well lately, and he LOVED IT! Here are some pics!!

And because video comes to highly recommended by my friends and family....here are two short videos of the highlight of my day! (they are one right after the other in the same slide show) Now it is 10am in the morning....and you ask...how do I know already that this is the highlight of my day? well....believe me when I say....I am QUITE SURE!!! :) ha ha ha Oh how much fun every single min of my days at home will seem for a while!! ha ha ha So here....is the highlight of my day....good friends.....good coffee....good food....and sweet kids!!

Click to play first starbucks trip!
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Another day down!!

First of all....before I forget...Pete....THANK YOU! You are truly the best! Steve was able to e-mail me and told me what you did for us and I just thank you from the bottom of my heart! I love you guy so much and can't wait (and I can't say that loud or strong enough) to live near you again!! When the days get tough over here....I picture little Emma and Josh...playing together with our boys...and I remember...that it will all be ok!! :)

Ok...so on to the Day here in Guangzhou. Today....Shelli's friends May's...sister Kenny....picked me up around 12:30pm in the lobby! WE went to a very nice restaurant for lunch where we talked and laughed and had just a super nice time. Food was super!

Kenny was able to talk to Josh and he truly LOVED her! And Josh is super shy...he loves a few people here on this trip that I spend a lot of time with...but for the most part...if you talk to him...he turns his head and makes no eye contact and buried his his cheek in my chest!!

He started out that way with Kenny...but when she said to him - in Mandarin "You are not shy....you are just being silly!!""" He turned to her and laughed and said "No I'm not!!" She was truly able to communicate so well with him and it was really the first time that I had any clue how much he really does know!

He was throwing food on the floor and she said to josh...in Mandarin- Hey....that is not ok (or something to that effect)...don't throw that...it makes your mommy sad! And he looked at me...looked at her....put the food back on the table...and said (in Mandarin) Ok...I won't do it again! And he DIDN'T do it again?

So many things she was able to ask him and he was able to give simple responses! Not like he can recite Shakespeare....but our guides in the last city told me that Josh was saying no real words...it was only baby talk. And I was ok with that and I believed that....i mean...heck...none of it makes any sense to me.

But when I heard Josh talking to Kenny...it was really amazing. I saw him as a bit older than I did just one day ago. He didn't respond with dissertations...but with short sentences...and she would talk and then he would talk and back and forth and with my eyes wide...I would watch. And eventually Kenny would tell me what they were talking about. It was really fun for me to see!!

And I know she enjoyed helping and Josh enjoyed having an interpreter for the day! It was amazing how - when Kenny interpreted what I was saying to him...his actions were so much easier to deal with. So rational. Made me really understand how much this language barrier was affecting our relationship! She told him....don't get mad at mommy for not understanding you...she loves you and wants very much to make you happy...! And he looked at me....felt my face with his hand...and said "Ok...I will" to Kenny in Mandarin. God love him....maybe he gets just a little more about me after today! I know I get a little more about him!!

In just a matter of months...this little man will no longer remember Mandarin...and he will talk just like the rest of the Mongold boys! But until we get there....we just have to show love and patience! Truly .....Josh was so easy tonight. I can't know why...but it seemed like today was just a bit of a breakthrough for us. And Kenny...thank you for that! For your kindness....for having your wonderful driver take us to such great place. And for the wonderful gift that you gave to Josh! Your kindness...information and generosity today was just amazing and we loved every min of the time we spent with you! Shelli - you have to get KEnny's address from May for me! We had no pen when she left and I told her I would for sure be able to get the address! I have something in mind that I want to send her to thank her for a super nice time!

And then....I get back to my room after talking in the lobby for a while with some friends from Beijing that I had been very much looking forward to catching up with....and there is a message on my phone. So I call and listen....and ....YEAH...I am an idiot? I mean...really...why am I here? To adopt right? And I spent the whole day just gallivanting around and I was supposed to be at the place to get visa photos taken at 5pm and it was well after 5:30 at this point? Aghhhh....

So we head right back out to see if I can take care of this visa photo myself...and I run into Christie and Maya!! They helped me to find the place and went with me to get my photo! Then...Christie said...Hey....can you come look at a dress that Maya wants and see what you think!?!? Yeah man...I mean....can I help you to pick out pretty clothes! Oh my...that is right up my alley!! Oh we had fun! The dress that her Maya wanted was so pretty and so princess like! It rocked. I was honest...if Christie was not buying her that dress I was! Her photo is below in the slide show! We had her try it on to see if it fit...and truly....like a glove! It was like Cinderella and her glass slipper! And she beamed when she put it on! Wait till you see how gorgeous she looks in it!

I then headed to subway...and downed a nice 6 inch turkey sub! Kind of forgot for a min that I was in China...and I ate lettuce? Oh well...please don't let me be sick tomorrow? As if I am not a big enough doof for forgetting our photo appointment tonight...then i eat lettuce? Aghhh....i am annoying myself?! ha ahha

I finished off the night in the playroom with friends and babies! Little Maya laughed and ran around like a crazy woman. That girl makes me laugh so hard. She even let me hold her blanket tonight? Yeah baby....I am on the good side now!! :) And Leah laughed and played and she even tried to take Josh's toy at some point...and Josh just kind of whimpered and walked away. But my lttle man held a grudge...and a few min later he walked up to Leah and pushed her? OH my...we laughed!! These scrappy kids!! :) And how we love them!! :) Just a fun evening with friends!

And Ellen...thank you for checking on me tonight! I promise to not disappear again and forget about important things? This was my small vacation day from reality and I am back in the game tonight! Let's get this thing done and get home to our families!! I am really going to miss the people we are traveling with. I want to go home more than anything...but when I get to see my travel friends on the streets, or in the hallway...I get so excited to talk to them and see how their days are going. They are truly my family away from family right now and that is the single thing that is keeping me going each day! I have not only fallen in love with my little boy on this trip, but there are so many people that have come into my heart and that I will truly miss when we are not together! and to all of you that have been nice to me and made me love you!! haha hahah....you are stuck with me now my friends...I am going to be calling and e-mailing....FOREVER!! hee hee hee!!! ;)

Oh Home.....I miss you! Boys...mommy loves you more than 1 thousand chocolate donuts and more than any wii game in the world!! And...more than all the stars in the sky!! :)

more tomorrow! We have our physical tomorrow, visa paperwork to do and then I am having dinner with some friends!! All my love!! Another day down!! :)

Click to play sunday 2
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Bill and Eric...here's a business idea for you both!

Now that I know you are reading my silly blog....I had to share this with you both! Ok...this is by far...the coolest toy that I have ever seen! I have never seen it in the US and I think if we take this idea to the US...we could all be rich!!! :)

They are horses...that are stuffed animal like....that have a seat that is a bit high. When you sit on it and put your feet in the stirrups....and hop up and down...the movement of the seat (that is attached to a metal rod) turns the wheels under the horse...and you move? Yeah....watch this...and they had like 10 different sizes...so you could ride the horse that best fits your bod!! Oh my....too funny!!!

Click to play Sunday
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Not long now my friends!!!!!

We arrived at the White swan last evening and it feels so good to know this is our last hotel before we get home! The plane ride here was about 3 hours long and FULL. To the top full...of passengers. It was rough. For some....more rough than for others. Josh cried about half the time, and slept the other half of the time. Some babies cried, some were so scared that it broke our hearts to see that look of fear in their faces? Aghh...so hard to see.

We know in the end, that this fear means they are moving away from familiar and towards a better life. A wonderful life. And in the end...that is what matters. But let me tell ya - sure does not make this stage of the game easy. Not easy at all!

Just the same - we made it. And it seems that we can all still find a bit of humor in it all! I had dinner with friends at a western restaurant. The best Hamburger I have ever had! Josh had grilled cheese and pb&J and then proceeded to throw it all up when we got back to the hotel? Oops...should have gone a little slower with the western food!! Oh I felt terrible! So sorry littl man!!!

The weather is warmer and the people seem very nice and accepting of us. Lots of people want us to buy things, but really....I am willing to buy anything they have for sale just because they smile and are nice and warm and friendly! A lady in a store that does laundry gave me a stroller to rent - at no cost - for the whole time I am here.....and she gave Josh a free toy! Now of course she will get more than her share in return...because I love Sarah so much that I will go buy from her each day I am here! She loves Josh and keeps saying....too pretty to be boy! ha haha.

Many of the ladies here are shocked when I tell them that Josh is a boy? They take a double look and say - NO...are you sure??? Yep...I'm sure...I've seen the goods! ha ha ha....but the people here are so nice. That is a welcome change.

I of course am getting sick? Yeah...I think I am getting Josh's Kennel Cough? Aghhh!! ha ha ha....but whatever....as long as time is passing by...I can live!! :)

I got so lucky in this town!! Shelli's good friend May....has a Sister....Kenny....who lives in Guangzhou!! no kidding! So we have been in touch and she and her driver (guess she is real good at her job! ha ha ah) are picking me up in 30 min and spending the day with Josh and I! She is taking us to a park, and to eat and shopping! I am excited to meet her! She talked to Josh on the phone and I could tell that she was very excited to meet him and hold him!! :) I'll report on my day later! It is exciting to be doing something different today! I really needed this!!!

Ok...so here are some pics of our first day here. Sure I will have more tomorrow, but for now....a few pics and the last one is a small video of Josh in the White swam playroom. I don't think he has ever been in a place like that before, so he was timid...but I know that he will be a terror in there - like he is in the room - in no time at all!! :)

Love you guys! Ben, Kyle and Will....mommy is almost home guys! My heart hurts because I love and miss you so much!! Think of me and I will think of you - every day!! Not long now till we are all together again!!

Thank you Bob and Dianne for making this happen for me this week! i can't wait for you to meet josh and to give you both a big hug!!

Oh...Home....so close now!!! I'd spend 30 hours on a plane if I could just get there a day sooner!! :)

Love to all!!

Click to play Countdown!
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Hey guys! We are here

Hi there! We are here at the white swan! Took all day to get here. we left our hotel at 11am this morning and after 12 families trucking through two airports....we were able to connect with our guides in the new city....get to the hotel....and even have a decent meal!! :) Thank goodness!! It is nice here! I'll report more tomorrow. For now.....Josh is kind of spun up an not wanting to go to sleep! Better get to it!! ;) Love from Southern china! Almost home now!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Our group has grown by 12 wonderful people!!

Just 6 days ago we were 12 anxious families waiting for the child that would make our hearts whole! And today - as we prepare to leave for the next leg of our journey - we all feel blessed beyond belief with our new children! They are all gorgeous, they are all adjusting very well! It has been an amazing, hard, interesting, wonderful week! Thank you to each one of you for your prayers and words of support! It is because of the love of my family and friends that I am able to be here in China - to be one of these amazing 12 families with an amazing little child! Thank you!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Last day in Zhengzhou!!

Ok....I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! This is truly our last day in phase two of this trip! We are leaving in the morning to head to the White swan hotel in Guangzhou. From listening to the words of my fellow travelers, I am hearing stories of starbucks, hotel playrooms, a western diner!!! It all just sounds like music in my ears!! The weather will be in the high 70's and there are a few of us that truly have NOTHING but warm clothes to wear? I need to get at least a few t-shirts so that I don't roast! At this point...I could CARE LESS what I look like! ha ah ha....I just want to be comfortable and get the heck home!!!

I was in the elevator this morning and we lowered one floor with just Josh and I inside the box...and then on the 3rd floor, the doors opened to let someone else in. It was a fellow traveler.....the man looked at me and with a bit too much gusto....said, "Wow Renee...don't you look great today - you washed your hair!!"

Hmm....I have washed my hair each day that I have been here.... ah ha ah ha....but obviously it has been hard to tell! ha ha ha.....oh well....this is just not a fashion show....this is survival my friends....and I am in this to make it home alive!!! ha ha ha

This will be my last slide show from here. I have no video today, and will save my last two sets of batteries for our next stop!! We will be back with some people that we have not seen since Beijing who are now proud parents as well!! What fun we will have seeing them!

Today is a good day for me - mentally that is! Several things have added to that I think....first of all....some friends on our hall asked me to hit the streets today for a nice walk and it was truly a blast! We had so much fun looking at all the difference and talking....I think we all laughed the entire time we were out.

Second....it is our last day here and so that feels so good to know that the next phase is the last phase! Third...my in laws are now with the kids and that is who will be with them when I get home. It makes the end seem real since the phase two sitters in in action! Kids last day of school in tomorrow so Christmas is really coming!! :0

Aghhh......my lump in my throat is still there, but I am not as quick to tears today. I am getting some humor back and feeling more like myself! Josh is napping well today and he only cried for a just a few min. I laid down with him and 3 min later he was out! Much better than yesterday. Still don't have him figured out completely - hard to read a kid that has spent two years developing without you? But I am getting in little by little and so is he! In 6 months it will feel like we have known each other forever! Man am I blessed to get such a great boy!

The two families that are close here to me on the hall are wonderful people. I wish we could all live in the same town. One has adopted a 10 year old girl that is Deaf and they have three boys that are 9,11,and 13. So this little girl fits right in! And she is drop dead gorgeous! And Sara and Bill have a three year old - Maya - who is truly beautiful - just super super pretty! Beyond normal kind of pretty....and she has so much life in here....she is feisty and sweet! and then I have perfect little josh? we are all just feeling so blessed.

So along this line...we are walking today in the street and a man began to get agitated in our presence. He certainly did not hide the fact that he was not pleased with our group of American adults with Chinese children. He shouted and pointed and we just walked away calm. He even went up to a group of men that were standing on the street corner and started yelling at them and pointing to us. Telling them about how he did not like us I suppose?

As we talked about why he must be so mad we all came to the same conclusion: None of our three kids have visible special needs and they are all very happy and smiling and attractive etc. etc. It probably does seem like we are taking some of China's best..home with us! And you know what....we are! I am sorry that he could not understand us and that he had a bad taste for what we have done here...but we have seen the inside of the SWI's and the orphanages. Aghhh...terrible. These children have just been given the world. And I am sorry that there are people in China that don't see that! I know we will never see this man again, but I wish we had a translator with us to explain to him what we are doing here?! Just to see if once he understood....would he have still been mad? We will never know!!!

I won't miss Zhengzhou and I truly don't care if I ever come back here? But I am thankful that I have this experience to take with me in life! And photos to prove that this place is real!! This i not where Josh is from - he is from about 4 hours away, so I will live my life never having seen the place where he grew to the age of 2. I am a bit sad about that, but also just wanting to get home so bad, that I may care more later...but for now...just wishing time away so I can see my babies at home! Oh how I miss you guys! I love you more than 100 monster trucks and a truck load of Chocolate!!! And Daddy....we miss the heck out of you too!! I hate that we are all so far apart - does not seem right! But soon....so very soon....it will all be behind us and we will be a family again!!! :) Aghhhh.......now I am going to start crying again...didn't I just say I was done with this!! ha ha ha....on that note...here are my pics from our walk today! all my love...talk to you again from Southern China!!
Click to play last day - on to phase 3
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Ok....ignore my singing.....just listen to Josh!! ha ha

Click to play trying to sing....
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Jingle Bells...jingle bells...

It is so funny, but everywhere you go in China right now - or at least the places that we are - everyone is playing and singing Christmas carols?!?! It is nice....they sound a bit different sometimes...but it is fun to have Christmas all around us during this holiday season! Here is Josh ....wondering who the heck is the man in the beard ?! And yes....all the Christmas songs are in English!! This one's for you Shell!!!

Click to play Santa in China
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thursday is a FREE day?!?! HELP?!?!?

today was a day that many families went to see their children's Social welfare Institutes. Many were within a two hour drive, and so they were able to make a day trip out of it. For the rest of us - it was a FREE day. To do with what we like!! Translation in Renee - ees.....Dear God...what am I going to do with myself! ha ha ha ha

WE played in the lobby, in the hall, took a walk, bought some lolly pops, had some coffee and now we are back in our room. Little josh is upset because I want him to take a nap. I'll tell ya - I actually am happy to see a little fight come into him! He has been so easy to put to sleep and to feed etc. for the past two days. And today marks the first day of the rest of our lives!! ha ha ha

At breakfast he threw my full cup of coffee all over the table... so we left. At lunch, he was eating his Quiche so well and all of a sudden...from out of no where...he tossed his plate like a Frisbee and there is went! ha ha ha. Oh mY!! And now he is pitching a fit because I am making him nap! He is tired...I can see it in his eyes.....and in his behaviour....but today.....unlike the past few days....he is not going to take this lying down!! :)

Dear Boy!!! He'll settle in soon!! but I am here to report that he is a very normal 2 year old boy!! And you all know me....I certainly don't let crazy behaviour or crying affect me! ha ha ha...if I did that - I'd be one sad puppy most every day! ha ha ha!! :) I just love seeing that he is no different than any other 21 month old little man! He is going to fit in so well at home!!

He does feel a bit better today - some fever, but not as hot? Maybe it is on the down side! Whoo hoo...here's to hoping!! If not, I have been offered some meds from a nice family that is traveling with me, and if I don't see improvement each day, then I'll give him whatever I can beg borrown or steal!!! :)

So here are a few pics from our day!

there are two pics of the 4! It is the Chinese version of 7-11. It is a convenience store that sells crazy stuff - some small food items just like 7-11, but also whisky, and other liquors and other things that just would not fly in the US! But a convenient store just the same! I am not sure what I bought josh to drink...but it is white...tastes nothing like Milk....but came in a very kid friendly container...so it must be for kids right. And...he really likes it! That's what important?!

When discussing the fact that the store was called -4- one of the girls on the hall said - yeah....11-7=4 ....That's why I bet!! ha ha ha.....In truth - we have no idea why it is called -4-, but I think that Sarah's explanation is as good as any!! :) It makes me laugh every time I repeat it!!! ha ha ha

One of the husbands went to get his hair cut today at a local salon. He is military, so you can just imagine that he has hair like Steve....very very short. Well they washed his head, cut his hair, washed his head AGAIN...then blow dried his HEAD and it all cost them 2 American dollars. And to top it all off....he tried to give them a tip...and they refused to take it! ha hah ......So there are some benefits to China life! I may go get my hair cut tomorrow? It needs it - and for 2 bucks...now may be the time!

sorry about the valintines day slide show! Didn't realize it had that in it till I had already uploaded - too lazy to go back and start over!! he ehee

So josh just fell asleep and here I sit. Back to my book since you all are sleeping!! :) Catch ya tomorrow!! Sending huge hugs and lots of kisses! Can't wait to get home!

Click to play half way done!
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In the hall....by his own free will!!!

Today little Josh woke up with a fever. I have no thermometer, but a mom knows...it was for sure...a fever. His little body was a heater and he was just very lethargic. I took him to the park at 9am and he was asleep by the time I had walked one block! And I didn't even have him in the Bjorn. So I knew he didn't feel well. WE still went to the park and he perked up a bit there once the meds kicked in. It ended up being a nice time....(blog and photos on this trip are down the page a bit!)

AFter the park, ...we took more Tylenol and than had a nice nap in a real bed! First time he has had the chance to do that with all the meetings and paperwork! He looked so peaceful sleeping! But this pic is of him as he fell asleep. Poor thing - I hate that he has to feel bad. He really felt like crap!!

After nap - he felt super though - so that was great, and the whole group of us - 11 families - headed to a large shopping area where the guides helped us to buy formula and rice cereal for those of us that have babies! Nothing is in English in the store, so we needed Yisha and Evelyn to help us - BIG TIME!!

After our shopping trip, little man Josh was full of it - talking to people in our hallway, and smiling at the girls who work here. Saying Bye Bye...to everyone that would pass by and he waves like a beauty queen...hand goes side to side!! He left the room and played in the hallway - and he chose to do this on his own!! It wasn't like he was running with the big kids or anything, but baby steps....and he took quite a few today! Great job little man!! You will be a crazy boy just like your brothers in no time!! It was a good day!

Alyssa and Mom leave today to head back to DuBois. I know the kids will be sad to see them go. And Uncle Brian left last night. But Bob and Dianne got there today, and they will be great with kids - they are in good hands! Thank you so much to the first team for a job well done! I love you guys! And thank you to team 2 - for all you are about to do!
And to my little men at home....I miss you guys so much. So very much that you will never know. I think about you every min and i can tell you right now....I can never leave you for this long again - never! You will understand when I get home that we did this all for a perfectly wonderful reason! But I know it is hard right now to see the "why" in it all! Just know that I love you with all of my heart! See you very soon!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Day three in Zhengzhou.

Day three here in Zhengzhou has been pretty uneventful. We had a great start to the day. I took some Tylenol PM last night before bed. And I had only done that once when we first got here back in Beijing. So it is very effective for me. I was too afraid to fall into a good sleep in Josh's first night here, but when I realized what a great sleeper he is...I thought...what the heck....if he is getting a good nights sleep...I deserve one too! So....that being said...the two of us slept - without waking up - till 7:00am! Yep!! Rock on!

Josh fell asleep standing up around 7:00pm and did a full 12 hours! And I went to bed at like 10pm and got MORE than enough sleep! So we feel super today! And ...I had the hotel do some laundry for me. Not cheap....but I had gone long enough without clean pants!! So I am not only rested...but I have clean clothes on!! Whoo hooo!!

Each day with Josh shows improvement in his attachment. He is in LOVE with his mommy. He always wants to be touching my face and holding my fingers and ALWAYS wants to be in my arms! I know that this can't last with me giving him every second of my attention, but for now...he needs to feel loved - beyond loved...so I will do anything I can to assure him that I - this new family - is forever! WE will work on the rest when we get home!

Josh is shy. I think some of this is because of what he has been through over the past few days, but the look in his eyes tells me that he is, all in all, just a shy kid! Once he gets to like someone though...watch out! Today, after a while of sitting and talking with a dad and his son from our group, Josh sat up and smiled at him and said - BYE BYE!!! VERY loud! It was so funny - because he is so quiet that no one expects to hear from him! ha ha hah a. So it tells me that he will warm up to people...but on his terms....no one elses!!

He is a typical 1 year old - throwing everything on the floor and making messes all over. And LOVING IT! He truly does not seem all that behind to me? Maybe I will see it more later, but for now...I have good feelings this his adjustment period will be shorter than maybe I had anticipated! I am grateful for that - and not for my sake...for his! When you see how scared they are on that first day and the utter look of dispare in their eyes as they cry and cry...you just want them to know what you have known for so long - the love that we have for them!!!

Every day I think about coming home to my family! I miss them so much that I can't talk about it much or I will start crying all over again and I am trying to stay positive and be rational. A good nights sleep helped! But it does not take away the pain I feel when I am not with my babies! Half over....and just one week till I can have everyone together!

I will forever love that day! December 25th 2008!! No matter what kind of a day it is, rain or shine, crying or sleeping, sad or happy....it will be a day I remember for all of time!! !:) Come on time...get a move on!!

I am lonely, yet happy, and I am doing well here!! This trip - alone - is totally do-able. I wish I had my family here...but they can't be and I am ok! Really ok! Physically, this is not as hard as I expected. We are given plenty of time to eat and sleep and I always try to make good food and drink choices, and so far so good. I feel super! And josh is feeling good too.

Emotionally this may be a bit harder than I anticipated, but not because of Josh! Truly - he is so dear and so easy to be with. You all are going to just love him! Truly - a blessing of a boy!!! I just have a perma lump in my throat and at any point I could cry? Does not even have to be a good reason? And for those of you that know me well....this is NOT ME!?!?! Huh? Shelli - are you cracking up at your whimpy friend?!?! ha ha ha ha Oh well!!

Enjoy the pics and I will keep posting them each day. Little man Josh sleeps so well, and I am stuck here in the room while he naps. I know he would nap on the go in the carrier...but I love seeing him snuggled up on a bed...a soft bed with down pillows! He just keeps feeling them and rolling in them. I truly think he understands the luxury that is around him! Heck....it is luxury for mommy too! hee hee

I love and miss each of you so very much! Thank you again for your words, your love and your prayers! It means more than you can ever know!

Click to play A love story
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Here we are?

I wasn't sure if Josh took a bottle or not? I got absolutely NO information about him from the nannies AT ALL. and It is looking like the SWI is just too far from our present location to make the trip to visit it? So I just started him with a sippy cup to see how it went? Well...it was fine...but when Josh saw the bottle sitting up on the bar...he went NUTS. Yelling and pointing and shaking his head up and down in the "yes" way to emphasize as emphatically as he could.....I WANT THAT BOTTLE!! :) So....I deduce....he still takes a bottle! ha ha ha....there ya have it! He had a bottle this morning ....I get on the computer for min...turn around....and he is dead asleep!

Not a great pic...but one of the few that I have outside of the room because I am ALWAYS carrying him when I am outside of the room!! :) Can't take a pic if I am holding! hee hee. So yeah...this is on the little walkway just outside of the hotel! Josh is happy outside. He will fit in well with our crazy clan of outside kids!!! :)
And as my Tuesday comes to an end I'll do a quick recap of it!! Nothing all that exciting I am afraid!! :)

We are another day closer to being a family again! Truly - I swear I am trying my best to enjoy this time. But it is just not easy when your loved ones are not with you! If my babies and husband were with me I don't think I would care if we ever went home? But alas...that is not the case! I would not trade this experience...and I would not trade my little man for anything in this world! But just the same -I feel sad and the days are dragging. time is on my side! I am about to go to bed, and that means only three more nights here and 5 in the next stop and then home again home again! whoo hooo!!

So today - as you will read in the next blog down....we are officially new parents! Kids are all doing awesome!! Parents are doing awesome! We are all ready to get home, but just the same....there is not a whiner in the bunch! We are all tough and strong and loving our new children!!

Josh still does not like to leave the hotel room? Yeah....same story as yesterday....he is a spit fire in the room. I posted video of a few moments of his craziness. He walks around with my clothes on and shoes on and bags in his hands and cookies in his mouth...talking and dancing? But truly....as soon as he steps one foot outside the hotel room...he almost goes into a trans. He sits snuggled up so close to me that we are all but one person....he stares at each person we are near....but makes no noise or facial expression. He will sit like that for a very long time. Eventually he will whimper a bit...and I take him back in the room. And as soon as the feet cross over the carpet line of room and hall...he is back in action!!!

A few times he has given me a glimmer of hope that this crazy room thing will end. ha ha ha We had dinner - just the two of us - in a pizza restaurant in the hotel. He was such a ham with the waiters and waitresses. He talked and danced, and threw food on the floor, and slammed his fork into the table. He threw pizza, spilled water, and even slapped the waiter right across the face? But as soon as we walked out of the restaurant and were back in the main part of the hotel...he is silent! ha ha ha. Who knows....such an interesting process. we have kids that won't take off certain shoes, kids that won't take off hats, kids that cry more than others and kids that never cry? Amazing...they all went through a similar experience...but all handle it in such different ways! NO matter what - I will say this without any hesitation. the group I am traveling with is LOVE! Every single person in this group is a phenomenal person. Interesting and loving and beautiful! I can't imagine that this is the norm for a group of adoptive parents? Maybe it is? But none the less...an amazing group of people who have found amazing kids and these kids are so blessed...there are no words to express it loud enough!!! What a blessed group of parents and kids!! This is the merriest Christmas EVER!! I know I am kind of mushy lately...but seriously...for those of us here and the families involved...what a darn great holiday season!! :)
XINYANG FAMILIES: I don't think I will get to go to the SWI. If I pushed it, I might be able to get there, but the other family is not feeling well and not interested in making that long drive and with so many older kids in our group that are from different SWI's and really NEED the closure with their friends and nannies...I am not going to push it. we are the largest group that Yisha has ever worked with in her 14 or so years with CCAI. And I need to help by letting this rest. But I will say this to all of you that adopting from Xinyang: Josh was loved. He knows fear, love, devious, silly and serious. He knows mad, happy, bad and sincere. we are able to communicate with each other very well. I know it is not perefect, but he has been helped by nannies to learn a bit of english. He says Hello, Bye Bye, Mamma, see ya, and Jingle bells already! I think he was loved, I feel very good about his healthy. And I am very very sorry that I will not be able to get your photos of your children! I am truly sad about that. Maybe that will change...but for now. I truly do not think we will be able to work out the trip!!

If mom, brian or alyssa is reading this...please tell the boys I love them. I'll call them in about 30 min to say good morning! I love you guys so much and I can't wait to see you in just a few short days!! :) Noses....and bug hugs....I love you guys!! :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

going shopping!

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It's Official!!

Today at 9:50 our time, the whole group walked down the street to the adoption center once again! There were mixed feelings among the children - some started to cry again - Josh just shut down and didn't even move a muscle...I don't even think he blinked....the whole time we were there! One of the older girls - 10 - started to get very nervous and kind of grab tightly to her parent. A fear maybe that they would be left there on this trip back just one day later. Kind of a weird journey anyway - but there we were. In the kind of stinky hallway once again. Sitting on the less than pristine floors...with our wonderful children! Passing time with each other by telling stories of our first night with our children and watching them play with each other. So different they are from just one day ago! So content and pleased with their new life. Nervous....yep....but they all seem very happy! Every single one of them? I can't imagine that many groups can say that! All 11 families....are bonding very well with their children! Amazing - truly amazing!

Then we went into the same room where we received our children. A very small room - like a doctors office waiting room maybe - a small practice! And they handed us our official certificate and it was a done deal! In the country of China...we are certified to be the legal parents of our children! Whooo hooooo.........OMgoodness....can it really be real?!?! What an amazing day!!

this video is of Josh at a little pond that is right outside of our hotel. Each time a person would walk by and say hello to him...he would stay hello back!! Lucky to have the camera!! Once we get into the hotel, he will not talk to anyone. He is a trip in the room....and VERY full of life and energy....but as soon as we walk out the door....he is petrified! But outside....he loves. Just the space between our hotel room and the outdoors?

Not a cryer though - he cried so hard when we first got him and a few times since, but he will scream at me when he is mad, or swat at my face? yeah?!! ha ha ha ha....but he gets mad, not upset!?! Won't it be interesting to see who this little man becomes! I just see great things!! :)

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Some video!!!

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