Monday, August 31, 2009

Ciara's First Day!




Well, we did it! We got Ciara at around 9:45 AM! And let me tell you this girl has a set of lungs, lol, she screamed and pushed and if she could have I'm sure she would have kicked, too, but in the end she calmed down using some comfort food, lol, that's my girl, and then rather peacefully took a two hour nap. It kinda started all over again when she woke up, but was over much quicker and less dramatic, and now it's like she's known us all along with hardly any tears. She ate what I consider to be an enormous amount of food at supper tonight and once again went to sleep tonight without any fuss at all.

She is definitely used to doing things on her own and is not quick to accept any kind of assitance doing anything so far. When she needs you to help her, you can tell by the look on her face that she doesn't like it one bit, lol. Even in the short amount of time I've had her, 12 hours, she has improved quite a bit and hopefully tomorrow will see even more acceptance for her, too!

On a side note, we had to go buy her some clothes this afternoon, because it's a lot cooler here than I anticipated and I never thought in a million years she would be this small. You'll never guess where we went........WALMART! Pretty much the same as ours, but, well, everything was in Chinese!!! lol

My family has been given an unbelievable gift this morning, and we intend to thank Our Father daily for her! We hope you'll continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers while Ciara adjusts to her new life and her new family.








Sunday, August 30, 2009

Last Day in Beijing






I didn't get many pictures today because my battery died, but we visited the Temple of Heaven as it's called, then we also went to a pearl factory and learned a little about pearls. After that we were taken to a local marketplace where only the strong survive. What a zoo! Vendors everywhere with no room to spare except the gauntlet style aisle we unsuspecting customers had to walk through. And when I say guantlet, I mean making it outta there without at least ten people grabbing your arm and trying to drag you to their particular "shop." It was crazy to say the least and a bit unnerving. All I kept thinking was, man, if you'd just stop touching me and following me, I just might actually buy something. Now to the important stuff! We flew outta Beijing at what was supposed to be 5:05 PM, which became 5:50 PM, and landed in Hefei at 7:10 PM. Our hotel here is very nice. Okay, enough of that. I have to be at the Hefei SWI tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM to meet my daughter for the first time. Fantastic!!! There are four other couples in our group; three of them get their little girls in the morning also and the other two after 3 PM tomorrow, so please pray for me and them also. We all are going to have an emotional and stressful day tomorrow. Enjoy the photos!!!

We Climbed the Great Wall of China!




















Today my mom and I climbed the Great Wall of China! Before we even started we figured we'd just go as far as we could and if we had to turn around (which we really thought we would), then so be it, we'd turn around. But we didn't! We climbed straight to the top and then came right back down. And although the ascent up was a grueling, lung exploding, heart beating way faster than it should experience, coming down was no piece of cake either. You're abusing a completely different set of muscles on the way down than what you abused on the way up, and everyone's legs were literally shaking by the time we reached the bottom. After the Great Wall we went to an acrobatics show, which was nice, but quite frankly, I was so exhausted (along with a few others) that I really couldn't enjoy it as much. All I kept thinking was that I've got to get to sleep some time before I meet my daughter, lol, because that is the main reason I'm here. Tomorrow afternoon all five families will fly to their individual daughters' province so we'll be separated for four days until we all meet up again in Guangzhou on September 4th. It's just about time! I hope you enjoy the photos.
























































































Friday, August 28, 2009

First Day in Beijing

We have arrived safe and almost sound, I pulled something in my left knee on the plane and thought I wasn't going to be able to do any walking around, but it has seemed to work most of its way out today and hopefully by tomorrow I'll have forgotten the whole incident, lol. We are staying in Beijing at the Holiday Inn and the rooms are newly renovated and very nice. Of course you still can't post to Facebook, Blogger or MySpace from China, so my daughter Leyna is going to be doing all the posts for this trip.

This morning we met in the hotel lobby at 9 AM to go tour the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, which we did quite successfully, and as you can see from the pics it was pretty crowded. It has been a beautiful day, mid 80s with a slight breeze, perfect touring weather. Afterwards we hopped on rickshaws and got a little tour of Hutong, which is an older section of China and then had lunch in a regular family courtyard house with about 15 servings of different food. And for those of you who were wondering what in the world I was possibly going to eat in China, lol, I'll have you know that I ate all kinds of different things this afternoon, e.g., pork dumplings, sliced lotus root, garlic chutes that were actually very, very good. Ok, you can all stop laughing

now. But seriously they were rather good. Would I make them at home I liked them so much? No, not so much, but to try them, yeah, they were good, lol And it didn't take long for me to master chopsticks either!

After lunch we went to the silk factory, learned a little about the silk worm, and of course SHOPPED! Since my husband does not read this blog, I would appreciate it if none of your shared that last little detail with him, lol. It's only the first day and I wouldn't want him to worry about taking a second mortgage on our house just yet!

Of course with everything we do and see while in Beijing, there's always the underlying thought running through your brain, I'M HERE TO GET MY DAUGHTER! So unlike a vacation, you see things, you hear what they are telling you about them, but you just aren't as interested as you would be had you come here for any other reason. I've said to myself several times today, get more excited, girl, you're in China for crying outloud! And although everything is beautiful and I am certainly taking it all in, August 31st at 9:30 in the morning is why I am here and everything else is like you're just going through the motions.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Test Run

This is Jackie's daughter, Leyna, and I will be posting for her while they are in China!! Just making sure this works.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

AND WE'RE OFF!!

By the time most of you read this, we'll already be in flight and a little sooner than we thought. Our guide from our agency called a couple of the families today, well yesterday 45 minutes ago, lol, including us, to let us know that he really didn't think we were going to be able to make our connecting flight in D.C. with only 40 minutes in between flights, and even though it was a "legal" schedule set by the airline, it really was going to be a long shot that we made it. If we would've missed it, the next flight to Beijing doesn't leave until Thursday, and that was NOT acceptable. So we all got our flights changed from 10:15 AM to now 6:10 AM outta Cleveland at no additional expense to us I might add (Don't ask, I dunno how it happened). Which means we have to leave at 2 AM, which is only an hour and a half from the time of this post, to make it there by about 4:30 AM. It's gonna be a long 24 hours without even a night's rest under our belts .

So I'm just sitting here eating a bowl of Grape Nuts (yeah, bad move I know, but I don't consider digestive matters 24/7 like some people) and I'm all packed ready to go just waiting for my mom and dad to get here to our house. I'm thinking about Ciara and how in four days her little world is going to be turned upsidedown and how even though we all are certainly head over heels in love with her, she is not going to feel the same for awhile, lol. After all we only have to adjust to one pint size little girl and she has to adjust to all these giants who don't look, talk or smell like her, lol If ever you felt the need to pray, please do it now! She really has no idea what's coming her way!

Oh, yeah, hehehe

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

JUST ONE DAY LEFT!


"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west."

(Isaiah 43:5)

Monday, August 24, 2009

ALL IS WELL

I called our agency today, and all is well with our paperwork!! USCIS got our paperwork when I sent it, but just hadn't I guess gotten around to sending whatever it was they needed to send to the appropriate agencies so we could get Ciara's Visa to return home once we're in China. Now, I realize they don't have any stake in this adoption, but for cryin' outloud...SEND THE DOCUMENTS ALREADY!!! Which apparently they are going to and everything will arrive on time.

A big thank you to all of those who were praying for this to resolve quickly...IT DID!! I don't believe that Our Father micro manages every little decision we make or every little thing that happens minute by minute, but being the all knowing and all seeing God that He is, I do believe He has a counter move for every mistake we make or bump in the road we run into along the way, a counter move that ultimately works out His will in everything, and for that I am indeed very thankful. I would much rather He be in control than any government agency!!

LAST GIVEAWAY REMINDER!!!

In just 2 more days I'm going to be in China with my mom and in 7 days I'm going to be meeting my daughter for the first time. In light of this unbelievable blessing/gift my husband and I are about to receive from an amazingly loving God, I thought it only fitting that I have my first and hopefully not last GIVEAWAY to show my appreciation for all the love and support you all have given to me in the last two years during our adoption journey. The gift will be something that I will get in China, and of course I don't know what that is yet, lol.

Now, anyone can enter and hopefully all of you will participate (it always makes things more fun when you actually have entries, lol), and there will be several ways to enter, and hopefully you'll take advantage of all of them.

1. You'll be given one entry for just leaving a comment to this post.

2. You'll be given one entry by mentioning this giveaway on your own blog, telling me that you've done so by leaving a comment to this post.

3. You'll be given one entry by posting a link on your blog to my blog, telling me that you've done so by leaving a comment to this post.

4. You'll be given one entry for every other site you have that you mention this giveaway on, i.e., Facebook, MySpace, etc., telling me that you've done so by leaving a comment to this post.

5. (ADDENDUM) For those of you who receive these posts through your email, just leave a comment by replying to the email.

The bottom line is....YOU HAVE TO TELL ME WHAT YOU'VE DONE TO RECEIVE EACH ENTRY!!!

Entries will be taken for my very first giveaway up to the day I leave for China. And, folks, we're going to pick the winner the old fashioned way. Depending on how many times you're entered, your name will be written on slips of paper and put into something. My very new and very beautiful daughter Ciara is going to pick the winner and I'm going to videotape it and post the winner on a day to be announced sometime very soon after we get back from China!!!

GOOD LUCK, EVERYONE!

YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING...JUST TWO DAYS!?!


Sunday, August 23, 2009

THE LONGEST THREE DAYS

I've just spent the last hour or so compiling an email group, my "In China List," so that I can send email updates while in China for those who do not visit this blog regularly, do not get the automatic posts from this blog and/or are not on Facebook. It's basically a list of those folks who for some reason or another quite enjoy not moving into the 21st Century, lol.

I'm almost done with all my work/work, you know, the making a living type work, and will be pretty close by the end of tomorrow to move on with the business of thinking about what I need and packing for my trip. Thank goodness for all night all-in-one stores (you know who you are).

Of course there still is the irritant that I'll have to deal with come Monday morning, you know, the one where we may not be able to get Ciara back into this country if USCIS doesn't get its act together, but that will have to wait until Monday. I am hoping I don't have to waste a lot of time and effort on this, and I'm really hoping that a trip to the local CIS office in Pittsburgh is not what I'll be doing either Monday or Tuesday, but we'll have to wait and see. And after all, this whole adoption process has been nothing but "we'll have to wait and see," so why would I expect anything to change now?! lol

And for those of you who have lost track of time or have not been paying attention:

DAYS TO GO!!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

ONE, TWO, THREE....FOUR!!!

Okay, I'm starting to get a little stressed out. Apparently our local USCIS office (Immigration) in Pittsburgh has not forwarded a crucial document onto the Consulate in Guangzhou, China. IN FACT, it's the same USCIS office that two years ago said they never received our initial documentation when I actually had the signature of the person from their office that DID most certainly receive it. Grrrrr, talk about wanting to scream!! But I won't. I'll calmly wait until Monday morning to try and figure this out along with our agency.....BECAUSE THEY COULDN'T POSSIBLY HELP ME ON A FRIDAY AFTERNOON! But like I said, I'll remain cool and collected...EVEN THOUGH WE ARE LEAVING FOR CHINA ON WEDNESDAY!! But the voice of reason I'll be...EVEN THOUGH WE CAN'T BRING CIARA BACK INTO THE US WITHOUT THIS DOCUMENT!!! I do believe I'm starting to feel a little less tense...NOT!!!!

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

COUNT 'EM, FIVE DAYS TO GO!


With only five days until we leave on the big plane to China, I received our itinerary today! It is as follows:


August 26th - Fly out of Cleveland 10:15 AM.

August 27th - Arrive in Beijing at 2:20 PM, staying at Holiday Inn Downtown Beijing.

August 28th - Visiting Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, touring Hutong by rickshaw, Silk Factory in afternoon.

August 29th - Visiting Great Wall, look at Olympic Stadium, Acrobatic Show in evening (by now I should be stroking out from the heat, lol).

August 30th - Visiting Temple of Heaven, lunch at Hard Rock Cafe, then catch our flight to Hefei (where Ciara is) where we'll be staying at the Hefei Novotel Hotel.

August 31st - GOTCHA DAY! Will be meeting Ciara at 9:30 AM!!

September 1st - Adoption paperwork day.

September 2nd & 3rd - Sightseeing and/or shopping in Hefei, general rest and relaxation and getting to know our new daughter/granddaughter.

September 4th - Leaving Hefei at 2:30 PM arriving in Guangzhou at 4:15 PM

September 5th - Ciara's medical exam.

September 6th - Visiting Chen Family Museum, completing U.S. Consulate paperwork.

September 7th - China's Labor Day Holiday, visiting Qingping Market, and Jade & Pearl shopping.

September 8th - Sightseeing in the afternoon.

September 9th - U.S. Consulate ceremony at 3:00 PM.

September 10th - Leaving China, arriving in Cleveland around 7:00 PM

ONLY SIX LEFT!

Can you all believe it already?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

THE BIG 4-5!

I'm telling you all that it's my birthday today, not to get well wishes or a big "Have a Happy Birthday" from everyone (although I've received a ton of them, thank you all again), but to show you this enormous cake my daughter and granddaughter made for me today while I was at work, lol. It is three layers of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, like Neopolitan ice cream, lol. After making my birthday supper of barbecue spare ribs, homemade fries and corn on the cob, the girls presented me with this cake, complete with not 45 candles, but enough candles to make the number 45. My mom and dad came over for the lighting of the candles on this mammoth cake, and once lit it was like a torch on top, lol. I was almost afraid to blow it out for fear I might singe my eyebrows. And who wants to go to China to meet your new daughter for the first time without any eyebrows? Not me, so I pulled my hair back, kept my distance and blew all those suckers out!

Logan May did some decorating of her own.

SEVEN AND WE'RE OFF!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

10 DAYS TO GO!

When Roger and I started this whole adoption journey in April of 2007, we never imagined that we would have to wait almost two and a half years to finally bring our daughter home. Well, we are on the home stretch and we only have...

DAYS TO GO!

Monday, August 10, 2009

NEW PHOTOS OF CIARA!

These five photos were just posted in a group that I belong to. They were posted by a family who were just in China who got to take some pictures inside the orphanage. This was an absolutely fantastic surprise as China wasn't letting people visit the orphanages as of late because of the Swine Flu scare. Isn't Ciara just adorable? Again, look at those cheeks!! She is the one in the green outfit. In fact, we sent her that outfit a couple months ago along with some others. Roger noticed that her shoes that we also sent were on the wrong feet so she's going to fit in with this family just fine! lol Only 16 more days until China and 20 days until I finally get to hold this precious little girl and kiss those puffer cheekers, lol
My new bloggy friend Jaclyn and soon-to-be mother to another Hefei girl like Ciara was actually the one who emailed me this morning and told me about these pictures. So, Jaclyn, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I'm really hoping I get to take some pictures of her daughter while I'm there, I know her mommy is very anxious to see some updates on her little girl.






Saturday, August 8, 2009

PENNSYLVANIA CHRISTIAN CAMP 2009

As promised I have finally gotten around to posting about my week at PCC. This year was kind of a different year for me. I really, really, really wanted to go to camp, but because Roger and I have been waiting for the past month and a half for our Travel Approval to China to get Ciara, which I knew would come the week of camp (AND IT DID!!!), I really, really, really wanted to get home, too! Plus, add in the fact that while at camp my Mom and I got a call from home telling us that my granddaughter and Mom's great granddaughter had contracted Lyme Disease and was starting treatment for that, it made for some very mixed feelings about wanting to stay and wanting to leave.

Camp for me has always been like a refuge for one complete week outta the year, a refuge from trying desperately to not be what the world would have me to be. It's a place of peace and quiet up in the mountains of Blue Knob, (blocking out of course the 6o + 3rd, 4th and 5th graders that attended this year, lol). I made some new hopefully lifelong friends this year (Sherrie, Kandi, Dawn, Bill and Steve) and got reacquainted with some old ones, lol.

There was a compilation made of over 550 photos taken this year by various folks, so I've just selected a few of my favorites of those that attended from our congregation up in Warren.

The group of us from Warren Church of ChristFrom Talent Night, this was a re-enactment of the parable of the Good Samaritan. Evan (right) with a new friend, Justin. Evan as a junior staff member.
My nephew Jake and Collin at the amphitheatre.My beautiful niece McKaylaMy beautiful niece McKayla (I'm sorry, did I already say that?)McKayla posing with a friend.McKayla in one of her classes with Steve.My nephew Josh ringing the PCC gong.Oh, my, look at Josh's eyes!Jake posing for this shot while his brother Josh pays attention to the speaker, lol.My nephew Jake and a friend.Sitting around the campfire.Jake helping to pack the mattresses in the truck the last day of camp.Pam and I after a rainy day.My office for the week.I dunno what I was thinking about!Mom working in the kitchen while being heckled by the pirate (Gary) to the left, lolThis is what Josh, McKayla and Jake looked like when we arrived at camp...And this is what they looked like when we left for home.