Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

We are all enjoying William and he is quite happy at home!  Hope to update with more details soon.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

China Day 11-12

William's visa is packed up and tomorrow morning we leave the hotel to start our 24 hour trip home. We went back to the agency office today to let him call his nanny and say goodbye. He decided that he didn't want to call her. He had a nice chat with the staff and they explained the long airplane ride to him and that we were going to our home in the United States now. Here's a peek into our hotel life. First lesson at home: we don't jump on the beds!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

China days 9-10

The Safari Zoo was really nice and pandas were the highlight. Ivy wants to grow up and be one of those people dressed up in a big panda costume who shakes all the kids' hands. Apparently the heat, humidity, and stickiness from bug spray didn't phase her. William was thrilled with every sight.

This morning was very stressful as we spent hours in a room with all of our group and kids at the U.S. Consulate. The computer system that processes the visas and exchanges information with Washington was only working intermittently. Dan had to go back later in the day to complete the process. They are not guaranteeing anything, but said there is still time to get the Visa tomorrow. Without that in hand we miss our flights home. Trusting it will work out.

Today Will begged to leave the room with Dan when he went to pick up dinner. Twice later when Dan left again he cried! This is good news as previously he told the guide he was scared of  Daddy because he was too tall, looks like Superman, and has hair on his legs. The changes in him each day have been shocking. He is starting to really enjoy us!

"I am blown away that my God, who could do this all by Himself, would choose to let me be a little part of it." -Katie Davis

Sunday, October 26, 2014

China Day 8

Today was a busy day visiting Shamian Island and shopping the wholesale jade and pearl markets. Experiencing praise and worship songs in a Chinese church was really special. Browsing the island and buying squeaky shoes for the grand kids was fun, and a local shop keeper who speaks some English saw us and hollered, " You're back!" Dan's negotiating skills must have left a lasting impression.

William is showing signs of bonding as he is very cautious and concerned about holding our hands while we were out in public. He is relaxing more every day, eating more, laughing more, and growing more mischievous. He will turn six just after we return home, and Ivy is seven, but he seems to act like he thinks he's older than her. Ivy just goes along with it for the most part. It is obvious that he has had more experiences than she did while in the orphanage. The highlight today was when Will had to sit on my lap in the cab, and he enjoyed his first back scratch. Typically he pushes me away if I touch very much, but the back scratch must have been to good to resist. 

Tomorrow will be our Safari Zoo trip including Pandas! We are getting homesick, some of us for the dogs, all of us for family, most us for Chipotle, and I must add, homesick for less population, less pushing and shoving, clean streets, and the absence of cigarette smoke!  We have so very much to be thankful for.


"It is not about God making my dreams come true but about God changing my dreams into His plans for my life."  Katie Davis

Saturday, October 25, 2014

China Day 6-7

 Yesterday was an exhausting travel day, but the highlights were my first hug from William in the morning, and then him falling asleep on my shoulder on the bus. He seemed a little nervous on the plane ride, but did well. We had him wear his favorite, comforting outfit, since we had it cleaned. Today we had the medical check up with the other 14 families in our group, and many other adoptive families from other agencies. It was a joy to meet my friend Tami at breakfast this morning. We have communicated online for a few months, and she even sent Will a beautiful handmade blanket and toy bag filled with little trucks. We are the same age and stage of life with grown children and grandchildren and now we both have two little treasures from China.

Our agency staff here in China has been fabulous. Tracy sent all the notes on to the staff here in Guangzhou, and Anson, our guide here helped us though another hurdle today. William got upset tonight and pointing to the phone. We went upstairs to the Holt office and found out that he wanted to talk to his nanny on the phone again. We discussed it and our guide advised that he talk to her one more time on Wednesday afternoon before we depart. The idea is to make it a call where he says a final goodbye. So Anson explained it to William and showed him on the calendar what day he could call her. He is still grieving and evenings are more difficult. But he is warming up a lot more to us and still seems to favor Emma at this point, although he told the guide that Macy is the most beautiful sister. Little does he know he has another beautiful sister at home, and fun big brothers to play guns with! He is having many silly, mischievous, moments each day, along with a lot of smiles. Changing into yet another new shirt today produced no tears!

We are getting to bed early tonight as we hope to be rested for a fun day on Shamian Island, attending a Christian church service, and shopping for pearls and jade later in the day. Will is a great sleeper and asks to go to bed every night by about 6:30, the first of our six kids to do that! We ask for continued prayer for strength for everyone, fast bonding for William, comfort for his grief, and continued health for all of us.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

China Day 5 - new clothes

William changed his clothes today but not without a lot of tears. Our guide, Tracy, spent a lot of time talking with him today and even called and got his closest nanny on the speaker phone. We found out that he was very close to her, and she often took him home with her for weekends. On his birthday she would have a party for him at her home. The nanny encouraged him that it was a very good thing to have a family and if she had a chance to move to the USA she would go. She told him she has his address and if she ever is in the States she will come see him. Hopefully this doesn't give him false hope. Learning how attached he is to her explains even more why he is grieving so much. She is the one who gave him the new clothes the morning he left. Tracy told him that his birthday was coming soon and asked how he likes to celebrate, but he said he doesn't want a birthday party.

Today we toured a beautiful 600 year old garden, and ate dinner with our group at an authentic local restaurant. We leave Will's province tomorrow and fly to Guangzhou where the American Consulate is located. There we will have his medical check-up, our oath taking ceremony, and get his Visa. Here's some photos from our time in Nanjing, Jiangsu.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

China Trip Day 4 - Little improvements

Today we had a free day and walked to the Confucius Temple area where there were some interesting street vendors. We also took a tour with our group of a very old home that belonged to a government official. Nanjing seems to be a somewhat high economic area with many prestigious stores in the mall. We are here one more day, waiting for William's passport. Then we will fly to Guangzhou in the south where we will have our oath taking ceremony and receive his Visa. I have been so very disappointed that we didn't get to visit his orphanage. Considering how fragile he is, we just didn't feel it was a good idea to take him back there. Thankfully, we were told that he was able to say goodbye to all his friends and Nannies that morning. Sometimes returning to the orphanage brings healthy closure, but this time we just weren't sure enough to take him back. 

William is showing a little improvement each day. Today he was happier overall, smiled more, and played more. He gave me a high five and some little grins. Dan bought some toy guns and he had fun shooting. We have a long way to go, but each day shows positive changes. Last night we got him showered and into pajamas, but not without tears. He doesn't mind the shower, but hates pajamas because he has never worn them before. He took his dirty clothes and rolled them up and slept on them for a pillow. About 5am I heard some movement and realized later that he had changed back into his dirty clothes under the covers.  Tracy talked to him and he agreed to allow us to wash them and he will wear other clothes in the meantime. But tears rolled down his face as he agreed. Poor thing. So we face that tonight. It is so heartbreaking. Nighttime is extra hard for him and he sits staring by the window, doing the orphanage rock, and often has silent tears. We are grateful for everyone's prayers during this challenging time. 

“I’m not afraid to grieve. I’m afraid of what will happen to these children if no one took the risk to love them.” – Unknown

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

China Day 3 - First Smiles

Today it was a joy to see William's first smiles. We spent the morning at the Civil Affairs Office completing paperwork. The girls were trying to connect with him and soon he warmed up. Emma's camera was his big interest, and once he got his hands on it he took a picture of his nose and thought that was hilarious. He still doesn't want Dan or me to get too close to him, although he will hold my hand when we are out in public, out of fear I suppose. The orphanage staff hid so William would not see them and think he had a chance of going back.

A couple fun stories...he is determined to press the elevator buttons each time we get on. He always knows what number to press before we tell him, 1 for lobby, 8 for the room, and 5 for the buffet. He typically gets it right. Also, yesterday he refused to brush his teeth and our guide asked him why. he explained that Dan had not given him a new toothbrush but a used one! He never saw Dan take it out of the wrapper so he assumed it was used. So tonight we took a new one out for him to open and he was fine. Also yesterday, he kept hiding from the camera as Macy would take pictures, and Tracy asked him why. He quickly stated that she doesn't look like a photographer because she is a girl!

He is still refusing to change clothes and goes into hysterics when we suggest it. He is sleeping in them as well. Seems he feels that it is all he has left to hang on to, and it's very painful to watch.

He has told our guide (crying) that he wants to buy necklaces for the nannies. He is very passionate and tender. He also begged her for an answer as to when he could return to the orphanage.  She told him he could choose to go back when he was grown up. He was very upset that he would not be able to find the way to the orphanage from the USA. 

As I watch William's response to us and how desperately he is trying to cling to his old life, I can't help but think of my own flinch reactions to God. How often it feels like God is trying to pry my hands open, and I hold on tight. In my mind I really think I know what's best, and all the while He has something so much better in store, something more than I can imagine. 

“I don’t always know where this life is going. I can’t see the end of the road, but here is the great part: Courage is not about knowing the path. It is about taking the first step. It is about Peter getting out of the boat, stepping out onto the water with complete faith that Jesus will not let him drown.” -Katie Davis