About Me

Follow our journey to China to bring Kristi home. After many years of prayerful consideration, we began this journey in January of 2010. We discovered Kristi's file in May of 2010 and the paperwork began. Finally in July 2011 we are on our way to bring her home!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

July 30, 2011

First day home.  After going to bed around midnight, Kristi woke up at 4AM (haven't made that time change yet)!  She sat up in bed and called out 'Mama!' but was not crying or anything. Paul got up with her for an hour (Kim had enough being in charge all the previous day) while she chased the cat.  Then Lindsey took over at 5 and Paul went back to bed.  Lindsey played with Kristi all morning and let Paul and Kim sleep in until 9AM.  Kristi loves the kids - probably because they have been willing to play non-stop with her (wonder how long that will last??)  They chased the cat, played catch with the beach ball, played play dough, played the piano and climbed in boxes.  Kim and Lindsey went grocery shopping around 11 (oh the joy of normality and a frappachino from Starbucks!)  Kristi was fine staying home and playing with boys.  Then we had a big lunch - chicken and vegetables from the garden - potatoes, corn on the cob and tomatoes!  Kristi ate it all - the best she has eaten in days.  In the afternoon Paul took the boys for physicals and Kristi was happy to play with Lindsey (maybe we should consider talking Lindsey into going to Lincoln Land this year??)  It is now almost 6 and I am sure Kristi is probably ready to crash.  She is pretty tired - but has been so happy today!  We are amazed at how quickly she took to the kids!

Mentally, Kristi is very sharp and is willing to imitate some English for the kids (but still won't say any for mom and dad).  Her fine motor skills are good - drawing and coloring.  She lags in the running, jumping, catching department - probably somewhat because of her disability.  However, relationally and emotionally she really acts more like a three year old right now.  She loves to help - put things away, fold clothes, hand you things.  I am happy to report she has gained 2 pounds in the two weeks we have had her.  She weighed 26 pounds when we got her and she is now up to 28 pounds.  She exhibits many of the characteristics you read about in the international adoption books - wanting to get attention from everyone, extreme curiosity, resistance to cuddling and affection except on her terms, periods of resentment and anger intermingled with laughter and dependence, hoarding of her belongings, inability to amuse herself, very demanding - but she has come so far in just the two weeks we have had her.

Well, we have completed our journey to bring Kristi home, but the journey to raise her has just begun. Thank you for coming with us and for your prayers over the last couple of weeks.  We wrote the blog mainly for our children and our parents, but have learned of so many who started following it.  We must admit it was a stressful experience and we appreciated each and every one of your prayers.  God provided encouragement and peace when we had none.  This is the end of our blog - but keep in touch with us and continue to keep us in your prayers as we continue down this path - we know there are many tough days ahead.  But we look forward to the joy and love that will follow...

July 29, 2011

We are going home!!  (otherwise known as the endless day!!)  We got up at 5:30 today - and found a note slipped under our door warning of a cyclone and high winds to hit Hong Kong in the next 12 hours so to check your plane schedule.  Can you imagine the sinking of our hearts as we began to pray that we would be able to take off as scheduled??  We were at the airport by 7:00AM and very happy to note that our plane was scheduled to depart on time at 9:00 although the winds were starting to pick up.  Unfortunately, our seats were split up on the plane - so Kim and Kristi were together and Paul was in the row behind.  We were going to switch off during the flight, but Kristi was being difficult and decided that she would not sit by Paul. 

After 9 hours of pushing buttons on the TV screen, spilling food and drinks, and visiting the bathroom every half hour (have I mentioned we have visited every bathroom between Tianjin and Hong Kong? - ah yes, the old boredom trick!!), Kim had about had it - and still 6 hours to go.  Paul tried to amuse her for a while but no go.  We are so thankful that God strategically placed us behind a mother who was a pediatrician that specialized in international adoption.  She was traveling with her husband and twin girls (they had adopted from China 5 years ago).  She was so understanding of Kristi's wiggles and pushing on the seat.  She offered us a natural sleep agent to put Kristi to sleep.  So at around 7PM we gave that to Kristi and she fell asleep at 7:30.  She slept for the next four hours until they served us the pre-landing meal.  We landed Detroit around 12:30 (in the morning for Hong Kong time and noon for Detroit time - 12 hour time difference).  We then spent the next two hours going through immigration and customs.  There were a couple of other families coming from China with adoptions as well so talked with them while in line.  We had to stop to talk to someone from the Center for Disease Control because of Kristi's positive TB skin test.  Finally around 2:30 we rechecked our luggage and headed to the gate to wait for another 6 hours.  All things considered, Kristi handled this leg of the journey surprisingly well.  She played with her sticker book for an hour and then we put the bad wolf and the pleasant goat cartoon in the computer and let her watch.  Mom and dad were exhausted! 

Around 7:45 PM we boarded the plane for the flight to Bloomington.  Kristi fell asleep almost as soon as we got on the plane.  It was a one hour flight to Bloomington and Kristi did not wake up happy - but we didn't blame her - we had all about had it!  We had to wait for half an hour for the luggage.  Then we made the hour and a half ride home.  We pulled into the driveway at 10:30, 30 hours after we got up.  We were a little worried about how it would go meeting the kids with her so tired.  But the instant we walked in the door she perked up.  She took to the kids right away - but her real attraction was to the cats.  They learned to run away fast!  She pulled out her photo album and pointed to the pictures of the kids and the cat.  She ran around the house like a whirlwind.  Finally around 11:30PM we put her in the bathtub and put her to bed - a situation she was not happy with.  However, she went to sleep and seemed to be okay with sleeping in a room by herself, although Kim stayed with her until she fell asleep.  What a day!

July 28, 2011

Time to leave Guangzhou!  We left our hotel at 9:00 am to get to the train station.  Have we mentioned there are people here in China?  Crowds everywhere!  So we had to go through immigration to leave Guangzhou.  Paying attention to what train was being loaded was a little stressful - but not bad.  A porter helped us find the right car and we were able to find a spot for the luggage.  The train was nice - a lot like Amtrak.  We settled in for the two hour ride.  We brought our sandwiches with so when Kristi started to complain about being hungry we brought out the food.  The views were interesting - such a mix of the modern and the primitive.  We had a half hour delay before we could get into the Hong Kong train station so parked in one spot for a while.  I think in the three hours we were on the train we probably visited the bathroom about 5 times (one of Kristi's favorite things to do when she is bored is to tell us she has to use the bathroom).  Once we arrived at the Hong Kong station, we had to go through immigration again.  Kristi put up a fuss about holding our hand walking from the train to immigration.  She does not think she should have to hold our hand - but with so many people crowding around, we insisted.  She was definitely less than polite with her response. 

Once through immigration, we exchanged money from yuan to the Hong Kong dollar and then stood in line for a taxi.  The views from the taxi as we drove through Hong Kong were fantastic.  Such a modern city - beautiful skyscrapers, harbors full of boats, and again more people!  The driving here was a little less chaotic - less cars randomly pulling over everywhere and no bikes in the traffic lanes.  The great spans of bridges were very impressive.  A support for one bridge was three card lengths wide.  After about a 40 minute taxi ride (during which Kristi fell asleep - a first for her!) we arrived at our hotel - the airport Marriott - around 3:00.  It was a gorgeous hotel set on the South Seas.  The view from our room was wonderful.

Later that afternoon we took the shuttle over to the airport to check out which terminal we were flying out of and to find the Delta desk.  Unfortunately we went during the black hour (4-5 pm) during which Kristi is never happy.  We again had a tantrum over holding hands and not buying snacks, so we headed back to the hotel.  We checked out the beautiful pool, but Kristi was adamant that she did not want to go swimming.  We had an early night in anticipation of our endless day of travel.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July 27, 2011

Last full day in Guangzhou!  This seemed like a very long day as we had nothing planned.  In the morning we went to the park and played.  We went shopping to pick up a Calabash flute for school.  Kristi looked at things, and when we said no and put them away - she stomped her feet but did not throw a tantrum.  Maybe she is learning that they don't work on us? (although she will probably continue to test it out in each new situation just to be sure!).   We went back to Lucy's for lunch - Kristi is very fond of ketchup and french fries.  Anyway, when we got there, we showed Kristi her seat (the inside seat where she can not get up and walk around).  She decided she did not want to sit there.  She wanted to sit where mom or dad was sitting.  She started to screech loudly at us so I picked her up and placed her in her seat.  She then continued to yell at me and started to hit.  So I took her hand and said, Boo (no) - you stop now or we will go bye-bye to the hotel.   And Kristi looked at me and then stopped.  Hmmm - think she catches more than she lets on??

She was pretty funny at supper.  She had been given a sucker by the lady at the store by the lobby.  She really wanted that sucker and so proceeded to show us she was done eating her noodles.  She then looked up at us hopefully and mimicked licking her sucker.  We said no, so she went back to another forkful of noodles and tried it again!  I am happy to report that Babba is now on equal ground with Mama in Kristi's estimation.  She went for a walk with him after supper so Kim could pack.  She has no problem having Paul give her a bath and make bubbles for her in the tub.  The evenings seem to be her best time.  She is very happy then - but not so much in the morning (sound familiar Lindsey??)  We enjoyed walking around seeing the lights of Shamian Island and across the Pearl River for one last time.

We are so ready to go home!  Unfortunately for Kristi, though, things will probably get worse before they get better.  At least now she can still understand some of what people are saying, the food is familiar and the people look like her.  Soon everything will be strange.  She will continue to need our prayers as she progresses through the grieving process, and that she will learn to communicate and speak English.  Pray for us as we begin the last leg of our journey - the travel home.  Tomorrow morning we take the train to Hong Kong.  We have to go through immigration and customs there even though it is still China.  We will not have a guide to get us on the train or to the taxi and hotel, so we are praying that everything will go smoothly.  We will spend the night in Hong Kong and take a 9AM flight out on Friday morning.  Our flight will be over 15 hours, then an 8 hour layover in Detroit where we will have to go through customs and immigration.  Finally we will catch a  flight to Bloomington and the drive home.  It will be an endless day - literally as we go backward in time.  We will leave around 9AM Hong Kong time and arrive home the same day around 10 PM Springfield time.  Please pray that Kristi will be able to sleep some on the plane even though it will seem like the daytime to us as we are flying.  (Actually, we could all use prayers on that one!)  Not sure if we will be able to get on-line tomorrow night in Hong Kong, so maybe no update then....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 26, 2011

We had an up and down day today.  At 9:30 we headed into Guangzhou proper to the consulate.  This was the final step in the adoption process.  No electronics were allowed so we don't have any pictures of this.  The building wasn't very impressive - just an office building.  We took an oath that all the representations we made in the piles of paperwork were accurate to the best of our knowledge and submitted for Kristi's visa.  Then it was over!  We headed back to Shamian Island and talked for a while with Dawn - also adopting through MAA.  She had worked in China for a couple of years and so spoke a lot of Chinese.  We picked up a couple of basic phrases from her and discussed the transitioning process.  It is nice to run into other people in the same situation here to talk about how things are going.  Kristi enjoyed playing with the four year old boy Dawn was adopting.

After lunch we went to the park again for a while and then tried to go shopping.  Kristi loves to go shopping - until it is time to leave and you tell her she can't have the stuff that she desperately thinks she needs.  When I put the handful of bracelets and neclaces back, she started to scream.  The shopkeeper was a little disgusted with her and told her she had a dress in the bag and she didn't need to fuss.  But she proceded to scream all the way to the hotel.  It didn't bother us - just made us realize how much retraining we have to do.  Surprisingly, once we got back to the hotel room, she acted fine.  I don't see many shopping trips in her near future once we return home! She was stubborn today.  When someone asked her if her name was Kristi - she said Wei Anyue very emphatically!  I am sure her strong will helped her to be a survivor to this point and will be very helpful to her in the future - but will certainly present some challenges for the present!  Ha!

She continues to be very funny and entertaining - except when she doesn't get her way.  But at least she is beginning to realize that we mean it when we say no - and tantrums won't change our mind.  We have been using a few of the new Chinese phrases out on her - and I think she liked it better when we couldn't tell her 'wait and no' in Chinese so she could pretend to not understand us.  She doesn't want to speak any English at this point, but we know she understands several phrases.  We now completely understand what other adoptive parents called selective understanding!  Everyone here tells Kristi how cute she is.  We have been told she responds back, "I know."  So please - when you meet her, don't tell her she is cute!  She will spend a long time in front of the mirror redoing her hair and putting bows in.  Lindsey - you will have to help us retrain her on this one.

After dinner, we went out for our evening walk.  We went to the pool to check out the lights from the 9th floor.  Kristi said she did not want to go swimming - but she certainly was interested in watching the people who were.  We will have to work on this one!

Monday, July 25, 2011

July 25, 2011

Last night (Sunday) we were out walking and came by a beautiful little church.  We heard a familiar hymn being sung in Chinese.  It was such a wonderful reminder that the same God we worship in Springfield is God of China as well.  It brought tears to our eyes.

It's Monday and we have now had Kristi for a week.  What a week of transitions!  Today started out a little on the edge - Kristi was trying to open our room door this morning and it closed on her fingers.  She was mad at the world after that one!  Then it was back to the medical facility to get the results of her TB skin test.  It was positive, which meant she needed a lung xray.  The facilty was crazy again - apparently Monday is the day for any adotions for the Chinese within a 5 province area.  But Connie got us right in.  Kristi's x-ray came back clean - amen!  Otherwise Connie said we would be there for an extended period of time while they worked out a treatment program with the US.  Connie confided afterward that she was a little nervous because of the strong positive reaction.  But the Lord provided!

We then went to a deli for lunch.  They had the most wonderful ham and cheese rolls (although Kristi was not pleased with our choice - she wanted the cakes)!  After lunch we went into the White Swan, a 5 star hotel that is quite well known.  It was beautiful inside - a waterfall and pool with fish.  After that it was back to the park to play.  Kristi is very social and always seems to find someone to play with.  It is obvious that she must have interacted a lot with other children.  We returned to the hotel for a down period (we are learning that she needs some down time in late afternoon - she gets set off very easily then as she is tired).  So we let her watch some cartoons.  She becomes very angry if she thinks Paul is going to take some of her snack or have a drink of her juice - that is one thing he has learned he can not tease her about.  If she can always have a container of juice or a snack by her - she is much more content.  She will nurse her snacks along forever, so it is not that she is hungry - she justs want the comfort of knowing it is there.  Today she was frustrated with Kim and went off on a long string of Chinese when her fingernails were not cut the way she wanted them cut!  I wonder what she was saying??

For supper we went to restaurant that came highly recommeded in the adoption blogs - The Cow and Bridge.  It was excellent!  Apparently it is a Thai restaurant but it tasted Chinese to us!  Then we walked around the boulevard for a while.  We stopped by Jenny's Place to pick up our laudry.  Jenny's is run by a christian couple.  They were happy to talk to us for a while.  Then it was back to the hotel for a bath.  Kristi is now starting to procrastinate during the bedtime routine.  Tonight she broke a glass as she was trying to spit for about the 10th time after brushing her teeth.  Then once in bed she wanted me to go through the kissing routine (one on each cheek, one on the forhead and one on the nose) over and over.  Then the last ditch request for water.  Once we turn all the lights out and I gently touch her forhead, she goes to sleep in a matter of minutes.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday, July 24

Today was a free day in Guangzhou - no adoption activities!  This morning we went to White Cloud Mountain with Connie.  The entire mountain (more like foothills) is a national park.  We took a cable car ride to the top and enjoyed the beautiful views of the city from the bird's eye view.  Kristi really enjoyed the cable car!  At the top was a bird santuary.  We saw parrots, peacocks, and many other varieties of birds.  At one point Kristi was telling the bird to look at momma to have its picture taken. 

We went to Subway for lunch.  We were suprised to find one by the hotel.  Then we went back to the hotel to wash some clothes out.  Kristi understands all about washing clothes by hand.  We also delivered a few to a local store to be washed.  Every local store here does laundry.  After that it was back to the park to play for an hour and a half.  On the way back, we saw about 5 different couples having wedding pictures taken.  Apparently Shamain Island is the place to have your wedding pictures taken.  Connie said they take them about a month before the actual date.  It is very hot here today.  We are sweating just standing around outside.  Kristi has been very good until now.  We can tell when she is getting tired because, like most children, she starts getting naughty.  She became very angry with us when we gave her a carton of milk instead of a soda (and no, we were not drinking it - it was in the fridge in the hotel room - someone should tell these hotel services not to stock the fridge!!)  So she had a tantrum over it and we tried to lay her down for a nap.  Suddenly cartoons and milk had new attraction and she settled in again.  Hopefully the evening goes well.