Saturday, March 31, 2012

2 Weeks HOME!!! Beware it's LONG :)


     Can you believe it?  We have been home from China for TWO WEEKS!!!  I think my jet lag is over and I'm finally a bit on top of things.  I think Elizabeth is starting to feel settled in -- I think :)  Our life is BUSY or CRAZY -- whichever way you want to look at it!!  BUT oh, so fun!  

     The last two weeks have been full of 'FIRSTS' for Elizabeth.  There is so much NEW for her.  So, I thought it would be best to give you a brief picture run through :)

 The first time we all sat in the chair TOGETHER.  Elizabeth wasn't so sure she wanted to share me :) 
ALSO the first set of matching outfits.  Now, I want EVERYONE to know, My Darling and BaJabs came up to me that morning and said, "So, where are the matching outfits, mom?"  I know they won't always WANT to do this so I'm taking advantage of it while it lasts.

The first time Elizabeth went to church.  We did go to church the first Sunday we were home.  She even sang -- LOUD -- IN CHINESE :)  My Darling and I kept smiling -- and laughing a bit, too:)
She went to Sunday School WITHOUT me BUT when it was time for class she was reluctant.  So, I went with her and she did fine.  The 2nd week she went without me and did great!!!
When Matt went to take this picture that morning, she actually pulled on My Darling to kiss her -- Oh, so sweet!

The first time listening to My Darling play the violin.  Elizabeth LOVES music. 

 The first time helping in the yard.  I LOVE how the girls worked together to pick-up pine cones.  They got more then three bucketfuls. 

LOVE this picture of all three girls! 

The first Friday pizza and movie night -- a favorite time in our house.  Subway, chips, pop and eating in the living room.  Of course, all special because we NEVER eat in the living room and the girls drink little to no pop. 
 The first SNEAKING from the candy dish.  She LOVES jelly beans and chocolate.  She has learned to say, "more candy, please." 

Yes, this little girl is a BIG helper.  When the kids go to school she LOVES helping me do chores.  She is great at folding clothes and actually remembers where they go :)  Her and I spend lots of time cuddling, doing chores, picture cards and errands. 

The first FULL Woller family birthday party.  Matt's family has monthly birthday parties :)  LOVE them.  March is a big month -- 5 birthdays -- 3 birthdays are our kids.  So, the party is at our house -- 23 people.  I will do more on the birthdays on Sunday BUT Aunt Audrey brought a welcome gift for Elizabeth.  And as you can see she was thrilled.  She also did well at the party.  A tad overwhelmed BUT we did Chinese food, which she loves.  She played well and all the girls were so kind and attentive to her :)

The first 'mommy' manicure and pedicure.  She LOVED this :)  We got a wonderful box of goodies from my Aunt Susan and Uncle Earl.  The box had new shirts for the girls, chocolate bunnies AND Hello Kitty fingernail polish.  Oh, my they were all so excited!  Thank-you Aunt Susan -- you made their day :)
AND if you notice in the picture she had her FIRST haircut.  She did well.  We just trimmed all the ends.

After the finger/toe nails the girls all ran and got cucumbers for their eyes.  So funny :)
Elizabeth and I did some shopping on this particular day for JM and BaJab's birthday.  We went to Toys-R-Us for HER first time.  All she wanted to get was that Hello Kitty shirt she has on and a cup with her name -- Elizabeth.  
 Playing a little game.  Great for her fine motor BUT the first time she caught it :)

Ok -- just a fun picture of JM, Elizabeth and BaJabs.

The first puzzle she did with My Darling.  It is actually a prism one and they had so much fun doing it :)  Elizabeth (and the girls) LOVE puzzles. 

     NOW before you think all of our time is FUN and EASY -- READ ON.

I totally want to be honest -- especially for all my friends that have adopted.  BECAUSE this is not all easy.  She still has meltdowns.  Isn't this the sadness face ever????  The issues are ALL minor and many are because of lack of understanding -- LANGUAGE.  She does get 'keyed' up.  I would call it over stimulated.  AND when that happens she gets a tad emotional if things don't go her way.  I do lots of sensory strategies with her AND she responds well.  Massaging her arms and rocking in my arms is amazing for her.  This little episode is because she threw a doll to the bottom of the stairs and when her dad told her she couldn't do that and to go pick it up, she laughed and said no.  Well, that is unacceptable and she was told she HAD to do it and Matt took her down to do it -- really, this is minor I know BUT she has a hard time handling it especially in the morning and evening AND it's usually with Matt.  Her episodes are getting shorter and shorter.  The first ones seem to last forever and now they are usually just a few minutes long.  Today we had 2 (the first one over chipped nail polish :).  Everyday there is 1 and some days 2. 
When she wakes-up from nap (yes, she still naps about 2 hours) she seems a bit sad.  We have to do lots of cuddling at this time.  Sometimes she kinda blanks out a bit -- you know the stare into outer space look.  It lasts about 10 minutes or so -- she seems comforted and ok -- she's fine.  
She is pretty attached to ME right now.  She doesn't like it when I'm not around, which is rarely.  I took the kids to church Wed. night -- Matt and Elizabeth stayed home -- she asked Matt about every 5 minutes -- "mama?" and would look out the window.  I did get to go grocery shopping alone -- she handled it better but didn't like going to bed without me being home.  AND I did get to go to the movies TONIGHT with a friend to see Mirror, Mirror.  She did ok -- but wonders about me.  Yes, these are short times, Matt is here, I always promise her I'll be back and give lots of kisses. 

BUT I want to show you how she is most of the time!!!
A total HAM -- she is a goof!!!

She is a crazy dress-up girl!!

Yes, making a mustache with My Darlings hair.
Silly faces with JM.  She has LOTS of goofy faces and she sports them often :)

By far -- my favorite of her faces!! She is so beautiful!!

LOVE her smiles!!!  Which she has almost all of the time -- the goofy ones I consider FUN!

  I get about to the end and realize there are no pictures of MD.  Yes, he still lives here :)  He is just a busy guy.  He has been staying after school to finish everything he missed while we were in China.  He is FINALLY done with all of the work he missed and all the exams.  AND yes, he still has straight A's.  He is also busy with youth group.  BUT Elizabeth loves him so much :)

     Next week is busy for our family.  Thankfully, the kids are all on Spring Break!  Tomorrow our doctor is doing a home visit!!  Oh, I'm so thankful.  We know Elizabeth has some bad 'doctor' experiences -- so, we are going to ease her in and do it in a safe environment.  We will have x-rays on Monday afternoon.  Tuesday our social worker comes for our 1 month appointment.  Our appointment at the limb difference clinic is Thursday -- really looking forward to that one -- really I am :)

AND don't worry we have some FUN things to do as well!  

  1. Elizabeth's attachment and bonding is going well.
  2. Our family is bonding.
  3. The IRS FINALLY settled in our favor over Abby's adoption credit -- yes, this took forever.
  4. Wonderful doctors in our area! 
  5. ALL of our luggage arrived AND nothing broken!!!
Prayer Requests:
  1. All of our medical appointments coming up next week -- especially that she handles them well.
  2. Decisions -- medical and education
  3. Continue to bond and attach with the family.
     Thank-you so much for joining us in this journey.  Your prayers mean the world to us.  We certainly have need and will continue to need God's help in our journey.  I will work hard at updating many times next week -- and I promise they won't be this LONG!!! 

Friday, March 23, 2012

We are home!

She did amazing.
THANK-YOU LORD -- and all for praying!
NOT perfect by any means BUT really, so much better than expected :)
The flight -- oh, is it grueling.  LONG!!!  UNCOMFORTABLE!!! 
BUT the end result is HOME!!!  
So, of course, it's worth it!!!

HONG KONG -- We got to the airport fine!
Security -- All my medical stuff got searched!  NEVER has happened before!
THANKFULLY, I had a medical letter!!!
Flight -- on time!
Yes, I got picked AGAIN, getting on the flight, to get searched!!
MD did NOT sleep -- He loved watching AMERICAN TV/movies!!!
Me -- about 3 or 4 hours of sleep; Matt -- about 2 hours; Elizabeth about 5 or 6 hours.
 Our ride to the airport -- yes, you should be able to see Elizabeth in the window.

Waiting in line to check-in -- in Hong Kong!
Elizabeth on the airplane.  Only 1 brief time of tears AND it was about her brace!  She wanted to wear it!  I think it was her comfort.
She was happy most of the time and slept on MATT!!!  He LOVED it!
CHICAGO --- Immigration -- FAST
Customs -- FAST
Connecting flight to GR -- 3 1/2 hour wait -- DELAYED because of oil leak -- WAIT -- a new plane!!!! YEAH!

 Waiting for our connecting flight.  She is showing off her McDonald's Happy Meal Toy!  It's a Little Pony -- yes, she LOVED it!

Arrival in GR -- only 45 minutes late BUT Elizabeth doesn't know what is about to happen!

It's NOT pretty!!!!

When we start walking -- I can't wait to see the three kids!!  
Elizabeth starts to melt-down!
Matt and I take turns hugging the kids, my parents and Lauren.
BUT Matt has to carry Elizabeth SCREAMING out to the van.
I handle luggage -- 
2 made it -- 2 are MISSING!!! YIKES!
Of course, Elizabeth's and mine!
NOT going to worry -- I NEED Starbucks!
They say it will come in 1 - 5 days. 

Yes, she's been crying.  It's just me and her -- hiding.

Me getting a chance to love on the kids.
Nanny brought 'THE BIRTHDAY HAT' for MD and the milk he couldn't wait to drink -- and of course, a cupcake!
The girls tried so hard.  I LOVE My Darlings look here :)  The girls were so patient with Elizabeth.  They never got upset about her reaction.  They tried -- she was mad -- so, they gave her a bit of space.  
 REALLY -- it was better than BaJabs!  She actually kicked My Darling when she got off of the plane. 

Elizabeth is MAD in the car.  
She did go in the car seat -- WOW!!
She held my hand -- willingly.
She would NOT look at anyone -- not even the movie, TANGLED.
BUT -- she would STEAL looks at me and the movie.  
She was SCARED!!!  Who wouldn't be -- right!  
We look weird -- eat weird -- car seats -- fast driving -- movies in cars --
NONE of that happened in her life BEFORE!

We pull into our driveway.
Matt announces -- "WE ARE HOME!"
We all get out -- 
Elizabeth walks in FIRST!

She looks around -- and LOVES it! 
My Darling is GREAT with her!!!  Patient, guiding her, showing her stuff.
The girls show her some toys -- they play -- LAUGH -- giggle!!
Elizabeth even shows the girls some of her stuff -- her McDonald's Happy Meal Toy!

 Playing -- exploring.

 Yes, this is about 10 minutes after we walk in the house.
Elizabeth showing the girls her STUFF!
She's telling them about it in CHINESE!
Upstairs -- took a bit!  
She LOVED her OWN bed!!!
Yep, she even slept there the first night!

Her bed -- we all spent some time in there. 
The handshake.
A VERY late night!
All went to bed after 11:30.

All asleep!  
I could NOT sleep!!!
I did LOTS of laundry and sorted through backpacks and the guys' luggage.
I went to bed around 3:30 am. 
Around 6:30 she woke -- SCREAMING!!
Really -- very short lived.  
We cuddled, in her bed.
She relaxed BUT there was NO going back to sleep.
So, all the girls on the couch watching cartoons.  
Cuddle time!!!

Sorry, no cuddle pictures as no one else was awake BUT really this is about an hour after they got up.  
Is she really the same girl that got off of the airplane???

     Yes, I know it's been a week!!!  Please don't worry -- we are alive and doing well!  I will update over the weekend :)  I can't seem to get on top of things!  The time change (from China to here) has been the hardest for ME!! This new addition has not been easy BUT really it's going well!  BUT I will save that for the next post :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 15 -- Leaving China arriving in Hong Kong

     Today we had a LAZY morning.  We actually got to take our time.  It was so nice.  We had a nice Skype call with the kids at home.  We met a new couple that just adopted a little girl three days ago.  We were able to sit and talk at breakfast.  It was nice.  

Skyping with the kids -- she's showing her new doll.
She's a master at the elevator buttons -- really!
     We spent time packing everything up.   Elizabeth did A LOT of writing when we were packing.  She LOVES to write.  We went for our final walk around the hotel.  We needed to find more Mango Mentos!  We also went out to lunch at our favorite spot -- Sabah's.  

Her writing time.
Finally -- I got some Mango Ice cream.  Hagen Daaz the only place I could find it -- Matt finally broke down and paid $5 for a cup!!! WOW!!! 
It was delicious!
I even shared!
Mommy and Elizabeth!
Can't wait to have all of the kids on me :)
     Finally, 4 o'clock came around -- we met in the lobby.  Many of the families came to say good-bye to the seven families that were leaving.  We loaded the vans -- Elizabeth actually had a few tears.  AND off we went to Hong Kong.  

In our limo -- van!
     The ride was very smooth and nice.  We were told it would be about a three hour ride.  About two hours in we had to go through immigration.  We were told by our facilitator that we would NOT have to get out of the van and do anything BUT our driver said we did.  So, we did -- but we were nervous.  We only had our passports and my purse -- and $50.  We went through immigration quickly BUT when we got out on the other side our driver was no where.  Yes, I slightly started to panic but after about 8 minutes he appeared.  (The really odd thing is that people in the other vans didn't do this????)  When we entered Hong Kong we did not have to get out -- the officer just opened the door and took our temps.  Still -- weird!

      Finally, we entered Hong Kong.  It is actually a neat looking city.  The bridges are awesome.  We had to drive all the way to the other side to get to the airport.  Our driver dropped us at our hotel.  The hotel is fine -- although, very expensive for everything.  BUT it's 16 hours and we will be on a plane -- HOME!!!  

 Going across the bridge in Hong Kong.

 Part of the city.

 Our hotel room.

 Sleepy girl!

     Yes, we are very excited to be going home!!  There are a few from our group that are on our plane -- which is fun.  AND it's MD's birthday tomorrow -- our entire trip home.  How lucky -- He's 15 on the 15th and it will be a 36 hour day for us :)  Happy Birthday to my eldest.  He has been great during this trip.  He is always so helpful and thankful.  He loves the farm and  youth group.  He is a goof and leads us all to some great comic relief.  I love him dearly!!!  Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday MD!
  1. We made it to Hong Kong
  2. Elizabeth is adjusting well -- so far.
  3. Safety and Health
Prayer Requests:
  1. The LONG flight home.  Elizabeth to do well -- and us, too!
  2. Bonding as a family of 7.
  3. Safety and Health!