Sunday, June 22, 2014

HOME!!!!

We are HOME! And just look at all the people who love our little girl and were there to meet her! 











And even after almost 30 hours of travel, Connie was still a social butterfly and made the rounds hugging grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, and all our friends. We had spent time in prayer asking the Lord to keep Connie from being overwhelmed and He definitely answered that request. She was absolutely adorable as she made herself right at home with everyone!!










                          Cousins!


So thankful for this little girl! She is already such a blessing to our family!



Thank you to all who came out so late at night to welcome Connie home! It meant  so much to be surrounded by loved ones as we start this new stage of life. Connie has been asking for a family of her own and was completely ready for us to bring  her home. But little could she imagine the extended family she would gain as well. 
 
Our family of six!


Once home, we gave Connie a tour of our house. She has looked at pictures of it for months now, and her reaction was precious. She walked into each room and said "Wow!" and would touch every item of furniture and was smiling ear to ear. She LOVES her bed and the stuffed animals we had waiting on her. 


She fell asleep almost instantaneously (a first) and slept in until 9:30am the next morning. 


Once up, she was happy as could be and enjoyed playing with James, who was all smiles by the way.  


I don't think I've ever seen James so happy. He was ready to leave China after just a couple days, so 16 days about did him in. He just loves being home and enjoys his routine. But I'm so proud of how well he did during all the travel.  Amelia and Grant have been troopers throughout the trip and I honestly don't recall hearing one complaint from either one of them. They both love Connie so much (and she adores them) it has really been fun for me and Glenn to witness such selflessness on their part during this transition. 



Amelia saved all her Littlest Pet Shop toys for years in hopes of having a sister. She couldn't wait to pull them out and boy were they a hit with Connie! 



Connie found a microphone in the toy box and out came the diva. She sings into it constantly.  This girl is full of sass and spunk!  




One concern we had was how Connie would handle our two dogs. We wondered if she would be frightened (which would be perfectly normal and expected).  However, we had nothing to fear. Connie LOVES animals. She is gentle with the dogs and they both took to her as if she has always been with us. Even Peanut Butter, our grumpy schnoodle who doesn't really like other children, warmed up to her quickly. 


We are feeling very blessed. Connie has been so happy with us and even though she has a lot to learn about boundaries and appropriate behavior, we already can't imagine our family without her! 


***Thank you to all our friends who looked after our house while we were gone and cleared debris from our yard after a bad storm came through. Thank you to all who prayed for us daily and encouraged us as we faced so many new things on the other side of the world. Thank you to those who have brought groceries or offered to bring meals this next week. With all the adjustments, upcoming doctor appointments, and other catching up after such a long trip, we greatly appreciate and truly need the help. May God bless you for your care for our family!***

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Consulate appointment complete!

The final stage of the adoption process is complete! Our consulate appointment was this morning and Connie's visa will be issued by 4pm tomorrow. We will take a van to Hong Kong and fly out the next morning at 5am. 27 hours later we will arrive in Tennessee. Woot!

I have been unable to blog or get on Facebook for a couple days now so I have some catching up to do. In short, we left Nanning late Friday night to fly to Guangzhou. Our time in Nanning was primarily to get Connie's passport issued by civil affairs. It took four days to get it, during which time we spent a lot of time at the hotel. We ventured out a few times but the streets are very busy and a little dangerous for us non-locals who don't know how to navigate through the traffic. This pic gives you an idea of what we were up against!


During the day the kids enjoyed swimming at the hotel pool. Connie loved her new swim suit. 


We brought coloring pages and crafts to help keep Connie busy in the room. She loves drawing and coloring and is a neat nick with her things. She kept her crayons perfectly in order in the case and would organize and reorganize her back pack. 



Leaving the hotel in Nanning:



It was Connie's first time flying so our translator explained to her she would be riding on an airplane. Connie became very upset and said that she didn't want to leave us. The poor little thing thought we were sending her alone! The translator quickly explained we were all leaving together and Connie was fine. 

She handled the plane just like everything else...in stride. It was so cute how intently she watched the flight attendant demonstrate safety.


She was concerned that Glenn and I weren't listening and pulled out the safety sheet from the back of the seat and went over the oxygen mask, life vest, and seat buckle several times with us. So adorable. 

We didn't get to our hotel in Guangzhou until almost 1am, which made the 7am medical appointment the next morning  that much more difficult. We decided that only I would go with her so the other children could sleep in and get a good breakfast. 

Connie had to see several different specialists at the medical building. 

First stop was for vitals and they also checked her vision. 




The vision test revealed she has poor eyesight so they sent her to a specialist in  the building. 



She was such a big girl and all the doctors were impressed with how quickly she understood what they were asking of her and how well she followed instructions. The specialist said she will need to see an eye doctor when we get home, which is something we were already planning to do since we noticed some slight strabismus (weak eye muscles causing eyes to cross). So no surprises there. 

She had a few more tests and the last one is a blood draw to check for TB. I was really worried about that test. It was her last one and they took her while I waited outside the room. I never heard her cry and when she came out she seemed fine but still showed me her bandaid and made me kiss it. She catches on quick. ;)

The next day was Father's Day.  If there was ever a guy who deserves a wonderful celebration, it is Glenn. His decision to adopt Connie is what brought us to this point. He has never wavered throughout this entire process and has been the rock I've leaned on when my own resolve was weakening. And what an unforgettable Father's Day!  We were in China with a new daughter and all of us were together. We decided to splurge and actually eat at a restaurant. For the most part, we have only eaten fast food or had pizza delivered to our room so it was a nice treat. 

Happy Father's Day to one incredible dad. :)


The next day was set aside for sightseeing. We went to Sha Mian island which a popular tourist spot. We found some souvenirs and walked around for most of the morning. In one shop we found Connie a traditional Chinese dress and the shop keeper let us try it on to be sure it fit her. Only problem is, we couldn't get her to take it off. Do you think she liked it?






Yes, she wore it the rest of the day. :)

We were able to watch local artists and visit several shops. It is fun to soak in the culture here. 




Before leaving the island, we stopped at one of the prettiest Starbucks we've ever seen. Glenn and Amelia were SO happy (they are the coffee people in this family) and were able to satisfy their craving after  two weeks of deprivation. 



Connie has done really well, especially the last couple days. She definitely is a quick learner and desires to please us. She loves looking at the pictures of our family and home. When we FaceTime with aunts and uncles and grandparents she is absolutely adorable and interacts with them. 



One of our translators said she "has a pure heart" and that is so true. And by the way, James and Connie are bonding.  



Thank you all for your prayers! We have felt them!  God has blessed us immensely.