Wednesday, September 18, 2013

We Leave 2 Weeks From Today!

It is so hard to believe we're leaving in 2 weeks.  There are still so many tiny little bitty things to take care of, and my list is growing and growing.  "It's all in the details" is definitely an appropriate phase for this stage right now!  Hopefully I'll still have my sanity when we board the plane.  Our agency is booking some of our trip and we've been responsible for booking plane tickets and other parts of the trip.  (We're bucking the system a bit by insisting we enter China through Beijing and not Hong Kong).   So because of that difference we have to book the stay in Beijing and we have to get ourselves to Jiangxi province to meet up with our group.  But, all is well and it would have been hard for us to take the boys across the ocean to China and not take advantage of seeing the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, etc.  I definitely want them to learn about Ellie Kay's culture and see the amazing sights of her land.  They're looking forward to it, but I know they don't completely know what to expect.  They are both pretty adaptable though and I'm sure they'll do great.  I am a bit concerned about Aidan's sleep. He requires quite a bit of sleep to function normally and I'm not sure how everyone will sleep on the plane. Also, once we get to Beijing, we all will be in 1 small room for three nights.  They aren't big people and aren't used to big families, so they have nothing available for 4 people.  Our option was to book 2 separate rooms not guaranteed to be together or to try to get by with 1 room for all of us.  I'm hoping they have roll away beds or at least pallets.  I guess we'll find out! Please continue to pray for us if we cross your mind.  

1 - As always, please pray God will prepare Ellie Kay's tiny heart to be ready for this huge change of becoming a part of our family.

2 - Pray for little Tru, who will have a great time with grandparents, but a little out of sorts I'm sure given his whole family is leaving him for over 2 weeks.

3 - Pray for me since I have to miss Tru's 3rd Bday!  I know he won't know, but that's a hard one for me!  :(  We plan on celebrating before.

4 - Please continue to pray for EK's foster mother as she will be saying goodbye soon.  

5 - For the details of our trip - luggage arriving on time/intact, that we won't get sick (which is VERY common for adoptive families), that we won't get lost in China since we can't communicate well with the locals.  :) 

That's all for now!  We are going to try to figure out soon how to post via a "virtual private network" (VPN) since China doesn't allow blogs, Facebook, etc.  (It's called the "Great Firewall"!  Ha!)  So to communicate we have to get a temporary VPN and gain access through that.   Hopefully all that will work and we can communicate just fine.  We plan on doing FaceTime with Tru and grandparents.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Our Life Lately Other Than Adoption Related Things 

Much of our time and energies have revolved around the excitement of our adoption.  But, life has still been going on for us and we've been very busy with homeschooling and both of the boys are playing soccer.  Matt is always doing a good job taking care of the zoo and that keeps him very busy outside of our home.  For those not friends with me on Facebook, I teased him about his "duties" at the zoo while his parents and I spent 4 hours outside watching both of the boys practice soccer in very hot, humid weather (because they practice at different times and there was an hour break in there, but we were still outside).   That particular day, Matt spent the whole day hanging out with Sheryl Crow. Evidently her little boys like zoos, so they spent the day at ours while she was in town to hear her Dad sing on Beale Street that night.  Matt's job for the day was to tour her around.  Definitely not your normal 9-5.  :)

I also took time out to date my oldest boy, Jacob, last week.  It's about time he learns how to treat a lady and I want to be the one he practices with.  We had bought a gift certificate on Living Social recently for a local cooking school and it was a great place to take him.  To Jacob, it was very "fancy" because they were trying very hard to impress.  I can't believe he's getting so big and is almost as tall as me.  We had a great time and needed that time away from the busyness to just have fun together one on one.  

Tru's life will probably be affected almost more than anyone other than us since his "baby" position in the family will be displaced and he'll be sharing his room.   He has really no idea of what's to come. Here's a couple of cute pictures of our little cowboy.  He absolutely loves dressing up in his cowboy outfit and I can't resist taking a picture of him when he does.

Tru's first time to see the Peabody ducks.  He was fascinated!

Matt and I attended the Zoo Rendezvous last weekend, which of course is a social event but with all that's been going on lately, also felt like a work obligation since we've been so busy (in a great way!) with adoption related things, we've had little time to do anything else.  My idea of a date night would have been going somewhere quiet to talk alone, but beggars can't be choosers.  :) Our friends, the Mundays, were lifesavers as always and kept the boys for a few hours or so that we could attend.  Waverly remembered to snap a pic before we left.  They have such naturally pretty backgrounds at their house.

Speaking of the Mundays, Waverly helped big time in celebrating my birthday this week.  She provided breakfast for me, helped the boys decorate birthday signs, and they took me out to dinner Wednesday night before church and she had baked a cake.  She is such a thoughtful and super, super considerate friend.  She has done too many little things to count lately to make my life easier while she balances her own large family.  God has blessed us with their friendship!

One last picture of Tru because he's cute.  Yes, I know, I have no pictures of Aidan from this past week.  If there's anyone more camera shy than me, it's Aidan.  I'll need to be more intentional of getting him soon.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Day Ellie Kay Was Born

Ellie Kay was born November 24, 2012 - Thanksgiving weekend.  How appropriate.  On the other side of the world, I had a daughter being born on the weekend set aside to give thanks.  I don't know the circumstances on her end, and we were completely unaware that such an important event to all of us was happening.  However, because it was around a holiday, we actually know what we were doing that day and believe it or not, we even have a couple of pictures of the kids that particular day.   (Unfortunately, not of us because I'm usually behind the camera and not in front of it).   Matt's sister and her family and Matt's parents were here for that weekend celebrating Thanksgiving with us.  We will never have the delivery room pictures like with the other boys,  and we will never know whether the birth was easy or complicated or exactly how she looked the day she was born.  But, we have a bit of her history and a tiny sliver of her back story.  These little details will be so important to her one day, so I'll try to chronicle them as I remember.

The one and only picture I have of Tru that day - just his back.  But doesn't he look adorable walking in his boots?

Alot of the day the kids spent swinging on a vine with their cousins, Julia and Genevieve.  This was thanks to Uncle Rob who took great pains to cut the vine and test it out  - making sure it'd be safe.  He's a super cool, imaginative uncle and the boys love him and Aunt Jeanie bunches!  

Genevieve -  trying to catch the vine being swung to her.

To be the youngest swinger, she got the hang of it quickly.  Aunt Jeanie cheers her on!  :)

She even swung back and landed on the log.

Aidan's turn

Aidan loves physical challenges, so he was a natural!

 Jacob got some great swings in.

Julia is getting ready for her turn.

And she did great!

 The kids exploring the woods behind our house.

The treehouse looked really pretty that day amongst the leaves.  The night before we ate dessert on the treehouse with everyone.  

I looked back at the Thanksgiving journal I keep which documents every year what everyone is thankful for.  (We go around the table and I record all the responses in a little Thanksgiving book).  One of my responses on Thanksgiving was "Our little girl who is probably already born".  I was close.  She was born that Saturday - 2 days after Thanksgiving.

I wish I knew the other side of the story.  All I know is that I'm thankful that it happened and that we have this special member of our family.  Can't wait for you to join us, Ellie Kay.  We love you already!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

We know the date we'll see our daughter!

Sounds crazy to say that.  We will leave Memphis on 10/2 and get Ellie Kay on 10/8 (so while you're sleeping in the US on the night of 10/7).  The appointment with the US Consulate was made for 10/15.  This is the day we "take the oath".  After that, we have to stay a couple of days waiting on her passport and such and will be able to travel back on 10/17.  

It's been a crazy week trying to get things settled and booked, and Matt is very tied up with work stuff this week and not able to work on this with me (through no fault of his own) - just coincidental bad timing.  :)  It seems like it should be Friday already....  

I'm very, very excited about our trip, but also a little anxious that I don't know quite what I'm doing.  There are so many little steps to set up with the different cities will be visiting.  It's quite overwhelming!  Pray for us - that it will all go smoothly!!   

Then, on the other hand, what I'm NOT excited about is leaving my little Tru bug for over 2 weeks.  Oh my - my mama heart almost can't stand it.  He will be in fantastic care splitting time between both sets of grandparents who love him very much and whom he adores.  But, we sure will miss him.  I'm sure he'll be a bear when we get back too.  All of a sudden, he won't be the baby, have a new sister who will be sharing his room,  and he will have been spoiled by grandparents as an "only" for 2 weeks.  Oh my!  I'm sure it will take us all a while to hit our stride as a newly changed family as we learn about Ellie Kay and she adjusts to us.  Also, 5 of us will be jet lagged big time from being on China time (which is a whopping 13 hours ahead of us), but Tru will be raring to go during the day.  OK - I'm borrowing trouble and need to quit.... ;)  

Friday, September 6, 2013

Travel approval at last!!!

We have officially gotten travel approval!  This means we have an official invitation from the Chinese government to come and pick up Ellie Kay.  Oh, how I'd love to hop a plane tomorrow morning! If it were only that easy.....

We are very tentatively leaving Oct 4 or 5th and will return somewhere around the 17th-19th IF our agency can get the consulate appointment in time.  Before we can leave China, we will have an appointment with the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou to work on details that will make it legal for Ellie Kay to enter the U.S.  If we get that appointment that they request, we will be able to leave in 4 weeks! It makes it seem so much more real to have actual target dates.  We will probably know for certain anytime from Monday - Wednesday.  At that point, we can start working on booking tickets.  Can't wait!!  Now to start working on packing!  :)