Saturday, December 21, 2013

Group baby pic

I totally forgot to post this before, but this is the group photo of all 7 babies in our travel group with Kathy, our Guangzhou guide. 

The babies weren't very happy.
From left: Tia O'Brien, Lillia Jackson, Ellie Kay Thompson (in red), Marin Carpenter (standing beside Kathy, our guide), Colton Browing in Kathy's lap, Rachel Bujnosek, and Tyler Kern.

 Had to include this shot because it's funny of Daddys and Mommies trying to get babies to stay on the couch.  :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Last Day - The longest day of them all - the flight back home (over 24 hours of traveling - ugh! :).

Saying goodbye to Kathy at the Guangzhou airport 

Ellie Kay ready to go home!  

Landing in Beijing after getting off the plane.  We were squeezed into a shuttle and taken to the terminal.  China knows what it is to pack people in!

Beijing airport - taking a nap on Daddy

Finally landed in the US (Detroit)!  EK is almost a citizen at this point - just a few minutes later after an "interview" with USCIS.

We're through the checkpoint and EK is a citizen!  Unfortunately, we chopped her out of the pic (she's on Matt's shoulder) and immediately a federal agent asked to see the pic and asked us to not take any more until we were completely through immigration security so we didn't get a chance for a re-take - oops!

Here I am as a citizen! :)

Aidan slept like this during the entire Detroit layover.  He had not been to sleep in hours and hours and finally crashed!!

Back in Memphis
(Thanks to Waverly for these pics)

Our family waiting for us (Thompsons left; Smiths right; cousins in middle).

Munday crew

 Tru waiting to meet his new baby sister

 We're here!!  They all get to meet Ellie Kay!
 And we get to hug our Tru bug!
 She was taken with Tru and still is.  She puts up with a lot. His hugs aren't gentle, but she wants to love on him and kiss him anyway. Her favorite thing is to kiss him first thing in the morning or when she first gets up from a nap.  I hope they grow up to be best friends like Jacob and Aidan.
 Our family finally back together!  All the boys have shirts that say "Big Brother" in Chinese.

Ellie Kay after crying the whole way home from the airport. My Dad is so tender hearted and hated that she cried the whole way and wanted to hold her.  I love this pic!  :)

Whew!  It "only" took me a couple of months, but I'm finally done posting China pics!   Now, I can start posting current stuff occasionally.  :)

Last Full Day in China - 10/16

Pretty low key day.  We all met in the lobby for pics of each family and pics with all of the babies together in their traditional clothing.  

 Our Family (minus Tru)

And I'd love to introduce the rest of our group to you!

Jason, Tanya, Aubrey, and Rachel Bujnosek - (Texas)
There's plenty of pics of this family on in our China pics.  We traveled the whole trip together - Beijing, Nanchang, and then Guangzhou, so we got to know them the best out of all of the families.  They are a precious family and we had such a great time with them and many laughs, meals together,  and adventures throughout the trip.  Aubrey is such a sweetie and was my Great Wall buddy! Rachel was very calm and sweet during the trip, and we saw her slightly start to come out of her shell by the end. 

The following three couples we got to meet in Nanchang since all of our babies were from Jiangxi province.

 Medray, Susan, and Marin Carpenter - Colorado
Marin makes them first time parents, but you would never guess it!  Marin had a very hard time at first.  She was terrified by elevators and clung to Susan as in the picture the entire trip.  Things like bathing and packing were difficult for Susan if she couldn't hold Marin.  This couple handled this new life changing experience with grace and humor!  God gave Marin the perfect parents for her.  By the end of the trip, she hinted at her smiles to come in her eyes and in the corners of her mouth.  (Since the trip, we hear Marin is a happy, laughing, very well adjusted little girl!)
By the way, Rachel and Marin were in the same orphanage and knew each other.  :)

T.W., Jennifer, Emma, and Lillia Jackson - New Mexico
I loved getting to know this family! They are sweet and personable and T.W. provided us all with laughs the entire trip.  He also joked (and swam) with the boys which relieved some boredom - especially on van and bus rides.  Emma is a charming little girl (and she and Aubrey Bujnosek hung out quite a bit and they were thankful another little girl was on the trip).  Little Lillia was also with a foster mother, but was based out of Nanchang orphanage and we could all see this orphanage from our hotel rooms (which later I found out was the same orphanage my friend Emily's daughter lived in).  Lillia was adorable and came to her family with the most adorable little pig tails all over her head.  She is a cutie!  She appears to have adjusted great at home as well and should be tough like Ellie Kay since she has a four year old brother at home as well.  

The "Three Ts" :)  - Tina, Thomas, and Tia O'Brien - Florida
We also enjoyed getting to know the O'Briens!  Thomas provided a laugh for us the very first night we met him making jokes about his fear of heights and the fact they put us all on the 31st floor of the hotel.  (Believe it or not, he joined us for a ride on the second tallest Ferris Wheels in the world).  They are first time parents, but Tina was employed for years as a nanny, so she is a natural Mommy and could easily tell signs of tiredness, etc, so she made it look easy!  Tia chose Thomas to bond with first and so you'd often see him wearing her in a front carrier the first couple of days.  However, Tia very quickly also bonded with Tina - even well before the end of our trip! (More than we could say for Ellie Kay ;).  Since their trip, Tia has been surrounded with love, friends, family and adventures.  She also started walking on Thanksgiving Day!

I forgot to add this one before on the day we left from Nanchang to Guangzhou, but this was cute, because it was unusual for people to see five American families all with Chinese babies.  It was an interesting dynamic also because there was excitement and with all of the babies just getting to know us.  

These two families we only got to meet up with in Guangzhou since their babies were from a different province.  They also had the BOYS of our group!! We also enjoyed meeting them if only for a few days.  

These families are Lori, Stephen, and Colton Browing from West Virginia (above), and Jason, Nicole, and Tyler Kern from Colorado (below).   Both of these blessed little boys are joining 2 siblings each at their homes. 

Our whole group

Afternoon on Shamian Island with Tanya

Shamian Island looks different than any other part of China.  It's very European since it was inhabited by Europeans years ago.  It's home to the White Swan hotel which is where all adoptive families stayed years ago but it has since closed down and no one stays on the island any longer. 
 It's beautiful and both days we visited, there were many, many brides and wedding parties getting their pictures made.
The prettiest Starbucks I've seen!

Tanya and I got a big kick out of this.  We were disoriented and couldn't find a particular shop we wanted to find and every bit of the sign was in Chinese.  It did us not a bit of good.  :)

Rest of the day was just packing and getting ready to fly out the next morning!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

10/15 - Shopping at Pearl Market and Pearl River Cruise

We didn't get any pictures of the Consulate Appointment because we were allowed to take nothing in except ourselves and babies, and all of our cameras/phones were left on the bus. 

Shopping at Pearl Market with our group.  They would string the pearls together there.  

Pearl River Cruise

About to board

  Eating our "yummy" meal.  ;)

One of the selections.  Look closely and you'll see the duck head.


Susan and Marin and Medray (right).  See that little glimmer of a smile on Marin?  It was so good to see that.  Sweet Marin had a rough first few days.

 Some sights of the city at night.  That part was nice.
Our "show" - basically a 5 minute presentation of a pretty bizarre trick of just changing her face color.  She picked Jacob out of the crowd to dance in front of as well as several others. It was a bit underwhelming of a show. 

 Our friend who we only spoke to through our guide.  He wanted to go home with us and kept hanging around us and taking pics of us. 

 All 4 kiddos on the bus.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pictures from 10/14 - Ellie Kay's Medical Apt, Food Street for lunch, Macua for dinner, and swimming

Medical Appointment
16 adoptive families waiting with their babies to see 3 different medical stations - nurse, ENT, and general check up (heart, lungs, etc).

 Tanya and I were super excited to finally meet Tommy (and his wife, Christen and Carlee, their new daughter - not in pic).  Tommy, Tanya, and I did much consulting via email pre-China about our upcoming trip.  We all had the same Log In Date from China and the same agency.  

Ellie Kay taking a nap on Daddy while we were waiting for our turn.   

 Medray (front), Tina, and Thomas 

 EK's turn for height/weight/temp- She was NOT a happy camper!

 Rachel's turn

 General medical check

 ENT department


Lunch - Food Street

 Matt, EK, and Tanya/Jason - This is where I stuck a Cheerio in Matt's mouth instead of EK's accidentally.  :)

Dinner with Big Group- Macau (Portugese/Chinese)

 Looking cute with Daddy for dinner

 Our big group - We took up several tables.  There were 7 families in our group.  
 Front of restaurant

Aubrey, Emma, and boys - These were the only kiddos in the group and they enjoyed hanging out (especially Emma and Aubrey - they were super cute together!)

Back at hotel

Her first time in a swimsuit.  Adorable!  I felt like (and still do) that I was dressing a baby doll.  :)
Mommy and EK ready to go for a swim.