Monday, January 28, 2013

FAQ


So, there are several questions that keep getting asked, so I thought it would be fun to just blog the answers!

1. Do Ethan and Reese play well together?

Answer: Hmmm... if you call always wanting to play with the same toy at the same time, getting along! :) Ethan is nicer to her than she is to him, like he will try to give her a cup or toy to make her stop crying and he shares more easily than she does. Maybe because she is younger or maybe she is just a drama queen in the making! They are very cute together and they both love to have the freedom to just play!

2. Is Ethan healthy?

Answer: Yes, so healthy I cannot believe it! James 5:15 "And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well..." He is very active and "normal" for a 2 year old boy. He is fond of throwing himself on the floor and hitting his head when he is mad! I am sure he will be my first child to need stitches!  We will visit Dr. Brus on Thursday for a well-check for both kids and then Dr. Tong again at the end of February. 

3. Are you exhausted?

Answer:  I feel like we are over the jet-lag, so that part of being exhausted is thankfully in the past.  The kids are both sleeping well, so we can sleep soundly all night. They also nap very well during the day, so I get a break.  I think when I go back to work, I will feel a different kind of exhaustion.  Right now, I can focus on Ethan and Reese during the day.  I have time for laundry, dishes, cleaning, etc.  That will change drastically when we all leave at 7:40 and don’t come home until after 4:00.  I am going to be off on Mondays, which is new for me to have a day off during the week.  I am praying I can keep up with work stuff and make the most of that day at home, as well.  Phil. 4:13 “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”

4.     Are you adjusting?

Answer:  Isabella- yes, she is so sweet with the little kids, she is her normal very helpful self!  She is very conscientious and watches for ways she can help.  Becca- yes, she is super eager to help and loves Ethan and Reese.  She gets frustrated when she tries to help and it doesn’t work out so well, but she is learning.  We are looking forward to watching the rest of her basketball games.  Ryleigh- yes, she is so good with Ethan and Reese, she is like another mother, for sure.  Ethan warmed up to her quicker than anyone else and I think it is because she didn’t give him a choice!  I am thankful for her help and proud of her maturity.  Reagan- yes, but we are making an extra effort to let her know even though she isn’t the baby anymore, we still love her.  She asks a lot of questions like “did I do that when I was a baby”  and “remember when I was doing that”  I think she wants to make sure we don’t forget how cute, charming, special, and amazing she is!  She likes to feed Reese and play with both of them.  She helps at bathtime, but not diaper changing time!  Ethan- yes, he is still most attached to me, but he is very happy and can be stubborn!  He understands time-out in his room!  Reese- yes, but I worry that she is not as attached to one of us as Ethan is.  I have been rocking her at night and most of the time, she lets me and seems to enjoy it.  She will go to anybody, which of course, is not a good thing.  We will see how time changes that.  As soon as anyone says “bye-bye” she starts blowing kisses.  She found her very loud voice and chooses to scream extremely loudly when things are not going her way or just for no reason at all!  But then she also has the most contagious smile and laugh!   She is getting better about walking instead of being carried.  Tim and I- yes, so far we are making a good team and keeping everything running relatively smoothly in our crazy house!  It takes a lot of effort to make time for each other, but we have made a promise to do that.  I feel so blessed to be on this journey with my perfect match. 

 
5.     Are Ethan and Reese good eaters?

Answer:  Yes and Yes.  Reese is not a huge fan of meat, but she is a good (and very slow) eater.  She takes little tiny bites and likes to be fed.  She is doing much better drinking from sippy cups by herself.  Ethan is a great eater.  He doesn’t like very many cold foods, but pretty much eats everything on his plate most meals.  We have been so blessed by our Small Group and other family and friends with delicious meals, so we have all been eating some very yummy food!  Things may change when it’s mommy cooking all the time!  They both ate tuna sandwiches for lunch the other day, so I am happy to have someone to share that with!  They also love milk and water, so that’s good, too! 

 

So, I think those are the Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions and the best answers I could come up with!  Our family continues to feel so blessed to all be together and slowly we are getting back to all the regular activities.  Ryleigh started basketball, so we have that to work into our schedule.  Like I said, I know when I go back to work, things will change again, so I am going to really try to enjoy this week! 

 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Settling In To A New Normal


I have waited for this time for so long and now it is here... New Normal! I think I would be enjoying it much more if jet lag wasn't kicking my butt. I remember how hard it was when we brought Reagan home to get back to the right timezone, so I know it just takes time, but it's frustrating to be so tired. Tim went back to work yesterday, so I was on my own! We dropped Ryleigh and Reagan off at school and then went to Wal-Mart. It went well. I am hoping I get more efficient about getting the little kids in and out of their carseats. We worried they would hate being strapped in carseats after being free in China, but they don't seem to mind! I guess I should back up and start where the last post left off (forgive me if none of this makes sense!).

Our trip home was looooong. Our flight from GZ to Beijing was delayed and we ended up getting to our hotel room at 1:30, so we went to bed at around 2:00, but Ethan was wide awake and jumping around in his bed. I wanted to cry! He was being hilarious, but I kept thinking that every minute that passed was less time to sleep before the long 24 hours ahead of us. The alarm went off at 5:30 and we got ready and met Grace in the lobby about 6:45. Pretty expensive nap and shower! We made it to the airport and got checked-in. Thank the Lord for Grace, she talked to the guy at the counter about our seats (after getting us moved to the front of this crazy long line!) and we got bulkhead seating and a bassinet for Reese. Answered prayers! I knew Ethan was exhausted and just hoped he would sleep 8 hours and get a full nights sleep.  He started crying when we took off and as soon as we were up in the air, I unbuckled him and held him.  He instantly fell asleep.  He was pretty restless, but stayed asleep.  He moved from me holding him, to his seat, to the floor periodically, but he ended up sleeping the entire flight!  He woke up a couple of times to eat and drink a little bit and I changed his diaper one time, but pretty much he was out.  I was worried because he was so sleepy for so long, but I knew he had a little cough and cold, plus he had two bad nights of sleep.  Reese did great!  She liked sitting in the bassinet playing with toys and ate great, slept some, and was generally happy the whole trip!  I consider it a God thing because I had prayed so hard for our trip to go well and it exceeded anything I could have hoped for!  Yes, Tim and I were completely exhausted, but the kids did so well, I was thrilled!  It was hard for us to rest because of all the people up and talking.  I have never seen anything like it.  There was a large group of young people that obviously knew each other and they just stood in the aisles and talked and laughed.  It was hard to get to the bathroom because they wouldn’t move!  Very annoying, to say the least!  Our flight attendants were nice and friendly and curious about the kids.  That was another answered prayer because we just hoped to have understanding flight attendants and we did!  We arrived early in Chicago.  We were able to take our time since we had a very long layover, so we went through immigration, which was just as simple as could be!  We checked to make sure that Reese didn’t need a boarding pass for our last flight, since we didn’t get one in Beijing.  We got on the shuttle to the right place to wait and once we got settled in the right terminal it was about 9:45!  Our flight didn’t leave until 5:00 so we had quite a bit of time to waste, which is very difficult when you are so tired, have two toddlers, and a bunch of stuff!  We found Chili’s and sat down to eat.  Our plan was to eat slowly and hang out there as long as we could, but then a group from the plane (the ones that talked so long and loud) came and sat right behind us.  UGH!  So, we finished up and left.  I was hoping to find a nice quiet corner to camp out for several hours, but there was no such place in the O’Hare that day!  So, we did the best we could to make ourselves comfortable.  Ethan slept in the stroller most of the day and Reese slept on a little palate we made out of coats and blankets.  We thought we shouldn’t both sleep, so we took turns dozing, but it was very hard to get any real rest.  Slowly, but surely, the time passed.  At about 3:00 we refreshed ourselves in the bathroom and I changed the kids into their Little Brother/Lil Sister shirts.  We talked to the girls on the phone and could feel the anticipation building! 

 

The flight to Springfield was short and sweet.  When we landed, I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing.  It was such a huge relief to be home and to be facing that moment we had waited on for so long…. Introducing our kids to each other!  We got Ethan in the stroller and Tim carried Reese.  When we rounded the corner we could see the girls and a huge crowd of people.  I couldn’t stop the tears!  There were so many people there clapping and cheering as we passed through the doors.  It was just as amazing as I knew it would be!  Ethan just stared at people, like he couldn’t believe all the hoopla!  Reese was smiling at everyone.  We started hugging and thanking people and just taking in the moment!  It was incredible to see our friends and family and to have them share this special time.  I know that so many people were relieved and happy to see us and Ethan and Reese are gifts to them as well!  One of the best parts was to see all the kids who have been so faithful to pray for Ethan and Reese.  The smiles and greetings from them were so precious. 

 

Our friend, Lance, drove us home again.  It was such a different atmosphere than in August.  And we were thankful he agreed to be a part of this last leg of our journey.  It was so much fun to talk with the girls and get caught up on what went on while we were gone.  When we got home, we unpacked all the souvenirs and showed the girls everything.  Everyone went to bed when we decided we were too tired to talk anymore.  Ryleigh and Reagan slept on Reese’s floor to make sure she did okay in her bed.  Ethan went right to sleep in his bed. 

 

Ethan felt a lot better on Saturday and we had a great day just hanging out at home.  The girls were shoving toys at the little ones left and right trying to show them everything in their rooms!  Ethan and Reese did great not getting overwhelmed.  They played and played.  They both ate well, we are enjoying lots of delicious food from our friends and my mom’s awesome chicken tetrazini.  We made it to church on Sunday.  It was wonderful to be back at Lifepoint and to introduce Ethan and Reese to everyone.  I ended up having to take Ethan out of the service.  He was being loud and not wanting to sit still.  I was laughing so hard at him and I know we were distracting everyone around us, so I just took him out.  Reese sat nicely on Tim’s lap. 

 

We didn’t make it to Small Group Sunday night even though we really wanted to.  We were so exhausted and couldn’t get fully awake after taking a long afternoon nap.  On Monday, Ethan had his doctor’s appointment.  We went to my parent’s house first for lunch.  My nieces were there so they got to meet their new cousins.  When we got to Dr. Tong’s office, we were informed that we were late.  We thought the appointment was at 2:00 but it was really at 1:00, but luckily they were nice about it and let us stay.  We were so impressed with the nurses and Dr. Tong was as amazing as we thought he would be.  Ethan did so great at each of the stations.  He laid so still for each test.  When they did his pulse-ox he knew how to work the machine.  The nurse said he was the best patient ever!  We were informed that everything is fine!  His pacemaker is working 94% of the time for his lower heart, which apparently is normal and fine.  They said he has 6.5 years left on the battery.  I am in awe of medical technology and so thankful for it.  The appointment took about 2 hours and the other kids waited pretty patiently in the waiting room.  Thankfully Reese is so easy going!  We will go back in a month to check everything again, since this first appointment gave a baseline of everything. 

 

It still seems a little bit surreal that we have them home and life is moving along with them!  I am so thankful, so blessed, and so grateful!  I will stay home with them for a couple of weeks and then we will transition back to Bright Beginnings where they can play with their friends and hang out with me in my office.  I am anxious to get back to BB and let Ethan and Reese get to know everyone there! 

 I will have Tim put some pictures on here later! 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Winding Down in Guangzhou

Yesterday we went to the zoo. It was a beautiful day and we had fun. We have heard some negative things about zoos in China, but we had a pretty good experience. It was cool to see the panda bear. The cutest thing was some teeny tiny piglets. Strangest thing… grasshoppers! The kids seemed to like it and it was a good way to spend the morning!

We came back to the hotel and napped and then met our group to go out for Mexican food! We had a good time and the food was amazing! Ethan and Reese both loved it! They ate nachos with beans and cheese and shared a burrito! So happy they like Mexican food! It was a good night out, it’s always fun to be with our group.

This morning was an early morning- BOO! We had to meet at 7:45 to go to the Consulate. Just like with Reagan, this part was very anti-climatic. We said an oath as a group that all of our paperwork is true and correct, blah, blah, blah. Then they called each family up one at a time to do the paperwork. Guess who as last? Yep, the Tuckers! Luckily they had a little play area for the kids and a western toilet for me! When it was our turn to go up to the window, there was a group of people standing behind the lady helping us. They explained that they were a group from the CCCWA visiting. Kind of neat to see the people who work there! Everyone acts surprised and happy that we are adopting two kids at one time. Someone made the comment today that “you saved money making one trip”. I didn’t have the heart to explain the whole thing. And it doesn’t really matter now anyway! It is what it is and we are almost at the end of this crazy and unbelievable journey.

We went back to Shamain Island to shop today to get the last of the gifts and souvenirs. Kelly only allowed an hour and twenty minutes for the group, so one of the other moms, Dana, and I decided to stay and take a taxi back. It was so much fun shopping with her! Ethan stayed with us and he did great, what a trooper he is! We took our time finding exactly what we wanted and shared our stories as we shopped. I absolutely loved hearing her story and how God led them to adopt. I think every adoptive family should write a book. Nobody’s story is the same, yet they are all so awesome. We got a taxi and loaded up our stuff, put the stroller in the trunk, and told the driver where to go. As we are driving a long chatting, we notice that the trunk popped up. Dana tried to tell the driver but he didn’t speak English and ignored her. The next thing you know we hear a terrible thud, thud, thud and we are just sure the stroller fell out and got run over. I was freaking out a little bit thinking Tim would be so mad to have to buy another stroller and that there’s no way we could make it without the stroller on the trip home. We were laughing and trying to figure out what to do. We couldn’t see enough to tell if the stroller was definitely gone, so we just had to wait until we got back to the hotel. Thank goodness it was still in the back of the trunk when we got back. It gave us a good laugh, though! Who knows what the noise we heard really was!

We are pretty much free until we leave tomorrow night. We will meet Kelly in the lobby at 5:45 so we can head to the airport to fly to Beijing (where the pollution is worse than it has ever been- yikes!). We don’t get there until really late, I think it’s 11:30. We will have to drive all that way back to the Poly Plaza hotel, where we stayed before. Then we will have to leave there early the next morning to go back to the airport to fly to Chicago. Although it will be a short stay in the hotel, it will be a bed and a shower! Grace will meet us in Beijing. I am praying that he kids will do well on these flights, that everything will be on time, and God will put patient people in our path. We know this will be a long trip, but it has to be done to get us home! We cannot wait to introduce these two to their big sisters, grandparents, relatives, and friends! I am happy with how well things have gone in China and with all the wonderful blessings that have come out of this trip. I bought myself a necklace today that has the Chinese symbol for Blessing on it. I think that sums it up nicely! I don’t know if I will blog anymore for awhile, but if you live in our area I hope I will see you at the airport. We arrive in Springfield at 6:30 on Friday night! This will be the beginning of a whole new life for Ethan and Reese and it will be the first moment that our completed family will be together… I am smiling from ear to ear and getting teary eyed just thinking about it!

  I think it is an appropriate time to give some advice… the only way to find true joy is to follow God’s plan for your life. He is speaking to each of us and will walk to path before us, all we have to do is give our lives to Him and follow His lead. An outsider looking in at our family would probably think we have every reason to doubt, be angry, be bitter… but we are blessed, especially knowing that we never gave up on God. He has been right beside us all along. He picked us up, comforted us, and blessed us. I am so thankful for our church and our small group and our dear friends who have believed in our family, who have prayed for us and supported us in so many ways. This is the story God intended and I am so glad to be a part of it! My prayer is that anyone reading this blog will find the same joy and peace in Christ that we have. It’s a gift for everyone, no matter what your circumstances, so don’t let your life pass you by without receiving it!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Missed a day of blogging, so I feel behind! Exhaustion and crappy internet service is to blame.
On Sunday, we went to the Chen Family Temple and the Pearl Market. We had done this same thing in 2005 with Reagan so we knew what to expect! Ethan was not impressed at the Chen Family’s place, he got mad at threw himself into one of his tantrums and bumped his head pretty hard on a marble floor. So needless to say, the Tuckers excused themselves from the group and wandered around trying to make the Little Emperor behave! He perked up and even let Tim hold his hand to walk. We took our time and looked around and then went back out to the meeting spot, where another little one in our group was throwing an Ethan-like fit. Chinese people think it is a great show to watch American parents trying to control their Chinese children. They just stand there and stare and it is really kind of infuriating! After that we went to the Pearl Market, where Kelly took us to a reputable store. The sales people lay out a bunch of strands of pearls and tell you the prices and you pick your strand. Then they make it into whatever you want. We got a bracelet for me and 2 little ones for Reese. The kids were really good while we waited. I was very impressed! When we got back to the hotel we had lunch from McDonalds, napped and played. Reese and Ethan are starting to interact a little more with each other and so far they really like each other! We’ll see how that changes through the years! We discovered that Reese really likes icecream! Ethan took one bite and made a terrible face and refused any more, so Reese at almost an entire McFlurry by herself! She was so excited about it! It is so fun to get to know their personalities after wondering for so long. Ethan’s favorite things: Mommy, helping throw away trash, cleaning up, listening to mommy and daddy sing the Kai Lan intro song, pushing elevator buttons, carbs, pork dumplings, being tickled, French fries, taking a bath, escalators. Reese’s favorite things: icecream, rolls, hot tea, being held, chips, blowing kisses bye-bye, imitating people, riding in the Baby Bjorn, being tickled on her back and neck, being fed, fried rice. She turns when you say her name now and is way more spunky since she has pooped a few more times! Today (Monday) we went to a really cool and very pretty garden. It was another gorgeous day so it was a great morning to be out and about. Ethan rode in the stroller and daddy carried Reese in the Baby Bjorn. We took lots of pictures and a video of Ethan throwing a tantrum. We got so frustrated with our audience of Chinese people giving us the evil eye. We just let him sit and we walk away and say bye and then hold out a hand for him to come and he screams a bit. Sometimes this goes on for a few minutes, but seriously, people stop and stare and watch the whole thing! It is so rude and weird! Tim finally said “okay, people, show is over!” when we were getting him back into the stroller. I know that him being so strong-willed is what helped him survive all he has been through, so I am thankful for my Little Emperor even when he is being a difficult two year old boy! As soon as his fit is over, he is back to his smiling little sweet self. He just has to take some time to show us that he thinks he is the boss! Reese just watches him! Wish I knew what she was thinking! Later in the day we went on a journey through a Spice Market. That was quite an experience! We saw all kinds of things for sale, including lots of pets and even scorpions, that Kelly told us are eaten here in soup or fried! DISGUSTING! It was fun to walk thru the streets and just see it all. From there we walked to Shamain Island. This is my favorite part of China! Even though it is not the same as 2005 (the White Swan hotel is completely torn apart and won’t be finished for another couple of years) we loved being back where we made all those great memories with Reagan. Just seeing familiar places and shopping was awesome. We only had two hours, which was not enough time, before our group met the bus to head back to the hotel. But we made the most of our time and bought lots of good stuff! I feel like Ethan is getting the short end of the stick on the souvenirs because everything I want to buy is pretty girly! We got both of the kids some squeaky shoes, which they LOVED trying out in the hotel room! Our biggest purchase was an etching of all our kids’ faces. We won’t get it until tomorrow and I hope it turns out well. We have one of these of Ryleigh and Reagan and also one of Reagan with Emily, Lindsey, and Klaire. These are kids that were adopted around the same time in our town and the Bauers got it for us while they were in China. They are so cool and I am really excited about it. The prices of everything have definitely gone up since 2005. I hate that all those little shops have suffered from the White Swan being closed. Tomorrow we are going to the zoo. I am excited about it! We didn’t do this with Reagan, so this will be new to us. Then our group is going to all go eat at a Mexican restaurant with our guide tomorrow night. We really have such a great group. I love hearing everyone talk about how adoption has changed their lives. The families who are adopting for the first time have been changed forever and I think about how they will go home and share their story with others and who knows how many people will decide to adopt because of them. I love how God works! At breakfast this morning they seated us in a separate room from the main area along with many other adoptive families. It was not convenient as far as getting to the food, but we met some new families from other agencies. One family was going to have their Gotcha day today. There is just nothing like the bond that adoptive families have. Reese is so friendly to everyone, she loves attention and blows kisses all the time! Ethan is a little more reserved and doesn’t interact with people as much. If Reese hears someone talking loud as we are walking around she shouts back at them. It is really funny. We discovered tonight that both kids love M and M’s, so that might help on the plane ride home! I am trying so hard not to have so much anxiety about the trip home, but I am really nervous. I appreciate all the prayers being lifted up on our behalf. I am ready to be at home. I miss my girls more and more every day. Kelly’s daughter came with us to the garden today and she was so beautiful, just like Reagan. It made me really miss her. Just seeing girls that are the same ages as my girls makes me sad that we still have so much time left. I am so ready to be home together as a family of 8!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Today was an awesome day! We had breakfast, along with 40 million other people in the hotel. We saw lots of adoptive families and people from all over the world. After we ate, we met our group in the lobby and headed to the Clinic where all adopted children have to have an exam. It was super crowded, but I absolutely loved seeing all the families. We saw kids of all ages and loved catching bits and pieces of others’ stories. You can just see God’s handiwork looking at all those kids who are orphans no longer! Ethan and Reese did pretty well during the 3 stations of their exams. They wouldn’t let me go with Ethan for his blood test and I was a little nervous. I could see him through a window in the door, but when he was screaming, they shut the curtain and I couldn’t see much but shadows then. They poked him in his wrist, which seemed a little odd to me and he had a bandaid that I had to put pressure on for “3-5 minutes”. Several times later in the day, he would take my fingers and make me put pressure on it again, like he was reminding me it was there! They only do bloodwork on the kids 2 and over so we thought Reese was good to go, but then the doctor wasn’t satisfied with her medical report. He thought the orphanage should have been more specific about her treatment. So, Kelly called Grace who was supposed to call the Director and get more information. And they made her have the blood test. They poked her in the normal place to take blood and she also had a bandaid that needed pressure on it. By the time we got done the room had completely cleared out, so apparently they close at noon. We were left with one other family, who I just love. They have 6 adopted kids at home and are here for number 7! The rest of the group was waiting outside. The weather is wonderful here, no need to even wear a jacket. Ethan and Reese dressed in one layer for probably the first time in their lives! On the way back to the hotel, we made plans to do paperwork at 2:30 in Kelly’s room. The kids were ready to nap, so we got them down and Tim went to get lunch. He got rice and noodles and then some kind of wrap that he got from a street vendor for himself- I was very surprised he ate something that he had no idea what it was or where it came from, but he liked it! The paperwork was pretty simple, it was mainly getting everything in order for Kelly to take to the U.S. consulate to get Visas for the kids and the paperwork that we will carry back with us to Chicago, where Ethan and Reese will become U.S. citizens! Of course that is contingent upon us surviving our 13 hour flight home! The kids slept until it was time to go to Wal-Mart. I love Chinese Wal-Marts! They have totally normal Wal-Mart items and then they have lots of other stuff. We forgot to put the memory card back in the camera from the computer, so we had to video. The funniest thing we saw was a little girl peeing right there by the fish tanks (the kind of tanks full of live fish you buy to eat, not keep as a pet). It dawned on me that you see these drains all over China and that is what they are for… to pee in. So kids of all ages (and I suppose maybe adults, too!!!) just squat and pee right there. Another reason to not follow the motto “When in China, do as the Chinese do”! We bought some necessities like diapers and wipes and Reese a new cup, Ethan some shoes for church, snacks, water, and few fun things to take home to the girls. It is cool to be here so close to Chinese New Year and see all the decorations for sale. The kids were really good sitting in the cart and once we got too much stuff in it, Ethan walked and Reese moved to the seat. Ethan helped push, it was cute. He also loved helping put stuff up on the conveyer belt. He is such a little helper! He gets so excited when you ask him to do something for you. He is really smart knowing what you are talking about. Reese still cries every time we are in the van. She just doesn’t like it. I don’t know if she gets carsick or she it just annoys her! We tried a sucker to distract her, but she didn’t care too much about it. We gave it to Ethan and he loved it! He loves watching vehicles go by and making a “vroom” sound. We gave Reese her constipation tea to drink and that helped distract her, so they second ride of the day was better than the first. Kelly took Papa Johns pizza orders and had it delivered to the hotel for dinner. We had a carpet picnic in the room since there is nowhere to sit. The kids liked that. Then we had tons of fun just playing. During bath time, Reese was hilarious. She finally liked splashing and playing. The whole glass bathroom is actually really kid friendly because they can splash all they want. Tim sat on the bed and they threw cups of water up on the glass. He acted like it hit him and Ethan was laughing so hard. It was precious! It was so fun to watch their faces light up. The thought did cross my mind that they won’t be able to go crazy like that at home when there is not glass wall! Ethan and Reese are both opening up so much and I am so amazed at each of them. I can’t wait for them to play with their sisters at home and meet their extended family and friends at church and Bright Beginnings. There are two older sisters in the group who have become friends. Listening to them talk makes me miss the girls even more. I hate missing Becca’s games and it makes me sad to miss all the little things, too. I know Ryleigh has a hard time and it is so difficult to know she is missing us. Isabella doesn’t say much on skype, so I feel very disconnected from her. No doubt about it, it stinks to not have our family all together. But we are on the last leg of this journey. It sounds like there will be some fun group activities to do to help make the time go faster. Tomorrow we are going to the Chen Family Temple and the Pearl Market. We did both the things on Reagan’s adoption trip, but we thought it would be worth going again. Pearls are easy to pack! Feeling very blessed tonight as I type this and think about these babies who did so much giggling today. I am so thankful that God called us to adopt them and I am extremely grateful to all the people who prayed for and are continuing to pray for them. Ethan is so healthy and active. God knew the right timing of each event that led up to these moments. He watched over both of them and prepared all of us to become a family. Praise God for His awesomeness, power, and love!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Ready for Home

I had the thought several times today that I am very thankful to be a saved believer, as I do not want to go to hell. I thought that today because we got a little taste of hell and I don’t like it. This will probably be a post that someone reads and thinks or even says outloud “yeah, that’s why I could never adopt”. For the sake of documenting this journey for Ethan and Reese and our family I am going to tell it like it is, but please keep in mind that there is not one second that I think I shouldn’t be here adopting these cutie pies! So our day started with breakfast, yummy, as usual. We got to talk to the girls back home a couple of times. I miss them so much, it is starting to bring tears to my eyes when I think about it. We headed out to the shops from yesterday. It was a successful shopping experience. I really like the people who work in these little shops. I feel good giving them business and I love all the souvenirs and gifts that we got. The kids did well, we didn’t take the stroller, so Ethan walked quite a bit. He is so good at holding hands and standing patiently while we looked at stuff. There was a little girl about his age in one of the shops and she was eating a piece of bread. She shared it with both the kids and then kissed them both. It was so sweet. He acted like a little ladies man and kissed her right back. The way to his heart is definitely with carbs! When we got back to the hotel we finished packing and ate the leftover food that had been accumulating. The kids laid down for a nap and we got all of our stuff ready to go. We still had a couple of hours until Grace was meeting us in the lobby. The phone rang and it was the front desk asking us when we were checking out. I said 4:00. We had to pay for the extra half day since our flight was leaving so late. Another way for GW to make money. About 15 minutes later, the maid comes to the door and starts cleaning our room. Mind you there are two sleeping children and two adults in there fuming. She threw away our juice, which was going to be Reese’s drink for her snack before we left. I don’t know if it was the same maid or not, but someone had thrown away Ethan’s medicine that was sitting on the counter while we went to breakfast one morning. Anyway, we sat there and watched her and realized that we couldn’t mess anything up now because besides rearranging the furniture, taking the cribs down and vacuuming, the room was ready for the next person. So, feeling like we were kicked out, we got the kids up and headed down to the lobby, but luckily Grace was early and we were able to leave. These hotels we stay in are so far away from the airports and it is miserable riding in the car. Poor Reese was still tired and didn’t like the car ride one bit. She was trying to poop again and the jostling around was not helping. We finally made it to the airport and Grace helped us get checked in. We had to explain Ethan’s pacemaker situation so they would not make him go through the security thing. So glad Grace was with us. The wait in the airport was bearable, but then things started to go downhill. We had to wait in a long line to board. Which would have been okay except we weren’t boarding the plane, we were boarding a bus to ride to the plane. So all of the people that fit on a huge plane were crammed into this shuttle bus. Can’t even describe the smell and feeling of this situation. Then we walked from the shuttle to the plane, climbed a bunch of stairs and got on the plane. We were in the very back, which was fine, but I happened to sit behind Mr. Clueless who immediately leaned his chair back as far as it would go, which was pretty much in my lap. So I had Ethan beside me, cranky and scared and this dude in my lap. Tim was across the aisle with Reese who was crying. Chinese people are not sympathetic to children crying and not one person the entire flight tried to offer any assistance. When they brought dinner to us they threw this piping hot tray and put it right in front of Ethan. I couldn’t lower my tray because of the dude in my lap and I finally had enough and said “I don’t even have any room!” I guess he understood English and my frustration because he raised his seat up for the rest of the flight. He got paid back because Ethan pretty much screamed and cried the whole rest of the flight. He was tired and the ride was so bumpy he was scared. Both the kids are not comforted by holding them, so they were trying to sit in the seat and cope with the whole ordeal. I was afraid to unbuckle him, but I finally decided that it was my only option to pick him up and try to get him to sleep. But that didn’t happen. Oh, I forgot to mention that the flight attendants never came and picked up all our trash, so we had a huge mess of this nasty dinner and all the trash from water bottles, forks, napkins, etc. I decided not to worry about it. Tim finally took it all and put it on the floor. Forgot to mention that Ethan had a massively disgusting poopy diaper during all of this, too. So I had to put him on a dirty changing table in a bathroom the size of my shower at home. I somehow managed to get poop on me somewhere because I could smell it the whole rest of the time. It was also extremely hot on the plane, Ethan was sweating like crazy. I decided that I don’t care what Chinese people think, I am not bundling him up ANYMORE!!!!!!! If his pant leg is up and his leg shows, SO BE IT! We landed a horribly rough landing and then the plane drove forever (or maybe 20 minutes) to what we thought was a gate. NOPE. It was that long of a drive to a shuttle bus. Well, we had waited and were the last ones off the plane, so guess who didn’t have room on the shuttle? Yep, the Tuckers, party of four (and 2 backpacks). I felt the glare of a busload of Chinese people and one African American. One of the airport people, got on and apparently told them to make room for the crying Chinese kids and the big fat Americans who are about to cry, too. So, we crammed on to this stupid bus to ride to the gate. I don’t even think I am doing a good job describing how stressed we were. We made it to the baggage claim and got our bags and the stroller. I finally felt like the end was in sight. Kelly, our guide, was right there with the GWCA flag and a smile, which was nice to see. She explained that a driver was waiting and would take us to the hotel while she waited for the last family. She told us what to do and about what the plan is for tomorrow and got us to the van. Our poor babies were so exhausted they both fell asleep, which is a big deal because they are definitely not used to sleeping outside of a crib or falling asleep being held. The drive took forever, of course. When we pulled in to the hotel there were people everywhere. It was 10:00 at night and there were just so many people standing around like they were waiting to go somewhere. We got checked in and when we walked into our room I really wanted to cry. Don’t get me wrong, it is a nice hotel, very fancy. BUT NOT KID FRIENDLY AT ALL. There was only one crib (pack and play) and no room for another one. There are so many things for two toddlers to get into and break or get hurt on. And let me just say that the bathroom was made for a honeymoon or some other adult only situation. It has a glass wall in the shower, so when you are in bed, you can see straight into the bathroom. Yes, that’s what I want to expose my children to, me in the shower. Luckily there is a screen that we discovered that raises and lower by a button by the toilet. Guess who is having fun with that… Tim Tucker. I just have to laugh because it is so absurd that any body in their right mind would think this is a good set-up for an adoptive family. We got them to bring another crib and I stacked a chair on top of another chair to make room. We decided to just keep the luggage on the other bed so it’s not taking up what little floor space there is. I am so disappointed. I miss the White Swan. I want to go home. I am dreading the flight back to Beijing and the loooooooooooong flight home. We need prayers that Ethan and Reese will be able to cope better with the airplane rides coming up than they did their first. The good news is that Reese pooped, which was very fitting since I felt like the whole evening was a bunch of crap! They were as sweet and happy as they could be when we got settled. They really are awesome and so resilient considering all they have been through. Prayers are very much appreciated!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Kisses and No Poop For Yue

We have seen some pure sweetness today!  Ethan has learned to give everyone kisses on command and it is so cute!  Reese likes to blow kisses and does it every time we leave somewhere.  I think it is so neat that her nannies taught her to do that.

Grace didn’t get our message about the zoo, so we didn’t have a driver.  It turned out to be great, though, because we walked down to the Confucious Temple area and that’s where we found some good shopping!  It reminded us of our trip with Reagan when we stayed at the White Swan Hotel and had all that great shopping right there along the street.  We bought lots of gifts and enjoyed bartering a little bit on prices.  The kids did well.  It was a fun couple of hours. 

We started packing, took naps, and hung out in the room until dinner time.  We decided to take the kids to Pizza Hut for spaghetti.  They both liked it, but Reese didn’t eat much of the meat it in, so Ethan finished that off for her!  I had lasagna, which was so delicious and Tim got a steak.  This Pizza Hut is pretty fancy and has a lot of stuff besides pizza.  All the waiters and waitresses speak really good English, too, so it isn’t hard to order.  The kids, especially Ethan, got really messy eating and based on some of the looks we were getting, that might be frowned upon in China.  I guess it’s okay to let your kids pee and poop on the sidewalk, but don’t get messy with spaghetti! 

 

Speaking of poop… Reese is still having trouble.  She went that one time and that’s it.  We have been giving her the tea with every meal and she guzzles it down, but still can’t seem to push anything out.  And it is not for lack of trying.  The poor little thing struggles and grunts and cries.  We are going to have to figure something out.  I know she is miserable.

 

They both seem to have slowed down with their eating and are stopping when they are full.  I think this is a good sign that they know they are going to eat regular meals.  I know they both did in their orphanages, but I think it is different when there are all these choices and they are not sure about us at first. 

 

We are going to go back to the shops we went to yesterday and get a few more things.  We have heard from our friend that shopping is better here than GZ, so we don’t want to regret not buying more gifts.  We are so excited to give our friends and family all these special treasures! 

 

When we were getting packed up and going through all the paperwork, we discovered that Ethan also got a memory book from his orphanage.  There are some adorable pictures!  We are so thankful!  Everything is written in Chinese, but we can get it translated when we get home. 

 

We are ready to move on to the next hotel.  It is difficult to be stuck in the same place with all of us and all of our stuff for so long.  There is something to be said for space!  I am anxious to see how they act at home when they are free to roam around and play.  I am also curious how they will react to carseats!  We have some many new things to expose them to, it is very exciting that this new chapter in their lives is underway!  Tim asked me how I thought they would act at church.  Probably naughty!  And who knows how they will act at Bright Beginnings!  So many adventures are yet to come! 

 

 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tantrums and Poop!


Today the plan was to visit a couple of museums, so after breakfast, we met Grace in the lobby.  We were a teeny bit late because our Little Emperor had his first (but definitely not the last of the day) full blown fit.  He didn’t want me to put his milk in the fridge.  He laid down on the floor and kicked the wall and said a bunch of jibber-jabber, he was so mad!  Then he got over it, got in the stroller and we headed to the elevator.  Reese just watched the whole time with a look like “what in the world are you doing?”.  Ethan continued the same “I want my mommy” phase.  Grace tries to hold him and help him with stuff and he says no every time.  He is better with Tim and will play with him, but when it comes to carrying or pushing the stroller, he only wants mommy to do it.  I think it is more of a control thing than that he likes me more.  He does great riding in the stroller.  And Reese is just quiet and reserved.  She doesn’t care who has, holds her or pushes her, but she spends more time with daddy. 

The museum we went to first was a memorial to a war between Japan and China.  It happened in 1937 and lasted 6 weeks.  Over 300,000 Chinese were killed.  Apparently Japan denies it even happened.  The pictures, videos, and displays were interesting, but also very disturbing.  I would not have wanted my girls to see some of the pictures, they were very violent and sad.  Ethan had some big time fits, when I wouldn’t carry him.  We gave Reese a turn in the stroller and I carried him for awhile, but wanted him to walk some, too.  He gets heavy!  He threw himself down and Grace said to just leave him.  Which I would totally agree with if I was in Lebanon!  But I kept worrying that some Chinese person would try to pick him up.  Everyone stares at us anyway, let alone when we have a little fit thrower that we are trying to ignore.  What seemed to work the best is when I walked away and then turned around and put my hand out.  He would jump up and come grab my hand and the fit would be over.  I think he is testing boundaries.  That is the hard part about being here, we can’t really get into a normal routine with expectations and discipline.  Plus I can’t talk to him in Chinese to explain anything.  Grace kept telling him to look at his little sister, she wasn’t throwing fits.  She told him that he should be taking care of her and hold her hand, so he did and we got a few cute pictures of it.  Before we left we visited the gift shop and bought a book.  The ladies working there started talking to Grace.  They must have been asking about us and why we had 2 Chinese children.  They gave us a thumbs up and then Grace said that they said I am a great mom.  I think that I have great kids!  We asked Grace what she thinks people think about us, because we do attract a lot of stares.  She said people are just curious.  They know nothing about adoption so they can’t figure us out.  She thinks only 10% of the population knows about adoption. 

 
When we left that museum we walked across the street to another one.  It was a brocade place.  It was neat and I could’ve watched the workers all day long, it was fascinating to me.  We walked thru and saw everything there was to see and looked briefly in the store there.  I really wanted to buy Reese something, but we decided to wait until Guangzhou to do our serious shopping.  Ethan’s orphanage gave him some combs that were made in this Province, but we don’t have anything for Reese. 

We decided to head back to the hotel while Grace went to try to find some medicine for Reese.  She still hadn’t pooped.  When we got back to the room she was trying to go and she just cried and cried and tried to push it out.  It was so sad and we felt so helpless not being able to help her.  She was screaming so hard.  Finally Grace called and said she found this tea for her to drink.  We gave it to her and she guzzled it down.  It took about an hour and a half but then it worked.  I have never been so happy to change a poopy diaper in all my life.  It was like 3 poops all at once, poor little thing.  She still acted like she didn’t feel good and didn’t play much.  We gave her more tea at bedtime and can give it to her 3 times a day.  We decided to let her drink it at every meal to try to get things moving regularly!  I think she has been way more reserved than Ethan because she doesn’t feel well and she is also grieving harder than he is.  He has been moved around so much to different hospitals and places, so he is used to getting to know new people.  She hasn’t ever experienced anything like this.  I am praying she will perk up today and we will start to see her personality.  She is so sweet and loves to leave the hotel room.  She eats slow (like Reagan!) and doesn’t explore as much as Ethan.  He does not stop talking and when he is free to move around he gets busy playing.  He is super curious and gets so excited to figure things out.  He colored for the first time and his face just lit up when the crayon made a mark on the paper!  Then he got in trouble because he colored on a book!  He loves to play in the bathtub and figured out that his stacking cups will float if they don’t have water and sink when they are full of water.  He splashes and plays and has a great time.  Reese isn’t too sure about the bath.  I think she gets cold and then doesn’t want to have her hair washed.  But again, I think her tummy troubles are preventing her from really letting loose. 

Both kids go right to sleep at naptime and bedtime.  Ethan likes to have a drink with him, so I have been giving him water.  Neither one has made a peep during the night, so we have all been sleeping really well.  I have been exhausted at night and went to bed at 8:30 with the kids.  Then I wake up at 3:30! 

We feel so blessed to be able to skype the girls at home.  Ryleigh is being a little obsessive about calling us as soon as she sees we are online.  I wish she were here with us so she wouldn’t be missing out.  However, I don’t think any more people or stuff could fit in this hotel room!  I am anxious to pack up to leave on Friday and move on to our next stop.  I feel like we have really bonded with Grace and have enjoyed getting to know her and having her help.  She is an amazing person with a great big heart.   

We are hoping to go to the zoo rather than the tourist place on the agenda because I really want to do something the kids can enjoy.  It’s so different having toddlers!  Reagan was so little when we adopted her, she just went along for the ride, but Ethan and Reese can’t be expected to enjoy museums and stuff at their ages. 

We are so thankful to God for answering so many prayers and giving us these two precious babies.  He is so good!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

It is Officially Official!

After all the mounds of paperwork, our adoptions of Ethan Thomas Tucker and Reese Elizabeth Tucker are complete! Praise the Lord! I thought this day would never come. We went back to the Civil Affairs office to finish all the paperwork. The representatives of both orphanages were there. The nannies wanted to hold Reese. They have so much love for her, it made me so happy to see how they looked at her and talked to her. They seemed to be very happy for her to have a family and kept encouraging her to say mama and baba. Their faces lit up when she said it! So precious. It was also very helpful for them to hold her because our little man was a Momma's Boy all day long, so when we were having to sign paperwork, I was holding him and Tim was handling all the money and shuffling all the papers. We had to put our right thumb print over all of our signatures, so that was interesting and then the kids did, too. The notary guy was very nice and funny and spoke perfect English. He was very efficient and we got done relatively quickly. We got our redbooks, which are the official adoption certificates that had the pictures from yesterday in them.  Reese looks scared and confused in hers and Ethan is bawling.  Tim and I are smiling like fools, so the photos are pretty hilarious! 

 
We took some pictures with the orphanage staff, gave our gifts, paid our money (so glad to be rid of that, very stressful having that much money) and said good-bye to them.  Reese’s nannies took lots of pictures of her and wrote down our email addresses and phone numbers.  They gave us a list of other American families who have children adopted from Changshu, so we can contact them.  I thought that was a super sweet thing to do.

 
When we left the CA office, we went shopping at a Carrefour store.  We bought a suitcase, a stroller, some little stuffed animal snakes (Ethan really wanted one!) for Chinese New Year, some water, and diapers.  Ethan was not wanting anyone else to even lay a hand on the cart but me.  He was really funny about it.  If Tim tried to push him, he would move his hand and reach for mine to put on the handle of the cart.  I love that he wants me, but I know it hurts Tim’s feelings.  Grace kept saying how strong-willed and funny he is.  When we were riding to the CA office, he was sitting on my lap and she asked him in Chinese if she could hold him and he put his hand up and shook it, like saying “no way, get away”.  He has some funny little looks he gives!  You can definitely see how he survived all he has been through!  We will have to try to channel his strong-will into something positive!

Little Miss Reese has a tummy ache because she is constipated.  We tried juice, raisins, and sitting her on the potty, but nothing.  She just tries so hard and she cries so much, it breaks our hearts.  We will have to try to get some medicine for her.  I think we haven’t seen all of her personality yet because she is miserable.  Both the kids eat really well.  Grace took us to a Dumpling restaurant and got soup for them.  It has a bunch of stuff in it and they ate it all.  Reese wasn’t that hungry, but Ethan packed it away.  We pretty much have to cut him off.  I gave him one drink of Coke.  He was more interested in playing with the bottle than drinking it. 

When we got back to the hotel, we played for awhile.  Ethan jabbers all the time, nonstop.  Grace said he is not saying anything that she can understand, but boy he has a lot to say.  It is super cute.  After they napped, we went across the street to the mall.  It wasn’t easy to maneuver our way around with a stroller, but we managed.  We found some prune juice for Reese and Subway for dinner. 

After all the mounds of paperwork, our adoptions of Ethan Thomas Tucker and Reese Elizabeth Tucker are complete! Praise the Lord! I thought this day would never come. We went back to the Civil Affairs office to finish all the paperwork. The representatives of both orphanages were there. The nannies wanted to hold Reese. They have so much love for her, it made me so happy to see how they looked at her and talked to her. They seemed to be very happy for her to have a family and kept encouraging her to say mama and baba. Their faces lit up when she said it! So precious. It was also very helpful for them to hold her because our little man was a Momma's Boy all day long, so when we were having to sign paperwork, I was holding him and Tim was handling all the money and shuffling all the papers. We had to put our right thumb print over all of our signatures, so that was interesting and then the kids did, too. The notary guy was very nice and funny and spoke perfect English. He was very efficient and we got done relatively quickly. We got our redbooks, which are the official adoption certificates that had the pictures from yesterday in them.  Reese looks scared and confused in hers and Ethan is bawling.  Tim and I are smiling like fools, so the photos are pretty hilarious! 
 
We took some pictures with the orphanage staff, gave our gifts, paid our money (so glad to be rid of that, very stressful having that much money) and said good-bye to them.  Reese’s nannies took lots of pictures of her and wrote down our email addresses and phone numbers.  They gave us a list of other American families who have children adopted from Changshu, so we can contact them.  I thought that was a super sweet thing to do.

When we left the CA office, we went shopping at a Carrefour store.  We bought a suitcase, a stroller, some little stuffed animal snakes (Ethan really wanted one!) for Chinese New Year, some water, and diapers.  Ethan was not wanting anyone else to even lay a hand on the cart but me.  He was really funny about it.  If Tim tried to push him, he would move his hand and reach for mine to put on the handle of the cart.  I love that he wants me, but I know it hurts Tim’s feelings.  Grace kept saying how strong-willed and funny he is.  When we were riding to the CA office, he was sitting on my lap and she asked him in Chinese if she could hold him and he put his hand up and shook it, like saying “no way, get away”.  He has some funny little looks he gives!  You can definitely see how he survived all he has been through!  We will have to try to channel his strong-will into something positive!

Little Miss Reese has a tummy ache because she is constipated.  We tried juice, raisins, and sitting her on the potty, but nothing.  She just tries so hard and she cries so much, it breaks our hearts.  We will have to try to get some medicine for her.  I think we haven’t seen all of her personality yet because she is miserable.  Both the kids eat really well.  Grace took us to a Dumpling restaurant and got soup for them.  It has a bunch of stuff in it and they ate it all.  Reese wasn’t that hungry, but Ethan packed it away.  We pretty much have to cut him off.  I gave him one drink of Coke.  He was more interested in playing with the bottle than drinking it. 

When we got back to the hotel, we played for awhile.  Ethan jabbers all the time, nonstop.  Grace said he is not saying anything that she can understand, but boy he has a lot to say.  It is super cute.  After they napped, we went across the street to the mall.  It wasn’t easy to maneuver our way around with a stroller, but we managed.  We found some prune juice for Reese and Subway for dinner. 

Please pray that Reese can poop and that we all continue to bond and make special memories.  I miss our girls at home so much and it is hard to make the most of the time here, but we are going to try.  I am very thankful for Skype and facebook. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Gotcha Day Times 2!

I am sitting here looking at both my babies sleeping soundly and I couldn't have more love in my heart than I do right at this moment! We have talked about and dreamed about this day for so long and we have guessed many times how it would go and now we know! I'll share with you everything I can remember... It was a long morning because we got up very early. Due to excitement and also falling asleep around 8:00 last night! So we were up and ready and the hours before we left seemed to drag on forever. But finally, Grace got here and we headed to the Civil Affairs office. The traffic was crazy and busy, so it took longer than we thought to get there. When we pulled into the parking lot and got out, I looked at the building to see if we should take any pictures outside and that's when I saw my little guy looking out the window at us. I waved and he smiled and then we quickly went in. His nanny was so nice, I was extremely impressed with her. She pointed to us and said Mama and seemed genuinely excited about the moment she got to introduce us. I sat down on the couch beside him and patted him. It took a lot of self-control to not scoop him up and kiss his sweet face. He was holding a roll in a package and was really more interested in that and looking out the window for awhile. I got some toys out and showed him and he loved the bug that jiggles when you pull the string. He also liked the "That's Not My Snowman" book (a little plug for Usborne Books, Ayra!). He was happy and content but not really wanting us to mess with him for awhile. After a bit, his nanny quietly slipped away to the other side of the room where he couldn't see her. We both tried to interact with him and for the most part he was happy. He let me hold him and play with him while Tim did some of the paperwork. Then Tim wanted me to do the writing on the forms where we put their official American names, so we traded places. Not too long after that, I was standing there looking out the window and I saw two ladies walking up with a little girl in a green coat with a Mickey Mouse backpack on. I saw they were headed to the Civil Affairs building, so I knew it was Reese! We got to video them walking in. She looked like such a tiny peanut! I was equally impressed with her nannies, they also said Mama and she repeated them- it was one of the sweetest sounds EVER! And then she said BaBa (Chinese for daddy) and Reese repeated her. It was so adorable. She had been asleep on the more than 3 hour drive, so she was a little more shy and looked confused. She let me hold her and I couldn't believe the feeling of relief to have both of them there with us! Words cannot describe it! When we had to move to another room to take a picture both of them started crying and it was not a good picture for their red books (official adoption book). The staff at the Civil Affairs and Grace were trying their best to help us get them to stop crying but they were both just wailing. It was sad. When we walked outside to leave, it was like turning a faucet off! They both stopped immediately! Ethan said something in Chinese and pointed and was perfectly content! I guess they were just done with that place! Ethan sat on my lap on the ride to the hotel and Reese sat on Tim's. Grace talked to both of them. She said to Ethan in Chinese "can I hold you" and he threw his hands toward her and said no. It was funny! He is not afraid to say what he wants or doesn't want. Reese was very subdued and just looked around. When we got to the hotel, Grace came up to do paperwork (will it ever end????). We called home and introduced the little kids to all the big kids and Grandma. Ethan said Grandma plain as day, several times! It was so cute! He absolutely loves books. He spent a long time stacking up all the books we have and moving his stacks from place to place. Reese finally perked up after she had part of a banana and some milk. In the last few hours they have played and explored. It is so amazing to watch them together and think about how much fun they will have growing up together. Today is the beginning of a new chapter in their lives and I am so thankful to God for giving us these two precious gifts. Before Grace left she translated all Ethan's medication instructions. Two of them are pills that he takes 1/4 and 1/2 of and they are the tiniest little pills. I have no idea how I am going to give him those and get them cut up. Grace said to just crush it and put it in a drink. The problem is I don't know what he will drink good enough to get all the medicine. The 3rd kind is a powder in a packet that he needs 1/4 of. Are you kidding???? So I have to find a way to dump it out, divide it and save the rest. Good grief! We got the kids stripped down to one layer so we could see their true size! Plus Ethan was sweating, literally, sweat dripping down his face! I'll never understand the whole bundling concept. The poor things can't even move! We received some nice gifts from Ethan's orphanage and all of his stuff back that we mailed in care packages. I don't think they ever let him wear the clothes or use the blanket or bear, but the photo album was very worn, so I know he played with it. He will point to our pictures and say mama and baba and he is trying hard to repeat all his sisters' names! Again, it is very adorable! They also sent back all the pictures the girls' drew and the letter we wrote. Reese came to us with a little backpack that had the disposable camera in it, a bottle, and some diapers. They also gave us the most awesome book of pictures of her with dates and captions. It is priceless and I am beyond thankful that they took the time and effort to make it for her. There is a picture of her on the day she arrived. She looks so cute and she's wearing a Spiderman shirt!! Too funny! She reminds me so much of Lindsey Bauer (our friend from China)in her looks and how tiny she is. She likes to be sung to and must not be too concerned about if it sounds good or not because I am no singer and she liked me singing to her. She finally relaxed and fell asleep in my arms. Tim tried to get Ethan to lay down in the bed with him and he threw a tiny little fit, so I traded Reese for Ethan and he fell asleep, too. So, they are napping at the same time and so is daddy! I was really afraid that I would fall in love with one of them more than the other and that I would have to feel guilty and weird about it, but, honestly I can say that they are equally precious and wonderful and I love them both to the moon and back! This journey has been so long and so difficult, but the blessing of today has wiped away any heartache and pain. God has had this special day in His plan and I am in awe of His greatness. I do wish that my big girls could have been here to be with us, but the homecoming on the 18th will be very special and amazing and then our new normal can begin. I am looking forward to watching these two kiddos bond with us and eachother. God has answered so many prayers and we are so grateful for the number of prayers that were lifted up on our behalf... what a testimony we have!
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Sunday, January 6, 2013

One More Day... AAAAAHHHHH!!!

We made it safe and sound to Nanjing! We met the other families in the lobby. It was exciting to see the others and briefly talk about our adoptions. We are looking forward to meeting back up with everyone in Guangzhou when we all have our children! We were the latest flight, so we were not as panicked as the others when things seemed to take a long time. The drive between terminals was crazy long, I guess getting her so late at night all 3 times we have flown in didn’t give us a chance to see how huge the Beijing Airport really is. I was very impressed with the plane, it made the short flight very easy. There were some turbulent spots, but nothing too scary. Grace was with us, so we didn’t have to worry about finding where to go or figuring out what to do. That was nice! She has really opened up since we have her to ourselves and we had some great conversations. She is friends with Veronica, our guide with Reagan’s adoption, and they traveled to America together last summer. She told us that Veronica is having a baby! We are so happy for her, there will always be a special place in our hearts for her. Grace talked a lot about working for Great Wall and also her feelings about what happened to us in August. While it validated a lot of what we felt, it was also sad to hear her talk about some things. I am not going to share what she said because I don’t want to cause problems like I feel like we did for Jane (our guide in August). Grace knows Jane and said that she would call her and let her know we are back for Ethan. I wanted to tell her that we appreciated everything she did for us during that horrible time. Once we got to the hotel and checked in, we had lunch at Pizza Hut. It was great! The only complaint was that Tim got water to drink and they brought hot water. I was nice and shared my coke. We took a really long walk and enjoyed seeing all the little shops and all the people. This is so different from Beijing. It’s like the Branson Landing China style. There are a lot of young couples walking around like they are on a date. Our hearts skip a beat when we see people with little kids, knowing that tomorrow we will be toting two of them! I’m sure that is going to get some looks! We met Grace at 3:00 in the lobby. She is not staying in our hotel (not by her choice) so she had to go find a place to stay. We walked to a bank to exchange all of our money that we will need on Tuesday. What an experience that was! So, now have 6 times the amount of bills that we came with. That is a huge stack, let me tell you! There was a lady that helped us. Since she has an account at the bank, she got the money and then we gave her our money. She got a better exchange rate or something. Grace worked it all out and it ended up saving us around $50 and we didn’t have to do an hour of paperwork. So glad Grace took care of all of that! And for $50 we can eat at McDonalds 9 times! I attempted to arrange the room and unpack to prepare for the little ones, but we are very limited on space. There is no dresser, so our clothes are staying in suitcases and there’s not many places to put them. The cribs take up a massive amount of space. I think I got it figured out enough for now. We also went to the grocery store and got a few things. It seemed like things were expensive and it’s just hard to know what to get for the kids. We wanted to have some snacks for them in case its too hard to go out right away. We got bananas since we know how cute Ethan is eating one from the video we got! The plan for tomorrow is to meet Grace at 10:00 and go to the Civil Affairs Office to meet the kids at 10:30. It doesn’t seem real and I am surprisingly calm. Grace said she would help with the picture taking, so hopefully we will be able to capture both Gotcha moments! Well, this blog is pretty boring, but tomorrow will be one worth reading, or at least seeing the pictures. Thank you for continuing to pray for our family. I am so humbled by the amount of support we have received and we are so thankful so many people have had a part in bringing us to this day, it truly does take village to adopt a child! Please pray that Ethan and Reese can feel how much we love them right away and that they are not scared. They will only have a few minutes to get used to the idea of us, when we have had years to prepare for Reese and over a year to prepare for Ethan. Also, please pray that we get all of Ethan’s medications that will last until we get him home. He has his appointment with Dr. Tong on the 21st, so we need enough medication to last until then. Half the Sky was supposed to work this out with the orphanage, so we are keeping our fingers crossed that it will not be an issue. Check back tomorrow!