Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Navigating through Deep Waters: Our New Normal

Dear Family and Friends,
  We were so humbled by the outpouring of love that you showed us as we arrived home from China with our new son. The meals that you provided were wonderfully delicious and they certainly helped us focus on transitioning as a family of 5. We are so grateful for your generosity and for treating us so kindly during those first few weeks. 

  We have been home with Rex for 2.5 months. Rex's transition into our family has been fairly smooth. The first two weeks were the toughest part, but he has consistently shown improvement each new day. He has learned how to share toys without hitting or getting angry.   He loves his sisters and they adore him. He is sleeping in his own bed and napping well during the day. He has a real sense of security and recognizes who his family is. He enjoys the pool and playing with cars and puzzles. He is learning new words every day and as of this past week, started putting two and three words together. It blows my mind how quickly he has learned english. He has conquered his fear of grass and now will approach small puppies with caution but still reaches up to be held if they make any type of movement. His favorite things to eat are noodles and rice. He has developed a love for milk but gets really excited when we  heat up his hot tea that I purchase at the local chinese grocery store.  Although his transition into a family has been fairly smooth, our family still has been through some pretty hard times and that is what we would now like to address to you all. It has taken weeks for us to get even a clear picture of what we are dealing with and we do feel like it now time to fill you all in on our "new normal." 

Some of you may remember that Rex was  sick when we picked him up in China  (high fevers with no other symptoms). In country we noticed that Rex was tiny everywhere except his large tummy.  Once home we  started the normal "adoptee" blood work and expressed our concerns of his large tummy to our pediatrician. The doctor discovered that he had an enlarged spleen and immediately sent us out for an ultrasound. That ultrasound confirmed that Rex has an enormous spleen. The blood work came back quickly and presented multiple "red flags" in which we were then sent to a hematologist. We were told that Rex's platelets were very low and that his clotting factors were off. This led to an MRI and a MRA so that we could properly see what was going on inside Rex's abdomen. The results showed that Rex's spleen was severely large and that Rex had a very clogged portal vein.  We were then rushed to see a GI specialist who would help us navigate through this most recent information. 

Rex has been diagnosed with Portal Vein Thrombosis ; portal hypertension,splenomegaly, and a blood clotting abnormality. PVT is a relatively rare disease . 

One of the symptoms of PVT is the bleeding of varicies (veins that are swollen/engorged with blood since his portal vein is blocked). Recently Rex had several bloody diapers and that is what landed us in our most recent hospital visit. We contacted our GI doctor and were admitted to St. Joe's Children's Hospital.  Last Tuesday morning, he had an endoscopy  which determined the location and  severity of the vericies. The doctor told us that Rex has several  vericies in his lower bottom esophagus and that it was the most she had ever seen in a patient this young and that even the endo nurses were shocked at the number. Our GI was only able to band two because of the risks involved in the surgery. We were kept overnight for observation. 

As of now , Rex has another surgery scheduled for Monday, July 8th to undergo another banding. We have been in contact with Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh which is one of the best children's hospitals in the country. There is a procedure (ironically named the Rex Shunt) that is relatively new and only performed by a handful of doctors in the country (some of which are at Pittsburgh). If Rex is a candidate for this procedure, we may be traveling to Pittsburgh at some point (not sure when) to have this done. Hopefully, we will know over the next few weeks if this is an option for Rex. 

We also want to make something very clear, because I know that it has to be in the back of some people's minds.  We do not feel misled by our adoption agency. Our agency has been fantastic in helping us get even more information than we already had from our son's previous home. They call or email regularly to check on Rex. His orphanage , although very sweet and kind, is in a very rural part of China. They don't have access to MRI machines or a blood lab. 

Adoption is a risk. But God put adoption in our hearts many many years ago and we are trusting HIM to lead us and to watch over us as we sort all of this out. Please keep my precious girls in your prayers as they learn to deal with the demands that a very sick child brings to the family unit. So far they have handled it great, but it is about to get really tough. Pray for our marriage.....pray that we don't give satan the least tiny  bit of a way into our home. Pray that we speak kindly to one another and to encourage one another and to work as a team. Pray that we continue to fight this battle with the power of prayer and to always act in a way that is pleasing to Christ. Pray for us when we are in the hospital. Pray that we get to share Christ through all of this. Pray for the doctor's as they look at Rex's case and help us figure out the best treatment possible. And please pray that Rex can get that surgery soon. It really is his best chance. 

We are so GRATEFUl and blessed that we have two sets of in laws who have helped us with our girls while we have had to take Rex to countless doctor's appointments. 
Thank you to all my friends who have sent me emails, texts, words of encouragement, notes, etc....yall keep me going when I feel like the walls are crashing down . 

Please feel free to forward this email to anyone. This is not a secret, but we haven't really said much so far because we weren't really sure of what we were dealing with until recently (and I'm sure there will be more surprises along the way). 

Thank you so much for your prayer, support, and friendship. 

Paige and Jordanpost signature

Monday, April 1, 2013

His Forever Changed

Well, it is our last night in China. What an incredible 17 days this has been. Jordan and I have had such a wonderful time here. Our travel group was absolutley amazing and filled with such kind,
loving people. We were able to see 9 families welcome children into their lives and we have witnessed just what a willing heart and love can do to a child.

Adoption ---- the word just brings tears to my eyes. I wish everyone could experience what I have in these last two weeks. I realize that not everyone is called to adopt but if The Lord is planting a seed in your heart ....keep praying, bc there are so many children who need loving homes. Jordan and I would be more than willing to sit down with you and talk about it.

I want to thank The Lord for instilling me that small whisper when I was just a young girl about adopting. Thank you Jesus for allowing me to follow my heart to China. To Jordan, who has worked so hard and for the many sacrifices it took to get us here. You are an incredible husband, and I have loved watching you with your son these past few days. Your days of being a great father just keep getting that much sweeter to witness. To our parents,....Karen , Brian, Glen and Susan....y'all are incredible. Thank you for loving on our girls and for doing such a great job with them. It was so nice not to worry about them and to know that they were having the time of their life with their grandparents!!! It was a real blessing to never hear our girls miss us . Our guides and our fabulous agency are top notch so if you are looking into Chinese adoption,I highly reccomend them. (CCAI ), I also want to thank my faithful friends who emailed and left messages and comments on Facebook. It was so comforting to hear from y'all. We certainly felt the prayers.

Rex has been fever free for a solid 48 hours and he is so fun. He is lively, joyful, and is starting to understand a lot of what we are saying. He can sign " more" and " please" . He can point to pictures and mimick the voice inflection when saying Khaki and Finley . He still refers to Jordan as baba ( Chinese word for daddy). The Chinese language has four tones and when Rex says our names, it is darrrrrlling.!!!! I hope he keeps it up. Jordan and I have loved being in our son's home country. The people here are kind and warm. They are extremley friendly to adoptive families. I hope that we will be able to come back again when Rex is older to show him his beautiful heritage and culture. But there is NO place like the USA and we are so happy to be coming home. We can't wait to see everyone and we can't wait to introduce our son to you all.

We will be hibernating and sticking pretty close to home for the first few weeks. Rex needs to adjust to his new home and he needs to bond/ play with his two big sisters. And I have to figure out how to bathe three kids now....ha!

We arrive in Tampa at 11:26 pm Saturday night. It's going to be a long day and I am just praying that the flights aren't delayed and that Rex sleeps. :). It's about a 27 hour travel day and about 17 hours total flying time. We can't wait to see our sweet girls , family members, and a few night owl friends :-)

We really can't say it enough that we are so grateful for those of you who covered our journey in prayer. Thank you so much.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Consulate Appoitnment

This morning we all loaded up on the bus to go to our consulate appointment. Rex was all decked Out in his red, white, and blue. Here we took an oath that all information on every single piece of paper was true and accurate to our knowledge. They looked over more papers and issued him his visa ! We are so happy that the minute Rex's feet hit American soil , he becomes a citizen. NO MORE paperwok for this mama ( whoo hoo ) We will have Rex's visa in hand by tomorrow afternoon..which means we can finally begin our journey home.

Rex hasn't been all that happy today. He is very sleepy and i am sure it has to do with the fact that he has been so sick. It's been rainy here so it is good snuggling weather and we are more than happy to oblige. Thos evening we all gathered in the lobby of our hotel for family and group pictures. All the kids wore their traditional outfits and they were so adorable. Tomorrow we are venturing out with all our friends to Shamian Island to do last minute shopping and to eat lunch at the famous Lucy's.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

There was no corner

Yesterday Rex had his visa photo taken and a medical exam. We left the hotel about 9:30 and arrived 3o minutes later at the back of the American consulate building. We were ushered into a special section for adoptive families only and were so excited to see that we were the only ones ( All 9 CCAI families ) there. Each child under has to go through 3 medical stations : ENT, Nurse section and General Screening. Rex was terrified of the doctors. It didn't help that they were in full medical garb complete with face masks. We were finished in about ten minutes. Some of you know that when we received Rex's file it stated that he had a minor hearing loss. Our great ENT in Tampa will examine him when we return but we aren't anticipating any major problems, BUT yesterday, the ENT ONLY squeaked several balls at Rex and because Rex tracked the sound, he declared his hearing was fine. Jordan and I were laughing at this doctor's exam. I mean really...squeaky balls to determine if a kid can hear. ? Needless to say, we appreciate Dr.Hotchkiss :-) Rex was exhausted - mainly bc he was getting sicker by the minute and was exhausting from crying so he fell asleep afterwards and we continued to wait for the other children to go through. Once back to the hotel, Rex 's fever continued to climb again to 102.8 and he literally slept all over afternoon. He woke up drenched and I was so hoping that it meant is fever broke but we would later found out that this was not the case. We met the rest of the group later in the day for the Pearl River Cruise and that was soooooo beautiful. Guangzhou has 17 million people and the buildings here are humongous. At night time the buildings have special lights on them. I had to laugh because Tampa has ONE that changes colors and will change the lights according to season or to support our local sports team. BUT not China......every one of their buildings is beautifully lit. Rex loved the boat ride and was very intrigued, but again was terrified when we went under all the bridges.

Rex slept very well last night and woke up fever free. We ate a quick breakfast and them went shopping with Ann, our personal shopping guide that I hired, . She is amazing and is a legend among adoptive families. She is also the same woman who helped me send a care package to Rex while he was on the orphanage so it was wonderful to thank her person. Anyways we had a blast and we got lots of goodies to bring home for our family and friends. I highly reccomend her. Rex did great in the carrier and he survived his first shopping trip with mama and daddy.

However, we got back to the hotel and Rex's fever had returned ( 100.2)".i can't tell you how frustrating it is , bc we are pumping medicine into him around the clock and this blasted fever is just not going away. It's being quite persnickety. He ended up taking a very long nap and woke up happy and pleasant. It was raining and therefore couldn't go outside, so we've been playing ball in the room. He is very smart. Jordan will hide the ball under his arm and Rex will find it, grab it, and then hide the ball in the same place on him that Jordan had. This goes on for a long time and it is fun to see that the has strong cognitive skills. His fine motor skills are great. He can feed himself very well and can twist caps on and off. His gross motor skills are terrible. We will need to hold two a days when we get home. He is very wobbly and can't keep his balance for anything therefore falling A LOT and when he falls...he cries. When not plagued with a high fever, he is very easy going and cheerful. He has a smile that can shine for days and I love that his little eyes get lost in his joyful expression. He is super cute !!!!!! We have had many Chinese people stop us and tell us how handsome he is. One shop owner today said to Ann " I want to know how this American couple got so lucky to adopt this handsome Chinese boy?" I replied, " oh, it's his hair !" ( which is a symbol of Chinese luck ) . Speaking of his hair, Jordan says that he will be cutting it before we get on the plane.....hmmmm, not sure how that is going to work since our guide told us that we better not do it while someone is looking. Ha!!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Is that a Corner I see?

We actually had a very good day....the morning was rough, but after Rex took a three hour morning nap, things got progressively better. Rex has been fever free since about 2 this afternoon. I am praying that this continues through the night, we saw our happy smiling boy reappear and it sure made this mama 's heart to see the numbers on the thermometer within normal range again. Jordan and I walked the neighborhood and found so e pretty interesting sights. We saw two men sitting on a rickshaw , barefooted, one one each side of the wagon part balancing themselves while playing checkers. We saw a group of old men playing cards as well. When we returned from our walk, I had to go downstairs with other members of our group to prepare for our visa medical appointment that is tomorrow morning. After that we all headed to a group dinner at a local restaurant. The food was amazing and so delicious. We had pork, curry chicken, shredded potato And ham, fried rice, fried noodles, steamed bread rolls and fried rolls and the best tasting broccoli I have ever had. On our way home, we stopped at McDonald's and got an Oreo Mcflurry and Rex enjoyed a few small bites before letting us know that he didn't want anymore.

Some people have asked what size Rex is....Rex is tiny. Don't let his chubby cheeks fool you. Most everything I brought is way to big and so it looks like he will be in smaller clothes for a while. He has the smallest toosh I have ever seen and skinny legs. His stomach doesn't protrude and he doesn't look malnourished, but he is so tiny. He has no meat on his bones. :) his target brand 12 month jeans fit him fine, but most of the things I brought for him or 24 months or 2 t and clearly swallow him. Raquel loaned me a cute pair of shoes that I thought were going to be way to small but they are too big. So I am guessing that he wears a size 5 in shoes.

I am hoping we have turned a corner and that Rex will be able to sleep peacefully tonight. Please pray that his fever does not return.

Night y'all from China

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Rex's first few days as a Code

Shortly after we received Rex, he came down with a high fever and it hasnt gotten much better. The fever has stayed steady at 101 and spiking at night to 102.8 . The days have consisted of lots of tears, several temper tantrums, and more tears. Taking care of a child that is so sick and that you barely know is tough. At at times, I have cried right along with him. Jordan and I are working well together and when I can't take the cries any longer, Jordan always offers to take the lead in the consoling. And vice verse. We are TIRED! We are up around the clock consoling and medicating. We are so blessed to have fabulous friends on this trip who just happen to be pediatricians and yesterday we decided to go ahead and put him on antibiotics, Praise The Lord, I am hoping to see a change in his fever by the end of today. Please pray specifically for the fever to lessen so that he can start to feeling better. I will say that because he has been so sick, it has offered MANY chances and opportunities to bond, this includes holding him all during a grieving episode, snuggling him until his body relaxes, and cuddling him ALL NIGHT LONG. I hope you understand the lack of posts, now that I have tired to explain what we have been dealing with. We are really thankful for the emails and Facebook messages....it sure does give me encouragement and we are so grateful for our friends who are continuing to follow our journey.

Yesterday was a travel day......and it was pretty eventful. We said our goodbyes to Rita and Yisha in Zhengzhou after they checked us all in and helped us go through security. When we got to the gate we discovered Our flight was delayed ( Lovely) , then once we boarded we sat on the runway for about an hour, then our 2 hr flight to Guangzhou turned out to be almost 3 becaue they would not let us land bc of the poor weather. Jordan and I were pretty terrified that Rex would be miserable on the flight because he is so ill, but he actually slept almost the entire time and only cried three times. It was as good as it could be. We were , of course, greeted by another set of CCAI guides ( Jason and Kathy ) and they helped get us all situated in our new hotel. We are staying at the beatiful China Hotel. It's gorgeous and It has all the comforts of home....even a delightful Starbucks ! Guangzhou reminds me so much of Tampa : hot and muggy. It's a great place to get Rex used to wearing shorts! For dinner we even got to enjoy leftover Papa Johns pizza ( it took so long to take care of Rex that by the time we ordered, they had stopped delivery service,. So Blake and Jess gave us theirs .... So kind ) Rex had a better night of sleeping and Jordan and I were able to get some consistent sleep. We have opted out of the tour today and will remain in our room with little Rex.

I'd like to leave you with a photo of Rex, this was taken just a few minute ago. He is so tired form the lack of sleep that he fell asleep on the floor. Now that we are settled, I am hoping the blog posts will be more frequent and Jordan keeps promising to post his thoughts soon so I am sure y'all are on the edge of your seats waiting for that post!!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Day 6 Recap ; It's Official & Orphanage Visit

The next day after we got Rex, we headed back to the civil affairs office to obtain official documents saying that we are now Rex's parents. We were given our adoption certificate, took a picture for keepsake and then headed to the notary office to notarize the paper that we all just received. Once back to the hotel, we had a quick bite to eat and then met our personal guide and driver who would take us to the city of Jiyuan. This is Rex's hometown and it is about a two hour drive from Zhengzhou. Rex chilled in the back with Jordan and stared out the window at all the cool sights . We saw tons of wheat crops, farmers,a goat herder, a flock of sheep, two trucks full of pigs and caves. Our guide told us that the caves are still lived in by many old Chinese people...because they are much cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. It seriously looked like something out of a movie. The orphanage director met our car at the exit ramp and led us to the police station. Rex was so delighted to see a familiar face and she was so happy to not only see him, but us too. She led us into the police station and once they saw Rex, ALL the officers came over and gathered around him, swooped him up and passed him around all giving him tons of kisses and laughing. Apparently,this little guy made quite an impression here when he was brought a few weeks back to get his passport taken. The head officer asked Rex where his mama and baba were, and he turned around and pointed to us. The head officer signed our papers, and then we were done... A 2 hour van ride just for the police officer to sign a paper.. But of course, well worth it and plus it is mandatory. At gotcha day, we had asked the director if we had time after our police station visit about the possibility of visiting the orphange and she was more than happy to have us. This was such an important thing for Jordan and I to see. It was hidden down a narrow street and there was a security gate for protection. The building was white and large and was in great condition. This orphange is new and Rex is only the second child to be adopted out of this particular one. The courtyard had two little tykes play sets. The minute we drove in, the van was surrounded by ladies who were so excited to see Rex one more time. We were greeted with smiles and excitement. they escorted us into the building and up to the 3 rd floor where Rex'S room was, The room was large, had 2 dozen or so pink cribs , a large flat screen tv on the back wall, and lots and lots of colorful pictures on the wall. We saw Rex's crib , met some of his friends, and talked with the nannies for a very long time. they were very curious about how he would live once back home and what his life would look like. they asked us how old we were and how long we had been married. They practice saying his new enlglish name and that brought tons and tons of laughs from the whole crowd. They took tons of pictures of us...and of Rex. All this time, he was just being doted over and loved on by all these women. We obliged and kept close, made sure Rex saw us , but it was evident that these women were so happy for him. There are several things that we really enjoyed about our visit. The main one is that every time a nanny was holding him, they were asking him " where is your mama, where is your baba...?" They made sure that he was FULLY aware of who we were ; always directing his attention toward us during their snuggles. The other thing that was of course invaluable was the fact that we had a Translator. Jordan and I were able to fully communicate and that was sure a blessing. We did take the time to give a short speech about how grateful we were for their care and how we were excited to have him in our family. Our guide even cried during that part. They showed us the reading room.. it was full of books and even had a yamaha piano set up for music. Rex and one of his friends drew while we visited with the orphanage director. They showed us the older kids room, but they were away at school so we didn't get to meet them. Overall, it was pretty amazing experience. Rex was certainly in one of the better orphanages and we are so grateful to these women who loved on our son for his first two years. The orphanage had 28 kids and 8 nannies and 2 women who did laundry that also helped out. Very good ratio. As we said our goodbyes, I held Rex in my arms and allowed him to give each nanny a kiss goodbye. They waved at us until we couldn't see them anymore. It was very moving. We left feeling very glad we made the trip and even more humbled by the fact that our son was in this specific orphanage.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Gotcha Day

March 18, 2013

First let me start off by saying THANK YOU for covering us in prayer. We certainly felt them and we give all glory to The Lord for such an incredible morning.

I slept soundly until 4:30 AM but then I was so excited that I couldn't fall back asleep until almost an hour later. After finally waking up, we got dressed and headed to the breakfast buffet to get a quick bite. I only had cereal bc I was pretty anxious. Most of the families were done there except for one and we were all talking away about how in just a few hours, we would all have kids. When one dear couple, Jess and Blake walked in we all started to clap because they became first time parents yesterday... X 2! Very cool to witness that. Anyways, we loaded up on the bus at 9:30 to travel the short distance to th Civil Affairs Office . During the drive, Yisha went over the many extremes of childrens reactions and what documents had to be signed that day. Jordan and I were very calm during the drive. Once we turned into the parking lot, that is when it hit me. You have to realize that I have been stalking adoption blogs for over a year now, I knew exactly what this building looked like, I have seen countless gotcha day videos on YouTube ( bawl every time ) and so I was pretty emotional when we were approaching the building. Well, what do you know, I saw the most beautiful little girl outside the doors and immediately recognized her as my friend's Katherine's new daughter. I looked back at her and said " oh my gosh, Katherine, that's Madeline. !" And that is when I really started crying. I offered to jump off the bus with THEIR video camera and run along ahead of them so that I could film their gotcha day moment, BUT as I was half way up the stairs, our guide yelled out the door " quick, Jing Chuan Feng's family. He is here !" So I twirled around and passed off the video camera to another mama so that I could run inside. As I walked through the doors, I saw him. My first glimpse of him was him standing and looking up at his nanny and Jordan. I approached them and we all headed to the couches so that we could be alone from the hustle and bustle. We sat down and his loving nanny just kept saying tons of Chinese to him which I could not understand, but really didn't need to , bc I could tell that she was explaining to him who we were....and as I studied him, he just turned his head, stroked my cheek and said " mama!". I wept. and smiled and laughed.....which are all of my favorite emotions. ( Insert dolly parton quote from steele magnolias) He shared his cookie with me, they showed me that he could blow kisses, salute, and dance, He could point to Jordan and say ," Baba ( daddy in Chinese). After several minutes of just soaking him up, I reached out my hands, and held him for the first time. He just looked up at me with his big brown eyes and a sheepish grin. He was very relaxed and was not scared at all. It was VERY obvious that his nanny and orphanage director had prepared him well for our first meeting. They were the kindest people and they stayed a LONG time just watching us interact with him. They had the biggest smiles on their faces just watching us play on the couch. They brought everything back to us that we had sent: the pillow that I had made with our pictures on it, the two disposable cameras, the clothes, the toy and even gave us a photo album of baby pictures. Priceless and such a treasure. After about an hour, we signed a document that granted us guardianship of Rex for 24 hours. Once signed, we continued to witness other families being formed. It is incredible experience to watch a child be placed in a waiting mother's arms... It is almost like watching your best friend give birth. It is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. And let me just tell you how stinking cute every one of these kids are- VERY. We were still waiting on one of the orphanages to get there but were told that they were in a traffic jam and that they would just bring them to the hotel. So,we loaded up in the bus with our little munchkin and headed back "home". Once up in the room, we facetimed both of our parents so that they could see a short glimpse of him, he drank a bottle, and then slept for two hours. Meanwhile, Jordan went and did paperwork and I just watched him sleep. It was a surreal... He was finally in our hotel room. We played and played and he ate and ate....at 9 he laid down in his crib and slept till 7:15 am.

We did video the entire thing and I am hoping to figure out how to load it, because really my words can't do it justice. All I know is that he already feels like mine. So weird, I know....but it is true.

Oh, one more thing before I go......I want to talk about his hair. I know that it is a bit " far out " and not very " stylish " for Americans, but we want to explain that this orphanage not only dressed him In his NEWEST clothes, but also gave him a new haircut for this VERY day. We actually LOVE it and we certainly won't be cutting it while here in China. Almost every boy we see on the street has this hairstyle. Our guide told us " they must have loved this little boy a lot because they gave him a hair do "....kind of strange to think of this as a gesture of LOVE, but it was. So until we are home and settled, Rex will be rocking this Chinese haircut until he can get a north Tampa hairstyle. Ha!

I've posted tons of gotcha day moments on Facebook. tons...but for those of you who don't
Have an account, here are just a few.........goodnight

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Zhengzhou day 4

This morning, Sunday, March 17 we flew to the city of zhengzhou. It is the capital city of Henan. We said goodbye to our one guide, George, and David took us through the airport, checked in all the families, and then said goodbye to us at security. Ccai rocks and their guides are worth every penny. We literally just get dressed in the morning and then show up. It's wonderful to not have to worry about a single thing while traveling. The flight was easy - a mere hour. We met or new guides, Yisha and Rita. Both women are incredible sweet and I can already tell that they are masters at their job. In fact Yisha's
Room is directly across from ours, so if we need anything, she is just a few feet away. The city is beautiful.....again, very big, with lots of skyscrapers..this time the city feels a lot like Chicago to me whereas Beijing felt like New York but much bigger (IMO) . Once on the bus and after Inteoductipns, we received an official date on our son. This was the longest update that we have had to date. It literally is packed with specific information to help us prepare for our first meeting, we were told what formula he likes ( Scientic ) , he prefers water with chrysanthemum powder ( this is similar to like the crystal lite packages you add to water back in the states), the foods he likes, the food he hates, ( Meat----sounds just like khaki and Finley) loves fruit, hates juice, drinks two bottles a day, his nap schedule, when he wakes, when he sleeps, how he likes to be comforted, who is friends are in the orphanage, his nickname, and so many other details. It
Is so comforting to have this going into tomorrow, so that we are prepared. Now, this all might fly out the window tomorrow, but at least we have enough information there for a good starting point. Once settled in to our beautiful hotel, the crowne plaza, Jordan and all the men went with Yisha's to exchange money. Afterwards we headed to the 3 story Walmart that is located just a short distance away. Again, people were quite enamored with us and after tomorrow, they will be even more curious when they see all these white people with chinese babies. The sidewalks here are not just for pedestrians, but for scooters and electronic bicycles as well, so you better watch out. Carseats are non existent and therefore babies are strapped to the bicycles to tote around or you will see babies in the front seats of cArs just being held. It's crazy. I'll have to take a picture so that y'all can see it. Anyways, I digress, we ventured to Walmart with our guide Rita and she helped every family gather the correct formula and then let us get other items. There was some pretty interesting things there in the store.... Nothing really was all that different except for the entire food floor..which deserves an entire post by itself, but I just chose to look straight ahead and not look. My nose was good enough to know that it was something freaky. We walked back to the hotel , dropped our stuff in the room, and wait------ while we were gone, room service put a CRIB in our room. !!!! After my short tearful sigh , we headed to the restaurant down in the hotel and had a delicious Italian meal. Then up to the room to charge cameras, lay out Rex's things, and get the gifts ready for the nannies. Jordan is already asleep as he is really tired tonight. I tried logging into our church service back home but couldn't get it to work correctly. So now , I am just left with my thoughts about tomorrow.

You know, I have had the privilege of birthing my two beautiful girls and tomorrow I gain a son who is not of me, but is so rooted deep within my heart, I can hardly contain the love I already have for him, In fact, I have had three babies , 3 different ways, Finley was delivered, Khaki was lifted up, and Rex will be received. My eyes are so ready to see him, my arms are so ready to scoop him up, my heart is so ready to pour out the love that has been stored up for 14 months, my voice is ready to comfort and console, my hands are ready to nurture , my lap is ready to be used as a playground, my feet are ready to serve him and my soul is ready to love him forever because tomorrow he will be mine.....his third mama .....his forever mama. Rex is leaving the only life he has ever known tomorrow morning. We will look and smell different to him , we will not be able to speak his language , nor will we know what he is thinking. Our prayer is that he will learn to trust us, be secure in our love for him, know that we will meet every physical need he has, and allow us to comfort him. It will not happen Instantly...it will take time. The first few days may be rough....really rough..... And so we just ask that you continue to pray for us. We have no expectations about his response to us --- we are just going there with our arms wide open and ready for whatever happens. I know I keep saying it, but thank you thank you for the emails, comments, and prayers. We are so encouraged by your words. Night y'all.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Day 3 recap

We woke up fairly early and headed out for a very long day of sightseeing and tours. Our first adventure was to take a rickshaw ride through OLD Beijing and experience how the majority of Beijingers live. This is called the Gutong tour which means " alley " in Chinese. The rickshaw allows for easy access through the narrow passage ways Among the houses. While traveling our guide spoke of just how expensive it is to Iive in the city and how valuable it is for a family to have a house rather than an apartment. The average family in China makes $1000 US dollars / month, to live in a 950 square foot apartment in the city costs 1 million dollars . Yes, you read that correctly. However , a home costs about 3 million US dollars. What we found interesting is that a home consists of a central courtyard with four bigger sections branching off from it. The house is shared with multiple family members and the largest section of the house is reserved for the person who makes all the decisions which is usually the patriarch of the family. The house that we visited was occupied an elderly lady ( her husband had passed on ) , her daughter and son in law. The courtyard was visibly full of " mess" but very clean. In fact while we were arriving the daughter was sweeping up the dirt and dust from the fall out. I noticed two guitars in the corner and was interested to see that this sweet lady owned a piano that was located in the main family room. Music is definitely part of their family. She told us that the house had belonged to her grandfather and that they received it from him. She was a retired physics teacher and her son in law was a very experienced artist. The artwork in this house was beautiful and I got a really cool picture of all of his brushes and ink wells. She was a gracious host and allowed all of us to explore her home. It really gave Jordan and I a better perspective on how the Chinese people live and very eye opening. Jordan and I also got a.very good laugh at seeing how the rickshaws were parked because every one of them was BACKED IN ( cue lance and grant ). We took a picture to document that even the Chinese like to have a head start on pulling out of their parking space. My brothers are probably laughing right now since they always give Jordan a hard time about backing in his Tundra. every time.

After the rickshaw tour we headed to the silk factory which was probably my favorite thing we did yesterday. The Chinese silks were amazing and we got to learn all about how the silk worms make the threads of silk, how they are spun through the machine, and then got to see women use that silk to make comforters for beds. I bought one and I am so excited to get it home on our bed. It is going to be a great reminder of our time in Beijing.

Raquel and Alissa have been curious abut the food. Actually girls, it is really delicious. It is very similar to our Chinese food back home. They do present it differently -- like the sweet and sour chicken comes tossed already in the sauce and is surrounded by fresh vegetables. There is a difference when serving fish, bc they serve the head on the platter. I will take a picture of the food and will upload it so y'all can see. After lunch we headed to Tinneman square and that started off being very entertaining. We ( the 26 Americans) were quite a sight. Jordan and I were stopped and asked to pose with a lady and we obliged. So many of them were taken with our group and many many people were stopping to take pictures of us. It was pretty comical to watch, One guy in our group caused quite a bit of stir because of his blonde hair.

Tinneman square and the Forbidden City what to say about this monstrosity of a palace. It was cool for the first 30 minutes, but by the second courtyard but I was pretty tired of it. Sorry history buffs, but it really was the same thing over and over. Basically this is what I took away : the forbidden city has 9,999 1/2 rooms ( there's a story there , you can google it ) , it housed 4 emperors, and 3000 concubines. The emperor slept in a different room each night and could choose which lady he wanted to accompany him. There---- that is the Paige recap . Of course, we had to take a whole 2.5 hrs to walk through the entire thing. We did see the use of split pants while here and that was pretty interesting. For those of you who aren't familiar with china child rearing trends, the babies here wear split pants where there is littérally a split in the pants and a bare bottom is exposed for the child to pee/poop on the street or wherever they want, so we saw lots of babies just using the bathroom wherever they wanted. I also would like to say that the babies here are bundled up like you wouldn't believe and it really gives everyone in the group some insight to the pictures that we hAve of our children. The weather yesterday was chilly but not blistering cold. I had on a jacket, sweater, jeans, and uggs. You would think that these babies were in a blizzard. They had on puffy snow suits, hats, mittens, and snow boots. The ones who could walk were in split pants, puffer jackets, snow shoes, and hats. Very interesting,

After the many miles of walking the forbidden city we All went to an acrobatic show. I thought it was really entertaining and unique And a good way to end our day. We got back to the hotel about 7 and went straight to bed. We were pretty exhausted and had to be up early to fly out of Beijing to Zhengzhou which is the Capitol city of Henan ( Rex's province ).