Tuesday, March 31, 2009

update


Well sweet girl slept from 10-4 last night and then again from 430-730. Shes doing well. She has had a few visitors including maternal grandparents, neighbors and community group friends!!!

I thought I would post a few pics to remind you of how sweet she is. Not much drama. I have had some great advice and some big changes in our lives have arrived.

We have been giving a gift that we don't deserve. I can not believe we are home!

God bless the makers of benadryl!!!


LynnMarie and her new friend Ethan

Checking out granda

Grandma has been waiting so long to love on you

We had a bassinet seat on the plane. LM loved to play peak a boo in it. She did great. Can you see why I call her my pineapple head?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

home sweet home

We are home. Arrived home around 1am on Sunday morning. Miss thing is on China time. Sooo not sure what to do about that. She is beautiful and awesome! Amys mom and dad got to visit for a few hours today and have to head back tomorrow morning..More pics and blogs to come.

Saturday we had several hours to spend in Los Angelas before our flight left so Michael's cousin picked us up and drove us around, showing us Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills and we got to see the Pretty Woman Hotel!!

Reality is here. Lots to do. Lots to experience.. Crazy times. For those in Atlanta, we cant wait for her to meet all of you and plan on having a meet and great at a local restaurant soon. Paparazzi welcome! Haha!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Travelling

Well, it is 11:15pm PDT and we are at the LaQuinta LAX in Los Angeles.

Our flight out of China was the worst flight we have ever taken, but we survived. We arrived at the airport in Gaungzhou with plenty of time. Th eline was slow and the security check was thorough, but we passed with the only problem being they did not like the number of insulin syringes I was carrying in my backback, so they kept 10 of the 13 there and missed the other 30 in the laptop bag!

We boarded on time, but they had setup a SECOND security inspection in the jetway! Everyone had their carry-ons reinspected and mainly they took our liquids that we had bought after passing the main security checkpoint.

The plane pushed away from the gate about an hour later than scheduled, but we were only a half an hour late arriving in LA. The seats were the tightest I have ever had to sit in, and there were no moveable armrests to give us any more space. There was a beverage and meal service shortly after takeoff and nothing more until an hour before landing. If you walked to the galley at the back of the plane, they would let you serve yourself beverage at room temp.

LynnMarie had the benefit of the bassinet seat. We were at a bulkhead just behind the wing exit door. They came over after we reached dcruising altitude and put a cargo net-like attachment on the wall and we placed the baby there. She slept a good bit of the 10+ hour flight, but she did spit up a bottle's worth of formula on herself and Mommy. Amy got to wear it the whole flight and the crew was clueless about helping when we asked for towels or napkins to clean up with. Later the baby peed through her diaper and her back-up outfit leaving her a fresh onesie as her only option for clothing.

Neither of us slept very much, it was too uncomfortable. Mainly we watched the time tick by and prayed for it to go quickly. The entertainment/video system was not working at my seat and Amy did not bother trying hers. The Continental flight was far superior to China Southern who we don't plan to ever use again.

LAX was not a bad experience, but it is big and busy and intimidating if you've never been. We got through immigration fairly easily and joyfully. The agents were congratulatory of our adoption and expedited our paperwork efficiently. We then went to baggae claim and found our bags without much difficulty, but here is where China Southern lost more points. We checked our stroller at the gate and when we landed they told us it would take a while to get it for us and to pick it up at baggage claim. There was no one from CSA in the baggage claim and I spent about 15 minutes wandering around looking for ANYONE who could help us.

We moved through customs without issue. We were asked it we were bringing eggs through the scanner. We were not. It was someone else's bag with kiwi fruit in it. BUSTED.

So out to the street level, chaos and crowds but we followed the signs and found the hotel shuttle area and got our bus to the LaQuinta, checking in around 8:45pm I think (the plane landed at 7pm). I got the girls upstairs and started on baths and showers and walked over to the McDonald's for our long-awaited taste of home.

We saw but never got to visit McD's in China and we know it would be "different." I got us staple items, double cheeseburgers, fries and diet cokes from the soda fountain with ICE! I can't say junk fod ever tasted so good! LynnMarie loved sampling Amy's cheeseburger and fries, so her first meal as an American citizen was McDonald's! Parents of the year? I guess not.

We are set to meet my cousin Hope tomorrow at noon and we'll have about 3 and a half hours with her before we have to be back at LAX for the final flight home to Atlanta. Now we are about to enjoy these big, soft beds and look forward to tomorrow being in our own beds. Let's pray LynnMarie sleeps well through the night as she is still on China time pretty much. Our 38 hour long Friday is almost done.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Guangzhou Zoo & Updates



Yesterday in the morning we went to the zoo here in Guangzhou. It was a very nice zoo, laid out over a wide area within the confines of downtown. They have a lot of animals including more primates and bears than we have seen at any one zoo and they have ONE panda. The strange thing to us was that people would throw their snack foods to the animals, something you would never see in the USA. With the Asian elephanats it worked very well and one came right down to us. No zookeepers were around to stop it.

In the afternoon we all piled on the bus to go to the U.S. Consulate downtown where we received our visa packets to get our babies home and their vaccination records and passports. A nice lady came out and talked to us as a group and recognized the babies with birthdays in March. We then all stood, raised our right hands and swore an oath that all that we have supplied the government is true and accurate to the best of our knowledge and that was it! We are now free to head home.

All of our travel group left before 2pm local time today. We are here until 9pm local time tomorrow (Friday), flying 10.5 hours and landing in Los Angeles with 5.5 hours left in Friday still! The bonus is as soon as we clear customs/immigration in LA, LynnMarie is a U.S. Citizen!

As for foods, she now is eating watermelon, bananas, steamed rolls, noodles, and oatmeal.

She now has 8 teeth. The two new ones are on the bottom on either side in the back.

She was not nice to mommy last night. They were taking a bath together and well, Miss Thing had not had a BM yet for the day. The rest I leave to your imagination. Mommy was not happy. About 45 minutes later Amy was checking the diaper and she decided to pee on mommy. Amy panics, grabs a diaper and tries to contain things. A minute later she goes to put on a new diaper and there she goes again! LynnMarie got mommy's nightgown, the comforter, the bedspread and mommy's mattress. We called housekeeping at 10:55pm and had a new bed made up for mommy!

Where's the baby?

video

updates

Ok, I know you want updates but most importantly you want to see the cutest baby in the world. Today, we took our oath. Okay, so the oath wasn't really adoption related but we had to promise that all of our things were honest and legal. but i still had a hard time saying the words. I stood there with my baby and my husband and was just 'swept away' with emotion. All of our paperwork in China is done. LynnMarie is ours. They even recognized her first birthday. I teared up there as well, but what the heck.

Ok, so the island is just beautiful that we are on. Lots of things to look at. They have playgrounds that have equipment that adults can exercise on. Seriously, that's one thing that America needs. Today, we went to the Guangzhou Zoo (pics to be posted on that later). Just a few families went and it was really neat.

yesterday, we went shopping with a new friend, Ann. Some of you may know here. Ok, she rocks but that's a whole other post.

Tonight we had dinner with several families and said some goodbyes. I will cherish these people. Some have given great advice and all have been so helpful. Once again, they will get a whole other post when I share my paper journal. So far an awesome trip but we are ready to get home. Tomorrow everyone leaves but us so we really have a free day on the island and plan to just relax and maybe hit the playroom.

Our LynnMarie. More precious than I could have imagined. Better than I hoped for and dreamed for. Michael said earlier, "I can't believe we had doubts". This baby is a Christopher, you will see. God orchestrated events that now, the wait doesn't even cross my mind. Her story does. She has a story. We had a story. and now our stories have collided. What I think about is that 1 year ago, someone didn't want her or was unable to care for her. I think about that person. I think about how many people passed on her file due to the unknown of her needs. this has been such an emotional few weeks and Ialso think back to Thanksgiving week when we learned of little Lu ChunAi.

Sweet girl of mind, you are loved. My hope is that you never sleep without mommy and daddy saying I love you and that you always feel secure. I want you to know that Jesus loves you even more than we do and we will do all that we can to teach you all about Him. If you ever read this, we have known you physically for just 2 weeks but you have truly changed our hearts and lives.

Keep smiling sweet baby girl, Atlanta is waiting for you!!!

Now, onto some pics





Monday, March 23, 2009

More Pics From Michael's Camera

White Swan Hotel Play Room







Our First Chinese Dress. Aren't I Pretty?





White Swan Atrium


Jade Ship Carving




CCAI Travel Group 1463!



Babies On The Famous Red Couch











Mandatory Medical Exam. My Mom Had Studied The Pictures From Previous Days & Had Already Predicted LynnMarie Has An Ear Infection! Started Antibiotics Today.











Guangzhou Cultural Arts Museum



Woman Praying At Buddhist Temple





At The Temple of the 6 Banyon Trees






Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sick Baby

We had our medical exam which is required by the Chinese Government before they will let her go this morning. It was comprised of three stations. The first station was height, weight and temperature. Baby girl is now 7.7 kg which is 16.94 pounds! The second station was a general physical exam and she did fine with that. The third station was an E-N-T exam ans this is where we expected trouble with her congestion which she has had since before we got to China. They were a little concerned about that but more so that she has a mild infection in her right ear. She has been tugging at that ear but we thought it was a habit thing. The clinic wrote and filled a prescription for amoxicillin and we started her on it this afternoon, so hopefully she'll turn around pretty quickly.

I have now made it over 24 hours without being sick and am about to go play the paerwork and fee-paying game again.

Mike

Sunday

Well today was our first full day in Guangzhou and like most people told me, it is like a vacation spot. It actually reminds me of Savannah. Yesterday we dropped off laundry and borrowed a stroller. yes, almost every store in this city lets you borrow strollers for free, no questions. Very cool! As much as I wanted Papa Johns last night, we ate at Lucys, a restaurant known for their American food? So what did we order? Sweet and sour pork and chicken. But this isn't about us now is it? LynnMarie had her first mashed potatoes and liked them. We found the Seven Eleven and stocked up on sodas and chilled out for the night. LM hada good bath and we had our bottle, read our book and went night night or so we thought. At 4:30, Miss Princess decided to play, so for about 90 minutes we had smiles and giggles and then we all went back to sleep until 7:30

we got up, had a good breakfast and headed out for the day. We went to the Buddhist Temple (beautiful and glad we went), an art museum and a department store. We found things to buy ad 2 out of 3 and think we really got a bargain but we really have no idea.

On the way to the department store, our bus got pulled over. FOR A WHILE. It was no big deal as we learned but one of our guides started crying which was concerning. All was well and across the street from the department store we found some more formula since our can opened up and dumped all over our clothes.

We came home and rested and headed out to get her VISA photo and then had some dinner. Now we are just relaxing. She is teething and has a cold so she got a bit irritable. When I say a bit, I mean it lasted about 10 minutes... Maybe less. tomorrow is the doctors appts and on Tuesday we have a shopping day with a lovely lady. The next day will be LM's second zoo and that will be fun.

So here are more pics..This is just a small amount, but some of my favorites. I had no idea that Michael got a pic of them handing me LynnMarie!!!

On another note, pray for Michael and LynnMarie. Neither one is feeling well. Pray that they perk up and enjoy the trip. Pray that I stay healthy!





Friday, March 20, 2009

Remembering Gotcha Day

Okay, we have been bad bloggers. Between trying to share posts, I forgot to share memories of one the most amazing days of our lives.

Monday morning, everyone got up early. Nerves were up and although we were all there for breakfast, we preferred chatting about the events rather than eating. Crazy. All of this waiting was building up to an amazing moment.


We left the hotel at 9am and walked over to the big building. Apparently its an official building but all I know is its where I got my baby. All we could think about at breakfast was that our babies were nearby.


As we got closer, Michael and I held hands and I am surprised her couldn't feel my pulse through my nails. We were about to meet our baby. The little one that we have prayed for and dreamed of since the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I knew life was about to change.


Now since I was in lala land, I will share what I remember. I cant guarantee this is exactly how it happened, but this I viewed this amazing, life changing moment.


So we walked up 3-4 flights of stairs and down a hallway to a room where we would receive our babies. I knew the adoption people were there as i heard their voices. I know my steps quickened because I knew soon I would meet a baby who has already changed lives. We had a travel member come and video and take pics and that's a good thing. I walked down the hallway and saw in the corner of room ahead of me a little bundle wrapped in red. I swore it was our LynnMarie but didn't say it out loud in case I got the wrong baby. I knew then that the babies were there. We walked in the room and a lady said something like your babys name? I said Chun AI and then repeated Lu Chun Ai! All of a sudden she smiled and handed me the red bundle that I had seen in the window. It was THE moment. Michael and I became a family of 3. I held her and talked to her and prayed over her and just soaked in the moment. I handed her over to Michael and we just cried and talked and were in awe of the miracle in front of us. Everything clicked then. All of my fears went away and for that moment, all was right with the world. We even got our first smile in that room.


After getting passport pics (don't ever ask to see it, I look like my eyes were popping out) we headed up to the hotel to get to know this baby once only known as Lu Chun Ai.

How is parenthood? It is all I expected, hoped for and prayed for. We are sooo in love

e with this little person. She smiles more than any baby I know and laughs almost all the time. She has not really cried but then again, if she makes a noise, Michael and I grab her. She gets upset when she is tired or hungry and its soooo easy to put her down.


Our wedding song was "I could not ask for more" by Edwin McCain and that song still fits. She is everything I have dreamed over. She is funny, silly and just loves to be loved. China had grabbed my heart. Its an amazing but different.


Getting to know our travel group and their babies its quick to see that God's hand has been everywhere. Everyone seems perfectly matched. this has been beyond awesome.

More Pictures









Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Just for you Donna






Ok, lots more pics coming and I was hoping to do a slideshow but Donna is pretty persistent so here are a few to tide you over until I can get what I want done.

Today we spent the afternoon at Swallows Nest, visiting the lady who cares for special needs orphans and has spent so much time with Chun Ai. She was wonderful and we were able to visit both foster homes and experience life at the nest. It was very emotional and Michael described his feelings over at his site http://www.valtool.blogspot.com/

More on that emotional visit later but we were able to visit and play with the kids and it was AMAZING. This has been the most moving trip of my life!!!

So how is LynnMarie you might ask? She is funny, loved and predictable. She smiles at all funny noises and faces, goes to sleep right after a bottle and only cries when she is tired or if her parents don't feed her formula for several hours. She and I have had several deep conversations about the future and we both agree we were made for each other. I have been singing to her and so far I know she doesn't care for Backstreet Boys but she does like Barry Manilows "Mandy. She does giggle at Kenny Rogers " The Gambler" since for some reason I know all the words to that. Ive also gone back to singing some old songs like " Seek Ye First" and "jesus loves the little children". Her belly and feet also have songs which if you know me, won't surprise you at all. We gave her a good bath tonight in the sink as the past few nights we have been washing with those pre-soaped mitten things. Kim, greatest idea ever.

China is different that what I thought it would be. LynnMarie is our daughter and we know that God gave her a wonderful story. God even showed up at Swallows Nest today.
We are soooo in love. Michael is an awesome dad. He has changed a few diapers, lots of feedings and gets up when she cries..No worries about Michael. He is smitten and is sooo proud of his little girl. We promise lots more pics coming.

We just cant find any diet coke in this city..Crazy!!!