Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Happiest Birthday!!

Happy Birthday to Cai! Cai has been so excited about her birthday! I have to admit, I was pretty excited about her birthday too, since it is her first with us as her family! She wore a smile ALL day long! It was so sweet. She was just so happy! She loved her pink princess table cloth, her pink plates, her cake, and of course her presents. I'm not sure whether she had ever opened a present before- she wasn't really sure what to do at first. But she caught on fast!
I know it's a little mushy, but today I kept thinking of her first Mama- the Mama that wrote on a little piece of paper Cai's birth date and time, so that someone would always know. And I know she was thinking of Cai today too.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Our First SB Clinic Appointment

Our first appointment was made at MUSC's Spina Bifida Clinic when we were in China. It was made for August 24. Before I met Cai, I couldn't wait for that date to get here- that's when we would learn more and form a plan of action for our daughter. I love action. It means I'm doing something, heading in a better, positive direction! But after I held our daughter and knew our daughter and loved on our daughter, I began dreading that darn appointment. For all of the reasons I thought I wanted it. It would mean we would have to DO something. Different. That probably won't be much fun. Certainly not for her. Or us. And it will be anything but easy.
We prayed for that appointment, and the doctors, and the tests. Our friends and family prayed. And we felt God's hand the entire day. Cai did great- even during the not so fun tests. The doctors and staff were very kind and seemed very knowledgable. They didn't even feel that right now Cai needs an MRI of her spine, so no surgery ( a definite answered prayer). Her kidneys look great so no surgery there either! We will start physical therapy to help her strengthen her legs and feet. I guess if you could say there's a downside, it would be that after another test in December, we will have to start intermittent catheterizations every few hours to help Cai's bladder empty. It's just not working like it should, and we need to keep her kidneys healthy. I knew this would be a possibilty, but hoped it wouldn't be our plan of action. We continue to pray for healing for Cai's little body and truly feel very peaceful. She has amazed us with her courage, her humor and her strength. We love this little girl so much!

" It is right, and I would say even good, to grieve the pains and brokenness of this world and the way it manifests itself in our bodies. But grieve with hope, knowing that HE might be shown more glorious through the most broken parts of our lives.- unknown"

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A little of this, A little of that

After Cai's haircut- not one tear!
Cate's new glasses!

My grandparents with Some of their grandchildren and great grandchildren. Note the cast on Rion's arm- skim boarding accident only 3 hours after arriving at the beach!

Cai- having a great week at the beach!

Do they look happy or what?

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I love watching Greg with Cate and Cai. Cai has only been home for five weeks and she already knows how special her daddy is. You can see it in her eyes. Greg wasn't able to travel to China with me so when we arrived home, although both of our girls had seen pictures of their "Baba", they weren't quite sure what to expect. But their daddy's love for them and for our family can't help but be felt. His words are kind and gentle and his love runs deep. He has taken on the task and answered God's call to be a father to the fatherless. And we are so thankful for him!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Where do I begin??

Where do you start when you haven't updated in a month? It has really felt too big for words. Cai is doing great. She is a beautiful, sweet, funny little girl. Her adjustment has amazed us. And we are so thankful. We truly feel that she was meant to be a part of our family. And like Cate, it already feels as though she has been here forever. Her language is coming right along- she mimics everything, she calls us all by name and follows simple commands, so she is obviously understanding a lot that we say to her. I think her English will take off just as Cate's did. She has bonded very well to us and loves to give and receive kisses and hugs. She is a very loving little girl. She is a great sleeper, she loves the pool, the beach and the boat (yaaaa!) Now, some have asked about Cate and Cai- the love connection definitely is not there yet! They are finally having some sweet sister play times, but usually they are competing for attention or for the same toy, food,etc. And it goes both ways. Cai is equally as competitive and strong willed as Cate! It is really quite funny when I'm not pulling my hair out!

Now, for maybe the not so rosy part! Cai's medical issues have felt very overwhelming at times- usually after a doctors visit. We knew that we would be faced with some, so most was not a surprise, some were. Without completely invading her privacy but realizing this is just part of Cai's life as well as our families life, Cai was born with a spinal meningocele which has affected her walking as well as her bladder and bowel control. These are all nerve related and while we can manage them, there is no "fixing" nerve damage. So, many things we are simply taking day by day. We won't actually have our first clinic visit until August when I'm sure we will have to schedule several scans and tests that probably won't be very fun, but will help us begin a plan of treatment. Even in the most overwhelming moments, I have not for one second doubted that this was the perfect little girl for our family and we wouldn't trade her for the most healthiest child. All it takes is one look into her beautiful face and we are reminded of what a gift she is to us!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Consulate Day

Today was the day that we went to the consulate as a family to take our oath. Our paperwork was prepared yesterday and in order so today was a breeze! Simon first took us to a restaurant where we had a huge delicious meal. We all shared many dishes and they were so good! At the consulate they just called us up indidvidually, we signed a paper, and then all of the families there took an oath together. I became teary as I held Cai and realized that we were finally at the end of this part of our journey to become family. It's a difficult, emotional road, but worth every tear shed. As I told Greg this morning, I already can't imagine our lives without Cai or hers without us. Today, she willingly went to all of the people in our group and gave me lots of kisses. Until now, when I kissed her, she would wipe mine off! I don't think she had ever been kissed before. Tomorrow will be our last day with the Pierce family since their flight leaves early Friday morning. We will really miss them. Pressley has made such good friends on our trip! He has loved our guides and really likes hanging out with them. He is also a real ladies man here! The women at McDonalds love him and every place we go shopping, we have to wait for him while he poses for pictures. He'll be in for a real reality check when we get home!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Another Shopping Day

Today was a big shopping day on Shamian Island. We thought we were pretty much done, but the shopping was too good to resist! We took a taxi to the island- very easy and inexpensive. We met the Pierce family and another family for lunch at Lucy's. It was really good! After that, we shopped more until we were all too tired to go on! Tonight we are having our supper delivered to our room and hopefully going to bed early. I think we can all see the light at the end of the tunnel. Tonight, we'll be able to say, only 2 days from tomorrow! Tomorrow, Simon is going to take us to eat at a dumpling restaurant and then we will go to the Consulate to take our oath. Next, all we need is Cai's visa which will be issued on Thursday. We are down to the very last steps!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Shopping Day

Today we started by going to the medical examination building to have Cai's TB skin test read. It was negative thankfully. As soon as we walked into the building she started tensing up and by the time we reached the place where she had to have her shots and where they read the test, she was screaming and trying to get away. The entire, overly crowded clinic had their eyes on us. It didn't take long at all and we were out of there! She is one smart cookie. As soon as we left, with a little candy, she was fine. Then Simon took our crew to a shopping plaza right off of the island. First, we walked through an open market where they sold lots of unusual things- mostly for medicines and soups- dried lizards on sticks, turtles, dried sea horses, and scorpians ( alive). Then we did a little more shopping. The boys have has a fun time bartering and love using their chinese money. They think they're loaded! I gave them 100 yuan to spend which is $15 and they think their rich! We were able to find some really inexpensive DVD's that actually work! Pressley is feeling much better today and is watching one of his new DVD's now. Cai is still doing great- we have found that she absolutely LOVES candy and french fries. She just cracks our entire group up to hear her shouting for Pressley and Rion. They actually egg her on just for a laugh. She is so funny and so cute! As fiesty as she is, when it's time for bed or nap, she just lies down and goes to sleep! Another answered prayer!
For those are getting ready to travel and have asked, the Garden Hotel is wonderful! I would definitely recommend staying here. It's easy to get to the island when you need to, but also has plenty to do around here. We are in a suite and it is very spacious, which is so nice. The breakfast buffet is delicious and at least as good as the White Swan. There are lots of restaurants around and are easy to get to- The island is definitely torn up and almost impossible to get around with a stroller. Sadly too, many of the shops are closed. We were able to get to Jordan's and I know Jennifer's is still there too. Tomorrow we are going there by taxi and stay for a few hours, but I honestly think that's all we would need.Please let me know if you ahve any other questions!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Safari Park

Today we went to the Safari Park here in Guangzhou. It was a fun outing although very hot. Rion hasn't felt good the past 2 days and has been unable to eat anything. We are praying that tomorrow he will feel better. It's hard too, to feel bad so far away from home. Pressley has been such a trooper but had his first meltdown tonight. It started when he saw Coconut, our dog when we skyped, but then cried that he just wants to go home. We all do. Cai is doing great. I couldn't imagine her being any more perfect for us. It is so cute and funny how she calls after Rion and Pressley- she calls them by name, loud! She is also warming up to Mimi and loves to call Mimi too. We love the Pierce family and have spent lots of time with them. I can't say how much it helps having them here with us. We are so thankful. Tomorrow we will go back to the medical clinic to have Cai's TB skin test read and then we will be finished with that part. After that, I believe we will do a little shopping. Tuesday will be the day that our guide will take all of our paperwork to the Consulate- we need to stay in our room to be available foe any questions that may arise- hopefully there will be none! Then, on Wednesday, we go to the Consulate to take our oath. Ok, on to the pictures!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


On Shaiman Island Guangzhou. Cai had to come here for her medical exam. sad.
This is outside our hotel in Guangzhou.

We made it to Guangzhou last night- the best part was when our guide told us he was also meeting another family with our agency- it was the Pierce family and Tina and I have been emailing one another during this adoption. So, we all shared a van and checked into our hotel together. It is so nice being with another family here! Our hotel is the Garden Hotel and it is beautiful! I don't have many pictures to share- this morning was Cai's medical exam. She cried and cried and was really scared. She is 32 pounds. She had to have 4 shots plus a TB skin test. It was really hard and I cried too. We are trying so hard to establish trust and it hurt me that I had to hold her for so many shots this early. Cai is fiercely independent- she wants to feed herself and do so much for herself. I can tell though, that through her brave, independent little self, is a scared little girl who needs Mama. She wants to sit in my lap with my arms wrapped around her when we go anywhere. She likes to go off and follow her brothers but even in the stroller she likes to know where I am. She can say Rion and Pressley and when she doesn't see them, she will call for them or go to find them and give them a piece of her mind! We are so ready to be home and are just counting down the days. While I know this is just all part of the process, this is just a hard trip. I can't wait for everyone to meet Cai!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hubei Provincial Museum

Today we went to the Hubei Provincial Museum. It was really interesting. We also found another restaurant for lunch and it was delicious- the Show Coffee and Tea! This evening we took a river cruise and that included dinner. It was nice to be out and about and to be able to see more of Wuhan. Busy days make the time go by faster. Tomorrow we fly to GZ so our next post will probably be from there!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Yellow Crane Tower

This morning, Grant took us to Yellow Crane Tower. The people of Wuhan are very proud of this historical landmark. It is a beautiful tower on top of Snake Hill. We walked up 5 stories and on each floor saw many sights of Wuhan and many beautiful murals. We were able to see The Social Welfare Institute that Cai is from. It is a huge white building and we were told that the city is very proud of it- they have their own doctors and nurses and a school that children outside of the social welfare institute attend. Grant said that it is one of the best in their country. We have no doubt that Cai was taken very good care of. Cai is doing great. She loves Rion and Pressley and wants to hold both of their hands. Unfortunately, she is not sure about Mimi. She is very sweet but can also be very fiesty! She loves sprite and french fries so I think she will do just fine! Speaking of french fries, we have Donalds here every day, and although the boys are fine with that, Mimi and I are not! After Grant drops us back at our hotel around lunchtime, we are on our own. Everything we do feels pretty hard. Even to get to the McDonalds across the street we have to go down stairs and under the street and then back up- with Cai and a stroller, it's just tough. We are ready for our next stop, GZ and of course, home!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Adoption Day!

Well, we have officially adopted Cai. We spent the morning in the civil affairs office- after a few small hangups we were able to complete this part of the process. After we left, our guide, Grant, took us to a Carrefours store which is similar to our Wal Mart- there we bought Cai a stroller, Pringles for Pressley and candy for Rion. Cai is so heavy! She does not look like she would be and only wears a 3T but she is a lot heavier than Cate! She is a great napper and sleeper so far so that is really an answer to a prayer. Although Cai is definitely strong willed, she is also very sweet. She very willingly shares anything she has. It is funny because the only thing I understand that she says is Mama, and she says that quite frequently. She likes for me to be within eyesight and when I'm not, she starts to call- when she sees me again, she smiles. It is very sweet- I'm glad that she trusts me enough to call me Mama. She has the cutest little raspy voice. She also loves Rion and Pressley and loves to copy things that they say and do. She is obviously a quick learner. Our guide told her today that he was going to take us shopping and did she want to go- she said no-so he said that he was still going to go- and Cai told him to go ahead! We haven't seen much of Wuhan so far. What we have seen, we have decided is New York Times Square meets Harlem. We have walked around the corner from our hotel to eat but mostly we have spent our time here in our hotel when we weren't at the civil affairs office. Tomorrow we will visit Yellow Crane Tower which is a very popular landmark in Wuhan. We are ready to do a little exploring to get out of the hotel and hopefully it will make our days pass faster. The boys are hanging in there great. My mom and I miss home and I miss Greg and my girls so much that it hurts. Here are just a couple of pictures from today.