Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Is the honeymoon over?

Ok...before you freak out...
Meisi is still the sweetest, funniest, cutest little girl we could've ever hoped for and we love her more than words could possibly express...

She has spoiled us the past 9 days just as much as we've spoiled her!
Her smile - it lights up a room and melts our heart
Her kisses - yes she gives them and they are so so precious!
Her laugh - oh my heart...no words
Her voice - so little and sweet (most of the time) :) 

How did she spoil us?
She would sing herself to sleep at night...
The first week I tried to rock her and sing to her and she would point to her crib and shake her head no...

She was waking up with a dry diaper in the mornings - yes people, she pees on the potty - oh my word - can't say enough about how amazing New Hope Foundation and LWB are - I am certain she learned that with them!!!  Now only in the morning - but still that is amazing!!

She loves being held, being hugged, being tickled by Brian and I...

So why is the honeymoon over?
I think her shell is cracking....
she is realizing we are in love with her and is trusting us more...
either that or she is tired of us... ;)

The struggles now/how have we spoiled her:
The past two nights she wept, I mean wept...
The first night was because Brian wasn't in the room...yes, she is totally daddy's girl
Tonight - because we didn't hold her and rock her to sleep....
So of course, we pick her up and sing to her, rocking her which quickly puts her to rest.

What happened??  We think maybe her falling asleep in the carrier being held has made her realize we will do it?  Maybe?  Who knows?

Another struggle - she still will not let the kids love on her like they want to.  She yells at them, hits, kicks them to get them away.  More often this happens between she and Ian than Aili but happens to both.  Ian is just heart broken. He has been so in love with her for so long... praying for her daily, looking forward to hugging and kissing her...  So so hard for him.  Especially when our new friend's little girl adores him. 

Now - she did finally hug him tonight and sit in his lap for maybe 2 seconds without screaming at him or kicking him... which made him happy... but he still gets so so sad every time she pushes him away. :(  Please pray she grows to love and trust him quickly.  He has such a tender heart... Please also pray for Brian and I that we can figure out how to deal with all these issues... 

All we have done so far is sit her next to us (because usually holding her) and tell her in English and in charades/sign language, "no Meisi, you cannot hit or kick your brother/sister."  She cries and cries but I think it is mostly because we are not holding her. 

Yes...that is another struggle - she does not like to walk much.  She doesn't care for a stroller either... she wants to be held - mostly by Brian.  So hard to know what to do - so for now - we are carrying her when she refuses to walk (she will become limp and completely lay down if we try to get her to walk when she doesn't want to). 

I don't want to paint an ugly picture- she is a 2 year old... and definitely on target for the "terrible twos" - trying to figure out what she can get away with and can't.  The hardest part for us is knowing we have to handle her discipline so much differently than we did for Aili and Ian.  She has not had the safe, nurturing family from birth that they have had.  Her life has been totally turned upside down the past couple weeks and she is still learning to trust and love us.  I was on my knees last night begging God for His amazing wisdom on how to handle all this....how to love and disciple our kids who have had such different beginnings.  Will you join us in prayer for this? 

On a totally different note...Aili tonight told Brian she wanted him to apply for a job with Marriott because the waiter at the restaurant (from the Netherlands) was telling us how they needed more GMs in China...  When we asked her why she wanted to stay here she said, "The food is great, they have the most beautiful parks in the world and I just love it here."  :) 

Here are some of those beautiful parks - we have gone to Yuntai Park - which was an amazing flower garden and another park just down the road from our hotel (no idea what it is called)... it really is beautiful here. 

We also went to the Chen Family Temple.  Beautiful woodwork and architecture... Great place for prayer walking for the emptiness that all the outward beauty brings. 

I find myself praying and walking a lot here.  So much emptiness.... oh how I wish I could talk with them about the greatest love story ever - the story of our God and Savior who died for us so that we could live... Our amazing Father who adopted us into His family and loves us more than words can express...  I really need to learn Mandarin...or for Guangzhou - Cantonese. :) 

Some more cute Daddy/Daughter moments.... for all you dads out there who wonder if you could love a child that didn't come from your gene pool... he questioned it once too....pretty sure the pics show there is no dobut in the answer...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Guangzhou Zoo

We went to the Guangzhou zoo today and IT. WAS. AWESOME!!! 

Now, we are zoo loving people and I was totally impressed!!  The kids had so much fun!  Another family is here who has a beautiful 8 year old daughter that has been such a God send for Aili.  She was already enjoying herself but with O - she is loving it here!  :)  They are so cute together. :)  Love how God times things perfectly. :)  There are 8 families here with our agency - 5 are all on one bus and us and the Miller's (the family with the 8 year old) in another - the third family hasn't joined us for anything yet.  We are just really enjoying our time here. 

I carried Meisi in the Ergo again today -much much better and incredibly thankful for it today as it was a lot of walking!  Thank you Alisa for letting me borrow it!!  We took over 200 pics at the zoo, it was hard to narrow down what to post here.  We could get so close to the animals - it was fantastic!  Here are just a few of my favorites (have many animal shots too, but decided to leave those out). :)

Meisi is looking at the panda - can you see it?  Bottom right  - sorry I need photography classes to learn how to not make the background blurry!  Loved seeing her put her head down like that to see. :) 

She is really warming up to the kids... we are so very blessed!  Love these kiddos more than words can express!

Ian was getting tired of posing for pics. :)

The Ergo carrier is a life saver when she is asleep... 27 lbs is hard for me to carry without help! 

Isn't this just beautiful??  This is the north gate of the zoo.  Of course, being a family of five is a wonderful new blessing too!!

After this we went to eat at a Manchurian restaurant.  I can't say enough about the delicious food.  Our guide Kelly is simply amazing!  She orders for us so that we get a good selection for our two families.  I am gaining weight while here!! 
 I will eventually put a post of funny signs but this is hilarious - this is the restaurant we ate at today...
LOL - "Food massage"  - no idea!  They didn't massage any food that we saw!  I think it should say "foot massage" because that is downstairs.  Also - "go to second floor in the parking lot"?  hahah... Maybe we could make a business to fix all the English on the signs!  hahah  Regardless what the sign said - the food was AMAZING!!!
Outside they had a traditional carriage for brides - the kids thought it was great fun!
After eating Kelly walked with us back to the hotel... I can't explain how much I love seeing the real China... seeing the people and the way they live, the back alleys...  Love like agape love...  I know I say love a lot.... but what I feel here is hard to explain... 
It was so wonderful to see how relaxed our kids were here.  Aili was dancing down the street!  ahhhh
Ian wanted to buy all the fruit!  The fruit he is standing by is called Durian fruit... or "stinky fruit".  It isn't even allowed in our hotel!  haha... Boy, did it ever bring back memories of Indonesia....

Brian and I both love it here!  Nothing to do with the availability of western culture - we haven't been to starbucks or mcdonalds or 7/11....   Not sure what it is about this that I am so drawn to.....why my heart longs to stay here...but it does.....  


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Anhui to Guangzhou

Our last day in Anhui was pretty relaxing.  We waited for Meisi's passport to be done and paperwork to be completed.  We took a little trip to LWB Anhui Healing Home which was amazing. :) I just can't say enough good things about Love Without Boundaries.  To see some of these precious babies in real life that we've been praying for...  Hard to not fall in love with them all.  There is a little cutie with CHD there who isn't paper ready yet, but oh my heart....

Our last meal in Anhui was again at KFC (yes, I said we didn't need to go back, but we were very short on time to eat dinner)... Ian's prayer there was so precious "Thank you God for letting us come here to get Meisi and for letting us have so much fun here...."  Oh, my!  Thank you for your prayers for our precious children.  They truly have been fantastic and I am so thankful they have truly enjoyed themselves and for the amazing health we have all had while here.  God is so good!  Oh - Meisi had her first fry there - yes, they serve fries at KFC here. 

We are now in Guangzhou which is the final leg of our China Adoption journey for Meisi.Our flight was delayed so we didn't get to the hotel until midnight but everyone did great!  Meisi was a wiggle worm and totally wore me out, but she didn't cry until we landed.  Then she cried hard, very hard.  As though the people weren't staring enough, they were all staring at us then. Bless her heart.  We read in an update once that she didn't like to be awoken  I think that along with her ears hurting led to the screaming she did while waiting to unload the plane.  She calmed down once she had water and fell asleep again.  :) 

I realized today how short of time we have left here.  I am sad. Sorry friends - I do miss you and can't wait for you to meet our little sweetheart.... but I also love being here. I love the culture, I love the food - oh the food.... and I really do love the people here. I will miss China. Didn't realize how much my heart still longs to be here in Asia until being here....

Aili and Ian have been so amazing on this journey. The biggest struggle for them has been wanting to hug and kiss on Meisi and she hasn't really allowed them too - pushes them away - which makes them sad. For Ian...it breaks his little heart. Tonight though - they had so much fun playing with her in our gigantic room that we got upgraded to (again - God is awesome). :) I wish I knew how to post video - they laughed so hard all together. It was priceless. 

Tonight before bed - she gave them each a very nice hug - ahh..it melted their hearts I could see it in their eyes.  They love her so much!  What a blessing to see and feel their love. :)  Please pray that she continues to open up to them and allows their hugs and kisses more. We are such a huggy family...

Another answer to prayer is the medical exam. While other sweet babies cried - our little cutie laughed while being examined. 

The doctor said, "She is beautiful" when we first came in and then again after examining - he said, "She really looks great." :)  When they took her to do the TB test (which they now do with a blood draw for those over 2 years old), they wouldn't let us go with her.   They had her in the room for such a long time our guide went in to see what was wrong ....bless her little heart - she is like her Mama - veins are small and hard to find.  They had three different people in there trying to get her blood.  She cried so hard but calmed quickly in her Daddy's arms. 

While standing there waiting for Meisi I realized how many families were there at once (at least 15, maybe 20 families)...  Chills... all these precious children with their new families....  Never been in a room with more love than this I don't believe. 

Obviously I can't end a post with such a sad picture - so here is this one... Love how she knows us... I'm snapping away taking pics of our cutie (just can't take enough). :)  Brian asks, "Where is Mama?"
No idea how so much cuteness is in one little girl. :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Firsts (pool and zoo) and lasts (orphanage and abandonment)

Meisi had a couple firsts last night and today (at least firsts with us...hate to be redundant but I have no idea if it is truly her first -just know it is OUR first TOGETHER as a Family).

We went to the pool here in the hotel.  The first for us was that we had to buy water caps...yes, we are lovely I know - don't laugh!!  Meisi LOVED the pool.  I only let her kick her feet and splash but that was great fun for her!  :) Just realized pics at pool is on Brian's phone and he is asleep...will have to add those later!!

This morning we went to the zoo here in Hefei.  It was actually a really nice zoo.  I chose to put fewer layers on Meisi today and she was much happier. :)  She did however only want Brian to carry her.  She liked the stroller (which our guide got for us at the zoo) for all of about 15 minutes, but at least she rode in it some!  Poor Brian is worn out!  When Aili and Ian were little they always wanted me to carry them, cried for me all the time.  They'd let Brian hold them until I came home but as soon as I was there - it was me they wanted.  Meisi is the opposite - if Brian is here she only wants him.  She lets me hold her if he isn't around, she wants me to put her to bed and wants me to bathe her and change her, but mostly she wants Brian.  The difference is that she weighs almost 30 lbs - so she is a bit heavy to pack around.

Ok...some zoo pics (Including some really cute daddy daughter moments...I'm telling ya' - she loves him). :)  We did see a giant panda - so so cute...but picture isn't that great of quality so I didn't post.

Now for some lasts... 

We asked our guide to take us to her finding spot.  She did but since already driving 2.5 hours and her finding spot was right next to the orphanage we stopped by there too.  Meisi was only there for 2 months and a few days so we hadn't really planned to go see it.  We had already visited New Hope and LWB Heartbridge unit where she has spent most of her life being loved and cared for.  However, the orphanage director really wanted us to come by.  So, we did.  Aili and Ian didn't want to go inside so they stayed in the van with Brian and Meisi.  The director was sad that they didn't come in but I think he understood.  They were so sweet having set up a table of fruit for us to have. Karen and I went into the administrative building then we went into the orphanage.  He says there have been over 300 children adopted from 40 countries including 38 domestic adoptions from Dingyuan SWI in the past 12 years.  We only got to see one floor of the orphanage and one room in it.  I thought they were all boys when in fact they were all girls mostly 3-7 year old, except for one little boy whose parents were dead.  I don't know how to verbalize what I saw or felt.....

I brought the clothes she was wearing when given to us with me on our journey.  Our guide asked the director if they needed them (and after visiting I felt they did).  He was grateful to have them back.  So, here is the last picture of the clothes our little Princess came to us in -
He did tell me Meisi was not left with a note and they no longer had her clothes she was wearing when they found her.  He couldn't really explain how LWB was contacted either.  He said most children are left in public places and most left are girls. Now, this is not the case across China as there are more boys than girls in most orphanages here but this is what he told us for Dingyuan. 

Next, we went to Meisi's finding spot.  It was where we were standing, just beneath an apartment.
Of course, I wondered if her birth mom lived upstairs... Our guide asked if they had any idea who her parents were and he said no.  Another man came up (as did lots of other people) asking if we were looking for her parents... our guide, Faye, who is so sweet quickly told him no, we are her parents.  Like many here he asked why we would want to adopt another when we already have two...  :(  Oh how I wish I could talk to these people and how I wish she would've told me that is what he said when he said it.  Children are gifts - not burdens...  They are meant for families and love.  My heart hurt while standing there.  Hurt for Meisi's birth mom who chose life but for whatever reason couldn't be her Mama.  Of course, Meisi had no idea why we were there or even where we were.  Brian and I hugged and kissed her.  Told her we loved her and would always be her Mama and Baba...  As we told her these things, people surrounded us and our beautiful daughter let that precious smile of hers out and even in the dense smog - I felt the sun shining. :) 

She is an amazing gift to us - we are so thankful and love her more than words can say.  I know we may have to deal with some hard things in her life someday but for today we are enjoying the moments  as worry will not add a single hour to our life....and when those hard days come - we will seek Him first and lean not on our own understanding....

"Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is love"  1 Corinthians 13:13

Got love?......

Tours, comfort, discomfort and laundry :)

Thank you so much for all your comments, prayers, facebook posts... I can't tell you what it means to me and I wish I could respond to each one.  I am usually typing this when Meisi is napping or after she goes to bed at night- so time is a bit limited. Please do know how thankful I am for each of you though. :)  Your comments and posts lift my heart and spirit. 

Wednesday we went to a memorial for a "Just and Righteous Judge." Oh how I wish they knew the most Just and Righteous Judge... It was very interesting hearing the Chinese tragedies that went along with this memorial.  Beautiful area as well.  The kids were not as interested as the adults..but they did enjoy the snow. :)  Not sure if it was Meisi's first time touching it but it was her first time with us!

Meisi had a huge meltdown this morning.  Our guide had told me I needed to put more clothes on her Tuesday (she only had 3 layers on)... So Wednesday I did four, yes four layers and Meisi was not happy about it.  She cried and cried, especially when in the room where it is SOOO hot!  We have had the heat off the entire time we are here and it is still at least 80 degrees in this room.  There is no way to turn on the A/C.not even sure if there is one.  She was so uncomfortable in all those clothes...

I tired carrying her in the Ergo and she didn't much care for that either.  She did finally get down to walk a bit. 

We had our first trip to Wal-mart in China and the adjoining mall today. We walked there after visiting the memorial...a funny side note... Every so often here in China there are areas with exercise equipment... pretty cool - like an outdoor gym only no instructors and no instructions... Not sure if Karen is using this correctly, but fun anyway! 

While at the mall, Aili and Ian got lots of smiles.  When people saw Meisi there were both smiles and confused looks.  Many asked where her Mama and Baba were - they were even more confused when we said we were her Mama and Baba...so then they'd ask her and she'd look to us and smile.  They would tell us how Aili and Ian look like us - all this through Chinese and sign language.  Touching our hair and the kids hair shaking head, then touching Meisi's hair and my hair and shaking no...

I have been very comfortable here until today with the looks and questions... Brian and I have traveled a lot - 13 countries outside of US - mostly mission trips, mostly to Asian countries.  Each Asian country's culture and people are alike and different.  The crazy driving, the mopeds, the crowds, the bumping and pushing, the spitting, the squatty potties, the stares...none of this bothers me.  Brian and I were talking about how at home we felt here.  It seems natural to us.  My heart aches for these people who live in darkness.  God has given us such a heart and burden for the lost here in Asia.  We pray for each soul that we pass.  Who knows if a smile or a picture or.... could make a difference in their life.  We keep praying God will use us however He can while here.  I wish we spoke more Mandarin... as there is ample opportunity to share His great love for us and how we too are adopted by the most loving Father.  In the midst of my comfort here in China...these stares of question brought me a tad bit of discomfort...  My discomfort today came when I realized that the majority have no understanding of adoption.  Some looked worried that she was with us as though we may have kidnapped her.  We had a guide teach us to say adoption (Shou Yang) so that we could try to explain in the future.  I wish I could just say more than just adoption though... There is so much more to adoption than just that one word...  Ahhh...I could go on and on...

We did have some comfort food for us at the mall - Korean BBQ!!  lol...yes, we are a bit strange, but it really is comfort food for us..usually...  Trying to order Korean in Chinese in China...not as comforting though.  It wasn't as tasty either, but still good. The kids really enjoyed the desert - watermelon. :)

Another thing to note for those coming here - laundry is $$$  We could've bought some new clothes or packed an extra bag I think for what we just paid - lol.  Of course there are 5 of us who had laundry done... it was nearly $150!!!  Yikes!!  And that was supposedly using the cheap person through our guide - the hotel is even more pricey!  We didn't even send out our socks and undies (washed those in the room sink). 

Ok... strange way to end a post but I started this one on Wed...now it is Thursday and so much happened today... So...onto the next post I go - love you guys and thanks so much for your continued prayers and support! :)


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday our Precious Daughter :)

What an incredibly special day!!!   Meisi's second birthday and her "birth day" into our family!!  Today we made everything official - she is our daughter (of course she has been in our hearts since August). :) 

Introducing our 2 year old - Meisi Zhen Simpson :)  Also known as Mei Mei (little sister), Zhen Zhen and sweet Meisi :) 

 I'm gonna back up a little to last night. :)  We ate at the noodles shop in the hotel and let me tell you..this little cutie can throw down some noodles. :)  She is also a ham.  She had us all belly laughing with her cute looks and sweet, silly spirit. :)  One thing she had not yet done for us was stand up or walk. If we sat her down, she cried and became limp, immediately stopping when we picked her up again.  Well, after dinner she pointed to the ground and look!!! 
We walked round and round the lobby.  She loved kicking her boots up high and walking. :)  One time Aili let go and stopped to look at rocks.  Meisi, Ian and I walked on and she yelled, "Mama...Jei Jei (sp?)"  That means big sister...it was so sweet!!  She was worried we were leaving Aili. :)

When we got back to the room, more belly laughs for all of us. She adores the phone and keys!  Definitely her two favorite toys so far!

 She went to sleep quickly last night and slept until we woke her 10 hours later.  She truly is amazing!  She held my hand through the little crib until she went to sleep...it was priceless!!!  This morning..she woke and wanted me to cuddle her.  Ahhh..her sweet little head on my chest...I love her so much.  I also love how she hugs Brian when he holds her.  :)  She is just so cute we can't quit taking pics of her. :)

 After the Civil affairs office (where she officially became our daughter), we came back to the room to find a cake here! :) They also had little white Hello Kitty plates and the cutest little flower candle. :) Meisi was tired, but Aili and Ian couldn't wait to have the cake.  I was trying to teach her to blow out the candle. She didn't much care for the birthday hat but did really like the cake.  

Afterwards she enjoyed running around the room with Ian, playing with her balloons, blowing bubbles with Aili and watching TV (cheerios is her new favorite food). 

While Meisi and I napped Brian, Karen and the kids went for a walk in this beautiful wintry wonderland!  :)  I forgot to mention we woke to about 4 inches of snow!  It was so beautiful - an absolutely perfect day!!!  The kids were so excited to see the snow - even Meisi! :) 

Last but not least - bed time again.  She is playing with her Hello Kitty doll Grandma got her for her birthday.  It has taken her some time to warm up to her lovey, baby dolls and stuffed items, but she really loved on them all tonight. :) 
Can't help but overload you on pictures!!  She is just so cute we can't help it!!  Oh - she is smart too (hehe, I know all parents think their kid is the smartest). :)  She has already learned to say, "Uh Oh, Yummy, Hello, Thank you and of course every 2 year old's favorite - No!"  :) She even said "Aili" today! :) 
Thank you for your continued prayers!  Everyone is amazed at how well she is doing.  It really has seemed like a dream.  My response is always that we have many people praying for us and we are feeling and seeing God's hand move here. Thank you.  Please continue to pray for us as we continue to bond, for our health (Meis has a cough and congestion which we are treating - Brian and I are feeling a bit achy today), and for Aili and Ian.  They are going a bit stir crazy in this hotel.  So, if anyone knows something to do in Anhui - please let us know! lol
We love you all and are so thankful and blessed because of you and your prayers for us!  :)