"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." -----Martin Luther King, Jr.
"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet,regardless of time, place, or circumstance.The thread may stretch or tangle,but it will never break."
- ancient Chinese belief

Friday, August 20, 2010

We're here!


Yes, we are home! Yes, we are fine! Yes, we are tired! Yes, we are busy!


And YES, we are happy!


Our flights home were smooth sailing except for that Junie was up almost the ENTIRE time. She took 2 30 minute catnaps during the 14 hour flight from Hong Kong to Detroit. I seriously thought I was going to lose my mind. We had a wake up call at 5:30 that A.M. in Hong Kong and I know she was exhausted. But she just couldn't fall asleep.


When we got to Detroit, we went through customs and immigration without a hitch. David and I congratulated Junie on becoming an American citizen with hugs and kisses. We had plenty of time to catch our connecting flight (our travel agent said we'd be cutting it close), in fact, I'd have hated it if we'd had to wait any longer to get home. Our 2nd flight was fine and THEN Junie decided to sleep! It worked out fine as she was somewhat rested to meet the family.


When we got the the ATL airport, we were greeted at the top of the escalator by the boys and ALL of the extended family. It was awesome! They had posters and it was just perfect. Junie was very brave and let me hug everyone before demanding to move from Daddy to Mommy's arms.


Junie was at first a tad hesitant of the boys and they had (have) "new puppy syndrome" with her. We still have to keep an eye on them and make sure they are not invading her personal space too much but for the most part, she enjoys them (sometimes puts up with them) and they LOVE her. The best part of the day is family dinner where she will usually crack us all up by doing something cute!


She actually put her arms out to Jack on Sunday.

"Danced" in her highchair when we all sang a song at the table.

"Plays" at the dishwasher - just like all the boys did.

Crawling all over the place.

And more I just can't think of b/c I am doing this last minute while she naps...


Oh, we have a master on the main so I purchased a nice portacrib for our room thinking she'd be in there for months after we came home and then after her surgery, whenever she was sick, etc.

Well, she slept there the first few nights and then on Monday night, she woke up at 3:30, wide awake and "calling" us. After still not falling back to sleep in our bed, I brought her up to her room and rocked her. She then sat up on my lap and started pointing to everything, babbling and then patting herself on the head and other bizarre behavior which I have come to recognize as overtired/overstimulated behavior. (this is what she did for 13 of the 14 hours of the flight from Hong Kong to Detroit, I kid you not!). At that point, I put her in her crib, covered her up and went back to the rocker to see how she'd do. She stood up (but couldn't see me), whimpered for a moment, plopped down and went to sleep until 8!


So, that night, I thought I'd try her in her bed to start and bring her down if she woke up and was upset. I put her to bed at 9 and didn't hear a peep from her until 8 the next day! So much for the portacrib. She has been sleeping like a champ (if only I could say the same) at night and naptime. I love that!


I will try to post more soon. The boys' school system changed their calendar this year and they start this Monday, Aug. 23rd. MUCH later than last year's Aug 9th. It just could not have been better timing. This week has been awesome with them getting to know each other and not having to worry about schedules or homework. And, I think next week I will be ready to have her alone and get into a routine with her.


I sometimes look at her and just simply cannot believe it.

She is ours.

She is wonderful.


i will "update" with long overdue good pix from China: Gotcha Day, etc. next!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Our Travel Group

Homeward Bound~ Pray!

I am blogging here from the garden hotel. We are packing what we can while junie naps. I am gettng more and more anxious by the minute about the flight with junie, life once we get home etc. David is dealing with his boredom by snacking on seaweed flavored pringles even though he has TD! lol!

This has been the adventure of a lifetime. seeing junebugs emerge from her shell is simply not something I can put into words. As David said, "you just couldn't describe this to someone". So true.

We are taking a private car to hong kong (thank you David for the upgrade) around 4. Our flight leaves tomorrow am at 9. I am so ready to get home to my boys. and tap water that I can drink without boiling and all my other creature comforts (hello body pillow!).

But I am not sure if I am ready to say goodbye to this country. This strange and beautiful country that gave me a daughter. I do not know when I will ever return but I know that China will hold a very special place in my heart forever.

We have been so fortunate to have travelled with the Studdards, Whites, Settles and James and Noah. I hope to keep up with our new friends and can't wait to watch their children grow and flourish too.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we head home. Junie will become a US citizen at our first point of entry, in the city where I was born, Detroit.

Looking forward to catching up with you all and intoducing Miss June Meili to everyone!

Peace out from China and LOTS and LOTS of Love,
Ash

Car Ride to Hong Kong



Thursday, August 12, 2010

Video of Junie


Update

Hi everyone. Sorry for the delay on posting. We have been on the go all day everyday and then so tired!!

On the 9th we went to the island for the med exam results. On the way there we realized that we didn't really need to go since junie is under two and didn't have to get the tb test. Too bad, we just had to kill our time shopping! Junie is the proud new owner of several pairs of sqeaky shoes and the cutest dress EVER from A Gift of Love.

After getting back to the hotel, our group went to cow and bridge. Our group is great.

On the 10th we went to 6 Banyan Temple. Junie got blessed by a monk for safe travels home. I hope he threw in an extra prayer for her mommy who is quite nervous about that much time on a plane with an 18 month old!

Yesterday was our consulate appt. This is the "CA" around which our entire trip was planned. We actually do not go, our guide goes for us. We had to be in our hotel room from 9-10 in case anything was wrong with our paperwork. Ours went through without a hitch! :)

We celebrated by going back to the island with our new friends, the Settles and their precious daughters. I am so happy to have met them not only because they are so sweet and fun to be with but also because Nicole loves to shop as much as I do! :)
Jordan (of Jordans gift shop) said I was "good at talking and bargaining" which I took as a huge compliment since he "talks" and "bargains" all day long!

We had lunch at the island Cow and bridge, while we waited out the rain, and it was yummy!

Today we had our swearing in ceremony at the US consulate. We waited with about 50 other families and proudly took our oath that everything on our paperwork was true and accurate.

We celebrated with our group (minus James and Noah) by going to Pizza Hut! Fun fun! Junie seems to really enjoy our outings and the more the merrier!

We have been going to the pool and junie loves it more each time! I predict she will be wearing the life vest at the pool next summer because she'll be wanting to jump in.

It's our last night at the Garden Hotel and I am feeling a mix of emotions- it will be bittersweet indeed to board that plane.

We are leaving for Hong Kong tomorrow after Simon, our guide, picks up our final paperwork - the sealed brown envelope! Around 4:00.

FYI for those to travel soon. Emma's had the best sqeaky shoes and you need WAY more clothes than the packing lists suggest! It is SO hot and humid that my clothes are gross after one wearing. The laundry services do not seem cheap ($20 for one small bunch, our friends spent $90!!!) and the clothes take a long long time to dry because it's humid on the rooms too!

Sorry for the long post and typos- this is coming from iPhone!!

Lots of love!
Ash

Oh and I don't know if you all are getting my replies to your posts or not but thanks to each and every one! I love hearing from you and reading your kind and encouraging words!

Sent from my iPhone

More Photos!






Monday, August 9, 2010

Family



Monday in Guangzhou

We are doing great here and Junie is doing even better!

She is smiling, laughing, babbling, EATING, clapping, crawling, pointing, sitting up big and tall and getting her diva on!

We went to the island today with our group and did more shopping. Took the red couch photos and junie even flashed her awesome smile for us all!

After, went to the popular Cow & Bridge restaurant for Thai food with the group.

Took a short nap and then went to the pool where junie did her biggest laughs yet. She's already learned who is the fun parent at the pool (& it's not me!).

While I hold her at bedtime now, she looks up at me & smiles and smiles and "talks". I love it. She took a bottle tonight at bedtime too.

We are less and less concerned about how she'll be around the boys and know she'll be able to hold her own! :)

We are loving our time here where we can give her our complete attention but are missing our boys like crazy! Can't wait to see them together.

Love to you all!
Ashley

Another Red Couch Photo of the Group!



Red Couch Photos




Sunday, August 8, 2010

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Pool Magic :)


Hello, everybody! Sorry for the delay in a real post.

Yesterday began wouthout note or fanfare. In fact, we canceled a trip to the zoo in part because Junie didn't seem up for it. Somehow we justfied that she WAS up for shopping and we hired a guide who took us to the pearl and jade markets and other fertile shopping grounds. The guide also took us to her favorite Cantonese restaurant for amazing Dim Sum.

Later, after Junie's nap, we decided to intro her to the pool even in the face of our prediction that she would abhor it. I dressed her up in the custest pink frilly tutu bathing suit ever. We started in the baby pool. Junie sat on my lap and watched stone-faced while David fake tripped repeatedly in the pool and spit water up like he was a fountain. David said she stared at him like he was a mental patient.

So, we moved to the big pool. To make a long story short, THIS IS WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENED. I held out my hand, she placed her tiny hand on mine and when I gently shook it and said 'yayyyyyy!' she flashed the most beautiful smile you can imagine. We laughed and shed a few tears, trying not to freak her out w our reaction. She repeated the "trick" many more times.

We saw many more gorgeous smiles throughout the afternoon and she even cooed and giggled at dinner (by the way, we found the best Hunan style restaurant ever and we intend to eat there every day until we leave! ).

We've also seen her crawl (VERY short distances!) a few more times.

Ok, we feel a little silly now about how worried we were BUT a couple points. First, what you do not know is that the orphanage staff at Gotcha Day told us point blank that "she never smiles but also never cries" (the latter as if it were a good thing). This obviously made us worry on it's face, but also caused us to doubt all the previous information on her from the orphanage and think it was canned positive info. In conjunction with her behavior (limp, unresponsive, no interest in toys, refused food and water, seemed to have no development much past newborn), we were seriously concerned even knowing that there is often an adjustment period with these adoptions. So, that's that. Pardon the drama!

She's doing better and we are loving getting glimpses into her personality.

Another iPhone blog update! Sorry for typos.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Now I Know

Dear Junie Girl:

For six months, I have wondered what you look like when you smile.

Now I know.

For six months, I have wanted to hear your voice.

Now I've heard.

For six months, I have longed to hear your giggle.

Now I have.

For six months, I have prayed to see hope in your eyes.

Now I have seen.

And all of these moments were more wonderful than I could have imagined.

Congratulations, Junie, on a big, big day. Mommy loves you.

Swimming Beauty!



Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Big Day

Anothe iphone entry, so please excuse grammar, no caps, etc! After a very rough day yesterday, little miss June meili had a big day today!

*. Did peekaboo with Paul page and put your finger thru momma's ring page of pat the bunny.
*. She's become attached to a tiny stuffed bear; has been holding "bear bear" since gotcha day. This am, she rubbed it's paw on her forehead .. Then, she rubbed it on me! It was so sweet. Later in day, as I was snuggling her in my lap, she alternated rubbing the bear's paw on her, mine, and david's hand.
*. She has refused each of the three types of bottles with various types of beverages. She had also refused all solid foods ... Until today! This am, she ate lots of scrambled eggs and mashed watermelon (along with yogurt and some oatmeal!).
After her three hour nap today, she reached into a container of gerber puffs, pulled one out and, much to my surprise, ATE IT!! This was HUGE as she hadn't reached for anything to that point. She ate many more puffs.
*. She took a quick bath (with mama) -- without crying!!
*. Another concern was that she hadn't pooped. She was crying at one point today and (having read about other adoptive parents discovering this) had a hunch and sat her on the toilet. Lo and behold, that tiny baby pooped on the potty!
*. She has started to show a mommy attachment She's leaned to me, held arms out to me and today after I scooted away from her (I'm almost never too far away and usually holding her), we got a glimpse of something resembling a crawl!
*. Had some bites of a gerber biter biscuit.
*. She ate two entire jars of baby food before bed.
*. Still no semblance of a smile at us but much more "aware" today. Lot's of touching and looking around, etc. David disagees that it was a real or voluntary show of happiness, but I swear that I saw her smile for a split second at a stuffed animal in TrustMart.

Other miscellaneous:

*. She fell over from sitting. She has almost no core strength.
•. She is super-skinny, a new phemenon for a Gruskin baby.
•. A little levity helps us get through the days: when she eats yogurt or smushed food, it sometimes comes through her palate and out her nose. So, we've referred to her as "The Human Neti Pot". ( David says The boys are going to be jealous of that trick!)
*. We have no concept of time here. Days are so long; things that happened this morning feel like a week ago. We never have a sense of time of day or what meal (lunch, dinner) is next. It's quite bizarre.

Thank you for your comments, words of encouragement and prayers. We appreciate more than you know.

Precious Pictures




Wednesday, August 4, 2010

David's Poem

*Please, Smile*

I pray the life from which you came,
Had warmth and love and little blame;
That the profound sadness on your face,
Cries out for a yearned-for happy place;
That you heard a soothing lullaby,

That the laughter in you didn't die.

That although it may have been a while...
*something*, *somewhere* made you smile.

That someone rocked you; hummed a tune --
Before you had the name of June.

That the deep, black misery in your eyes,
Only reflects you don't surmise:
You're not being abandoned; you are reborn --
This time with ties that won't be torn.

That we have strength to show you how
To know the joy awaiting now.

Please, smile.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sweet Pics of Junie and her Mom!




Junie Mei Gotcha Day and laptop on fritz!

Laptop won't even turn on now. Infernal machine! So update is from phone and thus must be terse. We KNOW you really want pics but unfortunately unable now.

Have had Junie 24 hours now and still don't know much about her. Not sure yet If she is just grieving or developmentally behind -- probably both.

We did discover she loves yogurt, sucks her thumb, prefers to be held by someone standing up and walking, and always wants to be holding things in her little hands. She's connected with a little teddy bear we brought and always tries to hold his little paw. Oh, she held a cookie all day yesterday.

Still waiting for her to smile or show even the remotest interest in play. Nothing so far.

She's fallen asleep in our arms a few times. You can imagine how great that feels.

We've never missed our boys more. We love you M J and T. Hang in there, we'll be home soon.

Love to all.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Gotcha Day for Junie Mei!

Horrendous computer situation is now complete breakdown and hampering ability to update. All will have to standby for pictures. Will try to forward couple iPhone shots.

Today was awesome and unfathomably emotional. Little Junie is precious, beautiful and alert, but she is in shock and breaking our hearts with the deepest, most profoundly sad eyes you've ever seen. Our biggest wish now is that we and our boys and you (our friends and family) can show her what happiness, comfort and the goodness of life are.

Have not been able to read your comments yet but thank you so much for your support and love. We are using every last drop of both!

Junie sleeping now on bed sucking thumb and holding Teddy bear hand with tiny fingers on other hand.

More when possible ...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

In Guangzhou!

We are in Gaungzhou! Our flight was smooth and the Garden Hotel is heaven! Nice, clean and fancy-shmancy! We have a nice BIG suite with a separate "family room" with a flat screen, sofa and chair, table and desk/office area! We love it. We also love the "feel" of Guangzhou. It feels so much more international with more familiar signs, KFC (told you Michael!), 7-11, Starbucks and Pizza Hut to name a few. I swore I would never eat at a chain when in China but the food has not been quite what I expected and the Big Mac tasted pretty yummy tonight! :)
We are meeting Junie tomorrow at 2:30! Our guide, Simon, is picking us up at 2:00. We need to make a few copies and get passport pictures made before then.
I am a bundle of nerves and almost started crying when we walked into our room and saw the crib set up! :) It is actually happening and I cannot believe it! I feel like I am walking around in a dream. Tomorrow I am meeting my daughter!
We found out that we will be meeting Junie with several other families. I think he said there will be about 40 people there together. Junie will be the youngest in our group. Another BAAS family is checking into the hotel tonight and I cannot wait to meet them!
I will post as soon as I can but am not actually planning on letting go of Junie for days! Maybe I'll have David blog...
Next time I'll be posting as a mother of 4!