Saturday, January 29, 2011

Home Sweet Home

The marathon of a day started with our long flight out of Hong Kong. The thought of 14 hours on a plane with a 17 month old was not too appealing.

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We watched the map on the seat in front of us and counted down the hours.

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Max did amazing. He slept the first 4 hours, played, ate and giggled his way through the next 7 and then slept the last 3. He didn't cry the whole entire flight.

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We landed in Detroit and went through customs. What an amazing feeling to hand them our brown envelope with our last bit of paperwork and walk through the gate and know our little boy is now a US citizen. Look at our little sweetheart sportin' the USA sweatshirt!

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We continued on our flight from Detroit to Minneapolis and then our final flight to Sioux Falls. We knew there were family and friends waiting for us.

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I love this picture of the kids waiting for us in anticipation!

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What an amazing feeling to see our 3 little ones waiting for us and waiting to see their brother for the first time.

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To say it was emotional was an understatement.

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Max was greeted by many. He has been prayed for and is loved. We are so blessed with amazing friends and family who have supported us on our journey to him and back again.


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Max with big sister Alexa!

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Max with big sister Emma!

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Max with big brother Shane!

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Papa and Grammy get a peek at their new grandson!

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We are so thankful to be home and be a family of 6.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Goodbye Guangzhou

Today was a fast day of packing up and saying good byes!


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Sonia and my pathes crossed somehow on line before we traveled. They are an amazing family and she is a very special mommy. They have 4 boys and traveled to China to adopt 2 more boys. The brought their whole family so couldn't be missed. I so enjoyed meeting her in person and seeing her sweet family every morning at breakfast. Two sweet boys now have a wonderful mom and dad and 4 amazing big brothers. They were fun to sit back and watch. Eric and I often commented how wonderfully behaved all their sweet boys were. You have to click on her name and go check out her blog. She is so funny and even funnier in real life.

We spent the rest of day packing, packing and packing some more. We had an exit meeting with our agency and then spent some time with our friends before we left. We feel so blessed to have met so many wonderful people. Kurt, Lauren and Lu Lu with be life long friends I believe. We were able to spend time together praying over each others children and families before we said our good byes. We so appreciate this Godly couple, their call to adopt and the memories we made with them in China. I am sure we will be seeing more of them.


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The journey home began. We picked up Max's Visa and headed for train station. We boarded the train to Hong Kong at 6:15. One more of Max's many experienced in these 10 days that he has been with us. We are spending the night in Hong Kong and will then begin the marathon of flights home tomorrow. We will have about a 26 hour day from wake up to setting feet in our home. Amongst the flights we will be mixing bottles, changing diapers, trying to catch a few zzz's.



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Most of all we will be anticipating seeing our 3 other blessings and getting home and start life as a family of 6. We can hardly wait!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Taking In Guangzhou

Max had another great night of sleep last night. He is still fighting his runny nose and cough but he was more himself today which was good to see. We are praying he keeps improving before the big trip home.
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Today was our last full day in Guangzhou. It is hard to believe that our time in China is almost over. We have not been in our room too much in Guangzhou but instead have been enjoying the weather and our time outside before we head back to the bitter cold of South Dakota. Most mornings after breakfast we take a walk around the island. The Chinese culture is really so intriguing. I love the way they approach life and the way they take time for their mind, body and soul. On any given day you can see many activities around the island. There are some running around the track and using the exercise machines in the park. Others are playing bad mitten with a net tied between light poles. You can also find some ballroom dancing or just dancing to music. Some are doing routines with balls or swords. You often see the old instructing the young. There are some that jump right in the Pearl River for a swim .. burr.
Others join together to sing or play musical instruments. We could learn a lesson or two about slowing down, taking time and enjoying life.
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The view along the Pearl River is beautiful and the people are captivating.

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The other thing that we see all day long on the island is people doing photo shoots. The island was once controlled by the British so the architecture is very different than the rest of China. It is beautiful and is the perfect back drop for photographers. There are couples who come to the island before their wedding to take their wedding pictures. There are magazines doing photo shoots. People are posing for fashion magazines or for the Internet for clothes or purses. There are professionals and armature photographers all over the place.
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This morning was the "Red Couch" picture day. You have to figure that many little ones who don't like to be out of their parents arms plus for most it was nap time is just a recipe for disaster.

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So this is about as good as it gets for our travel groups little sweethearts.
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Here is a picture of our whole travel group. It really is amazing to be on an amazing journey with others walking the same road.
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The three of us.
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After our pictures we decided to walk with our friends over the bridge and head off the island to local area of Guangzhou, the non-Americanized area.
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The first area we came across was the Spice Market. There was store after store of spices. There were items laying out all over drying. Fish or sea horses for your soup anyone?
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The second area we came across was the Pet Market. There were some really cute animals and some not so cute ones too. It is a guess if they are really sold as pets or for other things ... one may never know.
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We got to the local walking street and we definitely stood out in the crowd. I was walking with 3 dark haired Caucasians so my lighter hair stood out in the sea of dark haired people. We were amazed at the number of people on the walking street. The population in these Chinese cities is just unbelievable.
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Max again handled the morning in true Max fashion. Our travel group often jokes because they rarely see our sleepy boy awake when we are out and about. Today he slept part of the time tucked under Eric's arm in his carrier and then he would stretch and lay back and sleep in this position. Yes, he continues to steal our hearts over and over again!
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We spent some time this afternoon shopping on the island. I also have been waiting for a time to get a picture of Max by these cute little children but it seems that when we are out and about walking he is usually sleeping. Well today I got my pictures of Max with the children.
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If only we know what Max is thinking? What does he see through those little eyes of his? A whole new world has been opened up to this little guy in the last 9 days and we often wonder what in the world he is thinking. I watched him for a long time today as he touch and studied this leaf. What I wouldn't do to see the world through Max's big brown eyes right now!
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Tonight we met most of our travel group at the Thai Restaurant for our final dinner on the island. I took pictures of all our tables but there were eyes that were closed and the color wasn't great so instead I will leave you with a picture of Max and his new friend Lu Lu. They are only 3 days apart and both could light up the room. We are going to miss Lu Lu and her mommy and daddy!
My heart is full tonight, God is good!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Taking Care of Business

Max had a great night last night. He clocked 11 1/2 hours of sleep. We slept in and took our time getting ready this morning. We knew when we got down for breakfast our little man wasn't feeling great yet and wasn't interested in eating anything. The poor things still has a very runny nose and a cough. His eyes just don't have that same sparkle back yet.

Today was one of those "taking care of business" kind of days. Our agency was taking our paperwork to the Consulate this morning so one of us needed to stay in the room in case they called that their was a problem. We were thankful we didn't get a call. I decided to take Max out on a walk on the island and did some window shopping before our day of shopping tomorrow. Max loves being the carrier and fell asleep before we were out of the hotel. He had a good 2 hour nap on our shopping trip. I told Eric he knows where to find me when we get home .... the mall!

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We walked down to a little Deli to grab some take out lunch. Max loves his noodles!

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Even though he felt crummy there is always smiles when daddy plays with him!


This afternoon we stood with our right hands raised in the US Consulate in Guangzhou, China (no photos allowed). Along with thirty other families, we swore that all of our adoption paperwork is true. We signed some papers and now we wait for two days for Max's Visa to be issued.

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This is what Max looked like and felt like this afternoon when we got back.


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Tonight we were signed up with some of the other families in our travel group to go on a dinner cruise on the Pearl River. We debated about backing out due to Max's mood but decided to just go for it. He actually was wonderful the whole evening. We had Papa John's pizza delivered to the dock before the boat took off.

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The lights and the view were amazing. There were a lot of things lit up for the Asian Games.

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We had a fun evening out on the water.

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Hoping our little man is feeling better tomorrow and back to his smiley little self.


Monday, January 24, 2011

The Safari Park And More

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Last night was a bit of a rough night for Max again. His fever is still gone but his poor little nose is running yet. He sucks his two middle fingers during the night and it doesn't work so well when you can't breath through your nose. He woke himself up quite a bit and had a tough time breathing with his stuffy nose. Funny how the little sweetheart found his way between Eric and I again. I am thinking he may just have us wrapped around his little finger already. Oh there will be adjustments when we get home but we are loving all the good signs of bonding we are seeing and hearing. He loves to be picked up. He reaches his little hands out and when we pick him up he gets the biggest grin you have ever seen.
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Max has some of the cutest expressions that I need to try catch on camera. One things he does is squints his little eyes and wrinkles up his nose. Who can't love this little face? Eric and I continue to talk about how blessed and in love we are with this little bundle from China. God is so good and we are so blessed to have Max as part of our family.
Today we spent most of our day at a Safari Park. It is the largest Safari Park in China. We though Omaha had an amazing zoo well there is no comparison after what we saw today.
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The first part of the morning we spent on a little train riding through the park. The animals were right next to us and in some cases were crossing the road in front of us and behind us.
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When we would come up on some of the animals like the bears and tigers there was someone there throwing food to them. Notice the bear standing on his hind legs waiting for a mid morning snack. Max was more interested in all the people around him that the animals.
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We then entered the park. We walked through the baby animals nursery and came across the chimp in pajamas. Isn't he the cutest thing ever? The big one was snacking on a carrot.
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I am pretty sure Kurt and Eric may be long lost brothers. They are way too much alike!
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Notice Max is handling the park in true Max style.
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We had some lunch by the giraffes and then headed over to feed them. This was amazing. The kids were loving it. Look at cute little Judson from our group feeding the big giraffe. Max woke up just in time to help me do a little leaf feeding.
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Check out the tongue on that big guy!
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Isn't this the sweetest little Koala?
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Next we hit the elephant show. The elephant would hand people banana's to feed to him. He did some jump rope twirling and hula hooping.
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Max and I having a little face to face time.
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The panda bears were also pretty amazing. There were 12 panda's at this zoo. There are actually only 12 panda's in the whole US.
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We finished off the day with the elephants. We were able to feed these guys too. There was so much more we could have seen and done but it was time to head back to the island. It was a fun day. I wish we could take our other three kids, they would have loved it.
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Max had an afternoon snack of one of his favorite foods .... bread! Max and his older sister are going to get along great ... they love their carbs!
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Max continues to be Mr. Curious. He ended up crawling in the shower today and quickly learned it is wet in there. He also was quick to find the open diaper bag and all the treasures inside.
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We spent the evening with Kurt, Lauren and Lu Lu again. We had a yummy dinner at the Cantonese Restaurant tonight. We let Eric be in charge of ordering all our food tonight and it was all amazing. It is a little tough to cut up food for Max with chop sticks or the spoons they use. Max downed a bottle and then ate table food like a champ too. He should sleep well on his full belly.
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We stopped by Starbucks on our way back to the hotel for a little dessert. Notice the improvising on the cake to go! Cake in a cup!

 
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