Waiting For Ava

“But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.” Habakkuk 2:3

Friday, July 31, 2009

We got back from dinner about a half an hour ago. We went to a restaurant that's in the hotel. We have been there for at least four dinners. It is a buffet. Very good food. Terri has stuck to spaghetti and pork. I have been a little adventurous. Snails, Lamb, Foie gras. Just to name a few. The food is very good here.

I am sitting here watching Terri and Ava on the bed. Ava usually has a nap for about a half an hour or so in the evenings. When we got the paper work for Ava when we got here said that she sucks on a blanket when she goes to sleep. Of course we didn't get that blanket. So it has been a chore to put her down for a nap.

Tonight Terri took off her shirt and Ava is now laying in front of Terri with the shirt wrapped around herself. Terri is rubbing her hands and arms. Ava is holding up her hand so that Terri can rub it. It is so cute to watch.

Ava says thanks to Auntie Sherri for the shawls. It is the only thing other than Terri's shirt that she will let us cover her with. She will not let us cover her with a blanket at all. Nothing soft.

When Ava sleeps at night she moves her legs and feet around until she finds her momma. It's funny as well. She can be dead asleep but as soon as she looses touch with Terri her legs start to search for her. Believe me it's cute and all but we wanted to make sure we tried her in the crib last night. That went well. She only woke up once throughout the night and all Terri had to do was rub her back and side a little bit and she went right back to sleep.

Another milestone

Ava slept the whole night in the crib last night. This is a milestone. We have had a really good day today. She is laughing and playing. Lots of talking. When I turn and look at her and our eyes meet she now smiles and laughs.

When we aren't paying attention to her she starts to talk and when we turn and look she smiles. We are convinced that she is doing it to get our attention. She is amazing. She opens up more and more each day. I would have never believed it if I wasn't here to see it for myself.

We leave for the Guangxi airport tomorrow at 9:30a.m. Our flight is at noon. We will be arriving back in Beijing around 3:00 p.m. It will be nice to get back to Beijing. The weather is still hot but at least it's not as humid as it is here.

I think that it will be a bit sad tomorrow when the plane lifts off. For me anyway. I will feel sad for Ava and for her foster mom and even for Ava's birth mother. Come noon tomorrow she will be leaving all them and her birth province behind.

All I can do for them is promise to always love her and take good care of her. I promise them that I will try my hardest to provide her with as many opportunities as I can. If I had a wish that could be granted right now it would be that they could know how much joy and love they have given us. That they would have comfort knowing that she is safe and loved.

Ava eats Watermelon

Ava looking at her Dad

Someone looks sleepy

She loves her phone

Thursday, July 30, 2009

More pictures of Ava playing...

Ava is starting to come out of her shell

After coming back from the village visit today Terri sat Ava on the bed to play. Ava played by herself without either one of us having to be with her. It was a milestone. It was wonderful to sit back and watch. Then we took her out to the foyer by the elevators to play just to get out of the room for a while.

One of the girls from one of the other families came out of the elevator and informed us that there is a play room on the second floor. She asked if we wanted to go down there and play because that was where her parents and little sister was.

We jumped at the chance. Well let me tell you. Ava's face lit up as soon as we walked in. She was playing with three other kids there. Laughing, Crawling, Standing. It was awesome. I'm so proud of her. We got to see her true personality for the very first time. She is a little monkey.

Is there a smile hiding in there...

Playing with her cups

Playing on the slide

Visiting a local village today

After visiting a local village today I can honestly say that we are all spoiled rotten. Our guide told us that our children could have come from a village much like this one. The local people were so nice and so happy. The children loved the candies that we were handing out. We handed out the rest of the Beijing Olympic pins that we brought. They loved them. One man who I had given a pin to came back to the bus as we were leaving at gave the pin back to one of the babies on the bus. The village market was certainly something to see. We watched people do laundry. We watched people sell things at the local market. Lots of children running around.

Children Playing

Door to a Home

Children playing cards

Bird Boiling Pots

Open air market

Rice Fields

Local Village People

Hanging Laundry

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day trip to an old village

We found out yesterday that we are all going on a tour today of an old old village about an hours bus ride from here. We are leaving here at 9:00 a.m.

Terri and I went out to the local grocery store near by and bought a couple bags of candy to hand out to the children in the village. We are lucky because there is another couple in our group that we have become friends with and they are here for their second child. They told us a few days ago that if we were lucky enough to go to a village it would be an experience that we would never forget. Apparently the people in the villages are very happy that you are adopting one of their children. The children in the village run up and touch you and your baby. I am for sure taking my video camera and my camera. I have already asked our guide and she said that it's okay.

I will hopefully get some good pictures for our blog!

The smiles and laughter are coming

For the first time since we got Ava she woke up this morning without crying. It was nice. It is the small things know and to us it means allot.

We were able to get way more smiles out of her today. She even laughed. We went out to the main foyer on our floor by the elevators this evening and Ava was looking outside the window and as plain as day said "GOODBYE".

I was carrying her down for supper tonight and I kept saying Ba Ba, (Ba Ba to her which means father in Mandarin) and she kept saying back Mama, Mama. Which in Mandarin means mother.

It was so cute. She certainly equates Terri as her Mama. They are forming a good bond. It is very beautiful to watch. These pictures of her climbing on Terri are cute. She tries to get into the strangest positions to fall asleep.

Ava trying to have a nap

Trying to get Ava to smile for the camera

Pictures from the Hotel

When you walk through the reception are of our hotel you have to go through a hallway to get to the elevators. The walls are glass and there are glass doors. There are these luscious green areas that you can go out into. If you can stand the humidity that is. These pictures are of these green areas. They don't do it justice.

One thing that I have noticed since being here is that there seems to be no wild life anywhere. No bugs. No little creatures running around in these green ares. I wonder if it is because of the humidity. Not sure. I have been told other things but I tend to not want to believe them.

Green area around the Majestic

more pics of the beautiful lobby of the Majestic

A Day for Bonding

We decided to forgo the park and stay home with Ava. She is still very clingy and wants to be held or touched all the time. We are happy to oblige but are slowly trying to make her more comfortable just playing or even napping not in our arms. Right now she is napping on the bed. We may go out and get a stroller for her today to see if she will take to that. We don't mind carrying her but with this heat and humidity we all get a little uncomfortable drenched in sweat. I know we will all be fine and everything will work out at the right time. We love her so much as I know all of you guys do too.

We have received everyone's comments and love reading them daily so keep them coming.

We tried to get Ava to poop in the toilet today. It is hard to do because she is so scared of the bathroom. Normally she would just do her business where she stood. Never in a toilet so all is new to her. Mike held her and rubbed her back and out popped a poop. Mike has joined me in the mommy and daddy club with a pee and poop christening. LOL Mike is really a great dad and Ava knows it too. She seems to want me more but love Mikes cuddles so much. I wish we could see the happy smiling girl we have only seen a few glimpses of. It will happen sooner than we think and we will get lots of pictures.

Sleepy girl

Ava and Daddy

She sleeps

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

We went to Walmart yesterday

We went to Walmart yesterday (Tuesday) to shop for clothes and toys for the Guiping Orphanage. There were four families that had children come from this orphanage. Us included. So we got our guide to ask the orphanage director yesterday what they needed at the orphanage. Clothes and toys was the answer. The other three families bought clothes so we decided to buy toys. The trip the Walmart was certainly an experience.

We felt like movie stars. Lots of pictures being taken of us. We even had a couple of guys walk up to us and point to the bag of toys and say " For Orphanage " I replied with a yes and a nod yes. We got the thumbs up.

Terri and Ava looking a little tired after a long day.

Walmart and McDonalds!!!

Toys for the orphanage.

My heart feels like it is going to burst out of my chest with love

As we sit here playing with our new daughter I smile and I cry.

After going through the “Gotcha Day” yesterday and seeing all those babies crying and clinging to their nannies. I can't lie. Yesterday while watching other babies come in before Ava and seeing their reactions and how upset they were. I started to wonder if we were doing the right thing.

At the time, I began to wonder what kind of person I was to be willing to put a baby girl through so much pain and agony (A little girl that I have loved for the past four years.)

Last night, the only way to calm her down was to stand her on the window sill and let her look outside. She began to cry. She was saying “Momma Momma Momma” over and over again. I couldn't help but cry. There we were trying to calm down this beautiful little girl whom we have taken from her only familiar people - her nanny and her foster mom. What gives us the right?

Some information came out today that has helped ease my mind and my heart. After we got back from the Civil Affairs office yesterday we began to notice that Ava has bruises and scrapes on and around her ankles. We wondered what this was from. We got on the tour bus today and were talking to a woman in our group who is here adopting her second daughter from China. She is a nurse. We told her and showed her the bruises and scrapes and she informed us that it was probably from being shackled to a potty for long periods of time. She said not to worry because the bruises and scrapes would eventually go away. This is how potty training is done here.

After hearing that, I was okay with putting Ava through what we had the previous day. I know that neither I nor Terri would ever hurt Ava. I know that Ava will have a wonderful life with us. Don't get me wrong. I know that we will have our ups and downs as a family but nothing would ever make us hurt her.

As I am typing this post, Ava is sitting by herself playing with a toy - for the very first time. Until now we have had to hold her all the time. Up until now she would not even hold a toy in her hand. Things are getting better.

I love Terri so very much. Sitting here watching the two of them together playing my heart feels like it is going to burst out of my chest with love.

Thank you Terri, thank you for sticking by me as my wife and thank you for being the mom I have always known you would be.

Ava is feeling a little sad today

Well today is a different day. Ava is feeling sad and is crying quite a bit. We are not worried as it is normal, but feel so bad for what she is going through. In her paperwork, we found that she did not wear diapers in the foster home. This is a challenge because the diapers we change are almost dry and she doesn't hesitate to pee down our legs when her diaper is off. She has not had a poop so I am sure that is not helping her mood. As well she is teething and may have an ear infection. The past two days have been overwhelming for us all. I think we will forgo the touring tomorrow and have a quiet day to ourselves.

Ava is legally ours (in China)

Today we had to go Back to the Civil Affairs office to pay our orphanage donation and answer a few questions and once they were satisfied with all our answers we became official Families in China's eyes. Then we had to go over to the Notorization offices to get the adoption Notarized legally in China. They basically asked us the same sort of questions. Once they were happy with the answers things became legal in China's eyes.

Here are some more photo's of us bonding with our new daughter.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Terri and Mike's Itinerary

Hello Everyone,

For those of you who don't know, Terri and Mike do not have access to their Blog while they are in China.
For now I (Sherri, Terri's sister) am updating their Blog for them. I'm not sure whether or not they will be able to read everyone's wonderful comments until they return. If you have their email address you can email them directly.

In the mean time, I thought I'd post Terri and Mike's itinerary for the remainder of their trip.
  • Tuesday, July 28th
    Go to the Civil Affairs for registration, notarization and to apply for the Ava’s passport.
  • Wednesday, July 29th
    Visit the Qing xia Shan Park and Flower and Bird Market.
  • Thursday, July 30th
    Rest and relaxation
  • Friday, July 31st
    Pick up Ava's passport in the afternoon.
  • Saturday, August 1st
    Fly from Nanning to Beijing. Get photos for Ava's Visa.
  • Sunday, August 2nd
    Tour to the Great Wall of China
  • Monday, August 3rd
    Medical examination for Ava at the International SOS clinic.
    Canadian Embassy appointment in the afternoon.
  • Tuesday, August 4th
    Visit Tian’an Men Square and the Forbidden City.
    Peking Duck dinner in the evening
  • Wednesday, August 5th
    Pick up our Visas.
  • Thursday, August 6th
    Coming home!

Ava's first day with us

Ava was pretty good yesterday. When we got her there were no tears at all. She went to both of us easily. When we went home on the bus she fell asleep. We had to wake her for her VISA photo and a family pic for our file. She still did not cry. We went down to have dinner and she sat on my lap the whole time. She ate a big bowl of congee (basically watery rice) and was quite good for most of the dinner. Every once in a while she would have a couple of whines and seemed to play a bit strange with Mike.

We took her up stairs after dinner and she started to cry and cry. Not really hard but crying and stopping off and on. We then realized she was quite wet so we changed her. She was OK for a few minutes and then she was crying again calling for her Mama (foster mom). In her update it said she did not wear diapers at her foster home and she was pulling at her diaper trying to get it off so we stripped her and let her go nude for a bit. She was sitting on my lap and I was rubbing her back. She peed and said Boo (don't know what that means but I am going to ask our guide). I guess I am officially a Mom now eh?

We gave her a bit of a sponge bath because she has a layer of dirt on her but she wasn't to crazy about that yet. We will try the real thing today. We put a diaper on her and I just sat with her on my lap and rubbed her back and arms. She cuddled right in staring at Mike and fell asleep. I put her down in her crib and she woke up of course. Mike picked her up and she cuddled in as he rubbed her back. She went down about 8:30pm and it is now almost 4am and not a peep.

She is sleeping in our bed for now. Hopefully the crib will be more appealing tonight but at her foster-home she slept with the adults.

Yesterday we signed a form saying we would take care of her and not abuse her over the next day and a half because she was not ours yet.

Today we go to the civil affairs office to make it official. We have two appointments today. One with the director of the orphanage to hand over the donation and ask questions the other is to go to a notary to make things legal. After that we will go to the Walmart Superstore. We will take pictures of that.

More to come...
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