Friday, January 29, 2010

Heading Home!!!

Our last day on the island was pretty uneventful.

We are definitley ready to go home.

I miss my husband.

I miss Shea, Scott, & Drew.

I miss my church.

I miss my friends & family.

I miss drinking my coffee in my pajamas.

Heck, I even miss my chocolate lab!!!!

We had dinner at Lucy's tonight with our new Michigan friends, Mary & Mike & their daughter Madyson....
(We have met so many wonderful people on this trip!)

Did some last minute shopping for a few more pairs of squeaky shoes...
Stocked up with goodies from 7-11 for tomorrow...
Packed our stuff...
And had some ice cream!!!

We are leaving the hotel bright & early (ugh!) at 6:30am!!
Our first flight takes off at 9:15am and we are expected to arrive home at around 8:30pm Saturday night!

Departing China is very bittersweet.....

Avery is leaving behind everything that is familiar to her...
She is beginning a new phase of her life....

We will  honor her former will always be a part of who she is....of who she will become...
We will honor all the people who loved her and cared for her....

We are blessed beyond belief to call her daughter....
She is a precious child....a child of God....a child we have the privilege of loving!!!!

Please cover us with prayer as we travel home....and as we continue to grow as a family of seven!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Red Couch Pictures...or in our case, Brown Chair Pictures!!!!

We are the only family in our group....
So, actually we don't even qualify as a group, now do we???

The shop keepers and our new friends would ask how many families we have in our group.  We would always repsond with 'it's just us'. 

Today was the day we decided to do our 'Red Couch Pictures'. (For those of you who are not familiar with this most famous photo op, this is when families dress up their newly adopted kiddos in Chinese attire, head over to the White Swan Hotel lobby, and take pictures of all the babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and older children in their group on a red couch.  I have no idea where this formality originated is just something we all do.)

Since it was only us, we were pretty laid back about the whole thing.  So laid back that Avery really didn't 'get' the Red Couch thing

She decided to sit on the brown chair.....
Go figure!!!???
Nothing like breaking with tradition!

Faith and I were able to coax Avery into a couple 'Red Couch' pictures....but, we had to promise her ice cream.  (Do y'all see a pattern here with the food bribery thing????  For Faith, it's chocolate.  Shea responds extremely well to gum.  And now, we have discovered Avery's weakness....Ice Cream!!!)

She is such a little stinker!!!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Avery: Day 10

Today was our Consulate Appointment and Oath Ceremony.

We had to stay in our hotel room while Emma was at the U.S. Consulate finishing up our paper work.  She called us at 10:30am with congratulatory wishes!!! Yeah....we passed!!!  Then later in the afternoon, Faith, Avery, Emma, and I went to the consulate with about 60 other families to make our promise that all our paper work was truthful and correct!  Whew...another milestone!!!  For some reason, this was very emotional for me....after all these months....we are finally done....and Avery is really and truly our little girl.....forever!!!

This girl of ours is such a blessing....
She is utterly delightful....
And has completely enchanted me!!!!

She now tells people her name is Avery Qing Zula....a few days ago she was only responding to Qing Zula.
She walks around the hotel room pointing to everything wanting to know the English words....we do this several times a day!!!
She can also count  her little toes and my big toes up to five in English!!
Three nights ago while falling asleep, she grabbed my hand and held on to it until she closed her sweet eyes.
Two nights ago while falling asleep, she was touching my face ever so if, accepting the fact that my non-Asian face was really going to be the face of her mommy.
Last night while getting ready for bed, she said "I lub (love) you".  Oh!!! My!!!  Can it get any better?????

And yet, I worry....
Are things going too well????
Was that first night of intense grieving really enough????

I know she will have more adjusting to do once we get home....maybe this is when she will show more grief and sorrow????
Maybe not???
Maybe it will show up when least expected???
All I do know is that Avery was greatly loved and someone before me.
She is confident....
She is strong...
She is happy...

She is not perfect by any means....she gets sassy, demanding, and a trifle bit naughty....well, at times she can be quite the stinker....but, that's good.  I want her to be comfortable enough to be just herself and to know that no matter what, I will always love her!!!

(deep sigh....)

Moving on to some super great pictures......

Here's the 'baby white tiger'!

Future gymnast!!

Lovin' the slide!!

Giving Mom kisses!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Avery Zula Day 9

Hey yall, this is Faith again. The mother begged and begged me to put a post up for her since she was too tired to do so herself. Since she bribed me with chocolate, here I am. Today we went to the Safari Park, which was my pick, and it was a lot of fun! We figured Avery would enjoy it since she gets excited every time she sees a stray dog or cat on the island. Which by the way also gave us great hope that she would be thrilled to see our chocolate lab at home...but as it turns out, as soon as one of the little stray dogs started following us the other day, Avery freaked out started running and whining - ran into a bike, fell over, got right back up, and continued running from that tiny little dog.... so, our BIG dog at home might be quite the shocker for Avery.... but in time we think they'll be good friends. BUT, anyways I'm rambling on and got completely sidetracked from what I was originally talking about ( my boyfriend Chris laughs at me constantly for this )...

so anyways! the Safari Park!! We saw all the animals very up close and personal. They are not in the traditional cages we see at our zoos back in the states, but instead just a fence is separating you from the elephants, tigers, and bears.

We even went on a "Safari on Wheels" which drove us right through the plains of all the animals, so that was pretty darn cool as well.

This picture isn't cropped or zoomed either, that zebra was that close =)

But my favorite parts.....

And yes, that is my new outrageously awesome white tiger hat. :-P

Avery really had a great time too! She loved pointing and watching all the animals - esp the cute little babies.

All in all - very fun day

and one very happy little girl

(Sorry you had to suffer through my not so up to par blogging skills, hopefully mom will be up to the task tomorrow evening )


Monday, January 25, 2010

Avery: Day 8

Today was another great day here on Shamian Island!

Last Monday at the Civil Affairs office we met a family from Wisconsin.  And ya know, we Wisconsinites gotta stick together....

Avery and their older daughter have hit it off rather well.  We seem to have breakfast at the same time which gives the girls a great opportunity to play together.

These two also had a blast hanging out in the hotel's playroom.

This evening we had a special treat!  Our guide, Emma, took us to a local restaurant.  Faith and I wanted to try some good Cantonese food.  Boy, did we have a great time and ate some equally great food!!!

At first Avery wasn't very interested or impressed with our restaurant choice....

Then she saw the food......

Oh my, the food was amazing!!!!

We had noodles, an eggplant dish that was heavenly, and some kind of buns with a delicious meat & vegetable filling.  No kidding, this was one of our best meals so far!!!

After dinner, we had a wonderful conversation with Emma.  She explained to us how her family celebrates  Chinese New Year.  She and her family live in rural Beijing.  I learned a lot from her and have a much better understanding and appreciation for this holiday.  It will be fun *trying* to celebrate CNY  in a few weeks now that I have this insight.

BTW, it has been a week since we have had Avery in our lives.....
....and what a week it has been!!!!  :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Avery: Day 7

It's been a pretty laid back day...

We went to church this morning on the island.  I love the fact that we can worship Jesus in China!!!!  Avery seemed to enjoy the singing and was very interested in the stain glassed windows.  I really can't wait until she begins learning about Jesus.  I consider it a honor and blessing to be able to teach her about our Savior!!!

Faith wasn't feeling the greatest today....I think she ate something that just didn't agree with her.  Yuck!!!

We all took a much needed nap.

Then went out to dinner at The Cow and Bridge.  We were quite happy to find Mari, James, and Abby there. We had a wonderful time together, once again!!! 

Now, we are just winding down....
Doing a little coloring... a little dancing....and lots of giggling.....I have such silly girls!!!!  I guess we are not really winding down.....are we????
I wanted to....but, these girls of mine just got a second wind!!!!

Little Avery loves getting french fries, not for herself to eat, but so that she can dip them in ketchup and feed them to her big sissy :-P

What a beautiful girl!


Also a very silly one! (Here started the second wind)


Saturday, January 23, 2010

"Faith, can you stand on this side so that if that car backs up it runs into you instead of Avery"

*This is what my mom said to me as we were walking back to the hotel from dinner tonight!!!
Nice....I can see where I rank!!!

Okay, back to me......

Today was a pretty mellow day....

We went to breakfast later that usual...cuz we slept late.
Walked around the island for a while....
-went to the park
-did a little shopping
-played in the room
-had dinner at Lucy's!!!

Our days here in the island are getting pretty routine.  However, we are enjoying each others company, getting to know Avery, and laughing a lot!!!

Enjoy the pictures!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Avery: Day 5

Avery continues to amaze and delight us!!!

She is absolutely precious!!!

We have discovered that she enjoys coloring.  She is  very neat & precise when coloring!!

She is also very tidy & organized.  Everything has a place and NEEDS to be put away EXACTLY where it belongs!

Avery seems to really enjoy ice cream and corn on the cob!  She also tried some KFC today and like it a lot!
That-a girl!!!

She is allowing me to give her kisses and hugs!!!  She likes to sit on my lap and be rocked. Talk about melting my heart!!!!

We enjoy listening to her talk in Chinese.  She is very willing to teach us words & phrases.  She laughs a big ole belly laugh when we try repeat her!

Avery has two photo albums.  One we sent to her with a bunch of family photos, and the other has pictures of her at the orphanage.  She will look at the family photo album and name who they are....
'sissy' (Faith)
'ge-ge' (Drew) Ge-ge means 'brother' in Chinese.
'ge-ge' (Scott)
'Shea-Dell' is the cutest thing in the world.  At first, when looking at a picture of Shea, she would say 'Qing Zu La'.  Then she would call Shea 'la-la'. Now, she calls her 'Shea Dell'....(instead of Shea Belle) is so stinkin' sweet!  Avery looks through the pictures of herself and her orphanage frequently.  She identifies herself as 'Qing Zu La' and every once in a while she will say 'Avery-Qing Zu La'.  It must be very difficult coming to terms with a new name when you are almost 4 years old. We are going to let her take the lead on this one....I really don't know how a little girl can transition from one name to the other....again, a very tough thing for her.  So much has changed in her world in such a small amount of time......(sigh).

Although the weather was cool & rainy, we did venture out to the Chen Clan Folk Art Museum.  Actually, we saw a lot of families from the island must be the ting to do! lol

Tonight, I had the privilege of meeting Mari Lou and her kids James and Abby, from
In The hands of the Lord.  We had dinner together and met another wonderful family from her group.  It has been such a blessing to meet some of the women with whom I blog!!!

Kind of cool stuff!!!

*Dave made it home safely!!! And he will be picking up Shea sometime today!  My goodness, how I miss that little one!!!!