Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Jude Is Coming Home ~ Day 11 {consulate appointment}



Finally!


Today marks the day that all our adoption paperwork is complete!

We went to the American Embassy to submit paper work for Jude's visa.  This allows him to come into the USA!  We also took an oath that all the paperwork we have done and submitted is truthful and honest to the best of our ability and knowledge.   Jude will acquire US citizenship when we land on US soil.....that will be in Chicago!!!  Woot-woot to the Windy City!

Later, we went to Shamian Island for lunch and shopping.

We stopped at the famous Lucy's.  It is still good as ever!
The hamburgers and french fries were amazing!


We shopped at Jenny's and A Gift from China....plus a few others local shops.

We bought all the typical things:
Squeaky Shoes (oh, yes I did!)
Traditional Chinese Outfits
Chopsticks
Purses
Etc.

We had some coffee and dessert at Starbucks with our wonderful travel group.

Lisa really wanted to take a picture of Jude with the statue kids.....

LOVE THIS!


Shamian Island is such a lovely place.
I really miss spending time here.

Our bus was waiting for us.....pretty nice, huh?


Back to the hotel room.
Jude really needed a nap.

This will be our last night here in Guangzhou.
(so many mixed emotions......I will be writing a blog post about this in the near future.)
We will travel to Hong Kong as soon as our guide, Aron, arrives with Jude's passport and visa.
It will take about three hours by van.

On Thursday morning, we will be boarding our flight to Chicago at 11:40AM!!!  Woo-hoo!!!

I can NOT wait to see my family.  I miss them so much.  I also can not wait for them to meet Jude!!!

It's been an amazing 14 days, but this momma is ready to be home and begin living our new normal.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Jude Is Coming Home ~ Day 10, part 2 {Pearl River Cruise}



This is our third adoption, and my first time going on the "well-known" Pearl River Cruise.  This is something most adoptive parents do sometime during their second week in China.

It was a fun evening.

Here are Jude and Linnea as we wait to board the boat.


Sweet Linnea is the daughter of our friends Dave and Rhonda.  He is our pediatrician.  How cool is that???



Lisa, Jude, and I getting ready to eat.....


The food wasn't too bad at all.

I had noodles and rice and steam buns.....

My friend Lori's husband had this!!!!
For real!


Lisa heard that there was shrimp at the buffet.
She brought some of these back to our table.


Eyes?
And whisker-y things??

NO THANK YOU!



After dinner, we went outside on the deck of the boat.

The scenery was very pretty.



And we got to hang out with some of our new friends.





The night ended with a very unique kind of a show.....
A lady juggling balls and knives to songs by Ricky Martin.
She was very energetic and entertaining to watch!



Then she went around the room letting most of the kids spin a ball on their finger.
Jude got a turn!


It was a fun show!
It was a fun night!






Jude Is Coming Home ~ Day 10, part 1 {I Love You}



Jude!

Oh my sweet Jude!

It's only been a week since we have met.....

That is so hard to wrap my head around.

It feels like he has always been with me.


And now this:

video


Melt me heart!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Jude Is Coming Home ~ Day 9 {hot and sticky with a little throw-up}



What a morning!

I was in full momma-mode......and then some!

We started out our day like every other day here in Guangzhou.

Breakfast at 8ish.

Chit chat with new friends.

Meet with group at 9:30AM.

We were headed to the Jade and Pearl Market and then the Chen Family Temple.

Sounds like fun, right?

Oh, did I mention that it was HOT, HOT, HOT today?

Sticky hot???

We got on the bus, a very nice bus I might add.

Jude and I sat toward the back, Lisa sat up front with our guide.

We were about ten minutes into the drive when Jude threw up.

Good thing he was facing out, right?

Throw up went down his shirt, onto his shorts and my skirt, then down my leg.

I was slightly stunned....totally was NOT expecting THAT.

Jude seemed fine.  No crying, no fussing....just throwing up-ing.

Lisa came back to help me clean up.....

Everyone on the bus was very sweet and helpful.

I was kinda thinking that Jude had a little motion sickness.

We moved to the front of the bus.

Jude was all snuggled in.....FACING toward me.

All "seemed" well.

Within minutes, he threw up again.

Yep.

This time down the front of my shirt, skirt, and legs.

Once again, we got ourselves cleaned up.

We were minutes away from the Pearl and Jade market.

I had no extra clothes for him or me.

Sooooooooooooooo......

We went with it......
Shopping with wet, smelly, and very sweaty clothes.

Of course, Jude did not want to be in his stroller, he just wanted me....

TO.CARRY.HIM.ALL.MORNING.LONG.

Did I mention we were hot, sweaty, wet, sticky, and smelly?????

Fun times for sure.

Well, it was fun.

Jude is a the sweetest little boy.

He was so  happy and smiley.

It was a bonding kind of a morning.

The only problem?
I did not want to get too close to any of the sales people....I was very self-conscience of our interesting "aroma".  Nevertheless, we did some shopping and got some deals.

Next stop, the Chen Family Temple.

Bus ride was uneventful.  In other words, "no one" threw up.  ;)

Jude still wanted me to carry him........
We were getting hotter, and stickier, and sweatier, and smellier by the minute.

About an hour and a half later, we were headed back to the bus!

Jude fell asleep on the way home.

I peeled him off of me when we got to the hotel.

We got cleaned up.

Fresh clothes.
Fresh smelling.
Cool.
Awwwwwwwwwwwww........

And all this by 1PM.

Rest of the day went rather smoothly.

Look at this little stinker.


Love him!!!
Completely!
Forever!!





Saturday, May 24, 2014

Jude Is Coming Home ~ Day 8 {medical examination day}





*sigh*

This is never a fun day.

NEVER!



It is a long morning.

Lots of adoptive parents.
Lots of kiddos.
Lots of noise.
Lots of tears.


And paperwork, of course!



It is a necessary step in the adoption process.

We all have to take our kids to the medical clinic for the required check up and TB test.

There are several stations that we dutifully go to.....

*weight and height and temperature
*general examination
*TB test



The doctors and nurses are very sweet.
It's just noisy and hot and the kids just plain get overwhelmed!





Let's take a walk down "Memory Lane", shall we??

Feb. 2007
Shea's medical exam:
Tears!


January 2010
Avery's medical exam:
Tears!



May 2014
Jude's medical exam:
Tears!



Oh my poor babies!

They were all simply scared.

BUT, once they are cleared, we are cleared to leave China.

One step closer to home!




Friday, May 23, 2014

Jude Is Coming Home ~ Day 7 {starbucks}





There is nothing like going to Starbucks while in China!

It's a little bit of home and a whole lotta comfort!

I've been meaning to get there sooner, but just couldn't fit it into the schedule.

Since Jude took an extra long nap, we thought we would stop by after dinner.

All I can say is: awwwwwwwwwww

Nothing like a latte and a blueberry muffin to make you feel like "home"!

It's funny, but I usually do not get a latte or a blueberry muffin at our local Starbucks.
I most often get a Blonde coffee and a low-fat something or another.

However, the latte and muffin bring back such fond memories of when we were in China adopting Shea and Avery.

We went to Starbucks quite often with the girls and they loved the blueberry muffins.
Naturally, I had to do the same thing with Jude!


 He loved the muffin!


Don't worry little guy, we will be going back!


China + Starbucks = a GOOD TIME!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Jude Is Coming Home ~ Day 6 {just a normal day in China}



It's always surreal when our days in China start to become, ummmm, routine?????

"regular"???
"normal"???
"predictable"???

It's not a bad thing at all......It's just surreal.

Our Routine:

~wake up at around 6:30ish
~wake up Jude at around 7:30ish
~give Jude a special Chinese cracker-cookie thing
~get dressed, etc
~get Jude dressed
~face time with family
~go to the AMAZING buffet breakfast hopefully by 8 or 8:15
~eat, chat and hang out with other families for a l-o-n-g time....LOVE THIS!
~tours, shopping, adoption paperwork/appts
~feed Jude lunch
~can NOT eat anything for lunch because I over ate at breakfast (YOU China families know exactly      what I am talking about here.)
~play with Jude for a bit
~put Jude down for a nap
~{brave}Lisa goes exploring
~I take a nap with Jude
~meet for dinner with new friends at 5
~eat, talk, laugh, walk around
~stop at the 7-11 for ice cream, water, snacks, etc
~play with Jude
~face time with family
~bath and bed for Jude at around 8ish
~bedtime routine lasts for about an hour or so
~chit chat with Lisa for a while, watch TV, relax
~Lisa goes to bed at around 11ish
~get caught up with FB and begin blogging
~do some messaging with my oldest daughter....gotta check up on my grandson!
~do some messaging with friends
~finish bloggin
~talk to Jesus, thank Him for all his blessings
~take some melatonin and try to get some sleep

That is pretty much it, give or take a little depending on the day.

This gives Jude and I plenty of time for bonding.  It's a very slow and comfortable pace, which is good for Jude.....and me......and Lisa.

Even though this is definitely not a vacation, it is still a wonderful time.  It is a time to get to know your brand new child.  It's a time to reflect on all that is good in your life.  It is a time absorb the Chinese culture as much as possible so that later, when your child asks about his/her birthplace you can actually talk to them about it.



Today was a fun day with Jude.
I heard him laugh, like really laugh today in the bathtub.  I so wanted to catch it on video, but I didn't want to miss all his giggling and laughing.
Splashing makes him laugh!
Splashing Momma makes him laugh harder!!!

I'm also discovering that he is an organizer.  (Move over Shea, I think you may have met your match!)

Shoes and cereal puffs.
Each shoe received several puffs.


Looks like he is pleased with himself.


Later, he discovered himself in the mirror.
Who is that handsome boy?


Why, it's me!


Love this kid!
Look at those thighs!
They are chunk-a-licious!!!
I just can't get enough of him.



We went out to dinner tonight at a restaurant called The Banana Leaf with our new friends from Georgia.  It was Thai food and it was YUMMY!  I highly recommend it by the way.

The best part was when the waitress brought out the high chair for Jude.
It was very tall and very regal.

I believe that Emperor Jude was in his element.


And then I got this look.....


"MOM, I do NOT like it when you take pictures of me!!!"

Just a "normal" day in China!

Jude Is Coming Home ~ Day 5 {playing}



Playing.

So simple, yet so profound.



He has ignored most of his toys.

Every once in a while, we were able to get him semi-interested in playing with the various toys that Lisa and I brought for him.

Mostly, he just stared at them while we made fools of ourselves trying to get him engaged.

But, today....

Everything changed.

Today, Jude played!

Cereal puffs and stacking cups!
Sorting and dumping.
So much fun for my little guy!


So many little things.....such BIG accomplishments for Jude.


He is starting to trust us.


He is starting to open open up and reveal glimpses of who he is and what he is capable of.


He is attaching.  I *think* he is starting to see me as his momma!  Thank you, Jesus!!

It's so exciting.

So heart-warming.

Truly a miracle.



The "little" things:
~licking a lollipop
~SMILING
~holding his own bottle
~SMILING
~choosing what he wants to eat
~SMILING
~saying uh-oh
~SMILING
~waving to bye-bye to his daddy and sisters on Facetime
~SMILING
~playing with his toys
~Oh, did I mention that Jude smiled today???


Lastly, my boy had a slight temper tantrum.
I know I'm gonna regret saying this, but it was kinda cute.

He was not happy when "we" had to put away his toys and get ready for bed.

I'm glad he is letting me know how he feels.....
It's a 'little" thing....no wait, it's actually a big thing......
He is not in shut down mode anymore!!!!


He "tantrumed" for about a minute or so.
I was trying so hard not to scoop him up!
I just continued to make his bottle.
He soon stopped and toddled over to me.
Smiling and reaching up for me.
It was now "cuddle" time!

Oh, how I love this kid!

I am one blessed momma!!





Today was a day of milestones for THE JUDESTER! We got smiles! He played with toys! He cried! He expressed displeasure! He licked a lollipop! He said "uh oh!" He held his bottle! These are small, simple things but HUGE for him at this point in the attachment process to his new mommy. So far I have completely stayed away from him so that he would only bond to Chris. And you have no idea how hard this has been!!! But he is getting it! We are so proud and happy for him!! 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Jude Is Coming Home ~ Day 4 {bath time}



We have been in China four days.

Today is our second day with Jude.

*sigh*

He has been a trooper....to say the least.

His little world has been turned upside down.
Everything he knows, is now different.
He is not around anything or anyone familiar.

HIS.WORLD.HAS.CHANGED.
And he just has to accept it.

Yes, you and I know that he now has a family.
He will be loved forever!
He will be well-taken care of.
He will have all that he needs.

BUT.
He doesn't know that or understand what has really occurred.
He just has to go with it.

Bless his heart.

He is so brave.

He just goes with it.....well, kind of.

Since yesterday, he will shut down whenever things get too much for him.

He doesn't cry.
He hasn't had a meltdown.

He just looks downward.
He won't look at me.
He just averts his eyes.

That is my signal to back off.

Yesterday, he wouldn't walk.  At all.
Today, he is walking!
He is even following me around....a little.

Yesterday, he didn't really drink his bottle.
Today, he drank most of it.

Yesterday, when I tried to play with him.....he just sat and stared.
Today, he seemed to enjoy himself.
I *think* he even smiled when we were blowing bubbles.
He also starting smacking things around.  I know that sounds weird, but at least he was doing SOMETHING!

He is so complacent.
He doesn't fight me at all.
He lets me dress him.
Change his diaper.
Feed him noodles or congee.

But he has very little emotion about anything.

However.....
He does like to snuggle.
He does like to be near me.
He lets me kiss him.

I was very hesitant about giving him a bath today.
I wanted him to enjoy it.
I didn't just want to force it on him.

I ran the water.  Put some bubbles in it.
He was watching everything.

I cautiously put him in the tub.
He liked it!


A yellow plastic bowl.
That is what he liked best!


It's the little things that make this momma smile.

He helped me put lotion on his legs and arms.
Again, I *think* I saw a smile.
(I might just catch that smile in a picture someday.)


Reading a book together before bed was an unexpected treasure!


But, the best moment???

Me, catching him reading Goodnight Moon!!!













Monday, May 19, 2014

Jude Is Coming Home ~ Day 3 {simply Jude}



What a day!

I mean really.....WHAT.A.DAY.


We started out our day with the amazing and wonderful breakfast buffet at the hotel!  Of course!

Around 2 o'clock we headed to the Civil Affairs office with two other families.

We had our paperwork.
Gifts for the orphanage people.
Toys and snacks for Jude.

The butterflies in my tummy were abundant and wild!  lol

Even though this is our third adoption,  I still get an array of crazed emotions!

Will he cry?
Will he shut down?
Will he like me?
Can I win him over?

WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN?

HOW CAN I HELP CALM HIS FEARS?

HOW CAN ADOPTION BE SO BEAUTIFUL AND YET SO BRUTAL???

Oh Lord, fill Jude with peace.  Let him know that I love him.  Only You can calm his fears!



We only waited about 15 minutes.....

Then I saw him.

My son!

Love!

So much LOVE!


He cried.
He was so scared.


I comforted him.....the best I could.


He is from Maoming Social Welfare Institute.
It was a five hour drive.

The head nanny said he didn't sleep, eat, or drink anything!
My poor baby.

So we fed him.


All was well.....
As well as it could be under these circumstances.



At the hotel, he allowed me to put some new clothes on him.


And he seemed interested in his puppy and his car.


The rest of the evening went pretty smoothly.....tentatively......carefully.

The best part of this day????

Jude fell asleep in my arms!

Now he rests close by to my bed.  Like very close.

I hear his precious sleeping sounds and sighs as he lies in his crib.

Sweetest sounds EVER!

I am blessed!


Lord, thank you for giving Jude the peace he needed and for letting him know that I love him.
You calmed his fears!

All glory and praise to God, our Father!