Monday, November 22, 2010

Orphanage Visit

Thanks so much for all of your prayers for our visit to Lily’s orphanage in Dongguan. The day was perfect and we couldn’t have planned a better day.  From the ride to the orphanage all the way to our flight home…it was amazing!  We were so thankful we got to go to visit the place she spent the 1st 22 months of her life.  I left there with such a thankful heart for the dear people who had taken care of my daughter for almost 2 years.



From the moment we walked into the orphanage, people with great big smiles on their faces were calling out “Xiu Li!  Xiu Li!” (that’s Lily’s Chinese name).  They were so glad to see her and their love for her shined through them.  What a great welcome to us!  I was very impressed that the random ayi (caretaker) walking through the lobby would know her….they care for 200-300 children and are in charge of another 500-600 who are in foster care.  They also have 300 employees!!  


As soon as we got there we went up to a small receiving area on the 2nd floor and meet several of her ayis and even one of her close friends, Fei Fei. 



We asked her ayis all about her personality and her likes and dislikes.


They were so loving towards her and I really could tell they were so thankful that she was being adopted.  A couple of them got teary eyed while playing with her.  I was so thankful that we speak Chinese and were able to talk directly to them instead of through an interpreter. 




This is one of the nurses that was there the day that Lily entered the orphanage.  An orphanage doctor is who named her.

We also were able to meet some other children who are about to be adopted and got to take pictures and videos of them to send to their adoptive parents.  It was fun to be able to hug those kiddos and tell them that their parents were coming quickly and that they loved them.



This is me and Lily next to her old bed.

We also were able to find out some about Lily’s surgery.  It is pretty crazy but our sweet little baby’s surgery was just on August 10th of this year!!  Our precious Lily was in the hospital for 48 days preparing for and recovering from open heart surgery.  It is amazing how quickly she has recovered.  The more I’ve thought about the details of surgery, I’ve just been so thankful for a lot of things.  Thankful that we have a daughter who came to us well, for the orphanage being willing to spend their funding and donations to pay for her surgery, thankful that God chose to leave us completely out of it so that He could get the Glory, thankful that He really held her when I wasn’t even aware she needed special holding, thankful that God spared us the stress and worry (and possible trips to see her) of even knowing what was going on. 


Above all…we left the orphanage that day with a very happy little girl who got to say good bye to her friends and caretakers, and parents with very thankful hearts to see how well our Lily was cared for. For the Lord is so good to us! 


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tomorrow's Trip to Orphanage

We wanted to ask you all to pray for our day tomorrow. We will be leaving the hotel early in the morning and traveling 1 1/2 hours to Lily's orphanage. We pray that while there we will be able to find out as much as possible about the first 22 months of Lily's life. Please pray for Lily...that this visit will help give closure to her time there. That she would grasp and understand that the orphanage is no longer her home, and help her move forward in her bonding with us. Please pray that we would be able to get all our questions answered, especially the ones about her surgery.

After we leave the orphanage we will travel 2 1/2 hrs by car to the airport and then take a 2 hour flight home. We are so excited to see the other girls and be a family of 6 (!!) for the first time. It will be interesting to see how Lily does with the chaos we call home!! Thanks for your love and prayers for us!

First few days with Lily in Guangzhou

Here is a video of our first few days with her. You can see that she eats great and is playful. The first day she sat and played by herself for a little but now we can’t set her down to go to the bathroom. She WANTS us. We are glad because that means she is attaching to us and know that we are hear for her.

Walking around the hotel

Today we walked around the hotel some. One of the streets outside the hotel is a walking street and is full of people. We walked down “snack street” also and took some video for you. We didn’t see any scorpions here but have in the past. This morning I was talking with a guy from Oregon and he told me he has never seen this many people before. He logged on his computer and looked at pictures of all the snow covered trees around his house and then looked at the Oregon Traffice department webcams, he said it was incredible to see all the empty roads. but made him feel at home. I think of Black Friday (day after thanksgiving shopping) is like what a regular day of shopping in China is like.

Breakfast day 3

She loves to eat. When she takes a bit she smiles. (I’m thinking our other kids are going to say you never did a blog for us or put videos up, oh well they were not adopted)

I smile when I eat.

Blow me a kiss

We were playing with Lily and saying different chinese things with her. lots of kids know how to blow kisses. We asked her to blow us a kiss (给我飞吻)and she started to cry. I guess it was one of those things that you blow kisses to people when they are leaving and she thought we were leaving her.  So we won’t ask her to do that anymore.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Here are a few videos of us getting Lily.

Girls' Time with Gar Gar

Our big girls are having a wonderful time with Travis' mom, who they call Gar Gar. This morning after Gar Gar made Sydney her milk, Sydney took one sip and said it was "Yuck!" Sandy convinced her to take another sip...she tried one more and still declared that it was "Yucky!" Gar Gar them showed Sydney what she had added to her milk...instead of the soy milk powder she had added about 3 tablespoons of salt to Sydney's milk....I guess it was pretty "Yuck"!

Morning til Nap time

Today has been a fun day. She slept great between us in the bed (couldn’t get her in the crib without her waking up) she slept til 7:30am so there is hope that she will be a sleepy Todd girl like the rest. The Orphanage said 6am and that is too early for us. Only God is really up at that time.


It looks like Sydney will have a fellow finger sucker in the house for them to compare techniques. She sucks her thumb.


Lily and Sonya playing at the Civil Affairs office today.


Us in front of the sign at the Notary’s office thought the flag and Chinese was fun.


Us in front of the Civil Affairs sign in Guangzhou

The Details…

Yesterday I was tying to give you all the details, but my blog program kept crashing. So, instead I just gave you pictures. I thought I would fill you in on how things are going with Lily.

She really is a precious little thing! Yesterday (Gotcha Day ) went so smooth. Our guide Rebecca (the lady taking us around and helping with all the paperwork), got to our hotel about 20 minutes before we were expecting. When she knocked on our door Travis was still getting dressed. After she came in and checked that we had all the correct paperwork, off we went to the Civil Affairs Office to meet Lily. It only took us about 10-15 minutes to get there. On our way she told us that she had called Lily’s orphanage that morning to remind them as to what time to get to the Civil Affairs office.

When we walked in that office there were a few other families waiting in the big lobby area and we sat down with them while Rebecca went to check to see if Lily had arrived. We checked over some paperwork while she was away. When she came back, she said, “Let’s go!” I said, “”Hang on.. give me a second…We’ve got to get our cameras out!” She waited about, oh, 30 seconds and we stood up and I saw Lily through the crack in the curtain to the playroom. I was thrilled I was able to recognize her! I had always wondering if I would be able to pick her out from other children.

Seconds later, there she was walking out in her little blue jeans and pink shirt!! She looked at us and then started to turn back and I picked her up. She didn’t really cry, but we did! She just let us hold her and loved one of the last minute toys I threw in our bag before be left home. She is just a petite little doll! She looks just like her pictures.

She even let Travis hold her! It is not uncommon for little Chinese adopted girls to be frightened by their big hairy American daddies. There aren’t that many men in their orphanages and they are not used to men holding them. We were thankful that she was fine being held by Travis.

Then we spent some time in a small office talking with the person who brought her from the orphanage. It was so helpful to find out basic things about her…her schedule, what she likes to eat, what kind of formula she takes, how she likes to sleep, when she normally goes poop, etc, etc.

One of the things we are most curious about is that she has already had a heart surgery which we weren’t aware of. We knew she had a heart defect but had no idea that she had had an open heart surgery already. When we go to the orphanage to visit on Thursday we hope to get as much info about that as possible. We had been praying that her heart would be healed…not sure if this is the way God had planned to answer that prayer. One of our guides thinks it’s possible that the Civil Affairs granted them the funding to have her surgery done and they went ahead and did it. She said that if the CCAA gives you the money, you have to do it right away or you loose the funding. I asked if that meant her condition had worsened…she quickly said, “No!” She said in China if a child is in really poor condition doctors don’t want to do surgery on them, because they don’t expect that the surgery will help. (This has also been our experience when we were helping our friends, the Li’s, get surgery for their daughter.)

Our first night together went well. She slept good, but Travis and I didn't. She is a cuddly little thing and gets pretty weepy at times. That is a good thing because that means she is greiving. All that she has ever known is different. She is getting to know us, but doesn't know us from any other stranger on the street.

We are enjoying getting to know each other. We are doing a lot of holding and eating. Those are 2 things that help her feel safe and aid in her bonding with us.

Today her adoption was final...and she is ours forever!

Thanks again for sharing this amazingly wonderful journey with us!

(Sorry if this post is all over the keeps crashing and I keep having to pick up in a different place.)

Our first breakfast together

Good Morning! We had a good night. Lily slept well but we didn't. We
were thankful she slept from 9pm until 7:30am (at the orphanage she
slept from 10pm til 6am)! She is a good eater and likes trying new
things. Today is the day our adoption is final and she is legally ours
forever. We better head to the room and get baths before our

Monday, November 15, 2010

We are in LOVE…

Today was the big day…Lily’s Gotcha Day!  In the adoption community, Gotcha Day is the day you get your adopted child.  Today went so smooth.  I will spare you the blah, blah, blah…and get to what you really way….the photos!

This is the first time we saw her.  She walked out from the playroom to meet us. 


IMG_8539This is when we first got to hold her.





Back at our hotel room she is playing with a few toys and eating a few snacks.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

…And we’re off!

Girls are at church with their Gar Gar, our bags are packed, phones’ charged, packing list thrown away…and we are heading to the airport!

We will be meeting Lily for the first time in about 30 hours.  Please be praying for us.  For the first time EVER in the 13-14 years that I’ve known Travis, he said to me this morning that he was nervous!!   That was me yesterday, but today I’m just super excited!!

Hailey’s first word to me this morning we that it was OK is I didn’t bring her a present home, because I was bringing her Lily!!

Thanks for all your love and support and we can’t wait to introduce Lily to all of you! 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Sisters’ Room

Well, we will be leaving our house in less than 24 hours.  It’s hard to believe it is finally here!  11 months ago we officially started the adoption process, and it’s coming to an end.  We are so thankful God has led us on the journey.  We are beyond thrilled to meet Lily!

I really wanted to show you Lily and Sydney’s new little room before we leave.  This used to be our guest room with blue walls and white bedding.  Now it is the most precious little room I’ve ever seen.  The girls loved being apart of transforming it into a room for the 2 little sisters. 

Here we go…

After taking all the furniture out and painting the room lavender, Travis, Madison and Hailey put the bed back together and cleaned it up. 



We got a new ceiling fan, curtain rod, and curtains…


Once the new bedding was on the bed and baths were had, we had to do a little playing on Sydney and Lily’s new bed…


There’s plenty of room in this bed for Lily.  The 3 girls all slept in there together that night.


After the final touches here is the new room.  The dresser, lamp and picture frame were all painted white to match.


Lily and Sydney’s monogram was places above the bed.  I repainted Sydney’s letters to match the new room, and made Lily’s name in cursive. 


And changed the fabric on the window seat cushion. 


We are thrilled with the way their room turned out.  Lily will be in our room for awhile to help her bond to us, and Sydney will stay in the room with her big sisters for while.  We aren’t sure exactly when they will move in this girly fairy room, but I’ll be sure to show you pictures of their first night in here. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It’s Official…we are on our way!

Just wanted to share that we received our Travel Approval yesterday.  Within a couple hours of that we had booked our flights and hotel room…and we are getting ready!  Travis and I will leave here at noon on Sunday and fly to Guangzhou.  Sunday night we plan to have a nice quiet dinner and good night’s sleep before we get Lily on Monday.  (I can’t believe I’m about to have my 4th daughter!!)  We will be in Guangzhou through Thursday, and then will head home that afternoon.  We would love your prayers for our time there and also for the M, H and S who will be at home while we are away.  Travis’ mom is here from the States and will be keeping them those several days. We are so thankful for her and all our dear friends here who will be helping her. 

So, let the countdown begin…3 1/2 days til Lily is in our arms forever!!

Monday, November 08, 2010

It’s on its way…our TA that is!!!!

I’m freakin’ out!!  We found out tonight that our Travel Approval was mailed to us this afternoon!  The awesome thing is that it was mailed to our house here in China.  (Usually the CCAA mails it to our agency in the states and then the agency has to mail it back across the pond to us…which equals about 7-10 days of wasted time in the mail)  But the sweet compassionate CCAA agreed to mail ours directly to us!! 

So….the bottom line is we hope to have precious Lily in our arms this time next week!!!!!  I finally think I know when my due date it…Monday, November 15th!

The timing of Lily’s arrive couldn’t be more perfect…Gar Gar (Travis’ mom) arrived here last night and will be here to stay with the big girls while we go get the little sis. 

Well, I gotta go get packing…or something!