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Welcome to my family blog. I have been married to Mike for over half of my life. I love my Savior, Jesus. I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to six terrific, interesting children. My 3 oldest were born to me in my younger years, while my 3 youngest were given to me by God in my older years. I am very blessed. ~Cheri

1.31.2010

Sunday in Guangzhou

After showering and unpacking, I went to bed at 1:00 a.m.  As usual, I was up on and off from 3:00 a.m. until 7:30.  Then I dressed and headed downstairs for some much needed breakfast and tea.  I always love eating breakfast in China because they have fried vegetable rice. 

My flight from JFK to Hong Kong, was long and uneventful.  Cathay is a very nice airline, even in Economy.  They have so much entertainment to choose from.  There is a large list of movies, TV shows (remember the 1970's Charlie Angels and Mission Impossible?), documentaries, video games, boardgames, Disney movies and shows...the list goes on.  I watched 3 episodes of "48 Hours Mystery".   Fortunately, I had a window seat, plus the 2 additional seats next to me, so I could lay down and sleep a bit.  The food on Cathay was so much better than United.  My first meal was baked salmon in a cream sauce with broccoli, some chocolate cake and Pepperidge Farms Milano cookies!  My next meal, I confess, I ate every bite.  I was hungry.

We arrived in HK 40 minutes ahead of schedule, but had a 2 hour layover before my 30 minute flight to Guangzhou.  By that time, I was nodding off before take-off.  Once I got to Guangzhou, my luggage was waiting for me without delays.  I must have had "Target" written all over me, as I was pressed on both sides by people wanting to take me to my hotel.  Well, since I was alone, I knew better.  They were wanting 3x as much as a taxi drive would cost me.  I finally had to be extremely firm with them.  They followed me outside of the airport, up and down the sidewalk.  I finally got a taxi, sat back, and enjoyed the cool air on my face (by that time I was sweating...humid here).  Because of all of the construction on Shamian Island, my taxi driver had a hard time finding my hotel.

Watching my screen...almost there!

Heading down into the clouds at Hong Kong.

Today, I walked around the island for a bit.  I feel nice and safe here without Mike.  I'm glad I chose to stay here rather than someplace else.  The island is a mess.  Apparently, they are having the Asian Games here in Guangdong at some point, thus the construction.  Many of the shops we visited before are unrecognizable or have left.

Lots of construction

Bamboo scaffolding


Busy day at the park

Stone sidewalk



My Hotel..The Victory

One thing to note, I never realized how much Mike did for us as a family on our previous adoption trips.  He took care of so much...I just took care of the children.  It was so easy to rest in my husband's protection.  It is just like our relationship with our Savior.  How He wants us to rest in Him...let Him take care of us and any issues/problems that arise!  The money situation scares me.  I always think I'm going to mess up and be taken advantage of.  I sure wish my dear husband was here.

I met another family at the hotel.  Together we went to Carrafour's and bought a few things.  This is a picture of Daniel, 10.  He is a pistol. He wears his pajamas under his pants and refuses to take them off.  He ended up sweating so much at the store that he took off his shirt.  He got plenty of stares.   I got to sit next to him in the taxi.  His dad bought him the movie Ice Age to watch.  I'm sure he is enjoying it as I type this.


Yummy dried octopus, just for Jack...he likes to eat squid.

I just met my guide, Daniel.  I leave to meet Ivy after lunch on Monday.  I happened to ask Daniel the question, "What if she doesn't like me and does not want to be adopted?"  His reply to me was, "I just called the orphanage last week to set up the dates to meet her and they told me she was just delighted when she found out you would be here soon."  Okay, now this makes me a bit nervous.  All of the preparations and waiting and it is about to come to pass and I'm really starting to get scared.  

1.30.2010

I've Arrived

It is after midnight and I'm going on 36 hours with only a couple catnaps.  I"m dirty, but I'm in a nice cool hotel room (it is in the 70's here), and I'm going to take a shower and go to bed.  Sunday is my free day and I'll be getting organized, and I'll post after that!

Thanks for your prayers. I really needed and appreciate them.   My blogger access works thanks to www.expressvpn.com.  So, I can read everyone's posts and post myself.  Off to a dreamless, deep sleep.

1.29.2010

Sitting at JFK

I had smooth flights this morning, but 4:00 a.m. sure comes quickly. I was excited to start my day and I was blessed that Jordan took me to the airport at 4:30 a.m. The airport was quite busy and much more security than the last time I flew.

So, I'm sitting here at JFK waiting on my connecting flight to Hong Kong. If anyone flies here and has a layover, there is a free internet connection from British Airways. So, I'm posting a picture just for Jack, who just loves flying over the ocean.  This is right as we were descending at JFK Airport.   It looked a bit choppy, as you can see by the whitecaps, Jack!
 

1.28.2010

Heading Out Tomorrow

Here's my last post before I leave in the morning. I've gotten almost everything completed and packed. I'm already starting to miss my family very much. I know I will be very busy and my mind will be occupied with so much...and that will be helpful.

I'm trying some different size pictures on my blog, so the pics below are just practice pictures. I'll sure miss these faces along with Mike's, Jordan's, and Jack's.



1.27.2010

Getting Set


It seems like I wait and wait for travel, then it is rush, rush.  But, most of my responsibilities I cannot do until right before I leave...like packing.

*Laundry - doing (done)
*Dust, vacuum, mop, clean bathrooms - done, well almost
*Write boy's lesson plans - 1/2 done
* Print off itinerary, phone numbers - done
*Check airlines, calling for snow on Friday - not done
*Suitcases packed - one down, one to go

It is much easier packing for me and Ivy than for the whole family.  But, I sure wish my whole family was taking this trip with me.  I don't like being separated from them at all.

Now, off to more work!

1.25.2010

Getting Ready

I got my flights all take care of on Friday.  I'll be flying out of JFK on Cathay Pacific.  I've heard only good things about that airline, and I checked them out on-line.  They look very nice. They have a great site online and fun to look around on the airplane.  Go here.  Jack liked to play with the flight simulator on this site.   I'll miss my familiar United path through Chicago.  I've been through there 3 times with customs and immigration, but am excited to go a different route this time.  Ivy and I will be flying back home on Cathay through San Francisco.  We have a long layover and I am hoping we can head out to lunch near the water.  My travel agent recommended Fisherman's Wharf area.



Today I booked reservations at the Victory.  I had expected to stay at the Holiday Inn, but the Victory seemed much easier with its location and familiarity.  Since Mike will not be with me, I want to make this as easy as possible on myself.  We will be within walking distance to the Medical Exam building.  Since Ivy is 7 years old, we'll have to have a TB test for her, then have to go back to have it checked.  So, the Victory seemed the most logical place to stay.  Plus, it is nice that their water is filtered and I won't have to brush my teeth with bottled water for 2 weeks.  That was what got me sick in 2007 when we adopted Joy.

It is so strange to believe that in a week, Ivy will be with me....face to face.

1.21.2010

We Received Our CA

Well, this sure is a whirlwind day.  Our agency contacted me tonight and told me they have my Consulate Appointment for February 8th.  That means I will be leaving on January 29, a week from now.  I'll meet Ivy on Monday, February 1, 2010.

It is a good thing I ordered the new money and the Chinese money today.  Otherwise, I'd be cutting it close.  Believe it or not, I've had Ivy's suitcase packed for a few weeks now, and I've slowly added things to it.  Now, I need to get my things together, lesson plans worked out for the boys.

I'll ask for prayers for my safe travels and prayer for my family staying at home.  I know Mike will do just fine while I'm gone, although we joked about everyone gaining 10 pounds from fast food and pizza for 2 weeks!  I'm sure Ivy Xue will need prayers for her adjustment.  I cannot imagine the thoughts running through her head.

Thanks for the great posts and encouragement this past year and through this adoption process.  IVY IS COMING HOME!

Finally Got That TA




1.18.2010

TA Soon?

I received an email today from our agency saying our TA has been issued and they will let us know when they receive it.  Yes, I'm thrilled, but hesitant about getting too excited.  The last time CCAA said this to our agency back in May, it took over a week to receive it.  It may have been issued, but we don't know if it is signed or sent as of yet.  I'm still banking on next Monday.

At this point, I just want to be excited about bringing Ivy home and be finished waiting on someone else to "issue" something or another.  It is hard to believe the roller coaster ride is almost complete.  It has been a long ride.

1.17.2010

Another Week of Waiting

It has been 2 months since we received our LOA, and it has been 3 weeks since our Article 5 was picked up and sent to CCAA.  The wait for TA averages 2-4 weeks.  It appears we are on the longer end of the average this time.  Chinese New Year is the week of February 14th.  So, it is slowly appearing like I will not be traveling before then unless a miracle happens this week with TA.  I am expecting that our TA will arrive the week of the 25th of January.  It is not what I'm wanting, but rather what I am anticipating.  Oh, I do pray it will come this week and I can somehow (by God's Mercy) sneak in travel before CNY.  Please pray with me.

1.14.2010

Water Park

This week, we went to a waterpark for a couple of days.  The last time we went, Eva had only been home for 4 months, and she did not like any of the slides, only the pool area where she could walk around. Mike, Seth and Jack had the usual fun and got a workout from climbing all those steps to the tops of the slides. This time round, Eva had the need for speed.  She went down every slide her little body was allowed to go down.  She even did the individual ones without having to sit on mom or dad's lap.  I was very proud of her.  Joy was a bit more timid about the water slides.  She endured the larger slides while sitting on our laps and only started giggling during them shortly before we left.

Needless to say, the trip was a much-needed distraction from our wait for Travel Approval.


The only slide that Joy giggled on.


Outgrowing the waterpark?


Fun with Dad!


 



1.11.2010

When Will We Get TA?

That is the big question of the week.  There are quite a few other adopting families who are anticipating their TA today.  Apparently, their agencies have this knowledge to share with them.  We are only 2 weeks from our Aticle 5 date.  The average time between Article 5 and TA is 2-4 weeks.  So, we are definitely at the beginning of the "average" time.  Everyone that knows me, knows that I always have hope.  It seems unlikely that we will get TA today, but I love to hope.  There are many families out there who have been waiting 4 weeks for their TA.  I would love to see Ivy Xue before the end of the month!

 What a sweet face!

UPDATE:  No TA for us today.  Maybe in a couple of weeks.  Very disappointed.





1.09.2010

Joy


Joy will be 4 years old in May. She came to us at 15 months old and quite delayed. She exhibited many disturbing things that caused concern for us. Mike, Jordan, and I all thought to ourselves that Joy had Down's Syndrome. After a few days of anguish, we voiced those fears among us. Despite our concerns, Joy progressed quite well, and was walking before we left China. She also learned to eat food while we were in China. We believe she only had bottles before she became our daughter.

Once we were home, I took Joy for a check at the doctor's office. He could see the same things in Joy that caused us to believe she had Down's Syndrome. We had her tested genetically for this condition. During the 2 weeks it took to get the results, we just loved her up, fed her healthy foods 3 times a day, and let her play all day long. Obviously, her results came back negative, but during that time, we knew that she was our daughter and we could handle it.

Although Joy is only 8 months younger than Eva, she does not have the same abilities as Eva. Before Eva was 2, she could do puzzles on her own, speak long sentences, and reason quite well. Joy has come a long way, and can now do many things. Some things she can accomplish that Eva cannot. One thing I noticed last year, was Joy could not answer me when I would ask "why" questions. If she was crying and I asked her why she was crying, her response would be, "I crying." She could answer me if I asked if she was hurt or needed to go potty, but never "why?". I realized that she never asked me "why?".  Eva is the Queen of Why, and she understood and asked that question all the time. Just recently Joy started asking me "why" to some of my statements. And, just recently, she has started to understand when I ask her "Why?".

So, here is a picture of Joy with her first completed puzzle. She was so proud that she did this on her own, and so am I!


1.04.2010

Happy New Year!

It has been a busy couple of weeks and I'm glad to get back into a schedule of sorts.  We spent New Year's Eve with friends, and actually made it to midnight with all of the children.  Eva and Joy had naps earlier in the day in preparation to the late night.




We still have freezing temperatures (which is very unusual) and we even added a couple of inches of snow to the old stuff from earlier. Seth went skiing with friends, so all the snow we've been getting was great for his day at the slopes.

Mike, Seth, and Jack went with friends ice skating shortly after Christmas.  They've not been skating in many years.  Actually, the last time Jack went, he hated it and tried using a bucket to help him around the rink.  Since then, Jack learned to use the rollerblades, and I believe that helped him with his ice skating.  So, Seth and Jack have skated a few times this Christmas break.  Seth glides like a pro around the ice.  You would think he had been skating all his life, but he's only been skating a dozen or so times.  Jack does very well, considering he is the cautious son.  I decided Eva and Joy are just not ready for skating.  Joy gets too frustrated and Eva would just cry everytime she fell.  So, we'll try next year.


Micah and Jack at the skating rink.

Jordan starts her classes next week, but has been getting many hours in at work.  Once classes start, she will be getting less hours.  She woke up this morning declaring, "I'm ready for spring!"  I'm sort of enjoying real winter weather.

We received news last week that our paperwork was picked up from the Consulate and sent to Beijing.  Next, they will process our Travel Approval and I will then make plans for my travel to China.  I hate the fact that I'll be traveling alone, but I know I will be fine.  I will just miss everyone very much.

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