Friday, November 25, 2011

Fall Follies and more!

It's hard to believe that it has been a month since the first time we held little Shelby!  She continues to blossom as she explores her new world here, EVEN gaining 2 pounds, which has me tickled.  Shelby can eat like there's no end to her food pipeline.  I was laughing tonight as we finally ordered in some Chinese food since we got back from China and it's too bad I didn't take before and after photos, because the babe ate almost a pint of pork lomein, along with 2 yogurts!  Did I mention, the girl can eat???  I am normally not so food conscious since I finally realized after 4 yrs that kids will eat when they're hungry, but it's so important that we get some weight on her before her surgery.  In addition to her 3 meals/day I supplement with vanilla PediaSure shakes, cheese, whole grain bread and vanilla almond milk (yummy).  Even Kira seems to enjoy eating more these days.

Along with her fondness for food, she is also making great strides in communicating and her very first clear word, was the name of her Jie Jie, Kira!  I thought Kira would be amused but she seemed indifferent.  It wasn't until a few days ago when she started to look at pictures of Ariel and say "Ariel" when Kira sort of looked at her as if to say "hey that's my favorite Princess".  I explained before the yelling competition ensued that because Kira is constantly talking and drawing pics of Ariel, naturally little sis is following in her footsteps.  Guess I'm going to have to find her a fav. Princess of her own really quick:))

The girls delight and amuse me most of the day, but the transistion for Kira has been very difficult, even to the point where I just loose it and start to cry, holding her tightly and re-assuring her that I love with all my heart.  I am not sure what sets her off but she gets so defiant and acts out in ways I never thought she was capable of.  People tell me it's normal and this will eventually fade (not really, or perhaps when their 21, married with kids of their own), but it's so hard to see my baby girl get so upset.  For now we're giving her some extra TLC with little surprises here and there.  Honestly, the surprises don't effect her, but the extra hugs and kisses = magic!  And that's so easy to do.

Well, with little time to blog, email, talk, relax and so on, I still love to capture the beauty of my daughters (love saying that) through photography.  Shelby is a real little actress as you will see, and Kira, well she'd rather not be photographed, unless she's hanging in a tree.

Oh these big brown eyes!

My Hunan Princess!  How I adore you Kira.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Guangzhou and the US Consulate

Finally we are on our way to Guangzhou, China.  This is the last leg of the adoption process and where we met up with many other adoptive families from all over the country and even the world.
It's very tropical and pretty here, but oh I am thrilled that we are in a Hotel with  air conditioning and a nearby Starbucks so Momma here can get her java fix.

We were reunited with our friends, The Gibsons and Kira's new family of friends.  It was wonderful to see  so many smiles from many other adoptive families, holding their new child or children.

Since some recent changes regarding China's adoption policies, qualifying families were now allowed to adopt two children at the same time.  So it was indeed exciting to see just how many adoptive parents were taking advantage of this opportunity.

Thus far Shelby has done nicely and appeared to bond the closest with Kira and myself.  There were no more sobs at night, however, occasionally she would just push me away and try to turn on her side and go to sleep.  I didn't know if that was her routine or some serious grieving, but realized it was the grieving for her foster family and so I would gently rock her to sleep.  I also realized this babe couldn't really turn on her side without some help because of her wide pelvic deformity, so once I realized this, she seemed to appreciate that Momma was there to make her comfortable too:))  Overall Shelby seemed to accept us but again I was preparing myself for another big transition when we got home.

Sweet Sisters!

Oh so happy to see Kira smiling again with her pals.  A wonderful family of seven who Kira connected to immediately.  

 Spencer and Jesse

Kaaren's newest Mei Mei Ellie, isnt' she cute!

My Pouting Princess before playing with the Theobald children.

Happy Girl with The Theobald kiddies!

"Oh do I have to take another photo???"

The Gibson Girls!
Precious Belle and Scarlett (little Scarlett was adopted from Hunan with Kira)

Belle and her new brother Chan.  What a handsome boy!

Of course she's happy because we found out that breakfast is her favorite meal of the day.  Kira even gave her an Ariel doll for the trip!  

So thankfully Shelby passed her medical exam and took the oath at the US Consulate in Guangzhou (November 8, 2011) making her a brand new US Citizen!  I was going to photograph the events but just wanted to get out of there and onto the streets of the pretty Island.  Our time was so limited this journey that I was shooting pics from inside the taxi to and from our hotel.  All went well and we finally got Shelby's passport and US Visa into the states!  

We are so ready to come home!

But first some pics from Guangzhou.

Words can really not express the emotions we have as we now begin our journey home.  We have nurtured some incredible friendships during the adoption process and hope that we can stay in contact with the new families we met as well.  China will always hold a special place in our hearts for allowing us to become the parents of two beautiful girls.  Our Journey to Shelby was filled with surprises and many ups and downs but no matter how frustrated we became or alone we felt, we were really part of one large family, the "Holt Family" and their exemplary staff who worked so hard to get their job done and also make us feel comfortable and right at home here in China. 

We are so grateful and blessed to have our children, but as we said our farewells I couldn't help but think of all the children that still needed the love of families.  I hope that some how this blog can be of some inspiration to any parent considering international adoption.  

Thanks for following our journey.  More photos and updates coming soon!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Taking Baby Steps, Langzhou continued

By the third day, Shelby was smiling, playing with Kira and in Mandarin, asking to be picked up by me!  Oh how good that felt.  Most importantly she seemed happy, started to cackle at our antics to make her laugh, and then it just clicked for all of us!  She played peek a boo, would imitate Kira's every move (which I think started to annoy little Kira) and started talking (again in Mandarin) very consistently and appropriately, according to Kaige.  We were told that she speaks excellent Mandarin and can say, pick me up, down, hungry, thirsty, no, yes.  We also found out that she is a big flirt and winks at adults (both men and female).  Where ever we went with both girls, especially to restaurants, we were surrounded by waitresses wanting to engage both girls in play or conversation.  It was so enjoyable to watch, but I must admit it got tiring when all we wanted to do was have a decent meal at the end of a busy day!

The time we spent in Langzhou was very busy, with Kaige doing the best she could trying to get the baby's passport ready in time for our trip to the US Consulate in Guangzhou.  One day we spent shopping to gather some necessities we didn't bring with us.  We were concerned about Shelby's low weight so since we were told she is still on formula, well, we bought formula, bottles and even more pacifiers.  What we were surprised to find is that this child drinks straight out of a water bottle, totally dislikes formula and will only eat normal food!  Yay for that.  Instead, baby bottles were used to irrigate her bladder and cups for bathing.  We donated the formula to the orphanage, along with any other supplies we didn't need.

There's about 3 eggs, pancakes and waffles on her plate and she two fisted it all in:))

 That day we headed out with Kaige to another part of the Lanzhou.  I found the architecture so beautiful and in stark contrast to the old buildings that seem to dwarf these modern high rises. 


Oh how I loved all the bronze sculptures in this garden!

Pretty Shelby, still a bit hesitant about what was happening and missing her foster family.
That night for the first time in three days, she sobbed herself quietly to sleep.  I would try to stroke her face or rub her back and she would push me away and turn her head away.  It was so awful to see this child of ours grieving so for the only family she knew.  We were confident with some time, she would come around and there would be more smiles on that pretty face!

Kaige was a huge help with Kira.  She often would just take her hand and make her feel comfortable when it seemed all attention was on Shelby.  Oh and Ariel had a big part too:))

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