Saturday, November 24, 2007

One Week Home

We'll be posting more pictures soon, but Carla and I were joking earlier this week about writing a post about the little things Charlotte loves, so...
Here is a very short list of things Charlotte loves about life at home that make Carla and I smile.
1. Wind and sunshine. The cool November breeze makes her giggle (and us too).
2. The sound of her bottle being made. We shake it to mix the formula, and when she hears that, she laughs out loud, and falls into the arms of the Carla or me. It's awesome!
3. When we tighten the belts on her carseat. There is this dial that you turn to make the belts tighter. It's like the carseat gives her a hug. Again, smiles and laughs.
4. Dancing and crib surfing. When she gets happy, she sways from side to side, lifting her feet. When she is standing in her pack and play, she will get her balance, and then let go in a surfing pose until she is about to fall, grabbing on to the rail again, followed by throwing her head back and laughing out loud.
It is truely the little things in life that bring the most joy. Things like Diet Pepsi with ice, laundry you don't have to pay for, "American" pizza, and time with friends and family. Thank God for home. As we continue to recover from jet lag, we realize more and more just how blessed we are.
Pictures from home to come. Have a great week!

Jay, Carla, Ethan, and Charlotte

Sunday, November 18, 2007

We're Home!!

We're Home! Thanks you all so much for all your prayers and support. We cant wait for you to meet Charlotte. We have been so blessed, from the day we began this journey many months ago, and God continues to bless us each moment. Please continue to pray for our family, and for Charlotte's transtition to her new home. Enjoy this video summary of our Journey to Charlotte!

Jay, Carla, Ethan, and Charlotte

Friday, November 16, 2007

Our Final Post from China

Wow! This is our last post from China! I never thought the day would come that we would actually travel to get our Charlotte, and now we are heading home. Actually, we are really ready to return. As much as we have enjoyed being immersed in Chinese culture, we are all ready for home (personal space is at a premium in our hotel room, and in China in general).
What a wonderful, emotional, inspiring, and God-given trip this has been. There are just so many stories to share of how we have been blessed beyond measure. God continues to anoint this journey just as he did the day we decided to take it on. He continues to show us just how much He cares for us, how much he cares for all his children, and how he blesses us when we answer his call. I know we'll all have stories to share when we return.
Today was a wrap-up day in China. With most of the families in our travel group gone, it seems so quiet (prayers to all of them by the way, many who have long drives ahead of them after landing from thier 12+ hour flights). After breakfast we boarded the Guangzhou Metro for a subway adventure to Carrefour (the local wal-mart) for formula and diapers for the flight home. Then we had time for a quick nap before heading to the American Consolate. We had to appear and swear that we gave truthful information in all of our paperwork and statements to the consolate. Then we returned to the China Hotel to finish our time in Guangzhou the way we started...McDonald's take out.
Oh! Happy National Adoption Day everyone! How perfect it is that the day we Leave China (Saturday) and return home is National Adoption Day in the US.
Please continue to Pray for Carla, Charlotte and I as it seems we all have the same sinus bug. Ethan seems to have missed it, but his allergies may just cover it up. Pray also for our journey home, specifically our 12 hour flight from Beijing, the 5 hour layover in the Beijing Int. Airport, and for Charlotte. We have a fear that she will not do well with the cabin pressure on the airplane. No pictures today, but we'll have some to post when we get home and settled.
Thanks so much for your encouragement through the guestbook. It has been a really treat to hear your encouraging words from thousands of miles away.
See You Soon in the USA!!!

Jay, Carla, Ethan, and Charlotte

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Passing the Time

Well, now we are just passing time until we travel home on Saturday. We are all ready for that. We have had an amazing trip but are missing home and our families. Charlotte is starting to show us her strong willed side.....but she doesn't realize she has met her match in her mommy (ha, ha!) We are starting to see the normal behaviors of a 17 month old. Testing the limits, fighting off sleep, wiggly, wiggly, wiggly. We are ready to be home where we can get on a schedule and get a handle on nap time and the such. She is still doing well. And even starting to perform for the camera. Yesterday we went to Shaimen Island again, and to the White Swan for the famous red couch pictures. Tomorrow we will pick up Charlotte' s visa and pack. Today we are just relaxing in the hotel and Ethan and Jay went to another park with one of the other families left. Ethan us still doing well. He is such a good boy and big brother. We are very proud of him. I am trying to fight off a little cold. Hopefully the allergy medicine and Airborne will do the trick. Hope you are all doing well, we can't wait to see you all. We will post one more time before we leave China on Saturday. Enjoy the pictures.

Carla, Jay, Ethan and Charlotte

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Latest on Charlotte

Hello All! We are spending our last few days here in China spending time with the new friends we've gotten to know these few weeks. Many of them will be traveling home tomorrow morning, and we are trying not to be too jealous. It's hard to stay here knowing that 14 of the 18 families are heading home tomorrow. Charlotte is doing so much! Yesterday she showed us that hse can crawl! We knew she could do it, we had seen her do so in photos, but she is becoming more trusting and active each day. this morning, she was able to play in the bath for the first time and not fuss. As I write this, we are trying to explain "no" to her as she tries to grab at the laptop. Yes, she's becoming more comfortable each day. Today is a free day for us. no real plans, just passing the time until our appointment with the Consulate, and then traveling home on Saturday! We'll try to post more pictures tonight. See you soon!

Jay, Carla, Ethan and Charlotte

Monday, November 12, 2007

Medical Exam and Shopping

Well another full day today. First we went for the Medical Exam for Charlotte's Visa. It was pretty easy, we just had to wait in 3 different lines. She weighed 21 pounds with all of her clothes on. Not too bad for only taking formula and juice. She continues to do well and play and smile. She has also starting laying her head on our shoulder which is so sweet. She trusts us more and more everyday. After the exam we went shopping on the island "Shaiman Island." Lots of good deals and stuff for adoptive families. I was able to get 6 pairs of squeaky shoes for about $3 each. A girl can never have too many shoes right. Ethan had fun looking in all the stores as well, he is always a big hit with the Chinese women. We had lunch at a western restaraunt Lucy's which Jay described as a little bit of deep fried heaven. Then we hung out in the hotel with friends and ordered pizza. Kind of felt like we were in college again, just with kids. It was fun to hang out and fellowship. Tomorrow we have a free morning and are then going on one more power shopping trip. I only have a couple of pictures today. We left the memory card in the hotel today and had to use the internal memory on the camera. We don't have the cord to download. I am posting pics of our party in the hallway, so enjoy. We miss everyone and can't wait to be home.

Love to you all.
Carla, Jay, Ethan and Charlotte

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Full Day in Guangzhou

Today was a full, but relatively quiet day in Guangzhoou. After Breakfast, we went to a Chinese folk art museum. It was in a former temple. There were wood carvings, siks, sculpture, fans, and so much more. Carla discovered a Chinese folk instrument much like the modern recorder that she easily picked up and played with a little instructionfrom the shopkeeper. From there we went to a department store for those that needed to purchase supplies, and then back to the China Hotel.
After a brief rest, Carla went to sign papers (3 hours worth! Whew!) While I stayed back with Ethan while Charlotte slept. After her nap we went for a walk through a local garden / park and then to dinner with some of our travel friends, the Nicholson's and the Duffy's.
Tomorrow we'll take Charlotte to her Adoption medical examination, and explore a shopping village, which I'm guessing will be quite an experience!
On a serious note, Charlotte appears to be teething. She chews on her fingers (and ours), and seems less content than usual. We are hoping she sleeps well tonight, and that she'll find comfort in the tylenol we can give her. Hopefullyh she'll be back to herself tomorrow.
Blessings and enjoy the new pictures!
Jay, Carla, Ethan, and Charlotte

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lazy Day and New Games

Well we had a pretty lazy day today. We had breakfast in the hotel and then met up with the rest of the families from our group who flew in today. It was so nice to see everyone with their new additions. When they arrived we were able to move into a new room in the renovated (or should I say re-invented as the sign in the hotel says) part of the hotel. Finally a queen size bed that is soft. We have been sleeping in full beds that were hard as rocks. Ethan was excited to see the flat screen TV too, pretty cool. We got unpacked in the new room and caught up with friends from the group. Then we ordered food with another family and had dinner together in the room to talk about our experience. It was so nice to hear each others storys. Tomorrow we will go to a folk art museum and the grocery store, so it should be fun. Hope everyone at home is doing well, we are in the final stretch now!!!
Oh, I almost forgot. Charlotte has a new game. I was kissing her today and when I stopped she made a little sound like "ha, ha, ha" (so sweet) and so I kissed her again. Now when she wants us to kiss her she will make that sound, it is so sweet and such a good sign about our bonding and attachment. We can't wait for you to all meet our sweet girl, she will steal your heart.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Zoo and Shopping Too!

Yesterday we spent the morning at the local zoo. We saw lots of monkies, bears, and of course, a beuatiful panda. After the morning at the zoo, We cam home for lunch and a nap. Carla and Wendy met up with a local guide named Ann and they went on a subway metro excursion for some local shopping. They had a ball finding lots of local treasures for us to take home. While they were shopping, I had some daddy time with Charlotte and Ethan. Charlotte loves to play. She clapped stacking cups together, laughs and giggles, and loves to shake her head from side to side when I say "no, no!" I know what your thinking, it's cute now but just wait. Until then, it's precious. Today we are awainting the return of all the other traveling families. this time we get to meet thier new babies! They should be coming in throughout the day today, so we;ll just relax here in the hotel, and I may venture out to the local mart to pick up more formula and water. One week until we return home!!! Yeah! Enjoy a few pics from the zoo.
Jay, Carla, Ethan, and Charlotte.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Charlotte Day 4

We are all doing so much better today. Charlotte woke this morning with a smile for all of us. She is starting to adjust more and more every day. She will only drink formula and juice for now, but I keep trying the cereal and bananas. She will do it eventually. She is so much more relaxed with all of us and is just a cutie!! We are enjoying having special moments with. Thanks again for the journal entries we love to hear from home. We are doing better with the looks too, we just ignore or stare back. She is beautiful little girl and we are so happy that she is our daughter and little sister. Today we went to a Museum and Ethan is excited to visit the zoo tomorrow. Thanks again for your prayers, we love and miss you all.

Carla, Jay, Ethan and Charlotte

From Ethan:
She is doing so good and getting really used to us. I like to play with her rings with her and play the drops game. She drops them and I pick them up. She gives us smiles and she laughs. I miss everybody. Love, Ethan

Charlotte Day 3

First let me start by saying, today is much better. We still have a ways to go but we are all feeling better by the moment. Let me say also, thank you so much for your writing us on the guestbook. It so helps to hear from home, please know that your words are so encouraging to us. It is hard to be a new mommy and daddy again in a foriegn country. Your words are extremely comforting. Thank you so much.
Okay, so more about Charlotte she is eating much better, which is a huge relief. She is showing more happy times too. She played and laughed with Ethan at breakfast and let me carry her in the hip carrier which she would not do yesterday. She is moving around more and almost crawled a little on the bed. She will go to either Jay or I which is a huge relief. She even let me clean her lip, which made this mommy so happy. They did not do that before we got her and there was a lot of dried "stuff" on it. I did not want to mess with it before today, which was hard for me, my babies never have messy faces. But while she was eating I cleaned it all off-yeah!! I am posting some pics of her playing with Daddy and Ethan. We have to leave at 2:30 to get her Chinese Passport so easy day today. Ethan is doing much better as well just getting a little bored. We are going to try and venture out of the hotel today but it is hard because so many people stare at Charlotte's lip. I know it is cultural thing, but still hard for a mommy to take. I am trying to be brave though. I may do another post tonight if I have time. Thanks again for your messages and prayers we feel them working.

Carla, Jay, Ethan and Charlotte

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Charlotte Day 2

Okay well today was harder than we anticipated. Charlotte stored up all of her emotion and crying (screaming) for today. First, we were having trouble getting her to eat. She would just not take any bottle I brought. When we met our guide she said we needed to cut the hole even bigger and maybe make it thicker. We went back to the civil affairs office to sign our Chinese portion of the paperwork. While we were there I was able to get Charlotte to drink about 5 oz. of juice, yeah! Then after leaving she was very hungry and letting us know about it. She screamed. We tried to make a bottle thick-well it gaged her. So she screamed all the way back to the hotel. Oh and I did not tell you that immediately after we got moving in the van she started to dry heave (nothing in her stomach to throw up) so she is definitely motion sick in vehicles. Please start praying now for our flight home. I came back to the hotel with Ethan and Charlotte and Jay and the other Dad with us went to the Chinese Walmart for some supplies. Charlotte would not let me console her at all and actually pushed me away. I finally just laid her down and let her cry herself to sleep. She slept and I of course had a break down. When she woke from her nap I tried just formula with the bigger slit nipple and she took it-praise God!! She was very alert after that. She played with her toys and smiled and laughed for us for about an hour and a half. We were so happy to see that. It did wonders for our heart. Then she closed up again but did take another bottle and went to sleep hopefully for the night. So we saw a glimmer of hope which will continue we know. Ethan is doing really well, he is a big help but it is hard on him to not have Charlotte interact with him yet, so say an extra prayer for him if you can. So that's where we are. Looking forward to lots more smiles and laughs tomorrow. Here are a couple of pics from our happy time.

Love you guys,
Carla, Jay, Ethan and Charlotte

Monday, November 5, 2007

We Have Charlotte!!!

Okay, I am making this a quick post because we have to pay by the hour for internet service in the hotel. We will try out the free wireless internet at Starbucks tomorrow to post more. We flew out of Bejing this morning to Guangzhou, leaving the hotel at 5:30am. Then we arrived checked into the hotel and went to the cival affairs office to meet Charlotte. We ended up having to wait about 1 1/2 hours the van from the orphanage was running late because one of the babies was having motion sickness. Of course that was Charlotte. Anyway they finally brought her in and she was good as gold. Not a single tear, but not really a smile either. I think she was a little shocked by the whole experience. She is starting to open up a little bit more the longer she is with us, so keep those prayers coming they are working. We are very blessed to have been chosen to be Charlotte's parents. We are so excited to have in our arms at last. We love you all, thanks for helping us get this far.

In Him,
Jay, Carla, Ethan and Charlotte (yeah, I can finally say that)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Day 2-Beijing

Another whirlwind of a day in Beijing. We started this morning with a very meaningful bi-lingual worship service at Beijing International Christian Fellowship. We sans songs like "Everlasting God" and "Blessed Be Your name" in English, and several other songs in Chinese. It was a beautiful service, with communion and a guest preacher. After Church it was off to a jade factory store, another lunch around a lazy susan, and then finally to the Great Wall. I thought it would be flater. Lots of steep steps. I think I saw an episode of the Amazing race that featured these steps, where the teams had to climb to the top. One of our Friends, Roy Duffey, says he made it to the top. He is in the picture waving. Ethan and I made it about 2/3 before He got tired and I got scared of heights! We had another lazy susan Chinese dinner and then went to see a acrobat performance! They were amazing! We are tired but having a wonderful time.
Tomorrow is the day! We will leave Beijing around 5:30am to head to Guangzhou to finally meet our Charlotte! Please pray for us for this upcoming day, and that God will increase our sleep tonight. After tomorrow, I'm told the pace slows down some. Let's hope.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Day One-Beijing

Wow, what a day!!! We started with breakfast in the hotel Lobby, which was good. Then we got on the bus at 8:30am and we are back in the hotel now at 8:30pm. We begain with a tour of Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City. From there we went to a pearl market, bought some pearl earrings for Charlotte and a bracelet for Mommy. Next was a Chinese Lunch, which was pretty good, just a couple of questionable items. Ethan enjoyed the rice. Next we went to the Summer Palace, a silk market and then a traditional Peking Duck dinner, you can see a picture of Jay making his "duck taco" and enjoying it. Oh and I forgot to tell you that Ethan is a celebrity here in China because of his blonde hair and blue eyes. I can't tell you how many people came up to him to shake his hand or touch him. Or just look and chuckle. He handled it all in style though! Tomorrow we head to and International Church service and then the Great Wall. Only two more days until we meet Charlotte-yeah!!! Oh, and we are meeting some fantastic people in our group so all in all even though we are ready for sleep, we had a wonderful day.

Friday, November 2, 2007

We're Here!

Just wanted to write a quick post to let everyone know that we arrived safely in China!!!! The flight was long and Ethan and I did not sleep much but we are going to get the bed early tonight. We have a full day of sightseeing ahead of us. We will update again tomorrow. Thanks for all your prayer for safe travel, we appreciate them all.

In Him,
Carla, Jay, and Ethan

Thursday, November 1, 2007

We're Off

Today is the day and we can hardly believe that this day is finally here! The bags are packed and this morning Papa will take us to the airport. Yesterday Carla and I worked steadly at packing until it was time for lunch. We went to get a bite to eat and when we came home, We had locked ourselves out of the house. Priceless! Every time we think we have it togehter, God tells us to slow down, relax, and let him have the driver's seat.
"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to t give you a hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29: 11
Please continue to pray for us and other traveling families as we begin this long, exciting day! Pray specificily for safety, patience, jet-lag, and the upcoming transition.
~ Jay