We finally made it to Hong Kong via a high speed train this evening. It was one heck of a trip and very exhausting. If this was any indication of what our 15 hour flight will be tomorrow we are in trouble. Ava had a few melt downs and we wanted to have a melt down as well.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 12:27 PM
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Early this morning we boarded a bus to go to the US Consulate for our Visa Appointment and Oath-taking ceremony. It was insanely busy and extremely hot. Guangzhou is so hot. You literally melt the minute you walk out the door. This morning the temperature was 105 degrees with 99% humidity. It is just awful. Anyway, we were there with about 10 other families. We all stood, raised our right hand and took our oath that all the information we have supplied is true and accurate to the best of our knowledge. When all was said and done the woman at the Consulate congratulated all of us on the new additions to our families. We applied for Ava's Visa and than we were on our way. Tomorrow afternoon we will receive Ava's passport back with her Visa. Afterwards we will take a high speed train to Hong Kong. We will spend the night in Hong Kong and early Thursday morning (Wednesday evening US time) we will board our plane for the 15 1/2 hour ride home. Please pray for our safe travels home.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 11:00 AM
Monday, August 29, 2011
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 8:42 AM
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 10:19 AM
Friday, August 26, 2011
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 11:54 AM
Thursday, August 25, 2011
First I have to start this post by saying that my sweet Ava and I have broken down some more of the wall today. We still have a long way to go in our bonding and her trust in me. But everyday is an improvement. This morning when she awoke she stood up in her crib and let me know she had to go to the potty. So I put my arms out and she put hers up so I could pick her up. That was a huge step for my sweet girl. And I got tons and tons of smiles. We laughed and played and she looks deeper and deeper into my eyes every day. But once we leave our hotel room she still will not hold my hand or let me carry her. So...we still have a ways to go. But when we were at lunch today, she let me take her out of Tony's sight so I could take her to the potty...which was all the way downstairs. So I would say...today was another very good day. She let me feed her and she sat on my lap at lunch. It took a little while and she still reached for Tony but...she stayed and we bonded a little more. And when we got back to our hotel room after a long day of touring and dinner...we played and played and laughed and laughed. I am confidant that she is learning to trust me. She didn't look over to make sure Tony was there...she was content with just me and our bonding.
Today was our last full day in Changchun, Jilin Province, China. So we toured a little since we haven't really done so since we came here on Sunday. Our day trip consisted of the Emperor's Palace Puppet Museum which was established in 1962. And we went to a zoo since we thought the kids would enjoy seeing the animals and getting out a little bit. Well I don't know what happened but Ava was in a great mood this morning...laughing and playing...and showing us more of her personality. But as soon as we entered the zoo until the time we left...she shut down...completely shut down. Our guide kept asking me what was wrong with her. She was walking around in a daze...with a deeply sad look on her face. She didn't want to look at the animals and didn't want to be there in general. I wonder what my sweet girl was thinking? Did she remember her foster Mama today? Did her foster Mama take her to the zoo often? It was almost like the zoo brought her back to a place that she didn't want to be. Because as soon as we left and got into our van...she completely changed. Sweet Ava was playing and laughing and smiling. Our guide said that she cannot believe the difference between the van and the zoo. We all agree that it must have reminded her of her past. She wasn't even seeking her security which is Tony...she didn't want his hand...she was so distant. Tony and I both feel...we just need to leave Jilin Province...we need to get our girl out of here...so that she can begin to heal.
We received such a special gift today. Our guide gave our family and Jackson's family a memory book that was put together by their head teacher in their school. It has memories and pictures and milestones and hand prints and foot prints and drawings going back from May 26th 2010 all the way until Gotcha day. It was put together with such love and came with an English translation. We also learned that the school that Ava attended is sponsored by the Half the Sky Foundation. Which is how Ava's memory book was created. "Half the Sky Foundation was created to enrich the lives and enhance the prospects for orphaned children in China. The Foundation establishes and operates infant nurture and preschool programs, provides personalized learning for older children and establishes loving, permanent care and guidance for children with disabilities. Half the Sky's goal is to ensure that every orphaned child has a caring adult in her life and a chance at a bright future." This gift is such a special blessing for our daugter. Again...another piece of her past that she will long for when she is older.
We are leaving tomorrow for yet another flight for the last leg of our journey. We will be flying 4 1/2 hours to Guangzhou to finish up the rest of the paperwork...get Ava's Visa...take her for a medical exam and go to our oath taking ceremony. I am sad to be leaving Jilin because I am taking my daughter away from the only place she has called home. But we need to move on. Our fragile little girl needs to move on and begin her new life with us.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 11:09 AM
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
There is nothing...absolutely nothing in the world that can prepare you enough for your child rejecting you. I went into this adoption fully aware that it would not be as easy as Halainah's was. I knew there was a strong possibility that Ava would attach to one of us and reject the other. But when it happens to you and you are so far away from home...it's hard...down right hard. Last night I broke down...emotionally I was spent. Do you know how it feels to have your daughter not be able to look you in the eye? Or back in a corner when you get close to her? Or cling to your spouse in total fear of you? Well I do and it broke me in ways I never knew I could break. But I cried it out and my best friend...the one who knows me better than myself helped me ground myself again. And so I prayed for strength to help me get through one day at a time. And let HIM carry me!
And today was a MUCH better day. Ava opened herself up to me today in a huge way. And we finally saw our sweet sweet girl smile. She is so fragile. When I look into her huge dark almond eyes I see the pain that she endured in her short life. Living in an orphanage for her first year and being tossed into two different foster families and than into our lives...my sweet girl needs time to heal and adjust. She is so confused and is still grieving. She completely shuts down at times pulling at her hair and grunting. But today there were fewer moments of grief and more moments of her breaking out of her shell and letting me in.
And today she laughed and played with me. She now looks me in the eyes. She let me take her to the potty 4 times and I was able to change her clothes. She gave me kisses and let me touch her skin...stroke her face and kiss her sweet lips. She still makes sure that Tony is in her sight and he is the one she wants when we are out walking. But today...today was a huge step for my sweet Ava. And even if she wakes up wanting nothing to do with me again....I will work all day to gain her trust again.
This morning we took a ride to find the place where Ava was found. We have the information from the orphanage and set out on our adventure. At first we were unable to find it so our guide asked some locals if they knew of the location. Well before we knew it there was a crowd around us. And as it turns out, one woman told our guide that her sister was the one that found Ava almost 2 years ago. So she called her sister and about 5 minutes later she came walking up to us. She took us to the exact spot where she found Ava. I cannot even describe the feeling of standing in that spot. The tears came pouring down. I don't want to go into great detail as I feel it is very personal for my daughter and it wouldn't be fair to her to share something so personal. But what I will say is that conditions were poor...it was very cold...and her birth mom loved her so very much. We were able to ask this woman who found her all sorts of questions...like what was she wearing and what was with her and what happened to her next. I also asked her if she has ever found another baby. The answer was No...just our daugher...just Ava. And she was so honored to see our sweet Ava today...so beautiful...so alive...so loved. Part of me wanted to stay in that exact spot...I wanted to soak in the sounds...the smell...I wanted to permanently etch that picture in my mind. We thanked this woman so much for giving us such a wonderful gift...part of our daughter's past...a part I am sure she will long for desperatly when she grows up. We hugged eachother and parted ways. I shed a few more tears while walking away...seeing my daughter walking hand in hand with her daddy...walking away from the spot she was found...the spot that brought her into our family. Our fragile little girl...her eyes so sad...her heart so vulnerable. I am so proud of her today...letting me break down the wall so much today...only days after her world as she knew it was torn apart.
I think we will all be ok. I think sweet Ava will open her heart fully and once she does she will be a strong little happy girl...leaving behing her fragile self. Thank you so much for all of your comments offering support and advice and most of all your prayers. They meant the world to me and helped me face another day of breaking down the wall.
Please note that the pictures I am sharing does not contain the exact spot Ava was found...only surrounding areas...the pictures we did take of her finding spot will be saved for her.
Oh and did I mention how tiny she is? All the 24 month clothes I brought...way too big...so don't mind them hanging off of her in the pictures!!
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 10:13 AM