6 Weeks Home!

We returned from China on November 20th.  That means that we’ve been back here in NJ with Anne for over 6 weeks!  We meant to get an update out at the 4 week mark, but with Christmas right in there, that proved a bit too difficult.  So many of you have been supportive throughout this whole adoption process–and even since we’ve been home.  Thank you sincerely for all of the prayers, well wishes, encouragements, gifts, meals, etc.  It truly is a blessing to have people in your life who care about you–thank you.

Many of you have asked how things are going with Anne… how she’s adjusting to us, how we’re adjusting to her, etc.  And honestly, things are going remarkably well.  We are blessed that Anne seems to understand quite a bit–she is very active, always looking around, touching things, exploring things.  It has been amazing to see her “open up” to the world around her.  These are probably silly examples, but I remember just 6 weeks ago how she was afraid of Gabby (the dog) and tentative about taking a bath.  Now she loves to pet the dog and to take a bath.  Though she doesn’t say any words yet, she is also “talking” a lot more (“ma” being her favorite sound!).  She is also starting to stand up on her own without any support, so it seems she will be taking her first steps fairly soon!

Probably the biggest challenge we’ve been dealing with is sleep.  During the day she will usually take one nap (and sometimes two) in her crib.  But at night she really doesn’t like the crib.  Usually she will fall asleep and then we transfer her to the crib…and she’ll wake up.  Usually she only seems to calm down when she’s in the bed with us.  This is definitely not ideal, but I know this too will pass…and we are adjusting.

An answer to prayer is that her surgery for her cleft palate is actually scheduled for next Tuesday January 13th.  This will be performed by a cleft team that works out of St. Peter’s in New Brunswick.  Jenny met with them and the primary doctor was recommended to us by other adoptive parents… so we believe we are in good hands with him and his staff.  After the surgery, for a period of time, Anne will need to wear arm restraints that effectively keep her elbows straight…this is so she doesn’t put anything in her mouth (so as not to hurt the incision).  We would really appreciate prayers for a speedy and easy recovery.

And finally, here are some recent pictures for your viewing pleasure… 🙂  Thank you again for all of your support…

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Posted in Adoption News

China Update – Almost Done

Good afternoon from Guangzhou!

P1010136-modIt is Tuesday afternoon here and we’ll be in this hotel for just one more day.  We had our appointment at the U.S. consulate this morning.  Tomorrow afternoon we’ll receive Anne’s visa and then take a 2 hour train to Hong Kong.  It was much cheaper for us to fly home from Hong Kong, so we’ll fly on Thursday morning from Hong Kong to Newark, NJ.  We haven’t posted as much in the last few days.  They’ve been good, busy days as we have gotten closer to going home.  We had a group dinner (about 50 of us) on Sunday night, went to a huge safari yesterday, and tonight we’ll take a boat ride on the Pearl River while we eat pizza with our group.  It is hard to believe that we’ve had Anne with us for 10 days.  We’re getting into more of a rhythm with her.  In the beginning, I kept thinking how hard it was to just jump in in the middle of her life.  I didn’t understand when she was hungry or tired, or what was her normal.  I have to be patient, but already we are seeing that when she is screaming like she’s in horrible pain, she is probably tired.  Ha! Ha!  We will figure her out and soon she’ll love crawling around our house instead of a hotel room.

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One wonderful opportunity we’ve had besides our adoption is seeing so many other adoptive families and watching them adopt their children.  Besides the 15 from our agency, there are also many other adoptive families in our hotel.  We’ve gotten to know some from all over the U.S. – Nebraska, Illinois, Florida, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Minnesota…  What a joy to see them already loving their new children!  What an encouragement to us!

I had two welcoming showers before we came here (my homeschool friends and church family).  A passage that was read at one of them is Psalm 139:

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and rise up;
You discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
And are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and and before, and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very we’ll.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
In your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

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Posted in Adoption News

From Rutgers to Guangzhou!

It is almost bedtime here on Friday night, but we wanted to share about our very special night last night.  A special connection that our family has to China is from all the international students from China that we’ve come to know over the last few years that study at Rutgers.  My parents are the ones that are really involved in the IFAR ministry.  They’ve come to know and care about many students as they pick them up from the airport, take them to Walmart, enjoy fun times with them, and share the Bible with them.  Dave and I also are blessed to know students who encouraged us when we said we would be flying here to adopt a little girl from Guangzhou.  One particular grad student has really connected with my parents.  When he found out we would be coming to his province, he really wanted his family to meet us. So, last night his dad drove 4 1/2 hours to Guangzhou to take us out to dinner.  He is still working on his English, so he brought his assistant from work to translate for us.  We were overwhelmed by his kindness.  We couldn’t believe that he would drive so far to see us.  He took us out for a true Chinese seafood dinner.  He ordered plate after plate of food and we tried lots of new dishes.  This father loves his son and wanted to express his thanks to the Americans who have cared for him.  We really enjoyed meeting him and his assistant Sandy.  He loved seeing our kids and little Anne, but she wasn’t too happy when he wanted to hold her.  We were so glad that we were able to make the connection.

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Today (Friday), was a more of a quiet day.  Anne had woken up at 4:30 in the morning, so she took an early nap.  We all swam in the pool in the afternoon.  Surprisingly, even Anne seemed to like the pool.  We tried a Mexican restaurant that was one of our recommended places for dinner.  The food tasted good, but we were  a little leary because we were the ONLY ones in the restaurant until the very end. ha! ha!  We had to take a cab back to the hotel afterwards and that was comedic.  I think it took us 1/2 hour to get one to stop for us.  We finished off the night by watching the original Karate Kid together when Anne went to sleep.  Speaking of cabs, the driving in China is crazy.  There are tons of cars and they don’t seem to follow a lot of rules.  But, none of the drivers seem to be impatient or angry.  We never see any accidents! This is an experience!  We are all going to bed now. Thank you for all your encouragement from the United States.  We know we are not alone here in China!  Your hearts are with us and the Lord is with us.

Posted in Adoption News

Visiting Shamian Island – Thursday

Yesterday (Thursday) we had a free day, so we went to Shamian Island.  This is a small island about 15 minutes from our hotel by taxi.  As this was a territory given to France and the UK, it has a number of Western shops and buildings.  There are a few restaurants there too, along with a nice park right next to the water.

We ate lunch at a place called Lucy’s, I had myself a nice cheeseburger!  We enjoyed checking out the Chinese merchandise for sale in the shops, and watching the locals enjoy the day outside.

One funny experience was on the way in the taxi…  I showed the driver the address (written in Chinese)…and he started driving.  But about 30 seconds after hitting the meter, he looked at me and asked me a question…. of course I had absolutely no idea what he was asking, since he didn’t speak any English.  I just had a dumb look on my face…and then he asked again.  And then I said (shoulders shrugged), “I have no idea”… And he just started laughing..  And then I laughed.  I think we both realized we had no way of knowing what the other was really saying, and we both found that funny!

In the afternoon I ended up doing some work for my job.. which actually made me feel better to be able to do that (I think the thought of hundreds of unread e-mails was getting too overwhelming).  David and Laura also put a nice chunk of time into their work… it was an enjoyable and a productive day!

We are enjoying our time in China for sure, but we are also anxious to get back to the US.  Everyone has been very nice here, but we are starting to miss the comforts of home.  We are spoiled at home, but also it can be difficult to just be away from everything that is familiar….  Tonight the other Holt families that we met at the beginning of our trip (in Beijing) will be here…  It will be nice to reconnect with them.

A few pictures of yesterday’s visit to Shamian Island…

 

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Posted in Adoption News

Anne Learning to Play Catch

Just a short video from dinner the other night…  🙂  Was having problems hosting and serving up the video from this website, so uploaded to a private YouTube URL… hope this works.

Posted in Adoption News

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Jenny, Dave, David, Daniel, Laura...