Wednesday, December 2, 2015

So much to be thankful for

Dear God, I wanna take a minute, not to ask for anything from you. 
But simply to say THANK YOU. 
for all that you gave me.

This is truly my heart… So thankful for so many things…This has been a year of ups and downs for our family. One that has tested our family and our marriage. As I look back on those events that took place I am truly thankful for what I have learned and taken from each one of them. God is good ALL the time! Celebrating each day as a true gift from God. My perspective and the lens which I view the world has changed. The gift of health, the gift of family and the gift of life long friends  are what I am most thankful for this year!

We have had a busy November!!!

Rylan's football season came to end with his team making it to the semi-finals. We were so proud of all the boys and all their handwork! As the season came to an end, I was reminded how we were in China the very first game and we had not gotten Brooklyn yet. Wow!! What can happen in a short season!

We took a very short trip to meet our new niece and cousin in Houston.. It was my first road trip with Brooklyn and she did AMAZING!!! No snacks, no toys and no movie. She was completely content with looking out the window and catching a nap. I think my boys could take some lessons from her.. haha

We survived family picture session! I was so excited for this years pictures. I can finally put some pictures up with our sweet girl!
Dan, Brooklyn and I enjoyed watching Colton and Rylan's thanksgiving programs at school. They did such a great job and we are so thankful they are loving their schools and teachers!

We love to participate in the Operation Christmas Child. We took the three little ones to Target and had them fill their own boxes up. Brooklyn and Colton delivered them to be shipped.
This year was the first year all of Dan's side of the family got together for a weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving. It was awesome to see all the cousins play together and pair up in little groups. There are 17 grandchildren ranging from 4 weeks to 17 years old. You can imagine there is allot of noise and fun going on! Beautiful lake house in Crockett, TX.

 This was Brooklyn's first time to be around all her cousins, Aunts and Uncles. I am so thankful she has so many people that love her and built in friends for life!
On to.. Christmas!!!


Monday, November 9, 2015

6 weeks home

It really blows my mind to think we have already been home 6 whole weeks… It seems all so normal with her but still very surreal at the same time. Not even sure if that makes sense.. It truly feels like she has always been apart of our family.. There are definitely moments where she is sad and we aren't really sure why but those are very few and far between. My love for her grows more and more every day. She is such a loving girl who gives us so much love. I was reminded of this moment that happen last week when I came home from boot camp at 6am (yes it starts at 5am) and she greeted me at the door with a big smile and a hi.. Dan said she woke about 5:45am, of course I already had in my head what I was going to do before the kids woke up and that was all scratched. I grumbled past with a quiet hi and grabbed my coffee. I went to sit on the recliner to drink my coffee. She squeezed next to me with a blanket and covered part of my leg with a big smile. This sweet girl who weeks ago wanted nothing to do with me has open her heart to me in the biggest way. It almost brought me to tears and made my day!! She teaches me so many things daily and such a tangible reminder how God's plans are so much bigger and better than our own! Thank you Lord for calling us to adopt, thank you for placing this sweet precious girl in our family!

Monday, October 12, 2015

One month recap

Its hard to believe a month ago we got this sweet girl we call our daughter, the boys call her sister and friends call her baby B ;-)

Just a little two weeks home and I can tell you the comfort of my own home and the convenience of my own town I am so incredibly thankful for. The voice of a friend or family member calling to check on us has been comforting! Here are a few pictures from the airport when we arrived home…
 Sweet friends adopted from China waiting on their new friend!

 I seriously love each and everyone of these kids and their families!! When you haven't slept in over 20 hours how could you not smile (and cry) at these faces!!!
Isn't' this picture precious!!! 

Life at home these past two weeks have been been an adjustment to say the least… The first few days was a battle of sleep deprivation, mom guilt with my other kids and trying to bond with our new girl. A roller coaster of emotions…Since I would be up at 4:30am I would play my worship music, spend time with the Lord and pray specific prayers over our family and me! This has been the single thing that has gotten me through most of those days it certainly wasn't my own strength… I will say once we figured out her sleep schedule and moved her crib to her room. She has slept all night!! Can I get a Hallelujah!!!!! Its amazing what sleeps does for you! We are settling into a routine nicely… This week I am attempting to lay her down for a nap as I notice she gets extremely cranky around 5pm and is too early for bed so we will see how this goes! She has been transitioning so well, we have been able to take her out a little bit here and there. She is so friendly to everyone she meets!

We haven't wasted any time getting her checked out by medical professionals either. She had her pediatrician appointment the first week and needed 6 shots, blood drawn a physical. She was a trooper!! Our pediatrician called in our application to Scottish Rite to have her club foot consulation. They were able to get us in the next week.. They did X-rays on her legs and examination. Huge Praise.. She needs no additional treatment or therapy at this time unless she regresses. We are thankful to have that behind us. Onto the fun things like Fall and Christmas!!! Here are a few pictures!

 Already trying to race her big brother!

 Enjoying evening rides on the golf cart. 

 My friend took this picture at my 7 year olds football game. It literally made me laugh out loud. Can you read Colton's body language loud and clear in this pictures.. HAHA!!
 First time on the swing and she loved it and was giddy!!

Picking out pumpkins at the Pumpkin Patch.. So fun!! These moments experiencing the first of things with her is such a joy! Thank you for all the prayers!


Friday, October 2, 2015

Video dedication to our sweet girl!

Happy Friday!!!

Here is a video that Nathan put together of our trip including our Gotcha Video. I am planning to update our first week home  and update the missing pics this weekend! Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Last day in Guangzhou

Our last day in Guangzhou..

We had breakfast and met a family to head to Shaiman Island with again to get more shopping in. We were on the hunt for some great souvenirs! We enjoyed watching the boats on Pearl River! Beautiful area where people are singing, fishing, Tai Chi and other outdoor activities. We had lunch at Lucy's again and did more shopping! Brooklyn was wiped out after all that shopping and slept in the taxi back to the hotel. Its one of those moments I cherish as she still prefers Dan over me. I know my time is coming and I have had time with 4 boys at the beginning. Dan is loving his time with her and I love that he gets time with his girl. We came back and decided to take her swimming for the first time in the hotel pool. The water was little cold but she LOVED it! Dan not so much, if it was warmer he would have enjoyed it alittle more. He was a good sport and let Brooklyn splash him, he twirled her in the water and I loved hearing her laugh!!

We came back, had bath time and mani/pedi session with my girl. We got dressed up and headed back to the same place we went the night before. We all ate too much! When we got back to our hotel we all took turns making her laugh! She is super ticklish and LOVES to be thrown in the air... We  The boys get her all wired up and we figure what comes up will come down. Daniel and Brooklyn play the cutest game of hide-n-seek. She hides in the kitchen and then I call her name, Daniel hides behind the wall by the front door and it gets her EVERY time! She runs back to the kitchen to do it again, over and over again. I have it on video and will post it once we get back. Nightime the past few nights have been rough. I think she is starting to let her emotions out, which is great! Dan tried putting her to bed tonight. Last night she had a really hard time. I think she isn't totally ready to be a mamas girl and it makes me sad when she has a hard time calming down. It went much smoother tonight with him doing it and so he will probably take that on especially when we get home since he won't see her as much. I know the little ones will need me when I get back so it works this way.

We leave tomorrow morning for a 3 hour van ride to Hong Kong. I am really excited to be spending a day there. I hear its amazing and beautiful. We are planning to dress up and have a nice dinner to celebrate before heading back! We are definitely home sick and thank goodness for social media! I love getting all our messages and comments! Makes me miss you even more but when I see you all it will be so sweet!

Love you!

US Consulate Appt

This morning we dressed little nicer, ate breakfast downstairs earlier and met our guide Grace in the lobby at 8:50am. We had our US Consulate Appointment. We joined several other families that had appointments the same morning. We were told we couldn't take any snacks, toys, backpacks, electronics or drinks. This should be fun with a 2 year old that ALWAYS has a snack in her hand and toys available ;-) God always has an amazing way of putting things in perspective for you! Doesn't he.. We went upstairs 2nd floor 7th window got a ticket and waited. They had a cute kids area and Brooklyn LOVED it! As I started to make conversation with another mother I noticed she was on the verge of tears. She adopted previously a little girl and she was adopting a little boy that was 8 years old. Her husband couldn't come this time but she had her older two girls with her helping. She told me her little boy was having a really hard time. She said it was the opposite of how it was with her daughter. I could only tell her words of encouragement that others had given me. Our number was called our documents were checked and we went to another window and did our oath. We then were called up one by one for an interview. Approved and she said congratulations! I was beaming as we walked out of the building. Our sweet tour guide Grace took our picture in front of the building. It was the final process here to make her legally ours!

Dan's back has been hurting off and on, he came to the hotel and took a nap with Brooklyn. Nathan, Daniel and I went to the grocery store, shopping and coffee. I am starting to realize my days are coming to end here with the two older boys.I have really enjoyed the time I have spent with them! They are funny, confident, respectful and basically a complete joy to be around! I love watching them interact with their new sister and how they are so gentle and sweet to her! It makes my heart explode!
I sure have been missing my two little ones. We have been face timing at night (morning here) and it makes my day so much brighter! I can't wait to have them all under one roof!!!

We joined our sweet new friends for dinner since they were leaving the next morning to head back to Michigan. We have really enjoyed getting to know them and hope we can stay connected and let the kids see each other as they get older! We had the best dinner since we have been here, at a place called Noodle House it was Vietnamese. It was so good! I may have to learn how to make some of this food because little Brooklyn can't put aways some serious noodles and rice!


Monday, September 21, 2015

Safari Park

Today is a short post, its Monday. We met the other families and headed to the Safari Park, we had heard so many great things about it we were looking forward to it. Unfortunately, the weather was NOT on our side. We had the umbrellas and raincoats ready. Hoping it would lighten up once we got there. I was thankful for the cooler temps and no lines. We went to the Safari on Wheels part first. It was a train that took us on a tour to see some really cool animals, if you had a car you could drive through it too. Some of the animals were lose running around. We saw approximately 150 white tigers and 60 was from the same mother.. Bless that mama! We took a brief break for lunch and then broke down to buy some ponchos. Dan in a blue poncho with a tiger on it pushing a pink stroller was a sight! We made our way to the monkey exhibit and that was by far the coolest exhibit. We got to feed them and watch them spin on wheels, swim and care for their babies. All in all it was a great time.
We headed to the play area in our hotel  again for Brooklyn to play before dinner.We ate dinner in the hotel and early bed time. We have our big appointment tomorrow at the US Consulate office. Last final process before she is an American citizen and OURS!

Good night! Lots of love!

Pearls, statues and shopping

I am updating my blog from yesterday and today with a glass of wine and watching the one of only four English channels on TV. Yesterday (Sunday) we did the ultimate tourist thing in Guangzhou. We went to the pearl market to buy Brooklyn a set of pearls for her wedding day. It was an entire mall 5 floors of shop after shop selling jewelry and other items unique to China. We purchased a beautiful pearl necklace  and matching earrings for the day her daddy gives heraway! I also boought myself a pair ;-) We then headed on to a bus to Shaimain Island. It is literally means "sandy surface" and is surrounded by water. Its a beautiful area with outdoor vendors, shops, a church, hotel, parks and hotels. We bought the infamous squeaky shoes for Brooklyn in a tiny shop which she LOVES! She literally grins from ear to ear every time it squeaks. We will see how long this last before we take the squeak out ;-) We ate lunch at a placed called Lucy's and it had many American favorites. I had a club sandwich and it was pretty tasty. You have to understand here in China, NO ONE is EVER in a rush, the food takes forever and you have to wave someone down to pay. We then headed to a famous little statute I have seen on so many adoption blogs, it is a statute of little children walking and a empty spot for your child in between to pose. IT was so cute, we put Brooklyn in between the two kids and she was just the perfect height. As we started to take pictures, we looked to our left and noticed literally about 20 people taking the same picture of her. Nathan took a pictures of them taking a picture of her. It was pretty funny!! She was the perfect model!

We were pretty worn out and headed back to our hotel.Brooklyn had a mini nap and was ready to party so we took her to a children's area inside the hotel. Another little girl was there and it was funny to watch Brooklyn interact with other kids. She can definitely express herself without using a single word. She points to the kids to sit with her and pulls them by their hands. She loved the slide. We also noticed we will have to work on sharing and NOT throwing toys. She can be such a girly girl but she can be super feisty when she wants to be. We are teaching her how to be gentle and removing things she throws until she understands. She is so smart, its not taking long!

We met our friends for dinner at an Italian Restaurant but ufortunately  her kiddo wasn't feeling well and had to take him back to the hotel. Come to find out today that 3 of her kids and husband had to visit the clinic here on the 5th floor for antibiotics. I am praying everyone is feeling better as they leave a day before us.

Brooklyn cried for the first time when I laid her down for bed. Thankfully she sleeps pretty hard and falls asleep pretty quickly I rocked her for about 10 minutes and she was done for the night. Definitely makes me think what might be going on in her little head? I read on a blog yesterday about adoption. She described it so well. Imagine someone coming into your home late at night, taking you with your family to another country where you don't know the language and them leaving you there? Its pretty much is what happen to her.... She is a tough girl!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

One Step Closer

This morning we woke up in Guangzhou, China. It is the third largest city in China, we are getting her passport and Visa. .We had busy morning ahead of us to take Brooklyn for her medical examination. We ate breakfast in the hotel and it was a beautiful sight to see so many American families with adopted children. It looked like a little piece of heaven on earth!! We were told there were about 100 families having medical exams done today so we left early and arrived before they opened. She had to have 3 exams done. ENT, birth weight /height check, physical exam and blood work. During the physical exam 3 different doctors were looking at her scars and asking if she could walk, we tried to get her to walk but she was probably terrified and  wouldn't do it. . Poor baby! I just wanted to scoop her up and protect her! We were so glad to have that behind us! For those of you who don't know her special need is a club foot, she had it corrected when she was 2 months old , we will need to have an orthopedic take a look at her foot when we get home. She also has two scars on the outside of her legs right above her knee caps that are very deep. We were told that her birth family binded her legs together to try and correct her foot. Where she was born this wouldn't be an uncommon thing to do with lack of education. We know her mom loved her enough to leave her on the steps of a Bank to be found and we are beyond grateful she made that choice! She is such a brave little girl to endure so much pain at such a young age! We will have them looked at and make sure its not hindering her muscle growth at all and if something can be done cosmetically as she gets older.

We ate at a  Mexican restaurant named Tequila, I think I will wait for some Mexican till we get home. My stomach didn't get agree with it but Brooklyn did have her first taste of guacamole. I watched her scoop it up with a tortilla chip and said that's my girl!  Then this afternoon we headed out to H&M and Starbucks. So much fun! Good thing Dan was there to keep me on a time schedule and on budget.She has definitely been happier today! She didn't cry when she woke up this morning and has been saying a couple of words. She gets really excited and laughs so loud. We are loving our time with her! Daniel and Nathan have been great helping and entertaining her ;-)

Tomorrow we have a fun filled day plan and I will update tomorrow evening! Thank you for your prayers, with the little bit of communication we are able to have sure makes us want to be home! countdown is on!


Thursday, September 17, 2015


Our sweet girl has slept amazing the past two nights but our day started early with her crying at 5:30am, Dan was able to calm her down and I made her a bottle. She feel back asleep and woke up again crying at 7:30am. I tried to calm her down  and took awhile. The reality of her grief was setting in for her. The reality of parenting a precious 2 year old that I can't communicate with is setting in. The reality of not knowing what she likes and doesn't like is setting in. My heart hurts when she is sad. We opted out of the full day tour arranged for us today and laid low in the hotel room and around the hotel. We took her for a stroller ride to a nearby park called Green Lake Park, it reminds me of Central Park in NY. Its gorgeous, lots of trees, water where you can ride boats and fun little rides. We went to lunch and headed back to the hotel. Brooklyn and Dan took a nap. The older boys and I headed out to Starbucks. We decided to take a journey to Walmart by ourselves. We even managed to buy a pair of shoes for Brooklyn since the ones I bought are all too small ;-( She has some seriously long toes. haha
The boys are I were pretty proud of ourselves.

We came back to the room and Brooklyn was crying again after waking up form her nap. So hard to tell what she wants. We just give her lots of love and some extra snacks.. ;-) Dan decided to go for a walk with Daniel and give us some alone time. I was so excited to do something I have been dreaming about for years!!! Paint her nails.. I got the nail polish out and she looked down at her hands. She clearly knew what it was. I made Nathan take a picture of me painting her nails. She loved it and kept looking down at her hands. A moment I will cherish for sure.

She still seemed to be sad most of the day so we took back to the park. We got her out of the stroller and tried to run with her and she perked up. She began to smile again. We ran into another family at the park that adopted a little boy from the same orphanage and had dinner with them. She really enjoyed having some food that was familiar. They had a belated birthday cake for their little boy and we celebrated with them. She definitely remembers what cake is. It was so cute to watch her interact with the her friends from her orphanage.

Praying for a great nights sleep and a fresh new day tomorrow filled with lots of smiles from our sweet girl! Tomorrow which is Friday for us, we fly to Guangzhou for 6 days. I hear the internet is better there. Lets hope so! For those of you that took the time to write us notes, I have been reading them every morning and I can't express my deepest appreciation for them. They have encouraged me and reminded me how blessed we truly are!  So thank you!!!

A friend sent this to me and it really spoke to me again.

"For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers,. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection."

Lots of love!

Brooklyn Emilia Stoltzfus

On Wednesday we were scheduled to do a tour of the Golden Temple in Kunming to learn about the history of Kunming. We were pretty tired from the long day before at the orphanage so we rested all morning and headed out at 1:30 for our tour. It was pretty obvious that NONE of us were interested in anything but Brooklyn. Its safe to say we all are SMITTEN by her. We didn't follow the tour guide at all. haha. We did take lots of pictures but took lots of pictures of HER and the sights,HER sitting down with the boys, HER standing with Dan. It was all about HER...So I thought I might as well share a few things we have learned about her the last few days and name this entry after her ;-)

*She sleeps really well
*She eats really well
*She is super smart and figures out how to turn toys on once after watching me
*She loves to be on the move and wanted to do the stairs over and over again whereever we were. She points to her stroller in our room when she wants to go somewhere
*She loves to throw toys at Daniels head (it makes her laugh really loud)
*She is very affectionate, she motioned to give Dan and I a kiss for the first time
*She smiles but tries to press her tiny lips together so we don't see
*She loves being around other kids

Just a few things we have learned about her so far. We ate dinner with another family we have grown close to at a restaurant called Bluebird. We sure wished they lived closer. Its clear Brooklyn and Lucy are pretty fond of eachother after looking at eachother during dinner. I had something that resembled a tostada ;-) I am craving some serious Mexican food!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Longest Day of my life!

First and foremost she slept straight through the night! Can I get an AMEN!!!

We started our day off at 9:30am to go back to the Civil Affairs building to finalize the paperwork and give our donation. We did the same ride on the same bus but with alittle girl on our lap. She looked out the window and I just was in awe of her! So in love! Hard to explain how you can love a child you only saw a picture of across the world. We walked down the same streets and walked into the same small room. To my surprise the nannies were there again. My heart was beating fast as I didn't know if Brooklyn would cry or run to her. We all were surprised they were there. We all took our turn sitting at the table doing all the paperwork ready for this process to be over. The nanny came up to her and took her from me, kissed her, laughed with her and twirled her around the room. I love that she loves her but selfishly I was yearning for that from her. I kept telling myself I have the rest of my life to have those moments with her. I would be lying if I didn't say I had a knot in my throat trying to hold back my tears. Brooklyn kissed her over and over again. I am thankful she had a bond with her and I know mine is coming. We took lots of pictures and left about 2 hours later.

On to the 4 hour drive to her orphanage, she is from a town called XuanWei.  It was a long drive, we stopped at the passport office to fill out more paperwork. We were all so tired and drained. Another short drive to the orphanage. We decided to leave Brooklyn on the bus with Dan, she had just started to laugh with Daniel and we weren't sure if she would be upset again. The orphanage was so nice, they had classrooms set up, bright colors and a huge play area. We were told there were about 16 children there and lots of pictures of Brooklyn up on the wall. It was clear this was a place that was really special! As I walked up the stairs looked at the picture of kids, one in particular stood out to me more than Brooklyn. the Cox's little boy Shepherd?? Could it be they were from  the same orphanage?? After texting with Whitney we confirmed they did!! They were at the same orphanage at the same time! God is so good. The family that we welcomed their new little boy at the airport, a year ago knew the little girl we would bring home a year later! WOW!!!

We gave our donations took more pictures and then off to KFC for dinner.. She had her first french fry and loved it!!

We got back to the hotel around midnight and we were all so tired! A day to remember for sure and thankful it was over!

Today we are taking her to Starbucks and Walmart. Then its off to a tour of Kunming! Sorry its taken so long. We love you guys. Keep the prayers coming.. God has been so faithful in answering s many of our needs.

With lots of love!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Gotcha Day

I am writing this two days later so forgive me if the details aren't all there ;-)

Our Civil Affaris appointment was changed from 10:30am to 2:30pm. This left us with lots of spare time and trying to keep ourselves busy. We went to Starbucks and walked around downtown Kunming. I came back and changed my outfit about 4 times. We prayed as a family and headed out to meet the other 3 families in the lobby. With butterflies in my stomach we pulled up to downtown Kunming and the guide told us the bus was too big so we had to walk another 10 minutes. As we got closer we noticed two girls by a car with a woman. Nathan said that's Brooklyn. I told him to get the ipad out and start recording. This wasn't at all how I was picturing it to go. We slowly walked up to her and said hi. I didn't know if I should pick her up or let the nanny pick her up. My instincts took over and I scooped her up, she cried as we walked into the building. The other two babies were inside for the other two families. It was stressful and uncomfortable as we had so many families with one translator. They asked for one family member to fill out paperwork at the table, I gave her to Dan. She sat with him as quiet as could be, taking it all in. I looked back from the table often as I was filling everything out and saw Daniel crying. It was a very emotional experience for all of us. As we wrapped up the paperwork we needed to do in order to leave, the nanny came to Brooklyn hugged her and cried. I began to get emotional, watching this woman walk away knowing how much she loved her it was so hard to see. It was a realization once again, my gain was at the expense of a another woman's heartbreak! We made the long walk back to the bus with 4 new children and was so thankful to have her in my arms.

Then it was a Trip to Walmart of course. Dan went to the room with Brooklyn while Daniel and I went.. Talk about an experience. I will never ONCE complain about a walmart in the US after going to one in China. We loaded up on formula, diapers, Oreos and a stroller. The necessities right ;-)

Once I got back to the room Dan and Brooklyn were sleeping in the bed. We woke her up, gave her a bottle and stared at her for 2 hours. We played toys with her and then the sweetest moment. She moved over to Daniel and laid her head on his chest. Talk about making your heart explode!!!
He loved every minute! She definitely favors Dan and Daniel but she won't cry when I hold her so we are thankful for that.

I have videos and lots of pictures to share, if the Internet every starts to cooperate! Love you guys and I know you are dyingfor pictures. I promise I will keep trying!!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A letter to my daughter

Dear Brooklyn,

This is the day we will lay eyes on each other for the very first time. The first time I will hold your hand and feel your warmth. The first time I will kiss your sweet face and hug you so tight. I will remember this day and this moment the rest of my life. I want you to know how loved you are! How much we prayed for you! How we talked about this moment with your brothers months before this day every came. How God knew YOU would be apart of our family forever! How many friends are waiting for you when you get home! How a whole community of friends and family have and are praying for you.  They are waiting to love on you! There is nothing that can separate my love from you! This will be the first of many memories we will create together! I love you!

My Prayer,
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for faithfulness to oversee all the details that brought Brooklyn to us! We are overwhelmed with your goodness! Thank you for placing a community of believers and family in our lives that are lifting us up in prayer and helping with all the details at home. I pray that you will comfort Brooklyn during this time and that she will know our love for her unconditional  And one day  ultimately Your love for her. Please give me guidance and wisdom on how to comfort her! That she would feel our love for her immediately and would transition into our family with ease. 

"With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith"  (2 Thess 1:11) -from the book For the Love Jen Hatmaker

Love Your Mom,
Day 3

This was our last day in Bejing and probably the most spectacular day of all!!! We took an 1.5 ride to the Great Wall!  We bought a ticket and took the cable car up to the top and then spent the next 1.5 walking. We decided to take the "easier" route but there is nothing like walking the Great Wall to make you realize how completely out of shape you really are! And if the steep stairs and long walk didn't make you feel out of shape then the 80 older men with canes will ;-) Dan opted to stay at the bottom and wait for us since we figured it would be a long day and he has been there before.  Once the boys and I reached the bottom of all the stairs, I told them to go without me. A girl knows her limits ;-) The views they took from the top were breathing taking... I can't wait to update with pictures.

We then ate an amazing Chinese restaurant with noodles, Perch fish, rice, veggies, and corn cake with sprinkles and sugar on top. This might get my little kids to eat more veggies if we added sprinkles and sugar HAHA! After that it was another 1.5 ride to the airport. We loaded up on Starbucks and took off on a 3 hour flight to Kunming. Kunming is the capital of the province of Yunnan.  We arrived here after midnight, our guide told us our Civil Affairs appointment where the director of the orphanage will bring Brooklyn to us was changed to 1:20pm. Which is after midnight your time.. Please pray for peace for her and that she would feel our love immediately.

Good night!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Day 2

Good morning (evening). Today was a jam packed day! First and foremost my calf is 95% better. Huge Praise because today we did allot of walking and stairs. A wheelchair would not have worked well. Our tour guide kept us busy! We started our morning visiting the Temple of Heaven which is one of the most famous places in China. It was the venue for Emperor's to worship heaven. We then visited a 4th generation Chinese family. We were able to see where they live, take a tour of their home and any ask questions we might have about their culture. The mother played a beautiful song that was played in the opening ceremonies of the Olympics on a instrument that resembles a large harp. They had grasshoppers as pets, I took a picture for Rylan, I am sure he will want us to have one too ;-) We can just add that to the other 7 pets we have.. After our visit we rode on a Rickshaw through the tiny alleys (Hutong)  looking at shops and small houses.  We then went to see the Birds Nest and the Watercube at the Olympic Park. For lunch we ate a nearby KFC and it was delicious ;-) Our last stop was the Summer Palace, it has many gardens and palaces. Mostly a recreational park that is on Kunming Lake. We took a dragon boat on the lake and it was a beautiful sight overlooking the mountains. (If I could only post a picture) it was gorgeous!
We finished around 5pm and came to our room to rest before heading to Pizza Hut for some very fine dining (here in China it is not considered fast food). We ate some pizza and enjoyed the familiarity it brought. We bought dessert at the corner of our hotel in a bakery. Tiramsu never tasted so good!!!

That was our day! We are really enjoying the culture and everyone has been very friendly. I am surprised at how many people don't speak English in such a large city like Bejing. Crossing the streets is frightening and so is their driving. I showed the other family pictures from Brooklyn's birthday party and we realized their daughter Lucy is in the pictures next to Brooklyn. So sweet knowing her friend will be with this sweet family we have gotten to know. Denise (mom) saved the day and brought Nathan and Daniel Ramen noodels as a snack for them. The snacks I brought are going quickly. :-) I have been able to check on the littles and they are having so much fun! I even got to see sweet Rylan's face on facetime and it made my day (thank you Jennifer)!

Day 3 will consist of touring the Great Wall and traveling by plane to Kunming which is about 3 hours from Brooklyn's orphanage. We will meet up with 2 other families in Kunming.  The day is getting closer and I am beyond excited. I may have to send the Gotcha video or her pictures to a friend to post on here for me!!!

Please keep the prayers coming!! We love you all!!!


Friday, September 11, 2015

Greetings from Bejing, China

Greetings from Bejing, China!!
If you can read this, this alone is an answered prayer. We have had major technical issues. So, I may have to update as much as I can with words and add photos later (insert sigh here). Trying to be flexible and adaptable!

Day One

We started our day early with a tour of Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City. It was really interesting and we have an amazing tour guide named Candy. For those of you that didn't hear, I pulled my calf muscle the night before we left making it extremely painful to put ANY weight on it! Seriously! I felt like having a moment out of the movie War Room where Priscilla yells outside her house at the devil to LEAVE your not going to win here. Well, I did this but I didn't yell outside my house ;-)Prayers answered as of today it is so much better.. So during our tours I was able to get a wheelchair which helped tremendously (including cutting the lines)..haha

During the Forbidden City tour, Nathan was pretty fascinated that the Empire had 8,000 girlfriends as said him and the Empire had lots in common. :-) The boys are at such a great age they are taking  it all in. Including the lady that asked me to take a picture with her.. I joked maybe I looked like JLo....HAHA

After the two tours we ate at a great Chinese restaurant. We have another family that is from Michigan with us. We will be with them the entire trip. They are so nice and have 3 children with them that are so sweet. They are adopting alittle girl named Lucy that is missing a bone from her arm. She is gorgeous! I know its the beginning of an experience we will share together that will bind us together for the rest of our lives. 

We went back to our hotel and opted to check out Starbucks and the mall instead of sleeping.. Jet lag was wanting to take over but we knew we needed to stay busy. I love that the young woman at Starbucks spoke little English but knew Starbucks lingo and its universal. HAHA!

After Starbucks we met our tour guide and the other family to go see an Acrobatic show, it was some of the same acts from the opening of the Olympics. It didnt' disappoint. Some really cool things you don't see in the US. Like 8 motorcycles inside a small circled cage inches from each other. It was enough to make you cover your eyes but still look at the same time!! 

That was Day One.. I am so upset I can't upload pictures but I determined to figure out how to do it! We want you to know that our ENTIRE family feels your prayers. My calf is better , Dan's back is holding up, older boys are having a blast and the little ones too! We LOVE you~ 3 more days till we meet Brooklyn! 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sneak Peak….

As of today we leave in approximately 72 hours…. AND I must say its starting to look like a little girl will be ruling living in our home!! I have had WAY too much fun buying bows and these cute little shoes!!!

Its been so fun to watch the little boys play with the kitchen and doll house in our playroom! Little do they know its all preparation for whats to come ;-). I have seen Hulk sleeping in the doll house and it makes me giggle… I still have a few final touches to make to her room but here is a little sneak peak!

I will be using this blog to update while we are gone… The single most important thing we would love is your PRAYERS.
*prayers for safe travels
*health for all of us especially Dan as he is still healing from surgery
*the little boys while they adjust to being home with my mom and Dan's mom
*for Brooklyn's heart as we prepare to transition her into our family

Monday, August 31, 2015

A Birthday to Remember

Do you EVER have one of those days where you lay your head on your pillow at night with a grin from ear to ear thinking that was the most incredible day?? This past birthday was one of those for me!! One that I felt was worthy enough to document…

My day started off little stressful when my 4 year old refused to get out of the car for school in the carpool line. The sweet woman opened his door and he shook his head NO clingy to my counsel in the front. With the sweetest voice said she has had to do this in the past and literally climbed into my car peeling him out. Closed the door and off I was to the gym to start my day.. I knew he was in good hands..

After almost passing out in my class Celebrating my health for my birthday.. I checked my emails and to my surprise. The greatest gift appeared, pictures of our daughter blowing her candles out on the cake we had sent to her orphanage.. I squealed in delight and couldn't wait to show my two friends in my class. We all hovered around my phone taking in her precious little face.. Haircut and all ;) Since we have the same birthday.. Let the party planning start NOW for next year!!!

And of course having two teenage boys on social media they dedicated a post to me which I LOVE!

We ended the night after football practice at one of my favorite new restaurants here in downtown Mckinney Sugarbacon. The older boys surprised me with a Kendra Scott necklace (can I just say my job may be done raising these young men..haha) and Rylan gave me a coffee traveling mug because I always drink coffee and I am always in my car.. My boys know me well!!

And don't you LOVE it even more when your birthday is celebrated more than one day!! My friends threw me a pool party with the sweetest gifts that touched my heart and a cake that was perfectly made! 

This was definitely one of the most cherished birthdays but next year it will be EXTRA special!

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