Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Good Bye China!!!

We are on the last stretch of our stay here in China.  Tonight we had the "Good Bye China" Party complete with Peking Duck, cake, a little show.  It is a bit of a bittersweet good bye.  I can hardly wait to go home and yet I know that in a few months I will wish that I could go back to China for just a few days.
Jackson continues to slowly come out of his shell.  He is beginning to babble and giggle in the hotel hallways and fusses when we go shopping.  He is trying to communicate his needs more and has become very good at pointing and taking my hand, indicating what he wants.  He has said a few, mama, pee, poop, and more...all the essential words at this point!  lol!  He is even beginning to smile at others in our group.  He loves anything with wheels and discovered the "lift the flap" book I had been saving for on the flight home.  I know he'll love it as it has all kinds of interesting vehicles in it.
I have been trying to rock him to sleep each night and at nap, but most days he prefers to be put in the crib.  If I'm lucky he'll cuddle for a bit and sometimes even dose off.
Our flight leaves around 4pm, Beijing time, tomorrow afternoon. There are 3 other couples on this flight as well, so it could be an interesting flight.  Could you pray that all the babies/kids travel well, sleep well, that the flights are on schedule, and that us adults get some much needed sleep as well....thanks!
I arrive home at 11:40pm...late, I know, but that's in about 40 hrs...can't wait!!  :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Better Day

Today was a much better day.  Thank God!  I think Jackson's rage yesterday was another part of the process of grieving and today was a day of smiles and growth.  Up to this point Jackson has shown very little interest in interaction of any sort.  Even with his peers.  I've tried playing with him, being silly, and doing all the things we do to make our children laugh.  Most of the time he almost cringes when I do this.  So, I've backed off...given him space (and felt like a horrible mother!)...but it seems to have paid off.  I've had a few times where he has giggled and babbled, but today was a turning point.  He began by reaching out to touch another baby.  Then he began babbling while we were walking and at supper one of the other dads winked at Jackson and he burst out laughing, spewing water and snoot!  That seemed to be the real ice breaker.  He then began smirking, trying to get the older boys' attention and babbling.
I opted out of going to the Summer Palace...too hot, too many stairs, and too many people.  Instead, Jackson and I went shopping near our hotel, went for lunch, had a much need nap and then went to the acrobatic show.  As always the show was spectacular! 
Today was a better day for me as well.  I had a bit of a melt down yesterday and cried.  I miss my kids and hubby so much!  I wasn't sure how I would be able to handle a few more days, but somehow God has once again given me the strength to go on.  Three more sleeps and I will be in my own bed, surrounded by my sweet family!  Can't wait!  :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Tough Day

Today was a very long, tough day.  We headed out at 8:30 and arrived back at our hotel around 4:30pm.  Our first stop was the Jade Factory which has many incredible figurines and jewelry. 

Our next stop was The Great Wall of China.  It was extremely hot and humid, but the sky was quite clear for Beijing.  We travelled to the same area as we did in 2009.  However, this time I took the "easier" side.  I'm not sure if it was actually easier or if it just had more level areas and shade where we could rest and enjoy the breeze.  Jackson was fussy so I didn't go far.  I sat in the shade and held him as he slept and enjoyed the view.



Our next stop was the Cloisonné Factory.  We ate lunch here and also had some time to shop.  I enjoyed shopping for our traditional "trip to China" Christmas ornaments for each of the kids.  I even found some cute little gifts for Malia and Raina.

Our final "stop" was the 2008 Olympic Grounds.  Everyone in our group opted out of stopping so we drove past the grounds slowly. 
On our way to the Olympic Grounds Jackson had a major meltdown.  He wanted to stand in the aisle without me holding onto him.  Of coarse I couldn't and wouldn't allow him to do that.  He became frustrated and then very angry...kicking, screaming, making himself very stiff, hitting things, and eventually intentionally scratching his face (as you can see in the pic below)...for over 1/2 an hour.  I tried to distract him in every way possible, but he would have none of it.  I let him cry and eventually he fell asleep.  Needless to say I am exhausted!!  I miss my hubby and kids and would love to have a good cry...I'm just scared that I'll never stop it I start.  I have been doing very well, but today I am more than ready to go home...even though I dread the 11 1/2 hour flight to Vancouver with an 8 3/4 hr layover and then the 2 hour flight home.  Would you pray that these last few days would go by quickly, and that the flight home will be good...that Jackson and I both sleep well, that Jackson will remain calm, and that I don't go squirrelly!  Thanks!
I am trying so very hard to focus on the positive.  To enjoy each moment.  To keep busy so I don't lose my mind.  So here goes...the things I am thankful for...
*Jackson's overall calm spirit
*friends in this travel group that call to ask if I want to join them for supper
*being able to Skype regularly with Martin and the kids
*for a quiet room
*for a room where everything works...including the AC
*for all the folks praying for Jackson and I, and for Martin and the kids at home
*delicious Chinese food within walking distance
*that I only have 4 more sleeps till it's time to head home!!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Beijing Zoo and My Big Little Man

This morning was filled with more paperwork...the last of what needs to be done here in China. All of Jackson's necessary travel documents will be ready by Thursday, just in time for our flight home.
In the afternoon we went to the Beijing Zoo.  I've been there once before and tagged along for the company.  Most of our travel group also went.  I am with an amazing travel group.  Numerous people have said that if I need anything, I just need to let them know.  I am certainly being well looked after.
The above photo shows the absolute crazy mass of people.  We went to the Panda exibit first.  It is very crowded, with many people jostling against one another.  Unfortunately, one of the guys in our group was pick pocketed and another guy noticed the zipper on his cargo pants being opened, but never did see who was trying to rob him.  Needless to say, backpacks were worn in the front and we were all sure to keep an eye on our bags.
Jackson only napped for a few short minutes to the Zoo and was miserable for the last half hour or you can tell. :)

I eventually managed to get Jackson to settle for a nap and this evening he was much happier.  I have begun calling him my "big little man".  He is so tiny and cuddly. When he cries he becomes like an infant with the floppy head and limp body.  His eyes hold so much sadness and I know his heart is breaking.  On the other hand he is incredibly intelligent and observant.  He seems wise beyond his years.  He is very good at communicating his basic needs.  He is potty trained and tonight he even told me when he needed to go poop!  Ahhh...gotta love having a potty trained boy!  Tonight Jackson was very talkative, babbling and laughing, playing with his favorite of Alex and Morgun's old cars.  He loves that it makes a squeeky noise when he pushes it.

Taiyuan 2013

Taiyuan is the capital city of Shanxi, China.  It is quite similar to Beijing, however there are a lot more people biking or driving electrical bikes and scooters.  The weather is much cooler than Beijing and I was incredibly grateful for that.  We had a few days of rain and I could have used a hoody, although I was never really cold.
This is the hotel we stayed at.  Our room was on the fourth floor facing a very busy street.  It was very loud every night almost all night long...even with earplugs!  The constant honking only stopped for a few short hours at night.  Needless to say, by the fourth night I was ready for a quieter room!  This country bumpkin does not do well with constant noise!
Jackson loved the fountain that surrounded the statues in front of the hotel.  He would point, babble and smile...something he rarely does. 

This is the street scene right in front of our hotel.

You'll have to excuse me cause I'm posting lots of pictures of Jackson...he's just so adorable!

As I mentioned earlier, our guide was not very helpful.  She would explain where we could find certain things, but would get her "left" and "right" mixed up, so we didn't get to see as many places as I would have liked.  However, she did take us to Walmart.  How about some dried chicken?

Or raw seafood?

Or fish?
It sure was smelly...but interesting!  Anything to make the time go by faster!

We went for many walks and enjoyed the beautiful flowers.

One day we went to the local park.  It was very beautiful.  We had thought that our boys could play in the grass...that didn't happen.  The grass is only for looking pretty and everyone stayed on the sidewalks.  :(


There were many of these high thankful I am blessed to live on an acreage!

We passed a school during recess.  We could hear the kids from at least a block away.  The only place they had to play was concrete.  Sure wouldn't want to fall and skin a knee!

 The only other excursion was to a Museum...I don't even remember the name.  It was rather boring other than seeing some ancient pillows made of porcelain...

...and some need displays.  Looking at row upon row of ancient money is not my cup of tea.  But once again, it was something to do to help pass the time.

Little Mr. Thoughtful at the supper table.
Jackson is a real thinker.  I can tell he is absorbing everything around him, but he rarely reacts to it.  Most days he will not play with me or interact with me unless we are in our room.  He is beginning to point at more things to communicate and is beginning to whine when he is unhappy.

Jeff and Sharon with Jaden and Jackson and I outside our motel waiting to go to the airport.  We were all pretty excited to be heading back to Beijing!!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Meeting Jackson July 22, 2013

We arrived at the Civil Affairs Office in the afternoon after a delayed flight from Beijing.  My first glimpse of Jackson was as he was about to fall asleep.  Needless to say, he perked up and had his entire world turned upside down.

Jackson kept pointing outside and saying "Baba".  It took him a bit to begin to warm up to me.  He was not interested in his stuffed monkey, but liked the little Thomas the Train book and train I had brought.  The toy that really caught his attention though was the monster truck. This little guy loves his wheels!

Jackson has been very shy, timid and sober for the most part.  He has moments where he is as limp as a newborn and when lying on a bed will even curl his legs up like a newborn does when having a diaper change.  However, when we are in our room he does relax and his true personality shines through.  He thinks it's funny when I pretend to sneeze and had the kids laughing when we Skyped.  He laughs when I tickle his tummy, but only in the privacy of our room.

Jackson has the sweetest little dimples when he smiles that!
(Notice the split pants...a very easy way to take a toddler to the bathroom:)
Jackson falls asleep quickly and other than tonight, he has allowed me to rock him to sleep.  There is nothing sweeter than watching your baby fall asleep!
Today we headed back to the Civil Affairs Office to finalize the adoption.  Jackson was tuckered out and slept on the sofa while I did all the signing and finger printing.

And the last's official!  He is ours and we are his for forever!!  :)

Beijing 2013

Thanks to all of you for praying.  My time here in China is amazing.  I'm doing well...much better than I thought I would do.  The days have been going by quickly and I pray that continues.  I'm in Taiuyan with a couple from Winnipeg, who happen to know people in my hometown.  How cool is that?!?  I know they are praying for me and are simply the greatest in looking out for me!
I've been able to Skype with Martin and the kids which has taken the majority of my online time...and I LOVE it!  They seem to be doing well, although Raina did cry.  She is wondering when I will bring Jackson home.  She still doesn't quite understand the concept of how many days have to pass before I come home.  I think she sees me with Jackson and wonders why I don't simply come home.
I had a day and a half in Beijing prior to flying to Taiyuan. in our adoption group were able to go on a rickshaw tour through the ancient Hutong.  A hutong is the very old part of an Asian city, with narrow passage ways where multiple families live in one home.  It is one of the few places in Beijing where people actually own the land they live on.  Needless to say it is treasured by it's owners.
Here are some pics of the things we saw while walking to our rickshaws.

This picture is for Martin.  He jokingly asked me to take lots of pictures of bikes...well...I got a picture of lots of bikes!  ;)

We were allowed to tour the inside of one of the homes in the Hutong. It was a home as well as a business where people could eat and see the inside of a traditional home.

We then went to the Drum Tower where we listened to the massive drums being played.  (To my kids...I recorded it, so when I come home I'll let you watch was pretty spectacular!)

 One of the massive drums that was played

This is a view from the Drum Tower.  It shows the Hutong.

Our time here in Taiyan is interesting.  Our guide gets mixed up with "left" and "right" so she sent us on a wild goose chase to find food.  She is doing the basics, but no more.  We still have not been able to find a market of any sort and finally managed to find a place that sells bottled water.  We also found KFC and Pizza, I think we'll be Ok.  lol! 
I met Jackson yesterday, on July 22 and he officially became ours today.  Now if that leaves some of my friends on facebook confused that's because we are 14 hours ahead of SK time. 
Jackson is doing as good as can be expected.  He is very timid, shy, and quiet.  He slept well for about 6 hours last night and then cried as though his heart would break.  He looked at me with complete confusion.  He fell back asleep, but slept fitfully, crying often.  Jackson keeps pointing to the window and says "Baba", which means "Papa".  I think he must have been a Daddy's boy and he sure misses his foster family.  I received a bit of a scrapbook from the foster family with quite a few photos of Jackson, his foster parents and foster brother.  It is very special to me and I'm sure it will be to Jackson as well.
I will try to post more about Jackson, his forever family and our time in Taiyuan in my next post...if it's possible.  This post has taken several days to write as uploading photos is a tedious process.  I've also had a bit of difficulty accessing the internet, but I think I have it all figured out now. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

China Trip 2013

Tomorrow is the big day I've been waiting for.  I've been waiting for a very long least that's what it feels like!  It's really not been that long, I'm simply very impatient when it comes to bringing my child home. 
I am leaving with mixed emotions.  Excited to be on my way to meet Jackson.  Thrilled to be on the last stretch in bringing Jackson home.  My heart is doing all kinds of jumping jacks that result in huge grins on my face.  At the same time I'm terrified.  Terrified of all the "what ifs".  Terrified of nights alone.  Worried about how the kids will Martin will be able to handle all the kids, yard work, picking and processing fresh veggies, and still trying to do some work.  He says he'll be fine...I'm not so sure.  After all, I know what it's like to look after my monsters day in and day out and try to do all the summer work!  lol!
Whatever the case may be...the countdown is on...15 days and I will be back at home!  :)  Can't wait for August 1!
I will try to blog while I'm gone, but it's not something I'm going to stress over.  Meeting the needs of my boy will be my priority...and making sure I don't lose my mind!  ;)  I'm hoping to be able to Skype with Martin and the kids and have everything set up on my phone and computer, but as is always the some point my computer does wonky things, as it did earlier today.  So hopefully all the kinks have been worked out and everything will be fine.  Could you pray that everything will work out with my computer.  That I will be able to access all that I want to access.  Thanks!
We have been able to feel your prayers this past week.  It was a week where our home was amazingly calm and the kids handled everything very well.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
And for those of you looking for more specific ways to pray... home and with my flights and in China
Peace...for all of us
Grieving, bonding, adjusting for Jackson
That time will pass quickly
That my anxious kiddos will have complete peace now and once we arrive home
That I do not forget any important documents
That we will all have fun
And most importantly...that in everything we do, we will feel God's presence in a tangible way and that He will be glorified!!  :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Like Mother, Like Son

Alex recently got braces, joining me in all the fun of flossing, brushing, trying to chew, trying to chew gracefully, brushing and flossing some more.  Alex has adjusted to his braces amazingly well. I on the other hand...not so much. I honestly would never have thought I could fall in love with wax...a must to keep my mouth from bleeding!  I suppose I have the advantage in that I only have about a year of braces and am at the halfway point already.  Alex on the other had will have to endure the braces for a good 2 years.
Alex has had horrible teeth since his baby teeth started falling out.  Apparently he has the unfortunate "Wollf teeth"....and I don't mean the fangs either!  lol!
I on the other hand, my teeth were perfect enough.  My front 2 teeth have always been a little too far back.  It was never a cause of concern until 2 years ago when my front tooth suddenly began to bother me.  Long story short...I needed a root canal.  My dentist couldn't figure out what was going on.  My teeth were healthy, I was too young (gotta love a dentist who says that!!), and I had never had a mouth injury of any sort.  Fast forward a year and a half.  I began having the same symptoms with my other front tooth.  That is when my dentist put 2 and 2 together.  Due to my front 2 teeth being too far back, and me clenching my jaw when I sleep, I was slowly killing my teeth. save my teeth, we decided on the braces route and I'm sure I will never regret it.  It just feels a tad bit odd to be dealing with all things "teenage"....braces, acne, and hormones...who knew there was even a teeny tiny chance of reliving my teen years????  Arggg!!
Being one to never pass up on an opportunity to freak my kids out...  (insert evil laugh! :)...  I tied my hair back into 2 high pig tails and grinned.  You should have seen their faces!!! lol!  Umm...yah...not a pleasant sight!  Thankfully there are no pics!! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Prayer Requests

Life is super busy at the moment.  We have been working long and hard to get everything done that needs to be done before I leave on the 19th.  We had hoped to squeeze in at least one day of a family staycation.  I'm not sure if that will happen. :(

Anyhow, here are a few things in which we need prayer...

*for the kids as they prepare for me to leave...lots of anger, sadness, and misbehaviour
*that Martin and I will have patience
*that I will not forget anything
*for safety
*that flights will be on time
*for Jackson as he grieves and adjusts
*for me as I deal with everything on my own while in China
*for Martin as he mans the home front for 2 weeks
*and most importantly...that this will be a time of peace for all of us and that we will enjoy this phase in our lives.

Thanks so much for your continued is what keeps us going.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Jackson's Birthday Pics

We recently sent a birthday package to Jackson and finally have the promised pictures!  I can not wait to hold him in my arms and cuddle him close!  He is so incredibly precious!

We also received a short video which I am unable to post at this time.  In the video Jackson is fascinated by the's truly amazing!  It is closed when it first gets lit and then flings open and lights an entire circle of candles.  Jackson is also a little unsure of this candle and gently reaches over and touches his care giver's arm for reassurance.  It is a very touching gesture and rips at my heart for I know how much he is loved...and how much he will grieve.