Thursday, March 22, 2012

Since we've been home

Well, we have been home almost a week now and let me tell ya, there is NO place like home!!! The flight from Hong Kong to Detroit was LONG. The big kids did great, Hannah and me....not so much. Nothing made her happy. She was super cranky, very restless and busy. She didn't sleep that much. I would get her to fall asleep in the ergo as I stood at the back of the plane, then I would go sit down. She would stay asleep for a few minutes and then start fussing. So I would get back up and go sway her back to sleep in the back of the plane. This went on for about the last four hours of that flight. We landed in Detroit and made the trek across the huge airport to find our gate. I was pooped and a bit cranky myself. I changed Hannah, freshened up a bit and waited anxiously for our next flight home.
Let me begin this next part by saying that Sarah Grace has asthma that we have had under control for about the last two years, but being in the smog and cigarette smoke in China made her asthma rear it's ugly head again and it got worse as we got closer to home. So, we start to get off the plane in Birmingham when, bless her heart, she starts coughing so hard she throws up in the aisle. By this time Stephen was long gone. So standing there was screaming Hannah, my mom, Jacob, me and Sarah Grace (with vomit all over her) and the rest of the people on the plane staring at us like a deer in head lights. I am soooooo DONE at this point. My mom gets Jacob off and I am trying to clean up SG and strap Hannah in the ergo. All the while the rest of the plane just stands there and stares (including the CLUELESS flight attendant). In a less than tactful tone I tell them to step over the vomit and MOVE ON. (It really wasn't that much) I got it together, threw a wipe over the mess and got the heck outta there. Luckily, I had a change of clothes for SG (thanks for the heads up on that, Janet Turner). So, I get her changed and off we go to the best homecoming ever. We were greeted with smiling faces of family and friends, roses, signs, balloons, panda stuffed animals for the kids. It was great!

We came home to dinner in the oven, a stocked fridge, all kinds of goodies, and the kids rooms were decorated with a sign that their sweet classes had made them. I have the most amazing friends and family!! The kids were dying to go outside and play as soon as we walked in the door, so they went across the street to play on the tire swing. Not ten minutes after getting home Jacob comes in crying with a busted lip and a bloody nose. Oh great! I was sure he had broken his nose.....he didn't, PTL. I doctored him up, we visited with the neighbors for a bit and then sat down for a nice dinner. Dinner time was a very sweet moment, short lived, but sweet. It was so wonderful to be home sharing our first meal. After dinner we were all ready to crash, so we snuggled in for a long restful nights sleep.........NOT! Sarah Grace starts coughing her head off then throws up, yet again, so Stephen is on night duty with her. Jacob wakes up a few hours after putting him down saying he wasn't tired and Hannah wanted to sleep on me, climbing closer and closer to my head like a little spider monkey. So needless to say NONE of us got any sleep.
Bright and early on day two, Jacob starts that barking cough, and being very familiar with the croup around here, I knew we needed to see the doctor. All five of us loaded up in the van and headed to Vestavia Pediatrics. Dr. Hamm checks out Jacob's nose to make sure it wasn't broken, perscribed SG a new inhaler, J some steroids and some heavy duty cough medicine.
From then to now is all a blur, but two nights ago Hannah came down with the croup. Back to Vestavia Peds we went which led to a very hard day and an even harder night. Let's just say I have cleaned up more snot and vomit in a few short days than I would even care to in a year! ( Sorry if I am grossing you out) Stephen, being the wonderful husband he is, sees that I may have a meltdown at any moment and decides to work from home today to give me a hand. Bless him!!!
Okay, but on a positive note, Hannah is doing so, so good! She is adjusting very well and seems to be more and more comfortable with her new family and her new home. Her sleeping has gotten better each day (well except her being sick) and she wakes up smiling when she sees us. I feel like she is attaching very well to me and will be with Stephen in small doses. She is having fun with her brother and sister.
Sarah Grace and Jacob are hanging in there. My sweet friends Caroline and Laura have been so helpful in entertaining SG. For the most part, Jacob says that he wants to be with me. I can tell they are missing some of their mama's attention:( This makes me sad.

Anyway, it has been a week of ups and downs. I know things could be worse and amidst all the sleeplessness and fits and sickness I truly am grateful. I was told that the first week home is rough. Please continue to pray for us during this time of difficult transition.
Until next time.....


Monday, March 12, 2012

Guangzhou Zoo

My friends reminded me this morning that we have had our daughters one week now! (they had to remind me because I can't figure out what day it is most of the time). It is amazing how far Hannah has come in just one short week. All the kids here seem to be adjusting well. Adoption is a wonderful gift and I am truly thankful the Lord called our family to do this. This trip has been extremely stressful at times, but the sweet moments and the overall objective far outweigh the hard times. Stephen asked me at dinner the other night, "when are we doing this again?" honestly on that particular day I didn't even want to think about it, but now that the "labor pains" are subsiding I can say only time and the Lord's guidance will tell.

Our huge group! (above)
The coffee group, minus Mary Ann (below)

Today we went to the Guangzhou Zoo. It was wonderful! It was literally a breathe of fresh air. I guess all the foliage made the air seem cleaner (well other than the occasional stinky animal smell, of course). The ironic thing is that the zoo was a million times cleaner than the shopping mall we went to yesterday! We really could have spent all day there. They had so many animals, unfortunately we didn't have time to see them all. The kids had a blast! The biggest attraction was the pandas, for obvious reasons;). They were so cute. SG and Jacob got to feed the giraffe which was really cool. Hannah was content just being held. Not sure what was going on in her little head. If you think about it, her world has been completely opened up in the last week. She is just soaking it all in with her new family. I have to go get ready for our river boat cruise now so I will leave you with some more pics.

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

A little more about Hannah

I thought I would share some more details about Hannah. She is a little bitty thing. At the clinic today she weighed in at 18lbs and is 29 inches tall. She turned 19 months on the 8th. We have so enjoyed getting to know our new daughter. I am amazed at the connection and bond that is being formed each minute. She is getting more and more comfortable with all of us. She warmed up to the kids slower than I expected, but after two full days with both of them she will now play and interact with them. We had some sweet moments as a family of five last night while grandma was recovering. Hannah let Stephen bathe and dress her. After bath time we played then watched American Idol. It felt a little like home. She is very playful and has a sweet, shy demeanor. She has a smile and laugh that will melt your heart. I know that it was very difficult for her birth mother and nannies to say bye to her. I am thankful that her birth mother had the strength and courage to let her go in hopes of a better life for her. Whatever the reason, I am sure it is something she thinks of daily. I pray that God gives her a peace in her heart that Hannah is well taken care of and loved dearly.
She loves to snuggle up to me when she wakes up and when we are out of her safe zone of our room. She LOVES being in the ergo. She will look up at me with sweet grins and pat my chest. Sleep time is very hard for her. She really fights going to sleep. Please pray that she would have peace and rest and that her fear and anxiety would quickly pass.
We had her medical exam this morning and she was not a happy camper when I had to pass her off to different people. This is a good sign though. It makes me happy to see her so eager to get back in her mama's arms.

We hung out in the room the rest of the day. At this point we are all home sick and going stir crazy! We decided to venture out to the local Irish Pub ( no kidding!). It is so hard to find descent food! We later met up with our friends from B'ham and went to Hagen Daz. We had a lot of fun! It was the most I have laughed since we have been here.
Tomorrow is shopping day, yippee!!

Enjoy the pics....

Chowing down! Oh, I forgot to mention, the girls LOVES to eat! Not picky at all!

This was from sightseeing the other day. SG and Jacob and another little girl in our group.

Laughing at her big brother.

Medical exam:(

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Our first bump in the road...

Wednesday started off pretty well. We didn't have to be anywhere early, so we took our time getting up and around. Mom, Jacob, Hannah and I went down for a late breakfast and Stephen and SG stayed back in the room. SG was feeling better, but we were still playing it safe about what she could eat. After breakfast our group was going sightseeing, but we decided to stay back and have some much needed downtime. We pretty much hung out in the room where Hannah seemed to be comfortable playing. She was still doing good.....almost too good. As the morning went on she seemed to be more mellow and a little less interactive, but perked up by the afternoon.
That evening we did our bedtime routine of bath and bottle and I got her ready for bed. It was a fight to get her to sleep and it pretty much got worse after that. She was very restless and would only sleep an hour or so at a time. She did not want me to put her down. I was exhausted to tears. I had taken two simply sleep assuming she would sleep through the night like the two previous nights. But oh was I wrong and was wishing I had not taken them. Hannah was pitiful. Clearly she was grieving and it was so sad to watch. Around 5am she woke up and looked at me like 'who in the world are you'. She began screaming and pointing to the door. She was trying to get out of my arms so I stood her up in her bed. Stephen went and grabbed her shoes she wore from the orphanage and the bunny we sent her when she was there. She clung to these familiar things and continued to point to the door. She was saying what sounded like, "yay-yay." I felt like she was crying out for her nanny. She finally let Stephen pick her up and console her. I reached for her and she turned away. This had not happened since gotcha day. I fixed her a bottle to see if that would comfort her and it did. It was like a switch had been turned on and sweet little Hannah returned. The rest of the day went great. We went out sight-seeing and she was content as could be in my ergo carrier (I can tell she feels very safe in it)
I explained what had happened to our guide, Rebecca, and she reassured me that it was normal and over all she felt like Hannah was taking to Stephen and I very well. She gave me some helpful tips and it made that days nap and bedtime much better.
I have written this post over two days, so it is now Friday morning. She did beautifully last night, praise God! We woke up at ten till 5 this morning to go to the orphanage at 6:30, a trip I have not felt peace about since we got here, especially after that bad night. I was afraid that she would not want to leave with us after seeing her nanny. She was doing so well and I didn't want to go backwards. The kids at Maoming are taken really good care of compared to most orphanages. This is evident in Hannah's behavior.
So we got ready, ate breakfast, and loaded the bus. All of a sudden I felt like I was going to pass out and I looked at Stephen and said 'I don't want to do this.' Feeling very torn we got off the bus. This trip is grueling enough as it is. I didn't think Hannah or I had it in us. We prayed over Hannah hoping we made the right decision not to go. I feel okay with it.
I am loving getting to know my precious new daughter each minute that goes by. I love her so very much. Please continue to pray for us and the other families on this trip, my mom is now sick:(. We discovered this when we went over to tell them we didn't go. Pray for a speedy recovery!
Love, Kim

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Gotcha day, and a little more

I am so exhausted, so sorry if at any point I don't make sense...... Monday, March 5-Gotcha Day. 2:00 rolls around and we all eagerly load the bus to the civil affairs office where we (us and 8 other families) will be given our children. The sun is shining for the first time since we have ben here and it is warm outside. We take a twenty minute ride over, pile out of the bus taking deep breaths. We walk into a crowded waiting area where we wait for our 'batch' of families to be called forward to take our child one, by one. All of a sudden Rebecca, our guide, says gather around and then begins frantically calling our names and passing out children. Sound like an assembly line? Well, it was, but much more traumatic. We hear 'Miller', then 'Mao Zhongxia' we quickly step forward and she is passed to us and before she could even get completely in my arms she begins to scream. Although I fully expected this reaction I did not anticipate the way the process played out. It all happened so quickly and it was just so chaotic. Her shoe had been kicked off during the chaos and when someone handed it to me, she grabbed it for dear life. It was the ONLY thing familiar to her. After trying to calm her down with toys, suckers, whispers, she finally tired and let me feed her some puffs. Ever since then this sweet little angel has been mommy's little girl. She has attached to me exceptionally well and the Lord gets all the credit. She is a happy, playful, tender, shy little girl. Today she has really warmed up to Sarah Grace and Jacob. She loves Stephen, but mostly when I am holding her. She is making small steps toward letting him hold her. Tonight she left my lap and walked over and reach for Stephen. It was precious!
Today has been long and busy. We went back to the civil affairs office at 9am to take an oath, answer some questions and sign some paperwork. We came back to the hotel for a bite to eat and hopes of a nap (that didn't happen). Then off to the police station to get a picture for her visa and passport and o finalize the adoption. She's finally a Miller! Mao Zhongxia is now Hannah Marie Xia Miller.
Once we got back to the hotel, where mom had ben keeping the kids, she told us that SG had thrown up:(. My anxiety just went up! I was so said to not be able to take care of her and worried that this bug may spread. Please lift her up in prayer to recover quickly and it not spread to anyone else. If there was one thing I hoped wouldn't happen it wad that!
You all are now filled in up to this point and I will do my best to post more often. If you want to see pics you will have to check out my page on Facebook. Love you all!
Night, night!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Quick update

Well, sorry I am little late in posting this, but we made it to Guangzhou on Saturday after noon. Navigating through the train staiton once we got to guangzhou was quite stressful, because there was a miscommunication and our guide was nowhere to be found. Thank goodness our friends from b'ham, Derek and Rushton were with us. Derek and Stephen managed to track down a couple of taxis to get us to our hotel. This city is very different from Hong Kong. The smog is heavy and the drivers are worse than New York. There was definitely a feeling of 'we're not in Kansas anymore, toto'! Our hotel is absolutely beautiful and very accomodating. Once we got to our room they had a crib set up with a gift basket of baby stuff in it. I still cannot believe we are here! The time has almost come. It is 1:30am here and I am sleepless. My wheels are turning in my head, anticipating what is to come. Please continue to pray for Hannah, as this is her last night in the only place she has ever known. We were told that she is shy and does not like strangers, but that she loves to be around little kids. I must admit there have been a couple of moments where I was thinking 'now why did we bring our kids?', but after hearing her tell us that, now I know. Sarah Grace and Jacob a SUPER excited! We noticed that in every picture we had of Hannah she was always with her nanny. I am sure that the initial pass off will be so scary for her:(. Please pray that she will allow us to comfort her. The big moment will be at 2:30 this (Monday) afternoon. 12:30am your time. There are 6 other families getting there children at that same time. 3 of them are friends from my adoption coffee group back home. It has been really fun being here with them. Praise God for allowing us to be here together! I believe we will be leaning in each other quite a bit. How awesome that our girls will know some familiar faces once we get home. Well I am going to try and get some sleep.....BIG day ahead!
I am blogging on our iPad which is not letting me upload any photos (any ideas on how?), so I am just going to post our pics on Facebook if or until I can figure it out.
Will post again after Gotcha Day:)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Next stop, Guangzhou....

It is 7:30 am Saturday here in Hong Kong. We arrived at our hotel about 9 last night. It was a very long day, but the kids did so, so good. Sarah Grace slept almost a full nights sleep on the plane and Jacob slept about half that. We watched lots of movies! It was a pretty easy flight, but the last 4 hours seemed like eternity. Most of you know how I HATE flying and this was the thing I was most nervous about from day one. Well, huge praise.....I have never felt more calm and peace! I didn't even have to take my doctor prescribed 'chill pill';).
It truly warms my heart to see all the kind words of encourage and prayer coming from all of you back home. They are being felt!!
We are going to grab some breakfast and walk around downtown Hong Kong (which is a beautiful city and a lot like New York). Then we will take a 1 1/2 hr train ride to Guangzhou where we will be the remainder of our trip. We are so close to Hannah now!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Here we go....

The day started off very early, but everyone woke up quite chipper and ready to go. Sarah Grace talked ninety to nothin the entire way to the airport. She said "I am just so excited." The first flight was a success! Sarah Grace was a little scared at first, but ended up loving it. Jacob loved it too. I am surprising calm and Stepehn is, well, Stephen;). My mom and I keep saying that it still doesn't feel real! You may hear this a hundred times, but I am so thankful that she and the kids came along.
We are resting at a hotel in the Detroit airport before we take off to Hong Kong. We will arrive in Hong Kong when y'all are waking up tomorrow. I will post again when we get there!!