Friday, September 28, 2012

favourite photo friday

Beijing airport - on our way home!

I just love our new little girly. She is such a character. She always keeps us laughing with her funny little ways!

And I am pretty partial to a girl that can hold a camera perfectly! And all the while grinning herself!
Not to mention those chubby little hands. Seriously. I can hardly stand the cuteness.

Phebe Jayne, you are loved and adored. And that is never going to stop, because our love for you, is for life.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

first trip to the park!

first trip to the park

Well our sleeping schedule is a bit bizarre, to say the least! But we are working on it.

Lilah and I are sleeping nights, thankfully Lilah adjusted to the timezone quicker than we expected, which we think is great! Because we are hoping she will start her first day of school tomorrow! She has agreed to go tomorrow, each day she makes an excuse that she can't go... so sweet, she just doesn't want to leave her baby sister!

Of course, Phebe hasn't adjusted to our timezone quite as fast, since she lived in China for almost two years, so we are working on it. She and Baba are up at night together and having fun - I think - at least she is! Yesterday she slept from 7am to 7pm. This morning, when she would have been ready to go down for her "nighttime sleep" at 7am, Lilah and I had just wakened, so we popped her into the stroller and headed to the park.

Did she ever love the park! I feel I may even have won over a teeny tiny piece of her heart, by taking her to the park.

She played for a good 2 hours, which was perfect, since we were trying to push her a few hours every day so we can finally make it into our timezone. After we got home I bathed my girls and fed them and Phebe went down at 10:45am. If we push her an extra 2-3 hours every day, we won't be long arriving at the 7pm mark!

Monday, September 24, 2012

we're home!

love love love!

Well that sure was a long flight! Phebe slept 3 out of 12.5 hours. Yikes! She wasn't too upset with all the flights, but she was a real fidget the midget - as we so kindly like to call her! Lilah slept well though, so we were thankful at least one of us got a little sleep!

Phebe seemed to be thrilled with her new home, she took Lilah's hand and explored every nook and cranny, smiling with glee! We fed and bathed the girls and they slept for about 4 hours (from midnight to 4am) - the sleep sure felt good!

Phebe has a lot of insecurities. She was taken away from everything she knew and has slept in 4 different cribs in the past 2 weeks. The orphanage, 2 hotels and finally now, our home. So she has every right to feel as insecure as she does right now. I pray that soon her little heart will feel safe enough to trust us all. I am still working with her as far as bonding goes. Still feeding her, changing her and dressing her. She knows I am her 'go to' for these things, so that helps. She will also play and laugh with me and then all of a sudden a fear comes in her eyes and she either runs to Baba or Lilah. I feel so terrible for her - it feels like a stab in the heart to me, to think that I scare her so much. I really do believe that she thinks I took her away from everything she knew and now she is scared that I will do the same again. I have a lot of brokenness to help mend with this dear girl and a lot of trust to earn.

(Thanks also for your comments on my last post regarding attachment - I appreciated every one of them. It helps to hear of others experiences. And as adoptive parents, there are times that we do go through some type of rejection or preference of one parent over another. Again, so thankful for your support.)

So glad that we are now home.

The Lord has done great things for us and we keep on praying for the grace and courage that we need as we learn through new experiences and fall in love, all over again, as a family of four.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

china trip : we're heading home

Beijing airport - on our way home!

I have had this feeling before. Leaving China. It's so bittersweet.

Yes, I am excited to get home and get started on our new normal. And yet, I love so much about China. My daughters were born here. I can never and will never try to take that away from them. Just seeing Lilah absorb China for the last 2.5 weeks has been a joy for me... seeing her own people (as she calls them), the people she resembles, her own culture, her own country.

I know myself, when I go back to N.Ireland, I just feel like I'm "home". And I imagine in some ways, my daughters will feel this way about China too. They will feel divided between the country they were born in and the country they were raised in.

It has been an incredible stay, a wonderful journey to our darling little Phebe. Right now, I just want to stop and say thank you...

: A huge thank you to our adoption agency, Children's Bridge. I know there is a higher power, but thank you for 'matching us' to our daughter. For helping us through the mountains of paperwork. For your love and support. It means so much to us.

: To the guides that spent the last 2.5 weeks with us, Amy (in Hunan) and Cissy (in Beijing) - two very beautiful and yet entirely different ladies. Thank you for your support, for introducing us to amazing cuisine and culture. We will never forget either of you!

: To Phebe's birth parents - thank you for choosing life. Soon we will be separated by many many miles, but know that you will always be in our hearts. We will pray for you nightly, that you will know your daughter is loved... SO very much. And maybe some day, we will know who you are.

: For all those who prayed for us and with us... God surely answers prayer. For all those who commented here, messaged us and reached out to us during this journey, thank you. There are always trying times and each of you has brought us support in some way.

: And more than anything, thank you Lord, for giving us another daughter to raise in Your word. Help us to teach our girls that the greatest blessing in life, is our adoption, through Salvation, into God's family.

Beijing airport - on our way home! Beijing airport - on our way home! Beijing airport - on our way home! Beijing airport - on our way home!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

china trip - donghuamen night market

Donghuamen Night Market

It's our final full day in China. Tomorrow we leave for the airport at around 2pm. We fly at 6pm and I tell you... it's going to be a verrrrrrrry long flight! Yikes!

We did a little more shopping today. We also visited the local sitdown Haagen-Dazs location which is (far too) close to our hotel! Then this evening, we went out for supper - back to the same famous Peking Duck restaurant we'd been to with our guide on Wednesday evening. We enjoyed another delicious traditional Chinese meal. It was very memorable. The traditional (restaurant) food here is incredible... if you know what to order!

After supper, we took a walk down to the Donghuamen Night Market.

We have passed it several times now, in fact, the hotel we are staying in (Crowne Plaza) is only two blocks away from this food zoo! My friend, from Canada, who lived in China for a while, told me to be sure to visit it and backed that up by saying: "Bring your camera and a strong stomach!"

And rightly so!

The food! Oh man, the FOOD!! Actually, I'm not even sure if 90% of the items there could be classified as food! There is basically everything and anything on a stick, including silk worms, sea horses, grasshoppers, starfish, eyeballs, scorpions, snakes and a whole lot more. I couldn't even attempt to eat any of those items, goodness, I could hardly look at them, never mind eat them! And the sheep tripe, it smelled about the worst smell I've ever smelt in my life!

Well, maybe not the worst. But it came in a close second to the Public toilets we visited in the market... can you believe it? Lilah decided she REALLY needed 'to go' in the middle of our excursion. I tell you, I should be getting the mother-of-the-year award. I gagged three times in that hot and humid washroom, before my sense of smell became somewhat seared from the aroma.

And to top it off, Lilah told me her favourite part of China, other than climbing The Great Wall, was the squatty potties. Really?

Friday, September 21, 2012

china trip : old beijing - hutong tour

old beijing - hutong tour

Today we had a tour of 'Old Beijing', in around some of the older common Hutongs in this area.

Hutongs are a type of narrow streets or alleys, most commonly associated with Beijing, China. In Beijing, hutongs are alleys formed by lines of siheyuan, traditional courtyard residences. Many neighbourhoods were formed by joining one siheyuan to another to form a hutong, and then joining one hutong to another. The word hutong is also used to refer to such neighbourhoods. Since the mid-20th century, the number of Beijing hutongs has dropped dramatically as they are demolished to make way for new roads and buildings. More recently, some hutongs have been designated as protected areas in an attempt to preserve this aspect of Chinese cultural history. (taken from wikipedia)

This tour was one of my favourite things to do here in Bejing, so far. I loved seeing the older styles of streets and shops. The area is beautiful, complete with a gorgeous lake and beautiful little bridges. The setting is idyllic. The local craft shops were the best we've seen here in Beijing, so far. There was some really unique art, jewellery, etc. Our girls got two peaked panda hats, guess who bought them those? Uh huh, Baba! And we didn't, but we could have rented a boat like we did at the Summer Palace and pedalled our way around the lake or taken a rickshaw tour. Instead we walked around, taking in all the sights along the way.

One of the highlights of the day was finding a seal master. When we were in China almost four years ago, we had a seal made with Lilah's Chinese name, the name that was given to her by the orphanage, in typical characters and her English name written underneath. It was something the guide offered to us during that trip, which meant we didn't actually get to see it being made. Well today, we found a little shop in this district and had the same thing done for Phebe. The seal master sat and carved it out in front of us, Lilah was so intrigued, standing as close to his elbow as she possibly could, taking it all in! Crazy part is, it only took him about 5 minutes to complete. Such talent. I love that both my girls have their own seals now, and both have their seal with their zodiac animal carved into the handle, to represent the year they were born.

We also visited the drum tower and the bell tower in this area. Both with their amazingly steep steps! Oh my! Our guide figured that Lilah's lasting memories of China, would be the amount of steps we've climbed - I think she might be right!

old beijing - hutong tour old beijing - hutong tour old beijing - hutong tour old beijing - hutong tour old beijing - hutong tour old beijing - hutong tour old beijing - hutong tour old beijing - hutong tour old beijing - hutong tour old beijing - hutong tour old beijing - hutong tour old beijing - hutong tour


old beijing - hutong tour old beijing - hutong tour old beijing - hutong tour old beijing - hutong tour old beijing - hutong tour


old beijing - hutong tour

[ the flickr set is here ]

Thursday, September 20, 2012

china trip : attachment and the pearl markets

While I sit here typing this, my little Phebe is lying in the crib, singing herself to sleep. It is so sweet.

It has not been a easy transition for her. She has found it hard to come to terms with the fact that another woman (me!) has entered her little life and (in her eyes) is trying to replace the very close bond she had with her nanny in the orphanage. Generally speaking, not many children (in orphanages) get a lot of one-on-one attention, because of the volume of children. But we believe Phebe did get a lot of special attention. In Phebe's orphanage, there was only herself and one other baby, who was only a few months old.

I know Phebe's attachment will get stronger, as she learns and experiences that she can trust me and depend on me. I am thankful that she lets me dress her, feed her and change her diaper. Also in the hotel room, she plays and jokes around with me. It's hard, because she will play with me for quite a while and then I can totally see her realize that she is having too much fun with me - it's like a little switch flips and she becomes mildly aggressive in her playing and hits me away. I know it is a self protection mechanism and I understand how much she has given up and come through, to get to this point. This only started happening towards the end of our time in Changsha. At the start I found it hard, rejection is hard, especially when you love someone so much... but I have an amazing supportive husband, who unfortunately was the rejected party last time we were in China, adopting Lilah, so he understands how my emotions. And I know that our little Phebe will learn to trust me, our bond will become strong with time. In fact, each day I can already see small amounts of progress. And I've been reading a lot online, on the subject. This is an excellent article, that has definitely helped me.

Phebe is such a happy happy girl, all the time, the only time we see her disgruntled is when she is tired or hungry!

The good news is, she loves her Baba more than anything. And seeing their very close bond is heart warming. It gives me so much hope. Phebe also adores her big sister and basically can't let go of her hand. For sure the honeymoon period is wearing off a little for Lilah, I say that in the kindest way possible! Lilah loves her sister so much, but I can see her hiding her stuff now, which I know is normal. And she can be rather bossy to her little sister - to be fair though, a lot of the time, what she is saying is valid! However, we are trying to teach Lilah that it's the parents job to do the parenting, so it's a work in progress! But I know our Lilah girl will pull through. She is doing more amazing than we ever anticipated. We've also been loving on her a lot and I've had a lot of time to dedicate to her, which has been great.

Today we did a little shopping at the Pearl Markets. Several new dresses later and man oh man, am I getting good at bargaining! I was so proud of myself, $5 US dollars for each Chinese dress. Now, if only the pearls came at that price!

funny girls

Who can laugh the loudest?!
She is such a happy girl, you can't help but love her and want to scoop her up and show her just that.

funny girls

funny girls

She always lifts the phone and says "wéi!" It sounds like 'way' and means an informal hello, like hi. It is so cute!
Since she started doing this, I hear many people (on our daily travels) saying the same thing, when they answer their cell phones!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

china trip : beijing zoo

beijing zoo

One of the things we really wanted to see this time, during our stay in Beijing, is the Beijing Zoo.

Lilah has a huge interest in Pandas, so we knew we needed to make this trip! However, the panda's were definitely not as excited to see us, as we were to see them. In fact, they were not in the least bit cooperative! We got to see most of them sleeping. And another lying on it's back, eating bamboo.

It was a lovely day to stroll around the zoo. The weather has been amazing here, we have not seen one wet day since we arrived - so we are happy! We had a lot of fun and our girls were great, as usual. I always bring along a big bag of snacks each time we go out - we have learned that this is the best way to keep them happy and energized! Both our girls love to snack. I have been stocking up on bananas, banana bread, fruit bars seaweed and crackers. The good thing is that they are able to eating their main meals aswell as all the snacking!

Baba thought that maybe we should leave Phebe at the zoo, suggesting that even the wild animals might be able to tame her down a bit! We laughed! She sure is a busy girl. We are definitely not used to this much busy! Lilah is quiet and timid in personality and I think we realize now how easy she made this parenting gig!

This evening we were treated to a Peking Duck dinner by the guide service that have helped us through the past few weeks. I mentioned our guide, Cissy, in a previous post, she is sweet and we have truly enjoyed our time with her. As well as Peking Duck, plus all the trimmings, which was absolutely amazing, Cissy bought a birthday cake and we got to celebrate with the family we have been spending this past week in Beijing with. It was Tim's birthday - there was a goat/sheep on the cake, so I would presume that might indicate the year he was born!

beijing zoo beijing zoo beijing zoo beijing zoo beijing zoo beijing zoo beijing zoo beijing zoo beijing zoo beijing zoo


peking duck peking duck Tim's Birthday

[ the flickr set is here ]