Thursday, November 29, 2012

Anna's Gotcha Day . . . Whooooooo!!!

On November 28th we went to meet with Anna at the Civil Affairs office in Guangzhou. We walked into the office and immediately heard her voice from the other room. We recognized her voice from a video we had when she was six years old. While we were sitting and filling out paperwork, Anna came sneaking into the room and waved, blew kisses, and smiled, then went back into the other room. Soon after they did bring her in to meet us. Baba held out her little lamb and she hit it away at first, not sure what it was! Now she sleeps with it. Anna did cry after her caretakers left for about 20 minutes or so and then she was fine. We let the girls have their own bed and it was girl talk for hours!  Anna had her camera and we could hear them going through the photos and naming all the people in them, Mama, Baba, Mia, Anna. Anna even had to take a picture of Baba snoring! She thought that was the best. Anna and Mia are opposites in many ways which work as sisters. Anna does the talking for Mia and helps make sure that we understand what Mia is asking us. Anna will demonstrate for us what Mia is wanting until we understand. This is really working out better than expected! They are each others best friend and can still reach out for Mama and Baba. (Little more Mama than Baba, but we are working on evening up the affection). They both offer hugs and kisses for us all day long. While eating they will even stop eating and reach out for a hug and a kiss, which we happily oblige.
Today we went back to the Civil Affairs office and we were worried that Anna would have another breakdown, but she was being silly, happy, and loving the whole time. Go figure! When we leave the hotel room, Anna will quiet everyone down and then proceed to tiptoe down the hall. She is a little production! We did go walking and took a few more pictures of the girls. I just hope the rest of our time here goes like it did today!!! Everyone was happy and relaxed!

Monday, November 26, 2012

One Way or Another I'm Gonna Gitcha, Gitcha, Gitcha ....

It is officially "gotcha day" for Mia. The moment she walked in I knew it was her. I ran over to her and gave her the biggest hug. She had on the largest smile possible and hasn't stopped since. We went back to our hotel room and have been showing Benqin her new clothes and such. She is so appreciative of it all. She has been sharing all her food and snacks with us! It is so funny. There has been so many special moments! When we went down to each lunch, Benqin told the waiter that we were her mama and baba and the she loved us. The waiter was very sweet and told us what she had said. He asked her what she wanted to eat and she told him that she will eat the same thing that her mama eats. I so wanted to order spaghetti, but I didn't know if she would like it or not so I ordered a sandwich and fries. She loved the fries with ketchup. She holds both our hands and even ran over and across the lobby calling baba. She is very sweet, funny, and affectionate. She has the sweetest voice and even sang a song for me. She is taller than we expected and wears a size 10. Thank goodness we brought a few of those with us. She had a blast trying on clothes and then realizing they were all for her.
When we first walked in the room and she say the beds, she said that her and mama would sleep in this bed and baba in that bed. How funny!!!  What a joy!
We did give Benqin the letter from her friend Zoe and she remembered her! She called her by her Chinese name as well as the little boy in the picture. She did read the letter and was very happy after reading it! 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

We are in Ch*na!

We did make it to Ch*na on Friday. I remember everyone stating that they would make it to Ch*na but they forgot to mention how long the journey really was (or did they?). We couldn't sleep on the plane coming over (14 hour flight) so that made for a long day. We only had one incident where we thought our checked bags were going straight to Hefei, but that wasn't the case. We didn't find out that we were suppose to pick up our luggage at Terminal 2 until we got to Terminal 1 at the Shanghai airport. We had walked over (about a 20 minute ordeal). There was a young Chinese man who saw our confusion and stopped to ask if he could help. We told him we were trying to get back to the other Terminal to pick up our luggage and wanted to know how we can take the Shuttle. He pointed us in the right direction and off we went. Once we made it over to the other Terminal, we again were wondering around and in our confusion this same young man came over and helped us to get back over through security and then over to baggage claims. What a day! I was just happy to see our luggage was still there. Our hotel room is very nice. We have everything that we need. They are building a highrise outside of our window and that has kept Phil entertained, as well as the traffic. He loves watching the families on bikes and mopeds skirt through traffic. It is truly amazing how much they can carry on a bike and what they carry.
We will be meeting Mia on Monday and will post again then!
View from our hotel window

Mopeds and bikes are abundant, even in 30 degree weather!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

We Received a letter from Mia's friend, Zoe!

Mia had many friends in the orphanage who were adopted over the years. She has been there 11 years. She has gotten close to many of the children over the years and then one day they leave with their new family. There was one very special little girl who was friends with Mia several years ago. Her American name is Zoe and she currently lives with her mom, dad, three brothers, and her dog. Zoe found out several months ago that Mia was going to be adopted and that she would be coming to America. To show how sweet Zoe's heart is, she wrote a letter to Mia that we are taking with us to China. Zoe offers encouragement to Mia about being adopted, living in America, and learning English. She lets her know that English isn't all that hard to learn. She tells her how awesome it is that she will be coming to America and how wonderful it is that she will have a family forever. Zoe mentioned to Mia how great it is that she is getting a sister and hopes they have fun together! I know we are hoping the same thing!

We had Zoe's letter translated to Chinese and added a photo of the girls on the day that Zoe left with her new family. This special photo was given to us by Zoe's mother, Monica. What a treasure for Mia to have as a keepsake!  Thank you so much Zoe! How can anyone forget a smile like yours! Thanks to Monica for taking so many pictures of that day (which had Mia in almost all of them) and for contacting us and sharing your story!

Zoe is in the middle, Mia on the right.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


We received travel approval from Ch*na on Thursday, November 8. Our agency called in the morning and told us that it had come in. The next process was to send an email to the US consulate to schedule our consulate appointment. We received the consulate appointment that night (because of the time difference). We thought we would be traveling a week earlier than what we are, but one week off is not bad! The bad news is that we will most likely be leaving on Thanksgiving Day! No turkey, no stuffing, no corn casserole, no baked beans (yes, baked beans), and no cranberry sauce, no mashed potatoes or Phil's gravy! But most of all we will miss our family on Thanksgiving! It has been a tradition to cook at home for any of our kids and their families who were able to join us. The family up North have been faithful in keeping us company through this special holiday. We will miss all of you very much and we will be thinking of you! Rest assured, we won't be missing Thanksgiving next year! Jen, be sure and tell Kadina, Austin, and Matthew that we will have turkey for them next year, and tell Mark that he will have his stuffing too!
Our plans are to leave on November 22 and return on December 6. We will be meeting Mia on Anna's birthday, November 26 and then be meeting Anna a week later. We were really trying to get to Anna before her birthday, but just missed it! This will be the last birthday she will spend in an orphanage!
So much more to do . . . so much more to think about. All the unknowns to face. Our family and friends have prepared us as best as they could up to this point and we will rely on them to get us the rest of the way. We can't begin to thank all of our family and friends for their prayers, love, and support during the last few years! We know just how blessed we are!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

New Pictures of Mia With Her Hair Down!

We have been very blessed to have met a family on our "Chuzhou Yahoo Group". They adopted a little girl at the age of 18 months from the same orphanage that Mia is at. Their daughter, Ella, is a year younger than Mia so it has been several years that Ella had been adopted. They made a visit in October to visit Ella's orphanage. Ella's family is from New-Zealand and with that said, this world just got really small. As you will see from the pictures, Ella has grown into a very beautiful, healthy, and well adjusted little lady. We thank you for your kindness to Mia!

While they were visiting Mia's orphanage in October, they were able to observe a few things and make a few comments about Mia and her surroundings. They had emailed us while they were in China and told us they think they just met our daughter but was not sure. They told us about her smile and about how she was excited to show them her "bed". Once they said this we knew that this was Mia! In Mia's referral it stated that she was always so excited to show visitors her "bed". We emailed a photo of Mia to them and they said that this was the same girl! They also gave Mia a globe from New-Zealand with a sheep in it. They said that she was happy when they gave it to her and completely unspoiled. They said that she had a beautiful smile and was a little shy. She is quite tall and very thin. She was with a group of children with severe special needs. The environment was without much stimulation for a bright healthy child. They said that the sooner we can get her the better, which is our feelings exactly. With love and care she will become a pretty and lively child. They told Mia that they were taking pictures for her American family and she didn't seem afraid about the idea of a new family at all. They noticed that the orphanage was very clean and well run and the staff seemed very kind and affectionate, but it is not very homey. We can't thank our friends from New-Zealand enough for all they have done for Mia.

Mia and Ella

Mia and Ella

The Barr Family with Mia