She's Not Short!

One of the things I was so excited to do was mark Caroline's height on our family height chart. The day she came home! She is a tall girl!! 


I made this chart before I started making the signs so now I would do things a little different but I still love the look!

The How To:
The first thing is to buy an 8 ft board not a 6 ft board because you might get a kid who grows taller than expected. You will hang it above the baseboard so you need start your measurements after measuring the baseboard height. 

Measure off your marks and either go over it with a sharpie or black paint. The numbers are easy too. There are several ways you can do it. 

First print them off the size you want them. Next you can cut them out and trace them in place or take tracing paper and place it under the printed number and trace. Fill in the outline with sharpie or black paint using a fine tipped brush.

Hang. We just screwed it directly to the wall since I don't mind a rustic look. I went back to the well care birthday check ups to get the kids measurements. The only mark not made on a birthday is Caroline's HOME mark ��

First Doctor Visit




Our little Miss Ray of Sunshine is just perfect and I have a Dr report to prove it!! This is a huge praise Jesus for her sake! She was labeled psychomotor retardation at some point by someone in China.  And the thing is with orphans in China the label sticks. From what I understood the label can't be changed. This one label moved her from the healthy kid orphanage to one that dealt with mostly special needs. The "healthy" children have a chance of being adopted by people in China who were mostly likely unable to have a child of their own. The "special needs" children will spend their entire childhood in an orphanage and then they age out and live as a beggar on the street available to people who would prey on the less fortunate. UNLESS the special needs child is adopted by an international couple. Then they have a chance of experiencing family and all the joys and blessings that brings. 

There are many children mainly special needs (super mild-moderate) boys who need families to consider them worthy of a family to rescue them from their label and the fate it brings and to give them hope and a future.

We know our Caroline was slow to walk and from our best guess has low muscle tone which we all, the Doctor included, think she will make up with regular childhood play... You know the opportunity to run, jump, climb, swim, hike etc.  she might never be the fastest but then again she might she is pretty determined!!! 

We are grateful to the Lord for this diagnosis and can't wait to see what God has planned for her!



HOME


This is a big world!!! I know since China is half way around it and it took FOREVER to get home.

Caroline didn't sleep at all on the way from Hong  Kong to Seattle  and had a few fits. It is really hard to explain that we aren't going to be confined like this forever. Or that the plane is not her new home. The added fact that we sat RIGHT in front of the bathrooms didn't help either. People were coming and going and congregating by our seats; add in the sound of a vacuum flush every 3 minutes and you can just envision our 13 hour flight!!! 


Caroline became a U.S. Citizen when the plane touched down which was an awesome moment!!! 

We had to go through customs since Caroline came home on an immigrant visa so one lady told us to get in this VERY long non-moving line with all the foreigners.  About 15 mins later this really official looking guy walked by and I made eye contact and held up this large brown envelope we were told to NOT open no matter what. I was hoping he would rescue us.  Thankfully he came straight over opening the ropes to set us free and took us over to a special area where they handle the adoption papers.  By the time we finished processing her paperwork, going through customs, and back through security we got to our gate for our next flight just in time to board and we were off again! 

We made it home to rain in Tulsa around 10 pm. Caroline was dead asleep after being awake for basically 24 hrs straight.  After we deplaned and I took her to the bathroom to try to wake her up to meet her siblings and family. She woke up happy as she usually does. We made it through the doors to an awesome greeting of family and friends. 

We couldn't wait to see the kids and they came running. It was a great reunion Caroline hugged each one of her siblings and each of the kids and cousins made signs which added to the homecoming celebration. 

The six of us rode home together and finally our little covey, as Grant calls our family, was together as it should be.  

Day Ten: The Consulate


This was a relative easy day but monumentous in terms of coming home.  After breakfast we met our guide Helen and went back to the medical center to get Caroline's TB results which were negative. Thank you Jesus!!! 

We then took the results across the street to the US Consulate.  Only Americans were allowed inside or those who had an appointment so our guide could not come inside. The process took about an hour but consisted of taking an oath that all our documents were true and checking our information to what we submitted for pre-approval before leaving the states. They also reviewed the health screenings and said Caroline is considered a fairly typical healthy child. 

The last thing they asked was when we do we leave? The guy who spoke English (with an American accent!) wrote down our departure information and said we are good besides printing the visa. We will know by email tomorrow morning if the visa will be ready tomorrow afternoon for pickup. 

So we are almost out of here!!! And we are so ready!!!
Tonight we ate at a Western restaurant and ordered milkshakes... They "shook" the milk ��
The hotel is on the flight path of the airport and today we were looking for "wag-ees" or airplanes and talking about how Mama, "Daggy", and "Car-o-lie" are going to go on one.

A few last thoughts as we get ready to leave... Caroline's file when we first looked at her referral had her listed as psychomotor retardation. But from just reviewing her file we knew that wasn't right. From spending a week with her we know her mental capabilities are very very sharp.  Her emotional development is more like a 3 year old from being in an institution all her life.  Adoption "school" basically says to expect 1 month delay for every 3 months in an institution. So that's about right. Being in a family will help her to catch up quickly.

When we see our pediatrician we do have a few questions regarding her mobility. She is a little too "clumsy" when walking. Especially when you are holding her hand.  And either her joints seem super loose or she she is still lacking muscle tone to keep her movements smooth. We are not sure.  We are thankful for the progress she has made though. And to us she is wonderfully perfect it is hard to believe she was considered "special needs" at all and deemed to live her whole life in an orphanage. We are so thankful for the mission trip that encouraged the caretakers to think she was adoptable.  That someone internationally would want her. We have seen God show up all through her story and can't wait to see what else he has planned for her life because my bet is the best is yet to come...

We are still working on attachment and might need to for sometime. What to others looks like an outgoing child and not shy at all is masking the fact that she still isn't attached to us although she has bonded and likes us a lot.  She will become too friendly with others and would probably leave with one too (which scares me a lot!!).  The idea is that she sees everyone as a potential caretaker, someone to help her get her needs and desires met. So for now we ask that no one pick her up but us and if you want to give her something you hand it to one of us and then we will give it to her. Basically showing her we are the ones meeting her needs and desires until she attaches more securely to us. If I look overwhelmed with 4 kids 6 and under I probably am.  Just ask what you can do to help I will appreciate it!

Day Nine: Day of Touring

It was a great day with new friends from our adoption agency and all of our kiddos.  


We started the day visiting a building from the 1880's I think. It was made in the years of the last dynasty.
I think they worshiped there as well. All I know is that I wasn't as super impressed as our guide wanted us to be. It had several rooms filled with art from around the area and although it was very we done the art was made between 1980-2011. For such an "old" building I expected "old" art to be on display. We bought a few goodies from the gift shop though.


After lunch we went and toured Shamian Island where all of the adoptions used to take place up until 4 years ago when the hotel there went under extensive construction. It was colonized by the British and French and looks very much like New Orleans architecture.  We took a few pictures with the statues and then enjoyed people watching. We saw a few people swimming  and fishing in the big Pearl River. Really Gross and what looks extremely dangerous!! At least they tied big buoys to themselves I guess so they can find their bodies if they drown!

As we were leaving Grant became famous with some Chinese teens wanting a group photo with a English white guy!! They even asked for his autograph!

We finished the night with dinner with some of our new friends at a local noodle restaurant.
Caroline asked to go to the bathroom and the waitress said take her to the street and squat! Um No!! Thankfully she held it until we got back to the hotel. 

In the morning we head to the U.S. Consulate to check her TB results and have an interview of some kind do they can issue her visa hopefully within 24 hrs!!!

Day Eight: The Safari Park


Grant woke up in the night feeling not so great. Not sure if we over did it yesterday at the park and he got dehydrated or if he caught a cold of sorts. Either way not fun.


We had already made all the arrangements for the zoo so we went.
The first half is riding in a tram to see the animals then you walk around to see others.
 I'm not sure what Caroline thought she had a stoic face much of the time.

On the car ride over which took about an hour she got really quiet and nervous. It's hard that we can't explain that we are going somewhere fun. Not for another TB shot or back to the orphanage. For her every car trip is a guessing game with a new surprise ending. 

Grant said the tram ride reminded him of Jurassic Park. The animals appeared to be free range though I'm sure they weren't. After the tram we walked quite a bit and drank a ton of water! Which meant Caroline and I had to use one of these... Quite the experience! 
The Squatty Potty! 

To cool down some we all had an ice cream cone. It is fun to teach her all of these new things kids take for granted. She doesn't like to get messy at all. We clean her hands at least 10 times during every meal.

On the way home from the zoo our van driver who doesn't speak English must have had something grand for lunch because he burped out loud the entire hour home! Not kidding you almost every breath he took resulted in a burp we thought we would never get home! 

Tonight the plan is to take it easy and maybe order another pizza and swim and maybe take some Benadryl to help Grant get a good nights rest. 

On the positive side of the day we came in the lobby of the hotel with a group of families headed to the airport because they got their child's visas!! One Mom said the consulate  expedited those who had been waiting days but wouldn't promise anything going forward.  So there is hope!!! We go for our consulate interview on Monday and planned to drive to Hong Kong Tuesday night to fly home Wednesday early morning if the visas keep coming!

Day Seven: Free Day




It feels like we've been here forever! And now we pray that we get to come home on time.  There are tons of adoptive families here now and more coming. The rest of our group from our agency gets in tonight from their provinces.  Every one that adopts in China ends up here getting their child's visa to come home. And now we are on day 3 of the computers in the US being down.  Apparently this isn't just a China thing but worldwide. 

So our little gal woke up sad today. Not sure if she was grieving a little bit her smiles were just not as big as normal. 

Today we had off from appointments as we wait to hear about her TB test so we slept in and had a late breakfast then we found another park nearby that we explored.
It had a kiddie area that she enjoyed until we couldn't stand the heat anymore. The humidity doesn't help.  We had sweat rolling down our faces and everywhere else!
So we had lunch at McDonalds and gave Caroline her first McFlurry! She loved it!

After nap time she woke up much happier!  When she sleeps she takes her little finger tips and rubs her upper lip it is so cute!!
We went for a swim and ate dinner and now we are trying to stay awake long enough go the kids to wake up stateside so we can FaceTime with them. We are ready for this family of 6 to be all together!!  Lord willing only 5 more days.


Tomorrow we are taking her to the Safari Park Zoo it is supposed to be amazing!!