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Thursday, June 30, 2011

At home for 6 weeks now!!

We have been home from China with Anna for 6 weeks now! I can't believe it's only been 6 weeks as it seems like we've had her all along! She is doing better and better everyday and she loves meeting new people with a 'high-five' and gives them smiles all the time! She really is just doing incredible with her new home, she sleeps 12 hours at night and wakes up happy, she takes great naps, is eating good, loves her sisters and laughs so much!! We haven't gotten her out much, just the usual errands and to the big girls' activities like swimming lessons and gymnastics and she does great! We are going to wait on the 'big' stuff like the church nursery until the end of the summer. We just aren't sure what would be going through her little mind, and we would hate for her to think we are leaving her.

Speaking of 'leaving her', we have left her here at our house with both my mom and Jaime's mom just recently and she did super! She loves her Mia and her Mimi, that's for sure. Though she can't talk she finds a way of 'asking' for them and it's so cute!

We took her to the cleft specialist a couple of weeks ago and loved her doctor, Dr. Fearon. He thought the surgeries she already had looked great and for us to see the ENT on their cleft team and so that appoinment is July 19th. Dr. Fearon seems to think she has fluid in her ears and will need tubes put in and he feels that is the cause of her not talking, because she isn't able to hear clearly so we will see what the ENT says on the 19th. If she does need tubes put in her ears then while she is under for that Dr. Fearon will lengthen her lip at that time. If she does not need tubes then we will wait a little longer for her lip. He said in his experience that the longer you wait the less surgeries you need to do so we are loving that philosophy! Again, we were very impressed with him and have heard many wonderful things about him.

Also, great news on her blood work (the time she had to get poked 4 different times by two different nurses at two different labs)...everything came back normal and looked great! Thank you God!!

We are already planning her 2nd birthday as that is July 25th!! She loves Elmo so an Elmo party is what she will get. It's been fun planning her first ever 'real' birthday celebration! We will post pictures of that for sure! Jaime is working on updating the website for more pictures so be on the lookout for new pictures soon! The address for that is on my last blog entry.

Thanks again to those who have prayed for us and for Anna, have brought meals, have come to visit and meet our sweet Anna as we always enjoy 'showing her off' to everyone!! To say we are proud parents is an understatement! ;-)

I'll try to do better with the updates...sorry!
Take care,
~Melissa

Friday, May 27, 2011

Doing good...

Well, we have been home with Anna exactly a week now and things couldn't be any better! She is doing absolutely amazing with everything from sleeping, to eating, to playing with her toys and feeling comfortable in her new home. Last night she woke up only one time and all we had to do was reassure her that her mommy and daddy were there and she went right back to sleep! At night the past week when she does wake up she just sits up and fusses and as soon as she sees us or hears our voices she lays right back down and goes to sleep. Poor baby girl, we think all she wants is be reassured we are still there and it's been getting less and less each night that she does that. She takes great naps in her crib in her room (sometimes we wake her after 3 hours so she'll sleep at night) and she sleeps about 12 hours or more in her pack 'n' play in our room at night!

As far as her eating goes, the entire time we were in China we only fed her soft foods such as oatmeal, mashed potatoes, yogurt, etc. She had surgery on her palate back in March and these kinds of foods is what she was eating at the home she was in so we just did the same. Earlier this week I called the specialist we will be taking her to next month just to see if we were on the right track with her eating and the nurse said we could actually start feeding her pretty much anything. We just needed to start slow with different textures of foods and see how she does. Well, that day (Tuesday) I gave her some lunch meat, cheese, cheerios and a banana (all cut up) and she ate every bite!! Woohoo!! I'm sure she was so excited to be eating those foods and that will make it much easier to feed her as well.

We haven't gotten her out much, only twice and the two outings have been to the doctors and then to the lab to get bloodwork done. Poor girl, we need to get her out and take her somewhere fun, or she will think everytime we go somewhere it's to the doctors. On Wednesday we took her to our pediatrician and were there a total of 2 hours so considering the length of time of our visit she did great! They gave us some labwork for us to take her to do the following day so we took her in for that and oh....poor baby girl! The first lab we went to had a hard time finding a good vein to stick but stuck her two times anyway and were unsuccessful. So they then sent us across the street to another lab for them to try. They stuck her once and were able to get some blood but the needle came out, so they stuck her again in the other arm and were able to get some more blood until it started clogging in the tube. So we were done, and are hoping they got enough so we don't have to take her back there. Poor girl was crying so much she was sweating! Needless to say we took her for ice cream after that, that's the least we could do after going through all that!

Just wanted to update the blog and let everyone know how things are going. Jaime is working on updating the website with pictures of being home so check it soon for new pictures. I'll include the link...
http://www.reyesfamily.phanfare.com/

Thanks again for continued prayers and support! We appreciate you all!
~Melissa

Sunday, May 22, 2011

We're Home!!

Yes, we are home and so excited to finally be here! We got in Thursday evening, around 7:30 p.m. and had our family waiting for us at the airport. Anna was able to meet all of her grandparents and her aunt Genna and Uncle Brent and cousin Mason. She was very shy, only letting Daddy hold her but we did just get through flying for about 15 hours with a 3 hour layover in LA. She did incredible on the plane, sitting in her own seat just playing, or sleeping. She slept for about half of the first flight and dozed on and off during the 2nd one. The big girls did really good on the flight too. Avery slept quite a bit but Abby, not so much. Jaime nor I slept at all so we figured by the time we got home and went to bed, we had been up for about 32+ hours straight! Needless to say we were EXHAUSTED!!

After visiting with our family at the airport we headed home, to Anna's FIRST real home ever! We showed her around the house and her new room and she really seemed to love it! She dove right into the toys playing with them and just walked around exploring the entire house. It was so cute! Then it was close to 10:45 so it was time for bed! We slept pretty good, with Anna waking up some throughout the night. Avery woke up around 3:30 and we tried getting her back to sleep and finally just let her sleep with us (desperate times call for desperate measures) and that did the trick. Abby got up around 9:15 and then Jaime got up with her around 10:00 but then they both came back to bed at 11:00 and then we woke up at 12:30 p.m. I can not even begin to tell you how awful I felt! I seriously have never felt that bad, in fact I was so weak I couldn't even lift Anna up into her highchair to feed her, so Jaime had to that. Avery slept til 1:30 pm and that was only because we woke her up!! Friday was rough, but we made it through...barely. The last two nights have been pretty tough too, with both big girls waking up at 3:45 and Anna getting up around 6 to 8 times each night crying. She seems to be ok once she sees us, so it's almost as if she's waking up just to make sure we are there...poor girl! We want her to know we are here FOREVER and will never leave her! Yesterday the big girls were up at 5:45 am and this morning Avery was up at 3:45 with Abby up at 5:00 never going back to sleep! Ahhhhh!! I am praying we get over this jetlag soon! Abby heads back to school tomorrow so hopefully she will be all rested up to go. We are all about to take a nap now.

Anna has been doing great since being home. She seems to feel very comfortable with her new home and just loves playing with all her toys and playing with her sisters. So far it seem the toys on the fridge are her favorite! :-) She is taking great naps in her crib in her room, while at night we are having her sleep in a pack and play in our room. At night, she could do better, but she's probably suffering through jetlag as well, so I am hoping soon she, too, will be able to sleep through the night!

I'll post in a few days to let you all know if things are getting better. We appreciate your continued prayers as we adjust back to Texas time, as well as having Anna transition to her new family!

Thank you!!
~Melissa

Monday, May 16, 2011

I hate to say it but...

Anna really is the CUTEST one here!! I mean I know I'm her mama and am suppose to think my child is adorable but after seeing all the children with their new forever families there is no comparison, Anna is the most precious one here! Even Abby will look around and whisper to me 'Mommy, Anna is the cutest baby here'...such the proud big sister!

It has been a nice change of pace and scenery being here in Guangzhou this past week. It is much different than the last city we were in. The sidewalks are safer to walk on, there are many more shops, the hotel is super nice with beautiful landscaping as well as a swimming pool with a water fall (the big girls favorite part). Before we came here, our last day in Nanchang was spent getting an 80 minute foot massage for only $8.00. That included tip too! Definitely can't find that good of deal back in the states. They even massaged our arms, legs and back too! For that price, we all went, so Jaime, me and the girls split one and that costs us all a whopping $25. We flew here Friday night and that was Anna's first time on a plane. Thankfully the flight was only about 1 1/2 hours and she did pretty good except getting a little fussy at take off and was crying a bit at touchdown. We have one other short flight (tomorrow to Hong Kong) before the long one to California which is Thursday. We are praying that one goes smoothly and she can sleep some, as well as be occupied by her sisters.

The first day we were here, Saturday, we had to take Anna's picture for her Visa and then went to have a medical exam done. Not much to that exam so we will definitely take her to see our pediatrician when we get back home. We did some shopping and walking around as well, and then that night we had a group dinner with the other families from our agency (13 families total). The following day, Sunday we had made arrangements with our agency ahead of time to not go to some temple the group was going to but instead go to the safari and boy was that an AWESOME decision on Jaime's part! That was an incredible safari! There are two parts to the safari, first on a train (or car) where you drive through to see all the animals and then the other part is on foot walking around just like at a zoo. This place is by far better than any zoo I've been to! So many animals to see and many were up close and we were able to feed some too. I'll include the link to our website so you can see all the pictures of that and others we've taken on our trip. If you click 'view slideshow' it goes pretty quickly to view all the pictures to music.

After the safari we took the girls (all three of them) swimming and they loved it! Ok, the big girls loved it...Anna, well, not so much. She did ok, she cried a little bit and then tolerated it and then was ready to get out, but hey, at least she got in. The water was very cold so maybe if it was warmer it would have been a different experience.

Yesterday was a low key day, we slept in, went shopping and then in the afternoon we were finally able to meet Jenny, the executive director of True Children's Home, where Anna has spent the majority of her life. We would have LOVED to tour the place but it's almost 2 hours away from here and then we weren't sure what to do with Anna because we didn't want her to go in and see the place as it might make her sad seeing her old friends and caretakers and she has made such great progress. We didn't want to do anything to cause a setback. But we were so thankful to at least have met Jenny...she is the one that always kept us in the loop about Anna Wei Wei, sent us pictures and video footage of her, so that was wonderful getting to meet her. And another amazing thing about Jenny, in talking to her yesterday, is she is a Christian, so how much more comforting that was to find out the place in China where Anna was is run by a Christian woman. She even told us they'd sing Jesus Loves me a lot to the kids....just precious!

Today we had to get up early and go to the US consulate for an oath taking ceremony (on Anna's behalf) for her to receive her Visa which will be ready tomorrow. Once we touch down at our first stop in the US she will officially be a US citizen...woohoo!! Right now Jaime is swimming with the big girls while Anna is napping and I'm getting this blog caught up. Probably the last time I'll post in China, as we will be packing tomorrow and then heading to Hong Kong tomorrow evening, where we will stay one night and then fly home on Thursday!! We can not wait!

This has definitely been an amazing journey that we will always cherish and never forget. I'm so glad we brought our older girls and they were able to experience this with us. They have done an amazing job and we are so proud of them. Yes, they've had their moments but considering they've been stuck in a hotel room for 15 days with just each other (no friends from back home, no backyard to play in, no pets, no tv, etc.) and in another country as well as getting used to a new sister, I'd say we coudn't have asked for them to be any better! Thanks to everyone for their prayers and we ask for continued prayers for our flight back home!!

Our website link if you want to view our pictures is... http://www.reyesfamily.phanfare.com/

Thanks!
~Melissa

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Anna & her mommy!

We've taken almost 1,000 pictures on this trip, but so far this one is absolutely the best!
-Jaime



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Making progress...

Ok, it's been a few days since I've last posted and there has definitely been some progress made in all areas from sleeping better at night, to Anna opening up to us girls more too! Yeah!! On Monday (the day after Gotcha Day) we had some paperwork to take care of so we went to the Civil Affair's Office that morning. This is where the adoption was official and Anna Wei Wei became our daughter!! After that we went to where any visiting family in China would go....to Walmart!! We had to get some necessities like more diapers, wipes and since we were hungry as it was lunchtime, we got many snacks. The girls had fun taking turns pushing Anna around in the shopping cart and she did great! We got some KFC for lunch and headed back to the hotel. Jaime put Anna down for a nap while I took the big girls to the playroom in our hotel to burn off some energy. I came back an hour later to check on them and Anna had only slept for 15 minutes before waking up. I guess better than nothing! That evening she had her first bath...well, not her first  bath ever, but just as our daughter! :-) She didn't care for it too much but she did tolerate it. She went to bed around 7:45 and the rest of us went to bed around 8:30. The big girls did better this night, as they slept til 5:45, not toally ideal but that wake up time I can deal with, but then Anna was up at 4:30 in which this case mommy was a little glad for her prefering daddy because guess who got up with her while mommy got to sleep a little longer??

Now we are to Tuesday and are headed to The People's Park. It was our guide, Jenny's, idea to go there and we are so glad she took us there as it was lots of fun. We had no idea what to expect but they had lots to do for all the girls! The park was huge, so lots of walking and beautiful scenery as well as stops along the way at different park like features, like swings, monkey bars, etc. But the girls favorite part was when we got to the amusement park! There was all kinds of rides so the girls picked about 4 or 5 to ride and loved them all! Anna had a great time too and loves being outside. We got lots of smiles and even some laughs too! On the way back to the hotel we stopped at McDonalds for lunch to go (can I just tell you how ready I am for a home cooked meal??) and Jaime and our guide went inside to order while I stayed in the car with the girls! So, that means Anna had to sit with her mama and she wasn't too happy at first, but she calmed down pretty quickly. And not only that but I even got her to smile at me as well as laugh as we were playing, so that just melted this mommy's heart to have my daughter show me these emotions instead of being sad and crying. Again, making some progress!!

At the hotel we did the same as the day before, had lunch, Jaime put Anna down for her nap while I took the big girls to the playroom and this time she slept for abour 45 minutes. Not great, but again, better than the day before with her 15 minute nap! We just hung out in our room, ordered room service (rice and noodles) and then to bed around 9:00. We all slept in til about 5:45, even Anna too so getting better. She did wake up around 1:45 though and Daddy got her back to sleep but it took about 40 minutes or so.

Today, Wednesday, our guide took us to an inside park as the weather was very cold and windy. It was hot yesterday so that part of this trip reminds us of home and that infamous Texas weather...We told our guide, Jenny about that saying we Texans say 'If you don't like the weather just wait 5 minutes' and she loved it! The girls had lots of fun at the inside park today, there were trampolines, swings, slides, a ball pit and even boats! Anna had fun too, but the big girls definitely had a blast! Anna took a great nap today-just over 2 hours!! We are hanging out in the room right now just playing and about to have dinner but not sure just what yet. Rice or noodles?? Who knows?? Maybe we'll branch out and order something else and with that too, we will make some progress.

~Melissa

Monday, May 9, 2011

Gotcha Day!!! (and other stuff)....it's gonna be a long post!

Wow, ok where to begin?? I guess I haven't really posted since we've been here, though Jaime has and he's also done an AMAZING job keeping our website updated with pictures all along the way! What a great hubby he is!! I guess, I'll start with our first few days here in Nanchang and then to Gotcha Day as well as the day after...
Well, first we have still yet to fully adjust to the time difference. It's funny, because we actually did better in Hong Kong which is where we spent our first two nights, and now the past three nights here in Nanchang have not been so good. If it were just me and Jaime I think we'd be fine but the big girls just can't get it right. The first night we arrived all three of us girls could NOT keep our eyes open and finally gave in and fell asleep super early....5:45 p.m. I was hoping all of us would be able to sleep all night but that was not the case. Both girls were up at 1:45 a.m. Yes, you read that correctly, 1:45 A.M.....ahhhh!!! I mean that is only 8 hours-almost, and at home they sleep more than that on any given night, so not sure why only 8 hours was enough here. We tried everything from making them go back to sleep, to letting them stay up for awhile and having a snack, to laying back down but nothing ever worked and we were up for good by 5 something...ugh! That was Friday night/Saturday morning.  On Saturday we didn't have any plans so we just did some shopping along the street next to our hotel and hopefully you've seen the pictures of that...it was an experience! We all were exhausted so we took a nap from 1:15 to 4:15 and it felt good! We went to bed between 8 and 9, and then that night the girls got up between 3 and 4, so again only 7 to 8 hours of sleep which is nothing like how they sleep at home. We tried all the 'tricks' like the night before but nothing worked! Of course this was the night before our Gotcha Day so we were all very excited so I'm guessing that is why we were all up early...or so you'd think. But then on Sunday, after Gotcha Day and only Avery napping (for 1 1/2 hours) we went to bed again around 8ish and they were up AGAIN at 3:45! So I am PRAYING hard that tonight we will all get back on track. We had NO naps today and we will stay up later, maybe until 9-10 and surely that will do the trick. If you'd like to pray for that as well, I'd sure appreciate it!

Ok, onto Gotcha Day and to how Anna Wei Wei has been doing...yesterday was Mother's Day and our Gotcha Day! The time we got her was 3:30 p.m. and with waking up around 3:30 a.m. that sure made for a LONG time to wait! We knew our guide, Jenny was going to call us around 3 and then that is when we would make our way down to the playroom in our hotel where a lot of the adoptions take place here. We were anxiously waiting by the phone by 2:30 (ok, Jaime and I were really ready  by 2) and Jenny didn't call until about 3:15. We made our way down to the playroom and can I just tell you how fast our pulses were racing?? Well, you can imagine...very fast! We heard the elevator ding about three times and kept thinking it was her, but it was a false alarm all three times, but then the 4th time was her! We saw her caretakers first, and then the one that travelled here with her was holding her hand walking with her and she looked absolutely adorable! Her pictures really do not do her justice! I started crying the moment I saw her (Abby did too...precious big sister) and then Wei Wei started crying...wait no, not just crying but bawling!!!! She was not a happy camper at all! We tried to hold her but that was just not going to happen. We were talking to her, telling her it's ok, we love her, etc. but she just kept crying. I went ahead and took her and walked around the room with her trying to calm her down but other than getting swatted at, that was not successful! Jaime took her next and she eventually calmed down and let me tell you so far she is a complete DADDY'S GIRL!!!! She LOVES her daddy, and I mean LOVES! She wants him to hold her, feed her, change her diaper, etc. She will let me do these things without crying, but often she cries. So, yesterday after we filled out some paperwork, we came back to our room, fed her some juice and then skyped with all of our parents (It was 5 am their time so what troopers they were!) and as we were skyping Anna fell asleep in my lap so Jaime laid her down and she was out for the count and slept til 5:30 a.m. so almost 12 hours...now if only her big sisters would do the same!

Ok, as I'm looking over this post I realize it's a REALLY long one so I'll post tomorrow on what we've been up to since Gotcha Day as well as how she's doing, but the short summary is; we signed papers today to make her ours officially, as well as she's coming around and playing with her big sisters more and still is a daddy's girl!

Thanks for your continued prayers as we covet them all!
In Him,
Melissa (mommy to Abby, Avery and Anna)

Here's a link to our on-line photo albums...
http://albums.phanfare.com/slideshow.aspx?i=1&db=1&pw=ckQtaSnL&a_id=5109547 (Gotcha day)

http://albums.phanfare.com/slideshow.aspx?i=1&db=1&pw=vOLrHiju&a_id=5108242 (Nanchang, Jiangxi)

http://albums.phanfare.com/slideshow.aspx?i=1&db=1&pw=tplZEvD0&a_id=5105941 (Hong Kong)

Friday, May 6, 2011

A link to our photo album

Here are some pictures that we've taken so far on our trip. Jaime updated on our website and added music too, so you can view the pics as a slideshow while listening to the songs. Enjoy!!

http://albums.phanfare.com/slideshow.aspx?i=1&db=1&pw=tplZEvD0&a_id=5105941

Hong Kong Disney

In 2010, we started planning a "family vacation" to Disney World for 2011 (afterall, we still thought we had a few more years of waiting for our baby girl). But when we got "the call" last November our plans changed suddenly...  for the better! The girls were not disapponted when we told them we weren't going to WDW, but instead were going to China to get their baby sister. When we found out there was a Disneyland in Hong Kong, and we were going there anyway... we knew we had to go.  So... we left a day sooner. That would allow us to spend 1 full day at Hong Kong Disneyland. We all had a great time. The weather was perfect. The girls were excited to see all of the Disney characters and ride the rides. It was another long day and when we got back to the hotel we crashed hard... sleeping over 9 hours! I guess we needed it. Next stop... Nanchang, Jiangxi!



Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hong Kong and Avery's birthday!

Yesterday was a very LONG day (and Avery's 5th birthday)! First, we stayed up until 1:30AM packing Monday night and then woke up at 5:15AM to start our day. Our flight left DFW at 8:50AM. We arrived in San Francisco, had a 3 hour layover and then left for Hong Kong at 1:30PM (California time)... still May 3rd. We arrived in Hong Kong at 7PM, May 4th!
Due to an "unexpected" head wind, our flight lasted a little longer than scheduled...15 hours! As you can imagine, that is a very long time to be on a plane (that's a long time to do anything)! After watching a few movies, a couple naps, lunch, etc... we were only half way finished with our flight!
We can't say enough about our airline "Cathay Pacific". They were very professional and it was the best service we've ever had on a flight...ever. They were awesome with the girls, had tons of in flight entertainment including 100's of movies, TV shows, games, etc. all "on demand".
By the time we got to our hotel at Hong Kong Disney we were wiped out and ready for sleep. The time difference is 13 hrs (We are ahead of you all in Dallas). So it's now 7AM in Hong Kong and we are getting ready to set out for HK Disneyland. We'll post some pics of that later, Only 3 more days till we meet our baby girl!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Only 4 more days to go!!!!

Wow, I seriously can NOT believe it's almost time for us to go! We have a busy weekend ahead...tonight is Avery's 5th birthday party with friends, we have soccer games tomorrow and another birthday party to go to, church on Sunday as well as celebrate with family for Avery's birthday. Then we will have Monday to finish up all the last minute stuff and we leave early Tuesday morning, May 3rd (Avery's actual 5th birthday!)...

Thought I'd update the blog now while I have a time (ha!). Our goal is to update it almost daily while we are in China so please check it often if you want to see updates/pictures/videos!! It's hard to imagine that Anna Wei Wei will be in our arms in just 9 days!!

Thank you so much to everyone for your prayers and support in this incredible journey that God has lead us on. We really appreciate them! I have so many emotions going through me right now as we get closer and closer to leaving...excitement, nervousness, anxiousness, etc. I LOVE something I learned just recently in the last bible study I did and it's this 'God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called'! I keep telling myself that though sometimes I may not feel as prepared as I should be for our new daughter, God is right here with me/us and will equip me/us for whatever we need to do or know, because He has called us to adopt this precious baby girl, this girl that has no home but is about to have a Forever Family!!! Thank you Lord for calling us to do this, because I truly can't imagine life without my third daughter!!

Much Love,
Melissa (Anna Wei Wei's soon to be mommy)

video

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's crunch time!!

We leave in 2 weeks and are busy getting ready for the flight, the 2 1/2 week trip, our 3rd daughter...just to name a few of the things we are getting ready for! Ha! I can't believe not only will we be headed to China in two weeks, but also we will be arriving back home with our new daughter in exactly one month from today as we land at DFW on Thursday, May 19th.

I posted (or Jaime did) on Facebook but since not everyone is on Facebook, we got our itinerary last week and our 'Gotcha Day' is May 8th, Mother's Day!! How awesome is that?? I truly can't think of a more perfect way to spend the day than by getting our 3rd daughter!!

We are getting super excited and are continuing to pray everything goes as smoothly as it has this far!
In Him,
Melissa

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Three Weeks and A Shower

Ok, we have three weeks until we board our plane for China...well first California, then Hong Kong and then China where we will get our 3rd daughter!! We will have her in our arms in LESS than 1 month! I can hardly believe it myself, it sometimes just doesn't seem real and may not until she is actually ours!! We still have not received our itinerary for our trip so we aren't sure which day will be 'Gotcha Day' but it will be either be May 8th or 9th. and really either way you look at it it will be Mother's Day. They are 14 hours ahead of us so the 9th there will be the 8th here so regardless which day it is I will get the BEST Mothers Day gift ever!! My precious Anna Wei Wei!!

This past Sunday night, I got the most awesome surprise...a surprise baby shower/welcome home Anna shower! I've been part of an incredible Pokeno group for the past 10 years and they threw me the shower! They absolutely 100% pulled it off (with Jaime's help) as I had NO idea! And it was even at my own house! How cool is that?? Jaime conveniently 'locked' his keys in his truck and that is how they got me out of the house and then once I returned and walked in through the garage they all jumped out and surprised me and I was speechless (a first for me, right??) Anyway, we had a great time with food and fun and I'm so thankful for all they did!

I want to take a moment to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has supported us and prayed for and with us on this incredible journey God has led us on. We really appreciate your prayers so again, thank you for them. Some of you have asked for specific things to pray for so here are some things I've thought of recently: pray for a smooth flight, especially for Avery as this is her FIRST time on a plane. Please pray for our safety and health while in China, pray for Gotcha Day that although we are new to Wei Wei she will feel our love and bond with us soon, and then pray for our return flight and for Wei Wei because this will be her first time on a plane.

We are going tomorrow to get some shots before travelling and these next few weeks will be spent doing all those 'last minute' things that need to get done...packing, shopping, making lists for our pets that are being cared for by family and friends, among other stuff.

I'll update the blog again when we have our itinerary and know when 'Gotcha Day' will be!!
Thanks!
Melissa

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We booked our flight!!!

It's official!! We are going to China and are leaving 6 weeks from today, which is Tuesday, May 3rd. That also happens to be Avery's 5th birthday-happy birthday to her!! Jaime has been working with a travel agent who specializes in international adoption and they finally nailed down our itinerary so we booked our flights to and from Hong Kong today! We fly into Hong Kong because Anna Wei Wei is in south China and that is the closest airport to where we need to be. We leave early May 3rd and return Thursday evening, May 19th so we will be gone just over 2 weeks. One thing they include in this trip is a tour of Beijing for a day but we opted to skip that and instead take the girls to Disneyland Hong Kong for the day! We surprised them with that just a few nights ago and they are very excited!!

We are really hoping 'Gotcha Day' will be May 8th, as that is Mother's Day. Gotcha day is the actual day when we will get to not only see in person, but hold our precious daughter, Anna Wei Wei, for the first time and from that day on, we will be a Forever Family!! Our agency said it will either be the 8th or 9th and we will know for sure in a day or so. Our US consulate appointment is set for May 17th and we fly home the 18th, not getting back here until the 19th. Some have asked how long the flight is...well, it's a total of about 18 hours of flying time. From here we fly to California and that flight is about 4 hours, then we have a layover that lasts a few hours,then from California we fly straight to Hong Kong and that flight is 14 hours.  Then we do the same thing coming back, fly from Hong Kong to California (this time the flight is about 13 hours) and then another layover in California, and then from there to DFW in a 4 hour flight!!

I can't believe this is finally happening ,and soon we will be meeting our daughter! Thanks again to everyone who has been with us every step of this journey. We could not have done it without your prayers and support! We appreciate you all!!
Much love,
Melissa

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

We're going to China!!!!!

Ok, there has been quite a lot that has happened recently but I'll start with the first bit of news that we received last week and that is Travel Approval! That is one of the last steps we were waiting on and now that we've gotten it all that is left is making our Consulate appointment and then booking our flights to China! Our agency is working on our consulate appointment and we hope to hear back from them THIS week and that should confirm that we will be going to China on May 5th! That is 7 weeks from tomorrow, March 17th!!! So, we have lots to do to get ready to bring our 3rd daughter HOME!! As soon as we hear when our consulate appointment is and book our flights we will let you all know!

This morning before Jaime left for the fire station he woke me up to show video footage Jenny had sent us of Anna Wei Wei (so needless to say I was not one bit upset he woke me up at 5 am during spring break ;-) She sent us 5 different videos of Anna at the place she is at and has been for the last year (all recent footage). I will post some of them on the blog so you can enjoy them too. They are just precious!!

And onto other BIG news and a HUGE praise is we heard back from Show Hope (the Steven Curtis Chapman organization for orphans) and they have awarded us a grant!! Thank you Lord!! We applied to two different organizations for grants and heard back from one a few weeks ago that we had been denied so we had been hoping and praying that this one would help us with our travel funds and they did! And really, how fitting is it that this one chose us to help?? I mean, considering it was Steven Curtis Chapman himself that planted the seed in our minds to even consider adopting from China 6 years ago at his concert! Just amazing how God works that way!!

Ok, now onto some videos of our precious Anna Wei Wei! Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!!

video

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video
~Melissa

Monday, March 7, 2011

March 3rd...a Big Day!

Thursday, March 3rd turned out to be a BIG day for us! First, when I woke up and checked email that morning I received an email from Jenny, (the lady in charge of the home/facility that Anna Wei Wei is at) saying she was admitted into the hospital and was going to be having her cleft palate surgery that weekend! Needless to say we were shocked! We were told months ago she was set to have this surgery in April but once our adoption process started to move quicker than expected and we were hoping to go to China in late March/early April we just assumed she had been taken off the list for the surgery, especially since we didn't hear anything else about it! Then back in February some papers we had expedited to China in late January didn't make it there until AFTER Chinese New Year (mid February) pushing back our travel dates. At the time we were so upset, but NOW we realize it was all part of God's perfect plan and His amazing timing! Had we gone to get her in March/April then chances are they would not have done the surgery, and we emailed Jenny telling her it looked like it would be May before we could get there, so that could have possibly been the reason for the surgery being in early March.

Yes, of course we would have LOVED to have been there for her and with her during this difficult surgery but after doing research on cleft palate surgery, it really is one that is 'the sooner the better'. Had we gotten her before this surgery, it would have been soo many changes for her such as a new family, new home, new country, new language and then on top of all that to be put through such a major surgery, it might have been too much! This way, she is being comforted by those that she is familiar with and understanding the language in which they are using to comfort her...hope all that makes sense??


Here are some pictures they sent us of her after her surgery this past weekend!



Later in the afternoon on the 3rd of March, we had another homestudy visit. We are suppose to have one before we travel so this was that one! We will have one more but that will be post adoption. Our last social worker, Tiffany, had a baby last year so is no longer doing home study visits so we met with a new one. Her name is Beverley and she was very nice and had LOTS of helpful information. She gave us lots of tips on the traveling and the transitioning phase of starting our new family with Anna, so that was nice! It was almost a bit overwhelming, but we know it's things we need to think about it so it was good for us. She also was very excited to hear about the place Anna Wei Wei is at because she has volunteered over in China with a home that is associated with Wei Wei's home and had many nice things to say about the place, so that was so reassuring to hear that!

We are still awaiting Travel Approval so as soon as we have that, we will let you all know. We are thinking it will be May when we travel to get her, but again that all depends on when we get our TA! Hopefully it will be soon...

Hope you all have a great Spring Break next week!
~Melissa

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Shower and Article 5

I am blessed to be a part of an amazing ABF class at our church. (Adult Bible Fellowship class). They threw me a baby shower for our sweet Anna this past Saturday and it turned out wonderfully! Anna is definitely set for when she gets here!! She got clothes, pajamas, the necessities (changing pad, covers, crib sheets, hooded towels) and much much more!! We played games, ate delicious (and cute) cupcakes and had a great time! Now I've got to get a move on with putting her room together with all the wonderful gifts I received at the shower!

We heard yesterday that our Article 5 was picked up so the LAST thing that is standing between us and getting Anna is our TA (travel approval). As soon as we receive that we can make our US consulate appointment and book our trip and then we will be on our way to get our precious daughter! We can NOT wait!

Since it still may be another month or two before we go we plan on sending another care package this week so as soon as she gets it, hopefully they will take pictures like they have before, I'll post them!

Thanks again for your continued support and prayers!
Love ya'll!
~Melissa

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

We have possible dates for travel!!

We heard from our agency yesterday on possible dates for travel. We still aren't to the point where we can book our flights or anything but we are getting close. We hope to have our Article 5 picked up tomorrow in China and taken to the CCAA(Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs) by Monday, and then we wait for Travel Approval and then we can make our US consulate appointment. Ok, so onto our possible dates...well, our agency sent us an email saying that families travel on Thursdays based on when appointments are once you arrive, so with that, the ONLY date we can travel in April is the 7th! China has different holidays throughout the month of April where offices are closed, etc. so that rules out anyone traveling any of the other Thursdays (April 14th, 21st or the 28th). If we don't get our stuff in time (Article 5, Travel Approval, etc.) then the next available date to travel is Thursday, May 5th. So, we are tentatively planning on the May 5th date for us to travel to get our precious Anna!!

Oh and one other thing we have to do is have one more home study visit with our social worker and that is scheduled for next Thursday, March 3rd, so pray that all goes well (and neither girl wants to make a 'toy gun' for her...LOL-if you've read all my posts up til now you will know what I'm refering too ;-)

I'll keep you posted on when we hear more so you all will know exactly when we leave for China!

Thanks again for your continued support and prayers!!
~Melissa

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Good News and Bad...

Well, the good news is we got new pictures of Anna Wei Wei today! We sent her a care package just under 2 weeks ago and Jenny sent us pictures today! She is wearing the outfit we sent her, along with playing with an Elmo camera we sent too, and looking (and listening) at the book we sent her. It's one of those where you record yourself reading the book so we all took turns reading the book. Now Anna has pictures of her family as well as a recording of our voices! I know I'm a little biased but she really is so STINKIN' CUTE!!

Now, onto the bad news...we got an email saying our papers we expedited to China 2 weeks ago just arrived to the Guangzhou offices today! We were told they arrived in Bejing on the 27th or 28th of January and were taken to Guangzhou on the 31st, but now we find out that wasn't the case and they didn't get them until today. So, all that to say it's possible that this 2 week delay will also delay us going to China! So, after getting those pictures of our baby girl today makes us want to get there that much sooner, only to find out it may be later!

But like I posted as my status on Facebook, I know our God is bigger than paperwork, or our adoption agency, or even the Chinese Government so if it's HIS will for us to get there sooner, He will make it happen! I just have to trust in Him and know when we go to get our precious daughter that is when we are meant to be there to get her!





Hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we do! ~Melissa

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

God has done it again!!!

Yesterday, Monday, February 7th started out as an ordinary day; I woke up, got dressed, ate breakfast, took Avery to school, then headed to the gym to do a class at 10:00 but since I got there early I brought my bible study book to read and work on. I then did the class at 10:00, went to the grocery store, went home to unload groceries, ate lunch, and then I uploaded pictures to Walmart for my upcoming scrapbook retreat, etc. In the late afternoon when I went to check our mail that is when my ordinary day turned to an absolutely extraordinary day!!! You see what I found in our mailbox was an envelope that had Reyes Family written on it and that was the first and only handwritten thing that I saw. As I opened it up there was a beautiful 'Congratulations' card inside that was blank and inside the card there was a sheet of paper with a typed message saying that God had given them this money and He told them to give it to us to help with our adoption travels, along with some bible verses typed on the paper as well, and with that message there was a cashiers check for a VERY GENEROUS amount of money. In fact, I'm still in AWE of the generousity of this person (or people) that donated this amount of money anonymously to us to help us with our trip to China to adopt our baby girl! I truly am speechless and just can't seem to stop the tears from flowing every time I think about it!

Let me back up to earlier in my day when I was at the gym working on my bible study for this week. The study we are doing is by Priscilla Shirer and it's called One in a Million: Journey to your Promised Land. I'm on week two and the part that I was working on talks about how we all go through difficulties in our lives, or what she calls them 'The Wildnerness' but we've got to journey through those to get to where God wants us to be, just like how Moses led people out of Egypt to a better place, Canaan. They could have gone a different way, but God knew the way they needed to go that was best for them. Anyway, there was a part that asked us to list the toughest part about our 'wildnerness journey' we are going through and how we see God's part in it, and the FIRST thing I listed was 'money for our adoption'. I think that is why I can't seem to stop the tears from flowing because I didn't know how my day was going to turn out with God's part in my wilderness. Nor did the person or people that generously gave us that money have ANY idea that very same day I had put down 'money for our adoption travel' as our wilderness but only GOD knew exactly what was going to happen!! So, yes, GOD has done it again and has provided for us with this adoption in ways I just didn't think were possible! Which is silly right?  Because with God ALL things are possible!!

Just had to share this amazing story with all of you! Thanks to everyone for your support and your prayers! I really wish I knew who it was that donated the money, so I could thank them personally, but I know that is not what they wanted because they wanted God to get the glory, as it should be so...THANK YOU GOD for this amazing gift!
In Him,
Melissa

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Our papers are in China!

We received the approval from the NVC (National Visa Center) last week so Jaime emailed that to our agency, Great Wall, and they fedexed it all (along with our I800 approval) to China. They received it there this past Friday and now we wait for them to deliver that to the US Consulate and go from there. The next step is for them to issue an Article 5 which takes two weeks and then our TA (Travel Approval) and for us to make the appointment with the consulate and make our travel arrangements. This will more than likely take place in the next 4 weeks and then we hope to go 4-6 weeks from that, so we are still on target to travel to China at the end of March/early April!

We mailed a 2nd package to Anna Wei Wei this past Friday. In it we sent her a book where you record yourself reading the book, so her entire family (Daddy, Mommy and 2 sisters) all took turns reading the book. Can't wait until she gets it and then she will not only have pictures of us, but will also become familiar with our voices! ;-) I'm hoping Jenny, the lady in chage of the place she is at now, will send more pictures of her with the book and other items in the care package. If she does, I will post them on the blog as soon as we get them!

In the mail yesterday we received the hard copy of her 'finding ad' so we have the picture, it's translation, AND a copy of the actual paper that has her ad in it. For those that wanted to know the translation on what her finding ad said it reads...'On August 3, 2009, an abandoned baby was found at the gate of the Shengfang Town Government in Lianhua ("Lotus Flower") County.
Name is An Wei Wei
A Girl
She was born on July 25, 2009
Characteristic of body; She has a round face, a little hair, and a cleft palate and lip.
-That is how it was listed exactly so that is how I posted it!

We'll keep you all posted as we know more! And as always, thanks for all your prayers!
~Melissa

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Anna's finding ad

When a child is abandoned in China, they are usually left in a very public place where they can easily be found. There are numerous reasons why children (especially girls) are abandoned. Sometimes it has to do with China's "one child policy" or, the Chinese culture which places a higher value and gives preference to boys. Other times, children are born with special needs and the parents simply aren't able or can't afford to care for them. Knowing this, they leave their child in a very public place where they know they will be found, placed in an orphanage and hopefully adopted into a loving family that is able to care for them.  When a child is found, their picture is placed in a "finding ad". These ads appear in newspapers and is a way for the government to be sure that somebody isn't looking for the child, perhaps a relative.

We are fortunate to have received Anna's finding ad. Some of you may know that she was found on August 3rd, 2009 in front of a government building. Amazing that her parents left her there. We don't know why. We hope that they left her there hoping that Anna would find her forever family. A family that will protect her, care for her and love her like crazy. They may never know for sure, but she did find that family, or I guess you could say we found her.

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's updating time...

Ok, sorry I haven't updated in a few weeks, I really do need to be better about that, don't I?? (don't answer that Amy ;-) So, here I am updating...let's see where to begin?? Let's start with Christmas break a few weeks ago when we took the girls to get their passports. It really is an awesome story of how God is such a BIG part of our adoption process down to the smallest of details...Well, we needed to get our girls' their passports over the 2 week break from school while they were off. A few days before we took them to get their passports, a sweet friend of ours from church had emailed to me saying she was touched by our story and wanted to donate some money to help with our travel funds to China. I was so touched that she wanted to help us, but at the same time hesitant to let her so I didn't send her our address right away. Well, a few days later what did we get in the mail? A check from that sweet friend for the EXACT amount of what the girls' passports and passport photos were going to cost us!! Later she had told me, after I didn't send her our address, she just 'happen' to be looking in a place she never looks and what was in there?? Our address I had given her a year earlier that she had forgotten about. If that isn't the hand of God in this journey I don't know what is!!! Just so amazed by God's blessings in all of this!

The next step in this process is waiting on our I800 approval (the US immigration saying we are ok to adopt Anna Wei Wei) and we got that approval this past Friday-yippee!! So, now we wait for them to send that approval to the NVC (National Visa Center) and then both of those will go to China and soon after that is when we receive TA (travel approval) and will make our Chinese consulate appointment. We are still looking to travel to China to get Anna in late March/early April!! We are so busy getting ready for her, and can't wait til the day we go to China to get our baby girl!!

We also spoke with the lady where Anna is at right now and as of now we are unsure if Anna Wei Wei will go to a foster home or not. Originally she was going to go to one but I guess now that we hope to be there in 2 months that might be too much moving her around so she is hoping Anna gets to stay with them at the home she is at now. I trust she knows what's best for Anna so if she says that is best for her, then we hope that is what happens as well.

I think that is everything that has happened thus far in this journey since the last time I posted. Oh and if you didn't see the last post where there was a picture of our precious Anna, look below at the last blog entry on January 5th to see her!! Can't wait to squeeze her up!

Thanks again to all of you who are lifting us up in prayer throughout this journey, we absolutely are feeling those prayers!
Love,
Melissa

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

We've got new pictures!


Late last night, we got an email from the director of the home where Anna is staying. They received our care package in the mail and sent us some pictures of Anna wearing the PJ's we bought for her while playing with the toys and looking at the photo album we sent her. Melissa was really excited when we looked at the last picture. As you can see, Anna is looking at one of our "family" photos and is pointing right at Melissa...
Good stuff!