Monday, November 24, 2014

Home!

Since I was unable to make any blog posts in Guangzhou, on the last part of our adoption trip, I thought I'd do a post including highlights from that time and also our homecoming.

Our time in Guangzhou was infinitely better that our time in Changsha.  There were MANY other American adopting families and our hotel was wonderful.  Also, Asher really started to get more used to us, and especially warm up to me.

We got to take a city tour and also go on a boat cruise on the Pearl River with our CCAI group.  It was wonderful to get out and see some beautiful places!










We had Asher's medical exam, which went great and we visted the US Consulate to take our oath and get Asher's visa and final paperwork.









When the 21st came, we were SO ready to get home.  We had a looong day of travel ahead, a 2 1/2hr van ride to the Hong Kong airport, a 14 1/2hr plane ride to Chicago, and then a 3hr car ride home.  It was so amaing to see our boys again and we were so thankful to our family that drove all the way to Chicago to make our homecoming so wonderful!










Asher has been doing AMAZING at home!  I am so thankful for this wonderful transition.  We have a while to go before we beat this jet lag, but everything else has been so wonderful and sweet. 




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 We are looking forward to getting Asher into occupational therapy and speech therapy.  We have so much hope for his future!

We are so blessed by this addition to our family and so very thankful to everyone who helped us get him home!  God is so good and so faithful!



~Carly






Thursday, November 13, 2014

Last day in Changsha

It's 5:30am, and it's our last day in Changsha.  I am SO ready to leave and move on to Guangzhou.  I hate that I feel this way.  This is Asher's province.  He has never left his province, and here I am counting the hours until we can get outta here.  This has been our toughest place.  It's just hard here.  We saw our first American in days yesterday at breakfast and I wanted to hug her!  We listened to her speak perfect Engligh and it was music to my ears.  Guangzhou means other Americans who are also adopting.  It means getting out of our hotel room every day and actually seeing things.  It means getting into a hotel room that I don't hate, maybe even a bed that doesn't feel like a board.  I feel like such a spoiled child, but this is the place I'm at right now.  It's SO hard to deal with Asher's fits and his rejection of me when everything around us is in chaos too.

Bedtime last night actually gave me a glimmer of hope.  He let me snuggle him to sleep instead of me having to hold him down because he's hitting, kicking, and spitting.  He held my hands and played with my fingers.  He only did the teeth grinding a couple short times, unlike the night before where he did it for 45min straight.  Only one time did he try to hit, but I stopped him so he started to spit and I quickly turned him and then he was back to cuddling.

This is so hard.  It's exhausting.  Sometimes I'm ready to throw in the towel, like yesterday when he wanted to follow Avery around just so he could push her.  Other times, I'm ready for the challenge.  There are times when he is just the sweetest, funniest little guy and I pray that somewhere in the future, that will be his normal.

This was not a mistake.  I know there will be some who think it was (or maybe already do), but this is definitely where we are supposed to be.  Is it hard?  Absolutely, the hardest thing I've ever done!  Here is what I tell myself when the going gets tough: God doesn't call us to find our little corner of the world, make a cozy little house, and live happily ever after.  He calls us to all kinds of things and in all kinds of different places.  He wants us to have faith in Him and to rest in Him.  To find joy in all things.  Romans 5:3-5 is stamped on my heart and mind right now: "More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

This journey we are on right now is also a reflection of what Jesus did for us.  Romans 5:8 "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  God doesn't only love us when we are pleasing to Him.  He loves us inspite of ourselves,  He died for us while we were still sinners!  I take such solace in this.  This God who loves me so much and loves Asher so much, is the same God who called me to this journey.  He is walking along side me and carrying me when I can't walk.

Again, it's HARD, but it's not a mistake and it's where God has us.  I will leave you with these lyrics from Chris Tomlin's song You Are My King:

Amazing love how can it be?
That my King would die for me
Amazing love I know it's true
It's my JOY to honor you"

~Carly













Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Update from Changsha

We are having a horrible time with our internet here and have not been able to make very many updates.  We met Asher on the 10th, and yesterday, on the 11th, we legally became his parents!  It's all very overwhelming and different than I thought it would be.  He is cute as all get out, but we definitely have a lot of work cut out for us.  When he is happy, it's amazing.  He has the best laugh and his whole face lights up!  But, he is also hitting, kicking, headbutting, and spitting when he is angry.  We have several fits like these every day.  Sometimes they don't last long, sometimes we have to hold him down so he won't hurt us.  Yesterday he slammed his head into my cheek and I look like I've been in a fight!

He is also fully not potty trained and has some difficulty feeding himself with a spoon.  We knew there were be things that would be different than we thought and we knew it would be hard, but this stay in Changsha has put us to the test.

I am SO incredibly thankful for Jon and Avery being here.  They have both been such a help and support for me.  Avery is a little mommy and is always eager to help.  Even when Asher hits her she says "It's ok mommy, it didn't hurt." and she goes right on caring for him.  Jon has been my rock.  He has held me when I cry and reminded me that God knew all these things about Asher, and he picked us to be his parents for a reason.  He reminds me that it is harder here because we are away from our family and friends, our support.  He is so good with Asher and Asher responds much better to Jon when he is having a fit.

Please know it's not all bad and scary, but I'm trying to be open and honest about our journey.  This is real life, and although adoption is often made to seem like a fairy tale where everyone falls in love instantly and lives happily ever after, that just isn't true.  This little boy was abandoned at 6mo. old, has been moved between the orphanage and different foster families, has had no schooling or therapy, and has not had the consistency of a forever family.  He is smart and I see so much potential in him.  God has called us to a hard journey, but I also know it will be a beautiful one as well.  God is faithful and He sustains.

We are anxious to leave Changsha and move on to Guangzhou where there will be many American adopting families staying at our hotel.  We will have a little more free time and hope to see some sights and shop a little.  We are very homesick and anxious to get home, but also remember this feeling we have will likely be what Asher feels once we are home.

Your prayers are much appreciated!  I will leave you with some pictures of the good stuff :)















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Saturday, November 8, 2014

We made it!

We made it to Hong Kong!  The plane ride was looooong.  We had a stressful, long wait before the flight waiting to see if we would all have seats together.  When we first arrived at the airport, all three of us were sitting separately.  They were able to work it out that Avery and I were sitting together, but Jon was two rows behind us.  We had to wait to get seated on the plane to find out if the person sitting next to me on the isle would switch seats with Jon.  Praise the Lord, because the guy had no problem with that and we were soon all seated together and ready to get in the air!  (The guy in the background of the 2nd picture is the guy who ended up switching with Jon!)







 It took awhile to get through immigration and get our bags and I was so happy to see our guide holding the CCAI sign when we finally walked out of customs!  They drove us from the airport, about a half hour drive, to our hotel, the Hyatt Shatin.  A hot shower and a comfy bed never felt so good!








 We woke up at 4:30am Hong Kong time and couldn't go back to sleep.  Breakfast didn't start until 6:30, so we just relaxed and watched the sun come up.  The mountain and water views are just beautiful!





The hotel breakfast was AMAZING!  I've never seen Avery eat that much for breakfast and she was eating her cut up bread and fruit with chopsticks :)





The views all around the hotel are so pretty!  There are gardens, a really nice pool, and a little play area.






Our guide will be here in a little over an hour to take us over the border to the Shenzhen airport.  We will have an hour or so plane ride to Changsha, the capital of Hunan province.  Tomorrow sometime, we will be taken by another guide to the Registration Office to meet Asher!  We are so excited to finally have him in our arms!

Thank you all for your prayers!  We have definitely felt them and have felt the Lord with us.  We hope to have internet access at our next hotel, and will update after we meet our little boy!  Love you all!

~Carly