Now that we have been home for one month we are finally settling in to our "new normal" as a family of SIX! Yikes, that number is crazy. So here we are, at the one month home mark and feeling somewhat settled. Emma is doing amazingly well. Given how her life has changed so drastically in the last month, she is mostly happy, silly, affectionate, sleeps well and eats fairly well. She would be eating great if she could have Chinese cuisine every night. We are still figuring out what American foods she will eat/not eat. She would eat about 10lbs of fresh fruit daily if we would let her. She is not a fan of cereal, pancakes, waffles, breads, pasta (this could be a problem given we eat A LOT of Italian food), most vegetables, milk, apple juice, cheese. She will tolerate chicken, steak, homemade chicken soup, eggs, rice. She loves any fruit, yogurt, ramen noodles (yes, I am embarrassed to admit that I give my child ramen noodles), chicken nuggets, corn on the cob and lollipops. Yup, lollipops. Thank goodness for the fruit in her diet. Just last night she ate about 1/2 of a cantaloupe.
Overall our transition has been smooth with only a few bumps in the road. Our biggest hurdles so far have been sibling jealousy (some days I want to pull my hair out) and medical needs/appointments for Emma. Emma is starting to have some testing done to evaluate her Spina Bifida. She is scheduled for a sedated MRI, full Urodynamics (to evaluate her bladder function), VCUG, Xrays of her left foot/leg, tons of blood work (SB and adoption labs) to be draw and SB clinic appointments. Once we get the initial testing done I am hoping the appointments will be less frequent.
I start back to work next weekend and I am not looking forward to it (sorry to my coworkers who are reading this). Not because I don't like my job, but because I don't know how I am going to fit it in to my schedule right now. I am so tired and worn now, never mind throwing in two 12 hour night shift per week. Ugh. The thought of that makes my stomach feel a little queasy. I am not sure how Emma will do while I am gone also. Attachment/bonding is a tricking thing with adoption. I have worked so hard to gain her trust and I don't want her feeling abandoned again. Sigh.......
Gavin and Sophie are doing really well with the new changes. School is in full swing and both are happy and doing great so far. School, friends, lacrosse(Gavin) and cheer(Sophie) are keeping them super busy. Emma loves her sisters and brothers and is being carted around everywhere. The poor girl has car/motion sickness and needs to be given Dramamine frequently because of all the time we spend in the car. Before we figured out it was car/motion sickness it was not pretty. She screamed, had hot sweats then proceeded to vomit everywhere in her car seat. We seem to have that under control now. Fingers crossed.
Emma's English is amazing considering she has been with us less than six weeks. She speaks in 3-4 word sentences sometimes. She probably knows about 200+ English words right now. My favorite is "I lub you". Just melts my heart. I started to list all the words the other day but the list was getting way to long. You would think that communication would be difficult for a 3.5 yo who speaks fluent Mandarin while her new family doesn't. Honestly it hasn't been an issue. We seem to get our points across just fine. I have to admit it is quite comical when she stands there with her hand on her hip, shaking her finger at you and talking/yelling in Mandarin. I just know she is being so fresh! She has been known to be sassy even with the eye roll. I think we might be in for it.
Now for the best part. Pictures......
Lily's first day of Kindergarten. She is getting so big and grown up!
September 14th marked Lily's 3rd Forever Family Day. Hard to believe it has been 3 years since she was placed in our arms. It seems just like yesterday. She is receiving her special yearly gift in remembrance of that magical day.
Bobbing for apples at Uncle Peter's pig roast.
Gavin and Sophie's first day of school. Gavin started high school this year. Unbelievable that I have a child in 9th grade. It just doesn't seem possible. He is doing great and loves being in high School now. Sophie is in 8th grade and continues to do well also. Hard to believe she will be in high school next year too!
Gavin with his "date" for the Home Coming dance. So cute!
We made it home after 26 hrs of traveling. It was a long, long, long day. We are trying to recover from jet lag now. We are happy to be home, all together, and trying to find our new normal. The girls were troopers on the way home. They each only slept for a few hours though on the 14 hr flight from Hong Kong to Detroit. by the time we got to Detroit and cleared immigration and customs we were spent. All of us. Our flight from Detroit to Boston was a blur. We all slept the whole 1 hr 20 min flight. Once we landed in Boston we had a car service pick us up and drive us the 1.5 hrs home. Emma cried most of the way home because she had to be buckled in a car seat. This was her first mandatory experience with being buckled up. On the planes I held her if she didn't want to be buckled. Most cars in China don't have seat buckles and the children ride on laps or walk about the car as you are driving. Not very safe, I know, but it is just the way it is there. When we arrived home we had our family waiting for us. It was great to finally hug our kids. We missed them so much. It was such a peaceful feeling to all be home under one roof together.
This picture represents my thoughts exactly as we were about to board our 14-15 hr flight from Hong Kong to Detroit.
Emma is not looking to happy after our long flight as we landed in Detroit. Little did she know she became an American citizen when her feet hit American soil!
Emma did great with meeting everyone. She had fun exploring her new toys and house. After visiting with everyone we took showers (which were well needed) and headed to bed at about 12:30 am. Guess who was up at 3:30? Yup, Miss Emma! Wholly Moley! Not my idea of a good night sleep. Especially after we all missed a whole nights sleep during our travels. Our schedules are totally messed up but getting a little better day by day. Jet lag has been a doozey this time. Both in China and home. The first day home we laid down to take a nap at noon time and ended up sleeping for 5 hrs. Anthony had to drag us out of bed! Last night Emma slept from 9pm to 5am, which is an improvement. I on the other hand woke at 2am, 3am and then 5am. I am hoping in a few days we will be back to normal with sleeping.
We have been laying low these last few days, meeting friends and family and just trying to figure out our new normal. The kids all start school on Tuesday so we are finishing preparing for that too. I did most of the school shopping before we left, just a few things left to do. Off to take a LITTLE nap now with Emma.....
Today we had our U.S. Consulate appointment first thing this morning. Basically for those that don't know, the Consulate appointment consists of taking an oath stating our paperwork and oral statements through this whole process are true to the best of our knowledge, submitting some official documents from your child's province and also applying for Emma's visa to enter the USA. This appointment basically completes the U.S. side of the adoption. The visa will be issued/ready tomorrow and we should have it by 4:30pm when we leave for Hong Kong. We will be spending one night in HK and then we leave the following morning for HOME!! Yeah. We are so ready to get home. We are NOT ready for the 15 hr flight to Detroit but we have no choice if we want to get home. Being trapped on a plane with two small children to entertain could be disastrous. We are hoping for time to pass quickly and many hours of sleeping. One can dream, right? Once we land in the USA (Detroit) on Thursday Emma will be a U.S. citizen. WooHoo!!
Anyone who has adopted knows the feeling of wanting to go home and start your "real" life together but also the feelings of sadness as you take your child from their birth country and all that they have known. Even though Emma's life was not optimal, it was her life and all she knew. She was fortunate to be in an orphanage that was well funded, with nannies that truly loved her, and where the children were well feed and cared for. We are removing her from her familiar surroundings, people, food, language, smells, sounds and routine. We know it is for the better but she doesn't know this at this point. We are sad to say good bye to China but so looking forward to HOME! We can't wait to see Gavin and Sophie and our family. We have missed them terribly. 48 more hours and we will be landing in Boston. Hallelujah!
Emma had her first taste of the big double arches today. Needless to say she loved every minute of it. I, on the other hand, skipped lunch today as I have seen the bathroom to many times today! I know, TMI. I am praying this is resolved before our flight home. Something did not sit well with me today after b'fast. I haven't been able to stray to far from our room. UGH!
Today we had our follow up medical check for the TB test planted on Saturday. Emma's was negative, thank goodness. After our appointment we traveled to the pedestrian shopping center in Guangzhou where the pearl market is. We shopped for a little while with the 3 other families from our agency. On our way home we stopped at the Trust Mart (just like Walmart) to stock up on snacks, diapers and other necessities. We walked back to our hotel and by the time we returned we all looked like we just stepped out of the shower. The humidity here is unreal. It is hard to enjoy yourself doing anything here in Guangzhou when you just walk outside and sweat like a pig. All the travelers look the same, hot and sweaty. The locals don't look hot at all. Some have pants and long sleeve shirts to cover up from the sun too. I guess they must be somewhat used to the humidity. Not me. You couldn't pay me enough to live in this climate. At least 2 showers a day is required to look or feel presentable. It is just HOT, HOT, HOT. Emma wants to be carried everywhere too, just like Lily did. The only difference is that Emma weighs 33 lbs and Lily weighed only 22 lbs. Emma sweats like crazy with the hot weather too. So, not only is it crazy hot, I have a 33lb sweat ball on my hip. She is a little ball of fire, which makes us both hotter. She becomes sweaty and slippery as we walk around. Sounds great, huh?
Tomorrow is our Consulate appointment. We have to get up super early, so off to bed now. Sorry for the sideways picture. Don't have time to fix it right now...