Thursday, March 29, 2012

1 week home...

She is AMAZING!!!
It's like she's been a Newman all along!
She fits right in with all the craziness of our house!
All about her:
She loves to tickle others (and be tickled too)
She loves to ride anything with a motor (4 wheeler, golf cart & lawn mower)
She says many english words/phrases
~ uh-oh
~ mama, baba, emawee (Emily), Sami, Kayla, Max, Macie, Jake
~ go pee pee
~ bye bye
~ nighty nite
~ amen
~ baby
~ nan nan, pap pap, pappy, kara, pop pop
~ monkey
~ yummy
She says many Chinese words, just can't figure out what they mean
She eats EVERYTHING, her favorites are bacon, ham, Mac n cheese, chicken, beef stew, all fruit, eggs, chocolate milk, yogurt, goldfish, chips
She sleeps 10+ hours every her own bed!
She loves to check herself out in the mirror
She plays babies
She can eat with chopsticks
She loves to have her nails painted
She stands on our front porch and yells "Baba" at!
Every night at dinner she passes out napkins to everyone
She is the first to fold her hands for prayer at meal time & bed time
She folds laundry...all laundry...clean or dirty...not a bad thing!
Our family has been so blessed by her, we look forward to the rest of our lives being a family of 6!!!
Though Mira has only been home a week, she has done many things, this little girl is so happy and full of life. It's just proof that God is here.

Hugs n prayers,

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Home sweet home...

Ahhhhhhh! Home at last..... What a sweet feeling!
We made our way halfway around the world with no problems, other than Mira STAYED AWAKE THE WHOLE TIME! That's right my girl hung in for 27 hrs before she finally crashed in BaBa's arms.
We were greeted in Baltimore, by anxious, excited Daddy & sissies. They were each wearing t shirts with Mira's picture on them. These were an awesome way for Mira to connect, she noticed herself right away. Many thanks to Kris & jenny from church for this awesome gift! It was a very emotional reunion. There were many onlookers who were curious, even one lady sobbing as she stood and just watched. We met her on the plane & Mira politely told her (50 times) with broken English, some Chinese, a bit of sign language & a photo album that she was about to meet her BaBa & Dae Dae's.
It was so beautiful, Mira knew Greg from Skyping daily. She went right to him and gave him a kiss! Of course, he was a mess! After hugs and kisses all the way around, we grabbed our luggage and headed for home.
My mom had dinner waiting for us, we met her on the porch. I came home to a immaculate, clean house. Thanks mom!
Mira was so curious as she ventured room to room...oohh ing and ahh ing! She's very much a drama queen! She met the dogs and LOVES them...she evens pets them....quickly!
So thankful to be home, safe & a family of 6!!!!!
God has blessed us with a sweet, funny little girl who can steal anyone's heart....thank you Father for blessing us.....ABUNDANTLY!

Sending love to all!

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Location:Woodview Rd,,United States (home!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Saying goodbye to Guangzhou

We head for the train station for a 5pm (china time) "all aboard" then head to Hong Kong, it's about 2 hrs. We have had a fun time in Guangzhou and I hope to be able to post some tips for future traveling families. We ventured out often but were very conservative food wise. But while we have had a god time here, it's time to go home.
Looking forward to our reunion in Baltimore, though we will have to say goodbye to Kara in Detroit. I know this will be hard for all, please say a little prayer.
That's all for now but I think this is the cutest thing ever.
Mira will repeat words for you but she never will say a random word. Last night she found her word....
Each night at bedtime we fold our hands and pray for our family at home and thank God for bringing us together, as with every prayer, we close with Amen....Mira's favorite word....AMEN! She's ready Bill!
Thanks to all who have been praying for our journey!
Love to all,

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Things I've found interesting....

In no particular order;
~ most people walk or ride bicycles or mopeds, if you have a child, they ride too.... No matter how small
~ there are no seat belt laws...or car seats
~ most moms don't use strollers, they carry the babies tied on their fronts or their backs
~ if you buy a stroller the sales person attempts to give instruction on how to use the seatbelt (????)
~ when laundry is done, it is hung out of the windows til it dries
~ apparently someone in China saw Justin Bieber and decided he was cool, now there are many young men walking around looking like him!
~ when you go to the mall or stores they play American music
~ little girls in squeaky shoes are cute, as long as the squeaker is pulled out!
~ most public toilets are squatties & have no toilet paper
~ if you take an escalator up, that isn't necessarily the way you can get back down (no fun carrying the stroller down 4 flights of steps)
~ there are no park benches...anywhere
~ McDonalds tastes exactly like home
~ you really can survive a day (or two) on pastries alone
~ there are scales to weigh your self in the government buildings
~ most clothes sold here have writing in English
~ rarely do you see people plugged in (iPods, cellphones, video games) unbelievable
~ I haven't seen one Hollister, American Eagle or Aeropostale labeled piece of clothing since I left Detroit airport-seriously

Today we went to the Consulate, this was a relatively quick and easy process. You drive about 1 hour to the US Consulate office, take a seat with many other adoptive families, say an oath, listen to some instructions, wait for your name to be called, drop off your docs, sign a paper or 2 then you may leave... That's it! Not formal at all, no pictures allowed.
The rest of the day has been slow paced. I've had my eye on an interesting antique coo coo style clock that was for sale at a vendor outside of hotel, after 3 days of haggling we've compromised and I have an awesome thing to remember our trip.....besides my sweet Chinese princess!
By the way she is really just a great girl... She is a riot! We are struggling a bit with the language, she speaks all the time. No one speaks her language so I have no idea BUT we have made some lead way with simple sign language.... Toilet, more, all gone...and she is learning some simple English too.

That's all for now!

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Monday, March 19, 2012

A girl's gotta have shoes.....

So, today we went back to the medical clinic to have Mira's TB test read...of course it was negative. Then we went back to Shaimin Island to pick up something special that I ordered, I can't share now it is for my girls! Then we hit yet another shoe store. It is amazing, you can get good quality leather shoes for CHEAP! We visited Jenny's a few days ago and today we went to Sherry's. Mira officially has more shoes than I do...probably more than all my girls too! Then we went out for another venture to the shopping street, this is a NYC style BUSY street just lined with clothing and shoe vendors.
Yesterday we were able to pick up Chinese Barbie dolls at Jordan's, Mira decided to send hers skinny dippin in the toilet...great!
Tomorrow is our Consulate Appointment, looking forward to the final step of this process. We will be here in Guangzhou until Wed am your time, then we will board a train back to Hong Kong for a 1 night stay then we board our plane back to the US! We are set to land in Baltimore Thursday evening. I miss my family terribly and dream of the day we can reunite! Thursday is only 3 days away!!!
I leave you with this funny story....we were in Jordan's yesterday and he said he saw me in the newspaper. So he ran franticly around until he found it. So...long story short, it was not me. It was another American girl who had hair similar to me & a Chinese baby in a stroller! So he proceeded to tell me that Chinese people think all Americans look alike! Lol!
More tomorrow~

A girl's gotta have shoes!

Hugs to all & be blessed!

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

God is Everywhere...

OMNIPRESENCE-definition; to be present everywhere simultaneously

While this meaning seems humanly impossible to me, it is real. God IS omnipresent. He has been with us in China & he has been with my family in MD and in CO with Kara's family. I am so thankful to God for His presence in my life and to continue to feel it here, half way around the world is amazing!

This morning we attend Christ Church on Shamain Island. The service was very good. It was done in Chinese & English, the message was spoken in Mandarin or Cantonese then translated into English. The message was on The Prodigal Son Luke 15:11-32. Then they have a testimony time. A young man shared his story of being diagnosed with Leukemia 2 years ago. He was not a believer at the time but since has come to know Jesus as his savior. He shared that he has been near death many times and God continues to spare him his life. In the time he has been sick his parents & sister too have been saved. He feels as though his diagnosis was a gift from God. It was very emotional but beautiful at the same time. They sang praise songs in both languages as well but I have to say it was powerful even when I couldn't understand. This is the power of God, you can hear songs being sung, not in English yet know exactly what they mean. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to visit & worship in this church in China.
We were on a mission to find some specific items today so we spent the afternoon shopping. And finished the afternoon with an early dinner at Lucy's. This is an American style restaurant. Mira had a cheeseburger which she enjoyed dipping every bite into ketchup.
Just a few pics:

Counting the days until I see my family...

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Location:Duobao Rd,Guangzhou,China

Saturday, March 17, 2012

We're in Guangzhou!

Ahhhhhhh Starbucks!
What a welcomed sight!
Anyway, we spent our last part of Nanning at the mall, in search of nothing in particular...other than maybe some air conditioning (which of course was not on). Mira was able to ride a Minnie mouse ride which was entertaining fr her.
Then we were off to the airport to move onto the next part of our journey. On the way to the airport, Amby our guide sang me a was very beautiful. It was a song from the Beijing Olympics. It was a very nice jesture, he explained to me that "a man will sing to girl if he want to marry". so, Greg I'm sorry, I think I got engaged!
Tammy, this parts for you girl... I USED MY FIRST SQUATTY at the airport, and my pant legs stayed dry...woooohoooo!
Mira did awesome on the plane, in my opinion. Other than the poor guy next to us had to look at every picture of our family at least 3-4 times!!
We checked into the Holiday Inn with no problem, it is incredibly spacious, clean and has air! I may not have mentioned that we have been DYING humid and hot! We met our guide Becky and another CHI family.
Today, which is Saturday, we had Mira's medical appt...she did great. Very cooperative...easy peasy. After that Becky took us to a jewelry wholesale market....unbelievable.... 5 stories of vendors, over 1500 in one place. Then we went to Shaimin Island to do a bit of shopping. We HAD to stop at Starbucks and have a cold beverage, I think Mira is hooked, on shopping and Starbucks. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed being on the island, I met a few Christian shop owners which of course is rare. I have to say a few things: it seems like the shop owners like to tell you they are Christians because they are unable to be so open about their beliefs. I want to send a huge recommendation to all who will be traveling here...visit Jenny's and Jody's....they are wonderful women who will give you a great deal!!
We made a few purchases then back to the hotel. We are beat!
Papa Johns Pizza delivered right to our hotel tonight for dinner! Delicious!
A few things about Mira....
~ sweet as candy
~ VERY adaptable
~ acts as if she has known me FOREVER!
~ eats almost everything, has only turned down broccoli since we met
~ can count to 5 in English
~ can use sign language for bathroom, all done (easier to communicate)
~ likes to high 5, fist bump and does the peace sign on both hands if she is excited
~ she weighs about 26 pounds
.~ she wears a 3T (she is soooo tiny)
I am so excited for tomorrow... There is a Christian Church on the Island and we will be going. The service is done in Mandarin and English...can't wait!
To close this post out, I have a heavy heart this evening for Mira's birth mother. I do not know what her circumstances are or were but I know she is missing out on an AMAZING, DETERMINED.....PERFECT little girl. But for her decision, I am thankful.

Love to all from China
PS...please say a prayer for my brother, he is a Marine and is leaving for Afganistan this afternoon... Prayin for you my little bro...keep lookin up!


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Thursday, March 15, 2012

"The HERE".....(kitty kitty kitty)

Final night in Nanning

Let me start by saying, this wouldn't fly in the USA!!!
Every night since we have been here we have stayed "safe" or cautious food wise. Pizza Hut, KFC, McDonalds etc.... Since this was our last night here we decided to venture outside of the box. Behind our hotel, the Nanning Marriott (which is very nice, clean, amazingly courteous staff) there is a what we at home would call restaurant row. We were told there was an Italian place that had good pizza so we went out in search of. We found the place that seemed rather hip, 3 stories, icicle style lights. The HERE. Upon entering they told us to be seated upstairs ( handicap friendly anything...anywhere) so we went upstairs and the waitress said we could be seated on a large L shaped couch with 2 very small tables. The place is very interesting, very eclectic, an array of decor from Mexico to China to Italy and many many statues & pillows of cats. We began to look at the menu which had a great variety of items to choose from. We began to notice there were photos of cats throughout the menu....this seemed odd, very odd. Not as though they were a meal option, like with a price or anything..just pics. We ordered our dinner, Kara had wine and I got a soda (no ice). They arrived at the table armed with a small bottle of wine, 2 shots of Tequila & my coke. When we asked what the shots were we were told "free"! Apparently, it was warm tequila, apple juice and an apple slice...doesn't sound very Italian. Anyway, suddenly Mira began saying "meow meow"... Can you believe they had LIVE cats roaming this restaurant?!?! I was in absolute shock... The health department would shut the doors! Better yet, my mom would have leaped from the second story to get the heck out of there! So this sighting of live animals got me a bit freaked out, I began to inspect the place pretty was very clean. Possibly cleaner than some at home. The food was EXCELLENT!! The prices were cheap and to top it all off, another adoption couple we met along the way came in a joined us. It was an awesome night and I am glad we ventured out to The HERE.

As a side note.... Wanna know how small the world really is?? We met a couple staying here in our hotel, who adopted the sweetest little 22 mo old girl. As the mom, Amy and I began talking we discovered that they live in MD, Howard County to be exact but get this.....we went to the same high school!! Yes, she graduated a few years before me...what would be the chances of being the only Americans (literally) in the city and growing up in the same small town?? Awesome!
We leave from Nanning on Fri am (your time at home) to head to Guangzhou, this will be a welcomed change for us.
Mira is fantastic as can be, she is all kid and acts as though she has lived with me forever! She is testing limits but what child doesn't. I know I am thankful tonight for modern technology. I have been able to skype with my family 2 times a day. And because of this, Mira has her daddy "baba" wrapped around her little finger. The first thing I taught her affection wise was to blow kisses...she blow baba kisses over and over... It just melts his heart...he actually just beams at her sight! Can't wait to unite them in just 8 more days!
A huge thank you to those emailing, praying and sending notes from definitely makes this trip a little easier. I must say, adoption isn't for the faint of heart BUT...WOW...really amazing lessons and blessing come with it! I wouldn't change this opportunity for the world!

Until next time!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A few things I know......

~I am grateful to kara for being with me, this is a tough trip!
~ I am grateful for my mom who is willing to be with my girls
~ I miss my girls like crazy!! And you too Greg!
~ I would pay $150 for a chick fil a sandwich right now! (seriously)
~ I wish I could see sunshine, rained everyday since we left
~ Mira is the sweetest girl....she loves her sisters (via skype!) and her baba
~ she is determined, smart and lovable!
~ she knows her name and will say it occasionally
~ she speaks to me in the softest voice, I wish I knew what she was saying!
~ we serve an amazing God who blesses us abundantly, if we allow Him!
~ I am ready for a change of scenery, looking forward to Guangzhou
~ kara and I agree we would pay $100 for a cup of Starbucks!

Mira had her first Happy Meal yesterday and she loved it! My girl is a dipper just like Sami.... Every French fry went into sweet and sour sauce!
Here are a few pics..... She is amazingly cute, funny and easy going! She's a natural Newman!

In love, in China!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Visit to civil affairs....

Today we had to go back to the CA office which is where we met & picked up Mira yesterday. This was a bit of an emotional experience. The director of the orphanage is Mrs. Huang, she was Mira's mama there. So Mira said her final good byes with her and another nanny. But Mira clearly told them I was her mama! We left there and went to the notary & then back to our hotel.
We took a much needed nap & then went to the executive lounge for a snack..then off to dinner...Pizza Hut is our new favorite. Limited dining options unless you will eat Chinese food. KFC or Pizza Hut. Mira is an amazing eater, she loves rice, onion rings, French fries, mango juice & lots of fruit!
Tomorrow is a free day, we may go do some sight seeing with our guide & driver if the weather is good.
I continue to be amazed at the power of prayer, this sweet girl has made this transformation with such bravery and I know it is because God listens to... And answers our prayers.
So tonight I leave you with a few pics!

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Good morning!

How cute?
Slept like an angel last night!!

God is so good!.....all the time!

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Location:Xinbin Rd,Nanning,China