Friday, November 30, 2007

Miracles of Modern Medicine

Or as I would like to say, the miracles from Heaven. I was blessed again by Grace-Hope and given over 100 pics of Shelby's life before us. We are so happy to have these pictures so that we can see her whole life and that she will have these shots to help answer questions later. As you can see they did a wonderful job repairing her lip and we hope that we will have the same results with her palate repair. Shelby sees the doctors at Scottish Rite today so that we can draft out her treatment plan. Please pray for her to be comforted today during her 3 hour visit with several docs today. I hope it goes well and that she is not scared to death. My mom is going to be able to go with us so hopefully between the 2 of us we can keep her comfortable.

Shelby and I had a rough night last night after we got home. She is really testing my love to see if she can push me away. Of course she will not succeed but it is SO HARD to witness. This little girl is really struggling in her head about allowing me to love her. Since Shelby is doing so well in public and playing, I kind of forget that she is not attached to us yet. I guess that is why I am struggling so much when she rejects me at home. Thankfully I have some great resources and friends to help us get through this time of bonding together. Please keep us in your prayers.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ethiopia Baby Coming Soon

No, no, not to my house...but to Tymm and Laura's house! Congrats to some of my First Friday friends for the referral of their new son currently residing in Ethiopia. Click here for their blog. I am very excited for them. They are doing this adoption first while they await their next little one from China. There is always something extra special about a couple who is expecting their first baby. Oh if they only realized how much free time they are currently using up now. Hoping their lives (and free times) are filled with as much happiness and adventure as mine is!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fun Facts

-Adopting a toddler is way more fun than getting a baby :)
-Shelby is a lot of fun
-Shelby can be mean sometimes too
-She is a good eater
-She can peel her own hard boiled eggs, bananas, and oranges
-Shelby is a master at feeding herself
-Shelby goes to the potty
-She only uses about 3 diapers per day-the rest of the time she pottys
-Shelby likes Travis now
-She loves to be on the go as much as her mom does :)
-Shelby loves to shop at the mall especially with Austin
-Shelby had a playdate with her cousin Autumn on Sunday
-We have only had a couple of hard grieving episodes since we've been home
-Nana cried the first time Shelby called her "Nanwaa"
-Shelby sleeps in her bed (with her mom for now)
-Shelby sleeps all night and only wakes a couple of short times in between
-She takes 1 short nap in the AM and 1 long nap in the afternoon
-Shelby is letting mom finally get back to work a little bit
-Shelby is good at mom's adding machine at work
-Shelby went over to Frank and Betty's today with her brothers and guess what...WITHOUT mom :)
-Frank and Betty make for great baby sitters ;)
-Shelby plays with her daddy alot now
-She even plays with Papa now too
-Shelby visited our Chinese restaurant for the first time today and met the woman who translated a letter for us
-Shelby was very interested in hearing Chinese again as she listened intently to the waitresses
-Shelby understands alot of English already
-She can speak a few words in English as well including Mama, Caleb, Travis, NO, mine, Nana, Papa, hello, bye bye
-Shelby can ride a powerwheel; however, not too good with the steering
-Shelby enjoys pushing buttons on everything
-She is one smart cookie :)
-This mom is enjoying every minute of being Shelby's mom!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Friends in China

Here is the blog of my adoption agency contact, Aisha- click here. She has posted lots of pics of the families from Hope for Children that are all currently in China. Here is one of all the families still there. I am a little jealous that they have so many friends to hang out with there, but I am also glad that we were an easy group of a family of one. So I guess there were pros and cons to that. Anyway, I thought you all might enjoy checking on those families there. Here is Darcy's blog- click here, and here is the Millers blog- click here. Oh and if I do say so myself...I was a GREAT blogger while we were in China! I am so glad I was able to blog and let you all feel a part of our trip. It would not have been the same without all of you following along :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Busy Days

We have had a few busy days visiting everyone and just plain livin life here at the Straight's. I have to say that I think I have made the transition from 2 to 3 quite well. I have even been to the grocery store and shopping without any major meltdowns from any of us. I can remember when the grocery store was off limits unless CJ was home with the boys or with us in the store. And now here I am taking all 3 with me by myself. Impressive, I think ;) Anyway, we had a great Thanksgiving and alot of fun visiting everyone. Shelby does great playing and being comfortable as long as no one tries to pick her up. So please continue to give her space as she gets more comfortable. I am sure you all will get a squeeze pretty soon. We also went and had a so called playdate with Sheridan yesterday. As you can see these 2 weren't too happy about sharing toys. Just something we still need to work on. But all in all, we are doing great!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

So MANY Thanks!

"I prayed for this child and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him" 1 Samuel 1:27

What a wonderful Thanksgiving we have planned today spending it with friends and family. I have so much to be thankful for!! Happy Thanksgiving to you all. And of course, Happy 1st Thanksgiving to my sweetie pie :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Whole Night of Sleep!

Woohoo! Shelby and I had a whole night of sleep last night!! She woke up a couple of times, but went right back to sleep instead of insisting on getting up. We did not get up until 6am-progress :) We did some visiting yesterday at my sister's work and then on to my work and then off to McD's for a playdate with Emily-FUN! Shelby loves to play on the playgrounds at McD's (a true Straight). We are having a wonderful time learning more and more about each other everyday.

Wanted to send out a special Happy Birthday wish to my nephew Austin today!! Happy Birthday and thank you for being such a great cousin. You are definately my kids HERO!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Work in Progress

Well today we are up at 3:30am, but that isn't too bad since we went to sleep at 8PM. So that is 7 hours of sleep-which is a good thing. Yesterday was close to a normal day as the boys went to school and CJ went off to work. Shelby and I did a whole lot of running around here and there most of the day. We took Caleb to school, then Travis to school. Then we had to go get the cupcakes for Caleb's school birthday celebration (that I forgot to make) and delivered them back to Caleb's school. We made a napping visit to my dad's house, and then we were back off to Travis' school for Thanksgiving luncheon. Finally we were headed home and got a call from the school nurse that Caleb was sick and throwing up. Yeah! So we went back to his school to pick him up (I think just more jet lag). Finally we picked Travis up from Carol and we were home. So we all crashed early at 8PM :)

Oh and we got a call from Caleb's teacher last night to have Caleb bring in a picture of Shelby and where his Chinese big brother shirt because he is going to get to be on the big school TV in the morning to show her off and talk about his trip to China. So he is very excited about the big event for him.

I wanted to update everyone on our "work in progress" with Shelby and her attaching to us. She still will not look me directly in the eyes when I am holding her. She also still won't let CJ hold her yet. She has started to play more and more with CJ and she does go up and touch him on her own. She loves to run from him and giggles and giggles when he chases her. She is doing much better with Travis and even plays with him alot now. She was too cute yesterday when we arrived at his school and all the kids were sitting in circle time, she jumped out of my arms and ran right over to Travis and sat down in his lap. She doesn't even swat him "every" time she sees him-just maybe half the time ;) She still loves on Caleb and lets him do things for her most of the time. To the outside world, she looks very attached to me and I am grateful that she does want to come to me for comfort. However, I do know that for her true attachment takes time and we are taking our time. I love her with all my being and feel like she has been my daughter forever. Some people mention that their attachment to their adopted children took time as well; however, I truly feel completely "attached" and in true love with my precious little girl. She is everything and more that I could have ever dreamed of for a daughter. So please keep praying for her adjustments and that her love for us will continue to grow over time.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Exploring her new World

Shelby spent yesterday trying to be as normal as possible on this side of the world. We started the day off at church and then we came home to play outside. This was Shelby's first experiences outside at home. She enjoyed the trampoline, her new toys, and of course the next door neighbor's house. She met alot of new people in her life. Everyone at church was so happy to finally meet the little one that we had all been praying for for so long. She was a big hit of course! I tried to get her on a regular schedule by only giving her one nap yesterday. Well I didn't quite succeed as she was very hard keep awake after her afternoon nap. So we only did so-so. We finished the evening up at Awana and then Stevi-Bs. She was so tired that she would not eat and she finally fell asleep at the table. So needless to say we are up again now at 2am. Hoping to get her back down soon as I am getting up early to take the boys to school today. CJ is also going back to work today. We are all going to back in the real world today...I hope :)

PS-For those of you who wanted to know more about the family who suffered the loss in China, you can click here to read about it

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Lots of "Firsts"

We had a good day of "firsts" yesterday here at home. We started the morning off at 3AM and the boys woke up around 5am. So all the kids had breakfast together in MY kitchen for the "first" time. Then we decided to get out and about and went to Lori's house for the "first" time. It was really a neat moment for me to look in my rear view mirror and finally see all 3 of my children in MY car for the "first" time. It was so real and a moment I had been picturing in my head for a year! After playing at Lori's we of course all had to go to McDonald's (our local hangout). Shelby acted like she had been going there her whole life, even though this was another "first" for her. She ate chicken nuggets and even dipped like a pro :) Then she was off and running to play at the playground and sliding down the big slide for the "first" time. It was perfect!
We then dropped by to see my dad and Sandy to get Caleb's birthday presents and Shelby walked around checking out all the Thanksgiving decorations at his house. She even walked outside with Grandma and touched the huge blown up turkey they have. Shelby is fearless it seems at times. So needless to say she enjoyed her "first" trip to Papa and Grandma's house.

So we managed to keep her awake until 1PM and then we all went home for a much needed nap. All of us except for CJ slept until 5PM when CJ was finally dragging us out of bed. We literally did have to drag all the kids up and out of the house to get them up. We ventured out to our Walm@rt for the "first" time and kept entertaining the kids there just to keep them awake. Once everyone was fully awake, we went to meet my sister and family at the (of course) Mexican restaurant for Shelby's "first" taste of mexican. She wasn't too crazy about it, but she did eat a little bit of the rice. We finished the evening up at Nana's house for the "first" time where Shelby really enjoyed all the great toys. She even played the piano for the "first" time and got to experience dancing with Nana for her "first" of many dances to come.

PS: Yes it is only 2:30am and Shelby is already wide awake. Hoping to go back down to sleep soon though ;)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Well we are finally home! We made it home after a total of 24 hours of traveling on 3 planes. Fortunately we did not encounter any problems on the way home. The boys were GREAT on this long hard trip. They slept some and played their Gameboys and really did well entertaining themselves. Shelby had a hard time falling asleep a few times but no major meltdowns-yeah! We arrived to the ATL airport with a wonderful reception of friends and family :) It was great to finally be home and let everyone see our angel in person. Thanks to everyone who fought the Friday evening Atlanta traffic to welcome us home-it was very special.

My sister drove us home as CJ was too tired to drive and I assumed Shelby would throw a fit when we put her in a carseat. Thankfully I was wrong! She was a perfect angel all the way home without complaint. We stopped by Taco Bell on the way home. I can't believe I survived 3 weeks without Mexican food. We were then welcomed home in a big way at the house with balloons, banners and more friends and family. We had a big "party" at home and Shelby was loving all the kids and the playing around. You would think she has been a Straight forever.

We wrapped up the evening with a special birthday cake for Caleb since yesterday was his birthday! Can you believe my baby is already 8 years old?!? It was a great evening and we all managed to stay awake until 10PM. Shelby slept until 3AM and as you can see we are still up. We will have some time adjustment to work through, but we will manage. We are so happy to be home!!

PS: I would like to remind you all to visit this helpful link- click here. I know everyone is very excited to meet Shelby and that you all love her very much. However, please be patient as Shelby will take time to return your love and she first needs to understand who her immediate family is and how we operate. We need to do what we feel is best for her as her parents, so we are asking that you please do not reach out to her and ask to hold her. If she feels comfortable enough to approach you and ask to be held, then you can pick her up. I realize some of you see a very loving playful little girl and do not understand; however, I have researched and educated myself on this issue and would like for you all to respect our request of "no holding" for now. You are more than welcome to play with her, just don't ask her to come to you to be held. Thank you for your patience and understanding :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

We are heading home!

We are all packed up and ready to come home! We spent our last day here in China sight seeing and finishing up some shopping. Thanks to all who followed us on this wonderful journey. Off to bed now since we leave the hotel at 5:30am. No pics today you all will have to wait for the real thing IN PERSON :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Officially Ours FOREVER

We finished up all the official paperwork and had the official swearing in ceremony today. Shelby Ann Kunhong is ours forever! She was dressed of course in red white and blue for the US Consulate Appointment today. She is just cute as pie :)

PS: Great night of sleep for everyone here!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Our China Princess

We wanted to take the famous red couch photos today and our little princess must have thought the red couch had poison on it! As soon as she sat on it she freaked out and threw a fit. I think she is related to Sheridan -when the shoes get kicked off, watch out for the Shelby wrath ;) Anyway, I finally got a couple of good photos to show off our China Doll. She looked absolutely adorable and she loved her new squeaky shoes she had on too. We all have on our matching shirts today and the Chinese people here love it and just point and laugh when they see us today. Yes, we look like true tourist but we stick out like sore thumbs anyway so we might as well have fun with it :)
The Miller's finally met little Sara Beth today and we stopped by their room for a quick visit. We have a shot here of their last photo as a family of 5 this morning before they left for Gotcha. We were priveledged enough to get to see Sara Beth in person in their room a little while ago and they are doing great. We managed just one shot of her before we left. I am sure we will snap more tomorrow.

CJ made a big breakthrough with Shelby today. We were in Starbuck's and he was playing peek a boo with her and she walked right up to him and started touching his face. After that she even let him pick her up and flip her over and over. He was big smiles and she was just giggling. She finally sees that he is not so bad after all :)

We just ordered in Papa John's to the room and I went in to put Shelby down for a nap. This time she grieved HARD. She started calling for Ahmu over and over again and this time she wanted nothing to do with me. She threw a fit away from me and hit, pinched, and kicked at me to leave her alone. I simply stayed there by her side and let her grieve. Little by little she would get closer and closer to me. Finally she looked at me with such a sad little face and crawled up into my lap on her own! She went limp and finally fell asleep in my arms. My heart breaks for her when I can so feel her pain when she is missing her Ahmu. I really thought this grieving episode was beneficial to her. She needs to grieve and she needs to know that I will never leave her no matter how many times she pushes me away. We are making progress for sure!

Oh and the amazing news for the day is that the hotel manager found us today on the street and said that someone had mailed me back my wallet! Absolutely amazing!! We have kept saying that we have only met amazingly friendly and nice people in China, but this is over the top. There was no money sent back, but that is expected. However, everything else was returned-praise God! It is truly amazing out of the 12.5 million people in this one city that someone was kind enough to go through the trouble of mailing us back my wallet to the hotel. We will definately give this miracle up to God as even the bellhop here the day after I lost my wallet came up to us and said that he prayed a special prayer for the return of my wallet. We serve an awesome God :)

Shopping shopping shopping!

We had a busy busy day shopping with Ann from! She is wonderful and really knows how to get you great deals. It was also a very different world out there in all the wholesale markets. We went to the pearl market and the shopping mall here. Needless to say we were exhausted by noon! So we decided to not meet our guide for the additional sight seeing that was originally planned for the afternoon. Instead we stayed here on the island and finally did some of our own bargaining for some of the items we could not get off the island. That in itself is an adventure and a mind draining experience. But we completed all of our shopping so we don't need to deal with that anymore. We of course had to buy a new suitcase to add all of our treasures.

Later in the evening, we finally met the Miller's in person. Our kids were thrilled to have new friends to play with that speak English! We all had dinner together at Lucy's and enjoyed a night out at the park. They get their little girl tomorrow morning at 10:30am. I am so excited for them :) We would have had more pics, but I thought I left the camera and then CJ pulled it out when we were headed back to the hotel. That's OK as I am sure to get a completed family pic of them tomorrow! It was great remembering all the feelings we had just one week ago. Their kids loved "practicing" being big brothers and sister on Shelby. Oh and just wanted to mention that Shelby absolutely loves the bathtub. She cries when you get her out. Well I am off to bed and CJ is headed out for his nightly massage (I'm jealous but who can blame him at $20 for 2 hours!) Here are some pics from the day... We are definitely ready to come home soon!

PS: We were unable to get an update on the family from the Swan. We hope to get some info tomorrow. Keep praying for them.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Oblivious to the Real World

Shelby and the boys are still all fun and games, while mom and dad fret the loss of mom's wallet! Yep that's right, I managed to leave my wallet in the last taxi/van ride home from shopping. I was able to quickly cancel my credit card and ATM and yes I am out about $300! CJ said I am no longer allowed to have anything on me of importance. Good thing our passports are still in the safe ;) Oh well, at least my kids still know how to have a good time!-tried to upload a video of the kids dancing here but not sure it will show up

And here are a few more pics from the day. Shelby is in full stock of a whopping $6.25 worth of hair bow accessories!

PS-Please send up some extra prayers for a family staying at the White Swan. The adopting father went into a diabetic coma today and they were performing CPR on him as they were leaving the Swan. The mom went to the hospital obviously and had to leave their new daughter with another family that we spoke to on the island. They said that he was clinically dead when leaving the hotel. I am going to try to get an update tomorrow. The couple has been married for 19 years and this is their first child. Makes me so grateful that all I have lost here is a mere wallet.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Official Physical Appt

We started the day off with some paperwork and the dreaded doctor physical appointment. My angel did perfectly and even slept for parts of it. Here are a few pics before we are off to shopping.

Rise and Shine here in China

I woke up about 30 minutes ago and started working on my shopping list for today with Ann. No one else is awake yet. Shelby slept well last night until she woke up one time and found Travis sleeping next to her-EEEK! Needless to say Travis is not always her favorite brother ;) Anyway, I moved her to the other side of me and she went back to sleep. Oh and I don't think that I have mentioned how my new little one goes to sleep. She makes the cutest little sucking noises and sucks on her arm to put herself to sleep. (Guess she is mine!) She doesn't actually suck on her skin on her arm, but she puts her arm up by her mouth and she acts like she is sucking on her sleeve-too cute.

Well not a lot new to report since my last post, just thought since I had a minute I would say hello. We did go have ice cream last night next door to the Swan (thanks Liz for the tip). We discovered before that Shelby loves the Tarot flavored icecream. Travis got apple pie and Caleb got chocolate and CJ had vanilla. Amazingly I did not get any since I feel like the Big Macs are enough! Shelby has defied alot of the issues that were supposed to affect cleft kids. She can drink from small straws by sucking on the sides of her mouth, she enjoys ice cream, and she hasn't had anything come out of her nose yet. Oh and have I mentioned that she is a neat and clean freak-just like her daddy. We are enjoying every moment of finding out more and more about our little princess.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Quick Bullet Post

-Shelby is going to give Sheridan a run for his money in the "fit throwing" event
-Shelby likes chicken nuggets and pizza
-We found a park
-The kids really enjoy being able to walk to the park anytime
-The pool is on the roof here at the Victory
-We went to the Art Museum and Pagoda today
-We picked up McDonald's for dinner
-We found Lucy's here that has American food, they have the best Chinese food we have had ;)
-The kids all enjoyed a little park with rides
-Shelby acts like she has been a Straight forever
-She runs and gets on all the little rides and will ride with either boy
-I have eaten more Big Macs in the past week, than I have in the past 5 years
-We are SO glad we brought the boys
-We had a very fun day again
-We are really enjoying having 3 kids
-The bathrooms in China STINK
-I am now a pro at changing diapers while Shelby stands up
-You don't touch anything in any bathroom in China
-We borrowed a stroller from Jennifer's place
-Shelby eventually liked the stroller
-We went to Jordan's and he drew Shelby's name in Chinese for free
-Shelby is starting to test her boundaries with us
-She bites when she gets mad at you (or Travis)
-Shelby can twist herself in knots and tangle a stroller in a hurry during a "fit"
-We go tomorrow to get her physical exam
-We get to go shopping tomorrow with Ann from
-We are eating lunch tomorrow at a Cantonese style restaurant
-We don't care if Caleb gets sick, but we are tired of just Western food
-We are going to go swimming again right now
-Shelby will give CJ "high five" now
-She will even play with him occassions
-Keep praying for us as it is definately working!

Great night

Shelby had just a short episode last night before bedtime, but this time she didn't push and pull from me as often. She let me hold her close more while she was crying. She fell asleep and slept very well all night until 6:30am. And better yet so did I-Woohoo! We are off to sightseeing today and going to have fun playing at the park again. Here is Shelby on the slide.

Bye Bye Nanning

We made it to Guangzhou

We made it here to Guangzhou, no problems. Shelby was the perfect little passenger. She wasn't crazy about the seat belt, but I just held her and she went right to sleep. I hope that is a sign of our future flights! I am tired and all the kids are asleep, so I will post more later. Leave you with a few pics...

Friday, November 9, 2007

Evening Recap

After the long day yesterday out and about, we came back to the hotel and started packing. Shelby was fine playing with the boys and even going to the living room while I was in the bedroom. After about an hour of packing, we decided we should all take a nap, so Shelby and I did-the boys did not fall asleep. Eventually CJ took the boys down swimming so we could nap. It seems that I have a sinus infection and I was feeling pretty miserable by the afternoon. I started on my antibiotics, so hopefully I can knock this thing out before it gets any worse. My nose is pouring, and I have that crazy feeling like I have to sneeze all the time. Oh well, at least we finally found my antibiotics in the last suitcase!

After the nap, Shelby woke up in a bad mood and wanted to leave the hotel room again. She kept wanting to go outside and get in any van she saw. The poor kid thinks that we can get in a van to go back to Ahmu I'm sure. I tell her now that Ahmu is gone and shake my head no now. Where before we should would call for her, I would not tell her anything. Before she just figured that I did not know what she was saying. She now knows that I know who Ahmu is and she understands when I shake my head no because it makes her sad and mad.

She is grieving, and I really think it is a good thing for her to be grieving so early into this. CJ doesn't know what to do during one of her episodes as he always wants to "fix" things. I keep explaining to him that this is nothing we can fix! We just need to love on her and tell her that we will always be here for her. I just hold her and let her cry and thrash around missing her Ahmu. She will throw a fit and then reach for me, I hold her and then she pulls back away. We do this over and over again until she finally just comes to me and is limp. I know this sounds really really bad when I print it in text, but it is all very normal behavior for this situation. I am glad that she will let me help her through this very emotional time in her life.

So we walked some more last night since it was our last night in Nanning. I couldn't help but feel a sense of sadness about taking her away from everything she has ever known, her heritage, her people, her culture. I know that she was meant to be my daughter, but it is still tough to take her away from this. Especially when all I have been surrounded by in Nanning is this plush 5 star hotel life and all the glamour that surrounds it. I realize this is not the life she has been living, and I wish I could have seen more of where she has lived for 2 years. I also have wondered alot about her birth mother while we have been here. I see some of the women who stare us down as we walk by and wonder if they think Shelby might be "theirs".

So we are on to Guangzhou today and leave for the airport at 10:30AM. Our flight lands at 1:45PM today. So we are off to another city for another week. I am certainly not crazy about hotel life even if it is in a 5 star! Shelby slept wonderfully last night. As you can see, I am the one who still doesn't sleep :) She is actually still asleep, so I am going to go sneek in a shower before she wakes up. Enjoy some of these pics from Nanning.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Said goodbye to Ahmu today

What a great day we have had so far. Shelby woke up all smiles and of course she had to be dressed up perfectly for her visit to the orphanage today. As you can see, she was in a great mood this morning and posing and playing for the pics. She let CJ feed her again this morning, yeah!

Then we were off to Yongning Social Welfare Institute. She fell asleep on the way there and her foster father met us immediately as we turned into the gate. He jumped inside the van and started calling her name and trying to snatch her from me. I had our guide ask him to back off a bit so she could wake up. She did wake up and then went to him. Then her foster mom showed up and of course Shelby preferred her and was so happy to see her. Her foster mom was very strong and did not cry or anything to upset Shelby. It was a wonderful experience! We asked a bunch of questions and just let Shelby sit with her and the foster dad who kept taking her with protest from her Ahmu. Her foster mom kept telling Shelby to come to me, but I told our guide to tell her that she did not need to come to me until we were ready to leave. Her foster mom really enjoyed seeing her again. Shelby played with her foster brother as well. As you can tell he has not been adopted yet as originally thought by my guide.

Of course it was eventually time to go and at the time we went to the van, Shelby's foster dad was holding her so I asked our guide to have him give her back to her Ahmu so that her Ahmu could be the one to finally hand her over to me. She did and of course we all cried but it wasn't terrible. Shelby broke down a bit in the van and had one of her short grieving episodes; however, it did not last very long. Shelby knows now that her Ahmu knows where she is and accepts her being with us. Her foster mom said that she had tried to prepare her by showing her pictures and telling her that she was going to go to America when we came for her. This visit was a good thing and I am so glad we did it. My heart and head were on straight before, during, and after the visit thanks to all of the BTDT parents who commented and helped me prepare accordingly.

After the visit, we went to McDonald's for lunch-again. And then we went to Wal-mart for a few things and back to Parkson's which is where they have this indoor playground that the boys played on a few days ago. This time, however, Shelby played too! (Lori-she is ready for our favorite place :) She has really started to come out of her shell and she is starting to trust us more and more. She played and laughed and giggled in the playroom. She even let me go outside the playroom area and sit and just wait for her.

I do feel that the visit to her Ahmu gave her a bit of closure and assurance that she needed to be OK with her new family. Thank you to everyone who have wished us well and sent comments and gave tips and ideas and of course a special thanks to anyone and everyone who has sent up an extra prayer for us during this amazing journey. His Hands are truly all over our family!

It's Friday morning in Nanning

I had a WHOLE night of sleep last night! I went to bed around 10PM and just got up at 5:30am. Shelby only woke up just whimpering a few times. She would start to whine and then she would see me and I would pat her back and she went right back to sleep every time. She looks like such a baby laying there asleep. She has on her 12 month pajamas and I guess since they are so thin and cling to her body, you can really see how tiny she is. She is a sleeping beauty! I made out a list of questions for the foster mom today. I had already received a lot of information from her thanks to China-Babies, so I won't have to waste time asking those basic questions and I can get right down to the personal Shelby stuff.

Shelby was well taken care of and you can see that more and more each day. She is a neat freak (like her daddy). She does not like to be dirty at all. You can tell that her Ahmu cleaned her face and nose often as she does not protest wiping her nose ever. She also wiped her own nose one time with her sleeve and then we I brought out the tissue, she wiped her nose again and then her sleeve off-HA! If she gets something on her little hands, she will hold them out for CJ to clean off (remember he is her "fixer").

I am certain that she is going to be missed terribly by her Ahmu. I found out that her little foster brother that was in alot of the pics, was already adopted by someone in America. So I think Shelby was the only little one her Ahmu currently had in her care. I am also sure that her big foster sister will miss her terribly as well. I can't imagine how her heart feels to be dealing with this loss at such a young age. I think she is about 18 but I am going to ask today to be sure. I think I am as prepared as I will ever be for today. Thank you so much for all the comments about the visit.
We leave the hotel at 9:30AM and the orphanage is only about 30 minutes away. Please continue to pray for all of us today and especially my little Shelby as she sees her Ahmu for the last time.

Updates Bulentin Style

-We had a very good day
-Shelby let CJ feed her this morning
-Shelby laughed ALOT today
-She played together with the boys
-Shelby can say bye-bye and she waves (she did this on the 2nd day and shocked us all!)
-She can play peek a boo and already says "Peep Eye"
-She took a bath with the boys without crying at all and was actually laughing and splashing the boys
-Shelby is a feisty little girl ;)
-We went to the park today- that was the biggest park EVER
-The boys got to drive go carts
-All the kids fed the huge crazy gold fish today (Caleb was in heaven)
-The boys and the big boy walked on water today in a big bubble
-Nanning is the most beautiful city I have ever seen
-Shelby ate real food today
-She poops
-She is not potty trained; however, she will tell you when she needs to be changed
-I tried a couple of times to get her to use both western and squatty potties and she gets mad and hands me a diaper
-I can't imagine being here without the boys
-Bringing them was the BEST decision ever (thank you Tina!)
-We need alot of prayers for us tomorrow when we go meet her foster family
-I believe tomorrow will be the hardest day we have had yet
-We ate KFC for lunch and ordered in Pizza Hut for dinner
-I walked approximately 28 miles today
-We walked up to the highest point in Nanning today and then climbed a 9 story building to finally reach the top
-I carried Shelby all 233 steps (according to Caleb)
-I didn't cry even once today :)
-Shelby is cute as pie
-My husband is the best man in the world
-Travis is a little bit jealous and showing himself off with attitude
-Shelby finally let Travis touch her today and hold her hand
-Shelby lets CJ "fix" everything for her like open her drinks, snacks, etc
-Caleb is very protective of Shelby
-Caleb gets mad at me if I let her cry
-We went to the zoo yesterday, then Pizza Hut, then to Wal-m@rt
-Shelby slept much better last night
-I need to get some sleep tonight, so I need to go lay down
-Shelby sleeps in our bed just like her foster home let her
-Shelby is ticklish and she let me chase her and tickle her alot today
-She can be pretty insistent on what she wants
-The orphanage gave me a few pictures of her before her surgery
-They did a great job on her surgery
-Nothing has come out of her nose while she eats yet
-We are enjoying our stay here in Nanning
-We have a wonderful guide, Belinda
-I feel like all of my planning and preparation paid off
-I have the best family EVER!
-We are very blessed and thank Him everyday for giving us this journey to our daughter sent from above :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Pictures, pictures, pictures

Day at the Zoo

Just a really quick post to thank EVERYONE for really coming to my cry for help on the previous post. I really appreciate my friends and family and of course my internet friends! We have decided to go meet the foster mom as my original gut told me to do. Yes, I realize it will be a very difficult day, but I feel like it will be best for Shelby. We had a good day and I will recap probably in the middle of my night when I can't sleep. But for now, Shelby is asleep and I am going to get some rest as well. No time for pics yet, so will have to leave you with just one.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Advice Please!

Ok I am starting to freak out about trying to decide what to do on Friday when we visit the orphanage and her foster mom. Yes, I said SEE her foster mother! I made this request as I really thought in the beginning that this would be best for Shelby. After dealing with a very long hard day of grieving, now I am not so sure. We were originally supposed to go on Wednesday, but decided that was too soon, so we are now going on Friday. I really need to hear from any of you out there who let their child see their foster mom after getting them. I would like to know if we are making a good decision to let her see her one last time. My original thoughts were that this would maybe give Shelby some closure and to see that she has not been "kidnapped" and that her foster mom approves of her being with us now. All of that sounds great in a movie, BUT this is real life emotions we are dealing with now. Shelby is very very smart, and I don't know how this is going to affect her. Please any advice and opinions are appreciated. We have a very tough emotional decision to make before Thursday night.

As you can see from some of the pics, we all are getting some sleep tonight. It is about 4am and I am wide awake, but doing OK since I did get two 3 hours sleeping spells already tonight. Shelby is doing better with settling down back to sleep after she wakes up. She still only wants me (CJ is feeling sad about that) and she really only wants me to stand up and walk with her. She gets mad if I sit down. So needless to say, I have eaten the Big Macs and Shelby is my new diet plan! I don't get to sit down at all when she is awake. I think we have probably walked 10 miles around this hotel. So yes, Sheila, I am finally walking ;) I am holding up pretty well, just some back issues since their is nothing hard to sit in here in the hotel with a back on it. I am going to have Belinda our guide as them to bring me up a chair with a back on it today. Travis is doing "OK" with all this as he is real whiney but we think that is just him wanting to be the baby again. He is not as bad as predicted though ;) Caleb is doing fine in every department except the food department. He doesn't even like to go into a Chinese restaurant as he said that the smell makes his stomach feel sick. We aren't making him eat anything unless he wants to. He has grits and snacks in the room and so that is filling his stomach on the days he doesn't get American food. CJ is struggling a bit since Shelby will have nothing to do with him really. She won't let him touch her but she does look at him alot and she will take things from his hands, so maybe she will come around soon for him. CJ is staying busy doing his normal things as I think we have the cleanest hotel room around ;)

Some of you had asked about Shelby's new Chinese middle name- Kunhong. I had her birth note that she had pinned to her when she found, translated. Her birth mother had given her a name on that note- Kun Zao. So since we want her to have this name as a rememberance of her heritage, we felt it best to include her birth name. So we decided to use a mix of both- Kunhong, pronounced 'coonhong'. So now we have Miss Shelby Ann Kunhong Straight-PERFECT!

Please don't forget to comment if you have any advice on the foster mom visit. Thanks!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Day 2 with our Angel

Well this morning after our little play session, Shelby experienced her first true grieving spell. Talk about hard! She will call “Ah moo” over and over again, which is what she called her foster mom. She cried and I cried. It is very difficult to watch her go through one of these spells. I knew they would happen, but when you experience it-it is tough. You know there is nothing that will comfort her and that she must go through this, so you simple hold her and cry with her. She finally fell asleep and after that we left this morning and officially agreed for Ning Fu Hong to become Shelby Ann Kunhong Straight! We then went to a supermarket and did some shopping. We finished up with of course another trip to McDonald’s. As you can see from the pics, Shelby is truly a Straight kid! Our guide was amazed that she wanted to keep drinking my Coke. She said that she did not think she had ever had Coke before and our guide thought is was very funny how she would keep pointing wanting more and more. That Coke is unfortunately the only thing Shelby has drank or eaten today. We were able to get her to take 2 bottles last night and some juice very early this morning. Hopefully she will eat something soon or at least take another bottle.

Oh before I forget to tell all of you that will be coming to China for a child, ERGO ERGO ERGO! It was a big decision for me to invest the $100 I spent on the Ergo, but after yesterday and today, I would have easily paid double!! Shelby wants to be in it all the time and it is very easy on your back and you even have 2 free hands all the time. Definitely a wonderful investment.

Shelby is asleep now and the boys and dad are out swimming so I better lay down for some rest myself. Thank you thank you thank you for all the wonderful and encouraging comments everyone is posting. It has really helped all of us to feel like we are not alone on this amazing journey!

Sweet Baby Face

Sweetest sound on earth!

We can't believe we already received the first smiles and giggles! She did sleep a few hours in between some crying episodes and woke up this morning ready to play a little with the boys. We are truly in love and amazed that God would grant us such an awesome gift!

PS: I was wrong about her clothes (in case Nana was out shopping). She is wearing the 18-24 month clothes I brought.

Gotcha Recap

Whew, what a day! We started off today before our gotcha appointment by visiting a local mall that we walked to. It was about a 20 minute walk. We managed to purchase alot of drinks, bottled water, toy each for boys, and then a new suitcase to haul it all back :) We left the hotel at 2:30PM and went to the Lottery Hotel about 30 minutes away. We entered a room with 4 other families waiting for their children. It was very surreal just sitting in there hearing alot of crying in the other rooms. Then finally the group of 4 started receiveing their babies. They were all less than a year old and some were Ok, some were crying. So we sat patiently, until our princess came strutting in without a tear! She was taking it all in and she was mainly just concerned about the other crying babies. She let CJ and both hold her-it was WONDERFUL! We had dreamed of that moment for a long time and it was everything we had hoped for. She is truly meant to be our daughter :)

After a while she finally started to cry huge tears and that was when my heart was breaking for her. You could tell that she was very very sad and just wanted her foster mother. Well she has pretty much cried and cried for her foster mom ever since then. She would calm down when we would walk around outside some, but she just goes from being very sad and screaming to just tolerating us and looking around. Oh and she came with 2 very heavy sets of clothing on her and of course she did not want us to touch her clothes to take them off, so we left them on. However, I did put a diaper on her as she did not have one on and she had already wet down into her socks. She also came with 2 plastic bags with some toys and a couple of snacks inside. She clings to the bags for dear life! She will not let go of them at all and she does not like the boys to touch them either. I don't blame her as that is all she has that she knows is hers.
We were all so emotionally and physically wiped out that the boys fell asleep at 8PM and I just held her until she finally fell asleep around 10PM. I went to sleep as well. She is semi-sleeping right now, tossing and turning but not crying (improvement!). We did change her clothes once she fell asleep and she is as tiny as Frannie and Ally as expected. She fits perfectly in a size 3 diaper and the 12 month clothes I brought. When she woke up and saw her clothes changed she freaked out so I gave her her jacket back and put it back on. She is waking up crying again, so got to go.

Gotcha Photos

Will post later but knew this was important for you all to see this, We have our princess!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Warning-Blog Disclaimer

Before Gotcha Day I wanted to just give everyone a warning about the future posts to come. I plan on being very real on this blog. I use this blog to notify family and friends of our journey, but I also use this blog to educate and most importantly to have a true keepsake for Shelby. So what I am saying is that there are going to be good, bad, and ugly parts of the journey. I don't plan on editing out the bad and ugly. So far our trip has been basically all good, so please don't be shocked when you may read some of the bad and ugly. Adoption is a very exciting but also a difficult emotional event for everyone involved. Shelby will not be happy to see us and that is going to be challenging. We have tried to prepare ourselves, but I know that is hard to do until you have lived it. We have also tried very hard to prepare the boys; however, they are young and do not understand how true "rejection" may feel. We will all do the best we can and with God's help, we will survive. I will keep the attitude of "this too shall pass" as I have learned to use this from others who have already taught me so much about this experience. So needless to say, I did not want everyone to be overly concerned if this blog turns into a "not so happy all the time" blog. It doesn't necessarily mean that things will be all bad, it just will mean that I will post and journal about the bad as well as the good!

Amazingly I had the best night of sleep last night than I have had the whole time in China. I broke out the @mbien around 11PM and was asleep by midnight. I slept an entire 6 hours, WOOHOO! It was a sound 6 hours as well. I feel very very rested for this big day. The boys slept well last night too. CJ didn't do so well in the sleep department as that is definitely understandable with no drugs :) In less than 10 hours we will have our daughter!

PS-Travis wants me to tell Ashlee that he will bring Shelby over to her house when we get home :)

Are we at Disney World?

I think we have landed at Disneyworld instead of China. This place is gorgeous with plush green rolling landscapes, palm trees, and beautiful flower gardens. There is a beautiful river that runs beside our hotel with huge light displays (similar to Epcot's lake) and an amazing waterfall with a spectacular light show. Can you tell that I am impressed ;) And we see all of this and it isn't even daylight outside. Obviously as you can see we have made it to Nanning, Guangxi to finally get to the good stuff-Shelby!

Our new guide, Belinda, said that she will pick us up at the hotel tomorrow at 2:30pm to meet Shelby at 3:30PM at the Lottery Hotel here in Nanning. That means while you guys are sleeping we will be living out our own dreams-finally getting our daughter. Can you believe it only 1 more sleep until Gotcha! It really turned real when I walked into our new hotel room and there sat the baby crib :) Oh and to top it off, we are staying on the 13th floor in room 1313. I thing one of the Frese boys must have sent over their lucky numbers to us for the week. We certainly are guaranteed to hit the jackpot in this room for sure now. Thanks boys for letting me borrow your lucky 13 for the trip ;) We are so close now I can almost feel her presence. We are so excited to finally meet our daughter.
However, I know that our excitement is not without some deep sadness. Sadness from her foster family as they now they only have 1 more sleep with "their" little one-Ning Fu Hong. I can't even begin to imagine how her foster mom is feeling right now. Please pray for peace for her entire foster family as they experience this heart wrenching moment of sending Ning Fu Hong away to the other side of the world. I really hope that we can fulfill all of her foster family's wishes for her to have a better life with a family that truly loves her. I know that I am certainly going to do my best and not let her foster mother down. I certainly know that I already truly love her :)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Headed out to Guangxi

Just a quick post before we leave for Nanning today at noon. We should be in Nanning around 7PM tonight-your 6am according to the time change. It is unbelievable that we are going to be only miles away from our little one. I will try to post tonight when we get to the new hotel-Wharton. We loved the acrobatic show last night except for the fact that I was so tired from staying up all day, I kept dosing off. But the boys and CJ were glued to the show the whole time. We are now going to venture out on the streets-alone. Scary I know but we want to get some video footage of Beijing. Will post some more pics tonight. Again keep commenting as we love to hear from you all. Caleb is really enjoying reading the comments as well. Oh and we do plan for him to squeeze in some homework time on the 3 1/2 hour plane ride today.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Touring Day

It is 3pm here in China and we are finally back to the hotel for a nap before our Acrobatic show tonight. The guide will pick us up at 6pm from the hotel. So everyone is taking a nap except for me as I am going to try to stay awake all day so I am not up again at 4am. I hope I don't fall asleep in the show tonight. Lucky for you all, I have nothing to do but blog ;)

We had a terrific day touring lots of different things today. The best advice I can give anyone for coming to Beijing is to hire your own private driver/guide. We have been able to do what we want-when we want. We started the day off at Tinnamen Square where the boys bought some little string kites. We walked around and by the way-it was perfect weather today and clear blue skies-great for touring. Anyway, we went through the square and then onto the Forbidden City where we quickly tired out of walking and kind of skipped through to the other side. It was pretty neat to see though. Then we were off to Caleb's favorite attraction-McDonald's! It was very funny to see our guide trying to order for us there, as she has never been there-WHAT?!? Needless to say I was much better at ordering from that menu as she was very amused at the Happy Meal concept that comes with the "free" toy. Funny. We enjoyed our Big Macs and fries and then we went next door for our big shopping adventure. We bought CJ a watch for about $5 and an alarm clock for about $5.

Next we were off to the highly recommended Hutong Tour via a rickshaw ride. This was alot of fun and very interesting. We were able to then go inside a family's home and visit a real life everyday China home and family. The boys really enjoyed this part of the trip. I couldn't help but think alot about Shelby today seeing this family and alot of other families and the way they live everyday in China. I felt very sad about taking her away from all of this deep culture and traditions here in China. I really hope to some day bring her back so she can experience and see where she was born and what type of life she may have lived her first 2 years of life. Even though I was feeling a little bit guilty about taking her away from all of this, at the same time I felt so relieved that she would not have to live like that. Very weird to have all of these conflicting emotions. I do love that I was able to get some great pics for her to see in the future.

Speaking of pics I am sure that is what you all want to see, so I will wrap up by posting a few from today. Only 2 more sleeps until my baby is finally in my arms!