Monday, September 28, 2009

What you Might have Seen at our House Today....

We got a surprise box in the mail so we HAD to open it!! We have no idea who it is from - but the girls are THRILLED with their new buddies!!! :)
This box is ALMOST as good as what's inside!! Jada pushed it all over - not sure she knew she was supposed to OPEN it!!

We took advantage of this fall weather and played outside a bit!
Biker Babes!!

We played with Dad's hair - of course BOTH had to be on the lap - this is ALL TOO common at our house right now. Guess we ought to feel loved!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Home Again

I can only sit back in amazement at God. I prayed DAYS before we left that God would cover Joe and I with a protection for health issues while we were in China. I just did not want to get sick again - that was awful! Little did I know - I was praying for more than just illness. When my leg doubled it's size the night we got home - I called and got in the next day - only to find out that I had a blood clot. According to the doctor, I got it on the way there - that was what was causing all of my leg pain in China. And he said I should be MOST grateful that it came to nothing more while we were there. When I sat and thought about it - I have to agree, I could have ended up in a hospital in China somewhere, but no, God allowed it to stay put until I got home and then I could go in and get it taken care of. It is not a MAJOR clot - just in a minor spot where they don't expect it to be a problem. I have to elevate my leg, add heat, and take 800 mg of Ibuprofen TOO many times a day! But for that I am extremely grateful! SO - that explains why I haven't posted since we got home. We were scared we might miss our first plane in China - but that was another God-thing - everyone in our group made it to the plane and off we went! Jada did great on the planes too - many hours were spent with two plastic cups - she sure does entertain herself well!

Our kids, Becky's Dad and Mom, and our friends were waiting to meet us at the airport - what a fun treat! It was great to see them all!I think Jada wondered what was up though - with all of those kids staring at her!!! Welcome to your new world, Jada!We are adjusting - Mom is sitting with her leg up - or trying to anyway :). We are experiencing MAJOR issues with an older little one that thinks Mom is hard to share and is a bit frustrated that this new little sister isn't all she thought! But we will get there - it just takes time - and we have that! Keep praying for our adjustment and my crazy leg - we will make it - just let us get past this HORRIBLE jet lag!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sept. 23 - Guangzhou--Last day in China

We finished breakfast and attempted our red couch photos - yep, the parents are exhausted after that - whew - only 4 kids - but such a deal!! We are off to finish our shopping and then begin the packing. We have our consulate appointment this afternoon where we vow to love and care for Jada - and then off to bed as we have to get up early for our first flight. We are SO ready to be home! Can't wait to see you all!! Signing off from China!
NOTE: Posted by verna SO, by the time you read this it is after 9:00 PM in China and the Bilbys are heading to bed. Please pray for a good rest as they get up terribly early to leave for the U.S. They also have a couple 3-4 hour layovers--one in Shanghai and one at OHare. Could be good or bad--ya just never know.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sept. 22 - Guangzhou

Bedhead Jada - she doesn't have much hair but it sure does stick up!!!

You will get a kick out of this - yes, Becky at the pool, good thing it's long distance on this photo! BUT we weren't allowed to take pictures - Joe is a rebel!

In my excitement to share God's work - I forgot to share what we did today - kind of overshadowed, I know.

Kind of a laid back day - aside from our news!! We spent time at the pool, walking around Guangzhou - AT STARBUCKS! (for the first time since we've left - I know, I know, you don't believe me, but it's true!) And then dinner at Lucy's with our new found friends, the Colestocks. We are enjoying these wonderful people we've met here on our journey - God knew just what we needed and when! We are truly blessed.

Tomorrow is our consulate appt. and red couch picture - we'll see how Miss Jada does - she is our wild child - for sure!! I told my friend today, we need to get the sign for the house put up, "We are not responsible for this 3 year old - we have not trained her the last three years!!" Oh my! Pray for us as we head into a VERY LONG Thursday as well. We are thrilled to be coming home but our day(s) will be long. We have a 3 hour layover in Shanghai before we ever hit the plane to the U.S., and then a 4 hour layover in Chicago - anyone want to come and party?!?!!? We won't even be in Omaha until 10:30 pm - but it's all minor - we are coming home. Missing our kids here - it's time to go home!

Sept. 22 - Guangzhou

Here it is - OUR TICKET OUT OF HERE!!!
Yep - gotta hand carry x-rays all the way back to the U.S. but who's complaining?!?! It shows that Jada is FREE TO GO!!!

Thank you to our amazing God - He keeps us on the edge of our seats - but hey, it keeps life interesting!!! Praise to Him that was already working ahead of us and paved our way!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sept. 21 - Guangzhou

We've done it - we've ruined Jada to cameras. This is what she does now when we get the camera out - as soon as she sees it - it's all over. The hiding begins. Silly girl. Oh well, I like a good challenge.

Our beautiful hotel - The White Swan is just amazing. A nice way to end your time here.

I am going to be openly honest here - today has been hard. We knew going into the TB test that Jada's arm was significantly raised compared to the other kids in our group. And when our guide had all of us meet before we went back to the dr.'s office, she shook her head "no" - even she knew it didn't look good. Sure enough, all of the other little ones flew through their checks - no problems - and then Jada. The nurse said "no" and whisked our peanut away to xray. Of course, more Yuan for that, but the money is minor at this point. This is what we have prayed that God would cover for us - we knew it could be a possibility - TONS of these little ones are exposed to TB in orphanages and we prayed God would spare us this. But no, for some reason, He allowed us to be one of those parents that has to sleep one more night wondering if we can bring our little one home. When the nurse said "no" my fears overcame and the tears started flowing. Our travel mates are wonderful - full of support - as hot as it was - they would not leave until we were done. But my heart is just so sad. Probably two-fold - selfishly - I do not want to stay here - which might be our only option - Joe has to go back to work - his vacation time is gone and we have both said - we have come too far with her to leave her - that just can't be an option. So, that would mean Jada and I here alone until she is "clear" - I do not think I am ready for that - but I also know that God can make you ready for things you never thought you could be ready for! Secondly, for our family - my four little lambs at home need Mom, Dad and Jada home as well. So we are pleading with God tonight - that he will make those xrays clear. That is NOT too hard for Him - we know that - He's shown us that over and over. Our guide told us that one family last week is still here as well - their little girl also was positive BUT she was running a fever AND coughing. We do not have either of those things right now so praying for God's mercy.

After getting over our huge disappointment, we continued to look around a bit more here in Guangzhou and then headed back to our hotel - out of the heat - and to get a bite to eat and let Jada take a nap.

We went to one of our favorite shops today - Jordan's - a gentle man that lets you shop in peace! As we were leaving - he was helping Jada go down his steps and he asked us why she was so careful going down the steps. We told him that she can not see well. He asked which eye and we told him both. He touched her gently and said, "God bless you little one." He turned to us and said, "God will bless you - you take her to the U.S. and fix her eyes." It was another "moment" for me - I know, that until the FDA approves iris transplants, there may be nothing we can really do for her vision - and even then, the transplants aren't guaranteed. I sure wish there were something we could do for her, and I still pray for miracles - that maybe even glasses will help her. Her vision is not good - but it is amazing how her senses of hearing and touch have taken over. I smile when I watch her - God makes amazing bodies!

We don't have big plans for tonight - dinner at Lucy's with some in our group and then play until bath and bedtime. When you look at the enormity and complexity of international adoption - I am in awe - I am thankful for these wonderful families here with us - and I am thankful for the people and family back home - also praying and caring for us in so many different ways. It is in times like these that we are thankful for God's amazing gift of The Body.

I leave you with this today - amazing words from a wonderful devotional book that I read, God Calling - this was shared by another adoptive momma stuck in another country - also waiting on test results for her daughter - she shared it today on her blog - may it touch your heart as it did mine.
You will not find MY peace by engaging in excessive planning: attempting to control what will happen to you in the future. That is a commonly practiced form of unbelief. When your mind spins with multiple plans, Peace may sometimes seem to be within your grasp; yet it always eludes you. Just when you think you have prepared for all possibilities, something unexpected pops up and throws things into confusion. I did not design the human mind to figure out the future. That is beyond your capability. I crafted your mind for continual communication with Me. Bring me all your needs, your hopes and fears. Commit everything into my care. Turn from the path of Peace.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sept. 20 - Guangzhou

Ready to go SHOPPING!!!

SO today I win the award not only was I very brave and had mushrooms in my omelet - I also walked a VERY LONG WAY to shop for pearls. Joe led a few of our Bethany families on a hunt for the pearl market we found four years ago when we were here. At first all we found was jade, but then, with further effort, we landed our pearl market!! But let's just say - it's a good thing it was at least slightly air conditioned - or I'm not sure even us shopper women would have stayed, we were just dying!!The Pearl Master - she was something - she kept telling us she was giving us the best deal! How is it that when you leave you got the best deal and they are still laughing!??!!?

She took her hat off AND her shoes off - she was chillin' while Mom and Dad were pearl hunting!Jada, Gabe, Lily and Anna
Patient Shoppers!

After pearl hunting - I jumped in the pristine lake for a swim.
OK - just kidding - this water is BROWN and GROSS - but I couldn't pass up the chance to capture the local man swimming on this hot day.Maybe I should have stopped and went fishing - he had enough poles! But no, far too hot for that too!Just to prove how hot I was!! Too bad you can't see the red - I looked like a beet! Staying inside now for the rest of the day - this girl just ain't cut out for this!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sept. 19 - Guangzhou

Stylin' In Guangzhou

Sept. 19 - Guangzhou

Let me get this off my chest - it is STINKING 100 degrees here and humidity that you just can't cut through. Ok - I won't mention that again but had to get it out there. Joe wants to go out and take pictures - walk around - and I am thinking - bum leg, slow going, NO WAY!!! I hate to be a party pooper, but oh my word! That said, we are still enjoying ourselves - the best part of Guangzhou are all the families - you can talk to people again - you feel more normal and don't get stared at all the time. Guangzhou is very different this time though - there are SO many special needs children - not just all babies like last time. I sat at breakfast this morning and literally cried. I can not believe the children that are set aside because they are imperfect. Just breaks my heart - I can only help one, but I am so grateful for these other families that have seen fit to help others. What big hearts people have.

We went and had our shots today and medical check. Jada had to have 7 shots - more than any others in our group - I have no clue why, but that girl was SO tough. She sat there and watched about 4 of them - not making a peep - then for the last 3 she just lost it. Enough was enough and I don't blame her. It is ridiculous really - and most of these will have to be redone in the U.S. So sad. And our guide reminded us - this isn't China's rule - this is the U.S.'s rule. Some big guy needs to come here and see what a joke this is and then decide if it is really necessary. There are just hundreds of families packed into one building. You have to go through 4 or 5 stations - you wait forever and babies are screaming - I'm sure you get the point. All for a one-eyed lady (yes, the same one here 4 years ago) to shine a flashlight in their eyes and another doctor to shake a rattle by their ears - don't worry though - if they don't turn to the sound - the doctor will move their head to the sound! They all pass!! :) It sounds so cynical - but it is amazing - we just shake our heads and say - even if one was sick - no one would ever find it. In fact, the one-eyed lady got reprimanded for not finding Jada's eye problem - she didn't write it on the sheet and her boss just chewed her out. Our guide told us all of this - she actually passed Jada and would have moved her on. There goes her raise!! Oh dear. But we made it - came back and made Jada some noodles and had a banana and now she is napping. She is SO consistent with her schedule - last night she got in bed late and this morning she was almost impossible to get up. She LIKES her sleep - but hey, so does her momma!! :)

Joe is out shopping at the moment - don't let him tell you that I spent all the Yuan! Nope - he's out today! We plan to meet some travel mates for dinner at Lucy's and not sure what else - Guangzhou is a great landing place - we enjoy it here and it really caters to the westerners. Now if it would just COOL DOWN!!!

We find out on Monday about the TB - our guide says it is NOT good if it is positive - very hard to convince the U.S. - we know that - we've followed stories that could scare a person. But we are praying - God knows and He has us in the palm of His hand.Check out all those bandaids - 2 in each arm, 1 in each leg (with one leg with 2), plus the TB in the arm as well. And these weren't given like at home - three nurses at one time - nope, they are one by one here.People keep asking us - they do not believe she's only 3 - poor thing - they don't believe she's a girl - now they don't believe she's 3!!! She is VERY tall. And look at her little legs - COVERED in bug bites - it scared us at first, but that is what they are - each little leg is just covered.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sept. 18 - Nanjing/Guangzhou

Not my best friend....

My Best Friend!!! (I know McD's - I haven't given up on you - it's just that this is closer right now!)
Wearing Dad's shoes!!

I can not even explain it - all we did was fly and arrive - but we are whipped today! We flew out of Nanjing at noon - arrived in Guangzhou at 5pm, got our luggage and headed to the hotel and arrived around 7 pm. We just grabbed some dinner at our FAVORITE HAUNT - Lucy's!!! And now are heading to bed. It is exhausting - we tried to travel light - but let me tell you - 3 year old, backpacks, luggage, computer bag - well, you get the point. We aren't so light and the 3 year old is NO help!! : ) So it's been a day. But when you sit on that plane - you have a lot of time to think. I sat there and watched Joe and Jada sleep - and thought about how her little life has changed. She has just started to refuse almost all food we give her - we are feeding her the same things, but she isn't eating anymore. That is such a hard feeling as a parent - how in the world do you get her to eat!?!? But she's acting fine otherwise. So we don't think it's because she is sick. It makes my heart ache as I just think she is sad. We watch her almost every night - we lay her down - she doesn't fuss or fight - just lays there and tears run down her face. She is sobbing because you can see her chest move and hiccup, but the tears just flow. Totally breaks my heart. What in the world has this little girl been through?

We have a three year old that ...
...does not know how to grasp my hand or finger when we walk. I have to physically mold her finger around mine or her hand is flat and won't grasp.
...does not know how to be held - she is a still board - she does not grasp you to hang on - she would literally fall if you didn't hold her back like a baby.
...does not say hardly 3 words - so far we've heard "Mama", "didi" (Chinese for little brother), and "night-night". (Oh yes, and "Aaron", when we look at his picture.)
...just watches everything - she takes it all in - as her little eyes wiggle to capture it all. just now starting to walk more assuredly - at first she was so hesitant you had to pull her along.

When I look at her alongside other 3 year olds I have known, it can be scary. She seems more like a one year old sometimes. Although, at other times, we are amazed at her. She follows us all over - she won't let us out of her sight - and she copies everything we do. If we wash our hands, she has to as well - she knows the routine, wash, dry, and gel cleanser. She cracks us up. She sits so politely at the table before we get our food - we almost forget she is there. Tonight she sat at Lucy's and took the signs off of the table and pretended they were babies again - she rocks them and sings to them and wraps them in napkins. I teared up just watching her - she loves to play babies - we've had water bottle babies, signs, door handle cards - they have all been babies. She can be so loving. She surprises us - she makes us laugh. I just want to know what is going on in her head - I can't wait for the breakthrough when she will start talking. She is so sweet - but oh so far behind. My heart just breaks - we love her dearly - wherever she is in her development, but we pray for breakthroughs.

Pray for us tomorrow - Jada has to have ALL of her shots redone - they told us to expect 6 or 7 and her TB test - that's the biggie - we need a negative. We covet your prayers for our little one. We could sit and worry but we give it all to our BIG GOD - the One who brought us here and led us to Jada. "He Knows"......At the airport waiting with Gabe and his mom.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sept. 17 - Nanjing

We ate dinner last night - PAPA JOHN'S!!!!! - with our travelmates, the Danielson's, and then let the kids play for a bit. They tossed a beach ball back and forth and Gabe had great fun - Jada, on the other hand, is so reserved out in public - she hardly talks at all in front of other people and really only ran for the ball when Gabe wasn't around. It is very interesting to watch.
Today we visited the Brocade Museum in Nanjing. This is an amazing art to watch and there aren't many people left that can actually run these looms.

Oh yes, while we were at the Brocade museum, they had a fashion show and asked me to be in it!! RIGHT!! Well they did actually have a fashion show, the director of the museum came and sat by us and asked our guide if we'd like our picture taken - we weren't so sure about this - but we went and posed anyway. I felt a little underdressed!
Part of the wall built around Nanjing - wish we would have had time to see more of this wall, but we have run out of time in Nanjing. We leave tomorrow afternoon for Guangzhou - we are excited to move on as it's rained EVERY DAY here and hasn't made for many fun outings.

We would ask you to pray for us - now Jess, our travel partner's wife, is sick. We were hoping Gabe had something that would stick to only him, but now that Jess has it too - we are thinking it could easy be a bug. Joe and I have been on antibiotics the whole trip, but not sure it is something that will be affected by anitbiotics. Pray that Jess feels better soon and that NONE of the rest of us get it - we were trying so hard to be careful around little Gabe when he was sick, but that is hard to do when you are in a van together all day!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sept. 16 - Nanjing

Director of Jada's Orphanage on Left (Mrs. Chen) - A Nanny on Right
Signing Away
Today has been a day!!! Our travel mates were up all night with a sick little boy and we felt so sorry for them - little did we know our turn was coming! Jada was still being her quiet, reserved self - slept from 9-7 and we had to wake her up to go to the Civil Affairs Office again. Once we hit that office, Jada became Jada the Stubborn and has stayed that way ever since. We said yesterday that it almost seemed like they had given her meds for the ride here - she just seemed so "out of it" - well today THE MEDS WORE OFF!!! Oh my word - she was a crazy girl. And here you are sitting in the office in front of the Chinese officials and we really needed to use some discipline and there was nothing we could do - for Heaven's Sake - we were signing papers that said we would love our child - even though, in our minds, discipline is loving!!! :) But we did the best we could - we were dripping with sweat - they told us it's the cool season now so they don't turn on AC very often! UGH!! We went to give them our fingerprints and Jada tried to take the red ink - she tried to take the papers - not sure we got one smiling photo since Joe and I were so frazzled!!! HELP!!!! This girl is SPICY!!! To top it off - I pulled something in the back of my leg and can barely walk - that was something- here's the crippled mom trying to curtail my wild child! And Joe was just passing out the Yuan. We were exhausted after that and wanted only to go back to our hotel and our guide thinks we need to go shopping. Yeah - Walmart with the wild child - all I was looking for was Calgon! I am hobbling behind our cart, Joe is carrying Jada because she was crying now, and he was dripping with sweat - so while I peruse the bananas, raw fish, and other unidentifiable objects - Joe stays in the freezer aisle- it's cooler there. Oh my - I think we're ready to come home now.

We will leave you on a good note though - God is keeping us feeling young - or VERY, VERY old!!!! And she is a hoot!! I will try to post a video of Jada playing with Dad - she never stops. Hmmm - wonder if we can find those meds they had her on!?!?!??! (We'll show them our Yuan!!)Gotta Love a Good Banana
When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don't go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans and widows. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all you do.
~Deuteronomy 24:19

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