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Monday, July 28, 2008

WE AREW HOME!!!!!!!!!!

Finally! After 32 hours of traveling we are finally home! We got stuck in Newark for about 10 hours and then they were on the verge of cancelling our flight. Bad weather... Anyway, I was so thankful that we were able to make it home because I was going to loose my mind! I didn't think that I would ever sit on an airport floor much less lay on it, but I did. I was so tired and both Shannon and I had been up about 32hours by the time we made it home. I almost kissed the dude in security getting off the plane, but I thought that may be a bit over the top. And I am sure he wouldn't have appreciated that. So I refrained. I almost kissed the ground in Charleston but again refrained. I didn't care for flying too much if you can tell and I was so glad to be home! Norah was awesome on the way home and she held up much better than I did on that long flight home!
When we pulled into the Charleston airport I was already in tears and was just overjoyed that I would be seeing Elias in just a few minutes! We got off the plane and that is when I saw this group of people and flashes going off. Our family and friends... such a beautiful sight! I am so glad that everyone came to welcome us home and it was go good to have both of my babies in my arms! Elias looked soooo big! I could not believe how much he had grown in 2 weeks! I was sort of nervous how he would react with Norah but that was a sight in itself.
He saw her and just melted. Honestly. He just kissed on her and he was so incredibly sweet with her. And she was just as smitten by him. She really showed her cute personality with everyone and was blowing kisses and even walking! She thought Elias was just the coolest and I think that feeling for him was mutual. We put her in her carseat for the first time and WOW! She did not like it! She was screaming her little face off and Elias was so worried about her that he started crying. He didnt understand that she had never been in a carseat before. Once he understood what was going on he was okay. But he was in the backseat trying to make her laugh and he was rubbing her arm and trying to make her calm. I too was trying to console but that was sort of hard from the back seat. She slept very well that night and we all finally woke about 10am.
She has done so well and her and Elias are so funny together. He kisses her head every night before bed and always tells her how much he loves her. We were on the floor this morning playing and he said, "Mom, if Norah didn't join our family we would have been so sad forever." He is such a cool kid. I am so glad to be home and have both of my babies here too. My cup truly runneth over.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Goodby GZ, hello Hong Kong

We are leaving in the morning at 6:30am to fly to Hong Kong for the day and we will be leaving from HK to come home Sunday! YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have so enjoyed our time here, and we have loved being in Norah's place of birth but it is time to go back to the states! We miss Elias terribly and I cannot wait to hug that sweet thing! So goodbye for now. Not sure if we will unpack the laptop tomorrow or not... guess that will be a surprise! If we don't the next time I post will be from HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There is no place like it! :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I wonder...

As I sit here typing this, Shannon and Norah are snuggled up together in the bed taking a nap. This little girl is amazing. In the last 18 months, she has been loved by her birth parents. She was obviously loved by her nanny. And now she is loved by us. She was born into one family, taken care of by another and now we will run the rest of the race by her side. We are the lucky ones. The blessed ones.
I wonder what her birth mother was thinking that July morning. I wonder if she kissed the same cheeks that I kiss every day. I wonder if she looked into those eyes and quietly whispered "I love you" like I do everyday. How hard that must have been for her to leave her. To hope and pray that someone honorable would hear her tiny cry and take her someplace safe. They did. We know his name and where he works. We would love to thank him but that cannot happen. I could never imagine leaving her alone. Leaving her fate up to a complete stranger. I am only going to believe that she was left so that someone could give her the medical help that she needed because her parents could not. They tried to take care of her for six months. They did the best that they could until they could no longer. I never really gave it that much thought until she was placed in my arms the very first time. She had a mother and father. Her mother carried her for 9 months and gave birth to her. I am sure she cried when she saw her beautiful face for the first time. How could she not?? To wake up to her for 6 months. To love her so much that she gave her up so she could be taken care of. How honorable. Was she sitting behind a bush or on a bench watching and waiting for someone to pick her up. I am sure that she was. I am sure that she cried tears of joy and sadness.
I look at her now resting so peacefully amidst all that she has been through. To loose her first two loves. I could not imagine the pain that her little heart must have felt. And to be able to smile through it all is amazing to me. She will touch a million lives with that smile and that courage. And through it all... She will be loved...
Today was a pretty laid back kinda day! We finally woke up at 8:30 (even Norah!) and we went down and had some breakfast. After breakfast we had to run to a few stores and we also needed to pick up our laundry. We went by Starbucks (KT, I do not have to order this CM with 6 pumps of vanilla. It is not that strong at all! And I am not sure that they get the whole extra caramel thing, but it gets the job done. Can't wait to have one from home!!) and Norah got a sucker. She LOVED it! She had it all over here and at one point it was in her hair... just hanging there! It was too funny! So here are some random pics. We miss home and can't wait to see Elias! We miss him so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kirstin T....

Can you please send me your email address?? Ours is spesharp@yahoo.com
Thanks! The Sharp 4 :)

Elias in the boat...

Since we are gone, Val and Doug took Elias out in their boat. I will admit that I was pretty nervous! But I know that he had a great time, as you can tell by these pictures. He loves Tanner and Cole so much and I was so glad that he got to hang out with them while we were gone.
We miss Elias so much and we are so eager to get home to him! We think that he is so courageous to let go of his mom and dad for 2 weeks! I know that Norah is going to love him and they are going to have such a great time together. He is such a neat kid and we are so happy that he is ours! Here are some pics from their boating trip... and yes, he caught a shark!!!


I just wanted to share a bit of good news. I went to a place here on the island and got the camera developed that I sent to Norah in her care package. I could hardly believe my eyes. There were so many great pictures of her and of her life there. She seemed like a very well loved little girl! In several of the photos her nanny is showing her our photo album and in several of the photos she is wearing the outfit that we sent her. But the best picture of all was her laying in her crib wrapped in the blanket that we sent. She is looking at the photo album that we sent her. I wonder if she was thinking of us like we were thinking of her...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Red Couch Pictures

Today we had the Red Couch pictures. When adoptive families come to GZ, it is a tradition that everyone in the travel group take pictures at the red couch. The red couch is at the White Swan hotel close to the Victory where we are staying. Very nice hotel!! So everyone buys traditional Chinese outfits for the kids and piles them all onto the red couch for a pictures. Now I was really unsure how Norah would do because she is pretty much stuck to me like glue. She did pretty well though! There are also pictures of the Butterworth family (Jim, Shannon, Grace, Ashley and Brooke) and the Swank family (Denise, Ryan, Emma, Jenna and Julia) in here for your viewing pleasure as well as individual shots of Ryan and Grace - who in my opinion are the nicest looking kids in China! So enjoy!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hello from Guangzhou~

We finally made it to GZ! This is our last stop before home! I miss Elias so much and I can't wait to give him a big hug and kiss!
We flew into GZ today about 11. We were taken to our hotel and then we went to get some lunch. We went to Lucy's on Shamian Island. It serves Western style food! I had a cheeseburger and frencg fries and Norah has a grilled cheese and french fries. She wasn't too hip on the grilled cheese but she loved the tomato that was on my burger! That kid can house some food! I don't know who is going to eat more - Norah or Elias! Then we went to some of the shops here that are along the street. Where we are staying is sort of the last gathering place of all Chinese adoptions. The consulate is here, so if you are adopting from China, you come through here. It is beautiful! The streets and shops are alot like Savannah. There are alot of palm trees and it is right on the water. We went to a few stores but I havent bought anything becuse I am holding out for Jennifer's place!
I promise I will post more pictures tomorrow :) Today has been kinda crazy with flying and checking into the hotel and stuff :) Hope all of you are doing well and we miss home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Norah is walking!

Last night while we were packing, Norah was getting pretty fussy. So we took a break and sat on the floor and played with her. She wanted to stand so badly so I said what the hey! I stood her up and she steadied herself and took her first steps to Shannon! She was so eager and so very proud of herself! She took about 5 steps pretty consistently back and forth! We are so very proud of her! I don't think her small limb difference will slow her down any! Here are some pictures!



Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tenwang Pavilion and of course Norah :)

Yesterday we went to the Tenweng Pavilion and it was awesome! It was such a beautiful structure and the view was just breathtaking! We were able to see a live show of singers and dancers and of course that was amazing! After visiting the pavilion we went to lunch (awesome) and then some of us went and had a foot massage. We were all placed in a large room with reclining chairs. They did a one hour massage on our feet and legs and backs. It cost 40 RMB which is about 5 US dollars. It was pretty great... very relaxing! We stopped by a local bakery by our hotel and got a few things for dinner. That too was wonderful! Can you tell we are enjoying our time here??? Shannon stayed home with Norah during the fantastic foot rub so I brought them dinner back from the bakery. Norah sat on the floor and housed a good majority of what I brought back. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nanchang SWI

Yesterday we were also able to visit Norah's home for the last year. It was a very important day for me because now I will be able to tell her about her life before us. Evelyn arranged the visit with the director, who also was the lady that placed Norah in my arms. We went by taxi - which was an experience in itself- and it took about 10 minutes from our hotel to get there. I was so in awe of everything I saw and experienced. First we went to the kindergarten room. There were about 8 kids in there singing and playing. They were so happy to see us and came over to talk to us and touch us. They were precious and I am already thinking in my mind how quickly I can do paperwork again.
We then went to Norah's room. Remember the pictures that I got from the yahoo group of Norah when she is about 6 months old? This is the same room that we went into. It was pretty big and all of the babies were on the floor with the nannies. The director told the nannies that I was LanPing's mama and they all got huge smiles on their faces and came over to greet me. I got to meet her nanny (if you remember she is the one that took pics with her that we recently got). I got a picture with her and also got to show her pictures on my digital camera that we have taken these past few days. She kept saying, Oh! And she would point and turn around and talk to the other nannies. When we would come to the ones of her smiling, she would say "Oh" again and she had tears in her eyes. She kept touching my shoulder and saying "thank you". I really wanted to say, no thank you! I was able to tell her through Evelyn that I was so greatful to her for taking such good care of Norah and that she will be happy with her new life and I would never let her forget her or where she came from. It was very very special to me!
I also saw the little boy that she was good friends with. I also showed him the pics of Norah and he would look at me and then touch the camera.
It was amazing.
We also got to see where she was left that July morning. Shannon and I have decided that we will show those pictures to Norah when she gets a bit older and let her decide if she wants to share that part of her story.
She is such a strong little girl who has overcome so much in her short life. We are so proud and honored to call her our daughter.