Saturday, January 31, 2009

More pics from China
















Saturday Morning Update

Good (early) morning to all our blog readers! So many of you have been reading our story and stopped to tell us and ask..."when are we getting an update?"

I have 4 kids now under the age of 6...I'm trying!!

Ashley Mei is really doing well. She's adjusting great and attaching beautifully. Most of the time she still prefers mama, but she's got that "Daddy's HOME!" dance and smile down pat! We've had a challenge mostly at night but she's getting better, PTL! We did some re-arranging so she's in her own room, and this seems to have helped, as well as given mama and daddy their room back..all of us are happier :)

She still has some periods of grieving each day but they are getting less and less. Like in the first of the week it was lasting 20 minutes and now it's only maybe 3. I'm totally expecting this to ebb and flow...she may kick it back up to 20 today or may not have any at all. This is normal and healthy as she learns to trust us and give us her heart...and as far as how long it will last? Could last for months and could be over this week...we just don't know.

Aside from that short time each day she is a joy! She's giggling and kissing and talking! She can say mama, dada, Ashley, Ally, bye bye, and uh oh. She can sign please, more, and all gone. And, she's still saying a few Chinese words here and there. She adores Ally (who doesn't?!) and laughs and laughs when Ally comes into the room. Annalyse is doing well with another sister...Ashley gets jealous easily but for now things are going smooth. We went out to dinner last night for the first time with all 4 and had fun with friends and managed!

The questions have already begun and I'm sure will get more frequent as we get out more. "Is she yours?" (yes) "did you adopt her?" (no, we have a strong recessive Chinese gene that just popped out!) .....you get the idea. I've got to get creative....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oh yes she is....happy to be HOME!
















Just a few pics for those of you who have called and emailed about WHY I haven't posted pics :)





We're all getting to know each other and resting well. We did get the Melatonin and it worked great the first night (natural sleep aid), so we're going to stay on it for about a week. Mama is still pretty worn out, but hanging in there. Thanks to those who have brought meals....it is a LIFESAVER not to have to get something together when your body is telling you it's 5am and not 5pm!





We had a very good Dr's appointment this afternoon and i'll post more about that later. Here's the pics while I still have the two little ones asleep!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Jetlag is a KILLER

Well it's 3:04am here in GA and I just made scrambled eggs for two very hungry children. Ashley and Avery and I have been awake since about 2am and both got hungry for breakfast. Having two children on one schedule and two on another is NOT my idea of a fun week:)

I have no clue how to handle it, but i'm going to let them stay up till 4am then put them back to bed. Avery has school in the morning and she really needs to try to stay as long as possible. It's amazing how much I can get done getting up this early:)

Yesterday AM we took Ashley to church for the first time. I know some people think you have to hibernate in your house for 6 weeks, but if my children plan on living for the next 6 weeks, this mama has to get out of the house! Jay and I (and Avery!) have missed our church friends and family SO much over the last 16 days...we needed to see them and be in worship....oh, how I have MISSED worship at our church for three weeks! Ashley stayed in my arms the entire time really did well! She's not fond of men, so when they came up to her, she turned her head..but she was playing peek a boo and laughing up a storm with my Sunday School friends! Foster care has really saved this child in so many ways.....she's not timid and certainly has an air of confidence about her! She walked in here when we got home the first time just like she owned the place...headed straight with Avery to the toys and as long as mama was in sight, would have played the night away! She seems to have no "sensory" issues that I can tell, and is perfectly on track developmentally.

Ok so want to hear our loooonnggg trip home? Not really sure I want to rehash it but here goes....

Our Friday morning started out at 4:30am, waking up to be in the hotel lobby and ready to head to the airport by 5:45am. Head to the airport for a 9:30 flight that eventually gets off the ground at 11:00am due to weather delays. Thankfully, we were on all these flights with several other families so we had friends to wait it out with . Learned some cuss words in Chinese that a local decided a few of us needed to learn that had us laughing so hard we were crying...yes, the trip insanity had begun to set in!

Landed in Shanghai and got a quick bite to eat (another ordeal...guide told us they took American cash, they did not...) and got on the BIG plane at 5:05pm. At this point, we have the longest flight ahead of us and we've been up and traveling for 12 hours.

Another God thing, we were not seated together on this flight and a sweet man switched seats so we were all together...this would be so crucial. About two hours into the flight, we hit the worst turbulence I have ever experienced. When the pilot comes over and says loudly, "Flight attendants DOWN" you know it's REALLY bad. We dropped altitude so fast and were shaking all over the place. It was the first time in my life I really thought I was going to die. All I could think about was Ally and Annalyse and I was a mess. Avery was hysterical and so scared...that killed me but I was so out of it I was no comfort to her...thankfully, Jay held onto us both and was our rock....that stuff lasted about an hour all total and it was the most terrifying thing that I have ever been through. Ashley? She was asleep...another blessing....she slept on my lap for 10 of the 12 hours!! (and she peed on me and smeared cheese in my jeans:)

We landed in Chicago at 4pm (now traveling for 23.5 hours) and had two hours to make the connecting flight to ATL. Yeah, NOT ENOUGH TIME. We had to re-check our bags through customs, get Ashley's paperwork stamped by immigration by a not-so-kind gentleman, and ran full speed all the way to our plane that was calling for final boarding (through another security screen, I may add).

Flight to ATL was smooth as glass and Ashley made friends with the flight attendants. Landed at 9:05pm and Ashley was there to meet us. Found out our bags never made the last flight and would be sent to us the next day....grabbed some really good, american food...and drove three hours home. All total traveling....31 hours.

Highlights of the trip (there were so few) were being on all flights but the last with 7 families from our group....Ashley sleeping 10 and Avery sleeping 8 hours on the long flight....and walking in and waking up the girls, and seeing nana and nammy!

God got us here in one piece and believe me, I had a LOT of conversation with Him on that flight! The emotions of the two weeks hit me on the leg home and it was a very emotional one for me. So many thoughts and feelings...one day I'll go into that more.

For now, we are home and soaking up every sleepless minute:) Pics to come!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

FINALLY MADE IT HOME!!!!


Our first pic as a family of 6!!!! We got home at 1:15am after 31 hours of travel...it was long and terrible (i'll post about that later:) but to walk into the door and wake up the girls....worth every minute!!!!! Thanks to Ashley for picking us up and driving us home all the way(and for capturing the pics....love you!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

End of one journey and on to the next!











Well, this post wraps up our time in China. It has been an amazing, life changing trip to say the least! The things we have learned here will shape our family in so many ways. Now, this country is a part of our family, and will forever be a heritage to our grandchildren and beyond! There have been many ups and downs on this trip, but I wouldn't trade it for the world (OK, maybe I'd trade the food:) As we head home, and try to add threads of China into our world, i'm not exactly sure what that looks like. I do know that we got the cutest and most amazing little souvenir and the best thing ever that was "made in China!" She has learned to say, 'mama, dada, jie jie (sister) and is already signing the word "please"!
Our prayer for this blog is that maybe in some way, God has spoken to you about how He might have YOU be a voice for orphans. That picture looks so different for everyone...maybe He has burdened you to give, or to pray for these precious children. Maybe He has whispered to you, just like He did to me, that one day...this would be something you would experience first hand. Maybe you have room for one more stocking at Christmas and one more car seat in your van. Maybe, like some of you I know are reading, have never been able to have a biological child.
Can I tell you something? Pregnancy is WAY over rated! This child was formed in her mothers womb, but God ordained her to be in our family even before the world was created. I have loved children both ways....and it is no different.

Please do not stop praying for us! We need all the prayer we can get as we figure out how to go from a family of 5 to a family of 6! And for our amazing, wonderful church family...we cannot WAIT to introduce you to Ashley Mei!! We know you have prayed for us and supported us, even when you probably thought..."what in the heck are they doing??!! "

To everyone who has helped with the girls...THANK YOU! You have been the hands and feet of Christ to us and we never once felt nervous that they we're not being cared for! We love you!

And, thank you to my sweet husband...who said "yes" to this burden in my heart! This is a man who loves his family, and we are so blessed to have him!


We have our bags packed and leave for the airport tomorrow at 5:45am....to start a 31 hour trip home. We need lots of prayer that we can make our connecting flights and get some sleep on the planes. God is good! All the time! SEE YOU SOON!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jay's Final post and pics from the Park




























































This is the one lone post from me. I wanted to post once and well after the last outing I thought some pics and this post was fitting. I have done more posting on my face book but these pics and post are from Avery and I today at the park. I also took a pic of our hotel, a Lamborghini dealership( no pics inside), and of us at the park. I have enjoyed my time here in China but I am ready to go home.
The Lord and his mercies have blessed us each day and we pray that he will continue to be with us and our journey as we begin to say goodbye to China. Ashley or Hao Hao, which we are calling her to help with transition, is a blessing beyond words. This week she has really opened up to me and Avery and she is showing us the beauty that God has blessed her with. We are thanking him for the surgery that was provided her and she is walking and running everywhere. We are praying for next Tuesday for that is the day when we get her checked out in GA. Please pray for that day.
I personally want to thank our God, who has guided and given us the privilege to take this journey to bring Hao Hao home not just physically but spiritually as well. We hold a special place in our hearts for the Chinese people. We are praying for friends like Judy, Mike, Mayme and their life. We are thankful that we get to share Christ with Ashley throughout our life, home, church, and family until Christ calls us home. i want to thank Ally and Lyse for their love and we will see you in two days. We are thankful to our family, Nana and Pop, Nammie and Stephen, Kathryn, Steve, and Tyler. To Mrs. Cyndi and Mr. John, Amberly, David J, Ed B, Hayley, Marie, and the Griffins for their help from start to finish. To all who have prayed, supported both with your prayers, financial gifts, and love thank you. To Sherwood, our Pastor, Jim, and their families thank you.

and finally....
To Avery,
Daddy and Mommy love you very much. We are thankful that you got to come to China. We pray for you as you grow up to remember what you saw on this life journey, love your three sisters like we love you, and live your life to bring Glory to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

To Ashley
I love you and I can't wait to see you grow up and be a Flynt. Your smile and laugh are the best and you are the best thing made in China.

To Em
I started this journey call marriage almost 9 12 year ago. We have been from Arkansas to Texas, to Mississippi, to Georgia, and now to China. We have been given four precious from the Lord and I have been given five. You are the best and I am looking forward to 90 more with you. I love you

May the Grace of Jesus Christ be with you all
ba ba ( Chinese for daddy ) of 4 girls and a beautiful wife
Jay

































Lions and Tigers and Split Pants, Oh My!
























































We spent the morning in our rooms. Our guide actually goes to the Consulate Appointment for us and we just hang out in our room in case they call with questions. About 12:30 she called and said all went perfect and we were free the rest of the day. Jay has been really wanting to go to the zoo so off we went. It only cost us $7.00 total for all 4 of us to get in! It was a beautiful place and had many animals. Avery was in tears that the Panda was not out...it was the one thing she wanted to see! We saw the famous "split pants," these are potty training pants the kids wear here...warning, these are graphic :) Jay and I had a great laugh at this! We headed back for dinner here in the hotel and I've been slowly packing up to head home.

As one of the dads put it, "We're at the end of clean clothes, the end of our money, and the end of our ropes!"


Tomorrow we have our group photo shot, then we're headed to the park nearby to take pics of Ashley in her Chinese clothing we bought. (Tammi, this place is a photographers DREAM!) We have our swearing in at the US Consulate at 3pm and that's when we'll get her visa...and we'll be free to leave the country!!!!

It really is amazing to be here right before Chinese New Year..this is the major holiday in China and the people go WAY OUT for it! Our hotel lobby has been transformed in the last few days with amazing flowers, beautiful lanterns, and red envelopes hanging from the trees. You see these everywhere you go around here. It's the year of the Ox, so there are ox figurines all over. It has been a really neat and beautiful time to be here!
Tomorrow will be our last post from China! I'm going to try to organize my thoughts and make it a good one. We are actually sad to be leaving in so many ways. But we are SOOO ready to see Ally and Annalyse and all our family and friends!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Prayer Request

I need you! My sweet Ally is having a hard time missing mommy and daddy and Avery. She's at my moms house and is struggling...please pray for her baby heart that it will be supernaturally comforted and that she'll be able to take her mind off us being gone! She's having fun but is having some moments! Thanks, friends....and Ally.....three more days!!

The sweet sound of grace.....

This video may just sound like cute little squeaky shoes to you....but to us, it is the beautiful sound of God's faithfulness to us. When we got Ashley's referral, we knew full well that she may never walk unassisted. We were scared and anxious, but had peace from the Lord, gently telling us to trust Him. That day we decided to move forward with her adoption was the single biggest step of faith I had ever taken. But the moment we said "yes" we began to fall in love with this child, and whether or not she ever could run with her sisters was not a concern to us. We loved her just the way she was.....much the same way that the Lord loves us..."flaws" and all!

Today, as I listen to the sweet sound of "squeak squeak" around our hotel lobby...it is the wonderful sound of a God who is "able to do IMMEASURABLY more than we can ever imagine!"
video

So much cuteness...oh my!
























































Today was a free day so we headed back to Shaiman Island for more shopping. I was able to get Ashley some of these squeaky shoes (like the ones in the states for 40$) for 4.00 a pair! I also got Annalyse a few pair. $4.00 is cheaper than Payless! She really loves being outside and riding in the stroller. Everyday she opens up some more to us and finally gives kisses! We are having fun in GZ but are really ready to head home. Only 3 more sleeps!! I couldn't pic my favorites so get ready for picture overload!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Medical and shopping!














































This morning we headed out to Shamian Island for the kids medical exams and some shopping! It was another beautiful day and feels like Spring! Ashley did fine with the medical...a joke really...they play a note on a key board and if the child looks at the keyboard, they say they have perfect hearing! She was weighed and measured as well and had her temp. taken.


Afterwards we had a few hours to walk around the island and shop! FUN! We got some goodies and met some great people that run the shops. All that shopping must have tuckered Ashley out!On the way back to the bus, we found this restaurant that had animals for sale that they would cook for you...lunch anyone??? The smell was overwhelming,I only stayed in there about 3 minutes. Jay actually watched them kill the alligator....uggg. The picture of Avery was taken with one of the many brides we saw having pictures made on the Island...it really is an amazing place for pictures!


The night ended with a pizza party in the hallway! It was yummy but the fellowship was even better than the food. Ashley and the other kids are really opening up, learning English and doing so well...it's such a "God thing" to watch! We have really made some wonderful friends on this trip and look forward to following these families for a long time.
(pictures came up backwards and I'm too tired to fix them!! Sorry!)