Tuesday, December 30, 2008

lilah's happy and so are we!

my million dollar smile

I just watched my sweet daughter fall asleep without even a little murmur, what a wonderful feeling! It is 5:10pm and she just went to bed a few minutes ago, she's been coming on in leaps and bounds this past two days. Last night she got 10 hours sleep and another 2 hours for her nap today, oh it's the little things in life that we are so thankful for! She is like a new child, so happy and full of life! We are delighted! I just want to thank my two close friends that I emailed for advice, you know who you are and I deeply appreciate your kindness and expertise, thank you so very much. My Mum has been wonderful too, lots of excellent long distance advice! Thank you Mum, you're the best!

Well you know all is well in my world when I have time to vacuum the house AND take pictures of my cutie pie! You can see them here. We were in Wal-Mart again early this morning, not quite as early as the morning before though! Then after Lilah's nap we went out to the mall. While Colin was getting his hair cut I took Lilah into the pet store. Oh my, what fun she had, running from the kittens to the puppies to the budgies to the rabbits, full circle, over and over again! Those poor pets didn't stand a chance if they were trying to sleep! Oh how I love my girl!

flower power flower power

Monday, December 29, 2008

finally sleeping - a major breakthrough

lilah in the dolls stroller

We can now breath a sigh of relief! It took 4 long exhausting days and nights, however Lilah slept 9 hours straight yesterday, and so did we! We went to bed at 1:30pm and woke at 10:30pm feeling like a million dollars! So now you can find us at about 1:00am walking around Wal-Mart, pushing every button on every interactive toy in there - thank goodness for 24 hour stores! We had great fun last night, Lilah danced in the isles to the music of Elmo and friends! She (and we) also had a one hour nap at 2:00am and another 2 hour nap at 8:00am. Things are looking up! We will keep pushing her a little bit more every day and eventually we will be in the Ottawa time zone!

The picture above is from this morning, I gave Lilah her dolly stroller with the doll in it and showed her how to push it around, well she had another idea! She threw the doll out and got her leg up in there and pretty much demanded to be pushed around, she is a funny girl! Another thing this morning that made me laugh, we were both 'brushing' our teeth, (she just loves to sit up on the counter top and watch what I'm doing), anyway I spat the remainder of my frothy toothpaste into the sink and she leaned over and tried to spit too!

Here is a movie of Lilah dancing and singing; this one is from Beijing, however I couldn't post it over there because the file size was too big to upload. When we got Lilah's referral the report said she loved music, we were pretty sceptical but it is so true, she sure loves music! If she's sitting she'll sway her head back and forth, and when she's standing she will go back and forth from one foot to the other! She sure is a happy girl, when she's had plenty of sleep!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

we're home!

Finally, we're home! Just a 4 hour delay with our Toronto to Ottawa flight due to the weather conditions and we arrived home around 4am this morning. As you can imagine we are very tired - I think I got 2 hours sleep in 24 hours! It's hard to sleep and hold a 20 pounder at the same time! We did have a third seat, but she was having none of it, it sure helped for elbow room though!

This morning in the Ottawa airport, an elderly Chinese man was sitting across from Lilah and I, while we were waiting for Colin to bring the car to the door. He kept looking at us, (I could see him out of the corner of my eye), so I eventually looked over and he waved. I waved back and told him Lilah was from China. The expression on his face brought tears to my eyes, the huge smile and how his eyes lit up, he couldn't speak English, but he kept giving us the thumbs up and saying something. I knew he was thrilled for Lilah, and us too. It was a very sweet moment.

Lilah is in her glory with all the toys and she's busy investigating our house. She has already eaten a bowl of Weetabix for breakfast and Irish Stew for lunch and she is now napping, so things seem to be going good in our little girls world!

Wishing you and your families a wonderful Christmas.
All our love: Colin, Jill & Lilah xoxox

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

china trip: our last day and thank you

our sleeping beauty

Just one final post from China. The suitcases are packed and Lilah is currently napping. We are hopeful there will be lots more of that on the long flight home!

I just want to thank you for all for your comments and emails. It has been so nice to wake up every morning and read them. We really really appreciate your incredible support and kindness towards us.

We also want to thank all those who organized our trip and made it possible for our family to be together and home for Christmas; especially our agency, Children's Bridge (Cathy & Brenda), our guides (Maggie, Lili & Coco) and taxi drivers. It was perfectly organized from start to finish and it really made our time here very enjoyable. Thanks so much.

Lastly, but in no way least, we want to thank the People's Republic of China for entrusting us with one of their precious children, our daughter, we will forever be grateful. Our hearts are bursting with love for her, she is our little miracle, all we ever dreamed of and more.

We have a great God, to Him be all the glory.

Monday, December 22, 2008

china trip: shopping, peking duck and friends

who's ticking me?

I can hardly believe that this is our last night in China. It is bittersweet, we are looking forward to coming home and getting settled into life, but on the other hand we are leaving our daughters birth country and a country and culture that we are loving every minute of. That being said, we'll also miss not having to do the washing, cleaning and cooking - a big bonus!

Today was a day of this, that and the other thing. First we drove by Tiananmen Square, yes we were too wimpy to walk two miles and brace the cold weather with our little ones! After the drive by we went back to the pearl markets for a little more last minute shopping. For lunch Lili, (who is part of the company that provides the guide service) took us out and spoiled us with a famous Beijing dish, Peking Duck, it was really yummy, Lilah enjoyed it too! Lilah's visa arrived today also, the last piece of paperwork within China, so now we are all set to travel tomorrow. Then this evening we met up with one of our really good Chinese friends (we originally met in Ottawa) and is back in China for a while. It was so nice to see him and for him to meet our Lilah.

You can see more pictures from today here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

china trip: the pearl market

my precious pearl

Today I went to the pearl market with the other mommy we are traveling with. We decided to leave our daughters in the hotel with their babas because it was so very cold outside, and we also figured the men and children wouldn't be quite so interested in shopping! I picked up lots of little gifts for Lilah's forever family day anniversaries. The pearl market doesn't just sell pearls, it is full of lots of other trinkets. We had a good time, but we were so happy to get back to our babies!

Lilah is doing fantastic. She has so many cute little ways about her that I really need to write down. One of the things we noticed right from the beginning is her need to be clean all the time. When she is eating and she gets food around her mouth, she has to have her mouth wiped right away and there always has to be a napkin or cloth close by! If I miss a bit she will do it herself! Another thing we have noticed is how much pride she has in what she wears, she loves her clothes and shoes - that's a mamas girl for sure! I have posted a little clip of Lilah feeding and loving on her dolly. She is such a loving child, getting kisses and hugs from her is so easy and she loves to be loved. She is a beautiful child, inside and out. I keep saying this, but it is so true, we have been blessed more than we can express.

See more pictures from today here.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

china trip: great wall of china


Today we went to the Great Wall, it was another cold day but the forecast shows it’s going to get colder, which is why we decided to go today. We had a really nice time and it is truly a wonder of the world, absolutely amazing. We didn’t stay too long because of the weather, just enough time to get a few pictures!

Click here to see more pictures from today.

Lilah is doing great, she copies almost everything we do! She will blow kisses, give hugs, wave goodbye, dance to music, feed and rock her dolly, play peek-a-boo, give high fives and many other things. She also absolutely loves the bath now, it took a while, but now she has no fear and she is like a little fish in there! She especially likes to lie back in the bath with her ears under water! I have posted a movie of her playing peek-a-boo with us, she is so cute!

We are overwhelmed with love for our baby girl and already can’t imagine our lives without her.

China, Dec 20th

China, Dec 20th China, Dec 20th

Friday, December 19, 2008

china trip: temple of heaven

princess lilah

Today we visited the Temple of Heaven. I must say it is quite cold here and Lilah doesn't like it one bit, which is kinda obvious from the photo above! I'm not sure if it is the cold or the layers of clothes she dislikes the most, and it is so hard to keep her gloves on. Needless to say we didn't stay long, just a few pictures and we disappeared back to the bus!

We have so much fun with her in the hotel room, she cracks us up with her silliness and she knows it! She has also started babbling a lot more which I'm so happy about, because when she babbles I know she's feeling comfortable around us. She is an amazing girl, having come through so much and adapting as well as she is, we are so very thankful. It is hard to believe that we have been a family one week already.

You can see more pictures from today here.

China, Dec 19th

Thursday, December 18, 2008

china trip: medical and visa application

This morning we were at the medical center at 8:30am. Lilah had a mini physical, which is necessary for us to obtain a Visa to enter Canada. After the physical we were driven to the Canadian Embassy to apply for her Visa. We didn't do a whole lot more today, just relaxed and shopped for diapers, wipes, water and formula. We also found an American eatery at a local (very fancy) mall. It was very delicious!

Lilah is doing wonderful. I really thought the change in hotels would have been a bigger issue, but no, she's just going with the flow. She is a very special girl and we enjoy seeing our little 'flower' blossom a little more each day. She has a very outgoing little personality and loves to have fun.

My oh my, I love that smile. It's the best part of my day.

China: Dec 18th

China: Dec 18th China: Dec 18th China: Dec 18th

Check out the movie below (it was taken while we were in Guangzhou) for a little proof of her fun loving personality! And see more photos from today here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

china trip: passport and now in beijing

Today we picked up Lilah's passport and flew to Beijing. Lilah did great on the flight and slept most of the way, thankfully. She and I had to find another available seat on the plane, because she decided she didn't want to sit beside her Baba boy. Oh man, the high pitch crying was rough. He really does have a lot of patience and I know he will be rewarded for it very soon - our little Lilah just needs time to figure this all out.

There is a huge temperature difference between Beijing and Guangzhou, time for the coats, hats and mittens. Anyway, we literally just arrived at the hotel and it's after 11pm. Time for bed! We have a new wake-up call now and it's usually rather early!

China:  Dec 15th
China:  Dec 15th China:  Dec 15th
China:  Dec 15th

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

china trip: visiting yangdong swi

China: Dec 16th 2008

After a long hard day (for everyone) my mind is at ease, I feel assured that Lilah was looked after extremely well by the staff at Yangdong SWI. The staff were beautiful and amazing, and it was truly a pleasure getting to meet them all.

At the start, during our drive to the orphanage, I had my doubts, Lilah was not happy at all. I'm not sure if it was the car ride or if she was feeling a sense of what was happening, but she was very upset which in turn made me very emotional too - I wrestled with the emotions and even at one stage said, "Let's just go back!". I really wondered if we were doing the right thing, but I'm so thrilled we hung in there and it really was so worth the trip. It was most definitely emotional, seeing Lilah's crib and finding place were very tough moments for Colin and I.

The director and staff at Yangdong SWI were all most grateful for the formula donation and they very kindly treated us to dinner in a beautiful restaurant in Yangjiang. I can honestly say it's the best Chinese food I have ever tasted! After dinner, the director and vice director took us to Lilah's finding spot, which was extremely kind. We were given a tour of the orphanage and saw where Lilah spent the first 18 months of her little life. It was beautiful and sad all at the same time, I just couldn't stop the tears. At one stage the staff put Lilah in her little metal crib, to be perfectly honest my heart stopped for a few seconds - I just wanted to take her out and hold her so close to me.

I also got to pass on some love and take pictures of two other Yangdong babies for their waiting mommies. I just emailed them the pictures and I know they will be thrilled to see their beautiful little girls. One of them slept right next to Lilah and we were told they were good friends, how amazing! I also gave the staff each of the photo albums sent to me by mommies that adopted Yangdong children a few years ago. The staff were thrilled to see the children growing up. They were all very excitedly talking about the pictures and seemed to know each of the children, which I thought was amazing.

The staff told us some little pieces of information about Lilah. They said she was very helpful and she would go get whatever they requested, so they could tend to the little babies. And she would pick clothes out for the babies to wear! Also, when a staff member was doing something that interested her, she would drag a chair over and stand on it to watch, help or join in. I totally get this, I've already seen signs of her being an amazingly helpful child. The director told us that Lilah is a very smart child and she understands everything they tell her.

The orphanage visit gave us a little more history and understanding about Lilah's life that we wouldn't have had otherwise. I am so thankful that we were able to make the trip. Her little (before us) life feels much more real now, seeing where she lived and those special people that looked after her, they are forever etched in my mind and heart.

I'm so very grateful she's ours now, our gift from God. We have so much to be thankful for.

Click here for pictures from today.
Click here for pictures from yesterday.

China: Dec 16th 2008 China: Dec 16th 2008

China: Dec 16th 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

china trip: shopping for the orphanage

lilah chinese dress

A quick post as Lilah decided that naps aren't necessary today, but by this evening we all realized - oh yes they are! We also have to be up early tomorrow morning as we are driving (and 8 hour round trip) to visit the orphanage - not that we've been sleeping past 3am since we arrived anyway! Not Lilah thankfully, just Colin & I!

Please pray that this visit to the orphanage won't be too traumatic for Lilah. Giving her these few days to bond with us before visiting should have helped a little. She is a very sweet child and we are counting our blessings every day. Right now she is very clingy with me, and the only place she truly has confidence to run around acting like a silly crazy girl is in our hotel suite. Everywhere else she grips onto my neck and sometimes even squeezes her knees into my waist to hang on oh-so-tight. It's going to be so hard transferring to Beijing on Wednesday, I hope it doesn't set her back too much.

Today we went shopping for the Yangdong Social Welfare Institute. We felt it necessary to try and help out in whatever way we possibly could, after all they have done for Lilah. Our Church friends kindly gave us cash instead of baby shower gifts and we put this money towards a gift for the orphanage, we truly appreciate their generosity, it was really overwhelming. Our guide asked the orphanage director what they needed, and he said they could do with some formula for the babies. So formula it was! We went shopping with our guide and bought 60 bags of formula. You can see some pictures here. There was a sign right next to the formula saying it wasn't contaminated, I sure hope not!

Oh yes, I almost forgot! Lilah said her first words today! As Colin was leaving the room to go to the bank I said to him "bye-bye baba", Lilah was in my arms and she turned to me and said, "ba.....ba" with a big smile on her face! I had to call Colin back and let him hear her say it again. You could say he was a little bit thrilled!

Sorry, only one picture of Lilah today, unfortunately I haven't time to upload them all tonight.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

china trip: guangdong folk arts museum

China: Dec 14th

Today we enjoyed some time at the Guangdong Folk Arts Museum.

It was a lovely day and the museum was incredible, so rich with culture and art - exactly how I imagined China to be. The grounds were lovely too. We set Lilah down to walk around for a bit and she just stood there, motionless and wouldn't look at us. I think it was her way of showing us that she was rather mad!

When we got back to the hotel room she had her 'before nap' bottle and afterwards we got to change her first dirty diaper, (I can't believe I am mentioning this!), but all to say she was in really great spirits after the fact. We got so many giggles and smiles at the hotel, she feels so comfortable in our little suite, she totally lets her guard down and she's such a funny little monkey!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

china trip: shamian island

1/6th of a smile

Just a quick post tonight because I am so tired - we all are! I know, hard to believe, huh?!

Today was a pretty rough day all around, of course we did expect this and it is a good sign that our baby girl is understanding and grieving her loss. It is so hard to watch her go through it though, it breaks our hearts into a million pieces.

We went to Shamian Island for some shopping and had a very nice time. The weather is just beautiful here at the moment. Lilah is now the proud owner of 'squeaky' shoes and a few Chinese dresses! We also got to visit Starbucks, so that was a big hit, for the adults of course! You'll notice Colin is in most of the pics with Lilah, I'm not sure where the camera is when I'm holding her, but I do hold her a lot - I am the 'go to' person for feeding, consoling and rocking to sleep! I just love being a mama! It didn't happen too often today, but being able to put a smile on her precious face is pure joy.

Click here to see more pictures of our precious girl. So many people stopped us today to comment on her gorgeous eyes. She's adorable. We're in love!

Friday, December 12, 2008

china trip: forever lilah day

China:  Dec 12th

1 Samuel 1:27
For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him

We are the very proud parents of a gorgeous girl! She went through a tough time today, probably one of the hardest days of her little life so far, but she did amazingly well. She is sleeping now, we even got a few smiles and a laugh from her before she fell asleep. She is precious, we have been blessed beyond measure. We love her so very very much.

Click here for more pictures of our forever family day and click here for pictures taken around our hotel and on our walk through some nearby streets this morning.

Thanks so much for all your prayers that have helped us make it through to this moment. We are thankful that our gracious Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers.

Here is a little clip of Lilah with Colin, this was taken after a lot of tears, you can see she is still a little unsure of everything. What a great kissy kissy Baba she has!

China:  Dec 12th China:  Dec 12th
China:  Dec 12th
China:  Dec 12th China:  Dec 12th
China:  Dec 12th