Friday, February 24, 2017

VIVIEN AT 21 MONTHS

This week was a big week for us in our adoption journey. All of the U.S. side of things is done and on its way to China. Our Article 5 (ha, yeah, I don't really know what that is) will be done on March 13th and then we should get our Travel Approval one week later. Families typically travel two weeks from TA (travel approval).  So it looks like we will be in China at the beginning of April. I was hoping our trip would overlap while Stella is having a very long spring break, but that is looking like it isn't going to be the case. Oh well, we certainly have no control over that. This week we also got our passports in the mail with our China visas now included. It was super scary to me to have our passports off in the world somewhere, but I just didn't think about it and thankfully it all worked out.

I requested, and paid for an update on Vivien. We finally got these five pictures and a video of her on February 10th. It was amazing to see how big she was now. However what really honestly surprised me was that she speaks Chinese! I know, I guess I should know that she does, but it was amazing to see her listen to her Chinese caretakers and then answer them IN CHINESE! In the video she is just chilling and hanging out with some toys and I've watched that thing so many times I have every tiny movement memorized.

The thing I was mostly interested in were her measurements. And they told me she weighs 11.2 cm. So I am not sure how accurate any of the information is.  I suppose much can me lost in translation. I assume they meant kg, which would make sense. They also say she is not afraid of strangers, and that she likes to play with balls and ride a bicycle. She is walking and running. She also likes candy and treats. Also apparently she is in a foster family and not in an orphanage now. I hope this means she has gotten better and more personal care, but there is no way of knowing this for sure right now.

It is amazing how much my faith is just kicking in and giving me peace about things I can't control. I know she is going to be safe and watched over because I know she belongs safe here with us.

I just think her face is so beautiful, and her cheeks are so kissable and I can't wait to meet her. I'm preparing for her to be scared and probably not really like us much at first, but I hope that the spirit will intervene and that she will soon feel the love of a family and also the love of her Heavenly Father through us.

Even though I wish they had sent more. I am so grateful to have these pictures, because now I know this is what she looks like right now. I can't seem to see a pink puffy jacket these days without thinking of her...






SO MUCH ICE

Back in December Christy and I was thinking of something fun we could do together for New Year's Eve. I thought about visiting the Ice Castles, something I've been meaning to do for a while now. You have to buy tickets in advance so I went ahead and bought them. Christy's grandpa got ill unexpectedly and they decided to go to California to see him on New Year's. Our tickets were non-refundable but you could change the date. I messed up and changed our tickets to the wrong date, so by the time I figured that out most of the time slots for the day we wanted, Saturday January 28th, were sold out. We decided since we couldn't go at dusk so we could see the castles all lit up from inside the best second option was to go first thing when it opened so we would have less people around.

The whole thing is pretty amazing. They build this whole world of icicles and it is crazy cool. The day we went was absolutely freezing, but the sun was shining bright, and it was interesting that the longer I was there the less cold I felt. I guess just moving around and exploring kept us warm.

I got so many adorable pictures of happy Stella with rosy cold cheeks. She LOVED it there, and I know if it had been up to her we would have stayed another hour. As for pictures, this was the hardest lighting I have ever dealt with ever. The bright snow backdrop and bright sun was really hard to balance. The blue in the shady spots kind of washed everything out and in the sun it was all just way too bright. It was very had to take pictures, and I am afraid it very much distracted me from just enjoying how cool it all was. I honestly didn't know how long we would be there so I wanted to get pictures, pictures, pictures before everyone called it a day and said they were too cold. In the end, I got more than enough.

They have these really fun slides where you are sliding down a tube of ice. It is pretty crazy, and I only went down one of them. Stella absolutely loved them. She was giggling and laughing at every turn. I love this first picture of her face as she first walked in...


















We had so much fun with the Douglas crew. Having them with us made for a memorable day. They had so many cool little spots to explore and enjoy. Anyway, I found it all very fascinating and slippery.






























Pretty soon Em and Aedan were too cold to continue, so they took off to wait in the car and we hung out a little bit longer. Stella loved hanging out with her girl Cali. And they were able to go on more ice slides while the line was short as a last hurrah before we left.

Overall, it was a super fun and memorable day for us. I'd totally go again.