Saturday, September 15, 2012

The honest truth (part one)...

So, here it is...the honest truth...

Life is very different now. There are days that I do not look forward to waking up. The idea of quite does not exist. The thought of going to the restroom in peace is a dream. The chance of cooking a meal without stepping on someone would be a miracle. BUT, would I change it...No!

As I was watching a movie tonight I was reminded of the reason we adopted. It wasn't for was for them. To give a child Love, a Home, a Chance or simply Hope and Faith. The idea that a child would lay awake at night thinking their biological parents did not want them is just something that we cannot imagine. Then we tell them they are getting a mom and dad and expect them to trust us? We think we will just spoil them and life would be great. It just doesn't work that way. Trust, true trust, is earned and not with gifts and candy but LOVE! Yeah, it doesn't sound that hard huh? I have to be honest and say that it is harder than I thought it would be but it gets better each day.

I think the best part of this movie was then end. (spoiler alert). The daughter runs back to the father, gives him a huge hug and says "thank you". "for what", he says. "for wanting me"...

I think that says it all. It will be something that I will have to remind myself of daily. Not just with my children though but with my relationship with God. Do I ever thank Him for "wanting me"? Do I look at it that way? That He wanted Me. Do my children feel that way? That I wanted (want) them. I Hope they do.

So, like I said, it has been hard but gets better each day. We Love our children, ALL of them, and pray they know that. Not much else really matters. 

As for life in the Byrne house, it is definitely more interesting. Yes, the quite is gone but the sound of laughter can sometimes be heard in abundance. The sounds of siblings running and chasing each other, giggling and even a few moments of hiding behind the couch and scaring each other may be found. Is there crying? Of course there is always at least one but that the same time there is always another standing there concerned about them. The concept that they are all brothers and sisters may not have fully sunken in but the fact that they now share the same mother and father, that they live under the same roof and that they are a family, I do believe is present. We can see the bonds forming and it truly is amazing. I can hardly believe it has only been a few weeks. It already feels like a life time ago when there were only 6 of us.

Meals...I can say that this has been a little challenge trying to figure out how much food to cook for 8. The problem is that some of them eat for two or three. Weird, I thought I was raising girls but I think someone forgot to tell them. They eat like teen boys, and not just H and M, but A and J too. I do have to say that the choices of food have gone over well.  The funniest part is the food that I was SURE would not be accepted were a hit and even captured seconds. Lasagna, meatloaf (big surprise there), chicken and rice (not really a surprise there), French toast, egg sandwiches, pancakes, corn dogs, you name it - they eat it. On the down side...oatmeal, green apples (the ones in the McDonald's happy meals), and pears (which were a hit in China).

Manners...these have progressed very well. We get and abundance of "thank you mama" or daddy. We even just now started getting "excusa me" for burps. No there were no typos in that last one, funny Huh? They will close the bathroom door, most of the time. They do say your welcome. I guess the one we really need to work on is "please" though. That one does not exist. We most of the time feel like slaves with plates handed to us to clean or load with more food. I don't think it is intentional, I just think that please was not something that they were taught. fights yet. They have told us that 7 o'clock is too early for them, even though it is more like 7:30 or 7:45. They tend to round things in their favor. They say that they are not tired, all the time rubbing their eyes. We get hugs, kisses, laughing and giggling, and the normal bathroom games that we all have gotten. In the end it all goes smoothly (just takes about 20 minutes). Who knew putting kids to bed could wear you out so much???

Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday morning...Long time since last post...

Hi All,

So, its been a little while since I have posted. Obviously we are home now and things are going okay. There are good and bad days (hours). Everyone is trying to find their place and role. It's definitely a lot louder around here now. Someone had once said "How much harder could it be to do two at once?". I can now answer that question, "Very, very hard!". I feel like I am cooking for a small army now. I never thought adding two girls would create such a large grocery bill. They would eat non-stop if we would let them.

We got them enrolled in school "Woo Hoo!!!!". They start 6th grade on Tuesday - can't wait, us and them. They were so excited when they found out what we were doing down at the school. I'm still not sure that they understand the teachers will be speaking english. That should be a small shock.

It's really cool right now. We have a lady from Church that is Chinese that is speaking to the girls and telling them everything that they need to know about school such as asking "Where is the bathroom" and "waiting their turn, etc... The funniest one is "Lock the door for the bathroom" - reason: Someone doesn't even close the door yet so that will be a good one. It really is funny though hearing them all excited and talking. I know that they have been frustrated with us not being able to understand them. We are doing the Rosetta stone but even that has been a challenge. I'm not sure they understand what we are trying to teach them. The copy what the computer says but they don't really pay attention to the pictures. Example: They will say "Girl" but then when it asks they will point to any picture on the screen "Boy, man, woman", whichever one is closest.

Anyway, that's all I have time for right now. Sorry for the gap and hopefully I will be able to keep up with the in the weeks to come. Make sure t check Deb's blog or Facebook for the most current "events".

Thanks all

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Thursday morning (for us)

It's Thursday. Time to go home. Sorry I stopped blogging. I have not been feeling too good. I think I may have passed the stone the other day. I'm not really sure. All I know is that I cannot drink any more water. Things have been getting better each day. The girls are really bonding with us. The test of patience though is a 15+ hour flight. We leave here around 10:25 this morning and get to Newark around 2:00 pm with a 12 hour time change. Fun stuff. 

As for fill-in on the last few days, mainly shopping and different paperwork for the girls and a lot of sleeping. They like to sleep and it was appreciated the way I was feeling. We got to meet a bunch of nice families and share stories on all of the bus rides. Very nice people with big hearts. It is so touching to me and Debbie to see people step out with such faith. 

Well, that's really it. Again, sorry for not posting but I figure Debbie was probably keeping you all up to speed. She's been pretty good about that. 

See you all real real soon!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday night....

So, another day down. It is about 7:00 on Saturday night. We got in late last night into Guangzhou. A little melt down last night but we all survived. I'll spare you the details but just say that it has been a long trip already and living out of a hotel can really get to you.

This morning everyone was happy and ready to eat. We went to breakfast in the hotel - much better selection here. Bananas that actually looked like bananas...WOW! There are actually two separate areas where you can get food from here. The best part though - being able to communicate with PEOPLE. Yes, there are a lot of families here from the states that are very VERY eager to talk to other Americans. Don't get me wrong, the guides here talk very good english but it is just nice to have some familiarity. I must have talked to three or four families that I have never met before in the first five minutes. I even met a family from the Tampa area, a pastor, nope not David yet.

Anyhow, breakfast was good. We were scheduled to go to the medical exam. There are four other Great Wall families that went with us. They all seem nice. One older girls and then some younger kiddos. The older kids are so lucky. They get to be human pin cushions. Actually it wasn't that bad. The girls had to get 3 shots each plus a TB test. They were very brave, no tears. We also found out a few more medical things that we did not know. Just more to get looked into when we get home but nothing serious. That all took most of the morning.

We got back to the hotel around noon and did a quick pit stop int he room and then got a taxi to take us to the Island to order some etchings. These need to be done soon so that they get back in time to take home. Our sketches will not be ready so they will hopefully come home with some friends. We stopped first at Lucy's to get some lunch. Maggie already seemed to not be doing well. I don't think she fully recovered from the flight and then getting shots didn't help. She didn't really want to eat anything. Hope ordered some meat on a stick (I think). I got a burger and Deb got some chicken strips which the girls ended up eating some of. It almost feels like your eating American food. So we finished up there, headed to Michaels to order the etchings. The girls looked around the store but didn't really find much other than a hair clip.

Then comes the fun, the taxi ride back to the hotel with a girl with a "green" face. Yup, good thing we had some bags to catch the debris... I think Maggie felt a lot better after that happened though. We felt bad for the driver. He rolled down the window for her to get some air and even turned up the A/C and a fan that he had mounted for the back. He still had a grin on his face - nice guy!

We made it back to the hotel and the girls went right down for a nap. Hope finally got up around 6:00 pm and Maggie is still sleeping. She was really wiped out. She got up a couple times but then right back out. I really really hope they go back to bed tonight. (Have I used the word Hope enough?). Tomorrow we head to the Chen temple for the fourth time. I wonder if it has changed much...? It is a neat place and we are "hoping" the girls will like to see it. Afterwards we will go to a Pearl market, Walmart and then maybe a Mexican restaurant. It is supposed to be really good. I guess we will see, not something I am craving right now.

So that is about it. I think we will get some food and then watch some Chinese TV and go to sleep. Praying for a good night and day tomorrow. We miss you all but especially the kids. We Love you Tiff, Abby, Jadyn and Ethan.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thursday and Friday...

Sorry all for the big gap in posts. It has been hard to find the time to get on and type anything. I really haven't had enough time to gather my thoughts. We are sitting in the hotel room right now with 2-1/2 hours left until we check out and head for the airport to go to Guangzhuo. They are wired and cannot wait to get on the airplane. I think it is 2 hours or less of a flight (I hope). I also just checked our long flight home and there are still some empty seats so maybe we will get lucky. I just saw though that the flight is 15 hours and 30 minutes. I did not realize it was that long. I think a double shot of melatonin is in order.

So, Thursday, let me think. I know that we got up, showered and had breakfast just like every other day. I get the same french toast, some "buttered" potatoes and one egg. If I am lucky I get to drink my drink before one of the girls takes it. They found Lotus root the other day - eh? That isn't something I will become a fan of. I can say this, they clean their plates every day.

We met Shelly downstairs to go to a local mall and walmart. We were supposed to go on a tour but it was raining, heavily, as she put it. She obviously has never seen a Florida storm. This walmart was actually a pretty small one but Debbie was able to find a flat iron. We broke the one she brought on the first day. We also got a "unique" outfit for Hope. She picked it out or Maggie picked it out for her, couldn't really tell. We were also able to get some books and something special for Abby and Jadyn. The mall was kind of a bust though. It was a very high end one with nothing but adult clothing, nothing for kids or even teens. We went out onto the walking street to this Balabala store where they were finally able to find some clothes. Maggie will only wear dresses and Hope, well, not so much but we were surprised, she did pick out one dress.

We headed back to the hotel around noon and our guide walked me ten miles to this "close" Pizza hut. Ok, maybe it was only a half mile but in China if you had to walk for your job I think they would consider it hazard pay. I almost lost my toes a couple times. Crossing the street is probably a challenge they could put on Survivor. I had to wait about 20 minutes for the pizza so Shelly took me into another high end mall to see what it was like. I can say this, the malls here are very nice and extremely expensive. There was really nothing that I would be interested in. I went ahead and let Shelly get back to her job and walked back to the hotel by myself. I'm waiting for my award that I made it back, Alive. The pizza went over half and half. Hope liked it but Maggie didn't. I believe we took another nap from around 1:30 until 4:40. That was nice. As much as I wanted to blog during that time I (we) really needed the rest.

After we got up I took Maggie again down to the store to get some snacks and dinner. She is still pretty good but somehow gets me to get at least one thing that I would rather not get. She picked out her dinner and Hopes. She didn't like hers though. I don't think she really reads the package. She won a scratch off ticket that they give you when checking out (when you spend enough) and she won $5 yuan. We took it with us to use at checkout but she had to remind me that "she" won it, not us, so she was going to get something with it. She picked out some skittles which she didn't remember that she bought by the time we got back to the room. They are hidden in my backpack. So we all ate, watched who knows what on TV and then off to bed by around 9:00, I think. I really cannot remember anymore. Actually there is a show called "Baby GO!". It is kind of like Wipe out but for kids. They seem to like it. Oh, did I leave out how they like me to carry them around the room ALL THE TIME! They are reminding me of my age rather quickly. It's strange because they are 12 and 13 but sometimes act like the are  6 or 7 but they definitely do not weigh the same as 6 year olds. They have gotten a lot closer to us. We get lots of hugs and they will let us hold their hand when walking around. We also get a lot of mischief from someone at the same time. Everything, EVERYTHING, is a joke. It is fun, sometimes.

Sleeping goes well. I think we made it until 7:00 this morning and then, you guessed it, breakfast - french toast, potatoes and an egg. It kind of makes me feel like someone at our church and their lunch routine (you know who you are, hahaha). After lunch we came back to the room and finished packing. Mags helped some with this. We told Hope that we were leaving for the airplane and she ran around looking for her socks and shoes. I had to stop her and let her know we weren't going until 5:00. She ran over, got Debbies watched, looked at the time and then sighed. It was only 10:00. That was funny.

For lunch I thought we could use up some time and go to the restaurant one last time. Yeah, that was the longest 20 minutes I ever spent. Someone does not do well in restaurants. (I know, it sounds like I keep picking on her. I'm really not. She just wears us out, mentally and physically.) No, I do not plan on sharing my blog with them anytime soon. So we headed back to the room to "try" and take naps thinking that would help the time pass. Nope, they are just too excited to leave. It's funny, I guess, how eager they are to get on a plane and leave. I know they were happy where they were but they are just as ready to leave and come home with us. I hope that lasts. (Hey D, I think all of the "hopes" were just preparation for us on how many times a day we were going to say her name).

So that brings us to now. It is 3:01, not that I am counting, and we are all ready to go. We plan on trying to see about getting adjoining rooms in Guangzhou if possible if only to be able to have two bathrooms. You definitely have to be prepared cause you only get about 30 seconds. Sorry, TMI.

Ok, the entertainment is being beckoned. Love you all! See you real soon (Mickey reference). !!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday night...

It's official, I have the most hyper children in China right now! We had a good moment. Somehow they ended up wanting me to lift them in the air and then carry them around the room. We gave them a vitamin c drop which in hindsight was not a good idea but we did have some fun though. The sugar rushes seem to last for at least an hour. They are in the shower right now so I have about two minutes to type.

Today we visited a zoo which was ok. We did not stay that long since it looked like rain was coming. They had a HUGE breakfast and then an hour later at the park they are telling our guide how hungry they are, amazing. They have what looked like a hot dog and then some big ice cream bowls. (I wish everyone was here right now.) We miss the kids so much.

We had a lot of trouble with someone at the zoo today though which really got to me. She would run off a lot and not listen at all. It was very difficult.

We got back around noon and I took Maggie to the restaurant, store and KFC for lunch. She is pretty good when going out. She likes to help with shopping and stuff. She will make the beds in the morning and fold clothes. She also likes to yell "mommy ya" or that is what it sounds like whenever she needs Debbie to help in the bathroom.

Ok, showers are done. I will try and type more later. I have to hide the iPad. They don't quite understand it and I am having things deleted and numerous other things.

Love you all!

- Posted from my iPad :: Bill out.

Wednesday afternoon

Hi everyone. Sorry for not posting in a while. I have to be honest, it has been hard and I wasn't sure what I wanted to say. Most of you probably how it is said that God will not give you more than you can handle but I do not think that is an accurate statement. I think he can and will give you more than you can handle so that you will draw closer to him to ask for more help. That is the place that I am in right now.

There have been plenty of good moments but plenty of hard along the way too. It. Is definitely very hard adopting to children at the same time, especially when they are so different.

We all just took a 3 hour nap so hopefully that will help us get through the rest of this day. (Dawn, I know that you can understand as I know now how you were feeling.) we are going to brave going to the pool and see how that goes. I have no idea if they know how to swim.

I think this is all that I will say for right now. As I said, it has been very hard on me the last day and I need some time to gather my thoughts. Remember to keep us all in your prayers.

Thank you!

- Posted from my iPad :: Bill out.

Location:Shouchun Rd,Hefei,China

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tuesday Morning...

So a quick post before we leave for the day. Last night was interesting. Mags decided she was going to sleep with me and Debbie last night. I think I only got hit in the face three or four times, that I felt anyway. She has really warmed up to us. She also knows a lot more than she is letting on. We were skyping with Denise and she started counting to 10 (in English), little stinker. We don't know how much she knows but there is at least a little bit.

Hope on the other hand probably doesn't know any english but she repeats everything that we say, like a parrot. They both do really. It was interesting at breakfast too. One decided it was okay to spit on the floor in the restaurant and the other let her know that was not good. we obviously have some work to do.

Anyway, it was a good day overall and a good morning. I was expecting to wake up to grieving. Nope,  they woke up like any other day, bed head and all. WOW, with that much hair and rolling all over the bed it was a sight. We love these girls so much already and even though it has been a little tough at times we cannot complain at all. We have been so blessed now 5 and 6 times. We couldn't ask for anything more. More than we deserve, hopefully not more than we can handle. (jk).

Anyway, this will be a short post as we are heading out to civil affairs, the police station and the orphanage. I am praying that it will not be rough leaving there, for all of us.

Love you all! Thanks for the prayers and support.

Monday night

Ok, I have five minutes while Deb is trying to give them a bath. I remember about a year ago someone asking me how much harder could it be for two? Ha, I now know the answer. Much! They are both being great but they are very different. We ventured out to the store again. That was Debbie's call. Maggie's dragged us up to the third floor of the market where they have clothes. She seems to be a "dress only" kind of girl. I don't think she likes any of the clothes we brought. Hope doesn't really care too much but would prefer camo stuff.

I tried to make them noodles in the room but was told they were no good. We went to the restaurant here in the hotel. They have real noodles and rice. We each ordered a dish. I had no idea how large it was. They could have told us it was family style. Debbie will post all of the photos so you can take a look at them when she gets them up, if she hasn't already.

So I didn't really get to say that much about this morning. They were a little late. We got to watch some Italian families get their children. They were all younger. It was good I think for us to see that first and get us ready. I could laugh at their nervousness so that I could not think about mine so much. They came into the room very quite and kind of walked past us. They we very shy and not sure what to do. They got upset rather quickly. I think they were okay that they were going to come with us but they were sad to leave their friends. Hope got a little mad whereas Maggie got more upset. She was okay with me rubbing her back while hope didn't want anyone touching her at all. It took a little while but by the time we were leaving they seemed okay.

We've had a lot of fun since leaving the civil affairs office. Hope was cracking up at the escalator in the mall. I don't think she has ever seen one before. Then there was Maggie in the glass elevator. She had the "death grip" on the hand rail while going down only 4 floors. It was really funny. Overall everything has been good but I'm ready for this day to be over. We are all very tired and I think we would have all taken a nap if someone would have let us turn off the Chinese soap operas. She is definitely going to keep us busy, oh wait, did I say that already?

Ok, they just got out of the baths squeaky clean. Mags is such a girl. She is very independent too. She seems to know how to do most anything. I think hope knows how to do a lot too but prefers not to.

Ok, I really should go now. I'll try to get on later if I remember anything that I missed. Thank you all for the prayers.

- Posted from my iPad :: Bill out.

Location:Shouchun Rd,Hefei,China

Monday afternoon

We have them. Don't have a lot of time to talk. Someone likes to get into everything. We definitely have our hands full. We took them both to the supermarket. That probably will NOT happen again. Left with $260 yuan worth of mainly candy i think. Not really sure what we bought. Mags was very helpful, hope was very "curious".

We did have a good laugh throwing a beach ball around the room. Oh no, they just found the bathing suits. Not sure I am ready for that.

Ok, have to go. I will type more when or if the sleep.

- Posted from my iPad :: Bill out.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Monday morning (update)

I almost forgot to tell you all what happened yesterday. So our guide was taking me out to the bank to exchange money and as we were getting into the elevator she asks "do you like beer?" I said "excuse me?" I didn't know if I had heard her right and she repeated "Do you like beer?". I proceeded to say "No?". Then she says "Oh, you just look like you would like beer. The men here drink a lot of beer and have big guts." as she was pointing to me. Hahahahaha. Such a different culture. I'm not sure if I was being insult or not. Anyway, just thought I would share that.

Off to to you all later.

- Posted from my iPad :: Bill out.

Monday morning

It's finally here. Monday morning and we meet the girls in just under 4 hours. I think to make the time go by I slept from 2:30 yesterday afternoon until just about an hour ago (4:30 am). I did wake up for a little bit around 7:00 pm but I was just beat. I think I've slept more from the start of this trip than I have in the last month.

We found out from a friend and our guide that the girls do know that we are coming. I'm hoping that is a good thing. One of them said that they seemed to be excited. They should be heading our way shortly. I think it is a two hour drive to their city. We can't believe this day is finally here. Clothes are all laid out... Cameras are ready... Nerves are full force... What else can I say?

One thing that we haven't given "as much" thought to is how the girls are feeling about all of this and what expectations that they are going to have of us. Do they think we will speak Chinese? I have been worried all along on how I will be able to communicate with them but what about them communicating with us? I just pray that we will be able to live up to the expectations that they have had for this day. We love them so much. They are such a blessing to us and we only hope that we could be a blessing to them. I guess we will find out soon enough.

We meet them at 9:30 and were told we will come back to the hotel for bonding time. Stalk the blogs. We will post as soon as we can....

Love you all!

- Posted from my iPad :: Bill out.

Location:Hefei China