Tuesday, June 23, 2015

It's Been a Long, Long Time

I haven't written a blog post in 2 years.  Wow.  One of my sons has repeatedly reminded me to consider writing again, if anything, for the sake of letting the blog world know we made it home from Guangzhou.  Back in 2013.
So we made it home.  Despite flight trouble and an unplanned overnight layover in Detroit.
We brought home these two sweet girls,

And a new normal developed! 
Once again, we came home to confirm the Lord was blessing us with a new baby.

And she is such a delight.

Of course, the Lord began to tug at our hearts again.  We couldn't forget the ones left behind.
And we began to search through prayer if He would have us return to China for another child.
Was there another Hixon still waiting in China?
We began to believe the answer was yes.  And she was the precious 9 year old we had been praying for and sponsoring.

The Lord began to open doors, and we were soon matched with our 13th treasure. 

A few months later, we began to be concerned that we should be open for one more.  Our agency amended our home study, and we petitioned immigration for approval for two.  Not long after receiving USCIS approval, we received the file of another precious little girl. 
She has thalassemia and needs regular blood transfusions.  We believed she was ours, and we proceeded to submit the necessary paperwork to China.  Oh, how thankful we were when we were officially matched!

Things have progressed a little more quickly now because China considers her medical need to be urgent.  We think we are just a few more weeks from travel.

So that is my little update in a nutshell.  Life is busy.  It is always is for a mama, and I find myself tending, training, and teaching most of the day "in the heart of our home."  But I wouldn't trade it for any other life!  God is so good!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Our Week in Guangzhou

This has been a great week in GZ!
We have enjoyed getting to know our girls. 
They are such sweet blessings and seem to be loving having a family. 

The Garden Hotel has been absolutely fabulous. 
A mama could get spoiled here. 

We have had the most wonderful travel group. 
We've made great new friends and seen their families integrated with sweet new children. 

We've kept busy everyday which has helped this third week pass more quickly. 
Saturday the girls had their medicals. 
Sunday our group went shopping in GZ. 
Monday our family visited an American run foster home that is dear to
our hearts and even met and held the little boy we sponsor. 
Tuesday most of our group went to Safari Park (highly recommend). 
Wednesday we had our consulate appointment and then ate dinner with 
our group at a Mexican restaurant. 
Today our group visited Shamian Island,
and this afternoon we received the girls' US visas!!!

Tomorrow (drumroll please) we begin the 25 hour journey home!
I can't wait to see all my children! 

It has been a wonderful trip, 
and the best part, of course, is we have two new precious daughters. 
We can't wait to get them home to begin the 
real journey as The Lord grafts them ever so wonderfully into our family.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Waiting in Nanchang

We have spent the week in Nanchang. Sarah Kate's adoption was finalized on Tuesday,
and she became a forever member of the Hixon family!
We have been waiting for her passport to be issued these last few days
and have passed the time in China's People's Parks. 

It is no wonder so many people come to these parks. 
They offer such a nice reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets.
Around every turn of these peaceful little paths are people exercising, 
stretching, and even dancing. 
Parents bring their children to play and relax,
and I believe even more grandparents are here. 

It is not uncommon for local people to stop us and ask 
(In Chinese) if the girls are Chinese and if we are Americans. 
However, it was a treat when an older man stopped us and asked 
the same thing in broken English and then switched to Spanish!
That is not common around here!  We conversed a minute in
what little espanol we all knew then said good bye. Funny!

Today is Friday, and we should receive Sarah Kate's passport. 
This evening we board the plane for Guangzhou, the last leg of
our journey!  
In GZ, we will jump through a few more hoops for
US immigration (girls' medical examines at US consulate, TB testing)
and then their consulate appointment is next Wednesday. 
We should receive their US visas by Thursday afternoon
and then begin the long journey home next Friday. 

To say we are missing our other children would
be an understatement. 
No mama should have to be away from her babies 
for 3 weeks!  
Ok, sorry. Pity party over. 
We are so thankful for Skype. 
We are able to Skype with them twice a day, 
and that does help a lot. 
But nothing beats having all 
a mama's chicks in one nest. 

Sarah Kate and Ruthie are both doing very well. 
I see positive steps toward attachment, 
and they both are such blessings from The Lord. 

Ruthie is so fun and mischievous. 
She loves to play and explore. 
We have noticed she actually knows how to play. 
She will sit with Josiah's Legos or other small toys
and entertain herself well. 
Se has spirit and spunk,
and she is beginning to learn what "no" means!
She is going to be a blast in our family and fit right in,
and even though she has a stubborn streak, she should be fairly
straightforward to train. :)

Sarah Kate is a precious little doll. 
Her grieving has subsided significantly already,
and she is mostly smiles all day. 
She loves to hear laughter and enjoys
all the love and attention she is receiving. 
She is very tiny for 2.5 years. 
Because of her special needs, she is mostly 
immobile. She cannot even sit unassisted. 
I'm sure this has lent to lack of stimulation 
in the past couple years. 
We hope to do everything we can
to help her make progress and provide her
the attention and stimulation she needs. 

Both the girls have several orthopedic issues,
so this year will be a busy medical year for us. 
But we know the potential The Lord has for both of them
(At least we can imagine some of it, but experience has told us 
we really have no idea the wonderful mercies He has in store),
and we cannot wait to get a glimpse of where this journey
will be taking our new precious daughters!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sarah Kate's Gotcha Day

We arrived in Nanchang Saturday night. 
This province (Jiangxi) has Sunday Gotcha Days,
and on Sunday, May 19th, Sarah Kate's orphanage director brought 
her directly to our room!
Talk about special delivery!

The orphanage director stayed in the room for 
almost an hour, telling us what he could about Sarah Kate
and answering our questions. 

Overall, she has handled the transition well. She has cried some but also laughed. 
She fell asleep easily but has whimpered through the night. 

This morning we will be busy finalizing the adoption, stopping at the civil affairs office, the notary, 
 and the police station to apply for her passport. 

She is such a doll and has such a gentle personality. 
What a blessing to be allowed the opportunity to raise one more
treasure for the Lord's glory!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Visiting Ruthie's Orphanage

Friday was a significant day for Ruthie and for us. 
We were able to visit her orphanage. 

I have mentioned before how impressed we have been with HZ CWI. 
Visiting here was such a blessing. It was very clean, yet not a sterile atmosphere 
The love these dear people have for the children was very evident. We visited her
room where she has slept. There were 30-40 baby beds in there, but not one baby was left in 
A bed at 10 o'clock in the morning. All beds were empty, and the children were 
out playing or learning.

We were able to visit her classroom, and her teachers set her
at a little empty chair for her to visit with her friends one last time. 
Soooo cute and adorable. 
The little boy in the hat is her best friend. Such a doll!!
The little boy in blue kept smiling at us and saying "Nihao!"
Te one other little girl pointed at the empty chair beside her for
Me to sit at the table with her.  They were all so precious!!!

Here is Ruthie with one of her teachers!
They all were so happy to see her;  cannot even begin to explain how they made our visit very special and encouraged us to send 
Updates via email. They were very curious about the medical intervention 
Ruthie would receive. They all hope so much that she will bw able to walk. We do, too!!!
Before we left, they gave us a photo book, very similar to one you might make at Shutterfly, full of pics of our sweet Ruthie.   We were presented with a book  very similar
To a baby book with many of her milestones and medical records. We are so thankful for the care and attention she has received!  
It has, by far, been our best experience with an orphanage!
I only wish all the fatherless could have at least this type of care. 

Ruthie handled the visit very well. She cried when leaving her little classroom, but we saw no setbacks after visiting the orphanage.

Actually, we have begun to see more smiles, more playfulness, and have enjoyed seeing her relax more and open up to her forever family!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Officially a Hixon!

Tuesday was Ruthie's Adoption Day!  It was such a special day to us!  We shared the day with three other families. Eric, Benjamin, Josiah, and I were so proud and excited, but the star of the show just slept right through it. :)

That night we celebrated with dinner with new friends, the Mortensens from California, who adopted
their sweet daughter the same hour. It was such a treat to get to know this awesome family; she and I
have been in the same DTC FB group since the fall, and had wondered and hoped we would be here
in HZ at the very same time!  What a surprise and a blessing that we are and were able to share Gotcha Days and Adoption Days!

Yesterday, our guide took us to West Lake, a very large lake just west of the city, and we took a boat out across the lake. This is a very popular tourist attraction and was very busy, even on a Wednesday. We walked around many of the gardens surrounding the lake, and Savor, our guide, shared more about the Chinese history, which I loved to hear!!!

Savor also took us to a tea plantation here in Hangzhou. That was a neat experience!

Ruthie is doing well. She seems to have formed a type of "trauma attachment" to me. She spends most of her days in my arms or lap, which I love, but she responds in panic if I put her down or hand her to someone else. We are working on this slowly and patiently, but meanwhile, I am loving the ample opportunity to hold this precious one!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ruthie's Gotcha Day

I am attempting to blog and post pictures from my iPad, so please forgive if this post is a mess. ;)

We are so thankful that we have our precious Ruthie!  Praising The Lord!!!

We woke up Monday morning, May 13, 2013, a little earlier than we planned, had breakfast, skyped with some friends, and then Skyped with our children back home. Boy, is it wonderful to see them!  

We met our wonderful guide Savor in the lobby at 9 AM, and off we went to the Civil Affairs office. It was only 20 min away. When we reached the gment office, there were several families already there, one from a FB group who had already received their child. There were at least a dozen Chinese officials and orphanage employees (representing several different orphanages from this province) in the room. Suddenly, Savor said, "Look!  She is already here!"

And there she was, sitting on the corner of the table!  We went over to her, and I picked her up. Holding her was one of the best feelings in the world!  She was very afraid, especially of the males in our group. She clung to me and cried. It was so sad to think that she had no idea that we already loved her so much and how terrifying it must be to be placed into the arms of strangers without that knowledge. 

She continued to cry until we pulled a dumdum sucker. Candy is the universal language!!!  Although it did not procure any smiles, she quieted down. We were there for at least an hour. Eric completed several documents, and we signed and placed our fingerprints on at least 8 pieces of paper. They took the normal family picture for the adoption decree, and then we also had a good opportunity to talk to Ying, the Internationl Adoption Coordinator from Hangzhou orphanage. 

Ying was such a wonderful help!  She seemed to know a lot about Ruthie and answered many pages 

of questions I had prepared. It really helps to know more about what she has been accustomed to!  I want to add that our experience with this orphanage has been very positive. From the generous updates they have given over the past few months to the many pictures they  have shared even to the way they had her dressed. Yesterday they brought her in a beautiful red top and blue pants with stars on it!  The gesture of dressing her in red, white, and blue was not unnoticed by this mama!

After we left, Ruthie was still afraid, but she did not cry. We rode in the van to the local Carrefour (similar to a Walmart) for diapers, formula, and other supplies. Here she remained very cautious but 

was very inquisitive!  We even saw a smile or two!  

Back in the room she began to relax even more. She crawled around, pulled up on her crib, but seemed to feel more secure in my lap. Benjamin and I took her down to the hotel restaurant to get a little lunch. We had to wait much longer than we anticipated, but she held out well. She even began or show her spunky side!

She seemed to warm up to Eric more in the room. Soon she began to get very sleepy, but when I started to put her in her crib, she cried and protested!  I was a little surprised since she has been very used to a crib, but I let her lie in the bed with me. Within two minutes she was asleep. It had been 

such an overwhelming day for her. 

She slept at least 2 hours, but when she woke up, her grieving seemed to take another form. She was very quiet and withdrawn and didn't offer as many smiles. This continued for the rest of the evening. She drank her bottle, tried a few bites of pizza, skyped with her new siblings back home, had a bath, drank her nightly yogurt drink, and easily fell back asleep. However, throughout the evening, she cried brokenheartedly if I put her down. I'm sad she is so scared but thankful she is looking to me for comfort. 

We love this darling child more than words can explain. We are praying that tomorrow some of  the

grieving eases, but if not, we are so glad to be able to walk with her through it. She will not be alone again.