Monday, July 30, 2007

Good Bye Vietnam

We are checking out of here in about 10 minutes! Our flight is tonight at 7:10. We still do not have a flight from LA to Dallas but Joey doesn't care. He said he would rent a car and drive home if he had to, but he is ready to leave. We will see you guys soon! If you want to know what time we are going to be home call my mother. She will have all the info!

In Hanoi

We made it to Hanoi last night, finally. Our flight out of HCMC was delayed 4 hours. Jolea didn't do too bad on the flight. She did get a little scared when we hit some bad turbulence. Joey and I even got a little scared. I would have to say that it was the worst flight I have ever been on. She screamed and cried a few times because she was mad. I had taken her fork away from her because she was playing in her food, and she had a fit. Everyone stares at us because let me tell you she can throw a fit. The international flight should be very interesting.
We had our visa appt. this afternoon and we will pick it up tomorrow and head to the airport. We have a flight all the way to L.A, but not from L.A. to Dallas yet. I'm sure we'll have a flight before we leave here, and I'll let you all know when we are landing. I'm thinking it will be early Wed. morning. As of right now we are the only familiy who got a flight out on Tuesday. The others aren't leaving until Wed. I can't wait to be back in the US. I haven't taken any pictures here in Hanoi so I'm not posting any pictures this time, and we have to pay for internet here, and it just takes to long to upload the photos.
I'll let you know as soon as we hear when we will be landing in Dallas.
I love you Brea and Luke!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Day at the beach





Well, I was totally wrong about the beach. She screamed. As soon as her feet hit the water she started screaming. So we spent most of the day sitting under the umbrella while she played in the sand. There was also a public pool beside the beach area and she wouldn't get in it either. She even cried when Joey got in. So, I think she will definitely have to warm up to the pool at home. The beach was very beautiful though. I can say I put my feet in the South China Sea! Jolea actually had a pretty rough day today. The drive to the beach was about 2 1/2 hours and she cried nearly the entire trip. All it takes is us telling her no and she has a fit. I think we need to be consistent though and not always let her have her way, but boy does she get mad. She is fine now that we are out of the van and back in our hotel.

Tomorrow we leave HCMC and head for Hanoi. We are still hoping to get seats on the plane leaving Tuesday night, but no word yet. We may not hear anything until Monday or Tuesday. Brea and Luke, we love and miss you!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Free Day


Jolea eating with chopsticks

My mommy finally let me eat a sucker!



We see this little boy everynight. He walks this
block selling postcards and T-shirts. He speaks
very good English. He told us he works so he can
pay for school and for rent.


Joey wanted me to show you all the power lines
crazy huh?


Today we just had a free day to whatever we wanted. Jolea, Joey and I actually slept in this morning. Jolea had a pretty rough night last night. She woke up several times crying. As long as I would go lay with her she would quiet down. She is still running a little fever today, but her spirit is much better. We walked a lot today and finished up most of our shopping. Brea and Luke, we got you guys some pretty neat stuff. Can't wait to give it to you. We tried to go to the old market today but it was way to hot and way to crowded. Everyone wants to touch Jolea so we just decided to leave. We bought some waffles today from a lady on the street. They make them right there on the sidewalk. They were actually pretty good. I was a little nervous about eating something off the street but what could make me sick from a little waffle. We still don't know if we will be leaving on Tuesday or not. The flights are still booked so we are hoping some people cancel so we can make it home by Wed. morning.





Jolea is really bonding and attaching very well. Right now she is in my lap laying against my chest, just about to fall asleep. I really can't believe how well she has done. God definitely gets all the glory for this. She loves for me to rock her and I love it. She really doesn't understand that she is a baby. She acts so grown up and I think she is so used to taking care of herself at the age of 3. Oh yeah, alot of you have asked what size Jolea is. She is pretty tiny. Nearly all of the clothes I brought are too big. She can wear 2T shirts. She is very skinny, so she is wearing about 18 mos. shorts. The 24mos. shorts are even a little big. I'm glad I brought a few dresses.





Tomorrow we are going to the beach. I'm sure Jolea will love it. She loves to play in the water. I'll post pictures of the beach when we get back.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mekong Delta

Today we took a trip to the Mekong Delta. We took a boat out to an island where many farmers live and they also make coconut candy. We were able to watch how they make it. It was pretty cool, and we bought plenty to bring home for everyone to try. It really is pretty good candy. Sorry Dad but they didn't have sugar free. We then took the boat to another island where they have some caged monkeys. One of the monkeys tried to grab one of the people in our groups camera. It also grabbed his leg while he was walking by. It was pretty funny. They had a python that a couple of members of our group held, but Joey and I chose to pass on that one. On the final leg of trip we took a row boat through a canal. It was a day well spent and I really enjoyed getting to see this part of the Vietnamese culture.

Jolea is amazing. Today she has been running a slight fever. Not sure of the cause, but I'm thinking maybe an ear infection because she grabs it while she is eating. She was a little cranky this morning on the way to the Mekong. She gets really mad when she doesn't get her way. We are trying to give her a little freedom because we know that she is very curious, but some things like standing up in the van while we are going down the road in this traffic is pretty dangerous. We are leaving HCMC on Sunday and flying to Hanoi. Our visa appointment is on Monday and we will have Joleas visa on Tuesday. As of now we are on standby to get to fly home on Tuesday night. Apparently the flight is booked so pray that some seats come available! Brea and Luke, we love you guys! and miss you soooooooo much!
She's cutting the coconut candy
This is Max posing with the python
Our Vietnamese princess just about falling asleep
Mekong Canal
Our hotel at night

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Good Morning Vietnam

Today was another busy day. We got up this morning and CHI took us to a Pagoda. I think it was some sort of place of worship or something. Then we went to the war museum. I think it was pretty depressing. There were a lot of pictures of children with bad deformities from something called agent orange that the US used as chemical warfare. There were even jars that had deformed fetuses inside. It was pretty sad. There were many pictures and they were all portraying the Vietnamese view of the war. Very different from what we learn about in the US.

We had our CIS (Citizenship and immigrations services) appointment this afternoon and it went great. I was a little nervous about it but all went well. Joey also went this afternoon to get Jolea's passport. He rode on a scooter with one of the CHI staff and I prayed for him the whole time he was gone. The traffic here is very scary. We went out tonight and did a little shopping. It was pretty interesting bargaining with 10 year olds on the street. The children work very hard here.


Jolea continues to do great. We bought her a balloon on a stick tonight and finally had to take it away from her because she kept hitting people with it as we walked by. She continues to test her limits with us and will throw a fit if she doesn't get her way. She had her first chocolate ice cream today for lunch and she loved it. Tonight Joey was tired of rice and noodles so we found a pizza place and she loved the pizza. She will eat whatever you put in front of her. Right now she is taking all her dirty clothes that I had in a sack and folding them and putting them back in the sack. She is such a big girl in a little body. Tomorrow we are going to the Mekong Delta. It is an all day tour. We are finished with all of the paperwork here in HCMC and are flying to Hanoi on Sunday. We'll be home soon Brea and Luke.


This was at the place we ate dinner at last night
(I don't know why the picture is rotated)

At the pagoda
Jolea eating noodles
US airplane at the war museum
Joey checking out the guns at the war museum
Jolea eating her chocalate ice cream

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Busy day!





Today has been a fairly busy day. We had a meeting this morning to find out what our schedule was and it looks like we may be coming home as early as Tuesday. We took Jolea today to get her picture made for her passport and to her medical exam. She did Ok. She did start a screaming trend with the other toddlers while they were weighing her. Tonight we are meeting the other families and the CHI staff is taking us all to dinner. Tomorrow we have our CIS interview and we will apply for Jolea's passport and pick it up later in the afternoon. That is our final task in HCMC. Thursday and Friday we have some sightseeing and tours that we are going on, and we are going to the beach on Saturday. Then on Sunday we will fly to Hanoi. This is the schedule as long as everything goes as planned. Monday we will have our final visa interview, and her visa will be ready to pick up Tuesday at 4pm and we will head home! Yeah!! That means we would be home Wednesday morning. Joey and I are both so ready to be home. We are missing Brea and Luke like crazy.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Giving and Receiving

Little missy is up early this morning sqeaking so I thought I'd get on here and post a few more pictures. Yesterday we had our G&R ceremony at the Justice Dept. in Kien Giang. It was a formal ceremony where everyone gets up and says a little speech. Joey actually got up and spoke on our behalf. We signed a few papers and that was it. She is now officially ours. Jolea kept trying to pull the tablecloth off of the table. She loves to test us and see how far she can go. She does understand no, but of course doesn't always listen. She slept most of the way back to HCMC which was great. We actually had a little fender bender on the way back. 2 people on a scooter pulled out in front of us and we hit them. Luckily they were OK. The traffic is just chaotic. I noticed the morning that we were leaving that my flash on my camera wasn't working so the pictures of the G&R ceremony are not that good. I had to go buy a new camera yesterday so I could take more pictures. For the families that asked us to take photos, I could not get good photos but I did get video from my digital camera. I tried to send some of it out last night but it wouldn't go through. Your babies were adorable! Kien Giang is a very poor and small orphanage. They do the best they can with what they have. I'll post again later tonight!
G&R ceremony
Pretty girl
Dragon Fruit

Answered Prayers!

Hey guys, we are back in HCMC now! Kien Giang was nice but HCMC is much better. Jolea is doing wonderful. We made the mistake of buying her some squeaky shoes, and right now she is just stomping around the room.





We arrived at Jolea's orphanage on Saturday afternoon. Upon arrival we sat down and met with the director of her orphanage. As we were sitting there Joey tapped me on my shoulder and when I turned around there she was. She was very shy and wouldn't look at either one of us. I gave her her baby doll and she gladly grabbed hold of it, but still wouldn't look at me. They decided to take her out the little play area, so we followed. When we got outside they handed her to me. She screamed for about five minutes until she noticed Joey getting out the bubbles. She then just came alive, and has been a wild child since. She is wonderful! She gets a little shy when we get out of the room, and she only wants me to hold her when we are out, so my arm is just killing me. I'll be using my hotsling from now on. When we are in the room she loves Joey. She knows who if funner to play with.





She is very observant and energetic. She watches every move Joey makes and tries to copy him. Last night she couldn't get the channel to change on the TV so she started messing with the cords on the back. She saw Joey doing it the night before. She loves her toys especially her play phone. She keeps them in sight at all times. She also loves her new shoes we brought her. She has slept in them every night. Tonight she will probably sleep in the sqeaky ones. Anyways, I better get uploading pictures. I promised Brea pictures when she woke up. Also, thanks for all the birthday wishes and emails, and thanks Leslie for the pictures of the kids. I have a bad case of homesickness. Keep the emails coming! Check back tomorrow for more updates!



Our first meeting



laughing at Dad!



These little critters were all over our room in Kien Giang.
This is the baby, I didn't capture a picture of the mom!


Saying Goodbye.


A whole new world, a whole new life!

Friday, July 20, 2007

We're Here!

We have finally made it! It's about noon here and we just got checked into our room. The international flight was a beating. Joey slept about half of the trip, but I don't think I slept a wink. So we will probably get something to eat here shortly and go to bed. We are leaving at 7am in the morning and heading for Kien Giang. As soon as we get there we will go see Jolea. I'm not sure how the internet connection is in Kien Giang so it could be Monday before I post some pictures. By the way, the traffic here is crazy. I can't even describe how scary it is. I think I held my breath the entire way from the airport. I took some pictures but I'm going to have to take video because the pictures just don't do it justice. Well, thats it for now. I'm heading for the shower!

Christi



View from the airplane as we were landing in Hong Kong





Our plane we flew on from Hong Kong to Vietnam



Picture of the traffic, but it doesn't really show how scary it really is!

Monday, July 16, 2007

The desires of my heart

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

One of my very best friends sent me a card with this scripture on it today. It was such a wake up call to me. Joey and I are REALLY blessed beyond measure! We leave in 2 days to fulfill a dream that I have had since I was a little girl. God placed adoption on my heart such a long time ago, and I still can't believe this is happening. All the events in our life from tragedy to joy have set the way for this. Had I not had a child with special needs, I would have never had the desire to adopt one. Niki, you are so right. I'm sure Colt has told her how lucky she is and what a great family she is going to have. I'm sure she has seen him in her dreams. Many may think Jolea is the lucky one, but Joey and I are really the lucky ones. We were handpicked by God to be the parents of this special little girl, and it has been a fight, both spiritual and physical to get her home. In less than a week this little girls life is going to change forever. She'll be introduced to a new family, but most of all to Jesus. Her life will never be the same!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Counting the day!

Only 4 more days and we are on our way! I've spent today cleaning, doing laundry, and packing. This will probably be my routine for the next 3 days! We went and bought Jolea's carseat today. I was saving that major purchase for last minute. We bought the Britax Marathon seat. Luke has the same seat, and it holds a child up to 65lbs in a 5pt. harness, much safer than boosters! Some friends of my parents brought us the prettiest blanket today for Jolea. It is handmade and has her name embroidered on one side, and on the other side it says "I'm Jolea, Breanna, Colt, and Luke's baby sister." So adorable! and it matches her room! Please keep our trip and Jolea in your prayers. We are still praying for that instant connection between us. I think she will surprise us all!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Godspeed little man

Luke brought up again today that we were going on an airplane and we were bringing JoJo home from heaven. It broke my heart. I wonder if he will be dissappointed when we return home from Vietnam without his brother. I've tried explaining to him over and over but he just doesn't understand that his brother can't come home. He loves him so much and I know without a doubt that he misses him and misses all the things that they would be doing together. I know Jolea is going to be such a blessing to Brea and Luke. Luke will have a running buddy again. I know she can never replace what Colt and Luke had, but at least he'll have her, and we'll keep sending Colt our love everynight. Godspeed little man.

One more week!

I guess I should probably start packing! Just kidding! I have only the clothes that Joey and I are bringing left to pack. Miss Jolea's things have been packed for quite some time now. We did get our visa's back yesterday, and our airline tickets are paid for and should arrive today. We are so ready to go. These last 2 wks have been absolutely awful. I think satan has been trying to throw distractions at us since we began this adoption, and these last 2 wks he has been on attack again. We do have complete trust in God, and we know that no matter how much he will try to throw at us this last week that His timing is perfect. One more week and we'll be on our way!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Itinerary!

We received our Itinerary this morning, and as long as nothing changes we will be leaving DFW at 5:30 on Wed. July 18th and arriving in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Friday morning around 10:20. We do have layovers in Las Angeles and Hong Kong in between there. We are due to arrive back home on Aug. 4th at 5:15 am. Most families are completing their adoption in 10 days after arriving in Vietnam, so there is a possibility that we could be coming home earlier.

We will have Friday in HCMC to do a little shopping for the children at Jolea's orphanage, and we will leave Saturday morning, my birthday, to head to Kien Giang and meet our little girl for the first time! If she does OK on Saturday then we will get to take her back to the hotel with us. I'm really praying that she surprises us all and that there is an instant connection.

I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

We're leaving on Jet Plane!

I prayed for this child, and the Lord
has granted me what I asked of Him.
I Samuel 1: 27


The day has finally come! We received the "official" word today that we are leaving on the 18th. I thought this day would never come, and here it is. We will be traveling with 3 other families who are adopting out of Ho Chi Minh City, so we will be the only family traveling to Kien Giang this time. Our Giving and Receiving ceremony will be on July 23rd. This is the ceremony that officially makes Jolea (Mai) our daughter, even though in our hearts she is already our daughter.

Now the hustle and bustle begins. Most of you know how last minute I am with everything. I'll finish packing the day we are leaving! We applied for our visa's today and should have them back next week. Pray for me! I'm a nervous wreck!

Oh yeah, we got an update yesterday that Mai is 25.3 lbs and very shy!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Pictures!




These are the new photos we received from Nicky tonight! Mai looks so beautiful! The next photos posted of her, she'll be in my arms! Only 2 more weeks and we'll be in Vietnam. I should meet Mai for the first time on my birthday the 21st. I couldn't ask for a better gift!

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