Monday, July 4, 2016

6 months

Today marks 6 months that we were introduced to Myla! Time has sure flown by! She has brought so much joy and spunk to our family and we couldn't imagine life without her. We feel so honored that God chose us to be her forever family.

Over the last 6 months, she has changed quite a bit.  A few of the big changes are her english and understanding of english. She does still talk in jibberish sometimes, but for the most part, there is no mandarin left in her vocabulary. She speaks really well and you can understand it for the most part. She potty trained really easily a few months ago. She loves going to church and playing in her Sunday School class. She started gymnastics recently and absolutely loves it. She loves playing in water, but isn't a big fan of swimming. We have her in swim lessons to hopefully help her get over that fear. She plays really well with her brothers and sister. There are definitely alot of times I want to pull my hair out because they can't get along, but that's normal Right?!

We have had a few doctor appointments which have all gone really well. Her Thalassemia is very mild and will not need any medical attention. She's a very healthy little girl with nothing to worry! Her only medical issue now is we have been working on getting her immunizations caught up. (She's NOT a fan)

In the last months from her coming home she has experienced several holidays and her birthday! It was so much fun celebrating her birthday but I think she didn't really comprehend what was going on. She would say "It's Myla's birthday" but we didn't get the hype like we usually do from the other kids. I'm sure next year though she will be fully aware of her birthday and what that means. We have had a few other birthdays and she is quickly catching on.

Overall, she continues to amaze us with such a smooth transition and we can't wait to see how she continues to grow and change. These first 6 months have gone so fast so I'm sure the next 6 months will go even faster!

Here are some pictures that a dear friend took for us. Our first family pictures as a family of 6!!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

1 month already!!

1 month ago today we got to meet Myla for the first time! It's crazy how fast time goes! At times it feels like she's always been with us, just one of the gang, while other times it feels like we just got home from the long plane ride.

She is doing fantastic! We are blown away with how well she has transitioned. She loves the kids and our dog Leyny.  She likes to do whatever the kids are doing. I was a little worried with how the food transition would go. In China she wasn't exposed to lots of different foods so I didn't know how she would do. When we were in China she seemed very nervous about some foods. She wouldn't even eat a french fry or try a chicken quesadilla. But once we got home, she blew that out of the water! She will eat anything and everything:) I haven't found a food yet that she doesn't like. The kids love sitting by her at the table. We have to rotate who sits by her at each meal because they all want to sit by her!! I also haven't had to cook much yet. We have such generous friends who have brought us meals to help us in this transition! We are so grateful for you and thank you for the delicious meals!!

As far as sleep, only the first week was a bit of a wreck, but that's very understandable because she was jetlagged and we were too! The first night she was awake from 1-4am, but after that it got a little better each night. I would say after the first week, she was back to sleeping through the night and on a good nap schedule. She was sleeping in a crib in China, but here she's sleeping in a big bed with rails on the side. She is also sharing a room with Leah so I think that has helped her transition as well. She would cry for a few minutes at the beginning, but now she will hop in bed, say "good night, I love you" and go to sleep. She did just recently discover that she can crawl out of her bed, so we've been working on staying in your bed:)

Her English is improving everyday. She didn't speak much English when we got her, but she understood us. Her foster mom in China was from Holland. She spoke fluent English and lots of Mandarin so I think that has helped us a lot of making that transition. There is still a big language barrier, but it's getting there. She is a parrot and will repeat anything you ask her to, but she may not understand quite what she's saying. She sometimes calls Aaron "mommy" and Owen "Leah". Riley Children's Hospital in Indy has an international adoption clinic so we took her to see a few doctors there. The doctor said "It's so nice to meet you Myla". So I told Myla, "tell Dr. Hamby, it's nice to meet you." Usually she will say the end of what you want her to, but she shocked the doctor when she replied, " It's nice to meet you!" The doctor couldn't believe that she would respond that way after only being home for a week. She had to get several vials of blood drawn and she was just a pro! She sat on Aaron's lap and didn't even flinch when they poked her. I on the other hand was sitting on the floor, not looking, trying not to pass out!!! She really shows me up!! We also took her to meet our family doctor who is Chinese. She was so excited to meet Myla! She couldn't wait to talk to her in Chinese! When she started to talk to her in Mandarin, Myla never really responded back to her. She would just smile and giggle. So far all check ups have gone really well and she looks great! We have a few more appointments in a few weeks, but she is super happy and healthy!

She is not shy! She loves people and  is very easy going. She makes friends wherever she goes. The doctors just think she's a genius and so adorable. We took her to church for the first time two weeks ago and she was just adored! Of course it felt like we were celebrities! Everyone was so excited to meet her and hear how things were going. She was a little shy at first because of all the people but you could tell she loved all the attention! And it didn't take her more than 3 seconds to make new friends.  I feel a little bad for whoever sits by us and wants to pay attention in church. She's too cute and makes it easy to get distracted:) We also have several friends at church who have adopted from China so it's been fun to see how she interacts with them. Again, if they speak in Mandarin to her, she just smiles and giggles, but I think she is excited to hear her native language and know that there's someone who can communicate to her.

So far so good! God continues to bless us with a smooth transition and we couldn't be more excited to see what happens in these next few months as she continues to adjust. The Chinese New Year is this Sunday and then we get to start planning her 3rd birthday which is right before Easter!!:) Thanks you for all of your love, prayers, and gifts!! We are so blessed and are so thankful for each of you!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Our trip home! (Jan 13)

Today we fly out!! We grabbed our last breakfast in the hotel and brought our luggage down to the lobby. We said goodbye to Judy and got in a van to drive to Hong Kong. The drive was really pretty. We drove through a few tunnels and very close to the ocean. Once we got to Hong Kong, we had to change drivers/vans. A new driver took us to a customs check point. Before you can enter the country and even drive on the road, you must go through a borders checkpoint. It was a little intimidating! You had to get your temperature taken and look at our passports, papers, and luggage. Once we made it through three separate check points we were free to travel onto the airport. The also drive on the other side of the road so that was an interesting change. The scenery was gorgeous! Once we arrived at the airport, we got our stuff checked in and grabbed a quick lunch. We were shocked when Myla asked for our french fries! Up until this point she has been really picky. Wouldn't even eat a fry with ketchup on it. For the flight, she did really well. She sat in the seat, put her seatbelt on, watched tv, and ate the food with no problem. She only slept a little bit, and was awake most of the time. Besides just a few minor meltdowns, she did really great! We discovered she is kind of a bear when she wakes up. I didn't sleep much at all. There was a lot of turbulence so most of the flight I was just praying we made it home safely!! When we finally landed in Dallas we had to go through immigration and get myla's paperwork figured out. She's officially a US citizen!! We had a pretty long layover. We boarded the last flight to Indy and were excited to get moving so we could see our other kids! Of course, Myla was charming the passengers and flight attendants. After about 24 hours of traveling, we landed in Indy and couldn't get off the plane fast enough to see the kids! Of course we were in the very back of the plane, so it took us awhile to get off but we were so excited to see the kids waiting at the end of the hallway holding signs, balloons, flowers, and big smiles!!! They were so excited to see us and Myla! They loved Myla right away and were so sweet to her. We got many looks and smiles from people passing by. Since we landed so late in Indy we decided to stay at a hotel and drive home on Thursday. The kids were pretty funny. They were fighting over who held her hand. Poor Liam had a meltdown because there was no hand for him to hold! :( The kids didn't sleep that great in the hotel. I think they were just so excited!! We drove home Thursday morning and were greeted by a very excited dog!! Myla took to her right away and I think she will do just fine with her. It was a long trip but so worth it to bring Myla home to join our crazy family! And I have a feeling she will fit right in;)

Our Last day in China!! (Jan 12)

Today was our last full day in China!! Woohoo!! We spent it mostly at the zoo. It was quite the zoo! It was huge and had several animals of all kinds of species. The most interesting part was the safari park. This part of the zoo you could ride the train through or drive your own car through! This winding road took you SUPER close to zebras, lions, elephants, rhinos, hippos, leopards, giraffes, tigers, and so many more. Some animals were being fed so they were very active and some performed tricks. I’ve never been so close to those animals before! Some roamed right next to your car! The lions just had a little wire fence keeping them away from us!! It was pretty amazing! There were several people visiting that part of the zoo, but once we kept moving through to the other parts, it felt like we had a private tour of the zoo! We saw some koalas which were very sleepy. The snake exhibit had giant snakes on the ceiling and under your feet! We got to feed an elephant which was really cool! We saw lots of monkeys and baboons. And then of course we saw some panda bears! There was even a 5 month old cub! We had some lunch in the panda restaurant which only made sense to have a panda shaped meal for Myla! After lunch, Myla fell asleep so we just walked a bit more and then headed back to the van where our driver was. Overall, we really enjoyed the zoo. At times Myla got excited to see the animals, but she wasn’t as excited as I thought she would be. If our kids would have been with us, I think they would have flipped!!! She did enjoythe train ride lot! It was nice to not have each exhibit so packed. I was kind of surprised because a great zoo like that one in the states would have been packed all the time!!! 
We came back home so Myla could get a nap and we had to wait for our guide to drop off Myla’s visa! After we received that we went back to our favorite restaurant, Oggis (an Italian place) to celebrate our last meal in China! When we got there we saw some friends who adopted a cute little boy eating there. They invited us to join them for dinner so we had a little date night with our kids:) After we got back to the room, we gave Myla a bath. (Her favorite activity!) Once we put her to bed, we got all of our things put together and packed away!! So now our bags are packed and we are ready to fly home in the morning!! China has been so good to us, but we can’t wait to get home!!!!! Please keep us in your prayers as we travel home tomorrow. Pray our flights don’t get delayed or cancelled! I know there was some snow and cold temps at home. (This cold weather will be a shocker for us coming from 60’s) boo!!!!

An Update :) (Jan 11)

Hi friends! It’s been a few days since we last updated. Saturday we spent just hanging out. We played a bit in the hotel playroom. We walked down the street to a busy flea market. We then went across the street to a big shopping mall and did some window shopping. Lunch time was a little stressful. Myla didn’t want to eat and was very cranky. So we ate quick and went back to the hotel so Myla could get a nap. When she woke up she was sweating and was so hot! Her temp was 103.6!!! Luckily I brought some Tylenol with us so I gave her some and after a bit she perked up. We got some take out for dinner and just hung low for the rest of the night. The rest of the evening she didn’t have a fever. She wasn’t sweating and was her normal laughing happy self.
Sunday was another free day. We were supposed to go the the zoo. We decided not to go because it was supposed to rain all day. So we went back to the shaiman island and did a little shopping and walking around. The trees, flowers, and buildings are really beautiful. After a few hours we came back to the hotel for lunch and noticed she had a fever again. It wasn’t as high as the first day but pretty close. This time she was freezing! Her lips were blue and her hands were frozen. So we layered her up and put her in our bed with some Chinese cartoons and more Tylenol. Again she perked back up to her happy self. It was raining pretty hard the rest of the day and we didn’t want to get all wet, so we went to a Japanese restaurant in our hotel which was pretty tasty. We walked around the lobby a bit and saw a wedding in the grand ballroom.
Today(Monday) was our big appointment day!! We had to be up and ready to go by 7:45am to make our appointment at the US consulate. We don’t have any pictures of the appointment as we were only allowed to bring in our passports, the paperwork, a diaper and snack for Myla. We were with 5 other American families in the room. We had to grab a number from a window and wait for them to call us up. Once they called our number, they looked over our paperwork, asked us some questions about Myla, and then took Aaron’s fingerprints. We then had to get some instructions about flying back home and had to take an oath basically stating we would care for her and never abandon her. And that was it! It went quickly and only took about an hour! Our guide will pick up her visa tomorrow for us and then we are officially set to go HOME! China has legalized the adoption and now the US has. She will become a citizen the second we touch US soil. Woohoo!! Once we were finished with the appointment, we went and toured the famous tomb of the Nanyue King. It was very fascinating to learn about him, see his tomb, and look at over 1000 artifacts that were found in the tomb. We then walked around a big park and got some lunch. While Aaron headed back to give Myla her nap, I took a taxi with our guide Judy to a tea market. We were wanting to bring home some different teas as gifts. That was really interesting! There were so many teas in the small shop. The lady was very nice in helping us buy and package them. She even let me sit in her big “tea master” chair and wanted a picture with me:) after Myla got up from her nap we ventured outside again to find some dinner. We found a yummy Mexican restaurant that had good tacos and fajitas. Myla wasn’t too excited about her fries and chicken quesadilla but hopefully she will learn to like it. One of the couples from this morning ended up eating there too so it was nice to talk to some Americans for a bit!:)
Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be sunny and in the high 60s so we are going to the zoo! We will meet our guide in the afternoon to get Myla’s visa, and then Wednesday morning we wake up early to catch a ride to Hong Kong where we will fly HOME!! We are sooo ready to get back home to our kids and our beds!