Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Traveling, Homecoming and Just Being HOME!!!

A quick update on how we are all doing. I wanted to share some or our last pictures from China, our homecoming and our first days home. We are all doing well. Jet lag has been hard to get over. Our worst day was the day before yesterday when we all struggled to stay awake. Thank goodness Granny and Papa Jim are here to help!!! Graeme is doing very well and just lights up. He is starting to imitate some words. He is still not too fond of the dogs so they are still outside. He does not scream each time he sees them so we are making gradual progress. Enjoy this little update and thanks for your patience as we adjusted to being home.
Corey, Tommy, Lily Wen, Jessica and Tate one of our last nights in China!
Lily poses with another statue in Guangzhou, China.

We began our journey home by leaving the White Swan Hotel at 5:30 a.m. We were ready to head home but hated to leave so early!

Over 24 hours later, we land in Knoxville, Tennessee to a wonderful homecoming with friends and family. This was such a beautiful sight.

Here they are waiting for us!

Granny breaches security to greet us!!! Graeme has seen her via Skype from China so I think he recognized her.

I do think he is as tired as he looks!!! It was a loooong trip home!

Granny gave Graeme a doggy.....The interesting thing is that he is terrified of the real life four legged friends. Our dogs are outside until he adjusts.

Lily Wen's best friend, Lily D., came to meet her at the airport. This was the sweetest reunion.

They were so cute!~

Michael and Sarah create a Lily sandwich....she is in heaven.

Jonathan welcomes Lily home!

Graeme looks pretty happy to be home too!!!!

I think they missed each other!!!

Graeme and the Lilys

Graeme and Granny out in the sun to play....trying to get over our jet lag! He was so funny walking in the grass. I think this was his first experience ever. It is so fun watching him explore and learn.

Graeme and Lily climbing. He is determined to keep up with his big sister.

Lily is part monkey.

"If she can do it, so can I!"

He is watching her every move.

Experiencing the joy!

Lily plays dress up with Papa Jim!

Sarah, Graeme and Lily taking a walk!

He took Sarah's hand and walked right outside!

Graeme and Sarah. He cried when it was time for her to leave.

Sarah told us that she wanted a picture with Lily on one hip and Graeme on the other. I told her when we first came home that I thought it would take a while to get the shot because he is so cautious with new people. I was sooooo wrong!!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008


We are all home and doing well. Graeme has met his Granny Mary and Papa Jim and is doing great. He is not a fan of dogs (actually he is terrified so we are grateful for decent weather so they can stay out as he adjusts). We are all exhausted and catching up. I have so much more to post but will take a day or so to just be home with my family and then return to blogging. Thanks so much for all your comments, thoughts and prayers. We appreciate it more than words can say.

Thanks especially to our dear friends Becky, Sarah, Michael, Jonathan, John, Heather and Lily who along with Mom and Jim met us at the airport to greet Graeme as he arrived home. Becky, Sarah and Susan cleaned our home and it was so amazing to come home. Becky also cooked like crazy for us and everything is so delicious. My friend Ann helped stock the fridge with the much needed DIET COKE and Jonathan drove our car home after the long trip. We all feel so loved and special and have heard that there is more to come. We are so lucky to live where our friends are family! Thank you all!!

More to come....LATER!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Last Post from China...we are flying home tomorrow!

Just as it was on our last trip, it is hard to leave China. We are all missing home and all of our family and friends and can't wait to get there. At the same time, we leave China and it is emotional. Both of our children were born here and it is their country of birth and very special in our hearts. It is so different from our life in the states and yet we whole heartedly embrace the people and the culture. We want to experience life here so that when they are older and when they ask, we can try our best with our Western minds to describe their Eastern homeland. I hope that we can do China justice when this time comes. I think this trip has really helped Lily understand her adoption alot more and I know that we will have many interesting conversations in the weeks to come. Graeme has changed so much from the first day we received him until now. He is no longer the quiet little one who sits wherever you put him until you move him. He is rowdy and mischievous and curious and oh so cute. We are so blessed to have both Lily and Graeme and we thank God each and every day for our little Miracles. So keep us in mind over the next 30+ hours as we travel home. I am sure I will cry as we leave China as this country holds so much of our heart and yet I know I will rejoice to be heading home to all that is familiar and loving.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Closer and closer to Home!

Lily Wen by the water fall in our hotel.
Lily Wen (Graeme was still eating breakfast!)
Our family
The Children of our group....this is always a crowd pleaser!
Ling Li Jun - Graeme Wilder Li Miracle
Lily is warming up to her brother.

Our whole group!
Lily Wen
Our guide, Bruce with Aurora, Wyatt and Lily
Our Anhui Province family
Madison and Lily at their Pizza Party
They are so sweet.
Daddy and Graeme

Our paperwork passed the review at the Consulate. Tomorrow we will go for the ceremony and then pack to head home!!! We had a great but rainy day here again. We had to wait in our room until our paperwork was completed. I got to spend time with my friend Allie and her beautiful daughter, Quincey, while we waited. After that, all of the families in our group took group pictures on the infamous red couch at the White Swan. I think we got some great pictures of all of the families. We were supposed to shop but Mother Nature had other plans. There was a major storm dumping tons of rain so we did the next best thing and all took a nice long nap. As soon as we woke up, we shopped!!!! We had a nice time visiting some of the places we went when we were here before. Many of the places have closed which is sad. There are just less families coming through and the shops have to close. We did find some treasures at one of the official Olympic shops and can't wait to share those.
After our shopping, we were going out to dinner with Madison's family. This was Mark, Holly, Madison and Makenna's last night in Guangzhou...they leave tomorrow. With the rain and the mess, we decided a pizza party in the room was our best bet. The girls had pizza and a movie while the adults chased toddlers and had some nice conversation. We so enjoyed meeting them and we had a great evening. We just all wish we lived closer. One more day and then we head home!Lily told us today that she wants to stay in China. We asked if she would miss our house or our dogs and this was not convincing her. Then, I asked her if she would miss Lily D., her best friend, and now all she talks about is going home. Lily D., Lily Wen really misses you and can't wait to see you in a few days!!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

June 17, day closer to home

Children exercising at school...part of the morning routine.
Lily waits patiently at the medical exam.
Graeme sees the ENT

Lily posing with one of the many cute statues on the Island.

Too cute...

Our Graeme
Jie Jie - Lily Wen

Tuesday, June 17, day closer to home!!!! We are really enjoying our time in China but we are getting ready to come home!!!! Today was much more relaxing than yesterday! We had our wonderful breakfast at the White Swan...amazing. Then, we ventured out for the medical exam. Graeme did very well and the doctor said that his cough and chest sound much better. He has been fever free for three days now. She recommended continuing the medicine for 2 more days so we will do so. He weighed 26 pounds and is 34 inches tall...not that much smaller than Lily.

On our stroll back to the hotel, we saw many more young brides taking wedding pictures. This is a busy time of the year for weddings and they all looked gorgeous! Lily and her friend, Madison were reunited today and had so much fun. We just chatted for a while in their room and let the girls play and then it was nap time for Lily and Graeme. They napped while I went to meet with our guide to do the paperwork for the U.S. Consulate. The paperwork took over 2 hours to complete but it is done and will go to the consulate tomorrow to be checked. If all is okay, we visit the consulate Thursday for our swearing in ceremony and leave on Friday to come home.

We spent this evening have dinner with Madison and Caroline's families. It was lots of fun just visiting and seeing the new additions to the family. I must be getting tired because I did not take even one picture. I will do better tomorrow.

Graeme and I had a great day. He stayed with me alone three different times and is interacting a lot more with me. We were laughing and playing this evening and I think we are slowly turning a corner. He was laughing so hard when I was blowing raspberries on his belly after his bath. He is imitating more speech today too. He spontaneously gave Wes a kiss today and it was so sweet. At dinner tonight, Wes sat at a seperate table with Mark, Madison's Dad, and the girls while Holly, Makenna and Graeme and I sat at a another table. He did great! Thanks for all the prayers and thoughts as they are helping!!!! I teased Wes tonight that I would just wait until we got through the long flight home before I really turned on the charm with Graeme. Wes is still exhausted from wreastling Graeme at the airport and on the plane yesterday so I don't think he got the humor in my message. All kidding aside, I am hoping Graeme will let me help more on the flight home. Lily would only have me and I remember how physically draining that was and she was half his size!!!!

Monday, June 16, 2008


Graeme ready for his first plane ride.

Wyatte, Jane, Tamara and Andy

Lorena, Jane, Aurora and Kelsey

Margaret, Lily, Jane, Wes and Graeme

Our group!

Graeme's very breif nap!

The great Uno match. This drew quite the group of onlookers.

Aurora and Lily playing Leapster

Lily, Aurora and Kelsey are watching Finding Nemo in Chinese. I wonder what Lily is thinking.

This picture was taken before we boarded the plane. Can you imagine what it was like at the end of the flight?

After a very long day of traveling, we are at the White Swan Hotel. This morning started out well as we packed to leave Hefei in Anhui Province to travel to Guangzhou where we will finalize things with the U.S. Consolate. We enjoyed a nice breakfast and packed our belongings. We all met in the lobby and checked out. Then we took lots of pictures with our guide and all of the families together. It was a leisurely morning and we left for the airport at 11:30 a.m. for our 1:40 flight.

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to check in and headed upstairs to wait. We saw that our flight was on time and settled in for our short wait. Then, we hear that MU5225 has been delayed due to air traffic congestion until further notice. Ouch!!! They didn't even mention when we would take off. We noticed that the plane before ours was also going to Guangzhou and they had boarded so we were still optamistic at this point. We kept hearing the same message about our flight. After an hour, the plane that had preboarded still had not taken off and they deboarded the passengers. Optimism began to fade at that point. After a while longer at about 4:00 p.m. they announce that they will be given a snack for the passengers on our flight. I leave Wes with the children while the other Mom's and I get in line for the snack. We all kind of stand back in awe as we watch passengers elbowing their way to the counter to get the snack. You think I'm kidding but I have witnesses!!!! We finally get our got it they didn't run need to hurt anyone! We return to our seats and begin to snack on our crackers and water when five minutes later they announce that they are boarding our plane..WHAT! So we gather up all of our things and head to board. We are happy to be moving forward. Again, a mad rush to board. We hang back and still make it on the plane where you guessed it....we wait some more!!

We are now waiting on the runway. Some progress well maybe not. We are then served yet another snack. (soy nuts, a roll and pound cake...YUM!! (yes I can still be sarcastic at this late hour)). We wait and wait and wait. Over an hour later we start to notice that the plane next to us is deboarding. Not a good sign! Suddenly and with no notice our plane begins to move. Finally we are on our way!!! Our flight is without further incident and we land in Guangzhou. I remember feeling an overwhelming sadness when we left Chongquing with Lily. I felt sad about taking her away from her birth province. I did not have those same feelings today. By the time we left, I was so ready to be starting the first leg of our trip HOME!!!
You may wonder how Wes and I occupied the kids at the airport. Lily Wen was easy. She played Uno, Leapster and watched Finding Nemo in Chinese. She was so easy!!! Wes was in charge of Graeme who would have it no other way and he had a much harder day. He had to occupy Graeme in less than ideal circumstances. He walked him around the airport, fed him and played the fetch the cup game (you know the game, Graeme throws the cup and Wes fetches). Graeme finally fell asleep but only slept for 20 minutes. On the plane, Graeme kept trying to remove his seatbelt so Wes had to hold his hands and only when he made Graeme really mad would he then stop. He really is trying his BaBa now. Graeme even tried to bite and pinched Wes some on the plane. Five minutes into the flight, Lily fell asleep and didn't wake up until we landed. I teased Wes that I had my charge asleep and what was up with his. In the moment, Wes didn't quite appreciate the joke. More than ever, he is wishing that Graeme had first bonded with me. Wes is passed out from exhaustion.
When we arrived at the White Swan we were met by many of the families that we spent time with in Beijing. We have seen some of the children and will see more tomorrow. We shared stories and many of us have had similar bonding experiences and feelings. This was such a relief and helped after the long day. Tomorrow is a new day and we face it after the infamous breakfast at the White Swan (it has to beat the noodles and Pringles we had for dinner)!!! Dawn brings a new day and I can't wait!