August 01, 2012

GOD'S WILL......

It's been a while since I posted an entry.  For some strange reason, I have been EXTREMELY BUSY lately!!!!  Honestly, it's a lot like a zoo in our house now.  I have two little girls (the MOST PRECIOUS little girls in the WORLD) following me just about every step I take each day.  I get no housework done, because it seems they mess up whatever I clean up, so what little cleaning time I have is during their sleeping hours.  I figure the housework will wait, though......just like our boys did, they will grow up entirely TOO fast.

A week ago today we celebrated the one month anniversary of our GOTCHA DAY for Callie Beth.  OH, how she has changed since that day she was first placed in to my arms!!!!   Sometimes, it's even hard for me to believe she is the same child.  I am posting a picture of her from GOTCHA DAY, as well as one that I took last Wednesday.

Gotcha Day!

How sweet it is to be loved....

Callie Beth got to meet Shea for the first time last Friday night.  Just as it was with Evan and Keaton, it was almost like an instantaneous bonding with him.  AND, what did Shea have to say about her?  He said, "Well, Mama....we got the prettiest one again this time, too!!!!"  He definitely felt she was a KEEPER!!!!

Callie Beth and Shea

Molly Kate and Shea

Evan, Molly Kate, and Callie Beth
Keaton and Callie Beth

Keaton and Molly Kate
We made our first official SHOPPING TRIP to Paducah with Gran Gran today.  Both of the girls were as good as gold!!!  I'm telling you, I have TWO girly girls who love clothes and bows, and who like to shop!!!!  As I've said before, this I'M SURE is going to come back to BITE me in the future!!!!  It sure is a lot of fun now, though.  They were the center of attention everywhere we went today, but I've been used to that every since we adopted Molly Kate.  Now, it's just DOUBLE attention!!!!

Callie Beth is adjusting SO well, and it's almost like I can't remember what our lives were without her.  Here are some special things about our second little sweetie......

Sunday Best
Look at that, Molly Kate!
1.  She is a VERY HAPPY girl!!!!---HAPPIER as each day passes!!!!  When she wakes up, she calls my name quite desperately, and sometimes she fusses before I go and get her out of bed, but once I pick her up, and she is in my arms, she is HAPPY, AND she ALWAYS wakes up in the morning OR from her nap in a WONDERFUL mood!!!!

2.  She LOVES hugs, and loves to GIVE hugs!!!!  Our shy, introverted daughter number TWO really ISN'T shy and introverted AT ALL!!!!  When she meets a stranger now, she will wave at them, blow a kiss, and give them the biggest, sweetest smile.  She also will hug anyone we tell her to.

3.  She is talking more and  more.  I have NO CLUE what she is saying the majority of the time, but SHE knows!!!  She is saying several words in English, including MAMA (at least a THOUSAND times a day!!!), MAMA SIT, BUBBA, MILK, B.B. (one of our dogs), WOO WHEE, OH SHOOT (she hears me say this MULTIPLE times daily), and SISSY (Molly Kate). 

4.  Her receptive language is picking up quickly.  She understands SO much of what I say to her.  We have worked on a little signing for specific words, but most of the time I don't even have to do the sign for her to understand.

5.  She is getting MORE BEAUTIFUL as each day passes!!!!  I think that may be because she is so filled with happiness, and it just radiates from her face.

5.  EVERYTHING she does, she does with GUSTO!!!!!  She is SOOOO full of life!!!!

When I look at Callie Beth's precious face....when I witness her being SO full of life, and a blessing beyond what words could ever adequately express, the reality of her past life story hits hard.  She was not only a special needs child, but she was labeled special focus.  That means she was on the waiting child list, which is THE list of children eligible to be adopted, for TWO FULL MONTHS, with NO agency asking for her file, or NO ONE showing any interest in viewing it.  CCCWA then sent her file to our adoption agency, CCAI to be placed on their waiting child list.  That's where I first saw her picture.  I don't know how long she had been on the list when I first saw her.  I shared before that there was a LONG waiting list of people interested in reviewing her file, once her info was with CCAI.  From the time we requested to see it, it was five weeks before they ever got to our name.  This is just a guesstimate, but I'm thinking there were probably at least 6 to 8 families who saw her file before us, and decided she wasn't the right child for them.  ALL THAT TIME WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO CHOOSE TO BE HER FOREVER FAMILY-----ALL THAT TIME LIVING IN AN ORPHANAGE, RATHER THAN A HOME WITH A MAMA AND DADDY AND BROTHERS AND SISTERS........WHY?  Why didn't someone see what WE saw when we looked at her picture?  This may sound really selfish, but I believe with all my heart and soul that it was because WE were supposed to be her FOREVER FAMILY----not SOMEONE or ANYONE else.  God chose her for us, and us for her.  It all happened the way it did BECAUSE it was God's will, and it all happened in HIS PERFECT TIMING!!!!!  She is SOOO perfect of a fit for our family, just like Molly Kate is, and I truly don't think she could have been any more perfect for us, even had she been our own biological child!!!!!

We have an appointment on August 14 to take both girls to a pediatric ophthalmologist.  I'm not sure how extensive of a vision problem Callie Beth's is, but I'm anxious for something to be done to improve her situation.  She really does well, but I think there are MANY things she is missing out on because of her vision problem.  I don't know if her problems can totally be solved, but I have all the faith in the world that improvements can be made for her.  We also have an appointment on the same day with a pediatric gastroenterologist to have her biliary atresia checked.  She appears to be having NO problems with it, though.  I can't remember what I've posted from one time to the next, so if I'm repeating myself, I apologize---but, we call her scar from her surgery her SHARK BITE because that's about what it looks like.  I'm sure you've probably been able to see the scar in some of the pictures I've posted.  It breaks my heart to look at it, BUT as horrible as it looks, the surgeons apparently did a good job with the surgery!!!  We are thankful for each and every day of her good health!!!!  PLEASE pray for her as we await both of these appointments!!!
Callie Beth's SHARK BITE!

I think it's about time to post pictures and retire for the night!!!  Until my next post.....
That was sooooo funny, Molly Kate!

Vicki :)

July 22, 2012


We have had quite a busy week!!!!  None of our days have consisted of very much idle time.  On Monday we had to take Callie Beth to the hospital to have blood drawn to run the titers for her immunizations and for the other routine things that children adopted from China are checked for.  I was expecting it to not be a very pleasant event.  Molly Kate screamed HORRIBLY when she had her blood work done.  I don't think it was because it hurt, but instead because a bunch of strangers was holding her down.  This time with Callie Beth, there were only two nurses, so I designated Roger to be the other "holder downer" since I didn't want Callie Beth mad at me for it!!!  We learned right off the bat, before the needle was ever inserted in her arm, that our second little darling is also double jointed like her little sister.  The nurse had Callie Beth's arm stretched flat on the bed with her wrist up.  About the time the other nurse was getting ready to insert the needle, Callie Beth totally flipped her mid arm over so that her elbow was sticking up----and her wrist was still turned up!!!!  It looked weird!!!  The nurses got her arm flipped back over, and with a little effort, got the needle in her vein.  She fussed a little at first, but was giggling a few seconds later, as they drained one vial of blood after another out of her body.  Seven vials later, they were finished!!!----and she was a happy girl!!!!  I was thrilled to find out yesterday that the results of all the tests were negative, AND that the titers show that all the immunizations she received in China were effective.  She won't need any more shots until she turns 4!!!!!

On Tuesday, the girls and I, along with McLane, Evan's girlfriend, spent the day at Venture River.  It was Callie Beth's first time at a water park.  As much as she loves water and taking a bath, I really thought she would love it.  However, she was quite overwhelmed.  As with many other things in her life, I think her vision problem was the source of her insecurity there.  I think I traumatized her when I took her down the slide in the kiddie pool.  I've learned, though, that sometimes when I force her to do things she THINKS she doesn't want to do, she ends up liking it.  That didn't hold true for the slide, though.  We did a family ride, the wave pool, and the lazy river.  She fussed in all of them.  She did get settled in the lazy river, when I got her ring lodged into mine so tightly that we were literally cheek to cheek, and so close that I could 
feel her eyelashes brushing my face every time she blinked.  She was VERY happy in that position and I think we could have stayed that way the rest of the day!!!!  I think her favorite part of the trip, though, was eating a snack, once we got out of the water!!!

On Wednesday, Roger, the girls, and I made a trip to Nashville.  We stopped by Show Hope in Franklin for a visit to share our new daughter.  Our best Show Hope friend, Cathy Troyer, was out of the office that day, so we were disappointed.  We enjoyed sharing about our trip with some of the other wonderful people there, though.  I was so sad to learn that one of the precious babies that we saw in the Show Hope Center in the orphanage when we visited, had passed away.  I don't know if the baby was a boy or girl---I just know that my heart was so touched when I saw a precious child, obviously very sick, lying in the crib that day.  Oh, how ALL the sweet babies, healthy or not, need loving homes.  I know, without a shadow of doubt, that that sweet baby was LOVED dearly by those at the center, and was cared for until the last breath was drawn.  We feel SO blessed that our precious Callie Beth spent the majority of her life in the center.  It's OBVIOUS that she was loved and nurtured there, because she certainly knows how to love in return and is very compassionate with others.

After leaving Show Hope, we met our social worker (the MOST WONDERFUL SOCIAL WORKER IN THE WORLD), Lisa Mosley at Chick-Fil-A in Smyrna for our one month post adoption visit.  Molly Kate LOVED the indoor playground there, while Callie Beth LOVED the food!!!  She did finally play on the playground, too, and climbed to the very top.  Roger had to climb up to get her because he wouldn't come down on her own.  Again, I think her vision problem contributed to this.  We had a WONDERFUL visit with Lisa, as always.  She truly is the GREATEST!!!!

I wanted to go to Opry Mills, since I hadn't had the opportunity to go there since it reopened.  Roger isn't much of a shopper, but since we only had our single strollers with us, he had to push one.  I don't think he minded the experience too badly!!!  The girls rode a carousel for the first time.  Neither one of them liked it very well, although we did get a few, "WHEE'S" out of Callie Beth!!!  They enjoyed the little playground in the middle of the aisle that had all kinds of things to climb on.  Believe it or not, I didn't buy ONE THING for the girls!!!!  I didn't see anything there CUTE enough for them!!!!! :)

After leaving Opry Mills, we decided we would drive back to Clarksville to eat dinner.  I'm not sure what prompted it, but Callie Beth decided she needed to have a meltdown, and when she started her crying and screaming, Molly Kate decided to join in, too.  Roger and I BOTH ignored the NOISE for probably 15 minutes.  Finally, I turned around in my seat and started singing at the top of my lungs.  Both girls STOPPED their screaming and crying!!!  Of course, I had to sing at the top of my lungs the rest of the way to Clarksville.  I'm not sure the screaming and crying wasn't more pleasant to the ear!!!! Once we got to Clarksville, though, they were both happy, and we had a nice meal at Red Lobster.  Afterward, we headed for HOME SWEET HOME!!! It was an overall FUN day!!!!

On Thursday, the girls and I met our DEAR friends, the McCuiston's, at Pagliai's for lunch.  Jason and Kendra adopted their adorable daughter, Charlotte, from China last fall.  She and Molly Kate have loved each other since the first time they met.  The same was true for her and Callie Beth.  They were all three SO cute together!!!!  Molly Kate LOVES the playground in the back room at Pagliai's, but of course, Callie Beth was scared to crawl through it or get in the ball pit.  After we had eaten, though, she began to fuss for an unknown reason, so I decided if she was going to fuss, she might as well have a reason to do so.  I proceeded to FORCE her into the ball pit.  At first, she cried BLOODY MURDER, but then Kendra's two sons who were also with her began to throw the balls, and it was just seconds later that Callie Beth was laughing.  When we got ready to leave, Kendra had to climb in the balls and get her out for me---she didn't want to get out!!!!

Friday was mowing day at Gran Gran's house, so I loaded up the girls and Sophie Grace (she goes to play with my mom's dog, Daisy) and headed that direction.  I wasn't sure how Callie Beth would react, with me being outside for 2 1/2 to 3 hours mowing, but she did fine.  She and Molly Kate played with the dollhouse and the blocks.  I think they snacked quite a bit, too. (One thing that we were told in the information we received right before we got Callie Beth is that food makes her happy quite quickly when she is upset.  The truth of the matter is, she likes food REGARDLESS of what emotional state she is in.  Luckily for us, she likes HEALTHY food just as much as she likes JUNK food!!!)  I think she had a really good time at Gran Gran's!!!  We met our friends, Jeff and Gail at Chong's for dinner.  It was Callie Beth's first meal at an AMERICAN Chinese Restaurant.  She liked everything we put in front of her---not that we were surprised!!!!

Today, we spent the day at home.  The girls played outside for a couple of hours, while I pulled grass.  They were really good and had a GREAT time playing.  I think they would have stayed out there all day, if I had let them.  I decided we needed to do hair washes, baths, and then naps.  Callie Beth screamed for quite awhile when I put them to bed, but Molly Kate was tired enough that she slept through it all.  Callie Beth finally went to sleep, too.

  It is just SO amazing how Callie Beth has changed in the less than three weeks we have had her.  Even though language is still a barrier, we have an EXTREMELY happy, vivacious daughter number 2.  She really reminds me of Keaton when he was little---loud and rowdy, but SOOOO sweet!!!!  It is SUCH a blessing to see her frustrations grow fewer and farther between, and her smiles and giggles grow more frequent.  Molly Kate thinks she is SO funny, and Callie Beth adores her!!!  They DO have disagreements sometimes, all of which stem from having to SHARE, but they really do play well together, and it's obvious they enjoy each other's company.  They truly are BFF's!!!

 I think I've gabbed enough tonight, so I will post some pictures of this weeks' activities and sign off for now!!!!

Vicki :)

July 16, 2012


It's hard to believe that it was just three weeks ago today that Callie Beth was placed in our arms for the first time.  It almost seems like she has been a part of our family FOREVER.  Actually, she HAS been a part in our hearts for the past year, every since I first laid eyes on her picture on our agency's Waiting Child List. 

It is utterly AMAZING how much Callie Beth has changed since she's been with us, and that change has MAGNIFIED this past week since we've been home.  We have gone from last Sunday night of almost TWO HOURS of screaming and crying at the top of her lungs when I put her to bed, to NO SCREAMING OR CRYING tonight.  She has gone from being TERRIFIED of our dogs, to sitting in the floor and playing with them walking all around her.  Her meltdowns---VERY BAD meltdowns, with screaming and crying for sometimes an hour at a time---no longer occur during the day, and have greatly decreased at nighttime, mostly only occurring at bedtime.  When she went to bed tonight with NO distress, that was a MAJOR, MAJOR, MAJOR event!!!!

Each day we realize just how beautiful Callie Beth is, not just on the outside, but equally on the inside.  Her big smiles MELT our hearts!!!  It's just SO hard to believe she is that same little girl, who DID cling to me when they first placed her in my arms three weeks ago, but had so much UNCERTAINTY and FEAR reflecting in her eyes.  Now, that clinging is hugs of love and trust, and she IS a SNUGGLE BUNNY!!!!

A little bit of "Weatherford"

Grandaddy Weatherford would have been soooo proud of these girls.
Roger and I both LOVE to watch the interaction between Molly Kate and Callie Beth.  Sometimes, Molly Kate gets a little stressed when Callie Beth puts her food over on her high chair tray (she's just trying to share), or when she picks up something that Molly Kate thinks is just HERS.  In the next minute, though, Molly Kate is reaching out and rubbing Callie Beth on the arm, or running her fingers through her hair.  She's been a little quieter than usual lately.  I think she's sort of standing back and assessing all the attention Callie Beth is getting from our family and friends as they meet her for the first time.  There may be jealousy underlying in that quietness, but if it is, she's not expressing it that way.  Callie Beth makes her laugh a lot by the silly, funny things she does.  I think some of the pictures I'm posting tonight will show the true bound of love, friendship, and sisterhood that is already firmly established between them.  

We have been out and about A LOT since we got home with Callie Beth last Saturday night.  Today was our first day to go to Sunday School and church since we've been home, although we went last Sunday night and Wednesday night.  Last Sunday night, Callie Beth only ventured out of my lap a few times while we were in the nursery.  Wednesday night, though, she played pretty much the whole time, and today she stayed with Molly Kate in her class without me being in there with her.  It's obvious that she already feels very comfortable at church.  I think she truly is going to be a social butterfly, too!!!!  She is much louder than Molly Kate is.  I'm afraid I may have to pay for my raising with her!!!!

I Love Sunday School!

Every day, Roger and I realize MORE and MORE just how blessed we are!!!  We've had a lot of people who have commented that we are BRAVE to take on two little girls.  We've had others to say that we have taken on a lot of responsibility.  AND, I'm sure we have had MANY say that we must be ABSOLUTELY CRAZY to adopt two toddlers!!!  But you know, the truth of the matter is that we did EXACTLY what God intended for us to do, and I wouldn't trade my life (neither would Roger) for anyone else's in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD!!!!

We have LOTS of fun things planned for the upcoming week!!!  I'm looking forward to sharing all the fun we are going to have!!!!

I hope you enjoy the pictures posted.  These are some of my VERY FAVORITES I've taken.  If you go back and look at the pictures from three weeks ago, you will be able to see the change in our precious daughter's face.  There is now a RADIANCE there!!!!  God is SOOOOO good!!!!!!

Two of God's Little Angels

Thank You, Lord, for my Sissy.
  Vicki :)

July 12, 2012


Believe it or not, we had TWO SLEEPING GIRLS before midnight tonight!!!!  Molly Kate did wake up later, and has cried quite a bit.  Callie Beth's meltdowns has really stressed her.  I actually think they break her heart because she loves Callie Beth SO much.  She will be fine, though, if I ever make it to bed.  Roger is asleep in the room with her, so she is fine, even if she does have to cry it out a little bit. 

We tried the new strategy of putting Callie Beth in her bed in the nursery tonight, instead of in the pack 'n play in our room.  I hated for her to sleep alone in a room, but it apparently is better for her, because she cried less than 45 minutes tonight.  I also kept Molly Kate in our room, and when I was rocking her to sleep, I had the TV turned up loud enough that she couldn't hear Callie Beth's crying and screaming.  It may not be a PERFECT night yet, but it will be the first night that I've had both girls NOT crying before 4:30 in the morning!!!! 

Callie Beth really had a GREAT, HAPPY day today!!!  We slept VERY late.  Both girls needed it, because I know they were exhausted from all the crying last night, and I needed it, too, since I have yet to get in bed before 4:30 AM any morning since we've been home. 

We went to the beauty shop today---not for a hair cut, but just to visit our friends Tam Tam, Gina, and Ellen.  I think Callie Beth felt just as much at home there as Molly Kate always does!!!!

We went to church tonight, and Callie Beth LOVED playing in the nursery.  She was very comfortable around the other kids, and played the entire time.  That's a improvement over last Sunday night in the nursery!!!

I know, I'm cute!
This is where the "dolls" go, isn't it?

Love playing with my Sissy.

Fashion Diva

After church, we went to Cracker Barrel to eat.  We discovered that she likes shrimp.  She wasn't too crazy about the pinto beans I ordered for her.  We are trying out new AMERICAN foods on her, and so far, there have been very few things she hasn't liked. 

When we got home tonight, it was obvious that Callie Beth realized it was bedtime, because she started whining and clinging.  I decided not to rock her, because it seems to make her want to cling even more.  She has had lots of holding, snuggling, loving time today, so I just hugged her, kissed her, told her I love her, and put her in bed.  Despite the crying and screaming, I truly believe she already knows she is LOVED in this home!!!!

Today was our 14th wedding anniversary!!!!  Roger and I  have been so caught up in PARENTING, that I think the date kind of slipped up on both of us!!!!  We are both tired from the lack of sleep, but we are also both VERY happy!!!!  I had two people today tell me that I LOOKED very tired.  I guess I'm going to have to step up my pace a little!!!!  I really don't think the fatigue is so much from parenting two toddlers as it is from the jet lag, and getting behind on my sleep before we ever came home.  I am feeling better every day, though.

I have learned a few new things about Callie Beth, and life in general, the past few days......

1.  She LOVES music, and has really great rhythm!!!!

2.  She is a VERY COMPASSIONATE child!!!!
3.  She is afraid of dogs, BUT I can at least set her down on the floor with our dogs in
    the same room, without her having a total meltdown.
4.  She is VERY smart, and knows a lot of things she hasn't allowed us to see that
    she knows.  Today when we were leaving the beauty shop, Gina waved at her,
   and she waved back.  It was the first time we had seen that.
5. She is SO proud of herself for the sign language she knows, and smiles ear to ear
   when she uses it.
6.  The scar on her stomach from her early surgery looks like a shark bite!!!   Believe it
     or not, we have had some VERY GULLIBLE friends and family members who have
     BELIEVED us when we told them it was her shark bite!!!!
7.  Each day it is getting harder and harder to remember what our life was like without
     her.......she is ANOTHER perfect fit for our family!!!!!
8.  Roger and I are the most BLESSED two people in the WHOLE WORLD!!!!----BUT, I
     actually already knew that!!!! :)

Before we left for China, I happened upon a poem on an adoption blog I was reading.  I don't remember whose blog it was, but since the author of the poem is anonymous, I think it is okay for me to share it.  Even though I don't know WHO wrote this poem, I AM POSITIVE that it was someone who was CALLED, as we were, to experience the MIRACLE of adoption....

                                                  ONE ORDINARY DAY

Every call has a beginning
A quiet moment when God
Whispers a promise to a mother's heart
A holy place where a father bows and faithfully accepts
The journey set before him.
A miraculous morning that unexpectedly dawns.....
Casting its first light on a chosen threshold
A gentle knock...a closed door opens
A sacred invitation sent by the Father...
Leads to the other side of the world.
Where lonely hearts stare out orphanage windows
Praying for someone to care...
And then one morning,
On an ordinary day
An orphan's life changes....
God sends them a second chance....through you.....

Author Unknown

Thank you, Lord, for calling US to make a difference in not just ONE, but TWO orphans' lives.  I pray that we can make as POSITIVE of a difference in THEIR lives as they have in OURS......

Vicki :)


July 11, 2012


 I intended to post on the blog on Friday night after we arrived in Hong Kong, but we didn't have internet service in our hotel room.  It seems that I have been busy every waking moment since then, so the blog has been put on the back burner.  Even though I have MANY things I need to be doing tonight, I'm taking the time to try to do a little catching up!!!!

We're ready to go home!

Daddy and his girls
Yogurt Break

Our last day in Guangzhou was on Friday.  We had intended to take the girls to the park after we got everything packed, but it was a rainy day, and even when the rain stopped, everything outside was messy.  We met up with Joey, Tasha, and Lee and decided to go to the indoor playroom in the hotel.  

Joey, Tasha, and Lee
Playroom Fun

Callie Beth loves the slide

Molly Kate

BIG Smile
Even though it was small, the kids really had a fun time.  As they were playing, we were hoping it would wear them down so they would ride well on the 3+ hour ride to Hong Kong we had to make that afternoon.  Jason and Grace delivered Callie Beth's visa to us around 4:15, and we promptly loaded up in the van that was taking us to Hong Kong.  It was sad for me to leave our "new" friends who felt like they had been our friends for a lifetime, but I was ready to COME HOME!!!!  

Our guides, Jason and Grace
 The girls were pretty good during the van ride.  We arrived at the Regal Airport Hotel in Hong Kong and checked in.  It was late and we hadn't eaten.  Unfortunately, there wasn't a 7-Eleven we could walk to to get food, and we had to eat in one of the hotel restaurants that was EXTREMELY expensive.  I told Roger, though, that there was a logical reason why my roast beef sandwich was so expensive----it definitely had the dual role of food and/ or sling shot.  The meat was tough enough that I think I could have flipped a rock to the good  ole USA!!!!  I was SOOO tired when we got back to the room.  Evan had had an interview at North Calloway on Thursday afternoon at 1:30, and I had stayed up to wait for an email from him to see how it went.  That meant that it was actually 2:30 on Friday morning in China when he was interviewing, and by the time I heard from him and got to bed it was at least 4:30 AM.  SO, I lost my sleep that night.  ANYWAY, I was looking forward to going to bed.  I had to stay up for awhile, though, and rearrange the items in our suitcases because our big one weighed 60 lbs!!!  FINALLY, it was bedtime!!!  I had the girls settled, Roger was sleep, and I was just about to crash, when Molly Kate started crying.  I don't know what was wrong with her.  I really think she didn't feel well, but I also think the crib they brought for her to sleep in was a little too small and felt confining to her.  I ended up holding her half the night to keep her from crying.  I was finally able to put her back to bed, and she slept the rest of the night. 

I got up at 5:30 to finish our packing, and we were checked out by 7:30.  Our hotel was attached to the airport, so it was easy to get where we were going, EXCEPT we had a little dilemma, considering we had TWO strollers to push, as well as the cart with 4 large suitcases on it, not mentioning our backpacks and extra carry-ons.  Roger did one heck of a job pushing Molly Kate's stroller behind the luggage carrier.  He had to do that a LONG way!!!

We had an issue with our flight from Hong Kong to Tokyo, because Todd Gullinek had not gotten our seats together---he had them two and two, and I knew that wouldn't work for LOTS of reasons.   I had emailed him as soon as we received our tickets to tell him it needed to be changed.  He first said it was our best bet to keep our seats that way.  After I EMPHATICALLY told him it wasn't going to work, he told me not to stress, and I understood him to say he would take care of it.  NOT!!!!  Luckily for us, we did get one person to swap seats, so I was able to sit with both girls and Roger was a few rows back.  It wasn't an easy four hours, and Todd was DEFINITELY not top on my list of favorite people on that ride, but I survived.

When we reached Tokyo, the announcement was made as we were getting ready to get off the plane that our flight to Chicago was already loading.  Here we were in a foreign airport that we knew NOTHING about, with no idea WHERE TO GO!!!  I have NO DOUBTS that God was with us, though, because right after we got off the plane, and employee of the airport came up out of nowhere and asked if we needed help.  When we told him our situation, he led us all the way there, and he even got us moved up to the front of the security check line.  We went up floors, down corridors, down other words, had he not come along, we would have DEFINITELY missed our flight.  AND, wouldn't you know, once we reached the gate at the last minute, they WOULD choose Molly Kate to be one of their random choices for doing a temperature check on. I was a little worried, since she had felt badly the night before, but she had no fever.  We made it on the plane, and I was very thankful that we had four seat together in the middle row this time.

The flight from Tokyo to Chicago was a little over 11 hours, but it was an overall good flight.  Callie Beth only had a couple of long lasting meltdowns, one of which woke Molly Kate up from a nap, so she joined in the crying and screaming, too, for about the next 30 or 40 minutes.  Both girls did take some good naps during the trip, though.  I had one or the other of them in my lap the majority of the time, but that allowed room in their two seats together for the one I wasn't holding to stretch out and go to sleep.  Finally, they were actually BOTH asleep at once, and I got a few little catnaps.

At the airport!  We're going HOME!

We arrived in Chicago on time.  I had dreaded going through immigration, because it was such a pain for us in Atlanta when we came home with Molly Kate.  In fact, it took so long there, that we missed our flight to Nashville and had to reschedule.  This time I had made sure that Todd planned a longer layover before our flight to Nashville.  To our pleasant surprise, there was only one person in line in front of us at immigration.  The officer there was definitely NOT a patient person and was having all kinds of trouble making this couple, who was from China, understand what they needed to do.  He told us to sit down and wait.  Once he got to us, though, and took the "SEALED BROWN ENVELOPE, " it only took a couple of minutes for him to take care of everything!!!  From there, we had to go through customs, which was right by where immigration was.  In Atlanta, customs had been quite a distance from where immigration was, and by the time we got there, our suitcases had been setting out in the middle of the floor for at least an hour and a half.  It's a wonder someone hadn't stolen them.  This time, though, we had been able to get our suitcases BEFORE we went to immigration.  When we got to the officer at customs, he asked us if we had any food in our bags.  We told him that all we had was snacks for the girls.  He said he wasn't going to check us, and that we could be on our way!!!!  We had that same good fortune in Atlanta, but I think it was because we probably looked like wayfaring strangers that night!!!

We decided to just wait out our flight, instead of re-booking an earlier one to Nashville. 

Evan and my mom were coming to the airport to pick us up, and we knew they had just left home.  It was nice to have some time to sit and relax somewhere besides on a plane!!!!

We arrived in Nashville around 7:30.  We hadn't eaten, so we stopped at Cracker Barrel in Clarksville on our way home, to give Callie Beth a taste of good home cooking.  She liked it pretty well!!!  By the time stopped and ate, it was after midnight when we got home. 

I had things on my list I wanted to do before I went to bed.  HOWEVER, Callie Beth decided to throw in her own agenda to the night.  I tried rocking her and putting her to bed, but she had NO INTENTIONS of going to sleep, so when I finally decided to go ahead and put her in her bed, SHE decided to have a MAJOR meltdown.  I think it was about two hours later before the screaming and crying stopped.  This, in turn, sort of traumatized Molly Kate, so she was upset, too, and wouldn't go to sleep.  By the time they were both settled, it was after 4:30.  I finally got in bed at 6 AM, and set my clock for 8 to get up and get ready for church.  When eight o'clock came, though, I realized there was NO WAY I could make my body get up and get not only myself, but two little girls ready for church.  Molly Kate was crying and acting like she felt badly, so I ended up putting her in bed with us.  Callie Beth was still asleep.  I rubbed Molly Kate's arm and face until she fell asleep, and the next thing I knew, it was 4 PM, I was still in bed, with Molly Kate and our two dogs sound asleep beside me!!!!  We did make it to church on Sunday night, and it was great to get to go out and eat with our friends afterward, as we usually do.  Callie Beth fit in just fine with the crowd, and she had her first taste of Mexican food!!!!  Like Molly Kate, she liked it!!!!

It took me another day to get over my jet lag, but I am back on my normal schedule now, except I AM staying up a little later than usual.  I don't think I've been to be before 4:30 AM yet.  Callie Beth is adjusting and doing well, EXCEPT at bedtime, and I honestly have to say it is a HORRIBLE time.  She has willed herself NOT to go to sleep, even when we rock her, so once I've held her and rocked her for a while, I've been going ahead and putting her in bed.  She screams and cries (with no tears, though) for no less than and hour and a half.  This has really upset Molly Kate, and now she won't go to bed in the room where Callie Beth is.  She was up with me until 4:30 this morning.  Tonight, I though Callie Beth had finally fallen asleep, and Molly Kate had been asleep from me rocking her for quite a long time.  When I went to lay her in her bed, though, she started crying, and Callie Beth popped right up and started in again.  SO, I had TWO little girls crying and screaming at the top of their lungs.  I finally picked Callie Beth up, snuggled her and told her I loved her--of course, as soon as I picked her up, she stopped crying---and I took her and put her in her bed in the nursery, instead of the pack 'n play in our room.  She screamed and cried for another 10 or 15 minutes, and then settled down.  She also took a nap in there today, and didn't scream and cry for as long.  I think from now on it will be better for her, and when she finally stops these night meltdowns, I will move Molly Kate into her bed in there, too.  Evan's room is right across the hall, so it's not like she is far away from anyone.  Maybe this way, I can get Molly Kate back into her normal routine again,without her getting upset every night, too. 

It may seem cruel letting Callie Beth cry, but we DO give her LOTS of love, hugs, kisses, and nurturing throughout the day.  I have raised three sons, though, and have parented a daughter for the past 16 months.  I know that if I pick Callie Beth up every time she screams and cries, I am reinforcing a negative behavior, and she is going to expect me to do it every time she screams and cries.  I don't think I want to create that bad habit in her.  I realize that she is still adjusting from her life being turned upside down, but I truly do believe that she will soon realize that the life she has now will be better than her life could have ever been at the orphanage, even though she was very much loved there.  We love her to pieces!!!!  She is such a sweet child, and SO beautiful.  And, even though her crying and screaming upsets Molly Kate so badly, Molly Kate still loves her, too.  

Home Sweet Home!
SO, tomorrow---actually TODAY, is another day!!!!---AND, I'm anticipating it's going to be a GREAT one!!!!  In fact, it's mine and Roger's 14th wedding anniversary!!!!!  I have been SO caught up in parenting, that I just realized that!!!!!

I am attaching some pictures we took on our last day in Guangzhou, and on our plane trip home. 

Until......I don't know when....... :)

Vicki :)