Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Wood Family Back Home

Well, we've been home for a week now and Liberty is adjusting amazingly. We honestly can't believe it! Everyday we're seeing new aspects of her personality. I think she's surprising herself too. She has the funniest sense of humor! She loves the pool and when we went to the lake on Thursday night and she loved it too! She even wanted to go into the ski-tube! We were shocked! She is still adjusting to the dogs but she pets them and talks to them....reluctantly.

Chad and I have been the most amazed at how awesome God's family has been. When we returned home we were overtaken by people wanting to love and help us. Our friends in the South Bay made signs,hung balloons, and bought us all kinds of goodies, including matching outfits for the three girls ( you know how much I love that!) They also washed our car and filled it with gas for our ride home.When we arrived home the house was spotless, the fridge and pantry were full, the yard was mowed, signs were hung, and fresh flowers were all around and my candles were lit. Since we've returned home the food hasn't stopped coming and our friends have been coming over to meet Liberty and love on the girls. We are so blessed and we talk about it everyday.

Here are some of our recent photos. The first few are from our " jet lag days." Hannah kept saying she wasn't tired but I soon found her passed out in the coat closet with her legs wrapped around the vaccum cleaner! Everyone in this house was passing out all over the place for the first 3 days. Everyone except me!

I'll try to be better about blogging now that we're on some sort of a schedule...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Consualte Appointment Tomorrow...!

We’ve come to enjoy the Starbucks after dinner. They seem to be the only establishment on the island with a changing table for Liberty. Hannah’s reading “Somewhere in China a Mother Remembers”, to us. A book we got at the “Gift From China” charity store. It’s an impressive local store with local knick-knacks, jewelry, books, photos, etc. of China’s culture. They donate all profits to China’s orphans, and you can order from them direct on the web at Check it out! It’s not half as cheap as the other stores around here but it’s a great cause.The GREAT NEWS today is all paperwork has been approved and we’re looking forward to taking our oath at the US consulate tomorrow afternoon. We’ve pretty much have been killing time soaking up (literally, it’s been raining all week) the local rituals shopping and hitting the pearl market today. For those who’ve been through this experience, we did take our pictures today on the famous red couch here at the White Swan.

Liberty is still doing great. We found out her name, “Shan Hu” means coral, so we bought her a little coral necklace at the market today. She LOVES it and wears it ever so proudly! She seems to love clothes and jewelry…a real girly girl! Chad bent down to give her a kiss after giving her the necklace and she clocked him right across the face! He wasn’t too upset because he wants to make sure she doesn’t kiss boys anytime soon! She is quite the feisty child!

BTW~we’ve noticed all the comments from you all, but unfortunately, we’re still only able to post on the blog. We can’t access it directly or read it ourselves, but THANKS all the same for your cares, concerns, and mostly your prayers…We’re looking forward to reading them when we get home!

Monday, June 16, 2008

VISA Applications in Guangzhou!

Hi Everyone!

We’re here in Guangzhou. We arrived on Saturday. The flight here was pretty easy. All three girls are great travelers. Liberty did fine and didn’t cry at all (We’ll see if we’re as blessed on the LONG flight home!).

Father’s Day was very special for us. Chad took Hannah and Tiffany swimming all afternoon . The pool is beautiful here at the White Swan. I stayed here in the hotel so Liberty could take a nap.

Liberty is still doing great (right now she’s walking around with Tiff’s underwear on her head). She has had a few major tantrums (She actually drew blood from Chad by scratching his nose), but we’re learning what seems to set her off. She is VERY independent and wants to do things herself. She is also NOT a morning person which Tiffany and I can certainly relate to!

She was very attached to me up until a few days ago, but she has a great sense of humor like her daddy, so now she’s liking him too. They laugh and act silly together all the time. So much so that’s its actually embarrassing Hannah and Tiffany when we’re out in public! HA! Last night at a restaurant Hannah actually hid under the table because she was SO embarrassed !

We went and applied for Liberty’s VISA, and had her physical today. She cried and fought but did a lot better than our last trip last week to the hospital. It turns out that Tiffany has an ear infection so I’m glad I caught it before the flight home.

We know there will be issues when we get home, but she’s so happy and easy going that it’s hard to imagine what will be difficult for her. EXCEPT for the dogs! WHENEVER we’ve seen animals out in public, she gets away from them as fast as she can and makes horrible faces.

Even though we have had a good time we are VERY homesick and ready to get home. Thanks to all of you who have asked about meeting us at the airport on Thursday but our flight isn’t expected to land until 6PM, and by the time we clear customs we won’t be leaving the airport until around 8PM. We should be back in Temecula by 10:00PM and wide awake, so if you feel like stopping by to say ‘Hi” and meet Liberty, c’mon over and save the drive to LA. I DO think that Liberty will be fine with company and anxious to meet all of you…( She’s as outgoing as we are).

Bye-Bye for now...Go Tiger!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hilly, Hot, Humid, and Happy...! Chongqing's 4H's

It's our last day here, and we're ready to go...the girls are missing home, and I could really use a Chipolte burrito!

We' toured the Old Town area of Chongqing today, soaking up the local flavor...thought you might enjoy some pictures. We arrive in Guangzhou to meet the rest of our adoption group tomorrow at 2:00PM...

Busy (and sweating) in Chongqing!

Greetings from Chongqing ! We want to thank all of you who have e-mailed us at Chad’s e-mail and offered encouragement. Most of all thank you for praying! Since Monday we have been on the MOST emotional ride of our lives and I can HONESTLY say we can FEEL your prayers! I hope this writing makes sense. Right now Liberty is running around laughing, and TRYING to communicate with me! Hannah and Tiffany are watching a movie and she just wants to play!

Yesterday was a really neat day. Tiffany and I (AND the other 2 mom’s in our group), went to Liberty’s orphanage and the place where she was found. The orphanage was really neat! It was beautiful and well kept. We met her 3 nannies and they gave me extra pictures of her. Just a few months ago she was a puppy in a play. The pictures were so cute. At her orphanage there was a school and a hospital. I was very impressed. We also got to see her bed where she slept for the past year. A few months ago we sent her a care package with some clothes and a few toys. One of the bears we sent her was in her old bed. It will be given as a gift to the next child who comes to sleep in her bed. :0) It gave me such peace to see where she came from and meet the nannies. I could tell that one in particular really loved her.

Next we went to the place where she was abandoned. She was left abandoned in a public park named Coral Park (Shan Hu means Coral) We saw the bathroom where it’s believed she was found. I won’t send a picture of that. It’s too sad and only Liberty will see it when she’s ready. As some of you know, I made a poster with Liberty’s picture and a picture of our family. In mandarin it said that she was being adopted by a family in America, and we just wanted her birthparents to know she was loved very much. When we got out of the truck to hang it up, it started a MOB! At least 75 people crowded around asking us what we were doing. They kept yelling for me to put an ad in the newspaper, that no one ever does things like this, and her birth mother would be more likely to see it if I put it in the paper. Our adoption guide told me not to do it, so I can only pray that her birth mother see’s it and receives some peace.
Speaking of mobs, it seems that EVERYWHERE we go, we get mobbed by people who are curious about our new family. Chinese people are fascinated by the girls blond hair. They crowd all around and tug on me asking me (In mandarin) if I have 3 children. I say yes and point to Hannah, Tiffany and Liberty. ( I really have 4 kids, remember Jesse, but I won’t EVEN try to go there! HA!). We were given name tags to wear and on the back it says in mandarin that we are adopting this child and we love her very much. People are very supportive and happy for us. Today when we had an unusually large group around us Hannah started getting annoyed and wanted to go back to the hotel room. I told her to just pretend she was a famous person and all would be OK. Then Tiffany said, “Yeah! This is how Hannah Montana feels!” So for the rest of the afternoon they pretended they were Hannah Montana. It was so cute.

Last night we went to a nice “fish” restaurant with the other 2 families and our guide. It was fun. We had a very “unique” cake ( with tomatoes on it!)

Today, we went to the Chongqing Zoo to see the Giant Pandas. It was fun. Liberty is such a trooper! She walked the ENTIRE time and never complained. She has such an endearing personality! She has a big smile and loves to laugh. Even though we can’t understand each other,
she and I crack each other up all the time. She’s very silly and talkative.

Lastly, after the zoo we went to the hotel pool to go swimming.( After being outside you HAVE to either swim or shower. It’s SUPER HOT and SOOOOOOOO humid! You just walk around being soaked.) Well, in order to swim in the pool you must wear a swim cap. We went to the store to buy them and Liberty LOVED hers! She walked around in it this afternoon and everyone we passed would crack up at her. She didn’t seem to mind either. She laughed too! The only problem was that she wanted it pulled down so low in the front, she could barely see to get around. She didn’t like the pool ( probably her first time ever) but I’m SURE she’ll get used to it VERY fast once we get back home!

I know I said this before, but before I end I HAVE to say again how wonderful Hannah and Tiffany have been (they are starting to get home sick, though...). They INSTANTLY fell in love with Liberty and are SOOOO incredibly helpful. In the beginning when Chad and I were freaking out, THEY helped to sustain US ( along with TONS of tears and praying!) I am so thankful for them. Liberty is one blessed little girl!

Sorry I went on and on. It seems that every night we fall into bed exhausted. Tonight I have a little bit of energy so I wanted to be sure to fill you in.

Blessings, with love, the Wood Family!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Say Hello to Liberty !

Well, as you can see, our world has
been turned upside down...
Sorry for the delayed postings! We’re having a hard time with the internet here in Chongqing and we can’t read these postings so if they look a bit strange, sorry, but we can’t edit…we’ve gone through such an emotional time these last few days! We received Liberty on Monday at 4PM. She is a darling little girl and she is adjusting AMAZINGLY!! She is very fair skinned, and has tiny eyes and a tiny little mouth. She has delicate features. She was a bit quiet the first day, but so far she has bonded with all of us, and now she is talking up a storm! Although we only know a tiny bit of what she’s saying, we already know she will fit into our “Gabby Family” quite well... She is very independent and not shy AT ALL! Her first words were “mamma” and “baba” (Which means daddy and poo poo…HA! We weren’t sure which she meant!)

Hannah and Tiffany fell in love with her INSTANTLY , but Chad and I have had A LOT to work through. As many of you know, Liberty has a perforated anus. To actually see this and work with her has been very scary. Yesterday, we took her back to the same hospital where she had her surgery just to get her checked out. She screamed and pinched the Dr. and hit him as hard as she could. She obviously has horrible memories from her past experience there. It was heartbreaking to see her go through this. We’re glad we did this though because the Dr. said she is ALMOST perfectly healthy “ down there” and she’ll just need some potty training and A LOT of patience. She potties at the orphanage but hasn’t since we received her, probably due to her being nervous.(It might take her a few years to develop control).This was a relief to us. All this has been so scary and these last few days we have clung to Christ more than any other time in our lives. “ Can we TRULY love this little girl who isn’t perfect in the world’s eyes?” There is so much about her that we don’t know, and never will know. Plus, we thought to ask everyone to pray that SHE would bond with US, we never thought to pray that WE would bond with HER! So, we delight ourselves in the Lord, so HE will give us the desires of our hearts…

Please continue to pray for us. Although this has been terrifying, we have learned SOOO much and HIS word has penetrated our hearts like never before. We have learned how shallow we actually are and how the enemy paralyzes us by fear. So we walk in obedience to HIM, by faith…We couldn’t have gone through this without your faithful prayers, and we have been so blessed by so many of you in your love for us and our family. We miss you...we leave for Guagnzhou on Saturday!

To God be the glory, forever, and ever!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

We're in Chongqing...We'll be meeting Libby in 2 hrs.


We’ve been blessed to travel here today with 2 other Christian families (also adopting “special needs”), and had the opportunity to pray together at the Chongqing airport before traveling to our hotel. The Lord shared a verse with me this morning as we were flying into the city; 2 Tim. 1:6~7 “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Please be praying that our hearts would be prepared to show Christ’s love to this little girl, and that she’d be ready to receive it…Wo ei nei!

We've been covering some ground....

These last 2 days have been so busy that we were too exhausted to write. Yesterday, we woke up early, went to Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, and took a Hutong tour, where we learned more about the Chinese culture. It was very interesting. “Hutong” means a small street or lane between two courtyards. Then we went to an acrobatic show. It was amazing!! All this plus we ate at an amazing restaurant for lunch ( See Hannah’s cute green bean video), and dinner was a Beijing Roast Duck Banquet! Needless to say when we did arrive back at the hotel, we were exhausted and fell right to sleep.

Today, we went to the Great Wall. It is truly amazing!! Way different than I expected. The stairs were so steep and high it took forever to climb just a small way. Hannah and I hung back but Tiffany took off!! Chad was a sweaty mess trying to keep up with her. We have decided we need to get her into some sort of long distance
running team when we return home! We also went to a Jade factory and a Cloisene factory. Then we had another amazing lunch. We stopped by the Olympic City (Center) for pictures, it’s not open to the public yet. It’s the pride of Beijing, no doubt!

We get up at tomorrow at 3:30 AM to catch our flight to Chongqing where we will FINALLY meet our new daughter! (You can see I'm still a bit nervous...) Every time I think of her, and think of how she knows that we’re coming to get her tomorrow, I start to cry. I know how nervous and excited WE are…I can only imagine how SHE feels! Every time I think of her, I pray that she’ll feel comfortable and loved and have an easy transition.

Lastly, I just HAVE to mention how wonderful Hannah and Tiffany have been. They are so easy, helpful, respectful, and willing to “get in there” and try new things. They are such super traveling companions! They have been taking care of the other children in our group and loving every minute of it. Chad and I watch them and smile at each other…knowing they will be such blessings to their new sister.