Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Home Sweet Home

I have never been so glad to back home.
I'm a "home body" anyway... but I was really missing things like:
1. brushing my teeth with tap water, instead of bottled water.
2. knowing exactly what kind of meat I'm eating.
3. a bed that is softer than felt covered plywood.
4. not caring what time it is on the other side of the world.
5. English speaking television.
6. English speaking humans.
7. Iced tea.
8. Anything with ice in it.

You can call me "the spoiled American".
You can call me anything you want.
Just don't call me for a couple of weeks... and when you do.... speak English.

(Carly and Isabella's Dad)

Monday, June 27, 2005

Monday, June 27, 2005

Well I have not been that good at keeping this journal done daily L We have been so very busy…… We finally made it to the “famous” White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou. It is so different than Nanchaung. It is MUCH more modern, the hotel is VERY nice and we have actually had some American food. It is feeling like a small vacation since we got here and the SHOPPING is AWESOME….. We have been having so much fun shopping for little girl Chinese outfits and Squeaky shoes…. They also have some great little girl clothes (Gymboree, Polo, and Gap) for $3-$5 a set….. We had to buy another suitcase for all the great treasures we get to bring home J but the suitcase was only $20 for a “hard” body large suitcase…. YEAH …… Chris has been having the most fun trying to barter with the people. The really barter well and Chris beats down their price so much….

As for Isabella- well what can I say- she is so incredibly precious. We have all bonded quite well. I don’t for see too many problems in the future because she loves people, loves to be out in the stroller and loves the water… I am so excited for everyone to meet her. She is such a sweet little gift from God. And her personality fits right in so far…. Carly is having fun also, Isabella even gave her some kisses today…. Carly would probably be having more fun if he pool had not been ruined by the flooding. So she has not got to swim at all since coming to Guangzhou. Not sure if it made the news there, but there was quite a bit of flooding here before we actually got here. When we did get here the flood waters came up only part of the day. We could not go out between 12-5 pm because the street would flood, then the waters would recede and all was well until the next day. Very strange. They said it had not done this in 100 years. We have actually only had rain today for the first day and it has been so warm and humid it wasn’t that bad- we still got to get out.

We have met some great Chinese people here that runt the stores and do the laundry. They give us gifts and loan us umbrellas and strollers. Very nice people. I wish we could stay here a couple of more days J (just kidding, we are ready to get back home and have some fresh veggies & fruits, regular meats and chips and salsa…. And also to be able to brush our teeth without having to use a cup and bottled water) oh yeah, and to have a softer bed J

We took Isabella for her medical check up today and she weighed 18 lbs…. Not sure the height because it was in Chinese. But she is very healthy…. Tomorrow we stay in our rooms until our guide calls us and tells us our paperwork for the Embassy is ok then we are having our group picture on the famous “red couch”. Then later we get together with the rest of the groups from our agency (57 families in all) and go to our farewell dinner. Then the next day we go to the Embassy and swear to take care of our babies, wait for our babies visas and then off to the 15 hour plane ride to Los Angeles… You would not believe all of the babies here being adopted- I am betting about 200 just this week.

Well this may be the last post before traveling home. Check out all of the pictures. We will see some of you at the airport on Thursday at 9am !!!

Only one more day

Well today is Tuesday morning and here Isabella & I sit waitng for the call telling us our paperwork is ok... Chris & Carly headed down to the breakfast busffet (which I totally do not mind missing a meal around here).... I cannot wait to get to LA to eat real American food (first stop Chilis in the airport).....

This has been quite an awesome journey for us and I cannot believe it is almost over. Almost 1 1/2 years to get to this point. What a reward we have gotten for this journey of faith. Isabella is wonderful and our family will be changed forever......

Last night we the group went on a boat ride down the river. The food was terrible but the view was AWESOME.... We had such a nice relaxing night getting to see the city of Guanzhou and letting the babies play on the boat deck.

Well I can't wait to see some familiar faces soon and get back to our "normal" life in Franklin, TN. (and of course all the boxes waiting to be unpacked :)) I hope Isabella likes her room :)

See everyone SOON !!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Porcelain Paradise

Uh oh. The guide took us to “Porcelain Street” today. Kind of like a flea market with lots of breakables. But, also lots of really good stuff. This province is considered to be the porcelain capitol of China, so… of course… we had to buy something.
Now we need extra luggage for the trip home.

.... Chris

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Visiting the Countryside

We took a ride through the “country side” today…. A bumpy bus ride down a number of very narrow roads, surrounded by farms and the occasional motorcycle repair shop.
My Dad would have fit right in here. I’ve never seen so many strange mechanical contraptions. Every bicycle becomes a motorized delivery van, via a washing machine engine… every gas powered engine stronger than 3 hp can be assimilated into a combination plow / taxi. Ingenuity abounds.

Our bus stopped for about 30 minutes and we all walked a ¼ mile to a small village – typical of where Isabella may have come from. A central brick structure, surrounded by thatch huts and shanty shacks. The people were absolutely wonderful and inviting… expecting nothing of us and willing to give us what little they had to offer. One old woman invited us into her home to look around. She gave Carly a couple of ears of corn. Completely unprepared for this, all we had to give in return was a stick of Juicy Fruit gum…. which her boys (grandsons?) enjoyed. Carly has been something of a celebrity everywhere we go. Or, maybe they take one look at me and feel very sorry for her… I haven’t figured it out. But I do know that my little Carly has been forever changed by this trip. She has seen things that most people will never see in their entire life.


Thursday, June 23rd

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Well only 1 more full day here in Nanchaung then off to Guangzhou on Saturday morning. We get Isabella’s passport tomorrow, one step closer to getting her home to America…. Isabella is doing well…. She seems to love people… We have taken her out in the stroller and she is so content…. She is so tiny, I can’t believe it. She can’t walk or stand by herself. She cannot roll over only sit in one place BUT I can tell with a little time she is going to be tearing around the Gresham house with lots of energy! She seems to love water. And is smiling and playing a little bit more everyday. The Chinese people never show emotion or smile so we have much to teach her. She is a great sleeper (goes to bed at 7pm sleeps until about 7 am--- naps 2 times a day) She eats everything and loves to eat. She doesn’t take a bottle but will drink out of a cup.

She still seems to favor Mommy but is beginning to play and smile at Carly & Chris… Especially when I get them to change the poopy diapers! I love her so much, it is hard to imagine life without her.. Tonight I went down to dinner with some other familes and Chris & Carly stayed in the room and put Isabella to bed and I really missed her. It was the first time I had been away from her.

Carly seems to be adjusting quite well…. And tells us when she is feeling jealous! she even changes diapers.

Today we went to the countryside, to give us an idea of the way the babies lived and would grow up. It was very different. Isabella will surely have a MUCH different life in America. But she will have some trials of her own even in our culture. I can’t even explain the level of living here. I don’t want to judge because this is normal for them and their life is so much simpler than ours. I know God has a very special plan and reason for Isabella to grow up in America. It makes me a little sad that she will not know this entire wonderful heritage of her country. I hope our pictures and words will be enough until she can come back and visit.

Well I guess that’s all for now…. We do more paperwork tomorrow and then finish in Guangzhou. Please pray for our plane trip home- it was VERY long coming here and I hope and pray it will be ok with the baby…..

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Well it is 4:30 pm China time (so it is 3:30 am in TN)…. Chris & Carly have went to eat with the group at a local Chinese food restaurant and I am staying in the hotel with Isabella. This is the first time she is actually sitting on the floor and playing all by herself with cups and keys… she is actually laughing J It is so VERY nice to hear a laugh. I was beginning to get a little worried that she wasn’t going to fit in to the “Gresham Family” if she couldn’t laugh….

We all took a walk out in the city today with Isabella in the stroller. She loved it. She didn’t even make a peep. She loved being outside and watching people. The city is very interesting. Very old and dirty. The traffic here is CRAZY….. Cars drive every which way they want to and people on bikes try to cross the street as well as pedestrians and NO ONE slows down…. We will have lots of pictures when we come home. Carly is also somewhat of a celebrity when we are out walking around. People stare at her and ask to have their picture taken with her. It is so odd being so very far away from home and you can’t read anything and you can’t understand anybody.

As for Isabella- she is very small. She is wearing 6-9 month clothes. She is also very much like a 6 mo. old even though she will be 14 months old on July 1st. She doesn’t walk or crawl; she can walk holding your hands. She sits up really well but cannot sit from lying down. I also don’t think that she can turn over. I can tell it will only be a matter of time before she catches up…. She has 2 teeth on the bottom and 2 coming in on the top (she drools constantly- of course Carly loves that partJ)…. She does not take a bottle but uses a cup and loves to eat. She eats everything (Pizza, French fries, lots of Chinese food). I can tell she has a sweet personality. She seems to be pretty quiet and easy going (we can hope J)….. But she defiantly likes to get her way- I am guessing she was a little spoiled in the foster home J….

Well I hope everyone back in the USA is well and enjoying fresh salads and fruits for me (I have been really missing all of those fresh foods)….

We finally have her !!!! We really aren't sure what to do with her now :) Everything is foggy and I can't seem to think very clearly or remember what day it is.... Isabella seems to be doing ok- she hasn't really smiled much since that first night ( I think she is kind of in shock) and she seems to cling to Mommy alot of the time. I just keep wondering why in the world God chose us to be her parents....? What an awesome journey this continues to be.... Please pray for her to stay healthy (a couple of the babies have been getting sick and she has a very bad runnynose) also please pray for the rest of our trip... I have been having a very hard time with the food and not feeling as great as I would like to.... I just keep telling myself- God is in this thing and He will take care of us.....

Today is our first "free day". We have been busy since the minute we got on the plane.... We hope to get out and see some of Nanchaung today on our own....The next 2 days we have planned sightseeing, then Friday we get our paperwork back and Sat. head to Guanzhou. I am looking forward to that. I have heard that the Whie Swan hotel is wonderful.....and the shopping is fun...

We will try to keep posting every couple days or so.... I Love getting comments on the picture page- it lets me know that there really are people on the other side of the earth. It feels like we are so VERY far from home.....and a little homesick....

I can't wait to see some familiar faces at the airport....and sleep in my own bed :)
Thats all for now- will try some more tomorrow
Thanks so much for all of the thoughts and prayers !

Monday, June 20, 2005

First Full Day

First full day as a family of four.
My Gawd, what have I done?!
The crying…. the snotty nose…. the stinky diapers….. the lack of adequate sleep….
I’m too old for this!

I guess that is what you would expect to hear, huh?
In actuality, it is awesome. What a life changing event, for all of us!
And I continue to be impressed with Carly. It just makes me cry to see how mature and caring she is. I can’t imagine doing this without her. Thank you to those who helped to make it possible for her to come on this grand adventure.

Trying to post some “Gotcha Day” photos tonight, then off to bed.
All of my girls are already snoring….


Father's Day

What an awesome Father's Day! I have a new daughter!
Too emotional words... looking forward to showing you the video and photos.
We were 2nd in line - sooner than we thought, so they caught us off-guard.
Everything else was a blur after that.
She cried, we cried, everybody cried... Teresa and I still can't look at each other without crying. And I won a $5 bet from Carly because she cried. The baby took Carly's gift (little stuffed duck) and it seemed to make her calm down. I think that is what made Carly cry.... she knew she was a big sister all of a sudden.
When I can gather my thoughts and formulate something that makes sense, I will write more.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Teresa's Entry #2

Saturday, June 18, 2005 (evening)
We just finished our tour of The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square & The Great Wall. We also had a “Peking Duck” lunch. It has been an AWESOME day…. The Forbidden City was kind of long & tiring but the Great Wall made up for it. WOW !! It was amazing. The lunch was really good too. Carly has been such a trooper. She has tried EVERY kind of food offered to her and not even complained. She & Chris set up a code word “Fantastic” if she did not like the food she would smile and say “this is fantastic” J
We are traveling with a great group of people and there are about 15 other couples in our group. Carly has even made a friend (13 yr old, Laurie). Carly has been an amazing traveler. She has really surprised and impressed me with her maturity, compassion and ability to take care of me and Chris (she is always reminding us NOT to use the water to brush our teeth)….

I cannot believe we get our sweet little girl tomorrow. This is the last night the Gresham family will be a “family of three”. I cannot even describe the feelings we have had today. I already have had many tears and I have not even met Isabella yet. Gods plan has been incredible and I cannot wait to see the “rest of the story” unfold. Starting tomorrow at 3:30 pm (China time (2:30 am TN time) the Gresham family will grow to be a “family of four”……and Gods plan will start to unfold……………………I was telling Chris today how I could not believe I was so blessed to be a Mom to Carly and now God is giving us Isabella, I wonder what God has in store for a little bitty Chinese girl taken to America by us- I am sure God has a very special plan for her…..

Teresa's Entry #1

Saturday, June 18, 2005
Well we are finally here !!! The Gresham Family is in CHINA J Wow- I cannot believe it.What a trip it was. Without taking up a couple of pages, I will just say it was a VERY LOOOOOOONG 2 days in getting here. God was so good to us, getting us here safely and without any problems in tickets, airlines or checking through the International stuff. It is Saturday morning here in Beijing at 5:30 am (4:30 in the afternoon in Franklin, TN). We did not get much sleep on the plane ride here- going home we will take turns taking a sleeping pill so one of us can sleep and the other take care of Isabella J The plane trip was very surreal for me…. I usually am a little nervous about flying, but this trip I had such an awesome PEACE knowing God was with us. I kept wanting to tell other people that we flew with not to be nervous about this trip as long as you were on the plane with the Gresham Family- because God wasn’t going to let anything happen to us- we were on a mission to get Isabella J After 1 ½ years of paperwork, classes, calls, fundraising and MANY, MANY prayers sent up on our behalf- We were finally going to get our precious little “gift from God”, Isabella. I am still kind of in shock. Carly woke up this morning and said, “Mom, tomorrow you will be holding Isabella”……