"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Happy 2nd Forever Family Day, Sweet Kai!

Words could never truly express the love I felt on this day two years ago and continue to feel to this day. Kai, we thank God every day for you being in our lives. You have changed who I am. I believe in my heart, through God, you have made me a better person. You are an amazing little boy and have blessed our family beyond measure.

Here is my entry from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, two years ago, along with the pictures we posted that day.

APRIL 3, 2006
Finally, 29 months and 10 days after we started our journey...

4:25 AM
Oh my gosh! I can't sleep!! I went to bed at 9 pm....(Scott and the rest of the crew at 7:30 pm!!!) At 2 am. I open my eyes to find Scott playing video games on the computer. I toss and turn a while and try to go back to sleep. Finally, as I am dozing off, the phone rings! I thought it was our 6 am wake-up call...it was my brother calling to say Hello! ha!!

Anyways, God must've known I would need the extra time to release the emotions I am feeling inside. I want to say that it is a bit like when we were waiting for AJ, but it's not. This time, I know with everything I believe in that he IS ours....it's just a matter of hours now. I can't believe it. I am trying to find words to describe how I am feeling, but I can't find something to compare it to. I have had TOTAL peace within me from the time we left to the airport, that peace has not waivered. AAahhh....ok! As I am typing, I now have something to compare the feeling to. Some may not understand, but it is a good comparison to those who do. I feel like I do when I go on a retreat or spend some very special time with the Lord. That "HIGH" feeling that is unexplainable that only He can provide. You are in love with the world, you feel so filled with joy and marvel at the huge blessings that surround you....even small details such as air-conditioning or food at every meal, things we take for granted are just abundantly seen as HUGE blessings. That is the feeling!!! I AM COMPLETELY BLESSED!!!! God is so good to us and I cannot ever thank Him enough or give Him enough glory for all that He has done in our lives, and now the blessings will pour down even more by allowing us to raise yet another little one in His name!! Whew....tears are flowing!!!! Happy tears! Tears of joy! Life is so good. I wish I could bottle this feeling.

As I turn my thoughts to Kai, I pray that he is feeling that same peace. That his little heart be filled with the sense of love that we have had for him from the moment we scrolled down that computer page back in December, when we "knew" he was our son. There will be 4 families receiving their children with us....all from YiWu. Two of the families are with our agency, and two are with another agency. We are the only ones bringing home a little boy. So, that will help in pointing him out! :) I am so scared of not recognizing him, yet part of me feels that I have stared at that little face for sooooo many hours that there is no doubt I can look into those beautiful, almond shaped eyes and not know who my son is. To my son:


I just want to tell you sweetie while we count down those last hours and minutes, that we understand the immense changes that you will be going through these next few weeks. We've heard you are very attached to your nanny and I thank God for that. That means that she has loved you and cared for you as best as she could. And in turn, I am praying that you have been able to reciprocate that love to her. Baby boy, please know that we will love you eternally. There is no bond stronger than that of Mother and Child. You were conceived in my heart and I have felt every second, of every day that I have waited for you, that you were meant to be ours. We love you with such an intense, powerful love already that I cannot imagine it getting any stronger, but I know it will....and yes, there will be many tough times, but we will make it through together, as a family. That is what families are for. And you, my little one, are now and always will be a part of ours. I love you more than words could ever say and I am counting down the minutes till I can look at your sweet face, give you kisses and feel your soft skin!! I love you so very much, Kai!!!

To my friends and family....I can't say it enough. Thank you so much for your support. No doubt it is getting me through this emotional time. I feel like you are all here with me. This time, I promise, the next post (on this same page) will be with Kai in my arms.
Love to all.....


WE HAVE HIM!!!!!!!

Wow!! Magical moment indeed!! At 8:45 we went down to the lobby and met up with Mike & Joshua Mansfield, who are here to adopt Sophie, their daughter and little sister. We sat and nervously laughed about what we were headed into. After a couple of pictures, I noticed our guide standing in the lobby. We all bolt towards her and head to the van taking us to the Civil Affairs Office.

Once there, our guide explains that the babies have already arrived. She also says that they are up on the 6th floor and that because there are no elevators, we'd have to walk up the stairs! Piece of cake...I'd walk up Mount Everest at this point, just get me to my boy. I ask Scott to turn on the video camera so we can record the long walk up the stairs. We open the door to the building and there are two Chinese ladies there with 3 very small babies. They were so cute! I had my camera out and was about to go into "baby stalk mode" when I hear the guide say....these are your babies. Then there was mayhem! Total confusion! At least in my mind there was. I hear Scott and my Mom say, "There's Kai!" I'm looking around saying..."Where? Where?" They keep pointing to the 3 little babies. I look at them closely and then notice that the little one in the middle is looking back...then I notice that faint scar on his lip! This was Kai! Oh my God! He was sooooooooooo tiny! I was expecting a little boy....this was a baby. A little baby! We are all standing around for a second and I'm ready to pounce on him.

The guide says, "They are waiting for the Director who went to get some breakfast!" I stood there for about a split second before saying...."Can I hold my baby?" She said "Sure!" No formalities...nothing. It was just us there with him and two other little ones. The Mansfield's baby was not in the room. So, I bend down slowly and pick him up. The nanny (not his) says "Wen Kai...Mama" That was it. I was head over heels in love! Oh my gosh, he was beautiful and ever so tiny! Soooo quiet. Taking in everything around him. His eyes just looked from one person to the next. Then we are told we have to go upstairs to the 6th floor. I hand him over to Scott who was just as speechless as I was. I must've kissed him 1000 times before handing him over. Abuela Titi and Amanda also got their turns in loving him a bit before we had to continue on with the paperwork. We arrive upstairs and he is still looking around. Not a peep out of him, but very serious. Amanda takes him over to an open window and all of a sudden this HUGE glee explodes from within him and he starts to babble. We are not sure if it was Chinese or baby talk, but it was the cutest thing I've ever heard. Of course, we then went to the window 100 times! The other families had also received their babies by then and poor Sophie was screaming up a storm!!! I felt so bad for poor Dad, but Joshua took the helm and off he went with his little sister. A few minutes later she was much calmer. Cindy, your guys did good!! You should be very proud! :)

We did all of our paperwork, and after about 2 hours I prepared a bottle for him. I was a bit nervous because of his open palate, well, he taught me that he will eat and drink whatever is in front of him. The nannies had given him some cookies and he was munching away. So, in went the nipple and down went the milk! He guzzled it down in no time. I am amazed by his eye contact. We got lost in each other's eyes as I fed him. He even gave me a half smile as he drank his bottle! He is sooooo very thin though, and has some eczema, although not too bad, and a bit of a cough....other than that, he seems very healthy!! THANK YOU, LORD!

Harrah's had given us a book as a gift called "When I was born in China". I brought the book with me and had the orphanage director write Kai a message. He wrote a full page!! I haven't had an opportunity to ask our translator to read it to me, but I will. But what makes me happiest is that he gave us his phone number AND email address! I will try and keep the contact and send pictures so that he sees how much Kai will always be loved and well cared for. After all of the paperwork was done (about 3 hours later) we took a family picture with the orphanage director and the deputy director and off we headed. Back to the hotel!

Ahhh...I had forgotten to mention that it was about 80 degrees here today. Kai arrived in a thermal suit, with a sweater and a long sleeved shirt underneath. Along with leggings and thermal pants. I slowly peeled off the layers at the Civil Affairs Office. When we arrived at the hotel, we came upstairs and decided to give him a bath. He was sweating profusely from all of those clothes. I laid him on the bed and started removing clothing. It made me so sad to see how thin he was. Then, to my shock I noticed a rope around his diaper. I am assuming it was put on to make sure the diaper didn't fall off, but it was wrapped so tightly that he had marks on his hips 3 hours later. I can't thank the Lord enough for having sent us this little creation. I promise with all of my being that he will be so loved and cared for. Never will he have to deal with lack of food, being hot or cold or even having ropes tied to him. My heart aches thinking about it. That said, it was evident that they loved him so very much. I was holding him and from across the room he caught a glimpse of his nanny and then the adorable little glee came screeching out! Oh my God, how can I be so in love with this little person so soon after seeing him!! My heart swells with pride with each of my children and for the fifth time in my life now, I can say that I am totally and unconditionally, forever in love! He is PERFECT!!

By the way, Grandma Bombardier...he is obsessed with the little Kai Bear you gave him. It is now a permanent appendage to him! :)

I will write later about the rest of our day, but for now.....here are some pictures and videos.

Hugs from a very happy Bombardier Family,

Scott, Ohilda, Amanda and a very proud Grandmother, Abuela Titi

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

APRIL 2, 2006 - One day before he was ours!

Tomorrow will be 2 years since our sweet Kai was united with us, his forever family. This was my post from China, two years ago today, along with the pictures I posted on that day. To follow our entire journey to Kai, click HERE.

We arrived in Hangzhou a little after 12 pm. Our guide, Sara, who I have fallen in love with, was waiting for us holding a sign saying BOMBARDIER. She recognized us before we had seen the sign. What a sweet lady!

First, I want to say that the weather here is beautiful, but much warmer than what we expected. It's in the mid 70s - low 80s. So much for Kai's snowsuits I brought. We'll have to save those for AJ when we go up north to visit Uncle David.

From the moment we boarded the van (yes....they were quite surprised by the amount of luggage :-p ) we began to notice how much clearer the air was than Beijing. The smog in Beijing was pretty bad. Also, the trees are green and there seems to be flowers EVERYWHERE! What an absolutely beautiful city! Marco Polo said "In the sky there is Heaven and on Earth there is Hangzhou". How true that seems to be! Sara was telling us how the people from Hangzhou are much warmer than those in Beijing. I have yet to encounter anyone who has been anything but kind to us.

We arrived at the hotel, which is very nice. The rooms are much smaller than the one at the Novotel Peace, but very clean and more modern. The only complaint I have is that there is hardly any drawer space, but I think I'd need a couple of dressers for the amount of stuff we brought. :) Sara assisted us in checking-in and then walked up to our rooms with us to make sure we settled in. I, of course, asked tons of questions and she answered them all. I was a bit nervous because this is Harrah's first adoption in this province, but once again, they have shined! Sara has a great sense of humor and seems very efficient. As we were in the hallway saying our goodbyes, we met the other HFS family that is adopting a little girl from our same orphanage, YiWu Social Welfare Institute. It is a Dad and his son coming to pick up their little girl while Mama is patiently awaiting in the States. We will be the only family traveling to the orphanage, and it is my understanding that we will be doing that on Wednesday. I'm very excited about seeing where my little guy spent his first 22 months of life. I have heard that his nanny loves him very much and I treasure the moment to be able to say thank you in person.

Ok...now onto our day. We settled in, set up our computer, and off we went to explore the city by foot. West Lake is one of the biggest tourist attractions for the Chinese to visit. Chairman Mao used to come at least 4 times per year to vacation on West Lake. The Lake and area surrounding it is indescribable in beauty and gardens. There were literally 1000s of people on the lake this afternoon. Many children with families flying kites, eating ice cream and just enjoying themselves. Someone heard us speaking English and we were swarmed. It turns out that on Sundays, a club called "The English Corner" gather here to practice their English with each other. When they heard us speaking they acted like they hit the lottery. We spent a good half hour chatting away.

I can't emphasize enough how kind and helpful these people are. They are so very proud of their country and we have been told over and over how lucky our child is and how they wish we always remind them of the history of his birth country. That is a given. Kai has so very much to be proud of. He will always be a Chinese American and I am so thankful that God has allowed us to visit his birth country and get to know it a little better as a family so that we may share that with him someday.

After spending about 4.5 hours walking around the lake and seeing one garden more beautiful than the next, we decided to walk into the city area. We went down some narrow streets that smelled ummm.....not very appealing. Amanda kept gagging, and I just kept reminding her this is part of China. She was funny cause she said, "Do we have to see this part?" Anyways, I had to take some pictures of those streets and will post them. We walked down to a main street where you couldn't fit another person on the sidewalks. It was almost like a busy day in Times Square. Soooooo many people! What I did notice here is that there are many more families with more than 1 child. I've been told several times that this is the richest province in China, therefore, because of the one-child policy, the families could afford to pay the high taxes for a 2nd or 3rd child. I see many little girls, too....which makes me smile.

Back to our day, we continued walking and came across a McDonald's that the line was almost out the door. By then we were getting pretty tired and decided to grab something to eat. Sara had mentioned that there was a Pizza Hut down the street. So, we took a walk there. It was very nice. Something else I noticed was that they have 12" and 13" pizzas only.

In the US, we usually order a large which is 16" and huge slices.....these were much smaller and easily shared. No wonder the Chinese are so skinny!! Americans should take notice of our size portions compared to the rest of the world. Anyways, the pizza was great. Tasted just the same as Pizza Hut in the US and the same prices....it wasn't cheap! Notice the eel shish-kabobs in the pictures.

We finished eating and headed back to the hotel. There was a bride and groom in the lobby when we walked in. She was beautiful. Of course, another picture moment. By the way, I was able to photograph quite a few kids in the park. Gosh, I can't get over the fact that I will have "one of those" by this time tomorrow. God is soooooooo good! At first, I thought it was a bit awkward to ask if I can photograph someone's child....but they take pics of Amanda all the time, so why not. And when I do ask, most parents are just thrilled and start chatting away to their little ones to smile. It's cute....they fix their hair and straighten their clothes so I can take a picture. They are so cute, too, with their little "split pants" and their hinies hanging out. :)
OH!! Another thing I have observed that I am very impressed with is their attire. We have honestly not seen anyone dress in raggedy clothes, torn jeans, or even t-shirts. Even the young teens. They're all dressed in dress pants, and most men wear sports coats. The women are all dressed very nicely. Almost everyone wears dress shoes, as opposed to teens who live in sneakers in the U.S. Just very different....and I must admit, very nice to see.

We are about 14 hours from receiving Kai. My heart is thumping and my head swimming. I can't believe that tomorrow I will finally hold our beautiful son! We are being picked up at 9 am (which will be 9 pm EST on Sunday for friends back home). Please say a prayer that Kai's transition be a smooth one. That he bond with us and although he will probably have no clue what is happening in his little world, that God's love bathe him and make him feel secure when he is with us. Tomorrow will be a very emotional day for us as we finally meet the little blessing that will make our family complete.

And as always, I'd like to close by thanking the Lord for this blessing and for filling our hearts with yet another one of his little miracles to love!

Our next post will be with another little one in our lives forever...

Ohilda, Scott, Amanda & Abuela Titi

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Happy Birthday To My Babies!

Well, Anna Grace's 3rd birthday isn't really until Monday, the 7th, but she's happy as a clam celebrating until it arrives!

The birthday party turned out great! We had over 20 kids and from the exhaustion by the end of the evening, I think they all had a wonderful time!

It started off with the kids playing in the bounce house. Shortly afterwards, they were off to ride the ponies. The line was pretty long for the ponies and the sun was scorching at 87 degrees, so a few of the kids headed off back to the bounce house until it was their turn for the ponies.

After the ponies, we all had a filling lunch and then we herded the crew over to a pond filled with fish and turtles. There each of the kids got to take turns feeding them.

After leaving the pond, (this was the highlight of my day!) all the little ones split up and some went into the rabbit pen, the others into a petting zoo with ducks, pigs, goats, and lambs. This was a lot of fun. AJ at first was pretty hesistant, as was Anna Grace, but they quickly decided that they would do what the big kids did and carried the baby goats. AJ even gave the lamb a kiss or two before retreating to go drink from their water bowl...yuck!

They had lots of fun with all the critters. Even baby Seth was in the midst of all of this and he did his share of tugging on ears and grabbing fur. Kai was not too fond of an animal shrieking "BAAAHH" in his face, so he appeased me with a quick picture and off he went.

After the petting area, some of the kids went back to the bounce house while others went to feed "Shorty", the quarter horse. It was cute seeing their little hands fighting the fear of a big horse snatching up a treat from it.

It was non-stop action for the little ones and their parents who were chasing them around. We sang "Happy Birthday" to Anna Grace first and then to AJ.

Anna Grace was so darn cute! She beamed from ear to ear as she sang along with the crowd and made sure to clap while yelling, "YAAAYY" at the end. AJ, in his shy manner said, "AJ's turn" after Anna Grace's moment was over and he, too, proudly sang to himself.

When the cake festivities were over, we again split up into two groups and the kids were showered by candy under two piƱatas. Anna Grace had the pink pig and AJ's was the black cow.
The kids dug into their candy, some a little more than others. Yes, poor Anna Grace threw up on the way home in her carseat from all the sweets that she is not used to, but couldn't help herself from eating. I later found out that she had gone to 3 different people for cake, all of whom obediently satisfied her craving. Which meant she ate three pieces of cake! Ummm, yeah! I'd be throwing up, too!

I took lots of pictures and the farm photographer also took LOTS of pictures. I don't have her pictures yet, but I can tell you that I was scanning through her camera (yes, a Canon XTi) and some of them were just priceless!!

For now, you will have to survive with my unprofessional pictures, but definitely full of cuteness.
There are way too many for me to choose from and to try to download to blogger, so I am posting the link here for you guys to sit back and enjoy my cutie pies.

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Rockin' to the oldies!

The birthday party was a huge hit!!! I'll post more on that later along with lots of pictures. :)

I did want to share quickly about the concert! Woohoo!!! First, it wasn't completely filled with silver-haired, toe-tapping old folks. It was a mixed crowd and I was quite surprised to see many kids (older teens, young 20's). For instance, the 20-some year old who sat next to me and offered to buy me a beer when Scott went to the bathroom...heh! I could have easily been his mother!

Now about the concert. We had an awesome time. It opened with Styx, and yes, Lauren, while Tommy Shaw was still as cool as ever. But, I was pretty bummed that most of the songs they sang were from the Grand Illusion album, hence not singing any of my favorite Styx songs.

Yet, for all the bummed emotions that I had from Styx, I got the total opposite from REO Speedwagon. THEY TRULY ROCKED!! It was like being back in high school (even some songs from junior high!), but this time with my sweetie! So cool! We had a great time singing at the top of our lungs.

Then, finally, Def Leopard came on stage. They, too, brought back great memories and really rocked the house. I was in awe of their one-armed drummer. It just goes to show that you can do anything you want to do when you set your mind to it. But again, most of their songs were from their Hysteria album, not one of my favorites. All in all, we had an awesome night out.

Something I noticed last night was that it was neat to think back that when I use to go to rock concerts back in the days and everyone would use Bic lighters when the stadiums went dark and they were singing slow songs. Nowadays, they use cell phones. Too funny. Definitely signs of the times.
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