"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:18

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Four Sweet Children

I know it has been forever since I have blogged, but I just wanted to share this adorable picture of my 4 precious children!  Even though life is so busy and crazy some days with 4 kids (2 toddlers) and John and I feel like we barely have time for each other, I feel so blessed to have each and every one of these children in my life.  They are each so unique and special in their own way and I pray they will do mighty things for God with their life  We are all doing great and Lilyia is doing remarkably well.  She even LOVES her mommy now and actually prefers me over others.  Woo-Hoo!  God is good!
We got accepted to the Shriner's Hospital for Lilyia's brachial plexus injury and we go on April 28th.  What an incredible blessing this is as the Shriner's gives 100% FREE medical care.  They have a specialist for BPI there.  Praise the Lord for this added blessing that we were not expecting.
Alyson-age 8, Austin age 6 1/2, Lilyia-almost 2, and Parker age 20 months.  I love you my sweet children!

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

It all started with a flat tire!

We have been home for one week now! I am so sorry I have not blogged but it has been a very stressful and difficult week and a half all starting with a flat tire on the way to the airport in China. We left on our first flight home from China on Wednesday evening February 10th. We picked up Lilyia's visa at 4:20 and then our driver was off to take us to the airport which was about a 40 minute drive and our flight left at 7:00pm. Normally this would be no problem, but with Chinese New Year starting they were recommending you get to the airport 3 hours ahead of time because of long lines at the airport. Well, about half way to the airport we hear this horrible sound and the van starts shaking, sure enough we had a flat tire. So, we pulled over on the side of the expressway-which is not a very safe thing especially in China traffic. It took about 30-40 minutes to change the tire and then we were off again. So, we get to the airport and they tell us our tickets are no good because they don't have our passport #'s on them. So, after about 30 minutes of our guide fighting with them about it they finally said they were okay. Praise the Lord! So, we barely got on that flight and then we finally did get on it and then we sat on the runway for close to two hours-NOT FUN! So, we got to Beijing around 11:00PM-2 hours later than we were supposed to. We then spent another 2 hours in the Beijing airport because 2 of our bags did not make it and we had to fill out paperwork, etc. So, we had 4 children sprawled out across the floor of the airport sleeping while we tried to figure out the bag situation. Parker pretty much cried the whole time...

We made it to our hotel in Beijing around 1:00AM and then had to be to the airport at 7:00AM the next morning-we should have just spent the night in the airport. So, our next flight left at 9:00AM on Thursday morning and was taking us to Tokyo. We got on that plane and within one hour Alyson started throwing up and Parker started coughing and had a fever. Alyson continued to throw up for the next 20 hours and she threw up probably about 30 times before we finally got home. Parker threw up a couple times as well and he had a horrible cough and a fever and did not sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time. We had a 5 hour layover in Tokyo, we left Tokyo around 7:00PM for a 12 hour flight to Chicago. Lilyia and Austin slept pretty much the whole flight but Alyson threw up every 30 minutes and Parker cried the majority of the flight as he just felt miserable. We had a short layover in Chicago where we finally made it home to Des Moines. We were welcomed at the airport by all of my family and it was so great to see everybody and to BE HOME!

So, the next day I called the nurse where she told me that they had no openings and I could not get Alyson and Parker into the doctor. I pretty much begged her through tears to let me bring them in as these two children were so miserable, so she talked to the doctor who then said yes I will see them. Thankfully she did as Alyson was then admitted to the hospital for dehydration and Parker had RSV and Influenza B. So, this is not the homecoming we had imagined...I (Desiray) ended up getting Influenza B as well as a touch of the stomach flu and was incredibly miserable for the next 4 days. Alyson was in the hospital for one night, although the doctor wanted to keep her another night but finally decided at 9:00pm the next night to let her go home. I am so thankful for a wonderful husband who did a great job taking care of the kids as well as a great mom who was willing to come into our sick household and help for a couple days. John never got sick-Thank the Lord as I am not sure what we would have done otherwise. God knew we couldn't handle anymore right now. Austin ended up getting a touch of the stomach flu and Lilyia got a fever and ear infection. Now, 9 days after we arrived home I am finally starting to feel normal again and everyone is healthy. We are SO THANKFUL to everyone who brought meals over to the house as it has helped so much-what a blessing! THANK YOU everyone! We appreciate everyone's prayers as I know Satan was attacking our family. We could feel your prayers in the midst of it all. We just had to laugh through it all, because I am afraid if we didn't laugh we would cry instead. (although there were quite a few tears on my part too) I felt that everyone else was bonding with my child since I was in the hospital with Alyson and was then in bed for 4 days. But, Lilyia doesn't seem to be phased by it at all and she did have a great time with Grandma.

Now about Lilyia...She is doing so incredibly well since we have been home. She is so so so sweet and just fits so perfectly into our family. She is such a blessing and I praise and thank God for her. She loves her new home and has just made herself right at home. She eats great-finally we have a good eater. :) And, she is a great sleeper too. She repeats all kinds of English words and it is amazing what she understands already. God is so good and I am just amazed by his goodness to our family by giving us this precious little girl. What a whirlwind the past 3 weeks have been and how much Lilyia is already blossoming since that very first day that we saw her.

Thank you to everyone who has been following our journey. I am hoping and praying that God is pulling at some hearts out there and through our journey others will decide to adopt as well and give an orphan a forever family. (don't let our journey home scare you away):) I would love to help anyone get started with the adoption process-what an incredible journey it truly is!!!

The pictures above are from when we very first got into the Des Moines airport and then home.

With Love,
John, Desiray, Alyson, Austin, Lilyia and Parker Christen

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Safari Park

We had a fun time at Safari Park today.  The kids got to hold a white baby tiger and feed some giraffes.  The weather was beautiful and it was a great way to pass the time.  Alyson and Austin are really starting to get home sick and are ready to go home, so I am glad we were able to do something they enjoyed.  Parker is doing great and just seems to go with the flow, I don't think he even realizes we aren't at home.  We sure do draw a crowd whenever we go out though.  People count our kids as we go by.  Having 4 children in China is unheard of (having more than one is almost unheard of) so when they see us with 4 kids they want to know why we wanted to adopt when we already had 4 children.  And then they say we are so lucky to be able to have 4 children.  All of our children are truly a blessing and we thank God for each of them.  Parker seems to get the most attention from the Chinese people because he is a baby and they think chubby little white baby's are so cute.  He gets his picture taken quite a bit. :)
Lilyia seemed to do a little better today.  She does so much better when we are not in the hotel room.  Bedtime is really hard for her still.  She doesn't want anyone to hold her but she just lays down and whimpers in her bed.  I try to hold her and comfort her but it doesn't help.  She came to me more during the day today though and even reached her arms to me a couple times-of course this is only when John is around.  She has a lot of really good moments throughout the day, but she is really grieving a lot still too so please keep praying for this precious little girl.
Tomorrow is our swearing in ceremony at the US consulate in Guanghzhou.  I am not sure exactly what that entails but it takes place at 2:15 tomorrow.  Then, on Wednesday we pick up Lilyia's visa at 3:30 and then we are SO out of here!
Thank you to everyone who has been following our blog.  I will probably post at least one more time before we leave on Wednesday.
The Christens

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

4 days left to go

Sorry it has been a couple days since I have blogged.  It has been kind of a frustrating couple of days.  Lilyia is still struggling quite a bit with me and I am just SO READY to be home.  It seems the days are filled with pretty much nothing to do as we are constantly just waiting on paperwork.  So, our guide just finds silly things for us to do to fill the time that are not very kid friendly and make the days even more stressful.  I really wish this process wasn't so long.
We have 4 more days before we fly back to America.  I must say we are counting down the days!  We flew to Guanghzhou on Friday night and so we are now in a new hotel.  Lilyia really does not like the hotel rooms at all...I really hope and pray she will do better once we get home and can get into a normal routine.  Please keep praying for Lilyia as she is still having a very hard time.  She will not come to mommy at all unless daddy is right there with her.  She has really attached quickly to John, but is still not too sure about Mommy.  This is getting harder and harder for me each day when I am not seeing much progress.  She completely shuts down and starts crying if John leaves the room or if I try and hold her.  I just keep thinking how her world has been turned upside down and if we could just get home and have a normal life it would be better...although I know there will still be struggles when we get home I would think it would help some.  It will also be interesting when John goes back to work and it is just the kids and I at home.  I know this is normal as many adopted kids focus in on one parent and attach faster to that parent than the other, but it is still very hard nonetheless.  I am trying to remember that at least she is not rejecting us both but is able to find comfort in one of us.  It has helped to have the other kids here, Parker will always come to me so I don't feel quite as bad. :)
Lilyia had her medical appointment yesterday and she required 5 shots before she would be allowed into the US.  She did pretty good, but she was sad.  The medical clinic was very interesting, it was just filled with adoptive families and their new children and there were a lot of crying babies. It was quite chaotic.  Glad that is over with.
The White Swan hotel where we are staying is very nice and it does have a kids play room which has been great and gives us more to do out of our hotel room.  Tomorrow we are going to Safari Park about one hour away-it is supposed to be one of the nicest zoos in China...hopefully it won't rain as it rained all day today.  We decided to just plan this on our own as our guide was going to take us on another shopping trip which does not sound like much fun with 4 kids.  I have heard this Safari Park is SO much fun so please pray the rain stays away as we are getting stir crazy and need something fun to do to pass the time.
Thanks again to everyone for your prayers and comments.  We are so in love with this sweet little girl and can't wait to bring her home so you all can meet her.  Keep praying for her sweet little heart to be softened to mommy that she would be able to see how much I truly love her.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

We had a very fun day today!  We went to a huge Mountain Park here in Nanning and walked around and the kids got to do a big obstacle course, feed some fish and ride on a boat.  We all had a good time.
Lilyia has done great today so far.  She just has the cutest little voice and it is adorable to hear her talking in Chinese.  She is really warming up to us a lot more.   The first day she preferred our guide over us, but today our guide tried to pick her up and she reached her arms out for daddy, so that is a good sign.  She has done better with me today too.  She won't reach her arms out to me yet, but she will let me hold her now without getting too mad.  We praise God and give him the glory for her softened heart towards us...thank you to everyone for your prayers.   We can clearly feel your love and prayers for our family.
Lilyia is such a smart and obedient little girl and it is very clear that she was very well loved and taken care of in her foster home.  We are so thankful for her foster family and their willingness to care for her until we were able to come and get her.  I really feel for her foster family right now and their loss of her, praying that God would give them peace and comfort at this time.
It is so cute to watch Parker and Lilyia interact.  Lilyia always wants to hold Parker's hand and Parker always tries and pulls Lilyia's thumb out of her mouth, she sucks her thumb and I think it is so cute.  (I know, I know I won't be saying that in two years, but none of my other kids have ever sucked their thumb and I think it's adorable).  
Tomorrow evening (Friday) we fly to Guangzhou after we pick up Lilyia's passport.  We spend about 5 days there and then we fly home.  Guangzhou is about a 60 minute airplane ride from Nanning and it is where every family must go to finalize the adoption on the US side of things.  So, there will be a lot of other adoptive families there as well and I have heard there is a lot of fun stuff for kids to do.  I am looking forward to something different-we are getting sick of the restaurants around our hotel that we have eaten at over and over again. 
Thanks for following along on our journey and keep the comments coming-we appreciate all the encouragement!

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