Thank You For Visiting

With the arrival of Mya Luyan Grace, we would love to share some of the excitement with our close friends
and relatives. Thanks for visiting.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

One Year Ago Today...


       Mya is 1 today and we are so thankful that we got to celebrate this day with her. She is an amazing little girl. She has brought such joy and life to our household. She has such a great personality! She is currently crawling, pulling herself up on furniture, she says "Ma-ma" and "Da-da", she is feeding herself, uses a sippy cup, and standing for a short time with no help. She has come so far in 3 months. We look forward to many more birthday celebrations. 



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's Official!

Monday, we had our re-adoption hearing here in Racine. It was a short hearing in which the judge declared  us suitable to adopt Mya. This was a necessary step in our process because I (Dana) did not travel to China for the adoption to be completed there. It was a neat day because all of our kids got to be a part of it. We got to celebrate as a family with dinner out at Olive Garden. It was Mya's first time going out to dinner with us and it was interesting. Mya LOVES food and the whole time she kept squealing at me to feed her more. A couple at a table near us thought the sound was coming from a toy and were shocked to find out it was actually coming from her. They had to come by and tell us what a great family we have and how well behaved the kids were. They must not have noticed the time Steven had Jaden in a headlock wrestling for a crayon. Oh well!!! I think people are amazed at the fact that we have 5 kids and after 4 we decided to adopt from half way around the world. We are incredibly blessed and God is good!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The First Week

We have had a great week of getting to know Mya. She is a great baby, always ready to give a smile to whoever looks at her. She has also gotten  to the point of keeping food down and her upper respiratory infection is gone. She is looking better every day. This picture is after we got home from Mya's first church service. She was so happy to meet so many smiling faces. She slept through worship which says a lot about her sleeping habits.

I find that I keep pinching myself to see if this is just a dream. I am amazed that God chose me to be her mother and I am so thankful. There are times during the day as I hold her that I just stare at her and could not imagine my life without her in it. I am in awe of my Lord for orchestrating my life in such a way that he saw fit to pull this precious girl out of a life no child deserves and place her in my arms to love. My heart aches for those children with no family to give them the love they need and deserve. CJ, Steven, Morgan, and Jaden love her so much and she loves them also. I will try to post more pics with them and her. They all have been so great and helpful. I am one blessed mom! My children are my life's greatest treasures.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Finally Home!

Wow, I woke up this morning to a crying baby! It was music to my ears. I know, I know, it isn't the sound that us mothers enjoy hearing when we are in the midst of raising our babies, but it has been 7 years for me since my last baby was this age. And after a 5 year wait, it was like, "Yes, she is finally home."

Let me just say that at the airport last night, people kept looking at us and we did not even have Mya yet. Jaden was bursting with so much excitement that people must have been thinking he had ADHD. He could not control himself at all. When he got a glimpse of his dad coming up the escalator, he started jumping up and down like a child in a toy store. It was a sight. This morning, he said to his dad, "I cannot believe you are really home."

She is doing really well and is a very happy baby. She just loves to watch her brothers and sister move around her and talk to her. She is most amused by the two furry things that are walking around. She just stares at the dogs, trying to figure them out. We had her in to the doctor today because she is having a hard time keeping formula down and seems to be struggling with a cold. So he is putting her on a probiotic and says that she has an upper respiratory infection. We will go back in two weeks just to make sure her system has adjusted properly. I ask for prayer for her head. She appears to have spent much time on her back and he may want to put her in a helmet to help her head take better shape. We have already seen an improvement in the shape of her head since Steve first got her, so we are not worried.

We are so much in love and let me just say that it is great to have a baby in the house again. Also, to encourage anyone who may feel called to adopt, God is able!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We Are Blessed!


In less than 24 hours, I will be holding this baby girl for the very first time and I cannot begin to tell you the excitement that is going through me at this time. My lifelong dream has come true! When God puts a desire in your heart, He is faithful to bring it into fruition. Love you all!

Coming Home

Today is the day that I am sure the three guys have been looking forward to, maybe? Although they have had a great time in China and will have a lot of stories to share with Mya one day, two weeks is a long time to be away from family and friends. Today at 4:45 PM (5:45 AM their time), they get in a van for the 3 1/2 drive to Hong Kong. They are scheduled to fly out of Hong Kong for the long journey home at 10:45 PM our time (11:45 AM there). It will be a long day for them and Mya. Their flight into San Francisco is 12 hours long with a 3 hour lay over which will involve going through immigration for Mya. They are scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 6 PM tomorrow. Mya is not holding down formula very well and car/plane rides make it worse, she also seems to be getting a cold. Also, she has found her voice and when she is unhappy she lets everyone know. Please pray for strength, safety, and patience. As many of you know, it is not an easy task to travel with an infant. Thank you for your love during this joyous time in our lives. We greatly appreciate your prayers. I can truly testify that we have known the grace of God in our lives during this time. To God be the glory!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy Golden Birthday, Stevie!



 On Sunday we took a trip to the Guangzhou Folk Art Museum. Today is Stevie's golden birthday so on our bus ride to the museum I announced his birthday to the group and we all sang Happy Birthday to him. He was embarrassed as planned. The hotel sent a cheesecake to the room for us to celebrate. Stevie has been such a huge blessing to us to have along on this trip and I am thankful for his giftings of love, service, generosity, and the ablility to make everyone around him laugh and smile. What a great kid!


Back home here, the Towle family and ours sang to him through Skype (I am loving this Skype thing). He just took it in. We are sure this will be a birthday that he will never forget. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Final Leg of the Trip

The four of them have now arrived in Guangzhou for the final leg of the adoption in China. While there, they will have a number of appointments with the US Consulate, Dr visit for Mya, and finally an oath taking ceremony. Please pray for strength for the three of them. I know that they are growing tired. Steve is also having some back pain. Also, for my Stevie, he is getting homesick. I got a call at 10:15 last night and it was him. He just needed to see me on Skype and talk to me. I, too, am ready for them to come home. Thank you dear loved ones for holding us up in prayer. I know that God has heard our requests and He has been faithful.

I have created a site that holds all of the pics that have been taken in China for those of you who would like to see them.

http://www.myaluyangrace.shutterfly.com/

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Gotcha Day Video


video




This is the moment that we have been dreaming about for almost 5 years. You may need to grab a kleenex before you  hit the play button! For this little girl we have prayed for a very long time and we can testify that God is faithful! We are so grateful that He called us to walk this journey. Please pray for us that we would be good parents to this special baby and that she would grow to love the Lord. To God be the glory!

Good Morning, Brewer Fans!


This morning Mya woke up very happy. I put her first Brewer Tee on her and she wore it well. We were getting ready to go to a nearby farm village and a ceramic market. The Jiangxi Province is known worldwide for its 1200 year old production of the finest ceramics in the world. This is where the term "fine china" comes from. This is due to the fact that the land here is rich in a special form of clay. The first thing we noticed when we arrived is how red the earth is.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

More of Day 2



This day we decided that we wanted McDonalds for dinner. The golden arches are a ten minute walk away, but in that short distance you cover a lot of ground and experience a whole new world. Along the way we saw a little naked boy pooping on a newspaper on the sidewalk with his mother's help, many dark and scary looking alleys, little restaurants that sell mainly noodles, three rug stores, a shoe store, a salon with one chair and a sink, and some bike shops. This is a photo of the largest bike shop. It had a couple hundred bikes and scooters and business takes place right on the street. There are workers everywhere working on bikes and scooters in front of a one stall garage that mainly holds the parts. It is quite a site and when I took this photo a man started yelling at me, "no camera, no camera!" Chinese workers work very hard and from what I see they all believe that they have a shot at a better life through hard work. All of these small, dirty little businesses along a short ten minute walk speak to that reality.



Ronald's throne is right outside the Chinese McDonalds entry. The restaurant was clean, cool, and friendly. The food was hot and fresh. The standard of service we have gotten from the Chinese people is incredibly good. Large genuine smiles, head nods, kindness, respect, and a true effort to help you even in the midst of a language barrier is the norm. I will never forget some of the beautiful smiles that I have gotten from the hotel workers. It is common for service workers to use an American name with Americans. When you walk through the lobby of the hotel, a young worker will often come alongside of you and ask if they can be of service. Even if you are just walking out the front door, they may escort you out and say goodbye. Today a young female worker escorted me to the elevator, rode the elevator up to my floor with me and escorted me off. She said that her name was Sofia, and she was a student worker and it was her first day on the job and I was the first person that she got to talk to. Her english was okay, but you could tell that she was studying hard. I just thought WOW, she was so kind and to receive a tip is not her goal. The only people entitled to tips in the hotel are the luggage carriers. One US dollar per bag. It is no wonder China's economy is growing at the rate it is.

Day 2 cont.


She is a strong girl.

Our hotel is a beautiful five star hotel on a busy DANGEROUS street. This is the convenient store that is about 75 ft from the entrance. There are small stores all along the same street that this one is on, but none are actually large enough to walk into. The young couple that own this store is very friendly and are always there together with their one and only child, a little boy. They don't know a single word of english. I have made it a point to buy water and soda from them. Today, I wanted some juice for Mya so I drew pictures of apples on a newspaper and we worked together to find some juice in their store. I asked her if I could take a picture of her store and she giggled and let me.


Day 2 with Mya




We were told that the Chinese daughters are potty trained at a very young age. You simply put them on a potty and they go. So far it hasn't worked for us, but it made for a good picture.



Mya has been eating and sleeping very well. She is a great baby.










This is the smile that Mya is always looking at. It was the one she was greeted with at the hotel lobby and she smiles and giggles everytime he looks at her that way.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Smile, Beautiful!




Mya fell in love with Stevie instantly. She was smiling at his silly attempts to entertain her. Having him here with us has been a huge blessing and you can see God's hand in it in the way Mya loves him. His presence was relaxing and stimulating for her. Both of these pictures were taken after only a short time with Stevie being the entertainer. Mya is extremely ticklish. Just touching her ribs will make her giggle. When you rub her head, she just soaks it up. She loves to be cuddled closely and is very observant. She is attracted to bright colors, shiny objects, and textures. She is a very content baby and ate well for me. God is so faithful! He has answered our prayers. Mya has captivated our hearts and we cannot wait to share her with all of you.



Stay tuned. Video coming soon!



This is the Yifeng County Institute group. There were four girls in the adoption group at this time. All were in foster care.

Gotcha Day


Once we finally arrived in Nanchang, we loaded a bus and headed to our hotel. We thought that we were going to have an hour or two to unpack our bags and get our paperwork together before going to the civil affairs building to meet the girls. However, when we walked into the hotel lobby the orphanage caregivers were waiting for us. At the time this photo was taken, I did not know that Mya was being held on the couch by a female caregiver. You can see her behind the flowers on the table.


Mya was under the authority and responsibility of the Yifeng County Child Welfare Institute, but was with a foster care family for all but the first two weeks of her life. This little girl adopted by the Gately family was Mya's foster care sister. They had formed a bond with each other that you can see when the girls are together. When I took this photo of the Gatelys, I had not yet received Mya, and I did not know the fact that they were sisters. This is the only photo I have like this of any other family in our group.


Mya took to all 3 of us very quickly and easily. After a little while, YeYe, which means Dad's Dad in Mandarin, was able to hold Mya and she really warmed up to him fast.

On Sunday, we went to the Great Wall in Beijing. It was a long and difficult climb. Let's just say that the stairway to go to the highest lookout tower would not be OSHA approved. As a matter of fact, in the US they would make you sign a waiver or go up with a guide. But in China, you are free to climb as you wish. The five of us in this photo were the only ones in our entire group to make it to the top. Unfortunately, I had a bizarre, unexplainable camera malfunction and lost over 100 pictures and a couple of videos from the climb. I also lost my photos from the Beijing International Fellowship church meeting that we were at in the morning.
So far this is my biggest disappointment of the trip.


We were on our way to the Beijing Capital Airport by 5:20 AM to make our 2 hour flight to Nanchang, the capital city in Jiangxi which is where Mya and the other girls are from. Ironically enough, this was the first night in a week that I slept well and we almost missed the bus. Luckily, we had everything set to go the night before so we just had to throw our clothes on and run to the bus. This is our group checking in at the airport. They opened a ticketing window just for us.




Stevie and Papa at the gate waiting to board. One thing I can say about China travel is that the airport security is better and the workers treat you with more kindness and respect than the US TSA.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mya, Here They Come!

After a slight delay, the plane took off at 1:59 this afternoon and they are somewhere over Canada at this point. It is hard to believe that my little Stevie is so far away from home, but I know that he is in good hands. Poor Stevie was shaking when I hugged him good-bye and my heart broke for him. I held it together very well until I called my mom and she was very emotional, so I lost it! I have experienced such peace these last few days and I can only say it is because of the prayers of all of you.  Now I ask, what am I to do with myself for two weeks? Coffee anyone? I know that I have a list of things that I need to get done, but is is so hard to concentrate on anything else right now.

This afternoon, we had meet your teacher/locker day. Where have the years gone? My Christian is going into his first year of high school, Stevie, his first year of middle school, and Morgan, her last year of elementary. Jaden is entering second grade. I am so proud of all of my children and look forward to seeing what God has in store for them, but man, could the years slow down a bit? Love you all!


Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Itinerary

We wanted to share with all of you Steve, Jay, and Stevie's itinerary so that you would know what their days will look like while they are in China. China is 13 hours ahead of us here in Wisconsin. My prayer is that the two weeks go by fast for Christian, Morgan, Jaden, and myself. Thank you for your prayers!



DATES 
   SEPTEMBER 2, 2010 – SEPTEMBER 16, 2010 
LOCATION 
   BEIJING 
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 2      
   Depart for Beijing 12:00 PM- Ohare Airport
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 3     
   Arrive in Beijing   4:00 PM
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 
   Beijing Sightseeing: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City,             Summer Palace 
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 
   Beijing Sightseeing: Church Service, Great Wall 

LOCATION 
   JIANGXI 
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 6 
   GOTCHA DAY! A.M. – Flight to Jiangxi 
   P.M. – Meet Your Child! 
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 
   Civil Affairs Appointment 
WEDNESDAY,SEPTEMBER 8 
   Sightseeing & Shopping 
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 
   Sightseeing & Shopping 
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 
   Flight to Guangzhou for Consulate appointment &    paperwork 

LOCATION 
   GUANGZHOU 
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 11 
   Child’s Medical Exam 
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 
   Consulate Paperwork 
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 
   Consulate Appointment at 10:00 am 
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 
   Consulate Oath-Taking Ceremony 
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 15 
   Pick-up Child’s visa 
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 
   Depart from Guangzhou 
   Depart from Hong Kong 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

8 days and counting...

With 8 days before travel, I still have not convinced myself that I can pack for three (and all of the extras that need to go) in two suitcases weighing 44lbs or less each. I am an over-packer! Pack light doesn't register in my mind. It is going to be interesting. Good thing it is all males traveling, they don't need much.
Today, we have our big travel meeting with all of the others in our group, to discuss the trip in detail. I think there are a lot of details to go over because the meeting is around 2 hours long, but it will be exciting to hear more about their journey. Keep checking back because Steve will be posting photos and videos while he is in China. Thank you for your prayers.

Psalm 145:3 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Referral Day

 Zhuang Lu Yan was born on Dec 23, 2009 and is in the SWI of Yifeng County (Jiangxi). Her weight is 6.8kg (15lbs) and she is 59cm (23in) long. Side note: purple is my favorite color!

July 15th was a day like no other. We got the call around 2:30 in the afternoon. When we saw her face for the very first time, we were instantly in love with her. All Jaden could do as we gathered around the computer to view her picture was giggle. God is so good! He sustained us over this long wait even when we thought we could not hold on any longer. Thank you to all of our friends and family that walked alongside us during this journey. We are thankful!