Saturday, October 31, 2009

Annabelle is home !!!

She did so well that she was able to come home a day early.  Annabelle was originally scheduled to stay at the hospital at least two nights.  She recovered very quickly so, the doctors discharged her Friday night October 30th.

This is Annabelle and Rebecca getting checked in for the surgery.

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She had some fun while we were all waiting.

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Rebecca and I took turns strolling her around.  I think we played with every toy there!

We were delayed two hours because of an emergency surgery that came in while we were there.  They had to take our operating room so, we had to wait for another one to become available.  We ended up waiting in this one area for almost 4 and half hours.  Annabelle had not eaten anything since 9PM on Wednesday night.  She did not go in for surgery until 1 PM Thursday afternoon.  She did not complain once for food or drink this entire time!  What a trooper!

Loma Linda University Medical Center had a treat for the kids in the hospital for Halloween.  this is one thing we were able to do while waiting for the surgery.

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We took Annabelle around to get toys and treats.  We did no let her see the cookies that were available though!!

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She even got some necklaces!

Well, that first night was really rough for Annabelle but, we got her home early and she is doing very well.

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This is our first family picture with Annabelle back at home with her new mouth.

 Annabelle and family 10-2009 206

This is Annabelle having her first meal at home.  She loves Malt-O-Meal.

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Daniel is real happy to have us all back together as well.  He was not allowed to go visit Annabelle at the hospital.  You had to be 18 years or older.  We had some family help us out at the hospital and hanging out with Daniel while we were out.

Here is a before and after picture of Annabelle with daddy.

 Annabelle and family 10-2009 180 Annabelle and family 10-2009 203

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support!  I know Annabelle felt God’s blessings all the way.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Annabelle’s Surgery on 10-29-2009

Annabelle had her cleft lip and palate repair surgery on Thursday 10-29-2009 at 1:05 PM.  The surgery was delayed almost three hours because of an emergency that took the room.  Poor baby, the last time she had food was the prior night at 9 PM.

She was done with the surgery and off to the recovery room at 4:45 PM.  The surgeon stated she was very happy with the results.  It was really scary seeing her right out of recovery.  It was a LONG night for Annabelle and daddy.  She kept waking up crying.  She was probably in a little pain but also uncomfortable with the arm braces (they keep her from picking at her stitches), the sourness in her throat from the tubing during surgery and the odd feeling of her new mouth.  Daddy stayed with her last night and she looks much better this morning.  She is eating from her bottle already and doing well.  She may even be able to come home today if she keeps getting better.  We will know for sure when the doctor checks on her tonight.

We will try to post updates to her progress as we can.

Thank you all for your prayers and kind words!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Annabelle’s schedule for surgery

Hello all, we are doing well over here.  Annabelle is doing very well.  We’ve had many Doctors appointments lately and wanted to give you an update.  Today was a very stressful one.  She has to get some lab work done so, we went to the local Corona hospital lab where they had to take 8 tubes of blood from her!  Poor thing.  They had to go into both of her tiny little arms.  Daddy held her while mom was in the other room . . . crying.  She was a very good girl.  She did not fight it.  So far, she has seen a pediatrician that specializes in internationally adopted children.  We will also see him at 3,6 and 12 months from now on to keep track of any development and attachment issues that could arise.  He is very good and we look forward to reporting her progress.  We’ve seen our regular family practitioner , just to keep them up to date, as they will be handling all minor/regular health needs.  We’ve also been to and are finished signing her up with the California Children Services.  That way we are able to start the process of correcting her cleft lip/palate.  AND we’ve already seen the Dr.’s from her cleft lip/palate team, including her plastic surgeon. The plastic surgeon will be performing the repair.  She is very nice and we’ve seen a book with some of her past surgeries (before and after).  They look real good.  She has travelled to several countries around the world, donating her time and talent, so she has worked on children from infancy to teenage years.   Also, all three pediatricians that she has seen noticed that Annabelle has a slight heart murmur that has, so far, not seemed to have affected her growth and development, but needs to be checked out. 

So here is a list of her upcoming doctor’s appointments:

  • Sept. 30th – an echocardiogram (to check her heart murmur)
  • Oct. 16th – ENT (Ears, Nose and Throat specialist) to clean her ears (she has so much wax in there, they cannot see her ear drums clearly) and to run a hearing test.  This is to see if she needs tubes placed in her ears during the surgery.
  • Oct. 21st – pre operative appointment (paperwork and family history-hahaha-like we have any)
  • Oct. 29th – surgery to correct her cleft lip and palate (so we will be able to see her real smile)

Please keep her in your prayers !  She has a lot to go through, but with everyone’s prayers and support…she will be just fine….better than fine!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

We’re back!! FINALLY!!

We arrived late Thursday night around 9 PM.  We are still on China time but recouping rather quickly.  Annabelle too is adapting well to the time change.  We are still very exhausted both physically and mentally.  That is the main reason we are so late in posting anything about our return.

The flight back was so much better than going to China.  The food was decent enough, the service was much better too.  Since we left China at around 6 PM, we were able to sleep most of the 12 hour flight back.  In fact, Annabelle slept about 9 hours of it.


Annabelle on the flight back with her Heffalump doll.


She slept well.  We did OK.  She only screamed a couple of times during the night.

We really do appreciate all the wonderful comments we received while away.  It helped us more than you know. 

Annabelle has adapted very well to her new home.  She loves the dogs and the rabbit.  She fit right in with all the changes as if she had been here before.  She is an amazing little girl.  We are very blessed to have her.  We are still stressing over the major change that bringing a new child into your life gives.  Any parent would understand the changes that occur.

A big thank you to Rebecca’s dad, Ed and his friend Nina for picking us up at LAX.  It was such a relief when we saw their faces.  It really felt like we were finally home.  My sister Jennifer and Duane were at our house to greet us and Annabelle of course.  A nice very welcome.


Annabelle got comfortable quick to her new home.  She took up her play stroller and cruised the house.

The dogs were so very excited about us coming back home.  They gave us lots of kisses.  I can imagine that they wondered if we would ever return.  Or if they thought they did something wrong to make us leave.  They seem to really like Annabelle.  Especially the two corgi’s.  They follow her around hoping for food to fall, which often does.  Our little vacuum cleaners!

One of our family members told us that this type of travel will change our lives forever.  Yep, she was right.  Are we glad we went?  Absolutely.  Would we go back to China? . . . . .  . . right now, we would say, no.  Maybe when Annabelle grows up.  Not anytime soon.

What a crazy mix of emotions we all went through, and are still going through.  The flights, the travel, time change, getting a new daughter, meeting strangers who now are taking you everywhere, dealing with bad water, language barriers, expenses, etc.  But the love.  The love we have for our Lord and His love for us endures it all.  We still need your prayers to help us all adjust; to be able to pay back the funds it took for this adoption; but mostly for Annabelle’s future surgeries.  That is what makes me, daddy, so concerned.  She may have to have multiple surgeries and/or stay in the hospital for up to five days or more recovering.  That is the most stressful thing we still have to go through.

Here are a couple more shots of our final days in China just waiting for time to pass until we can go home.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Photo Gallery web

I am going to add photos of our trip to my Live web site.

Use the link below to get to the public photo albums:

We will try to update both the blog and the photo gallery as often as we can.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday in Guangzhou

Today was a very tough day for us all. We had to take Annabelle to the medical clinic. The exams were very basic but she had to have 5 shots!! Ouch!! She had one shot in each arm and each leg. Then another TB shot in her forearm. She was pretty tough actually. She did not cry until they gave her the fourth shot. At that point, I guess she had enough. Very rough on Daddy too, he had to hold her. Mom had to leave the room. Daniel just played his Nintendo DS game. she is 24.5 pounds.

Our room here is very nice. It is very roomy. The room we had in Nanchange was pretty small. Even worse when you add a full size crib. This room in Guangzhou has two areas and a large bathroom with a bath an a shower. Three beds and small crib fit just fine. Great view as well, we are on the 32nd floor. Yikes! The breakfast buffet is on the 45th floor and it rotates. Very cool! It takes some time to get used to the movement.

We had some lightning storms yesterday too. It struck the mountains quite a bit. We saw a small fire start after the lightning strikes. It did not get too big, they put it out very quickly.

Annabelle seems to be having a great time. She just loves her stroller. To push and to be pushed. After all the shots yesterday she got a small fever. We gave her some children's Tylonol and she was better. She slept from 5 PM Saturday night to 5:30 AM Sunday morning. Whew!! all those shots and excitement did her in. Poor baby. She is still eating VERY well. Her skin looks better every day. Her hair is softer. Her cheeks are getter a little poofier, too. She is very happy with us. Apparently, she is an outside girl, we cannot wait to show her our house and animals! She will probably be in our back yard with Becka most of the time.

I will try to get some pictures posted soon. I may just put them on my Live website and put a link in this blog. I am guessing all of China is blocking blogger. I cannot log in from any hotel so far. Oh well.

More to come. . . . . . .

Monday, August 24, 2009

meeting Annabelle

Ni hao from China !! it is tuesday now and we've had a whirlwind monday to say the least. our plane landed in Nanchung (capitol of Jiangxi province) about 10:30 am on monday morning. we went straight to the hotel and had about 10 min to freshen up and went down to the hotel lobby and met our little girl. the orphange director and another gentleman were there. we had 5 min to look at her and they gave her to us and we headed up to the room with her and our guide (Coby), filled out some paper work (about 20 min) and then had time with her (about an hour). then it was off to do more paper work at the adoption center. there were 4 other couples there that were also adopting. one couple was from the UK and the others were from the US I think. that took about an hour and we received the finalized documents. then it was off to the notarty (short office appt. where i left behind my bag accidently) . major brain fart ! but i think we are intitled to some slack here :) no worries ,our guide went back by himself and picked it up for us. then it was off to the chinese super center (a store with 5-6 floors and they sell everything from fresh food to cosmetics and clothes) because we forgot to pack bottles (more brain farts :) ). we picked up some KFC chicken and french fries and came back to the hotel for the night. WOW what a day. so tired and emotional !!

For me (becka), i'll describe the day as an out of body experience mostly. i was there going through all the motions, but everything was going so fast, i didn't have time to process (and anyone who knows me, knows i need alot of time to process). Today(tuesday) is better, i'm catching up to the enormous change that just occured yesterday. I will say that Annabelle is a very easy child so far. As long as you are feeding her she is happy. she loves the little cars we brought for her. she also loves the toy keys we brought. Cars and keys, maybe she'll be a race car driver :) !! She slept through the night, but would yell out in her sleep about every 2 hours....... that was kinda freaky. so we didn't sleep too well. hopefully tonight will be better. she is a neat and orderly child too. if she has socks on, she likes to pull them up to her knees and her blanket has to be flat and smooth. she is an articulate little one also. she is good at stacking, rolling, and turning things. very inquisitive. she seems comfortable with us most of the time. when she woke up this morning, she saw us and smiled and laughed. :) she has a halirous smile because of her cleft lip.

Today (tuesday) was nice. we woke up early (because that is when Annabelle gets up). leisurely got dressed and went down stairs for a nice breakfast. Annabelle sat in her highchair and ate a ton of food. she loves watermelon and eggs. then we met our guide in the lobby and walked down the street to a monument place called Teng Wang Ge. the original building is about 13 thousand years old, but was rebuilt 29 times because of fires and wars. it was surrounded by beautiful gardens and ponds. and up at the top of it (6 floors) was a traditional chinese show with singing and dancing. very pretty. HOLY MOLY, the weather, it's like 90 degrees and totally humid. we were all dripping with sweat and we were only out for two hours or so.

Right now Danny and Annabelle are taking naps.....all tuckered out. I am very home sick already and can't wait to see all of you when we return. jennifer, give my doggies more huggs for me !! we will update you soon. we are scheduled to fly out to our next and last province friday.

love to you.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Beijing on Saturday and Sunday - China time.

Hello everyone. We've had a couple of very busy days. We were so tired yesterday, we did not have time to blog. We got back from the days events, showered and went to sleep.

On Saturday our guide took us to Tienanmen Square, Summer Palace, Forbidden City, a pearl factory and a great tea house called Dr. Tea. We also had two group meals along the way.
The square and Forbidden City were quite busy for us but apparently was normal for them. It was much, much bigger than we imagined. It got more and more beautiful the further in we went. The tea house was a very nice touch. The best tea you can imagine is there. Nothing in bags. Apparently, REAL tea does not come in little bags. Our guide, Rosa has been wonderful. She is very helpful and informative. We are learning so much about the city, China and the culture.

Sunday (today) we were taken to the Beijing International Christian Fellowship for a Sunday morning church service, a jade factory, a Cloisonne factory, THE GREAT WALL, and the site of the 2008 Olympics (water cube, birds nest etc.) and two group meals again.
Church was fantastic. We had a group of blind orphans come in and sing a French song. . .in French! Very sweet. The jade factory had the most jade I have ever seen. Very beautiful. The Cloisonne factory made these enamel coated copper items; bowls, vases, etc. Beautiful and extremely time consuming to make. The best part of the day was the Great Wall of China. We only visited a fraction of it, of course, it is something like 4000 miles long! Daniel and I climbed up a very steep set of stairs. Extremely exhausting.

We seem to be adjusting to China time pretty well.

Tomorrow is the day we have been waiting for......we pick up Annabelle ! We are very exhausted and hope to be able to post some more pictures soon (kind of tricky as Blogger is blocked in China), so we will talk to all soon.

Much love to you all and God Bless :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

We Arrived!!

We arrived at the Beijing airport at 4:30 AM local time. The flight was only 11 hours 40 minutes not 12 hours 40 minutes. WOW , it was quit miserable. very tight seats, not very clean and I (Rebecca) got sick on the plan for the first half of the flight. We tried to sleep on the plan, not very successfully. So as you can imagine, we were so tired by the time we arrived. the weather is warm and humid. It was about 80 degrees at 4:30 am as we got off the plane. And cloudy today, but we are so glad to see the sun out. the whole time on the plan it was dark out, and the flight attendants kept turning out the lights on the plan. I guess they we trying to keep us on a schedule of some sort. :) The Beijing Capital Airport is huge and clean and beautiful and pretty empty while we were there.
After going through check points and turning in a little health declaration form (swine flu) and collected our luggage, Rosa from America World was waiting for us, walked us to a van right outside and drove us the our hotel (Best Western Premier Beijing). Very nice hotel, very clean. All the people here have been very kind so far. We came up to the room, ordered room service (the food on the plane was kinda funky) and took a nice long nap……feeling sooooo much better.
We plan to go walking around some today. We miss everyone (I totally miss my dogs, I didn’t say goodbye to them) :( Jennifer give them hugs for me, thanks. We are doing fine and will update you tomorrow. Love to you all.

This is us leaving our house at 8:30 PM Wednesday night, US time.

This is the view of Beijing outside our hotel window.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Leaving a day early?

Well sort of.
We are leaving tonight. Our flight from LAX to Beijing leaves at 1:40 AM tomorrow morning. Since we are taking a shuttle which wants to plan enough time to go from Corona to LAX and we need to be at the airport well before the flight leaves. . . . we are being picked up by the shuttle at our house at 9:10 PM tonight!

When do we get some sleep? Good question! I think we may get some sleep when we come back home at night on Thursday September 3rd!!!

Love to all and thank you for your prayers and support!! Much more info to be posted in the coming days!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's official!! We go to China on the 20th!

After nearly three years of waiting, we are finally going to China this month to pick up our daughter, Annabelle! We will leave Thursday August 20th and return on Thursday September 3rd.

We will not be reachable by cell phone. We will have a Skype phone with us to be able to make calls out from. We may also be available via Live Messenger. I will try to have my account logged in when we are at the hotels.

Check back often.  We will try to update it as much as possible with pictures and maybe some video.

Please keep us in your prayers while we journey half way around the world. We are hoping Annabelle will be receptive to us and will fast become a part of our family. She has been in our hearts for so long now, we feel she is already with us.

Monday, August 3, 2009

America World received our TA from China today!!!

Our Travel Acceptance came in today!!!  We will most likely be leaving for China on August 20th !!!!!


We will know for sure in the next couple days but so far that is what America World is planning for the next group to leave.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Delay getting Annabelle

We were originally hoping to make the July group on the 30th but our adoption agency, America World, did not get our Travel Approval from China (CCNA).  In fact, we are not sure if America World has received our TA yet at all.

The next group to go to China is tentatively scheduled for August 13th or the 20th.

Please keep us in your prayers.  This is the most stressful time for us as we are so close, yet we do not know when we will go get our beautiful daughter.

Thank you.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Annabelle’s Baby Shower on 06-27-2009

We had a wonderful shower.  So many of our family and friends showed up.

We played two games.  One called “Feed the baby” and the other “Pin the Family on the Orphanage”.  Everyone had a great time.

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Our friend Susie won the “Feed the baby” game with 16 cookies!  Go Susie! 

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Rebecca’s sister, Sarah won the “Pin the Family on the Orphanage”.

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With lots of help we provided yummy food.  Homemade everything !  Fried wontons, chicken and veggies with rice AND vanilla cake with pink frosting.

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Annabelle received so many great gifts.  THANK YOU TO EVERYONE!

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We set out a picture of Annabelle Yali, we wanted everyone to see her.

We are still hoping to go pick her up in China by the end of July.

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Thank you again to everyone!!  We are so blessed to have so many people helping us through this LONG adoption process.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Baby Shower and Registry

We are having a Baby Shower for Annabelle on June 27th at our house.  We are very excited!!  We registered at Babies R Us for this event.  We are not sure what size clothes she will wear so we did not register for any clothing.  We plan on going on a shopping spree once we get her home!  She will love that.  OK, well, we will love that!!

We did register for some cute Ni Hao, Kai-Lan toys such as this one:

Fisher-Price Ni Hao Kai-Lan Emotion Plush: Happy Kai-Lan -  Fisher-Price - Toys"R"Us

Think of it as a kind of Chinese Dora the Explorer.

Down to the wire. . . . .

We are finally getting close to travelling to China!!

We just sent off our final I-800 immigration form to the Department of Homeland Security on Friday.  Once we get a notice that it is approved then our adoption agency, America World Adoption, can finalize our travel plans.  We are still hoping to go with a group in July.  We will let you all know when we have or travel dates.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dresser rebuild and doll house/bookshelf

Rebecca and I rebuild the old Mitsubishi TV cabinet that Danny Sr. and Lesley had.  We gutted the cabinet and put in shelves.


Then we looked around for the perfect sized wicker baskets and a wooden CD tray.  Put a couple of pretty ceramic knobs on the doors and CD tray.




Of course, we have to have a dog in the picture . . . .they’re everywhere!!


Frank likes to check everything out as well.

Rebecca also painted this toy box and hooks.


The room is just about complete!!!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Annabelle’s new/used daybed

Rebecca finished restoring the daybed we received a couple of years ago!  It looks beautiful.


She spent a lot of time on it.  We put in new bolts and caps (I still have to mount them).


Of course we have to have a picture with Dougie in it!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The wood floor is finally finished!

I love wood floors.  They are so much easier to install than the Saltillo tile we are putting in downstairs.  Those are a nightmare.  Many preparation steps just to lay them down and then there are more steps to take!  Then the wait for curing.  UG!

Anyway, here are pictures of the wood floor in Annabelle’s room.


Complete with dogs!



Thursday, April 16, 2009

Annabelle’s Room – update

This is how far we are now after 2 days of working on the wood floor.

004 It’s a little hard to see with the tools and stuff in the way but, we are progressing.006

We already have a bunch of clothes for her.  We have had years to purchase things, here and there.


We have blankets, furniture, etc.

Rebecca fixed up the crib we purchased a little while ago at a garage sale.  Touch-up, re-painted, etc.


Of course Dougie likes the crib as well!!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Annabelle’s Room

We are continuing work on Annabelle's room! Lotsa fun. We actually know who she is and approximately when she is coming home. This gives us a whole new excitement.

Here is our progress on the wood floor today. . . . .


We bought the wood flooring, compressor and brad nail gun with the money made off the garage sale we had last July.


clip_image002Here is Frank already being the protective one!




Of course Dougie just follows mom . . . and the camera!




  Here I am, working hard!!



  Not an easy task.019