Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The First Weeks

     This post is long overdue. What can I say but I am a happy mother, who feels very complete! We have been home a little over a week and finally feel settled into the new normal. Ella has adjusted beautifully. I was prepared for the worst but oh how we got the best. She has amazed us so much. I am going to write a little bit about her progress not only to share with you but also so that I can look back and remember these first few weeks.
     When we got this precious child she was very stiff. She held her hands to the side for about the first day and she did not do very much. By the end of the first day is when she attached to the little yellow comb. If you have seen any of our pictures from China you have seen her holding it because she carried it almost everywhere. At first she was very hesitant. Around the third or forth day she began to crawl around but just a very short distant and only when she thought we were not looking. She giggled when we looked in the mirror together and made funny faces. We also discovered she was very ticklish and love to be kissed and tickled. In China she mainly just took in her surroundings but she really attached to me quickly. By the end of our trip she finally would growl at us and we would growl back. Kind of funny but she laughed and seemed happy when we did this with her. It was the first form of communication and we loved it! We saw Hope through this and could see her coming to life day by day.
     Once we arrived home you could see the uneasy, unsure faces slowly fade. For the most part they are now gone. She makes them occasionally but now at appropriate times. Cooper and Avery are so good with her and love her already. She adores them and they have been good therapy for her. About the forth or fifth night we were home, Cooper and Avery wanted a snack before bed. I gave them a bowl of goldfish. She reached for one and Avery handed her one and she tried it! I about hit the fan!!! We tried so hard to get her to taste stuff in China but ended up backing off all together so that we would not frustrate her. She would only take a bottle while we where in county. She didn't like the goldfish, puff, yogurt melt, or marshmallow she then tried but she TRIED them! Thanks to C and A of course! She is now eating baby food from a spoon! Whoo Hoo!
     Everyday this little sunshine does something else. It amazes me at how quickly she has progressed. All this beautiful baby needed was love and attention. Boy, does she have that!!! She is now crawling all over the house. Even getting into things. Cooper and Avery never bothered much so she keeps me on my toes and I love it! She was pulling the lamp cord today and wondering why it was attached to the wall. I just am so happy to see her little mind working and her exploring her new environment. (Of course I stopped her!)
     So after three weeks she is eating wonderfully. She is now waving and saying hello. She will give me the phone or put it up to her ear and say hi. She shakes her head no and yes. It is funny! She plays well and throws and kicks the ball to us. She is on the move and all over the house. She is going to sleep easily and sleeping in her big girl bed and in the room with Avery. I am a happy mom. For those of you who are not familiar with adoption these things seem very normal especially for an almost two year old but for a little girl who wasn't given much attention, from an orphanage with 25 kids and one nanny, and from a place where she spent most of her time in a crib with a board as a mattress, I would say she is doing pretty well with her new life. I am so thankful God chose us to be Ella Huan Hope's parents and I will continue to be proud and blessed all of my days!

One Less

     Here is the video of our race to China for a Beautiful, Amazing little Angel!
 Hope you enjoy our journey of Hope and Faith!
Welcome home to your forever family Ella Huan Hope Greer!

Monday, January 14, 2013


     After a very long journey from the other side of the world we finally made it home to Hokes Bluff, Alabama. We were greeted in Birmingham by a wonderful crowd of familiar faces. There were balloons, signs, flowers, and lots of happy tears. Ella did wonderful throughout the process of travel and even settling into her new home.
     Once we were home a couple of days and trying to settle in to a new normal, I found it strangely odd that even though I was home it just didn't feel like home. We were in China long enough to become use to the surroundings, culture, time, and even their food. Being home and fighting jet lag, change in diet and sleep just made things so foreign. Even my bed that I missed so much, just didn't seem the same as I remembered. As I stood in the kitchen washing dishes and looking out the window I realized this is not my home. This is just a temporary place where we are living.
"For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling. Because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith and not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it." 2 Corinthians 5:1-9 (NIV)
     It gave me great comfort to know that I am "normal" just struggling with jet lag and getting used to my earthly home again, I'm human, but I am happy to know I have a heavenly home waiting for me. A place where I will always feel "home" and a place that will be lacking nothing.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Loving Ella

      We have made a lot of progress over the last couple of days. Our sweet Ella seems to be bonding very well with us. I was very happy today when our guide picked her up and started talking to her in Chinese. This is the language she knows and it was coming from a familiar face. Ella arched her back and began to cry. When I reached for her she calmed down quickly. I think our guide, Rebecca, was even impressed. I would like to say she knows her mothers touch and that I am a natural but I honestly believe this is God answering the prayers I have prayed and many of you have prayed for so long. The one thing I was really nervous about was that she wouldn't be able to except the hugs, kisses and love that I so desperately have waited to give. Thank God that she not only excepts them but loves them. She giggles and lights up every time I kiss her chubby cheeks. Such a wonderful answer to prayer!
     Last night was the first night that she laid completely relaxed on Brandon's chest. She was comfortable and peaceful. It made my heart very heavy and sad to think that this was the first time in her life she relaxed in her fathers arms and that there are millions of children who just need a parent to love and hold them. When I shared this on Facebook I was reminded by friends that many of us are struggling with life and trying to figure things out on our own but all we have to do is just relax in our Heavenly Fathers arms. He is their wanting to adopt us into His family and it is up to us not only to become part of His family but to also take the next step and trust Him with our life and completely let Him take over and rest in His arms. I am learning so much through this little child already. 

Romans 8:15-16 (NIV)
15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry,“Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

Happy New Year from GZ, China

      Things are really different for us this New Year. We normally are spending this evening with friends shooting fireworks and ringing in the New Year together. This year it is kind of funny. We are sitting in a hotel room ringing in the New Year while watching a festival on TV that is happening right down the road. We can't understand a thing and it is very humorous but entertaining.
     Today we went to a local zoo here in Guangzhou. We got to see a Panda and of course all the other favorites we see at the Birmingham Zoo. It was kind of a sad trip because Ella is to young to care and it made us miss Cooper and Avery. However, they did have this really neat Goldfish exhibit. It is in the Guiness World Records for the most goldfish and different styles of tanks in one location. Kind of funny! There was a game you could play that was a lot like Plinko from the Price is Right. Brandon and two other dads we were with played and they ironically all won. Rebecca went to collect our prizes and we joked that they were going to give us fish and what do you know we ended up with 6 goldfish. One of the other couples adopted two older children and the 6 year old was thrilled. We thought it was funny. Unfortunately we don't think they will make it back through customs, if they live that long.
     Yesterday we want to the market where the locals shop. We were able to buy pearls, jade, and some really unique things that had hand embroidery on them. Hopefully tomorrow we are going to make it to the electronic market and the Chinese traditional market. It is a free day tomorrow and those days time passes slowly. We are missing home, our kids, and sweet tea! Happy New Year from China!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ella Huan Hope Greer

     I have neglected the blog but oh have we had fun! Gotcha day couldn't have gone any better! We are over the moon in love with this little angel. God has truly blessed our family with this amazing little girl. Words can not capture how much love we have for her.  We are so ready to get her home to  meet family and friends. I can't wait to share our little treasure. I know that God has awesome plans for her. "For this child I prayed and The Lord has granted me what I have asked for." 1 Samuel 1:27
      We met our translator Grace in the lobby of our hotel at 2:00 and took a crazy 20 minute drive downtown to the Civil Affairs Bureau. I say crazy because driving is nuts here. (Will explain later) We walked down what looked to be an ally and then up the stairs to a fairly nice building. We took the elevator up to the adoption floor. There were several families already waiting. We later have met these families again and they are from all over; France, Australia, California, and even another couple from Alabama. We took a seat and Grace hurried around getting everything ready. We only had to sign one form and then she went to check to see if Le Huan had arrived. It is a five hour drive from her orphanage so they said she may be a little late. As I looked around the room everyone was waiting. Then out walks this lady with a handsome little boy and walks up to this couple and you could tell by the look on their faces that they just had met their son. As I watched this unfold my stomach did flips and I felt the tears. I prayed that God would take my emotions so that I could focus on the moment and not be a total mess. Not even two minutes later Grace said, "stand up and come here, she is here." I walked over and they quickly brought her out. Her nanny was holding her and  the director and Grace were talking in Chinese. I didn't know what was going on and you could tell she was really unsure. The nanny handed her to me and they all smiled. The rest felt very rushed and chaotic. I wasn't even sure what to do. I just kept talking to her and taking in the first moments. We took a few pictures and got to ask a few questions and then we left. She did very well. She didn't cry or fuss until I wiped a little drool off of her face. We learned quickly she is sensitive about her face. We arrived back at the hotel around 3:00! After all that work and wait we were there and back in only an hour.
     Once we arrived back at the room Grace and Brandon completed some paper work and I feed Ella her first bottle. Grace then translated the questions we wanted answered to Brandon. Lol! Brandon doesn't understand their English and he thought that she said that Le Huan likes to pray with friends of similar age. This bothered him and when we finally discussed everything last night I then informed him they meant "play" not "pray!" We laughed so hard. He wanted to ask Grace who they were praying to.  ;)
     Once she left we got to enjoy the rest of the afternoon together. She was very stiff. She wouldn't hold anything and she would not relax her arms. Slowly but surely she started to relax and the first thing she grabbed hold of was the little yellow comb. It's kind of funny because it was Cooper's comb when he was in the hospital as a new born. Now when we hand the comb to her she smiles from ear to ear!
     It has been amazing to watch how she has warmed up in just two and a half days. She will sit and play with toys in the floor. She has started to crawl around a little. At first we didn't think she could push the buttons on her toys but now when the music stops she reaches over and pushes the button to turn it back on. She loves to be kissed and tickled. She also likes to look at herself and us in the mirror. She has already formed a small attachment to me. Which is a huge answer to prayer! It has been awesome to watch this sweet little one come to life. I can't wait to see what she surprises us with next.
     We decided to call her Ella Huan Hope Greer instead of Ella Le Hope Greer. In the orphanage she went by the nickname Huan Huan. They also told us that there are four beauties in China and one of them has the name Huan in their name. They said it was very special. So in light of what we learned we couldn't call her anything else. So we now have a Ya Ya (Avery's nickname) and a Huan Huan. So perfect together!
     After a day of relaxing we are going on a few sight seeing adventures tomorrow. We are looking
forward to it and hope that Ella enjoys it. She seemed to like walking through the gardens today.
     I am going to attach a few pictures below. We can't upload many because we only have our ipad
with us in China. I will upload a lot more once we are home. I know I keep saying it, but she is such a blessing!

The view from our window in GZ, China

Getting ready for Ella

A few more pictures

     The Internet is acting funny here. So I had to attach these in a separate post. Sorry, couldn't edit the other post and it is really late here! :)

Well.... It's 12:00 here and it won't let me post anymore. Goodnight!