"He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. " Philippians 1:6

Sunday, January 30, 2011

At Home and Fitting In Nicely!!

Gracie is seriously suffering from jet lag and loss of sleep today. She slept 16 hours straight, even after we got her up, dressed her and washed her face, she was back to sleep!
These girls can dance!
They like to shake it shake it shake it!
Making gingerbread cookies with Lu, who by the way says over and over again
"Oh my goodness mom, she is sooooo cute!"
Lu loves her just as much as we do!
Gracie is now referred to as the Chinese Commander.
She has no problem telling her older siblings what to do and they do it!
Here she is dressing them all up in winter clothes!
Gio is indifferent to Gracie. He likes her, but he also doesn't get all gooey over her like the others. But that is just his personality. He is fine with them being a trio! We are all different!

Backlogged China Photos

A walk down Chinese Medicine Market Lane!
Seahorses anyone?
Or would you prefer live scorpions?
Or perhaps a nice long snake?
Or a lizard on a stick?
Our last night in China
How we fell asleep each night!
Best Friends Made in China!
Gracie and Seth love each other!
True Love!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Since she only slept 4 hours on the 12 hour flight, this is one of the ways she entertained herself. She was SOOOO good on the 23 hour journey home!!! What a blessing she is!!!

At last in her Baba's arms, it is a perfect fit!!! And no worries, he loves her just as much as mama does!!!

Bryson and Marissa giving her the card they made for her! These three are going to be a trio. I can see it now!

Travel was great!!! Gracie did exceptionally well. She only slept about 4 hours on the flight, which was fine because it helped her sleep when we got home at midnight. Our goal is to stay up all day today so we can get on California time!

She slept with baba and I last night, cuddled in my arms all night long!!!! She had a rough adjustment to all the attention the littles wanted to bestow on her this am and learning to share the mama she hasn't had to share for two weeks, but once she realized the littles would play with her she has been the Chinese Nanny bossing them around all morning!!!

Truly, it is like she has always been here. More on that in another post coming!!! I do need to get dressed some time today!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Last Post From China

Saw this car as we were driving to the Consulate. I laughed and quickly snapped as I thought of my pre-trip mantra? "Can she do it?"

Sure, We Can!

In 6 hours, we will begin our 23 hour journey to home! Gracie has been very emotional today and on top of that is not feeling very well.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Red Couch Photos!

Here are the famous Red Couch photos! We traveled with four other families to Gracie's province and then met up with the rest once we got to Guangzhou. Suzie and Doug adopted the one and only adorable boy in the group. Suzie's family have become forever friends!! I am so glad we traveled together!

Gracie was the mother hen to all the babies while getting the photo taken. She was so precious with them. The one little baby on her lap cried for the photos unless Gracie held her. Gracie kept kissing her, straightening her little dress and trying to get her to turn her head towards the camera. It was too cute for words!!!

44 hours until we are home in hubby's loving arms!!! Can't wait!!! This has been a wonderful trip for both Gracie and I!!! Can't wait to share some Gracie-cakes with others!!

Consulate Appointment Today

Today, we finalized the adoption on the US side here in China. Gracie and I passed up two great opportunities to have dinner dates with other families. We opted to celebrate girl style in our hotel room with noodles and ice cream for dinner!!! Okay, Gracie had ice cream and I had a lovely little box with an after Gracie went to sleep mama treat!!!! Hence, the mischievous grin on my face in photo!

Truthfully, I love just hanging out with Gracie. Sure it would have passed some time and been fun to have dinner with some really nice families, but ya know I am perfectly content just hanging with my Gracie-cakes!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Walk in the Park!

Life with Gracie is a walk in the park!!!
Love you Gracie Mae Mae Gracie-Cakes Cupcakes Reed!

Buying Pearls with Mama

Doesn't matter what we are doing, Gracie is just so much fun to be with!!! She is truly a very good little girl!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Little Mama Gracie

Robert posting....So we all know that Gracie Mae has an awesome mama! I can attest to that, but this girl loves being a mama to her own baby. Sally says she did her own baby's hair- pony tail and all! Plus, look at that smile- makes your heart melt.

A Treat For Mama

I finally took the advice of a few of my wise friends who have been telling me to treat myself to something. Last night was the night!!! I put Gracie Mae Mae to bed and then snuggled in my own bed with a hot cup of tea, a yummy white chocolate fruit cake and my beloved borrowed kindle!! It was pure heaven in China!!

I think I loved the box the cake came in as much as the cake itself. It felt like a real gift to myself!!

Thankful for all my friends who are leaving encouraging comments and sending me emails. I so appreciate them, more than you can imagine! Keep em' coming!

My Girl!

I see gymnastics in her future!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sugar Coated Cupcakes???

If you have followed any of our other adoption journeys or my personal blog for long, you have probably anticipated at least one reality post from me. You know, the one that doesn’t sugar coat too much of it!

So this is the one. As I hear these comments such as being referred to as “Supermom” and “The lady with a big heart” I have to remind you that I am as imperfect in the mom, wife, friend and all other departments just like anyone else. Just with all my imperfections, I am desperately trying to live my life with reckless abandon for Him!!! I also hear often that I am crazy and my response these days is “Yes, I am crazy! CRAZY for Jesus!”

Is this adoption all frosting and sprinkles on yummy cupcakes? NO, the reality is this is hard. While I am literally on an island right now physically, I often feel like I am on one emotionally right now as well. However, my faith in Christ and believing with my whole heart that not only did He follow me here, He directed this path to Gracie Mae. I read Exodus 3 the other night and reminded myself that even in China I am standing on Holy Ground!!!!

And yes, at times usually in the quiet of the night, I succumb to the “what ifs” in regards to her designer genes. But once again, I remind myself that God brought us together. This is His plan and not mine nor Roberts. I am learning to trust Him like I have never trusted in the past.

What if Gracie proves to be more challenging behaviorally than she has so far exhibited? What if Gracie becomes more difficult with age?

God will give us the wisdom and tools to press through, but a better what if is what if Gracie proves to be just who she has over the last week?!?!?!

What if our older children become embarrassed or don't love her like we do or like they do the other littles? I have spent much time in prayer over this and my heart tells me that everyone who meets Gracie will love her as I think it is impossible not to, but if one of our older children has a difficult time with it then I am also at peace that God will change their hearts. It is not my responsibility to govern their hearts. My hope is they will grow and just love as I have.

What if Robert doesn’t love her like I do? I remind myself of the man who fought for her when I fell prey to weakness while caring for his terminally ill mother and when we lost my brother-in-law all while waiting for Gracie to come home. Robert has been steadfast since the day he committed to Gracie Mae and I know that will not change once we are home.

As for Gracie, she truly is as amazing as she appears on your computer screen. She makes me laugh. She makes me cry tears of humbleness. She makes me dance. She makes me want to live life with more spontaneity. She is my girl and I am indeed in love once again! Cupcakes with sprinkles anyone????

A Girl with a Purpose!

Little did my sweet girl know when she was rearranging the nightstand that finding a new location for mama's bible, where her mama finds peace being so far away from home, was going to throw mama into a full blown panic attack when she couldn't find it. But this mama has already started to think like Gracie thinks and once she did knew right where to look! Ta da her bible behind the nightstand was once again found!!!!"

They were not kidding when they said she doesn't like veggies. Look what mama found when she went to read the China Daily!

The nanny at the baby home told me that Gracie use to change the baby's diapers and get them dressed in the morning. By the looks of how she changes the doll, I think she has a future as a nanny!!!

Gracie is very observant to her surroundings. She sees lots of the adoptive moms carrying their babies in carriers. So Gracie Mae made her own carrier for her baby using her backpack and the straps!!! Tell ya, this girl doesn't miss a beat!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gracie Buying Her Own Ice Cream

 I have been giving Gracie her own money, she goes into the store with me by her side and buys her own noodles or in this case ice cream to go with her cute cupcakiness! Inevitably it turns every heart of stone into a smile!!! I just love it!!! You go Gracie Mae Mae!!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Auction for Swallow's Nest

Auction closes Sunday, February 6th to the highest bidder on this post!

Robert and I would like to auction off our souvenir of the most coveted "White Swan Going Home Barbie" and give all the proceeds to Gracie's baby home. The director of the baby home is very frugal. She does the best she can with what she has!

Now, we know that we can get up to $300 for it on E Bay. Please get the word out to post to Gracie's blog on this post to help raise money for a much needed baby home!

If you are interested in bidding on the Barbie, leave a comment on this post and dollar amount you are bidding. The bidder with the highest amount will make tax deductible donation to Swallow's Nest via paypal and then I will ship the Barbie to the winner. We will close the auction once I get home! Let's raise some funds that will go to directly serving many orphans!

Travel Day To Guangzhou

Gracie packing her banana snack for her big travel day!

Gracie sleeping on the bus to the airport!! What a kick!!! Legs up the entire time she was sleeping! Every cupcake must have shades on to sleep!!!

Gracie at the airport waiting to board plane. (in the stroller)

Seriously folks this is the smog and pollution that we had for the last 6 days. Never saw the sun in Zhengzhou. This is the reason for the extremely high number of birth defects in this particular province.

Mom pushing luggage and Gracie-cakes through the airports! Fun times!!! I needed my hubby!!! Yep, and to think I get to do it again in 6.5 days with only an hour and a half to connect flights in Hong Kong. Yippee, can't wait, feel my enthusiasm from here?

We made it to the White Swan late tonight after sitting on the tarmac for nearly one hour before departure due to air traffic control issues. Gracie was a good little girl. We had two little power struggles today that mom came out on top of each. Gracie is very smart and I just don't want her even in China thinking that she can get away with things that are not going to fly at home. I choose my battles carefully here, but this mama is smart enough to know if I give her a mile she's going to take all the way to America!!! And ya know what, by the second battle of the wills she figured it out pretty quickly and quit her fake crying really quick!!! Yeah for Gracie-Cakes!!!