Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sister Play

Emily and Lily are having a lot of fun together. Today Emily was pulling Lily around in this little tractor and trailer. At one point Lily was kicking back with her feet hanging out the back looking like.....Okay sis, keep pulling! 

You spend hundreds of $'s on toys and they get more fun out of a box!

If you look closely the word juju bee is written on the chalk board. No, Lily hasn't advanced that far yet but it does look like she just wrote it. (Lily's nick name in the orphanage was Ju Ju)

Today I was pushing Emily and her neighbor friend Lia on the little green tractor you see in the picture. Lily was in the house and just having a fit to get out. Finally Christy let her out so she could join in on the fun. We couldn't fit three on the tractor so we had to move to the wagon. I pulled them around the back yard pretty fast and Lily was yelling like crazy....she loved it! I think she's ready for Magic Mountain! 

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Home Two Weeks - Incredible!

It's hard to believe that we've been home for two weeks already. This two weeks make the two weeks in China feel like a month! We really did enjoy our time in China this time much more than the first time five years ago.

Time has just flown by! As you can see, the girls are getting along quite nicely. Lily loves to copy Emily or get the same treatment from mommy or daddy. In other words, if Emily is getting her hair braided, Lily wants mommy to fuss over her hair! If Emily gets a hug from daddy, Lily wants a hug from daddy.

We have already received some of the lab tests back from the doctor and so far everything is fine. there are still some tests that they have to do but so far everything looks good.

Lily is completely adjusted to California time. She goes to bed at 9pm and wakes up at 7am, then takes a 2-2.5 hour nap after lunch. Of course she can't sleep without her wawa (doll). She is starting to demonstrate some very girly behaviors (which we thouroughly love-remember we have 5 sons!). The other night she was holding a doll and was moving its arm, making it wave bye bye to us. Tonight she was reading a book to a doll, moving its hand and pointing to pictures in a book telling the doll what they were. Of course every picture was an owl according to Lily.

In California there is always more red-tape and paperwork. When we got back we received a 35+ page document from our home-study agency..........whew! Most of it didn't even apply to us but we had to read it and initial every page........supposedly a result of the Hague requirements.

All in all things are going great! We are blessed to have Lily and continue to see more and more of her little personality each day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lily's first visit to the doctor

Today we finally got Lily to the doctor. We were having a battle with our insurance company about the fact that an adopted child should be added to your insurance immediately. There is a Federal Law OBRA'93 that mandates that an adopted child be treated the same as a biological child. Anyway, we got her added and she went to the doctor today.

How did she do? She did great! The doctor examined her and she cooperated really well. Then the doctor ordered blood tests....eeeekkkk! images of a child screaming bloody murder flooded our heads. Well, surprise! When the lab tech needed to put the tourniquet on Lily started wrapping it around her arm herself. Then she let out a little fuss when she got poked and that was it! At first the lab tech thought she was going to get a fight from Lily but she was quite surprised when she not only cooperated but tried to assist her! After the blood letting it was all over. I say blood letting because they took about  9 or 10 vials of blood! It didn't seem to phase Lily one bit, she was ready to run around after her visit to the doctor.

By the way, she does weigh 22 lbs (remember they weighed her in China and we thought, no way did she weigh 22 lbs) and is 32 3/4 inches tall. she was in the 25th percentile for height and 5th percentile for weight. That's pretty good considering that our daughter Emily was below the scale completely. Of course this is based upon an American growth chart rather than a Chinese chart. 

Another interesting fact. When we received Lily's referral it stated that she had a deformity in her ear called pre-auricular fistula in her right ear. Well, when we got her she didn't have anything externally noticeable. Today at the doctor visit she checked Lily's ears and everything looked normal! We don't understand why the medical report from China said she had this congenital issue but there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with her ear at all!!! We'll probably never know why this happened. We have our own theory, we had stated in our homestudy that we would accept a minor special needs child, and our natural born son has a deformed right ear. The CCAA knew that our son has this ear issue and may have matched us with Lily for that reason. Whatever the case may be, we know that God has sovereignly placed this little girl in our home. Of course, the fact that she shares the exact birthday Oct 17th 2006 with our grandson helps a little too!

Some Fun

Our MacBook has a program called Photo Booth where you can take pictures of yourself through various distorted lenses. Lily saw Emily doing this and thought it was funny. She got her turn and sat in front of our laptop cracking herself up with all the funny pictures. Below is one of her best

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lily's first Church Outing

Checking out the California Beach Scene!

Today our church was celebrating it's 20th anniversary. We went to the beach and had a great picnic and cook-out. Lily preferred her yogurt!

As seen above, Lily had to try on everyone's hat or sunglasses. She was snatched up by all the young girls and they just loved her. She seemed to enjoy all the attention. As we have said before, she is very extraverted and doesn't seem to have a problem in new situations.

When we walked down to the ocean she just looked at it for quite a while. She seemed to be in awe, she made several comments about it in Chinese and pointed at the waves. I have no idea what she said, probably something like....Wow! We let the waves come up and touch her feet and as you can see she liked it.

After a couple of waves Lily decided to sit down in the water and got full of sand. She didn't seem to like being all wet and messy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Home one Week

We've been home one week and one day already! It's great to say that Lily is doing great! We are getting her sleep pattern adjusted back to what is was in China (if only we could do the same!) Man, is it age or something? it's just taking so long to adjust back to CA time. Our biggest battle so far is trying to get Kaiser health insurance to cover Lily immediately. What a hassle! They don't want to cover her until Oct. 1st even though the OBRA'93 law states they are supposed to. 

What kind of progress has Lily made so far?
  • She's beginning to speak english quite well
  • She has diminished her hitting, hair pulling quite a bit
  • She is coming up to us and giving us big hugs and kisses
  • She is beginning to eat some new foods like Pizza!
  • She is handing us things that she knows she is not supposed to touch (most of the time) although she still can't seem to keep her hands off of computers etc.
  • She has warmed up to the dog to the point where the dog has to run away from her
  • She went on the potty once after waking up from her nap dry
  • She is beginning to show an interest in books, she actually let Christy read her a book today
Overall Lily is doing very well and we can only expect her to do even better next week. Things are going to be a little different when daddy has to go back to work.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

At Home Day 6

No new pictures but just a little to write about Lily. Today was our daughter Emily's Gotcha Day so we told Emily we would take her out to dinner and she could pick the restaurant. Emily picked a Chinese food restaurant we have been going to. We ordered Emily's favorite, soft noodles with veggies plus several other dishes. Lily ended up eating like a horse! She loved the soup, she slurped it up like it was going out of style. She figured out how to use chopsticks to eat her noodles and she shoveled the beef and chicken into her mouth like she was back at home. Then, at the end of dinner the waitress brought over some ice cream, Lily loved it! The ladies at the restaurant tried to speak to her in Mandarin but she would only respond by pointing or acknowledging yes or no. She seems to get pretty shy around strangers, at least for the first few minutes. Anyway, we believe we've found Lily's favorite restaurant too.

Also, I took Lily with me to work to pick up my paycheck. Of course everyone wanted to meet her. At first she acted very shy and didn't interact much but within 5 minutes or so she was giving high-fives and blowing kisses to people. She really is quite a social little one. We are sure that God is going to use this quality for His purposes sometime in the future, much like her sister. To have two outgoing daughters was not what we expected God to give us, but, His plans and purposes are far above our own. Our logic was that God would not give us TWO outgoing girls but we don't know His plans for them, only He does.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

At Home Days 3 & 4

Day 3 at Home

Lily seems to be feeling quite comfortable here as you can see in the picture above. She's just relaxing in her little chair and enjoying all her new family members, including our dog, Ginger.
Yesterday Lily was warming up to the dog, then this morning she acted afraid of her again. By the end of today she was chasing the dog and the dog had to run away from her!!! Lily even puts her face down near the dog so the dog can give her a ching ching (a kiss). Tonight Lily wanted to hold the dog and the dog wanted down, she couldn't understand why she couldn't keep the dog in a head lock.

We finally got Micah and Lily together for this picture. Remember these two were born on the same day. We think he weighs at least 10 lbs. more than her and as you can see he is almost a head taller. 
Lily is also getting along really well with Emily. They sat and played with this pretend cash register for quite a long time today. Lily is quick to give Emily hugs and kisses. There is still the occasional hair pulling or push, but nothing like at first.

No, she hasn't become a California girl already. The phone is dead but Lily doesn't know that. My son Jacob gave her this phone because she stole his real one and wouldn't give it back. He was trying to talk to his fiance on the phone and Lily was running around the house with his phone in her hand and we could hear his girlfriends voice on the phone as she ran through the house, Lily.....Lily....Ju Ju......anyway, you get the picture. So Jacob gave her one of his old phones and she was quite happy with it.

How is Lily Doing?

I would say overall she is doing very well. She is eating most of what we give her. She has almost completely adjusted to the time difference (way better than mom and dad have). She seems very happy. Since we have had her now going on two weeks we have seen a decrease in the hitting, pinching etc. Once in a while she will still just freeze up in frustration or anger. Usually associated with not getting her own way. But even this behavior has seemed to diminish in duration and frequency.

When it's nap time, she says good night to everyone, gives kisses and goes right down. She has been doing better at nap time than at bed time. She has gotten very upset at night so we tried something different. We found that she does better if someone stays in the room with her for a few minutes to assure her that we are still there. It seems that she is used to someone being in the room when she sleeps. This is where visiting the orphanage helped. We visited her sleeping area and the kids were actually taking a nap at the time of our visit. The ayi (nanny) was there in the room with the kids. It appeared that she was making sure they stayed in their beds. So, based upon that we figured she's probably used to having someone in the room when she falls asleep. So last night and tonight we stayed in the room for a few minutes and sure enough, she fell right to sleep.

We have had quite a few visitors, just family but we have a big family. We have been judging how Lily does with groups of people. We would not have had people over if it seemed to upset her or bother in any way. So far she has done remarkably well. She is a very social girl as the Ayi's and volunteers at the orphanage would probably attest.

We did skip church this morning though. Mostly because Christy and I are both still exhausted from not being fully adjusted to the time.

Lily is quickly learning words in english. She is a very quick learner and seems to understand a lot. I'm sure she will be speaking in sentences in no time at all.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

First Day Back Home

Lily and Micah Hit it Off!

This is actually a make-up kiss, earlier Lily got mad at Micah for something he was doing and she sat there, holding up her little index finger waving it in Micah's face, scolding him in Chinese for something he did that she didn't like. Of course we were not able to capture it on video, but it was hilarious!
Lily is not quite sure what to think about this ball of fur that moves

Lily is starting to warm up to Ginger our dog. She actually asked to hold her!

We were very blessed by our sons and daughters-in-law who had cleaned the house, mowed the lawn, and did the laundry. Lauren & Aaron made us a welcome home sign, bought us groceries and dinner and brought balloons to welcome us back. Of course we were exhausted but we were also very happy to see everybody. Since we had used the iChat while we were in China Lily already recognized everyone, including Ginger. Lily seemed to warm up to everyone quite well. Of course, she is a very social little girl anyway.

We are still trying to adjust to the time change. It is difficult to switch back from day to night etc. Our first night Lily went to bed at 9:30 pm or so, then woke up at 11 something. We stayed up with her until 3am then she slept until 11 am! Please pray that we all quickly adjust back to California time. 

Thank you all for your prayers for the plane trip home. We could not have endured as well as we did without them. After being awake for 22 hours your nerves get a little frazzled but because of your prayers  we did pretty well. 

We will continue to post pictures and update the blog for family and friends to view and especially for you waiting families. We know how hard it is to wait and wait and wait. We waited about 3 years for Lily. When we started this adoption the wait between log in and referral was only 5-7 months, boy did that change in a hurry! We were logged in in January 16th, 2006 and we got Lily September 1 2008. But, the wait is worth it!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

We Made It Home!

Touch Down!

(We had to touch Lily's feet on U.S. soil to make it official! )

After what seemed like two eternities, we finally made it home to California. Lily did great on our flight from Guangzhou to Tokyo (4.5 hrs). She took a nap and played the whole time. On the flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles she stayed awake for the first 5 hours (flight total hrs 9.5). We had to get pretty creative to keep her entertained and quiet. We had brought some toys but she didn't seem interested in them for very long. I have a watch with little dials that go around with the push of a button and I can't tell you how many times I pushed them and watched them go "round and round" with Lily. Hey, whatever works to keep her from screaming her head off on the plane. Finally, after ~5 hrs she conked out for about 3 hrs. 

Above, our grandson models his new outfit, hat and all. Micah and Lily are exactly the same age. We will post a picture of them together when we can get them to hold still. He towers over her.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Leaving this Morning

We are leaving this morning for home. Please pray for us. We have about 16 hours of flight ahead of us and when we get home the day will just be beginning in California, so we covet your prayers.

Thank You,

The Hammersleys

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Our Last Group Dinner In Guangzhou

Dinner at the Full House Restaurant

Tonight the entire CHI group had dinner together courtesy of CHI. It's nice to get together with other adoptive families and exchange stories and experiences. Several in our group speak Mandarin and are able to communicate with Lily. Tonight she seemed to get very frustrated and at one point she started crying. We had a similar experience this morning at breakfast. Lily wanted something and I wasn't getting it. She got so frustrated that she went into kind of a shut down mode for about 5 minutes then she got over it. We know this will get better over time. She's going to have to learn english because it would take us a lot longer to learn Chinese.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Medical Exam Day / Shopping Day

Medical Examination Day

The medical exam, as you may have heard, is quite a brief, very cursory exam. It consists of  three parts, the ENT visit (pictured above) where they determine whether your child can hear or not.  The lady squeezes a squeaky toy next to your child's ear, and if they turn their head.....well, their hearing is fine! Lily did great here, the lady explained everything she was going to do and Lily just let her do it. She even turned her head so the lady could examine her other ear. She even opened her mouth so they could put the popcicle stick (official term) inside. Next we went on to the Weigh Station where they weigh your child (soaked diaper and all). Again, the lady explained everything to Lily, she showed her the temperature probe, that it wouldn't hurt her and Lily let her put it under her arm. Then, they put her in the fish scale with her two pound diaper.....Yep, 22 lbs! Not! Then we went to the "Medical Surgical" room. This gentleman did not explain hardly anything to Lily but she did just great. She even managed to knock the guys glasses off when she grabbed for his stethoscope. I think we have another doctor in the family.....Emily being the first. Well, anyway, for you waiting families, it will be one of the highlights of your stay! especially for those of us who are in the medical field!


Shamian Island is probably the most convenient place to do your shopping for souvenirs. You could spend pretty much an entire day there. The best shop is Jordan's. Jordan is such a nice guy and he really puts his heart into his work. He has very reasonable prices and the quality of his work (etchings, chops) is very good.

Lily did especially well during our 4-5 hours of shopping. She didn't complain one bit. She just sat in the stroller and looked adorable! Many people stopped us and commented on how beautiful our daughters were, they loved Lily's curly hair, they also say she's very smart.

Again we were stopped by some Chinese ladies and they asked all sorts of questions about the girls and again thanked us for adopting them. 

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Fun Day in Guangzhou

Lily is finally letting Emily help her and play with her without hitting and pushing her away. She realizes that Emily is going to be nice to her and not hit her or take away her things
The Westin has a great play room with tons of really fun toys for the little ones. There were a lot of toys that we've never seen before. Anyway, Lily and the other little ones had a great play time. They actually did quite well in getting along with each other. no hitting etc. Lily tried out quite a few of the different toys that you can sit on or ride. She seemed to really like to play with the cups and forks and spoons. she liked pretending she was feeding herself and others.

Lily did really well in the water. At first she was a little afraid and would not let daddy hold her, only mommy. Later she let daddy play with her and even let him put her on her back. It took quite a while before she was ready to get out of the pool.

Another Breakthrough

Today at dinner Emily was standing in front of Lily and had her hair right there for Lily to pull. Lily grabbed her hair, looked at us then let go without pulling her sisters hair. That was great! Before she would have just yanked her hair and then laughed. She's starting to get it. She's starting to see that Emily is not a threat to her and that she (Emily) is being nice to her and she doesn't have to always be on the defense. Emily has had her own struggles with jealousy and has been somewhat impatient with Lily's behavior, but she's very aware of it and communicates her feelings to us when it happens.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

God's Faithfulness

I would like to take time to thank God for all the awesome things He has done on this trip. Christy and I have been praying for a long time that Lily would be loved in the orphanage and be able to receive love when she comes to us. Well, He has answered that prayer in abundance. First of all, He provided volunteers at the orphanage (some being christians) who have been seeing Lily for the past year. One of the volunteers chose to focus on two of the children, one of which was Lily and they prayed regularly for her. They had been praying that God would bring a christian family to love and care for Lily, so it's like she was sandwiched in prayer. Also, Lily was one of the favored children in the orphanage. All the Ayi's seemed to know Ju Ju, everywhere we went there was someone else who knew her and had cared for and loved her. Now, she has begun to really warm up to us, she's coming up to us and giving us big hugs. She's kissing us without having to be told to, it is a blessing to see God's faithfulness in the life of one little child. It shows how  much He cares individually for each one, to the extent that He will move on the heart of a family all the way around the world to come and bring that little one into their home that He has chosen for them. AWSOME!

Secondly, we are traveling with a very nice group of families. Many of which are first time parents, they have been able to ask Christy questions and draw on her experience as a mom. You can just see God's provision for them. Also, we were the only family who had been here before when we were in Nanjing, so it seemed to help the other families when they had questions. It also helped us in not being so intimidated by everything, I think we have been able to enjoy things more since it's not totally foreign to us.

We have also been able to enjoy the Chinese people. We seem like such and oddity to them, these caucasian people walking around with two Chinese girls, but they are always friendly and very nice to us and the girls. Several times I would see a Chinese man or woman give us the "thumbs-up" sign like they are happy to see their chinese daughters getting a family. 

Off to Guangzhou

(Emily is a real trooper on airplanes, she especially likes the take offs)

Today we flew to Guangzhou for the final leg of our journey. In Guangzhou we will complete the U.S. part of the adoption, the medical examination (this is where they hold up a bell or something next to the child's ear, and if they move their head when is sounds, "Yep, your hearing is fine")

Lily fell asleep after our "lunch" on the plane. All I had to do was tell her it's time to sleep and I placed her head on my shoulder....voila....she was out. I was even successful in passing her off to her mommy.
Who couldn't love this little face
Lily is checking out the view from the Westin Hotel, it's quite spectacular.
We were absolutely blown away by our room here at the Westin. It is HUGE! It is also very nice. Very modern decorations, Japanese style sliding doors to the bathroom, flat screen television, marble desk and more.... Really nice!

A Little Note about Lily

So far, everyone who has encountered her have noted how very smart she is and how well she communicates to them. She speaks Mandarin and Wu dialect and some english. Someone had been teaching her some english words. You should hear her say pillow, she says peddo, it's so cute. She says car, bed, shoe, Emmy, bye bye, and will repeat just about any word you tell her to. Of course she doesn't understand what it means but that's only a matter of time. She does have some bad behaviors, such as hitting, pinching, spitting, yelling, but what do you expect from a child who has had very little one on one instruction and training and no parenting at all. Over all she is very well behaved. She is beginning to initiate kisses to her sister rather than hitting her. She has been coming up to Christy and myself and giving hugs and kisses, overall she is doing quite well considering how aware she is about what's going on.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Special Dinner with Nancy and Tai

Nancy and Tai took us to a very nice restaurant in Nanjing, just a short walk form the hotel. They ordered many different dishes and they were all delicious! 

This is our last night in Nanjing so we had to say good-bye to Tai. Tai (not sure of spelling) was a very sweet lady. She made our visit to Nanjing very special.

Finishing up Paperwork

More Paperwork

This afternoon all the ladies met with Nancy to finish up our paperwork. All the dads got kiddie duty. We thought it was going to be only one hour, it ended up being over two.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Visit to Nanjing City Wall

This is one of the inner courts within the wall
Nanjing was the capitol of China at one point. The ruler built a wall around the city for protection. The wall is 19 miles long and the average height is 39 ft. On top of the wall it is wide enough to drive a car.

The lady on the left is Thai, she is our tour guide while in Nanjing. She is a very sweet person and has made us feel very welcomed. She lives here in Nanjing and has been giving us a good education on Chinese history. 
At this site there are 4 gates for protection. During battle the soldiers could stand above and throw stones etc onto their enemies.

Tonight is our last night in Nanjing, tomorrow we fly to Guangzhou. Tonight Nancy and Thai are taking us to a nice restaurant for dinner. It has been a huge blessing having Nancy here since we knew her from 5 years ago. It's nice to have a familiar face and she is a very helpful and sweet lady.  

Thank You Nancy!