Monday, June 29, 2015

Brooklyn is an official LaCroix!

*this post is from Monday and Tuesday as I have had a hard time connecting to the internet with the vpn......China doesn't allow social media sites and blocks them.  Therefore we need a vpn to make a tunnel to by pass....but obviously it doesn't always work.

We have our beautiful baby girl! We met Brooklyn around 3:30 this afternoon. She was in a room with her foster sister and nanny. Our guide held her from the door entry so we could get a peak of her before officially meeting her. He actually invited Jack in the room but no one else. We're not sure if it's because Jack is Chinese or little. I think it has to do with his nationality.

Brooklyn is the sweetest girl! She is very quiet and reserved. She has preferred both Doug and I and likes the kids from a distance.  She is now warming up to them today.  We have been told that she was very close with her Baba(foster father). After we returned to the hotel she cried for Baba several times. It was so sad and I tried to comfort her the best I could with a language barrier. Several of the kids started to cry when they saw her crying for him. It was pretty heartbreaking. Now it's been several hours since she had asked for him. Our prayer was that she would receive comfort and love from us and God has been so kind in giving that to her.

Brooklyn is a very tall girl! The measurements were right unlike what I thought.  She barely fits in her 18month clothing.  She also has very large feet with some long toes.

She is doing well so far.  Today she is showing a little more of her will.  She was said to be a "coddled girl" which I am seeing may be pretty accurate.

We went back to the civil affairs office today and made it official.  Brooklyn is officially a LaCroix!

Tomorrow we pack up and go to the city of Guilin.  We will board a train for a few hours. Guilin is a tourist spot we will get to enjoy for the next several days as our paperwork is completed.  We are looking forward to this part of our trip as we have read great things about Guilin.

The first time I got to hold Brooklyn

Our official adoption photo
The first family picture  

Such a sweet face!
Here are a few more pictures from Tuesday:
Being friendly with the Assistant Director of the Orphanage and head nanny

Brooklyn and her foster sister

In the playroom at the Civil Affairs office

Warming up to Aaron

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Here is a quick update.  We took the train from Hong Kong to Guangzhou China. We met Brooklyn's foster sister's  parents yesterday and traveled with them. They are a very sweet and are excited to welcome their first child. A fun little detail about the mom is she is half Japanese too.  When we first met I thought she looked partially Asian. Sure enough we discussed families and she mentioned her parents visiting Japan of course I asked if she was Japanese. 

We currently are in Nanning, Guangxi Province in China.  It is here where we will meet our daughter for the first time. We were a little disappointed to find out that we won't leave the hotel until 3:00 this afternoon. It currently is 8:40. So for those in California it'll be after midnight before we receive her. Hopefully we will have been able to post pictures by the time you are up tomorrow morning.  We have been having a little trouble accessing the blog. We have to use a vpn to log into the blog and the vpn isn't always working. 

Thanks for your continued prayers. 3:00 can't come fast enough! 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Sorry it has taken a little longer to get our first travel post up, but the combination of a flight guffaw and jet lag have prevented us from posting any sooner.

So here is what we've been up to:  After a very nice flight from LAX to Shanghai, we had a 4 hour layover until leaving for Hong Kong.  As we approached our gate for boarding we were notified that our flight had been cancelled, and for no good reason.  Our guess is that there weren't enough passengers booked to make it a profitable flight so it was cheaper to cancel and send us to a hotel.  Getting re-booked on another flight, getting a hotel, and transportation, was very sketchy as hotel personnel didn't speak English, and didn't seem to care much about our predicament.
Waiting to board for our flight out of LA

We took a nap in the Shanghai airport
Luckily we met 2 sweet young ladies who were in the same predicament, and they befriended us, translated for us, and were super helpful.  Meet Candace and Fish! (Yes, Fish!  Often times Chinese will use simpler pronuciations of their names for the sake of their American friends.)  We spent a lot of time with these 2 on days 1 & 2 of our journey, and we were sad to part ways with them once we landed in Hong Kong.  Both girls are from Hong Kong and were in the U.S. going to college. Candace is studying at Cal Poly Pomona. Fish came to attend Pensacola Christian College for a couple of years and then transferred to Liberty University another Christian college in Virginia.  It was neat to not only have her help but to know we have more in common than just being stuck in Shanghai.....we have a love for Jesus Christ.  God is so awesome to have connected us like He did!  Candace and Fish were clearly God's grace to us in a potentially difficult circumstance.  Thank you ladies!

So we had been up for 26 hours, with some napping, by the time we got to the hotel around midnight.  And because we were booked on the 7am flight out the next morning, we had to wake up around 4am to catch the shuttle back the next morning, brutal!  To our frustration, we found that when we got to the airport that no one was at the check-im counters, because the first flight wasn't leaving until 8am.  So we could've slept another hour, but instead found ourselves loitering for an hour at the Shanghai airport because of bad info from our flaky airline. We are using the same route in reverse on our way home, with the same airline.  Needless to say, we are slightly nervous about this.

But on Friday morning, we made it to Hong Kong!  Hong Kong is a beautiful, clean city, but man is it hot and humid this time of year.  In order not to miss too much of our touring plans, we hit the ground running on Friday.  We braved the train, ferry, tram, and bus transit systems, and successfully navigated our way to Hong Kong island and made our way to the top of Victoria Peak.  This peak offers breathtaking views of Hong Kong:

On Saturday, we went to Disneyland in Hong Kong.  There are some striking similarities to the Disneyland in Anaheim, and some pretty cool distinguishing features, and about 1/3 smaller than Disneyland - Anaheim.  Again, the heat and humidity was pretty taxing, and we only lasted 7 hours there.  That is saying a lot, as we can go 4 days easy in California.  We enjoyed getting back to the hotel and enjoying the pool.  Here are some pic from Disneyland:

Grace tuckered out after Disneyland

So tomorrow, Sunday, we will be up bright and early and catch a train from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, and from Guangzhou we will hop on a short flight to Nanning in the Guangxi province.  It is in Nanning that we will meet our sweet Brooklyn for the first time.  Our "gotcha day" is Monday morning, which is Sunday evening in California.  Please pray for Brooklyn and that her grief would be helped by a trust in her new parents and family.

I'd like to end our posts with some of the humorous signs/clothing that we have come across.  For whatever reason, it is "cool" in Chinese culture to wear clothing with English phrases, even though they may have no idea what they actually mean.  Here are a few we ran into today:
      Hat that read:  Supply Monday - "What Might"
      Shirt that read: The Night Music for Desire - Good Tunes
      Shirt that simply stated:  "ACNE"
      Also ran into a Disney employee whose nametag read "Fatrick"

We thank all of you for your prayers.  We can't wait for Monday morning

Monday, June 22, 2015

Our New Journey to Brooklyn

     Well I believe it's been a couple of years since I blogged last.  It has been so long I forgot how to work this site and needed my daughter to set it up.  Man I am getting old!  I am thankful for teenagers who know technology better than I.  
     Moving on to the purpose of this post....we are going to China again!  We are adopting a beautiful baby girl who will be 2 in July.  We will meet our precious daughter, Brooklyn on Monday, June 29.  Here in the states it will be Sunday evening as China is 15 hours ahead.   We are beyond excited to bring her into our family.  This time the whole LaCroix family will make the journey to meet their newest sister.  As Doug and I discussed adoption again we both agreed that we just couldn't leave anyone of them behind.  It will be an adventure we will not soon forget, I am sure.  Although it may be a little chaotic at times, I hope that this will be a sweet time for our family as we travel across the world to add Brooklyn to our family.  
     Here are a few details of our adoption process this time.  We began applying to adopt at the beginning of October with the same agency we used when adopting Jack in 2011.  We loved our agency and knew we didn't want to use anyone else.  The paper chasing part of our journey was completed in January and was sent off January 30th and logged into China's system on February 2nd.  We were requesting a girl this time around.  It began to be apparent that we would possibly be waiting to be matched for over a year.  Our agency is so great and popular that they had many clients ahead of us in the process waiting to be matched with their child.  It was quite different than our wait with Jack....we were matched within the first month of submitting our application.  One day in March we received an email from our local home study agency asking if we would like to look at a file of a little girl named "Lilly" from the agency they partner with for international adoption.  We decided it wouldn't hurt to look at her file.  Well the rest is history and within a few days we were switching agencies so we could pursue adopting "Lilly".  Brooklyn was an infant when she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was treated.  She is noted as having some developmental delays.  We have a few videos of her walking holding someones hand.  We are not sure if she is able to walk unassisted at this point.  We will soon find out.  The first day we saw her file was March 19.  The time has flown by so quickly and now we leave in less than 48 hours to meet our girl!
     I also want to share how faithful the Lord has been to us through these last few months.  On March 17 a friend specifically prayed that we would receive a match and would be able to travel in July.  I had shared with her that the timing of travel would be better for our schedule to travel during the summer months before school started in the fall.  Hannah will begin taking some courses at the community college this year and I didn't think the teachers would excuse a two week trip to China!  Even better we get to leave at the end of June.   Nothing is too hard for God!  About 11 days ago we found out that our agency had another family traveling at the same time.  Not only was this family going to be traveling with us, they are adopting Brooklyn's foster sister.  These girls have been together since infancy with the same family.  We were praying that we would receive travel approval in time so that we could travel with this family.  God said Yes!  I am so thankful we can travel with them.  It will be such a blessing to our baby girls to have one another as they ease into their new families.  This leads me into a few prayer requests:
  1. Pray for the foster parents who have loved Brooklyn and her foster sister.  They will be losing both on the same day.  We are so thankful they have loved our daughter for her first 2 years of life.
  2. Pray for God's grace on our large group as we travel.  We are starting with 7 people and coming back as 8.  It is a little intimidating.  
  3. Pray we stay healthy
  4. Pray our plane itineraries won't be disrupted and that our luggage makes it to us in China
  5. Pray that Brooklyn's visa will be issued on Friday, July 10.  We are scheduled to fly out on the 11th.  We need the visa for her to travel.  The US consulate has had some computer issues lately and have had families stuck in China for extra days costing them more money and time away from home.  It looks like it's working out, but it could always get backed up again.
  6. Most importantly please pray for Brooklyn.  She is leaving the only family she has known.  I can't imagine the grief and sadness she will experience.  I am so thankful she has been loved by this foster family but it may make her grieve tremendously.  Please pray that she will trust us quickly and will be comforted by us.  
     I hope to update the blog as often as I have energy to.  I'm sure Doug will take a few turns as well. Thank you for your love, support and most importantly your prayers!  We serve an amazing God and I am so thankful I can trust Him!

Here is one of the first pictures we saw of our beautiful girl
This is from November of 2014