Our kiddos!

Our kiddos!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Our last day in Guangzhou!!

We are finally at the point where coming home seems sooooo close!!! I can't tell you how excited we are to come home. We miss Kaylee and Eli dearly (the rest of you too of course :) and really want to hold ALL of our babies!!! Here is our flight information just in case you missed it and want to join the fun at the airport! If you can't make it but would like to come visit, please feel free to give us a call. We welcome visitors!

We depart on our flight from Hong Kong to Detroit at 10:30 AM and arrive in Kansas City at 4:57 PM on Friday, December 16th. Our flight number from Detroit to KC is Delta flight 1214. 

Yesterday we had our US Consulate appointment where we took care of our Visa paperwork to bring Jesiah back into the country (he still has a China passport as he is still as Chinese citizen until we touch down in the United States). We also had an opportunity to visit the island one last time. I'm really going to miss it but am hoping to live vicariously through the Sanders when they travel here in a few months! :)
Last trip to Shamian Island

Our family with the Palmbergs. I'm so thankful for such great new friends!

Little Miss Liana feeling so much better!!

Such a loon! 

Today, we LEAVE! We just sent our baggage down to be packed on the bus and we will leave with our visas about 4:30. We will take a train ride (about two hours) to Hong Kong and will stay overnight at a hotel right at the airport. We are thrilled to be so close!!!

Our amazing Holt travel group!

A few thoughts and lessons I've learned as we leave China....
1. I'm very thankful to have survived crossing the streets here in China. There are no rules and hitting a pedestrian seems to be fairly legal and acceptable :).
2. I never thought I'd be so thankful to be able to SIT on the toilet again. Goodbye "squatty potties" :).
3. A man on the street told Jesiah, after pointing to a "tiger like fur" he had that he was selling, that it was T-I-G-G-E-R. I'm so thankful Jesiah doesn't understand enough to be totally mortified. His Winnie the Pooh ball might have mystified him had he known that Tigger was no longer.
4. We learned that in China, if you eat spicy food while it is hot outside, you will get a bloody nose. This is not tried and true, we were just told this :).
5. CHICKEN on a menu doesn't mean MEAT. 
6. I wish I had been prepared for a son that wanted to "squat" on the western toilets. I had several days where I was afraid he might swim in his socks...
7. Taxi drivers think we are stupid. However, we have learned that if you shake your head, play dumb and hand them less money.. they take it, grumble, and drive off :). (we were paying them fairly.. I promise!)
8. It feels nice to be famous once in awhile.
9. Customer service here is an interesting thing. A customer, it seems, is never right.
10. Holt is an amazing agency and I'm so thankful we used them.
11. Holt China staff don't get paid enough for the hours upon hours that they labor for their families.
12. Jesiah is leaving China with his "baba and dada" (yes.. he called me "mama" once, I rejoiced, and he stopped :).
13. If you are adopting, bring a water gun. It is SO helpful during baths!!! 
14. We are blessed with amazing family and friends. When we leave for our NEXT adoption, things are definitely in good hands (JUST KIDDING.. at least for now :).
15.  God has blessed us beyond belief and I'm so thankful to have been on this journey with HIM.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

God is a God of miracles!

I just wanted to provide an update on little Liana. I spoke with Susan and Eric this morning shortly after their oath taking ceremony at the US Consulate and Liana's fever has broken. They are extremely thankful for the prayers and would ask for continued prayers that the infection continues to go away. So as of now, no more hospital visit or possibility of surgery. This means they can leave tomorrow with the rest of our travel group. Praise and glory be to God!!!

Jesiah and Liana checking out the Christmas lights :). 

Please Pray!

In several posts, I have mentioned our friends the Palmbergs (Erik, Susan, Gabriel and their lovely new daughter Liana). Tonight their daughter went to the hospital (after visiting the Western doctor used by Holt) and is being considered for surgery for an infection. She was released tonight with strong antibiotics, with the understanding that if she does not get better (fever breaks and infection breaks up) she will be be admitted, undergo surgery and have to stay in the hospital (after surgery) for three to five days before returning to the United States. Please pray that her health improves and that the Lord reaches down and heals her little body. She is such an amazing girl and has been blessed with a phenomenal family. I know the Lord has a blessing in store for them and I know that there is power in prayer. Please offer your prayers up for a speedy healing!!!

 Today we visited the Safari Park in Guangzhou. It was amazing!!! We spent six hours walking through the zoo and didn't cover all of the animals- it's THAT large. We enjoyed getting to see the twelve pandas the park has, giraffes, tigers, flamingos, elephants, etc. Jesiah had the opportunity to feed the giraffes and the elephants. So cool. This park definitely beats any other park I've been too. It's the largest park in Asia.

Jesiah, for the first time, called me "mama" today. My heart sang. He also pointed to himself and said "Jesiah".  He is learning so much and adapting so quickly. He really is such an inspiration, although I know I always say that. I don't think I would adapt to ever changing surroundings as well as he has. Jesiah is truly an instrument in God's hands that has, and will continue to forever change our family. I'm so excited to bring him home so he can smile for you in person!!!! It's starting to feel as though we have had Jesiah for much longer than week; it's starting to feel more natural to wake up with him as our son. Such an amazing feeling! Praise God!

Jesiah is obsessed with the pandas (pictured in the far background). 

 He was getting mad that he was having to pose for pictures in the opposite direction of the pandas. 

He was amazed by the giraffes. 

The remnants of the leaves Jesiah fed to the giraffe. He liked his hand and it scared him :). 

Conked out after a long day!

He woke up enough to help us push the stoller to the exit! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Lazy Monday

Today we took it easy and just spent time as a family. We had a leisurely breakfast and came back to the room, rested and watched movies. It was a day much needed!! Tonight we enjoyed an amazing cruise on the Pearl River. It was absolutely gorgeous. I wish I could show you pictures but you will have to wait for a day or two. We didn't think we had our camera so we used our friends' camera, only to find out when we got back to the hotel that it was hiding in the bottom of our bag. We got to see the tallest building in China and it was pretty spectacular! Today wasn't too exciting but was refreshing after busy days. Jesiah's passport was delivered today so now we wait for our U.S.A. Consulate appointment on Wednesday morning and we should receive his visa Thursday afternoon right before we take a train to Hong Kong.

Here's our schedule for the rest of the trip:

Tuesday: Safari trip (so excited about this!!!)
Wednesday: Consulate apt. at 9 AM
Thursday: Free day until 4:30, pickup visas, take train to Hong Kong and stay overnight there
Friday: WE COME HOME!!!!!   We depart on our flight from Hong Kong to Detroit at 10:30 AM and arrive in Kansas City at 4:57 PM on Friday, December 16th. Our flight number from Detroit to KC is Delta flight 1214. 

We are welcoming anyone that would like to come to the airport to visit us to please do so!!!! We are SO excited to be coming home and bringing Jesiah into an amazing group of family and friends. We would ask that if you do come to the airport that you do allow our family (especially Kaylee and Eli) to be at the front of the crowd so that they might welcome Jesiah off the plane first. It is really important to us that he see them first. Each and every one of you are important to us so please know that isn't to slight anyone. We can't wait to be back on American soil!!! Jesiah will officially be a citizen of the United States of America when we touch down in Detroit (and I promise, Adele, I will get a picture/video of it!!!).  If you cannot make it to the airport, we will welcome visitors to the house when we get settled. Please don't feel like you have to stay away :).

Nathan and I both feel as though Jesiah has been with us much longer than a week. We feel so blessed and know we have been richly blessed through this first part of bonding. We are definitely settling in and feeling as though he is ours. It's neat to see how God can change our hearts because of the unconditional love of a beautiful child. This scripture verse fits my heart perfectly.

We love him because he first loved us. 
1 John 4:19

The boys taking a nap. 

He has been such a crack up today!

Getting ready for the Pearl River cruise.

I told him the McDonald's McFlurry was all gone but he apparently didn't believe me... 

Daddy was SUPPOSED to be putting on some calming music but instead 
he put on "Surfin' in the USA" and needless to say, it wound him up. :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Full of Progress

I simply feel like I'm "running just to catch myself" (to quote a great Mark Schultz song) lately and I apologize. No amount of time during the day seems like enough at this point. Let me give you a short run down on the last two days and then I promise I will make a better effort (I know.. I know I keep saying that :). Each day is getting better. Thank you for your prayers. We feel them. Jesiah is growing by leaps and bounds (emotionally and physically) and we are too. Each day it seems more "real". I'm ready for our complete family to be together!!!!


Saturday we were reunited with all of the Holt travel families. It was so amazing to be back with the thirty plus families we had met with in Beijing (with the addition of a few new families) and see everyone's "gaps" filled in with new precious faces. Being on this journey together has really been amazing. We have been blessed with meeting some great families and I pray that we continue to forge friendships with them throughout the years. Going through the adoption process together certainly creates a bond that doesn't seem to be easily broken. I praise God for his timing and the families we have been able to experience this with (although there were some I really wish would have been here with us! :(  ).

We all took a trip back (yet again!) to Shamian Island and it really seems as if I can't get enough of that place. It's just so beautiful and there is so much to do. I almost got run over by a bicycle driven by a very "persistant" driver. Sidewalks and streets pretty much blur together over here. I was thankful that my ten toes remained after she zoomed past me. Wowsers! It's definitely a different world. The families that arrived Friday night needed to go for medical checks and we had to get our kiddos TB test results. Jesiah is good to go on not having TB so that's one more step closer to coming HOME (can you tell I'm getting super anxious!?). After the test, we walked around the island and finished up a few more shopping items. The afternoon was spent relaxing. That evening, the Holt families met at a local restaurant and had a group dinner. It was so good. We have been out places on our own and had some interesting experiences with food. This dinner was so good and such a relief. You will all be glad to know that my chopsticks skills are continuing to improve, although they still have not surpassed Jesiah's . Last night, we ended the evening by traveling back to the island (the taxi drivers love us..) to attend the local Christian Church service. It was a prayer and praise service conducted all in Mandarin. It was absolutely amazing to see how much Jesiah relaxed and enjoyed church. I'm not sure if he has ever been before but it was very special for us to see him smile and seem so joyful. Going to church was definitely a special experience and I'm glad we made the trip.

Working towards naptime with his panda. 

He watches tv intently like the rest of the Sherer kiddos. He may need glasses if he keeps leaning like this! 

 Love this smile. It makes everything seem better :). 

Our little family after the Holt group dinner. 

Baba and Jesiah

 The Christian Church on Shamian Island. 
 All of my pictures turned out blurry but I still thought it was cute to see how happy he was. 
 Finishing our night back at the China Hotel at Starbucks. Jesiah and Gabriel (his adopted Ge-Ge) were sharing some cookies. 
Jesiah has some great fits. This one displays how he kicks off his shoes anytime he has a fit. This was prior to the socks coming off :). 

SO peaceful after a long day. 

Today we went to pearl and jade wholesale markets. They were pretty neat but Jesiah was done shopping. When I say done.. I mean D-O-N-E. Take the picture of the fit above and multiply it times ten with more laughter and energy. Ahh... I wish I would have gotten more pictures, however we spent most of the time chasing him. He loves to run away. I think I need to get a leash (in all seriousness). He runs..... laughs... runs farther... and laughs harder. He is all boy. We are going to definitely have our work cut out for us when we get home and put he and Eli together. I guess I should rest while I can!!!! Tonight we finished out our night with the Palmburg family, take out from the downstairs restaurant, and Cars 2. So thankful for them!!!! :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Post Gotcha Day: 4 (Friday)

Our internet has been extra stubborn lately, so I apologize for the flood of posts.

Friday we had a leisurely breakfast and then went to Shamian Island with the Palmberg family. We shopped until we dropped (almost literally). We met some great shopkeepers that were Christian and had a great lunch at Lucy's (Western food which was a nice break from the norm).  If Kaylee and Eli were here with us, I think I could stay for so much longer here. The weather is gorgeous We have discovered that the taxi drivers think we are dumb. They have tried to overcharge us a few times and we have discovered that we just hand them what we think is fair and exit the taxi. I suppose we look like "stupid Americans" or "rich Americans" but we are definitely not either :).

We had an opportunity to visit the White Swan which is a hotel most adoptive families (up until August, I believe) stay or at least visit. It shut down this summer for renovations and I was so happy to be able to see it in person. The red couches (pictured below) are famous for adoptive families getting pictures on. Most adoptive families on any blog will have pictures on these couches. We went to visit and take some so we could be part of the cool crowd :).

This island used to be a colony of both the French and the English. It's really interesting because you can actually see the difference in the architecture depending on which side of the island you are on. There used to be an electric fence down the middle of it. It was taken down during the 20's when the island went back to China.

That's all for now. Short, sweet,  and simple. I will leave you, as always, with some pictures of our day!

Jesiah LOVES his baba!!!

Jesiah and Liana on the famous White Swan red coach. 

Our family :) 

In the lobby of the White Swan. This is a hotel that many adoptive families used to stay at on Shamian Island. It recently shut down for renovations. 

Jesiah loves fish and wanted to get in and swim with them. Luckily, he was stuck to me :). 

Gabriel, Erik, Liana, Jesiah and Nathan

After dinner, we stopped at the playground.

There is a bridal boutique on Shamian Island and they are constantly taking pictures. They are so beautiful and all over the place. 

Jesiah had a foster brother about Gabriel's age. He loves to play with Gabriel. 

Jesiah kickin' it like a real Asian :). 

Baba bought him a panda and it is his absolute favorite. He conked out like a champ after a long day. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Adjustment, Hope and Blessings

A couple of nights ago, I had a very rough night. This is not meant to be heartless, just honest. As much as we have worked to bring Jesiah home, I had fleeting questions as to if we had done the right thing. It is so difficult to have such an amazing blessing in front of you and yet not be able to help them or understand what they need. We have prayed our way "into" this adoption and knew from the beginning God would provide our son/daughter. I cried and told Nathan I didn't know how I could bond with Jesiah. I knew I should be able to and I knew that in pictures things looked fine, but I still struggled with the sadness I had in my heart. It's hard to explain. It was almost a let down of a night after such emotion and adrenaline go into the first few days here. It's kind of like after you give birth to a biological child and although you are filled with joy, you also have pains from labor and adjusting to life with a newborn. They turn your life upside down, both in good and bad ways. In some ways, Jesiah was like a newborn. In other ways, he was a "big" kid and wanted to do everything his own way and on his own time. Searching through my emotions and talking about where I was was important. Love takes time. Bonding takes time. Loving a child that you have never seen in person, yet loved for so long, takes God's hands to literally open up your heart and make room. I don't think I thought it would be easier than it has been. I definitely knew that it would be a struggle and that once over the "hurdle", that time would begin to strengthen that bond. That night, I had to decide to choose to love him and know that God would fill in the gaps.
I had an opportunity to talk with another dear friend of mine who is adopting here as well. She had experienced similar emotions the night before and it was so very helpful to understand I wasn't alone. We both knew we loved our children and knew that they were absolute miracles, yet we both felt a disconnect . Since then, time is definitely helping. I remember when I was pregnant with Eli that I feared I wouldn't be able to love him as much, or in the same way, that I did Kaylee. In my mind, we had a balance and I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to adjust. After Eli was born we adjusted and the room in my heart continued to expand. It worked out just fine and I cannot even begin to imagine on life without Eli!!! :) This is the same situation and I know it will be okay.
What has really helped is the fact that God has blessed us with a beautiful son who is beginning to rely on us for everything and is really showing very unconditional love. He is definitely able to look at us and show us a love that melts my heart. He runs to me when he sees me which is a feeling I can't even begin to describe. He is choosing to love and trust, under much more difficult circumstances and either Nathan or I have had to deal with, and yet he is doing it so wonderfully. Jesiah's resolution and adjustment with us has shown so much growth on a daily basis. It's amazing to see how all of the kiddos in our travel group have grown in such a short time.
God is mending my insecurities and showing, through Jesiah, a love that I didn't think was possible. I praise God that He is continuing to redefine my definition of love and expand my ability to show it. Please continue to pray as we know God will only grow the bond we all have as a family once we arrive home.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Post Gotcha Day 3: Full of JOY!

Today was a fantastic day full of great progress! Jesiah is a great kid and is full of potential. His smiles really are contagious. Today we went to Shamian Island where most of the adoptive families in China generally stay (until recently when the hotel on the island most often used shut down). It's a SUPER cool island and I really wish we were staying on it (Richard and Stacey- I'm so jealous you get to!!).

The medical exam went well and Jesiah screamed like a champ. I'm pretty certain that they tip off the kids as to what is going to happen when you walk in and they are all wearing hospital garb. You'd think, for the sake of the kids (and the parents :), that they'd put on some fun scrubs or something a little more light hearted. Nonetheless, we made it through it. Jesiah is a whooping 33 lbs. and 27 inches. He doesn't look big but he certainly is heavy after carrying him all day. We are VERY thankful to Johnna for letting us borrow the Ergo (my arms and legs thank you a thousand times over).

Over the last few days...we have learned the joys of having an Asian son meltdown in public and have a thousand Asians stare at you. It feels so much more awkward than I imagined. I'm pretty sure they were wondering what I had done to make him scream, kick and cry. Ahhh..... it takes me back to Kaylee and days of meltdowns. :) Great memories..!!! I  figure "this too shall pass" and I think that he was pretty spoiled by his foster parents. He definitely can convey what he wants and generally he needs it prior to telling me so by the time he tells us, he's mad. Strong willed children are great, we just need to keep with him and remember that if we focus all that determination in the right direction, it will work out amazingly well. (sigh :).

I don't mean to paint a terrible picture. He really is amazing. He definitely tells us what he wants very clearly, including when he needs to go to the bathroom (Chinese potty training of a boy before three? WOW! I need that secret!). The language barrier hasn't been the problem we thought it might be and he is already picking up on quite a bit of English. Thankfully, we are starting to learn some Cantonese sayings and are beginning to decipher what he is saying. He speaks so well and it helps when we understand what he wants/needs at points. My Chinese is definitely something I'm sure he (and other Chinese people) laugh at, but we are trying. It's the thought that counts, right?! One thing we have noticed is that he will not use his English skills with other Chinese people. I'm not sure if he is afraid or just knows they won't understand. The minute he sees a caucasian person, he uses his English.

Jesiah is a master when it comes to chopsticks. No really, he is. He is better than me and although that isn't really saying much, I am amazed. :) 

Let's see.. I digressed. Sorry. I tend to blog in a "stream of conscious" fashion. It helps my thoughts flow easier and besides, most of you that talk to me often understand this is just like having a conversation with me. I jump around from topic to topic. Keeps everyone on their toes. Back to the island :). Such a cool island. We meet a Christian shopkeeper whose name was Jordan and we had a great time getting to know him. Anyone visiting Shamian Island needs to go visit him. His store was one of the only ones that I was given some breathing room as I shopped. I don't do well when I have someone breathing down my neck, trying to push me to buy things. We found some awesome things and I probably enjoyed shopping (especially for Kaylee and my beautiful niece Madison a little too much :). We spent the day with Susan, Erik, Gabriel, and their new beautiful daughter Liana. Such a blessing that God has provided us with good friends on this trip. I'm ever so thankful for their support and understanding.

Adoption is amazing but it's not easy. It is definitely a journey and a choice to love and be open to learning, as parenthood is in general. I'm learning more every day to allow God to show me Jesiah through His eyes. It's a lesson in loving and opening my heart up beyond what I thought was essential. It's definitely not something I can explain unless you have experienced adoption. To all my friends and family that have adopted, I understand. I now understand the labor of love that it takes and know that I will continue to understand. Such a blessing, even through the trials and tears.

He is definitely his own little man. So big :). 

I did forget a VERY important milestone today. This one is one for the books. Today, Jesiah Paul Bao Sherer tasted his VERY first McDonald's. He is a HUGE fan of french fries and showed Nathan that it is not okay to take them from him, under any circumstances. We are glad he has officially tasted and now loves real American food :). As a side note (for Christina Sinclair)- in his Happy Meal he got a toy and it happened to be my favorite character (rolling eyes) Sponge Bob Squarepants. You will be happy to know that when I asked him who it was, he proudly told me "Bob". We have our work cut out for us! :) 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Post Gotcha Days-1 & 2 (Tuesday and Wednesday)

Last night was a pretty long night. Jesiah started out in his pack n play asleep and ended up two and a half hours later in our bed. Sleeping with him beside us was kind of like having a rolling pin go horizontally up and down the bed. Needless to say, he may have slept but we didn't. The life of a parent continues. Regardless, we feel blessed! 

 Before Bed.... 

 After a long night for mama and baba... :) 

Today our adoption was finalized! We visited the Office of Civil Affairs and visited a few officials, got an official photo, and things are done! Now, we wait the rest of the time to get his passport and visa. Those take the longest to complete and the visa won't actually be done until next Thursday, the day we leave for Hong Kong. After our apt. at the CA office, we had a great lunch, attempted (and failed) to get Jesiah to nap, and finished out the day walking about an hour to one of the most beautiful parks I have ever seen. It was amazing that inside this extremely crowded and smoggy city, there was a jewel of a park. We walked past areas where men and women were playing badmitten, hacky sac, and ping pong. A litte different from the scene we have in the states. I will post some pictures below. It was well worth the walk! Jesiah is definitely adjusting well. He has, from time to time, showed signs of grieving and night time was a hard time for him. He was in a foster family which made it great for him as far and knowing and understanding the love of a family. It makes it difficult, for us, at the same time because he is grieving for them. Really, he seems to be bonding well and having fun. We are spending a lot of time playing. He is ALL boy :)! He loves playing outside, loves running, loves playing balls, loves climbing, and really has a bright outlook on life. I praise God that he is so joyful, even after so much strife in his young life. We appreciate all the continued prayers as well strengthen the bond between us. God's got it all under control :). I will leave you with some pictures and say goodnight for now!

 Jesiah's first "face to face" with K and E :). It melted my heart. 

 When is upset or tired, he plays with my hair. Many of you know that's my FAVORITE thing :). 

 He is ours officially!

 Our trip to the local grocery store. 

 Not a great picture of me but cute of everyone else :). 

 He is sooooo tickleish!!! We love it!! 

 On our way to lunch. 

 Lake Park in Guangzhou.

Nathan and Jesiah have a very special bond forming. It's awesome to watch.