Waiting for sister #4!

Waiting for sister #4!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Great day!

Emma has come alive this afternoon. This morning, I didn't know that she could crawl all around, stand on her own, push up to standing on her own, clap, wave, play with toys, babble, big, huge smiles, wonder where I am when I leave the room, walk with holding my hands, eat a couple bites of cereal, and totally interact with us. She does all of those things and it just happened about 4:00 this afternoon. I didn't realize how much shock she was in. She was totally wonderful and sweet before, but she didn't show signs of doing any of those things. She is just the sweetest thing ever! She has two new teeth today too, that have broken through since yesterday! I am sure that is what the fever was. No fever today. Poor girl. So many things all at once!

We went to the Civil Office again today and had two short interviews and had our picture taken for the adoption certificate. Then we went shopping at a very busy market for some supplies and came home (I guess we call it home!) for a nap. Then we all went swimming. They have a great huge outdoor pool. It was Emma's first time. She was tolerant of it…didn't love it, but was ok with it. When I took her inside after swimming is when she came alive. Was truly amazing to watch!

We took some adorable pictures today, but they will have to wait for tomorrow. We are all exhausted and it's time for bed!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Emma Grace Allmand

Today seemed very surreal. Can't believe we went to a building and picked up a daughter! It was just cool to be there and watch others get their babies. I was crying before I even saw ours. It all happened so fast when we got to the Civil Affairs building. Basically about two minutes after we got there they brought Emma to us. She was handed over by her caregiver and she was holding the photo book we gave to her. Her caregiver seemed very sweet and looked like she loved Emma and was sad to see her go. We were able to ask her caregiver some questions with the help of a translator. Sounds like she has been a content, happy girl. That is how she has been in the time we have had her! She is happy to just sit on the floor and play with toys. She loves to watch her big sisters. She really only cried for a little bit at the Civil Affairs building, but that was a very chaotic place since there were quite a few others being placed at the same time. We went there with another family that was using Holt and we got Emma before they got their daughter, so the other family took pictures and videoed it all for us.

A couple of things to pray about. Emma has a fever of 101. They told us that she had that for a few days and thought it was a cold. I think it could be teeth because I see a couple ready to poke through. She is not fussy at all though! Also, she did not eat at all for us. I guess she still takes a bottle with rice in it and said she had started some solids. She doesn't seem to know how to eat solids. She just holds it in the front of her mouth. She also refused to take a bottle from us. Our Holt handler had prepared us beforehand to not worry if they don't eat the first day. I am hoping she will eat right away tomorrow though!

She is a thumb sucker. So cute! She started getting tired and just sucked her thumb and fell asleep in my arms. She is sleeping so soundly now in her crib. She is such a sweetie and I praise God that He has allowed me to be her mommy! Such an amazing experience!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

In labor

I saw the 0 o' clock hour. (Is that what you say when the clock says 0 instead of 12?)
I saw the 1 o' clock hour.
I saw the 2 o' clock hour.
I saw the 3 o' clock hour.
I saw the 4 o' clock hour. (Sydney came into our room at this hour and said, "Can you believe we are getting Emma today? I am so excited. I want to organize her stuff!….Those of you that know her know how "Sydney" that is!:)
I saw the 5 o' clock hour.
I saw the 6 o' clock hour. We finally got up in the 6 o' clock hour. That has been the latest so for. We have been all waking up at 5. Well, the girls have anyway, so we all get up. I have been waking up much earlier than that! But, last night I just couldn't sleep. I think it must be like being in labor! I even have the upset stomach to go with it. Must be those contractions! She is coming soon and my body is getting ready! :)

Last night I kept thinking about how over the top excited we are to get our Emma Grace and adopt her into our family. Made me think that as excited we can be about adopting her, we cannot grasp the excitement that God has when we accept Him into our hearts and are adopted into His family. Wow. So amazing to think about. He loves us that much!


Today we made it to Guangzhou! We are finally almost to the whole reason we are here in China…Emma! We had a good 3 hour flight from Beijing to Guangzhou. The girls did amazing once again. We sat right behind a sweet little girl that I am guessing is about Emma's age and she loved Sydney and Callie. She played with them almost the whole time. Made us all even more excited for tomorrow! Once again, it has been fun to see everyone look at Sydney and Callie. They are amazed by the blonde, white girls. They smile and point and take pictures of them. Callie has been really shy about it, though. She likes to hide if they want to take her picture. Matt says the only way we could have drawn more attention to ourselves is to have been riding a unicorn on fire. Lol. We are staying in a beautiful suite for the rest of our stay. The girls are pretty excited about that! Tonight we ate at this huge international buffet at our hotel and Matt ate 17 different animals. He is crazy. One thing he ate was tongue. Sydney almost fell off her chair when she found out what it was. I wish we had a picture of Callie's face when she was watching him eat what he was eating. She was not amused!

Tomorrow we have a meeting with Holt in the morning and then we get Emma at 2:00!!!

Pictures are of my silly girls on our flight to Guangzhou. The picture that is of Sydney with a little drink was fun because the drink was from the little girl that was sitting in front of us. We aren't sure what it was. Maybe some kind of fruit juice.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Great Wall

Today was a fun day at The Great Wall. It was crazy foggy there, unfortunately, but still cool to walk around it. It was like we were walking in a cloud it was so foggy. We were all soaken wet! Sydney was feeling really good and Callie decided her legs worked there and it was amazing how many steps she did! Basically, we walked up like a couple thousand steps and then walked down. Our legs were all shaky afterward. We were there with Jenny, Ross, and Kathy. We ate at Subway for lunch and then Jenny took us to a mall. It was quite different than our malls. Everything was packed into little tiny spaces and you really had to barter with them. I was glad to have Jenny there to do that. We bought all three girls silk dresses…adorable!

Tonight we are headed back to the French restaurant that we loved from yesterday and we are packing up to fly to Guangzhou tomorrow! I think we are starting to adjust to the time difference, but still woke up very early this morning! The buffet breakfast at our hotel is just huge! We missed that yesterday with what happened to Sydney, but enjoyed it today.

Can't believe we are going to meet our girl in 2 days!!!

The pictures are at the Great Wall, even though you can't really see it. You can see how foggy it was there!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Introducing Cody Yoder!

My sister has her newly adopted son in her arms today! I got to talk to her for a little bit this morning. So excited for her! He is a little cutie! She should be headed home from Florida about the same time we come home from China. Thank you Jesus for precious little ones!


Today definitely didn't go as planned. The day started at 3:00 am when we all were wide awake. I think that is 2:00 pm Holdrege time, so we were just messed up. At around 4:00 we all started to go back to sleep. When I was putting Callie back in her bed, I noticed that Sydney was not breathing right. I tried to wake her and she had a seizure. It did not last that long, but it took quite a while to get her to respond to us at all. I called a doctor back in Nebraska and she really thought Syd should be checked right away. So, we headed to a medical center at like 5:00 am. They asked is some questions, but then sent us back to our hotel until 8:30 when they were open for labs. We had to wake up a taxi driver sleeping in his car, who was not very happy with us and he, of course, couldn't understand us! Matt called Jenny and handed the phone to the driver and then he was happy to take us. She must have given him a piece of her mind. Lol. This is probably something not everyone wants to hear, but it is something we will never forget...Sydney got sick on the taxi and was throwing up out the window going full speed in traffic. Traffic in Beijing is quite different than traffic in Holdrege! :) Taxis are a whole new experience here too. No seat belts or car seats here!

So, after going back to the doctor and doing blood work, they found out that everything was normal, except her white blood cell count was high. So, they said she has a bacterial infection and gave her an antibiotic. They also want her to have an MRI when we get back to the states. If she does have another seizure, however, she will be in the hospital doing all that here.

We got back to our hotel around 1:00 and decided that peanut butter and jelly in our room sounded pretty good. Yes, I brought peanut butter with us. Thank goodness! 😊 We all took a nap after that until Matt woke us up from a deep sleep. That was quite a challenge for him to wake us up! But he knew if he didn't that we would never sleep tonight.

We did end up going to the forbidden city after that. It is crazy huge! Sydney was actually dragging more than we thought, so she ended up riding in the stroller and we had to carry Callie. Miss Callie has decided her legs don't work on this trip and she wants carried everywhere. I think she is a little overwhelmed and tired! My favorite part of being there was watching everyone look at the girls. It was like they were movie stars. People couldn't believe these fair skinned, blonde girls.

Then we came back to our hotel and ate at a French restaurant and had amazing Italian food. The girls ate a ton and kept saying it was the best food ever. That was good cause Syd hasn't had much of an appetite.

That was our crazy day! Can't wait for bed tonight! 3 more days till we get our Emma!

On a side note, my sister is in Florida now getting her baby!!! She has had a crazy stressful time too. The one she was supposed to adopt did not happen! She is adopting another baby boy named Cody. Quite a mixed up deal!

Can't thank everyone enough for all your prayers!!! Even though it is all crazy stuff, I know God is in control and He is carrying us through!

The pictures are of some of the medicine they gave Sydney (I think it is so cute!), the girls eating at the yummy restaurant, us at the forbidden city, the duck Matt ate last night, and at the medical clinic.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ni Hao!!

We made it to Beijing!! I am so proud of my girls. They did amazing! Thanks for praying if you did, because we had a great flight! There was not even one complaint or whining the whole time. We had an extra seat next to us, so that was very nice. Callie got to lay flat and sleep pretty good. The rest of us barely slept and Callie's sleep definitely wasn't enough, so we are all pretty exhausted!

One very fun thing is that we got an update on Emma as soon as we got here. Her hair is growing! Yay! I will try to post a picture, but I am still trying to figure out how to blog here!

We are having dinner tonight with Allmands employee from Beijing, Jenny, and Allmands International Sales Manager, Ross and his wife. Then hopefully it will be early to bed for us and we will be able to sleep all night! Tomorrow we will explore Beijing and go to the Forbidden City.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Anyone remember the TV show Punky Brewster? I loved that show as a kid and I am hoping that it is key to keeping the girls entertained on our way to Beijing. We bought season 2 of Punky Brewster...that is about 12 hours worth! They watched Season 1 last year and loved it, so I am hopeful that Season 2 will not disappoint!

It's kinda crazy this world we live in now. Most of their "toys" for the trip are electronic. We have a computer, 2 I Pads, 2 I Pods, 2 kindles, 2 phones, and a nexus 7. They are all loaded with games, books, and movies. :)

So far, so good. We made it to Chicago. Now just a short 4 hour layover followed by a short 14 hour flight halfway across the world!

Five days to meeting our new daughter!!!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Adventure Begins!

Our big adventure starts tomorrow! I can't believe we are finally to the point of traveling to China to get our new daughter. It feels like it has taken forever to get to this point, but the last couple weeks have flown by! I wonder how many times we have said the words "China" and "Emma" in the last couple of weeks. It's been a ton! We all are so excited to meet her and to get to know her. 

Tomorrow, we fly out of Omaha at 6:40 in the morning. We fly from Omaha to Chicago and then Chicago to Beijing. I think the flight is like 14 hours. I am trying not to think about that too much! I hope I have enough planned for the girls to do. We have new movies and games on the IPad and snacks and surprise gifts that I am hoping will occupy a lot of their time. They seem pretty excited about the flight and we have tried to prepare them for how long it is going to be. I am praying for happy girls (and mommy and daddy) and for sleepy girls when they need to be! They haven't typically been sleepers in the car or other plane rides we have done, so I pray this trip is different! That is actually one of my biggest prayer requests....enough sleep! Sleep can affect moods and health so much, so lots of prayer needed in that department!


Since I am on prayer requests, you can still pray for Matt's back. He hurt it pretty bad on Sunday morning when he was running. Lyndsey Bilka was so nice and treated him on both Sunday and Monday and then my sister did therapy on him today. It is better than it was on Sunday, but he still has a long way to go in healing. He got a muscle relaxer yesterday, also. Kind of a funny thing is that this morning I thought I was taking my thyroid medicine and I took one of his muscle relaxers instead! Whoops! I have definitely been sleepy today! Maybe that was a good thing so I could relax and take a nap. :)

Below is a picture of the bags we are taking with us. It sure takes a lot of thought when packing for that long!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Phillipians 4:6-7

Friday, July 20, 2012

Adopting at the Same Time!!

Wanna know something super cool?  At least I think it is anyway.  My sister and I are adopting kids at the same time.  Really.  At almost the exact same time.  It's kinda crazy, but super cool.  Our adoptions have been very different from each other.  She is adopting domestically and I am obviously adopting internationally.  Both kind of adoptions have their own stresses and a whole lot of waiting.  But, the waiting for both adoptions is almost over!!  It will be interesting to see what happens for sure.  Our "Gottcha Day" for Emma is July 30.  My sister's birth mom is due on August 1.  So close to each other.  We will be traveling to China to pick up our girl and Traci will be traveling to Florida to pick up her boy.  So exciting!!  When we get home, we will get to meet a new nephew! Yay!

I am so excited to be following Christ's example of adoption.  Just as He adopted me into His family, we are adopting little kiddos into our family.  Love that!

And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.
                                 Matthew 18:5

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Itinerary for China

Traveling to get my baby is only a few days away!  I can't believe it!  It is such a wonderful, strange, exciting, emotional time!  Just ask Matt...I have experienced every emotion possible right now.  There has been so much to think about and plan for.  I hope I have thought about it all! :)  I started packing today.  I am usually really good at packing and am very last minute about it.  Not this time!  I am starting early and packing so much different.  Almost everything is going into ziploc bags or space saver bags.  It's amazing what you can get into a ziploc!  The girls are super excited to pack and be helpful too.  We made Emma's crib tonight and the whole family was helping and of course, I got teary. :)  It is just hard to believe this is actually happening and we are putting a room together for our new daughter!  Adoption is such a cool thing!!!

So, here is what will be happening on our very long trip to China...anyone out there willing to help pray us through it???  I would love if you would join us in praying through our trip.  I am so glad God knows everything that is going to happen and that He will direct us every step of the way.  I can get so overwhelmed with everything, but on the other hand I know I can rest in His plan for our lives.

  Jul 23 Monday           Go to Omaha
  Jul 24 Tuesday    Omaha
  Jul 25 Wednesday    Fly to Beijing
  Jul 26 Thursday    Arrive in Beijing in afternoon
  Jul 27 Friday            Tour Forbidden City
  Jul 28 Saturday    Tour Great Wall
  Jul 29 Sunday     Fly to Guangzhou
  Jul 30 Monday    GET EMMA!!!
  Jul 31 Tuesday          Registration and document notarization at the Civil Affairs Office
Aug 01 Wednesday    Apply for Emma’s passport 
Aug 02 Thursday    Free day 
Aug 03 Friday    Medical check for Emma
Aug 04 Saturday    Visa paperwork check 
Aug 05 Sunday Free day for optional activities 
Aug 06 Monday         TB result check in medical clinic 
Aug 07 Tuesday         Visa appointment and Oath taking ceremony 
Aug 08 Wednesday Visa pick up
Aug 09 Thursday Take train to Hong Kong
Aug 10         Friday Fly to Omaha
Aug 11         Saturday        Home!!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
                                      Proverbs 3:5-6