Saturday, July 10, 2010

July 10th ~ Headed home....

{Our Travel Group}

As we are doing our finally packing (and yes I did have to purchase another suitcase), I can not stop thinking about the past 2 1/2 weeks...

There is just so much to tell you all ~ so much to say...


As many of you know, this is truly a very emotional time for all of us (and believe me I have done enough crying over the past year)...

So I am going to close out Our Journey To Benjamin with a few hand picked photos...

Once we get home & settled, I promise I will be doing a post that has been processing in my mind {and heart} for over a year now. I have started it many times before in the past, but I just could not find the right words to say but after having the experience that we did, I know exactly what I want said and how I need to say it ~ for it is about a little boy who has been living in our hearts for over a year now...a little boy who finally has a family...a little boy who finally has a place he can always call home...a little boy who will have a ton of family & friends to support him throughout his life...and a little boy who will be loved & treasured for the rest of his life...

Benjamin James Zi Leonard.

{Our Beautiful Francesca}

{Our "Almost" Family}
{Famous Red Couch Photo}

{Look at all those beautiful babies!}

Friday, July 9, 2010

July 9th ~ Our Prince of Pompeii

As our journey to China {once again} is coming to an end ~ here are a few photos that were taken of our Prince of Pompeii...

I can't believe we will be headed home with our third child ~ our first son ~ from a country that has truly blessed us more times than we ever {dreamed} deserved...

Our Benjamin has truly begun to blossom into this amazing little man that is kind, gentle, patient, and very loving! He does loves "the guys" and is getting to be a little boy who isn't afraid to try new things or to make himself be independent.

I just can't wait for all of you to meet him! As many of you know, there will be more adventures to tell you all on our family blog, "To China Again We Go..."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 8th ~ US Consulate "Taking the Oath"

While we were not allowed to have any cameras present during the process where we "took the oath" at the US Consulate today, I do have a few random ones to share with you all.

I must tell you, it is always very emotional and very surreal whenever we have taken "the oath" (it has now been three times for us). I always end up crying a few tears...thinking back on first Francesca's and now Annabelle's "oath taking" day and the looking back on the road that lead us to this very moment...

Our time is almost at an end in the truly amazing country know to many as China...

But for me it will always been known as the Birth Country to my babies. A place where we traveled half way around the world to bring each - Francesca (2005), Annabelle (2008) and now Benjamin (2010) - home. China has & always will live on within my heart for when ever I look into my children's eyes, for I see the country that said YES to me becoming a mother AND MAKING US A FAMILY OF FIVE!!!!!!!

I will try to post the final photos of our trip within the next two days. Not sure how much I will get completed by the time we fly out on the 10th ~ but you just never know.

Only two more day....TWO MORE ANNABELLE until I can hold you in my arms again ~ and never let go {well at least for another 16 years...}

Love & Miss you all so very much!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July 7th ~ Another day on the Island....

Today was another day spent on Shamian Island and while I can actually say I AM COMPLETELY DONE WITH MY SHOPPING (well according to Keith he thinks I can still find something to buy....) and if you know me, I LOVE TO SHOP but we are all so longing for home...

{and yes ~ besides eating our meals & swimming at the pool, all we did was shop today!}

Here are a few photos that were today of us inside the White Swan near the is truly one beautiful hotel!

While all is going well, Benjamin is still having some issues (well I guess that is expected). He is truly one amazing little boy who has stolen our hearts and showed us what loving a son is all about! I still can't believe I am a mother of now 3! I know there are mothers out there of more (a lot more) but I never expected to have one child ~ let alone be BLESSED with three by the miracle of adoption!

Tomorrow is our Visa Apppointment at the US Consulate here in Guangzhou (that's why we are actually here). While we don't physically have to go (our guides from CCAI handle all of that) we are still "told" to stay in our rooms (from 9:30AM to 11:30AM) until we receive a phone call from them telling us that everything went well. As for tomorrow night, we might be going on the Pearl River Dinner Cruise. It is the one thing I have wanted to do for so long ~ and it just might happen (we are waiting to see how the little guy is going to be feeling).

Well, that's it for tonight! Hope you enjoyed the photos! Only three more days until we come home...


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 6th ~ A Mother of Three....

Today my husband Keith did one of the most loving & sweetest things ever...

Tonight after getting my shower, just before the kiddos were tucked into bed...

I was presented with this...
Each figured represents not only me but my three children...

There is "the mother" "the son" "daughter #1" and "daughter #2"....

I can't begin to tell you how much this simple gift means to me...

It will truly be a gift that will represent what I will always treasure the most, for the rest of my life.

And here is another photo I just could not resist sharing with you all!

This is how our little man fell asleep this afternoon!
Didn't I say he was all boy (and oh so adorable)!

I don't know which one he likes better...but I am sure if we let him sleep with his shoes as well, they would be right there in the crib with him!

Hope all is well back in the U.S.

As for my family back home ~ we are missing everyone ESPECIALLY OUR ANNABELLE so very much! Only 4 more days until we see each other again..."Mommy, Daddy, Francesca and {yes even} Benjamin love & miss you so very much!"

only 4 days to go....

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 5th ~ Buddhist Temple, Old Chen House and 4th of July Celebration-Lucy's Style!

As many of you know, today we took an little tourist trip to Guangzhou Buddhist Temple, Guangzhou Chen Old House, and than we also had an "almost" American meal at Lucy's with travel mates Dan, Maria, and daughter, Vanessa - on the island!

While we all had a great time, it was very hot!

Here are a few photos from our day!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 4th {just photos}

Seeing how you are all probably doing some 4th of July Celebrating, I figured I do just a short post today with only a few photos! We are headed out tonight with Dan, Maria, and their daughter Vanessa - along with a few other adopted families to Lucy's (a what-to-be American restaurant here on the island for some of our own celebration)!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

July 3rd ~ After three adoptions look what we finally got today...

YES! We finally made it to the White Swan after what seems like a day of either waiting in our hotel (until it was time to leave), running through a crazy airport, and than taking a 2 hour flight to Guangzhou! By the time we got checked in and into our hotel room (with our luggage) it was after 9PM!

As for today, we had Benjamin's medical exams. Seeing how we are a Hague family, we had a few more steps this time around. I was extremely worried that the doctor examining him would see what is going on with him and it might set us back some (with staying longer in Guangzhou). After the doctor examined his stomach area for about 10 mintues, she did request that our guide come and talk to her and we had a answer a ton of questions about why his stomach was so many times a day does he poop...what is his pooping schedule....has he pooped today...well you get the idea. Keith & I felt like we were in front of a firing squad. All I wanted was my baby dressed once again and back into my arms. Thank Goodness his pull up was dry (no poop) and he didn't start pooping through his pee or his rectum {while exposed} until after he was dressed (and far away from that place).

To answer the question why was the doctor so concerned is because our little man's belly is once again swollen. He did poop yesterday morning & last night, but so far today ~ he has only gone very little. We are only half way through this trip and if he doesn't go by tomorrow, it is looking like another Fleet enema. While I am loving this time once again in China ~ I am looking forward to coming home and getting our little man taken care of...

OK ~ now here is his current height & weight -

He is 22 lbs and is 29" tall...Like I said he is tiny.

Other than that we met up with another adopting family (Dan & Maria with daughter Vanessa) today for lunch at Lucy's... to have some burgers and of course some beers!

Pretty soon it will be pool time for us!

Tomorrow we are visiting the local Buddhist Temple, Old Chen House and shopping at the Provincial Art & Crafts Market (which we have never been to any of them before)!

I know you'll are all waiting on a few photos so here they go...

These were actually taken yesterday while waiting for our time to come until we checked out of the Crowne Plaza.

Our little man just cracks us up and this is one of the things we love about him. Just show him something once, and he does it!

This is our Rock Star...not only does he love playing his little toy drum that started out as Francesca's (she got it from the Zhengzhou Lotus Center) but he also loves to make some moves!

one last thing...

We are having a very hard time using the White Swan's Internet service. Not sure what is up but everyone here and at the Victory are having some problems. I can access my emails but it is taking me forever to respond. I know a lot of you have been emailing us and I have been trying my best to keep up, but with this slow service might be a few days before I can respond ~ so please be patient and I will do the best that I can!

Love to you all and as for our Miss Annabelle ~ So looking forward to seeing you tomorrow ~ even if it is a half a world away...xxxooo

Friday, July 2, 2010

July 2nd

Seeing how today we are flying down to Guangzhou (our final leg of the trip) we are still 8 days away from coming home...While we are so looking forward to our first visit to the White Swan and all the great shopping to do on the island (not to mention the Pearl River Boat Tour which we are doing this time)...We are all missing....home.

So here are just a few photos taken yesterday at the museum. Many of the artifacts you'll be see are dated from late BC - early AD! China does take extreme pride in their history and cultural and from just looking at these photos, you can see why!

Enjoy the photos and next post will be from Guangzhou!

"Ma, Are we still on to skype on the 3rd at 7:30 PM your time? Just let me know. I know the sound is not working so well on your end so remember, you can always email me. Miss you and so wish you and Annabelle were here...Love, Shell"

***Remember me telling you all about "Mandy" (the waitress from the Italian restaurant at the Crown Plaza that we LOVE so much)....well the night before we headed out, Keith took Francesca and Benjamin for some at the coffee shop which is located right next door. As soon as "Mandy" saw Benjamin again, she came running over to him and immediately starting helping Keith with both kids. She than asked if she could sit down and talk with him for a while and Keith said sure. I guess Benjamin and her had a very interesting conversation! Here is what he told her...

He LOVES his Mama & Papa! {again YEAH!!!!}

He loves how his big sister makes him laugh!

He loves his new truck, car, and red bag! (I gave him and Francesca some of the extra gift bags I brought with me and he hand picked one of the small red ones I had and has been putting all this favorite toys in it - along with two envelopes I wrote some "to do" lists on - and he carries it everywhere with him! Seriously ~ at night when it is time to go to bed, you CAN NOT take that bag away from him. You have to tell him to go over to the desk area and put his bag there until morning and promise him it will be there when he wakes up ~ and trust me that is the first thing he looks for in the morning!)

and last but not least...

He LOVES his new shoes! (We had to purchase him some new shoes at the Lotus Center here in Zhengzhou the other day. The ones he came with and let's just say....nasty and I truly believe they were never his! And the ones I did bring for him, they are just way too big, size 5 and size 6...I told you he was tiny so new shoes for Benjamin were the first thing on our list!) Anyway "Mandy" did ask Keith about his shoes, and Keith told he we just purchased them for him at the Lotus Center the other day, that is when she told him that Benjamin is loving his new shoes!

BTW ~ he is calling us by name, Mama, Papa, Cesca, and Benjamin. He still answers to Zi at times, but Keith is the only one who keeps saying it correctly so for Francesca and me it has been Benjamin. He also LOVES when I sing to him the song..."Show Me The Way To Go Home" {you know the one from the movie Jaws lol}! It is hysterical!

Just a little something I had to share with you all...***