Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Update #1: I forgot to tell you that it's COOKED in, I can't get it off my stove. In case that changes your guess.... :)

Before I tell the story behind this mess on my flattop stove, I thought I'd give my loyal (all three of you, lol) blog readers a chance to guess what it is.....

SO, what do you think? I'll fill you in on the little secret tomorrow :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Three Weeks in Our Arms....

I know I probably sound like a broken record, but there is just SO much I want to post, and not enough long periods of time in my day in which to post! I think I'm going to have to settle for short, chatty, picture-filled posts for awhile. I'll stop waiting for that magic "two hour blogging window" that isn't happening and just try to keep up with the current day. I'll try. No promises. But I'm growing to love blogging. You know how it feels when you see someone's perfectly updated scrapbooks, and you think, "Goodness, I'm SO behind, I'll never catch up!"?? That's how I feel about my blog. I'm so behind on all of the things I WANT to blog about, that I don't blog about ANYTHING :) Silly, I know. But that's the facts. I am willing, however, to attempt a change. So, here goes....

Yesterday marked 3 weeks that Gabriella Mei has been in our arms. She's growing and blossoming in an amazing way. The jet lag was really hard, and I think we're still recovering from it, 10 days later. Brent and I are still falling asleep around 9:30 (early for us!) and Eliana and Ethan are still sleeping an incredible amount of time (Ethan went to bed around 7 last night, and slept until 11:30 this morning). I don't feel tired all day anymore, though, and life is settling back into a routine. We started back to "school" yesterday, and I'm working out how I can homeschool and entertain three toddlers at the same time. I've got a plan in mind, but I'll save that for another day! :)

Gabbey is sleeping in her own bed, in our room, ALL NIGHT LONG. Oh, how blissful is an uninterrupted night's sleep! My babies don't normally sleep through the night til they're older, and I'm fine with that. So I thought I'd be fine if Gabbey was a frequent night-waker, too. But I forgot to take into account the fact that with my little babies, I simply nurse them back to sleep when they wake up. I don't even fully wake up. This new little one is a different story, however. I don't have "nursing" in my parenting toolbag ;), and it was much harder. Especially considering I have four other children to parent come morning. I'm praising the Lord that the night-waking was a relatively short period of time. (I'm sure the fact that I was severely sleep-deprived going into it made it much worse.) 

Something else I took for granted....when you have a baby, you learn their cries, their needs, their preferences, etc....By the time they are toddlers, you KNOW what they are "trying" to say, when they need to go to the bathroom, what position they like to be held in, what they do when they're scared, nervous, hungry, etc, etc, etc..... With Gabbey, we didn't have a clue what she wanted when she cried, or how she liked to fall asleep, or anything! It was a process, and we're still learning. Don't think I'm complaining, cause I've loved every second of it (well, except for a couple of the middle of the night "seconds").....It's been such a growing time for Brent and I, learning this new little person, experiencing parenthood in a whole new way. I'm so thankful for a patient, loving husband, who has helped on so many levels lately.

Gabbey is still getting most of her calories from a bottle. The doctor encouraged us to treat her like a 6 month old where food is concerned. Introduce solid food slowly and try to help her gain weight and "catch up" to where she should be via formula calories. Just this morning she figured out how to get cereal from the tray to her mouth---it was just precious. She's far from being a confident self-feeder (she still won't touch her bottle), but it's progress just the same.

Our older children (8, 6, 4, and 20 months now) love Gabbey to pieces. Every time he sees her, Ethan says, "Hi, Ga-ey!" Eliana loves to carry her around and dress her up. The boys are very protective of their new sister. Noah (4) keeps asking me if we EVER have to take her back to China. No, sweet Noah. Not Ever.

She's all ours! And while I'm convinced that Gabbey's life with us gives her so many things she never would have known (the love of a family and a knowlege of Jesus Christ are two examples), I'm even more convinced that WE were missing something in our lives as well. We needed her just as much as she needed us! We are all blessed by this precious little life.

Here are some random pictures from the past week!

The wonderful CROWD of family and friends waiting for us at the airport! Such a glorious sight, especially after an exhausting 24 hours.

An orphan no longer, and now an "official" American citizen:

Nathaniel couldn't wait to get his hands on his new sister!

All my gratitude goes to Brent's mom, "Meme", for keeping our two boys while we were gone. We literally couldn't have done it without her.

And Brent's sister, Rhonda, who came to our house every weekend to help Meme and spend time with Nathaniel and Noah. We are so grateful---love you, Rhonda!

Christmas morning, our first picture of all FIVE of our blessings. Thank you, Lord, for each one of them.

Christmas morning again, one quick shot---our first FAMILY picture with Gabriella. Meant to get another one when the kiddos were dressed up all cute, but, sadly, it didn't happen.  :)

At my dad's house for Christmas---my sister's insisted on taking this picture---and I love it!

Two of my gorgeous, wonderful sisters. What would I do without you both? (Don't answer that. I'm sure I'd be completely CRAZY by now!)

This one is just a picture I couldn't resist. I was attempting to make lunch on Monday, our first homeschooling, routine day. Ethan was my lunch "helper". He made more mess and work than help, but he was SO cute!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Keepin' It REAL

---Jet lag is REALLY hard. Just sayin. We were up ALL night with Gabbey, and poor Eliana didn't sleep well either.

---Mommy is not a very good Mommy when she is severely sleep-deprived. In case you were wondering. I allowed two hours (yes, HOURS) of videos this morning so I could try to sleep a little. Bad, bad, Mommy.

---Five children all needing Mommy at the same time is hard. I want to love on ALL of them!

---I could really use a cook and a maid about right now. And some sleep. But not in that order. Definitely need the sleep the most!

---Our newest blessing is just that. A blessing. And positively adorable. And SO petite. She weighed 15 lbs 8 oz at her checkup on Monday.

---Oddly enough, I can't wait to start back to school and our routine. Call me crazy, but I miss our school days!

---Dishes don't wash themselves, babies don't change themselves, and laundry piles up whether you want it to or not. Really. Isn't that a shame?

---Life will get better. I keep telling myself this, because I KNOW it's true. I just need enough sleep to believe myself. SOON!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


No time for a long post today, but I did want to post a few pictures from the past few days!

Two bathing buddies
 Matching sisters~Jie jie(means big sister) and Mei mei (means little sister)....

Her shirt says "I melt my Daddy's heart"....pretty sure that's not the only heart she'll melt :)

My two beautiful daughters: Ellie and Gabbey!

I'm hopeful for more time to blog tonight, but we'll see :).....we are doing well, and enjoying every minute in China with our girl.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Many, Many Thoughts...

Oh, how much I have to say, and how little time I seem to have to blog these past few days. Aside from the ridiculously slow internet connection, and being busy with sightseeing in Nanjing, touring Gabbey's orphanage, and traveling to Guangzhou, I am blessed beyond words with a little one who is attaching beautifully with Mommy---so much so that she doesn't want to be put down for even a minute yet! (unless she's sleeping. She sleeps wonderfully. When she's not sleeping, one of us is holding her!) So it is impossible for me to blog unless it's nap or bed time. Which it is right now. So hurry up and read fast, lol, and I'll type as fast as I can.

 Tuesday morning we returned to the same building we received Gabbey at the day before and finalized her adoption. She's officially a Bergey now! The director of Nanjing SWI came and brought back some of the things we had sent in a care package. I was especially glad to receive the camera we sent---full of pictures! Can't wait to get those developed. The director also gave us a jade pendant with Gabbey's Chinese name written on it and a brocade piece done locally in Nanjing.

We had a difficult time trying out a couple of restaurants on our own, so our guide took us to lunch and stayed long enough to ORDER for us. Much better! :) No bones this time....Eliana loved the noodle soup, although it came with a whole sunnyside up egg? which she did NOT eat :)...

Tired baby! Ready for a nap.


We spent all day Wednesday touring Nanjing. My main impression of the city would be crowded (think New York City) as there are 7 million people....also, crossing the street can be deadly dangerous! There are vehicle lanes, but there are also bicycle/scooter lanes. I honestly think there are more scooters than cars in Nanjing! So, to cross the street, you have to cross a scooter lane, wait, cross the vehicle traffic lanes, wait again, and finally cross another scooter lane! It's crazy, and a bit overwhelming.

Our first stop on our tour was the City Gate/Wall. It was built around 1300 and is amazing. Nanjing was the capitol of China when the wall was built, and home to the original Forbidden City. There are 27 caves in "gate" part of the wall, which housed mostly horses and gold, but if needed, could hide 3,000 men!

The view from the top of the can see the city skyscrapers in the distance. An interesting fact about the Nanjing Wall was that, during construction, each brick had to be inscribed with the mason's name and province, to guarantee quality. If a brick was found to be substandard in quality, the mason was promptly beheaded!

This Buddha was not originally in this cave, but was moved for all to see. He's made COMPLETELY of 24 carat gold. Amazing that no one has stolen him!

 Ellie on the other side of the top of the wall....

We also saw the Yangtze River Bridge, and an incredible Jade Factory, but I can't take the time right now to upload those pictures. It was memorable, however, to see much of our daughter's hometown, and I look forward to sharing it with her as she grows older.


Thursday was a day of mixed emotions. We received permission to tour Nanjing SWI on Thursday morning. Not all orphanages allow tours, so we are so thankful for the opportunity to view the first home our daughter knew.

A little brother/sister fun at breakfast that morning:

Outside the gate of the Nanjing Social Welfare Institute.  A bit nervous at this point....

Down the hall, up the elevator to the baby room. Gabbey was in the One year old room with LOTS of other babies. (who need homes, by the way! :))

OH, I forgot to tell you something neat. As soon as we walked up to the building where Gabbey had been, her Nanny was hanging out of the third story window, waving and calling, "Chunyi! Chunyi!" over and over again. She was the first person we saw as we excited the elevator on the third floor....and Gabbey jumped into her arms. Her nanny cried almost the entire time we were there. They were most obviously VERY attached. (I had suspected this from some of the pictures and updates I had received. This nanny was always holding her.) You could tell how very difficult it was for the nanny to say goodbye, and, while we know in our hearts that adoption was the VERY best thing for little Chunyi, it still felt a bit like we were "kidnapping" her. I am SO very thankful to this woman who obviously loved my daughter very much as I believe it is her nurturing and care for Gabbey that has made our adjustment so smooth. She told us that Gabbey only ever wanted "mama" (what she called her).... I let her hold her the whole time we were in the baby room, as I know she needed to say goodbye. When we prepared to leave, I asked her to record a message for Gabbey....with tears streaming down her cheeks, she shared her heart with us. I will save the video and share it with Gabbey someday.

Here you can see the hugs they had for each other!

We were priveleged to take pictures/get updates on two other little ones in Gabbey's room. I know their Momma's can't wait to get their hands on them!

I believe with all of my heart that I am the third "mother" to love my daughter. Her birth mother loved her enough that, despite whatever circumstances forced her abandonment, she left her in a busy place where she knew she'd be found and cared for. Her nanny, who will always hold a place in our hearts. And lastly, me. The lucky one who gets to be the "FOREVER" Momma....

Babies, babies, everywhere.

This little guy in the swing broke my heart. His head was back like that the whole time we were there....

It was hard seeing these two in the chairs as well.....they were obviously more severely handicapped, and were tied to their chairs.....I think this woman was a physical therapist. She was massaging and exercising babies the whole time we were there.

The playroom has a large window overlooking the cribs.

This was Gabbey's crib! She most certainly did NOT want to be put down in her crib! :)

Bath tubs!

Another sad sight....this little guy was wrapped up in his bed, crying this pitiful cry.....I didn't go look at him, but Brent did, and he said he was covered in sores....SO sad....

All in all, I was pretty impressed with the orphanage. The rooms were clean, the children were fed and warmly dressed, there were lots of toys and many nannies. Unfortunately, sometimes it is survival of the fittest, and some of the "cuter", more adoptable babies receive better care. I do think, however, that the staff truly does care and try their best.

Another heartwrentching moment was when the director brought us this little boy. He's 3 years old, stunningly beautiful, and totally deaf. He's been on the list for awhile, and no one has adopted him! We wanted to take him home RIGHT THEN......praying he gets the family he deserves soon......maybe YOU?

Goodbye, Nanjing SWI.....We're SO happy to be taking our sweet daughter home with us......but we're so, so sad to think of the 300 plus children still waiting.....waiting for THEIR chance at a loving home.

Well, did you read fast? LOL.....This post took all of the babies' nap time, and I could keep going ON and ON....maybe tomorrow! Please forgive any typos, as I don't have time to go back and edit this post.

Oh, and a special THANK YOU to each of you who has commented here and on facebook, and who has sent me an email. I've read each and every one, and am so grateful for friends and family as caring as each of you are!