Tait’s First Haircut

So… life has been a little busy and this blog has suffered because of it.  The first 7 months with Tait have flown by and she is such a joy and blessing in all our lives.

Today, she had her first haircut.  With her dad in Japan I had to post these pictures.   She was just too cute!

Ready for the royal treatment!

Hair wash down, ready for cut!

Just precious!

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Happy Birthday Tait!

Tait has been talking about her birthday for weeks!  I’m not sure if she even knew what having a birthday meant.  But she knew that it meant noisy horns, hats, and balloons because she had bought them and knew she couldn’t use them until her “birthday”…  Tait turned six on Wednesday, October 20th but we didn’t celebrate until Saturday once her dad was home from Japan.  She was up and dressed and ready to party!  She loved all her presents and really LOVED getting chocolate cake for breakfast.  The horns were loud and often!  She would have made all the Hoos down in Hooville very proud!  We got the biggest smile from the indoor basketball goal but all around I think Tait is happy to be six!  Happy birthday, my precious little girl!

Let the party begin!

Ayi (our house helper) giving Tait a birthday present and hug

Price and Tait battling it out


Determining that daddy has a serious fever... :)

Happy about her bball goal!

Playing... her favorite thing!

Time for cake and blowing out the candles!

Can't believe she got chocolate cake for breakfast!

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Gillian on interim

Gillian (on the right) rapelling off Moon Hill

Mud was commonly found on my legs as I kayaked, climbed, rappelled, and caved my way through Yangshuo, China.  This year for my interim I went back to Yangshuo and became rock climbing certified.  Although it rained everyday except for the last making all of our treks extremely dangerous and muddy, it made it all the more fun.  I rock-climbed up picturesque mountains, rappelled down 120 foot cliffs, and kayaked six miles down the Li River.  The mud made our hikes a lot more… slippery.  The rain made our climbing a lot more… fun.  And the amazing scenery made for a lot more… pictures.  Over all, I had a blast! -Gillian

Leaving for interim

Rock climbing certified now!

"No Fear" Withers

Stuck (literally) in the rock

Ready for Moon hill rapel

Don't want to know what's in that water...

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Dad’s in love…

Five weeks into being a new Dad and I have learned a few things.  First, much to my chagrin, I am not as young as I used to be!  Picking up and carrying a 40 pound little girl, getting down on the floor and playing Candyland or blocks, and playing basketball, soccer or scooter outside are all things which require more stamina and a stronger back than my 43 year old body currently has.  I still happily do all those things and, in fact, look forward to them; however, I hear a few more pops and creaks now than when I did them 6-8 years ago with Price.
Second, my Chinese is really not very good.  For example, most every evening, Judi reads to Tait in Chinese from her favorite book, the Jesus storybook bible.  One particular evening, Tait let me read it to her instead of Mom, which was a big deal.  I figured I had heard Judi tell it several times, so I could muddle my way through in Chinese.  I told her about Adam and Eve, Noah, the tower of Babel, Joseph, and Moses.  After I was finished reading and tucking her into bed, I was feeling pretty good about myself until I came out to Gillian’s room, which is beside Tait’s.  Gillian was in hysterics as she had heard most of what I had said.  As her Chinese is significantly better than mine, she informed me that I had messed up pretty much everything!  Oh well, no big surprise there…
Lastly, and most importantly, I have been reminded just how amazing it is that you can fall in love with a child instantaneously.  Whether it is things she says (“Why do you like swimming so much?” Answer: “Because swimming is beautiful.”), things she does (copying me and putting on a swim cap while skyping with her brother and sister and asking, “Do I look good?”), things she likes (ketchup, painting, things in her brother and sister’s rooms, singing, dancing, music, and did I say ketchup?), or other little things (getting the silly giggles during bath time, dancing cheek to cheek, or hearing her say, “I love you” in English for the first time), I know one thing for sure…this little bundle of joy has me wrapped tightly around her little finger and I am crazy about her.

At the park

Tub time is always fun!

Always the life of the party

Making brownies with Gillian

First time at Jesus' house

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My funny sleeper

Tait is so funny at bedtime.  She sleeps all night but her bedtime routine is pretty funny.  We always read to her including her favorite book, the Jesus Storybook bible.  Its the only book that I translate into Chinese – the rest we read in English.  I do have to go on record that it is not an inerrant translation….  it is a limited mom’s chinese translated version but she likes it very much and REQUIRES it every night.  After I read to her, I tell her it is time to go to sleep.  Some nights, she goes to sleep in the chair.  Some nights she goes to sleep in the bed.  One night, when I checked on her, she was wearing her sunglasses.  One night, she was sleeping with binoculars.  Last night, when we checked on her, her light was on and a running Gameboy was in her hand.  She was fast asleep.  God is so good though.  He knows just how badly I need my sleep.  I am thankful to have a precious daughter who goes HARD all day and then sleeps like it at night.  We are blessed beyond measure to be entrusted with this little girl.

Here’s a few pictures from this week….

A typical breakfast before her dental surgery Thursday. Now she can eat crunchy things!

This girl loves a party!

Price & Tait

My girls

She was SO happy for Gillian to paint her nails...

She loves to paint

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Coming Home

Leaving the hotel - Bye Beijing!!!

Saturday was the big day as we traveled back to Shanghai.  Tait did a great job on the trip – although it was a little boring for her.  We thought she would be excited to fly but flying was just an added accessory for her.  She was more happy to check out every button on the plane – especially the flight attendant button…  She is not used to wearing seat belts, not used to keeping her seat upright and her tray stowed, not used to much that limits or controls her movements.  She did stay in her seat like a little angel (once she could undo the seat belt) and snacked, colored (a little on the plane when I wasn’t looking), listened to music, slept and really accomplished more in a two hour plane ride than I can get done in a week.

The kids have enjoyed her greatly although it was difficult the first evening.  Everything is so new and overwhelming to her – sometimes I think she’ll come out of her skin.  There is so much going on inside her little head I wish she could tell me.  When she gets overstimulated, she just starts yelling and throwing things and jumping from toy to toy.  She’s not angry or upset, just excited and manic.  We’ve started to uncover some of her past through playing with dolls and it breaks my heart to see.  This little precious was desperate for a family and for unconditional love.  Pray that she will soon come to understand that the security and peace she feels in our family is something that is not going to change or disappear.

Please continue to pray for us that we’ll parent her in a godly and patient way.  It is so new for us to parent a 6 year old who has never had discipline.  She is like a toddler in a 6 year old body.  She just doesn’t know right from wrong.  It is mind boggling to me and we are MAJOR child proofing the house like REAL FAST!  🙂  Gillian and Price are precious to her and she already loves them and loves when they play with her and praise her.  She wants to please but sometimes she just can’t get it right.  I’m that way with God so much.  I just fail sometimes – but I get back up and He forgives me again and again.  I thank Him for the example He set for me and pray every day that Tait will see Jesus and His forgiveness in each of us.

Arriving at the airport (doing it herself, OF COURSE!)

Smiling for mommy!

Dad's taking too long to check in

Playing Brick Breaker on Dad's phone

Ready to take off!

Checking out the in flight tunes

Finishing off her "Finger licking pork flavor" potato chips

A quick nap before arriving in Shanghai!

Happy reunion.... why does Mom keep crying????

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Wo siji zuo

“I can do it myself”.  I told Todd I was going to get a t-shirt printed for Tait that says this phrase.  Whether it is washing her hair, brushing her teeth, eating breakfast, carrying her bag, or climbing the Great Wall of China, Tait Withers can do it herself!  🙂  Today was another great day….. EXCEPT for the fact that we found out she gets very carsick.  Forgetting all the things a mother does when she has a small one (like shlepping an extra 25 pounds in additional clothing, wet wash cloths, barf bags, etc.), Tait surprised us on the way out of town with an extra big case of carsickness.  Whew!  What a mess – we all sort of froze at first including her.  Then we worked it all out, stripped her in the car, washed her up at our friends’ hotel and I bought some new clothes for her down the street.  On to the Great Wall we went! Up, up, up on a cable car to the wall.  She loved it!  “We’re flying”, she said!  We had a great day and were exhausted from chasing her.  Every time we would hit a “straightaway” in the wall, she would haul off and sprint as hard as she could.  Yeesh – that girl is fast!  It was such a fun game no amount of pleading would stop her.  Ha!  Once we reached the alpine slide which is a giant toboggan ride she and her dad took off.  Half way down the mountain, I caught up to them because a man who was afraid to go fast was barely moving in front of them.  “Kuai yi diar!!!” she was screaming at the man.  “Go faster!  Go faster!”  I realized then that after 44 years without gray hair, I was soon to have my first….  🙂  Here are some pictures from the day.

Waking up after a great night's sleep!

Ready to go to the Great Wall!.... forgetting to tell us she gets carsick :)

Our newest family member on the Great Wall of China!

Holding her hands so NO ONE could hold them..... that girl! :)

One of her serious moments with mom....

Off to supper!

The end of another wonderful day!

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Our beautiful girl

This is right after we met her this morning

I have much to say and little energy to say it.  As the day winds down, we are all exhausted.  I don’t think any of us slept well last night and we were up at 5:00am to get Tait at 7:30am.   We have had an absolutely wonderful day.  Tait was so brave and has done really well with us.  All your prayers were felt.  God was so merciful to give us a day filled way more with laughs and fun than tears and sadness.  Here are a few pics until I can write more!  I need to run.  Tait is reading dad a book and I want to hear it.  Oh one quick story about her so you can understand just how fun she is.  We took her to a noodle shop and she was so happy.  She immediately announced that she wanted us to order the entire menu.  Dou yao, she said (I want it all).   In the middle of dinner, she fussed at both Todd and I for not slurping our soup loud enough.  She demonstrated a loud slurp and would accept nothing less than a loud slurp from us….  this is a special little girl and we are so blessed to have her… -Judi

She warmed up to us so quickly. Thanks for the prayers!

After leaving the institute. She was exhausted from the whole thing.

Styling mom's glasses

She loved her new bookbag full of stuff and is really little miss independent!

After she hiked up her dress and tried to wade in the fountain, we realized she wanted to swim :)

Swimming in the hotel pool. She would only leave after I promised we could return tomorrow

She has been journalling her first day by taking pictures. So precious

She LOVED her noodles.

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Our itinerary

We now have our itinerary for this week.  Tuesday  Sept 7, we leave for Beijing in the morning.  Todd has a business meeting around lunch and I will explore the area around the Westin where we are staying.  Wednesday, Sept 8 at 8am we go to the Beijing Children’s Welfare Institute to pick up Tait.  After we pick her up, we head to the Civil Affairs office to do the first set of paperwork.  The rest of the day Wednesday we will get to know her and just spend some time with her.  Thursday, we plan to drive to the Great Wall of China for a little hike and hopefully some fun pictures.  Friday, Sept 10 we  get her  Adoptive Registration Certificate, Notarization and apply for her passport.  Because our home is in country, we are then allowed to return home to wait for her passport.  Families visiting from the US are required to spend more than 10 days in Beijing until all the paperwork has been processed.  We will return to Shanghai Saturday morning for a wonderful family reunion with Gillian and Price and the beginning of a new season in all of our lives.  Thanks be to God for His grace and love to us all through this time.  Please pray for Tait that she will not be fearful and that she will have a peace that is more than any of us can understand.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of  love and of a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6,7

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Here we come!

It was never my 2010 new year’s resolution to learn a new language.  Chinese and english keep me busy for sure.  But, as my family began the adoption journey I quickly learned there is a “language of adoption”.  Words like authentication and dossier were not a part of our vocabulary last year but this year they are our favorite words….. because we are waiting for Tait.  Our daughter, Tait Weitong Withers, is in Beijing right now.  And I learned, this morning when I awoke, that we have been granted approval to travel to Beijing now to pick up Tait.  In adoption-ese, that TA!  We’ve had DTC, LID, LOA, our cable, our letter, and our Article 5.  The last and most important word is TA – travel approval!

I am beyond excited!  This morning, I was tossing and turning, couldn’t sleep!  I kept wanting to wake up enough to check my email but kept willing myself to sleep.  Finally, at 445am I could wait no longer and THERE IT WAS!  I quickly grabbed my cell phone to call Todd and tell him but his phone was already off.  He had left Australia already for Shanghai.  Unable to wait any longer, at 530am, I went and jumped on the kids and we cried together and celebrated.  I fixed a huge breakfast for them and sent them on their way to school with a full stomach and a fuller heart!

Her room is ready and we pray her heart is ready to enter a family who is dedicated to loving her unconditionally and fully.  We can’t wait to introduce her to the most important person in our lives, Jesus.  To share with her how He has a special plan just for her life and how He has always been her Father from before she first took a breath.

And now the time has come!  HERE WE COME, TAIT!!!!!!  -Judi

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