Well friends, I know you have been waiting to hear about our trip to Beijing.
And we are finally back.
I say "finally" but in all reality I was only gone for 4 days.
But those 4 days were a long, rough, emotional, sleepless, foodless and chaotic but beautiful.
We started off the journey with an hour and half flight to Beijing with 12 babies and 12 volunteers.
I was in charge of taking little Mr Karl.
After we arrived in Beijing we started a day full of tests on our babies.
Tests, tests, tests.
*Cameron and his wonderful nanny waiting in line to take another test.*
In traditional and typical life in China, when we arrived at the clinic for our babies tests, the electricity was out. So imagine having 25 babies and families in a hospital ward waiting to take tests and having the electricity out.
But thankfully all of our babies tests came back ok and we were given the thumbs up for surgeries.
*Karl getting blood tests done. None of the babies were very fond of the blood tests. But who could blame them right?*
We did a lot of waiting in rooms and finding new and interesting ways to keep our babies entertained in the spare time.
I constantly thought about what people would tell me as a teenager when I went on youth mission trips.
I remember my youth pastors always saying " You need to be prepared to hurry up and wait".
So thankfully to the many trips I took in high school, I had already acquired the skill of "hurrying up to wait" so we were in luck!
And the babies caught on to this concept very quickly. We have the most amazing babies. So smart.
*Julee and Olivia found another way to stay busy during her down time.*
*Sadie and Sara waiting in the hospital.*
Finally after a long day of tests 4 of us were given the go ahead to head back to the hospital and wait to have our surgery.
Sadie, River, Karl and Jasmine.
*Jasmine and a really sweet Chinese nurse.*
We were VERY blessed to have amazing nurses while we stayed in the hospital.
Both Chinese and American nurses.
I now have a new appreication for nurses and their constant assistance.
Amazing women and men, let me tell you.
The Chinese nurses loved our babies and were constantly taking pictures of their cute little smiles and trying to play with them.
*Jasmine and a Chinese Doctor and Karl and our Chinese nurse all patiently waiting for our surgeries.*
To make a long story short, after waiting in the hospital for about 24 hours with Karl I was finally officially told that he would not be receiving his surgery.
You can imagine, I was heart broken.
Apparently Karl's liver is very unhealthy and we had no idea.
The American nurses thought that poor little Karl might have Hepatitis or Malaria by the looks of his little liver.
Throughout rest of the week we found out that Jasmine, Aaron and Karl were all to unhealthy to receive their surgeries.
But the good news is that the rest of our babies all receieved their surgeries and I have learned that even thought things don't go as planned, I can find plenty to be thankful for along the way.
So thank you Jesus that River, Sadie, Olivia, Tim, Cameron, Tina, Sophia, Hosea and James all received their operations.
*Here is River and his volunteer Tina minutes after River was rolled out of surgery.*
If you've ever seen a baby come out of surgery you know that it can break your heart.
But thankfully all of our precious babies had very successful operations and came back to us with completely different little faces.
We were so blessed to have an AMAZING group of American doctors and nurses that did a FANTASTIC job with all of our babies.
*Precious little River.*
They brought all of the babies back to us naked besides their little diapers.
So we had to cuddle them up in their nice warm blankets and monitor them through out the evening.
Lets just say that there wasn't very much sleeping going on. Every hospital room had atleast 2 babies in it. Which meant a lot of sleepless nights for the volunteers.
But our volunteers were awesome and handled everything like true mommies and professional non sleepers.
But as I wrote before Karl didn't get his operation but shortly after receiving that news I was given the responsibility of caring for James instead. Since Karl needed to return home for further tests.
So from that point on, it was James and me.
The cuddle duo.
*This picture was taken the day after James surgery.*
I was a little occupied when he first came out of surgery as you can imagaine so I didn't manage to take any photo's. But James came out of surgery around 8pm and him and I had a VERY long night.
James was having severe breathing problems through out the night so I had to stay up and care for him. And in China, things are done a little differently, so when I informed the night nurses that he was having breathing problems they hooked up the oxygen mask and told me to hold it on his mouth.
And then left the room.
So I stayed up with James all night, praying over him and trying to make him as comfortable as possible.
At that point my maternal instincts kicked in and I was going to do whatever needed to be done to make sure my little man made it through the night.
And I can truthfully tell you, I felt your prayers through out that whole evening. I never once had problems keeping my eyes open or struggled. I felt like God had reserved all of your prayers for when He knew I was really going to need them, and then He just poured them all over me and my James. So thank you for your prayers. I remember thinking "someone somewhere is praying for us and I can feel it".
Isn't our God just amazing? The ways He shows us love just leave me speechless.
*James, Sophia and Olivia partying in our bed.*
All of the babies have to wear "no-no's" on their arms for a week after the surgeries. The "no-no's" will help keep the babies from hurting their little mouths. And will help prevent the babies from acceidcnatally opening up their stitches.
*Here is James and our AWESOME American nurses Jessica and Matthew.*
These two were so amazing to me, after about the 3 night in a row of no sleep, they were my support system. They were inspiring and such support systems for me and James.
James had a very rough time in the hospital and they both were very mindful of him and patient with us both.
And what we even more encouraging, is that Matthew had a cleft lip himself. He had the same exact cleft lip as James. So of course when he saw James, his heart melted.
But whose doesn't?
But after 4 sleepless days. We finally jumped on the plane with our babies and came back. Not all of our babies are back yet but the majority of them are now.
And when I say "jump" on the plane I mean stumble, crawl and sleep walk our way through the terminals and gates.
It was truly a comical sight. And we were all so exhausted instead of breaking down and crying we decided to laugh until we thought we were going to throw up.
I told Sara and Julee that if we could pick up men at that moment, then we would never be able to loose them.
We were looking pretty rough.
But the babies didn't seem to mind one bit.
And after all, they were the whole reason we were there. So just seeing their sweet little faces made the chaos strangely enjoyable and entertaining.
*So James nose looks HUGE in this photo but it's truly not that big.*
All of the babies have stitches but they should fall out over the next few weeks.
*River in his no-no's.*
I think all of the babies were relived to be back home. And Julee and I were equally relieved.
But now Julee and I only have 3 more days. 3 days people.
I'm in shock. I so completely thrilled to be returning home to family and friends and food. But I'm going to miss my babies so much. I told my mom last night, that I will most likely cry every time I talk about my babies for the first few weeks when I get home. So if I cry when you ask me a question don't be alarmed. Just try to understand that I stutter and hyperventilate when I cry so it might be tricky to understand what I'm talking about.
To be so blessed to live in place like this for 6 months not just blows my mind when I stop and think about it.
These babies truly are God's gift to us and they have forever changed their Auntie Chrissy's life.
And I will miss their smiles and laughs and hugs like they could never imagine.
But you can imagine our delight when we received 2 new babies into the Starfish family yesterday!
Julee and Anna, Me and Matthew.
And Matthew has a cleft lip and Anna has a broken arm.
(I was tickled when I heard our new baby was named Matthew because I just met such an amazing Matthew I knew he was going to be equally amazing)
Living in this place you learn how truly evil people can be but you also see the pure beauty that this world has to offer.
Little Anna was found in a trash can with a broken arm.
To imagine that days before she was seen in a trash can makes me want to fall to my knees and cry.
To grasp the idea alone is mind blowing. But the even more mind blowing reality is that our little Anna was created in Her loving, eternal Fathers imagine and that He said "it is good" after creating her. She was never a mistake and was never undesired by Him. That He placed every hair on her head and every limb on her body. And that He created Her to delight Himself with her relationship with Him. That her Savior is eager to have a personal relationship with her.
And in the end no matter what circumstances that our new little Anna will find herself in, that she will never find herself alone.
She has her Jesus at her side and He has been gracious enough to place her in an amazing place that is full of love and joy.
She is now home at Starfish and we couldn't be more thrilled about having 2 new family members.