Posting at SHINE

After almost 3 years of posting to this blog I've decided I am going to simplify my life and put all posts (for all my children!) on my "photography blog": SHINE!
I hope to see you there!

Friday, March 28, 2008

more photos :)

Go Team USA!
Trying to get some vacuuming done with the baby that wants to be held all day!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Quick Cardiologist appt. update.

It looks like all is well. Tia does still have a hole in her heart where the patch placed there during the surgery last June did not quite take. The cardiologist said that happens sometimes and it sounds worse than it is (not that I could hear it or anything . . . . ) Tia goes for an EKG just to cover the bases and then back to the cardiologist in about 2 years :) Thanks for all your prayers - God definitely answers them when we are humble enough to ask for his intervention. I would be thankful if you could continue to pray for the hole to close, the cardiologist said this often happens on its own, and certainly it is even more likely with divine intervention! (ok so I added that last part, but it is true!) Tomorrow is round #2 of the blood draw saga. I will keep you updated! Please pray it is sucessful and that we get enough blood!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

so boring . . .more pictures!

This is our Tia, hanging out in a tree in our front yard today, we put her there and she loved it! She has great balance, and can also sit in a straddle, lean forward onto her tummy and end up on her tummy, (she passes through the Chinese splits!) she likes to stand on her head and she can swing on a bar - can you say G Y M N A S T ?? ok, just kidding. We are still praying for a healthy heart :) She sees a cardiologist for the first time tomorrow, most likely we won't find anything out as I'm guessing he will just send her for tests, but it is nice to be starting the process.

In this photo taken last week the band aid is where the needle was that did not get the blood we need for the standard post adoption tests . . . . after 2 hours of going to one lab, being sent to another, finding parking and walking two little kids in. We waited and spent 20 minutes with the blood guy (I have no idea what his title really is!) and he poked and put hot compresses on Tia's arm, then pushed her arm around more (I couldn't see a vein!) finally he plunged the needle in TO NO AVAIL! My poor baby girl has to go back again. Oh yuck this is not fun! anyway I haven't had the heart to take her back for more of the same abuse as her arm is still bruised from the first attempt :( and she doesn't actually like to drink a lot of liquids that will increase the amount of blood (does it even work that way?) . . . poor sweetie, it is all too frustrating.

Here is a photo of Elijah, wanting equal time in front of the lens :) More than one friend had an amazed look on their face when meeting Tia - thinking that she really resembles our Elijah. I think they are both cute :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Look Ma, no hands!

Look what Isabella taught Tia today! She stands with her hands up everytime Bella shows her what to do, and gives her that winning sister smile :) (with anyone else, not so much!)

Here are a couple of Easter Photos. She is so totally silly :) She is always making us laugh! Noone taught her this, it is just her own idea . . . . (I know she shouldn't be sitting like this . . . . )

They are ready to go get those eggs . . .

New Title

Our journey to our daughter is complete and now we are enjoying our journey with Tia. We will continue to keep this blog to share everyday life with our Princess of Quite A Lot!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Some photos.

Helloooooooooooooo! Grandma?!

Snuggling with Daddy after a nap.

I meant to add these to yesterdays post but the Princess woke up and I ended up sleeping with her - so here goes!

She is so darn cute :)

Everyday is so much fun. She wakes up and sees our faces and she lights up with joy. She loves her food and her bottles. She says "mow mow mow" (more) when given tastes of ice cream. She stacks up to 5 blocks and says "yeah, yeah, yeah!" then smashes them and laughs. She puts the square and circle blocks into the shape sorter and then throws it :) She drops anything and everything and says "uh oh" and gives a mischievious smile, then she screams till we give whatever dropped back to her so she can drop it again. She reaches her hands out to the kids as though she wants them to hold her and then pulls them in really quick and snuggles in to mommy, giggling the entire time. She practices climbing the stairs. She loves to see her reflection in the mirror or the window. She acts like she is going to hit us and then gives a little cuddle. She screams when she is put in the car seat but settles in quickly. She is very happy to change her clothes as long as the new ones are cute and colorful. She tucks a bit of our shirt into her mouth with her thumb when she is being rocked to sleep. She likes rice and fried eggs for breakfast. She screams like she is being tortured when the dog gets in her face.

She is wonderful, adorable, beautiful and quite a stinker as you can see. We just adore this little girl and cannot remember what life was life without her.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Just a couple photos of Disneyland.

Isabella & Tia with beautiful Mulan at the character breakfast . . . .

More later :)

2 weeks ago today . . . .

Two weeks ago today I was lying in bed in our hotel room in Hangzhou, China. After 5 long years of this journey to a daughter, our hearts had been overcome with hope and joy when we met Tia that morning. She looked right into our eyes and when we held her she wouldn't let us put her down. As I watched our little girl sleeping beside me I was suddenly overcome with a wave of fear. Tomorrow this little 19 month old beauty would be legally ours in the eyes of China. I had just realized Tia seemed unable to do anything but snuggle into us and whimper. She didn't sit, or seem able to put any weight on her legs, vocalize or do anything really. Just days before a family had disrupted their adoption in China before it was final. I had just read about it that evening and I was scared. As the fear egulfed me I closed my eyes and prayed to God, "Is this our daughter, this little girl who may be a vegetable all her life?" It was only moments and the answer was crystal clear, I could hear that still small voice speaking to my heart. "She is your daughter, she already is". I woke Matt to give him a dose of my fear and make sure he knew what we may be getting ourselves into. He tried to wake up, thought for a moment and then just said, "she is ours, whatever that means, she is our daughter". And so I went to sleep. The next day we visited Tia's orphanage and we saw our precious little girl begin to laugh and giggle when she saw her former Nannies. We watched her walk around inside her old crib interacting with the other little kids she had known. It was suddenly so obvious that there was nothing wrong with our daughter except that she, not very different from myself, had been completely overcome with fear.

Today just two weeks later I am filled with so much hope and love and joy for my precious little girl. That little girl who just laid there and whimpered now crawls everywhere, walks when we hold her hands and says: Mama, DaDa, Googol (good girl) uhuh (uh oh)nn nn nn(no no no no), she sings with me when I sing, she giggles at the littlest tickle and her smile can fill our entire house with joy. This little girl is our daughter, our beautiful, funny, charming and somewhat sassy daughter. I can't imagine what life would have been like if I had listened to fear instead of to God.

Tia is our daughter, she just is.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

We're Home!

It was so strange signing on to Blogger and not changing the language from Chinese to English! It is good to be home.

We arrived in Sydney at 8:30 am and were at our house by 10:30 (via taxi by a cab driver originally from Guangzhou - how great is that?). The house was decorated with a welcome home sign and balloons (thanks Sonia, Johannah, Stephanie and Kristen!) There were meals in a cooler (thanks Lisa and Ian) and groceries arrived soon thereafter (thanks Ashlyn & Sonia) and gifts for Tia too! (Thanks Lucy, Carl, Oliver, Jessica, Macy & Ashlyn, Chris, Sophia, & Rhianna, Tony, Sam, Zoe) . . . . It was so fun! The kids slept on the flight . . . . well, Tia, not so much :( Matt & I are pretty exhausted, we both took naps today. Tia is enjoying her room and house, but she does seem a little stressed by yet another change. In another day or two she will be settled in and livin' the good life!

It has been really fun sharing our journey with all of you. I was finally able to read all the wonderful comments - thanks to each and every one of you for encouraging us. We are blessed - really. God is so faithful and our little Tia is such an answer to every prayer that we prayed and you prayed with us. We cannot even believe how blessed we are. I promise to post photos of Hong Kong Disneyland tomorrow (It was really fun:). I do want to say Happy Birthday to Casiana Madalina Covaci in Romania. Six years old today. Casi, we count our blessings and you are one of them. We continue to believe that God has a plan and his ways are perfect. Casiana, you were meant to be a part of our lives, we will always love you, dear little girl and pray that God fulfills the plan he has for your life. Happy Birthday sweet 6 year old, someday you will know how very much you were wanted by a family . . . . .

Cheers from Sydney, home to the Witt family of SIX!! (seven, if you count Zeke) We could see the blue sky today and the stars tonight! It is good to be home :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Last day in Guangzhou.

Today we spent our last day in Guangzhou. We had a great time and started the day out with a trip to a Temple and The Chen Family Museum. Both places were interesting and we enjoyed seeing a little more of this area. Jonah & Isabella were happy just to play with their baby sister :) Grandma enjoyed playing with Tia too . . . .
We returned to the hotel and took "Red Couch Photos" with the two other adoptive families here with our agency. The babies did really great and I think we got some fabulous photos. We did some family photos also and are hoping to have some good ones. Say CHEESE!
After lunch we went to Tia's Consulate Appointment and took our oath. It was fun to see the other 20 or so families and their new children. Tomorrow morning we go to the Australian Consulate and get Tia's Australian Visa. Everything has been going really smoothly and we are looking forward to being back in Sydney on Saturday morning. If all goes as planned we should be in Hong Kong by 2 pm. Our flight doesn't leave until Friday afternoon so it looks like we will get a chance to take the kids to Hong Kong Disney. We are all packed and ready for a 6:30 am wake up call. I'm not sure we will post again until we are home on Saturday -

Thanks for all your encouraging comments and your prayers. This has been a wonderful trip, we feel so incredibly blessed with our new baby girl. We are really thankful to God that Tia is transitioning so well. We are also thankful that noone got sick and we had no mishaps except my mom losing her camera - I am still hoping that it turns up by some miracle.
We would be really appreciative for your prayers for a safe trip home and a continued smooth transition for all of us.

Cheers for the last time from Guangzhou, land of bicycles carrying as much as small semi trucks :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Interview of baby successful! (Connie our facilitator says).

Tia is legally something . . . . we were a little confused as to what exactly happened today until we looked it up in the paperwork and figured out she now has an Immigrant Visa. Yeah Tia. She will become a US citizen when she touches US soil. I guess I need to plan a trip to Hawaii. bummer.

After finding out that great news we went to the Pearl Market. It was very BIG! and cool to go there. We got the girls some pearls and yes they were pretty reasonably priced (we think). Next stop was The Walking Street. Big, busy and very interesting. It was a fun trip. We came home and celebrated the birthday of Marcy, a Mom also adopting through CHI. It is nice to have other families to share these experiences with and Marcy has been such fun to get to know.

It has been wonderful spending the past 4 days here in Guangzhou. If we were ever to adopt from China again (Matt says NO!) I would love to spend our entire trip in Guangzhou. Shamian Island is seriously a vacation type of place. We have enjoyed every minute of our time here. It helps that Tia has been a dream baby and we are finding the transition to life with 4 kids to be incredibly fun so far. The kids have been so good - they are all stepping up to their new place in the family and we could not be prouder.

Tia has been coughing a little and having serious stomach cramps at night - we would really appreciate your prayers for her little tummy. She had a great day and started making some new sounds and saying MaMa and Dada a lot today. She babbles and sings a lot of the day - too cute. She is also waving goodbye, she is a little doll! spicy too :)

Jonah, Isabella and I went shopping tonight after the little two littleys were in bed. We got some great deals and enjoyed a balmy beautiful evening walking around. Jonah loves to barter - he is so funny because he is a cheapskate and doesn't want to part with a single Yuan more than he has too . . . and Isabella just loves to shop! I enjoyed being with them both and discussing how enjoyable our time in China has been.

Cheers from China, where the sales people always give us "best price".

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Guangzhou Wild Safari Park

We had a fun time at the Guanzhou Wild Safari Park today. It was a beautiful day to be outside enjoying a really great Zoo. Tia didn't notice the animals very much but she enjoyed spending the day outside playing with her brothers and sister - and her Mom & Dad too.

Tia is so much fun! She is giggling and playing, she signs "more" and has been imitating so many things we are doing. We are delighted by her every minute. We are so very blessed :)

After the Safari Park I tried to get Tia down for a nap. She never fell asleep but was having a good time playing in the crib. After a while I set her down on the floor with some toys while I checked my email. I think she finally allowed me to put her down because everyone else was gone and the room was quiet. I was so excited when Tia started crawling everywhere! She was really cute picking up a little ball and throwing it, crawling to it and then throwing it again. She crawled to the coffee table and pulled herself to a stand, then giggled and gave me a cute sneaky little smile. She reached over and grabbed some crackers and sat down and started eating them. She was so cute and proud of herself for getting a snack all by herself :) Sorry for the poor picture quality . . . and the messy room! But isn't she so cute?

After a bath Tia was playing on the bed with Elijah, Isabella and I, she saw my belly button and kept picking up her shirt and looking at her belly button, then poking my belly button. This little girl is so curious, it is fun to see the world through her eyes! We ended our day with Tia making little smacking noises with her lips for a kiss from Mommy . . . .
Tomorrow is our Consulate Appointment. It is only a couple more days and we leave for Hong Kong and then home to Sydney. I better get some shopping done!

Cheers from Guangzhou, land of Pandas! (we were going to say" land of potty in the middle of the crowd for little kids" but it is a bit wordy . . . )

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Medical, Paperwork and some shopping of course!

Tia is attaching to us really well! Matt took her to the park today and put her on his shoulders - the kids said she was giggling and giggling. They arrived home from the park and he was tickling her and she was giggling with such delight. She was really happy to see me when she got home . . . and she definitely did not like those Chinese ladies at the shop who tried to talk to her. She snuggled right into mommy and hid her face. We are so thankful Tia is bonding so well! Now I just have to make sure and not let her spend too much time with her daddy or she may decide she likes him best!

Today was a great day. We started the day out by meeting two other families from our agency and Connie our facilitator for the medicals for our kids. We really enjoyed talking to Marcy,Christine & Mark and meeting their adorable children. It was really nice to chat with others in our same situation. The medical went okay. Tia's hearing seems fine, she passed everything except Tia does still have a heart murmur so the surgery was not 100% successful. Did I even post that Tia did have surgery in June? When we met Tia on Monday the SWI mentioned the surgery did not go as well as they thought and so we have to go to a cardiologist and find out if there is something else wrong with Tia's heart or if it is not a big deal.

PLEASE PRAY THAT TIA'S HEART WILL BE HEALED! I am praying Tia will not have to go through another surgery, she needs some time to enjoy being in our family without that trauma. God is able to heal Tia and I believe he will if we ask him to. Please join us in this petition. He has been so faithful to answer our prayers so far. We are so thankful!!!

After the medical appointment Matt met with the other families and Connie at the White Swan for the Consulate paperwork. We tagged along to the White Swan to check it out and get a few photos and then my mom and the kids and I went shopping! We had a lot of fun pricing some of the items available here on the island. Tia and Elijah had fun riding in the stroller together.

For lunch we went to Lucy's which is a favorite with American families visiting. The food was great and we had fun . Elijah made a little friend from somewhere - speaking what we think was Spanish. I love that about little kids, they had a blast playing gameboy and had their arms around each other and were chatting, each in their own language. China is an amazing country and we have been really enjoying our trip, what incredible experiences we are having. Here on Shamian Island it is pretty easy. There are more people who speak English here, it is nice to have some Western food and it's wonderful talking with other adoptive families. This feels like a vacation! The time is going very quickly and in just a week we will be on our flight back to Australia.

Cheers from Shamian Island, home of a bit of America in China.

Friday, March 7, 2008

A few more photos

playing with Daddy.
one of Tia's first squinty smiles - we just love this little face!

Finally a photo

We are in Guangzhou! It is so exciting to arrive on Shamian Island - it seems to be such an adoption icon. We are excited to get out tomorrow and enjoy this place. Tia has her medical appointment in the morning and then hopefully we will get a chance to walk around explore a little. Tia is doing so well! We are really enjoying her and her personality is emerging - she is still sweet but also funny, adorable, charming, smart and very SASSY! She is perfect for our family. I was wondering what God had in mind when she seemed to be a very meek and shy little girl the first few days . . . She has come out of her shell and the Witt's and Half Witt's have met their match! We are already giving her "time aways" from the fun when she smacks someone across the face (she has smacked Daddy, Mommy and Isabella today. . . cheeky!) She must have some survival instincts - and that is good but now we have to teach her what is appropriate! In the last 24 hours she has learned to say "Mama" and maaa (for mine!) Dada, something like "up" she blows kisses, waves goodbye, does raspberries, plays peek a boo lifts her hands for "up" - and so much more. She is learning so quickly that we don't think it will take long before she catches up. She is absolutely adorable and we are so so blessed to have her in our family.

We have a computer in our room here so I am going to post some photos. I hope they work . . . . Enjoy!

Cheers from Guangzhou, land of thousands of neon billboards!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Enjoying Tia

This photo was taken on Tia's first day with us . . . . she looks so different/happier now! I thought you'd like to see all the kids together Grandma Judie!
I just wrote a nice long email all about Tia, but somehow it got deleted and now my time is up as the internet is closing.

We are doing great and will post again tomorrow,

cheers from Hangzhou, land of beautiful silk, including our sweet ChouZhou - silk boat :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Visit to YiWu

I will send you a disk of all the photos when we get home, I can't seem to email them from here.

I want to begin by apologizing for the fact that we have not been able to post photos. I think it is impossible to do here without a laptop. Hopefully we will find out that is not true before we arrive home but until we do you will just have to believe me when I tell you Tia is adorable and the kids are having a great time vying for her attention.

Today we had a very emotional day. We started out by driving the 1.5 hours to YiWu which is the city where Tia was found and lived for her first 19 months. We stopped to get a photo taken for Tia's passport. Our next stop was Tia's finding spot which was at the ChouZhou hospital on a chair inside a room where they administer anitbiotics. Tia was named ChouZhou after this hospital. It was very interesting and very sad. Tia laughed out loud for the first time as we entered the building - silly girl :) Then we went out for a delicious lunch with the vice director of the Baby Garden where Tia lived. The food was incredible. It was a wonderful gesture of the YiWu SWI and we very much appreciated it.

Our last stop was at the Baby Garden. It was funny to see how excited Tia got when she saw her former nanny, the very one who came to bring her yesterday. Tia started laughing and smiling. They put her in her crib and she was standing there jumping up and down - this was the same little girl who couldn't even sit up the day before because of what we now think was shock and grief. By the end of the visit we had her number! She is now walking around with us holding her hands, I think the worst of the grieveing is over! In fact she is sitting on my lap playing with Isabella right now, smiling and saying something like "more" for a game they are playing. It is so great to see her coming out of her shell.

I was really happy to get to spend time and photograph and video two little girls of my friends Judy and Angel. Please see my note to you at the bottom of this email. We had a wonderful time in YiWu and are so thankful for the photos of the place Tia was found and spent the first 20 months of her life.

Our last stop of the day was to the Civil Affairs building to be declared Kristiana Hope Witt's parents and so this little girl is officially ours! Sorry we cannot access our aol or yahoo to ready or answer emails and I cannot seem to bypass the Great Firewall of China.

Lots of love from Hangzhou, land of a new Little Bitty Witty :)

TO Judy and Angel: - I hope to get the photos posted but if not please be encouraged that I got 10 or more photos of the girls. I was able to give Kaiya a very big cuddle and pray for her, XiXi, who they call by both her first names is toddling on her own! I got a series of photos of her and I can tell you she is so very proud of herself, and all the nannies were very proud of her also. Kaiya was asleep when we first arrived but I was really happy that they woke her up. Jonah did the videotaping that Angel sent and I hope he did well, it wasn't nearly 20 minutes but there is video for you and I think of Xixi too. Xi Xi is a couple inches bigger than Tia -so I think an 18 -24 month size. Kaiya is very tall, even 3 inches taller than XiXi - she may even wear a size 3T. I got an excellent photo of all three girls together that I was really excited about! I saw your girls today!

Lots of love to everyone,


Monday, March 3, 2008

Kristiana Hope Witt

Our first glimpses . . . .

She has stolen our hearts :) We met our little Princess this morning at about 10 am in the Government Building. We were filling out paperwork and keeping the kids from bouncing off the walls (unsucessfully of course!) when the nanny suddenly walked in with Tia. We didn't really catch it all on camera, but hopefully on video.

What a little doll. We decided you can talk about naming a child all you want and the minute you meet her she immediately has a nickname. Tia is Peanut, or Itty Bitty Boo. She is tiny! We put a 6-12 month outfit on her and it fits. She likes to eat or at least to be holding food all the time. She is a snuggler (yeah!) and she is a bit scared by the Wild Witt gang. We think the last time she was taken somewhere out of the Childrens Garden (as they call the Social Welfare Institute here) was most likely when she had surgery on her heart, so it is no wonder she is a bit scared. We can hold her all day but the minute we try to put her down she has this sad little wimper. You know the kids are so disappointed that we have to hold Tia all the time - NOT! Tia has all three of the kids wrapped around her little finger. She gave them all kisses at dinner tonight :)

I am so hoping that I am successful at posting photos - if not then I am really sorry :(

Tomorrow we go visit the SWI at YiWu. We are looking forward to meeting XiXi and Kaiya!

Tia taking a nap, the first day with us, she is so sweet.
Cheers from Hangzhou, land of our sweet Tia.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


We arrived in Hangzhou this morning via the Z9 train from Beijing. We all enjoyed the train and it was very comfortable and clean. We are a little tired today and are dealing with a hotel accomodation problem so that has messed up what would have been a really beautiful day here on the West Lake in Hangzhou. In China there is a saying "after death there is heaven, here on earth we have Hangzhou". The little bit we saw on our walk does seem to be a beautiful city built all around West Lake. The weather was beautiful & sunny and there were lots of people enjoying the day. The kids had cotton candy for about 75 cents, which tasted about the same as we've had before however looks more like a large cotton ball. There were a lot of adorable little kids out (we got to see our share of little ones wearing split pants) and I guess since this is a city of 6 million and we are in the middle of the tourist section we did not attract very much attention.

We will meet Tia at 9:30 am tomorrow at the Government Building. We are all so excited, I will post how that goes sometime tomorrow.

Cheers from Hangzhou, land of beautiful West Lake (& giant ball of cotton candy).
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11