Our first few days at home

The transition for Abigail from China to America has been a bit difficult. Of course, we expected that and we are empathetic to all of the changes this little life is experiencing. New language, new faces, new home, new everything! And for this little missy who is quite shy until she lets you in, it really has been overwhelming. She wakes up two to three times a night (and it takes an hour or two to rock her back to sleep), hardly takes a nap, and cries if I leave the room even for a second. But all of this is normal, and we are doing our best to take it in stride and be the loving parents that she needs right now (and always). Our top priority is for her to know that she is safe and that we will never leave her. Today we had some breakthrough and there were some new smiles, kisses and hugs that we received from this precious life. I just really can't describe the incredible honor and joy it is to be Abi's parents.

Here are a few pictures from our first days at home!

She loves her high chair, and of course her watermelon!

Having fun climbing the stairs!

Spending time with bestie Ada!

Getting to know "Nǎinai" - mandarin for "Grandma" on Andrew's side. (There is a different word in Mandarin for Grandma/Grandpa on my side.)

Every kid loves to get into the cupboards. So I figured...why fight it. I gave her a cupboard to have fun with. And boy did she!

She saw me sweeping and wanted to help!

Discovering the tube toy.

"The world is my playground and you are my minions."

"Abi Lou Who"
(does the look in her eyes at her Baba get any more precious than that???)

This is Abi's "I told you I wanted to go for a walk, and I wasn't kidding" look.

Playing at the neighborhood park with the coolest kid in town.

She pointed to the camera, and then posed!

She absolutely LOVED the swing.

I love how much she gets into her laugh!

She is a true Robinson...sticking her tongue out when concentrating on something.


Look mama - I'm ready to go camping at Yellowstone!

Till we meet again, China!

We arrived home at 9pm on Saturday night, July 28. We traveled for a total of 33 hours, and Abi Mei only cried/screamed for 1.5 hours of that. :) Pretty amazing!! We were greeted by several friends and we were so blessed by each one of them!! What an incredible homecoming.

Leaving China was bittersweet. We cherish our Chinese daughter, and we were sad to leave her birth country. We are looking forward to going back as a family. Until then, we will take care of the precious jewel China gave to us by the hands of God.

Here are a few pictures from our last day in China.

Abi is helping us pack. Here way of helping was to actually take out of the bags what we already put in them. :)

Ready for one last swim at the pool!

The hotel had amazing garden arrangements both inside and outside of the hotel. We wanted to have a photo shoot of Abi in one of her traditional Chinese dresses.

This is what Abi thought of the photo shoot!

But she kindly gave us a few pics. :)

Classic Abi look when she does not want to do something!

She is so beautiful!

Love seeing her up on her tippy-toes.

Finished off with a picture with Baba.

New friends

We have met so many amazing new friends, and we are so blessed by each one of them! What an incredible trip this has been, and I know the friends we have made will be friends we have for our entire lives.
This is Ruth and Ernie Chavez from Vermont. They adopted this darling 7-year old, Carmella Rose. This couple is sooooo precious and have such humble, beautiful, caring, giving hearts. They are also pastors in Vermont. They now have 11 children, and Carmella is their seventh adoption. They'd like to adopt one more time - yes, Lord! Also, Carmella is from the same province as Abigail, Hubei province. So we've been with Ruth and Ernie for our entire trip - in the province (same Gotcha Day!!) and in Guangzhou. We call their daughter and my daughter rivals because they are always picking on each other. But then again, they come from Wuhan, which the Chinese say are the "spicy girls." :) Yes, they are spicy.

This is Kevin and Traci with their 5-year old daughter Eliana. We met them on Gotcha Day since we had the same Gotcha Day! Eliana is from the same orphanage as Abigail! She loves Abi, and it's so special to see them together knowing they come from the same city and orphanage. They have a special connection. Kevin and Traci are amazing people, and they now have four kids - two biological boys, one daughter from Ethiopia and now one from China! They live in northern Virginia. We've also had some fabulous conversations about parenting, and I've learned a lot from them.

The Turner family! Jeremy and Heidi with daughters Kennedi and Mollie, and they have a son Taylor who is back in the hotel room. Mollie is their newly adopted daughter. They are from Indiana. These guys are soooo much fun. They are also pastors! Jeremy and Andrew were hilarious together - a couple of cheeky pastors, let me tell you!!

This is Mike and Stephanie with Mike's mom, Joan, and their three kiddos - Elliot, Oliver and their newly adopted daughter Matti Grace. Matti Grace is the same age as Abi Mei. They live near Augusta, GA and Mike is a youth pastor and Stephanie is a pediatric physician's assistant. Not only did we have a delightful time getting to know them, but got some great parenting advice from these amazing people too!

Here is Richard and Brooke. They now have five children, with their newest one in their arms. Two of their five are twins from Ethiopia, then they have two bio kiddos as well, with the oldest one on this trip with them. Their newest one is deaf, and they are learning sign language together! She is a treasure and I will never forget this precious family.

A great eater!

Abi loves to eat! She also loves to feed herself. In fact, she likes to do just about everything herself. She lets us help her every once in a while. :) Here are some pictures of meal times with Abigail.

We finally got her to wear a bib. We sort of sneak it on her, and then when she notices it, we just act like it's no big deal and tell her it's cool to wear bibs. Not that she understands a word we're saying, but she moves on after a few whimpers. They don't use bibs in China, so it was actually pretty hard to get her to wear a bib. But as you can see from this picture, she is a messy eater (like any 1.5 year old) and she needs a bib!

Abi loves trying to use chopsticks. Even though we feed her with chopsticks, she likes to have a pair in her hands, and tries to use them the whole time she's eating. She has now been able to pick up food four times with her chopsticks! (Yes, I'm counting! There are such milestones as your child's first step or first word; there are also milestones in our world of the first time Abi not only picks up food with her chopsticks, but gets the food in her mouth with her chopsticks!) :)

Look at how much food is on that plate! And the bowl above the plate is her congee (which I'm also going to learn how to make). She eats double of what I eat!

I can't handle that cute face.

"I love food! It makes me happy!"

We went out to eat with friends on this night, but Abi slept through half of it, then didn't eat many of her noodles. So we took it to go. Here she is finishing her dinner in our hotel room. She LOVES Chinese noodles, especially Ramen-style noodles, or the wide flat rice noodles. Loves, loves, loves them. I'm excited to learn how to cook her favorite meals. Sidenote: look at her super-cute baby chopsticks. My sister got these for her several months ago and it's been so fun seeing her use them. (She's half naked because we were in the hotel room, and it's hot and muggy in general, and because I knew she'd get noodles all over herself anyway.) :)

She posed for the camera here!!

Abi decided she had enough of the chopsticks or the fork, and she took matters into her own hands.