The Brichetto Girls

The Brichetto Girls
Gia and Jeannie

Happy Birthday Jeannie!

Happy Birthday Jeannie!
Jeannie's first birthday party

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

6 months later.....

6 months ago today Jeannie became part of our family forever. We celebrated her "anniversary" with 6 lit candles in her favorite snack - cream puffs! Yum. We sang to her, and she thought it was her birthday!

She is doing so well. In the 1st grade and loving school. She has been involved in soft ball, dance classes and most recently "cheer camp". She loves anything that gives her an excuse to dress pretty and have her hair in two pig tails! She is such a girly girl. She cried tonight at bed time because tomorrow is a PE day. Jeannie says "pretty girls do not wear tennis shoes!"

Jeannie and Gia are your "typical" sisters. They compete for attention, fight over toys, share their clothes, can play for hours together without a sound, and most importantly love each other very much. When they stand together - they hold hands. They shower together, eat together and always go to bed together. We couldn't be happier!

We will admit that this experience has not been perfect. We had a very difficult first 6 weeks at home. Jeannie had major melt downs and temper tantrums. Gia was miserable sharing her parents and her "things" with Jeannie. More than once Gia told us "I did not know it would be this hard to have a sister".... She still occasionally has this complaint.

Bob was planning on staying home for several weeks, but after seeing what a difficult time Jeannie was having - I stayed home instead. Jeannie went to school after about 6 weeks, and loved it. She almost changed over night once she was going to school with Gia! If we knew that it would be that easy - we would have sent her much sooner!

Once summer arrived, Bob took a leave from work and stayed home with the girls for the entire summer. They had a great time swimming, riding bikes and playing outside. We had several small trips to water parks, baseball parks and also a visit to Vegas to visit their Aunt Laura.

We can't believe how blessed we have been. Our busy days are filled with laughter and pure joy. We don't want to think what our lives would be like without them. We are forever grateful for this precious gift!!

Enjoy the pictures,

Theresa

Friday, April 3, 2009

Home Sweet Home

We arrived home on Wednesday night as planned. We had no flight delays or problems along the way. The girls slept most of the way home. We were greeted at the airport by 22 family members with flowers, balloons and stuffed animals for the girls. Nana and Papa decorated our living room with a "Welcome Home" poster and balloons. Thank you everyone!

Jeannie seemed to recognize her big brother Ben right away. She went right up to him and gave him a hug. She was overwhelmed with the crowd though, and hid her face in daddy's shoulder. Everyone understood that she was confused and tired, and tried to keep their distance from her.
We hope to have her meet her family members in the next few weeks.

It has been a rough transition at home for Gia. Everything that Jeannie sees - she wants. Gia is trying to keep her away from her things, and we are trying to explain to her that she needs to share with her sister. Jeannie is very frustrated with the language barrier, however she is reluctant to try to say words in English. We are very lucky that we have a neighbor girl that speaks Chinese, and she has been helping a little with translation. Both girls are still very tired and slept 14 hours last night. They still woke up crabby and emotional.

We know that things will get better, one day at a time. We have only been home for 2 days and the change has been hard on all of us. We look forward to life returning to "normal". Gia will return to school next week and Bob will stay home with Jeannie. We are not sure when we will start her in school. We are going to wait and see how she does, how her language development goes, and if she acts like she wants to go to school. She will go with her dad to take Gia to school and pick her up every day, so we are hoping for a sign from her that she is ready.

Again, thanks to all of you for following our blog and wishing us well. We are so lucky to have the two most beautiful girls in the world!

Theresa and Bob

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Final night in China

It is Tuesday night in China. We are getting ready for our final night of sleep, and an early morning. We leave at 6 a.m for the airport, and will arrive home 28 hours later.

This afternoon we went to the U.S. Consulate for our "final oath" and received the necessary paperwork to bring Jeannie home. I didn't expect it, but became quite emotional when it was all over. They mentioned our family along with several others that have adopted more than one child. We all applauded each other - and cheered when the ceremony was over.

We also took the famous "red couch" photos. Our girls were just beautiful and many people commented on how loving and helpful they were to the other children and babies. We have had several people approach us this week and tell us that they have heard about the girls story, and how they were reunited. We have also overheard people talking " those are the two girls that have the beautiful story..." We are so proud of them!

We would like to thank all of our families and friends that have encouraged us, and supported us on this journey. We can't wait for you all to welcome Jeannie home!

I would mostly like to thank my wonderful husband - who loved me so much that he traveled half way around the world 2 years ago to fulfill my dream - not his. He, however fell in love at first sight with our beautiful Gia, and has never looked back nor had any regrets.

And lastly, to my dear mother Jeannie - who from heaven has guided our Jeannie Fu home. I can't wait to show her all of our favorite family traditions and love her as you have loved all of us.

Happy birthday Mom.

Theresa, Bob, Ben, Gia and Jeannie

Theresa

Monday, March 30, 2009

Dinner

We changed our plans at the last minute and joined several families for dinner at the local Chinese Restaurant. The same restaurant that had the advertisement for the photo shown in the last post. I am sure the picture is of a baby pig, but Bob is convinced that it is a rat.

We had a wonderful meal with several courses; fried noodles, rice, dumplings, green beans, broccoli, hot spicy potatoes, sweet and sour chicken and a beef dish ( we did not try this one).

A standard part of our meals include a visit to the restroom for the girls. Almost all of the bathrooms in the past 2 weeks are equipped with a "squatty potty". The girls were so cute, I just had to take a picture.

Good night from China,

Theresa

Home in 2 days!

Yesterday we shopped all day and then went to an Italian Restaurant for dinner. It was great.
The girls did not take a nap yesterday, so they were very tired and did not eat much. We went with several other families. Today we again shopped and played outside. Both girls have been playing with their Barbies, so we did some Barbie shopping. You should see Bob and the girls picking out dresses. It was too cute.

Tonight we are going to Lucy's for dinner. They have a lot of American type food. Great french fries and mashed potatoes!

The girls have been playing great together. Except right now - they are wrestling over the "mouse" to the computer. It is getting more and more difficult to find time to post on the computer. I really need to get up at 3 a.m. and do it then!

Jeannie is becoming more and more relaxed with us. She is a very happy girl. She sings and dances all the time. She is saying more and more words in English. Some things we have learned about her:

She loves chocolate! She chooses desserts over anything else to eat.

She eats great.

She loves to take naps and sleeps well at night also.

She is a girly girl. Loves hair bows and jewelry.

Her favorite toy is her Barbie

She tries very hard to copy Gia.

She loves her Mama, Baba and Gia.

We can't wait to start our journey home in 2 days,

Theresa and Bob

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Jeannie's Medical Exam

Yesterday we went to have her Medical Exam. It was quite an experience. The place was packed with families. It was hot and very noisy. Many of the children were screaming and crying. Of course, Jeannie did great. She had to have three shots, but did not cry or even flinch. Gia was a great big sister, holding her hand the whole time and she have her a big hug when it was over.
Last night we walked to Lucy's for dinner. There was a huge thunderstorm so we waited for the majority of it to pass before we left. We walked in water that was up past our ankles. Bob carried one, and I carried the other.
Jeannie got her famous Adoption Barbie - and the two girls played with it for hours. This is a doll that Matel donates to the White Swan to give to adoptive families. It is a Barbie with long blond hair, holding an Asian baby. Very cute. Gia decided that she does like to play with dolls, and could we please go and get her Adoption Barbie that is at home.
Today there is one more meeting about paper work, and then shopping and playing the rest of the day. We have been consumed with legal paperwork for the past 10 months. I can't believe it is finally over!
Enjoy the photos,
Theresa, Bob, Gia and Jeannie

Friday, March 27, 2009

Guangzhou

We arrived in Guangzhou and the White Swan Hotel last night at 9 p.m. our time.

Jeannie did great on the flight. She was so excited when the saw the airplane. She was not afraid at all, and laughed and screamed when we took off. When they brought us a "box snack" and a drink, you would have thought she won the lottery! She was so surprised to have this given to her! We keep reminding ourselves that this is something that she has never experienced and everything is "new" to her.

Today we go for her "medical exam". We have been told that she will get several immunizations. We are hoping that she does OK.

Gia is doing great. She is watching me type right now :)

I will post photos later today,

Theresa

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Last night in Nanning

It has been a while since I posted. Jeannie has discovered the computer and now it is very difficult to get it away from her. They are both in bed now ( it is 9:00 p.m. here )

We have had a very quiet last few days. We have spent most of our time in the room playing.
The girls are still getting along great. The only time Jeannie has cried is when Gia landed on her head when they were jumping on the bed. Our biggest problem still is Gia's jealousy. It doesn't seem to matter how many times we reassure her, she still has melt downs whenever we give any type of attention/affection to Jeannie.

Tonight we went to dinner at a restaurant next to the hotel. It has over 100 items to choose from. There are pictures of all of the dishes, and you can pick what you want. There are whole ducks ( head and all ), bulls balls soup, and I could go on. It is quite interesting, however the food is great and very inexpensive. An order of fried noodles is less than $1.00
The best part of the night was when Gia told Jeannie to quiet down, and Jeannie spit in her face!
Spitting is acceptable in China. This is just one of the many "manners" things we need to work on!

It has been raining or misting for the past 2 days. Today our guide took us to a beautiful park, but the views were limited due to fog and mist. The biggest excitement was when the girls needed to use the rest room, and it was a "squatty" potty. Most have a hole in the ground to squat over, but this one just had a trench that they needed to position themselves over. I got a couple of good photo's, however I won't post them here! Gia was not happy!

Tomorrow night we leave for Guangzhou. It is a one hour flight, and the first for Jeannie. It will be nice to meet up with some other families that we met earlier in the week. 5 nights there and then home!

It is bedtime, and you can hear all of the babies crying. The floor we are on in this hotel is mainly for adoptive families. You can walk up and down the isle, and hear crying from several rooms. We feel so bad for the parents and babies, and very happy for us. Our only problem is that the girls giggle and whisper, then get up to go "o-now" (potty) a few times.

Of note, the photo's that I have been posting are cutting off the right hand side - I am not sure how to fix this. Just wanted you to know that I really am not that bad of a photographer!

Goodnight from Nanning,
Bob, Theresa, Gia and Jeannie

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day 3 in Nanning

It is raining in Nanning, so we are staying in the hotel room and playing this a.m. Jeannie is working on learning her numbers and alphabet. We have been playing with a beach ball and puzzles all morning. We are going to travel to Walmart after lunch and nap time. We learned yesterday the "hard way" that we cannot skip naps. Both girls were tired and emotional yesterday p.m. It has been a hard adjustment for Gia. If Jeannie was playing with daddy, then Gia wanted daddy. If Jeannie wanted mommy, then Gia wanted mommy. Both were mad, sad, crying, happy, playing from one moment to the next. We think this must be what it is like to have teenage girls with PMS!
For the most part, they play very well together.
Enjoy the photos,

Theresa, Bob, Gia and Jeannie

Monday, March 23, 2009

Gotcha Day Jeannie Fu!!

Sorry for the late post, but we were exhausted last night.
The girls are doing great. It is so cute to see them talk to each other - Jeannie is talking in Chinese, and Gia is answering her back in English. They think they are communicating! They are playing together and just chattering away.
They slept together last night without problems. They talked and giggled until they fell asleep. Just like I imagined it would be. I am sure that all nights will not be like this!
We have tried to say a few words in Chinese to Jeannie - but Gia corrects us. She says " hey, we are talking only English here!!!"
Today we head to the Civil Affairs office to finalize the adoption. They will ask us if we are happy with our child, and if we want to continue with the adoption.
We will do paperwork for about 3 hours, and then have the rest of the day free to play. We will go to Walmart to buy some things for Jeannie.
Enjoy the photos.

We got her!

Don't have time to post photo's right now, but will do it soon.

Gotcha Day went great. The girls were very shy - they did not cry, laugh or talk. They just looked at each other. They were both very bashful at first.
Then Jeannie broke into a song - " Hello mama, Hello dada, how are you?"...
She sang the whole song in English with little dance moves! It was darling. She is such a sweet girl. She has a very shy little smile. She warmed up to all of us very quickly. No crying at all today.
Her nanny told us that she has not been the same girl since Gia left 2 years ago.
We are excited to see the change in her once she settles in and gets to know us.
Gia is being a great big sister.
They are both very hungry right now, and daddy is out getting noodles, dumplings, and fried rice. Yumm. Got to go!

Will post again in a few hours.

Theresa

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hello from China

It was a long flight - but we are here safe and sound in Beijing!

Gia did great on the flight! We each had a movie monitor in front of us, and we had 5 different movies to choose from. Gia watched Madagascar 5 times. She was in heaven. Our flight pattern went straight north from Chicago, so we went right over the north pole! Gia was looking out the window for Santa's workshop. No Santa sighting, just ice and snow.

We checked into our hotel, and then walked about 3 blocks to a grocery store for water. We have all been up for over 24 hrs, so we are going to try to get some sleep.

Only 2 more nights until we get Jeannie. We can't believe it that we are here - and that our dream is about to come true!

Goodnight from the Brichetto's

Friday, March 20, 2009

We're on our way!

We leave for the airport in one hour. Not looking forward to the long flight ( 14 hrs from Chicago to Beijing) however we can't wait to get there!

Only 3 more nights until we have Jeannie!

Next post from Beijing!!

Theresa, Bob and Gia

Monday, March 16, 2009

China itinerary

Only 4 more nights to go! We have been busy packing and re-packing.
Gia is getting more anxious and excited. Tonight she told us that she "wished her mommy and daddy were twins; then she would not have to share us with Jeannie!"

Our itinerary:

March 20th - Chicago to Beijing
March 21st - arrive in Beijing
March 22 - rest
March 23 - Fly to Nanning. Get Jeannie in the afternoon.
March 24 - Adoption registration and notarization
March 25 - free day
March 26 - visit park
March 27 - Receive all documents. Fly to Guangzhou in evening.
March 28 - Visa pictures and medical exam for Jeannie
March 29 - free day
March 30 - Visa appointment
March 31 - US consulate to take oath and pick up visa
April 1 - Home Happy birthday Grandma Jean

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Waiting Child

When I read this poem, I think about how our girls must have felt watching the younger children and babies come and go in the orphanage. We know for a fact that Gia witnessed "gotcha day" with other children, but she was left behind. How sad for her, and how fortunate for us. Bless her little heart!

The Waiting Child
by Debbie Bodie

I saw you meet your child today
You kissed your baby joyfully
And as you walked away with her
I played pretend you'd chosen me.

I'm happy for the baby, yet
Inside I'm aching miserably
I want to plead as you go by,
"Does no one want a child of three?"

I saw you meet your child today
In love with her before you met
And as I watched you take her out
I knew it wasn't my turn yet.

I recognize you from last year!
I knew I'd seen your face before!
But you came for a second babe.
Does no one want a child of four?

I saw you meet your child today
But this time there was something new
A nurse came in and took MY hand
And then she gave my hand to you.

Can this be true? I'm almost six!
And there are infants here you see?
But then you kissed me and I knew
The child you chose this time was me.

15 more "sleeps" until we are with you Jeannie Fu!
Love you,
Mama, Daddy and Gia.

Monday, March 2, 2009

First Post

This is our first attempt at blogging. We are just 18 days away from leaving for China. We will first stop in Beijing for 2 nights, and then on to Nanning where we will meet Jeannie Fu! We are nervous and anxious about the trip. We are taking Gia along of course, as we feel that the transition for both of the girls will be so much easier if Gia is there. And we could not leave her behind! Big brother Ben will stay home, as he is in school, working, and the world's worst traveler! (Ben would be the first to admit it)
Please pray for our girls, as this will be such a change for both of them.
Jeannie will be leaving everything and everyone that she has ever known. Gia will no longer have "center stage" and we already see some insecurity that she is feeling about this. Also please pray for our health and safety while we travel half way around the world!

Gotcha Day 1/30/2007

Gotcha Day 1/30/2007
Beautiful Gia

Gia and Jeannie

Gia and Jeannie
Gia on the left and Jeannie on the right.

Christmas 2009

Christmas 2009

Gia and Jeannie

Gia and Jeannie

Fu Cheng and Jia Fan

Fu Cheng  and  Jia Fan
Jeannie and Gia March 2009

Jeannie's beautiful smile

Jeannie's beautiful smile

Jeannie and Gia eating macaroni at Omaha Zoo

Jeannie and Gia eating macaroni at Omaha Zoo

First night's sleep in her clean warm bed. She loves her new home and forever family!

Jeannie, Ben and Gia at home.

Our travel group

Jeannie, Mama and Gia

Jeannie loves her Barbie

This is what it is like trying to work on the computer.

Getting ready for bed, and sleeping with their Barbies

Playing on the monkey bars at an outside playground. Jeannie could not do it at first, but after several attemps, she was keeping up with Gia.

Advertisement outside a restaurant. Looks yummy!

Dressed and ready for breakfast.

Three girls waiting for the immunizations.

Jeannie getting a shot and Gia holding her hand

Jeannie loves her hair in pigtails, Gia had to copy.

Sldeeping beauties. Notice their arms locked together.

Dressed like "twins" in $1.00 Walmart shirts.

Jeannie Fu Cheng

New back packs from Walmart

Gia helping mommy make blankets for the babies in the orphanage.

Happy girls. Notice Jeannie's pig tails. She loves to have her hair done.

Photo from Gotcha Day

I got my sister at last!

Jeannie told us through a translater " Now I won't be alone, I have a sister and a family"

After bath and ready for bed. Notice the hair clips in Jeannie's hair. She is a girly girl!!!

Close up shot of the nicest port-a-potty we have ever seen. Electronic sign to tell you if "occupied or vacant".

Bob and Gia in front of the "birds nest".

The Water Cube

The Olympic Torch

Beijing Airport

Our airplane over the North Pole

Look who we found in the suitcase.

Gia and Jeannie

Gia and Jeannie
Dancing girls

Foster Mom

Foster Mom
Gia, Foster mom and Jeannie

Our Family

Our Family
Bob, Theresa, Ben and Gia