Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pizza and Fried Rice

We have been home for just over a week now. We had a good week. God has been so faithful to us during some tiring days as we recover from jet lag and adjust to being a family of six. Andy had to return to work on Monday. He was tired, but he made it through each day. The kids and I attempted some homeschooling on Thursday and Friday. I definitely have some fine tuning to do to figure out how to help the older ones while also keeping the little one out of trouble. I had forgotten how short a 19 month old's attention span is! 

It was a week full of "firsts" for our little Moriah Mei: First time to the park, first ride in a car seat, first time to church, first time to try a popsicle, first time to see the Colorado sky. It was fun to see her delight in each new experience. It was great to go to church last Sunday and let her meet so many people who have been praying for her for so long. She also got to spend  some time with each set of grandparents which she (and they) enjoyed. Tonight she had her first trip to Fargos Pizza. This has been a favorite pizza place of ours since Andy and I were kids. She tried some pizza and some tastes of items from the salad bar. She was far more excited about the Fried Rice that we had the other day, but she seemed to enjoy the experience. She has slept well for the most part and continues to eat with gusto! This week she also decided to take steps on her own. Her record is ten steps! She has a delightful personality and seems to really enjoy meeting people. We are encouraged, too, that she is beginning to identify us as her parents and to differentiate between us and other people. It was wonderful to have meals brought to us this week by my family and Andy's parents. What a blessing to not have to figure out what to fix each night! 

This week we were also thankful to receive some pictures of Moriah from the first months of her life. Love Without Boundaries is an organization that sponsored her to be in foster care. Every other month, a report was made on her progress. What a treasure to have those pictures and reports. She seems to have been well loved and cared for there and later in another foster home. We know that these kind people made a huge difference for her. God was so faithful to provide for her needs. Love Without Boundaries does a lot of great work for orphans in China. You can check out their website for more information. (

So week one is in the books. We continue to rejoice in the honor of parenting these four gifts from God...and continue to rely on His grace for wisdom and strength for the journey.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day-16(x2): Homecoming!!!

Phew...What a journey!!! We saw two sunrises and two sunsets for 19 Sep--what a long day. But by God's grace we arrived safely (albeit tired and somewhat frazzled) in Colorado Springs!! Moriah (and mom & dad) had a rough flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco. She was overly tired from our early morning departure (along with everything else that is new, etc.) from Guangzhou and cried inconsolably for the first 8 hours of the 12 hour flight. And no I'm not exaggerating or embellishing, it was really that bad. We felt like we had parents of the century posted on our foreheads (along with the major loser sign). Wouldn't you know it there were no other toddlers in her age group on this huge Boeing 747 and so she and her parents were the scourge of the flight. Gotta love those "do something about your kid" stares. Had they had ejection seats on the plane, the passengers would have punched us all out over the Pacific! We were really at a loss and tried everything (except the Benadryl which we had hastily deposed of because of the increased security measures...yep, we were regretting that we didn't find a smaller bottle). She did finally settle down and rest near the conclusion of the flight and thankfully she slept the entire flight from San Francisco to Colorado Springs. No we never want to get on an airplane again (at least any time in near future:) . I told Moriah her folks were going to need trauma counseling! But we made it!! We were met at the airport by a huge welcoming party of our family...what an absolutely joyous moment. For her it was like she became an instant rock star with the paparazzi shooting off flashes like she was Princess Diana. But the sweetness of the moment was to see her united with her brothers and sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and all these people who have loved her and prayed for her before she was ever born. As I reflect on our journey to Moriah, Amy and I have been profoundly shown (albeit imperfect) a portrait of our Lord's grace in adopting us. Except in God's work of adoption it is not some sweet little child who needs a home but He adopts wicked, rebellious, evil objects of wrath whom He makes children of the Most High God. The doctrine of election seems to capture what we have in some faint measure been able to see in a more profound way. Moriah could never have come to us or chosen us (of course if you asked her about her new parents after this long journey yesterday I'm sure she'd have some comments to make), it was us choosing and coming for her. Thanks be to God that He has adopted us (His people) and brought us to Himself and into His own household. Eph 2:19 "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God..." This has been such a spiritually profound experience for us in so many ways, emotionally draining and trying, yet all so rewarding. We are so blessed and rich in Christ...His benefits are eternal and unsurpassed in joy and fulfillment. We want to first and foremost give our triune God the praise and glory for Moriah and His hand upon both her life and ours. He has blessed us in our journey to Moriah and now as we begin our lives together as a family He leads us. Next we want to thank our family and friends who have encouraged, prayed for, and supported all of us through this adventure (which is just beginning). We love you and are so thankful for each of you. We do plan to keep up with this blog, although not each day as we have been. So please check back whenever our adventure comes to mind. Blessings to you all from Colorado Springs, CO, USA!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day-15: Last Day in China

We stayed around the hotel this morning. Moriah enjoyed practicing her walking in the hotel lobby. While we packed, she hung out in the big drawer where we kept her toys and in the empty suitcase. This afternoon we took a forty minute bus ride to the visa section of the US consulate. The oath we took stated that everything in our adoption paperwork was acurate to the best of our knowledge. The room was filled with about 30 babies and children and their American parents. After the oath, the room burst into applause. It was a great moment.
It is with mixed feelings that we finish our last day in China. We are so eager to get home, but it has been a wonderful experience to see the place of Andy's ancestery and to add Moriah to our family. We've enjoyed getting to know our travel mates and look forward to keeping in touch with them. We've enjoyed meeting many other people as well. We had terrific guides who held our hands through each step of the way. Here in Guangzhou we've met lots of other adoptive families. It is neat to see so many little children getting ready to go home with their forever families. We'll never forget the sights and experiences that we've had and we look forward to sharing them with Moriah as she grows older. Our faith has been strengthened as we have experienced the miracle of adoption first hand.
We're packed and ready to go. We have to have our luggage outside our door by 5:20 a.m. Then we will head to the airport for a very long day of travel. Lord willing, we will arrive at the Colorado Springs airport about 6:30 p.m. How good it will feel to be home! We can't wait to give those three kiddos and grandparents at home a big huge hug. Thanks for all of your prayers and comments during our time here. It has been fun to read them each day and encouraging to know that so many were praying for us.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day-14: Red Couch Day

This morning after breakfast, Moriah and I went to a children's park while Andy stayed at the hotel. Our guide took our papers to the consulate, so one of us had to be available in case there were any questions. The children's park was fun, but it was so hot and humid that we didn't stay very long. We rode on a carousel and a little train. The most exciting part of the outing was trying to catch a taxi home. It was a busy time of day and it took us a long time. I forgot the camera, so there are no pictures of this little excursion.

This evening, we had the "red couch photos." This hotel has a lot of red couches, so it is a tradition for groups to have pictures of the kids on the red couch. The little boy who is crying is usually a very happy boy, but he didn't like the idea of sitting on that couch with all of those girls! Moriah entertained herself by pulling off her shoes and pulling out her little friend's hair bow. The parents were laughing and taking as many pictures as we could. The kids were not as amused as the parents were. Then we all walked to an Italian restaurant for dinner. During dinner, Moriah and Daddy played, "eat the cheerio off of Daddy's nose." She thought Daddy was pretty funny today and laughed when he tickled her. She has decided that she is not too crazy about nap time, but other than that she is such a happy girl. We are really enjoying her. We get a lot of comments that she looks like her Daddy. She seems to think my nose and hair are funny and likes to touch them a lot. We bought a $15 dollar suitcase today to help us get all of our stuff home. We hope it makes it home in one piece. It says "Polo" on the outside, so it must be high quality. : )

We would like to continue to ask for prayer for our friends in Colorado whose infant son is gravely ill. We know that God always does what is right and that all things work together for our good and for His glory. Yet our hearts are heavy for these friends during this time. We would ask for prayer for peace and wisdom for them as they face difficult decisions.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day-13: Medical Checkup and Pearl River Cruise

As we reflect on this day our hearts are heavy at the news of a hard Providence our dear friends in Colorado are facing. We received word this morning that our friends newborn son who suddenly became gravely ill may not survive the day. We have spent as much of the day as possible in prayer for God's grace and comfort upon them during this time of great trial. While we know that the same sovereign God who brought the affliction can certainly remove it, we are comforted that His will is perfect and that our Lord has so ordained each of our days for His own purpose and glory. Our hearts and prayers have and continue to be lifted up to our great Physician on their behalf. It is difficult to be away from our church congregation at this time and this makes us all the more eager to get home. But we are thankful that we have a faithful and merciful High Priest who hears the prayers of His people wherever they are physically located.
Today Moriah had her final medical appointment and we were able to enjoy the dazzling night scenery of Guangzhou during an evening dinner cruise on the Pearl River.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Day-12: Shopping and Thai Food

We are at the end of another pleasant day in Guangzhou. Andy spent some time doing some things for work this morning while Moriah practiced walking around the lobby of the hotel. She especially enjoyed dipping her little hand in a very low, shallow fountain. There is also a large cage of birds in the lobby which she liked watching. We spent some time in the Swan Room which is a play room furnished by Mattel. She enjoyed playing with the toys and other kids in there. I enjoyed talking to some other adoptive parents. We went to Starbucks for a little lunch. It was really nice inside. It smelled and felt just like a Starbucks should. After lunch we did some shopping for gifts and souvenirs. We found some cute clothes for Moriah and a few other fun things to bring home. We liked the one called "Andy's Shop" When Andy told them that was his name they said, "Oh, you are our boss!" Andy is very good at the bargaining thing. He got some good deals today. This afternoon, Andy went to our guide's room to do some paperwork and then several families from our group met for some Thai food for dinner. It was a delicious meal. Moriah hung in there well even though she was tired due to having only had a short stroller nap today. She wasn't quite as cheerful as she has been on the other days. She woke up kind of grumpy this morning and had a hard time off and on all day. It would be nice to know what is going on in her little head, but we'll just keep loving her and trusting the Lord to give us wisdom in how to meet her needs. We are getting more and more eager to get home with each passing day. We are so ready for this little girl to meet her brothers and sister and grandparents. At the same time, it has been a wonderful gift to see some of China, to learn more about the culture of this vast country and experience it first hand.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Day-11: Mid-Autumn Festival and other stuff...

We enjoyed an interesting day in Guangzhou. We started with the very nice White Swan breakfast buffet. It was quite a change from Zhengzhou where we were often the only Americans there. Here, there are many adoptive families. The place was full of little ones and their new parents. It was neat to see all of these children beginning their new lives. Moriah especially liked the tater-tots and scrambled eggs.
At 9:30, we left for the Six Banyan temple. It is a Buddhist temple that was build in 537 AD. The picture of the pagoda is from there. It made us sad to see the people so overtly worshiping idols. We thought it must have been something like what Paul saw at the Areopagus in Acts 17: "For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription 'to the unknown God'. What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man..." It was sad to see so many walking in darkness, but it also made us rejoice that Moriah will be able to learn about the one true living God. May our Lord continue to build His church here and shine forth the light of Christ to give sight to those who are blind.
Next we went to a famous house that is now a museum called the Chen House. There were rooms with beautiful art and embroidery (even one of Hu Jintao), ivory carvings, and original furniture. It had beautiful architecture with ceramic figures on the roof line as well as intricate carvings throughout. Finally, we stopped at a store which offered lots of neat Chinese things for sale. Across the street was a little grocery store. We found a few things (diapers and snacks) but not what we were really looking for: Cheerios. Moriah loves them! We did find some later near the hotel, but we held off on buying them because they were about $6 for a small box. Maybe we can find some other snacks for her to enjoy. After all of this, we came back to the hotel for a much needed rest. When Moriah woke up, we headed out for some shopping and dinner. We ended up at Lucy's again because all of the restaurants were quite busy because of the Mid-Autumn Festival (also known as the Moon Festival). After supper, we went for a walk along the river. It had gotten dark and the moon had risen. River boats which offer dinner cruises and sightseeing floated by. There were many families out. The children had paper lanterns with candles inside. It was a festive atmosphere. Moriah enjoyed looking at the lanterns and the people. We did buy some lanterns to bring home. A few other highlights of the day: some Chinese teenagers wanted their picture taken with me, we received the special Barbie doll with the Chinese baby that is given to adoptive families who stay at the White Swan Hotel, we got Moriah some squeaky shoes (they squeak each time she takes a step), and we got to know some new folks who have joined our group. Their babies were in this province, so they have been here the whole time. One has adopted a two year old girl and the other has adopted a set of two year old twins. It was nice to meet them today.
Moriah is continuing to do very well. She seems a little more relaxed each day. She didn't seem quite so frantic about food today and seemed to stop when she'd had enough. She really liked drinking water out of the lid of the water bottle today. It was pretty hot, so I'm sure she was thirsty. She tried Gatorade, but I think she liked water better. She likes french fries, but not ketchup. She is happy and cheerful and makes everyone around her smile. We met a young woman working in a store who is from Kaifeng, which is near Zhengzhou. She was so excited when we told her where Moriah is from.
It was a great day!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Day-10: A Narrow Escape

Warning: If you are planning to travel to Zhengzhou in the near future and you are at all anxious or fearful about it, you might want to skip this blog entry!! (Did that pique your interest? :)

We had an eventful day. We began by going down to the lobby ready to get on the bus at 8:40 as we had been instructed. There was only one problem: the bus wasn't there. After lots of heated phone calls to the bus driver by our guide, the bus finally arrived. This put us on a tight schedule to catch our plane. Our guide had our passports in hand ready to help us through the security checkpoints at the airport. She was telling us that we would need to hurry when we got there when all of the sudden, a little old man carrying lots of cabbages on his motorbike basically ran into the side of our bus! I watched it happen. The bus driver tried to swerve away, but the little man just kept coming. He flew off the bike and landed on the ground. The cabbages went everywhere. The driver and our guide jumped off the bus. We watched as a crowd gathered. Our guide stood in the road with all of our passports in her hands shouting at the people in the crowd who were (I guess) giving the bus driver a hard time. On the bus, we agreed that we would probably miss our plane. We were trying to keep the kids calm. We watched as a police car drove right past, then a military officer bicycled past, then another official looking vehicle drove past. None of them stopped. The crowd stood around but it didn't seem like anyone was giving attention to the poor old man laying in the street. Finally an ambulance came and they loaded him up. Another bus came and the men in our group shifted all of our stuff to it while the women shifted the kids. We hurried off the airport. Because we were late or because we were Americans with Chinese kids (who knows), the security people decided to give all of us an extra hard time. They held the plane until we all finally got on. We made it!! The stress level in our group was quite high, but we all arrived in Guangzhou in one piece. We were sure glad to be in a new place. Zhengzhou is an interesting place. I think it will take us a little while to process everything that we experienced there. We will always remember the place of our daughter's birth and we feel privileged to have seen it for ourselves.

We have a different guide here, Grace. She seems to have everything well in hand. We are hoping for an uneventful time! Shamian Island, which is where we are staying, is a fascinating little area. It has a lot of British influence with architecture from the late 1800's. There are large banyan and palm trees everywhere. The consulate is here, so every adopting family must come here before going to the United States. There are lots of little souvenir shops that cater to the adoptive families. Tonight we ate dinner at a restaurant called "Lucy's" that specializes in American food. They were playing American music and had American movie posters on the walls. It was a refreshing change for us! The White Swan Hotel is beautiful. The rooms are clean and bright...not smokey like our last one was. We are looking forward to a wonderful week here before heading home.

Moriah did ok on the plane ride. She was a little fussy, but after about an hour she fell asleep. On the bus and the plane she wanted to eat lots of snacks. We think it is her way of trying to find comfort when she is stressed. Once we got to our room here, she played happily for quite awhile. We were able to borrow a stroller from one of the shops for the time that we are here. She really loved riding around in that. She is sleeping peacefully now.
Tonight we are so thankful for the Lord's protection over us in so many ways today. We should also note that our guide in Zhengzhou has been doing this job since 1995 and she said nothing like that had ever happened to her before, so it's not as though it's a common occurrence. The traffic is insane, though, and I'm sure there are many accidents every day. Most of the time, it is more entertaining to travel about than scary, but there are those moments...