Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009

Christmas 2009

Christmas - a day set apart to remember and praise the gift of God in the person of His Son - sent as a babe, destined to die for our wretchedness and grant us an ADOPTION into His heavenly family. I am now a child of the King - a daughter and full heir of His entire inheritance - without a doubt, by faith alone, set into His family by nothing I have done or could ever do - merely to accept the wrapped-up gift of His salvation and thank Him forever.

Joyous Christmas to all of you from ALL of us! We didn't think we would be able to handle the opening of gifts today - but we did. We didn't think the jetlag would leave us alone for quite some time - but it has! John is now at work for 3 nights in a row ... the only one of us desperately trying to STAY on China time!

Greatest joys - Lushi and Christina are home .... we are ALL home and enjoying the separated time of holy-days with snow falling on top of snow already piled all over which fell while we were in China. We arrived home 7:30pm Christmas Eve to a fully decorated and cleaned home - thanks to my wonderful daughters! All of the presents were wrapped and under the decorated tree .... perhaps leaving home for 3 weeks before Christmas does have some advantages!

Greatest trials - 1) Christina is DEATHLY afraid of even the smallest of dogs ... and we have a large golden retriever that is an INSIDE dog ... keeping them apart has been a real job! She is nearly always chatting or laughing and gets along well with all of the children. She is trying different foods - some she likes and some she does not. And 2) poor Lushi not being able to communicate well to us - so very hard on him. At breakfast, lunch and dinner, he peeks over my shoulder while I'm in the kitchen and says, "noodles" ... half in demand/half pleading!! He's had noodles 3 out of the 4 meals so far ... even for breakfast! He has searched the refrigerator and spices for anything to "help" to make it spicy and tasty! He is not easy on the boys, giving Nathan several face plants in the snow today .... but Nate only came in whimpering, not balling, with tears. He is tender to help when he can. They both seemed to enjoy opening a few presents today.

Well I started this note just after putting the younger children to bed (and Lushi who is not on US time yet) at 10:30. Then Caitlin and Grace and I chatted, shared and then decided to watch "Pride and Prejudice" that Cait got for a present. We outvoted Grace who wanted to watch her "Half Blood Prince"!! So now it is after 1:30am and I must go to bed. The laundry has not stopped - even over Christmas Eve and Day .... like John's Mom always said, "it's like shoveling poop against the tide!"

God bless you, every one!!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday the 21st

Yesterday, Sunday, was a rest day for us. We chose to do breakfast at the New Victory as we heard more adoptive families eat over there - being in the Old Victory, we can chose either buffet. Just after sitting down, I looked up to see Linny Saunders with Emma and dear Jubilee just glowing! The 2D pix of Jubilee do NOT do her justice .... or else she is just aglow with the joy of family now!! I threw a hug on Linny before she even knew who I was. We then chatted for about 30min while my breakfast (the first I could actually eat since being sick) got cold. John tapped his watch and said church is in 45 minutes. Linny left to get her breakfast and I got up to get a fresh cup of hot tea (mine was cold by now) and when I returned to the table my breakfast was gone .... the clean up crew was way too fast for me! Guess I wouldn't be eating much this morning anyway. I grabbed a few super sweet clementines (called sugar sweets here by some) and they were very good. We went off to church and for the first time in all our adoptions we were the ONLY adoptive family there! Very strange. But I did run into two new officers from the consulate who were there for worship. :) Sunday was cooler and sunless - we spent more time in the hotel room. We did venture out for dinner to the Italian spot we had heard about... La Vita Dolce .... another God orchestrated moment as we ran into yet another family I have only known on the web - the Everetts - Hal and Susan. We both have sons from Jiaozuo, Henan and met on that yahoo group 4 years ago. Nice family from Texas - and here with their entire family of 7!

Monday we were up early to have the TB tests read at 8am - both negative altho Lushi's was a bit raised and wheeled - not large enough for a "positive" .... praise the LORD!! If it had been "positive" he would have had to have a chest xray prove negative to clear him through the tuberculosis evaluation. Angela waited over another hour for the reports to be completed and translated. Almost not enough time to then grab a taxi for the Consulate Appt at 10am - she was bussling! We had to stay in our room for the allocated 2 hrs "in case" she needed to call us with any questions. For all of our prior 4 adoptions we have never had a call. At 10:50 the phone rang and I jumped - Lushi was now 14 and HAD to be present, unbeknownst to us, to give his red thumb print of approval for his own adoption. John and he jumped a taxi asap as he had to be there by 11:30 to get it done. John said they were dropped off at 11:27 and ran to the right room. Angela was just a BIT frazzled by this time and had already called me to see if they had got a cab right away! All was well .... and Angela said we would actually swear in TODAY, this afternoon instead of tomorrow! We had enough time for a lunch and then back into the van for yet another trip to the consulate. A large group eventually gathered and each family was called up one by one - no guides allowed in the room anymore, per a new rule set just this October. We then had the oath - all right hands raised .... and of course, I always tear up at this part .... it is all finally over and done! Congratulations were said and we were out the door. Oh, and 4 newly adopted children celebrate(d) birthdays in December and were announced - two 1 yr olds, a nearly 8 yr old and our Lushi, 14yrs! He did not understand what was happening since Angela was not there to translate!

We gathered with several other families for dinner at the Cow and Bridge - 22 of us in all. Angela came and then after we were seated she graciously said she was not staying! Afterwards I told her she was a weasle .... to which I had to then translate the meaning for her! Lushi is off playing ping-pong with another family's teen son - will gather him up in just a bit.

We are relieved it is nearly all done - just need to wait to receive the final visas - due by Wednesday, but may come in tomorrow (Tuesday) - still will not be able to change any flights and get home early .... shucky darns!

Thanks for the continued prayers!! I, Mary, am all well stomach wise, but now have a cold and chest cough - will gladly take this over the pukes and squirts! Everyone else is well. I will be sad to say goodbye to Angela - sure wish she would come to the states for visit sometime - she said it would cost so much and be hard to do .... yeah, tell me about it!

Blessings to all! And nearly a Merry Christmas! Our home is getting more snow each day this week while we enjoy the warm Guangzhou weather - Christina and Gideon will be in for such a shock!!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

GZ pics

Being stuck in a hotel room will do this to you.

the look all over Shamian

What a beautiful day!

Saturday in Guangzhou

Much has happened since our last post.  Yesterday was health exam day for the kids.  The exams went just fine, other than Lushi being embarrassed at having to undress in front of the doctor.  Angela said he didn't think it was any of their business what his special need is!!  Then came the vaccinations.  Poor Christina was balling just having her blood pressure done.  When we signed to her that there were to be pokes, she was very upset.  I held her tightly on my lap while Mary and another nurse held her arm for the TB test.  Then came 3 other shots, accompanied by much wailing.  Lushi was sticking his head in the door laughing at the whole scene.  Little did he know that he needed to get the TB and FIVE shots.  When the time for that came, he handled it very well-- looking away and grimacing with each stick.  After 2 shots in each arm, the nurse told him the last shot needed to go in his leg.  He argued quite forcefully!  He is very embarrassed that due to his urinary incontinence he needs to wear adult diapers.  All of a sudden, he decided he needed to go to the bathroom before the final shot.  He came back quickly, minus the diaper, and let out a little yelp when they stuck him.  I felt sorry for both of them.  We Tylenol'd them as soon as we got back to the hotel and they've both been mildly complaining about the pain at their injection sites ever since.   Mary and I are very concerned about this whole vaccination process.  You would NEVER see a child get this many shots at one time in the states.  We talked to another mother this morning whose new daughter had to get SEVEN vaccinations today.  That is ridiculous.  The worst part is that in our prior adoption experiences, many of the kids who get all the vaccinations in China need to have them re-done once they get home because their titers are not acceptable.

Mary has been under the weather for several days now.  We're thinking it was something she ate that is bothering her.  Last night, she ate very little for supper.  Normally she LOVES the Thai food at the Cow + Bridge restaurant here on Shamian Island.   When we got back to the room, she went straight to bed but was soon up sitting on the pot while holding a garbage can in her lap.  It was a long night for her.   Today, she's taking it quite easy and is feeling a little better.  We went for a long walk around the island today.  Very sunny and in the low 60's today.  The kids (well, at least Christina) enjoyed the park for a while, then we walked along the riverfront where the sun was shining bright. The rays feel great on the skin.

The plan for the next 24 hrs is dinner tonight... not sure where yet.  Tomorrow morning we'll go to church at the Shamian Christian Church, maybe followed by an outdoor lunch at Lucy's :-)   Sorry to all you family and friends in Maryland.  I've heard about the 20 inches of snow you're getting.  I'll be thinking about you all while I eat my lunch outside tomorrow :-)

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In Guangzhou- finally

We finally got to Guangzhou.  Our flight from Nanchang was delayed by over 2.5 hrs, and we finally touched down after dark here.  We shuttled in from the airport and checked into the Victory Hotel-- the rooms are very large, but were a bit disappointed in that the entire Shamian Island is covered with scaffolding.  Every building is being "beautified" by the local government in preparation for Guangzhou hosting the 2010 Asian games.  The normally beautiful Shamian Island is not so beautiful right now :-(   We're gonna have to tour the island today and find out where everything is again.  Many of the shops where we have had laundry done and purchased trinkets over the years have moved.  It's supposed to be sunny and in the 60's today... so we'll suffer thru that excursion!   We did find Lucy's just fine last night- dodging new concrete being poured in the street right outside their front door- finally getting to eat at 9pm.  It was worth the wait.  The Iced Tea went down just great.

On the adoption side of things, today are the medical appointments for Lushi and Christina that are required by US Immigration.  They are gonna have to get some vaccinations- this is another new requirement- and I'm sure that will go over just great with them- NOT.

Keep Mary in your prayers, as she's not feeling so great.

Have a good Thursday night as we begin our Friday.