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.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More pix

On the Nanchang walking street

Nap time

Everything was good

Chicken, onions, peanuts and just a few hot peppers for decoration!

Beef hot pot.  Very good!

Guangzhou UPDATE

We have Christina's passport and will be off to the airport in about 90 minutes. We should arrive in Guangzhou at 4:15pm (2:15 am Iowa time) and after the van ride downtown, should be at Lucy's by about 7pm. WooHOO.

Guangzhou Day TODAY!!!

We'll be heading off to Guangzhou today, provided the civil affairs office has Christina's passport done (pray please).  We are so looking forward to the warmth and familiarity of Shamian Island.  Mary is especially looking forward to a cold iced tea at Lucy's!

Yesterday was a rather unexciting day (boring to a point) as it was cold and dreary outside and we had no appointments or places to go.  Angela has been fighting off a cold and spent a good part of the day resting.  John did some reading.   The kids watched TV and wrestled.  We finally headed out later in the afternoon.  Another adoptive family that knows Angela came over to our hotel and we all went to dinner together.  We then went down to the "walking street" so the gals could get some glazed strawberries on a stick.  On the way back to the hotel, we were walking into a stiff, cold headwind.  I (John) popped Christina up on my shoulders and picked up the pace-- her short legs have trouble keeping up sometimes :-)   We ended up bouncing and singing and laughing all the way back to the hotel.  It was a good bonding experience for us!

Mary had a rough night, as something she ate didn't agree with her.  She felt a bit better this morning, and ate a little toast for breakfast.  Hopefully the rest of the day will see her getting her strength back.  Perhaps this is what she had trouble with??? ADDENDUM: THE PICS I TRIED TO POST DIDN'T WORK. I'LL FORWARD THEM TO CAITLIN AND SHE CAN UPLOAD THEM. SORRY. THE PIC I INTENDED TO SHOW HERE WAS A CHICKEN DISH LOADED WITH HOT PEPPERS. :-)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday Evening/Wed morning

Good morning from China! Last night after everyone went to bed I stayed up to send pix and typed up a nice long blog explaining the visit with the fosters and other things …. suffice to say, the connection was lost and so was the note …thought it was saved but alas, no such luck!! So I will try again – this time in Word and copy and paste it!

As some of you know all 3 of our China girls are from Jiangxi … just so happened that way – and Sarabeth, home now 3 yrs was from Nanchang – fostered her entire life with one family who dearly loved her and did EVERYTHING for her … a true China “emperess”. We keep in loose contact with them – pix and letters over the email a few times a year. We had Angela call them to set up a time to have dinner – planned for 5:30 Tues night to meet at this hotel and go down the street for dinner. All of us except Angela (who is now down with a cold/sore throat…please pray for her) went out for lunch and onto Walmart for a few things. John had transferred all the pix we have taken of Sarabeth into one folder and wanted a flash drive to download them and give to the fosters. We came back to find the family already at the hotel at 3:00!!! Not a true surprise to us considering how they frequently just would show up during our week adopting SB … we had to insist they stop as it was truly confusing for dear SB.

Anyway – they decided to change plans – wanted us to go to their home to visit and then onto a restaurant of their choice close to their home. No problem – they also brought along the woman who taught SB to speak a bit of English prior to her adoption – this woman is now in college 2nd year. We went by taxi to their home – truly my worst taxi ride EVER …the driver was obviously the best at playing “chicken” with all the other drivers/buses/mopeds/bicyclists and wanted to show us his expertise!! ACK!! Lushi was laughing at me as I would gasp and say “I’m gonna die!” We pulled into a back alley and then onto an even “backer” alley – SB lived in a 6th floor apt and I was panted heavily by the time I reached the top – no surprise to me that I am totally out of shape!! Their home is quite small with 2 bedrms, small living area and kitchen/ bath….and no heat. It has been below freezing here several days and it was quite chilly! They offered clementines and a crunchy corn stick snack that SB used to love. We chatted a bit and then were off to walk to the “close by” restaurant. NOT!! But although the walk was long and very cold (poor Angela), we went through the “largest” market in Nanchang – veggie/fruit and clothes venders of all kinds – this was a true community sense that we experienced. A small city within a city. We arrived at the restaurant – VERY large and with 3 inch pine wood trim everywhere – walls of brick or white pine logs everywhere – very different from anything we have experienced in China.

Angela and the elder sister ordered- the first dish to arrive looked like beans and beef – I, Mary, took a “bean” and bit into it …. It was a pepper … and a very HOT one at that. I did not regain my taste buds for ½ of the meal!! Several dishes came out that we had never had before – some good, some not so good. The fosters all the while encouraged us to eat, eat!! while they did very little eating. At the end of the meal they brought out some fried thin bread that we have had at the Cow Bridge Restaurant before – very yummy. Dujie dropped two sets of chop sticks and a spoon (broke it) – she is a bit clumsy or probably just mindlessly active.

After dinner the family wanted us to then go the younger sister’s home – we have seen pix of this and know it is very modern and comfortable. We were just tuckered out and knew dear Angela needed some meds and rest for her cold. We taxied back to the hotel.

The dynamic duo of Lushi and Christina is forming true sibling love and hate – chiding eat other, teasing, blaming each other – they chatter on and on. So glad we bought a bag of sunflower seeds – this has kept them busy in front of the TV during the long hours of nothingness that the adoption waiting can produce – the weather earlier was rainy, cold and even snowy. No walking streets during that!

We are now into our Wednesday and getting ready for breakfast – will meet up with another WCF family today – the McNews – for dinner. Tomorrow we will be off to GZ hopefully and onto warmer weather and the comfortable “ahh” of Shamian Island!

As always, we are thankful for your prayers and comments – they encourage us while we are so far away!!

Mary and John

More pix

Bored watching TV and eating sunflower seeds

Sarabeth's foster family

Her foster parents

@ foster family's house

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tuesday Dec 15, in Nanchang

It's been a few days since we posted.  Sorry for the delay.  On Sunday afternoon we headed off from PHF to the Beijing airport.  Christina did not look back.  We had thought there might be some tears shed but she handled the transition well.  Our guide Angela met up with us at the airport and we headed to the gateway.  Christina was excited to go up in the plane, but because it was dark out by the time we took off, she couldn't see as much from the air.  Air China must be obsessive about "on-time" departures!  People were still finding their seats when the door was closed and the plane was pushed away from the gate.  In the US, that plane wouldn't move until everyone was seated.  Then, we were blasting down the runway and lifting off while the safety video was still playing!  Very different from at home.

On arrival in Nanchang, we headed off to the Gloria Plaza Hotel and finally hit the sheets at about 11:30pm.  We had an early wake-up tho, as we needed to be at the Civil Affairs Office by 8:30am.  At Civil Affairs, there were MANY adoptive families milling around the waiting room.  We talked to several families who had been waiting for their new healthy children for up to 44 months!   That seems so foreign to those of us who adopt from the "waiting children" lists. The longest we've ever waited from login to travel is 9 months, and that was excruciating enough.

After signing all the paperwork and paying all the bills, we went to the Nanchang Wal-Mart, which is ALWAYS mind-boggling!  You'll never see a Walmart like this in this states!   Everything from live squid to turtle, fried everything on a stick,  LOUD salespeople on megaphones shouting their pitches and the same annoying version of "Jingle Bells" repeated over and over again on the store's loudspeakers.  Arghhhhhhhhh!  After quickly gathering up some water, Pepsi and a few snack items, we headed back to the hotel.  After lunch and a short nap, we took a trip several blocks from the hotel to the pedestrian mall area.  We walked the length of the "walking street" and the girls enjoyed some glazed strawberries on a stick.  We love the atmosphere on the walking street-- so many people gathered, walking arm in arm, talking etc.  After supper at a local restaurant, it was time for a much needed sleep.

Today, we were able to sleep a bit longer as we have no appointments.  We are in the worst part of the adoption travel time-line.....waiting, waiting, waiting.  It is cold and rainy (with a few snowflakes mixed in) outside.  Our only thing scheduled today is to meet up with Sarabeth's foster parents.  It has been 3 yrs since we left Nanchang with our lovely Sarabeth, and the fosters still miss her greatly.  We will be meeting them at 5:30 for dinner and I've put together a photo album on a flash drive that we will give them, which chronicles Sarabeth since her adoption.  Tomorrow....another day of waiting.  Thursday though is the day we've been waiting for- Lord willing, we'll have all of Christina's paperwork returned and be off to warm Guangzhou.

We'll send some pictures off to Caitlin and hopefully she will get them uploaded to the blog soon.  Thanks for the many comments, notes and prayers.  We appreciate all of you.

John and Mary.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

PHF pictures

Sorry for the are the pictures!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sunday - day to FLY

Hi all! Sorry for no pix - our daughter was really busy Saturday with ACTs, Christmas play practice and being a "Mom" to the littles - hopefully some pix will show up soon.

Last night we went to a local restaurant ... a stone's throw over the PHF wall .. to celebrate Lushi's 14th bday. We WAY overordered not realizing the portion sizes per order. Beef and onions, kung pao chicken (lightly spicy with nuts and carrots/cukes), braised beef ribs .. mmmm, and cashew chicken .... then the stir fried beans, bok choi and stir fried broccoli - Lushi ordered noodles (mian tiao)- he loves noodles. This time he conversed with the waiter and next thing we know he has a bulb of raw garlic .... peels it and holds a clove of raw garlic in one hand and eats the noodles with the other - like we eat bread with soup ... a slurp of noodles and a bite of garlic ... he ate 2 cloves this way and wow did he stink the rest of the night. Guess he boosted his immune system for the entire trip home!! :P We had a cake and candles with us and we sang to him at the end of the meal - in english and chinese - he was beaming. I did the traditional 1 for the money (for those who know us well) and had to mimic blowing out the candles to show him what to do. Clay and Jewel Floch went with us and Stacey too. The rest of the staff are typically off for the weekend.

Christina slept in a bed by herself in Mary's room last night. She is gradually getting more comfortable with us as the hours go by. A BIG change in her life will come this afternoon when we leave the village and head to the airport. She will be leaving many memories and friends behind as she begins a new stage in her life. We head to Nanchang tonight, where we will sign her adoption papers tomorrow. We will then wait several days for her passport to be released to us before we can go on to Guangzhou.

Have a blessed Lord's Day and keep us in your prayers as we continue our journey.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Saturday morning in China!

Christina slept with me (mary) last night in a queen bed - I had started some laundry and was not ready to go to sleep but laid down beside her - she was out within 15min at 8:30. She woke about 2am and seemed confused with me beside her and we were both up for good around 5:30am. John and Lushi stayed in another room in separate beds. We have found that Lushi is not continent at all .... we are not making anything of it, but try to encourage him to wash well ... with hand motion over bottom and peri area .... at which he just laughs and says "okay,okay,okay" .... that's one of his phrases ... along with "no,no,no". Christina and I waited until 6:30 to officially bust into the boys room - they were awake but in bed. The lights went on and I started to check email while Christina bounced and bounced on Lushi's bed. Christina had made John and I a painted 12x12inch canvas with the word "love" in the middle of a large heart that was painted with smaller hearts all the way around - signed and dated on the back - so sweet. She let me open it in the room earlier and then brought it over to show Baba .... she was on the bed with Lushi and said to us "love (pointing to her artwork) .... I love you" .... to which Lushi responded also "I love you,too!" WOW oh wow .... his first official sentence and it's "I love you, too" with a huge smile on his face.

The boys dressed and we headed to the dining hall area for a pick up breakfast of yogurt and peanut butter bread - while we were eating, I looked at Lushi and it hit me .... "Lushi, it's your birthday!!" The four of us, along with Clay and Jewel all sang Happy Birthday to him and then Christina sang it to him in Chinese! It doesn't seem like a birthday - we will go out to eat tonight we - have a cake and candles - perhaps we will do a bit of shopping. We did get him new sneaks yesterday ... size NINE on this smallish 14 yr old and boy do his feet STINK !! I forgot how bad teen boys feet stink ... he is great about washing his hair in the sink around 3 times a day, but I don't think the rest of him sees much water!! :P Mama will have to change that!

We went over to the House of Love to visit - played with the children, saw where Christina slept, took pix with ayis, friends and bedrooms. I snuggled a few of the kids - especially sweet Noel Joy .... yes she grabbed my heart in Feb of 08 - and she is doing much better ... she has CP. What a giggle Noel has - steals your heart!

We skyped with the kids back at home .... first had to call on the phone to find them at the Leckrones - had been there all day sledding. I said to Caitlin, "it's 6:30 ... you better get home and get a good nigh'ts rest ... ACTs tomorrow." She gasped and said she had totally forgotten! The cat's away the mice do play!

We just had lunch and Christina is used to napping with the other kids now ... seems like a good excuse for Mama to rest, too.

We send more pix to Caitlin for her to post.

In HIS strength and mercy alone,

Christina pix!!

Sorry for the wait; I (Caitlin) was away with the kids all day. Here are the pictures!


Christina's Gotcha!

After a short 1 hour flight from Taiyuan to Beijing, we were met at the airport by PHF staffers Clay and Jewel Floch. They shuttled us out to Shepherd's Field where we got settled in our rooms at the Inn of Eight Happinesses and met with some of the other staff. They gave us several things, including a portfolio of Christina's schoolwork and a DVD of pictures they've taken of her over the years. After the children's naptime, Christina was brought over to the Inn to meet us. At first, she was shy and wouldn't come to us. She did however, take to Lushi! Eventually, after some talking and teasing, she began to warm up to us and the REAL Christina began to emerge. She is quite the PISTOL! She'll give Juliana and Nathan a run for their money, and she may even rival Jeremy in decibel level. She can be very demanding, several times calling out "Mother!" and is very confident in herself. Her english vocabulary has impressed us so far and she loves talking with Lushi in chinese too. At one point, we could not find them. They had taken off (sans coats) and found their way to the playground!

Little did we know when we invited ourselves a day early to PHF that they had their staff Christmas party scheduled for tonight. They invited us to join them and we had a wonderful time. Several of the children participated by singing carols, and Christina was included in this group. They sang Silent Night, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and Jesus Loves Me (in english and chinese). They were very good. After an excellent meal, we brought them both back over to the Inn and showered them. Soon, it was off to bed. The Lord has blessed us tremendously and we are so thankful. I'm so looking forward to getting them home to meet the rest of their new family!

The "Great Firewall of China" does not allow access to blogspot. I've been using a proxy server to submit these posts, but am not able to post pics. For those of you requesting more pics, so sorry! I will forward a few of the pics we took tonight in an e-mail to Caitlin, and hopefully she will get them loaded onto the blog this morning.

Its been a long day and everyone else is fast asleep. I'm off to join them. I hope you all have as great a Friday as we've just had! Good night.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Heading to Langfang!

Good evening/morning depending on where you are!

The Lord was gracious and we did get the notary papers last night around 8pm - we had resigned ourselves to not getting it last night when it hadn't arrived by 6:30pm. We went to eat at KFC and after dinner we told Angela she had better call Shelby at Shepherd's Field and tell her we would not make it until Sat - Angela took out her phone and squealed "it came, it came"!! There was a message on her phone saying the papers were at the hotel just after 8pm!! Then she softly said God is so good! Yes!

Now Christina's gotcha will not be the same as Lushi's birthday!! We will forever more have such busy celebrations in Dec with 2 gotchas and a bday in the same week! So we fly out at 10am - couldn't get our money back on the other flights for Sat, but the amount of the new plane tickets was about the same as the cost of the 2 rooms at the Shanxi Grande ... we wanted adjoining rooms and had to go to the "business level" to get them - and they are the most expensive hotel rooms for our entire trip.

So we should meet Christina this afternoon sometime and we will get an extra night at the Inn of the Eight Happinesses at Shepherd's Field!

We are hoping Lushi and Christina can understand each other - we will soon find out. And there are some of the older boys at SF that Lushi will be able to meet, too!

Thanks for all your prayers!!
Mary and John

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

adoption paperwork nearly done!!

It is now Thursday afternoon - we are only waiting for the notary paperwork to be delivered - tonight hopefully!! We have only been here two days - sorry we are doing this so fast - I know so very many of you are waiting and waiting. I am not sure why God chose for us to do these adoptions like this but it is certainly all Him! The workers at the civil affairs office were asking our guide, Angela (my angel), why is everyone pushing this along so fast - what is so special about this boy?? Why him? She was without response - I told her I would have simply said - this is how God has chosen to place Lushi in a family - all the children come via their own path .... Lushi has waited nearly 14 years and he has certainly waited long enough!! He is opening up and laughs at Mama's attempts to use chopsticks ... and speak chinese!! He jokes with the civil affairs officers and is smiling lots and lots! And Mama has found out he is VERY ticklish! His only request before we came was for a translator ... electronic. We went today to look at some ... in a FREEZING cold building - he was so stubborn, so 14!! He wanted this one and ONLY this one that he obviously has seen someone else using. It was so confusing to use and finally I told him this translator would be like his didi's (little brother's) prosthetic arm - fine to look at but quite useless for everyday functioning. He then agreed .... my nearly 14 yr old son agreed and said he didn't want it!

He opens doors, pours our tea, passes the first coke to me - he actually has some manners! We had a very nice lunch at a local cantonese restaurant .... mmm,mmm very good (sorry Cait and Grace :P )- the orphanage adoption worker that brought him finally agreed to join us and he shared some about Lushi and how he has a very sensitive heart. I simply can't WAIT to be able to converse with him and joke with him. When Angela leaves us and we head home, he asked who will help translate -this will be his biggest adjustment, but hopefully he will tackle it head on and work hard at it. I told him it will take many months but it will finally happen and he will be able to talk with us and we will all understand each other.

Since our work is all done we are going to try to fly off to Langfang tomorrow and spend a bit more time at Shepherd's Field. I will miss out on going there in the spring for the planned mission's trip and will cherish sharing with the children and meeting up with Christina!! I'm sure she will totally enjoy leading us around to show us all the babies and loving on them with us!!

For all of you not in the midwest area, please pray for our teen daughters and younger kids - they got 14inches of snow yesterday and everything is still closed around the area. Caitlin was the "man of the house" and conquered snow blowing the driveway with much effort ... said there were 5 foot drifts from the 40 mile/hour winds. They stayed in most of the day Wed and made cookies ... eating most of the dough before it could even be cooked! Sounds like MY daughters!! Raw dough is so very yummy!!

Can't wait for all our family and friends at home to meet Lushi - watch out James S - he can put some spin on a pingpong ball!!

In HIS strength and mercy alone,

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