First off, Blogger is blocked by the "Great firewall of China", but I have been able to find a proxy server that allows us to post. It will not give me a picture uploader option though, so the pics will need to added later, perhaps by Caitlin.
We awoke from a short sleep in Beijing and headed off to the airport at 5:45am. We needed to be in Taiyuan by 10:00 to meet Lushi at the Shanxi Civil Affairs office. Our flight was delayed just a bit, so we didn't have time to check in at the hotel upon our arrival here, we just went straight to Civil Affairs. Lushi was waiting in the office for us, and seemed a bit shy and nervous upon meeting us. We signed several papers and were off to the hotel. Our guide Angela talked at length with Lushi and translated several questions/answers for us. We enjoyed lunch at a restaurant across the street from the hotel, with Lushi enjoying the local specialty of noodles, and John enjoying a spicy beef hot pot. We also had a bok choy dish and sweet/sour pork. Back at the hotel, we spent time talking with our new son, trying to get to know him. Mary gave him a short math quiz, trying to find out where he is academically. During our talk, we found out the he HAS had surgery on his spinal cord. We're not sure what exactly was done, but there's a good sized scar on his back and he says the surgery allowed him to have bowel control, but not bladder control. We also found out that he had been in foster care for approx. 8 yrs, and is still very close to the large foster family. They gave him a huge going away party last week and it is obvious that Lushi is very attached to them. We have contact info and will stay in touch with them. We may in fact, travel to Linfen later this week and try to meet them. We'll see how our schedule works out.
We had a short Skype video call with Caitlin, Grace and Sarabeth. The other children were already asleep for the night. The kids are experiencing a blizzard in North Iowa, with up to a foot of snow and 40 mph winds tonight. Keep them in your prayers.
The plan for tomorrow (Thursday) is to have our notary work done and all the paperwork completed at the Civil Affairs office, then perhaps do some shopping for clothes for Gideon. He's smaller than most 14 yr olds, and the clothes we brought for him are mostly too large. We'll remain in touch. Thanks for your prayers and words of encouragement.
John and Mary