We’re in Guangzhou

Sunday, December 30, 2012

We had our last day in Jinan yesterday. It’s always a little bit emotional for me to leave our children’s home province. But, Kaikai was excited to fly in an airplane and we were all happy to leave the cold weather behind! Kaikai wasn’t feeling great and fell asleep on his baba (daddy) in the car on the way to the airport. He is definitely attached to David. Our family has a song that we’ve been singing about Kaikai that has this chorus: “Kaikai, cutie-guy!” David has been singing it to Kaikai and now Kaikai sings, “Baba, cutie-ba!” Oh my! I don’t think it gets much sweeter than that!

Kaikai and Grace sat next to each other for most of the flight. They had fun doing a maze book and looking out the window together…good bonding moments! Kaikai has had no trouble at all attaching to his Jie Jie (Lily) and loves to follow her around and hold her hand, but hasn’t had as much opportunity to be with Grace. So, this was good for both of them.

Our sweet little guy started testing some boundaries yesterday….nothing serious, just wanting to let us know, “Yep, I’m human” and “No, I’m not perfect.” In the process, he did learn to say “please” when he wanted to be picked up, rather than fussing and pulling at Baba’s shirt. Now, we just need to work on “Yes, Mama” and “Yes, Baba” when we ask him to come to us…all in good time.

We arrived in Guangzhou in the early afternoon.  It was nice to unpack our bags since we’ll be here for awhile. We went out for dinner with some other families who are with CCAI (our adoption agency) and today Lily and I are going to go shopping with the group. Tonight we’re all going on a river cruise. We’re looking forward to that! I’ll be sure to take some photos.

Happy New Year everyone! I pray that you have a blessed 2013!

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Another great day in China

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Well, I feel almost guilty writing this, but I don't think that there could be an easier adoption than this one! I realize that many things could come up in the future, but at this point, Kaikai is one easy-going little guy! He eats great, goes to sleep as soon as we tell him to get in bed, smiles, laughs and is becoming more and more affectionate with us each day.

Yesterday we finished up all of our paperwork in Jinan and today we did a little bit of shopping. Kaikai didn't want to be carried yesterday, but today he let David hold him while we walked around town. Since then, Kaikai has been super-affectionate with David. Oh my! It is so sweet. I guess that I'm going to have to do a little weight lifting so that I can carry him around, as well. Kaikai is shorter than Grace, but definitely heavier, and I'm about at my weight limit carrying Grace around!

Lily and Grace have continued to do wonderfully and have been so helpful. Grace has needed a little bit of reassurance that she is still greatly loved, but I expected that would be the case. She adores her new brother, but hasn't had to share the youngest child place before. It is a great learning experience for her!

It's snowy and cold in Jinan today, so we'll be glad to move to warmer Guangzhou weather tomorrow. We had hoped to visit the Heze SWI, but found out that it is an 8 hour drive from Jinan. So, unfortunately that won't happen. The SWI staff who were here in Jinan were so kind. It is obvious that they cared for our sweet boy. I'm glad that we got to meet and interact with some of them here in Jinan.

Thank you so much to all of you who prayed for Kaikai and for our family. God has certainly answered in abundance! Kaikai is such a treasure! We are so grateful that this little boy has joined our family.

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

Friday, December 28, 2012

 Kaikai keeps doing wonderfully. Our guide told us that we should take him to KFC since it's a treat for Chinese children. You should have seen his face light up when we went in! So cute!

The girls are doing great with him. He kept holding Lily's hand in the van today. It was so sweet. Then he leaned his head on her shoulder. Oh my! Such Sweetness! All three of them are playing together great and he is already repeating many English words.


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Another Update

Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's three in the morning in China, and I just checked on our new son...OUR NEW SON!!!! Isn't that incredible? Just like that, we have a new son.

He's sleeping peacefully, and honestly, that's exactly how our first day has peaceful.

Our little guy walked into the hotel, holding his nannie's hand, came over to us very bravely, smiled and looked us right in the eyes. He said, "Mama" and then he let David hug him. He was holding a balloon and when he was introduced to his mei mei (Grace), he promptly handed the balloon to her (melt my heart!). David lifted little Kaikai unto his lap, and he sat there happily for awhile. Grace had drawn a heart on one of those drawing board things (can't think of the name of it right now), and Kaikai smiled and drew another heart. When she gave him some fruit snacks, he smiled again and started eating them and handing them out to those around him. When the nanny and SWI director had to leave, he simply said "bye bye," and turned to go with us. I realize that this could indicate that we need to do some attachment work, but I also think that it is an indication that they prepared him well (they were very sweet to him) and that he simply has a very easy-going personality. He is so gentle, kind and brave.

Precious Kaikai's gait has definitely worsened since we saw his last video. He was wearing shoes that were huge on his feet, so that didn't help him much. After getting a photo for the paperwork, we took him to eat dinner (he ate wonderfully) and then to get some new shoes. It was an experience trying to find shoes that fit! It's too bad that he needs to wear shoes at all because it would really be better for him to go barefoot. One of his feet is turned in and has a large lump on it. It rubs against his shoe and leaves a sore, although Kaikai said that it doesn't hurt.

He gladly held hands, but didn't want to be carried. He walked very bravely and without reservation through busy streets and sidewalks and up and down stairways and escalators. Nothing slowed him down.

When we got back to the hotel, Kaikai played with Lily and Grace. He gladly shared his toys and snacks with them. I could defnitely see the boy side of him coming out as they crashed cars, etc. Jadon and Adam are going to love playing with him! We had him write his name on that drawing board thingy that I can't think of the name of, and then David wrote "Kai Kai". A little bit later (after the writing had been erased), he came over to us, showing that he had written "Kai Kai" on the board. He is definitely a bright little boy!

Well, I'd better go back to bed and try to get a handle on this time change! Thank you, Jesus, for a wonderful first day with our new son!

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It is going great. This little guy is so full of joy...smiling and laughing. Incredible.

Last Things

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I’m writing this (as a word document), as we fly over Russia, just two hours from our arrival in Beijing. Throughout this flight I couldn’t help but think of the many “last things” that our precious son would be experiencing today…the last time playing with his two close friends, the last time eating with all of the other children at the orphanage, the last time living in a cold building devoid of heat, the last time going to bed without a mama and a daddy to tuck him in, and the last time living with those who speak and understand his first language. Some of these things are certainly good things to never have to experience again, but others, I’m sure, are painful lasts. I keep praying that his little heart would be able to contain both the sorrow and the joy of this time. We certainly hope that the orphanage staff has been preparing our sweet son over the past few days and weeks. But, we know for certain that by morning, he will know that his life is changing forever. In the morning, he will be leaving the home that he has known for the past two years, and he will be walking into a completely new life. Oh Jesus, I pray that David and I would be able to guide this amazing boy into the life that you have prepared for him. I know that we cannot do it alone. Thank you for the many others (Your people) who will now be a part of this precious boy’s journey with You.

We're off!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Well, we're about ready to leave for the airport!
Merry, Merry Christmas everyone!!!!
I cannot believe that we're getting a son for Christmas!!!
Can you think of anything better?!
Our God is amazing!

Oh  my gracious, isn't he just so cute?!

Would you pray for this precious boy's heart?...that he would be prepared to join our family...that God would give him the spirit of adoption...that he would know that he is our beloved son!

Please also pray that our Father would be glorified in this adoption journey. Pray that David and my hearts would reflect something of our Father's amazing heart.

And finally would you pray for our precious children at home (I already miss Adam, Yana and Jadon), and for our children who are going with us? Pray that Lily and Grace would get enough rest, stay healthy and that they would know how to show love to their new brother.

Thanks so much, friends.
We're off!

(I may end up posting on Facebook, so if you want to follow along, just add me as friend. Thanks!)

Our past few days

Sunday, December 23, 2012

have been filled with Christmas celebrating...

a little bit of relaxing (okay, at least for the kids)...

cleaning gum out of our washing machine, comforter and Jadon's jacket (ai yi yi, I actually cried when I saw this mess...and then promptly left the laundry room until David got home, at which time he offered to clean it up...I tell ya' again...that guy is too good to me)...

taking down Christmas decorations (I know, I know, it's just not right to take down Christmas decorations before Christmas)...

 and packing!!!!

Yep! We're leaving for China in just 1 1/2 days!!!!! Oh my goodness! I can hardly wait!!!!

last day

Thursday, December 20, 2012

 It was my last day teaching today and, of course, it was full of mixed emotions. I cannot wait to get on that plane and fly to China for our son. Yet, I will certainly miss being with all of these special young men and women each day. Most of the students are a part of our church community, so I will still see them a lot (four of them even live next door to us!), but obviously I won't be as involved in their lives as I am now.

One of the things that I'll miss the most about our shcool is the morning praise times. These kids really love the Lord and it's a pleasure to see them worship Him.

Fortunately, it's at the very beginning of the day, so I'll still be able to join them at times, when I drop off Adam, Yana and Lily for school.

I'll also really miss my social studies class (here are some of the wonderful kids in the class). We've been studying U.S. history and I LOVE it. It's so much fun to learn along with the kids.

Since it was the last day before Christmas break, we had special activities planned for the afternoon. Here are some of the kids, decorating cookies.

The definite highlight of the day was when my class presented me with this beautiful bracelet. Each of the girls had picked out a charm that they thought represented me in some way and then they made it into a bracelet. They also gave me a little booklet  which explained why they chose each charm. Oh my! There was no way that I was able to keep from crying then!

I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to teach at TLC. What a gift these precious young people have been in my life! I look forward to the new chapter that God is bringing into my family's life, but I will forever be grateful for the chapter that has just ended, as well.

good things...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


2) The consulate in Guangzhou found our I-800 and I-800a! Thank you for your prayers!

3) My friend, Kristen, who has waited for years to be a mom, is now in Ind*a with her precious daughter. They are both doing amazingly well, and are so in love! Their story is truly a God-story...thank you, Father, that they are finally together.

4) Lauren's grant fund just keeps's completely and totally God's doing! Thank you so much to all of you who have participated in this little miracle!

5) I went to bed at around 8:30 last night, slept off and on until 10:00 and then slept until 5:00.Woohoo! That's pretty good for someone who for the past 6 months has been averaging about 5-6 hours of sleep a night. Now, if I could just do that for about 6 more nights, I might really be feeling good!

6) I have an amazing husband. I was g.r.u.m.p.y. last night (see above :) ) and the first words out of his mouth this morning were, "I'm so glad that I married you." Honestly, that guy is too good to me.

7) Here Comes the Boom. Seriously. That movie was so funny. Meredith and I went to it a couple of weeks ago and we laughed so hard. It's at the $2 theater and I am thinking of taking my four older kids to see it tonight, 'cuz ummmm, their mom was pretty grumpy last night (see above :)  ), and we could all use a good laugh.

8) We painted our hallway last weekend. It is now a bright little shade of yellow, rather than yellow, orange and green (Yep. It really was all of those colors). David also tiled and painted our downstairs bathroom. The supplies have been in our garage for awhile and he finally had time to do it.

9) David and I finished up all of our travel paperwork last night (that was before the grumpiness really set in). Yay! It feels good to have that done.

10) My friend, Jennifer, sent me a kindle for our trip! What a blessing!

11) David had work to do yesterday and today, as well. December can be a slow month for contractors and the past two weeks have been a little slim on work. Not the best timing, but our God always takes care of us. He is so faithful!

12) We went to a very fun Christmas party with some friends from church on Sunday. Thanks so much, Brett and Michelle!

13) In just 10 days, our precious little boy will officially be an ORPHAN NO MORE!!!!!! He will be OUR SON!!!!! Thank you, Jesus!


Friday, December 14, 2012

First of all, I can hardly believe that in 11 days we'll be on a plane to China! Oh my gracious! I am sooooo ready to love on this little guy.

So very ready!!

We had our travel conference call yesterday and we got the itinerary for our trip. We arrive in Beijing on December 27th (just after midnight). We spend one (very short) night in Beijing, take the train around 1:00 pm to Jinan, arrive around 3:00 and meet Kaikai in the early evening!!!!

It's going to be a whirlwind. But, if we didn't do it this way, we would have had to wait until January to get our little guy, and we weren't really interested in that option!

We were suprised to learn that we will only be in Jinan for three nights. We are still hoping to visit the Heze SWI on the 29th, but we'll have to see. It takes over three hours to get there by train. We leave for Guangzhou on the 30th and will be there until the 11th. We're in GZ for such a long time, because China is on holiday between December 31st and January 2nd.

So, due to the fact that we will only be in the freezing cold north for four days total, I am re-thinking my packing. What do you think? Should we take winter jackets, mittens/hats and boots for all of us? Or should we just pack sweaters, mittens/hats, etc. and expect to be a little chilly for those days?

In other (related) news, we only have four more days of school. I'll miss the girls A LOT, but I'm also ready to have a break from the long school days. We've decided to homeschool Jadon, Grace and Kaikai for at least the remainder of the school year. I'm super excited about it. I love homeschooling and I think that it will be a great situation for all three of them (and me too!). I was busy last week, training the woman who will be taking over my class for me. She's wonderful and I think that Lily and Yana will love having her for a teacher.

Lily and Grace are quite happy that they will be going to China with us. They can't wait to meet their new brother. My only concern is the quickness of the beginning of the trip. Prayers for all of us would be greatly appreciated!

Adam, Yana and Jadon will be spending part of the time with David's parents, and part of their time with Meredith's family. I think that I can safely say that they will have an amazing time while we're gone! We are going to miss them!

We are having a little problem with our I-800 and I-800A. The embassy in GZ doesn't have a record of them, which is really strange since they issued our article 5 after receiving them (with the NVC letter). So, we're trying to get another copy to them. Would you pray that it gets there on time and without incident?

David and I saw the movie, Lincoln, on our anniversary (December 9th). I have been thinking about it ever since. Lincoln (at least as portrayed by Daniel Day Lewis) was such  a deep and thoughtful man. I find myself quite challenged by his life of great sacrifice and genuine love.

We're going to our local Living Nativity tonight. We have gone every year for probably the past 10 years and it is always very moving. The kids love it and so do David and I!

I had a great time of prayer at the prayer house today, and I wish that I had time to write about it. But, suffice it to say that our God is pretty amazing, kind, gracious and wonderful! Isn't it incredible that He came to earth to live among us?! What love!!!!

Well, I'm sure that's enough odds-n-ends to last you quite a while (if you made it this far!). Blessings on you and your day, friends!

Faithful God (updated)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Update:  He did it! Lauren's grant is over $1000!!!! Faithful, Faithful God!!!!

Did you happen to notice Lauren's grant fund on my sidebar?

Well, just yesterday it was at $183.

And today it is at $808.50!!!! Yay, God!! He is so faithful!

Truly, all of the glory goes to God, because up until a couple of days ago, I had forgotten who was in control of Lauren's life and was feeling the weight of the responsiblity myself (never a good idea and not very effective, either!).

The goal of the Reece's Rainbow Angel Tree fundraiser, is to raise $1000 for your AT child. There were a number of things that I tried to do in order to raise that $1000, but with only a little success. I was getting worried that I wouldn't be able to help this litttle sweetie as much as I would have liked, and I wondered if I should have volunteered to have an AT child in the first place.

But, then our precious Father reminded me that He is the One who is responsible for sweet Lauren, and that He is the One who loves her with love incomparable. At that point, I gave this precious girl (and the responsibility for her grant fund) over to the Faithful One.

And guess what?!

He was faithful!!!!

In one day, Lauren's grant fund jumped over $600 from just three donors. I had wasted a lot of time and energy worrying about Lauren's grant fund, instead of trusting our amazing God. But, as soon as I was ready to give the responsibility over to Him, He jumped right in! Isn't He amazing?!

And now, I'm trusting our Father for the last $200 of her grant fund and also for a family who would love to make this precious angel a part of their family.

And guess what?!

I know that He will always be faithful.

I think that you'll enjoy...

Monday, December 10, 2012

 Lily's newest blog post.
Just click here to check it out.

Oh, how I LOVE this girl!

It's gonna be a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's going to be a pretty special Christmas for us this year, since we'll be leaving for China on the 25th of December!!!

Of course, I'm a little bit sad that we won't be meeting our sweet son next week, but I really do think that this timing will be best for many, many reasons (finishing up teaching, a special school consideration for Jadon, celebrating Christmas before we go and not overwhelming our new son with Christmas celebrating when we get home, etc.). I asked the Lord for His perfect timing and I believe that He has given it. Praise to Him!!!

David spent a couple of hours on the phone this morning, buying our tickets. Whew! That's always a bit overwhelming, since you want to make sure that you don't make any mistakes. We could have used our agency's travel agent, but it was MUCH less expensive to buy tickets ourselves. So, now that the tickets are purchased, it feels very official...

We're going to China in three weeks!!!!

What a merry, merry Christmas this one will be!


Monday, December 3, 2012

Our Jesus is altogether lovely.

And when I see these precious young ladies dance,

I am reminded of the loveliness of our Lord.

Their beautiful smiles...

their hearts of worship...

their childlike love for their Savior...

it brings me to tears.

I am so very grateful that these sweet girls are learning to love the Beautiful One, who makes all things lovely.

(Our agency said that we should know our travel dates tomorrow!!!)

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