Monday, November 30, 2009

First Day in Hohot

We woke up early this morning, 5:00am! Julia and Lydia had slept very well and everyone was in a good mood. We had a 9:00 appointment to complete government paperwork. When we arrived at the hotel where the orphanage officials were, there were two other adoptive families with infants in the room. They were from Spain. I was able to speak with them in Spanish and it seemed much easier to do that here than at home. I've noticed that since we arrived and all we hear is Chinese, my brain is thinking in Spanish. Interesting!

We filled out paperwork for about an hour and a half. I've never put my fingerprint on so many papers before. We were the first ones finished, then we had to go to the airline office to book our flight for Guangzhou.

Thankfully we had the rest of the afternoon free. We ate lunch and all of us took a nap.

One of the things that is interesting about this city is that right here in the upscale commercial center, there are still donkey carts, live chickens, and small vendors. There are Mongolian symbols on a lot of buildings. I think it is a neat place! It is very cold, but we aren't out in it very long.

Tomorrow we will get Julia's passport and hopefully we can do some sightseeing. We will let you know next post. Until then...............blessings, Michelle, Mark, Lydia, and Julia

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hohot Arrival

Hello again! We made it to Hohot from Beijing, but first we wanted to include a couple of pictures from the Great Wall! Isn't is beautiful; the weather was wonderful that morning.

When we landed at the Hohot airport and were pulling into the gate, God gave us a beautiful sign that He was with us. They turned music on in the airplane and Silent Night, Holy Night was playing in English!!! The specific words that came on were "Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child, Holy Infant so tender and mild." Mark, Lydia, and I all together looked at each other and said that's no coincidence. Thank you Lord for Your loving assurance and strength.

Julia and her caretaker were waiting for us in a meeting room on the third floor. We signed several papers and then it was time for the caretaker to catch the train. As expected, little Julia cried and cried saying she needed her Chinese mother. She continued saying she needed to get on the train to go to her Chinese mother. We took her to our room and Mark and Lydia left to walk around and I stayed and comforted Julia. When I told her that Leah Hope had cried and was sad at first too, that seemed to comfort her. I told her I understood why she was so sad and and said it was okay. I told her I would feel sad too. God was definitely giving me the words to comfort her because within forty five minutes, her crying ceased. Her grief will continue, but she started playing with Lydia as soon as she and Mark returned.

Please continue to pray for her and her foster family. We can feel His presence as we continue to walk this journey. Thank you for all your comments, prayers, and support. We are now able to see the blog and the comments.

Tanya Lea, Molly, and Mandi, I have several pictures of your beautiful kids and will try to e-mail them to you this week. I gave each one a big hug and kiss from their moms in America.

Until tomorrow...............blessings, Michelle, Mark, Lydia, and JULIA

Saturday, November 28, 2009

More Adventures!

Hi Everyone,

We have been going non-stop since yesterday morning! Mark, Lydia, and I decided to spend more time at the preschool and it was very busy. The kids were busy cutting potatoes for the Thanksgiving meal being prepared for all the staff and kids at New Day. I could tell that Julia was not as vivacious as the day before. She told the nurse that her throat hurt and sure enough, the nurse said that her tonsils were inflamed. That explained some of her melancholy, but I think the reality of her leaving with us was beginning to set in. She sat quietly during the group picture and didn’t insist that Lydia was beside her like the day before. I said multiple prayers throughout the morning to help her with the upcoming transition.

The day before, Thursday, I had the opportunity to sit in on a training about grief, loss, and healing. All of the foster families were represented and I sat beside Julia’s foster mom. At the end, they were invited to share how they feel when their foster children leave. That is a very difficult task for most Chinese women (to share feelings publicly). One foster mom across the room just broke down into tears about the huge hole she has in heart and how she doesn’t know what to do about it. That set-off a chain reaction and every foster mom in the room started crying including Julia’s mom. All I could do was hold and pat her hand. My family is the cause of her pain, but the trainer gave her very good, practical ways that she can start to heal. I prayed for her and I ask all of you to pray for her and her husband’s healing.

On a lighter note, we were invited to their house for dinner on Friday night. Lydia had played ALL day with the foreigners’ little girls so when we finished a very good meal, she conked out right on the sofa at their house! Julia’s foster father graciously offered to take us back on his electric bike cart. That was so nice because otherwise, Mark would have had to carry her for the ten minute walk.

Everyone we’ve encountered has been so gracious and hospitable. I see God’s light and grace in so many faces here. If only they knew Him……………..

This morning(Saturday) we were able to visit the Great Wall! The weather was cold, but we were blessed with sunshine and it wasn’t crowded. The mountains were so majestic and there was such tranquility standing on those boulders. Our guide was very fun and loved Lydia. They rode down the toboggan together. We were at the part of the Great Wall where they’ve built a stainless steel Schillterban to ride down the mountain. It was like a roller coaster. It took about two hours to get there from New Day, but it was definitely worth it.

We stopped at a restaurant on the way back which is famous for its Peking Duck dish. We aren’t big duck eaters, but we tried it……….and didn’t like it! I had to go to the restroom and in the hallway to go there, I noticed a man spitting. We were indoors for crying out loud! I just told myself, this is China, not the US;move on. I also had to get used to the “squatty potty” system when I made it to the restroom. My germophobia was desperately trying to take over, but I seriously squelched it. I’d drive myself crazy if I let it take over. I had my handy dandy anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer to help me with this problem.

As you can tell, we have been very busy. Today is the last day of being a family of three; tomorrow we will be a family of four. I pray that Julia will learn to accept us as her forever family so we can see that wonderful , joyful spirit that we all know and love.

Until tomorrow……………………………………blessings, Michelle, Mark, and Lydia

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A New World

Thanksgiving Day, November 26th

We made it to China and the flight went very well! Lydia was a trooper and didn't complain hardly at all. The driver from New Day Foster Home
met us at the airport and the free-for-all was on! I've never seen anyone maneuver around like she did. First of all, the smog was very thick and it was close to being dark and she was making her own lane on the freeway. It's a miracle that we didn't hit someone or get hit.

I know Lindsay A. talked about the "great divide" when going over the bridge to New Day and she was right. The freeway stopped and it became a one lane winding road for about twenty minutes. What was so scary was that people were walking and riding their bikes with no reflective lights or clothing and I just knew we were going to hit someone! What an adventure!

We arrived at the foster home, put our bags in our room, and about fifteen minutes later, Julia and her foster family arrived! Julia was in her foster
father's arms and she looked at us for a minute, then immediately jumped down to go to Lydia. She then gave me and Mark big hugs and was laughing her infamous belly laugh. Her foster mom and dad were very nice and they had also brought her little brother(foster), William.

We ate dinner together at New Day's cafeteria and the food was really good - very flavorful. The Kung Pao chicken was especially delicious.
Julia was super excited and she and Lydia started playing and running as soon as they ate. We are really going to have to help Julia know how to stop eating when her stomach is full. Her foster mom told her that she had had enough and Carrie told us that she will eat until she throws up.

It was such a blessing to see Julia with her foster family and how they interact. Her foster father told one of the New Day workers that he was glad that both of the children weren't leaving at the same time; he said he wouldn't be able to handle it.

We had a pretty good night's sleep; we slept until 5:00am. We spent the morning at the preschool and touring the foster home. The first child that I held was Reagan, then Lindsay, then Jennifer. Jennifer loved Lydia and spent five minutes staring at her while being held. We went downstairs and there was our Julia. She belted out Lydia and bolted to her; she also gave Mark and me hugs and kisses! She let me hold her and kiss her on her face and forehead; Julia wanted Lydia by her side at all times. We played with Elizabeth, Victoria, Drew, Evan, and Adahlyn. I went around the corner where the younger kids were and gave Khloe a big hug. She was eating her snack the first time, then later, she was eating lunch. I'll try to catch her at a better time tomorrow. Drew made a comment that his parents were coming soon to get him too! Evan sat in my lap while the girls played food server in the kitchen area; I went back to Drew, bent over and he unzipped my fleece top! He's going to be a ladies' man!

We were invited to Julia's foster parents house in the afternoon and we walked, There must be big animals that use the same street because we noticed a lot of poop on the road. There were leaves burning on the side of the road, trash being shoveled in the back of a truck(community garbage pick-up), stray dogs everywhere, and corn husks all over the place. Even with all that, I'm so glad we're here and see God's touch everywhere.

We had a nice visit with Julia's foster family. They served us bananas, peanuts, oranges, and hot tea. They asked us if we knew about Julia's medical condition and if we knew she was allergic to peaches and plums. We told them all about the pediatrician, Scottish Rite Hospital, her education plan, and how Lindsay asked us about adopting her. They made the comment that to them the process had moved very fast. We explained the whole time line and how it had taken us about sixteen months to get here. At the end of the gathering, they told us that they felt peaceful and happy about where she was going. Thank you Lord for making their hearts at peace.

I have more to tell, but jet lag has caught up with me. I'll update again tomorrow. 


Monday, November 23, 2009

First Step

We made it to New Jersey and are enjoying a leisurely night before the long plane ride tomorrow. Our bags were nicely under weight so that made it easy to tote them around.

We appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers! Please keep them flowing! Also, please pray for Julia and her foster family. We have heard that her foster family is having a difficult time.

Next time we post, we will be in China. Blessings to all of you, Michelle, Mark, and Lydia

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Travel Dates Are Official

Hi Everyone, we are good to go!!!! Our consulate appointment is set for Tuesday, December 8th and we will receive Julia's visa on the 10th. We are planning to book flights to leave on November 25 to stay at New Day Foster Home outside of Beijing for three nights. On the 29th, we will fly to Julia's home province, Inner Mongolia, and stay in the capital city of Hohot. We will be in Hohot until the 4th of December, then all FOUR of us will fly south to Guangzhou. Our plan is to be home on the 11th of December.

We would be happy to take a small present to New Day for your kiddos if you mail it to us before we leave. Please e-mail us at if you plan on mailing something to us. We can't wait to see Julia and the rest of the New Day family!

God has blessed us so richly and we can't thank Him enough!! Praise be to the One who is, was, and will always be!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Julia, we're coming!

We are so excited that we will be traveling soon to get Julia. Last night we taped our Skype "talk" with her. Mark edited it so you can see her singing "Itsy, Bitsy Spider" in English and Chinese. Julia, we'll be singing together in no time! Praise be to God!!

Travel Approval!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We received word from our agency today that we received TA. They are still working on the dates so I will post them as soon as I receive them. Right now they are trying for a consulate appointment on December 8th. We could possibly be leaving on Thanksgiving! God is good!!! His timing is perfect!!!