Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Everyone has watermelon for Christmas breakfast, right?!

Inside our hotel

The Christian Church we attended on Shamian Island

Merry Christmas from China!

Christmas Eve

We had the medical check on Shamian Island today.  Jada was a trooper.  She is a brave little girl.  She went through it all without a tear.  She smiled and giggled even.  She didn't even cry when they injected her for the TB test. 

For supper we had Papa John's pizza with a bunch of new friends in their hotel room!  I'm sorry I didn't get any pictures of that!  We have been blessed by the support and encouragement of the others around us.  Not to mention we love getting to know the other kids!

Dec 23rd On to Guangzhou

We left Hangzhou and flew into Guangzhou.  The trip went smoothly...amazingly well now that I think of it.  Thank you God!

Dec 22nd Water Town and Dragon Well Tea

We draw quite a bit of attention with our little pink girl.  Little old Chinese ladies have fussed over whether she's dressed warm enough, pulling on her pants and looking to see if she has more layers.  Why oh why didn't I bring her snow bibs?!

This is a very old town outside of Hangzhou, which they regard as the Venice of China.  This was a great tour and we even got a boat ride.

Dragon Well Green Tea Farm
We were welcomed into a farmer's home and given some green tea to try.  It was very interesting and the tea was okay...but I was more impressed by the jasmine tea served by Mr. Wang in Beijing.

Another adoptive mom with us who drinks a lot of green tea loved it.  So if you like green tea, it's the first picking of Dragon Well Tea that you want!

By this time I was just praying we could get Jada home to the hotel without her getting carsick again!

Dec 21st

Mischief.  Orneriness.  They ooooze from these pores.  She's just as silly with us as if she'd always known us.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

December 20th Ningbo and Enmei Orphanage

Skyline of Hangzhou
We were told these are farmers' houses!  Slightly different from home!
Today we made the adoption final!  Our hotel was in Hangzhou (the capital), where we finalized the adoption (first stop), and we had to travel to Ningbo to apply for Jada's passport.  On the way we picked up the orphanage assistant director who took us to lunch at a farmer's home/restaurant, then we got to visit the orphanage!  We took so many pictures, and I have many to share!  ;o)  We got to take pictures of her classmates and they allowed us to see her room, her classroom, watch a music class and take pictures on the playground!  It was very rushed because we had to get to downtown Ningbo to apply for the passport after that.  It all went very smoothly, but Jada got sick several times in the van from motion sickness.  It didn't help that she has a rotten cold with a very runny nose.  We got home very late.  It was a successful, good, and hard day.  We are still thanking God for His care and provision.

Jada Day!!! December 19th

First sight

Catch me if you can.
It took her about a half hour to warm up to us.  We basically followed her around the room until she was ready to talk to us.  There were no tears, she just wasn't sure about us.  She seems to accept and trust us already.  Playing the chase me game makes her deliriously happy.

First try with the sippy cup.  It quickly became her beloved.

Loving on Jada while she sucks down her yogurt.  The girl can put away the food.  She had gotten car sick on the way over so they quickly had given her snacks.  She left with us without even seeming concerned.  We even took a potty break before leaving the civil affairs office and she went without any fuss.  She is a tough, brave little girl.  We are amazed and thankful for how wonderfully she is adjusting!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Forbidden City, Silk Factory, and Snack street with new friends

The Forbidden City pics will have to be added later because we have those on the video camera.

Laith at breakfast...a happy man.

Pulling silk at the silk factory
Snack Street
We just took pictures and giggled a lot.  We did NOT partake.
Apparently people really eat these things.  It smells like it looks.  The sheep "parts" shocked me.
cow stomach...really
Sarah said it was a lot like chewing on a rubber band. 


The Morning Star Family Home director and her family were very gracious to us and took us to dinner, a Chinese flea market kind of place, and guided us through snack street!

Friday, December 16, 2011

More photos

Our hotel lobby in Beijing

Riley with our new friends Andrew & Sarah

The Hot Pot
(now known to us as the infamous hot pot restaurant that serves scary food)

Laith eating meat on a stick
(later to be identified as lamb, actually very good)
It was here at The Hot Pot that Riley first tasted jelly fish.  They also served us cow stomach.  We did not try that...we thought it looked like tongue because it seemed to be covered with taste buds! 


We're here! Today was the Great Wall!

Riley loved the wall!  He "just" wanted to go to the top!  We made it to tower number nine before calling it a day.  My legs were jello on the way down, but ole Riles was going strong.  It was very cold...literally freezing, but we stayed warm from the steep climb.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Big Sister

Jada will have some big shoes to fill at our house! Spunk and sheer orneriness ooze from her big sister Hope. She's gonna love having a little sister. By this time next month I'm sure she will have convinced our sweet Jada into thinking she is also a puppy just like Hope is most of the time.

I love this girl. She is one energetic wire. I'm going to miss her...and her birthday. But praise God! The day after her birthday, we will be bringing her new sister home in time for her birthday party!


Hold on Jada baby, we're coming.
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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Just days from now...

we'll be heading for Beijing!  There is soooo much to do before we go!  Some of it is necessity, some is just my own OCD issues surfacing.  I can't wait to go, I just wish everything was ready! 

It's taken so long, that now that we're getting ready to go it feels very surreal.  We're going to get to meet our Jada!  We've been getting emotional as we talk and pray and prepare our older children.  How do you really prepare for this?!  We have read, and read, and read about adoption and everything minutely related to adoption (okay, well I have, maybe not Laith!).  We've talked to the kids and tried to paint a realistic word picture of how she will just be a "sister" not a perfect little doll to dote on.  Will this little lady be calm and demure, or fiery and opinionated?  Or maybe somewhere in between?  It'll take a while to even know for sure.  So we have more questions than anything right now.  I hope to blog from China, so maybe we'll have some real news about this girl for you in about a week!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

God's Provision

The rest of our finances for this adoption have been generously provided by our Heavenly Father, through the sacrificial giving of His people!  We have received grants and an interest free adoption loan that have made our travel to China possible!  I knew God was going to move and provide, and saw this working itself out months ago.  But when it came down to the wire, our expenses jumped about $4000 with traveling over Christmas and we wondered how this was going to happen.  Our personal finances were getting pretty squeaky too if you catch my drift and we started talking about using credit cards.  (Don't tell Dave Ramsey!)

So we prayed, and I asked friends to pray.  After praying, I told Laith I had kicked around the idea of asking if our adoption loan could be increased.  I just kept thinking of the verse where Jesus says you have not because you ask not.  Laith asked if I would have a problem doing it.  Well, yes I would, it's a ministry, not a bank, but the worst they can do is say no, right?  So I laboriously wrote the email asking for MORE help.  It definitely hurt the pride, but it was a good hurt.  I quickly got a reply and I was so scared to read it!  I was ready to be called an ingrate for not being satisfied for what they'd already done for us.  Instead they just asked how much we needed and then they approved it all!  I just cried.  I know this may all seem so silly.  It is a loan that we have to pay back, but it's interest free and we don't have to start paying until March.   THAT is God providing.  Plus we should qualify for the adoption tax credit so we're hoping to use that to pay back our loan.

So here is what I'm thinking.  God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  Sometimes He'll just give you a cow.  Sometimes He sells them and gives you the money.  In this case, He gave the money to other people and called them to give it to adoption ministries so they could disperse the money.  As we pay it back, the ministry can help other families adopt too.  I think God likes to work this way so we know He did it, and others get the blessing of being in on it.  So that is what I think.  Here is what I know:  God provided for this adoption of Jada.  He is taking care of all of us.