A Birthday

I celebrated a birthday upon our return from China. I mean, literally, as we were driving home from the airport, I aged. My jet lagged self loved the voice mails, texts, emails, cards and of course the Facebook strand of well wishes that I was able to sift through the next day in my bouts of consciousness. There was an overwhelming sentiment that this was probably my best birthday ever, and that I had received the greatest gift, which was true, but also not.

As far as gifts go, I’ve got to hand it to jet lag for packing a real punch. We definitely had enough time across the world for our bodies to adjust to being 14 hours ahead of most of our loved ones, and returning rocked our world. We longed to fall asleep at all the wrong times, but couldn’t fall asleep when we should have. For days we woke well before the sun would rise, and on numerous occasions, Danny and I found ourselves in bed at 2 or 3 in the morning, surfing Facebook. Jeremiah woke frequently through the nights, usually screaming, and would sometimes be awake for hours. Then, the birds would chirp and our FOUR children would be ready to rock for the day. There is never enough coffee…

We were pretty miserable for the front half of our first week home. I am definitely grateful that that tired fog is lifting. Life feels much more manageable when I’m rested.
IMG_5190Then, there’s this little present to be thankful for…the gift that keeps on giving, and taking, and giving.
IMG_5211 We waited for months and months for him. We loved him from afar, prepared our hearts and our home to have him with us, and traveled around the world to get him. Documenting that journey has been such a joy for me. Processing those events more than once through photos and writing allowed me to experience them in a deep, deep way, and the impact of this time in our lives rests secure.
IMG_5213Five, now six. Reunited. A circle complete – my birthday gift. Returning home signified the end of a long, well documented journey. It’s supposed to be complete, but it’s not.
IMG_5204Completion settles our soul; experiencing the end of a story is predictable and soothing. The act of coming full circle brings our spirit rest. Coming home with our precious babe was a seemingly beautiful end to a pretty amazing story, but it has been anything but restful – and as it turns out, this story is just beginning.

My birthday babe, my greatest birthday gift, has brought us moments of joy, frustration, and grief. But, he has shaped my hope for a story that evolves over time – a continued restoration and shaping of my heart, a son that grows alongside, a family that grows together. We are redeemed. We are being redeemed. We will be redeemed. GLORY.IMG_5221Perspective shifts, and a new chapter to the same story opens.
IMG_5222 We are keeping our world pretty small right now – staying in more than we go out. We are the only ones holding Jeremiah, caring for him, feeding him, picking him up when he falls, meeting his needs, solidifying this thing we call family. Interactions are guided and intentional. Sometimes, it’s exhausting. Sometimes, it’s beautiful. IMG_5231_2When he comes to show me his scratched toe, I see he’s learning – mama cares. His excitement when a sibling wakes up from a nap demonstrates a recognition – siblings are special.
IMG_5240Gifts aren’t always what they seem.
IMG_5253 Sleep is still a challenge. There is still waking in the night, and the bed assignments and hours for shut-eye have much room for improvement. But, we’re working on it. God’s working on us, and we continue to learn to receive the gift of contentment, even as our story shifts and twists.

Redemption is a long road; God is good.IMG_5260



, ,

We’re home! We’ve been home a week, actually. And, let me tell you, it has been one looooong, drowsy week. I’ve been trying to write about our homecoming – the finale to our traveling adventure. It’s just taken some time!

Way back in our China days, our trek home to the United States started at 5:30am. We did not sleep much the night before, but it didn’t take much to motivate us to get out of bed. Our bags were picked up, and we were off to the airport in no time. Wheels were up in Guangzhou and we headed North to Shanghai where we spent about 6 hours in the airport along with a few other families from our group. This sounds like a long layover, but it was actually too short. Our original itinerary routed us home through Shanghai as well, but it had allowed us to plan for a visit to Shanghai Healing Home where Jeremiah had been cared for. With our newly booked, golden tickets, this was not an option.

Sad was an understatement. I don’t know that we will ever see the bed he slept in, hug the women that cared for him, or take pictures of all of his friends. We settled for stolen glimpses of the city through the airplane windows as we prepared to land in the third largest city in China.

We ate one last meal with friends, chased Jeremiah around for miles, and finally boarded our “big plane” around 6:30pm for a flight over the ocean. J literally grabbed a pillow and laid down almost immediately.

We waved bye-bye to China as we took off – a small, sentimental act that was grossly disproportionate to the actual circumstances. “Goodbye, everything I’ve ever known,” may have been more appropriate, but how do you give that a childlike ring? Things were finite. We were flying away from everything he had ever known and toward everything we missed. Significance noted.

The looooong flight was almost entirely uneventful. We tried to doze, and we watched a lot of movies. J did great. We landed in Chicago in the late afternoon. We left China in the evening, and arrived back in the States that same evening. We watched the sun rise, set, rise, and set all in one day. Flying overseas is so bizarre.

Jeremiah became a US citizen when we touched US soil, and we completed customs and immigration in Chicago. The officer that stamped his passport offered his congratulations, and I got slightly emotional. Was he thinking about all that had happened for J to get to this place and time? I was. J was asleep in the Ergo, so we waited until we were home in Colorado to let his feet physically touch the ground. It felt right.

I cannot think of a family friendly way to describe our flight from Chicago to Denver. It was terrible. There was so. much. crying, and surely a lot of ticked off passengers. We needed a few minutes to compose ourselves in the terminal before making our way toward this beautiful sight. Thank you, my pretty friend Kristen, for making our memory of this blessed event something we can look back at forever.

Vogt BW 30-3


Dear children, we missed you so. Meet your brother. You are all so precious.

Vogt BW 41 Vogt BW 57 Vogt BW 64

We were so happy to see family and friends at the airport! It was no small feat for them to greet us. The clock struck midnight before we hopped in our cars to drive home. Which means that it felt like 2 in the afternoon for the three of us. We were seriously messed up. For days and days.

Vogt BW 68We were so blessed by the community of people that we shared our traveling journey with. They are dear to us, and we miss them. But, there is nothing like returning home to the community of people that we do life with here. We are SO blessed.

IMG_5169There were balloons and bouquets of birthday flowers waiting and yummy cake that we devoured at 2am.

I came home to cabinets THAT ARE WHITE!!! When we left for China this project had been started but untouched for months. There was just too much going on. Many, many people had a hand in this huge surprise! I have pictures to prove it. I am shocked and so grateful. That was no small feat. We have brand new ceiling fans that were purchased and installed in our absence. They are beautiful and amazing. Our yard was missing a lot of weeds, and our grass was cut. People made stuff happen around here while we were gone. We feel so loved.


Pictures were strung documenting our time away…IMG_5174…and the events that happened while we were gone. We loved catching a glimpse at all the ways people loved us and our children in our absence.IMG_5176IMG_5177There was a vintage birthday sign. This one was actually from 10 years ago, representing a longstanding tradition in my family. IMG_5181J’s room was ready.IMG_5185I don’t know that I can think of a time that I was more happy to be home. Life as a family of 6 is our reality at last. Praise Jesus.

One More Sleep in China…


, ,

This little slip of paper flew off a printer this morning, and now, just like that, we are hopping on a plane in 12 hours to start our long journey back to our side of the Earth. It is amazing to me how much power this little sticker holds. IMG_5081We spent the first half of the day emailing with our travel agent and calling airlines. Bless her heart. It was the middle of the night for her, and she was up on our behalf, as well as a few other families who have been stuck here. If you ever wonder whether a travel agent is worth it for an adoption trip, let me assure you – they are. There is no way I could have navigated what she did.

It turns out that American has very full flights this week, and we literally purchased the last few tickets available to get home. And, unfortunately, they were priced as such. But, we are grateful to be moving in the direction of home, and we are SO looking forward to introducing this little guy to the rest of his family and friends. I am also anxious to be in a place where I don’t have to violently spit out the bathwater that inevitably gets splashed into my mouth by our flailing bather. IMG_5093 This book is already looking a little worn, and I am going to need to find some other books that have sounds to press when we get back home. He loves this book so much. It will forever be the first book that he read and enjoyed. It makes animal sounds, but his favorite button is the Sun which is some sort of musical riff.IMG_5096 I’m gonna miss these mamas. Adding our children to our families at the same time does something to relationships – something good. There are some mamas missing from this picture! I will miss you too.IMG_5099 Daddy love.IMG_5156IMG_5101 These two are kindred spirits. The fact that they have grown up together gives them a special bond. They both have strong, driven, playful hearts, a ready smile, and a sense of adventure. I love that they are both going to grow up in the same state. IMG_5128 They are so precious.IMG_5134Please continue to pray traveling mercies over these families that begin very long treks home tomorrow. I don’t want to say that things ended on a sour note, but many families were slammed with traveling expenses that were originally unanticipated. Some are not able to travel home together, and tomorrow, one parent will leave with part of their family while mama stays behind in China, with her other children and waits for her turn to go home. It is a tough end to a very long trip. God is so gracious, and we are so tremendously blessed to have our children and be traveling home. Please pray for His continued provision.

Danny and I are so grateful for the contributions that so many of you have made to this fund to help offset our unanticipated costs. We are humbled and blessed by your generosity.

Pack. Sleep. Airport. Plane. Airport. Plane. Airport. Customs. Immigration. Plane. Airport. FAMILY. Breathe. Sleeping pill.

We’re almost there… We will arrive home to Denver at 11:10pm Tuesday night. Just in time for me to start my birthday in the car on the way home. Happy birthday to me!

New Mercies


, ,

China is a living, breathing paradox. It’s new, but old – massive, yet personal. It’s city, yet oasis. It’s lush, but concrete. Sweaty, but not always hot. At times, just walking down the street feels like one, giant contradiction.
IMG_5054 IMG_5055 IMG_5058We woke up this morning and immediately checked our email. The Consulate communicates early, and I appreciate that. We ripped off that “No visa today!” bandaid, and moved the heck on with our day.

Today, we crossed the street, which, by the way, involves a massive, underground tunnel system and lots of stairs, and turned into a large park located very close to our hotel. The fact that there is a park here just feels funny. The buildings here are so tall, and there is so much happening ALL THE TIME. You could miss this park entirely, because there is just so much else to see. There are walls around it and buildings blocking it. And, since we can’t read any words on the signs, we could easily have walked on by. But, make no mistake, this place was massive, acres upon acres of lush, green trees, bushes, and a grass-like covering. There were lakes and bridges. This giant oasis was just waiting for our handful of families that needed a break. It was a breath of hot, thick, slightly fresh air. Ahhhhhhh.

IMG_5018IMG_5020IMG_5021The banyan trees!
IMG_5027IMG_5033IMG_5041This park, the one you can’t quite see from the outside, that you just might miss if you’re not looking, the one that feels out of place because it is surrounded by a bustling, tall cement city, the park that’s actually not that hard to get to, you just choose to enter through the gate is FULL OF LIFE.

There are women, much older than you might imagine, on public, elliptical-like machines, working out in the heavy heat. Rows of cement ping pong tables hosting games for all ages. The oldest generation formed groups of five and six to play what I can only describe as a hacky sack-ish sort of game, tossing what appeared to be a small orb made from metal disks with some sort of tail that clinked with each tap… I’m not really sure. I am sure that the woman with the salt and pepper hair in the green shirt had the fanciest moves, spinning and twisting with each kick. There was Tai Chi, which is beautiful to watch, and an amusement park with rides and games. Families walked with their children, three generations frequently in tow. IMG_5047IMG_5061Daily life presenting pictures of real truth. I can press through my concrete jungle of a world, stealing glimpses at life through gaps in the wall, or I can enter in and be renewed.

You know C.S. Lewis says it way better than I ever could in his sermon, “The Weight of Glory”:

If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desire not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, we are like ignorant children who want to continue making mud pies in a slum, because we cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a vacation at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

Messing around in the concrete jungle when I could be promenading around a lush lake. Beauty in the center of a mess.
IMG_5062Nestled in the center of chaos and uncertainty lies unfathomable peace. It’s free. Let go, and walk in.IMG_5072IMG_5078Bubbles bring friends. IMG_5079Tonight we had dinner with friends from Colorado. Just over one year ago, we met an amazing couple that has adopted many times over from China. They were gracious and shared their story with us and encouraged us as we decided to start our own journey of adoption from China. Through the months of planning and waiting, Wendi encouraged me, educated me. Also, during that time, they started their journey once again to bring home their 11th child. And, as God would have it, tonight we sat overlooking this city of Guangzhou together. We introduced them to our new son, and they meet their new son tomorrow. If that is not bringing things full circle, I don’t know what is. I guess we’re free to go home now. God’s mercies are new every morning. Bring on that visa!

Messy is Good!


, ,

The very first night we put Jeremiah to sleep he tossed and turned in bed. He itched and scratched, pulled at his ears, tugged on his diaper. He was stressed. Tonight, he fell asleep tugging on the tags of his lion, poking his tiny fingers through each looped ribbon. His fine motor skills are good, and he is learning the parts of the lion’s face. He always points to his nose first. Tonight, he even said, “Nuh? Nuh?” over and over again. He is learning. And, with his palate repaired, he is able to make the ‘n’ sound! That makes this mama happy. Even more so, my heart rests knowing that he is settling. He is not so stressed as he falls asleep, although he still needs to know that we are close. We lay beside him as he falls asleep and then sneak away for a couple of hours to ourselves before we head to bed.  He wakes up frequently in the night, starting in his sleep, cries, and makes sure we are close. Sleep is still a little scary.


But, this little bud is learning to trust, a little more each day. He is such a bruiser. He runs everywhere, slightly sideways, so there’s lots of tripping. Just yesterday, like a little bird, he ran straight into a mirror thinking the walkway extended, and as the welt on his forehead grew, he cried a little. He used to never cry. But, he is starting to learn that it’s okay to be hurt, and now he will come to us for some love. It’s a sweet thing.
IMG_4956 He still loves to pave his own path though. Mr. Independent has learned how to hail the elevator, watch for the light to indicate which stall is going to open (there are multiple elevators), wait for the doors to part, and then immediately runs inside to bang on the back wall. The doors close quickly, and we pray the day never comes that he makes it in without us and instantly heads up or down. Finding him would be next to impossible. Four elevators x 18 floors would mean a lot of looking. This kid is quick.IMG_4960 He loves to give high-fives. He says, “Yeah” every time he hits your hand. I praised him the first time he hit my hand, and now it’s just the way we do it. IMG_4967We have been without Jeremiah for 19 months of his life. He is his own person, but he is also still such a peanut. This tiny dude has personality and drive in spades.
IMG_4972 IMG_4980 IMG_4988The very first time we gave Jeremiah a bottle, his ayis stepped in to wipe his face when he was done. I knew then that this child rarely had a dirty face. Since then, he has presented his fingers on numerous occasions for us to wipe off a minuscule spec of nothing. Yes, messy is new to him, but pudding is his whole world. The kid loves this stuff.
IMG_4999 Tonight, we let him play with his food. And, while I would have loved for this to happen within the comfort of our own home where wet wipes are plentiful and a bathtub is just steps away, he needed some time to get into his dessert. And, since it was a buffet, he got two. Maybe three. Because, this was fun. He is cute. And, life is good when there’s pudding on your face.IMG_5000There were still moments of concern about the mess.
IMG_5003 But, it didn’t take much to overcome it. IMG_5009 Playing with food is good! It’s a baby’s right of passage. Tonight was our first journey.IMG_5010 Aaaaaand……… done.IMG_5012_2Frankly, life is messy. It often doesn’t pan out the way that we’ve planned. But, we can learn to be content in our mess. God’s peace transcends our circumstances.

I haven’t really noticed a sunset here in Guangzhou, but the skyline does shimmer a bit at twilight. It is pretty. But, I am anxious to see those blazing Colorado skies again.
IMG_5015Today was a mellow day, and our hearts were at rest. God’s timing is the best timing, and as we watched our sweet son fall asleep tonight, we were really struck by the growth that he has made with individual attention over the past few days. He is more and more prepared to be home with his whole family.

The US Consulate is opening for a brief period of time on Sunday morning to check on their ability to issue our visas, so there is anticipation again. There will be a brief window of time in the morning where we will wait expectantly to see if we can start booking flights home. I can assure you that when we get that green flag, there will be a mad rush to wake up our travel agents in the States and get them booking flights straight away. Please pray for favor. There are a lot of people stranded, fares are expensive, and I am positive that change fees are an airline’s delight.

Many of us here, as well as people back home have been busy contacting their Representatives to inform them about how this visa glitch is affecting us overseas, and surprisingly, many were completely unaware of the issue. Word is getting out, and our family’s story was on the news! Other families’ stories are being covered as well. I will attach the links below. We are grateful the word is getting out, and we are hoping it makes an impact in our ability to make it home.

Thank you for your love and support. We miss you!

CBS Denver did a story on our family: http://denver.cbslocal.com/video/10407449-computer-glitch-causes-backlog-of-passport-visa-applications/

Other families here are also sharing their stories back with their home towns:




Also, dear friends of ours have organized a fundraiser to help go toward our unexpected costs of extending our trip and changing our flights. If you would like any more information on that check it out here. We are so grateful.

Goodnight from China!

Since We’re Not on an Airplane…


, ,

Well, if things had worked out the way that we thought they would, we would be on a flight RIGHT NOW, headed back to our sweet children waiting for us at home.


Alas, we are getting ready to crawl in bed, in China. We are warm, actually, the correct disclaimer here might actually be that we are cool, we are fed, safe, and happy to have our precious child to hold in our arms. All that to say, we are well.

Someone from the US donated pizza for our entire group today to boost our spirits, and honestly, I would say that it worked! There are dozens of families staying at this hotel that are waiting for visas for their children. We notice each other, ummmm, hello, we are impossible to miss, and there is an instant connection. I would say that spending time with people that understand you is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. We all desire to be known, and this is one of those times where you just appreciate being with people who GET IT. We are all missing loved ones. We are tired by the uncertainty. We can laugh when we aren’t crying. We are really going to miss this crew.

This little playground is outside the fourth floor of our hotel.

IMG_4891 IMG_4892 These two little friends have grown up together. They have lived in the same home in Shanghai almost since birth. And, now, they are both moving to Colorado to be with their forever families. They are hilarious to watch together. They know each other, play together, and are quite active. They blew kisses to each other a few days ago, and we just smiled because neither family had taught them that. We also had no idea they knew how to do it. They learned to love each other somewhere else. It is sweet to watch. IMG_4894This picture was taken by the sweet girl’s mama. She is my new Colorado friend. They actually adopted two babies on this trip, and they have 6 biological kids as well. We are loving the time we get to spend with their family. These kids enjoy each other, and they have a special bond. IMG_1896
IMG_4900Sweaty boy! It is instantly hot when you walk outside here. The air is so heavy with humidity. We are so out of our league.
IMG_4905Jeremiah runs. We follow. This is how we spend our days.
IMG_4913 Always on the move.IMG_4920A highlight of our afternoon was praying for our pizza lunch. There is something special about bowing with friends and giving thanks for circumstances that are less than ideal.
IMG_4925 The US Consulate opened and closed today, and now it will remain closed for the weekend. We still need a visa. They have promised to open on Sunday morning to check on the progress of the US in fixing the glitch that is stranding thousands of people around the World. In a way, we are grateful that we will not have to wait for news tomorrow. We know we won’t receive any. We plan to enjoy the day, and we will continue to pray that things are resolved quickly – as quick as they are supposed to be.

Please keep our kids back home in your prayers. We miss them so much. We are devastated that we will not be holding them in our arms soon like we planned. IMG_4937



, , ,

Well, sadly, we cancelled our first flight tonight. We were scheduled to leave for Shanghai this evening, spend tomorrow in the city where our son has been cared for, visit his home, and then hop a flight back to the United States. Visas are still not being issued due to a global glitch in the US passport and visa system (http://bigstory.ap.org/article/glitch-crashes-global-us-passport-visa-operations). So, for now, we are stuck here.

We have jumped through so many hoops to process our adoption. We have been filling out paperwork for months, notarizing documents, sending in follow-up documents, applications, and on and on. We are at the very end of our journey and have met China’s standards to a T, and they have given us their proverbial blessing – our adoption has been completely finalized. Ironically, we are waiting on our own government so that we take this child home!

There are dozens of other families sitting in this very hotel with us, the one close to the only US Consulate in China that issues immigrant visas, wishing the same wish – that we would be able to take our precious babes home. There are thousands upon thousands of others around the World impacted by what is going on; we are a very small piece of this picture. Many are missing children and loved ones. Many are now considering unforeseen expenses, extended childcare arrangements, flight schedules, limited access to cash, and other challenges that come with this glitch. Please pray it is resolved soon.

It’s stormy here in Guangzhou. We watched sheets of rain pour down at dinner, and we are still listening to the gentle rolls of thunder. As we sit here in our hotel room, all is well. We have who we came here for. The promise that we’ve made to this little one extends well beyond the four walls of our physical home. And, while we long to take him there, our forever family started 9 days ago. And, we will take him home to be with his brother and sisters – just not tonight.

IMG_4623I believe that things happen for a reason, but I am not waiting for an aha moment when the reason that we are still here is suddenly revealed. It just doesn’t matter. God is God, always. We trust Him.
IMG_4510So, we’ll take our extra moments we have here in stride. We are safe, warm, healthy, and fed. We are family, and that is more than could be said a couple of weeks ago. We are so grateful.
IMG_4412 - Version 2

Do You Eat the Talons?


, ,

We had our consulate appointment this morning! We set an alarm, scarfed down an early breakfast and headed to the US Consulate here in Guangzhou. I’m not really sure about all of the purposes that a consulate serves, but I do know that this is the only US Consulate in China that issues immigrant visas. That means that it is very important to us!

If cameras were allowed, I would have loved to show you the HUGE LINE of people outside waiting to get in. We, on the other hand, pranced right on through to the adoptive family section. I have no idea why we always get our own little section at these official appointments. I don’t remember whether I mentioned it before, but at the airport in Zhengzhou, they even opened up a new security line just for our families. I suppose when I consider the 12 families and children that were all together in our designated waiting room this morning, it is not that hard to discern why we get our “preferred” treatment. It was rather noisy, ahem, “special.”

We raised our right hands and swore that all of the information that we filled out on behalf our our children was for real. We signed with our electronic fingerprints, and then as quick as we were in, we were out of there, walking past the same hundreds of people in line that had stared at us walking in.

And, now we wait. We left little J’s passport at the consulate trusting that we will get it back tomorrow afternoon with a brand spankin’ new visa pressed perfectly inside. We need that little sticker to get him home, and we have to wait here until we receive it. I say it that way, because just this afternoon we learned that no visas were issued out of ANY US Consulates world-wide today. Apparently this happens…ONCE EVERY TEN YEARS OR SO, according to our guides. There is some issue, we’re not sure what (although our guides guessed that it could be some sort of security breach – darn hackers), and we’re not sure when it will be resolved. We are trusting and praying that this issue will be resolved as we sleep tonight, especially since most of the people reading this blog will be awake as we rest, and we are counting on you to carry our prayers while we slumber. Thank you in advance.

We are meeting first thing in the morning to discuss any developments. Hopefully, there will be some. Families that needed visas today are already being affected, flights have to be rebooked, and hearts ache. We are all ready to be home.


We took these pictures after we all returned from our consulate appointment this morning. IMG_4839 - Version 2 All of these children now have a family to call their own. And, we have dear friends that have shared a journey that will forever impact us all. We have loved our travel group. IMG_4853Our child (bottom left corner) had quite a bit to say about this photo…of course.
IMG_4863 Dinners have been a highlight in Guangzhou. For families that will make this trip after us, we loved upgrading at the Marriot (The China Hotel). Our room is large and spacious, and the appetizers and adult beverages served in the Executive Lounge have made for free dinner and relaxation just about every night. The spread is extensive. There is free water to grab throughout the day, and I will never disclose how many cookies I have grabbed in a pinch, mid afternoon. IMG_4875Most of our group upgraded, actually, and group dinners were definitely a highlight for us. There were so many like-hearted families in our travel group. There were lots of laughs, and tears were always understood. I have no doubt that when everyone moves to Colorado, we will still be friends. Get the hint!!!
IMG_4879Chicken feet made an appearance this evening. Thank you, Mike.
IMG_4882 Cheers. And, ew.IMG_4883 And, the skies were clear, making for a gorgeous skyline on what I hope is our last evening here. IMG_4877IMG_4884 IMG_4886We will pack our bags tomorrow and pray that we are able to spend the night in Shanghai tomorrow night. We are very much hoping for the chance to visit the Shanghai Healing Home where J has been cared for, and well, we need a visa to do that.

And, since we’ve come full circle, we wish you a good morning. Good night!



, , ,

We had such a fun day today! We didn’t have to be anywhere until almost 11:00am, so of course that meant that J woke up early. He was rocking by six, and Daddy kept him occupied for a bit while I tried to get vertical. We had a leisurely breakfast, and then we headed out for the Pearl Market.IMG_4774Pearls are plentiful here, and much cheaper than in the US, so we shopped! This particular store used to be part of an open market but is now in a multilevel shopping mall full of stores that sell jewelry. This place was huge!IMG_4795 After our pearl endeavor, we took a taxi to Shamian Island, a very tiny, sandbank island just off of Guangzhou. I guess it was controlled by France and Great Britain at one point, and it had a strong European flair. It was gorgeous. Can you see the banyan trees in this picture?IMG_4798It is very tiny, but we walked around the shops for quite some time before we found the ones we were looking for. The US Consulate used to be located on this island, and many adoptive families take a picture of their child standing in this row of “children.” So, of course we had to give it a shot since we were here. Our child would have nothing to do with standing in line, and he sure did walk right up to that little girl and hit her in the face. Seriously, the hitting is getting better. But, it is still his first instinct to protect. Oh my word.
IMG_4800 This island is a little oasis. It is green, lush, and gorgeous. The European flair made it feel very familiar. IMG_4806_2 This was the only way we could get close to the “kids.” J was very frightened by them. Poor guy.IMG_4811 Hello, my pretty.IMG_4814 It was very hot outside, and we wandered around for a few hours. You can see we were quite droopy in this picture. IMG_4817We are thinking J may have gotten a little too droopy, because tonight at our one and only group dinner out at a nice restaurant, he threw up all over the place. So, so sad for him! And, so yucky for the other 8 people at our table. Sorry, guys! He seems to be doing okay now, and we’re hoping for an uneventful sleep. We do, however, have a bath tub full of laundry to take care of now. I sure can’t wait to be home.
IMG_4819Tomorrow is our consulate appointment! And, then we should receive his visa the next day. Just in time to hop a flight to Shanghai. Woo hoo! We are almost out of here!

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!

Checking Boxes


, ,

Each part of our trip serves a purpose. We needed to enter China through a major city, Beijing. That gateway allowed us to settle into a crazy, new timezone and it allowed us to see a part of the World that we never would have imagined getting to explore. Central China, Zhengzhou, birthed our babe. We also went through the necessary steps to retrieve his passport there. The boxes we check in southern China, Guangzhou, will allow us to get his visa to bring him home. Today we traveled for his medical checkup.

Little bud loves looking out the window while we are on the bus. He will point and pat me trying to show me things and talk about things. He also loves The Itsy Bitsy Spider. He will focus and listen to me sing that entire song, sometimes multiple times in a row, watch all of the motions with intent, and then clap when I am finished.

The kids enjoyed themselves while we waited! I wish I could share about all of the kids. They are all so precious, and I am so attached to each one of their stories. Traveling with this group of parents has been so special. Our lives just changed in a major way, and the roads that brought us to this place seem so similar. We have grown to love being with them, and though the time that we’ve logged together is short, the connection is strong. IMG_4730The clinic that we waited at had a special place for our group of adoptive families to wait. Everyone who applies for a visa has to come through this clinic, and we were a very large, noisy addition to the already full waiting room. This medical part of the process is very much just a formality as the check-up is very quick and not extremely thorough. There were three parts: height/weight/temp, ENT, and a general checkup.
IMG_4732Little J was not at all happy about what ensued. It hurt our hearts to see him scared, and frankly, quite mad about being poked and prodded. Always a fighter.
IMG_4734 But, we are his people now! We get to protect him, love him, comfort him. And, it is so beautiful to see him begin to realize that. It’s just the first of so many opportunities we will have to show him what family’s all about. IMG_4737 Also, crackers help most things with this little guy. IMG_4742 We tried out the little playground outside of our hotel this afternoon. It was smokin’ hot. I don’t even know how to describe the instant sweat situation you find yourself in when you walk out the door. The humidity here is unconscionable. IMG_4753 The slides were a hit, and we got to meet up with Sami, her husband, and her TWO sweet kiddos that they just adopted. I met Sami back in Chicago at the CAFO Orphan Summit in May. We just so happened to also be in China at the same time. Talk about a SMALL world. IMG_4756This sweet bud would never hit ALL of the other kids on the playground. We’re gonna stick with that story for now since no one is here to verify…
IMG_4757 The view from the lounge where we have been eating dinner each night is pretty amazing. I was a little disappointed that it was not as clear tonight, the one evening I brought my camera! It still gives you an idea…IMG_4760 I’ll try again tomorrow.IMG_4761Bedtime with this little guy is so sweet. He is the most calm and very interactive with us. We’ve been singing the same songs we sing with our kids back home, and I’m excited for us all to be together for bedtime. IMG_4769 - Version 2 He has not been interested in this little lovie at all. When he’s not sure about a toy, he will hand it back to us and mumble, indicating that he wants us to take it away. But, tonight, he was into this little lion guy. He touched the lion’s nose, and then his nose, and then mama’s nose. He found the lion’s eyes, his eyes, and daddy’s eyes. This little guy is so smart. He learns very quickly. Sure enough, he fell asleep loving his little friend. Every once in awhile, on his way out, he would pop open his eyes and locate the lion’s nose. So precious. IMG_4772 - Version 2My favorite part of today was when I finally looked up how to say the word “hug” in Mandarin. I’ve been trying to get J to run to me from far away all week and give me a hug. I would crouch, open my arms wide and call him to run over. Then, I would have to run to him and scoop him up for some love.

But, today, literally, all it took was me issuing the invitation in Mandarin ONE TIME, and he instantly ran into my arms. Then, just like a child would, I repeated that scenario one thousand times over, and he obliged. I am so excited for us to understand each other more!