Thursday, April 27, 2017
Six years isn't long, yet to me it is nearly impossible to remember what it was like six years ago without this precious girl in our family. She has changed everything. She started all this crazy of following God to China for my babies. She gave the orphan a face and a name forever breaking my heart for the fatherless. I couldn't be more thankful to God for the amazing gift of this girl and all the ways that loving her has radically changed who I am today. I can't talk about her without being movied to tears because she is an absolute miracle. What a privilege to celebrate her on her sixth Gotcha Day with pumpkin pie while remembering God's faithfulness and all He has done!
Monday, April 24, 2017
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
We visited the Safari Park today and saw so many animals. Ellie actually reacted to some environmental noises today. She was terrified of the loud brakes on the train and the robotic T Rex. It was hot and we are all ready to go home, but we are making the best of it. We get Ellie's visa today, but we couldn't get a flight until first thing Saturday morning. We arrive in Cedar Rapids after 26 hours of travel. We can't wait to be home.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Tonight we went to dinner at the very same Cantonese restaurant that we visited with Anna Mei's adoption trip. I was hoping we would stumble on it in this neighborhood because I often tell Anna Mei about this dinner where she consumed all of my BBQ pork belly. The girl loved to eat! She still loves to eat so we ordered the pork belly and bread with some sort of sweet dipping sauce (which she and I ate most everyday when I got her). It was just as delicious as I remembered. Anna didn't love the pork this time around but it was so sweet to be there with her. Of course, Ellie Grace was so adorable and it was extra special to be making new memories with her there too.
After two weeks of doing laundry in the bathroom sink and hanging things to dry where there is no ventilation, I would kill for my washer and dryer. Yes, I used the bathrobe belts to make clotheslines. We adoptive mommas are a resourceful bunch. Longing for the comforts of home today, but also wishing I could keep the maid service and omelettes made to order each morning.
Monday, April 17, 2017
Tonight we enjoyed a cruise on the Pearl River. It was a wonderful time. Last trip, we discovered a more authentic boat that is a dragon ship. We were the only foreigners on the ship and it wasn't at all crowded which always makes it so love.
We are just waiting for Ellie's paperwork to pass through US immigration so that her visa will be issued. We are doing are best to keep busy , but we are ready to be home. Tomorrow is our consulate appointment and then we will have the visa in our hand on Thursday. It can't come soon enough. We enjoyed a park today and it passed the time well.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Tonight I noticed a couple in their late fifties with a southern draw sitting near the pool. There was also a very handsome twelve year old Chinese young man quietly swimming alone amidst a group of large siblings with their new eleven year old brother. The quiet twelve year old sat to the side and I assumed, being recently adopted, that he spoke no English so he sat alone. Soon I saw that fifty something man approach the quiet boy and I watched a huge smile erupt on his face as he called Baba (Daddy in Mandarin). The fifty something father swam with and wrestled his new son all the while this boy, new to having a father, beamed! The fifty something momma approached us and shared their story. They have adult children, five grandchildren, an empty nest, and , by the looks of it, plenty of love to share so instead of choosing to collect shells or golf... they are opening up their family to this handsome, bright young man. At a time when their friends are vacationing, grand parenting, and retiring.. they are answering God's call to care for the least. It is absolutely inspirational to see the gospel in action right here in this land! How might God use this young life because his mom and dad said yes to following God's leading. You can bet I am in tears watching the example of this couple and so inspired watching them love their new son.
Tonight I saw an eleven year old boy swim for the first time. I wish you could have been there. He had the cutest, most innocent smile as he was surrounded by his five new siblings. I watched his new blonde brother patiently coax him in the water while his new momma held his hand. Then I saw him release and stand independently on the bottom of the pool floor while his face absolutely erupted with joy. This was the picture of a physical new birth this Easter evening right before my eyes. This eleven year old boy, who has waited far too long for a family, being accepted, loved, and wanted by his new tribe experiencing fully the benefits of being a loved and cherished son. It brought tears to my eyes. He waited eleven, long years, but all I could see in his eyes was pure JOY at being near to his people experiencing the water..a wanted treasure.
We were a bit late for church this morning on Shaiman Island, but we did hear a bit of the sermon and the last song. It was full today and people were standing outside. Anna Mei enjoyed ice cream, eating cheese pizza at Lucy's, and posing for photos. Ellie Grace was happy as a lark to take it in from the ergo. She is such a good baby.
Breakfast here is busy and crazy so I put Ellie in a high chair this morning. I have never used a high chair in China, but Ellie did great! She was exploring and trying to get into everyone which makes this momma so happy. She continues to tolerate my giving her a few bites of food too. She almost always has spit it out, but takes it from the spoon. This morning she had a bite of yogurt and some syrup.
Saturday, April 15, 2017
Dear Anna Mei,
Yesterday was your fourth Gotcha Day. It is so very special that we get to be in the land of your birth to celebrate this wonderful day together. You love your Gotcha Day because you love to be celebrated and yesterday was not different. We had a special box of chocolates from the hotel bakery, cheese pizza from room service, and then we went swimming. You were happy with all you got to do and assured me you loved celebrating your day. We then spent the evening, like we always do on this day, reading you travel journal from my blog. It is such a gift to have all of my thoughts recorded there for you. Watching your face light up as you saw yourself as a baby on the very stairs in this hotel, in front of the exact dresser in our hotel room, and laying on the very same carpet that we are now walking on was priceless. You talked and talked about it all evening. You love having my words read to you about your early life and I love sharing them. Today I see you as a remarkable young woman who is growing up before my eyes. You are a natural momma caring for and loving on Ellie Grace every chance you get. You have such an understanding of the world too. One that is far beyond your age. You are passionate and love deeply. Your are silly and love to laugh. In the front, leading is your favorite place to be. You inspire me everyday to do more and be better because of how closely you watch me and learn. I love you and count being your momma as one of the greatest blessings of my life. Happy four years home my treasure! I love you!
I really can't explain it, but this place doing this work of claiming one more precious girl is the reason I'm alive. Being here, being used by God to be a small part of the redemption of this little one, is the thrill of my life. It is hard to imagine a time in my life when this, welcoming more home, does not exist, but deep down I know that each of God's purposes for my life have lasted for only a season. What might a season look and feel like that does not include adoption? I have no idea, but it is hard to imagine anything that could make me feel more alive than this does. I have said before that many people live their entire lives searching for their purpose. These babies have given me mine, and I am grateful to God for inviting me to do this work because truly through this I have experienced Jesus in ways I never could have if I hadn't said yes to this. I have been stretched and pulled by the Lord through this. I have seen miracles which I never could have dreamed would be. I have grown a love and passion for the fatherless that I never would have known. So as the trip wraps up this week, I don't know what the future holds, but I pray that I am willing to lay this season of my life before the Lord so that I may continue to live in His will knowing that His plans for me are bigger than I could ever imagine.