Farewell China, Hello Home

Gravy, isn't she adorable!
Gravy, isn’t she adorable!

For those of you who wondered if we fell off the face of the earth…no, not really, but when we got back home we had no internet and no phone line.  So, that is kind of like falling off the face of the earth.  Add to that we had the “re-entry” phase of our adoption and well, I decided our sleep was more important than an updated blog.  BUT at the moment all four kiddos are asleep and I want to give you a stateside update before signing off.

Ada happily clinging to her red pinwheel in the park
Ada happily clinging to her red pinwheel in Yuexi park

Our last day in China was spent with the Nowlins and other friends from our travel group.  It was hard to say goodbye to new friends but knowing they are all back home gives me great joy and hope!

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The journey from Guangzhou to Houston was about 28 hours.  It was long, but we managed to have an extra seat on our row for the long flight back and some of the most overly attentive flight attendants ever.  Seriously, if you ever fly on Korean Air please watch them tend to a fussy baby…I wish I had filmed their enthusiastic dance to get our little lady to stop fussing.

The one moment I got teary-eyed was going through the border crossing from China into Hong Kong. In part it was tears of sadness not knowing when we’d be bringing her back to her birth country but in part it was tears of joy in the finality of leaving her country and going home.

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And we did finally get home!

Family!
Family!

When I called it “re-entry” I guess I mean a trial by fire sort of experience.  ‘Transition’ is just too smooth a word to describe the experience of having four kids 5 yrs and under, two of them new toddler twins!

New to being twins
New to being twins

Though, you could probably guess that Ezra was the first to get a smile and a laugh, James was the first to kiss her and tell her ‘I wuv you, Ada’.  And Aaron was the first to give her a goose egg on her forehead.  Conversely, Aaron was the first brother to receive Ada’s fingernails to his cheek.  BUT amidst the rivalry and noise and newness of it all, there are glimpses of a beautiful beginning for our family of six.  Sometimes the peace and laughter is just a matter of seconds, but soon it’ll be minutes….maybe even an hour or so (eventually)!

Waiting for the doctor
Waiting for the doctor

In these first days home, our sweet Ada has had five doctor appointments and one blood draw.  Ugh!  Each of the kids managed to have an ear infection….they’re sharing more than love, folks.

Exhausted after her blood work
Exhausted after her blood work

But Ada has managed to grow and adjust beautifully!  She signs “more,” “all done,” and waves goodbye.  She even say “Mama” with more consistency.  She has taken her first steps with a grin on her face and she’s eager to keep up with her brothers and even seems to want to be a part of their usual shenanigans.

Double trouble with Aaron...I need child locks everywhere!
Double trouble with Aaron…I need child locks everywhere!
Ezra prepping to tickle Ada. He gets lots of giggles from our girl.
Ezra prepping to tickle Ada. He gets lots of giggles from our girl.

There are certainly a few things we are working on.  Ada has a terrible fear of being up close and personal with anything outside.  In our arms, she’s generally all right, but a leaf brushing her arm, a flower near her nose or heaven forbid her feet touch grass and she looses it with tears and clenched fists.  Fear.  The fear is more palpable at bed time when her screams and tears with eyes closed persist until we hold her, rock her or place her between us where she can hold a hand or keep her toes pressed against our sides.

The face when I set her down and she doesn't really want to be out of my arms. It's so sad!
The face when I set her down and she doesn’t really want to be out of my arms. It’s so sad!

We can tell she has some experience at self defense, and we are trying to steer her away from those tactics.  Honest confession, the first time she bit one of her brothers, both Mark and I had to squelch initial feelings of defense for the injured son.  The truth hits hard, she’s our child too and love is perhaps more in the training than in the moment.  It grows.  Oh, how it makes me reflect on the Savior’s love for us, his love afforded to me though I sought His injury.  On a tree bearing my sin…his love extends to me. The Father did not act on behalf of his son on the cross because of his love for the ones who put him there.  Mercy! And mercy.

Such a far cry from her first bath weeks ago!
Such a far cry from her first bath weeks ago!

Well, we are on to more adventures, together, as a family.  Ada has her first surgery scheduled in less than a month and many more to follow.  I pray we are sanctified through it all and blessed in the changing of our hearts and souls to softer clay in the Father’s hands. Blessings to you and yours and thanks for following along!  Please do contact us if you ever have questions about adoption; the process, special needs, the children still waiting for their families…we’d love to share more with you and be of help in anyway we can.

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matt 25:40

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One more day!

Yesterday was momentous!  And I had no camera (well, camera battery).  End of story, boo hoo hoo.

All right, it wasn’t really that sad.  Our day started early, especially for our late-to-rise little one.  We had our U.S. Consulate appointment to get Ada’s visa and all the paperwork we need to have her sworn in as a citizen once we hit U.S. soil on Thursday! Yay! Thursday!  We had a swift appointment and Ada got an early nap so we headed out for an antique market in a different district of town.  We found some lovely and really pricey antiquities, but we also found some tasty dim sum at a restaurant on a lake.  I commented to Mark that we must stumbled upon the senior citizen discount hour because the dining room was full of elderly folk nibbling baozi and shrimp shu mai.  Many of the onlookers were trying to get our daughter to smile.  No luck! She just wanted to be fed more red bean buns!

Back to the hotel for a failed attempt at a second nap.  Then out again with two other families in our group and our guide Helen.  We booked a riverboat cruise and dined as we trekked down the river looking at the sights of night in Guangzhou…with camera AND battery this time.

Me and Jennifer fighting off the wind on the boat
Jennifer and I fighting off the wind
Ada eager to get down and move around on deck, but then not too sure about that decision!
Ada eager to get down and move around on deck, but then not too sure about all that rockin’ around!
Our guide, Helen. Can you tell she's a strong woman?
Our guide, Helen. Can you tell she’s a strong woman?
Sweet baby out like a light on her Daddy...certainly her favorite place to sleep
Sweet baby out like a light on her Daddy…certainly her favorite place to sleep

There was also some entertainment on the boat that included an older woman with balloon ears on her head, who juggled a bit to Ricky Martin.  Pictures cannot depict the odd hilarity of the show!  Just know, it happened!

Today was a free day for us as the older kiddo’s had their consulate appointments this morning.  We Facetimed friends and family this morning (love technology for this reason when traveling) then spent the morning back at Sha Mien Island.  It’s a popular place to stroll but still feels unhurried.  There was a particular store I wanted to do some shopping at where they support Chinese orphans and empoverished women (A Gift From China).  We also stopped at Starbucks, and gosh darn it they were out of Lemon Ginger Fizio with Mango Jelly, so I had coffee.

Sha Mien charm
Sha Mien charm
Ada snuggles under the shaded walk on the center of the island
Ada snuggles under the shaded walk on the center of the island
This dude is riding on a gas powered wheel, like a Segway without the handle?
This dude is riding on a gas powered wheel, like a Segway without the handle?

Next we bopped across the bridge to the Qingping spice market.  Helen warned us that we were being very adventurous and would have no idea how to use the ingredients…she’s probably right about the “having no idea” part.  What would you do with sliced caribo horn or dried grubs?  It was still a fun adventure….and we picked up gifts for the whole family back home 😉

I think this is caribo horn, and feet!
Some sort of horn, and feet!
Sifting through the dried sea horses
Sifting through the dried sea horses
Roots, insects, herbs and varying sundries
Roots, insects, herbs and varying sundries
Preserved ginseng with goji berries
Preserved ginseng with goji berries
Dried baby roses which we've had in tea a few times
Dried baby roses which we’ve had in tea a few times

Tonight we are having dinner with all the families here represented by our agency, AWAA.  Tomorrow is our last day in Guangzhou, our last day in China!  We are so eager to be with our whole family…but I’m not excited about our nearly 27 hours of total travel.  Please pray that it goes by quickly and smoothly, and that our reunion with our boys is sweet.  Our transition home will be a new stage to this adventure and an exciting part of our becoming family.

A few pics from this evening….cuz there’s not enough baby cuteness on this blog post.

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Ada double-take

So I finished writing yesterday’s post during nap time and didn’t post it until this morning because just following her nap, our dear Ada awoke in a screaming fit that lasted for…well…I don’t know how long.  In all the screaming and hyperventilating we moved from the bed to a chair to snacks to finally a nearly 2 hour walk around a nearby park.   Even after the crying and tears ended, she was having a rough time catching her breath and fully calming down.  Thankfully the beautiful Li Hua park had plenty of distractions for the three of us.

Our rather unhappy, but at least not screaming sweetheart
Our rather unhappy, but at least not screaming sweetheart
Trying to interest he in the water and the huge Banyan trees
Trying to interest her in the water and the huge Banyan trees
Between the loving couples, the fishermen, badmitten games, ping pong and general exercising going on, there was a lot to see!
Between the strolling lovers, badmitten games, ping pong and general exercising, there was a lot to see!  this man did these bars 4 times in a row before hopping down! 
Ada starting to look at our faces more intently
Ada starting to look at our faces more intently
Back to giggling at Daddy's tickley kisses
Back to giggling at Daddy’s tickley kisses

The walkways had a sound system playing soothing music throughout the park.  God truly led us the right direction as we exited the hotel in search of a way to help our daughter feel at peace in that moment of sadness.  Maybe it was sadness? Grief of the loss of what she knew? A fear of the unfamiliar?  Frustration that we didn’t know she wanted more lemon wafer cookies?  We don’t know.  We just walked and prayed through.

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She had a rough time going to sleep at night too, but we worked it out and she slept in this morning.  Good thing too because today was a busy day!  After breakfast we loaded our group onto a bus for the Chen Clan Academy, a family temple now turned into an arts and crafts museum.  Some of the art was being demonstrated by local craftsman within the building.  Ada was asleep on her Daddy’s chest as he bounced her around from room to room, Mark was happy to pass through the many courtyards filled with bonsai trees.

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Sleeping Ada at the Chen Clan Academy
Ivory carving on display in museum
Ivory carving on display in museum

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Next we we did a little shopping for crafts and lunch and went back to the hotel for a brief rest before group photos and an afternoon outing to Shamian Island.  Our tour guide told us that if we see a restaurant full of Chinese people then we know it is good food, BUT if we see a restaurant full of Americans, it is not good food. Ha! Probably true.  She also thinks we all live on McDonald’s and Coca Cola.

Our travel group of 5 families from our agency
Our travel group of 5 families from our agency
Ada wasn't too sure about these little bronze kiddos...no worries...me neither!
Ada wasn’t too sure about these little bronze kiddos…no worries…me neither!

The island’s history is centered around expatriates who lived and traded in the area.  It has a very colonial feel with a large central park and many shops geared towards tourists.

The church on Shamian Island
The church on Shamian Island

Thankfully our sweet tuckered out girl went to bed pretty easily tonight.  I lay next to her and try to keep my eyes closed hoping she gets the idea and stops patting my face (or grabbing my hair!).  She has already learned, though, that if she starts to call out, “Mamamama” that more than likely I’ll open my eyes or at least show a little smirk.  Clever girl!

Eventful Guangzhou

Our last night in Lanzhou was made memorable by a meal at the hotel restaurant with our new friends (check out Mark’s Facebook profile for the astounding English interpretations of some dishes).

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Ada is trusting us more and more with our everyday routines.  We are still having to spend lots of patient effort to get her to sleep though.  It takes over an hour or two and requires lots of dancing, jiggling, and loving insistence that she needs to sleep! She has refused the crib since day 2 and sleeps next to me or between us in bed.

Ada gets her teeth brushed by her Daddy
Ada gets her teeth brushed by her Daddy
Ada has an increasing interest in books
Yay for an interest in books!

It has been wonderfully special and reassuring to have another family alongside of us on this trip.  Our little ones (Ada and Jake) were crib mates at the orphanage for at least a little while, and they both have bilateral cleft lip and palate.  Ada had her lip repaired in Kaifeng the week we found out about her in May.  From there, she went to a healing home in Anhui until just a few weeks ago when she moved back to the orphanage in Qingyang.  Jake has not yet had his lip repaired, but both of our youngsters will face many more surgeries before adulthood in order to repair their palate and gum line. Thelse two had a little tussle over Kit’s iPhone the other night that ended with laughing from them both!  We hope to remain in close contact with Jake’s family upon our return to the States.

Ada waiting to take off on her first airplane ride
Ada waiting to take off on her first airplane ride

Our departure from Lanzhou was not eventful, Ada fussed and promptly fell asleep on the plane.  She woke up when the meal trays were passed out.  She always seems alerted at the smell of food!

Oh, for shame! Jk.
Oh, for shame! Jk.

And as much as I hate to admit it…our first night in Guangzhou I was hankering for some pizza.  So yes, we found the nearest Pizza Hut and beelined for my very American tummy to be satisfied.  Thankfully, Ada’s was satisfied too!  She ate quite a bit and we had a lovely interaction with the Chinese mother and daughter dining near us.  They kept trying to make her laugh and kept reminding me that my valuables (purse) are not safe in Guangzhou! It’s hard to hold a baby and a backpack in your lap, though!

Enjoying our pizza together!
Enjoying our pizza together!

Through much patient effort, Ada finally fell asleep to ready herself for her big medical exam today!

Ada was okay with her general exam....
Ada was okay with her general exam….
But she was not a fan of th ENT! Thankfully she walked through it all safely nestled in Mark's arms.
But she was not a fan of the ENT! Thankfully she walked through it all safely nestled in Mark’s arms.

It was neat to see so many adoptive families here at the hotel and at the medical exam.  Just to count the number of kiddos no longer orphans is a unique blessing.   If you are considering adoption, especially of a special needs child from China, we would love to talk to you about our experience and about the number of precious little ones still waiting for their family.   It is a privilege to carry their stories in our hearts and hopefully into conversations with those that might be equipped to claim them as their own sons and daughters.

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To end this post on a much lighter note, if your ever in a Chinese WalMart….please don’t miss the dried fish section!

Perhaps you'd prefer the to-go snack option?
Perhaps you’d prefer the to-go snack option of chicken feet?

Saying Farewell to Lanzhou

The past two days have allowed us a little more time to get to know the city of Lanzhou while continuing to learn about our sweet Ada.  This is a picture-laden post as I think the images tell more about the day’s experiences than my words can. Yesterday we spent the morning at Five Springs Park and had dinner at a Hot Pot restaurant.

Practicing calligraphy in the park.  The artist then allowed our guide to do each of our kiddos' names.
Practicing calligraphy in the park. The artist then allowed our guide to do each of our kiddos’ names.
These ladies took a break from Tai Chi to ask about us.  Most people stare, some strike up a conversation.
These ladies took a break from Tai Chi to ask about us. Most people stare, some strike up a conversation.

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Mark and Kit joined a sort of hanky sak type of game.  They were really impressed with their chest bumps!
Mark and Kit joined a sort of hacky sak type of game. They were really impressed with their chest bumps!
Why not wear a bubble hat while doing an exercise machine?
Why not wear a bubble hat while doing an exercise machine?
The monk on his iPhone at the temple in the park.
The monk on his iPhone at the temple in the park.
Ada laughing at Daddy during our walk through the zoo.
Ada laughing at Daddy during our walk through the zoo.
Hot Pot! We are pretty much the only westerners anywhere we go.  At this restaurant, our table had 2-3 attendants the whole time...and English translator, the lady who was afraid we'd burn ourselves, and a general audience amused at our lack of experience.
Hot Pot! We are pretty much the only westerners anywhere we go. At this restaurant, our table had 2-3 attendants the whole time…an English translator, the lady who was afraid we’d burn ourselves, and a general audience amused at our lack of experience.
Quite the little eater, we were told she only ate 2x a day...but she's cut back tremendously on the bottle and is trying every food item we offer her!
Quite the little eater, we were told she only ate 2x a day…but she’s cut back tremendously on the bottle and is trying every food item we offer her!

Today’s free day allowed me to rest in our hotel room (recovering from said hot pot dinner) while Mark and the Nowlins adventured across town to a market with crafts specific to Ada’s region of Gansu.  Lanzhou is the capital of the province, Gansu, so all of the official paperwork had to be completed here.  Ada’s birth town is about 8 hrs by bus from Lanzhou so we won’t have the opportunity to visit it this trip.  We hope to return with her when she is older, if that is something she seeks to do.

At least a dozen different kinds of eggs at the market.  I was severely scolded for taking this picture...not really sure why. Sorry grumpy egg sorting lady!
At least a dozen different kinds of eggs at the market. I was severely scolded for taking this picture…not really sure why. Sorry grumpy egg sorting lady!
Noodles are typical to Lanzhou cuisine, in fact there is a guy who hand pulls them for the breakfast buffet while you wait.
Noodles are typical to Lanzhou cuisine, in fact there is a guy who hand pulls them for the breakfast buffet while you wait.

Tomorrow we board a plane for Guangzhou in the south.  There we will finish up with paperwork and get Ada’s U.S. Visa….and head home!  We miss our boys tremendously, but they seem happily occupied with Mimi and Pops, their cousins and lots of love!  Thanks to everyone for continuing to pray for us!

Getting to know you

Monday afternoon, after a long nap, Ada perked up quite a bit!  We went with our friends, Kit and Jennifer, and their son Jake, for a walk around the block and then to dinner.  Ada was taking in the sights, smells and sounds from the safety of her Daddy’s arms.

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Not sure what these guys were playing, but it looked intense!

Later we meandered into a restaurant for some dinner (from a menu with pictures, yay!)  And sweet baby Ada ate up half a bowl of rice off the end of Mark’s chopsticks!  Little baby bird style.  She’s proving to be quite the little eater.

imageShe was up too late following the excitement of giggling over her brothers on FaceTime.  Ada loves to laugh, and we love to hear it!

Today started with a trip to the Waterwheel Park and then the Gansu Natural History Museum.  Our guides are very knowledgeable and it was interesting to hear history of this region.  Lanzhou straddles the Yellow River and was a major trade point along the Silk Road.  Even now, it is considered a “Migrant city” with many residents originating from other regions.

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This man was demonstrating the use of a sheepskin raft, he actually filled up the skins by blowing on them and tying them off!
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In front of the mother Yellow River…which should bless us with babies 😉

Thankfully we didn’t have to cross the river on a sheepskin raft although it looked intriguing!

Ada and her buddy, Jake
Ada and her buddy, Jake

While at the museum, Ada started squirming to get out of my lap (a first) and popped up into standing while grasping my fingers!  She then wanted next to her friend, Jake.  She soon fell asleep on our tour of the exhibits.

This one is for the boys!
This one is for the boys!

After some yummy Lanzhou beef noodles (two platefuls for the baby bird), she napped at the hotel curled up next to me.  Our Albuquerque friends had tried to set us up for a meeting with the Director of Foreign Affairs as they are friends and our cities are “sister cities.”  Tonight we were graciously invited to dinner with the Deputy Director and his lovely assistent.  He commented that it seemed as though we three had always been a family.  Ada sweetly nibbled lotus root, lily bulb and tofu and impressed us all with her charm!

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Tomorrow’s plan is Five Springs Park and the coffee place down the street. Woo hoo!  Here’s one last smile for ya!

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Okay…two.

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The day after…

Today began with a sleepy little lady.  After sleeping all night, Ada woke up hungry and still sleepy.  So after her bottle and another call to the brothers, she fell back asleep and we took shifts for breakfast.  Poor baby still has a fever and a general “nothing is quite right” kind of attitude.  She gives us glimpses of her playful and opinionated personality, usually the first hour following her Tylenol dose but then is back to averting her eyes from others’ glances and swatting at the toys we hoped would entertain her.  And though this is not easy (caring for a sick baby who’s world has been turned upside down… while being a bit upside down yourself) she is showing preference for us over others.  And it is sweet… reassuring even.  The truth is, yesterday felt like I was prayerfully persevering to care for her, whereas today feels more like I’m caring for her in love.  Love is growing, our love for her is changing.  please pray with us as we learn how to best love our sweet Ada and as she learns to trust us.

We prepared the gifts for the orphanage caregivers today before leaving our hotel.  Of course along with two other bags, the baby carrier, the baby and necessary paperwork we left the gifts in the hotel.  Eh, no worries, we got them delivered this afternoon.

IMG_7161Then we went to the Civil Affairs office for a morning of paperwork, and fingerprinting and our repeated assurance to love and care for Ada always.  When awake, our little lady wants us holding her and moving around.  No sitting! And heaven forbid we let the guide or other orphanage workers attempt to make her smile… she won’t have it!IMG_7185

IMG_7169And remember how we had to have that Happy Family photo yesterday?  It turned out like this…

IMG_7168Oh yeah, pretty happy.  I look about as thrilled with the photographer’s clucking sounds and flashing lights as Ada does.  Only Mark had a good humor about the whole thing.  He’s a happy guy to have around and I’m so thankful for his laughs and joyful attitude!

After time with 3 other families at civil affairs, we were driven to the Police Station for passports and more photos… this time it wasn’t so bad!

IMG_7191She even gave Daddy a few smiles! Who can resist this silly Daddy?

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She gobbled up a lunch of congee and kept Mark and I two-stepping around the room for over an hour while she fell asleep in our arms.  There was no sitting down on the job!  My goodness, she’s already got us wrapped around her little finger.  She’s still out now and Mark is headed out to do some laundry equipped with a quick lesson from Google translate. Fingers crossed!

We’ve got a bit more paperwork this evening and then the rest of our days in Lanzhou should be a bit more touristy and less official.  We leave for Guangzhou on Friday for another week of official paperwork and official waiting. 😉

Family Day (aka Gotcha Day)

My day started early, multiple times over and again between 2am and 4am when I finally surrendered.  We had a quick bite at our hotel in Beijing and all three families headed to the airport for our final destinations.  We and one other family took off on a 2 hour flight to Lanzhou, where me and my husband used to play daisy.slots and meet our first angel, the capital of our daughter’s province where we were set to meet Ada and finalize our adoption paperwork.  This is both our families’ first adoption and it is wonderfully sweet to have a grace-filled sounding board and cheering squad at the ready when needed!  Praise God for planning this trip as He did.  We were given two cribs though, hmmm.IMG_7027 We were told that we’d meet our children at the hotel when they arrived between 1-2pm and to wait in our room for a phone call.  Well, I was antsy but the phone finally rang and we made our way to the Western Restaurant of our hotel.  A few moments later, there was our guide and a couple of nannies (Orphanage caregivers) one of whom was holding our daughter.  I could only see the back of her head, but she eventually gave us a glance…. IMG_7036And as much as I wanted her to reach out to me (and say Mama and act like we’d always been mother and daughter) she didn’t.  Let me stop here and say I didn’t think that was my expectation, but when she fussed and cried and made it evident she wanted to be no where near me or Mark it dawned on me that I thought it’d be easier!

Ada wanting no part of this situation and me trying to ask my questions to her caregivers
Ada wanting no part of this situation and me trying to ask my questions to her caregivers

Later Mark and I discussed the fact that it is good news that her separation from her nannies was so hard. They obviously cared for her and she was attached to them despite all the transitions she’s made in her short life.  The orphanage director walked in and straight away handed Ada to me… IMG_7064She didn’t seem too perturbed by the situation of being in a stranger’s arms but she seemed warm and angry-tired.  She was fighting off sleep and she kept making attempts at waving it off or groaning the urge to sleep away.  She finally succumb to rest in her Daddy’s arms for a few minutes before we headed out once again for an official police picture (I might have not fully been paying attention to explanations at this point). IMG_7076 All I do know is they needed her by herself and happy… and it wasn’t happening folks!  As a wonderfully wise and honest Grandma once said, there just aren’t any “mamby-pamby” children in this family. Ada certainly holds true to that characteristic, she has opinions and makes them known!  We survived many out-takes with prayer and giving her water out of a bottle cap, and made it back to the hotel for a long nap.  Well deserved after her 8 hour van ride into Lanzhou this morning.

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She was super sweet in Daddy’s arms for her first bottle.

IMG_7112And soon after with Daddy for her first bath after her first overwhelming spit up on Mama.  Thankfully this isn’t our first rodeo, folks, and we are gonna work hard to love her well and get her well soon.     

imageWe got to chat with the brothers.  J kept telling her “Ada, I wuv you.”. And occasionally said, “Ada, brown eyes too!”. He’s excited for another brown eyed family member.  We are too, Buddy!

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It was time for bed.  She slept all night…. all night and is still quite sleepy this morning.  Please pray we can get her fever down and feed her successfully too.  She’s pretty adamant about not taking the medicine, so its time for some creative parent strategy with solving that one.

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imageShe’s our truly adorable Ada, and we are blessed to finally be holding her.

Beijing Day 2

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I woke up this morning with a song stuck in my head which kept playing on repeat throughout the day, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I’ll love ya, tomorrow. You’re only a day away!”  It was tough with tomorrow on my mind, but we were happily distracted as we walked through a beautiful day in Beijing.  Yes, it has been warm (okay, hot) and no, ice is not typically found when you’d most like to have it.  But, it was a lovely day with glorious people watching and pieces of history and bits of the beauty of the Chinese culture all around us.

Our day started with a trip to Tiananmen Square where we as a group posed before crossing the street to the entrance of the Forbidden City.  I think Janet and I are the only ones who heard our guide say “Silly picture!”

IMG_6766There were many, many people at our Beijing destinations today.  It made for some great photos and friendly interactions.IMG_6795

IMG_6824After the Forbidden City, we had a quick bite and spent the afternoon at the Summer Palace. The breeze was certainly better at this location on a lake, and the details of this palace are truly gorgeous.

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IMG_6946This was Summer, our guide for the day.  She and the other families made today truly special….but tomorrow is the day we meet and hold our little girl!

Please pray for us.  That our hearts would be peaceful and that our faces would reflect that Christ-given peace.  That our Ada would be willing to get to know us, and eventually trust and delight in us as her parents.  And please pray for the Nowlin and Mylin families who will also meet their kids either tomorrow or Monday, that they too would walk in peace as they unite with their children.

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Beijing Day 1

Getting over jet lag meant hittin’ the ground runnin’ and at The Great Wall in China….that meant lots of stairs!  As you ascend all these steps you subconsciously think you’re about to hit the “wall” part of The Wall.  But ya’ll, there is not a flat top to this masterful piece of border defense.  I can only image the quad muscles the soldiers who guarded here must have had!

image The best part of our time here in Beijing is getting to know the other wonderful families from our agency waiting to meet their kids this weekend too.  There are three families in Beijing and we will meet up with two others in Guangzhou.  One of the other families is adopting a little boy from Ada’s orphanage.  He even has the same special need as our daughter, a bilateral cleft lip and palate.  What a blessing to have these other families here!

image  Next we spent some time at the Olympic Park wandering around the grounds and past architectural genius such as the “Bird’s Nest” or Olympic Stadium.

image  Needing a caffeine boost to get us through the late afternoon we were taken to a tea house.  At Dr.Tea, we had a brief education on the types, preparation and techniques for drinking various teas.  Here Mark and Kit demonstrate the manly way to hold a cup of tea with “dragon power.”  Close those fingers, men!  Our tea hostess threatened to call them “lady men” if they left their fingers open.image Here Janet and Lucy demonstrate proper ladylike tea drinking technique.  Fingers out, my dears!  Tomorrow promises a whirlwind tour of the Forbidden City and Summer Palace, just one more day til we have our Ada with us!  I’m glad they’re keeping us distracted and awake!!