Mom’s Travel Journal


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April 13, 2006

        The past few days have been filled with many activities. On April 11th we took the girls for their physical exams.  It actually wasn’t bad.  Mia went in happily and only cried when they took her clothes off for the exam.  She is becoming a clothes diva, and doesn’t want her new pretty clothes taken from her.  We enjoyed walking and shopping some more on the island. We decided to be adventurous this day, and leave the island for lunch.  So, all three families in our group met in the hotel lobby and took taxis to a Pizza Hut that was located in a nearby shopping mall.  Two families made it there at about the same time; however, the third family had a taxi driver who wasn’t very good with directions. Let’s just say they got to explore more of Guangzhou than they wanted, and after an interesting adventure finally found us at the Pizza Hut.  We had almost finished and were contemplating placing a take out order for them when they arrived.  We were all quite relieved that they were safe.  The pizza was delicious probably just because it was familiar food for us.  Another adventure awaited us on our return trip to the hotel.  It was the “try to get a taxi” adventure.  We learned that you have to be very aggressive in grabbing a taxi (apparently it is not considered rude to cut in line and grab another persons taxi).  During all of this, we were pushing away several beggars who frequent this spot.  You want to help these people in a way, but you can be swarmed by them.  We suspected that these men were really just running a business. One time we had a police officer come near and run them off, but it didn’t take long for them to return.  We did finally all get a cab, and made it all back to the hotel at about the same time. That same afternoon, we took Mia for her first swim.  She took to water like a fish.  Mom didn’t put on a suit because I thought I could sit on the side of the pool without getting wet. I was wrong in my thinking.  I got as wet as Mia who was sitting in the kid pool. She splashed me and all the others around us.  It was so much fun to watch her enjoy it.  She just giggled and giggled.  All the bigger kids were having fun playing with her.

April 12th we spent shopping and finding all the last gifts. We enjoyed lunch at Lucy’s…my favorite has become the Chicken Fried Rice.  Mia enjoys helping mom make a “happy” plate.  I think she likes this dish too.  We have enjoyed a banana split (from Lucy’s) together as well.  Chocolate ice cream is her favorite (Mommy’s too).  In the afternoon, we all went swimming again.  The pool at the hotel is beautiful, but it is very cold!  Mia loves the water, and she was even trying to put her face in and blow bubbles.  We will have to try to go swimming more at home.  We had dinner all together tonight. It was a fun time, and we enjoyed Take out pizza from Pizza hut.  It was the best, and so much nicer because we shared it with a room full of friends.

      We are nearing the end of our trip to China. This is so hard to believe that we are almost through our time here.  We were praying for TA only three weeks ago.  We pray for Mia’s transition to a whole new world, for our safe travel home, and for the many blessings that God has bestowed upon us.  We are anxious to be home amongst our family and friends.  Most of all we want to hold our beautiful boys that we have been away from much too long!

       I want to brag on my wonderful boys. Nolan has been such a great big brother, and he has been such a big help. He has learned so much on this trip (we all have). We are so proud of the way he has handled all the many different situations we have encountered.  He has handled it with grace and maturity.  Garrett and Nate have been the bravest of us all. They so willingly sacrificed their mommy and daddy’s time so that we could come to get their baby sister. They have so willingly given of their time and their love.  The little we have been able to talk with them they have done such a great job waiting with grandma and grandpa.  We are so proud of you guys!! You are mommy’s Super Heroes!!!  Mommy cannot wait to hug you and love on my boys!  I just know that you will fall in love with your baby sister all over again. She is greater than the pictures could ever tell!!

   We have our oath taking ceremony today, and then we head home tomorrow.  Thank you all for following our journey, for your love and support, and for all your prayers along the way. It made our journey an easier one knowing that we have friends and family on our side. We pray God’s blessings for you all!!


April 10, 2006

       Today we stayed near the hotel. We did some (ok, a lot) shopping for souveneirs. It was fun to pick special things for our family and friends. We ate lunch at McDonalds.  We had a fun going on this little journey.  We saw some of the street vendors selling things like mushrooms and ginseng.  The food tasted so good!  We are missing home and needed some comfort food.  We spent a lot of time outdoors walking up and down Shaiman Island. We played and loved on Mia. Tomorrow is an early day.  We take the girls for their doctor’s exam. Only a few more days and we will be heading home. In some ways it is hard to believe the time in China is drawing to a close, and in other ways we are so wanting to come home to love on our boys.  We sent you postcards today Garrett and Nate.  

          April 9, 2006

          Today we visited the Yun Tai Garden. I do believe it was one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen. Our guide told us that not many adoption family groups are lucky enough to get to visit this garden. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I do know that I am very glad our group was given the privilege of seeing this wonderful sight.  As you walk in the gates you are greeted by the most brilliant colors. They have large ornaments/statues of Chinese children at play. In the very center of this garden is a beautiful fountain that flows down. You see many stairs and wonder how you can climb them all, but climb them you must for at the top there is more beauty awaiting you.  We went through an atrium that was filled with tropical (and not so tropical…a cactus garden) plants of all kinds. There were huge palm trees in the center of this atrium, huge philededron plants, and a wall full of exquisite purple, yellow,and white orchids.  There is a huge lake, and you are able to see the side of a famous mountain in China.  There were azalea bushes that were almost the size of a small tree, and they were covered with white and pink flowers.  I even saw bounganvilla (sp?) growing profusely all over the sides of this mountain.  I hope that the pictures will at least allow a small glimpse into the beauty of this place.

We had such a wonderful and relaxing time here.  Nolan was quiet the hit with the teenage girls.  He had one young girl almost swooning over him. She just kept saying “He is so handsome”, and she just giggled. He has been getting his picture taken a lot. Of course, his mommy thinks he is good looking. All my boys are handsome! After this terrific adventure, we went back to the hotel for a rest. The mommies all went out for a little while to the big shopping mall. It was an adventure all by itself. We thought Saturday’s at our mall were crowded! We spent a little time in the afternoon playing on a playground nearby. That was fun. We will go to sleep early tonight!  

April 8, 2006

       On this day we went to the Chen Clan Academy.  It was built for the Chen Clan as a place of study and preparation for the exams that grownups were given every three years.  The top three highest scorers in each geographical area were selected to travel to Beijing for an audience with the emperor.  If they passed his exams, he would then place these leaders in city governmental positions. 

It is now a museum that displays many mediums of art.  The building itself is one of great beauty. It is an ornate building with traditional Chinese design.  We viewed several rooms that showcased such artwork as hand painted porcelain, silk embroidery (simply gorgeous), bone/ivory sculptures, silk paintings, and carved wood pieces. All of these, of course, were available for purchase. We were pleasantly surprised at the inexpensive prices of a lot of this art work.  At the back of the building there was a beautiful garden filled with bronze sculptures depicting life in China. In this garden you were able to see yet another art medium in the form of landscape artistry.  There were rock sculptures, plants of all kinds, and lush greenery everywhere.  I dream of maybe having a garden like this one day.  This tour was very slow paced and peaceful. It was a pleasure to see this beautiful place.

      We had made the request that we be able to view and purchase pearls. Our guide Vivian took us to a huge building (shopping area) that was devoted totally to wholesale jewelry.  She had researched and found a reputable dealer and so we purchased pearl necklaces and bracelets at wonderful prices.  We enjoyed a Dim Sum lunch with hot tea. This lunch consisted of little pastry type foods. We tried one that was a chicken dumpling similar to a chicken pot pie.  There was some type of squares that we were told were yam cakes and one that was like jello.  We tried these but didn’t care for them…they were pasty and not very sweet.  We had an egg custard tart which was a lot like our egg custard without a lot of sugar.  Overall we enjoyed trying all these local favorites.  I do miss Taco Bell very much!!

     We then returned to our hotel for the babies’ naps, and after naptime we enjoyed having a little time to play with Mia.  She fits our family so well. We feel certain that God made this perfect match.  She is so much like our boys, and it seems as if we have known her forever.  She is an adorable, precocious little girl!  She has her daddy and brother wrapped around her little finger (her mommy is pretty much so too).  She is the perfect princess.  She has been a fairly “easy” baby.  The only difficulty that she has frequently exhibited is her dislike of bedtime.  She will kick and scream and fuss.  We are slowly working through the temper tantrums.  She definitely is comfortable with both Brad and I.  What a Beauty!

    I have to take a few minutes to brag on all the kids in our travel group.  They are a terrific bunch of older brothers and sisters.  They have done so well and haven’t complained about all the walking, the different foods and smells, and all the many people.  I have seen them all be so respectful and kind to those around them. They are all an attraction themselves. At least once or twice a day (sometimes more) they have everyone here wanting to take the kids pictures. Sometimes there are large groups of teenagers who want a photo shoot.  They have been so good natured through all of it.  We have seen them all take on the roles of brother and sister with such love and happiness.  Wow, we have 5 older children and 4 babies with our group.  We make quiet a group, but we have such fun together!

    For dinner tonight we took our first Taxi adventure (it is best to just close your eyes, take a deep breathe, and pray). We went to McDonalds.  It wasn’t exactly the same as home (they offer corn as a choice on their Happy Meals), but did it ever taste good at that moment.  Mia tasted her first Chicken Nuggets. They weren’t a very big hit, but the French fries were! We then decided to walk back to the hotel.  This proved to be another fun adventure as we had to cross several busy streets without getting run over. Keep in mind that this was our whole group that went.  So, we had 6 adults, 5 children and 3 babies (which we were carrying).  We made it across and back to Shamain Island and our hotel all in one piece (or should I say group). Later we found out that there was a bridge that would have allowed us to cross without all the traffic.  Oh well, the people here are all laughing at all the crazy Americans!  


April 7, 2006

       We took a tour of Yue Xiu Park today. Our travel group was definitely the attraction of the day.  It was a local park with an historical statue known as the Five Goats.  Our tour guide (Vivian) told us this was based on a folk legend/fairy tale told many years ago.  The gods sent down five ladies to help the people to have a good harvest.  After the harvest was a prosperous one, the five ladies turned into goats and remained with the people thus assuring many good harvests in the future.  This statue is a focal attraction in the park.  After everyone had their pictures taken and after many curious smiles and stares (it isn’t rude to stare in China), we continued to walk through the park. The flowers, shrubs, and trees were a beautiful array of colors. Many of these plants were trimmed to look like different animals. We saw one that was many plants arranged together to look like a very large dragon. It was so beautiful.  We had to climb many different types and sizes of stairs. There was a pretty lake in the center of the park. We were able to see a few of the locals try their hand at fishing. It was a very quiet and peaceful place at least until our rowdy group arrived on the scene. We found an area of the park where a group was practicing their Cantonese opera music. It was a very beautiful and touching experience.  The people were so friendly and smiled and waved. They talked with the girls; however we didn’t understand a word they were saying.

We continued from their and stopped so that those brave enough (or maybe I should say with more energy) could climb lots of stairs to the top and see a watch tower.  I opted to stay at the bottom so as not to have to carry Mia all the way up.  The others said it was great fun at the top to see the school children and wave and say hello. Our tour guide told us that children here have required English classes from the third grade on. They love to practice their English speaking skills with us.

    I hadn’t been feeling very well all morning (a sickly tummy) so I was a little glad that we were ready to make our way back to the hotel. I enjoyed being out and seeing the culture and parts of Guangzhou.  Mia and I opted to eat oatmeal in the room and take a nap.  Brad and Nolan decided to be more adventurous.  They went with the rest of the group to go get local food. They even tried what the locals call dove, but Brad said it was pigeon. I think they are technically the same thing.  Either way they said it tasted delicious.  On the way back to the hotel they got caught in a rain storm and were drenched.  After changing and Mia’s nap, we all went for a walk to explore the hotel. Mia loves the water fall (she calls it “Wa Wa”).  It has been so much fun to watch her explore the very new world around her.  She is doing better switching from mom to dad today.  I began to feel really sickly, and so we ate in that evening (thank goodness for Danny’s Bagels).  I lay down and Brad and Nolan took over caring for Mia. They gave Mia a bath, and then took her for another walk around the hotel.  I was almost asleep when they came back to the room, so Brad even rocked her and tucked her into bed.

She is in love with her daddy again.       


April 6, 2006

       A visit to Mia’s orphanage was the agenda for today.  I tried to approach this day with an open mind and heart, but I could feel the tension building within.  I knew that Mia was ours, and I knew that we had to do this. I wanted to have something to tell her as she got older.  Never the less, I think I was worried as to what her reaction would be. Maybe it was a combination of that fact and what we would see when we got there.  I knew that I would probably want to take all of the little ones home with me.  In addition to all of this Mia was very clingy to her mommy this morning. I think she sensed that we were going to do something important today.  I didn’t mind that she wanted to hold on to me, but I felt that she was picking up on my mixed emotions.  The last thing I wanted was to make this day any harder for her.  So we got up this morning and prepared for the trip.

         We started the morning with a great breakfast (The White Swan has a beautiful buffet).  We shared this breakfast with our friends from Texas. They were leaving this morning, and we were so happy that we had these last few minutes to share and say goodbye.  Then it was back to our room to get dressed. We met our van and guide, Helen, at 9am. (We are still finding it hard to sleep   past 3 or 4 in the morning here)  The ride out to the orphanage was a fun one to say the least. We got to experience traffic and sights that we had heard about but hadn’t seen yet.  It is amazing to watch cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles, and pedestrians all share the exact same space. Everyone seems to all go at the same time and want the same place at the exact same time. Yet, no one ever wrecks or gets hurt.  We opted to close our eyes at times.  It could be almost dizzying to watch.  As we rode out of town onto the freeway and got further and further into the country, we were treated with an array of beauty. Once again you can see this vast land of contrast and many differing types of beauty.  The landscape was green and beautiful.  In many areas we saw fields of vegetables, and we even saw several rice fields.  In contrast we saw many agricultural areas that are being taken over by the city (not unlike the growth that we experience in the US).  As we entered Qingyuan City, we saw a beautiful and unique type of city.  There many sections that had what appeared to be modern day shops, but they still had the open market feel (open fronts to all the shops, but very modern items for sale).  Then we began to enter the older part of the city.  We saw the beautiful open markets with vegetables, open bins with rice, beans, flour, and the like. We saw row upon row of chickens in cages, and there were pens with lots of beautiful gray geese.  We felt like we were in a story book.  Then as we approached the area that our orphanage was in, we saw many industrial looking areas. Our orphanage was off a street that looked smaller than an alley way.  We arrived at a beautiful gate that told us we had arrived. 

        We were greeted by the orphanage director and his wife (she had brought the girls to their families).  They were very eager to make us comfortable, and we were treated like honored guest.  We were shown the restrooms (squatty potty), and offered a drink of water.  Our guide, Helen, then instructed us that this was the appropriate time to make any donations or gifts to the orphanage director.  The two families had decided to give diapers and formula as this was a request from the orphanage.  The director was very appreciative and seemed to be very grateful (his expression when he saw the diapers was priceless).  A few of the people in the office part played and talked with the girls.  We had sensed that the girls were well loved, and it became very apparent as we visited.  These people seemed very anxious that we know how well these girls were taken care of.  They wanted to show off the girls accomplishments.  Mia went in (I was worried that she would never want to leave with us), and she played, talked with her “Ayi”(Auntie), ate some type of rice porridge that they fed her, and drank water from this bent spoon they used.  She went over and played with the other children there.  Her Ayi asked her about her Ma Ma and she pointed to me, and then she found her ge ge( big brother).  Nolan was never far from her side.  He has the protective big brother thing down well! Today she seemed to be uncomfortable with her Ba Ba (daddy).  I think he was feeling very stressed about the visit and a little sad about this.  I think that she saw mommy as her comforter today, and am hoping for a better day for her daddy tomorrow.

        We walked around and looked at the orphanage itself and were taken slightly off guard by how tiny it really is. We had seen pictures and imagined it to be much bigger than it was in reality.  The babies were well taken care of and loved; however, they just didn’t have a lot.  There were only a few toys, a small indoor playground (we had seen this in pictures), several cribs, and one little picnic table that the kids ate at.  In spite of this these children were clean, dressed, and played well together.  They had very devoted care takers, and were touched, loved, cuddled, and kissed.  Mia blew kisses and kissed the aunties cheeks a lot.  We could just sense that these people wanted to take care of these babies.  The children were just adorable, and I prayed that each one of them would find forever families (I had to control my emotions as I wanted to take them all with me).  I prayed that God would protect them and keep them well.

           The time had now come for us to take our leave.  I started to tense a little as I wanted Mia’s goodbyes to be as painless as possible.  She surprised me and grabbed the director’s wife’s hand, blew kisses to her auntie, waved goodbye to her friends, and then left very content.  After receiving the orphanage flag, the director thanked us for caring for these girls, and we tried to let them know how much we thanked them for these beautiful children they had cared for. That for me was a very emotional moment.  We walked outside, and took a few photographs.  Mia reached for me, so I picked her up. We climbed inside the van and sat down. I was worried for nothing. Mia waved and blew kisses to her director and his wife.  She snuggled against me and was asleep by the time we drove out the drive.  It was as if she knew right at that moment that we were hers, and she had closed a chapter in her life. 

             The van driver got slightly lost and so a kind policeman showed us the way out of town (wow, we got a police escort!). We drove back to the hotel just soaking in all we could about this beautiful yet mysterious land.  Mia must know about her homeland and its people, but it is almost hard to describe in words. Maybe someday we will be able to bring her for a visit.  I couldn’t help but pray that God would someday help these people find Jesus. Who knows, maybe our daughters will someday be that link.

              This proved to be a very exhausting and emotionally filled day. We had a late lunch back on Shamain Island ( at Lucy’s… one of our favorites), and then we did a little souvenir shopping and called it a day. We spent the evening giving special attention to Mia as she seemed to be insecure tonight. She had several crying spells, and seemed out of sorts.  She wanted to leave, and would wave bye bye, and blow kisses. When we wouldn’t take her to go, she would burst into tears.  We made it through, and she finally went to sleep cradled in mommy’s arms. I was exhausted and emotionally drained.  I felt kind of sick, and just wanted to sleep. Hopefully tomorrow will be smoother.

       Garrett and Nate we miss you. Mommy knows that you are having a good time with grandma and grandpa. Your baby sister can’t wait to meet you. The time left is getting shorter. Keep being my wonderful, brave, big boys!  I love you to the moon and stars and back again!!!!     


April 5, 2006

Today was the day that Mia became ours!! We spent the morning in government offices promising to always love and protect her. This was definitely not a problem. We are so in love with her!!  She let her personality shine today. She woke up smiling and laughing. She went back and forth between mommy and daddy. Her Chinese name Le means happiness/ joyful. It is definitely a fitting name. She played with Nolan, kissed her daddy (was he ever thrilled) and hugged tight to her momma. She seems very secure, and doesn’t mind sharing her love with everyone she meets. I think she intends to be the life of the party.  She smiles all the time. With amazement I watch her take it all in. She is a very inquisitive child, and this new world offers her many things to see and marvel at.  She is constantly looking around and pointing to everything in sight. When she sees something she likes she will point and say something (we are still learning what she is asking for).  At breakfast she wanted to try everything she saw. She smiled and waved at everyone around her and then…. The waterfall came on (A famous picture spot at the White Swan Hotel). She was practically jumping out of my lap with excitement. She kept saying Wa wa (or at least that is what it sounded like).  Daddy took her for a walk around to see the fish and the waterfall. I think her daddy is quite smitten, and she has definitely become his princess!

After breakfast, we brought her back to the room for a quick cleanup and change of clothes. She wore her new clothes like a princess!  We already have a fashion diva, and does she ever know what she likes! We followed our guide Vivian (actually we relied on her to lead us) through the government procedures. That was that, and she is officially our! Now just to get the US to think so! We went for Mia’s passport photos. That took only about 5 minutes, and then back to the hotel. Brad went to the store with all the daddies from our group, and we stayed at the hotel for nap time. Mia took a long nap, so daddy and Nolan checked out the swimming pool. They made a lot of friends there apparently. They started a fun game of water volleyball (kids vs. grownups). The rest of the afternoon was spent walking and shopping with our friends from Texas(Ms.Kim and Abigail). We shared the evening meal with all four families from our travel group and Vivian our guide. We went to the Cow & Bridge restaurant for Thai food.  It was very good.  Then, we came back to the hotel to give Mia a bath, which she LOVED, and we all went to sleep a little early. 


April 4, 2006 – Part II

We arrived at the Adoption Registrar’s office at 2:30 pm.  I was filled with a wide range of emotions that are almost too hard to describe (I can’t really speak for Brad but I do know that he was very quiet). You are still living in this surreal state of mind. It has been so many months of paperwork, preparation, and waiting.  We had just experienced a wait that was probably one of the most trying times of our lives.  We had made it through almost 24 hours of traveling, and we were in a new and different country. The country of China itself can best be described as a land of vast beauty and many contrasts.  I was trying to take in as much of that day as possible.  I wanted to have a story to tell my daughter about her birth land and the day that she became a part of our family. I was almost overcome with excitement and joy that I would from this day forward have a daughter!   I felt a deep never ending love for this child that had been a child of my heart!  Finally she was going to be ours forever!  I was already anticipating and hurting for my daughter as we knew that this transition would not be an easy one for her.  As you can probably tell my emotions were taking quite a roller coaster ride.

The time was fast approaching for the girls to be brought to their families, but we would have to wait just a bit longer.  They had been caught in a traffic jam coming from the orphanage. So we sat and waited (of course there wasn’t any excitement or anxiety in that room, haha).  Just as we were starting to pace the floor we decided to all look out the window. There they were our china dolls, Mia and her orphanage sister, Jaelyn (Nolan was so excited he could hardly stand it)!  A few minutes later they arrived upstairs and after a few moments the babies came in the room. They brought each daughter one at a time to their families.  We had all agreed to hold as much of our feelings until later. We wanted the girls to not have the added fear of our emotions as well.  Even so I think a few tears rolled down my cheeks as I held Mia for the very first time.  The orphanage director called out her name and placed her in my arms.  She immediately looked at me (with a very curious expression) and then burst into tears and much screaming.  Not exactly the reaction I was hoping for; however, it was a very understandable one given all that she will leave behind. We spent the next 30 minutes (maybe an hour….I lost track of the time) talking with the orphanage director.  At this time we were allowed yet another glimpse of these beautiful little girls stories.  We could clearly see that these girls were truly loved and cared for deeply.  It is just another wonderful example of God’s hand in this incredible Journey.

Upon arriving back at the White Swan we brought a screaming Mia up to our room. She had cried and screamed the entire way back on the bus and continued to cry and scream for a few hours after that. She took turns at being mad at Brad and then at Me.  I just held her and told her that she was ours forever and that she was very loved. She had enough of mommy and so went to her daddy for the first time that evening.  She found a blanket and doll that she liked and pulled them to her tightly and this seemed to soothe her (Guess what Nana? …She seems to love her blankie  and sucks her first two fingers,hmmm).  At this point, she seemed to do better and even smiled once.  Brad had to go take care of paper work, so mommy got in some great playtime with Mia. Believe it or not she does like dolls even if her favorite toy is a ball!  She loves stacking cups and played build the “tower” and knock it down over and over.  She just laughed and laughed…what a beautiful sound!  She went back to her daddy when he returned and didn’t seem to have any difficulty switching between the two of us (She even smiled and played with her brother).  She seems to be clarifying her roles for mommy and daddy.  She definitely turns to mommy now for comfort and caretaking (which makes mommy quite happy).  So, at bedtime she reached for mommy, and we rocked (which is no easy task without a rocking chair) and cuddled until she fell asleep. She slept in a little bed that was set up by the hotel. She slept through the night. I slept restfully but lightly and would watch her sleep from time to time.  Children are just angels when they sleep.   We can hardly wait for her to meet her other wonderful brothers at home. She is already bringing so much joy to us!!! What a blessed houseful of children I will have!  God is so Good!! 


April 4, 2006

Today was the day that we would hold Mia for the first time and become her forever family. How can you put into words all the things that you feel? I spent a very anxious morning to say the least!  We had been waiting for this moment for what had seemed like an eternity (Our journey really was short compared to others!). I have discovered through this that no matter the timing, it is a very emotional experience for all concerned. Our travel group met for breakfast. It was a beautiful buffet, and it was full of many types of foods. They were all delicious I am sure, but I couldn’t eat very much as I had a very anxious tummy. After breakfast we were all a bit restless and decided to walk around Guangzhou (Shamain Island). It was an experience of a lifetime. We were able to walk around this beautiful park and see many aspects of this beautiful country’s culture. There were people playing this game similar to hacky sack. They formed groups and started playing with this toy that had feathers sticking out (Nolan is bringing one back to show everyone). We then came upon another group ballroom dancing (in the middle of the park). I wanted to join in, but Brad wasn’t having any of that. As we strolled along, we came across a singing group practicing in the park.  It was very moving to hear and to see the beautiful sights and sounds of Mia’s people. We continued our tour through many shops (almost touristy in appearance). The people hear are not unlike those at home. Most are extremely friendly and loving. They are curious about us and ask questions. They truly seem happy that we are adopting children, and they wish us well. We took a route that took us in front of a school of some sort. The kids were playing on the playground but their school bell rang just as we got to the gate. One little boy just had to stop and shout “hello” to the Americans. He was the cutest! We had lunch at Lucy’s (a place frequented by adoptive parents). We chose this place as we felt fairly safe as we all didn’t have much of an appetite and didn’t want to be adventurous. Mia is now awake ,so I will continue later.


April 3, 2006

Today we left Hong Kong by train at 12:15 pm. As we were waiting for the train’s arrival, I got to experience squatty potties for the first time. Thanks to my Grandma’s teachings, I knew how to use theses in spite of always having the modern western conveniences. She had always taught us to never “sit” on a public toilet. Actually it was a very fun (or maybe I should say funny) adventure. We are so glad that we chose to travel on the train. We were able to see many beautiful and unique things as we traveled across the countryside (Garrett and Nate you should have seen this train. It was very long and looked like a silver bullet with red and blue stripes on it. It was a high speed train that traveled at about 55 mile per hour.) The train can take you to Guangzhou in about 1 ½ hours. It was an unforgettable experience. I was thinking as I was traveling about how to put everything I saw into words. I think it might be a rather difficult task, but I will try to describe it for you.

Hong Kong and China are cities with many contrasts. At first glance they appear to be a very modern place. It is only by looking carefully that you see a very different side. I found it fascinating to see all the contrast up close. You see young people and older people working out and exercising both their minds and their bodies. We watched as a man of about 75 or 80 was doing Tai Chi. He must have been doing it for hours. We saw him as we were getting dressed, and then again as we went walking after breakfast. You could view the harbor with modern boats and ships and then see an older wooden boat right alongside them. As we watched out our train windows we saw many apartment complexes with laundry hanging from rods in the window or connected to the outside walls. We saw many westernized towns and then not a mile beyond that there were rice fields and gardens. You would see the apartment complexes and then the next minute you would see little farms. The foliage and vegetation were very beautiful and almost had a tropical appearance. There were banana trees, beautiful wild growing shrubs of lantana, boungavilla(sp?), and Lantana growing wild all over the hills. Two seconds later we would be viewing something cement.

There is much more that I would like to describe but will do so later after we arrive back home. I can say this … we should always be thankful for the many blessings that God has bestowed upon us.

We arrived at the White Swan Hotel. It is just amazingly beautiful with waterfalls, plants, paintings, and very luxurious accommodations. We found Ms Michele and Ms Kim. We were able to all enjoy dinner together. Imagine coming half way around the world to visit with old friends from Texas. (We even got to play with John David,haha!)  We had thought that all three families would receive their daughters sometime tomorrow; however, one family was blessed to have their Forever Family Day today. We will meet our precious Mia tomorrow. We anxiously await that moment when she is in our arms forever. We pray that she will have an easy transition. I will try to post more tomorrow….good night.

(Garrett and Nate….We love you and will share pictures of your new sister tomorrow.)


April 2, 2006

As I am typing this I am fighting a huge case of Jet lag and not sleeping well combo!  So please forgive any typos and grammatical errors you may find. We started our morning by never going to sleep the night before. We left our house at 3am for the Springfield Airport. We were filled with joy, happiness, and an overwhelming sense of excitement. We were going on an adventure, and we will bring our daughter home. It is still such a surreal feeling to know that we are here and ready to get Mia. (Ok, if I am dreaming somebody pinch me!) We had an event-filled day of airports, cancelled flights, mixed up flights, and waiting. Praise the Lord! We are all here, all safe, and all of our luggage made it!  Our oldest son even survived 15 hours in the plane.

      After getting off the plane, we went through immigration and customs.  We got Hong Kong stamps in our passports. It was extremely easy.  We had our luggage, went thru an immigration checkpoint, customs, and loaded onto a van in 30 minutes. The short trip to our hotel (The Metropolitan) gave us a chance to see the busy city of Hong Kong. The first thing that caught our attention was the beautiful expanse of mountains. We rode over one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. It was built so that both cars and a railway can move across it. We saw the harbor with lots of industrial cranes that load the huge cargo ships. There are lots of beautiful flowers, blooming trees, and shrubs. The flowers looked as if they were just beginning to bloom. It is a wonderful mix between the old world customs and the new modern ways. We saw some of downtown Hong Kong at a glance. It was a colorful rainbow of neon light all around. It looked to me as if they used these neon signs much like we use billboards to advertise products and shops.

      We checked into our hotel. It is a beautiful hotel that had a beautiful flowing fountain out front. We stepped into a luxurious lobby with lots of marble and cherry wood trims. We then went to our rooms and were equally surprised. The room has a room that looks like a hotel room in the US except that there were 2 twin beds instead of queen size. In addition there is another room that had a living room, eating area, and a tiny kitchen. It was furnished with marble floors and more cherry wood trim. We are all so tired that we just want to fall into bed but are trying to stay up late to acclimate our bodies to the time changes. When we sat down on the bed, we quickly learned that what everyone had said is true. They are hard board-like beds with fluffy comforters on top. Oh well, I don’t suspect that we will mind. We probably won’t even notice as all we want is a place to sleep. We are counting down the hours until we get to hold Mia in our arms. Goodnight!  (To the boys staying at Grandma and Grandpa’s house:  Mommy loves you!)


Pre-trip Update

Ok, Mom is posting a little late. I have been extremely busy over this past week. I was so unprepared for the news we received. I had been praying, but I assumed that it was not God’s timing. I had settled on the fact that we would be waiting until May 5th or 6th (or even later) to travel for Mia. The key here is that when God is in control, you should never assume. On Sunday night all the families in our group made a date to pray at 9 pm. We decided that we would do this every night until we brought our daughters home. Little did we know that God was going to answer our prayers the very next day. We had news of our travel approval as of 9 o’clock that morning (it could have arrived earlier… I was so set that we would have to wait that I stopped checking emails. One of the other moms in the group had to call me to find out why I wasn’t responding to the emails.) I was beyond happy….and thus the whirlwind began! With some very clever maneuvering and a wonderful travel agent and caseworker, we would board a plan to pick up Mia on Saturday April 1, 2006.

      The last week has been spent gathering the items necessary to take with us on the trip. I had been gathering and shopping for things a little at a time; however, when it game down to “let’s go” time, I found that there was still a lot to get done. With lots of prayers for strength, I started packing. Several Wal-Mart runs later, we were finally ready to put things in the suitcases. So “LET’S FLY”!


March 27, 2006

       Mommy needs to get on the stick!  She hasn’t posted anything!!!  Hmmm….  Must be busy packing Dad’s stuff while he’s playing with the website!  What would he do without her!  :>O