Mom’s Travel Journal from China
Tuesday December 6th
Another early morning was in store for us today. It was our
Consulate appointment for Toby’s
The consulate appointment lasted about thirty minutes. Our driver
and guide met us, and we were off to the
We returned back to the hotel in time to go search out lunch. We chose to return to the Italian food place. It was equally as good today. We walked back to the room and spent the remainder of our day there. We watched movies, napped, and played with Toby. He is very funny, and we have laughed and laughed at his antics. He has been obedient and compliant for the most part, but every once in a while we see the two year old “no” emerge. He doesn’t like for daddy or momma to tell him no, and pouts whenever we have to correct him (mostly to keep him from danger). Thankfully his pouting is very short lived and easily redirected. We love to watch his personality reveal itself with each passing day. We know that he will fit right in with our crew that is for sure.
Tomorrow, we will be having a leisurely start to the day and then
packing for our departure in the afternoon. We leave
Monday December 5th
This morning seemed to dawn bright and early for us. We were a bit tired, but we were filled with happiness. Early Monday morning (around 1:30 am) we were able to skype all of the kiddos in the children’s ministry at our church. It was such fun to worship with them via skype and then to share with them about our trip. Toby was asleep, and we chose not to wake him. However, we did take the computer in and let them see him sleeping. They were so excited, and we cannot wait to return home soon to share Toby in person.
We got up (for the second time) around 6:30am, got ready, and went to breakfast at the hotel buffet. Toby seemed in fairly good spirits and has begun to eat lots of things. He ate, ate and ate some more at breakfast this morning. His favorites include porridge (oatmeal mixed with cream), bananas, hash browns, and a little bit of egg. He likes to try almost anything that Brad or Garrett eat.
I continue to be encouraged. He let me take him out of bed and
dress him this morning. I even got a few smiles. He heard daddy after that, and
well, then I was toast. He let me hold him (not
without a bit of fussing first) during our drive to the Qing Ping Market. He
sat in the stroller as we walked around the outdoor shopping mall and the
different outdoor markets. His favorite was the pet market. He loved all the
fish, turtles, kittens, cats, rabbits, and puppies. Nate and Toby will be great
companions as they share the same love and concern for animals. After walking
through the markets, we made our way across the bridge and back to
This afternoon we spent time in our room taking naps, doing laundry and just hanging out. For dinner, we walked to an “authentic” Mexican food place called Tekilas. We were pretty positive that it wouldn’t be even close to our Mexican food at home, but we were pleasantly surprised! It wasn’t exactly the same as home, but the food was very good and the green chili verde sauce was superb. We had a bit of a miscommunication problem, and Brad’s order got left off. It was a little difficult explaining that we needed his food, and when he got it wasn’t exactly as he ordered, but he gave up and ate it anyway (at least there was no sour cream or guacamole on it… that would have been a no go in his opinion). Toby is proving to be a Smith through and through. We ordered him some corn chowder as he is a soup lover. He liked it a lot, but he wanted the tacos and tortillas that we were eating. We gave him a bit, and he devoured it. We had to limit his intake a little just because his tummy isn’t used to this type of food. He fits right in with our Mexican food loving family. Dinner was a fun time of bonding with Toby. He still wants to sit with daddy, but I am getting more and more eye contact and he lets me feed him. I even got a lot of smiles and giggles. Tonight for the first time we returned to the room without him crying. He came in and started playing with his toys. Momma saved empty water bottles and we created a bowling game with them. He has been having a blast throwing his ball into these and crashing them down. Tonight he has come out of his shell even more. He has been laughing and talking (still can’t understand all that he says). He even gave daddy a kiss, and gave momma a kiss too! Be still my heart!!!
Tomorrow, our consulate appointment is early (we leave here at
7:45). Immediately following the appointment, we will travel to the
Sunday December 4th
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Jeremiah3:22-23
Today is a good, good day! This morning dawned and a new transformation has begun. Toby is responding more and more to momma’s attention today, and he is allowing me to care for some of his basic needs. It seems as if he is still trying to understand that momma and daddy go together. He gets anxious when I hold him and whimpers from time to time as if I will take him away from his daddy. As we go about our time here, he seems to comprehend a little better that we are all together and NO ONE is taking him away from his daddy. This morning I helped Brad to give him a bath and then wrapped him in a big fluffy towel. He didn’t put up much of a fuss when I dried him off, put lotion on his skin and got him ready for the day. He allowed me to hold him for a little while, and then it was off to Baba’s arms. We went down to breakfast, and he sat beside me without crying. He didn’t even cry when baba went to get his food. He followed him with his eyes all around the buffet line, but pointed and babbled something to me. He consumed more food today as well. We were a bit worried because he wasn’t eating much and has been refusing his nighttime bottle. He needs the nutrition (his special need is malnutrition), and he needs to stay hydrated. Today seems to be a turning point of sorts in all areas.
After our wonderful breakfast, we met up with our guide. She
asked that we make a change in plans. So, we went to the
We had perfect weather with lots of sunshine and spring like temperatures. Toby was transformed before our eyes. He loved being outdoors in the sunshine. He grabbed my hand and we walked up and down the steps. He let me hold his hand through most of the park and let me carry him on occasion. Daddy bought bubbles, and he had a terrific time chasing them. When I bent down to talk to him, I asked him if I could have a hug. He toddled up and put his arms around me for a brief squeeze (but a very welcomed one) before he was off and running again. We got huge smiles and lots of laughter from him. We spent most of the morning at the park, and we stopped at 7-11 to get some more bottled water. It was then back to the room. We ate in for lunch with plans to go out at dinner tonight. Toby began to fuss just a little about returning to the room; however, the fussing was short lived when Garrett began to play toss the ball with him. He played and played until momma got his lunch ready. He loves chicken noodle soup! He ate all the entire cup of soup and he started falling asleep at the end of the meal. He wasn’t about to succumb to sleep at that moment and rallied so that he and gege could continue to play ball a while longer. He played for a short time longer while Brad finished putting pictures on the web site, and then, Baba rocked him and put him down for a nap. He slept well and woke up smiling. He let mama pick him up out of his bed, and he even gave me a hug. We shared a snack while baba and gege were out playing ping pong somewhere in the hotel. They returned and baby boy was smiling and ready to play ball with his gege. We are off to dinner and then hanging around the hotel for the evening. Tomorrow, we return to the “island” for his TB check. We have plans to spend a little time on the island and to take Garrett to the famous “Lucy’s” for lunch. We have warned him not to expect too much, but he wants to eat there because we have talked about it before. After our food experiences near this hotel, Lucy’s just doesn’t sound that appealing, but we will take him just so that he can say he has been (and I do love their French fries!)
I forgot to mention that we skyped the kiddos today. They are all in good spirits and doing well. We are do grateful to our friends that are staying with them and keeping things as normal as possible for them. It makes our time away so much easier knowing that the kiddos are at home and coping well. It certainly made for a good start to this day and the day just continued to get gloriously better. Thank You all for your prayers and comments. The prayers are being felt, and we are feeling the mighty power of God.
Saturday December 3rd
It is the medical exam day. We have to travel the 30 min. to
After the Island Tour, we made our way back to our hotel, and our guide showed us around the area and where to get food to eat. We came back to the hotel room to deposit our purchases and went out again for lunch at an Irish Pub. It was very good food! We walked around a bit more, stopped at 7-11 for water and returned to the room.
Toby has been a bit more responsive to momma today but only in spurts. He has played a bit with me in the room, allowed me to hold him (after crying a little) while daddy got his breakfast, let me feed him some of his lunch and let me hold him and give him a snack this afternoon. I had hoped that we were making good progress. Brad took him out to walk around and explore the hotel, and when they came back, Mr. Toby’s obstinent self came out. He kept shaking his head at me when I tried to pick him up, he backed away. He started the wailing again when I picked him up, but it stopped after a little while when he had his oatmeal for dinner. About halfway through the dinner, the wailing began again. He refused to eat from me. So, we stopped eating and he went to watch TV with daddy. I tried again a little later, after getting a few coy smiles, to hold him and give him his nightly bottle. He refused, clinched his jaw shut, and then started crying. When I stuck the bottle in (which the orphanage said he took 1 at night), he wiggled his tongue around and kicked out the bottle. I took away the bottle and just rocked him wailing and all until he went to sleep. Brad was exhausted and needed to have some time off and sleep (shhh, don’t tell him but he was getting cranky). He has been great throughout this and showing extreme patience with Toby and me. He has been trying to help, but he also stays close by if Toby needs comfort. I am still hopeful that tomorrow will be even better on the attachment front.
We are off to the
Friday December 2nd
Today was packing day. We ate a leisurely breakfast and visited
with our newly made friends. Then we hung around the hotel room until our guide
brought Toby’s passport and documents needed in
We have an early morning start which means that Brad had to make
a few copies and get the money needed for Toby’s medical exam on the
Thursday December 1st
Our tour for the day was at the Nanjing City Wall. I had
He is still screaming and crying every time I try to pick him up; however, he is not totally rejecting me. If Brad is holding him, I can feed him some things. I can change his diapers on occasion with only limited screaming (on his part, not mine). So, I keep cautiously trying. I must confess… I am a bit depressed. It is hard not to miss home and my other kiddos whom I know love me and want my care and attention when I am being rejected here. I continue to look on with hope and never give up trying to hold him. Poor baby, he is just so scared! He shivers and shakes if Brad sets him down, and if I hold him he starts wailing. We have gotten a few smiles out of him, and I play a bit with him when he lets me. My heart and my head continue to be at war. I know it will get better, and that he will come to accept me in time. But, my heart is saddened just the same and I am a bit fearful that he will have a difficult time attaching to me. He is already very smitten with his daddy and big brother. My head knows that it is still early and my head knows that most adopted children attach to one parent or the other at first. My head knows that he was extremely attached to his nanny. I know that it takes time for him to let go of his” Nai-Nai” (as he called his main nanny), but I fear and hurt none the less. It has been such an extremely difficult struggle in the past with each of our kiddos more so with one over the others. That fact weighs heavily on my mind. I know I can do this again…I know that God will give me the strength to do this again, but It is so very hard… I anticipated that this might be an “easier” adoption (Every adoptive parent knows that none are ever really easy). I had hoped and prayed, but God never promises easy. I continue to pray and work at getting to know this adorable child, this treasure that God revealed to my heart a year ago.
So, I dealt with my depression by going to bed early tonight. It is difficult to care and nurture Toby at present which leaves Brad to be the caregiver. I didn’t have a lot to do, so I read for a little bit and went to bed. How can you know that you are doing all you can do and still feel like a lousy mom? Yep, that’s where the depression is coming in big time.
Wednesday November 30th
Today we went to the
Toby seems to be doing very well adjusting; however, he has begun to pull away and reject mama. My heart and head are at war with one another. I know after doing this adoption thing that this happens frequently, but my heart feels as if it is being ripped in half. When you are the one God reveals the child to, when you love this child for many months, and when you endure all it takes to get this child home, it hurts when they look at you and scream. My head knows that it is something that many of these children do, and that it often reverses it self in time. I am a bit impatient though and want to hold and love this precious boy.
Tuesday November 29th
He is ours! Toby officially became our child in the eyes of the
People’s Republic of
Our Toby is funny, ornery and oh so very smart. He is snuggly and cuddly and loves nothing more than to wrap himself around his mama or baba in a “koala bear” like hug and not let go. He loves to draw, play, get into things, and to talk. He is spending lots of time jabbering away, unfortunately we cannot understand but he likes to talk none the less (ok, no wise cracks about him being just like his mother). I told you he was a Smith through and through! We are so truly blessed!
In addition to the emotions of the official adoption proceedings, we added the trip to see Toby’s orphanage today. We met the nanny who has cared for Toby the longest, and you could tell that she loved him so very much! We were blessed with a gift memory book in which she wrote him a goodbye letter…and this momma’s tears flowed. She hugged and hugged on Toby, and he smiled and smiled. But, he never let baba, mama, and his gege get too far out of sight. To make matters even more emotional, we stepped into the area where Toby had lived…the “special needs” area. As far as we could see, the only true special need for these babies was a family to love them. Brad, Garrett, and I were surrounded by precious treasures. Brad had one little one who just wanted him to hold him. He crawled over and climbed up as Brad bent down to hold him, and the smile on his face said it all. I sat on the floor surrounded by babies, and my heart just ached. I held and touched and prayed for these precious darlings (some of them deemed “un-adoptable”). I had a hard time squelching the tears. …and then my Toby crawled across the floor, climbed in my lap and gave me a “koala bear” hug. Yes, I am even crying now as I type this! Garrett was a super big help, taking pictures and loving on all the treasures. He gave out lollipops to those that the nannies indicated it was ok to do so. He hugged, talked with and played with several babies. Not too surprisingly, he had the exact same reaction that Nolan had almost six years ago when we visited Mia’s orphanage. He was very anxious and keeping his eye on his baby brother. He wanted to make sure that he was coming home with us. Never to fear… when lunchtime arrived for the babies, it was time for us to take our leave. Toby’s nanny picked him up and carried him downstairs. We met with the orphanage director, took pictures with he and the nanny and then Toby reached out for his momma. I took him in my arms, and he wrapped himself “koala” style around me. We got in the van and he never looked back. He was ours and we are his.
Thank You Lord Jesus for the precious blessings of your sweet children! Your wrap your arms around me, and I feel truly loved and amazingly blessed. I lift those precious babies that we left behind up to you. Wrap them in your arms Lord. Keep them safe. Open hearts and minds to hearing your call, so that they too can know the love of a forever family. I praise you Father God for all Seven of my treasures! I praise you for answering my prayer to be a momma many times over. I praise you for your abounding love!!
Monday November 28th
What do you say about a day like this? Words never, ever do it justice. You wait for so long to finally touch and hold this child you have only seen in pictures. You wonder what this child will be like. You wonder if this child will love you as much as you have loved them through their picture. You wonder how well they will transfer from their care givers to you. You wonder how and if they will grieve. You worry about this child’s attachment and how you will react to this child that God has placed on your heart. You are nervous, excited and scared all at the same time, and you know this is only a small portion of what the child must feel. Yet, you know that this is all orchestrated by a God who loves this child beyond measure and whom loves you. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
It never fails to bring me to tears! Our guide was a bit surprised by our nervousness and excitement… “You have done this twice before…”. Yes, but it never, ever, ever gets old!!! Our love just multiplies and grows, and we are thrilled beyond words that God has given us another gift, a treasure to love. I can only imagine how God must feel when one of His children accepts Jesus and thus becomes adopted into God’s family.
We couldn’t have asked for a better transfer. This teeny- tiny little boy walked in the door, looked inquisitively around and followed the nanny over to meet his Baba, Mama, and Gege. His curiosity got the better of him, and he had to take a look in the backpack we brought filled with goodies. His attention went right to the little “chuck” trucks, and then to the cheerios and goldfish we brought. He munched on cheerios, played with his trucks, and chatted a bit (in Chinese of course) as we completed paperwork and then left happily in the arms of his Baba. He seems to transfer back and forth between the two of us really well. We made a quick stop at the big grocery store “Carrefour” for formula. He is still taking a bottle of formula at night before bed, and we wanted to pick up a few cans of formula and a few packs of diapers as a gift for the orphanage. He loved looking around the store and kept chattering away at all the things he had seen. He came back to the hotel and played for a couple of hours before tiredness got the better of him. He came to us with a bit of a cold and is running a fever. I gave him some medicine, and he slept in my arms for about 20 minutes and then another 15 minutes in his crib before he woke up crying. He is having a rough time at this point. We are seeing tears, but he wants to be held. He has been clinging to Brad and doesn’t mind which of the two of us carries him around (not that we mind snuggling with this precious treasure). When Brad and Garrett went to the bank to exchange US dollars for Yuan, Feifei and mama played cars, sang songs and built stacking cup towers. He has a precious giggle and smile. We can hardly wait to “get to know “this sweet baby boy. As I began typing this post, he and his baba were having some quality time. They have been exploring our room and all the clothes and things we brought for him. He is very frightened but trying so hard to be brave. As the tears and fear became more prevalent, mama paused typing and just held my baby close, whispering “Wo Ai Ni”…”I Love You”. He is now sleeping in my arms, and I am typing one handed. We are blessed that he accepts us holding and cuddling him. We know that he was very loved by his nanny at the orphanage and feel certain that he will bond with us quickly. Please keep praying. We feel the results of your prayers! Tomorrow will be another emotional day as we finalize the adoption and pay a visit to the orphanage. Will you please pray that Toby will find closure and not too much anxiety at the return visit?
Our blessings abound and our cup overflows with love!!
Monday November 28th
Today’s the day! Today’s the day! We have waited so long for this moment. It seems like an eternity! But, to day we will hold our baby boy in our arms. We are scheduled to leave the hotel at 9am, and we will meet Toby at 9:30 am. We were up at 5 am and so excited that we gave up on sleeping any longer. We went down to a huge buffet, a mixture of Asian cuisine and western foods, at around 7 am. Then we gathered our things and we are ready to be off. We will continue this post upon our return when we have our baby Toby.
Sunday November 27th
It was a little difficult
to wake up and get moving this morning. We are still struggling with jet lag
and have been waking at odd times and returning to sleep for a
hour or so, and finally giving up and just starting the day. So, we sleepily
began this day with a nice breakfast at the hotel buffet. It was not the usual
buffet, not even close to the White Swan. Actually, the hotel we were staying
at was a service apartment. The hotel we were supposed to stay at was closed
for renovation (must be the time of year, as we are unable to stay at the White
Swan once we get to Guanzhou for the exact same
reason). The apartment turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It was large,
spacious and had a kitchenette. It was as nice as a hotel room, and yet, it had
some extra niceties. The breakfast buffet was much smaller and had some very
interesting foods available. I was able to find a few things for my
“non-adventurous” self, and Brad and Garrett tried several different foods in
addition to cereal and eggs. After our breakfast adventure, we met our guide
for another adventure to the Forbidden City in
Today, I saw many amazing things. Today, I saw antiquity and modernism within the same city. Today, I saw young and old alike trying to make their way in this world. Today, I saw a mass of wealth, and a mass of poverty. Today, I saw modern cars and I saw rickshaws. Today, I saw automated street sweepers and people cleaning the streets with homemade bamboo brooms. Today, I saw modern high-rise apartment buildings and small lean-to shanties.
Today, I climbed one of the seven ancient wonders of the world
(even if I only climbed to the first level). Today, I stood in a place filled
with ancient history and looked around me with awe. Today, I saw people of
every nation looking, climbing and celebrating. I watched young and old alike
determined to climb and be a part of history. I saw a people filled with pride,
cheering and happy, to be a part of the history of this beautiful and ancient
land. Today, I saw the
Today, I looked on in amazement to watch artisans create beauty from stone native to their land. I watched as they carved, polished and created amazing pieces of art from one single piece of stone. Today, I got to tour the Jade Factory. Today, I watched as a salesperson tried to convince me to buy many of the treasures in her store. I watched and listened as she explained all about the treasures, and then we got to the “big-budda”. I watched as she explained about rubbing his belly for good luck, his bald head for happiness and good fortune, and I felt sad. I was reminded that I am in a country that has placed its hope in many false things, and I felt sorrow. I watched as they hoped for wealth, prosperity and happiness, and I just kept thinking none of this brings you the hope, wealth and prosperity that I have in my Lord Jesus.
Today, I saw the beautiful multi-million dollar buildings
designed to showcase the world’s finest athletes. I saw the cube where Michael
Phelps won his historic 8 gold medals. I saw the Bird’s nest where
Today, I saw
& 25th –
– Travel to
Nov. 28th – Gotcha Day
Dec. 3rd –
Dec. 8th – Shanghai
Dec. 9th - HOME