20 November 2009

Amusement Park

On Thursday, we went again as a group to the amusement park we had
been to earlier in the week. This time it was open and not nearly as
cold. The sun was shining too. Nathan woke up crabby so he wasn't that
interested in the rides although we did put him on a few. Isabel got
to ride the carousel which she was thrilled about! The kids rode a
train and Nathan went with Richard on the bumper cars. After we were
done with the rides, the kids played in a park for a while. Well,
Isabel played with the other two boys in our group and Nathan just
hung out with Richard. He didn't want to go on anything.

At lunch-time we went to a pedestrian street not too far from our
hotel. We took a taxi from the park and met our group. Isabel loves
taking taxi's. I think it's because they come in so many different
colors. Some are yellow, blue, green, etc. Isabel likes riding the
yellow ones. The pedestrian street is quite large and you could easily
get lost, especially since there are more than one of the same
restaurants all within sight. After lunch we walked back to our hotel
and put Nathan down for a nap. When he woke up, we noticed that he was
hot and after taking his temperature, realized he had a slight fever.
He would just lie around and a couple times just fell asleep right
where he was. He was also very clingy to his lollipop. I don't think I
mentioned how much of a hit the bag of lollipops we brought have been.
Nathan's fallen asleep several times with one in his hand (unopened).
He likes having one to carry around even if he can't eat it (we don't
allow the kids to have too many, maybe one or two a day and they are
very small). The ones I brought are a brand called, Yummy E@rth, which
I bought at Whole Foods. They are so good. Richard and I have also
enjoyed them. I totally recommend bringing something like that if you
have yet to travel. They worked to calm the kids when we had to wait
in lines. It was a nice distraction for them and even a comfort for
Nathan even if it was closed. The times that he's slept with them, he
will sometimes wake up, look for the lollipop if it had fell out of
his hand and once he found it, go back to sleep. Very cute.

On Friday morning, Nathan still had a slight fever but after having
emailed our doctor in the states and got the go ahead to give him
Tylenol, he's doing much better. His personality is back for the most
part (still a little crabby) and he's more interactive than he had
been the day before. Hopefully, he will be all better for our flight
which is on Saturday morning.

It's Friday afternoon now and we haven't done much today except for
some shopping and eating. :) Richard and Isabel are currently at the
park while Nathan is napping. This evening we are having dinner with a
dad who is here alone adopting his son.

Well, this is my last post from China. We are leaving in the morning.
Thank you to all of you who've followed along, prayed for us and left
encouraging comments and emails. We appreciate you all!! I hope to
post when we get home. Nathan has an evaluation with a cardiologist
the day before Thanksgiving so we will see how that goes.

The Subway To A Tomb

On Wednesday morning we met Elsie and the other family in our group
and headed for The King's Tomb Museum. Elsie took us on the subway to
get to the museum which we really enjoyed. The subway is relatively
new, about 10 years old, and is very nice and clean. Not quite like
the subway back home but ours is definitely a lot older. There are
televisions everywhere, even on the train. An older lady gave up her
seat so Isabel and Nathan could sit down. I initially declined because
I felt like she should be sitting but she was persistent. After taking
two trains, we had to walk about a block to the museum. The museum was
quite crowded and we later found out that we went on a day that it was

The museum shows ancient funeral objects and other things and you can
actually enter the tomb which was built underground in the side of a
small mountain. It was an interesting museum but one that the kids
couldn't really appreciate. I did get a picture of a replica of the
stone musical instruments that we saw being played at the Pavilion in

After the museum we went to a Chinese restaurant nearby. It was nice
to have Elsie with us because she did all the ordering and it made the
experience pretty stress-free. The restaurant had two rooms and right
before you enter the second one, which is where our table was located,
there were all types of fish tanks filled with all sorts of things.
All you have to do is chose what you want and it will be on your plate
shortly. Most of the tanks had eels in them, hundreds and hundreds of
eels. In case you were wondering, I had noodles and vegetables.
However, Elsie did order shrimp-on-a-stick which Isabel really
enjoyed. Poor Richard had to peel it for her, in other words, remove
the head and legs and shell. On the way out, you could see the tank
where they came from and the lucky critters that hadn't yet met their
fate. :)

When we were done eating, we took a cab back to the hotel and it was
time for Nathan to nap. Dinner was low-key and in our room. Later in
the evening, Elsie gave us Nathan's US visa so we are officially just
waiting for our flight home! Yay!

18 November 2009

Here Comes The Sun

Tuesday we saw the sun for the first time in ages! Let's just say that
I love the sun. It was still quite cold but the sun made all the
difference. In the morning, Elsie took our paperwork to the US
Consulate and we had to stay in our room so she could call us and tell
us if everything went well or if there was a problem. Thankfully,
there were no issues with our paperwork! She also told us that our
Oath Ceremony had been moved up. It was supposed to be on Wednesday
but it would be Tuesday afternoon.

After our phone call we went to the park since the sun was out (I
might mention the sun a lot, just warning you). :) There weren't many
families there but we did meet one family from North Dakota. They are
adopting their second boy which will make three boys for them ages 2,
4 and 6. They had all their boys with them too which was neat to see.
We played at the park awhile and then had lunch with this family.
After lunch it was up to the room for a short nap for Nathan before
our appointment at the US Consulate. Oh, at the park there was this
elderly woman running laps around the park (there's a small running
track) and I thought it was so cool that I snagged a couple pictures
of her. Then there was this guy who was doing gymnastics on a high bar
and I got a couple pictures of him too. :) The older generation here
is so active. I hope I am as active when I am their age!

Around 2:30PM we met Elsie and the other family in our group and
headed to the US Consulate which is about 30 minutes or so away. Oh,
and it was sunny! :) When we got there, we went into a large room with
about 20 adopting families. One-by-one we were called up to a window
and we had to sign some papers. Afterward, a lady came out and talked
to us as a group and then we all had to stand up, raise our hand and
take the Immigrant Oath on behalf of our children since their first
port of entry into the United States will immediately make them a US
citizen. This was quite an emotional time actually. I got teary-eyed
and one family in front of us was warned by the lady to not start
crying because then she would start! And, just like that our whole
adoption is complete! We just need to get Nathan's US visa so he can
enter the US. Wow, what a long road our journey has been.

After the US Consulate, Elsie took us to a very large park and one
section had some rides for kids. There was no one there but Elsie
found a lady who had someone activate a few rides for us. First, there
was the bumper cars and then there was a roller coaster and finally a
"hunting" ride. Nathan was two small for these rides but Isabel and
Richard went on the bumper cars along with the two boys and the dad of
the other family we're with. She didn't ride the roller coaster but
she and Richard went on the hunting ride where you move around a
little park and shoot at some fake animals. It was cold so we didn't
want to stay long but it was also quite strange to be the only ones at
the park and the only ones on the rides. Afterward we went back to our
hotel. It was kind of late so we ordered pizza and then ate in our
room. Just a few more days and we'll be on our way home as a family of

Oh, I think Nathan is starting to call me mommy. It's interesting
because he follows what Isabel does quite often and I think that is
why he's picking it up. He pronounces it like, "Ah Mee." He won't say
it if you ask him to and oftentimes if you ask him to say mommy or
daddy, he will shake his head no. We actually get a kick out of it
because he looks funny doing it. Richard wants to video-tape him doing
that. Maybe one day he will get a kick out of it too.

17 November 2009

More Rain and Bonding

On Monday morning we met Elsie and the other family in our group and
went to the medical office to have the children's TB tests checked.
Thankfully, all was well with both boys. If there was an issue, the
medical staff would take an x-ray of the chest to determine whether or
not they had TB. We were so thankful that we were in and out of the
medical office. We are done with the medical exams, yay!

It rained most of the day on Monday and it was very windy and cold.
After the medical office we decided to pick up our laundry and then
grab lunch. The place that did our laundry also has a store so we
wandered around and grabbed a few things. We got a puzzle for the kids
which is a map of China. It is made of wood and they have all the
province names in both Chinese and English. We also got a light-weight
ball which was great for being in a hotel room and out of the rain
most of the day.

After Nathan's nap, the rain had stopped so we decided to go to the
park. It was too wet though so we made our way to a nearby bakery and
got a couple things (Richard loves baked goods!). Then it was back to
the hotel for the evening. I forgot to mention that a couple days ago,
while Richard and Isabel were out, Nathan did really well by himself
with me. He didn't cry when Richard left which is progress and we
spent the time playing a game of peek-a-boo. I would put Nathan's hood
over his face and ask where he was and then he would pull it off and
I'd pretend I couldn't see him until finally I "found" him. He loved
it! I remember in one of our training sessions for our adoption that
oftentimes you need to play with adopted kids like they were babies
all over again to promote the bonding that they lacked with a parent
in their infancy. Hopefully, our game will help. Even since our game
he will take his hood and try to pull it over his face so that we can
play some more. Very cute. :)

Richard was kind enough to get us food for dinner so we ate in our
room and then it was time to get the kids to bed. We decided to start
rocking Nathan to sleep some days ago since we believe that it will
help with bonding and also to give him a chance to experience what it
means to have parents. He's had to soothe himself to sleep for so long
and possibly never had anyone rock him to sleep. Sometimes it seems
like he doesn't really know what to do while we're rocking him. This
is mostly at night though because it takes him minutes to fall asleep
for his naps. I find it quite astonishing actually. Hopefully, the
rocking will help him identify us as his parents. At his foster home,
there were a lot of foreigners that would come in and volunteer and he
loved the foreigners. When we're out now and if he is walking, he will
go up to people and want to be picked up. We are trying to prevent
this as we know he is "parent shopping" and he doesn't understand that
we are the people who will be taking care of him from now on and that
we are his parents. I know that this is normal given his past but this
is not healthy. He would walk off with anyone and never look back and
that would not be the case for a child who was attached to their
parents or caregivers.

Tomorrow I will post about our US Consulate appointment. Sorry for
not posting pictures, more to come tomorrow.

16 November 2009


I think the rain and cold is following us. Sometime Saturday night it
rained and we awoke to a wet and chillier day on Sunday. After
breakfast we decided to take a walk. We saw many people out by the
Pearl River jumping rope, exercising and playing a game similar to
hacky sack. We decided to see if the park was still wet so we made our
way over there. Most of the kids equipment was too wet to play on but
the park also has some equipment for adults to use for exercising so
the kids had fun playing on them. Nathan soon found a very large
puddle to play in but we tried to steer him away from it so that he
wouldn't get too wet. I started blocking his route to the puddle and
it became a game for him to try and get around me to play in the
water. We were having fun until he did get around me, tripped and fell
right into the water! My reflexes weren't fast enough to keep him up.
So, we headed back to our hotel and got him into some dry clothes.
Richard and Isabel went to grab lunch and then dropped off some of
Isabel and Nathan's clothes to get washed. I've never missed my
washing machine so much. :)

After Nathan's nap we stayed in the hotel until dinner where we went
to a place called Lucy's. They serve American-style food and we found
out that Nathan likes pizza and pesto. He's definitely fitting into
the family! Lucy's has pictures of American celebrities up all over
the place and gingham table cloths so it definitely reminds you of
something you would see back home. At this point, we are ready to be
home and not living out of a hotel. I think Isabel is feeling it too.
I am very happy though that she is with us and she has done a great
job with all the changes. I am very proud of her.

Isabel and Nathan are getting along as if they've been siblings
forever. They copy each other and antagonize each other. They can't
verbally communicate but one wouldn't know it! It is cute to see them
hug! It's also cute (although we don't like it) to see them get into
things together. They whine when the other one is touching them or
they push each other because one was "there first." It's interesting
to me to see Isabel like this because I never have. She's been an only
child and it's hard to know how things will be. Well, apparently
they're like every other sibling in the world! :)

Sorry I'm a little late posting lately. I've been pretty exhausted and
am usually falling asleep with the kids.

14 November 2009

Medical Appointments and a Treat

The kids woke up early on Saturday given how late they went to bed the
night before. We really needed them to though because after breakfast
we were meeting Elsie so that we could take Nathan to have his medical
exam. There is also another family from our agency here in Guangzhou
and so we will be going to all of our appointments with them. They are
a really nice family and are adopting their second son from China.
Their first son is also traveling with them and it's been great
getting to know them.

At the medical office Nathan's vaccination record was reviewed and
then the doctors determine whether or not he will need any additional
shots. All children are tested for TB and unfortunately our little guy
also needed to have two shots. Let's just say it wasn't pretty. I felt
so bad for him and all the kids really. The other family in our group
mentioned that their state won't even accept vaccinations from here
and their son will need to have them all over again. Oh, I hope that
isn't the case for Nathan. We will see when we get home. After the
shots the kids are examined and that is basically it. We will need to
go back on Monday for the doctor to check the TB test. So far I think
it looks fine which is good.

Afterward we walked back to our hotel and then made our lunch stop at
Subway. Then it was up to our hotel room for Nathan's nap. He took a
long nap and then when he woke up, after playing a game of "everyone
jump on daddy," we went out for my much anticipated treat. While going
out for Nathan's medical exam, we (I) noticed a Starbucks just around
the corner and so we went and got a snack. Then we took the kids to a
park we noticed while out earlier as well. There were lots of kids
there including the other family in our group so it was nice. It is
just nice to be around others who are going through the same
experience. It's really encouraging for me. We spent a while there and
talked to other adopting families and the kids ran around and had a
great time playing.

We had dinner at a Thai restaurant and then went back to our hotel.
Both kids were tired but Isabel especially so after baths, we put some
music on and had the kids go to sleep. Tomorrow is a free day for us
so I hope the kids sleep well and wake up rested.

The picture of Richard and I with Nathan in front of Starbucks was
taken by Isabel. I let her use our SLR to take it and she had never
used it before so she was so excited. Then later at the park, Nathan
wanted to take pictures too because he saw that Isabel got to. He does
a great job communicating without speaking English, especially for
being 2 years old. He is a great little brother because he already
wants to do everything his big sister is doing. Isabel is a great big
sister because she doesn't mind showing him what to do. :)

Well, it's time for bed for me. Good night.

Moving On

Most of Friday was spent hanging out at the hotel packing and getting
ready to go to Guangzhou. We were originally supposed to be on a
flight around 5:00PM but that flight was delayed until 9:00PM.
Thankfully, Mary was able to get us on a flight at 7:00PM. The weather
was very cold but the rain had finally stopped. I am not sure the
cause of the delays but there were a lot of them. There was mention
that Beijing was having bad weather and that caused flights into
Nanchang to be delayed. At any rate, we were able to get out at a
decent time. Many of the families staying at our hotel were on our
original flight and once we arrived in Guangzhou, found out they would
not be getting in until midnight. I can't imagine how hard that must
have been with all those kids.

Our flight here was barely over an hour. The kids did so well
especially being as tired as they were. We also had to leave the hotel
at a time that would prevent us from eating a normal dinner. We
figured we could grab something at the airport but there was only one
restaurant and it was very expensive. I hate to admit it but we
sustained ourselves on snacks!

We met our new guide at the airport and her name is Elsie. She is
fully of energy and very nice. It's funny though because Isabel asked
Richard if this was our, "new person." When we were in Nanchang she
kept asking for Cindy, who was our guide in Beijing, and now we're on
our third guide. I don't think she understands why we keep having
different people showing us around. :)

When we pulled up to our hotel I can't tell you how excited I was to
see a Subway right next door. We are staying at the Victory. We opted
to stay here because I had read the rooms were rather large and when
we got here, they were a welcome sight compared to the rooms we had
been staying at. The kids ended up falling asleep in the car on the
way to the hotel so you can imagine how much energy they had when we
got here. Once they woke up they were full of life. Getting them back
to sleep at 11:00PM was um, challenging. :)

The weather is warmer here but I can't say it's warm. Apparently, last
week it was hot but we are still wearing sweaters. It's nothing
compared to Nanchang and even the weather I expect to get when we get
home so I'm not complaining. I just wish I had packed more warmer
clothes and none of the summer clothes - I doubt we'll need them.

Last Day In Nanchang

Thursday was our last complete day in Nanchang. In the morning Mary
took us to the Tengwang Pavilion which was within walking distance of
our hotel. It was very cold and raining again which was a pity because
the gardens of the Pavilion were so pretty and on a nice day it would
have been nice to walk around. Instead, we went into the pavilion
which is 6 stories high. On the top floor there is a small theater and
we watched a performance of singing, dancing and music playing. It was
quite nice. One of the instruments consisted of many hanging stones
which when hit would produce notes. It was quite extraordinary
actually. Mary said that it was about 3000 years old and that even now
to reproduce the instrument, it would take several years to get the
thickness of the stones just right to produce the correct note. The
pavilion was built sometime in the 600's and has been destroyed 28
times through wars and natural disasters. The last rebuilding was
completed in 1989.

After the performance we toured the rest of the pavilion. On this
particular day, we gave Isabel one of our camera's so she was ready
when her fans came calling. She turned the tables on them and not
everyone was excited to have their picture taken. Most though were
good sports about it. :)

We would have loved to have gotten some pictures of the outside of the
pavilion but the weather just didn't cooperate. It was hard to even
keep an umbrella open let alone stand outside and take pictures.

We left around lunchtime so Mary took us to a new place which was
quite good. Although our usual restaurant is good, going to the same
place to eat so often gets a little tiring. Also, eating in
restaurants so often has lent itself to overeating. I usually like
something simple and small for lunch and meals here have been such a
production for us that I think I need to do some extra workouts once I
get back home! Guangzhou might have been the perfect place to bring
those running shoes. :)

Our afternoon was pretty low-key. Unfortunately, the weather strapped
us to our hotel room more often than we would have liked.

12 November 2009

Morning at the Museum

We woke up to rain again on Wednesday. I was a bit disappointed
because we were supposed to meet Mary and go to a park but it was too
cold and rainy so she took us to a local museum instead. It was,
however, nice to learn more about Nathan's province. For instance,
Jiangxi has the largest fresh water lake in China. They also cultivate
rice here and harvest it in July and October. They are also known for
their porcelain. Mary says that there is a saying that if you do not
have porcelain in your home than it is not a home and that everyone
has porcelain. Some of it for everyday use and some for decorations
and special occasions.

For lunch we went to our usual stop and then back up to the hotel. The
weather has really turned here and the kids are now bundled up in
winter coats, sweaters and mittens. It is very, very windy here and on
our way home from lunch, the wind broke one of our umbrellas! I am
definitely looking forward to our flight to Guangzhou on Friday which
will lead us to warmer temps. :)

Richard ended up going out and getting us food for dinner. I had the
kids and we put on the Discovery channel which had some documentary on
music. In the meantime, I was trying to organize our suitcases. At one
point I was sitting on the floor folding clothes and Nathan (who isn't
that interested in television) decided to try and put one of Isabel's
hair clips in my hair. He played with my hair for quite a while. While
he was doing this I asked him to say, "mommy" which he did and then
asked him to say "mama" and he said that as well. Up until that point,
he would never say it even though we know he can. And, even now he
won't say it again so I think it was a nice moment for him.

A couple of things - whenever Nathan sees me combing mine or Isabel's
hair, he will want his combed as well. It's funny though because he
definitely doesn't need it. Then he apparently notices that I put hair
clips in Isabel's hair and he wants to do the same for him. At first I
didn't want to put them in because they are for girls but as long as
we don't go out, then it's probably fine.

Soon Richard came back with food so we ate and did the normal
nighttime routine. Nathan went to bed early since he didn't take a
proper nap. Oh, before bed we tried to get some pictures of the kids
in their pajamas because they looked so cute. :) I will include a
couple for you to see.

Tomorrow I will post about our last day in Nanchang before heading to
Guangzhou. We will be there for a week and then it is back home. Yay!

11 November 2009

Night Time and only Richard is awake !!

So it is 8:00 pm here and everyone is sleeping except me. Kelly cannot
screen this post, so she will definitely be surprised tomorrow and I
will be in a lot of trouble. Turn a blind eye to all the grammar
errors, Kelly is not around to fix them.

I decided to take the time to try to get some video organized, I am
surprised to see we had so much footage of meeting Nathan. I have some
footage of us hanging out with him and some of his classmates. When we
get back I will be creating some DVDs. I am only going to send some
video footage to a select few :), I think we should keep some of this
experience private since it is also Nathan's story to tell. But I am
really excited to have captured some of the other kids. I was sitting
right next to Evan while holding Nathan, I think Evan's family will
really enjoy the video footage. We began praying for Evan when we
found out that Nathan and Evan were rooming together. I remember the
night we were praying before bedtime and Isabel prayed a prayer that I
will never forget. She simply said "God help me find Forest a Mom and
Dad" and I realized then that God also hears the prayers of Children.
A few weeks later we found out that Forest now called Evan was matched
with a family.

We thank God for answering our prayers that Nathan would know that we
are his family. Nathan has so many people praying for him and we
really appreciate all of your prayers. I want to mention some of the
kids who consistently prayed for us Amber, Alex, Xavier, Dominic,
Elizabeth and Phillip. I want you to know that prayer works.

Our family has been transformed by this experience, I have tasted what
it means to live your life for Christ and I do not want to go back.
Giving up control over your life is sometimes scary and out of our
comfort zone, but it is so worth it. It took me a long time to really
give up control over my life. I have been praying for the past few
months that God will use my life and that I would not continue to try
to live this life my way. I wanted him to know that I am finally ready
to give him the controls and I will follow. Now I am sitting in a
hotel room in China reflecting on my past and what lies ahead. This
life is too short to continue to do it my way, I have made enough
mistakes to know that my way is really boring. I want to catch a wave,
a wave that God is putting in motion and ride it as long as he will
allow me to, then my life will be filled with his adventures. Looking
at Kelly, Isabel and Nathan who are sleeping right now, I know for
sure that I am having the biggest adventure of my life.

I am also excited to see what God is doing in other people's lives and
the adventures that they are embarking on. Just to mention a few :
Daniel my brother in law just got back home after spending almost 2.5
months in a hospital after a motorcycle accident. Daniel and Stacey
are definitely in their own God centered adventure. Also my wife's
good friend Debbie will be getting married on Friday to an awesome guy
who loves the Lord, you just cannot beat the combination of 2 great
people who love each other and share a passion for Jesus. I know Kelly
would really want to be at the wedding, I will try to convince Debbie
and Tom to have a post wedding party (convinced ?).

So I just want to encourage anyone who is reading this to ask Jesus to
orchestrate your next adventure. You will know that your on an
adventure when you have huge God moments in your life.

Well I am off to catch some ZZZZZs before the 2 pirates of the
Caribbean awake from their slumber to do battle. Yikes it is 10 pm the
latest I have gone to bed, this shipmate will be in trouble.

Another Free Day

Tuesday was another free day. We woke up to rain and the temperature
had dropped considerably. When we first arrived in Nanchang it was
warm enough for shorts but now we needed long pants and jackets. I was
surprised by how much the temperature changed although I don't think I
should have been because it is similar to what we experience back
home, warm one day, cold the next. After breakfast we went to our room
to wait for our laundry to be picked up. Our guide was nice enough to
arrange for someone to pick up our laundry. Nathan is quite the messy
eater so he is always needing clean clothes. I will be doing laundry a
lot when we get home. But for now, someone else was doing it and I
can't say I minded. :)

After the laundry was picked up we decided to take a walk to W@l-mart.
Richard figured it was about a mile or so away and we felt that would
be doable. By now the rain had stopped so we figured it would be
something to occupy our morning. Soon after venturing out though,
Isabel wasn't that interested in walking and carrying her a mile one
way and a mile back would be more than I could handle so we just went
to the local market and picked up more fruit. The picture of Richard
and the kids with three bags of three different kinds of oranges only
cost us about $1. We were excited that we had some good food for snack
time. As you can imagine, Nathan has been on a very predictable
routine. It's definitely necessary when running a home full of kids,
not to mention the fact that kids do well with routine. So, he has two
snacks a day at specific times and we are trying to stick to it as
best we can while living a not-so-routine existence right now. He does
really well with naps too, just falls asleep within minutes of putting
him down. Bedtime has been a bit more of a challenge but not too bad.
He is also sleeping through the night.

Nathan ended up taking a pretty long nap. We let Isabel watch a movie
with headphones on and then Richard and I ended up falling asleep as
well (accidentally for me). When we woke up, Nathan had slept 2.5
hours and we felt he needed to get up if he was going to go to bed at
a decent time so we woke him. Afterward, we just hung out at the
hotel. I didn't have the desire to go out again and really, Nathan
needs to be bundled up pretty well because his body doesn't regulate
his temperature like ours would and so I felt we should just stay in.
We played some but because Nathan's nap was so long, it was soon time
to figure out dinner. Richard decided (or maybe I suggested) that he
go and grab some take-out. He decided to take Isabel with him since he
can carry her on his shoulders. We also think it's good for Isabel to
have some "daddy time" because Nathan prefers Richard and gets a lot
of time with him being carried and such. Isabel is not used to this
and although she has been doing great, we want her to feel like she
gets Richard's attention too. So they have been having their together
time most every day.

Once Richard and Isabel were going to leave, we learned that Nathan
was not happy with the situation. He cried when Richard left and
wanted nothing to do with me. I tried playing with his train but he
wasn't interested. Then I took out a mini container of Pl@y-doh that I
had brought with us. He didn't seem interested in that either. He
found an Aqu@-Doodle that our friends the Nelson's gave him and that
seemed to divert his attention (thanks Nelson family!). I had put the
Pl@y-doh in his backpack and he ended up taking it out and we played
with that for quite a while. Just as we were putting it away, Richard
and Isabel returned with food. We sat on the floor and Nathan scooted
over to sit next to Richard (of course). :)

After dinner, it was time to take a bath. We washed Nathan up and he
had lots of fun trying to get Richard wet. Then Isabel got in the tub
so she could play (she WANTED to take a bath too which is not common).
The two of them nearly soaked poor Richard. After baths Nathan seems
to want us to put music on so we did and we had lots of fun dancing
around the room. Isabel would tell Nathan, "this is how you dance" and
she would have at it! I think he really enjoyed it. He even tried to
dance a little. Mostly we carry him and dance with him but he started
trying to move to the music which was fun to see. He didn't do it much
though so we will have to work on that!

After our little dancing party Richard and Nathan sat and played and I
read to Isabel. Then we had another story that we read as a family
before bedtime. We have noticed that although Nathan loves to be
picked up, he didn't really give hugs (at least with us) so we've been
trying to teach him what hugs are. So last night we all gave each
other hugs and for the first time, he gave Isabel a hug. In the past
she would ask him and he wouldn't want to or she would try and "force"
him but this time it was mutual. It was fun to see. I think that
Isabel has adjusted so well with this transition, almost better than
Richard and I have and certainly better than I could have hoped for. I
am so thankful that God prepared her heart for this!

Putting Nathan to bed last night was a bit challenging because he kept
wanting to play. Finally though he went to sleep. I have to say it was
a good day, our first complete day as a family of four!

Oh, I wanted to offer a congratulations to my dear friend Debbie who
will be getting married this Friday and whose wedding I will sadly
miss! Debbie, we wish you and Tom a lifetime of happiness together. We
are so happy that you found each other!!

Take care.

10 November 2009

Adoption Day

At breakfast on Monday we realized that we were not the only adopting
family in the hotel. There was a group of families who had just
received their babies the night before so it was nice to see others
who are going through the same experience. After breakfast we met Mary
who would take us to do the paperwork for the adoption. First, we went
to the Jiangxi Center for Adoption Services. Once we arrived Richard
and I had our picture taken with Nathan and then we went into a large
room and filled out some forms. Not long afterward, the other families
from the hotel arrived and there were kids all over the place! A few
of the families also brought older siblings so the older kids enjoyed
playing together while the babies took it all in and the parents did
their paperwork. Next, we went into a room for an interview. I was so
nervous about this but it was really simple. It almost felt too simple
but I guess the large amount of paperwork we needed to do beforehand
is the hard part. After the interview we signed some papers and put
our red thumbprints over our signatures and Nathan needed to put his
footprint on one of them. We then received a nice little red book that
meant that we've officially adopted Nathan! Shortly after that we left
to go to the notary place where we signed a couple more documents and
then it was back to the hotel. Just like that our family grew by one!
We were back at the hotel within two hours of leaving which I thought
was quite remarkable.

For lunch, Mary showed us a restaurant in back of our hotel where we
could eat. She even showed us what on the menu was good (yay, there
are pictures on the menu) and even wrote down a couple things so that
we could show the waiters when we were ordering. It was great. We ate
lunch and seriously, I think we spent about $5 for all of us! We've
eaten there a couple more times and no meal has cost us more than $10
and that's on the high end! For comparison, the first meal we ate here
was at the hotel and it cost us over $30 and it wasn't nearly as good
as this place! The hotel restaurant is now reserved for our breakfast
which is included with the room. :)

After lunch we came back to our room so Nathan could nap. In the
meantime Richard took Isabel to the local market to get some snacks.
They came back with some mandarin oranges and drinks. Richard always
prepares the fruit for our family which is very nice because I don't
particularly care to do it. Actually, it would never occur to me to
buy fruit while traveling but it's tasted so good and makes me feel
better that we're eating somewhat healthy. Oh, the restaurant I
mentioned always gives us watermelon after our meals and since it too
has been really good, Richard wants to figure out how to buy a knife
or borrow one from the hotel so that he can cut up watermelon in our

Nathan ended up taking a short nap so he was somewhat crabby when he
woke up. After playing in the room a while, we decided to get out and
do something to calm him down. He seems to really enjoy taking in the
sights. We wandered around and then ended up stopping for dinner
before heading back up to our room. I had grand visions of putting the
kids to bed and Richard and I watching a movie on his laptop before
going to sleep but I fell asleep with the kids. I haven't watched
television since we've been in China. The one in our room is unplugged
because the kids were having way too much fun turning it on and off.

I'll leave you some of the pictures we took.

09 November 2009

The Tale Of Two Crackers

Richard here ..

Keeping this short .. you will know my entries by the length of them.
I will keep them short and to the point (hopefully there is one).

So Nathan loved these crackers that we got, I gave him a few and then
told him no more. Isabel was taking a nap during the cracker scenario.
When Isabel got up she wanted to have some, she then shared 2 more
crackers with him. I pretended not to notice, but he was excited and I
think he has a new found joy for his bigger sister.

It has been fun playing with both kids in the hotel room, tossing them
on the bed and throwing them up in the air. It is interesting to see
Nathan start to get that both he and Isabel take turns playing.

He is really smart, learning new words already. I am also learning
what makes him tick a bit.

To Nanchang

On Sunday, we woke up really early and met Cindy at 6:00AM to head to
the airport for our flight to Nathan's province, Jiangxi. Nanchang is
the capital and this is where we will complete the adoption. Isabel
woke up well but Nathan was a little crabby since this is way earlier
than he is used to getting up. The flight was uneventful except that
Nathan fell asleep right before we landed. He didn't seem phased by
the airplane or all that interested in looking out the window. He did
like playing with his seatbelt and figured out how to unlatch it! He
was none too pleased that we held the latch closed so that it would
remain on. :)

After retrieving our luggage we met Mary who would be our guide while
in the province. She is very sweet and has been assisting adopting
families for 15 years. We are in good hands! We arrived at the hotel
around noon and after getting settled needed to find lunch. The
restaurant in the hotel was our best bet because Nathan was pretty
exhausted and needed to go down for a nap. On our way to the
restaurant, we saw a lovely bride getting ready for either her wedding
ceremony or reception. She had on the prettiest gown and I wished that
I had taken her picture.

While Nathan was napping our little superstar was reading a book and
also fell asleep. I was amazed since I can't remember the last time
Isabel took a nap. She slept less than an hour because Nathan decided
to wake her up. :)

After nap-time the kids played in the room and I think for the first
time really played together. They chased each other in and out of the
curtains and squealed with delight the whole time. It was so cute and
wonderful to see. Isabel loves Nathan and mothers him a bit. She looks
out for him if he wanders too far away or might grab something he
shouldn't. She also mentioned that she loved having a little brother!
I think he will need some time to get used to having a sister though.
Of course as one might expect, they do fight like siblings already. :)

Nathan also likes to get into everything so we will have our hands
full when we get home. Isabel never got into much so this is something
different for us.

When it was time to eat dinner, we decided to try and find something
outside the hotel as the hotel restaurant is a bit pricey. We wandered
around and found a pedestrian street with lots of activity. There were
so many stores but not too many restaurants. It was quite the site
really. We passed a couple dental offices where the exam room is
completely visible to pedestrians. Literally behind a glass window you
can see people getting their dental work done. Also, we passed a
wedding photography place where a couple women dressed as brides sat
outside for advertising purposes. It was all quite interesting. After
we ate, it had become dark so on our way back down the pedestrian
street back to our hotel the signs were lit in flashing neon. I have
never been to Times Square but I told Richard I imagine it's something

Once we got back to the hotel it was baths and getting ready for bed.
Not a very eventful day but a sweet day none-the-less. We kept telling
Nathan that this is where he was born. Of course he doesn't understand
us but it's something to ponder, at least for me. It's been a long
time since he was here and longer still since he'll be back.

Thanks again for all the comments. It's hard to get to them since we
are in Nanchang but my computer programmer husband is always figuring
something out. Yay! Also, more importantly, thanks for the prayers!!
The transition has gone so smoothly and we are so blessed! Isabel is
also doing great and we are so amazed to see this side of her. We will
be here until Friday and then it is on to Guangzhou. Tomorrow I will
post about the completion of the adoption.

08 November 2009

Low-Key Day

Saturday was a free day for us. We initially thought we might try to
do some more sightseeing but decided against it to relax and regain
our energy because on Sunday we were catching an early flight to the
province that Nathan was born in. So, after breakfast we hung out in
our room for a while. We played, colored and then Isabel watched a
movie on Richard's laptop. Nathan started watching it but apparently
isn't that interested in TV (he was destined to be in this family). :)
We also used Skype and introduced Nathan to some family members. He
got to see two of his aunts, his uncle, a cousin and one of his
grandmas. It was great to be able to do that. We were also able to use
Richard's phone to call my mom for free (another reason Richard is
loving his phone). I am a little weary that we'll get a bill for it
but Richard's pretty confident that we won't (yay). Anyway, I got to
update her and my niece and one of my nephews on what's been going on
the past couple days. My niece and two of my nephews are learning
Chinese in school so they were trying to teach me some words. Very

For lunch we ventured out to KFC and then to the local market for some
water. After lunch Nathan took a nap and Richard and Isabel took a
walk while I posted an update to our blog. Nathan takes two hour naps
which is so foreign to me. Isabel was never a good napper so this
interesting. When Nathan woke up we played with some sticker books and
then the kids put on their hats and we had a photo shoot. It was hard
getting any good ones of the both of them at the same time but it was
fun. Nathan doesn't like having his picture taken and will sometimes
say no and walk away. :) I thought that Aunt Tonia would LOVE seeing
the kids in their hats so I'm including them. The last one is the
reaction anyone would get if the Cubs won the World Series ever!

After our photo shoot we put on some music and then we danced around
the room. Isabel likes to dance but I think Nathan needs to get used
to it some. Then the kids watched Richard's computer as he has some
software that has the pictures that move to music. I think they
enjoyed it. Then we started going through some of the pictures we took
while we were here and Nathan became fixated on the picture of us with
his two nannies (I posted that on the day we met him). He kept
pointing and saying, "mama" and some other words in Chinese and both
Richard and I thought it was so sad. He loves those women and even
though he now has a forever family, he misses them and you could see
it on his face. Hopefully, we can bring him back here one day so he
can visit with the women who loved on him so much!

I forgot to mention that Nathan is attached to his water bottle. We
brought one for each of the kids with us so that we could bring water
with us wherever we went with them. He loves it and likes smacking the
top closed when he's done. He also really likes his baseball cap. Oh,
and whenever he sees any of his clothes that were brought here from
the foster home, he wants to wear them. He also doesn't want to wear
the very cute shoes I brought him. He wants to wear his old ones. I
think this is normal but I love the shoes I brought for him and wish
he liked them too. :)

In the evening after I was done packing most of our stuff, we went for
a walk to find dinner. We saw a place on a map from our hotel that
looked like pizza we might get in the states. It was a buffet and oh
how I wish I could have seen it before we settled in to eat. The pizza
wasn't anything like what we get back home and the pizza was also not
the main focus of the buffet even though it's called a pizza buffet. I
don't even know what most of the food was as there were no English
words to describe it. Lets just say that I went a little hungry after
that meal. :)

Well, I am all caught up with my posting. We are in Nathan's province
right now and I will hopefully post about our journey here tomorrow.

Hope all is well with our family and friends and thanks so much for
following along.

Sightseeing And A Superstar

On Friday we woke up, ate breakfast, and met our guide at 8:30AM. Our
first stop on our sightseeing tour was Tiananmen Square which is just
outside the Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square is huge as it can hold
about 500,000 people! There are also 56 pillars lining one side which
represent the 56 nationalities within China. It was cold and foggy
while we were there but we warmed up quickly carrying around two kids!
:) Isabel doesn't usually want to be carried around much but I think
since Nathan can't walk much without getting out of breath and is
carried a lot, Isabel wanted to be as well. We walked across the
square and there were large crowds everywhere. It soon became apparent
that we were in the company of celebrity! Everywhere we went, Isabel
captured lots of attention. People came up to her and stood by her to
have their picture taken with her. Some of them hugged and kissed her.
They were so excited and spoke with such enthusiasm but of course we
had no idea what they were saying. Our guide Cindy said that Chinese
people like to have their picture taken with people they think are
cute. And just like a superstar, ours soon became comfortable in her
role, posing with her fans and saying things like, "these people like
me" and "that guy there is taking my picture." It was funny.

After walking across the square we entered the Forbidden City. There
is so much ancient history associated with these landmarks and Cindy
did an excellent job explaining many of them to us. We brought a
carrier with us so that it would be easier to carry Nathan and since
Nathan generally prefers Richard over me, he got the honor of carting
him on our tour. Thankfully, Isabel started walking or else I would
have wished that we brought two carriers. Cindy said that I have a
good husband and I suspect it might not be too common here in China
for the men to carry the kids, especially in a carrier. Right before
you exit the city, you walk through the Imperial Garden. This was my
favorite. There are trees there that are over 500 years old. It was so
nice. I would have loved to spend more time there just wandering
around. There are 4 structures representing each of the four seasons
and a mountain made by hand out of these rocks with holes in them.
Apparently when it rains, the water streams out of the holes and it
looks somewhat like a waterfall. There are stairs in the mountain too
where the emperor would go inside and get up to the building on the
top and look out over the whole garden and city. Tourists aren't
allowed in there. And actually, tourists pretty much go through the
city from the North to the South and the other portions are blocked
off. It is so large that people would get lost!

After we walked through the city, we met our driver and he drove us to
lunch. It was nice having Cindy there to help us order and interact
with the staff. It can be quite stressful to not know how to order and
such. Well, stressful for me because Richard just goes with the flow
of everything. Our lunch was really good and afterward we headed to
the Great Wall. On our way we passed the Olympic Village and we got to
see the Bird's Nest which was fun for me. Cindy said that the locals
initially complained about the cost of the village for just one event
but since the Olympics they have made back more than they spent just
on tourism at the village and events like concerts. Wow!

The part of the Great Wall we went to was at a higher elevation so the
weather was warmer. I wish it hadn't been so foggy but it was still an
amazing thing to see. We got to climb some of it as well. The part we
went to was very steep and I was wondering if it was a good idea
because we had the kids with us but it ended up being great (just
worried about someone tripping and falling a LONG way down). Isabel
climbed the whole time and Richard did a great job with Nathan. Isabel
kept warning Richard of big steps (some of them were nearly half her
height) and saying things like, "I've never seen so many steps before
in my whole life." I think the Chinese people were amazed that she was
doing all this climbing by herself because they kept giving her the
thumps up and smiling and sometimes giving words of encouragement. Or
maybe they were just more of her fans. :) Cindy mentioned that some
people see how far they can go and climb for days. I told her I would
love to do that but not with little kids. Maybe we can go back when
they're older. It is definitely great exercise. I'm glad too that we
are here when it's not so hot or it wouldn't have been as enjoyable.

After we left the wall we went back to our hotel, scrounged up some
dinner and played with the kids. We were surprised to see that Nathan
has a pretty good attention span. We brought a book for him that comes
with some animal magnets that you stick to the book pages and he sat
on my lap and played with that for quite a while. Next it was baths
and some reading and then time to go to bed. Nathan wasn't as tired
because he wasn't nearly as active as Isabel but they both went to bed
well. I am so surprised with how well Nathan is doing. I was
anticipating much more grieving and "acting out" but he is really
good. He has a moment every now and then which is to be expected but
he's done great and I am so thankful for that.

Thank you to all who've left comments and emailed us your kinds words.
We love reading them and are so appreciative that you've taken the
time to support us. Thank you to all who've been praying for us! We
are doing well here and I know it is because of all those prayers!

Oh, we don't actually have access to our blog, Richard set it up so we
can email our posts. He was able to do that through his blackberry
which apparently can't be blocked. I think he wants to write a post
about how much he loves his blackberry. Stay tuned. :)