March 28th

•March 28, 2012 • 6 Comments

So not much new has happened in the last few days. Our son Aiden celebrated his 6th birthday on the 27th. We were so sad that we couldn’t be there but he got the best treat of his life that day. HIS FIRST DATE. Yep he told me a few months ago that his girlfriend was Ashley-Ashley Wells his 16 year old babysitter-and that SHE was going to take him to Moes. Yep, he is cheap to he is going to make her pay. I told him he had to pay and he just looked at me and said I can’t I don’t have a job. So for his birthday Ashely came over and with her mom took Aiden and Addie to Moes. I know he was so excited because he loves hanging out with Ashley.

 Anthony got propositioned for a massage by multiple ladies last night. I just busted out laughing when he showed me the cards. I told him I really have a kink in my neck but I have a feeling they aren’t going to be able to help me with that. Our facilitator Grace said they were offering “special services.” Who knew going to get a Mcflurry could be so interesting for Anthony?

 So we have been going to different places during the day. But China has not been what we thought it would be. First, things are not as cheap as we thought. Actually, clothes and shoes are more money than in the states. Also, it is so modern to find any “Chinese” souvenirs you are really just buying cheap stuff.  And if you find the really cool and historic items they are really expensive. But I have had fun hunting down some clothes for the girls. Some are really expensive but next to our hotel is a little shop with really good sales. The fun stuff I have found are the hair clips. Yes, I said it I came all the way to China and the things that excite me the most are hair clips for the girls. But they are so cute. And everyone knows my girls have to have bows or clips…I still am a little southern. So once we get home and give our gifts to our families I can post what we bought for them. I have to say most is pretty funny because I sit there and debate….which piece of junk will they want the most? Some fake jade, a tee shirt with “made in China” on it, or a knock off purse. I mean these are my options. It is not what I thought. But we are visiting a pearl market tomorrow. But my hopes aren’t too high because I have been told that there are more fakes than real. So I might be surprising you with some fake pearls.

 Mia is adjusting everyday. She has her moments of grieving her lost life. Everyday before she has to go to bed she just sits and cries for her Mama…her foster mother. She also is 2 1/2 and likes to throw a fit when she doesn’t get her way. So it is very trying to figure out the best way to handle each situation. But during the day she has a good time. She will smile and laugh but still not much talking. If someone other than Anthony and I ask her to talk or say hi she just stands there. She is so shy, introverted, and stubborn. Please pray for her and her siblings that they can find a way to relate.

 Tip for today…remember that your orphan child will most likely always want their old life instead of their new one. Be prepared for the rejection. Talking with other adoptive mothers here most of their children grieve and want to go back even if just for a short while. We were talking today about a 9 year old orphan who refused to be adopted by a family from the US. She made her decision and the family accepted it but does she know what she decided? Is she old enough to make a decision like this and handle the consequences of that choice? A group of us debated this complex issue. But as a Christian it really struck home-and Anthony will expand on this point more latter-but   did I really want this new life, do I often want to turn back, do I understand the implications of my sin and the weight of the consequences of my sin? I mean in my core do I live as if I am in His image? Or do I pick a life that will never be my home, never give me love and hope, and will never give me a future? 

 Continue to pray as we count down to FLA…also as we prepare for jet lag with a 2 year old.

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March 25, 12

•March 25, 2012 • 9 Comments

A brief update on the stuff we have been doing so far since we have arrived in Guangzhou, China.  Today we went to a Buddhist Temple. It was amazing and so beautiful. We took so many pictures. We participated in a Buddhist blessing. Yes, the pastor of Restoration Church and his family participated in a Buddhist blessing. We both thought sure why not? The truth is we just wanted to experience some of China’s religious culture but we are firmly confident of our truth. The funny part is even Mia in her own little way was expressing her beliefs. Like when they give you a coin to try and throw into a little hole for good luck she confidently took the coin and placed it in her own pocket as to say I don’t need your luck but I will keep your money. Then we went to a bird park where they sell thousands of birds to people as pets. IT WAS SO DISGUSTING. I mean I HATE birds so for me it about put me into cardiac arrest. Not only were there thousands of birds-with thousands of bird poop-but boxes of worms for food for the birds. We did take pictures to show Aiden because he knows how much I hate birds.

As far as Mia’s progress. She is a tough little cookie. She is so stoic and quiet but we are slowly getting her to smile and laugh. She is also a very stubborn little girl. It has been very hard for us to tell if her fits are from the stress of being adopted to some strange white people or if it is because she is 2 and not getting her way. I just go with my gut and hope I am right. She has had a hard time recently going to bed for night-time and nap. I think she just wants to stay up and play. Anthony is getting closer and closer to her. I just realized I really need his help and have to encourage her to let him take her.

So I as usual forgot my tip last time so I will just post them as I think of them. First is don’t tell me-or anyone else who is pregnant or adopting with small children-how hard it is going to be. Trust me I am a mother to Adelaide and Mia I know how hard it is going to be. I sat here last night as she cried uncontrollably and thought I can’t do this. But what was I going to do tell my body not to be pregnant with Adelaide or tell China “no we don’t want our daughter right now can you hold on to her for a little while.” It is going to be hard so encourage. Use your words to tell these adoptive parents the truth of Christ. That is what they need to hear because they hear enough doubt in themselves. Last tip is from Anthony. He says to “remember food is the great equalizer.” Yes we reward good behavior with food. Since she has a hard tim excepting him he gives her all the rewards..which are 2 M&Ms. And when she is upset we can distract her or comfort her with food. So come knowing that kids are still very primal. They want to feel love through shelter, security and safety, and food. They will feel safest in your hotel room and they open up the most during meal-time. And on the flip side they will act up when they are hungry.

Keep praying for our patients and her openness.

Friday March 22nd

•March 22, 2012 • 6 Comments

Friday March 22nd (written by Carin)

Well, today I am not really sure what to write about. We are still in Wuhan, China till tomorrow morning. Today we have to do some adoption work-like go to the notary and passport office. We found another couple in our hotel that are from the pan handle and also adopted a little girl. Last night we all ventured out for a dinner together. Anthony was ready for a sandwich so he ordered a club sandwich. Let’s just say it was the strangest club sandwich we have ever seen. Luckily, I ordered some fried rice. Mine came with a steamed egg and soup-which Mia loved. The funny part was that in my soup was what appeared to be a mushroom. So she put it on her spoon and bit into it and kept eating it. But eventually she pulled out some bones….so it was not a mushroom. It was making my stomach turn but we decided it was so important that we should record her because we know she would love to see this when she is 18…ha. Another funny thing we have realized is that Americans don’t dress their children warm enough. Who would have guessed? I thought my kids were comfortably dressed but according to many of the older Chinese people I have not put enough layers on Mia. All I can do is laugh and walk on. I know she is fine because she is SWEATING. But Anthony was talking to me yesterday about how they must have some big fears of getting sick. They dress their children like big old snowmen, they only give their children warm water, and they wear mask around the city.

Enough about China onto Mia. Man she is a little pistol. Her personality comes out quite clearly even without words. She figured out yesterday how to tell me she had to go to the bathroom-she pulled me to the bathroom and started to take her clothes off. I thought ok I know what you want. Then yesterday we went to a great museum but after about 2 hours of walking and looking she started to pull me. I didn’t know what she wanted at first but then I followed and realized she was headed to the door. When I picked her up and walked back in a typical 2 year old fit occurred. (But I will say her fits are not as long or as loud as most kids in America. I am sure she will meet Addie and Addie will school her on how to have an appropriate fit.) But she is stubborn and strong. Yesterday I could tell she was very sad but she was holding it in. She didn’t want to cry. I just held her and told her it was ok. I want her to feel safe that she can grieve. So she cried and I held her. I am so thankful she is a strong little girl but I know there is healing when you express your emotions. She still doesn’t want Anthony to hold her. Please pray for this because it has been really hard on Anthony. He really wants to love on her but she is just not there yet. But we found a good compromise. Food. He feeds her every meal and also carries M&Ms in his pocket for rewards. It has helped a lot. She will let him help her get dressed and that is a big step.

Please keep us in your prayers as we fly back to Guangzhou, China tomorrow morning.

A Place of Many Intersections

•March 21, 2012 • 8 Comments

China, the place where East Meets West—and the place where I first met my daughter. This reality has dominated the landscape of my life for the better part of a week now and for good reason. Let me explain what I mean by this. I’m a history buff…and those of you who know me…know that. I must admit, visiting Asia has long been on my bucket list…so to come here and get my daughter really is a double blessing for me.

 

To date, I have stood on the soil of 5 of the world’s 7 continents. All of them have amazed me in different ways. While in London I marveled at the fact that you could still touch crater holes in buildings made by German V2 rockets during WWII. In the African bush I was mesmerized when I sat just feet away from wild Lions in the safety of my Safari jeep. Both times when I traveled to Brazil I remembered thinking how much I adored the people of that country…there was just something about them that made me love them. Of course, I would be amiss if I did not least mention my home continent of North America. I have made my life in the US and am proud to call it home.

 

All that being said, I have personally wanted to see China for a long time. I mean…for a person who loves history this place is the equivalent of setting a sugar addict free in a candy store. For example, today Carin, Mia, and myself were able to tour the Yellow Crane Tower in the city of Wuhan, which is located in Hubei Province. In case you’re wondering, Wuhan was the birthplace of the uprising that officially ended the China Dynasties and paved the way for the modern China that exists today. So here I stood in this tower which bleeds antiquity…yet is totally surrounded by skyscrapers, huge housing developments, and all of the other amenities of the modern Western world.

 

It’s a paradox of sorts…yet has become the new face of China. What has most fascinated me about this place is that you can buy a Starbucks coffee and drink it while standing on the soil of a roughly 5000 year old civilization that has shaped much of the Eastern Hemisphere. I found that thought to be utterly amazing and grand on a scale I have never experienced before. China is the place where ancient meets modern…where East meets West…and as of Monday, March 19th…the place where I met Mia–Yi Qiu Rey (Yi-Cho-Ray) in case you’re wondering what they call her here.

 

 

As I was reflecting on the bigness of all of what I just mentioned…I couldn’t help but think that sitting in the middle of two Global Hemispheres…two historical epochs and all of this grandeur…is an underweight 30 lb.—2.5-year-old girl…who as of yesterday legally became my daughter.

 

This is the girl whom I have loved for the better part of 4 years…and who from her perspective-sees me as the guy she met a day ago. It’s obvious this is the case, she still recoils when I try to touch her and gets teary eyed when I’m too close. It’s heartbreaking, but I knew this would be the reality of our relationship until she starts to see me as Daddy—or Ba-Ba in the Chinese language.

 

So like China, I find myself standing at a major intersection in my life’s journey…the intersection of my daughter’s life. In the truest sense, I am part of the bridge between what life was like for her and what it is now about to become. It’s been a daily exercise of getting comfortable with being rejected in order to earn the love and trust of a little girl’s broken heart.

 

As her father, it’s a pain I must bear in order to help bring healing to her hurt heart. Consequently, it’s brought a whole new understanding of how my Heavenly Father has had to deal with me…which will be the subject of my next post. So keep praying for the bonding of our two hearts…which I deeply believe is the greatest history being written in China right now.

Gotcha Day Pictures

•March 20, 2012 • 5 Comments

Gotcha Day…March 19, 2012

•March 19, 2012 • 15 Comments

Yesterday was the big day for us. We woke up early and took a plane to Wuhan, China where we were going to get Mia. We had some free time till our appointment so Anthony and I braved the streets alone and went to McDonalds. I know that does not sound very brave but we had to walk quite a bit and cross some major intersections so that was all our stomachs could take that day since we were already so nervous for getting/meeting Mia. The McDonalds was very similar to the ones in the states except for the ketchup. I mean it was not Heinz. Then our time came to leave and go get Mia. (Oh, our translator for the next 5 days is a man named Grant. He is wonderful and he and his wife have been doing this for 10 years so he is very helpful and has great tips.) So we drove for about 20 mins to the Civil Affairs Office where someone from the orphanage would bring Mia to us. We were expecting to have to wait once we got there but when we opened the doors there she was with the social worker from the orphanage. (Here are my thoughts…Wait a minute I’m not ready. Oh my goodness is that her or am I going to go up and hug the wrong child? I feel sick. All of these thoughts went through my mind in a matter of seconds.) I sat down beside her and said hello. I offered her some toys and she said no. She just wanted to stay with the worker. Finally I picked her up she just screamed. I put her down and she ran away. At that point I am just wondering if I can do this. I gave her a few minutes and than held her again. I just tried to hug her and calm her down but she just kept saying “Mama, Mama” and I knew that she wasn’t referring to me. Finally, Anthony tried to hold her and she calmed down some but she never stopped asking for her Mama. He tried to give her to me and she reached back for him. So he held her the car ride back to the hotel. That ride was the longest ride of my life. She laid in his arms, so tired from her long day, and in the tiniest and saddest little voice you have ever heard kept saying “Mama, Mama” until she fell asleep. We brought her into the hotel and I knew I had two choices. I could let her bond only with Anthony, which a lot of adopted children bond with the dads first, or I could be the mom I knew I was. Being a mom means you love them even when they are breaking your heart. So I picked up the blanket I brought with me, put it around her to comfort her, and sat and rocked her till she finally fell back asleep. One huge victory that I needed. It reminded me of all the stuff I knew as a mom but was doubting. I could do this. And more than that she needed a mother right now since she just lost the only one she has ever known. God in that moment reminded me of His faithfulness to me and how he has equipt me for this job. He did not send me half way across the world to take on a job I was never meant to take on. So, after she woke up we tried to feed her in the room. We had steamed eggs and noodles. Nope she didn’t want either. So I said ok. You don’t have to eat. I did get her later on to drink 2 yogurt drinks and eat half of a banana. The funny thing was I tried to hand her back to Anthony so I could do something and she didn’t want to leave me. Yeah! She just might like me after all. But doing the best thing for her I made her go to him and she did just fine. But just like both of my other children once I was back in the room she wanted me. (Yeah, but don’t tell Ant.) The first person we introduced her to was her big brother. Aiden has been waiting so long to meet her and he is going to be the best big brother to her. They both saw each other over FaceTime but didn’t have too much to say. They just looked at each other. I am hoping that seeing each other everyday will help her once she goes home and has a familiar face. After that we had to do the wonderful brushing of the teeth. I knew she would hate it but I had to do what is best for her…I just had Nelly’s voice in my head telling me it is good for her. And if sweet Nelly can do it than so can I. And it was bad but we got through it. Then at 8pm I knew she was tired and ready for bed. I held her till she fell asleep and put her in a crib next to my bed. She opened her eyes when I put her in but never cried, I just patted her and she fell back asleep. As I type this it is 630am and she is still sleeping and never once moved or made a sound in the night. 

I will answer one of the questions people have about her foster mom. It is not allowed in China for the foster mom to come and meet the adoptive parents. In the past foster parents have contacted the adoptive parents in an inappropriate way. So we will never meet her. Norman, and Grant, say it is for the best. The only thing we can do is mail some pics and info of her to the orphanage and they have the choice to get them to the foster mother. Mia when she left also had a foster brother living with her. We also will not being going back to Yichang where she is from. It is a 4 hour bus ride and she got very car sick yesterday from the ride and threw up. I also feel it is not good to go back. It is best for her to just move her forward with her life. I have a photo album the sent me of her growing up so I do have pictures of her to show her. This agency we are here with also does trips for the families when the kids are older of China and their orphanage. So when she is 10 or 12 I would love to look into that for her if she is interested.

I never put a tip on my lost blog so here are 2.Tip # 1…You can’t have enough medicine. I thought I was crazy and told myself to stop packing so much. And of course once we got here Anthony needed some sudaphed and I didn’t have any and we can’t find any in China. So you really do need the whole medicine cabinet. Second, be prepared for the worst when meeting your child. You will want to give them what they want and just let them go back because you are hurting them…and then you have to grow up, put your big girl panties on, and be her/his mother. They are children they want to do all kinds of things that aren’t good for them..like run in the street. You have to not let their anger affect you because if you take it personally then you have lost and they have won (and we all know that kid who has won over their parent. The one that you don’t want to invite over to your house and is a brat,,,you don’t want that) So you shake it off and be the parent. The adoptive child will almost never pick you. You have chosen them. Even your own biological children that you have raised will often not chose you. DON’T TAKE THESE FIRST FEW DAYS PERSONALLY! IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU! It is about her grieving and losing her old life. Let the child grieve but be their parent.

Today is the day we officially adopt her. Yeah, this day is finally here. We can’t wait for you to meet her. Please keep praying for all of us Orzos.

Sunday March 18th 4:27pm…Very Long Day

•March 19, 2012 • 3 Comments

 

 

Well we’ve been up so long I can’t even remember the last time I got a good nights sleep…I think it was Wednesday. We arrived to Guangzhou, China at 535am after a 15-hour flight. It was so long but we have made it. China, at least Guangzhou, is totally different than I ever imagined. It is so modern. There is a new part they call “new Guangzhou” and it is so nice and clean. The buildings are so huge and it kind of reminds me of pictures of Dubai that I have seen. We have stayed up all day, even though it is our nighttime, and went to a really fun Dim Sum lunch. It was really nice and good food. Also, today we met our tour guides Norman and Martin. Norman runs an agency named USAA-US Asian Affairs. He and his team translate our papers, handle all the China paperwork, and are our translators and tour guides while in China. It is fabulous and when you travel with him you don’t have to worry about anything. It is like a vacation. Our group is very small-only 3 families. One family is from San Francisco. She is fully Chinese but was born in the US. She and her husband have traveled to China with her mother-who speaks Chinese-and their 2 ½ year old daughter (a great play mate for Mia.) The other couple are Chinese with no children-till today. They live part of the year in Hong Kong and the other part in San Francisco. Both families are very nice. We are so excited because we will travel tomorrow at 630am to Wuhan, China to get Mia. Tomorrow is actually her “Gotcha Day” and Tues. March 20th we will officially adopt her. So it is 435pm (435 am FL time) and I think it is time for bed. We can’t wait to meet our little girl. Please pray she will not be scared, feel my love, and not hate me for taking her from her foster mother.