Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Adoption Day

At the Civil Affairs Office finalizing our adoption of Lei Qing Quan.  Leiney Grace Qingquan is now officially our daughter.

Leiney Grace is signing her name.  This lady was the same one who did this part of the process for Lilly's adoption back in 2007.  She commented on how beautiful Leiney Grace is and on her pretty handwriting.

Sealing the signature with a red thumb print. After leaving Civil Affairs, our guide explained to Leiney Grace that I was officially her mama and that I would like her to have an English name. She embraced her new name and said it was her "favorite".

Leiney Grace is enjoying the digital camera.  I thought she was planning to just take a picture of me, but then she walked over and got in the picture with me and proceeded to snap this shot.  Well-done I would say!

Celebrating our official Adoption Day with Mcdonald's.  Aunt Lulu is already tired of Chinese food.  Leiney Grace enjoyed the fries but did not like her cheeseburger very much.

At Wal-mart with Amy's daughter, Julia.  Julia and Sam have been superb with Leiney Grace.  At Wal-mart, we did find an umbrella stroller that will accomodate Leiney Grace's long legs.  At first, she didn't want to get in the stroller although her beautiful grin remained as she shook her head "no", but after our guide explained why we wanted her to ride in it, she complied.  This will allow us to avoid the big and bulky wheelchair.

We tried swimming in the heated pool, but it was still too chilly for my taste.  Leiney Grace had fun and smiled and laughed the entire time.  It was a short swim and our only swim.  Leiney Grace got a bit too cold which of course further compromised her low oxygen levels.  She was really panting after we got back to the hotel room.  Aunt Lulu helped to warm her up as I gathered clothes and turned up the heat in the room.  The smiles returned shortly thereafter.  I will not make that mistake again : (

We had Chinese food at a restaurant across from our hotel. Amy and her family joined us, and we all had a delightful evening - except for little Lulu who is still grieving!  Leiney Grace took this picture of us at the table.
Back in the room, Leiney Grace started blowing bubbles.  She loves this!

Time for bed!

Today was another wonderful and amazing day.  I am amazed at God's goodness.  I truly do not deserve the blessing I have received.  Leiney Grace is such a delightful child, and I am so honored and blessed to be her mother.

We have been Skyping with our family back home.  Leiney Grace blows kisses to Baba and her siblings.  She calls them "Jie Jie" or "Mei Mei".  I simply can not wait for the reunion of our family.  What a celebration it will be! 

I will end with a quotation I read last night from a novel I am reading, Meet Mrs. Smith.  It explains fairly well why I have just traveled half way around the world to adopt my 8th child.

"I expect to pass through life but once.  If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now and not defer or neglect it as I shall not pass this way again."

Praising God tonight that I have been so richly blessed by His child.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Lei Qing Quan

Eating lunch on "Food Street" in Huatian Hotel.  Basically it was a la carte Chinese food. 

Lei Qing Quan, as she is being called for today, is so eager to learn.  She copied the upper and lower case alphabet on the magna doodle.  Then she began to copy words from a book. In the above picture, she is wearing the 2nd and 3rd layers which were under the yellow sweater. 

In her new clothes which swallow her, but she sure looks cute!

Lei Qing Quan hard at work again.  This time she was writing Chinese characters - her name, mama, and baba.

A happy girl!

In our hotel lobby, also beautifully decorated for CNY, waiting to walk to the store to buy water, milk, and juice.

After her shower - I forgot the Huatian Hotel does not have bath tubs.  She did well in the shower with help from Mama.  Can you tell her hair extensions are gone? : )

Sleeping Beauty at rest after a full and exciting day!

What I know. . .

Today was an amazing Spirit -filled day full of God's goodness and grace.

God has blessed our family with another amazing gift - "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change" James 1:17.

I am so thankful we heeded the call to adopt this precious child.

She is a gentle spirit - took a tissue from her purse and when I wiped her nose with it, she took another tissue to wipe the nose of one of the babies who was crying. 

She is generous - after having her new and well-liked Wa-Wa (baby doll) for only a few minutes, she walked over to Amy's Lu Lu, 21 month old screaming at the top of her lungs, and offered her doll to Lu Lu.

She is patient - at lunch Amy's family was served first, she watched and waited for a long time until our food was served.  (Thanks to Julia, Amy's 13 year old daughter for the fries for Lei Qing Quan!)

She is tiny - under the layers of clothing, she is skin and bones.  All the clothes and shoes I brought are entirely too big - so much for those measurements.  Aunt Lu Lu took up the waist of  size 6 elastic waist knit pants today. Hoping that they stay on tomorrow as tonight they would not. 

She is a helper - she turns the lights off, she puts everything away when she is finished playing (Bryant kids back home take note!), she even lifted the chair after we ate Pizza Hut in our room and carried it back to the desk where it belongs.  That chair weighs about as much as she does.

She is smart - I have no doubt that she will be learning English very soon.  She is already repeating everything I say and is so eager.  She loves puzzles and writing and books.  She loves the Leapster too and has figured out several of the games already.

She is frail - after walking up to our hotel room following Gotcha Day at the Civil Affairs Office, I noticed that she was very short of breath.  Playing with an inflated balloon in the room also had her winded.  Her fingers and toes are clubbed. Now  I know to carry her like when we walked to the store tonight or either if we are going a short distance, we walk very slow.   We will be borrowing a wheelchair from the hotel when we hopefully do some sightseeing later in the week.  She will be in a wheelchair at the airport as the walk from the plane to the welcoming spot would have her panting.

She needs dental work - Lei Qing Quan has seen a toothbrush before, and she knows what to do with one; however, she must not have brushed very often at the orphanage.  Poor thing, has mulitiple areas of decay in her mouth.  After brushing her teeth, her mouth was bleeding ALOT.  Of course, the teeth take a huge backseat to repairing her heart. (Hoping our dentist or my BIL, who is a dentist in a nearby town, will be generous as we have no dental insurance.  On second thought, maybe we should get some dental insurance, honey, like yesterday! 

I am closing so I can sleep beside my Sleeping Beauty.  Thank you for your prayers.  I was a nervous wreck prior to meeting my newest daughter (I had good company because Amy was too), but I truly felt God's presence from the moment Lei Qing Quan walked into the room.  All my fears were gone , well most of them anyway, and I felt a peace that indeed passes understanding.  And I know just where that came from!  To God be the Glory!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

In Changsha

Our day in Beijing. . .
Freezing in Tienneman Square!

Gate to the Forbidden City - time did not allow us to visit inside.

On our way to the Great Wall

Although it was my second time at the Wall, it was still breathtakingly beautiful and amazing to see .

Freezing on the Great Wall!  We don't know the exact temperature, but our hands felt like ice after wearing gloves and being out of the car for 30 minutes. (still need help with how to rotate pics.  rotated before uploading to blog but then it reverts back. tips?)

I can't put into words what my heart felt when I saw this - written on the Great Wall in communist China. 

Aunt Lulu enjoyed her visit although it was freezing and crowded.  According to our guide,if you climb to the top, you are considered a hero.  Let's just say, Aunt Lulu and I did not become "heros".

Vegetable soup - Chinese style.  Aunt Lulu ordered vegetable soup...not quite what she was hoping for.

It is now 7:15 AM.  Our flight from Beijing to Changsha was a bit bumpy due to turbulents, but we weren't delayed and arrived right on time in Changsha. We met Amyand her family, using BAAS and adopting a 2 year old from Chenzhou - where Lilly is from).  I am so thankful that Amy is here.  She and I have already found that we have quite a bit in common - homeschooling and  a passion for adoption of the orphan that is completely of the Lord... a passion that is not understood by some of our family and friends... a desire to obey God even though we really thought we were "done!"  I am looking forward to seeing Lu Lu (interesting that my Aunt Lulu is here as they are naming their new daughter Lu Lu) united with such a beautiful family today!

Sleep last night was much better for both of us. It is 7:30 AM here and today is the day that we have been working towards since June.  We will leave our hotel at 9:30 and meet Leiney Grace at the Civil Affairs office at 10 AM.  This is the same place where we first met Lilly and we are in the same hotel where we stayed on our 1st trip in 2007 - flooded with memories!

I am excited of course, but I readily admit to also being rather frightened.  I feel as though I am not prepared and that I really don't know what to do - what do I say to her, what do I do to comfort her without scaring her?  You don't just pick up an 8 year old as I did with my under 2 year old babies on Gotcha Day, do you?  I know I should be a pro at this, but I am not.  I have found comfort in scriptures . . ." 'You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off;' fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  Isaiah  41: 9, 10

I don't feel equipped for this yet I know who is. . ."He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. " Isaiah 40:10

I feel weak yet I know who is not. . ."Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than we ask or think, according to His power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen

Thank you for praying!
Next post should have some pictures of our new daughter
Leiney Grace Qingquan -
an orphan no more!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Arrived in Beijing

We Made It!

Thank you for the prayers for safe and smooth travel.  We had a great day of flying.  We are now in Beijing and dying to go to sleep.  We are forcing ourselves to stay up until 7 or 8 PM here in order to hopefully sleep all night and wake up rested tomorrow.  We head to Tienneman (sp?) Square and the Great Wall at 7 30 AM.  Our flight to Changsha leaves at 4 PM and we should arrive at 7 PM Sunday evening CHina time.  We are 13 hours ahead of you back home. 

Enjoy the pictures.  There are many decorations up for CNY, and they are beautiful.  The cherry tree is in the lobby of our hotel and has the red "Good Luck" envelopes decorating it.  Chinese lanterns are hung throughout the city.  It's very pretty, but the weather is very cold!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This and That

New Territory. . .Having a Teenage Driver! YIKES!

We had a great time celebrating Shelby's 15th birthday with her good friends, Hailey and Kelly.  We enjoyed seeing the movie War Horse and having dinner together.  We ended the night by surprising Shelby with a serenade of Happy Birthday by the staff at the restaurant and a delicious cookie with ice cream.

Around here, birthdays typically are celebrated more than once.  This was on Shelby's actual birthday - Christmas Eve!

Miss Katie arrived exactly 2 years and 2 weeks after Shelby.  Katie loves peanut butter and wanted to try this chocolae peanut butter brownie pie.  It was good but only with a cold glass of milk to help dilute all that chocolate!

Katie has had an amazingly wonderful 1st year at school.  I am so grateful that she has made some wonderful friends like these two.

We had a great time designing and painting at a nearby studio. After all that hard work, we headed to 5 Guys and enjoyed some yummy burgers.  These 3 giggled the entire evening and had me laughing hysterically as well.  Oh, to have such carefree spirits!

no words needed : ) 

My idea of packing prior to Sunday afternoon.

My initial attempts at packing on Sunday.  Thankfully I have managed to do a lot more since then and other than weighing my suitcase to make sure I am under the weight limit, I am almost ready to go.

Of course I had to take time off from packing to celebrate Chinese New Year.  Our super-sized family joined 3 other large families to celebrate our children's Chinese heritage.  We had a great time and enjoyed a wonderful  assortment of Chinese food. The youngest of the bunch came home right before Christmas, and of course Sharon and I are adding 2 more next week.  Only God knows how many more little ones may be home by next CNY!  Amazing and miraculous!  What a blessing to be a part of such an incredible group of families who love the Lord and are passionate about heeding the call to care for the orphan.

Oh my, I just realized that Leiney Grace has only 3 more sleeps at Leiyang Social Welfare Institute!  She will know the love of a mother in 3 days (it's already Friday in China).  She may not like the love of this mother initially, but hopefully she will soon receive my love and give me love in return.