Monday, May 31, 2010

An orphan no more....

Gotcha Day

More of the details later, but for now I think a picture says a thousand words.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18

Just like the poem about the starfish, there is no way we can make a difference

in the life of every orphan, but to this one,

we WILL make a difference.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Another busy day

This morning began with a sunrise over the city of Beijing and a wonderful time to praise the Lord with Christians from all over the world.

We had the chance to go to this international church to worship the Lord with our group. We had to show our passport to get in, but once in, "the presence of the Lord was truly in this place." We met some wonderful people and had the opportunity to praise the Lord with a few hundred people from all over the world.

Then we had our traditional Chinese lunch and a little shopping.

Afterwards we drove to the Great Wall of China and what a sight to behold. It was magnificent and pictures will never do it justice. We all started to climb and about half way up, I headed back down. David and Tia continued to climb to the 6th tower in the picture. A LONG WAY!

We shopped at the Jade Factory and another delicious Chinese dinner.

Then our family headed to the airport. We were the only ones in the group leaving tonight, but we need to be at the civil affairs office at 9:30 am tomorrow and that was too early to take a flight in the morning. We flew to Hangzhou and were met by our guide, Wendy. She had just been to Lia's orphanage a few weeks ago and said she saw her and talked with her about us coming to get her. She confirmed that she has been treated well, but has also been living with many other children and she is very quiet. Our countdown begins and I must get some rest because in just 8 more hours I will have a new little girl to entertain.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

All in one day!

Today began at 4 am when I just couldn't sleep any longer. After we skyped and had breakfast we loaded the bus for our FULL day of sightseeing. Here are just a few of the pictures of the many sights we saw today.

We started off at Tiannamen Square with MANY people. I really don't know
if I have every in my life seen so many people in one place.

Then we walked through the Forbidden Palace that is made up of many buildings that seem to go on forever. We felt like we were really special because the
Chinese people constantly wanted to take our picture.
Next we went to the Pearl factory were we saw beautiful pearls of every color, shape and size. I tried to get David to buy me the one unique gold pearl below, but at $2, 000 he quickly walked away and I quickly took it off of my neck!

We had lunch at a Chinese buffet and I tried many different things, some were very good and some NOT so!

I will show you the next picture when I have a beautiful little girl to model it. We went to the silk factory and watched a demonstration of how silk is made. We bought a pink traditional Chinese dress for Lia.

This evening for dinner we had the Peking Duck Dinner. It was all placed on the table family style on a lazy susan that we had to try and dish onto our small plates with chop sticks. Fortunately, they did give us forks for the meal.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Japan and Beijing

This is all we actually saw of Japan and it was from our hotel room at the Hotel Marroad.
Breakfast was in the airport yesterday at Starbucks and this beautiful face of the young Chinese girl has been the typical smile we have seen everywhere. They have all been very gracious and helpful thus far.
Cars driving on the opposite side of the road than we are used to.
Outside of the hotel. I asked the guy what this said, but don't remember. Tia said it was something she learned about at school about the special day for children and a celebration. We really did bring more clothes, but when we stayed in Japan we just put back on the same "travel" clothes for the next flight. Since David works for the airlines we have a dress code that we have to follow.

We are finally in Beijing and have had a good nights sleep. I have been waking up around 4 am the past few days and am amazed that it is already light outside. The weather is nice but cloudy. We just finished skyping with Justin, Nathan, Mom and Tia and Mrs. Tamplem. Yesterday once we got to Beijing we met our guide, Sherry, and then waited at the airport for about 2 hours for two other families to get there. David has gone to buy more batteries for the camera now before we sightsee for the day. So far that is all we have forgotten to bring. I had a hard time getting internet connection last night or I would have updated this then. They are waiting on me for breakfast so to those of you back home, have a good evening! Love you all! We are off to see the world and only 48 more hours til we meet our baby girl!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Almost there

After an amazing evening Tuesday at Brandon's awards assembly(more on that later) we did not sleep at all. We started trying to get everything to fit into the suitcases and got so busy trying to pack and organize all of the paperwork that it was time to go before we knew it. We left the house at 5 am and drove to DFW airport where we flew for 3 hours from DFW to LAX. We then had a 3 hour layover in LAX and flew to Tokyo, Japan. We were able to fly business class so it gave us lots more room, two good meals, movies and wonderful service. The flight time was 10.5 hours. Once we arrived in Japan we tried to get a flight to Beijing, but arrived too late. It was less than an hour before check in and we were not allowed to get on that flight. We tried other airlines, but without success. Consequently, we took a bus to a local hotel, and are staying here tonight. It is 7:40 pm in Japan and 5:40 am at home as I type this and other than a short nap on the plane we haven't slept much. We are definitely ready for a shower and bed. We will go back to the airport in the morning to take the Japan Airlines flight to Beijing. I will send more info later, but for now we are going to get some sleep.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Senior Sunday

Today was such a fun day to celebrate Brandon's graduation. It doesn't seem like it should already be time for this big event. We moved to our home the year he started first grade and I can't believe it has been 12 years. Our church had a beautiful service honoring all of the graduates and then we shared the day with family and friends. What a joy to share those special moments with so many. Now only a few more days and he will have the long awaited diploma and then get to enter the next stage of life. I am praying that all works out well so that a friend is able to skype graduation and we can actually watch it while we are on the other side of the world. We are praying for good internet at the graduation event and at our hotel. I am so thankful that a friend has offered to do this for us so that we don't have to miss anything. God is good and He hears the desires of our heart.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Where are my eyes?

We are on the countdown finally to this sweet face! The face we fell in love with almost a year ago to the day that she will officially become our daughter. We first saw her face June 3, 2009 and she will officially become ours June 9, 2010.

Two weeks from right now we will be on our way. This has been a long, crazy journey and one I often have NOT understood. I have to daily remember that God sees the big picture and nothing is a surprise to Him. After we got the call that our TA(travel approval) had arrived our agency told us that we would DEFINITELY travel May 20th. We started arranging David's vacation and my substitute along with packing and planning. A couple of days later we got the call that due to a trade fair in China there were many delays and the consulate appointments were not available. We would now have to be postponed yet another week. Our travel group would be traveling May 27th now.

After this call we had to make a VERY difficult decision and one that has caused us much discouragement along with lots of prayer. If we left with this group we would miss our son's high school graduation-something we have waited and planned for many years! We had the option of waiting and going with the next group that would leave in June. This seems like it would work much better except for the fact that if we went with this group we would likely miss a family cruise planned for later in June. This isn't just any cruise! It is one that was a gift from my grandmother to 25 members of our family. She has even already purchased the trip for our little Lia, since we thought she would be home long before this vacation. So we had to choose what to miss-two very important things to our family. We talked to Brandon about it and he said it was a "no-brainer," and he understood if we missed graduation. He had planned to go along with us, but will now stay at home with his brothers to attend graduation. We will be counting on a video the day we get home!
I have dealt with much disappointment realizing I will miss such an important day. Even in the midst of my excitement to go get my little girl, I have dealt with sadness that has been clouding a bit of the joy. God, however, has been doing an amazing work though, because as I focus on HIM, He keeps reminding me that there is no disappointment in Him(Psalm 22:5). I have continually been reminded to keep my eyes focused on my Father and He will continue to give me a peace that passes all understanding.

I don't know about you, but I can read scripture over and over and then all of a sudden the same verse hits me over the head with a whole new meaning. This past week He reminded me that even though He promises to fulfill the desires of my heart, those same desires may also come with moments of sadness. These are the moments when He promises to be the encourager that I need and He promises to hear my cries.

He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.

Psalm 145:19 (King James Version)

I am learning that even when life doesn't go the way I planned, God has a plan far greater,

Psalm 25:15 has gently reminded me that,

"As my eyes are ever on the Lord, only He will release my feet from the snare."

For me that snare has been one of disappointment with the way I thought things should go. I am discovering though that His peace really can be what releases my feet from the snare.

He can do it for you too! Seek his face and in Him there is no disappointment.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A special day

Mother's Day is a day that can be both joyful and difficult for so many. I personally had the joy of getting to spend time this weekend with my grandmother, mother, mother-in-law, and all four of my children(minus one in China). An added plus was the fact that my wonderful husband cooked dinner for us Saturday evening. I also realized what a difficult day it was for so many. I have dear friends that have lost children and parents recently. This is a day that makes that pain even more real. I pray that the God of comfort gives each of them a peace that passes all understanding.

It is also a day when I can reflect on the absolute privilege God has given me as He has entrusted me to raise His children that another mother could not raise. I don't take this blessing lightly and realize it is only through His love and compassion that I am able to do this.

So whether today was a great day or a difficult day for you, I wish you my bloggy buddies a

Happy Mother's Day

This was also a weekend that we had the blessing of enjoying Brandon's senior prom.
Here are a few pictures from our weekend.

This first photo is Tia and daddy on the way to Camp Grady Spruce for the week. They had a blast! Then prom photos and finally a photo of my grandmother at her tea party. Sorry, Mom, I didn't post your photo, but I knew you didn't like that one!