Safe In The Arms of the Shepherd

Safe In The Arms of the Shepherd
This is Who we want our children to know!

Friday, December 21, 2012


OK, I hope you all don't consider this post in poor taste. It is just so funny that I can't stop myself from sharing. Sam has not been feeling well today and has been in the bathroom a lot to the extent that , let's just say poo stinky! Daddy commented that even he could smell it, which he usually cannot. YiLi also said that she could not smell anything, and Daddy retorted that she was lucky. The next thing we knew, YiLi was singing "Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him all creatures here below, Praise Him above ye heavenly host, praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost." And she meant it! I guess she was really thankful for that blessing!

At any rate, please say a prayer for safe travel for us and for Sam's tummy to feel better.

A delicate balancing act . . .

I've been noticing that I cannot be as verbally and demonstratively loving with Sam as I would want to be, not yet. YiLi knows she is dearly loved, she understands that love grows when shared, and yet, this is a hard process for her to go through. She IS making her way, but I do stop myself from going on and on about:

Sam's sweet heart- when we play Sorry, and someone gets sent home, even if he is the one sending them home, he begins a pitiful fake cry and comes over to that person and kisses and hugs them! The first time he did this, he checked out our response. When he saw we liked it, the kisses and hugs just got bigger and bigger!

How stinking' cute he is!

How clever he is! When he repeats English words for us, he has a peculiar little accent. Even though he is 6, it reminds me of how a baby will mispronounce words in a cute way and how sad it is when that baby starts speaking correctly . . .

How much mischief this little boy can find in this small space. Over and over again we have gotten on google translate, explained our expectations, described what a family is, held hands and gotten a Chinese pinkie promise about what he will or will not do going forward . . . We are making headway, but I would not exactly leave me dearest possessions on the counter for anyone to come along and play with!

Really, YiLi is doing great. We try not to make her responsible for too much translation, but there have been several times when she breaks out in giggles and then tells us what Sam has said, so that is a good sign.

I hope this helps a family heading over for a subsequent adoption, just something to think about.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

No blog is complete without a panda . . .

Vicky reminded me that I have not blogged for a few days . . . we have been wrapped up in chasing, guarding, feeding, protecting, feeding, teaching, feeding . . . you get the idea! Yes, we came to Guangzhou on Friday, but we don't have our consulate appointment until Thursday, and we don't leave until just after midnight on Saturday, China time! We are so ready to be home. I am enjoying China, but my impression of the China Hotel still stays true. It is not a good place for us, as there are no restaurants near-by except McDonalds. We have been to several really weird places and received unexpected meals that cost a lot of money. Why can't we walk into any Chinese restaurant and just order some rice or noodles with some ordinary vegetables? No chicken feet, pigs knuckles or duck head, please. My impression of China vs. other countries that I have lived in or spent time in is that most Chinese people are not interested in helping foreigners or speaking English. That said, though, we have many many blessings for which we are thankful:

Sam is unexpectedly healthy! He seems to have no remaining issues from his special needs he had surgeries for. We were told to prepare fro the worst and pray for the best, and we received the best!

He is so cute and can look so sweet and innocent that he "bamboozles" especially women. They just want to give him anything and everything. Men and women, including our guides, laugh at him because he says such unexpected things. Last night he got out of the taxi and swept the hotel greeter's hand off of our taxi and told him that he would take care of things . . . once in Shenyang he raised his arm in the air like he has seen people do and ordered the waiter over to our table . . . people think this is just so cute, but in reality, we have our work cut out for us! He makes fast friends with every bus and taxi driver, invites them out for a dinner and a "beer".

Today YiLi and I were studying on some of her reading homework. He came over and was very interested. So not only is he smart, but he seems to find learning interesting. I hope so, because we want him to start kindergarten in January! I can't quite see Grandma Grace watching him all day for very long. He is a bit sneaky and I think he would get quite a lot past her. Although, maybe she can hold her own!

OK, I know all you want are pictures. I can only post 3-4 at a time. After this blog, I will immediately post just some pictures that don't require words.

More pics

Where did the panda go?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Orphanage visit

I am simply going to post some pictures because I do not have time to express my feelings about this day now:

The lady in the gold shirt is Sam's foster mom during the school week. Within the orphanage there are apartments set up like a "pseudo family" for four children with two "parents". When I get back to the US I can post many, many pics, but right now I am limited. Sam shared his bedroom with a third grade boy. Then on the weekends, remember, Sam went to the lovely home of a retired general and his wife. It turns out he has probably, no definitely, taken more vacations than I have!

Many had requested that I check into some of the children remaining at the orphanage. We were not given any info directly, except that the boy pictured on this post is available. But I am encouraged to keep in touch with the orphanage via email, and can make specific requests in that manner. So I think that it fairly good news, and I can coordinate with the advocates back home to see who I should inquire about.

Sam's finding place

There are always many unknowns with the adoption of a child. Most children never learn who their original parents were or why they thought it was either impossible to keep their child or a necessity to give them up. Although it is no different in Sam's case, we did gain a ton of information yesterday and today that we will share with him as he grows older.

Sam was abandoned in the emergency room of a hospital that we visited yesterday. We specifically learned that he was not left there at the time of his birth, but was abandoned at some later point. The rest is subjecture . . . maybe his mother asked someone to hold him while she went to the restroom . . . or perhaps everyone else was just too busy with their own ailing loved ones to notice a little bundle until he started to cry . . .

We did take pictures, but I will tell you that since the time of his abandonment, the hospital was razed and a new one built in its place, so the place is not as it was.

I choose to believe that our child's mother (or father) loved their son enough to leave him in a safe place where they could be assured that he would be found and have his medical needs tended to. The ironic thing is that his needs have been totally corrected and all that remains is a beautiful boy . . . someone who would have been seen as the treasure that we know he always was.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

You are not going to believe this . . .

Two fantastic things happened to our family (besides adopting Sam):

The "model" policewoman handing adoptions was in this province yesterday. The TV station wanted to film her in action, and we just happened to be the family that was adopting on this day! So we staged the passport process and accepted a pretend passport in front of the cameras. We were interviewed and were told exactly how to accept the passport, with both hands, and then we were photographed together after the policewoman talked to Sam for a couple of minutes. Then we pretended to leave the office. Is that exciting or what? Then we forgot to try to find ourselves on TV last evening, so we will never know how we looked!

The next thing happened today: Come to find out Sam did not exactly have a foster family, but he DID spend every weekend and summer vacation with a family ever since he was little. Wait for it, wait for it . . . he lived in the home of a 4 star Chinese general and his wife. They have fostered quite a few CHinese orphans, and they keep in contact with each and every family in the states. Today we were invited into their home, toured it, had tea, saw pictures of Sam on their various vacations, and then . . . we were invited back to China anytime, at which time they want to take us on a tour of China. I am serious! these people were so personable and so nice - and what did we have to give them in return for over a dozen costly and collectable gifts? A mangled box of Pulako's caramels! We did not even know of their existence! If only, if only. It was a delightful day with much insight into the life Sam has had, which I am certain helped prepare him to be in our family.

Now all I have to figure out is what to give the orphanage director tomorrow, since I sort of robbed Peter to pay Paul if you know what I mean. All we have left to give are two boxes of Russell Stover candies, two bottles of fish oil tablets (yep, that's what I said) and four bottles of hand sanitizer The end.

Without further ado . . . Meet Sam!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

More foster family pics . . .

We hired a taxi for the day (600 yen - @ 100 USD) and drove way out into the Chinese countryside. The transition from city to country was quite rapid and surprising. Gasoline and cars cost too much for anyone to live much out in the suburbs, so the cities and packed, and I mean packed! The roads were excellent, wide and empty. Even in the countryside there was no grass to speak of. Just reddish dirt everywhere. Michael did tell us, however, that the government pays a per tree stipend to anyone who plants young trees to help China be tree-covered. They have to have the money to buy the trees, but they receive so much per year from then on, and it can be a handsome income for not having to do much. So we could see young trees planted in ways that nature did not accomplish all along our way.

They have a friend who owns a car, and with cell phone contact they were trying to intercept and meet us. It was confusing because we kept pulling off the road to look for them and make a call. When we finally found each other, we got out of the car, expecting greetings, and the dad picked up YiLi and ran to the other car and got it! Rick turned into super dad and also ran over and got into that car! We did not know what was going on. Turns out they were just excited to see her, but Rick and I has already talked that she would never be out of our sight just in case!

When we arrived at the village, everyone literally streamed into the house. It became very joyful and chaotic at the same time and I can't wait for everyone to see all the pictures and hear the whole story! We were a tiny bit afraid that YiLi would become mix up, but at the end of the day, we said our goodbyes and she jumped into the taxi and said that that was not hard at all. I am glad that she was able to transition, but I disagree. This was a very difficult day, especially at the goodbye part, and I feel compassion for that mama and baba who raised YiLi as a daughter for almost 8 years and then lost her, even though they know it is for her best. Pray for their hurting hearts please. They care for YiLi deeply and I felt such a connection to them.

When I first photographed the food dishes, there were 6, Then there were 8, and then MORE THAN 20 dishes in our honor, all on a low table like a coffee table, and we sat on camping stools around the food. They went next door and got us big spoons because they felt so sorry for us with our chopsticks. Several types of seafood with the sea being so close. Amazing! Ohm and the neighbors made dumplings and brought bowls and bowls of them over . . .

in the home of YiLi's beloved foster family

The pictures tell the story:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Qingdao pictures

The orange piece is the conch of Qingdao, which symbolizes the call at the beginning of the event. I have to do more research, but Michael thinks it may have been erected at the time of the Olympics.

What a beautiful city is Qingdao. Very cold and windy, but no snow. Wakes you right up when you take a walk! YiLi is turning out to be a very good photographer and is snapping pics left and right. She is going to make a presentation to her class when she returns (that is her homework project).