Sunday, June 30, 2013

The countdown begins....

International travel is NOT for the faint of heart.  Boy, can it wear you out!  Our simple 2 1/2 hour flight from Beijing to Guangzhou turned into a major fiasco.  Our plane was delayed 4 hours.  Unfortunately, 3 of those hours were spent after we boarded sitting on the runway awaiting clearance.  I knew it was not a good sign when the flight attendants started serving dinner and drinks while we were still on the ground.  This was a Chinese domestic airline which means few announcements were in English so each time the pilot made an announcement, we would scurry to find a young person who might translate for us.  But, we made it it our hotel and are so relieved to be here.

I should be sleeping, but I'm too excited!  We meet Sophia in 7 hours, and I have so much to do.  I want to have everything unpacked and ready to go so I'm not rummaging through suitcases with a
grieving, upset child who is in major shock.

Please be in prayer for our precious daughter.  My heart breaks thinking about how scared and unsure she will be at first.  Our family has been anticipating her for many months, but no one has let her in on the big changes that are coming her way.  Lord, protect and comfort her heart.  Give her the peace that transcends all understanding.  May she rest in You knowing that her Heavenly Father has great things in store for her life and her future.

Seven hours and counting until we become a family of four!!!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Chinese acrobats

The Chinese acrobat show was incredible!  Full of amazing stunts!  I mean, people twisting their bodies in ways I didn't think was possible, jumping through hoops high in the air, and forming huge human pyramids while balancing on a seesaw.  The grand finale was five men on motorcycles inside a sphere shaped cage all circling each other in all directions at very high speeds.  We had to look away several times because we were convinced an ugly crash was coming.

Levi would have loved the acrobat show.  However, our poor little guy is having a really hard time adjusting to the time change so he slept in my lap through the entire show.  We'll have to pull it up on You Tube so he can see what he missed.

Beijing cuisine

I'm pretty adventurous when it comes to trying new foods.  In Beijing, we've experienced pork and fennel dumplings, noodles with bean curd sauce, and the traditional hot pot dinner.  All pretty delicious!

However, today our guide asked if we would like to try one of the local delicacies, a donkey meat sandwich. that a trick question?  I couldn't help but think of the donkey who lives down the road that Levi and I visit on the golf cart at least once a day.  I kept hearing the voice of Shrek on the movie as he calls his  friend, "Don-keeee"! We may have missed a culinary adventure, but we declined the offer.

In fact, tonight at dinner, we asked to go to a Western style restaurant.  We were dying for something familiar....some comfort food.  Where did I we end up?  Pizza Hut for cheese lovers pizza, ice cold Coke, and chocolate cake!  Donkey's got nothin on that!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Great Wall

We had an amazing day at the Great Wall!  What an impressive structure!  Did you know the Great Wall is over 5,000 total miles? Lots and lots of steps.  At one point, Levi asked, "Mommy, where's the escalator?"  Son, that's what I was wondering.  ;)

To get to the wall, we took a terrifying cable car ride to the top of the mountain...I had a death grip on Levi in case he decided to start wiggling.  Once at the top, we explored the wall and the many watch towers.  Then, a fun sled ride all the way down the mountain!

Tonight at dinner, we learned to make Chinese dumplings and practiced our chopstick skills.  Tomorrow, we head to the Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, and the Chinese acrobat show.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

We made it!

We made it to Beijing around 6pm which felt like 5am to us.  Levi slept for many hours on the plane, but Adam and I were really dragging by the time we made it through customs and immigration.  Our guide took us straight to our room, and we collapsed for the night.

We are staying in a beautiful home of a family in Beijing.  The mother is our tour guide, and the father is a chef, our personal chef for the next few days.  We awoke to fresh coffee brewing (thank you!), garlic chicken, and the best fried rice I've ever eaten.  Not a typical breakfast for us, but we devoured it.

Now, it's off to see The Great Wall!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Special Day

Today is one of Levi's last days as an only child.  Soon he will sharing the limelight with a baby sister. ;)

To commemorate, we had "Levi's Special Day" with mommy and daddy.  This morning, I told him he could choose whatever he wanted to do that day.  The sky's the limit so I'm thinking zoo, bounce house, or the place all kids love and parents dread, Chuck E Cheese.  Instead, our son said, "I want to take Henry (green train #3) to the doughnut store and eat 10 chocolate doughnut holes."

You got it, Levi!  Man, did we get off easy!  So, a buck twenty five later, we have one happy boy and we got to spend some precious moments with our "firstborn".  We love you son!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

My Packing List

Passports?  Check.
Plane tickets?  Check.
Enough Chef Boyardee to keep my picky 3 year old alive?  Check.
Enough peanut butter to keep my picky 37 year old alive?  Check.
And.....yes, a few Folgers singles for me just in case I can't find the Starbucks. :)

Ok, that should about do it!  Next stop: Beijing.  We leave June 26 for a whirlwind tour of the Great Wall, Summer Palace, and Tiannenmen Square and then it's off to Guangzhou to meet Miss Sophia!  Gotcha Day is July 1st!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Special Needs

I have purposely postponed writing this post.  Why?   Because I want our daughter Sophia to be celebrated just like every new daughter and granddaughter is celebrated...with joy, anticipation, and excitement!  I don't want Sophia to be defined by her special needs.

No.  She is first and foremost a child of God described in Psalms as "fearfully and wonderfully made".  Her special needs were not a surprise to her Heavenly Father.  In fact, whatever challenges or obstacles she will face, she will do so with the help of the one true God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.  And as I've heard it said before, "God don't make no junk!"

Sophia was born with a cleft lip that was partially repaired in China.  Upon arriving home in the US, she will need a revision to completely close the cleft.  This is necessary for proper feeding and to aid in speech development.

In addition, Sophia has bilateral cleft hands. Cleft hand is a rare congenital birth defect that causes the hand to have missing fingers, a V-shaped cleft, and sometimes other deformities. Sophia is missing the middle finger on both hands and has deep V-shaped clefts on each hand. This, too, might eventually need surgery for improved functionality and cosmetics.

I don't think for a second that these special needs will slow down our daughter.  I've seen children with similar needs rise above difficult and challenging circumstances and succeed at tasks that were once thought impossible for them.  In fact, check out this video of a young pianist (with a hand difference) wowing the crowd with her beautiful music.  Incredible!

Friday, June 14, 2013

TA Baby!!!!

Me:     Give me a T!
You:    T!!!
Me:     Give me an A!
You:    A!!!

That's right, folks!  We have TA, also known as Travel Approval!! Stayed tuned for our exact travel dates.   Oh my, I have so much to do!!!!