Wednesday, August 6, 2014

It's great to be an American....and Goodbye to Guangzhou

We have our travel visa for Levi, so we are all set to head back to the States tomorrow!
It's been a great trip and we are so happy to have our family complete with our newest son.  He's an amazing young man who is full of courage, curiosity, fun and love.

The day we went to the U.S. Consulate, because we are American citizens, we queued in a different line than foreigners (Chinese citizens) seeking U.S. visas.   I'll attach a photo of the long line people stood in to apply.  I heard there were at least 1,000 applicants per day, every day...M-F.   And, only about 1/3 of those who apply are granted visas.  En route to China, I met a Chinese man who's pregnant wife was in Los Angeles with friends waiting to deliver his first child....a girl.   Why? I ask.  "So she can be an American," he says with broken English.  "If she is an American citizen, she can become anything she wants."

After spending 2 weeks in China -- a wonderful country with very kind people, I did get to see what the absence of infrastructure (heat, water, sanitation, etc.) can mean for those living in this country.   Though, honestly, the thought did cross my mind...."have you seen what's been happening in America lately?"  While it may not be the place it use to be, it certainly can be the place where freedom rings.  Is it always?  No.  Not for many...but the ideals are right and the hope is, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...the freedom to worship without government persecution (though there are many instances where the Government's support of religious institutions has faded,) we can still worship and congregate freely.

I was encouraged by other's view of America and it reinvigorated my view and perspective of America and our responsibility to keep our country great, kind and just.

                                             Line queueing for U.S. visa application.

                                             Our wonderful guide while in China, Jocelyn

                                             Watching a late night movie on the laptop

                                 Levi's choice for breakfast.  (Honey, I don't think a poptart or bowl of cereal is going to cut it.)
                                                        Fun in the lobby.
                                           All of our travel group & kids with new families!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Great days with my boys...

What a privilege it has been to have been able to spend the last few days with two of the sweetest young men I know.  If you know DonLi, then you know just hangin' out with him makes you a better person.  He has the most optimistic outlook on life you have ever seen and he sees the best in things and people.  Helpful, kind, courteous, thoughtful all with a servant's heart are just a few words that come to mind when I think of him.   And, it looks like Levi is going to be a lot like him.  They laugh together watching movies, wrestle around the bed having pillow fights and play games together.  They are quickly becoming best friends.  We also discovered a McDonald's within a few steps of us and on the ground floor they have a special window just for ice cream treats....we've treated ourselves to a sundae or ice cream float each afternoon.
Today we went to the park and drove the motor boat again and this evening our entire adoption group (about 8 other families) went on the Pearl River boat cruise.  The Pearl River is the 3rd largest river in China and it goes to the sea, so it is very important for commerce in the city of Guangzhou.  We floated right by the 3rd tallest structure in the world.  It has multicolored LED lights that change in neat patterns.  It was a wonderful cruise and the boys had a great time (and their dad did too!)  We apply for our Visa tomorrow, then 2 more days until we start our travel home!
Thank you everyone for your prayers.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Hanging around

Wendi started the long journey home today.  The boys and I took her to the airport to see her off.
She make it through Seoul well and is enroute to the U.S.  This afternoon, the boys and I took off for the park again, despite the "real feel" temperature of 102F.  (I think it was more like 112, but who's counting.)   We had a nice stroll and rented a motor boat with a few thousand other families on the small pond.  Now, if they would have let us play like bumper boats, that would've been more fun, but it was fun dodging the others.   The boys had a good time steering.   Ate pizza in the room and watched movies.  Heavy rain tonight, so no pool tonight.  Levi is participating and helping us get around (since he can read the signs!) He enjoys pizza and watching movies.  He says "zank you" after each meal or drink offered to him.  He is using the translator a bit more to communicate with us, which is nice!

                                               The boys built this together in just a few hours!

                                            I love the signs in China.  Some are really, really funny
                                             What on earth does this mean?  Any ideas?
                                   The quote sounds like a cross between Yoda and that Gollum creature.

Friday, August 1, 2014

A very special day

Next to gotcha day, today was one of the more special days.   We got to travel to his province, Longgang which is in Shenzen.  We had a great visit with two of his foster families.  One is a social worker who housed Levi in his personal home for over 2 years.  It was obvious that he cares for Levi very much and he was happy to see he has a forever family.  We then traveled to the orphanage.  This is the same orphanage where 4 of our children once lived....Sam, Katy, Jasmine and Levi.  We saw a photo of Katy and Jasmine on the wall of the orphanage.  Walking those hallways, I couldn't help but think of all the lonely nights our children had sleeping there until they received news of a family....and while I'm so grateful to have mind quickly went to all the other children who are still living in the orphanage hoping....praying...for their special day to come, too.  Yet, sadly, it doesn't come for all, and many "age out" and become too old to be adopted.  With all the resources in the world, this could be one of the greatest tragedies...a helpless child would live his/her whole life without a family.

Our next stop was with the foster family where he lived most recently.  The foster family who housed Samuel (and where we met Katy) and now Levi.  We had a nice lunch together and told them all about Sam's and Katy's life back in the States.  They were pleased to hear about their accomplishments and that they were happy & healthy.  The mom cried as we left....sad to see Levi go, but I also sensed a feeling of gratitude for the life & medical attention we've been fortunate enough to give these kids that they simply could not.

Levi seemed very proud to show off his new family (us) and was quite happy and talkative the entire time.  It made Wendi and I very happy to see him happy to be with us.

We ended up the evening with another dip in the pool...a nice way to burn off some energy before bed.  I'm sad that Wendi will be starting her journey back home tomorrow morning.  We will miss her greatly, but know the kids back in Denver will be very, VERY happy to see her!

Would you please pray for her safe travel?  Also, would you also pray for all the orphans in the world?  That God would place them in loving families....maybe yours!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A visit to Shamen Island

Levi had his medical check up today.  We thought he was going to have to get 4 shots but thankfully his orphanage had already given him them all .  He was very relieved I know.  We then went to Shamen Island.  It is a great area.  We spent our entire time on the island for our first 3 adoptions.  Most people adopting stayed there because the medical clinic was there as well as the US consulate.  It was a hustling and bustling place.  The hotel that we stayed in shut down for renovation a few years ago and the consulate and clinic moved off the island.  We have great memories of being there.  Today was once again blazing hot so we didn't make it long outdoors.  Most of our time was spent in Starbucks drinking a smoothie.  This is by far the most relaxing trip we have had.  We have these 2 easy going boys and there is no one else in our travel group right now so we are taking advantage of the down time.

The Visa issuing system is up and going again so we just pray that it stays that way.  That is about all I have to report.  Another evening of swimming is on our boys schedule.  Life is tough.  Thank you for all of your prayers.

This is for you Leah

DonLi asked why you couldn't play your trumpet here.  I'm so glad I left mine at home.

We have some hot tired boys