Monday, July 5, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
* watching the continuous flow of boats up and down the pearl river.
* the amazingly old and beautiful banyan trees.
* buying adorably cute and gaudy girl shoes for only $6 USD.
* sharing the joys and trials of adoption with other adoptive moms here now.
* the flashing neon lights that decorate the buildings at night.
* ordering dinner family style and wondering if the food contains black dots or eyeballs.
* putting my heart and thoughts into a blog post.
* your words of encouragement.
* the symbolism and deep meaning behind many of the customs of abigail and sarah's homeland.
* tea with kenny.
* the ridiculousness of the hotel lifeguard nazis.
* having laundry done for us. cheaply.
* ambien :)
* lounging at the pool day and night.
* being with greg.
* the breakfast buffet.
* jumping out from behind hotel doors :)
* the 'have a nice day' chinese-style from the souvenir store workers.
* the service.
* alex and tony.
* hearing thomas called harry pottery by silly giggling girls.
adoption is a long and winding path like no other; i humbly thank the Lord for leading us to it and carrying us through it.
p.s. abigail is over-the-top excited to go 'home'. like bursting excited.
p.s.s. leaving the pool for the last time she grabbed my arm ready to "LET'S GO!" and then realized what she had done; small victory that i'll take :)
Thursday, July 1, 2010
time is a funny thing. it feels like it was an eternity since we left home. and then i remember a sermon of rodney fitzsimmons. he described it like this -- if a bird flew from earth to pluto carrying a single grain of sand and it did this repeatedly until every grain had been flown from here to there, that would be the beginning of eternity. so putting into that perspective, we have been gone for exactly two weeks. it just seems like a couple of lifetimes :)
i pray i don't sound whiney because the good Lord knows i have not.one.single.thing to complain about --- i wish i could teleport our bodies and luggage to
* today we took the oath at the U.S. Consulate. i got all choked up doing it. it was a culmination of a year's worth of effort and knowing that the paperwork is finally over. all except for delivering the large sealed brown envelope to
* abigail has never been on a bike. church, swimming, and now we get to be the ones to introduce her to bicycles. yeah!
* i have yet to receive an 'i love you' or hug or any affection. greg has and i am happy for him because he certainly waited his fair share to get it from sarah. he was due to be liked first :) when abigail decides to, i will just stand there, mouth open. it will feel like a major victory, i anticipate. she is holding back with me, but that's okay. for now. she is going to be stuck with only me for 9 days until greg gets home, so maybe she will break down. or then again, maybe she won't. you guys will be the first to know when it happens....
* greg and i have both noticed that she acts very differently when we are with our guide. it is hard to describe but she absolutely changes. she isn't playful anymore. she likes to know what connie is doing. and then soon as we are back at the hotel, she is back to her old self. still have yet to figure that one out. any ideas from those who have BTDT?
* one suggestion i will throw out there for those traveling soon -- have a few things that are done between you and your child -- little rituals that will give them a sense of security and familiarity. for abigail and me, it has been two things. every night, she and sarah and i clean our faces with toner. she knows once they are in bed, i will bring them a cotton pad and then wait for them to clean their face. i know it seems like a small thing, but it is consistent and i think she likes knowing when something will happen. the other thing is a fun thing -- we have had two rooms at both hotels because of having five people (it isn't like in the US at the embassy where 7 of us pile into one room....china thinks three per room is even too many) and so the kids go back and forth between the rooms often. it has been a blessing because greg and i can trade off and it gives each of us a little break. okay, so every time i open the door to our room to let them in, she knows something crazy will happen. at first it was jumping out to scare her. the sick side of me loves jumping out and scaring people (sandy, i know what you are thinking :). then that got too predictable so i upped the ante and got more creative. but sure as rain, she is always in anticipation of what lies behind the door. to make a long point longer, create a few rituals for you and them. it helps both of you.
* i have tried to be consistent in disciplining her, sarah and thomas the same. i use the word discipline here lightly as how hard is it to act right when all you are doing is swimming and eating? you get my drift. i don't let her get away with something if sarah or thomas wouldn't. and she is testing it. she is absolutely watching to see if she can get away with more than them.
* a friend told me where to buy a Bible that was in both chinese and english. i presented it to her yesterday and last night while i was getting ready for bed, i heard her speaking cantonese. i haven't heard her talk much chinese actually. i came out and she was in bed reading her Bible aloud. it was one of the sweetest moments ever. i trust the Lord is already beginning His perfect work in her.
* tomorrow is the infamous photo shoot where all the new children from your adoption group have their picture taken on the red velvet couch on the second floor of the white swan hotel. absolute tradition for china adoption. we don't have any little babies in the group so the screaming and freaking just may be at a minimum. i bought her a traditional chinese dress and she had no idea what it was. how sad is that?
signing off. almost midnight here. tomorrow late it is hong kong or bust. only a couple more sleeps until home. i am praying that i can enjoy the remainder of this roller coaster ride and rely on His strength, not mine, to carry us back to the good ol' US of A.
love you. xoxoxox from room 2039.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
this is what is referred to as a random post. very random, i might add.
with few pictures.
things that come to me in the night that i want to take from my head and put them to paper. for no particular reason :)
* you can understand cartoons even though they are not speaking in your language.
* thank you preacher for getting ben and sam and the others safely to camp.
* although some days are painfully long, they are good. and necessary. the process is spread out over two weeks and there is little, to anything, you can do to speed it up. so you spend a lot of time swimming (even in the rain), watching television, eating, reading, playing, walking and shopping. not all things i would be doing at home. but it is very important to keep them on their 'home turf' so to speak as they begin their long transition into your family. if you received your child and left (you would spend a lot less money :), you would get home and quickly re-enter into your normal routine. or at least i would. and i would have missed out on a really special hanging out time with her and doing not much of anything other than learning more about her and vice versa.
* abigail does this thing that i absolutely love. at home, when someone asks a question, to respond 'yes' we bob our head several times. she does one quick downward nod. no words, just one little motion. "can i fix your hair?' nod. 'can i tie your dress?' nod. and it is so dang cute. i hope she doesn't stop doing that.
* she also is not used to having a mom do little nice things for her. putting a pillow behind her back. putting a blanket over her. i can see she is loving it, but she certainly doesn't understand it.
* for the most part, the service here is unbelievable and refreshing. people are so friendly, so wanting to please you. it is a breath of fresh air.
* on monday evening, i 'happened' into an out-of-the way shop which was really an art gallery. the artist, kenny, is a believer and is so much fun to be around! God has gifted him greatly! he does life-size oil paintings, water color, and microscopic engraving of verses of Scripture on pearls and bone. there is no way my words can do his work justice. and his cause? the orphan. all proceeds go to his work in the
* i took greg and the kids there the next day as i wanted them to meet kenny and see his beautiful art. he asked us to stay for tea. this is an honor. it was so amazing to watch him carefully prepare the tea for us. we had three different kinds - black, ginseng, and i cannot remember the third. the bamboo tray and cups and tongs, and teapots were sooo beautiful. there is much tradition in serving tea. it is not casual. he just laughed as i would ask him questions about why he was doing something or what something meant. he would say, "oh, i show you that later!" we were there for over an hour, just fellowshipping. it made for a most special memory. one of the few pictures on this post is a poor quality picture of a tea that is in a little ball and when he poured the hot water over it, it spins around and opens up into the most amazing flower!!! God's creativity blows my mind!
* for those traveling soon -- regarding email and blog posting -- a friend told me about a program called www.vtunnel.com to get past china's blocking of blogger. it works! the downside is you cannot post pictures. if you want to be sure you can post to your blog, ask someone at home to do this for you. in an email, send him/her your text and picture attachments (with access to your blog sign-in) and have them post for you. my sister deb has been my Godsend :) and i also recommend setting up a gmail account to use for emailing. our home server is squirrelly and access to it has not been reliable.
* i warned you this was random.
* abigail,so far, absolutely prefers dresses and prissy things. outwardly, she is all girl. but let's just say her actions are not :) i crack up as so many of the chinese women are quiet, proper, demure. and then there is our girl. gum chomping, elevator button smacking, shoe stomping abigail. you are going to love her!
* her language is coming along well. every night, she gets out her cantonese translator and works on it for a good hour. i hear the chinese word followed by the english word. and there is no sequence to what she listens to. i hear 'technology' followed by 'zebra' followed by 'earring' followed by 'aztec indian'. so far, what she says most often are, "let's go!" and “stop, thomas!"
* a special 'how can i ever repay you?' thanks to the roberts, brianne, and the fredericks for taking care of ben and sam and phoebe (and house and pets). and i know others have helped also in adding to the fun and care. literally, a trip like this is not possible without them. how do i make them understand just how vital they are to a journey like this? i pray for God's greatest blessings upon you for your selfless hearts.
* and to each of you who haved lifted us up in prayer either once or many times. all i can say is thank you because i shudder to think of doing this without them.
* and also a special thanks to a few fellow crazy adoptive mamas who have been my sounding board and constant source of affirmation -- sandy, teri, andrea, ginger, and robin. could God have put together a more awesome team? i think not.
* and while i'm at it -- thanks to diana bramble of our adoption agency. it was her words to me last august as she described bai he ming after having spent a little time with her that, as she talked, i was getting the feeling that this could be the one. thanks diana for being the link :)
* the hardest part of the adoption journey, for me anyway, is leaving home. all is relatively easy until it comes to truly trusting God with the kids staying home. it kills me to even write that, but i know that it is true. that part is the biggest step of faith for me. not the adoption itself per se. i feel like when i am with my kids, i don't worry about their safety so much. ironically, they are probably getting even more attention than when i am there! but when i am 8,000 miles away, it is completely different. then i am forced to confront my biggest fear. i remind myself of the verse "the horse is prepared against the day of battle, but safety is of the Lord." intellectually i know where safety lies. but here in china or
* and finally (yes, i am finally ready to shut-up...i told you i kept waking up with random stuff :) -- once you have your child, it is so unbearably hard to imagine life without them. it is painful to think of what their life was like before having their family come to get them. ask any adoptive parent. the thought of her staying here, on the street or working in a factory or whatever she may have gone on to do, is hard to swallow. she is special. she is ours. she is no longer an orphan. the thought of sarah or phoebe or abigail remaining orphans is just not something i can imagine. and yet there are millions and millions just like them. and seeing in my mind all the kids at ming's orphanage whose hope faded, it hurts. hurts alot. after
* i.love.and.thank.you.for.caring.about.our.family. :)
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
p.s. thanks for the emails and blog comments of encouragement. every one is treasured and read. and reread. and reread. when you are away from home, the written connection to those you care about is priceless.
p.s.s. phyllis asked how sarah was doing. she still has no idea she is chinese. she only thinks she is an american princess and we will just let her think that :)
p.s.s.s. special thanks to brooke -- your words were completely undeserved but VERY appreciated. thank you sweet girl.
p.s.s.s.s. if you want to get in touch use this email firstname.lastname@example.org as our regular email is being contrary most of the time.
p.s.s.s.s.s. hi phoebe and amy and jeff and ben and andrew and
p.s.s.s.s.s.s. abigail has been nothing but awesome for several days. i think she is starting to like me :) i told some friends that i could do a whole post titled 'gone wild'! there is 11 years worth of craziness built up!!
Sunday, June 27, 2010
why is it, that just like childbirth, you forget the work that it takes to bring a new life into your family? just another example of the wisdom of an all-knowing God! He planned for us to forget!
i honestly believe that until you are in the midst of a situation you cannot really prepare for it. some things just have to be learned by going through it. abigail and i are learning together. and it is a work that i have no doubt will pay off. she is learning what it is like to experience love and friendship and fun and silliness and compromise. and i am learning how to give more grace. a lesson that i keep having to learn over and over.
we have been going without a pause since friday evening. we changed hotels on top of it (a planned one just for a change of environment...a good move, pun intended :) and i just got wi-fi up and running. we did the chimelong
and then alex (a hong kong version of mr. myagi with all the wisdom and energy to match. Christian style :) and his business partner, tony, came to spoil us times ten!!! oh my! we did it all! if you have met alex, you know that his presence is indescribable. there will never be another alex. we ate so much authentic chinese food it is nuts! we went on a river boat dinner cruise, attended chinese church, visited a 2,500 year old tomb, shopped, and had so much fun. this was soooo good for abigail to experience. alex could talk to her in a way that no one else could ever do. he was the bridge between God, us, and her.
before i forget, we attended a very large house church -- 1,000 for each of the four services! this pastor, samuel lamb, has been persecuted and is a living testament for being willing to die for Christ. his first imprisonment was 16 months. his second 20 years. and this was a prison labor camp where their goal was to work you to death. tony said it was similar to a Nazi camp except at the Nazi camps they wanted to kill you physically and in communist china, their goal was to kill you physically and spiritually. this man is famous in china and alex felt so honored to spend time with him. he asked us to stay after church and visit. he demands complete attention. twice i was reprimanded for not looking at him. i don't like spankings :) good dose of humility.
abigail had never set foot in a church before today.
if you followed the
i still want to post orphanage pictures....hopefully tomorrow.
before signing off, one goal i have for writing this is to not only provide a journal for abigail heming (and be therapeutic for me :), but to provide insight into those who might be considering adoption and/or are getting ready to travel. it is worth it. yes, it is hard and painful. but what good things aren't? her life is literally a 180 degree from one short week ago. she is blossoming and experiencing feelings that she does not know how about. i am coming to believe that her relationships with women, most likely, have been very, very bad. she has withstood suffering and yet still has a very happy spirit. she will now look up most of the time, she will make eye contact, she will not ignore being spoken to. tony said she is suffering from very low self-esteem and because i am who she needs the most and wants approval from, she wants to push me away. we girls can be quite complicated.
your prayers sustain me. thank you. right now she is sitting next to me by her choice and my heart swelled. i pray one day she will love me as much as i love her.
good night from the 20th floor of a chinese hotel :)
Thursday, June 24, 2010
and for whatever reason, it hit me, hit me hard -- abigail heming's life has been radically changed. part of it was probably seeing yesterday the setting where her life had been spent and part of it was probably seeing her sitting there, with mouth open, like she had never seen chinese people in skin tight lime green clothing singing american songs :)
in just a few short days, she has gone from sleeping in a metal child crib with a rattan pad to sleeping with a down pillow and comforter; from never knowing a father to a baba who holds her hand when she crosses a street; from congee and rice in a cafeteria to gourmet buffets; from no family to a brother and sister to swim with and be goofy with continually if she likes; from a caregiver (a very sweet one i might add) to a mom who paints who nails and stares at her alot trying to see her thoughts; from her possessions totaling a very small sack of pictures we had sent to a suitcase full of cute clothes, shoes, and accessories; from no one who had ever prayed to a family who worships the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
she has been adopted and her life has been put on a new course.
one of the people we have met and enjoyed immense company with is a young pastor from the state of washington. his wife and him have two small kids, just adopted a toddler from ethiopia and then got a referral for the little girl they just received. when they were in ethiopia, he was asked to preach impromptu and so he spoke of being 'adopted' into God's Kingdom. i know sometimes i land at various blogs not really sure how i arrived (okay, i clicked on a link but you know what i mean :) and so i realize there may be someone reading who has never been adopted spiritually-speaking. if you are wondering if that is you, please seek out someone you know whose life speaks for Christ and talk with him or her. the things i listed above regarding what abigail has 'gained' are nothing in comparison to the riches that Jesus Christ has in store for you.
Lord willing, tonite i will post several pictures of our trip to her orphanage. from what i can sense, it provided closure. it was her day to shine and have hope...
Allan Rosenow: This was my capstone Senior project at the University of Cincinnati. The animations were for a site that doesn't really exist, but would have promoted adoption.
shrimp flavored pringles, anyone?
no, you say? you're more in the mood for numb and spicy hot pot lays?
well, you're in luck :)
p.s. only in china -- no joke -- at the grocery we stopped at on the way to the orphanage, there was a service attendant at the end of EVERY aisle! just ready and waiting to assist you. i kid you not -- every stinking aisle :)
p.s.s. separate post coming later tonite on the orphanage visit..... answered prayers :)
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
today was a mix of emotion for abigail. i shouldn't have been surprised, but i was. i think i was overly confident and not appreciating the enormity of what she is going through. all has been going so smoothly, that i was naively thinking she might have already processed most of the emotion. i know. really stupid. there will be waves and tonite was the first one. as her mama, i hurt for her -- and grieving is absolutely necessary, but it still was hard. we went out to dinner with friends and she got up and headed for the bathroom, so i followed her. she kept a good distance in front of me and when she came out of the squatty potty (girls, you've not experienced china until you've peed in one -- great for flexibility :), she had been crying. i gave her no choice and hugged her and told her it was okay. she stayed somewhat melancholy until we got off the elevator back at our hotel. and then she took the room card, ran to our door, jumped out to scare me, and has been totally fine every since. earlier today was the adoption registration and we got a neat and fancy certificate in a fancy holder with her new name and our family picture. she was giddy when we left that building as you can see in the picture. she took it out several times this afternoon and just studied it and practiced saying her new name. so seeing her sad tonite was hard.
tomorrow morning (thursday) we go to her orphanage so she can say her good-byes. please pray. she has told the guide she wants to go, but i know it will be bittersweet. (this will be wednesday night late to you....)
and on a fun note, i took them this morning to the 'salon' (expensive word for hair cut place :) in the hotel to get a shampoo and their hair trimmed. the scalp massage alone was worth the $20 and i was only watching :)
it poured rain again tonite so no swimming; so instead i had them do assorted activities down the hotel hallway. skipping, hopping one foot, walking backwards, spinning, well you get the idea -- but no talking -- and the giggles of delight did us all good.
homesick tonite but remembering my mom's advice to "never wish your days away." hugs from the 22nd floor of a hotel in
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
today ming officially became abigail heming ranger :) the 24-hour harmonious period was over and all official documents were signed. she continues to just do amazingly well. from what we can tell on the outside, she has not looked back and has not had any problem adjusting to being rotten :)
after completing the day's paperwork, we went swimming. it was pure unadulterated joy. she could hardly contain herself. greg taught her how to splash the proper way and she thought that was the best! she will repeat anything we ask her to and she skips down the hotel hallways. she is eating like a horse and smiles a whole bunch. my heart hurt today for two moms that i had the pleasure of meeting and talking with. one just adopted a little girl, age 10 who looked about age 6, who has pretty significant hand and foot deformities. she is precious. the mom was crying because the way people look at her daughter, it is just tearing her up. the protective mama bear has already kicked in. and then a second mom cannot console her crying-a-whole-bunch little girl. satan was having a field day with her and it was my honor to remind her not to play his game, just as many of you reminded me when i fell into the trap of wondering if i had what it takes to be the right mom to ming.
adoption is an amazing and crazy and emotional and walk by faith journey. if you love roller coasters, you would be in heaven :)
and a big ol shout out to jeff
thanks so much to all of those who prayed and continue to do so. i feel so undeserving of the support we have in you.
p.s. to karen cooper - i know you love me.
p.s.s. to my sister deb who is posting and caring for this blog since there is no blogger access (and many other sites as well....) in china - thank you :) xoxo
Monday, June 21, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Lord willing, will post pictures early evening..... i don't really feel nervous. i feel ready. yesterday i thought so many times, "only one more sleep for her as an orphan." being the psycho over-analyzer that i am, i wonder how it will feel to her to be with a white family from
and i have wondered what sarah is thinking. i have thought "any of these millions of women could be her birth mom." she has been holding my hand alot which may mean nothing. or it may mean something. i love that girl so much.
while on the plane in
i hate it that a blessing has to be born out of tragedy - her loss of birth parents. but God is the Best at restoring the broken-hearted and i pray that over time she comes to know He never ever had His Hand off her for one second.
we are all feeling a little less jet-lagged this morning. boy, that stuff kicks a serious punch. especially when you are old. ahhh, but the wonders of ambien :)
next post? well, you know.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
several people have reminded me of His truth and gotten me back on track and i am thankful for their Godly wisdom (sandy, teri, deb, and susie arthur -- thank you.)
a favorite devotional is oswald chamber's 'My Utmost for His Highest'. this morning i read today's and tomorrow's entry since i will hopefully be sleeping on an airplane when i would normally be reading it. here is confirmation from Above, once again, that i cannot let one shred of doubt enter because He Has Already Spoken.
Don't Think Now, Take the Road (My Utmost for His Highest, June 18)
"And Peter...walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid." Matthew 14:28-30
The wind was actually boisterous, the waves were actually high, but Peter did not see them at first. He did not reckon with them, he simply recognized his Lord and stepped out in recognition of Him, and walked on the water. Then he began to reckon with the actual things, and down he went instantly. Why could not our Lord have enabled him to walk at the bottom of the waves as well as the top of them? Neither could be done saving by recognition of the Lord Jesus.
We step right out on God over some things, then self-consideration enters in and down we go. If you are recognizing your Lord, you have no business with where He engineers your circumstances. The actual things are, but immediately you look at them and are overwhelmed, you cannot recognize Jesus, and the rebuke comes: "Wherefore didst thou doubt?" Let actual circumstances be what they may, keep recognizing Jesus, maintain complete reliance on Him.
If you debate for a second when God has spoken, it is all up. Never begin to say -- "Well, I wonder if I did hear Him speak?" Be reckless immediately, fling it all out on Him. You do not know when His voice will come, but whenever the realization of God comes in the faintest way imaginable, recklessly abandon. It is only by abandon that you recognize Him. You will only realize His voice more clearly by recklessness.
nothing more to say.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
on new year's eve, a good friend and i agreed/vowed that we would not eat any sweets until our LOA came. and when i commit something to the Lord, let's just say i take it seriously :) nada, zilch, zip, not a dang thing sweet has crossed these lips since 11:59 12/31/09 when her and i were chowing cheesecake. i'm not kidding. not even by one minute. until today :)
i broke down and emailed the agency around noon thinking they would have called since fedex would have delivered it by 10:30, if it even came at all. all i said was 'anything?' and i very quickly got back a reply 'YES, CALL US!' i told the kids i was making possibly the 'big' call and they all flew to get their candy bags from their easter egg hunt at church last night. in the blink of an eye, i had small packs of M&Ms, skittles, and twix bars in my face. i'm not kidding. not even by one piece.
and soon as i heard the words, 'it has arrived', i pretty much hung up and ate six little bags of M&Ms. i'm not kidding. okay, maybe i am. it might have been 8. i quit counting.
and then, abigail, i called your dad :)
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Friday, November 20, 2009
The Guangzhou orphanage told me, Misty is very happy to have this family. She see their pictures everyday. She hope to see them ASAP. She love the doll who can change the cloths (babe doll). Please send to her if they send second package to her.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
sept. 3 -- PA from china
all of sept. -- home study (ugh)
oct. 7 -- mailed your birthday package
oct. 11 -- you turned 11!
oct. 18 --birthday package arrived :)
oct. 21 -- home study approved
oct. 26 -- 1800A sent to USCIS
oct. 28 -- packet arrived at USCIS
Saturday, October 10, 2009
we are at the beach and have been for a good long time. it has been an incredibly great family time. we have done hardly anything and everyone is loving it. there's been swimming in the ocean everyday and the temperature is like bathtub. the shelling has been good, not great, but we have found some amazing shells. of course, i am making lots of little things with them which requires trips to michaels. and reading books, reading blogs, working puzzles, watching movies. the boys have played way too many computer games, the girls watched watch too much disney, and your dad and i have well done nothing...compared to home anyway.
and i am still attempting to wrap up our home study. the fingerprint nazi lady kicked out my prints, but those are hopefully wrapped up. brooke sent the first draft to diana for her review butg we haven't heard back yet. all the paperwork to file the 1-800A is ready to go. sandy (jenni's mom-to-be) and teri (hailee's mom-to-be) chat via email alot. i can't wait for the three of you to be friends. here, that is :)
tomorrow is your birthday and you will be 11 years old. we sent you a package and i am praying everyday that it finds its way to you soon. very soon. like this week. we included a letter which told you that you have a family. a forever family. and we sent a picture of all of us from the beach (your dad looks silly because he had to keep running back to get in the photo). and a neat, slinky dress. and matching headbands. and pajamas. and a stuffed cat. and some markers, colored pencils, and paper.
your dad is making a delicious asian dinner tonite. i hope you are proud of your country. we love it and we want you to as well. be proud of yourself, okay? you matter.
even though i don't post often, i think of you constantly and pray for your heart always.
xoxoxo, mom-to-be but already in my heart :)