Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Thanks again for all your comments. I haven't figured out how to reply directly to the person who comments so I'll reply here to a couple. The music on the blog is found at: http://songsofpraise.org/song.php?songid=363

Feel free to share this blog with anyone adopting an older child. I learned so much about what to expect from reading other blogs, and hope that someone might learn something from reading mine.

My computer is being picked up in a bit here, and it will be a few days until my new one arrives, so I'll be out of commission for a few days. We are also traveling to our Jiangxi reunion on Friday, and home to Mexico on Monday. See you next week!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Silver Dollar City

A Few More Pictures

It has been a quick 5 days back in the States. Has it really been five days?? Jet lag still has me in a fog at times. I wake up everymorning between 3:00 and 4:00, stay awake for a couple of hours, then sleep again until 8:00 or 9:00. It is nice that we are still at my folks house, because my mom fixes breakfast for the kids long before I join them. Richard wakes up early as well, but doesn't stay in bed as long as I do later. MinMin seems to have done fine with the adjustment. She sleeps all night and doesn't take any naps. Must have something to do with the age.....

We feel like the first five days have gone very well. MinMin enjoys playing with the kids, likes to help out, and overall is adjusting well. Of course, we don't really know what she is feeling and thinking, as she can't talk to us, but she seems to be the quiet type, anyway. We have Molly here, a student from Taiwan, who speaks Chinese to her, but MinMin doesn't really say much to her yet. But, from body language, she seems to be doing fine.

We went to church yesterday, and MinMin was reluctant to come in with us at first. I think that it was the overall idea of a new placed with lots of people. She stayed with us in our class of adults, and sat through church. She was very antsy, but then sermons do seem very long when one doesn't understand what they are saying! I know, I sat through one in Chinese in Guilin two weeks ago! Last night was better. She wasn't reluctant to enter, and sat much stiller.

Saturday we went to Silver Dollar City, in Branson. I know you aren't supposed to overwhelm new kids with such things the first week home, but we had the tickets, and it was the only day they would be open while we are here in Missouri. Amanda went with us. MinMin really enjoyed the day! She wanted to ride most of the rides, even when I tried to tell her they were scary, went upside down, etc. I made sure she watched the ride a few times before she got on so she would know what it would do. There were a couple of rides that she didn't like, or didn't want to go on, but for the most part, she enjoyed them all. We had a fun day.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, she has a check up with our family doctor. On Friday we head out to Mississippi for our Jiangxi reunion--the group we traveled with when we got LiAnne almost 3 years ago. It should be lots of fun. We leave there on Monday, heading home to Mexico. It will be a two day drive, and we will finally be home! It will be nice to get the kids all on a routine of meals, school, activities, etc. and really settle in again.

Thanks again for checking in. Your encouraging notes and prayers while we were in China were such a blessing! I'm sure that is why MinMin is doing so well now. Many keep asking me what we call her, and we are sticking with MinMin for now. We haven't really talked to her about her American name, but figure that will come in time, when she is ready to hear it.

I'll post again once we get home.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday - Leaving Beijing

Tuesday morning Richard and I were up early, ready to get going. As usual, it was a bit of a challenge to get MinMin up and ready to go. She just didn't want to get out of the warm bed. We ran up to the corner to McDonal's for breakfast--hot cakes were pretty yummy--just couldn't handle more noodles.

Our driver picked us up at 9:00, and we were off! About half way to the airport, MinMin wanted the window down--it was a cold morning, so it was chilly, but the problem was that she was feeling a bit car sick. Since none of our kids ever got car sick I didn't have any Dramamine with me. Other than that, she seemed ok with the trip....I didn't feel like she was reluctant to be leaving.

Once at the airport I went around to a number of people who I saw holding US passports and tried to find someone who had Dramamine or some other nausea meds with them, but didn't find anything. One lady, a nurse, had some Pepto, and we thought that it might at least help settle her stomach, so we gave her one of those.

Once on the plane MinMin was very excited. She had fun trying out all of the buttons, including calling the stewardess, turning the light on and off, trying all of the music channels, etc. She was also very excited to have the window seat and be able to see out as we took off and up through the clouds. It was fun to watch her. Our flight was long, and we napped at bit here and there. She also wanted to follow our flight on the map in the magazine, and asked many times where we were. She circled our flight plan....Beijing, San Francisco, Denver, Springfield, so she would know where we were and where we were going. We actually arrived in San Francisco an hour early, where we proceeded through immigration. We were the only ones in the "new immigrants" line, where MinMin's passport was stamped and she became an American citizen. She has no idea of all of what was happening, but I was excited for her! One day she'll understand. My only regret is that we forgot to take a picture of her there.

Early in the flight I noticed that her face was all broken out, and the only thing I could figure out was that she had some allergic reaction. The only thing it seems that it could have been was the Pepto. Anyone know if there is something in that that people might be allergic to? She really didn't eat anything else that morning that was unusual. I gave her an allergy pill, and that helped the itching for awhile, until I could get to the Benedryl in my suitcase in San Francisco.

We had about 2 1/2 hours in San Francisco to kill, then boarded the flight to Denver, where we had middle seats, and she wasn't too happy that I wouldn't let her go sit by a window. It didn't really matter, though, as we all pretty well slept the entire trip to Denver. Once there, we had to cross the entire airport to get our flight to Springfield. By this time we were hungry, and I quickly bought a sandwich, and we boarded our flight without delay. Again, MinMin had a window seat, and spent most of the flight watching below. She was excited when we told her we were flying over Missouri.

In Springfield we had quite a group of family to meet us. I hurried out to give hugs to Taylor, LiAnne, and everyone else, and MinMin hung back, afraid to come around the corner to meet everyone. Caleb, oldest brother, went over to her and took her hand to bring her close to everyone. We had chatted with him and his family by web cam, and she had really liked him, so she went with him. It didn't take her long, and she decided that she liked all of the little kids who were there. Besides Taylor and LiAnne, our three grandkids were there, and she thinks they are all pretty cute. She enjoyed all of them last night.

I'll post some pictures from the airport, but need to get more from my sister--since we didn't take any pictures, and I'll post more soon from today. I'm feeling a bit jet lagged today, with a headache, but Richard and MinMin seem to be doing fine. Maybe it will hit them harder tomorrow.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday in Beijing

MinMin is a typical teenager, in that she doesn't like to get up early, and is not a morning person. It takes a couple of hours in the morning before we see a smile.

This morning was no different, and our pictures in downtown Beijing, in front of the Forbidden City are in the "no smile zone". We had wanted to walk through Tiananamen Square, but it was all closed off today, and surrounded by soldiers. By asking here and there, we found out that President Hu was there today. We had heard yesterday that the Communist Party was holding meetings here in the city. Haven't read any news for a few days, but I'm guessing that that was why the area was all closed off. I did get to take a picture of the same Olympic countdown sign that we saw last trip. It is now about 1000 days less until they start than last trip.

We took the metro across town, then took a taxi, and arrived at the Summer Palace--a place we hadn't visited on our last trip here. It is a beautiful spot, and we enjoyed our walk around it. In the afternoon we did some shopping in the back allies of the city where we had shopped last trip. One shop owner said she would sell everything "cheap" because they were closing down the area in a few days. Everything was being torn down and rebuilt for the Olympics. Her idea of cheap wasn't very cheap, but Richard was pretty persistent in the bargaining, and we were happy with the prices by the time we left. Actually, prices are much higher than they were three years ago. That was ok, as our suitcases are already full!

We are in the hotel now, suitcases all packed, ready to go. MinMin understands that we are leaving in the morning. As ready as we are to get home, we also realize that she is leaving home. It will probably be a hard morning for her.

It sure is hard not being able to communicate. We would love to be able to know what she is thinking and feeling. Hopefully she will be able to share that with us some day. Just when we think we are communicating--we aren't. She wanted to know if she should wash out her clothes tonight, and I thought I told her no, we are leaving tomorrow, we have clean clothes for tomorrow, and the rest we will wash when we get to Missouri. Next thing I know, she is in the bathroom, washing out her clothes! So, since they won't dry overnight, we now have wet clothes to pack. Oh well.....

Monday in Beijing

First I'll just post this short message because the internet is not working very well tonight. We keep loosing our connection. We leave here in just under 12 hours to head to the airport. Our flight leave tomorrow at noon, arriving in Missouri 18 hours later. So, that actually means that we leave at midnight Monday night for those in central time, arriving at 6:00pm in Springfield, MO. We can hardly wait to see Taylor and LiAnne, and everyone else there too!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Great Wall

Today started of pretty iffy. We had to meet our guide downstairs at 8:00 for our Great Wall Tour, so that meant that we had to wake up MinMin before she was ready. That is never a good idea. It also meant that we had to hurry through breakfast, as we were moving to a hotel across the street that had internet access. So, by 8:00, we were finally in the van with one not very happy girl. The drive across Beijing was long, with lots of traffic. We drove by the new Birds Nest stadius, but the road closest to it was closed for a marathon. Soon we saw hundreds of runner going down the road. We picked up a young couple at the university. He is a student here from Indonesia, and she was here on holiday from Indonesia visiting him. Turns out, we find out during the day, that they are Christians, and we had a good visit with them.

We had a good guide today, but one thing that is hard for MinMin when we have guides is that they like to tell her how lucky she is, isn't she excited that she gets to go to America? And, did she know that she looks like a boy? They aren't very tactful. She really doesn't need to be told how lucky she is. What they don't stop to think about is that she is leaving the only home she has ever known, and she school and friends, and going with people she can't even talk to. Please be praying for her/us on Monday afternoon, night your time, Tuesday morning our time, as we head to the airport to begin the flight home.

The drive to the Mutianyu Great Wall was 1 1/2 hours, with a stop at a local jade factory/shop. From there we drove to the wall, and MinMin got more and more animated the closer we got. We rode a cable car up the mountain, and she thought that was quite fun. We spent about 1 1/2 hours walking up the mountain on the wall. Some of the steps were STEEP--made the steps of the Pyramids in Mexico seem like nothing! We had a great time taking pictures, and MinMin seemed to enjoy the visit to this stop that she would have read about in her history books over the years. She raced up the steps, like most kids her age do, and thought it was funny that she had to wait for us at each level.

There were hundreds of people at the wall today--and it was amazing to hear all of the different languages--Spanish, German, Indian, French, Chinese and who knows how many others.

Going back down the mountain was a lot of fun, too. There is a toboggan ride that curves back down the mountain. It was great, and MinMin grinned all the way down.

Next was dinner, and touring another factory/shop, then 1 1/2 hours back to the city, which took longer, as there was a 3 car accident on the highway. Last stop was a tea shop, so we got in another tea ceremony, which I enjoyed. Actually, MinMin seemed to enjoy it today much more than last week.

As we drove back through Beijing we were able to drive near the Birds Nest stadium, as well as many other new stadiums that have been built for the Olympics. We also drove next to the Olympic Village, where the athletes will stay. We had blue sky all day, which I know they are hoping to have for the Olympics next year.

I think that is it for now. I need to repack all of our bags to distribute the weight better, and see if we have room to do any more shopping tomorrow!

Friday-Saturday Train Ride

I know that many are wondering if MinMin changed clothes for the consulate appointment on Friday. Well....she did and she didn't. I laid out nice clothes for her, and both Richard and I put on nicer clothes. She folded up the clothes, put them in her suitcase, and got out the regulars. We got the others back out and laid them back on the bed. Since she had been sullen all morning, we decided that we weren't going to win on the nice clothes, so I pulled out a different shirt and jacket than the normal and gave her a choice. Of course, she picked the pants and jacket. So, not the nice clothes, but at least not the same ones as all the other days.

Friday at 4:00 we arriveed at the US Consulate to pick up MinMin's passport with her US visa inside. That was a very quick process, as there were so few families here during the trade fair, and we were out of there by 4:30. The train station was just a block up the street, so we headed that way. Our train left at 6:00. We had a soft sleeper, which is a room, about 6' by 7', with four beds, two upper and two lower. We got settled in, and fortunately for us, no one else joined us.

Let me tell you, 21 hours for 3 people in a 6' by 7' room is a great bonding experience! We got out the UNO cards, and played game after game, after game. MinMin LOVES to win at UNO, and she especially LOVES to beat Richard! She kept track of who won all the games, and loved it when she was ahead. Three hours of UNO later, we crawled in our bunks for the night. Sleeping on a gently moving train under a nice comforter is not a bad way to spend the night.

The next morning we took our time moving around, but once we were up and had some coffee (instant that we took with us) and breakfast, out came the UNO cards again. This girl would not let us stop playing UNO until we arrived in Beijing that afternoon. If we weren't playing UNO, then she was taking silly pictures with the camera.

We arrived in our hotel, made sure that there was internet before we checked in, and headed out to the street to eat. We went to the same restaurant that we went to three years ago when we came for LiAnne. It is three stories underground, and a huge bunch of restaurants together, where you can find any Chinese food you want. It was quite good. Back in our room, we got out the computer, only to not be able to connect. Seems like, yes, they do have internet, but you have to pay--and quite expensive. Richard headed back out to check out another hotel, and made reservations for tonight, since we had already paid for one night at the first one.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

More Thursday News

We just returned from dinner with our friend, Ping. Richard met Ping online before we came for LiAnne, and we then were able to meet him here in Guangzhou. This is the third time now that we have been able to visit with him, and we chat with him online throughout the year. He invited us to dinner tonight, and then to his home, where he lives with his aunt.

Ping is an only child, but he would have made a good big brother. He talked with MinMin quite a bit, asking her why she looked so glum. At one point she took the album of pictures of the family that I brought along, and went through it with him, showing him each family member. She was surprised that he already knew everyone by name. He also explained to her that our meeting tomorrow is a special one, and that we will all dress nicely for it. She seemed to agree with him that that was ok, so hopefully tomorrow we will have a picture or two of her in pretty clothes. He also talked to her about our upcoming trip to Beijing, and found that she is excited about going there.

We had some attitude problems today....something that we will have to start working on. Of course, MinMin doesn't really know how to live in a family, and has no idea about having to respect ones parents. I guess I'm used to being able to tell my kids what I need them to do, and knowing that they will obey. With MinMin, I can ask her to do something, and if she doesn't want to she just waves me off and shakes her head. Sometime soon she is going to have to learn that a mom has to be listened to. It's so hard to just be patient and to remember what she has gone through this week, and give her some slack. Hard to know how much to give and where to draw the line so that she doesn't think that she is always going to get her way. Tonight when we went out Richard reminded her to put her glasses on. Afterall, we didn't get them for me to carry around in the backpack. She said no, he said yes. She put them on until we were in the taxi, then took them off. I asked her to put them back on, she said no. When we got out of the taxi she dropped them in the street, because they were in her lap, not on her face. So, back in the backpack they went for now, but I think that she will have to cooperate by wearing them before she gets the electronic translator back.

MinMin's orphanage is know to be a cold, unfriendly place. When I think about this, and all of the years that she spent there, I can be patient, and be willing to wait a while for her to take in all of the changes that she is experiencing. Actually, we are pretty amazed at how well she is doing.

Thursday--Back in Guangzhou

We had an uneventful train ride through the night and are back in Guangzhou. We are staying in a hotel just across the river from the White Swan. We waited in our room this morning while Connie was at our consulate appointment. She called at 11:15 to let us know that there were no questions, and that our paperwork passed. That was good news.

It is weird walking around Shaiman Island---almost no adopters around. Plenty of business types, though. Lunch was at Lucy's, again, no adopters. It is a place that is usually full of babies with new families. While Richard and MinMin took the metro across town to buy train tickets for tomorrow night to Beijing, I took Shelli's and others' advise and sat in Starbucks with my Carmel Frap. And yes, Shelli, it was a nice, quiet, restful place. I'm glad I went. I look forward to being home and having the coffee pot going all morning!

Tomorrow we'll check out of the hotel at noon, and haul our luggage across to the island. At 2:30 we take a bus over to the US consulate to pick up MinMin's visa. From there it is just a short trip over to the train station, where we board the train for the trip north.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Quiet Wednesday

We did very little today. It was a nice change from the busy days we have had.

I can tell that a few things will have to change when we get home. :) MinMin has taken a liking to my new laptop. I let her watch a DVD on it today, but then she didn't want to give it back to me to use. She has just been chatting with our friend, Ping, who wrote to her in Chinese. She thought that was fun. It was good for her, but again, she wasn't too happy that I wanted my laptop back. She's going to have to learn once we get home that I don't share it much.

We will be heading out in just bit to have some dinner. We are all packed up, and will come back after dinner, pick up our suitcases, and head down to the train station. Our train heads out just before 10:00pm, arriving in Guangzhou around 9:00 tomorrow morning. We will then head to our hotel, and have to wait around during our consulate appointment. Our guide, Connie, actually is the only one who attends the consulate appointment. Please be praying that there are no problems with our paper work---there shouldn't be any, but one never knows. Some of you will remember that with LiAnne, the consulate had no record of our fingerprints, and we did some frantic faxing and emailing back and forth to the Mexico City consulate to get the fingerprint records sent over here.

We will then have the rest of the day, and until Friday at 2:30pm to spend in Guangzhou. We take a bus over to the US consulate at 2:30 for our swearing in ceremony. It actually isn't much---just saying that we told the truth on our documents. We will then receive MinMin's passport with her US visa in it and we are free to go.

Right after that we will take the train north to Beijing. We had planned to fly, but decided to go ahead and take the train, since we will get in at the same time as the plane would on Saturday afternoon. MinMin will be able to see a lot of China as we fly by on the train. From there we will spend a couple of days seeing the sights.

No pictures today. I'll try to do better tomorrow. You'll notice in the pictures that I have on here that MinMin is pretty well dressed the same in all of them. She wears one outfit, washes it out, and wears it again when it is dry. She has a suitcase of nice clothes that I could have left behind. I am hoping that we can talk her into wearing something prettier for the consulate appointment on Friday. If I do we'll be sure to get a picture...but I have my doubts.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007