Thursday, November 21, 2013

Flat Out Discontent

Many friends have requested to be Lori McCary's travel companion to China since Doug was unable to make the journey with her.  Some bribery was even reported by certain friends in order to be considered as top choice for traveling mate.  But after considering the pros and cons of each applicant (such as maturity level, cultural sensitivities, fearlessness of flying, the ability to display a reasonable level of maturity and such), it was decided that me and my daughter, Isabella would be first choice.  
This sadly created much discontent among several of the applicants not chosen for this special privilege.  But unfortunately, only one adult could join Lori on the journey and I was the obvious choice after much deliberate consideration.  

Yet, one particular friend refused to take no for an answer and somehow, beyond comprehension she continually popped up in the most unexpected ways and unexpected of places.  At first, we found this quite humorous.  But honestly, became somewhat alarmed and irritated by her relentlessly showing up at very inconvenient times.  As the trips photographer, I decided that I should begin to document these strange appearances through photos.  Following is all the evidence we need to prove her presence in the great land of China.  
To preserve her dignity we will not disclose her identity, but simply refer to her here as Flat Sonia.

Flat Sonia is flat out FUNNY!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Recap of Thursday and Friday


We got up early and took a l-o-n-g drive to BenXi to visit a little girl in an orphanage who very much needs a family.  What a sweet girl!!
She is 10 years old.  Likes to paint and dance.  Her file says Downs Syndrome, but Lori and I disagree on that diagnosis.  She has no Downs symptoms.  Lori is familiar with Williams Syndrome and thinks this is the case.
This girl needs to be rescued.  She needs to be held, rocked, loved and spoken sweet words to.  How beautiful she will be with long hair and a bow.  I honestly did not know she was a girl when we first met her.  As Lori told her how special she was, pretty she was, smart she was and the longer she held her the more she seemed to melt right into her arms.  When Lori would ask her a question- she would repeat it perfectly.  She does NOT speak English!
At one point I introduced her to Isabella and had Sophie translate that Isabella was my daughter and that she too, was from China.  That got her attention.  Did it give her hope that one day she could also have a family?
She had to leave after awhile to go eat lunch.  So we stayed and visited with the orphanage doctor, director and ayis.  As we were leaving the orphanage through a little courtyard we noticed her standing at the window waving to us.  An image that has been burned into my mind that represents so many of the orphans who desperately want a mommy and a daddy.  We were leaving her there.  Where's the hope for these kids?  Before you meet them, look their in the eyes, see the hurt, the longing, the blank stares- it's not real.
But she is real.

After the visit to the orphanage we ate lunch at a REAL Chinese restaurant.  The table next to us had the whole fish, whole frogs and more.  Isabella was really watching to see if they were going to eat it.  I let her stare at the whole thing because... well....everyone in China stares!!  They talked sweet to her as we were on our way out so they weren't bothered in the least.  Haha!

Our driver for the week (who is awesome!) cracked his acorns for the girls.  (Can I say that?!)

After lunch we toured the BenXi Water Caves.  Inside this mountain is a running river and stalactites everywhere. The whole thing was amazing!  Isabella learned how awesome and creative our Creator is.
Oddly, the first part of the cave you walk through were dinosaur replicas along the path.  I'm pretty sure they had the whole millions & billions of years thing going on because they also had a cave family.  So random!  And weird.

The drive to BenXi gave us the opportunity to see the countryside and how a lot of Chinese peasants live.  There is such a contrast between the city people and country people.  It looks like a third world country.  Shacks are built next to each other with courtyards around them where their gardens are growing or animals are kept.  Some may have running water or electricity.  Everywhere I look in China I see the old mixed in with the new.

Friday morning we were up and packing for Guangzhou.  Melinda came by with Ethan and Makaila to say goodbye to Abby.  What an emotional morning.  Even I shed a few tears!

We flew to Guangzhou.
The internet here sucks.
The end.

Did nothing?
Did nothing again?

MONDAY (which was today)
Big day in China.
It's so special it requires its own post.
Goodnight from Guangzhou!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Today we visited a group of Chinese foster parents who get together often to support and encourage one another.  At the end of the meeting several prayed for their families and their foster children.  It was very moving to hear them pray to the One True God for the fatherless.

Oh!  And I got to cuddle with my new love, Ethan!!

Tomorrow we will travel to BenXi to visit an orphanage.  So excited to see some kiddos!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Updating everyone on what and where Izzy and I are right now-


My last post was about how busy life has been since our move to Texas.  My latest excuse for not blogging has been that I have been preparing to travel half way around the world.   We are now here and can't wait to show you all that has happened.  

When Lori and Doug decided to do another adoption they knew one of them would need to stay home with Rachel, who is waiting for a new heart- just in case that life changing call would come while in China.  That is when Lori asked if Isabella and I would like to travel to China with her and Kate.  
I told her I'd really have to think about it.
Of course we would go to China!!!!  Izzy and I LOVE China!! recap the last 5 days.......

Friday the 8th, Izzy and I flew out of San Antonio (awesome airport BTW) and met Lori and Kate in Dallas.  We then boarded our 14 1/2 hour flight to Incheon, Korea where we landed, in a stupor, I might add!  Oh my...we were miserable.  All four of us!  About 4 hours later we took one last plane ride to Shenyang, China.  We arrived in Shenyang late Saturday night feeling like the living dead.  Our guide, Sophie, took us to our hotel room (which is actually a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom, living room, full kitchen/dining room apartment!! WITH a washer/dryer!!)  This place has been amazing for the 5 of us.  So much room and we have used the kitchen many times.  I brought enough food to last a month as I remembered on my last trip to China (to get Sophie and Hudson) there were lots of hunger pains!  Haha!  It has made things convenient for us as it is not always easy to take Abby out.
On our way!

Flying over "HOME"

Siberia!!  It even LOOKS cold!

This has been the most unconventional adoption I have ever heard of.  
On Sunday we had Meetcha Day.  Not Gotcha Day.
Abby has lived with a Christian American woman who has fostered her since she was 2 years old.  Melinda, her foster mom, literally saved her life when she took her home.  Since then Abby has not only thrived but knows all about Jesus.  Abby has a foster sister named Makaila and a foster brother named Ethan.  Both still with Melinda looking for their Forever Families.  Anyone would be lucky to have one of these precious kiddos in their families.
Izzy and Kate waiting for Abby

She's here!

Isabella was the videographer.

Melinda aka Mama and Lori aka Mommy

Lots'a love!!

We rode the subway to Melinda's house

A Chinese statue!!

Lori & Abby

Since Abby turned 8 years old on Thursday the 7th, Melinda thought it would be nice to have a birthday party with all her friends from China and her new mommy and sister.  It was so nice to meet the people who have been a part of Abby's life here in China.
So, we spent the day at Melinda's apartment meeting everyone and celebrating Abby.  Melinda made the most of her last night with Abby and it was bitter sweet.  She has loved Abby for 5 years, yet has always known a mommy and daddy is what she really needed.  It was not easy for Melinda and she handled it with love and grace.

Monday we met at the Civil Affairs office and had our official Gotcha Day!  When we were done we left with Abby and came back to the apartment to settle in.  I will say this is not/ will not be easy for Doug and Lori, but it will be one of the biggest blessings ever!  

We did meet a lady from Abby's orphanage who handled the adoption.  At one point all children in Lioaning province living in foster care had to be returned to the orphanage because of a devastating fire which killed several.  Abby was one of the children to be returned.  This woman from the orphanage, whom Sophie refers to as the teacher, was so moved by Abby and Melinda's grief, that a week later she returned Abby to her home with Melinda.  She was also very thankful to Lori for adopting Abby, knowing it won't be easy.
Sophie translating.  Such beautiful writing!!

Teacher from the orphanage with a very kind heart.

Melinda, orphanage teacher, Lori
Abby wasn't cooperating very well- but "teacher" laughed through it all.
Then....Abby planted a kiss on her cheek!
And "teacher" thought it was awesome.
 I love these pictures showing how she truly feels about these kids in her orphanage.
We also went back to Melinda's to visit and get some more of Abby's things.  We got to visit and love on her other two kiddos, Ethan and Makaila.  And I am completely smitten with Ethan!!
After a good long visit we came back to the apartment- figured out how to get online and posted photos.

Lori & Makaila

Me & Ethan

Is he not the cutest guy ever!?

Today we went back to the Civil Affairs and finalized the adoption.  It was nice to see the lady from the orphanage again.  After a rough morning with Abby we headed back to the apartment.  This afternoon Sophie, our guide, took us to eat and to the market to get a few things.  As the day went along, Abby has improved in her communication and obeying.  Getting a new mama isn't always easy!  She has been making us laugh tonight.  She really is the sweetest little girl!  Hugging Kate and Izzy is her favorite thing.  Along with Pooh Bear, Veggie Tales, doggies and baby dolls!

Every day has been jam packed and we have a lot more to do and see.  It has been a wonderful trip and amazing to watch a family begin a new chapter in their lives.  We will continue to see Melinda throughout the week- something I believe is so great for Abby and Melinda.  She is such a godsend for these kids!