Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"...I rescued the poor who cried for help...I broke the fangs of the wicked and snatched the victims from their teeth" 
Job 29:11-17

It has been just a little over a year since we returned home with Zoe (now 3-1/2) in our arms.  I decided to dress her in the traditional Inner Mongolian clothing and take a few pictures to capture this time!   We have grown so much throughout the year in many different ways.  In the first three months home Zoe grew 6 inches in height.   She has blossomed in her talking and in the past 2 months has gone from speaking at a three year four month level to a four year seven month level.   She can ride a bike with ease without training wheels and is quite the star on a big girl scooter.   Last week she decided she would learn to swim, quite a feat for a little girl who seemed to have never been in water, and she can swim half way across the deep end of the pool now!  She loves to sing, jump, play outside, plant flowers and garden and is as curious as can be.   One of her favorite quotes now is "I Looooooove ____________" - you fill in the blank!   She just loves everything!  At dinner time she always says, "thank you Mommy for this good food".   She loves her afternoon nap and will tell us when she is tired.  There is no stopping her from falling asleep when she just can't continue any longer.  Zoe's favorite thing to sleep with is her big pink blanket that belonged on Mikelle's bed when she was a little girl and she loves her "tiger cat" to "nuggle" with in bed.   As I look back at the pictures of Zoe before we first held her it is hard to fit the face in the pictures with the personality that has blossomed in the past year.   There are so many wonderful things we have learned it is hard to keep track of all of them.  It has been an amazing year as we have learned so much about each other.  God has brought the perfect little girl for our family and we are so thankful He knows us best.  
  God has done great things!

"...Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Finally... HOME!!!

We’re finally home!!!! After more than 30 hours of travel our plane touched down in Dayton a little after midnight Friday night, June 11.   We had risen around 4 a.m. Friday morning (China time), caught an early flight from Guangzhou to Hong Kong.    We arrived late in Hong Kong,  grabbed our twelve pieces of carryon luggage – oh why did we need those four tea sets…?, two strollers and two little girls and hopped on a bus packed full of mandarin speaking people.   We tried to balance all of our luggage and the girls while trying to rip the plastic packaging which covered our strollers from the previous flight without toppling over, all the while praying we would make our connecting flight or otherwise be forced to spend an extra day in Hong Kong.   The minute the bus stopped we were off the bus and told to follow a airline employee to ticket Zoe whose seat could not be taken care of until we arrived in Hong Kong.   So we ran with all of our belongings to the 50th gate with several other adoptive families.   And we made it!   The only casualty was my neck pillow for the long flight home which lay somewhere in an airport terminal in Hong Kong!

Everyone did great on the long flight to Chicago except for a tantrum Zoe threw as we circled waiting to land.  She crammed herself under the seat in front of us and screamed making the already annoyed lady in front of us happy I 'm quite certain.   We realized sadly that we might miss our connecting flight to Dayton to bring us home by 6 p.m.   Unfortunately, we ended up having to make a landing at Rockford IL instead of O'Hare since we were going to run out of fuel!   Eventually we were up in the air again and landed at O'Hare, but needless to say we missed the flight.  After what seemed like hours of customs, review of Zoe's TB documents with the immigration physician, adoption finalization, waiting in lines for our new tickets, rechecking our luggage, three trips through security,  and a quick bite to eat, we were on our way home!

Now that we are home it has been quite a week of adjusting but things seem to have taken a turn for the better and are starting to settle down.    The following slideshow, compliments of my dear friend Michelle McKibben who was in Florida for our homecoming, includes the photos from Ashley Weidner a new photographer friend who patiently waited out all of our travel delays in order to be at the airport at midnight to photograph our family for this momentous occasion. Click on the following link to view: 

Thanks for your continued prayers as we adjust to life as a family of six!

"Come and see what God has done: He is awesome in His deeds toward the children of man."  Psalm 66:5

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Flight Details from China

United Airlines Flight 896
Departs Hong Kong 12:35am (friday)
Arrives Chicago 2:14pm (friday)

United Airlines Flight 7449
Departs Chicago 4:00pm (friday)
Arrives Dayton 6:00pm (friday) 


Our last full day in China has come to an end.   We spent the day shopping for the last few things we needed to take home with us.    Dave shopped with us til the afternoon, then he went for a massage so we could do the final power shopping.   We went to Baima and what an experience!  Then we dressed in our Chinese dresses and dined at Macau Street with our guide Elsie and our friends who’ve traveled with us:  Steve, Diane & their new little Lianne and Adrian, Jean and their new little Bai Jie who will soon be called Elyssa.
Now all our bags are packed and we are ready to go.   We cannot wait to step foot back in the USA.   We have had an amazing journey here and we are ready to return home and adjust to life as a family of six.   I’ve learned a lot so much this trip and feel like God continues to stretch me to become all that He has called me to be.   Without His loving hand to guide me and give me gentle nudges along the way, I would be nowhere.
As He has called us down this road I have learned how much value is put on the unimportant.   In the book, “A Black Eye isn’t the End of the World” which talks about the “Panda Principles” it says, “Look under the fur.  Perhaps if, like pandas we all looked alike, we would be less tempted to spend time analyzing the outsides of others.   We would just focus on the more important parts, “under the fur” where all the good stuff hides.”
We have climbed the Great Wall, used squatty potties, walked dusty streets, observed split pants, walked through beautiful gardens, rode in rickshaws, & traveled to orphanages where our girls spent much of their lives.   We’ve laughed over signage: “No standing on the toilet seat; no spitting or nose clearing in the Jacuzzi”; wept over children left in rundown orphanages and sickness and needs far greater than we could ever imagine; some who will only ever have a family in their dreams.   We’ve met wonderful new friends, shared Bibles with those who may have never heard the gospel and celebrated the new life God has given us.
So early tomorrow (Friday) we will take a early flight to Hong Kong and then travel to Chicago and on to Dayton by around 6 pm with prayers for a safe and uneventful journey.  Love to Brady and all our family and friends and a huge thank you for the covering of prayer for us.
“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”  Psalm 91:4

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


The sealed brown envelope is in our hands along with Zoe’s TB xray.   The envelope remains sealed until immigration officials open in Chicago upon our arrival there.   It was given to us Wednesday at our U.S. Consulate appointment.   In addition to the “Brown Envelope” we were asked to swear that all information given was accurate and correct and this was the final step on our journey for Zoe to become our daughter.   The room at the Consulate was full of adoptive parents.   We all raised our right hands, took the oath, and we were done.