Seems like I can no longer access Blogger so I am moving over to the Baby Jelly Beans site mentioned back on the post on either Aug. 25th or 26th.  So far I can get into that one!  See you at the new site with Lily pics!
In Him,


Today is the day!

We are 30 minutes from meeting our agency rep for the drive to the Civil Affairs Office to meet Lily!  Diaper bag is packed, crib is in the room, paperwork in order.  We are all so excited!  Emma has been singing "Today is the Day" from this year's VBS songs all day!  I got teary at breakfast as we were surrounded by several families with their newly adopted Chinese beauties.  Can't believe the day is finally here!
Today is the day the day You have made!  I will rejoice and be glad in it!
Today is the day the day You have made!  I will rejoice and be glad in it!
And I won't worry about tomorrow, I'm trusting in what You've said!
Today is the day!
In Him,


Test post from Guangzhou

It seems like we might be able to access the blog...but this is a test post to see! If it works, I'll post pictures tomorrow!

After a 2 hour train ride we are in Guangzhou. The train was okay, dealing with the luggage was a bit difficult, but we made it. Boy, was I glad the agency guide was there to help us out of the train station! That was a bit of a maze and mass of people. The drive was about 30 minutes and not one I would have wanted to have hailed my first Guangzhou cab for! Our guide said that our room was upgraded by the hotel staff to the best suite in the hotel! It is large and roomy with 2 bathrooms, 2 rooms, 2 couches...and a slightly discernable musty/old smoke smell. Add poopy diapers to the mix...tomorrow...and we might want to wear some perfume! Not that bad, really. We'll have to take some pictures of the room to post to show you the over the top decor.

Keep praying for us and Lily! Our guide said she spoke with the orphanage today and she is doing well and is "active." Hmm...what could that mean? The middle of the afternoon is when we feel a little out of it, so hopefully that will be over with tomorrow. Not sure if we are going to order in or try a restaurant. We'll see!

Post more later, hopefully!

In Him,


Pictures from evening in Kowloon area of Hong Kong

Hong Kong is beautiful and lush. Landscaping like in the picture below is everywhere.

Check out the "window" box planters along the street on which we had dinner.

About a 2 minute walk from our hotel was the water.

Along the walkway is the Avenue of Stars...Hong Kong's version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Only names I recognized 2 names though...Jackie Chan and...

Fu Chi! No, I have no idea who that is......but his/her hands appear to be the size of both Kevin and Emma's!
(Emma was very worn out by this point...forgive the frown!)
Okay, here's the other one we recognize...Bruce Lee!
He even gets his own statue!

And my rock of a husband with Bruce...
After dinner we watched the nightly light/laser show. The buildings' lights are choreographed to music playing on speakers all along the Promenade. This is before the show...
These are during...

Good night from Hong Kong! Tomorrow on to Guangzhou, China by train!

In Him,

We made it!

We made it! Yippee! No problems with any of the flights and the time went much faster than expected on the long flight from Detroit to Hong Kong, thanks to lots of TV choices! This picture is for Aaron!
These pictures were all taken when we were all still "fresh!"
The Hong Kong airport was amazing! Very easy and smooth to get through...when we walked up to the baggage claim, lo and behold, there were our bags! Our agency rep met us after Customs and whisked us off to our hotel (about a 25 min. drive through the city) "WOW" is all I can say! Over 7.5 million people living on this group of islands...literally one on top of another in high rise apartment buildings. As our guide was explaining the population density of Hong Kong, Psalm 8:4 ran through my mind. "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?" My smallest and insignificance in this world really struck me...BUT GOD! He wants a personal relationship with me and every human being in all the world throughout all of time! Mind blowing! Sometimes I just feel my smallness and seeing Hong Kong has made me feel this way!

Anyway, after checking in at the hotel, we got some bottled water (at 7-11!) and dinner (didn't know you could eat while sleeping..ha ha!) and then sacked out for the night. Again, no troubles sleeping. Praise the Lord!

In the morning, we ate breakfast (nice buffet of both Western and Chinese food) and then we were met by our tour guide in the lobby for a 5 hour tour of Hong Kong. Again...WOW! I am not one for city life, but Hong Kong is both an amazing engineering and modern city planning marvel as well as clean and picturesque (at least the parts we drove through!).
We went to Victoria's Peak...beautiful view even with all of the haze:on a Sampan boat ride (this one had a modern motor instead of pole-power),
This is what the boat we were on looked like:

The boat in the background is a famous floating restaurant in Aberdeen.We went through a jewelry factory (with a sell-to-tourists show room...we got out unscathed!), and to a popular street market. Just in case you were wondering if Kevin was with us... All very interesting and fun!

The weather has been much more pleasant than I expected. 80 degrees and somewhat humid last night. Probably 85-90 degrees with a breeze today. Not bad! As we were driving back to the hotel at the end of the tour, we saw a large thunderstorm rolling into the harbor with dark clouds reaching all the way down to the water. Beautiful!

Well, here some more pictures from driving around Hong Kong on the tour. 2 more days and we will have Lily!
In Him,



The day has come! Tomorrow we board a plane and head to China (via Hong Kong) to get our Lily Rose!

We greatly appreciate all of your prayers! Please pray for smooth flights and easy transition to the new time zone. Please pray especially for Kevin in the airports and on the flights...he does not like flying. Please continue to pray for the Lord to prepare Lily's heart for the big transition she is about to undergo and that the Lord would grant us wisdom in parenting her in these early days. Also, please pray for my (Mandy's) back. I injured it back in July and, although it is much better, it is not 100% and I would like prayer that it would not go out in China with carrying Lily. Pray that we would be the fragrance of Christ everywhere we go and that Satan would not be able to steal one bit of joy. Pray that we would be focused on Him, rejoicing in Him.

My hope is to update the blog daily, Lord willing. Blogger (the site that hosts my blog) is sometimes blocked in China, so if it is I will post at the alternate site listed below which is said to be available to me in China. It's address is:


Rejoicing in Him,


Before Creation

The first line of the song we were singing this morning in church hung in my heart as the rest of the words continued on reiterating a thought that has come to mind several times in the last days of preparation. The words gave me chills.

"You stood before creation, eternity in Your hands..."

Since we received our Travel Approval, so many of the things that I've longed to do have become reality. Washing baby clothes, setting up the crib, gathering our things into suitcases, etc. The moment when Lily Rose will be put into our arms is quickly approaching! The knowledge of her has been in our hearts for years. The required steps to receive her were set in motion many, many months ago. But it won't be until 3:30pm August 30th that we will actually hold her and she will see us as her family. It is a day we have been dreaming of and longing for. A day for which we have been waiting and on which we will rejoice!

As the Spirit, so lovingly does, this past week He gave me a glimpse of the Father's heart in this. As the girls and I were reading through Genesis 1 and talking about Creation, I mentioned to the girls that God had us in His heart even then. And it dawned on me...God had been planning and waiting through all eternity past for two days in my life: June 9, 1975, the day I was born, and the day in 1982 when I asked Him into my heart as Lord and Savior!

Just as I have planned and longed for years to hold this little girl and for her to become more than a promise and, more recently, more than a picture...God, my Father, longed for me to become reality so He could hold me, have relationship with me, and be my Daddy. He planned for me before creation. He waited centuries for me to be born physically and born again spiritually. He made the way, He paid the cost, He came to get me through His kindnesses. He has never left me.

Did He wait with the same longing I've had for Lily? Did He long for me to be more than His plan, His promise for centuries? Did He wait with eager anticipation for me to be a living, breathing child of His with whom He would have relationship? What a thought! This is the God I serve...omniscient, powerful, intentional, loving, compassionate, gracious, awesome and SO much more!

He loves each of us like that...and waits for the day when He can call each of us His child.

In Him,


He said, "No."

I glanced over and the lady 10 feet away from me was looking our way...chuckling. She had just overheard my 7 year old ask for something like a pet giraffe and then whine out, "You always say no!" Pointing out all of the times in the last week when I had said "yes" wasn't going to go anywhere. At that moment all she heard was "no."

I had to chuckle to myself, too. Once again, God put His gentle finger upon my heart and tenderly made a point. "Mandy, if only you could see how I see...some of your requests are 'impossible' or dangerous. When I say 'no,' there is always a reason...a good one."

I knew what He was referring to, of course. He had just said 'no' to our son coming to China with us and the dates that He'd given us for going are far from my first choice for many reasons. But, He answered. And He is God. And all of His judgments are righteous and good and just.

So often, as believers in Christ, we talk about answered prayer, but what we tend to define as answered prayer are the times when God says 'yes.' I am reminded through the latest mile of this journey that 'yes' is not the only answer. I have experienced and lived the 'wait' answer. This time, the answer is 'no.' And I will rejoice in knowing that once again my God has answered me with His perfect answer. And, I don't have to understand why it is perfect...it just is because He is.

In Him,


Book 'em, Kevo!

It's done. It's paid for. It's real.

We bought plane tickets to China!!!

Well, really Hong Kong, but that is where we have to go first. We will leave the US for Hong Kong on Thursday, August 26th and arrive in Hong Kong on the evening of August 27th. That appears to be a whopping 20 hours of travel time...that's a loooong day! Sooooooooooo worth it, though! We fly to Guangzhou, China on the 29th and receive our daughter on the 30th!

We will return in the evening of Saturday, September 11th...with the newest member of our family in our arms! Imagine our joy (and misty eyes) when we saw "Infant in arms" listed on my itinerary. Wow! My heart flutters thinking of it.

If the Lord lays it on your heart, start praying for that return trip now. It has potential to be grueling with an infant! Pray that she won't have an ear infection or any other illness that would make flying miserable for her. Pray she will be happy (if only those seated around us knew to pray for that now, too!!!). Pray that she (and we) will be able to rest. Pray we will get better seats for the Hong Kong to US flight than we have now and that we will be able to get a bassinet for her to stretch out in (which would mean more leg room for my 6'4" husband, too!). Pray that the Lord would grant us favor with the staff and passengers on the plane. Pray that we would be the fragrance of Christ on all the flights.

And I must praise the Lord (again!)! The tickets have come down dramatically in price from what we were seeing several weeks ago. They have dropped to a place where we were actually thankful as we paid 4 digits! Blessed and excited to see the Lord's hand, yet again, in all things.

Oh, and for those familiar with Guangzhou...we will stay in the Victory Hotel! Thanks, Andrea for this tip...saves major $!

In Him,


3 weeks from today!

I just got an email from our agency with word that we will receive Lily on Monday, August 30th! I am ecstatic beyond words...and now counting down the days until we will hold our daughter in our arms!

Please pray for her adjustment. As exciting and wonderful as that day will be for us (and ultimately will be for her), it is exceedingly difficult for the children. She will not understand what is going on as these strangers who look, smell, and sound totally unlike anything she'd experienced become her family. She will enter into a period of grieving (for the only caregivers and life she's known) and of learning to "attach" to her new family. Pray that the Lord would prepare her for this monumental change, heal her heart quickly and completely, and that she would understand rapidly that we are her family...trustworthy, dependable, loving, and devoted--permanently. Pray that she would learn to trust us and depend upon us. Pray that He would give us wisdom on how best to comfort her during that time and demonstrate to her that we are her forever family.

In Him,


Travel Dates

Thursday we received the Consulate Appointment (set for Sept. 8...the day after Lily turns 11 months old) and more specific travel dates. Our travel dates will be Aug. 26 through Sept. 11 (possibly a day or two later on the returning end depending on airfare). Later than we had hoped, but official and that is the important thing!

I can finally say with a more accurate degree of certainty: in 3 weeks we will be in China! Really...18 days (China time), 2 hours, 1 minute, and...but who's counting?

Now onto kid-care, dog-care, guinea pig care, fish care, crib building, suitcase packing, clothes washing, list making, wake-me-this-must-be-a-dream pinching, etc.!

More later...

In Him,



Yes! We got it! We received our Travel Approval (officially) yesterday! Monday, at dinner time, we had gotten word that it would be coming "soon," but it became official yesterday! Hallelujah! One huge step closer!

We don't have exact travel dates yet, but have been asked if we could travel on or around August 18th! That's less than 2 weeks from now! I, of course, replied: We can leave anytime around the 18th (before, on, or after). We could leave tomorrow if it were required!

So, now, we wait for our agency to schedule our Consulate Appointment in Guangzhou, China which will be the date around which the trip is scheduled. We should have word on that date within 1-3 days of TA...so maybe today?
Exciting times!

Here's a picture of Lily...soon she will be 3-D!

Rejoicing In Him,