Final Day

I think that I am the only one in our travel group who feels this way, but I can hardly believe it is time to head home.  I am actually sad to leave China.

The trip has been both long and fast.  
Expected and, oh so, unexpected.

It has been so much more than I could have dared to believe.  

So much that I feared, and then prayed through, has not come to pass...and I have felt carried these days in China.

Even to your old age and gray hairs

    I am He, I am He who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
Isaiah 46:4

This country represents so much to me.  It has been here that I have received 4 of the greatest gifts of my life.  It is woven into the fabric of my heart and I pray that I get to return again and again.

But I know that He did not call me to China to stay in China [at least this time].  He has called me to bring our Bei Bei home.  To join her family and to be loved on and played with by a whole host of siblings who can't wait to meet her in person.  

I'll try to share her!

The last few nights, I have lain in bed thanking Him for all who have been praying for us...for the whole host of "Elijahs"...ones we know personally, those who know Sophie Joy Bei Bei personally, and those who only know us by prayer.  We are humbled by the large number of warriors He has called to attention on our family's behalf.  And, once again, I repeat Psalm 126:3...

The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!

In Him,


Stretching Our Legs

After several days of stable health, we have decided  to get out of the hotel a little bit.  

Mexican food  in China! Tekila is the restaurant if you are every in the area. 

Pearl  River  Cruise with the tallest building in Guangzhou in the background.

The guides made it a pizza party since the food on the cruise is notoriously bad.  It was  pretty bad 4 years ago!   The cruise was nice, though! 

Sophie seems to enjoy getting out of the room,  though she loves playing in the room, too!

My girl found a Mercedes at the Pearl Market and hopped  right in.   

Jason, one of our guides, giving her a push. 

Kevin's response to the Pearl Market.
I am so  thankful Sophie was well enough for us to go to the Pearl Market.   We get each  of our children a Pearl  bracelet for their wedding day.   Sophie needed one!   We gave the first bracelet  away to our  daughter in law last year!  You buy pearls  by the strand  and then can have them made into 2 bracelets,  so now we have one extra.   Hmmm...

 Sadly,  we  are  still having internet trouble,  so we can only upload  a few pictures and only the ones on my phone.
 Please  keep  praying  for  Sophie's  health!  Pray specifically  for no fevers,  especially on the plane and that her catheter  would continue flowing well.

I'll close by copying a FB Meyer's   devo from the 16th.  My spirit testifies to this!

"Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you."-- Jn 15:16.
"All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations, And, lo, I am with you all the days, even unto the end of the age."-- Mat 28:181920 (R.V.).

IT IS a wonderful thing to hear these words from the lips of our Lord, when we remember what the Devil said to Him at the beginning of His ministry (Lk 4:6). Evidently the sceptre had been wrested from the hand of the prince of this world. Our Lord is supreme in heaven, and equally so on earth. He has authority over winds and waves; over the natural world with its laws and elements; over gold mines and harvest fields; over the minds and souls of all men who have been purchased by His precious blood. It would greatly facilitate our obedience to His Command if we realized that the whole world is His by creation and redemption, and that wherever we go throughout its vast territory we are within His domains.

Notice the care with which Christ insists that those who were disciples should be taught to observe all His commands (Mat 28:20). He chose the Apostles that they might receive His commands, not for their own obedience alone, but that they might impress them upon others. Obedience is the law of spiritual growth and blessedness. Let us resolve, first to observe whatsoever the Master has appointed; the second, to teach others to do the same. Whenever the task seems too great for our strength, let us remember the precious promise that He is with us always, as the margin puts it--"all the days," Never a day can come with its demands, its call for dutiful obedience, but He will be at hand to bear our burden, to help us by the right hand of His strength, to inspire us by the light of His face.

Christian life, after all, comes to this--how much will you obey Christ? If you refuse, you shut yourself out of His best, for He can do nothing for you or with you. But if you surrender yourself to obey, there is no limit to the usefulness and blessedness that must ensue (Ge 18:18,19). To live like this, we must abide in Him, and allow His words, by meditation and prayer, to abide in us. Then obedience ceases to be an effort, but it is the fruit of an exuberant life.

Help us to abide in our calling with Thee, to detect Thy presence in every place. May we realise that every place may be a temple, every duty a service, and that we are part of Thy great host, who do Thy bidding, hearkening to the voice of Thy word. AMEN.

In Him,


Getting to Know You

The last several days have been a whirlwind!  Most of the time was spent getting to know our little girl better...both inside and out!  

She is a treasure and we are just sooooo in love!  She has just marched right into our hearts and completely melted them.  I don't think that there is one thing she does that I don't find absolutely precious at this point!

Sophie fixing my hair!

Hugs for MaMa!

What we are learning...
Sophie is one smart cookie!  She picks up on things very quickly and is already mixing Chinese and English together in sentences.

She is not easily dissuaded or persuaded when she sets her mind to something!  My girl knows what she wants, where it is, and just how to get it!  Her trademark smile gets her a long way in that department!

My girl can sleep!  She can fall asleep in a New York minute, just about anywhere.  And then she is O.U.T.  Waking her is not easy, but once she starts coming to, there is that smile again!

Food, well, go back to that not easily dissuaded or persuaded thing. French fries and yogurt are so far always a go.

Friendly!  She has a way of charming almost everyone she meets.  That smile and sweet 'Ni Hao!' or wave and 'Bye, Bye!' accompanied by a blown kiss win everyone over!

Selfie with Sophie

She loves to empty and fill things.  This, so far seems to be her favorite pastime.  

Today, I pulled out the Duplos and she and Daddy built for quite sometime. Her fine motor skills are something!

As we began Sophie's adoption process, the Lord repeatedly reminded us that she was so much more than a medical file.  The day after we received her heart-quaking file, the Lord prompted Show Hope (the organization overseeing her care) to post an article about her personality on their blog.  It was that reminder that she was first and foremost a precious little girl, who also happened to have serious medical issues.  Just as with our other kids, the medical need will be a part of her life, but it is not who she is.  If we had just looked at the file and not at her Heavenly Father who created her heart and her unique, sweet personality, we would have missed out on so much.  

We know He has great plans for her!  

And, we get a front row seat!  All glory and honor and praise to Him!  

In Him,


Bullet Train in Xinyang

When you adopt a child from Henan province, you are required to return to the city in which the child was found to apply for their passport.  Sophie was from Xinyang, several hundred miles from the capitol city Zhengzhou in which we are staying, so we got to take the Bullet Train rather than van to get there.

If it weren't for the fact that Joshua's passport trip holds some of our worst memories in China, we would have been very excited going into the trip instead of apprehensive.  Joshua was a very sick little boy on that drive and it was quite stressful...and messy.  Suffice it to say, we've done much praying leading into the trip to Xinyang!  

The bullet train was an answer to prayer!  It was much more comfortable than a van and actually somewhat relaxing.  Well, at least as relaxing as it gets when the cutest 3 year old in the world is wiggling in your lap and shoving Chinese kiddie snacks in your mouth every few seconds!  

Sophie playing with the newly adopted daughter of another family in our group who also went by train to their daughter's finding city.  They got off a stop before us.

Beginning at 7:15am, we walked to the new Zhengzhou subway, took the Subway to the Bullet Train, took the train 1 hour 45 minutes to Xinyang, 

caught a taxi to the Public Service Bureau,

 applied for the passport (another unhappy looking Sophie Joy Bei Bei in that one!), 

and then reversed the whole process!

In line to get our train ticket changed to an earlier time.  Everything went so quickly we were able to go home 2 trains sooner!

Sophie and Daddy waiting for train to take us back to Zhengzhou.

(scenes from the train ride....)

Other than getting her picture taken, she was a happy girl the whole time and very patient.  I couldn't help but think how much Joshua would have loved the bullet train!  He would have been so excited!  Sophie, on the other hand, preferred interacting with people and snacking!

The time in Xinyang was very fast and we only saw a very small part of this city south of Zhengzhou that was hilly and more agrarian.  

We will most likely never be closer geographically to Sophie's birth family than we were today.  I wished there was some way to hire a plane to write in the sky...
She lived!  
She survived!  
You saved her life by giving her up...and we thank you!  

My heart breaks for the birth families of my three youngest.  I want them to know that their babies are loved and getting the medical care they were given up to get.  I pray that they come to know Jesus so that even if they never see these precious ones in this life, they will get to spend eternity with them.  My heart was raw.  And my eyes tear as I type.  I can't imagine having been in their positions.  Please never forget that the gift of adoption is birthed in searing loss and pain.  

And, then, like that we were back in Zhengzhou.  A little weary and hungry, but, oh so thankful for an easy and problem-free trip!

Thank you so much for praying that Sophie would drink well.  She is and she has been fever free.  I am getting a crash course in her care and it will take me a little while to become adept at some of it. 

Our little girl has been through so much in her short 3 years.  More surgeries than I even know...but many.  More procedures than could be counted, but the scars tell of their work.  More threats to her health and life than I care to think about, because it turns my stomach.   

We are overwhelmed with love for Miss Sophie and ache at the thought of any harm coming to her.  Please pray that she would not get a fever or UTI  (she gets one at least once a month).  Pray that she would grow healthy and strong so it could better fight the nasty bacteria that attack her urological system.  Pray that she would develop a taste for healthy food as she has been on a diet seemingly deficient of what her body needs to be healthy and strong.  Her paperwork says she has a penchant for junk food and sweets, so we will work on that!

Thank you so much!  God is so good, all the time.  He has called us to a task that is beyond us but not beyond Him...and we choose to trust Him.  It is well with my soul.

In Him,

She's Officially Ours FOREVER!

Day 2 with Sophie is the day she officially became ours!

We had to return to  the  Civil Affairs Office where  we received her,  so  I wasn't too sure  how  things  would go given her screaming and thrashing  about yesterday!   Don't be fooled by some of yesterday's  pictures,  it was a scream fest! I'm  sure  that  everyone was glad they  were  not  us! The Lord had prepared my heart for her reaction and I was actually grateful to see how close she was to her nanny.  It means good potential for solid bonding with us in the future!  In all things, give thanks!

But for the return trip,  she was fine and we even got a picture of her smiling in front of the big red sign.  All of  the families were presented with their  final adoption  decrees and thanked for adopting Henan children...with a special thanks given to the 3 families who were returning to adopt from Henan again!  Joshua is also from Henan!  After that we headed to get paper work notarized, and then we were done for everything official for the day.

After lunch, it was time to do some laundry the old-fashioned way!  Sophie was my little helper and seemed to know exactly what to do!  I gave her a couple of washcloths and she thrilled at dropping them in the water and then wringing them out.

That evening we needed to make another trip to Wal-Mart and get dinner.  Christmas lights and Santa are covering many buildings, though they have no idea what Christmas is about.  One of our guides said they aren't allowed to celebrate it and asked if we are in the US.

Our hotel...

We met an ex-pat who came up to us and asked if we were here on adoption trip.  I learned that he has been living in China for 15 years working with undocumented orphans.  That means that they do not have any paperwork listing them as orphans, or as even existing.  Without paperwork in China, not only can these children not attend public school, but as they age it will be very difficult to do work or even get a license for their car.  His 'charity foundation' gives rears them and gives them a private school education.  There are so many areas of ministry in China!  One of the sweet girls was with him and they were very helpful to us for finding the little sausages Sophie is accustomed to.

Dinner we decided needed to be close and fast.  Much like when you are in that predicament in the US, we opted for fast food...Burger King.  We ordered what looked like Bacon Cheeseburgers, but were called Italian Whoppers (or something like that).  They were slathered in a spicy Marinara Sauce.  Interesting.  The fries were good, though.

As for Sophie, she is doing well and is smiley, friendly, giggly, snuggly, beyond adorable.  I didn't think it was possible for her to be cuter than her pictures, but she is!  Probably because in real life her personality takes over.  Oh, my!  Are we ever in love!  She makes it so easy!  How her heart has blossomed under such difficult physical circumstances is a testimony to the grace of God and the love that Show Hope and New Hope provide through their special care centers.

In Him,