Sunday, September 30, 2012

Here in Shanghai

Hello Everyone,

Ready for takeoff!
Our flights were all on time and uneventful.  Yay!  The kids were just great and we at least got a little sleep on the plane and a few hours here in our hotel.  Enjoyed a good traditional Chinese breakfast with our dear friends Peter and Julia who lived in Zaozhuang when we lived there 6+ years ago.  Thanks to their help we are able to stay here in Shanghai at a very reasonable Chinese hotel.  Prices in Shanghai are high these days.  One of the most expensive cities in China! Getting ready to head out and do some sightseeing.

The kids did amazing on the plane. Absolutely no complaining.  They just enjoyed the movies and drawing, and reading.  Cathay Pacific is
a really nice airline, so it makes 24 hours of travel as pleasant as it can be.   

Finally here!

Breakfast with our dear friends Peter and Julia

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Here we go!

Sitting in the KCI Airport ready to head to Chicago and then on to Hong Kong and Shanghai.  I think it's just surreal to all of us that this is really happening.  We're all just so excited, and the kids can't wait to be in China.  They were so independent packing their carry on bags so carefully to have just the things they needed for 3 weeks in China.  Hoping we will all sleep some on the long 15 hour flight to Hong Kong.  We'll get to Shanghai at midnight, so hopefully we can start getting our body clocks on the right schedule.  We will be 13 hours ahead of Kansas City time. So we will arrive in Shanghai on Sunday Sept 30th at midnight.  Which is 11am Kansas City time. Thanks so much for your prayers.  We are praying for safe and smooth travels and a wonderful time of visiting our Chinese friends we haven't seen is six years.  Then of course the big excitement will be getting Anna.  We just can't wait!

I'll post again from the other side of the world.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


This morning, and over the past week, I have been reading the blog of some of our friends in our adoption group.  Right now they are in Korea and yesterday they received the gift of a lifetime- their daughter ShiEun.  She's just a little younger than Anna and has been raised with a foster family.  They've been waiting a long time for her.  Longer than we have. And their road has been filled with many ups and downs.  What is even most beautiful is that the mom, Dolly, was adopted from Korea as a baby herself, and now her life has come full circle and she is in the place of her birth experiencing a culture she has never experienced as well as experiencing motherhood for the first time.  It is a beautiful story of God's grace in her life.  In fact their blog is called Journey of Grace.  It has been very emotional for me seeing their photos and reading about the joy combined with grief as their little girl transitions from one family to another.  It gives me a little glimpse into what we are going to experience in a few weeks.  In our excitement to have Anna in are arms, in our family, and in our home it is easy to forget how difficult it is going to be for her.  She is going to have to leave everything that is familiar to her. That is going to be hard.  I know there will be grief, and tears. And I know there will be excitement getting to have new siblings and new toys and clothes.  It's hard to know how to prepare ourselves.  Every child reacts differently to being adopted. It is easy to think that we are somehow rescuing her from a difficult life.  In fact she is in a loving place, with good care, good food, and friends to play with.  She doesn't know anything else.  On top of all of this she will be taken to a new country with new foods, new surroundings, and people that don't speak her language.  Can you imagine being two years old and having someone strap you into a car seat for the first time, or not being able to have your favorite food because it just isn't available.  All of these things will become very real for her in a few weeks.

I wanted to share this with you because I wanted you to first of all know that we're not going into this with rose colored glasses on.  We have done a lot of research and training in caring for adopted children as well as building a support system of adoptive parents around us to help us when times are tough, which we know they will be.  Secondly, I would like for you to begin praying for Anna and for our family that God would provide her with the strength and peace she needs to transition into our family.  Pray that we would have grace, compassion, and love for our little girl during her grieving process, however long that lasts.  We know first hand what it is like to live in another culture and the difficulties that brings and want to be sensitive to what she will experience as culture shock. Thank you for joining with us on this journey.  We are getting more excited each day as the day of our departure draws nearer and pray that God would be in every part of the journey that our family is on in this adoption.  Below is a recent picture of "Yin Yin" (on the far right) with her little family.  She just looks so happy and giggly and we pray that this spirit of joy and happiness would continue in her even as she transitions to a new life with our family.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Anna's Room

I know that many of you have been waiting for a glimpse of Anna's new room.  It's been a long time since we've had a two year old little girl in our home and we had to have a room fit for our little princess. One special piece of furniture is not quite ready yet.  My brother-in-law Kevin is making Anna  adorable "Pottery Barn" style headboard and footboard that are just going to make the room.  I didn't want to keep you waiting though so here's a little video of us "Making Anna's Room"

If you have any trouble viewing the video you can access is on youtube at:


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Less than two weeks until we travel!

Well the plane tickets are purchased and we are getting excited.  Less than 2 weeks until we leave for China!   I couldn't help but well up with tears when I saw Anna's flight itinerary.  It's becoming very real now.  Three weeks from today we will finally hold our little girl in our arms and she will officially be part of our family!

We've got quite the trip planned.  Here's the official itinerary:

Saturday, Sept 29th fly to Chicago, Hong Kong, and arrive in Shanghai at Midnight Sept 30th. We'll spend two days in Shanghai visiting our Chinese friends who moved to Shanghai a few years ago.

Tuesday, Oct. 2nd we'll take the high speed train to Zaozhuang (it only takes 3 hours as opposed to the 8 hour overnight train we used to take.)  We'll spend three days visiting friends in Zaozhuang and letting Esther and Micah see where they lived for two years and letting Luke experience "real China."  We've heard the city has changed so much in the last 6 years and we can't wait to see it.  Most of all we can't wait to see the people we invested two years of our lives in.  Several of them have gotten married and had children in the last few years.  Of course, they have never met Luke and he's six years old now!

On Friday October 5th we're going to get back on the high speed train and head to Bejing to meet the group we will be travelling with to Zhengzhou to get our adopted kiddos.  We will spend one day in Beijing to see the Great Wall and then the next day, Sunday, Sept 7th we'll fly to Zhengzhou.

Monday, October 8th is Gotcha Day!  That's the day we officially adopt Anna into our family. We will spend five days in Zhengzhou for several appointments to get her passport and such and we plan to spend a day visiting her foster home.  We are very excited to have the opportunity to thank the nannies for their care, take pictures of the nannies and children, and let Anna say an official goodbye.  This will probably be a very fun but emotional day.  It may be hard on her to say goodbye, but we feel that the long term benefits outweigh the temporary discomfort.  We'll try to let you know what day we are doing this so that you can keep Anna in your prayers even more that day.

On Saturday October 13th we fly to Guangzhou for a week of Dr.'s appointments and paperwork for Anna's US Visa.  She will receive her Visa on Friday October 19th.  Esther's birthday is October 15th, so we're going to try to do something fun for her that day to make it extra special.  Can you believe she's going to be 13?!!! We officially will have a teenager in the house.

On Saturday, October 20th we'll head for home.  Because of the time change we will actually arrive on Saturday October 20th as well.  That's one super long day!  And one super long plane ride for a two year old.  When we arrive in Chicago and go through customs Anna will officially become a United States Citizen!  Our plane will arrive in Kansas City at 5:25pm.  I know there will be many of you there waiting to welcome Anna home, and I'm sure we will all be exhausted and ready to sleep in our own beds!

It's definitely a very full three weeks, but we are super excited about being in China again and glad that we get to have two weeks in China with Anna so that we can spend time with her in her home culture before the difficult adjustment to the US.  Thanks again for all of your prayers.  We're on the final stretch now!  I actually feel more relaxed now than I've felt in about a year. I know the transition is going to be hard on Anna and on all of us, but we are so glad to have this part of the journey nearly behind us.  We're ready for the crazy fun of having a two year old little girl around the house again.  Stay tuned for photos of her room.  It's definitely fit for our little princess!

Girl Power/Happy Hour/Baby Shower

What an awesome time we had last Sunday at my Girl Power/Happy Hour/Baby Shower.  It was so fun to just relax with family and friends, and to enjoy some delicious food and drinks, wonderful conversations, and PRESENTS!  How fun to get baby girl things again.  What a joy! Thanks to everyone who was able to make it.  I felt so honored and blessed and loved having everyone together to celebrate Anna joining our family in just a few weeks!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Travel Approval!

Today we got an awesome surprise! Our Travel Approval came!  Yay! Should be traveling the first week in October to see friends, get Anna around Oct 8th and coming home around the 19th or 20th. We'll know more on Monday or Tuesday when we have a confirmed consulate appt.  More details to come.  Click on the Follow by email link if you want to follow the rest of our journey to get Anna and have the blogposts delivered to your e-mail.