Saturday, October 31, 2009

Photos of our Special Night!

Memories that will carry us to China and provide a wonderful reminder of how many people are praying for us and supporting us back in the USA!

I'm not Marco Polo

This blog post is really short. What I am *really* doing is trying out a new email feature. But, just so that it is not totally devoid of content, I'll share this tidbit of news. Friends of ours threw Kim and me a kind of "baby shower" tonight.

I was in on it, but Kim was really surprised. It was so nice to be surrounded by supporting friends, and to know that we are not in this alone.

It's reassuring to know you've got some backup, when you are venturing out into the unknown.

Along those same lines, I have told myself many times over the past few weeks that "I am not Marco Polo." Of course what I mean by that is that I am not the first person to travel from one continent to another. I am not a lone explorer. I won't be the first European to set foot on the Asian continent!

Far from it. Kim and I will have in-China help from guides, we have a good network of friends and family at home, and ultimately we have God.

It's good to not be alone. Thank you friends, for tonight's reminder!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

For-real for real.

This upcoming week seems decidedly unreal. I mean, Kim and I generally don't travel too far from home. So, the idea that next Wednesday we'll be flying to Beijing is ... um ... Unusual.

But little things will snap me out of all that. Kim made this neat poster board calendar for the kids. It has cartoonish pictures of planes and buses and notes on where we will be.

I looked at it and thought, "Hmmm, I think this helps ME." (I wonder if she will make a giant poster board calendar for her husband??!)

The thing that gives us the most pause for concern right now is, I think, the 6-hour-one-way bus rides from Shenyang to Dalian city and back again. Jonathan will be with us each way. (Why not just meet Jonathan in Dalian city you ask? Kindly take your concern up with the PRC, please.)

Traveling with a child, even one you know well and can communicate with, can be a challenge. Crayons and coloring books will only take you so far.

So, those of you who are inclined to pray, please be advised!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Short 365 Days later...

My wife is much more aware of milestones and achievements than I am. So it didn't escape her attention that it was one year ago today that we attended our first Bethany information meeting. That was our first measured, practical step in our adoption journey.

It really is amazing to think about all that has transpired in a short 365 days. We are very much aware that all adoptions do not go as quickly, and we are truly grateful for all the good fortune we have had. We are, frankly, humbled by it all.

In less than one week we'll be getting on a plane to China to bring Jonathan home. This is joyous and strange and exciting and scary. It's like a marriage or a birth. You tell yourself that you will, in spite of uncertainty, choose to do
something good and new. So ... zan men zou ba! (Let's go!)

This morning I read this verse from the Bible: "Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap." Ecclesiastes 11:4. The image I get there is of a farmer who, because he is preoccupied with the storm that might come, never sets about doing the good thing that he really needs to do.

Of course, dwelling on the negative is never a good way to get things done. So, I am so glad that we have chosen to not focus on the storm clouds, but instead move ahead!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We have our Itinerary!

We were just emailed today our Tentative China Itinerary. Getting this really makes it feel real. We will be leaving one week from tomorrow! We would appreciate it if you could pray for us each day. We were told today that China is still quarantining people who are suspected of having the H1N1 virus. Please pray for our health! Please also remember to pray for us on Monday, Nov 9th (which would be your Sunday night before you go to bed or if you wake in the middle of the night). This is the day we get Jonathan. Pray for a smooth transition for all of us.

Ready or Not...We are going to China!

Wed. Nov 4th- fly from Newark- leaving at 12:15 PM
Thurs.- Nov 5th- arrive in China at 3:00 PM
Fri. Nov 6th- Visit Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and Hutong Tour. Acrobatic show in the afternoon.
Sat. Nov 7th- Visit Great Wall and Cloisonne Factory
Sun. Nov 8th- Fly to Shenyang
Mon. Nov 9th- Our Gotcha Day- we receive Jonathan in the morning! Paperwork in afternoon
Tues. Nov 10th- go by bus to Dalian City (5 hr. bus ride with our new son) do more paperwork
Wed. Nov 11th- Tour Dalian City and then bus back to Shenyang
Thurs. Nov 12th- Visit Shenyang Forbidden City and Museum
Friday- Nov 13th- Fly to Guangzhou- (about a 5 hour flight)
Sat. Nov 14th- Jonathan's Medical appointment
Sun. Nov 15th- Free
Mon. Nov 16th- get his TB test checked
Tues. Nov. 17th- Visa appointment
Wed. Nov 18th- take oath at Consulate
Thurs. Nov 19th- pick up Visa and fly to Hong Kong- our flight leaves at around 11:00at night! we will sleep at the airport hotel
Fri. Nov 20th- Fly out of Hong Kong leaving at 11:25 AM and arriving in Newark at 1:40 PM- (Gotta love the time change, makes it look like it is only about a 2 hr. flight instead of appr. 13 hrs.!)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Praying for Jonathan

We just got an email from Ann at Red Thread this morning informing us that Jonathan has received the package we sent him. We assume delivery may have been delayed because of the holiday. We would like to ask you to pray for Jonathan as this new chapter in his life is about to begin. We were told when we began this process that children who are in foster care are usually returned to the orphanage a week or two before the adoption takes place. We will be meeting Jonathan for the first time in about 4 weeks. This means that within in the next 2-3 weeks he will leave the only family he has ever known to go live in the orphanage until we get him. Please begin praying now for this little boy who is about to leave everything familiar. Please pray for his foster family as they prepare him for this day.

We have begun communication with Children's Hospital with the hope of having him scheduled to be evaluated soon after we are home. We have confirmed our flights. We will be leaving on November 4th and returning November 20th. We will receive our itinerary from Bethany about 7-10 days before we leave. Please pray for us as we still have a bunch of things to do before we go. God has opened this door for us to welcome this little boy into our lives and our hearts and we are trusting God to give us the strength we need to continue and bring Jonathan home.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Our God is an AWESOME God!

We could have titled this post "Ready or Not", but we have been ready. We could have titled this post "The journey begins", but this journey began about 1 year ago this month. We could think of no better title then "Our God is an AWESOME God!" All praise goes to God for bringing us to this point in what has been (so far) a life changing journey for all of us. Drum roll, please... We are beyond excited to announce that we will be leaving for China on November 4th to bring Jonathan home!
We actually had a "hint" that our Travel Approval was in the USA on Monday, but were not officially told till today. Before Jeremy went to work on Monday, he drew on the white board. We know our Travel Approval's arrival is God's doing, but we can't help but laugh that we found out our Travel Approval was here the day he drew on the white board.
We need to book our flights, but it looks like we will be leaving on November 4th and arriving on November 5th to tour Beijing for a few days and then we will travel to get Jonathan! Our Visa appointment is on November 17th and we will be arriving back home on November 19th or 20th. Home in time for Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Taking care of business

This has been our first attempt at keeping a blog. From our point of view it has been very successful as it enables us to communicate the same information one time to a large group of people. From our blog we are only allowed to attach 10 emails that will automatically receive blog updates. We have discovered that even if you are listed as a follow of the blog that does not automatically send you updates. My technologically equipped genius husband has figured out a way to send blog updates automatically to those who would like to receive them. We are going to attempt to blog while in China, no promises. If you would like to automatically receive blog updates while we are in China all you need to do is email us at and give us your email address. We will add it to the master list and while we are in China you should receive all blog updates.

We're sorry, but China can't come to the phone right now...

We really appreciate all of your prayers and encouraging words. Now that
October 1st has come and gone, some of you are wondering what is going on. We have not received our Travel Approval ... and, at this point, that means it is highly unlikely that we will travel before November.

Of course, there is no guarantee that our Travel Approval isn't sitting in somebodies in-basket somewhere just waiting to be sprung on us in a matter of days.

And, sadly, there is no guarantee that it will even arrive in time for November travel.

There just aren't any guarantees!

The CCAA in China is now closed till the end of next week. (In honor of China's National Holiday, and Mid-Autumn festival, which seem to run back to back this year!) No paperwork will be coming out of China next week and perhaps even the following week. There is no rhyme or reason to how or when they mail out paperwork. So we wait.

We have been busy purchasing items we will need for travel, going to soccer games, schooling the children, organizing the winter clothes and the list goes on.

This is one of those "live by faith and not by sight" seasons. There's no one right way to deal with heart-felt desires that are deferred or delayed. But we can think of plenty of wrong ways (bitterness, anxiety, anger ... what a list!) So we choose to live by faith. We busy ourselves with the things which are within our reach, and we choose to believe that the timing of all this, which appears to be controlled by chance and rather indifferent human beings, is actually in God's hands.

If we have to wait, we can't think of a better way!