Monday, December 17, 2012

A few pics...

Graci with her China neice: Ling Long

Chin brother holding Graci and Bei Bei

Christi and Jesi in the middle of a swarm of elementary school kids who love their hair!
Graci with her 1st and 2nd grade teacher from Hangzhou

We love China Grandma!!!

Ling Long with her America grandparents and her China grandparents.  They decided we were her America grandparents.  We really are part of the family at this point:)

At the zoo.

Jesi, Graci, Duna and Christi
Cali after swimming

Sorry!  These pictures were part of a larger group we were trying to post, but only a few got through and in kind of random order.  We will post more when we can:)

Random Sampler

Three beautiful girls tucked into bed.  One beautiful girl somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.  One tired dad feeling lonely and very separated from the love of his life.  But it’s not too long.  Four days and we’ll all be back together again as a family.  

Cali keeps coming out of her shell. She is extremely comfortable around us now.  She is quite the goofball, particularly when she gets tired at the end of the night.  When asked to go to bed, she’ll giggle and lay on the floor and grab my leg and do anything but get into bed.  I am truly grateful for the lessons I have learned over the last six years and five adoptions.  I am much more able to realize how difficult this adjustment can be for an adopted child.  A few years ago, I would likely have become pretty stern with a child who would not obey after repeated requests.  But today I am able to not only not get stern, but not even be tempted to get stern.  I have much yet to learn, but I have certainly come a long way.  And I am grateful to the kids who have helped me learn some pretty important lessons. 

Tonight I had our wonderful guide, Jason, interpret for me as I talked to Cali for a minute.  I told her that sometimes the local people come up and talk to us as they see us with Chinese children.  Since Cali can speak Chinese, she is often the one that converses with them.  As these people learn that we have adopted six children from China, they often give us thumbs up, thank you’s and supportive comments like “very good.”  I told Cali that I truly wished I could speak Chinese so that I could tell these people that we are the ones who are blessed.  That our beautiful Tang Min is so wonderful, and we are the ones who are lucky to have her.  I hope sweet Cali understood.  I think I caught the hint of a smile as Jason explained what I was saying....

I took the girls on a riverboat cruise tonight.  The last we saw of Christi, she was waving good-bye as we drove away on the tour bus.  She left the hotel for the airport shortly after we departed.  When we returned from the airport, I found a love note from Christi on the desk in our room.  It wasn’t super sappy, but included lines like, “I had to fight the tears,” and “I will miss you.  I DO miss you.”  One of the most hilarious scenes I have ever seen ensued.  Graci picked it up and read it.  The three girls then proceeded to do dramatic readings and interpretive dance to this love letter.  Over and over again.  For at least 15 minutes.  In English and Chinese.  I was absolutely cracking up.  They all HATE the video camera, so I promised them five dollars each if they would let me video them.  I’ll try to post it when I get home.  Seriously one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

Christi and I have been missing Christmas out here.  There are few decorations.  We’ve heard about three carols since we came to China.  And the weather is in the 60s.  Just doesn’t feel quite right.  So we rented Miracle on 34th Street on iTunes and watched it last night.  Well, we started it last night around 9:30pm.  I couldn’t even make it 45 minutes without crashing, so we finished it this afternoon.  What a cheesy, fantastic movie.  With all my heart I believe in Santa Claus!

Printed on the wrapper of a new toilet paper roll in our hotel in Xi’an:

YAQI. (Whatever genius decided that “yucky” would be a good brand name for toilet paper needs to be re-enrolled in marketing 101). 
although the rose has been given,
fragrant is still here,
although the time has been gone,
love is still here forever.
On your toilet paper roll.  Romantic! J.

Dear Dad,

Missed you on the Pearl River cruise tonight.  Thought about you while standing on the open-air top and looking at the amazing neon lights of Guangzhou.  I’ve been able to satiate my grape juice fix while here.  Wish you could share it with me.  See you in Seattle.


We have a lot of poignant moments in our lives.  Pretty much every day could wipe out someone who was particularly sensitive to these things.  One of the more poignant for me has been watching Cali play with Jesi and Grace in our hotel room.  Don’t  misunderstand, she does fantastic.  She gets where she wants to go.  She gets up and down from chairs and beds.  But in a hotel room, the wheelchair is difficult to maneuver, so it’s easier for her to just ditch it and get around strictly with her arms.  Again, she’s able to do this very well, but it breaks your heart to see the effort she has to put in to do what other children can do without a second thought.  On the other hand, it has been a delight to see what she can do in her wheelchair.  At first, she just let us push her everywhere.  Now she asserts herself.  If we’re not going quick enough, she tears off at pretty fast speeds.  Remember, she’s on wheels.  She can go 0-60 a lot faster than this old guy can on his feet.  If she sees a small curb, she pops a wheelie so the front wheels clear it, and powers herself up over it.  If we’re not adept enough fitting her into tight spaces, she takes control and gets exactly where she wants.  She’s awesome!

Sorry we haven’t posted many pictures.  We’ve literally spent hours trying to, but the internet connection is pathetic.  You’ll get lots next weekend when we get home.  Cali is perfect.

Adoption trips are emotional rollercoasters.  We have had all different versions, from the smoothest, fastest rides, to the rickety old wooden coaster that gives you a pounding headache.  This one has been fantastic.  We feel so lucky to have been led to our sweet Tang Min.  She is right for our family and our family is right for her.  It’s also an unbelievable experience to be with so many other forever families who have just added their latest bundle of joy.  I am humbled to be around so many people who are so good.  I am so grateful that God has led Christi and I to this unforeseen but now ever so appreciated calling in our lives.  I am so grateful to and for Taylor, Parker, Jessica, Elizabeth, Gracelin, Alexander, Alexis, Sophia, Calais, and Conner.

I am so tired.