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Welcome to my family blog. I have been married to Mike for over half of my life. I love my Savior, Jesus. I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to six terrific, interesting children. My 3 oldest were born to me in my younger years, while my 3 youngest were given to me by God in my older years. I am very blessed. ~Cheri

9.24.2006

Day 16 and 17 Leaving China

We're home!  What a long trip it was.  I have to say traveling home was the hardest part of the trip.
We started our day at 4:00 am on Saturday morning so we could have all of our bags ready and be in the lobby to head to the airport at 5:30 am.  Our first flight was very short from Guangzhuo to Hong Kong.  We only saw Hong Kong from the airport and the air on the flight out.  Hong Kong looked like a very big city and was very beautiful from the air.  The mountains are tall and the water is nice and blue.
We left Hong Kong for Chicago at around noon.  The flight was close to 14 hours.  It was very strange because not long after leaving Hong Kong we crossed the dateline and it was then dark and Saturday morning again.  It stayed dark most of the flight and I enjoyed seeing the sun rise as we reached the border of North America.  We had a nice view of the snow capped Rocky  Mountains probably in southern Canada or Montana.  Jack and Seth both slept a few hours on the flight but the rest of us only managed to get a couple of hours of broken and very light rest.  Eva took several long naps and was very good the entire trip home.
We were met in Chicago by my mom, sister and two nieces.  After we passed through security, customs and immigration we met them outside the terminal area and just sat and talked for about an hour and let Eva meet her gramma, aunt and cousins.  Our last flight was supposed to leave at 6:50 pm but was delayed because of severe storms so we didn't leave the ground until around 9:00 pm.  As we waited at the gate Jack and Seth both slept very hard.  Jordan, Cheri and I managed to get a few head nod sleeps in and Eva slept soundly as long as we held her.  As I was holding Eva I fell asleep for a second and my head bobbed and I opened my eyes and this lady was laughing at me and said she was watching me and wondering when I was going to pass out.  By the time we boarded our plane for home we had been going for around 29 hours on very little sleep and had experienced the longest Saturday of our lives.  We got home around midnight so the entire travel home took around 32 hours.

When we arrived at our house we were greeted by a surprise.  I opened the door and a terrible odor poured out.  I thought for sure there was a dead animal but after some searching I discovered that sometime during the two weeks we were gone we had lost power for a good amount of time and all of our food in our fridge and upright freezer was spoiled.  The smell came from bags of frozen berries and meat that had thawed and begun rotting and then refroze when the power came back on.  I took the freezer out on the deck for the night because it smelled so badly.  The housed smelled horrible but we managed to get some sleep.  So my first job on Sunday morning was to throw out all of our food and clean the fridge and freezer to try to get rid of the smell.  Thankfully it was a nice windy day and we opened the windows to air the house out.  The smell seems to be gone for the most part except for in the freezers a little bit.  It was one of the worst odors I have ever smelled.

Eva is doing good but you can tell she has the jet lag as well.  She is enjoying her new surroundings and wants to explore everything in site.  Hopefully by Tuesday morning we will all be back on a normal sleep schedule and Eva can get settled and comfortable in her new home.  She probably is very confused going from an orphanage to new parents to two hotels, multiple airplane rides and now a new home with a new bedroom and crib all in two weeks.  She has never known her own bedroom and home.  We will keep praying and trusting the Lord that He will give her peace and joy and help her bond with all of us.  We love her as our own children and are so very thankful that God has allowed us to do this.

We enjoyed our trip to China and will miss many things.  We loved China, the people, and the culture very much, and would like to return one day for another visit with Eva when she is older.  I think one of the saddest things for us is that we have taken her from her Chinese culture.  We know that this is what the Lord wanted us to do and He chose her for us and it's for her good.  God has great things in store for all of us as we grow together more as a family.

 Jack sleeping in mom's arms at O'Hare.

Seth tangled up at O'Hare Airport.

Eva...home.

9.22.2006

Day 15 Guangzhou 2006

Today was our last day in Guangzhou.  It was beautiful and very hot.  We were free until 2:30.  We all went to the US Consulate office to get Eva's passport/visa.  Harrah's clients were not the only ones there.  For some reason I was thinking that it would just be our small group of 9 families.  There had to be at least 100 families there today.  To me, it seemed so impersonal.  But, I guess when you have that many orphans and many people adopting, what else can you do?   I found out that the Consulate is the same thing as an embassy.  It is only called an embassy when it is located in the capital of the country.

After our appointment, some families headed for home and a few others have their flights early in the morning like us.  We had dinner at Lucy's.  It is close to the hotel and a nice mix of food.  I have to say, Eva eats way too much food.  She loves the congee, broccoli and watermelon.  She also eats Cherrios and rice cereal and the prunes that I brought for her, just in case.  On top of that, she has a bottle morning, lunchtime, dinnertime and bedtime.  I really do not know where she puts it all.  She should be putting on the weight soon.  The 6-9 month dresses fit her perfectly.  She is tiny in her waist, so most bloomers fall off her.  Two piece outfits do not work for her.  We tried buying squeaky shoes for her and the smallest pair we found were too big.  We bought some anyway hoping they'll fit next year.

We are all looking forward to getting home.  I can't wait to see my new neice, born 9/13, Violet Catherine Sluder.  It seems like our time in China has gone by so quickly and it seems strange that our adoption process has almost come to an end.  I'm not looking forward to our long flight with Eva confined to a plane.  She's such a mover and I think she may be restless.  We'll have to pray for her peace.  We're hoping to see Mike's family at the O'Hare Airport for our layover so Eva can meet her other relatives.  It will be good to see them all.

We don't have many pictures today because we just stayed around the hotel and there are no cameras allowed at the US Consulate.  We are all excited to see our family and friends and we know you are all excited to meet Eva.  Please be patient with us while we adjust to the time changes and Eva adjusts to her new surroundings.


9.21.2006

Day 14 Guangzhou 2006

This was almost a free day for us.  We went downstairs for a great Western breakfast.  Jordan and Mike headed to check out the pearls with the rest of the group.  The other 3 children and I went to the pool for a bit.  If anyone knows us well, they know our boys love to swim.  So, we thought Eva would enjoy it also.  That has not happened.  We put her swimsuit on, and she put her feet in a little, but that was it.  She actually seemed a little nervous to be around so much water.  It may have something to do with the fact that the water wasn't too warm.  She loves her baths and does a lot of splashing, but the pool was a bit overwhelming.  Hopefully, by next summer, she'll feel differently.

Around noon, we headed down for the traditional red couch pictures of all of our babies.  They all did really well.  I was very surprised.  There were a few whimpers, but it is very hard to get 10 children in a picture and have them all look happy.  We then spent the afternoon shopping and looking for great bargains.  Mike really seems to enjoy the haggling.  I have to walk away during that part.  At one shop I told the girls that Mike was the boss when it comes to our purchasing anything.  When Mike got the price he wanted all the girls giggled, "He's the boss of the family!"  It was really funny to listen to them all.   We ate lunch/dinner at the deli next to the hotel.  They have a very good variety of breads.  We skipped the dinner cruise with the group.  We have so little time here in Guangzhou so I wanted to spend more time walking around this beautiful city.
Xi Xi took care of all of our Consulate stuff.  So almost all of our paperwork is finished and then we'll head for home.


9.20.2006

Day 12 Leave Nanchang

I can't believe our adoption journey is drawing to a close.  The trip is going by so quickly.  I'll be sad to leave this beautiful country.

We left Nanchang this morning and arrived in Guangzhou around 11:30.  Eva did well on the flight, but I cannot imagine flying 14 hours with her!  She's restless and likes to fall asleep in her bed, not our arms.  When we got to the White Swan, our rooms were not yet ready.  So, Mike and the boys stayed at the hotel, waiting, while Jordan, Eva and I went for Eva's medical check.  She had a visa picture taken and then we headed to the medical office.  Eva fell asleep right before her check and slept thru the exam and weight/height check.  She is currently 15.4 pounds and 28.3 inches.  She's growing!  She woke up during the ear, nose and throat check.  The doctor was pulling some yuck out of her ear.  She didn't like that.  We walked back to our hotel and Mike and the boys had just gotten our rooms.  The White Swan is a very nice hotel, especially compared to where we stayed in Nanchang.  The hotel is very large and is filled with shops and restaurants.  It also has two outdoor pools.  Everything is close by and in walking distance.  In Nanchang, we had to take a taxi to most places.  We walked around all of the shops and had dinner at a Thai restaurant.  We walked around some more shops and enjoyed the area.  I stayed in the room to give Eva a bath and the rest of the gang went down to the pool.

Eva continues to do well.  Her kidneys work very well and so does her digestive system.  So much that her bottom is a little red from giving me too many dirty diapers.  She is a very happy baby and seems to love all of us.  She is especially happy at night after she has her bottle.  After her bottle she gets very giggly and outgoing and turns into a different character.

Guangzhou is a very beautiful city at least where we are.  The buildings around the hotel area are European in style and everything is very clean.  This area is very much geared for Westerners and you almost forget your in China until you wander out to the shops.  It has a tropical climate and has a lot of trees and plants.

 Our guide Mary with Cheri and Eva

9.19.2006

Day 12 Nanchang 2006

Today was our last day in Nanchang, Jiangxi, China, the province of Eva's birth.  I know my heart will be sad to leave the place where my daughter was born.  I'm saddened that she will not know this wonderful culture in full.  The people here have been so wonderful and kind to us.  I've enjoyed learning so much about China and its people.  But, I'm looking forward to the new life she will have with us.

All that was required of us today was a short trip to pick up Eva's Chinese passport.  After that we ordered Pizza Hut in our room.  Seth has thoroughly enjoyed watching Chinese TV.  He especially enjoys the martial arts shows with English subtitles.  They are very, very funny.  We just sat and laughed about it all.  Obviously, these shows were meant to be comedies.

After dinner, we walked to the coffee shop.  Apparently, this shop opens later in the day, not early morning like in the US.  People go to the coffee shop later in the evening after dinner.  We had a couple of coffees and the boys played with darts.  We headed back to our hotel room and got packed up.  We'll be checking out in the morning and then leave for our flight to Guangzhou.  Eva has her medical check up in the afternoon.  We're looking forward to a change of scenery for us all.  We've been in Nanchang for over a week.



9.18.2006

Day 11 Nanchang 2006

Today was a very slow day.  I did not feel well thru the night and Eva slept restlessly.  So, today, I felt dizzy and lightheaded from lack of sleep.  I was able to take a short nap when Eva did, so I feel a bit better.  We had to do some paperwork this afternoon in preparation of the US Consulate appointment.  Then tonight, we went out for our last group dinner.  We've eaten at this restaurant 3 times and I think it is our favorite.  Everyone eats so well.  We've all learned to use chopsticks with ease.

Well, Eva, I believe, feels and acts like she is part of the family.  She is happy with all of us and Eva acts silly and laughs out loud.  I feel like she has always been part of our family.  What did we do before we had her?  I always knew that I would love her, but I wondered how I would feel having a daughter born in China?  Could I really love her like my own flesh and blood, like I love my children that I've birthed?  I can say that I do love her just like I love my other 3 children.  It is just as strong and real.  And I believe that my children love her the same.  We are all looking forward to being home and starting our new life with Eva together.

9.17.2006

Day 10 Nanchang 2006

Today there was nothing really planned as a group.  We started the day with our normal breakfast in the hotel.  After that we had a mini church service in our hotel room.  Another family joined us and we shared a little more about ourselves and what brought us here. Then we read some scriptures, sang praises to the Lord and worshiped Him in song and thanksgiving.  We finished with a time of prayer together.

After that we walked to a small store and bought Eva some little hair bows that are little springs and will stay in the little bit of hair that she has.  From there we took a taxi to the park we went to the other day.
Soon after we arrived at the park we were befriended by a little boy around 9 years old, I guess.  He could not speak English but we quickly figured out that he wanted to ride some of the rides that they had with Jordan, Seth and Jack.  So I joyfully paid for his tickets to join our kids on the bumper cars, a small rollcoaster type ride and the swings.  Each ride we went to you could tell that the Chinese people that ran the rides were scolding him and telling him to leave, but I insisted that he go on the rides and when I paid they let him.  We managed to find some young people that could speak English, and they talked to the little boy and found out he has no parents and I assume he is homeless.  I don't know if that is true but it didn't matter to me.  He was having a great time and was smiling as he rode with our kids.  He was having such a good time.  He seemed to think he was acting as our translator because someone would ask us to go on their ride and I would say no or use my hands to say no and he knew and would tell them no in Chinese.  For about 10 minutes before we left he kept patting his belly and I figured he must have been asking for food.  As we left the park I felt compelled to give him some money so he could get some food.  As we walked away I looked back and he was waving goodbye and I went back over to him and gave him a hug and told him he was a good boy.  He said good boy back to me.  He hugged me back a couple of times and started to cry.  As I hugged him I said a quick prayer for him and asked the Lord to bless him.  As we walked away he just kept looking back at me and I could see he was wiping his eyes.  I know some people would say that I got the wool pulled over my eyes so to speak.  Maybe I did, maybe I didn't.  It doesn't really matter to me whether the boy was just trying to get money or not.  I don't think he was and all I know is that he had so much fun for an hour with us and riding rides and the money I gave him was a small amount by American standards but could provide a lot for him.  The hugs we exchanged also meant a lot to me and I hope for him.
After the park, we rested a bit back at the hotel and then went to dinner.  Dinner was very good again and we had some different dishes this time that we haven't had yet.  This was probably the most expensive dinner we've had so far.

After dinner we all went to a water fountain show that was outside along the river.  It was like a park and a lot of people gathered to see the fountain show that also has a laser light show.  It was in a very new area of the city and it looked to be a more upscale area than we have seen.  

Eva is really starting to enjoy being a part of our family.  Her true personality is finally coming out and she is quite the character.  She usually gets goofy right before bedtime.  She'll throw herself back on the bed and just giggle about it.  I guess she thinks this a great thing to do.  She smiles big and shows off her funny looking teeth.  She's definitely a mover.  She wants to be going at all times.  At the fountain show, she didn't want to sit still and watch the show.  She may not enjoy that trip home!  We found that she can scoot on her tummy and she can be on her tummy and move into a sitting position.  She'll stand with me holding her hands.  She's definitely not ready for any walking just yet.  She really loves to eat.  I cannot believe how much food she can put away.  She loves her bottle and has about 4 bottles a day still.  Plus, she eats breakfast, lunch and dinner.  She'll probably gain a couple of pounds before her medical appointment on Wednesday.  Now, not only does Seth and Jack eat us out of the house, now we have to deal with Eva!

Two more days in Nanchang and then we are off to Guangzhou.


9.16.2006

Day 9 Nanchang 2

Today has been a good day for Eva so far.  She slept well through the night (as usual) and woke up around 7:00 a.m. for a bottle.  She loves her bottle and gets very excited when she sees it.  We actually have to make it in hiding or she'll start fussing while she waits.  We went downstairs for breakfast around 8:30 and Eva loves to eat rice congee and watermelon.  She also loves those steamed buns.  She has such tiny fingers but she can actually pick up her food quite well.  She can even pick up a piece of rice.  Great fine motor skills!

Then at around 10:00 we headed to a park for a short bit.  It was so neat and there were so many people there!  They had a carousel, bumper cars and small amusement rides for the children.  People were singing, exercising and playing music.  The Chinese people loved practicing their English on us.  We even had a group of young people come up to us to talk and tell Jordan how beautiful she was!  They all loved having their pictures taken.  Some people were even taking our pictures with their cell phones.  It is much different from a park in the states.  We saw two little boys relieving themselves, one peeing in a drain right out in the open and one with split pants on being held by his daddy off to the side going doo doo.  This is normal in China and you will see it often in parks or even on the side of the street.  Most toddlers wear split pants with no diapers so they can go to the bathroom when they need to.  The park is a popular place on the weekend and there were a lot of families there spending time together.  There were many activities going on such as exercise, singing, badminton and other games.  We only spent a short time there, but we would love to go back before we leave Nanchang.  On the way out of the park we were surrounded by about 15 people all wanting to look at Eva.  I gave a lady a card that explained we were in China to adopt a baby girl and she told everyone and they all seemed very pleased about it.  Jordan, Seth and Jack were also an excitement for a lot of younger boys and girls.  Eva slept through the whole experience.

After the park, we went to the porcelain street and bought a few things.  Eva did great.  She is definitely a good traveler and can sleep through anything and eat on the go.  She fits right in with our family!  We went out for lunch and we had no high chair.  So, Eva sat on Mike's lap and ate off the table.  She loves noodles and rice.  I hope she's not disappointed with American food.  I cannot fix Chinese food this good.
We skipped the group dinner because Jack really wanted Pizza Hut so we took a taxi to eat Pizza.  The Pizza Hut is the nicest and cleanest I have ever seen.  The pizza is the same but the inside is nothing like back home.  It resembles more of a very nice restaurant.  The taxi rides are very inexpensive.  It costs about .75 cents to a dollar to go several miles.

I have to say that Eva is doing so much better.  She seems to really enjoy all of us and will go to everyone equally, though I think she still prefers mom.  Once she's been fed, she has a smile to offer everyone.  I cannot seem to get those smiles on camera.  She just looks at the camera instead of smiling at it.  Whenever we leave the room, Eva gets so excited and starts making happy sounds.  She is so interested in everything around her.  I have to remember that this is all probably "firsts" for her and she's just taking it all in.  She saw a dog on the street and squirmed to get a better look.  So, I'm sure she'll enjoy our Millie.  When Eva went down for her afternoon nap, she giggled while Mike played with her for a bit.  I feel so relieved that she seems to finally like us.  I know she will still have issues to overcome, but we've been praying for her and know that God will give her peace.  He's already helped her over the most difficult part.  She is such a perfect fit for our family.




9.15.2006

Day 8 Nanchang 2006


Today we visited a village about 30 minutes out fo the city.  About 80% of the Chinese population lives in the country villages and the other 20% in the cities.  Most people that visit China only see the cities and not the villages where a majority of the people live.  The village was fairly small and consisted of small one story brick or wood homes mostly connected together.  The people in the village were very friendly and seemed happy and content and I felt very welcome there.  There was no running water or bathrooms but they did have some electricty.  The smell of smoke from a small fire filled the air as we walked through and were greeting by mainly older men and woman.  I don't recall seeing very many young people but there were some and also some small children.  Our guides told us that it is most likely that Eva was born in a village a lot like this.
After the village some of us went to Wal-Mart again to get some water and other things.  Then we went back to the hotel and Eva and I took a nap.

We went to dinner at around 6:00 pm and it was the best dinner I have had my entire time in China.  The selection and taste of the food was really good except for one really really hot red pepper I chewed on and swallowed but even it was good.  The restaurants gives us so much food and I feel like we waste so much because we can't eat it all.  Our guides Mary and Xi Xi did a great job on ordering the food and having smaller portions brought to us so we didn't waste as much.  Mary and Xi Xi are very good to us and help us and serve us in so many ways.  We could not have two better people taking care of us while we are here.  They have been a real blessing to all of us.

9.14.2006

Day 7 Nanchang 2006

Today was a slow day.  We all got a really good night sleep.  We gathered today around 10:00 am and walked down the road to the Teng Wang Pavilion.  We went to the top floor, saw a short show and just walked around and enjoyed the scenery.  A very funny thing happened as we were leaving.  We were looking at some gifts and Jack was sitting on some steps about 15 feet from us.  The next thing you know a Chinese man comes over to Jack and starts talking Chinese to him and picks Jack up into his arms and starts walking away towards his friends.  Jack calls out in a very serious voice, "Mom?".  The man is laughing and smiling at us as he is walking away so we know he is playing around and just wants a picture taken with his friends.  I snapped a picture as he was walking away and then walked over with his friedns and took a picture too.  Everyone got a good laugh from it all, except maybe Jack.

Other than that we are just taking it easy and relaxing.  We want to be alone with Eva so she is just with her family and out of the group environment and doesn't see so many Chinese ladies.  Eva is doing very well but we do think she is overwhelmed with all the activity.  She will put her hand in front of her face when she starts getting upset.  Cheri stayed in the room with her all of the afternoon and the kids and I went for a walk to the supermarket to get some juice and bread.  We are going to have pbj sandwiches tonight in the room and skip the Chinese dinner.  I picked up some chocolate bars too.  

Eva is a year old but more like a 6 month old in abilities.  She can sit up ok but she is wobbly and after a long time of sitting will get weak.  You can tell that she isn't used to being held or loved on.  We pray that the Lord will heal her heart and mind and that she would be filled with the love and peace of Jesus Christ.  We know that our Lord will be doing wonderful and miraculous things in Eva's life and ours as we grow together.  She has been responding to me (dad) when I say "bao bao" which means precious baby or little treasure.  When I say it she will look up and around until she sees me.  So she must have heard that before many times.  She also will look at us when we say "nee hao" which means hello.  Jordan was putting a little toy on Eva's head and then Eva would try to put it on her head.  We are so thankful and continue to trust and depend upon the Lord for guidance and wisdom.  God is so good!

Take a look at the pictures.  The last two are of Jack being taking away by the Chinese man.


9.13.2006

Day 6 Nanchang 2006

Eva slept until about 4:30 this morning.  She just sat on the bed with us and looked around.  At about 5:00, I fed her a bottle.  She only took about 5 ounces.  She then went back to sleep for about an hour.  We headed down to breakfast when she woke.  She loves watermelon and the rice congee, of course.

We had to leave the hotel at 8:00 for the civil affairs office so that Eva can officially be ours.  They won't allow us to adopt her until we spend one night together and are satisfied.  This is called the "honeymoon".  Apparently, at some time a family decided that the child they were referred wasn't suitable for them.  So, now they make you wait one day before they do the adoption paperwork.  We went to another "office" for some other official business and then we went to a department store and bought Eva 2 outfits for cooler weather.  We quickly grabbed a couple of pizzas from Pizza Hut and came back to our hotel.  Eva has since been napping and I took the boys to the pool for a bit.

Eva is tolerating us today.  We can barely get a smile from her.  She loves being out of the hotel room.  When we go down the hallway, she makes a funny sound from her lungs like she is excited.  She does smile at Chinese people.  Soon, she'll smile for us, too.  She loves to observe her surroundings.  While in the mall, she kept turning from side to side to take it all in. 

She's very tiny.  Out of our group, Eva is the oldest, but I think she is the smallest.  Her hands look like a newborn's hand.  When I bathed her, I was concerned I would hurt her because she is so tiny.  Nine-month clothes fit her just fine.  Her bottom is so tiny that she'll easily fall out of the sling if I'm not careful.  I also wanted to mention that she does not have a birthmark on her head like we thought.  Apparently, that mark on her head in the referral pictures is a scab!  There is nothing noticable now, but I can't help wondering what happened.  Some of the babies in our group have skin issues.  So far, Eva has beautiful skin.  I did notice today as I changed her diaper that she has little round scars on her bottom like she had terrible sores recently.  I cannot even imagine her life before us.  Not that it was horrible, but one that I would not want for any child.

We met the orphanage director.  She seems very nice and it appears she really enjoys the children.  We are not allowed to visit the orphanage, but can visit the city of Shangrao.  I don't think I want to drive for 3 hours one way and not see the orphange that Eva spent her first year in.

We're planning a dinner out tonight with the group.  I think Eva will do fine.  She enjoys eating and observing her surroundings at the same time.  We are enjoying the Chinese culture very much.  It has been cloudy since arriving in Nanchang and it has drizzled rain the last two days.  We're hoping for sunny skies soon.
We sent our laundry out and I thought for sure it would be cheap.  We had clothes for 5 days for 5 people.  Yikes!  Sixty-two dollars!  

Hopefully, tomorrow we'll get a smile from our Eva Xu Hong.  Good night.

Adoption Day

9.12.2006

Eva Day! China 2006

This morning we slept later than any other day.  After breakfast we gathered with others from our travel group and our guide got us loaded into taxis to go to Wal-Mart to purchase some baby formula and other items.  The taxi ride was very fun as we weaved in and out of traffic.  There doesn't seem to be any rules of the road and pedestrians do not have the right of way.  The taxi ride back was even more fun because we were laughing and the driver caught on to us having fun so he even got crazier.  We saw many buses coming at us head on and then a quick swerve to the right.  Two lanes of cars backed up at a red light, no problem just get in the oncoming left lanes and pass them all.  By the time you get to the light it turns green and you're in the lead.

Wal-Mart was really a lot like the US.  I thought they actually had nicer things.  It was two stories with food on one story and clothes and other items on another.  They had a ramp escalator for you to go down a level with your cart and it was magnetized so the cart wouldn't role and you didn't have to hold on to it.

Around noon we are back at the hotel to rest and wait until around 4:00 pm to go gather with our travel group and guide to get Eva.  I will post more later so check back for an update.

Praise the Lord, we have Eva now.  It was a very emotional experience in many different ways.  It all happened very fast.  We were probably in the gotcha room for around 10 minutes.  They called us out one at a time, checked our passports and gave us our baby.  We all changed their diapers and left.  I'm kind of at a loss of what to say at this point so take a look at the pictures and we will post more later.

 Today is Eva's birthday and the day she met her family.  We received a birthday cake from our guides.

We're all trying to figure out which child is ours!


 

9.11.2006

Day 4 Travel to Nanchang 2006

Yippee!  Today we slept until about 4:30 or 5:00 so we are making progress.  I have a feeling by the time we get fully adjusted we will be heading home to adjust all over again.

This morning we left our hotel in Beijing around 8:00 am for the airport to take our flight to Nanchang.  The airport experience was a little different this time because we were in the China domestic terminal so it was not very westernized like the international terminal.  We managed to find our gate ok but I wandered away to find an internet connection and almost missed our boarding.  The flight was delayed almost an hour but it was a good 2 hour flight.

Our guide met us in the Nanchang Airport and we took a small van to the hotel.  On the way a lady walked in front of our van and I thought for sure we were going to hit her but our driver somehow managed to stop just in time.  They exchanged a few words, which of course we couldn't understand and then we were on are away again.
The hotel is a little nicer than the one in Beijing and we have a very good internet connection now.  The city of Nanchang is around 4 million people and is much more of what I expected of China than Beijing was.  Beijing is geared more toward tourist and is much more Westernized.  We were met in the parking lot at the airport by a little boy that was very poor, dirty, worn out cloths and very alone.  It was very sad and we all felt very helpless.  He just looked at Seth and Jack and kept saying hello.  Jordan was a little upset by the whole experience and really wanted me to give him something.  This is a humbling and good experience for all of us.
We met several others from our DTC group and completed some paperwork and then our guide Mary took us all out for dinner.  We had a typical Chinese resturant dinner with the turntable full of food in the middle of the table and we paid 80 yuan which is $10 for all five of us and that included a tip.  We are getting a little braver in our eating and so far none of us have been sick.

Tomorrow morning after breakfast we are going to a local Wal-Mart to get a few things and then we will be united with Eva at around 4:00 pm.

We praise the God and our Lord Jesus Christ for everything He has done so far, for His hand of protection and for His guidance.

Descending into Nanchang, Jiangxi

 Nanchang Street Scene

View from our room.


9.10.2006

Day 3 Beijing 2006

Oh, can you say exhausted.  Another early rise morning for Cheri and me.  We just can't get past the 3:30 am mark.

So much to say about our second day in Beijing.  We had a full day of activities.  Starting at 8:00 am we went stopped by the jade factory where they make jade into everything you can imagine.  Then we drove to the Great Wall.  This was one of the highlights for me.  We all started out together but after the first set of steps that seemed to go straight up like a ladder, Cheri stopped and said for us to go on.  Next was Jordan and she went back to join Cheri.  Seth, Jack and I continued on, like real men would.  There were a lot of people at the beginning and the farther you went up the wall to the top the less people there were.  It was an incredibly steep climb.  Sometimes the steps seemed too steep that you felt like you would fall backwards.  We saw many elderly Chinese people at the top.  One thing that stands out to me is that the Chinese people seem to be in very good shape.  It took us 45 minutes to reach the top and a lot less to come down.  On the way down toward the bottom our legs and knees were shaking as we were taking each step.

We had to make several stops to rest and take pictures.  Jack, Seth and Jordan were a hit with many Chinese people today.  Everyone would look at them and giggle.  Several people wanted to take their picture and have pictures taken with them.  It must have something to do with the light hair because nobody wanted my picture or looked at me and giggled.    Some people would sneak pictures of Jordan.  They would stand next to her and then the person taking their picture would stand in a way they got Jordan in the background or on the side.  One man would point his camera up like he was focusing in on something and slowing bring the camera down where it would be pointing at Jordan and then take a picture.  Jordan played with some liitle children while we are climbing the wall.  She really enjoyed that experience.  Isn't it wonderful how language barriers can be broken with the little things and acts of kindness.

After the Great Wall we stopped for lunch at a special place they have for Westerners.  The restaurant is attached to a very large souvenir shop.  They have that one planned out for sure.  Then we went to the Summer Palace which is where the Emporers would spend their summer.  The Summer Palace was breathtaking and was surrounded by a walking path with Willow trees blowing in the wind.  We walked for a bit and boarded a boat for a ride back across the lake.  After that we decided we were beat and passed on dinner and headed back to the hotel to end our Beijing trip.

We did wander out to a mall near our hotel and ended up eating at the Bread. Talk  This was an interesting little eatery.  They had 20 or so different varieties of pastry type bread that had different things inside of them like cheese, milk, ham, melon or something else.  We purchased two small ones because we didn't know what they would taste like and we ended up going back for two more and then again for two more.  The young lady that was helping us kept laughing at us because we kept coming back.  She was very nice and she seems like she enjoyed talking to us, specifically Jordan.

That concludes our Beijing experiences so now we are off to Nanchang to get Eva.


9.09.2006

Day 2 Beijing, 2006

Mike and I woke up bright and early at 3:00 a.m. Beijing time.  So, we ended up getting ready early, went downstairs and had a nice breakfast.  We met our guide at 9:00 a.m. and headed for Tiananman Square.  It was very windy and chilly and I questioned whether I packed the right clothes.  There was a lot of people there.  Next to TS is the Forbidden City.  I really enjoyed looking at the beautiful architecture and hearing the history of the emperors.  Joe, our guide, did a great job.  Jack kept asking "how much longer".  I know it was very hard for him.  This type of touring is not interesting for him.  

Next, we picked up another family for a tour of the Hutong District.  We rode a rickshaw through the alleys and streets and headed to have lunch.  This is where it got interesting for Jack.  They served a variety of foods, which was all very good.  It was definitely nothing like the Chinese food in the U.S.  Jack immediately wanted the chicken because that was all that looked good to him.  It was small bite-sized pieces.  It also had bones in it, so Jack was a bit disappointed.  I loved all of the veggies.  Jordan and Seth ate very well also.  I think Mike could have completely skipped lunch.

We then headed to the silk factory.  I was very impressed on how they made the silk.  The children each got a silkworm coccoon and seemed to enjoy the guides description of the process.  I learned so much from the little tour.  Mike bought Jordan a silk cover for her bed.  It seems to be much better than her down comforter.

We finished the evening with the acrobat show.  This was the highlight of the boys evening.  We were all amazed at the ability of those people.  You'll see by the pictures.  We left the show at about 6:30 and were supposed to go out to dinner.  Everyone one was completely exhausted, so we decided just to go back to our hotel and rest.  Jordan immediately went to bed and we followed shortly behind her.  It was a very memorable and enjoyable first day in China.

We are having difficulties uploading pictures.  So, keep checking back to see if we are able to get them posted.  We are also able to check our email from the hotel.  Mike could actually work from here if he wanted to!  Until tomorrow...


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