Friday, September 24, 2010

Over the past week

A week ago today, Christy and company returned from China, and Lucy stepped foot in NC for the first time.  It seems like Lucy has been with us for a lot longer.  Anyway, I'll try to summarize the past week and how everyone has adjusted.

Last Friday evening, the plane arrived at around 7:30pm.  Lucy was smiling, yet subdued, as she met her family for the first time.  Anna Claire, Lily, and their 3 cousins were a lot more hyper than Lucy and the fatigued traveling party.  Since several folks hadn't eaten, we left the airport and headed to (surprise) China Buffet.  We were interested to see what Lucy would eat.  As it turned out, she chose rice and lo mein with a few pieces of chicken.

When we got home, Lauren, Anna Claire, and Lily were excited to show Lucy the house, particularly her room.  She smiled and seemed to enjoy the tour.  Although it was late, Lauren and Lucy pulled out gifts they brought from China, and everyone tried to share all their stories about the previous 2 weeks in about 15 minutes.  We finally got everyone settled down, said prayers, and in bed.  No problem with everyone falling asleep, especially after Christy, Lauren, and Lucy took sleep aids to help them adjust to US time and make it through the night.

On Saturday, Nana and Papa (Tom's parents) came up to spend time with their new granddaughter.  We went to a Thai restaurant for lunch, then down to Topsail beach to see how Lucy would react to it.  Apparently, she had seen the ocean before.  She enjoyed the beach and running around with her sisters.  After that, we went to Dairy Queen for ice cream.  We ordered in pizza for dinner which Lucy doesn't really eat.  When she left China, Lucy packed an entire suitcase full of Chinese food that she could enjoy in lieu of American food.  When she opens something, she always offers it around for everyone to try.  The girls typically refuse, so Tom usually is a good sport and tries everything.  Anyway, we are slowly discovering American foods that she likes while still allowing her to fix her Chinese food to eat alongside them.

On Sunday, Christy and Lucy stayed home from church to unpack some of the suitcases and rest for the welcome home reception that would be later that afternoon.  The reception was held at Scotts Hill Baptist Church and was a joint reception for the Jaski's and Lucy and also for the Leggetts and their new daughter, Natalie.  It was a great time for friends and family to meet the 2 girls.  There were loads and loads of kids there, too.  It was neat to see how many kids who've been adopted were among the group.

Sunday after the reception, we packed to leave for a week vacation at Atlantic Beach.  This is an annual convention that Christy's dad and brother-in-law attend and where we rent a beach house and stay for the week.  Other than leaving a mess at the house where we didn't have time to unpack the China suitcases, the timing of this trip couldn't have been better.  Rather than throwing Lucy into the busy schedule of our life, we could spend a week at the beach, relaxing, getting to know her, and letting her get to know us.  The week has been really good.  Lucy gets along great with the other 6 girls.  She has been a good sport and tried some American foods while continuing to rely on her noodles.  She has played well with everyone.  And her English is slowly improving.  She is reluctant to play games at first, but after she learns how, she will join in.  She probably feels like everyone is looking at her anyway.  But don't misunderstand - there are plenty of challenges.  The communication hurdle is huge.  We have an electronic translator that we can use to communicate with Lucy, but it still makes communication slow and awkward.  There have been glimpses of attitude, but we realize this is probably due to lack of discipline at the orphanage rather than directed specifically at us.  Whenever we do correct or discipline her, she is always quick to oblige.  Overall, she has a very sweet spirit.  We try to put ourselves in her shoes and imagine what she's going through, but we know we can't.  We realize that this will probably be one of the most difficult things we've done, but we welcome the challenge.

The next challenging phase of this journey will begin Monday as we try to settle into our regular daily routine of school and extracurricular activities.  Please pray for our family during this time.  I don't know if we will be updating the blog much now that Lucy is here in the States.  Most updates will probably come through Tom and Christy's Facebook pages.  Thanks so much for those of you who've been praying and will continue to pray.  We are thankful to God that He providentially brought Lucy into our lives, and we look forward to the rest of our lives with her.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesday's summary

Again, this is from Christy's mom:

"This morning after breakfast nine families that are traveling together met in the lobby for a group picture. Some of the families left today for Hong Kong, some of us leave tomorrow, and the others leave here on Friday.  We went to a nearby park after that, walked around, and rode some paddle boats.  It was very pretty, and also very hot!!!   We came back to the hotel and had lunch.  At 2:45 we left for the consulate's office to have the swearing in ceremony.  Now Lucy is officially a member of the Jaski family, thank God!!!!!   We went back to Shamian island to do some more shopping after that; Lucy was not happy with us.  As I told you before, she is not a shopper, but we had some gifts we needed to purchase.  We came back to the hotel around 7:00, had dinner in a Chinese restaurant.  Lucy was happy then.  Christy has taken Lauren and Lucy to the pool for a little while before we start to pack up some of our things.  We are thinking we will leave here for Hong Kong around 5:00 tomorrow evening, maybe earlier if the visas are ready.  It is a 3 1/2 hours drive, so we will be ready for bed when we get there.  We have a 9:15 flight on Friday morning, so we will have to get up very early to get the airport two hours before our flight.  Please pray that our flights will be on time and that we will have enough time at each airport to make our connections.  It has been a great and enjoyable trip, but we are ready to get back to the U.S.A.   Thanks, again, for your prayers."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

From Tuesday

This is from a email from Christy's mom:

"After breakfast this morning, we had to come back to the room waiting for a call from our guide to tell us everything went well with the consulate appt.  He went on Lucy's behalf, and thank God everything was okay.  The swearing in ceremony will be tomorrow afternoon.   We went to a nine story shopping center after we got the call from the guide.  We were not impressed with it.  Lots of "junk".  We looked around on four floors and decided we had seen enough.  We did find a few items to purchase, but not like we thought we would.  We decided to eat at KFC which was right at the entrance.  Lucy ate some fried chicken and ice cream.  We caught a taxi to go to Beijing Road for more shopping, but the taxi ride on top of her food didn't settle well with Lucy.  We did manage to find a dress for her that she had been looking for, but then had to come back to the hotel so she could lie down.  She kept apologizing, and, of course, we told her it was okay. She is sleeping now, and Lauren is painting a paint-by-number picture she got at the shopping center.  Christy and Betty Jean went back out to some shops right around our hotel.

"We are learning more and more about Lucy.  She is not a morning person!!  She is not much of a shopper, but does pay a lot of attention to prices. I am sure it comes from the fact that she is not used to going and going and going like we have on this trip.    She loves the swimming pool and loves to eat (her kind of food).  We are taking note of the American foods she likes.  She has eaten omelets for breakfast with ham, mushroom and hot sauce in it.  A couple of times she has eaten fried chicken.  She likes ice cream, fruit (especially watermelon).  Most everything she eats she puts some type of hot sauce on it.  She loves Tropicana orange juice and has had coke several times.  She doesn't like our pizza. 
 

"Thank you for all the prayers; things have gone so smoothly, and we know it is because of that.  Keep them coming."

Judy

A little video

video

Congratulations to my honey for figuring out how to upload one of her videos!
There have been 2 weddings at our hotel so far.  We love taking it all in.

Monday's update

This is from Christy's aunt, Betty Jean:

"This morning we were able to sleep in before breakfast and hang around the hotel.  We met up with the group at 1:00pm.  Lucy and two others had to stop by the clinic to have their TB test checked.  They all turned out okay.  Then our guide dropped us off at Shamian Island to do some shopping until 4:30 pm (you all know we just hated that).   The first thing on the agenda was to have pictures made on the red sofa!!  If you don't know what that is, the red sofas are in The White Swain Hotel at Shamian Island.  All nine of the adopted children from the group had their pictures taken on the red sofa - oh boy, that was an experience - two of the babies were not real happy about the whole idea.  Then some of the parents put their children in clothes from China and did their pictures individually.
Then off the five of us went to do some shopping and also ate lunch at Lucy's - a western restaurant. 

"Returned to the hotel and did more shopping at some of the shops beside the hotel.   Found some good deals.  Lucy likes to shop for clothes and is very selective (which is good), but I think she loves to shop for food the best.  She really enjoyed the grocery store yesterday.  Lucy has had a very good day today.  She had to wait two days before getting into the pool because of the TB test.  She has been so excited today about getting in the pool, so Christy, Lauren, and Lucy are now at the pool.  Lauren has really been wonderful with Lucy.  We are so glad she is here.

"Everyone start praying for our flights home, which will begin on Friday."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Great day in Guangzhou

We had a another great day of sightseeing and shopping.  We love to shop on Shamian Island.  This is where every family that adopts from China ends their trip.  And it is a famous place to shop for adoptees.  We also went to a friendship store today as well.  I do not know how many floors it had, but it had everything you could want or need there.  That was a lot of fun.  Heike, I bought you some more Tiger Balm.  Lucy had a fun time in the grocery with Betty Jean and Grandma.  They had to buy a new suitcase for it all tonight.

Speaking of  Betty Jean and Grandma, I have not mentioned them in the blog thus far.  I thought of this as I lay in bed last night saying my prayers.  They have been my angels along the way.  I could not imagine doing this without them.  The two of them combined have been just what Lucy has needed.  It has been amazing to watch.  And Lucy thinks the world of them.  I am afraid they are spoiling her a bit, but our guides say that is what we are supposed to do while we are here.  She will be sad to see them go home.  I wish they could come home with us for  a while too.  We will never forget them being a part of this story.
                                                                                                                                                            
Lucy enjoyed buying groceries today for her and her Chinese friends in America.  Grandma also bought her a Chinese doll tonight that she was very excited about.  More than anything, I think she was excited about having her own suitcase for the first time I imagine.  She came back to the hotel and helped BJ and Grandma pack all her food items and gifts in there.  Lauren had a great time shopping for her friends tonight as well.

We have had another great day, and you could never imagine how blessed we feel about that.  It is HUGE!!! I forgot to mention that we bought pretty neat necklaces today.  There was a man painting names on a grain of rice and putting them inside of necklaces.  We picked a few out that we liked, and Lucy picked out one that had Jesus on the cross.  We were so excited about that.  We do know that she has been introduced to Christ.  I met a really sweet girl this week that I will share with you more about later.  She told me that she showed the Jesus Film to Lucy's orphanage one time.  I am so thankful that this girl (missionary) lives in America now and will be able to sow into Lucy's life.  She cares so much for her and all of the children at her orphanage.  She actually lived there as a child and now attends college in Florida.

I guess these are the highlights of the day.  I am glad there are so many.  Please keep up the prayers.  We had a shaky day yesterday, but as for the rest of the trip, I am in awe.  Thank you Lord!!!  And thanks to you for all of your prayers.  We sure do feel them.
                                                                                                                                                                     

Saturday, September 11, 2010

To Lucy's big sister

Lauren,

I just wanted to let you know how much I love you and how proud I am of you.  From everything that Mom tells me, you have been a HUGE part of why Lucy's transition into our family has been so smooth.  I have to be honest with you - there have been times the past couple of years that Mom and I have had a few concerns about how you might respond to being "replaced" as the oldest child.  And while I'm sure you probably thought about that, too, you've been Lucy's biggest cheerleader the whole time.  I was especially impressed with all your hard work learning Chinese before you left for China so that you could help Lucy with the transition.  The grace and poise and maturity you've shown, prior to the trip but especially while in China with Lucy, has blown me away.  I'm so proud of you that I could pop!  I know you're aware that there are still going to be bumps in the road ahead.  Lucy will have some rough days, you'll have some rough ones, and each member of our family will, too.  But I'm confident that God will use you, as He already has, to show His grace and love to Lucy.  She could not have a better "big sister."  ;)

I love you very much,
Dad

Friday, September 10, 2010

A little rollercoaster ride today

We started out at the bottom today.  A lot quieter and a little grumpy. :(  But ended the day on the tippy top with a first swim EVER in the pool.  We left Lucy's home province today with a toothache.  I guess that most people would be a little grumpy with the combination of those two.   Then her first plane ride and on to our new hotel.   She enjoyed the plane ride until the end where her ears were really hurting as we landed.  If you ask her if she liked the plane, she will quickly tell you "No!"  If you ask if she liked swimming, you get a whole different response.  We could not believe how comfortable she was in there.  She went right under, holding her nose only one time.  Enjoyed splashing and floating around.

We are staying in a very nice hotel that America World booked for us.  I sure hope Lucy does not get to used to this.  It is unbelievable.  You can google Marriott Guangzhou China and check out where we are.  The pool was a very nice one to take your first swim.

I will have to type more tomorrow.  My time is running out.  We have to pay for the internet here.  Lauren says they have to charge for everything here to keep this nice place running. :)

Lauren is still doing amazingly well.   Handled the day much better than I would at her age.  Thanks so much for your prayers.  Please do not stop.  We covet your prayers as we are not home yet.  :)  Thanks!!!  Love you all!  And miss my girls and Tom really bad as of today!  Goodnight!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Important clarification on reception for Lucy

The date, time, and place of the welcome reception for Lucy hasn't changed (see post below for those details).  What has changed is that the reception is also going to be for welcoming home another local family and their new daughter.  Teresa Leggett lives in Hampstead and is also currently in China with her daughter, Ashton, and their new adopted daughter, Natalie.  They are in a different province than Christy and Co., but like all adopting families will end up in Guangzhou before they fly home to the US.  In fact, Teresa and her family and Christy and her family will be staying in the same hotel in Guangzhou.

SO . . . family and friends of the Jaski's and the Leggetts are invited to welcome home the families and meet the new additions on Sept. 19.  Spread the word!

Last full day in Lucy's home province

Today was our last full day here in Liaoning province.  Tomorrow Lucy will take her first airplane ride, and she seems excited about it.  But then again, she seems excited about most anything right now.  It is truly amazing!  And we are sooo thankful!!!  All praise to God!!!

We started out the day by going to pick up Lucy's passport and visiting the Imperial Palace.  Then off for a little more shopping and late lunch at Pizza Hut.  Oh, how good it was!!! Pizza and a coke with ice!  Lucy turned her nose up so we took her to Walmart and let her pick something out to bring into the restaurant   (Well, three things).  This girl can eat!  I think she is trying to pack it all in knowing that she be leaving in a week.  I know exactly how she feels.  Lauren and I savored every last bite at Macaroni Grill the night before we left.  So we all enjoyed dinner in the end.  Oh yeah, we were sitting in Pizza Hut, listening to Dolly Parton on the sound system.  Are we really in China?  Kind of a weird moment. :)

Lucy is still doing great!  Smiling, skipping through the room, singing.  She is actually giving us a concert right now.  She LOVES to sing and knows she is good. :)  I cannot wait to introduce her to contemporary Christain music!  I am sure she will love it!

I will close with this.  She asked me to braid her hair today and to blow dry it tonight!  She has never had a mom to do this and it THRILLS my soul when she asks me to do this.  Oh, and what teenager will hold your hand all around town. :)  And her sisters?  We like that too.  :)

Dinner Anyone?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Opportunity to meet Lucy

This is Tom.  For those of you who are or will be in the Wilmington area on Sunday, Sept. 19, Christy's sister Denise has planned a reception where folks can welcome Christy and Lauren back and meet Lucy.  It will be from 3-5pm in the multipurpose room of the Family Life Center at Scotts Hill Baptist Church.  Drinks and light snacks will be provided.  Everyone's invited.  Our family will be leaving that afternoon to go to Atlantic Beach for a week, so come on out if you don't want to wait to get your Lucy fix.  ;)

ANOTHER amazing great day!

Hi everyone!  Are you proud that I have finally learned to post pictures?  Tom had copied and pasted the others.  Sorry I am so bad on the computer but I am really trying.  It takes FOREVER to post one picture on here for some reason.  I have decided that it would be better for me to bond with Lucy by playing games, etc. than to sit here and wait for photos to upload all day.  But I will at least try to post a couple every day.  Sorry for my spelling as well.  I noticed a few mistakes this morning.  Serious jet lag when I am typing late at night. :)

 Ok, on to Lucy.  She has had another great day but has really been tired.  Today was finally a day where we had nothing planned so we were going to spend it shopping.  Well, Lucy could not quite hang.  Uh oh! Although her first full sentence thus far was this morning when she said with much excitement, "I LOVE shopping!"  I was a little nervous about this. :)  We went out to an underground mall and found a shirt for her and pjs for Lauren.  That was about all she was up for and asked if we could go back to the hotel.  It was not even lunch time yet and we did not get out until 10:00.  We took her back and she took a 2 hour nap and then we went out for more.  We ventured down to the China Walmart which is always interesting.  Lucy picked out many snacks to take back to America and was very happy about this.  After Walmart she asked to go back to the room again.  Oh well, she will get used to it.  I hope! :)

She was especially happy tonight just hanging around in the hotel.  She is really content just hanging around playing games, chatting with the translator and such.  She has also enjoyed the many conversations we have had on skype.  Skype has been a blessing!  It is so cool that she is able to talk with her baba, Anna Claire and Lily before we get home.  I think this will help a lot.  She also has talked with Betty and Cindy and can hardly wait to see them again.  Thanks Betty and Cindy!

Lucy is such a sweet girl!  Very kind, considerate, helpful, and ALWAYS smiling.  She is quite easy to love.  Yesterday Lauren and her were chatting back and forth on their DS games ( I did not even realize you could do that) and she had written in "I love you" and sent it to Lauren.  Lauren was shocked to say the least.  We did not even realize she could write that in English.  Lauren is still getting used to having such an affectionate sister.  She is usually the one "aggravating" her other sisters with affection.  She said she is getting a dose of her own medicine.  But I do not think it is bothering her one bit.  She has said a few times that she is glad to have an older sister.  PTL!

A few of you have asked in e-mails how to comment on the  post.  I am not sure why it is not working.  I will ask Tom and get back with you on that one.  Thanks so much for all of the encouragement and prayers.  You could never understand what has meant to all of us here!!!  God is surely in every minute of this!  Love you all! 
 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Underground mall in Shenyang near our hotel

Lucy trying to tell us she wanted to order fried fish in the shape of doughnut holes

Shopping in Shenyang

Lauren and Lucy on the streets of Shenyang

Tuesday in Liaoning

Today was a busy day of paperwork.  We left the hotel at 8:45 and returned at 6:30.  The whole time we were working on paperwork.  We look forward to our first and only free day here in this province.  Thursday we will have a day of sightseeing and then we will fly to Guongzhou.

Lucy has had another incredible day.  She woke up very happy this morning.  We woke her up at 6:30 to call her friend Betty on Skype.  Betty was adopted by a family in Florida a couple of months ago.  The girls had a great time seeing and talking to each other.  It was fun for them to catch up.  Priceless really.  A great start to her day.  Betty's mom and I have decided it would be a great thing if they could skype each other first thing in the morning for a few days to make sure Lucy is ok.  Betty would be able to tell us if she had any needs.  Thank you so much, Betty!

While we were getting ready for breakfast we skyped with a few others and then headed out for the day.  She loved the buffet breakfast downstairs this morning.  It was the first time she had used a fork.  She had told us through a translator yesterday that she was nervous about using a fork and knife for the first time.  You would think she would not be nervous after seeing us trying to use chopsticks at every other meal.  She usually eats porridge for breakfast every morning so I think she enjoyed all of the selections.  In fact, tonight as we were eating dinner, she typed in to her electronic translator that she thought it would be a great idea for us to eat breakfast downstairs again tomorrow morning.  I thought that was great that she felt comfortable enough to ask us if we could eat there again.

We ate lunch in the city of her orphanage with one of her teachers/nannies and a past orphanage director today.  These are two people that really love Lucy.  I was a little nervous that she would not want to leave after being with them or that she would be really sad.  Well, as we left, I am the one that cried.  I know that  really shocks some of you.  :)  But I know how much this nanny has done for her and cared for her.  I know Lucy really loves her too, but there were no tears.   That really spoke volumes to me of how happy she really is to be going home with us.  She got right into the van and carried on smiling like she has done all along.  We have hardly any communication, so when one of us looks at her, she just smiles really big. 

Tonight we ordered room service and then put together a puzzle.  Afterwards we were all sitting on the bed eating miniature candy bars and Mentos, and she picked up the electronic translator and simply typed "happiness".  Lauren shrugged her shoulders as if she did not know what she was talking about, and she typed the words "I am happy."

Ok, if that does not get you, how about this one.  Anytime she has typed a message to me tonight she makes sure she types "mother" in front of it.  And I have heard her tell a couple of people something, and I hear the word "mother" or "mama"  somewhere in there.  I think she is so thrilled to be able to use that word.

She is very affectionate as she has to always be holding someone's hand, have her arm around someone's neck, of just sitting really close to them.  We do not mind it AT ALL.

Well, my eyes are rolling back as I type this so I think I will close for now.  I will try to do better as the days pass.  I have just been so tired as we come in from long days.  Still a little jet lag also.

Lastly, thank you all so much for your prayers.  We feel prayer like never before.  It just does not make any sense for things to be running this smoothly.  All praise to God!

Oh yeah - one more thing that I can not forget to mention.  Lauren is still doing an amazing job.  I am sooo proud of her.  She makes this whole process so much easier.

Goodnight,
Christy
Chilling with their Nintendos

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lucy!

Prayers have been answered!!!!!  It is truly unbelievable!  This has been the smoothest transition!  Lucy has been nothing but smiles since we met a few hours ago.  I do realize this could change, but we will take it for now. :)

We left our hotel this morning at 5:20 and arrived to Shenyang at 10:00.  We went straight to the Civil Affairs office to meet Lucy.  She was already there and had been for a little while.  I knew this because strangely enough there was a couple from Fayetteville, NC there that told me they had been comforting her for a little while before we arrived there.  Her nannies did not come with her which I found odd.  Hopefully they will come tomorrow.  I think the guy that brought her was new to the orphanage and he barely spoke English.  Hopefully someone will come by this afternoon that can translate a little for us.  She does not seemed to be bothered about anything right now though. 

We left there after more paperwork to check in to the hotel.  We exchanged a few gifts, let the girls play around a little and then out to eat for lunch.  Finally some American food.  McDonald's has never tasted so good!  After lunch we came back to the room as we all seem to be more comfortable there.  The girls colored some and now Lucy has found the remote and is laying back on the bed watching Brady Bunch of all things.  It is in English with Chinese at the bottom.  She seems to be very familiar with it.  Lauren thought this was funny, but great.  Now they are both laying there watching it.

Lauren has been AMAZING!!!  I am so thankful that she is here.  She knows just what to do.  I told her she is going to be so tired tonight as she is putting her all into making Lucy feel comfortable.   I wish you could see them laying there right now.  It is if Lucy has been with us for a week, and it has only been a few hours. 

I will post pictures a little later and try to type more.  For now, I need to unpack our bags and clean up a little.  I may even lay down a few minutes myself. 

Thanks so much for all of your prayers!  We can certainly fill them.  Our guide was amazed that she seemed so comfortable so quickly.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Where they're going

I thought I'd post a map of China so you can follow the journey that Lauren, Christy, her mom, and her aunt will be taking over the next 2 weeks (you can click on the map to enlarge it).  On Saturday night, they flew into Beijing, which is indicated by a star on the map.  In just a few hours, they will be flying to Lucy's province of Liaoning which is a little northeast of Beijing.  They will stay there until Friday when they will fly to Guangzhou in the Guangdong province in south China.  It's here that a lot of the official stuff will happen - medical exam, paperwork, oath-taking ceremony, and picking up Lucy's visa.  Hope this give you a little bit of context for the week.  FYI, Lily was adopted from the Hunan province which is just above Guangdong.

First (and last) full day in Beijing

This is Tom again.  Christy may post some from China herself, but until then, she's gonna email me and I'll post.  I received this one from her this morning (Sunday) at 11:00:

"Hey!  This is gonna be quick.  It is 11:00 and we need to be downstairs by 5:20.  Our flights to the different provinces leave out early.  We will go straight from the airport to pick up Lucy.  Needless to say, I have a few butterflies.


"We have had an awesome day!  Great weather - started the day off at a Christian church service that was awesome.  Nothing like worshiping with foreigners, but you know all about that.  It was the same church we went to 5 years ago (when we adopted Lily), and it has grown so much.  So many Chinese in the service this time.  That room, if you remember it, was almost packed.


"Then to lunch, jade factory, then the Great Wall (weather was nice), then to dinner, then an acrobatic show.  All were good.  All 3 meals were yummy today.  Could not believe it.  I thought I might lose weight on this trip.  I was not supposed to like the food.  I am sure we will get tired of the Chinese in a couple of days, but for today, it was really good.


"Lauren just fell asleep watching Chinese Pooh and Tigger.  I am going to try my best to get some sleep.


"I cannot believe we meet Lucy in the morning!!!  It is sooo much fun hearing all of the other families talking about meeting their daughters.  A couple of the families have waited 5 long years.  And it is their first babies.  I so wish we could see their Gotcha moments.  We will meet back up with them at the end of the week and that will be fun to see.  A lot of first time moms and dads."

Sounds like everything so far has gone without a hitch.  Thank you so much for praying.  Please pray for the girls tomorrow as they fly to Lucy's province (Liaoning) and meet Lucy for the first time.  I can't believe how anxious they all are.  I grew anxious today just thinking about the meeting.  Also pray for Lucy.  Can't imagine what will go through her mind.  Since they are going straight from the airport to meet Lucy, I'm guessing that the meeting will happen around 10:30 or 11:00 on Monday morning, which would be 10:30 or 11:00 tonight (Sunday night).  Please be in prayer for all involved.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

In Beijing!

This is Tom.  I just Skyped with the girls.  They were in their hotel and just about to go to bed (2am there).  Christy said the flights went very smoothly.  On the Seattle to Beijing flight, she and Lauren slept 8 hours.  Tomorrow, they will go to an international church service and then visit the Great Wall.  BTW, for those of you following, they are 12 hours ahead of EST.  Keep praying.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thank you, Earl . . . I mean, God

Thank God that He is so gracious in answering prayer.  Tropical storm Earl skirted right by us last night, creating a pleasant breeze and giving us a light rain.  As a result, we don't anticipate any flight delays today.  Christy and Lauren are scrambling with last minute packing as they look to meet Christy's mom and aunt for their flight at 12:30 this afternoon.  Please pray for them as they travel - no cancellations, delays, missed connections, and for comfort as they fly.  And when you do, also remember Lucy in prayer.  Although she may be excited about finally being adopted, there will no doubt be anxieties as she meets her new family and leaves her country.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lucy knows.

We have always wondered if Lucy knew that we were in the process of adopting her.  Well, this past Friday, Christy received an email that Lucy had finally been told.  In an email from Maggie, a young lady who had been teaching some English at the orphanage, we found out that Lucy "reacted very normally, just like any girl of her age."  This didn't tell us a whole lot, so the following day, Christy was able to chat with Maggie via Skype.  When asked about Lucy's feelings about our family adopting her, Maggie said, "I think complicated is the word for her mood now."

We can't imagine all of the thoughts and emotions that are going through Lucy's head now.  She's finally been told that an American family is going to adopt her.  She's seen our pictures and read the letter we sent her many months ago.  She also knows that Cindy, one of her best friends, has been adopted and is living about 15-20 minutes away from us.  She's leaving her country, her friends, and all she's ever known.  She's going to be moving to a vastly different country where she doesn't speak the language, becoming part of a family with a new mom and dad and 3 new sisters.  That's a lot for a 12-year old mind to process.  Please pray for her and us during the transition.

A week and a half!

Hard to believe that Lauren, Christy, her mom, and aunt will be flying to China in a week a half.  The journey to get Lucy is edging closer to reality.  We thank God for all He has done to get our family to this point.  We are also thankful for the many, many people who've come alongside us, given financially, helped out with fundraisers, offered words of encouragement, and prayed for us.  In many ways, we feel Lucy is coming to be part of a family that is a lot larger than our family of five.

There is still so much to do during this last week and a half.  Among other things, we realize that according to our calculations, we are still a bit short (approx. $7,000) of what we need to meet all of our financial obligations to finalize the adoption.  While we hate to appeal for help, realizing that so many of you have already helped in many ways, we also realize that the Body of Christ was divinely designed to meet needs just like ours.

If you are able to help us make this final financial push, you can do so in a couple of different ways.  First, you can give on this blog.  On the right side of the page, there is a button that says "click here to donate now!"  You can click on this button, and you will be given instructions on how to do so.  Second, you can simply send a check, made out to "Bring Lucy Home," to our address at 125 Cornel Lane, Hampstead, NC, 28443.  We wish we could tell you that your gift would be tax-deductible, but currently it is not.  However, Christy and some friends who are passionate about adoption are in the process of creating a ministry called A Sea of Hope (www.aseaofhope.org) that will soon have 501(c)(3) status and will offer grants to adoptive families and promote adoption awareness.  Above all, please lift our family, especially Lucy, up before the Lord in prayer.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

We got our TA!

We're gonna leave to pick up Lucy on Friday, September 3! We are thrilled that this 2+ year journey is going to culminate in about 3 weeks when we meet our new daughter for the first time.

We were contacted by our adoption agency last week, and we were told that there was a 90% chance that we would be traveling on August 13 (which would be tomorrow). Christy began running around, making arrangements to leave in a week. But on the following day while she was in Raleigh getting a document authenticated at the secretary of state's office, she received a call that we wouldn't be able to travel on the 12th and that we would have to wait until the next group left the beginning of September. Needless to say, Christy was heartbroken, but now realizes that the extra time to pack and get the house ready is a blessing.

By the way, after a lot of prayer and discussion, we've decided that Christy and Lauren will travel to get Lucy. We feel that the smaller party will be less intimidating to Lucy. We also feel that having Lauren there will help with the transition, both for her and Lucy. And one more factor - having Tom stay back with Anna Claire and Lily will save at least $10,000 of adoption costs. When Tom explained this to Anna Claire, she asked if while Christy and Lauren were away, she and Lily could spend some of that money. ;)

Please continue to pray for us as Lauren and Christy (and her mom and aunt who will round out the travel party) as they prepare to leave. Also, please pray for Lucy as her life (and ours) is about to change forever.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Quarter auction - a great time!

On Friday, June 25, we had the privilege to attend a quarter auction and bake sale, the purpose of which was to raise money to help bring Lucy home. The auction was the brainchild of Wendy Farber and Vicki Stowe. It was held in the family life building of Northside Baptist Church, which is a great place for families to hang out and have fun.

This was our first time attending a quarter auction, and it turned out to be a blast. The concept was a little foreign to us until it started. Here's how it worked:

For folks to participate in the auction, they would buy a numbered paddle for $5 each (you can buy more than one). Participants would sit at a table where there would be a bowl in the middle for the quarter bids. For each item, people would be able to bid as many times as they had paddles. The bid amounts were 1 quarter for items worth up to $25, 2 quarters for items worth $26-$50, 3 quarters for items worth $51-$75, etc. There were many, many prizes donated by many individuals and companies (thank you so much!). When an item was announced along with its value, those interested in bidding would make the necessary quarter bid and hold up their paddle(s). A number was drawn out of a bucket and if it matched one of the raised paddles, that person won the prize. If the number drawn belonged to someone who chose not to bid on that particular item, another number would be drawn until someone won.

The money generated from the sale of the paddles went to the cause (bringing Lucy home). The quarters bid on items go to those individuals/vendors who donated the items. At night's end, those individuals/vendors can choose to either keep the money to defray their costs or donate all or a portion of it to the cause. Thankfully, we had so many who chose to donate their quarters to Lucy's cause.

In addition to the auction, there were bake sale items available for purchase, as well as food items and drinks at the snack bar. When the smoke cleared, the evening resulted in a little over $2,300 raised towards Lucy's adoption! We praise the Lord for that and for all those who came and helped.

It would be impossible to thank everyone who made the evening such a success. Thanks to Wendy and Vicki for coordinating the whole event; to Tammy Bennett and Northside BC for providing the venue; to many of Christy's relatives who drove down from Wilson to man the snack bar; to all of the vendors and individuals who donated prizes; to John Zino for emceeing the 2-hour auction; and to everyone else who came and participated in one way or another. It was such a fun time and great concept that it may become an annual event once A Sea of Hope becomes an official organization. We are so thankful to God for so many friends and family members who support adoption and, in particular, bringing Lucy home.

BTW, hopefully photos of the auction will be posted later.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Why Is it taking so long?????

We would not have to have any fundraisers if I had a dollar for every time we have been asked why it is taking soooo long. We are really not digging the time frame of this adoption and hope that no one else has to wait this long. But we do know that God has been in control of this thing the whole way and we do not want to question something as simple as the timing. He knows the best time to add a 12 yr. old girl to our family. It made sense to me to go ahead and make it happen when she was 10. She was 10 when we first laid eyes on her and cute as anything. But God knew the perfect time. It looks like we will be picking Lucy up at the end of August. She turns 13 in September. We have to find some humor in that we will be given an instant teenager. Bring it on!!! We are so ready!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm back . . .

. . . after much protest! I'm not much of a writer, but Tom has continued to encourage (nag?) me to update the blog. Please forgive me as I know many of you have checked back several times for an update to find the same old post. Well, obviously a lot has happened since our last post in October. I am not really great with keeping up with dates, but I will try my best to give you the "story" of the past few months.

Not long after our last post, after finally being notified that our paperwork was in China, we were also notified with some not so good news. Someone that works at the orphanage sent word that Lucy was being visited often by a Chinese family. They were actually taking her home for the weekends and had been for a couple of months. The orphanage was sure that the family was going to adopt her, and there was not much they could do about it. Needless to say, we were really sad (that is an understatement), and hence one reason I was not really excited about the blog anymore.

We have been praying through this whole process that if it was not meant for Lucy to be a part of our family, that God would close the door. I truly believed that God would do just that to protect our family or Lucy if need be. Well, for a moment I thought that is what He was doing and after mourning a little (really quite a bit), I thought I would just let it all go.

The moment was short lived. This is where I began to wrestle. It was a tough place to find ourselves. We trusted God that He wanted the best for our family and Lucy. It was not so hard to understand where he might be protecting our family, but REALLY hard to understand why she would be placed with this other family. This family had lost a daughter to death and had called the orphanage to find that Lucy was the only child there that same age. This did not settle well at all in this mom's soul. It would of settled so much better if we had received word that this was a Chinese family that wanted to take in an orphan and share the love of Christ with her.

So we began to pray and asked other close friends to pray for a miracle. Well, we were granted just that. I think it was two weeks after the prayers began that the family stopped picking up Lucy. We serve an awesome God!!!!!!!!!!!! I know I have left out a lot of details where He could get so much glory. Maybe we should write a book. ;)