More Than Beautiful

Mflowers

We are four months into adjusting to life with Mindy.  And if I could sum it up three words they would be ‘More Than Beautiful’!  These past few month have been really REALLY good!  My daughter, Elise, who is 10 has probably had the most changing and adjusting to do, but she has been wonderful with her new sister.

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Instead of just praising God for this miraculous thing every DAY, I find myself wondering how can this be true?  I am in awe of what God has done and is doing.  It is absolutely a beautiful thing to be called “Mom” from day one.  It is like the day I was adopted into God’s family!  From day one I got to call God, “Father”!  He’s my heavenly Father and I can call on Him, call out to Him.  I don’t have to worry about being struck dead when I doubt His goodness and His love.  Because of Jesus I am in God’s family and it isn’t because I did something good or even because I said a little prayer.  Jesus did it and I trust in what He did for the whole human race!  It is finished.  Oh Happy Day!

Together At Last

We left for Wuhan on November 11 and the following day we went to the Civil Affairs office where we were united with our daughter, Mindy!  She was dressed all in pink and she had a really big smile!  She was so happy!

On Wednesday we went to the orphanage and had a tour.  We had a very warm welcome and all of the workers and kids were so happy for Mindy.

We found our daughter through a caring mother who was adopting her son about a year ago at the same orphanage. This incredible lady took the time to advocate for other kids at the orphanage, and because of that we found Mindy. To continue that great idea, Dave asked the director of the orphanage directly if we could see all of the kids available for adoption. We (Dave a lot more than me) speak Chinese now and he has also learned some of the business culture. The director was very receptive and arranged for us to see all 11 kids on our list! It was a great day and I will do a future post on all of the kids.

Here are a few photos from this week.  As you can see Mindy smiles a lot and we are learning that she has quite the sense of humor.

The time has come!

A lot has happened the past few months…

August 23– LOA (Letter of Acceptance)

September 20–Form I800 approved

September 28–NVC (National Visa Center) cable sent

October 23–Article 5 issued

November 9—Travel Authorization!

We leave Sunday and then on Monday get to go and pick up our daughter!!!!

Mid-Autumn Festival

Our friends brought us several moon cakes this mid-autumn festival.  The boxes are so colorful and shiny!  The actual cake has a thin delicate crust with a dense filling (red bean paste, lotus seed paste, jujube paste, and the ones we have mostly bitten in to are some sort of meat with granulated sugar).  We haven’t acquired a taste for them yet…we keep hoping to bite in to a custard filled one!  We are American and we do have a certain palate.

Our friends here have been so generous and giving during all of their holidays.  We are blessed.  They also took our whole family out for hot pot!  Hot pot is very popular in this region.  This time we ate goose hot pot!  It was so delicious, I am ready to go back.

We also ate foie gras for the first time, it wasn’t bad.

The goose wings were delicious…a lot bigger than a chicken wing!  (The steam is from the pot of broth in the middle of the table.)

ADOPTION UPDATE:

Unfortunately due to the holiday here and Columbus Day, both of which the US Embassy in Guangzhou celebrate, our paperwork sat for two weeks! Now we’re back on track and our Article 5 is being picked up next Tuesday. Another week later we should be close to receiving the final authorization called TA. We have to coordinate the appointments from here, so Dave is handling all of that.
Thanks for praying!

Her Dream Come True!

It isn’t a trip to Disneyland, Sea World, competing in the Olympics, or building a multimillion dollar company.  Every orphan’s dream is being a permanent part of their own family.  A place to call home and people to call MY family.  Ming Xi (pronounced: Ming She) often draws about having a family:

It is an amazing thing to be somebody’s dream come true!  When I think about picking up our daughter I can’t help but get teary eyed.  Ming Xi has waited 11 years for a family to call her own and the time is approaching for her dream to be a reality.  I am extremely happy for her!  I am also a little sad because I know she will be leaving all that she has known; people, food, city, school, routine, etc.  I know there will be a grieving process for her.  I ache for her in that and hope that I will be all that she needs during that time.  I pray that God will give me his heart in all circumstances and each situation. We have some rough roads ahead, but He is able!

We are in the final stages of the adoption process and our paperwork is at the US Consulate in Guangzhou, China.  We are hoping that we will get travel approval in ONE MONTH to go and pick up our daughter!!!!!

Fuxian Lake

(Guest post by McClain)  Fuxian Lake is the second deepest fresh water lake in China, it is approximately 155 meters deep and covers an area of 212 square Kilometers, quite a bit bigger than Lake Vermillion in Northern Minnesota, which is 158.9 square kilometers, and Fuxian Lake is much deeper than Lake Vermillion, which is only 23 meters deep.  During summer break Fuxian Lake is a popular tourist destination, but once school starts up again the only people you’ll see there are the locals.  My dad and I went right after the tourists left and it was nice, some parts of the lake had beaches, but not many because the sand isn’t native to the lake.

This is the island in the middle of the lake, it has a hotel , a temple, a dinning area, and some other things.

This is our ride to the island, the paddles seem very traditional but the metal canoe on the other hand seems very ugly.

Here I am walking down some treacherous stairs with my dad to get to the base of the island (where our boat awaits to take us back across the lake).

This is a picture of a pagoda on the island with the shore in the background.

The private beaches around the lake are covered in sand imported from other places (most likely the ocean) so some species native only to Fuxian Lake are in danger of extinction.

This is a picture of me eating “copper pot”  (a pot made of copper full of potatoes and rice) for the first time.  My dad and I both thought the dishes we ordered would go INTO the pot but it tuned out that they were all side dishes and ended up being way too much for us.

This is what was in the copper pot; sticky rice and potatoes.

Me on a beach with the island in the background.

A different beach with some metal canoes and the island in the background.

Me next to a rocky outcrop with half a sunflower in my hand (with seeds in it)

Here my dad is using me as an excuse to get a picture of this vehicle with an external motor (and I’m still eating sunflower seeds).

Picking seeds out of a fresh sunflower.

What looks like a pot with a Chinese farmers hat on it to some people (mainly me) is actually a pot full of rice (breakfast) to others.

All around the lake the shore looks pretty much like this (but that is just a guess, I only saw a small portion of the shoreline). While my dad and I were waiting for our ride back we sat here and admired the view of the island.

A picture of the beach, metal canoes, and the island.

The one and only picture of my dad, he’s standing next to a rocky outcrop

An archway that could have very well been a toll booth.

One of the many farms in the area.

Lake ShaoKao (fried meat). My dad and I only tried the orange bowl near the front (a bunch of little shrimpies fried together to make a bowl) my dad liked it a little but I can’t say that I liked it.

I’m buying some ShaoKao.

Lake ShaoKao is made up of shrimp on a stick, transparent fish on a stick (my favorite with extra peppers), plain fish on a stick, mini swordfish (Dad’s favorite) on a stick, hotdog on a stick, meat in a tube, shrimp bowl, potato bowl, and some other weird/yummy food.

Some delicious but really spicy fried potatoes with my new favorite spice dousing drink in the back ground.