3/31/11

Evening Pearl River Criuse


Last Post in China...

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS

The True Journey begins! These past few days have been amazing. She is so eager and so hungry to figure out all that she's experienced these couple weeks together. She tries to speak English and I know she has a long way to go but we are able to communicate more and more each day.

One of the shop workers told Arielle about Jesus the other day. She was so receptive although stills doesn't understand fully. She gave her a Mandarin Bible yesterday :) Early on with this adoption the Lord put on my heart that He would restore to Arielle "what the Locust have eaten". As I stood in Starbucks on Tuesday, that scripture came back to me...I could really sense God doing something in her that moment. We walked down the street to a little shop called "A Gift From China" (You got to go there if you are on the Island-my favorite store!!!) It was there that she was told about Jesus :) and was given a Bible. I'm so glad we went there that very moment. There was no one else in the store and she spent a lot of time telling her the Gospel. And what to expect when she gets back home.

I do see how God is working on her heart already. How far she has come! She has a servants heart. Kind. Always thinking about the other person. Eager to help ANYONE! And not shy at all :) God is going to do mighty things with our Lioness!

The Visa appointment went well and now we are all set to go home...

We went on a Pearl River Cruise and had dinner a few nights at a Cantanese/Thai restaurant nearby. It was really good and I highly recommend it. I forgot to get pictures. We had our Traditional red couch photo...but no traditional dress for my girl :) The White Swan looks the same, beautiful.

We will begin our journey home at 5:45 am friday China time (5:45pm Thursday afternoon NJ time)Love you all and I'm so ready to come home! I will post a few pictures of the Hotel room in the next post if anyone is interested...next stop...HOME!

3/28/11

across the foodbridge


CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS :)

What a time we are having here...up and down and up and down. It really is going well but I don't want to give the impression that everything is perfect. It's been work. It's been hard...but being refined is difficult, isn't it? Arielle has had very little training in the way of social/family settings. A lifetime in an orphanage has been hard on her. Socially I see how her need of a mom and dad were sorely missed.

I've had to ban QQ. I questioned whether or not to allow her to get on this Chinese social network but it's clear that she can not do this. She wants to keep in touch with her teachers...that's what she says...but I suspect she wants to stay in touch with some "friends" she will NOT be in touch with. She will need to use email for her teachers and only through mom and dad. She wasn't happy with this but I know in my heart this is what we have to do. Much prayer has gone into this. And Brad and I both agree. Especially after the "issues" I've had. She is a very bright, wonderful, social, young lady...with loads of potential. I pray she will one day understand "why".

Her education is another prayer... we are praying what is best for her. Please pray with us. I can't remember if I mentioned this on the last post but I found out her eyes are bad. Probably the reason she has difficulty with schoolwork. When I talked to her teacher in Tianjin, she told me Arielle would probably be very suited for home school. I found that interesting. She is very distracted socially and tends to do things compulsively. I'm concerned that she will get in load of trouble in public school- especially considering some of the things we have experienced so far. But she is also very smart. So we will be weighing this all out. I told her she could go to school but I probably should not have said that since we are not sure now. We may be homeschooling her while focusing on learning to speak English. She had some friends speak negatively about home school so she has a negative idea of what it is.

As I said, I contribute all these issues to be the direct result of not having a mom or dad. Negative ideas were taught to her throughout her time at the orphanage and she's learned to believe them. I may share more about this later, I may not. I'm not sure harm was meant, but harm was certainly done. She's a beautiful child, so talented. And so much potential. I can't imagine the pain in her heart, the trust that had been broken. The loneliness of not being "chosen", being "overlooked", and all the acting out that was needed to cope with it all. She's strong, a fighter!

I do compare her to a Lioness! Her name...Arielle, Lioness of God!

God led us to this, And He continues to walk with us. And He chose her even before we did. She is HIS CHILD! A CHOSEN CHILD of JESUS CHRIST. She just doesn't know it yet.... but she will...

3/26/11


I've been a horrible blogger! forgive me! I'm having a wonderful time getting to know our little group and especially getting to know Arielle. I keep thinking I'm dreaming because it's going so well. The communication is getting better and she's learning some words now. For those of you who what to see pictures only, just click HERE :) I have some new ones....

Must be some kind of Anime' convention going on because there are all kinds of "characters" around here today. The area was jammed with people.

I won't say much because I must sound like a broken record as I'm saying the same thing....it's going wonderful! We went to the medical appointment to do the Vaccinations and TB test. They also do a physical Exam. One thing I found out is her eyes are bad. Explains a lot. She has trouble reading pinyin, daaaa. Her eyes are bad :) I'm glad I have this information now as it puts my mind at ease. Could be the reason she had so much trouble with school!

Well, that's it for now. I did go across the footbridge for a walk with the group. It was fun and I will post those photos soon. We also got our laundry done and now we are headed for a restful evening in. I will post the pictures later.

Tomorrow the Safari Park :) God Bless you!

3/25/11

Ta Ta Tianjin....Hello Guangzhou!

Still cannot upload photos so HERE is a link to the photos . We are now in Guangzhou and I love it here nicely nestled on the Island. I think I remember someone saying how they like to get off of Shamian Island because it's not "Authentic China". I agree it's not very authentic, but I had enough of that in Tianjin. I'm ready to move on. Arielle is in good spirits too. I've been waiting for her to mourn but so far she seems ready to move on. I can tell that English gets on her nerves when we are talking. I totally understand how she feels. There were moments in Tianjin that I just didn't want to hear Chinese anymore. She has never said anything to me about being bothered but it shows in her face. She also commented on the shop owners ability to speak English here...she says "English good". I tell her that her English will be good someday as well.

She's actually starting to use some English words regularly.

She is so respectful and polite to Mama. Always thinking of me. Actually, I her heart is very big! Over and over she shows how compassionate she is. Earlier today, there was a man who stopped in the street and said something to her...didn't look right to me so I told him to go...he did. I'm not sure what her told her. But she got her translator out and told me that "it didn't bother her because he was ill". She meant he was mentally ill. He was. But I could see so much compassion on her face at that moment.

I posted some photos of our last days in Tianjin and also our first day on Shamian Island. Did I say I love it here :) Met the two other MAA families so I'm not feeling so along now....Tomorrow we have Arielles Medical. She is afraid so please pray for her. She needs to get some shots. We are getting so close to home!

3/22/11

Museum Day

I found out something Arielle loves that is NOT boyish.... Stuffed animals :) We went to the Museum of Natural Science today and it was kind of lame. But after as we passed through the gift shop her eyes lit up looking at the stuffed animals. I got her a Polar Bear (she named him "Bear"- I told her she also has a big dog named Bear and she laughed) She must have spent about 30 minutes just looking and taking pictures with this bear! I also got her (and the boys) animal puppets. shhhh don't tell them :) You can check out the pictures  HERE Go to "China Photo Journal", then scroll down to" Museum Day"

And we also went to a walking street with both a Starbucks and Subway!!!!! Chelsea you been keeping this secret! A nicer area than where our hotel is! With food I'm not afriad to eat :)

At the museum I told Leo that although I am interested in the "THEORY" of Evolution, I do NOT agree with it. It's just a theory. He was quite surprized with this. Immediately he asked if my older son agrees with me... I told him yes. He was even more surprized with that. My son is a history major and is getting his Mastors degree in teaching this semester. I told Leo this a couple days ago so he was surprized someone "educated" would think this way :) He then said that my children have "strong personalities" ...he has no idea how strong HA!

I think we have given Leo a lot to think about these past days..... I told him I was a believer in Jesus Christ... he told me he was interested in Buddaism.

Check out our pictures! HERE Go to "China Photo Journal", then scroll down to" Museum Day"

3/21/11

Time is ticking.....

Soooo much time to do ..... nothing! This is such a long time to spend here in Tianjin. I will say that I've seen a lot of the city that I would not have had an opportunity to see if I was not here for 10 days. And good news for all who come after me, you will not need to stay this long :) unfortunitely I got stuck in the middle of the way they do things here and they were still ironing things out. oh well.

I am uploading photos to my shutterfly account and will post a link soon. The problem I'm having with blogger and photos is my netbook. Everytime I try to upload the photos it kicks me off my vpn. Then I lose connection. So, I will post the link soon.

We went to the "childrens home" yesterday. It was good closer. I'm glad we went. She showed me around and introduced me to her friends. just a few. and then we walked around her neighborhood. The orphanage is nice, the neighborhood is rough. She also took me to a mall under the street that she liked to go to.

Her teacher told me that she would be a good homeschooled student as she has had trouble with her memory. At least that is how it was translated. I think I'm discovering that although she can read chinese characters very well, she has trouble with pinyin-which is a phonetic spelling of their language. I think she has a reading problem...thus the issue communicating through the online google translator. She tells me she is "poor speller". I'm glad I'm realizing this now. But I'm not quit sure how to handle it with school. We plan to put her in public school but I'm not totally sure that is the best for her in the long run. She is intellegent, but she thinks she is not. I'd like to spend time showing her just how smart she is!

We've had a few power struggles... typical stuff that I won't get into. She doesn't get angry just openly frustrated. Not having a Mama and Baba (daddy) shows... no one to be consistant with her. She is not bad, just a bit unsocialized inside a very social personality...if that makes any sense. Her outgoing nature will do her well back home. It will be her motivator. I pray it continues and that God will comfort her through the loneliness.

More later...(dear family, do not correct my grammar or spelling...I'm not proofreading!) love you all!

3/19/11

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Sunday Morning

I think today is the first day of spring! I love spring, new beginnings :) I'm praying for our "new beginning" together. As a disclaimer...I am not proofreading my blog as I have no time for that. So forgive me for misspellings or poor grammar. Well, I'd have that anyway but at least I have an excuse today!


It's funny how my "mom of a teen-ager" mode has kicked right in. Poor nutrition, computer time, etc is already being dealt with :P LiXue is such a wonderful kid. And so naive. We are in Beijing right now and we went to the Great Wall and an Acrobat show (more on that in a minute). On our way home last night she mentioned she was glad we are heading back to Tianjin today. This coming Thursday we are leaving Tianjin permanently and although I think she understands that, the scope of it has not set in yet. God Bless her heart and protect it.

Leo has been such a big help. I wish I could tell you more about him but I haven't enough time and you really aren't here to read about the Guide. But I will tell those who come after me with MAA to request Leo. He is young, and relatively new to this, but so helpful and eager to help as well. He's become a good friend of ours. I call him my son in China and LiXue calls him big brother.

I also want to mention that our driver in Beijing is wonderful....not a crazy man at al! Actually wears a seatbelt! Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about. Drivers in China are required to have reflexes as fast as lighting and HIGH SPACIAL REASONING! Most of the time I just turn my head and pray we make it alive!

The Great Wall was fun, but I DID NOT make it to the Top. I forget the name of the pass we went to. I do have video that I plan to upload soon...I say the name of that area on the video. This area of the wall was much more decorative than the last we went to in 2006. The climb was very steep and I made it to the 2nd tower. but then felt like I was having a heart attack :P Too much! I've been exhausted enough! So we rested and went back down. And I'm glad because LiXue became afraid of the height walking down the steep uneven steps (I had no problem with the "down" part!) Crazy to think how old this wall is. What a rich history!

We went to the Acrobat Show I missed last time I was here and LiXue loved it! I'm so glad I drug myself out to see it! Fun!

We are bonding nicely but I know there is so much more she wants to tell me. And the other way around. I also know that she is not so interested in learning English right now. She's VERY talkative. I wish I could get into her head and see exactly how she understands this whole process. I just don't think she truly gets that her life as she knows it will change forever. Pray for her, and that the Lord give us wisdom. She's an extremely responsible young lady, but her maturity is very young. I'm so blessed to be her Mama. Her potential is endless. Artistic, and not the least be shy (almost inappropriately!) Her "American name is Arielle" and means Lioness of God. She is a Lion!

Several times, at the Orphanage, they showed me pictures of her when she was younger and said she looks like a boy. Her hair was short and her clothes were boyish...but truly she was and is beautiful. I don't think she has been told how pretty she is. How stunning her smile is. She's not in anyway a "frills and makeup" girl, I'm not either and either are my other girls. But she has a "boy" persona that obviously has helped her to cope with life. In reality, she is really very sweet. Of course it's been less than a week and she really has so much to learn! we all do... I even believe she will eventually love our "boy like" home though.

Today I will try and get into Church with her. I got a solid 4 hours sleep last night!!! woohooo!

I miss everyone terribly. I'm hoping to upload some photos here soon. I've been putting them of FB though.

I know a few of you have emailed me and I have not responded yet. My vpn connection is very spotty for some reason and it kicks me off. I can't get everything done online I need to with the short amount of time I have. 
 
I will try and post a little about the orphanage later. I think we may be back this week to say one last goodbye. When I was there, I really didn't see much and had no opportunity to ask about any of the other children (for those who had questions)

3/17/11

Friday Morning here

None of my photos will upload to blogger. Sorry. I will be posting to FB if possible. I think someone ask to 'friend' me yesterday but I can't remember who it is. You may need to ask again :P

It's going well and the last of "business" here took place yesterday. The adoption is done :) Yeah!!! Now we are waiting for her passport to be printed. We will get that next week then off to Guangzhou.

We are trying to use google translator online to communicate...it works for something simple like, "are you hungry" but if you want to ask something more difficult it doesn't make much sense. I'm praying for her because she really likes to talk. She said to me through the guide, "there are so many things I want to say to you but can't"....I know how she feels..

Last night I think she was crying in bed. I've been laying down before her because I'm so exhausted from the time change. She stays on the computer until about 9:00 then comes to bed. I'm hoping to start being coherant when she goes to bed so I can pray with her. I'm awake but totally out of it :P and I'm still naucious.

She has clothing she is very partial to. And she wears two pairs of pants. She is very resistent to changing that. I fear she will swelter! I can't imagine wearing 2 pairs of pants when it's 80 degrees. But I know that she has some kind of comfort in her old clothing right now. We will peal off the pants later :) She is so brave to  do this.

We went to a Hot Pot Restaraunt across the street...very good. Well, I didn't eat much but the experience was fun.

The smog here is what I expected. Horrible! Everythng has a dusting of yuck. I think that China will need to get control of their pollution problem or they are going to distroy it's beauty! It's a lovely culture rich in history but hard to see through all the smog.

We will go to Beijing today(it's Friday here now) and stay until sunday. We will see the Great Wall (sat) and an acrobat show that night. Then come back to Tianjin...I kinda wish we could stay in Beijing. I was supposed to pick up the adoption papers on Monday here but they gave them to me yesterday while I was waiting at the notary office.  It must have been that gift of Irish Cream Chocolate Bunnies (in a pretty green box for St Patty's Day...and the year of the Rabbit!) that made them work faster ...wish I had known. I could have given the passport office bunnies too :P

I found out some interesting information on LiXue yesterday. I'm going to ask more questions today. She feels so familiar to me. She said the same thing. She actually said it first. She showed me her handheld translator in the notary office (that's where we were talking about it) and it said "Fate". I told her "No"... "God"!

Lunch at the Hot Pot Restarant


3/16/11

So Far So Good

Arielle has a list of phrases she uses from online and one of them is "so far so good". I thought it was funny when she pointed to this and shook her head yes :) It is going well but I wish we could communicate better. There are so many questions I want to ask...important question about her health, life at the orphanage, her thoughts on leaving it all behind. She is so brave. Praising God for this amazing child. You can see that she's been through so much in her young life.

When I first got to the orphanage, Arielle came in with all her teachers holding presents, for me! Gosh I felt so unprepared for that. She was obviously loved here. And everyone had a camera. I felt like we were movie-stars.  One of her teachers had a few tears. As we left the building she started to cry a little. It broke my heart to pieces.

For those of you wondering. I saw very few children and was told to NOT take pictures of the kids. I had no time to ask about anyone. I did see some young kids but none of the classes. It went so fast too.

I can't get any pictures to load so I will need to do that tomorrow or later (if I'm awake!) I'm still so tired and nauseous. We have already been to pizza hut for lunch and Kof C for dinner. Well, the guide and Arielle got something anyway! I can't imagine eating that right now ;p Instant oatmeal for me tonight!

She is doing amazingly well but always wanting to serve me. I finally told her that she didn't need to take care of me. That I was her mom now and I was going to take care of HER. She's trying so hard to please me. And I can tell she is very responsible, at least that's the way is seems. I can't get over how brave she is. oh the questions I want ask. so many! I gave her a card from Dad (and me) It was for valentine's day. She wasn't even sure how to open it?! You mean to tell me she was never given a card! Maybe they don't do that in China...maybe they do and she just never got one.

We prayed at lunch. She was baffled. She's never been exposed to God. And the guide was funny. After I had prayed he said "is that it?" If you know me, you know I like to get to the point with before meal prayer :) "thank you Jesus for this food, amen." I'm not one for flowery words...not that there is anything wrong with "flowery". And Leo looked at me and said "I was expecting poetry" hehehe. He's funny and he is now my son in China (he's the same age as Bradley-my son back home) So now Leo has a Christian American Mom who likes to pray to Jesus.

I asked Arielle what she wanted to be called, Arielle or LiXue. We like both but we are really loving her Chinese name. It sounds like Leeshue. And it means "beautiful snow". She said Arielle but I not sure if she just wants to make me happy or not.

Prayer request: That we will learn to communicate with one another better. That she will pick up English quick. I can see that she likes to talk so having no one to talk to may depress her.

3/15/11

100_0190.MOV


Well, it's about 2 hours into my flight. I have to say I'm really liking Continental. I recommend this flight out of Newark to Beijing...It's a straight through flight. I love the idea of no layovers.


As I boarded the plane and settled in my seat, I had such a wave of peace and anticipation rush over me. It's happening. Arielle is coming home. For some, 11 months waiting would seem like an eternity and there were times that it did feel that way. But when I compare it to the nightmare wait we had for Asher, not even knowing if he would come home alive, this wait was much easier.

Evan is having a hard time. He sobbed at bedtime. Broke my heart. 18 days is such a long time for a 5 year old! But I will be back! And with a sister. Asher seemed to be a bit confused. And he's coming down with a cold. I'm praying it doesn't become ugly.

I know for most, you won't read this far :) But for those of you who have, thank you so much for all your prayers. I'm soooo tired. I had no sleep last night. Even my dogs are restless. Lauren please check up on the dogs and give them some extra love if your in town. Visit your dad and brothers and brighten their day.

Ok, enough babbling. Leo is my Guide and he will meet me in Beijing. Pinch me please...is this really happening?

Btw, the flights have games and individual movies for each seat. Did I say I really like continental?! Oh and the two seats next to me are empty...wooohooo! I got the whole row:)

8:30 I watched the sun set a few hours ago and now I'm watching it rise. It's beautiful. I want so badly to take a nap or something, but that is not going to happen. 5 more hours till Beijing...



11:35 Siberia is interesting to look down at

Made it on time, 1:30ish...exhausted... Got to the hotel in Tianjin at 5. Very nice room although smells like a cigerette. Too tire to complain... Thanking Jesus for sleep!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tomorrow I meet up with Leo at Breakfast at 8:30am (that's 8:30 pm tuesday for you!) and we head to Tianjins Children Welfare...and Get LiXue! Gosh! The Lord is already there...

I'm really missing my family...

3/12/11


My online friend gave me a great idea-thanks Mary! I went to the dollarstore and got a little gift for the boys for each day I'm gone. A gift from mom :) and I'll include a note with each day. Now I need to figure out a clever way for them to find there gifts!

A few days during the week my Daughter will babysit and most likely Levi, my grandson, will be here. So I got him a few too.

We also made paper chains the other day...each night I'm gone the boys will pull a link off of the chain before bed. When they get down to one link Mommy will be coming home!

Evan's paper chain is orange and pink and Asher's is blue. The yellow chain in the middle is a prayer chain we also made with individual prayers on each link. They will pull a link off each night and pray for whatever is on it. I want them to know that they are very much a part of this adoption even though they aren't in China.



I'm walking in circles, packing and unpacking, checking things on my numerous lists...all the while looking at two ...ummm, three sad faces. Brad is feeling sad too (not to mention me)! I'm not sure Asher really understands what's going on. He knows I'm going away but he really doesn't have a concept of time yet. Evan cries when he thinks about it. So I'm taking a break to just sit, pray, and enjoy the sunshine.

We do have a lot planned for the boys while I'm away. Levi too. Daddy plans to take them to the Museum to see the dinosaurs, Franklin Institute, the Zoo, Movies, ect. I'm sure they will have their fill of Chuck E Cheese too!

I leave on Monday and I'm thanking Jesus my flight goes straight to Beijing. I tried to talk myself into saving a few dollars with a layover (also would have had bigger seats and personal video) But I did not want the hassle of getting off the plane and boarding another-opens the door for other problems too. Just get me there as quick as possible!

I feel so covered in prayer, thank you all! I am blessed to call you friends.

I still have a lot to do but for now I'm just sitting in the sunshine by the window of my back porch with my boy :) Gosh I'm going to miss home!

But I am looking forward to NO COOKING for 18 days... did I mention that before  ;)

3/1/11

Busy! and the time is drawing nigh...

I seems like I've been waiting forever to get to China from our TA. At least compared to our hurry up departure for Evan back in 2006! But it has given us time to really prepare the kids with this. The stress level has been minimal although I noticed that it seems to be rising now that I'm less than 2 weeks away.

Last Saturday I went shopping to pick up a few art supplies and clothing for Arielle. I know she likes to draw so several people suggested we get her a sketchbook and pencils. I also got a few other things to occupy a young artists mind.

I had originally planned to go the the local Tianjin Walmart...I still plan to do that... maybe get some nail polish (because I love painting my nails...not really :P )But I thought maybe we could do that together. I also wanted to get her a basketball since she loves BB.
The more I think about this trip, the more excited I get! I can't wait. I'm praying it will be a time of bonding. The little boys take up so much of my time that I'm praying this will be a positive time for us to get to know each other. I know she fully understands what is going on. I've had limited email contact with her and she says she is excited.
I also got her some clothing. I really don't know if these things will fit her. Especially the jeans. But if they don't I can take them back. I bought her a couple athletic pants and tees, a sweatshirt and PJ pants. I'm hoping there is something in there that she likes AND fits in. I noticed in a few of the photos I received she had on (very used) Aeropostale sweatshirts... so I got a few things from there. At least she will have a few needed things... Strange buying clothes for a teenager again.
We haven't finished her bedroom yet. Well, she has a bed, and the walls are painted. But we wanted her to have some say in the bedding and what hangs on the wall. And we also need to recoup some money to do this! I can't wait to post the finished room with her in it! Wait until you see the "before" pictures...the room was horrible! unlivable. We HAD to do something.

We have been so overwhelmed and blessed by everyone. It amazes me how so many have become a part of this adoption. The outpouring of support has been tremendous! Even the other day a friend bought Arielle and Ipod touch for the long plane ride home! Oh Lord, you continue to pour out your blessing. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart" is what I've heard over and over. During the times of panic. During the times of doubt. You have lead us here. And you will continue to lead us on...Thank you Jesus, Thank you. And touch our girls heart, right now, and give to her peace for the coming weeks.