Travel Journal
8 days before we leave for China... November 25, 2005

First journal entry...  We are in Ohio at Beth's parents home enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday, and what a great deal we have to be thankful for this year.  Sophie will be home in time for Christmas! 

We begin our long journey to meet our new daughter in just 8 days and feel as though we will never have everything done that we wanted to get completed before we leave.  But, we know that none of that really matters.  What is really important is adding this beautiful new family member as soon as possible.  Stay tuned as we keep you updated on our preparations.

We're in China! December 04, 2005

Ni Hao from China!  We have arrived in Beijing.  It is midnight on Sunday night.  Our flights, although very, very, long, were relatively uneventful.  As a matter of fact, all of our arrivals were slightly early.  Beth and I figured out that we have had about 4 hours sleep in the past 72 hours, so we're a little punchy right now.  Hopefully we will be able to get 6-7 hours sleep tonight, enjoy a hearty breakfast buffet in the morning at our hotel, the Radisson Beijing, and then right back to the airport for a morning departure to Nanchang, Jiangxi Province.

Word on the street is that "Gotcha" moment is at 4:30 pm local time Monday afternoon.  (That's 3:30 am Monday EST!)  So, we should have pictures posted on this site by the time you all awake on Monday morning, if everything goes well.

Gotcha Day December 05, 2005

We've got our sweet baby and will post the details tomorrow.  It has been an exhausting day!  Gotta catch some zzzzzzs. . . .

Please keep praying for her transition to us and that she would decide to take a bottle in the morning -- so far only congee, eggs and a couple french fries!  Also, she has a pretty terrible cough.  Please pray for healing, endurance over the next few weeks, and overall health.  Thanks so much!

Day 2 with Sophie Rae December 06, 2005

Well - what an amazing transition over the first 18 hours!  All glory to God!  Let's get you filled in...

Gotcha moment happened on Monday afternoon at about 4:00 and it was an unorganized, crazy 10 minutes of the following:

  • Scrambling to get the right paperwork to give to the orphanage officials before we could get Sophie
  • Sophie gets handed off to Beth
  • We had to retrieve the gifts and orphanage donation and battle our way through the other 14 families to give them to Sophie's orphanage representatives
  • We find out that we were supposed to have given the cash donation BEFORE we received Sophie, but had not done this yet
  • Sophie realizes that she is not going back to someone she knows - and starts to "physically demonstrate" this realization (i.e. - lots of crying and screaming)

And this is all within the first 10 minutes - which occurred about 45 minutes after we arrived at the hotel from the airport!  A little stressful, needless to say.  But, about 2 hours later back in our hotel room, Sophie turned a big corner and we could see God answering prayers.  She started to eat some eggs, french fries, and congee (rice porridge), then started interacting with her new Mama and Daddy, and even smiled a time or two!

So, by 8:00 pm, Sophie had had enough fun for Day 1, and as soon as we got her jammies on and laid her down in her crib, she was out!  Except for a few coughing spurts during the night, Sophie slept pretty soundly until 6:30 am this morning.  What a huge blessing this was for Mom & Dad as this allowed us to get some sleep too!  (With all her respiratory congestion, we think that Sophie may have a sinus infection.  Her skin is VERY dry, especially her cheeks, hence the redness in the photos.) 

This morning, Sophie woke up and decided she needed some snuggle time with Mama, then it was off to breakfast.  YUMMY!  The food has no end at our hotel's buffet, and this is quite a new concept for a little girl who has spent all her life in an orphanage.  After getting a very full belly, and having a little play time while Mama and Daddy ate their breakfast. it was nap time.  She is still sleeping soundly in her crib at about 11:00 am local time, Tuesday morning.

Thank you so much for all your prayers - they are felt very powerfully here in China.  We love you all and will keep updating, so stay tuned.

God's Grace December 07, 2005

I must confess that I have been conflicted about what to say in a journal entry so I have been putting it off.  Those of you who know me (Beth) well are aware that I value truth more than anything but I also like to present things optimistically.  A pretty picture is more lovable, right?  ;-)  What I want you to know is that we hang on to every word of your love and support conveyed in your posts to our guestbook.  I had no idea that the words there would be the best part of this website for me personally.  We are so much more homesick this time around and the guestbook is the next best thing to having you all right here with us and makes us feel so much closer to home.  So please keep posting, even if it's to tell us about the mundane details of your days!  :-) 

Where to start?  Sophie is, in a word, sweet.  There is no better word to describe her.  She is such a precious gift from God and we marvel at His grace and love and wondrous plan of bringing us around the world yet again to knit our family together.  Much like what I imagine the process of getting to know a newborn might be like, we relish the glimpses of her personality starting to emerge and celebrate her baby steps of development -- sitting steadily, grasping a plastic cup, attempting first words. . .  What is heartbreaking to realize is that she obviously shouldn't be a "newborn" at the age of 16 months.  It is more than a little concerning to give her "tummy time" and know that she has been either laying in a crib or sitting in a walker for so long that she doesn't have the physical capability to roll over or push herself up.  We try not to compare, but the developmental and social differences between a fostered (Mia) and orphanage (Sophie) baby are so remarkable that it is hard not to be both angry and sad about the conditions here in China and what these girls (especially those who are never fostered) have to endure their first year or more of life.  Ironically, we also have a growing love for the culture and people of China and have great empathy for them in dealing with the realities of overpopulation here and don't know that we would have any better answer.  Praise the Lord for the orphans in China that actually get adopted (less than 10%).  We so wish we could do more.  It is probable that Sophie would have gotten stuck in the system if in it for much longer.  Ahhh. . . God's perfect plan is so complex! 

Yesterday we took Sophie to the doctor in the hotel's clinic to get a repiratory infection and possible ear infection addressed and the experience was so unbelievable that I will hold my comments.  Suffice it to say that the doctor's assessment of Sophie's development planted seeds of doubt in our mind as to whether or not there might be more going on with Sophie than a heart condition.  In our heart of hearts, we don't really believe it, but the power of suggestion and the mere fact that the delays are concerning to a doctor who must have seen many "orphanage babies" by now, have caused us to start overanalyzing Sophie's behavior now and worry.  It is hard to determine what is just the typical delay caused by life in an orphanage and what might be something more.  We give this to the Lord and would ask you to pray for us in this.  He is in control and won't give us more than we can bear!  Needless to say, while the adoption experience, overall, is such an awesome experience of God's love and grace, we are also working through the challenges that may or may not lay ahead for us.   It is a confusing, joyful, stressful, and grace-filled time!  How's that for contradiction?! 

Will post more later.  Praise the Lord for Oreos!  HA!


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