Friday, April 29, 2016

Medical (Day 5 with Timothy)

I think the pork jello is getting to me (like an aftershock from an earthquake).  Thankfully, the Kat pharmacy is open and between Sea Bands (yes, they actually work) and promethazine, I've taken my stomach back tonight.  It's not bad, but I've headed it off.

Breakfast (above and below) at our new hotel in Guangzhou.

We spent this morning at Timothy's medical appointment required for him to be able to get his Visa to the United States.

There's something about Timothy that Lexi and I can't say enough.  This little boy is SO sweet.  He has a smile that will someday melt little girl's hearts.

We saw a bit of fear this morning though.  A stranger had to examine him, and the worst part, they were required by law (sometimes enforced, sometimes not) to take him into another room to draw blood for the TB test.  They are concerned about switching samples or some such.  This poor little boy didn't know if his mama would be there when the door opened.

I wondered what went through his mind.  He's just learning what a mama is.  Was he afraid this was it and someone else would walk off with him?  He had no clue why they were hurting him even with their explanations.

It broke my mama heart.

He curled up in my lap on the way home and laid his head on my chest...and fell asleep.

When we arrived home, Lexi and I had a free day and went for a walk down a shop filled street nearby.  We bought almost nothing, but explored.  The streets were so crowded that we eventually became a bit claustrophobic.  We love it here.  It's wild to see all the building be built straight up though.  We have yet to see a house.

The afternoon was spent relaxing in our room with a little boy periodically saying, "Mama...mama mama mama".

He's getting it.  Someday he will believe in forever.  Truthfully, I think family can be that first step in understanding the permanence of God.  We pray Timothy Bryan Bao will come to understand that family on this earth is forever....and that God is beyond that...for eternity.

Thank you all for praying. Please continue praying for his sweet heart and for protection for all of us (especially those back home right now...a bunch of little things are hitting them).  Also, we have some things coming up that have a financial aspect.  We appreciate prayers that God provides quickly.

Thanks friends!!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Flying Jello Pig (Day 4 with Timothy)

Today was our last day in Timothy's province.  We went to the breakfast buffet...not a normal breakfast buffet, but a super sized "How much can I eat?" one.

Timothy attempting to eat with a fork for the first time.  

We had to check out of the hotel Crowne Plaza at 12:30.  After a night of talking with my husband who was trying to get things fixed with our bank (We may have told them we were traveling four times and still charges from here were labeled fraud.  We also may have been a wee bit frustrated.) I was TIRED....EXHAUSTED....and blasting Newsboys and Toby Mac at 4am (with earphones).  So basically, it was a normal night (chuckle).

At 12;30 we loaded up the car and headed to the airport.  Truthfully, after an emotionally draining day yesterday, "uneventful" left time for "heart rest" and "processing".  It also left time for loving on a little boy that is just blowing Lexi and I away.

Lexi is in the front seat.  I have proof she was here today.(wink)

We arrived at the airport and maneuvered WAY too much luggage.

Once on the plane we all immediately were lolled to sleep....

Not best pic of me, but he was just being so cute! 
Man, I love this little guy!

..... only to be awoken with a trolley of food.  Fish or pork?  Fish tend to be a bit iffy on flights, so we went with pork.

Opening the cartons, the food looked...interesting.  The rice was good, but the pork swam in a brown nameless stew.  We nibbled and I thought to myself that it was probably some sort of gravy.

I stabbed said pork swimming in...ooze...and popped it in my mouth.

I PROMISE YOU IT WAS PORK FLAVORED JELLO.  I COULDN'T EVEN SWALLOW.  Lexi immediately DIED laughing as I turned green, gagged, and spit it quickly into a napkin.

The texture...

The taste...

Oh, please just shoot me now...(I thought)

I still felt like vomiting.  (Lexi was still laughing and I must admit I rotated from SEVERE nausea to laughing.)  Food does NOT make me sick.  I tend to be adventurous.  I may never be quite as "jump into it again".

Of course Lexi pops off with the fact that it's  "Flying Jello Pigs".

Oh my, I'm getting nauseous again as I write this.

All that is to say that we made it to the Holiday Inn in Guangzhou.  I have fallen in love with China and look forward to tomorrow, though since it's Timothy's medical....well, he may not be.

I am exhausted and still need to hop in the shower (and rinse away the memory of pork flavored jello).

Thank you all for the support of the posting yesterday.  It was a glimpse of my heart broken. I will share more of the actual visit to the orphanage another time.  You may wonder how I can go to deep and heart this.  One has to process.  I have only begun.  So I look at my son and find joy.  I crack up at stupid and silly things with Lexi.  I live, so I can TRY to process this.

So, in the meantime.

...have a sweet sleep and dream of flying jello pigs....or pork flavored chunky jello....


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Popular and "I will go" (Day 3 with Timothy)

I was once told this was a popular country to adopt from.

Popular like how?  Like the Avengers.... or Sketchers?  Like Chipotle... or getting a tattoo?

I can guarantee it's not popular to be an orphan.  That's for sure.

It's not popular to be left alone as a child, waiting to be found.

We went to the Jade Buddha Garden where 
Timothy was found today.

My son didn't feel popular that day.  I can promise you that.

Popular to adopt from here? Really?

These children didn't feel popular.

I don't think the five year old with Down Syndrome (front left) felt part of the "in crowd".  She wouldn't meet my eyes.  She didn't know how to.  No one had given her that kind of attention.  Being non verbal they may easily be cared for, but not related to.

Our son's friend (middle crib on right) at 2 1/2 years old didn't feel popular.  He felt left by the only child in the room that would chat with him, our Timothy.  He didn't feel trendy as he lay with no mattress, taking a nap on only a board in his crib.

The child you can't see, didn't feel the apple of ones eye.

A one year old lay there, her head flatter than I've ever seen from not being picked up.  She was awake, but cringed away from my touch. She wasn't scared, you could see that....rubbing her back seemed to hurt her.  We suspect she just wasn't touched....touched equaled pain.

As we walked to the next room, clothes (interchangeable between children) hung on the rails to dry.  There were no UGGS or designer purses.  Popularity was no where to be found.

We passed into a room filled mostly with children with Cerebral Palsy.  The potties placed in a crib as to not have to take a child out.  Most of the children were too big for these cribs.  What does that do?  It can cause the muscles to contract and contort to fit that crib.  I eyed a little girl, maybe eight (it's hard to tell by size).  You could see her "in there" though she couldn't meet anyone's eyes.  She just didn't have that kind of cognition or control.  I reached over and stroked her cheek.  Oh my Lord in Heaven (not said with any kind of disrespect, but calling on Him) her perfect and beautiful smile that lay in a contorted body.  I reach over again a ran my finger down her cheek...again the smile.

Oh God.....

My heart screamed, broke, and cried.  This country is not popular to adopt from when this precious gift from God remains.

Lexi and I took a breath as we left..... trying to reign these overwhelming emotions in.


I long to see someone stand up in a crowd and say, "I will go."  Then another, "I'm going too."
A third slowly, almost battling with the internal decision says, "I'm going." They all walk out.

As I watched the trees speeding by during the hour and a half long drive back to the hotel, I thought about what would...could happen.

I pictured the five year old at the table, a mommy patiently touching the bottom of her chin, teaching her to make eye contact...and seeing the tiniest of first smiles form on this child's face.

I pictured the child, in pain from touch, going to therapy sessions with her new parents...teaching her touch will eventually not be painful. Mommy with lotion in her hand slowly massaging the tiny foot.  The therapist sharing insight on what could help.

I picture a little girl with THE perfect smile, not able to move on her own, with a Daddy standing over her whispering, "It's time to wake up princess."

This could all come from  the three little words, "I will go."  I will walk away from my comfort, because God is not about comfort.  I will do "hard", because Jesus did hard.  I will go against all else in the room, because my God is not about popular.

I'm not sure we will ever fully process what we saw today.   We won't "get over it" or "go on and leave it behind".  If we did any of those things we would dishonor the memories of seven little ones we saw today who are not popular by any of the world's standards.

Instead we will struggle with a memory that our hearts and brains long to scream, "This is not true.  It can't be."


Today our hearts we broken all over again.  On one hand we had one smiling little boy...

Timothy and his Nanny
Yes, he looks worried, not smiling.

On another hand these song lyrics ran through my head....

I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how'd we ever get so far down
How's it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, "God, why don't You do something?"

Well, I just couldn't bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, "God, why don't You do something?"

He said, "I did, I created you"

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It's not enough to do nothing
It's time for us to do something

I'm so tired of talking
About how we are God's hands and feet
But it's easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It's alright, "somebody else will do something"
Well, I don't know about you
But I'm sick and tired of life with no desire
I don't want a flame, I want a fire
I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
"I'm gonna do something"

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something (yes, it is)
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It's not enough to do nothing
It's time for us to do something

We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill 
But we're never gonna change the world
By standing still
No we won't stand still 

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It's not enough to do nothing
It's time for us to do something
It's time for us to do something 

"Do Something" by Matthew West

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’
Matthew 25:34-40

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Green Tea and Fish Tanks (Day 2 with Timothy)

I'm trying to keep my eyes open.  It's only 7:30pm here and everyone has been asleep for an hour.  The "13 hours later" stuff and the "I didn't take a nap" stuff has made everyone tired.

I sit here thinking tonight about how 24 hours can make such a difference.  It can be life or death.  It can be single or married.  It can be alone or having a family that overflows its house.  It can also be one little boy, going to sleep a bit fearful...

Marie, notice the blanket he sleeps with at night?

...and waking up to a smiling chatting boy that was having full conversations with us, albeit in Mandarin and baby talk.

He already knows how to pose (smile).
For those of you in the great debate with us, he is in 2T clothing.
The 2T pants are almost too big.

After going down to breakfast this morning, Lexi needed some real coffee.  Our bodies are still on U.S. time.  We headed down the street.

I thought I'd show you our hotel...just a we walked back.

Our Hotel

This circling door is just cool. It has plants
within the doors.  Yes, we are easily entertained.

Our lobby

9th Floor Hallway

Room 904

Yes, our room looks like it exploded.  My memory is a 
sieve though and I was afraid I'd forget to take a pic later.

This morning was a big morning.  First, some beautiful little (and big) children back home got to meet their brother. (Thomas and Anna had met him earlier.)  They are in love.  Timothy charmed them by repeating all of their names.

We also finalized the adoption of Timothy and received his passport.  We stay in his region only until the paperwork is finished (the day after tomorrow).  It's unbelievable that this little man we saw only in a picture, is in my arms.  He's giggly and sweet.  I think there is still some fear there, but you can see a tender spirit shining out.

Timothy, as we waited downstairs for our guide Steve.

The director (above) and nanny (below) as we signed the papers to finalize Timothy's adoption.
Today he would go to no one but me.  This is good...very very good.

Since our main goal today was staying awake, Lexi and I ventured out once we were back at the hotel.  We went with a guide yesterday, so the walk today was very straight forward.

Chairman Mao

I bet you can never guess where we were going.

Wal-mart is a lot different here, but it's familiar and it's crazy fun to see foods from a different in tanks.

Not just lobster, but fish....

....and frogs...and turtles.....

....and...ummmm...what do you think? Duck?

I got a kick of seeing the "Great Value" brand.  

There were many unique flavor profiles.  I imagine 
ours in the U.S. look the same to other countries.

As we headed back, we decided to stop and try a local treat....a green tea McFlurry.   It looks yummy.

It....ummm....was a little like sucking on a green tea bag with no sweetener, but a bit of chocolate.

Timothy thought the same thing.

In the effort to be honest, it tasted THAT BAD.  Lexi and I didn't want to waste it, so we'd take small bites thinking it would grow on us.  Nope, 9/10th went in the trash.  We did laugh all the way through it though.

Timothy just happened to be allergic to it as well and his ear started swelling.  I had packed some liquid Benedryl for just that reason.

We were exhausted by the time we got home.  Timothy hadn't had a nap.

We had NO makeup on, so of course we had to take a picture.  Yup....brilliant (chuckle)....

We are just so in love with this little man.  That anyone could think of him (or any child) as just a number, ARGGGG.

So, though this isn't a "deep" blog post, it a beautiful forming of family blog post.

Actually, I'm not even sure this will make sense tomorrow, but tomorrow we drive and hour and a half to Timothy's orphanage and the site where he was left.  "Catch up" isn't really much of an option since so much is happening each day.

Thank you all so much for your continued prayers.  They are still needed for a precious little heart and our family.  Hugs and thanks....

(Ninety percent of photo creds go to Lex.  She's been awesome...a gift.  Neither of us are in a ton of pics as we are feeling our way to NOT feel like we've been hit by an eighteen wheeler...chuckle.)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Timothy is in Our Arms

Five in the morning was all our bodies would let us sleep.  They whispered all night long, “It’s really the middle of the day, get up.”  

Finally I gave in, knowing I wanted to organize a little before we took custody of Timothy today.  After we ate a lavish breakfast buffet, we headed up to the room to wait...and dwell on every moment of this countdown the last year had brought us to.

I told a friend that it was like the last double loop on a roller coaster.  You KNOW it’s gonna be THE BEST, but the butterflies threaten to fly out your nose.

Our guide, Steve, showed up at our hotel room about 20 minutes early.  Of course I’m in the bathroom screaming, “Just a second!!!”   Timing is just everything, isn’t it (chuckle).

He took us to the bank to exchange some money.  I think he possibly thinks I’m a loon for carrying a huge 
backpack around, a stroller, and a small packpack for Timothy.  “Yes, the backpack is heavy, but has our adoption papers (never leaving my hand), passports, Lexi’s meds, hand sanitizer, and a pet troll (because I never know
what my children will throw in there).” 

After we hit the bank...okay, better choice of words...after we exchanged money, we walked to the civil affairs  office to meet Timothy.  We sat in these flexible red chairs (that you can kind of bounce on).  I kept on thinking, “All these people in this office are tiny.  I am SOOO gonna break this chair!”  As I rocked (I might as well break it doing something I love), we watched the tail end of a civil marriage ceremony (the pictures being taken).  When anyone marries a foreigner, they do it here.

I looked at the clock...ten thirty and no Timothy.
Ten Forty rolled around and we heard footsteps....nope.
At eleven we heard a jumbling of noises.

Around the corner came two women....and a little boy that has had his fingerprints IN my heart for the last year.  I wasn’t looking at a picture.  I was looking at my son.

I stood up, chair not broken yet, as the nanny urged Timothy into my arms. He was so quiet, but willingly let me take him.  Quickly I handed him a toy wooden police car.  His eyes became huge.  In a whisper I said, “Wah-eye-knee Bao Bao” (I love you Bao Bao, the name they call him.).  The book I had made came out next.  I assumed 
he didn't speak much, yet as I read the names of every child and his daddy....HE REPEATED THEM AFTER ME.  

Lexi and I’s hearts were in our eyes watching this little guy. He’s smart.

Saying, "YES YES YES!"
(All photo creds go to Lexi, thus she's not in the pics.)

There’s several things we have found out about Timothy.  
*He is quiet and sweet, only crying when we went on the elevator the first two times.  
*He observes everything and repeats everything.  
*He doesn’t know how to drink from a cup at all.  He was bottle fed his entire life. (We had to go to Walmart for
  bottles.)  Thankfully Lexi suggested we could poke a hole in the top of a water bottle to keep him hydrated.  
*I caught him singing, for just a minute, while we were walking.  He has HUGE eyes.

These are the even more important things we now know.
He’s is no longer an orphan.  
He is a son.  
He is a brother.  
He is a grandson.  
He is a nephew.  
He is also an Uncle (thanks to Ivan and Sarah :-))  

As I sat with him on the bed and rocked, I sung to him Jesus Loves You.  That is when the tears finally came.  No child should have to wait almost four years to fill his mommy’s arms around him as they sung of God’s Love.

I held my son as he fell asleep for the first time in his mommy’s arms.

God, thank you.  I say this publicly, because this child is a gift from You.  You are the only one great in this.  
Thank you you for thinking us worthy to raise this little boy....thank you.

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