From Taiyuan to Guangzhou

Even though the paperwork was finished, we had to wait in Taiyuan until Friday to pick up Kai’s passport. That meant we had a couple of days with nothing we had to do. It was really nice. It was time for us just to be together as a family.

We spent a long time at a park nearby our hotel. The smog was still thick, but we had a great time.

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2014-10-31_0006 2014-10-31_0005 2014-10-31_0004 2014-10-31_0003 2014-10-31_0002It was just normal, no pressure, fun. Kai has been absolutely fantastic. He has such a sweet disposition. He is easy going and loves to make you laugh. Although I can’t wait until I can understand what he is saying when he chatters away, we are making it through the language barrier just fine. We have figured out that when he is upset he cries for either his shoes or his cup. As long as he has both of those, the world is good. I don’t think it could be going any better.

Yesterday we flew to the city of Guangzhou in southern China. At this point everything for the adoption is finalized on the China side. Now we have to finish from the U.S. side. Kai has to have a physical and apply for his visa.  Once we have his visa in hand we are set to go home!

We are having a wonderful time in China, but seeing pictures of my girls trick-or-treating without us last night sure made me feel ready to be home!



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An Important Piece of Kai’s Story

Yesterday we went for a long drive to find the small village where Kai was found. Like with Hannah, I carefully considered whether to talk about this. Many people feel like it is such a private part of the adoption story that belongs to the child only, and will not share it. I understand that view completely, and totally respect it.

This is not a fun part of Kai’s past. It is not the same as playing with his friends at Little Flower. This makes us seriously reflect on what it means to be orphaned. To be left, helpless and alone, as a tiny baby.

I choose to share this part of the story because I want people not familiar with what happens every day in China to understand.

In China you have to pay upfront and in full for surgeries. There are so many people who just cannot do this. If they give birth to a baby who needs immediate surgery, as Kai did, or several months down the road, as Hannah did, then they either have to fund it, not have the surgery and watch their child die, or do the most selfless act they can do and abandon their child in a place where they will be find hoping that then their child will receive the care it needs from the government when in an orphanage.

It is a truly broken system. It is heartbreaking for all concerned.

So we will tell our sweet blessings from China that they were loved. We will tell them that their parents did everything in their power to keep them safe, and ultimately loved them enough to give them away in order to give them a chance to live.

And we will pray every day for change so that someday families will not have to face a choice that no one should have to make.



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2014-10-28_0002 2014-10-28_0005The adoption is officially official!  It was an easy morning at the Civil Affairs office.  We had to answer some basic questions such as why we wanted to adopt, promise to never abandon or mistreat Kai, and then sign the final documents.  Even Kai had to add his handprint.

After the paperwork was final a representative from the local orphanage, where Kai lived for his first several months of life, presented him with a necklace with an imprint of a dragon and the name of the orphanage.

Then we were done!

We had an otherwise fun day.  This morning we stopped to watch a band that was playing outside of a store.  Apparently it is a group of retired people who play every morning.  We were happily enjoying the music, but as soon as they stopped playing they all ran across the street to see us!  Seeing a few Americans down this street was as good as seeing celebrities!


This afternoon we went out to lunch with another adoptive family that we met at the hotel. It has just been a really nice day.

And one of the best parts is that we saw a lot more of this:


Kai has officially made friends with his new Daddy.  Thank goodness!

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Gotcha Day

It is so nice to be writing my first post with our little guy sleeping in the next room!

We had such a different kind of “gotcha day” having him handed over after spending several days with him already.  It was a much calmer experience, and I wish everyone had the opportunity to get to know their child in their own environment before their whole world comes crashing down as they are handed over.




There were still tears, as I knew there would be.  Kai obviously loved Maria, and Maria loved him, so they both struggled parting from each other.  As Maria left and it dawned on Kai that he was now alone with us, he cried for about half an hour on and off.  Then we got in the car and Jeff started playing with him and said, “hooba booba.”  Well, that is what turned the corner for us. :)  Kai thought that word was HILARIOUS!  Every time we said it he would laugh and laugh, and then repeat it.


We got back to the hotel and he cautiously checked everything out.  Then he started playing cars with his brothers, and was doing great.

Every now and then throughout the day it was as if something would remind him, and he would suddenly burst out into fresh tears.  We know that the grieving is a normal process, but wow it is painful to watch.

He got to meet his big sisters last night through Skype.  I can’t wait until they can meet in person!


His foster family told us that he is not a good sleeper.  They said that he has to have 3 bottles to go to sleep, 1 with milk, 1 with juice, and 1 with water, and that he then needs another bottle of milk in the middle of the night or he will cry and cry.  Well, we thought this might not be the best plan for a 2 1/2 year old, so we just didn’t.  He actually went right to sleep no problem, and slept all night!  Hooray for that!

Today we go back to the Civil Affairs office.  They give us 24 hours to “see if you get along with your child” as our guide said.  Then we sign the REAL papers.  I would like to say that then we are done with the paperwork, but we are not quite there yet.  But he will be officially forever ours in the eyes of the Chinese government.  Finally.

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Trip to Taiyuan

Yesterday we took a bullet train from Beijing to Taiyuan.  We were able to be with Kai all morning for the long drive to the train station, the wait for our train, and the 3 hour train ride.  He is being escorted by a woman named Maria from Little Flower who he obviously has a close bond with.  I feel so reassured having Maria around because she translates very well.  She told me that all of Kai’s foster family cried as they said goodbye.


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Kai was very confused.  She continues to explain to him what is happening, but obviously it is something that a 2 year old cannot grasp.  He told Maria several times on the train that he is missed his foster parents.  It breaks my heart that 1) he is going to have to go through these feelings and 2) I am not going to be able to respond to him with the same reassuring words that Maria can.  I didn’t worry too much before we came about the language barrier, but now that I know how verbal he is I can only imagine how lonely and frustrated that he will feel not having someone who understands him.  We will do the best that we can, and I pray that he will at least be able to know how much we already love him.

We are heading to the Civil Affairs office in about 20 minutes where he will finally be handed over to us, and we will be his forever family!

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