Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Last Day

Today is our last day in Guangzhou- thank you!! We are beyond ready to come home. The trip has been amazing and exhausting and special and eye-opening and hard and great. I cant really explain it all, but we do miss our boys. Eliana is such an integral part of our family and it just doesnt feel right that she still hasnt met her brothers. One more day- very long day- of travel and we will rectify that. Please pray for our travel. Eliana is really a good baby, but she has trouble falling asleep- and especially staying asleep- when she isnt in her bed. We are hoping for alot of rest for her and us on the plane.

We had Eliana's medical exam for her visa on Monday and she weighed 18.4 pounds. She is quite a chubber, but for the record- not the heaviest in our group. I have included a picture of her exam in the album below. We are so thankful for how healthy she is and for her (and our) health on this trip. Babies are battling tonselitus (sp?) and all manor of colds and rashes. She has not had so much as a sniffle and her rashes are all cleared up. We are trying to keep clear of any illness to keep it that way. Unfortunately, some good friends have really been battling illness for the entire last week. The Deyoe family can use your prayers as they have been hit hard by illness. Mom is doing better today, but their oldest daughter is still quite sick and the baby has had some very disconcerting health issues as well. Keep them in prayer as they prepare to go home on Friday.

Eliana is thriving and we are starting to figure out more of her "rhythms"- naps, etc. She is such a little character with us when we are alone, but she continues to be quite serious with others. She has warmed up a little to Debbie Vair and to Sherry- another mom from our group. That has been fun to see as her smile just lights up her face.

This afternoon, we will go to the consulate to take the "oath." I am not exactly sure what we are promising, but I believe it has to do with swearing to care for and keep Eliana once we are home. Milan and I were already saying that we already can't imagine our lives without her, so I will promise whatever they want me to promise. She is my baby and nothing will ever change that.

We look forward to posting pictures from home and for catching those smiles with her big brothers. I am sure it will be love at first sight. So, I am unsure if we will post from the Hong Kong airport tomorrow. We leave Guangzhou quite early. For those of you who have been emailing, I apologize. I havent even checked them in about 5-6 days. We have been stealing time on the internet when we have had the chance to call the boys or post here. I will try to catch up when I get home. Thanks to all of you who have been helping out with our boys as well. I know that it has been enjoyed by them and appreciated by my mom. We are blessed with incredible friends and as for you, Mom, we can never express how truly thankful we are to have you and for the love and care you have shown for our precious boys.
Love to you all,
Eliana Day 9-11

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fantasy Island

Hello friends and family! We are alive and well in Guangzhou, China. Sorry for the few days without any posts, but we have been traveling, settling into a new place, and looking for "cheap" internet access. This is quite a place. Smack dab in the middle of this huge Chinese city of 12 million, there is this little island in the Pearl River, which feels more like a European city, or maybe a southern U.S. city like Savannah or Charleston. It is hot and steamy (think Miami on steroids), and quite lovely. Our hotel (the White Swan) is one of the "Leading Hotels of the World" and for good reason. It is quite elegant, the breakfast buffet is amazing, and the service is top notch. They "make up" our room twice a day, change our bedspreads to down comforters, turn down our sheets...and most important, leave a chocolate by the bed for bedtime. There is incredible artwork on display all throughout the hotel lobby...the most amazing examples are the incredible jade sculptures, some of which are more then ten feet tall...absolutely stunning. There are two beautiful swimming pools, and yesterday we saw two workers, literally, drying and polishing the plants outside...and considering how much rain they get here, that is a big job!!

Well, on to more important things. We are healthy, content, and ready to come home. Eliana is growing in every way...muscles are getting stronger, smiles and laughs more, loves to eat anything (last night Daddy introduced her to chicken and sweet and sour sauce while Mommy wasn't looking). By the way, we ate dinner at this wonderful Thai restaurant, and the food was incredible, but cost us 140...actually divide that by seven and a half...such a deal. It's called the Cow and Bridge, for those of you who are familiar with the restaurants here that are frequented by adopting families.

Guangzhou is where the U.S. consulate is located...that's why we all have to go through here on our way home. It seems as if there have also been a number of other Western consulates and offices here over the years, as Shamian Island (where we are staying) has a distinctly different feel in terms of its streets, architecture, food, etc. compared with other Chinese cities. I think they tried to make it "feel" European/American, and they definitely succeeded. As we write, we are in the outside cafe of a new Starbucks, that offers free WiFi. It is truly different here than where we were last, in Nanchang, where we picked up our little Pang Pang. That is a large city, further in the interior of the country, and is more "real" China. Which is, of course, a wonderful thing, as we have come to love and appreciate so many things about this great country, but we were definitely ready to move along on our trip. Hazards in Nanchang essentially are limited to the roadways (and sidewalks) if people are REALLY in a hurry, and we generally found enough good food to eat that our bodies could tolerate.

Our boys back home will be happy to know that Eliana seems like she will be a good little swimmer. We have taken her to the pool twice, and she seems to really like it. Of course, if the water gets anywhere near her little chin, she sticks out her tongue (which is currently functioning as a fifth limb), and tries to "lap up" the water. It's quite funny, and probably a result of trying to eat everything that comes near her little mouth, including the leaf I lifted out of the water to show her!

We thank you for your prayers, and we know that our God has been with us in every way. He has been before us and behind us and has hemmed us in and has put his gracious hand upon us. We love our new daughter, and we know you all will too. We head home in three days, and we can't wait to see all of you soon!

Pics from Guangzhou

Friday, August 24, 2007

Past the Half-Way Mark...

Today is our last full day in Nanchang. We have received all of the notarized documents that we needed from China as well as Eliana's passport. Poor baby is screaming in her passport photo- it was taken about 20 minutes after we first met. Tomorrow afternoon, we will fly to Guangzhou for the final stages of the trip... our appointment with the US consulate on the 28th, our US consulate oath ceremony on the 29th and home on the 30th.

This morning we went to the "porcelin street" here in Nanchang to find a small tea set for Eliana. Nanchang and this area is known for its porcelin, so we thought it an appropriate gift from Eliana's native province. After checking several shops, we decided on one- of course I had way to much of an idea as to what I was looking for and the shopkeepers probably thought I was nuts. We also toured the Buddhist temple and visited a Christian church being constructed in Nanchang. It was so interesting to see the contrast. The temple was brightly paintted and incredibly ornate with several massive copper Buddhas inside. You entered one temple followed by a courtyard, followed by a temple, by another courtyard and so on and so on. It just kept going and going and was heavy with the smell of incense. The Christian church was not yet finished and was in need of a cleaning due to the construction, but it was simple and modest. Milan and I were struck by the fact that all of the glory and splendor of the Buddhist temple ended with the building and the statues. For all their "beauty," they were empty of power and truth. The Christian church in its humility reminded us that the earthly building is somewhat insignificant because it is in God Himself, His Word and the praise in the hearts of His people that there is true glory. We are so often reminded of God's goodness and his boundless grace for calling us to Himself. We pray that more of the Chinese people will have their eyes opened to the truth of the gospel and the emptiness of Buddhism.

After several days of experimenting with new Chinese dishes, Milan and I (along with another family, the Feehs) opted out of the group lunch today and headed for Pizza Hut. Sweet mothers milk. I realize it was just an average generic old pepperoni pizza- "The American Special" but it tasted like the best pizza I have ever had. It has been over a week now since we had "home" tasting food, and it was both needed and appreciated. I am craving salad like you can't believe as well... another week before I can satisfy that one. If you can't peel it here, you don't eat it- too risky as far as the stomach goes... if you know what I am saying.

This afternoon, we took Eliana to the pool for the first time. It was a little cold, but she dangled her toes for a while and seemed to acclimate. She actually loved being in the water and was full of giggles and smiles. We took some video and pictures with a friends camera, but I haven't loaded them onto our computer yet. I will post when I do. It was fun to see Eliana having such a good time in the water. That will be very important to her big brothers!

This pictures I am loading today are from this morning and the outings today. Eliana seems to be cuter each day. We certainly are falling more in love with her sweet little heart each day. She is such a gift. As much as we want to be back home now, we can't imagine not making this trip to bring her home. She is already so much a part of our family and she has yet to meet our entire family. With her quiet and timid nature, she is going to appreciate having two big brothers who will be ready to love on her, help her and protect her. She is a blessed little girl to have them, just as we are very blessed parents to have our three dear ones.

Eliana Day 6

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Not your average day in the country...

Today our group took a trip out into the countryside near Nanchang. People in the countryside are very poor and make a living growing rice. Our guide explained that China is shaped like a chicken and Jiangxi province is in the chicken's stomach... she said that is why most of the rice in China is grown there. The fields were green and lush with the wet rice paddies, but the living conditions were startling. As we walked down the village street, the children rushed the group. We were recommended to bring candy and the children had expectation in their eyes. Before long, children were climbing out of the woodwork. The people of the village were very friendly and obviously curious about us strange looking people walking down their street carrying Chinese babies. They came and tried to communciate with us, friendly and curious. Eliana's cheeks were stroked and pinched as ladies asked me questions I couldn't answer. We continued deeper into the village and were confronted with the smells that so often accompany such poor living conditions. A small girl walked behind us, bare footed with a look of cautious curiosity. I couldn't help but think of Eliana living in these conditions... it is heartbreaking.
Likely the children from our group were from a village such as this. Our guide gave the impression of "seen one village, you've seen them all." While Eliana almost certainly didn't come from this specific village, it is likely that she was born to parents that lived in another very similar to this. My heart went out to the women we past as I wondered how many of them had been forced to give up one or more of their children due to poverty and government policies, penalties and fines. People can be fined a years wages, have their salaries cut in half or even lose their jobs completely for having more than their allotted number of children. Furthermore, with no way to financially support themselves in their old age and no way to maintain use of the land they work without a son (the government won't renew their land leases), they are put into impossible situations. There is no way for us to understand what it must be like for them.
After our visit, we left the heat and odors of the street and got back onto our air condidtioned bus to ride comfortably to a very nice restaurant in Nanchang. It was certainly a lesson in contrast. We had yet another meal of new chinese dishes... no cashew chicken around these part it seems. Some were good, some not so good, but at least today everything seemed to be identifiable. I was sorry to see all of the leftover food on the tables as I wondered how many of the children we had seen earlier wouldn't have enough today.
We headed back to the hotel for the afternoon. Right now Eliana is napping, Milan is taking a swim with a few boys from the group. I know he is wishing our boys were down there with him. The pool is beautiful... it is completely tiled like a huge shower, no plaster can be found. The pool room is also beautifully painted. I am sure our boys would love it.
I am including some cute pictures of Eliana here. She is so serious when other people are around. Our group has sort of dubbed her the serious one. She doesn't easily give up a smile for anyone else. Alone in our room however, or at the breakfast table, she is all smiles. Her giggles are the kind that are almost silent with a squeak at the end. She is so very precious as you can see. When you all meet her back home, you may not see the smiles right away, but you will have seen proof that she does have a sweet little disposition regardless of the serious exterior. We are more in love with her each day and are convinced that she was meant for our family.
Day 5- Eliana

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Touring Nanchang

Today we spent the morning touring new Nanchang and Tengwang Pavillion. It was amazing to see all of the new skyscrapers. The area of "new" Nanchang was completely empty just five years ago. Today, it is a fast growing and impressive area of contemporary architecture and culture. Our guide explained that the apartments which are being built there cost about $1000 per square meter of apartments space. So for an empty shell, of up to about 1000 square feet they would cost about $100,000. The average monthly salary here is about 200-300 $US per month, so this tiny bit of real estate would take a lifetime to pay off. With more young men than women here now, families feel that it is their duty to save to buy apartments for their sons so that they can find a wife. Without an apartment, nobody will marry them. The ramifications of the government policies over the year run far and wide. We enjoyed learning more about the contemporary culture of this area and it was fascinating to learn more about the people's practical realities of life.

We have been seeing some great steps with Eliana today. She is rolling over now from her back to her tummy. It still takes her some work, but she wasnt rolling over at all just 2 days ago. I imagine that there isnt much motivation to be on your stomach in a wooden crib and a rough mat. She is rolling all over on the bed and it is awesome to see. She also is getting more stable sitting up. We try to keep a pillow behind her still for the occassional loss of balance, but we are amazed at how quickly she is improving. Also, she is reaching for toys and picking things up with more dexterity. At lunch, we put rice all over her hands and she actually brought it to her mouth and sucked it off her fingers. She is fascinated by the texture of everything and squishes it curiously between her fingers. Later, she picked up a cheerio and put it in her mouth. It took her a few seconds to figure out how to keep it in there rather than bringing it back out, but she did it. We have been playing a little game with her where she puts her arms up and we tickle her tummy. She loves it and now puts her arms up on her own waiting for us to tickle her. Her little laugh is priceless and we are enjoying the fact that her smile is getting easier to bring out. She does seem to have a very serious and contemplative side. We are trying to figure out her routines as they seem to be different than what the orphanage had explained, but we have discovered that screaming bloody murder means I am tired. She has been almost exclusively bottle fed and we are trying to cut back the bottles a little bit and get her to eat some solids. Unfortunately, we couldnt get enough of the formula she was on to last her until we get home at the rate she was going either. They sent some up from Xinyu- 3 hours away- because our rep couldn't find any around in the local stores here. She seems to like most of what we have given her, but falling asleep without a bottle in her mouth is a challenge. So, I am trying to figure out how best to ration what she has being sure to get her all she wants and needs to eat. I tell you, bottle feeding is a lot different that nursing and trying to keep yourself organized and on some sort of routine is challenging away from home.
Well, that is the low down on how things are going. We are still trying to clear up Ella's eyes, but they seem to be improving a little. They dont seem to bother her which is good. Her rash is almost gone, but her tummy has been a little bit upset. Not too surprising I guess. It is amazing how much we love this precious little one already. I can't imagine loving her more had she been born to me like one of my boys. She is our precious gift and I am in awe of the fact that she is ours. Thank you, thank you, thank you Lord.

And to our dear boys... Mommy and Daddy send hugs and kisses, and Eliana continues to look at your pictures each day. We love you to bits!!!!

Day 4 - Eliana

Monday, August 20, 2007

Calm before the Storm

After a quiet morning in our room with Eliana, we went down for breakfast and found the secret to my future breakfast happiness, the omlette guy as well as steamed eggs for our little jelly bean. We have found so far that she likes bottles (by far the front runner), cheerios (once she learned not to choke on them), croissant, steamed egg and the inside chicken part of KFC chicken nuggets. We have not ventured to far where food is concerned. We had a dim sum lunch in Hong Kong and after clearly in writing and speech with our guide explaining that I could not eat any shellfish, about 5 of the dishes arrived stuffed with shrimp. Thankfully, we spotted it ahead of time, although one was a close call. Let's just say it has me a little gun-shy. Two weeks of raging hives in China's summer heat with a new baby might send me to the funny farm.
It is also a little unappetizing to see the carcasses of your dinner hanging in the front window or swimming around in the tank as you walk in. Yes, I sound like a cultural snob, but the issues of cleanliness are also a bit of a concern as far as food goes. So, we hit the Walmart- yes walmart. Different stuff, same great service. Uhhhhh.... Anyway, they did have some peanut butter and bread. So, along with the diet soda, we figure we are in business for this week anyway. I am actually looking forward to Guangzhou as there are many good dining suggestions that we have from those who have gone before us. This week is also pretty slow as our guide has suggested we wait to shop for souvenirs until we get to Guangzhou. Better prices and less to carry in the meantime.
It is now 11 a.m. and Eliana is still napping. She started crying like crazy at 9:30 for no reason...unless you consider that she wanted to be put in the crib to sleep a reason. Her reports that we got on Sunday said she naps once a day from 11:30 to 2, but she fell asleep in the carrier yesterday at 9:30 and obviously was needing one this morning at the same time. I think we may just keep the "update" as a souvenir and figure this one out on our own.

Right now is feeling a bit like the calm before the storm. We will be getting a call soon from our CCAI rep. to call us up for Eliana's first doctor visit. She really seems to be afraid of new people, so I dont think she will be wild about being handled by someone else. We will do our best to make it as quick and painless as possible. Our agency has a pediatrician come to the hotel to check out any immediate concerns that we have about the baby. We actually called yesterday and had to get some medication for her eyes. She has some sort of something going on there, but it doesnt seem too bad. Some eyedrops and antibiotic ointment are hopefully going to get it cleared up. Our rep said she had seen it before and that she would get in touch with the pediatrician to help us out. It has been great to have our rep, Evelyn, with us all the time. We'll find out more in a little while. Generally, she seems in good health. Her rash seems to be improving, but still itching some. Other issues are minor and we can address them when we get home. Next week in Guangzhou, she will have a brief exam to get her US visa to come home!

For now, I will post a few pictures from the morning. I will try to post more later. Love to everyone back home.

Eliana Day 3

Day 2 with Eliana

Today was exhausting. I have been up since about 3 a.m., not because of Eliana, just jet lag lingering on. Eliana actually just lay down to sleep at 9 pm last night and woke for the first time at about 4 a.m. She didnt cry, but just played with her feet, played with the crib bars and then went back to sleep without ever making a sound 25 minutes later. She woke for good at 5:30 and I was happy to scoop her up. After a quick breakfast we began the many tasks of today. We had three government appointments. First was registration where we finalized our adoption with the Chinese government. Second, we went to the notary's office and last we went on to apply for Eliana's passport. It was a rainy day, thankfully, as it was only in the high 80s instead of hitting the normal temp of 110 with 80% humidity. It was crazy hot in the offices and Eliana was sweating like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
Eliana Day 2

We arrived back at the hotel after about 3 hours, to then meet with the directors of our childrens' orphanages. It was interesting although not quite as informative as I had hoped. We did find out a little more about Eliana's foster family and the circumstances of her return to the orphanage. Apparently, they moved to another city, so she returned to the SWI in Xinyu. I was thankful for that bit of information. The orphanage staff were very accomodating, but I believe the questions that we couldnt have answered were really dependent upon the knowledge of the nannies. We did find out that Eliana was in the SWI with about 50 other kids and 16 nannies taking 2 shifts. With many special needs children, Eliana spent a great deal of time in her crib. She needs to strengthen her neck and trunk muscles as she hasnt spent much time sitting up. She also doesnt bear any weight on her legs yet. I can tell she has musculature, but she just has never been introduced to the concept of standing. We are seeing little improvements already with her coordination. Never having fed herself anything, she had trouble grasping small things and really didnt even try to pick up a toy yesterday. Today she is picking up the toys and even trying to get Cheerios to her mouth. It is amazing how quickly she is learning. Milan taught her to clap (which she couldnt do last night) and she is full of smiles and giggles. I am trying to send just a little bit of video and a few photos your way tonight as I am exhausted from the day.
I am having some trouble here with dropshots tonight. If I doesnt come through I will try tomorrow when I am more lucid.

We continue to covet your prayers for our little jelly bean. (My new nickname for her as she has her little jelly legs... jelly roll was ruled out as a personal foul that may come back to haunt me in the form of some sort of eating disorder in her teen years) We couldnt be more thankful for how quickly she is bonding with us and truly she has been a little angel baby with very little fussing except for when tired or hungry. We do miss our boys and we cant wait for next week when we will have our family all together again... just as it should be. Eliana is in for such a treat! We love you, Noah and Elijah and we are sending big kisses across the ocean. We will call you later tonight, for now we are off to bed!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Gotcha Day

Eliana is currently sleeping soundly in her crib- she is a little miracle.
We arrived in Nanchang at about 2 pm and set off to our hotel and a meeting to get us prepared for the big moment at 5pm. We walked across the street to the provincial office that had been designated the gotcha spot. This alone was literally taking our lives into our hands, goodnight are there some crazy drivers in Nanchang! We arrived in the old building and found out that Eliana's group had not yet arrived, but the children from the other orphanage had. So, we filmed for other group members as they received their children. We had 6 couples who were first time parents and it was pretty cool to witness. Soon, we had word that the Xinyu babies had arrived. We were first to get Eliana and were scrambling to get our stuff together. She came in wearing a yellow "With Love From Norway" shirt and split shorts set. She was ok for about 2 seconds and then burst into tears which continued for about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes or so. As we left the building, she was still going strong. Once we got back to our room, we gave her a bath- the heat is brutal and she has a hefty heat rash. Then we settled down to try to feed her as it was past her dinner time. We couldn't get her to take the bottle until we presented it hot enough. It actually made her sweat! The bottle calmed her down and she actually began to smile and giggle as we blew raspberries on her hands and tummy. She started babbling to us and also began to mimic as we made sounds, clapped, or shook our heads back and forth. Having been told her normal bedtime is 9pm, we tried to lay her down to sleep and she just lay there and closed her eyes! Unbelievable! We can't believe that she is ours and that it went so well- even with the first hour of crying. We are thankful to God for our little girl and can't wait for you all to meet her.
Gotcha Day

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Today is the Day!!!

We are at the airport in Hong Kong right now and getting ready to head to Nanchang to Eliana's province. We will be boarding in about 30 minutes. We are so excited that today is the day. Hong Kong has been interesting and it really is a beautiful city. We are trying to get rid of the jet lag and are feeling MUCH better today than yesterday. This morning we met with the Vairs and the Deyoes (the 2 other families from our home town of Castle Rock) in our room in for prayer and scripture reading. It was wonderful to be sharing this experience with other Christian families and encouraging one another this morning. We can hardly believe that the time has come for our family to be one larger. We will post pictures and hopefully video as soon as possible. We may not get Eliana until later tonight than we thought, so it will all depend on how that goes. Otherwise, we will post tomorrow without a doubt. Keep us and our little girl in your prayers.
Next time we post, we will have Eliana with us!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

We leave tomorrow!!

So, Milan woke up this morning and the first words out of his mouth were, "One more day!" The time has come and we will be heading out in the wee hours tomorrow morning. We can hardly believe it. My mom arrived Monday evening and we have been doing last minute preparations for the trip as well as getting her up to speed on life around here for the next two weeks. We are SOOOO thankful that she has come and the boys just love her to death.
Today will be pretty casual. Mostly spending time with our little guys and a few last errands this morning. Tonight we are so excited to have a few friends from high school, Christy and Kevin Bock, coming by on their way through town. They just returned from China in May with their adorable little Mia. She is about a month younger than Eliana and I am really looking forward to meeting her. You can see how cute she is on Christy's blog tomiawithlove.blogspot.com For those of you from the RQ site, that is kcbock.
So, we hope to keep the blog up to date with photos and video to share our journey as it happens. We are going to be 14 hours ahead of time in Denver, so as we are going to bed for the day, you will be waking up to start that same day. The plan is to blog in the evening after Ella goes to sleep (wishful thinking?).
Talk to you from China!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Our Planned Itinerary

8/16 Leave Denver for Hong Kong
8/17 Arrive in Hong Kong.
8/18 Tour in Hong Kong
8/19 Leave Hong Kong for Nanchang and the Galactic Peace International Hotel
Get Eliana at the Provincial Registration Office!
8/20 Adoption Registration, Notarization and application for Eliana's passport
8/21 Rest or tour Nanchang
8/22 Rest or tour
8/23 Receive notarized adoption documents
8/24 Receive Eliana's passport and Registration Certificate
8/25 Arrive in Guangzhou and the White Swan Hotel
8/26 Free time
8/27 Have Eliana's visa physical and visa photo taken
8/28 Consulate appointment.
8/29 Go to the U.S. Consulate to take the oath
8/30 Leave Guangzhou for Hong Kong and HOME!!

We will leave a permanent post of the itinerary on the left-hand side of the blog while we are gone.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Summing Up the Journey Thus Far

I have put together a little slideshow that sums up the journey as we have waited for Eliana. Of course, the pictures don't show everything, but they walk through the past few months at least. We decided to begin this journey over dinner on May 14, 2005 at the Melting Pot Restaurant in 2005. Little did we know, it would take 2 and a half years before we would be able to hold Eliana in our arms. We are thankful to God for this gift and we are thankful that we have walked this path with other amazing families like the Vairs and the Deyoes and been supported by so many family members and friends. In this video, you will see our match day pictures as well as a few photos of the CCAA match room in China where we were chosen to be her family. You will see her finding ad, her baby shower, the Vairs and Deyoes matched alongside us. You will see a glimpse of the journey and we can't wait to share video that ends with her in our arms rather than in a crib so far away. Until then...

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I know the quality isnt great here... the original is a pretty huge file.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Final Travel Call

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWell today was our final travel call with the agency to hammer out the last details and questions of the trip. It was really encouraging and I am completely amped to be on a plane and off to meet our little girl. It is only a week from tomorrow a.m. that we will be doing just that. Most everything is ready. I am thinking of taking our bags over to the vets office to weigh them on their super cool scale. We do want to be under that 44 pound limit with some room to spare so I probably could get away with our regular old bathroom scale.
The past few nights I have been sleeping really deeply. Perhaps my body is gearing up for what is to come. I am very thankful for it as last week I was finding myself laying awake imagining where Ella might be, what she might be doing, who might be caring for her. My waking thoughts are certainly occupied with much of this throughout the day, but I am thankful for rest- not usually my strong suit.
Please continue to pray for our little girl. Pray that we will bond quickly and that we will know best how to help her through this transition. It can be hard to imagine that the conditions and circumstances she is living in could be preferable to what we will offer her, but they are all that is familiar to her. What we so eagerly anticipate will be a very difficult day for her. Pray that God will grant her and us the grace to make it through the difficulties that lay before us and that she will quickly grow to trust us and to see that we truly love her. It is a good, although still inadequate example for us of God's love for us before we ever loved Him. I already love that dear little one fiercely and grieve for her loss even though we have yet to meet. Our God is so good.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Study in Testosterone

Well, if anyone was ever in doubt of our need for some estrogen in the Norgauer house to sop up some of the testosterone dripping down our walls, doubt no more. Our poor unsuspecting little girl will be entering the "man zone." Let's just say that while I am not exactly known for being a really girly girl- this home remains lace-free- I am more than ready to add to team "wooah-man" (as my boys call it.)

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Let me know if you have any problems with the video here- I am experimenting with how to upload video while we are in China.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Eliana's Finding Ad

I have scanned in the picture of the newspaper where Eliana's finding ad was placed. It was run in the "New Legal Report" on October 27, 2006. She must be less than a month old in the photo. These ads are run in the papers before a "found" child can be declared legally abandoned and therefore potentially adoptable. It is so sad to see so many babies... this is one page of one paper in one province of China. Her ad was located at the bottom of the leftmost column. I have also included a close up of the ad which translates
Yu Cai Yin
She was born on September 23, 2006
On September 29, 2006 she was found at the gate of the Welfare Institute
She was slightly chubby