Say "YES!" to God's call.
When He calls, He always enables.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Scenes

Andy's first Christmas.....and, in spite of all the hoop-la and distractions and talking to reindeer, I think he 'got it'. When I took the boys to buy a Nativity set that he and Ric could play with, he noticed it first in the store and ran over to it and said, "Mama, baby Jesus!!" On Christmas morning, we had a cake and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.
Camila and Katrina took Ric and Andy shopping and helped them wrap their gifts for everyone including Manchester. I am pretty sure that Andy has never been able to give anything to anyone before - he didn't have anything to give.
Amber cried when she opened her American girl doll - Samantha. It was so precious!
Everyone was here, including my parents and Jerry's parents. Because I was sick, I had the wonderful blessing of seeing all my kids pitch in to help to make the day fabulous.
Ric is already talking about when it will be Christmas again. Fortunately for him, he has a birthday in a week. The problem will be explaining to Andy (who has never had a birthday party) that Ric is the main present recipient on this occassion and he has to wait half a year...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thanks Grandma and Grandpa !!!

My Mom and Dad sent us all (along with Jerry's parent's) out to dinner for Christmas. We went to dinner at the Boiler Room and afterwards had fun playing games at The Factory. After a couple of days of leftovers it was nice to have other choices. And,as the kids did all the cooking this year because I was sick in bed, they were very grateful to get out of the kitchen. Thanks, Mom and Dad!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

September Afternoon

Thursday was a rare day when Ariel didn't have some sports practice after school (its volleyball season) so she was able to accompany us to Ric's parent's restaurant. Before we go inside, the boys always like to spend a few minutes trying out the tractors at Sears. Ric's mom and dad have invited us to come several afternoons a week, during their slow time, to eat 'real' Chinese food. There is always steamed rice, some kind of soup (this day there were mussels?- or something- in it), usually something dark green, and often shrimp. We often had shrimp in China where they are eaten by putting the whole thing in your mouth (eyeballs and all) except the tail and then spitting out anything you can't swallow onto the table. I never quite got the hang of it and was embarrassed to have to take my shell off before I put it in my mouth (what a wuss!!). Andy has been a little confused that here we put food we don't want back on our plate rather than on the table, but he is adapting. Ric often likes to stay at the restaurant for a little while. He loves anything to do with kitchens and cooking. One of the highlights of China ,for him, was seeing Ratatouille cooking at the White Swan Hotel. (He fixed our eggs and shook Ric's hand). When Ric finished helping his dad, Ariel picked him up so he could drive our grocery cart back to BiLo.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ric's first violin lesson

Our wonderful violin teacher, Cathy Arps, will no longer be coming over the mountain to teach lessons. This year I have three children ready to begin lessons ( and a fourth when Andy gets just a little calmer - he can carry a tune beautifully, but isn't quite ready to be careful with a violin). The plan for the moment is for Everett, Ariel and I to get them going and join Cathy's students for recitals in Sylva. Our new bows have arrived, so we will begin at the Chinese restaurant this week with Brandon and Rachel. Anyone who knows anything about my musical abililty must be laughing (it took at least three years for me to tell the e string from the a string)...but after sitting through about 15 years of Suzuki lessons I must have picked up something...or at least that is what I am counting on. Unfortunately, I quit playing the violin many years ago to try the viola so I have a lot of brushing up to do....I will be heavily counting on Everett and Ariel , who can both actually PLAY the violin.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Everyone is gifted at something - here are some of the things we can do. ( Everett and I had some trouble imagining , at first, how Ric was able to keep that straw up. We think we have it figured out.)
In the medical realm - Andy's TB test was positive (not too much of a surprise since he probably had a vaccine in China - not given here) so he had to have a chest xray along all his blood work to test for various other exotic things. Dr. Berger agrees that it is probably Crouzons or some related syndrome.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Design Flaws

I always think anything is possible and there's probably an easy way to do it. Having strong Ge Ges (big brothers ) helps alot. Jay brought home the railroad ties and sand and Everett made the sandbox with the boys cheering him on. In retrospect, it IS possible I should have thought about it a little longer. Everett wondered if it mattered if it was level - it didn't matter to me. Jay wondered if the boys would get filthy on the railroad ties - oh well, I had already paid for them. It LOOKS great - should I cover the rr ties with polyurethane - would it ever dry? For the moment, I am going to consider it finished and move on to another project ( unless it rains and the sand slides out the one corner that isn't exactly sitting on the ground) ;-)

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Ric told me that he doesn't want to be Henry's uncle, he wants to be his grandpa. Maybe this is the reason.

Oh Henry!!!!

Henry finally decided to come out and play!! Yesterday I got to spend the day with my mom and my first grandchild - how cool is that !! Camila and Ariel joined us to drive to Chattanooga to get a first look at Henry. He is VERY adorable. I must confess, however, that when I arrived home and my father, who usually calls me his beautiful daughter, called me Grandma, I had a momentary shock.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Ariel needs at least 17 insects for her biology class. If you would all please begin carrying a ziplock bag so that you will be prepared if you encounter a great specimen. Thanks.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Gee, but its great to be back home..Home is where I want to be e ..I've been on the road so long my friend .........and those are all the words I know to that song , but they are enough to express the way we all feel....we are nearly recovered from jet lag ( no one can tell me why it is soooo much worse coming back - is it going west to east or happening so soon after a previous jet lag or just not being as keyed up going home) although we are still going to bed and waking up pretty early for us......Andy is still very sweet and it is amazing how much he already understands (not so many words, but in the context of daily life - I just told him to put his cookie wrapper in the trash and he did it!! not perhaps because he knew individual words, but because my response was expected)..He is trying to say many words. His enunciation is not great because of the cleft but his tones make it easy for me to figure out what he means. This afternoon he came through the kitchen pushing a shopping cart saying 'good morning' - so while he doesn't understand the exact meaning, he understands it is a form of greeting. He will have a doctor and dentist appointment soon, but we may not be able to get in to the cranio facial clinic to find out what his real issues are until after Christmas.
Speaking of doctor's - they seem to be our lot in life at the moment - Ariel has sports related back problems that are keeping her sidelined , I am waiting somewhat anxiously to visit Camila's cardiologist and of course we are all eagerly waiting for Henry to come out.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Consulate Day

I was going to entitle this post 'our last day in China' - but I know better than to be so presumptuous. If I have learned anything from our experiences the last few years, it is that you never know what may be around the next bend in life.

This morning we went to the toy market. The boys got some new cars. Andy was so cute - he was sooo excited and wouldn't even let anyone help him hold his things. He has spent hours in the room today lining them up and calling me to come look at them. Although, we usually only let them take books to bed, tonight he is sleeping with them.
We have realized how valuable this set-apart- time has been to get to know Andy. The hustle and bustle of American life does not always lend itself to developing close relationships. We are very grateful for this time together.
This afternoon we boarded a large bus with families from other agencies to drive to the American consulate to meet with other American families to gather in a room, stand with our right hand raised and promise that everything in our paperwork is true and then received Andy's Chinese passport stamped with a US visa allowing him to come to the United States. When he steps foot on US soil in Atlanta he becomes a citizen! That does not mean, unfortunately that we are at the end of the paperwork to document it. But he will be an American citizen nonetheless. Today at the consulate we saw familes that we know about from the internet but do not actually know in person. I wish we had had more time to really meet them.
Tomorrow we awaken a 5;30 to begin the journey home. Because we cross the international dateline we will arrive home on the same day we leave (don't try to convince our bodies that). From your perspective, we will arrive home late Wednesday night - from ours, we arrive home late Thursday morning.
We want to thank all our wonderful friends and family who have supported us during this time. We have heard of many who have stepped in to help with our kids at home and we are soo grateful. As some of you did, we also arose in the morning to check our blog and shed many a tear ( some of them manly) reading the comments and knowing we were not alone. And most importantly, for those of you who have prayed, please know that your prayers have encouraged, enabled and changed outcomes. On Sunday, with Andy we will be singing Ae Oh .....

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Wrights are Bright in China

Sorry for the corny title, but Jerry said that was to be our title for this blog and you all know what a submissive wife I am. :-) Someone on one of my yahoo groups suggested dressing alike to make your new child feel a part of the family. Our guides (the 2 Chinese women beside Jerry) like our shirts because it made us easy to find. Ariel has already told us that we may NOT wear these shirts back in the US. We'll see....
Today we went to the zoo. We have an environmental scientist in our group who must have been uncomfortable with some of the animals living conditions but , hey, at some zoos in America the animals live in such luxury that they are hidden in the woods and you never see them. If you look very carefully in the pictures you will see a real Chinese panda bear who stood up to look at us as we took his picture. We have decided to skip the Pearl river boat dinner cruise tonight as 3 hrs confined at a table is more than we think these boys can endure .
Even though Cheryl hasn't been able to be with us (she got new house parents in her first house) we get to talk for free on Skype everyday and it has been fun being in touch so regularly. She is hoping to get a blogspot soon so that we will all be able to follow her amazing life. We have been very worried about the package we brought reaching her, but arrived yesterday safe and sound. She was especially thrilled with Joyce's quilts, she says she wants one for her bed (Joyce, we'll talk about that when I get home).
We received a package today filled with videos in chinese that tell some important true stories about creation and other stories from the book. We are sure that Andy does not know any of these stories and don't want to wait until he is fluent for him to know them.
By the way, Andy has no trouble understanding that we are a family and belong together..When we leave the room if Jerry or I get separated by more than a few yards he has a fit. It is wonderful to me how much we are able to communicate. Today a boy in our group who has lived with his American family in Shanghai for the last two years told us that the word that Andy repeats over and over (that we thought was an attempt at saying hello Ae Oh) actually means WOW! or Isn't that Amazing. Maybe Sunday when we are home we can sing Ae Oh I receive your goodness Ae Oh I receive your grace and add a little Chinese to our service....can't wait to see you all.....When I think of the love and support we have received from so many people I say with Andy, Ae Oh..and I cry.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Franklin Panthers in China

Today was a shopping day, in a huge mall - not, perhaps, Jerry, Ric and Andy's idea of a great day : but we borrowed a stroller for Ric from a store where we had some laundry done yesterday so at least they got a good stroll. We didn't buy any spores from outlets or inlets. The boys hats say di di (little brother) and ge ge ( big brother) but when Andy points to the Chinese letters on his he says An-dee. This morning we took the famous Red Couch picture of the adopted children in our group - the girl in blue is 4 the boy is 3, the girls in red are 1 and 2. Tonight all the families went out to dinner together but since we had to sit at seperate tables we didn't get to fellowship as much as I would have liked. We are back in the room watching the Olympic closing ceremonies, which you guys won't get to see for 12 more hours. But at least you will have English commentary. Our Olympic viewing on TV here has been pretty much limited to events the Chinese are good at. We are feeling rather sorry for London, having to follow this Olympics.
Andy had his first meltdowns today ( that is adoption speak for crying when you haven't been hurt). The first time was in a restaurant, probably because he was hungry, the second time was because he wanted Ric's trucks as well as his own. When you are 7 years old and have things of your very own for the first time in your life, I am sure it is very hard to share . In the orphanage he probably did not even have his own clothes, but shared with everyone who was his size. We are really amazed at how well he is doing in spite of the overwhelming changes in his life. He just came up to me and gave me a kiss - how sweet is that!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

We certainly don't want to be amerced!!!

The White Swan has it all - Chef's from Ratatouille to fix your eggs, a waterfall to eat breakfast beside, and a playroom with a kitchen!!! No to mention a pretty cool sleeping arrangement for little ones, where the boys play or eat ring pops, or whatever.
This morning I took Andy to his medical checkup. He was not nervous and was very well behaved. His eyesight was pretty bad, but the nurses tried to make him guess so he'd look better on paper , I think. At the end, the doctor took him in to talk to 3 other doctors at computers. They all felt his head, talked to each other in Chinese and signed his form. (Did they say 'oh well , they'll fix it in America' or ' too late to do anything now' - I would love to know- but I don't suppose it matters.)
We ate lunch at a small restaurant down the street. The boys split an order of sweet and sour chicken and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich - Andy's first American food!!! After doing some shopping, I spent 3 hours with our guide and 4 other adoptive mothers filling out paperwork for the consulate. It was fun to be with the other mom's although they are adopting kids 3 and under, which actually doesn't make me feel as jealous as I thought it would. Hmmm.

Getting ready for bed

Friday, August 22, 2008

Travel to Guangzhou

We arrived safely in Guangzhou. The rain had not yet begun but the wind was already very strong. The White Swan is a lovely hotel with little shops all around it. We went to a local takeout place to get dinner for the room that had amazing dessert pasteries, the likes of which I have never seen in China. The most interesting news of the day came from Lily, the woman who helped so much with our paperwork. She told us that she believes that the paperwork of one of the boys we have been trying to adopt for the last two years has at last made it to the CCAA. She also thinks we might get another age waiver, as he is older, and there are apparently alot of older boys on the list......Jerry seems open to this....hmmmm....thanks for praying....

Thursday, August 21, 2008

please pray

The first call you want to get in the morning is not the one that says..Please pack in a hurry we are trying to get you on a flight to arrive before the typhoon hits (why not wait until after the typhoon hits, is my thought?)...packing..


Today we went to Beijing - ostensibly to see the Olympics. I went to the Atlanta Olympics with Katrina (the day of the bombing). We saw a diving competition, but the most fun we had was walking around the Olympic center, buying pins, seeing entertainment and just being part of the festivities. Apparently the Olympics have changed greatly since then. All the festivities are contained behind wire fences. Only event ticket holders are allowed in. So we stood outside taking pictures through the gate with the other regular Chinese folk. Of course, we also occassionally became the subjects of pictures - see the family that asked to take a picture of their little girl with Ric (and later wanted a pix with the little girl, her mother and Ric). This has happened several times since we have been here. I don't get it at all. What could they possibly write as the caption -Chinese looking boy with American parents? or American boy, looks like us?...We smile and co-operate. As you can see, Jerry managed to track down a fellow worshipper of Manchester United. Thats Andy standing in front of a church where they were taking Chinese wedding pictures (thats when they dress in rented western looking wedding garb just for pictures, the day before the actual Chinese wedding). Ric is poseing beside the different official Chinese Olympic uniforms since 1996. If you look closely in the picture of the four of us you might see the Olympic flame in the background.
The very first picture is of the boys on the highspeed train (217 miles per hour) we took from Tianjin. It was amazing! The inside was like a plush airplane with assigned seats that reclined and stewardesses who brought a cart with water. There is also a restaurant and an internet bar - all this for a 27 minute train ride !! And the ride was as smooth as silk, with never a sense of the real speed you are traveling. It took longer to buy the tickets and get to the train than it did to get to Beijing.
Tomorrow we pack up and fly to Guangzhou. I am more and more certain as I search the internet that Andy has some kind of syndrome, but he is a sweet, loveable guy. As I was stressing about it again this morning, I read this :"Don't put conditions on God. Don't say, Lord I am willing to do this and that, but I refuse to cooperate if you want me to do anything outside this criteria. .........Does your life really belong to God or to yourself?.....God knows how to best use your life to glorify Him. He knows the special gifts he has given you and where you can be most effective for his kingdom. Will you obey our Lord and go where he sends you, do as He asks?........There is no time to waste. Your days on earth are few.....ask the Lord of the Harvest to show you how to proceed, and he surely will."- Brother Yun