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

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

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Purple Ice Cream

After breakfast this morning we made another visit to the notary and then per our request (okay, my request) Helen took us shopping. First we stopped at a small shoe store and bought some addidas to replace Andy's ill-fitting canvas shoes as well as a matching pair for Ric and sandals for Andy. For anyone looking for stock to invest in I would recommend addidas - they now have a big presence here in China. It appears they designed China's beautiful Olympic outfits. We also ran in an addidas store but the jackets alone were almost 100 dollars! Then we went to Chinese cultural street which you see in the pictures and bought outfits for the boys to wear to our next party at the Chinese restaurant. We kept trying to find Olympic things but were told that everything was already sold out.
We had lunch at a Chinese food court where we got a mountain of food as usual although Jerry and I are eating very little the past couple of days because our bodies have begun to react to the change in diet. That was the reason we didn't join Ric and Andy eating purple ice cream covered with fabulous dark chocolate (I did take a bite, the ice cream was an unidentifiable fruit flavor).
We spent the afternoon in the hotel room where Ric and Andy have a blast - in fact , Andy isn't always the little soft-spoken compliant thing we met the first day.
On the subject of his name - We thought at first we would call him Wei Wei and then Andy Wei and then Andy so that there would be an easy transition. However, I noticed at the orphanage that everyone seemed to call him by his full name Zheng Li Wei. Since we can't really do the tones when we try and say that he pays absolutely no attention. (Helen told us that the Wei in his name means fort, unlike the Wei in the orphanage director's name which means flower....we might be calling him flower for all we know)...consequently we call him Andy, although he doesn't really respond to that either, at least Ric knows who we are talking to. :-)
I didn't mention yesterday that we had a great lunch and visit with Robert and Amy Moore. Robert has been voluteering at the orphanage for 8 years so he knows Andy. We are grateful to have been able to meet them before they move to work with another orphanage. Robert's family used the ATI curriculum as we did, in fact his brother was in an Alert unit about 10 before Jay. Robert first worked with ATI's orphan program in Russia. Amy's dad is Little Bear Wheeler, who is very famous in homeschool circles.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

China says he is ours !

Today we visited the provincial office, a notary, the police department and promised them to take good care of Andy and never abandon him and signed many papers and he gave his fingerprints and now, according to China at least, he is ours. We have to wait now until they finish processing his Chinese passport.
Andy continues to be a smiley, happy boy and he and Ric play very well together (or at least side by side).
One of the books I read (The Children, old but I highly recommend it if you are adopting) said that this is about the time I would start having worries about the uncertainties ahead. I am a pretty average person so I am having them right on schedule. Today they center around the unusual shape of Andy's head - is it from the way he slept as a baby, or could it be something worrisome?...I have been encouraged when I remember how amazingly Travis and Lindsay handled their recent concern about Henry's heart. Lindsay said "I gave myself completely over to God's plan for myself and my family." So much wisdom from such a young woman. It is the very best thing any of us can do. Thank you all for your prayers.

Monday, August 18, 2008


After breakfast our guide, Helen, escorted us to the orphanage. As orphanages go, it must rank as one of the nicest - absolutely clean, freshly painted in bright colors, kid friendly. We had to wait a few minutes while the staff finished a meeting. While we were waiting we read a note from Andy's foster mother which primarily listed all the foods he likes which include just about everything. Then we were taken to an empty room and told to sit on two stools. The director walked in with Andy and as you can see from the pictures, he was, at first, a little apprehensive. We hugged him, handed him his backpack and he promptly got out the cars and sat down on the floor and began playing with them. We joined him. From that point on and for the rest of the day he has been all smiles. I believe he must have been very well prepared but I am still wondering if he understands this is permanent. We went out to lunch at a nice Chinese restaurant and the boys have played in the room the rest of the day. We have lots of room for balls , giant balloons and the myriad of other toys we brought. They did lay down for a short while this afternoon and watched some of Cars but neither one slept. Andy rarely speaks-when he does, it is with a very deep gravely voice. I am guessing that has something to do with his cleft which is supposedly fixed. Cheryl and Lui Bo both spoke to him on the phone today and he seemed to understand them but only sort of grunted in response. We are headed for their first bath together with lots of bubbles and letters....

Breakfast with Ric's family

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pictures from Ting Jiang

1- Sidewalk Dentistry
2- Jerry, Ric, and Chu - Beware of motorcycles while shopping
3- Ting Jiang Business District
4- Catherine Spurs the Ting Jiang Economy
5- Catherine and Ric and a Bicycle Taxi

Tianjin at last!!!

After a mere 2 short plane flights (not that any flying is mere to me) we have arrived in what seems to be western civilization. We are at the Holiday Inn Tianjin,complete with hot showers, western mattresses, flush toilets and occassional people who understand English....not to mention airconditioning!!!! It couldn't be more lovely , our guide is very sweet and totally accommodating and we are wildly excited about going to the orphanage to get Andy tomorrow.
We had a great time with Ric's family - especially yesterday when Ric's Uncle Chu took us shopping in the small town where Rics mom's family lives. We found lots of great buys for Ric and Andy and of course were total celebrities all day, being the only westerners. At night we went to a park playground where I briefly joined in to a sort of Chinese line dancing done by women and old men ( I'm not sure if this has replaced the more traditional tai chi). Of course we were fed almost constantly.Jerry is going try to add more pix - I hope he can get the street dentist working on someone's teeth.
Pray for Cheryl , it looks like we may not be able to see her because she has to make a 20 hour drive into the wilderness to take home the house parents from her first home because, apart from God's intervention, the father will die soon.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The neighborhood, the alley, playing mah jong

Today when we arrived at the Jiangs, the men were in the living room playing mahjong. Gambling games of all kinds seem to be a national passion. We walk by many open doors in our hotel and see people inside playing games. After another huge meal they resumed their game and we went back to an airconditioned room for a nap. tonight Rics grandmother, aunt and cousin (our translator) went to church to pray - the best I could understand something to do with Mary. I may have been invited, but I am not sure. We are so glad for this Christian family, even though they may be a slightly different flavor than us. Tomorrow we may be moving far across town to stay with Rics maternal (buddhist) grandparents...we may not have internet connection there so we may be out of touch for a few days...