Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Being brave together

This afternoon we walked with our guide about 15 minutes to Nanjing Children's Hospital.  We won't be going to his orphanage, but we wanted to see where Jiushu had his surgery when he was two weeks old.

He was calm in his stroller walking about, but once we came back to the room he cried and cried and cried some more.  We laid on the bed together and I cried along with him.  My husband encouraged me to meet this difficult situation with faith and hope, something I cannot do in my own strength outside of God's mercy and love.  I was struck by how very brave this little boy has been in his life.  He has every right to cry his eyes out.  I would too.  So as we lay there together I said to my son, "I will be brave with you.  We will do this together, OK?  I'm proud of you...you've been so brave."  If he can do it, so can I, right? 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1: 8-10 

"When I am afraid,
I will trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust;
I will not be afraid."
Psalm 56: 10

This evening Vince and I explored more of Nanjing.  And by "explore" I mean circle the same few blocks while J is happy in his stroller.  He actually fell asleep, so we stopped by KFC for sandwiches.  Not great, not terrible.  Headed to bed now.  A few more pics of today: 

Monday, May 30, 2011

He's ours!

We met Jiushu yesterday for the first time, and this morning he officially became our son.  "Gotcha" was surprisingly joyful and calm...a beautiful moment.  We went shopping for supplies at Carrefour afterward (SO disappointed I didn't have my camera there...a fascinating experience), and then returned to the hotel.  Jiushu has been grieving hard.  He has fleeting moments of peace; Vince can really make him giggle.  He did sleep about seven hours last night, and is napping in his crib right now.  But he is crying often, and does not want much to eat.  This morning we returned to the civil affairs office for more paperwork.  We were very concerned about his seeing his nanny again.  Though I had not thought to pray this, she actually did not come back, and for this we are thankful.  Jiushu cried the entire morning.  The orphanage director and our guide were worried about him and us, I'm sure. They kept feeling his forehead and fussing with his shoes, thinking they were too tight.  We met a couple from Indiana (with Madison adoption agency) there at civil affairs, and look forward to seeing them again in Guangzhou.  There were also two Italian families there adopting children.  Please continue to pray for Jiushu and for us.  My mama's heart is grieving with his.  Here are pictures of both yesterday and this morning.
Jiangsu Civil Affairs
Jiushu's nanny

The orphanage director.  She cried when we said goodbye.

More Nanjing pics

Central Hotel
Ceiling inside hotel.  Very different from the sleek, modernity of the Beijing Hilton.

Babies on bikes, everywhere.
Bike parking lots

Olympics footage.  I wasn't quick enough to get a shot of Michael Phelps.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

First evening and morning in Nanjing

Went out exploring last night.  Lovely evening.  We like it here in Nanjing already.  There are very few Westerners here, not that we've seen anyway, unlike Beijing.  We wandered through an underground subway hub/mall for quite a while.  Like a giant circle with hallways/tunnels as spokes--each one full of shops and restaurants, and leading back up to ground level.  It was very crowded, and definitely not a "tourist" area.  Strange, but not unpleasant or scary, to be so out of our element. 

We ate at Pizza Hut for dinner...not your typical Western Pizza Hut.  Many non-pizza entrees on the menu.  And the pizza toppings included popcorn chicken and shrimp, crab, octopus, and corn. 

We had a great night of sleep.  Went to bed at 10 and slept until 7!  Goodbye, jet lag!  Breakfast was an incredible experience.  The biggest buffet I think I've ever seen, except for maybe one of those Mother's Day hotel buffets.  Sushi, salad bar, steamed dumplings, omelet bar, pastries, chicken feet, a noodle bar--like Mongolian BBQ where they cook it in front of you, dry cereal, fried rice and noodles, an ICEE machine.  We've been praying at every meal, "Lord, give us wisdom here, and may this food do us only good!"

Side note:  I'm instant messaging (through Skype) with my son while I write this.  So delightful!  Thank God for modern technology. 

So now we're just relaxing until 2:00 p.m. when we'll meet our guide and the other family downstairs to go to Civil Affairs and meet Jiushu.  Please continue to pray that he will supernaturally sense God's love and ours, despite the trauma of this event in his life.  Vince and I prayed together this morning, and we've been playing the IHOP prayer room.  Holy Spirit, you are welcome in this hotel room! 

Nanjing Day 1

We flew to Nanjing this morning along with another Holt family.  They have seven beautiful kids...and brought them all along!  Amazing!  So we have good company here in the province.  We flew China Eastern and were served lunch on the plane, not all of which was identifiable.  I had my first experience with the squatty potty in the Beijing airport before we left.  The international terminal we flew into had western toilets, but today we were flying out of a domestic terminal.  Imagine my surprise to open the stall door and find a squatty!  Too bad I didn't have my camera with me. 

We checked into our hotel...very nice...and went on a little tour of the surrounding streets and bought a few snacks with our guide, Denise.  We have the rest of the evening and tomorrow morning to ourselves.  We don't meet Jiushu until 2:30 tomorrow afternoon, probably because his orphanage is about 3.5 hours away, Denise told us.  The pace has been go-go-go thus far, so we're looking forward to a relaxing evening and morning before everything changes! 
Our room at Central Hotel--very nice.  Tomorrow night there will be a baby in that crib!
Convenience store...sure glad Denise was with us...NO English.
The billboards in China are fascinating to me.

Saturday evening in Beijing

This is a "pictures speak louder than words" type of post.  So here you go: 
Outside of a tea house

"Snack Street"--the palatable section

You just really can't believe it until you see it...and smell it...for yourself. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Orientation and Sightseeing

This morning was orientation with seven other Holt families; I hadn't realized there were that many traveling this week.  We were given a lovely red folder with new photos of Jiushu and a few details to help us as we meet him.  His caregivers call him "Xiang Xiang" and comfort him with pats, hugs, and kisses.  Can't wait to give him some of my own!

Several of the families left after our meeting for other activities; the rest of us had lunch together in the hotel.
We then took a van to Forbidden City for a tour.  It was in the 90s today, and that place is immense.  I don't think we'll have any trouble sleeping tonight. 
The oil painting of Mao is replaced every year.  Betcha didn't know that.

The red tag indicates this tree is over 300 years old.

Vince pointed out to me the bonus footage in this pic.  Split pants!
We also walked through Tiananmen Square, large enough to hold a million people, and took a tour of the silk factory.  I'm running out of time, though; we're about to head out to meet Janet and Jeremiah for dinner...location undecided...and take some photos of "snack street".  We leave tomorrow morning to fly to Nanjing.