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Click on the specific date to view the journal and pictures for that day.

| July 14-15 | July 16 | July 17 | July 18 | July 19 | July 20 | July 21 | July 22 | July 23 | July 24 | July 25 | July 26 | July 27 | July 28 | July 29 |

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July 14 and 15-On The Way

WE MADE IT!!! Thought I would start our journal entries this way to immediately ease the minds of the moms and grandmas! This is Connie—I am writing this on Saturday at 9:50 am which is 8:50 pm your time on Friday. Our flights came and went without a hitch—thank you all so much for praying! We have all of our luggage and customs was a breeze. I can’t even describe the international flight. Twelve hours in a tiny seat—there just are no words. Please pray for our return trip as it will be longer, and we will have Lydia to keep occupied.

Lacey and Caiti are doing great. Lacey made it through her first flying experience. On our flight to Denver she sat next to a guy close to her age who was a real chatterbox and kept giving her “plane crash scenarios”. She was thrilled as you can imagine!

We got to our hotel around 7:00 pm. Jonathan and the girls decided to check out the local Carrefour, which is kind of like Wal-Mart, but is owned by a French company. Jonathan bought four bottles of water and a power adapter and paid less than $1. Be sure to remember to ask the girls about the “live food section” at the Carrefour!

Our hotel is great! Each room has two beds, each of which are slightly larger than twin beds. I slept from 9:30pm-5:00am—we were just so exhausted! This is enough about the travel days. On to more interesting stuff. . .

July 16-Beijing
Connie again. Right now I am sitting in a bus in the middle of Beijing by myself. Our group is touring Tian'anmen Square and the Forbidden City. I had a bad asthma attack this morning so decided to skip the tour as it involves a lot of walking. I hate missing the historical stuff, but am really enjoying people-watching. Beijing is a city of 14 million so there are lots of people everywhere. The streets are filled with cars, taxis, buses and bicycles—all together! Bicycles are everywhere—all different types and those riding weave them in and out of the streets with no regard to the flow of traffic. Somehow it works!

There are many American influences here. The very first thing I saw was the Michelan Man. I had no idea what the billboard said, but I’d know the Michelan Man anywhere! There are Coke and Kodak signs everywhere, and McDonald’s is prevalent too. KFC is here too—you should see the picture of Colonel Sanders—he must have an Asian twin! HA!

The weather here is okay—very, very humid. There is no sunshine though. The skies are completely gray due to the smog—lots of air pollution.

(Jodi, I just saw a little boy wearing hot pink sandals. Tell Kael I will get him some if he would like. No cowboy boots here I’m afraid!)


After a long day of walking, walking, walking and having our guide say, "Everybody come over here...listen to me!" our day is finally done. I will hit some highlights for you and add a few pictures as we go:

People, people everywhere. We were told that one million people pass through Tian'anmen Square and the Forbidden City each day. This is but a small sampling of the masses assembled today.



Who isn't a sucker for a little kid? In this case, it's the Chinese wanting pictures with the American! Randy (the boy) was very famous today!




Enter the Forbidden City! Why is it forbidden, you ask? It has something to do with dynasties ending in "ing" and emperors with a great love for security. The ground you see the people walking on is actually 15 layers deep of stone. It was designed this way to prevent enemies from digging their way into this city. Forbidden indeed!

Connie and I have adopted the official military policy for eating Chinese food: "Don't ask, don't tell."

(But note the fries and spaghetti--YUM!)





The pearl factory...a wonderful place to learn about the formation of pearls. And a wonderful place to lighten the weight of one's wallet.





The Summer Palace...China's answer to Camp David for those in power back durning the dynasties. We arrived for this tour by boat.





The silk factory was an interesting tour where we were able to see silk go from the cocoon to finished product. The quilts, clothing and scarves were all very nice...and none of them are going home with us. (Too expensive!)



Our evening comes to an end with yet another Chinese dinner (what you see was only the beginning) and...





...the maintianence men "fixing" our air conditioner. Only one more day until we see Lydia!





Stories from today that I don't have time to tell but you should ask us about later:

  • The lady who walked 1/4 of a mile with me and my refusal to give any money to an older woman
  • Lydia's first technology gift from Carrefour
  • Blue Moon
  • Losing the man in red
  • Happy Buddha at the pearl factory

Please note--for those hoping for direct emails, we won’t be able to do that in Beijing because the cost of internet is very high. Things should be different in Chongqing. Again, thanks for praying and keep it up! God has given us grace when we’ve needed it and we are so thankful for that! Love to all of you!

(Mark, do you know how to put an elephant in the refrigerator?)

July 17-Beijing

It's the little things in life that you truly appreciate. Like bacon. Each morning we have our one meal with food that is somewhat recognizable...poached eggs, fruit, breads, potatos and bacon. This is a nice switch from some of the fare we've been enduring. I used to think I liked Chinese food. I was wrong.

After breakfast, our group traveled to the Beijing International Christan Fellowship. As you enter the building (a rented theater) your passport is checked to verify that you are not Chinese. Once inside, we participated in a service that most Americans would find familiar. As we worshipped, I was struck with the awe of worshipping with people from all over the world in one place and experiencing the fact that our great God is truly supreme over all. I was humbled to tears knowing that God allowed us to travel to China to bring home not only our daughter, but His daughter. Finally, I was struck with great sorrow knowing that the Chinese people face great persecution for a privilege we often take for granted. May I be more fervant in my pursuit of God realizing that each day truly is a gift.

After church, we traveled to a jade factory. Here we saw jade taken from its original state and carved and shaped into amazing things like the ship seen here. In China, it is a tradition for the women to have a jade bracelet that has often been passed down from their mothers when the daughters turn 18. The bracelet is to be worn on the left wrist which is closer to the heart. The properties in the jade also increase circulation in the body. This was an interesting experience and as always, shopping opportunities abounded!


After yet another traditional Chinese lunch at an eatery located inside the Friendship Store and a little souvenir shopping, we were off to the Great Wall. Thankfully, the weather was a little cooler (think Houston in June, not July and you'll know how things felt).

The Wall is something that must be experienced to be understood. We can tell you about the masses of people, the uneven steps or the nearly vertical climb, but this would only give you a small picture of the reality that is the Great Wall.


If you view the winding path as the letter "s", Lacey, Caiti and I made it half way up the "s." This was no small task...the Great Wall is the ultimate Stairmaster!







For dinner after our trip to the Wall, we had the Chinese delicacy Peking Duck. The proper way to eat Peking Duck is to take a pancake (actually a thin tortilla), put a few slices of duck inside, place some bean sprouts inside, roll it up and dip it in the duck sauce. We all tried it and decided that it wasn't too bad. However, the food staring back at us (see picture) was a greater cause for alarm. None of us touched this fish dish. Needless to say, American food will taste very good when we get to Chongqing!

After dinner, several families attended a Chinese acrobat show. Still shots of this program does not do it justice. That's one of the reasons I took nearly 1/2 hour of video at this program. Pictured on the left are people spinning plates on small sticks. This may not sound impressive until you realize that each person is spinning about 10 plates the same time! Amazing stuff...

July 18-Chongqing

Hey all—this is Connie. What a day it’s been! We left for the airport this morning at 6:20 am. Our flight to Chongqing took about 2 hours, and then we were bussed to our hotel. At the airport we met our local guide, Kevin who is WONDERFUL! He announced to us at that time that the babies would actually be brought to us at our hotel—earlier than expected! (Initially we were supposed to meet the babies at the Civil Affairs Office at 4:00 pm) The babies arrived a little after 2:00 pm and it was mass chaos. There are only 10 families here, but we all had to go to our guide’s hotel room to get the babies so it was pretty crazy.

Lydia is finally with us. There is too much to say, but I will try. She is as beautiful as we thought she would be. She is very petite—one of the smaller babies in our group. (Tonight she is wearing size 6/9 month PJs, which are just about too small—we’ll see how clothes fit tomorrow.) She appears to be in good health—not undernourished. She may be in the process of catching a cold as we heard some sneezing and wheezing tonight so please pray about that. Fortunately there is a pediatrician on our team so we’ll see about a “house call” tomorrow just to check things out.

She is having some attachment issues, which we knew could happen. She went straight to Jonathan and wanted nothing to do with me at first. However, as the day went on she warmed up a little. She is still guarded, still not completely relaxed. But she has been through so much. I am not upset about any of this—we knew she might have struggles with attaching.

Lydia’s personality is, well. . . very entertaining. She is VERY stubborn, strong and independent. Boy, do we have our work cut out for us! In truth, she will probably fit in very well with the Workmans! She hates going to sleep—had screaming fits before finally conking out on two different occasions today. She has hand gestures that mean “I’m mad” and a thing she does with her lips that means “You’re frustrating me”. She loves being the center of attention and loves to have us clap when she does something well.

Lydia is very close to walking. She can crawl okay, pulls up by herself and loves to walk around with the help of anyone standing close by. I imagine she will be walking on her own by the time we leave China. And she loves Chicken McNuggets and French Fries. She can really eat!

So much more I could say, but I’m exhausted and need to sleep while Lydia does—apparently the orphanage still has her on a schedule where she gets up in the middle of the night to eat. Trust me—this will not last at our house! HA!

Changing the subject—we now have internet access in our room! YEA! Hopefully we will now be able to post updates on a daily basis. Also—just a note about Chongqing—it’s an absolutely beautiful city—much better than Beijing. It was built on a mountain and the Yangtze River runs through it. It is a city of 32 million so there are lots of traffic issues, but we really like it here. The hotel is wonderful and McDonald’s and KFC are close by!
Again, what a day! Thank you all for everything—can’t wait for you to meet Lydia!


July 19-Chongqing

After a quiet night of Lydia sleeping from 9:00pm until 7:00am, we started the day with a bath. Lydia is not the youngest baby in our group but is the second smallest baby, so we were able to bathe her this morning in the sink. Lydia was not a big fan of this process, but we made it through. After bath time, she was worn out from the fight of the bath and getting dressed, so lydia and daddy catnapped while mom got ready. After mom was ready we all made it to breakfast at 8:40am.

Breakfast was a feast with even more variety than Beijing. While mom and dad dined on pancakes and maple syrup, Lydia ate steamed egg, pancake and melon. After breakfast it was off to the store for supplies...our outing for the day.

Our group boarded the bus with babies in hand for our trip to the Carrefour. Once there, we were able to buy enough formula and rice cereal for the remainder of the trip. We also picked up 8-24oz bottles of Sprite, a box of bottled water, a couple of new outfits for Lydia, a new bottle, two nipples, some toys, batteries, M & Ms and a stroller. Total cost? Less than 50 U.S. dollars. Try that at your next trip to Wal-Mart!

The remainder of the day was spent doing whatever we wanted. For Lydia, this meant playing with toys (the box of water is her favorite toy), taking a couple of bottles, napping, taking a 40 minute stroller ride through the mall and discovering the new love of her life...Cheerios. As I write this, we just finished dinner (McDonalds again) and Lydia is playing in the room and walking around with Lacey holding her hands.









Observation #1:

China knows about customer service. In Carrefour, there are employees literally around every corner ready to help. Even with the language barrier, it was reasonably easy to communicate what you want. If they don't understand, they would find someone who could. If they did knew what you wanted, they would often lead you to where it was. After paying for your items there were men standing there ready to carry out your items. This involved about a fifty cent tip, but they would carry (not push in a cart and unload) your purchases wherever you wanted. All duties are performed quickly and courteously with a smile.

Observation #2:

Lydia will most likely grow up to be President of the United States. She marches to the beat of her own drummer, is very strong willed and doesn't (yet) take no for an answer. While those are great qualities to have for the future leader of the free world, it makes the pre president-elect Lydia a challange. These qualities rear their ugly collective head in the form of prolonged screaming fits when she doesn't get what she wants, prolonged screaming fits when daddy isn't holding her or is out of the room and moments of beauty when she plays on the floor or is sleeping peacefully. Lydia is a paradox. Her life will be an interesting one to be sure...



July 20-Chongqing

About our day: What a crazy day, but so much fun! We started by going to the Chongqing zoo today. “Zoo” is a bit misleading as there were only a few different animals in cages, but that’s what they call it so we’ll go with it! Our guide told us the government will not provide adequate funding so the zoo is suffering. However, we got to see 3 of the 4 pandas who live there which was the main reason for going anyway! The trees and other vegetation there were magnificent. Definitely nothing you would see in Kansas! The best part of the zoo, though, was watching Jonathan negotiate with the many women who were following us around, trying to get us to buy their panda merchandise. We got some great footage of Jonathan and one woman going at it! We then visited an art gallery and learned about Chinese paintings. Many people bought some beautiful works for very low prices.

We returned to our hotel for naps. Some people went to a WWII museum and went shopping, but we decided to opt out—too much action for all of us! We tried KFC for lunch as I was hoping to let Lydia try mashed potatoes. Unfortunately, everything we got was so full of pepper we could barely eat it. The girls have made friends with a street vendor across from our hotel so later in the day they ran across to get pop and ice cream. We had the best “drumsticks” I think I’ve ever had—and Lydia had her first introduction to ice cream. She was very funny as she isn’t crazy about cold things and made a face every time we gave her a bite. Still, she went back for more!

Our evening was interesting to say the least. Some in our group decided to take a boat ride on the Yangtze River—the longest river in Asia and the third longest in the world. We decided this definitely sounded like fun so we joined the group on the bus at 7:30 pm to head to the waterfront. Getting to the boat was an adventure I won’t go into, but once we made it we sat on the very top level of the boat in the open air. It was extremely hot and humid, but the city lights were incredible. We sat at tables and were served tea, which as Lacey puts it, tasted like potpourri. The boat was adorned with flashing coconut trees (tacky at best) and the entertainment was, you guessed it—karaoke. Jonathan got it on film—there are truly no words. When the ride had finished, we made our way back to where we were to meet our bus. Unfortunately, the bus was nowhere to be found. Kevin, our guide went looking for it, but was unsuccessful in locating the bus or making contact with the driver via cell phone. He finally contacted the driver’s boss who brought another bus himself. Apparently, our initial driver had gone to the casino while we were on the boat and forgot about us. Needless to say, on the way back to the hotel we got to hear our driver yelling in his cell phone—translation: you’re fired. What a night!

About our Lydia: Lydia had a great day today. She hung with all the traveling and the heat really well. Her personality continues to amaze us. She is very laid back unless she is not getting her way—then, look out!!! Lacey and Caiti are her playmates—walking her across the room and cheering when she makes it. Lydia has come to expect the applause and will let you know if you are not being attentive enough! She is attaching better now and seems to know that she has a mom and a dad.
One thing we have come to realize is that Lydia stands out in the crowd. People are always staring at her and at the art gallery her antics drew in a group of Chinese women. One of the ladies said, “nice eyes,” which seems to be the consensus of most. Even the other adopting families we are with are constantly commenting on her eyes and her size. One of the other dads calls her “princess”. Amy, the guide for our entire trip, is also enamored with Lydia, making it quite obvious that Lydia is her favorite. Let’s see—how many people can I get wrapped around my finger???

Lydia is a true joy—we could not be more blessed. Each day brings new surprises about who she is, and we are loving every minute of it. Love to all of you!

July 21-Chongqing

This morning started early with Lydia waking up around 5:00am. She lay in bed with Connie for a short time while Jonathan got cleaned up and dressed. We then switched off with Lydia sitting on Jonathan’s lap at the computer while Connie got around. After we were both dressed and ready for the day it was time to change Lydia’s diaper and get her dressed. Her diaper was definitely wet but so was something else…daddy’s leg! Lydia left a grapefruit size wet spot on dad’s shorts, prompting a quick clothing change for Jonathan before breakfast.

Today was a day many families had been waiting for…the trip to the orphanage, Fuling Social Welfare Institute. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for parents to get to see where the children spent the beginning months of their lives and for families to get a chance to ask questions of the girls’ nannies. The two-hour trip to the orphanage provided a valuable opportunity to get to see the Chinese countryside on the way to Fuling, a small city compared to Chongqing (only 1 million people). This was a great trip that allowed us to get lots of video and pictures that will help answer some questions for Lydia later in life. The crib in the picture is the one Lydia slept in while in the orphanage.

After returning from Fuling, we had lunch in the room and then Jonathan went to a paperwork meeting at 4:30pm, outlining what will be happening during the next few days. The rest of the day was spent playing in the room and relaxing with our little bundle of dynamite.






July 22-Chongqing/Guangzhou

Snapshot of the day: This morning while venturing down the streets in the early morning hours, I happened upon a small food business opening shop for the day. One gentleman was manning a large wok- looking pan with a healthy fire built underneath. The wok was filled with (now) hot, bubbling oil and another gentleman was dropping large pieces of dough into the oil. I could tell from the delicious smell that I had happened upon Chongqing’s version of Frosty’s (a local doughnut shop in our hometown). I took a picture of the establishment, showed the owner his picture on my digital camera (which he enjoyed) and promptly purchased a huge piece of fried dough that could be compared in size to two extra large twists purchased at my aforementioned hometown doughnut shop. It was like a funnel cake, but a bit denser and was not sweet to the taste, but very good. This Chongqing treat cost just $0.50 or 5 Yuan Chinese.

Since we’ve been getting up each morning around 5am with Lydia (sometimes earlier, rarely later), I try to make it a point to go out on the streets of Chongqing and observe the goings on. While Chongqing, like New York, is a city that never sleeps, it begins its daily routine around 6:00am. At this hour, the sidewalks are populated by the older generation doing Tai Chi, younger men hauling all manner of product on their backs and in carts and the streets are beginning their bustle with the appearance of taxis and busses. I have loved my morning strolls along the streets of Chongqing, a city of both the modern (there has been a 2006 Converse shoe convention held in or near our hotel and the connecting shops carry the latest styles from all over the world) and the simple. At this point, if someone asked me where I would live if I could live anywhere in China, my answer would be Chongqing. I will truly miss this place.



Today we said goodbye to Chongqing and flew to Guangzhou. Although we are definitely ready for the “final stretch” of our journey, it was a little sad to leave Chongqing. The city is so beautiful and the people so friendly. I hope someday we can come back, when Lydia is older, and enjoy more of the city.

After breakfast we finished packing so the bellboys could get our check-in luggage and transport it to the airport. It is so nice not to have to worry about that—especially now that we have an additional “carry-on”! Prior to getting on the bus, Caiti and Lacey made one final trip to the “ice cream lady” across from our hotel. They had been buying things from her all week and so they decided to give her one of the extra gifts we brought from the US. She was very surprised and happy. Jonathan took a picture of them with her and she came to the hotel a few minutes later, asking for the girls to send her a copy of the picture. She also delivered four free ice cream novelties to us. Keep in mind—she knows no English and the girls do not know Chinese. Truly, kindness and friendship are so much more than words spoken.

We got on the bus around 11:45pm for the ride to the airport, and our plane left around 2:30pm. I was very nervous about how Lydia would do on the flight (her first!), as she has been sick all week with what we think is an ear infection. However, she did great on the bus ride (she LOVES to ride!) and was a real trooper as we carted her around the airport. We prayed for her right before we got on the plane, and we are happy to say—she was wonderful! She slept most of the way and while the rest of us were feeling our ears popping, she didn’t even seem to notice. We thank God for this answer to prayer!

One last note about the flight—Caiti and Lacey are claiming it as one of their most embarrassing moments. We’ll let them tell the story later on, but it does have to do with a certain male flight attendant seen here!

We got to our hotel around 6:30pm and it is now 10:30pm. Lydia is asleep in her crib—her dad did a good job of getting her to sleep tonight. She has made such progress in the last few days, and we are so proud of her. Today she barely fussed at all when having her diaper changed and seemed to almost enjoy her bath—until Mom had to go and rinse off her hair! Both of these events used to be met with screaming and a major amount of wiggling—now she is doing so much better! We continue to find her fascinating and love getting to know her more and more.

We are glad to be in Guangzhou—glad that half of our trip is over. Please continue to keep us in your prayers, as this week will be filled with paperwork. Please also pray that Lydia will begin to feel better. She did great today, but we could really tell she was feeling crummy. Love to all and thanks for your constant support!


July 23-Guangzhou

We’ve had a very relaxing day today—something all of us needed. We didn’t wake up until 6:30—and Lydia slept until 7:30! She still gets up at least once every night, but it was nice of her to let us sleep in!

We are staying at China Hotel—a Marriott Hotel, which is very nice. Breakfast is again included in our stay so we tried out another huge breakfast buffet this morning. Now that we are in Guangzhou, all of the adoptive families are together again—33 babies! It has been so fun to see all the new babies of the people we were with in Beijing. Breakfast was filled with all kinds of baby sounds today!

Jonathan went to a paperwork meeting at 10:30 while Lydia and I took a nap. Caiti and Lacey were anxious to check out some local shops so they scoped things out for us, and later, we joined them at a small mall next to the hotel. We found a couple of cute outfits for Lydia, but otherwise decided to wait on other purchases, as we will be shopping almost every day this week.

Some of you have asked about Lydia’s weight and clothing sizes. Well. . . she is small! Most of the clothes I brought for her are way too big. She won’t officially be weighed until next week at her medical exam, but there is a set of scales in our bathroom so we tried weighing her on those and she is somewhere around 15 pounds. She definitely can’t wear anything larger than 12 months—and to be honest, most of those are a little big right now too. But the way she eats, we are trusting she will grow quickly! She is crazy about Cheerios and Fruit/Veggie Puffs and ate a huge amount of them today. (In contrast, another couple in our group adopted a 10 month-old baby who weighs 27 pounds!)

This afternoon we visited the Starbucks in our hotel. YEA!!! I got a non-coffee drink (much like a milkshake) so Lydia got to have a few tastes. She was very impressed! She’s a big ice cream lover just like her mom! Caiti and Lacey found more shops in the hotel to visit this afternoon while Lydia had her picture taken for her American visa. (She was less than happy about this as it interrupted her nap!)

Tonight we ordered in from an “American” restaurant called Danny’s Bagel. As none of us like the local cuisine, we were happy to have Danny’s as an option. Caiti and Lacey were a bit disappointed at their burgers—not quite Kansas beef—but otherwise everything was great. Lydia especially enjoyed her introduction to macaroni and cheese!

It’s now a little after 9:00pm. Lydia is fast asleep so we think we’ll join her! Good night! (Actually, good morning where you are!!!)


July 24-Guangzhou

We started the day on the bus (as usual!) on our way to a Chinese Folk Art Museum. It was a short drive, but allowed us to see more of Guangzhou. It seems to us that Guangzhou is a cross between Beijing (which none of us liked) and Chongqing (our favorite city.) It is another city of several million that seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. The cities in China grow up, not out. Most people live in apartments, in buildings that soar into the sky. In China the people cannot own land or even their own apartments—the government owns it all and the people lease their apartments from the government.

None of us were really thrilled with the idea of going to the Folk Art Museum. I don’t know what we were picturing, but after visiting I was so glad we went. The museum is actually a former temple owned by a very rich Chinese family. Children lived there and received their schooling there. It is an indoor-outdoor facility and reminded me of some of the buildings in “Anna and the King”. The carvings, statues and ornamental décor were all amazing. While there, we also got to shop for Chinese paintings and prints and watched an artist paint with the sides of his hands and his fingers -unbelievable!

We then went grocery shopping at a place called “The Friendship Store”. There is nothing to compare this store to in America. We entered and took escalators to the 6th floor (remember—they build up in China!) to the “baby” section. It was crazy—tons of people in a small space. We bought a ball for Lydia, which was a major ordeal. In China, unless you are grocery shopping, you don’t just take all your things to a “checkout” place. In this particular store we took the ball and had to find a salesperson to make out some sort of ticket for the item. She then bagged the toy and sent us to the 5th floor to pay for it. After we paid, we then had to return to the 6th floor with our ticket to receive the item. Although customer service in China is great, this process is a bit ridiculous. We returned to the 5th floor where the “grocery” section was located. It was really odd as part of the 5th floor contains expensive jewelry, fine china and other “department store” items. We bought a few snacks and then visited the 4th floor -electronics. We then returned to the bus, totally wiped out, and rode back to the hotel.






After naptime we made our way to the basement of the hotel where two very nice shops are located—a silk shop and a traditional Chinese gift shop. We then stopped at Starbucks (our addiction!) and finished the night chatting and eating in our room.



Tomorrow will be a huge day as all the babies will be receiving their medical exams. Please be praying for Lydia—these are generally very basic exams, but she has been sick and I don’t want anything to hinder her getting a clean bill of health. She is actually much better—thank you all for praying. Please pray for the other babies too. Many others have colds or ear infections and one baby even has bronchitis.

Lydia had a good day today (except for a major fit in Starbucks!) She is feeling better and playing more. She goes back and forth from Mom and Dad easily now and is even letting Caiti and Lacey handle her a bit more. We know her adjustment will continue to take time as she learns to trust us and trust that we are not going to abandon her. Again, thank you for praying and see you tomorrow!


July 25-Guangzhou

Thank you all for praying—we survived the medical exam!!! Trust me, “survived” is the appropriate word. The whole process was ridiculous. Lydia had to endure three examination “stations”—one for ear, nose, and throat; one for height, weight, and temperature; and one where they took off her clothes and listened to her heart. I’m not kidding when I say the actual “exam” took less than 10 minutes. The “ridiculous” part of it all was being there for TWO HOURS, packed in like sardines, waiting our turn. It was hot and filled with crying babies—needless to say, an experience I don’t want to repeat. Thankfully, Lydia handled the wait much better than I did, fussing (screaming) only during the actual exam. For those who have been waiting for the official statistics, Lydia weighs 16.2 pounds and is 27 inches tall.

Following the exam we all went shopping on Shaiman Island. The medical exam office is located there as is the American Consulate, therefore there are many neat shops and street vendors targeting tourists. We shopped until we dropped—some dropped earlier than others, including Lydi and me! We went to the bus early and took a nap.

The rest of the day was spent napping and playing. Lydia tried another new food—chicken quesadillas—and loved them! (Don’t worry—they aren’t quite like the ones in the States—no spices.) It’s now 8:30pm and Lydia is asleep. Jonathan is watching TV and the girls left a little while ago to check out the pool. Again, thanks for your prayers over the medical exam. We are basically home free now barring any complications from the American Consulate. We are definitely counting the days until we are back in the States. There’s no place like home!



July 26-Guangzhou

After yesterday’s drama, today was a piece of cake! This morning we toured a teahouse and participated in a tea ceremony. We learned about the importance of tea to the Chinese people and tried four different types of tea: Rose, Jasmine, Ginseng, and Oolong. None of us liked any of it, but we wanted to say we had tried! One of the women on our team asked our guide about “Lipton”. Our guide said, “We don’t talk about Lipton in China.” The Chinese know nothing of tea bags—they use actual tea leaves and go through quite a process to prepare their tea.


In the afternoon, Jonathan, Lacey and Caiti took a taxi to a DVD/CD store recommended by our guide. This was a very exciting venture for them—the sales staff, noting they were Americans, immediately ushered them into a “back room” not much bigger than a closet. There, the three of them found DVD heaven, paying an average of $1.25 for each DVD. Shown here are a sampling of the titles they found—many of which are still being shown in theatres in the States. Another exciting moment during this excursion occurred when Caiti and Lacey hailed a taxi. They were quite proud of themselves!

Later in the afternoon, Jonathan, Lydia and I walked to the hotel next to ours to do some shopping. This hotel had some really unique shops and our wallet was again lightened.

After a rough start this morning (Lydia is not a morning person, and it doesn’t help that her mother isn’t either!), Lydia had another good day—playing, eating and attracting attention everywhere we went. She chuckled for the first time today—there is no other sound as beautiful to our ears.

Only two more full days left in China—we are all homesick. We’ll be stuck in the hotel much of tomorrow for paperwork so feel free to email us—we’d love to hear from you!





July 27-Guangzhou

Today was spent trying to keep busy. As we had no scheduled activities, it was a long day. Jonathan, Caiti and Lacey did some shopping in the early afternoon with Lydia and I joining them later on. We went to a Chinese bookstore and bought a children’s fairytale book for Lydia, which is written in both English and Chinese. We then stopped by McDonald’s. Caiti and Lacey eat there everyday—I think they both may turn into French Fries! It’s interesting trying to order there—we do a lot of pointing. Actually, a few people do speak English, and they do a good job of figuring out what we want.

After McDonald’s we did a little more shopping in our hotel and then Jonathan, Lydia and I spent some time playing in the hotel lobby for a change of scenery. Lydia had a great day today. We are getting to know each other better, and as we understand her more, it keeps her from being quite so frustrated. (Thus, fewer fits!) We have a long way to go and lots of things to tackle when we get home, but it’s nice to see even a small amount of progress.

Lydia’s favorite moment of the day was trying (and loving!) peach juice. Still hates the sippy cup though!

Thank you for all your emails today. We are all anxious to be back home—Caiti and Lacey even packed their bags tonight! Only one more day! Yea!!!















Commentary from Jonathan

The date was September 7, 1979. The very first broadcast of SportsCenter was beamed to the masses courtesy of Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, ESPN. Sure, the initial programs were a bit rough (tractor pulls, pool tournaments featuring Minnesota Fats and Australian Rules Football), but we loved the idea of having an all sports network! As I've been watching a little bit of television this week in Guangzhou, I've been treated to the likes of rugby, equestrian, soccer and of course, the 2005 Kaohsiung World Pool Championship and on the Asian ESPN. The graphics are the same as the US version, but their programming transports me back, back, back, back to ESPN, old school. For the approximately 18 people who care (and you know who you are) that's my take. Out.


July 28-Guangzhou

It feels so good to be able to say THIS IS OUR LAST JOURNAL ENTRY FROM CHINA!!! Today we went to the American Consulate for a 20 second ceremony in which we swore everything we put in our adoption papers is true. This was our last step—when we land in Chicago, Lydia is an American citizen!

To celebrate the occasion, Lydia wore her new “I love America” dress, and Jonathan and I wore red, white and blue. As we were unable to take any pictures at the Consulate, here are a few we took before we left.





Later in the afternoon we took group pictures at the hotel. Our picture is of all the families who went to Chongqing (minus one—missing in action!) Then, we took pictures of just the babies. Well. . . we tried to. As you can see, Lydia is already a “take charge” kind of person, making sure her friends, Molly on her right, and Kayley on her left, are paying attention!


The last pictures are of Lydia with our guides, Amy and Linekar.


Thank you all so much for your prayers and support during our journey. Please be praying for us tomorrow, as from the moment we leave the hotel in Guangzhou to the moment we get to Kansas City, will be over 25 hours of traveling—and then still on home!

We are planning to keep this website to chronicle the adventures of Lydia and our family so feel free to check in now and then. Thanks again and may God’s blessings be with you all!

July 29-Heading Home

We got up at 4:30am China time to prepare for our bus ride to the airport at 6:00am. We were all thrilled to have to get up so early—yeah, right! We made it to the Guangzhou airport a little after 6:30am, but by the time we checked in our luggage and did all of the “customs” stuff, we barely made our plane at 8:30. Whew!

We flew from Guangzhou to Hong Kong—a 30 minute flight. Hong Kong is absolutely beautiful (what we could see from the air anyway!) When we got to the Hong Kong airport we got in line for at the United counter where ONE agent was helping all of us. Needless to say, Jonathan stood in line for 2 hours, waiting to get boarding passes for our next flight. During the long wait we found that our flight was actually delayed—we were supposed to be leaving at 12:45, but would not be leaving until 2:30. This was discouraging news as it meant that we would certainly miss our connecting flight in Chicago. Nonetheless, we finally boarded our plane at 2:00—and sat there for 2 ½ HOURS waiting on another plane to get in so those passengers could board our plane too. We were not happy. It was a long flight made much longer.

I want to go back for a second as one fun thing happened during our wait in the Hong Kong airport. We got online and discovered that Caiti had become an aunt again! Our good friends Mark (Caiti’s brother) and Jana (See “Joining Us In China”) became the proud parents of Hope Nyssa on July 28th, 10:02 pm, weighing in at 7lbs, 8oz.! Welcome Hope! We love you!

Okay, back to flying! The Hong Kong flight took 14 hours, but we finally made it to Chicago. Thank you all for praying—Lydia did a great job on the plane—no problems other than not understanding why she couldn’t crawl around. The baby in front of us screamed most of the way—I kept thanking God that she wasn’t my baby!

We breezed through customs and immigration and Lydia became a US citizen! YEA!!! We waited forever for our luggage, but all of it arrived and we finally made it—once again—to the United counter. This time, they were waiting for us with news of our new connecting flight. We raced to the gate and made it! Our final flight home!

We arrived in KC at 9:30 pm—about 3 hours later than planned. We were met by Carrie (our niece—Lacey’s sister), Charles and Beverly (Caiti’s parents), and our “driver” Luke. We were surprised to see our friends Kael, Jodi, Tom, Kelley, Mike, Kim, Hannah, Leah, Caleb, Rachel, Abby and Justus. So wonderful to see familiar faces! We were also surprised to NOT see our luggage. We took 8 different flights on this trip and the one time we lose our luggage is from Chicago to KC. Hilarious. But I am so thankful if it had to happen that it didn’t happen in China! (Side note—all our bags were found and delivered to us the next day!)

We finally made it to home about midnight and to bed around 2:30am after 34 hours of being awake—30 of which were actual travel hours. This is NOT something I ever want to do again! Especially NOT in July! HA!

But—was it worth it? Look back at some of the pictures in our other journal entries (July 24th is a favorite of mine) and you’ll have the only answer we can give—without a doubt—YES!

Thanks again for joining our journey—for your thoughts and prayers. Feel free to check back on the site periodically—I imagine we’ll have “Home from China” stories to tell in a week or so. May God’s blessings be abundantly yours—To God be the glory!!!