Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Our Paperwork is complete... Joy is heading Home!!!

Tuesday 7/29, Guangzhou - We had our swearing in at the US Consulate today and received back her Chinese passport with her new US Immigration Visa in it along with all her paperwork for Immigration. With this she will become a US Citizen once she clears the US Border in Seattle! Pretty amazing adventure! We have seen & experienced a little of everything on this trip from incredible joy to sorrow & loss for some. But the experience of getting our Joy has been beyond anything we could have imagined. Now the real fun of life together begins!

We are now all packed and as I write this everyone is asleep and will soon wake up for a 5:45 AM departure from the hotel to head back home. Joy picked up a cold, which is not unusual in this process, and it has turned in to bronchitis. We saw a Doctor today and she is on some medicines that should help alot. Please pray for her and the journey home for us if you will! Your prayers have been with us all the way on this journey and we thank you for them all and your support! God is very good to us! See you all soon!

Jim & Meg and the family (Mac, Jake, Melissa, & Joy)

(P.S. We have some more great picks of Joy on a dinner cruise Monday but getting them downloaded was a battle. We will try to update them soon.)

Joy & family on a Pearl River Dinner Cruise - Monday, July 28th

Joy & family at the Guangzhou Zoo - Monday, July 28th

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Joy journeys out for shopping, playing, & fun!!!

Sunday, Guangzhou - Joy journeyed out for shopping & bonding time with Dad, Sister, & Brothers (and a little nap while shopping) while Mom was able to stay back at the hotel for a little rest. Joy played in the Mattel sponsored playroom at the hotel, took a bath, and we hope will soon be able to go to sleep... but right now she is just having way too much fun!!!

Bathtime & pre-bedtime fun!!!

Playing in the playroom at the hotel.

Shopping and napping while shopping.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I've got the Joy Joy Joy Joy down in my heart...

Hey Everyone ...this is Jake.

Currently, Joy is making the most inhuman noises I've ever heard come from a child. my mom left the room, and its only my dad in there with her, and he's trying to get her to fall asleep. However, Joy won't let anyone other than my mom pick her, or be with her right now. She is incredibly strong-willed (I can't wait to see a face-off between her and melissa sometime in the next few years!).

Today, Joy was the most outgoing she's been with us. She smiled a ton! She's incredibly cute
(lol. My mom just walked into the room as I was typing this, and Joy immediately became
She's getting better at blowing kisses and high fives, and she's just about the cutest little thing that ever lived.
Joy fits perfectly into our family, and It's awesome how God has worked all this out.

China is a great country, and I would like to list off a few of the highlights,
#1: China has Papa Johns Pizza! I never thought I'd be so happy to see a pizza deliveryman in my life as I was today. I'm a little bit tired of Chinese food (It's not at all like Panda Express). They cook everything here in fish oil, and it feels like it soaks into your skin, and I feel as if I smell like Chinese food all of the time.
#2: There are neon lights everywhere. It's really cool. It's not like the cheap neon lights you see on motel signs in the US, It's huge flashing/ moving neon displays covering the sides of buildings, walkways, the buffet, etc.
#3: Billiards. Mac and I played two hours of billiards tonight in the lounge of our hotel while we sipped on our lemon water. It was nice. My pool skills are far superior to Mac's, but he manages to get lucky at the very end of every game, and beat me... We are both terrible pool players. However, I played my dad in Foosball afterwards, and destroyed him... twice. So I felt good about that, and didn't feel so bad anymore about losing in billiards. The best part about billiards, is at the end of every game, the waiter/bartender guy would run over and re-rack the balls for us.

there are many other cool things about china, and I could go on all day. It's a really cool country, and I'd love to come back here someday. It's a ton different than I imagined.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Joy for Joy

Saturday, Guangzhou - Joy had all her medical examines today as part of our consulate requirements. The clinic by the hotels here has an area just for the children being adopted. There were signs on the wall that read "Keep Quiet"... it was hardly quiet in there with probably at least a dozen or more kids getting poked and measured, etc. and crying all the way through it. The whole scene was rather humurous. We ran into people there that we had met in Beijing before we had recieved our kids and others that we met briefly when we were in Zhengzhou. It was fun to catch up again in the midst of the "quietness".
Joy continues to relax and lighten up each day. She actually did a little bonding to dad today, but mom is by far her first choice. As you can see we are getting lots of smiles from Joy now. She is a beautiful girl with a full and vibrant personality. Her will is strong but I think it will serve her well in the years ahead (we think it comes from her mom's side). Cannot wait for our family & friends to meet her.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Joy feeding her Pooh Bear a water bottle.

Joy & family with her Nanny & Director of the Children's Institute.

Joy Rui Rui rocking out with her brother's Ipod.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Peaceful Moment Thursday afternoon

Hey dear friends and family,
This is actually Meg posting... The last 4 days have been a whirlwind and this is the first moment i have not had our new little one in my arms. She is napping on the bed behind me and Jim and the others are playing a game of billiards. I would call it pool except the table is so strangely huge and a gentleman attendant is there constantly to see if you need anything!!! The hospitality here is amazing and the Chinese people so gracious to us. We have occasionally gotten some disaproving looks but those are few and far in between.

Now on to Joy..... She is doing wonderful today!!! Though we cannot fully explain it, somehow being at the orphanage yesterday changed something for her. Though she sobbed when we left, she seems to now understand that we are her family and are not going away...(i think those first few days she kept wishing we would) The woman who raised her is an amazing loving woman whose eyes welled up with tears as we drove away. I am thankful beyond words for the love she has given Joy and know i am the recipeint of all her work. It was humbling how kind she was to me. She asked that we keep in touch with her and send her pictures of Joy in her new home.

Today Joy has a lightness about her and is proving to be quite humorous to us. Her nanny kept telling us how clever she was and we are seeing that quite a bit now. They said she does not like to play with dolls but likes more hands on things. She is reminded us quite a bit of her cousin Dale, trying to figure out anything from an IPOD, to the TV changer or the switch on the lamp!!

Thank you so much for your prayers. We leave here in the morning and are heading for Guangzhou where we are all looking forward to a Starbucks and some Western food. I think it will be a long time before we eat at Panda Express again!!!!

Love to all,

The visit to the Children's Institute

Wednesday, 7/23/08 at 9:30 PM, Zhengzhou. - We visited the Children's Institute today that has been Joy's home for almost two years. It was about a four hour trip each way with about 1 hour at the Institute, so a very full day.

The institute welcomed us and Joy with open arms. Joy lit up and smiled brightly for the first time since we have had her when she saw her caregiver; the women who has acted as her foster mother for the time that she had been there. Joy's caregiver is a very warm and caring person, and it was evident that she had shown Joy a tremendous amount of love over the last two years. It was encouraging to us and very touching to watch her hold Joy as she spoke to Joy and reassured her of her future with her new family. With Joy in her arms she pointed to us & refered to us with Joy as Mama & Baba (daddy in Chinese), and speaking of Mac, Jake, & Melissa as Joy's brothers & sister. We wish we could of understood all that she said to Joy, but there was no question that what she said was more than we could have asked for from the one who has cared for our new daughter from infancy.

We thanked Joy's foster mother from the bottom of our hearts and assured her that we would give Joy all the love & care that she deserved. It was evident that she was grateful that Joy would have something that they could never give her there, but none the less it was very emotional for Joy, her caregiver, and all of us. On the trip home we could not help but feel that something in Joy had changed just by the way she looked at us. Though you could see the sadness of her loss, there seemed to be a new recognition & acceptenace in her eyes of who we were to her now as well, and an ease we had not seen before. We are very grateful for this time, as emotional as it was at the time, and for the fact that Joy has had the opportunity already in her life to know & experience being loved; we know it will only help in allowing herself to embrace ours for her.

While there we got to see where Joy slept & played and to meet & see alot of her friends that we have seen previously in pictures & videos. The workers acknowledged us to the kids as their aunt, uncle, & cousins. We took candy, treats, and gifts and it was touching to see how grateful they were; they were so precious and you wanted to hug them all. We know at least two of these friends Joy will likely get a chance to see again as we are aware that adoptions are in process for them from our area. It was alot of fun to see the kids and to interact with them. The needs are great for all of these kids but it was encouraging to see how much the workers & caregivers were doing for these children, and to know that many of them will be on there way to new homes soon too.

We are sure that this blog will not do the day & its significance justice. We do have some photos but were having trouble downloading so will post some once we have it resolved. Thanks for your continued prayers for us, and add some for the kids and workers we had the opportunity to meet today. Thanks!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Day 1 with Joy!

Monday, 7/21/08 at 9:30 PM, Zhengzhou. - Our first night with Joy went real well. She slept a good twelve hours. Mom & Dad woke up about every hour checking on her. She woke up once and looked around at us and went back to sleep. We finally had to wake her in the AM to get ready to go to our meetings.

We went first thing in the AM to the agencies involved with the adoption and filled out and signed a lot of papers that were in Chinese. We even had our first family photo taken with all six of us and a government official with the Chinese flag as the back drop. I am not sure if we get a copy of that one but could make for a good Christmas Card 2008 photo. After returning to the hotel for lunch and a nap (and work out for the non-nappers), we returned at about 4:30 PM to the Henan Children's Welfare Institute to receive our Certificate of Adoption. They had a little informal ceremony in the one room office for us and three other families where they presented us with the certificates and congratulated us. It was fun to meet the other families this day as well and their new children. We stand amazed at the paths and directings that each of these people have followed to be in that room this day. One couple from the UK overcame great odds and three years to finally be adopting a girl that overcame great odds to even be alive and that they have foster parented in Beijing for over three years, and there this four year old sat with her popsicle enjoying her moment. They were an inspiration to even be in the same room with!

Joy is doing well! She seemed a bit sad today but that is to be expected given the radical change in her life in the last 24+ hours. We have pictures of her now smiling in her past so we look forward to the day when that Joy will come back to the surface. We know in the interim there will be a bit of a grieving process for her. Pray that she will be go through this period to experience real joy soon. Everything has gone smooth, we stand amazed that this little princess is now ours, and we are appreciating your prayers!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

We have our Joy!!!

Sunday, 7/20/08 at 6:00 PM, Zhengzhou. - We flew from Beijing today and arrived in Zhengzhou at 1:20 PM. Jenny our guide picked us up at the airport and informed us that at 3:30 PM we would be recieving Joy Minrui in the lobby of the hotel. We arrived at the hotel about 2:30 and by the time we checked in we had about 30 minutes. After going to the lobby they brought her out to meet us. Rui Rui (pronounced Ray Ray) as we are calling her right now, allowed herself to go right to Meg and sat on her lap. No crying, just her sitting and taking it all in almost very knowing. She is a little bigger than we expected and as cute and as perfect as can be!!! Jenny whisked us off to get pictures for our meeting tomorrow, and then across the street to a department store and supermarket. I am sure it was quite overwhelming for Joy, but you would not have known by how easy she was. I ended up carrying her through the stores for about an hour (my forearm strength is coming back). She & I along with Mac & Jake goofed off with her while we tagged behind Jenny, Meg, & Melissa as they shopped ahead of us. She smiled and pointed a couple of times with me at things, and then gave me eskimo kisses. She is precious and already stolen our hearts. She cryed briefly as Meg and Melissa got her out of her clothes and changed her. Right now she is snuggled back against Meg with Melissa on the bed watching some show that looks like "China's Got Talent"; it looks like it was enough to put her to sleep. As you can see from the time on this blog alot has happened in less than three hours today. We have ordered room service and are in for the night.

Joy just woke up when the food arrived. She sat on Meg's lap and ate noodles off of Meg's chop sticks. She loved the noodles & rice and ate plenty. By the way she recievd all the stuff we had sent her back in May and was dressed in the dress we had sent to her. All of the items were in the backpack we sent and was handed to us with her. It looks like we will be going to the orphanage on Wednesday. We will keep you posted.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Enjoying China!!!

Saturday, 7/19/08 at 9:20 pm, Beijing. - We had another great day of touring the area. Beautiful day with lots of sun. We have done the two day whirl wind tour and have seen alot! Went to the Great Wall today... some in our family climbed farther than others... there seemed to be direct correlation to age. Today we had people from the US, Japan, and Israel in our group. It has been fun to meet and connect with people from such diverse places. We even ran into the family we met last night at dinner at a tour stop today by the Great Wall. It has been really fun to meet others on their adoption journey here. We all hope to meet up again in Guangzhou in a week.

The people of China are absolutely incredible and very nice! A bit crazy when it comes to driving but it seems to work for them and surprisingly you see very few accidents. The whole experience so far is very different than what we expected (in a good way), and we love the people and have felt that Beijing is one of the safer cities we have ever been in. I think we all agreed that it is a place we would come back too!

Tomorrow morning we head to Zhengzhou! We can hardly wait to get Joy!!! We are counting down the hours. We know Zhengzhou will be a very different than Beijing but we are looking forward to it! Maybe next time we post we will have Joy with us.

Thanks for your prayers!

Friday, July 18, 2008

We're in China!!

Saturday, 7/19/08; 7:10 AM Beijing. - Yesterday was quite a whirlwind... We went to the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Tieneman Square and the Pearl and Silk Factories. We got caught in a rain storm like we had never seen before. Our guide said it was man made rain (yes, this is true, Mac saw it on the news before we left) and it poured harder than we have ever seen!!!
It seems amazing to be here. We were with a couple yesterday who is also adopting and it was so great to make a connection with them. Then at dinner sat next to another family whose consulate appointment is also at the same time. They will be at the consulate the same day we are in over ten days. We will all have our new daughters with us!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

We're on our way !!

We will be leaving on Wednesday July 16th and will plan to return with our new precious daughter and sister on Wednesday July 30th. Our plan is to try to keep this updated while we are in China so you can share in our adventure (and most importantly, keep us in your prayers!)
Love to you all!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008