Tuesday, April 30, 2013

There Is An Appointed Time For Everything........

Our trip consisted of a combination of Planes Trains and Automobiles, The Amazing Race and Somewhere Between (a documentary of girls adopted from China, a real tearjerker).
Every day we raced from one thing to another in a loaded van, some days by train and others by plane. Our days were jam packed. I think we fit 20 days into 10! To say it was an amazing life changing trip does not adequately describe my experience.

I think it can best be described Ecclesiastes 3: 1-15

"There is an appointed time for everything.  And there is a time for every event under heaven ~
2 A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up.
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
5 A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.
6 A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep, and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; A time to be silent, and a time to speak.
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace.
9 What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils?  10 I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. 11 He has made everything appropriate in its time.  He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime; 13 moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor, it is the gift of God.  14 I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.  15 That which is has been already, and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by."

I can see God’s hand in every aspect of this trip. He has changed my heart towards my girls and given me a better understanding of where they came from. I have such a deep respect for them…..what they endured and the places their hearts will go in the future. I came on this trip to help Pearl River further their goal and also to bring a piece of Janie’s past back with me. I did not expect to bring  a piece of Madeline’s past with me as well…..

I am grateful to every single minute I was able to experience, from meeting Janie’s foster parents to loving on some precious little ones who deserve to have a family of  their own. I am amazed by the human spirit God has given us. I got to see first hand the difference in a child’s eyes when cared for by a foster parent as opposed to being in an orphanage, truly a different light in their eyes……

Jenn will be doing a post soon on ALL the funny crazy things NOT to do in China…..we were definitely the “blonde” brigade! We have so many wonderful memories from this life changing trip….I’m sure Julie is still sleeping after getting rid of us!!!

I miss Julie so much, she has the biggest heart I know!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Time To Trust....

 We began the day yesterday in Zhanjiang going to a gorgeous park to visit our last three Pearl River babes...

the director of Zhanjiang orphanage, sweet Julie, Christina and one of the foster mothers

We then headed to the orphanage
I thought I was prepared...
seeing as we had already toured 2 already
I was relaxed with the anxiety of  meeting Janie's foster mom past


 What I saw, I was totally unprepared for.  I truly can’t put into words the magnitude of my feelings. I have seen many pictures of baby rooms in orphanages….yet the emotions that flowed through me as I walked in were overwhelming......seeing, smelling, hearing babies crying in cribs...a place so similar to what my girls lived in... gripped my heart in a way I've never experienced. Rows of babies laying in cribs, some crying, some merely looking around.....

There were 3 adjoining rooms: one for intensive care babies, the next for babies aged around 9 months to 2 years and the last newborns to around 8 months…..I’m totally guessing at ages but they were separated appropriately. 

My heart stood still as I picked up the first child. She looked deeply into my eyes and puckered her lips to kiss me. I think we kissed 20 times, I can say I believe all these children have been touched and held by the nannies since they all molded into us and were not afraid of touch. Each and every baby I held or leaned over and touched stared deeply into my eyes...I told each one of them that I love him/her...I prayed over each one of know the love of a family to call their own......that they will not be forgotten.....desperately trusting that God will provide for them..... the sins of this world overwhelming me. The thought that kept running through my mind was that even ONE day is too much for a child to be in an orphanage......the sad monotony of laying in a crib alone. That was the reality for both of my girls, thankfully not any longer. But what about all the others????

The only verse that gives me hope is Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

The truth is...... I do not understand any of this. I only know that I have no choice but trust in our God, knowing that our hope is in Him only....

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hengshan and Zhuzhou!

Yesterday we  traveled by train to Hengshan and then on to Zhuzhou. We left the hotel at 7 a.m. and returned at 9:30 so a wonderful LONG day!
at the airport

Another day filled with tears and laughter, sadness and joy……..emotions going from one extreme to the other. Truly…..a beautiful day in every way.

Our purpose in Hengshan was to visit the orphanage and meet their new director then to love on the three Pearl River babies… and love on them we did. They were so precious and loved getting candy and sunglasses of course. It is apparent that these children are very loved by their foster parents.

 The added bonus was that Diana got to meet her daughter Sienna’s foster mother and father since they are still fostering children for Pearl River. It was truly beautiful to witness. The other added bonus was that it was Diana’s birthday. We celebrated all day. I mean really, who gets to lunch and dine with two different orphanage staffs on their birthday???? The Hengshan director ordered wine with lunch to toast her. Ms Meng and Julie brought a cake.

 Over the years I have seen pictures of children in orphanages celebrating their birthday and they usually have the icing on their faces. Julie put icing on Diana’s face and said it is “Chinese tradition”. Who knew, I never could figure out why these kiddos had icing all over them!!

 My favorite part of lunch was when Julie poured the rest of the wine into her glass, toasted the director and downed the wineJ She said it is “custom” to show your appreciation to someone. It has been such a blessing to get to know Julie, she has the sweetest heart!!

a few random pics from the city

this was sitting on the counter at the restaurant we ate lunch at...
Julie said they do eat snake.....
but she does not:)

next up was a visit to a temple....

We were asked to not laugh before we went inside....
we may or may not have!!
just get an image of jet lagged teenage behavior and you get the picture:)

After lunch we hopped onto the train again and went to Zhuzhou and met up with the new orphanage directors there. Mr Pang was a hottie! Julie turned to me and said “he has a good face” and yes he did! You can decide for yourself from the picture lol

The Zhuzhou orphanage was the Cadillac of orphanges, very clean and the staff let us tour all the areas. The difference in this orphanage and the ones in Hengshan and Changsha are drastic, yet they are all orphanages with orphans.  We loved on some sweet babies…..and saw a wide range of special needs. There were several down syndrome children. This orphanage had therapy rooms, a music room, school rooms ect. We saw kids playing on keyboards and singing and others in classrooms.  One minute I was laughing and playing with a sweet child and the next minute I could have cried a river. Diana called me into the baby room since more babies were crying than could be attended to by the nanny. I leaned down and touched a crying baby’s face and spoke to him. He stopped crying and stared at me for a moment and then started cying again. My heart broke for this little soul. One orphanage my be a “Cadillac” and another not so much, but the fact remains the children in them are orphans regardless.

                                    Diana got some great pics in the orphanage...

Next up we headed up the hills to visit the Pearl River babies. Think four wheeling on pot holed dirt roads!! I can't believe I'm not sore from bracing myself over those holes! Our visits were fast and furious, handing out goodies and loving on those sweet precious babes.

this little girl was so excited to meet foreigners!

The emotions I am experiencing here in China have been extreme. One minute I am saddened by the surroundings these children live in and the next I see such joy radiating from a child regardless of her surroundings or health condition. The next minute I see a precious girl sitting on a couch in her little den not really interested that unusual foreigners have entered the room. The director tells us that her best friend has just been adopted and she is very sad.

 I am having a hard time processing all I have seen this week, so much to take in. Mostly I have seen the beauty of God at work in each and every tiny detail of this depraved world. I am honored that God chose me to be the mother of 2 precious girls from this country, orphans no longer but children adored by a mom and dad, sisters and brothers. It is my hearts desire that these sweet babies I am meeting get that forever family as well.

you can take a girl out of China 
but you can't take the China out of a girl!!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What It's All About......

I had the privilege of meeting Janie's foster Mom and Dad today
and what a privilege it was!

Our day started by going to a park to meet all the foster moms and children in the Pearl River program.
When I met Janie's foster mother we both hugged....
I was able to tell her through Julie how much I appreciate her love and care for Janie.
When we told her that Janie kisses her picture at night she started to cry...
it was a special moment for this Mom...
I gave her the book of pictures of Janie that I made her
and we both cried.....
a time I will cherish all of my life

looking at Janie's book:)

Before we went to the foster parents home we visited with the precious children at the park, went to lunch with the orphanage staff . At which time I inadvertently ate pig stomach, yep that's right!! It looked just like mushroom, who knew??? I'm not a fan.......
the rest remained on my plate!

We then went Janie's foster parents apartment
It was surreal driving through the alleyways,
destitute is a word that pops in my mind...
such a humbling experience

the stairway entrance to the apartment

Janie's bed which is now Hannah's in the main bedroom
I was also able to meet the parents son who has another bedroom

telling her a little about our Janie

I truly love this woman
what a gift she was for Janie and now to Hannah

I was able to meet her foster Dad as well
he said he loved Qing Zhong very much...
He smiled so big when we talked about her!
They had such a sweet kindness about them....
I was able to tell them how thankful we are to them
that Janie is who she is due to their love and care for her

I am overwhelmed by their quiet kindness
truly a special beautiful time.....
a drastic difference and a breathe of fresh air from yesterday
proof that God gently watched over my baby....

Meeting the kids was such a highlight and an amazing experience, a real heart changing time. I will be forever changed by this experience......

precious Hannah
I am in love
she is with Janie's foster Mom
need I say more




Hannah is very attached to her foster Mom
just like Janie was
absolutely precious

Leighton just stole the show:)

Julie with Hannah



Just love Hannah peeking around:)

precious Ms. Meng

this picture does not do her justice
what a sweet personality she has




LOVE this of Diana playing with Kelan and Quinn!

Each and every child was precious beyond words!
We were able to distribute blankets for each child
(read about that on Pearl River Blog stop by and sponsor a child:)
sunglasses, toys, candy 
hugs and kisses!

Tomorrow we head to Hengshan by train for the day
for another emotional heart changing day!

Such a special day with special friends!