Saturday, May 25, 2013

My Ways Are Higher Than Your Ways

"'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, 
nor are your ways My ways,' declares the Lord.
'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.'"
Isaiah 55:8-9

For the last two and a half years, God has been teaching me that His ways are higher than my ways, His plans better than mine.  Usually that cause me grief in the beginning.  This time was no different. 

Early last Wednesday morning (Tuesday afternoon in SC), we began our journey home from China.  There was nothing I wanted more than to be HOME, with my boys, to have all of my babies together at last.  It was going to be a very long journey, over 30 hours travel time, to finally have my arms around my boys.  We had to fly from Guangzhou to Beijing, Beijing to Detroit, and our last leg was from Detroit to Greenville, AKA, HOME.  The lay-over in Detroit was less than two hours, and we knew the timing was going to have to be perfect to get through immigration and customs, claiming luggage and re-checking luggage, to make it on that flight. 

But our idea of perfect timing and God's perfect timing were different.  Our flight did not arrive on time.  It was 30 minutes late.  Then, we waited another 15 minutes because the door of the airplane was stuck and they couldn't get it open.  Needless to say, even after the heroic effort of a wonderful immigration officer who whisked us through immigration and customs, who asked a Delta representative to call the boarding gate to ask them to hold the plane, and who ran ahead to the gate to be sure they didn't close it before we got there, God's plan was different, and we did not make our flight.  I was close to hysterics, begging the Delta people to get us home.  They found a flight leaving for Charlotte within minutes and whisked us away to that gate, with us arriving just as the last passenger boarded the plane.

I made a quick call to my mom to let her know that we had missed our flight, and much to my surprise, she already knew and knew we were headed to Charlotte. (That's my wonderful mom.) And then she said the sweetest words I could imagine, "We are on our way to Charlotte with the boys and will meet you when you get off the plane."  It was going to be okay.  My boys were going to be waiting. 

My seat was a middle seat, right between the two sweetest ladies I could have imagined.  I was still a wreck and apologized to them for being so emotional.  They were very kind, helping me with Meili while I changed her diaper and got her bottle ready.  And then God gave me the most incredible opportunity to share our amazing story with the lady on my right, named Kim.  She listened as I shared about all the miracles God had done to bring us to that moment.  She listened as I shared how much my eyes had been opened to God's love for me as His adopted daughter through my love for my new babies.  She listened as I shared how hard this journey had been but how it had made me realize how much more Jesus had sacrificed to adopt me.  She listened as I poured out my heart to her.  Toward the end of the flight, I wrote down my blog address for her on a napkin and gave it to her. 
Then she began to share with me.  She shared with me how she was going through a rough time in her life and how much she needed to hear this amazing story of our amazing God.  She said she knew that God had put me beside her and that us being on that flight was not a coincident.  I was able to share with her that our God is Jehovah-jireh, our Provider and how He had provided every single thing we needed for this adoption.  How He had made a way when there seemed to be no way.  How His plans were different than ours, but SO much better.  How we can trust Him with every detail of our lives because He is good and faithful.  How I knew He had good plans for her, to prosper her and not to harm her, to give her a hope and a future.

By the time we landed, I knew that I was right where I was supposed to be.  I knew God was at work, and I was truly thankful that His ways were higher than mine.  

And when I laid my eyes on my boys, there were no words to describe the joy in my heart. Oh, how I had missed them.  

God's plans are sometimes different than ours, and many times not what we ourselves would choose, but they are so much better.  I am thankful that He keeps teaching me that I can trust Him and His plan for me.  Praise His name!

And, btw, we are all doing great and very glad to be home! 

First Glimpse of Mom, Dad, Meili & Aaron Li 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Almost home!

This morning we have our last official appointment for our adoption!  We head to the US consulate in just a little while to apply for US visas for our babies!  This is the last thing we need to be able to bring our babies home!  There was a huge fiasco at the consulate last week and all families with appointments last week were delayed incoming home!  SO glad the Lord worked it all out so that our appointment was not affected.  We are coming home on Wednesday, Lord willing!
We had a fun day yesterday!  We got to take the babies swimming and they loved it!  It was the first day that felt anything close to a vacation!  Being in China with two new babies is HARD!  Washing clothes and dishes in the sink, having to boil water for everything, trying to make our way around without any Chinese language--everything is a challenge!  We have had a great trip but will be thankful to be home!  Counting down the minutes til all our babies are under one roof!   

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Shantou orphanage

On Thursday, we were able to visit Aaron Li's orphanage in Shantou.  We left early that morning, flying to the nearest airport, and then taking a bus into Shantou.  The orphanage sent a van to pick us up at the bus stop.  WE had a big lunch with the orphanage director (who was a lady), the lady who brought Yao Yao on Gotcha Day and our guide Becky and then we went to Yao Yao's orphanage. Everyone was so incredibly kind and it was obvious how much they loved Yao Yao.  We met his teacher that would always take him home with her on the weekends.  All the babies seemed very well cared for but it was still incredible hard to see them, knowing how much they needed a family.  Many of the babies had already been adopted and were waiting for their family to come, which was wonderful. 


In Yao Yao's file, it said that there was a note pinned to him when he was left at the orphanage gate that told his birthday.  I asked about that, and they still had a copy of the note.  I couldn't believe it.  The director made a copy of it for me, and I am so incredibly grateful to have this for Yao Yao when he is older.


We meet Yao Yao's best friend, who I recognized immediately because she was in almost all of the pictures I had received of Yao Yao during the adoption process.  She is five and is registered for adoption but still waiting for a family.  I hope and praying that God will place her in a family soon.  She was so loving and wanted to be held.  She loved playing ball and cars with Tollie. 


Yao Yao did very well, but I know it was hard an him and hard on his favorite teacher.  Tollie said she had tears in her eyes as we were saying goodbye.  It is so wonderful to know that he was in a place that he experienced such love.   I am sure that there are orphanages that are not like this, but it was obvious that the sweet sweet orphanage director really did care about those children along with the nannies.  I know that they will miss our sweet baby, but I am so very glad he is ours.  He is truly amazing, and all the prayers that were lifted for him were answered.  He is a joy, and it is obvious that he loves having a family. 

Yao Yao's best friend

Yao Yao's best friend

Yao Yao's nannies
Yao Yao and Baba in Shantou

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Around Guangzhou

Hello!  WE are busy busy busy in Guangzhou!  It is very humid and rains off and on.  Having two babies in a place that we don't understand what most are saying is trying at times.  Just trying to keep everyone fed is a challenge.  But we are making it with the Lord's help.  We are loving getting to know our babies, but we can't wait to be home!  Counting down the days until we hop on the plane home!  We went to Yao Yao's orphanage.  It is a trying day, but we are very glad we went.  When I have time to process it all, I will share more about our experience.  Keep praying for us.  We miss everyone.  Love to all!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Back in Guangzhou

Just wanted to let you know that we just got back to our hotel in Guangzhou.   We are exhausted but are so very glad we went to Yao Yao’s orphanage.  He is doing fine.  Will update with details and pics tomorrow.  Also, the consulate has reopened today so hopefully our appt. is still a go for Monday and we can come home Wednesday. Please keep lifting that up as we are really ready to come home!!  Love you all!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

God's Precious Gifts

So many times, God’s plans are different than our plans.  They are plans that don’t fit our vision.  And because they don’t, we usually don’t accept them very easily because they make us uncomfortable or afraid.  And this is what happened to us in January of 2012.  This is when God began whispering to our hearts that His plan for our adoption was different,  bigger, than our plan.  He began to whisper about another baby He had for us in addition to our daughter.  We wrestled with Him, doubted Him, doubted ourselves.  We laid out every reason why adding two babies was really quite impossible for us physically, mentally, emotionally, financially.  But He kept whispering (and sometimes shouting) to our hearts.  He told us to quit looking to ourselves and what we could handle and place our focus on Him because He can do anything.  And so we say, with fear and trembling, “Yes, Lord, have Your way.” And He did.  Miracle after miracle after miracle. 

And so, here we are, in China, and we now hold this precious gift that He had been whispering about.  This precious boy who is more wonderful than words can describe.  Whose name Yao means light and who lights up the room with his smile and sweet laughter.  This child who loves his Baba (Daddy) something fierce and wants to be in his lap or in his arms every second.  This child who runs to get his Mei Mei a toy or snack if she is crying and shares his cookies every time.  Who won’t eat his sucker until he knows Mei Mei has one too.

This child who runs to gather up all the dishes in the room when he sees his Baba washing dishes in the bathroom sink.

Who puts his shoes on top of Baba’s and make sure to get his and Baba’s hat before we leave. 

This amazing child who always wants to help eat Baba’s food, no matter what Baba is eating and says thank you (in English) when we tell him “Yao Yao is a good boy!”

This sweet boy who always wants to show MaMa when he accomplishes something new.

This child who has been placed into our family by the very hand of God

I am so humbled and thankful that His plans were so much bigger and better than ours and that He didn’t listen when we told Him it was impossible.  He just reminded us that all things were possible for Him.

He has blessed us with these two amazing babies and for as long as I live, I will praise Him for doing more than we could have ever asked for or imagined!  Praise His name!!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Aaron Li's Gotcha Day!

Today is a day that cannot be described in words.  It has been a day filled with so many different emotions.  So many questions and concerns about what toys to take, whether Aaron Li (we are still calling him "Yao Yao" right now) would like us or not, what his reaction would be and how in the world we would even communicate with him.  All the waiting up until now, and then, there he is, more beautiful and wonderful than we had even thought.  He was unsure about us at first, but the I-Pad won him over pretty quickly.  We spent over an hour at the civil affairs office with him, asking questions of his orphanage caregiver.  It was quite zooy to say the least, as there were 18 other families receiving their babies as well.  (We had no idea what a blessing it was with Meili until now because she was brought directly to our hotel room!)  As we left and got into the car, my sweet baby boy was trying to be brave, but as we neared our hotel, tears started rolling down his cheeks.  It was a full out sob as we were walking to our room, and he had MaMa in tears too.  I was crying out to Jehovah-Shalom to speak peace to his little heart and ours as well.  And He did.  

After watching a little bit of Praise Baby and playing with his toys, he was all smiles!  He has the sweetest laugh that is simply music to my ears.  We had to finish up some paperwork with our guide in the room, and when she left, it hit us.  Here we have these two Chinese babies, and we have to figure out how to care for them.  Even trying to decide what to do for supper was quite a task. 

But, we braved the Chinese restaurant called Food Street in the hotel.  Aaron Li packed up his toys and snacks in his monkey backpack (thank you, Mimi) and off we went.  He was the most adorable sight in his hat and backpack, with his picture book of Mama, Baba (daddy) and his brothers hooked over his arm, and holding Daddy's hand. 

We had a great dinner!  That boy can eat!  He kept taking his backpack off, taking everything out and arranging it on the table, then putting it back in and his back pack on again.  It was like he was just taking inventory to make sure it was all still there.  (And believe it or not, he is completely potty trained and goes right into the bathroom whenever he needs to go!!)

WE came back to the room, Skyped with big brothers and then started getting ready for bed.  He let me brush his teeth but wanted to keep on his same clothes for bed.  Who knows, he may not want to change, so we might be bringing him home in his original clothes, but whatever works for him is fine with me!

So now, the babies are asleep.  Aaron Li snuggled up with Daddy and was gone in no time!  I know we will have hard days, but for now, I think this is pretty close to heaven.  We feel His nearness, and our hearts are overflowing with joy and thankfulness for this incredible privilege to be called Mama and Baba by these two precious babies.  He has done more than we could have asked for or imagined.  Praise His wonderful name!
                                            On our way to get Big Brother!


     First moments with Aaron Li


Aaron Li, Baba, and his orphanage caregiver

Me and my Baba
Million dollar smile
Dinner Time!

All is right with the world. .. finally.





Saturday, May 11, 2013

Meili's Orphanage in Qingyang City

Ni Hao!  We are very thankful to have some pictures from Meili's orphanage in Qingyang City.  Our guide Melody has been there and shared some of the pictures she had taken.  We treasure every glimpse into Meili's life before she joined our family.  

Friday, May 10, 2013


Hey!  Just wanted to let you know we made to Guangzhou last night!  It was a LONG day of traveling, but Meili did great!  She had everyone wrapped around her finger in the airport and on the plane, smiling and blowing kisses!  So we got moved up to the front of the line at the airport!  Our flight was fine.  We even had a extra seat beside us, which was really nice. 

Guangzhou is REALLY big and a little overwhelming.  It doesn’t feel a whole lot like China, but our hotel is very nice and there is a McDonalds right across the street and a 7-Eleven right around the corner.  WE have loved the Chinese food so far, but, I must say, French fries and chicken nuggets were SO good last night.  Meili is officially American since she has now had French fries!

Our hotel is huge and has an outdoor pool and nice playground on the fourth floor.  Aaron Li is going to love it!  Our Gotcha Day for him is Monday at 2:00!!!

We are headed to sightsee and shop today for a while and tomorrow is a free day!  

 Keep lifting Tollie and Meili as they have a cold!  Love you all!