We are happy to be home. Hudson is settling in well and all of us are a bit less jet lagged. Finally!! Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement and thank you for following our blog! May God continue to richly bless you all!
Hudson is a perfect addition to our family. He is happy almost all the time, he eats constantly, he leaks through his diaper at least 2 times a day, he sleeps through the night, he attempts to stand up and he loves the cat. He is not really speaking yet although lets his needs be known through gestures, and shaking his head. Lauren suggested today that if he doesn’t learn to talk we need to teach him sign language. We have tried simple signs but he has not caught on yet. His favorite family member at present is Christian. He giggles at Christian and almost always drops something when Christian is present so that Christian will play the pick up and drop game. He is so adorable! He gets constant love and kisses and seems to enjoy every minute of it. We are blessed beyond measure! We can’t wait for you to meet our sweet little boy.
While we realize that many families will adopt, we do realize that not all families may be in a position to adopt. Regardless it is clear through God’s word that every believer is required to care for the orphan and we are called to visit the orphan as well as the widow as James 1:27 states “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
God says that Job was a blameless man and upright and that he feared the Lord and turned away from evil. In Job 31:17-22 Job makes his final appeal as to how he has lived a godly life and why he does not believe that his trials are a result of God’s judgment. Job states “If I have withheld anything that the poor desired, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or have eaten my morsel anyone, and the fatherless has not eaten of it (for from my youth the fatherless grew up with me as with a father, and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow), if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or the needy without covering, if his body has not blessed me, and if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep, if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, because I saw my help in the gate, then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder, and let my arm be broken from its socket. For I was in terror of calamity from God,
and I could not have faced his majesty.”
Job made it clear that he regularly cared for the needs of the poor, fatherless and widows because he feared God! This is quite an exhortation to us that is for sure.
Since caring for orphans and the fatherless is mentioned in both the old and new testaments we know that we all must be actively be doing something to help orphans. One of my friends shared the following list of ways that Christians can be involved in orphan care. I hope that this list encourages those of you not currently involved in orphan care to consider how you can become involved.
- Become a foster care family, this could be for a period of up to a few years or for respite foster care families for a night or two.
- Donate to nonprofits who provide financial grants to adoptive families
- Support families who have adopted with emotional support, meals, offering to help out with babysitting or driving children to activities
- Support a ministry that prevents children from being orphans like Embracing Hope Ethiopia www.embracinghopeethiopia.com or All Girls Allowed www.allgirlsallowed.org
- Go on short term missions trips that love on children in orphanages like Visiting Orphans, 163 Million Orphans or those offered by adoption agencies.
- Host a formula, diaper or other medical supplies drive for children in orphanages waiting for families. Show Hope has a list of most wanted items. www.showhope.org
- Advocate for orphans and waiting children by spreading the word through Facebook, blog posts, etc.
- Sponsor a child through a program that keeps families together in extremely poor areas such as Compassion International, etc.
-You can make a difference in the life of a child through your sponsorship. Love Without Boundaries offers many ways to sponsor individual children for care. Sponsors receive regular updates and photos on their sponsored children and get to see firsthand the difference they are making.
Sponsor a Child's Surgery
Sponsor a Child in Foster Care
Sponsor a Child's Education
Sponsor a Child at a Healing Home
Sponsor a Nutrition Project
We are sure that there are many other ways you can be involved in orphan care. Feel free to comment to this blog post if you have any other ideas. Thanks!
David Platt one of our favorite new writers says this about orphans; “We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do everything changes.”
In the grip of His grace,
Tim and Dawn
Well we have been stranded at the Hong Kong airport for 9 hours already! We hope to leave in 3 and 1/2 hours but we don't even have a gate to go to yet! We are afraid that after being here over 12 hours our flight will be either further delayed or canceled. Please pray that we are wrong. We have been hanging out in the play area and both boys have had a nap. We were at least given food vouchers and had breakfast and lunch here. We will eat dinner soon and sure hope we don't stay long long enough to eat breakfast!!!!! Thank you for your prayers! We still have a 15 and 1/2 hour flight home. If all goes well we will be home in PA by 3:00 am Thursday morning. Pray also for Tim to stay awake for our drive home from Newark Airport.
On a different note our adoption agency Bethany Christian Services asked if they could send our adoption story to the news media for a Valentine's Day heartwarming homecoming. Pray that God would be glorified if the media chooses to interview us. Thank you so much for your prayers on our behalf. We can't wait to introduce you all to Hudson.
In the grip of His grace.
Dawn and Tim
Well we are almost finished our trip! This morning we headed to the US Embassy to apply for Hudson's visa. The process was super quick and the government official in charge was pretty funny. You could tell that he really liked his job.
If all goes well we will have his passport and visa tomorrow by 4:30 pm. Once we have this we will immediately leave for a 3 to 4 hour drive to Hong Kong. We will spend the night and by 8:00 am on Wednesday morning we will head to the airport. Please pray for our 15 and 1/2 hour plane ride with 2 little boys!
Tim and I and the little boys walked to a different park and enjoyed the beautiful trees and flowers and lakes. You don't even feel like you are in a city. It was a lot of fun to walk around and we may even head back tomorrow since we only saw a tiny part of it!
Conner had the amazing opportunity to go to a safari park/ zoo today. He was able to go with one of the families that we are traveling with the Nelsons from Chicago. He loved it! Here is what he has to say.
Wow! Today beat combining ever zoo in America into one. I was blown away at this zoo/safari. We left the hotel at 9:00 and got back around 4:30. It was a really long day but it was well worth it. I was able to see a koala bear, hundreds of monkeys, birds of many sorts, elephants, and many giant pandas and even 1 of the famous 3 panda cubs. I was amazed at how big this place was. All I can say is if you ever have the chance to come here plan on coming to this zoo for 2-3 day there is so much to do.
I have much more to say about this awesome place I got am so tired. Goodnight.
We ended the day by going to a yummy restaurant overlooking the lake. The food and company were terrific.
Anyone who says that adoptive parents don't go through labor have never travelled internationally with a newly adopted child. We have seen little ones sobbing, we have seen big ones melting down when they can't buy something at every store, and we have witnessed tired parents tear up. This labor is a labor of love! One that every adoptive parent gladly makes.
When I was thinking again about adoption the quote that my daughter Lauren shared with me came to mind. When you ask yourself if you are ready to adopt you need to remind yourself that no orphan was ready to be orphaned. Don't ask yourself if you are ready to adopt ask yourself what would God have you do? If you think about it for a brief minute you will realize that God has already shown you what he would have you do. In John 14:18 God says "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you." God did not leave us as orphans nor should we leave the weak, lonely and defenseless little ones as orphans. Please if you are married, please if you are healthy, please if you have a job, and please if you are a Christ follower...please allow your hearts to be forever changed for the better.....please adopt a precious child!
Sorry we have not given an update for several days. We have been non stop on the go and we are exhausted. We had Hudson's medical visa appointment yesterday morning. They had him checked at three different stations. One station is with the doctor to go over the medical special need they did a quick check of his reflexes, they listened to his heart and checked him over briefly. At the next station they did a height and weight check and at the third station the doctor checked his ears, nose and throat. It was easier this time than with Wyatt. Wyatt had to also have a blood test to check for TB....thankfully Hudson is under two so no TB testing necessary.
Once we got back to the hotel we had to complete the final paperwork. Both boys had lunch and baths while TIm was doing the paperwork and Wyatt even managed to take a nap.
At 3:00 we went for a walk to the park across from our hotel. It is called the 5 Ram Park. We enjoyed visiting this park with our friends the Speers and Melingers last year. We went there twice last time and enjoyed time with sweet Beckah's family there too. This year we enjoyed walking through the park with the Nelson family. They live outside Chicago. They adopted a sweet boy named Shao Shao. They also have a biological son named Gabe who turned 9 while he was here in China. We enjoyed walking for 2 and 1/2 hours through this huge park. We fed the fish, we listened to a concert and Tim, Conner and Wyatt went on a pedal boat. It was fun to take photos at the same spot that we took photos last year. The park was all decorated for Chinese new year. Since Guangzhou is known as the city of the goat or ram and because the park is the 5 ram park and since 2015 is the year of the sheep the whole park was decked out with paper lanterns and amazing sheep and character displays. It was fun to walk around and take photos!
We enjoyed delicious Chinese food at the hotel restaurant for dinner! I ordered this yummy bread that someone shared with me last year. It had sesames on top and was baked with cheese and sweet onions inside....so yummy!!! I will want to have it again before we leave. Conner loved the sweet and sour pork.
Today we enjoyed a shopping trip to Shamanian Island. I was able to purchase almost all of our gifts at three of the little shops. We also had lunch at Lucy's a western style outdoor restaurant. It was fun to eat outside. It was a wonderful morning. Our friends the Nelson's even managed to visit a government church service that offered the service in both Mandarin and English. We knew that taking the boys there would be a challenge so we just walked around instead.
We have our US Embassy appointment tomorrow morning Monday and will get Hudson's visa on Tuesday afternoon. We then leave for a 4 hour van ride to Hong Kong and then fly out from Hong Kong on Wednesday and 15 and 1/2 hours later we land in Newark NJ on the same day. So amazing to leave on the same day that we arrive home! We miss our kids so so much! Please pray for these final few days of travel till we arrive back at home. We appreciate you all and your prayers for us!
Hudson is doing well. He is getting increasingly more comfortable with us. He is a busy boy! He has the sweetest smile and giggle and also an extremely strong will! He keeps us on our toes. He prefers Mommy but will allow Daddy to comfort him.
We can't wait for you all to meet him. Many blessings to all of you!
It is Conner here it is 10:30 pm right now after a real long day again. Everyone is sleeping besides me. We left the Hilton at 8:00 am after taking pictures with the general manger. We got to the airport over an hour and a half later. We then took a 2 hour flight to Guangzhou China. When we got here we left the airport to take about a hour van ride to our hotel.
We settled in then we all walked to outside quart yard. We stayed out there for an hour talk to another family with a little adopted boy and we let Hudson and Wyatt play on the little play ground. It is nice outside 54 degrees, I think that it is the Orlando Florida of China. (:
We the eat dinner in the room, played, and we had a good laugh. We then did a quick FaceTime call with the Kids. We got the 2 boys ready for bed and went asleep.
Anyways I am real life pooped and ready for bed. In fact I just fell asleep while typing this. Tomorrow Hudson is getting a shot so please pray that it goes well.
Yesterday was our first fun down day with no paperwork to complete. We started the day with our huge and delicious breakfast at the Hilton....made to order omelets, plenty of watermelon (All the boys favorite), fried rice and delicious Chinese fried noodles and perhaps another hundred options. We make sure to eat a huge breakfast so that we can just have a snack for lunch and then we only need to buy out dinner.
We enjoyed a few hours going to the same pigeon park where we visited with Wyatt. We even took photos of Wyatt at some of the same places that we took of him last year! So neat that the boys are from the same Province. As you can see from the photos feeding the pigeons was a highlight of our visit. Wyatt and Hudson loved scattering food and Conner loved the photo opportunities to have pigeons landing on his head. Wyatt couldn't wait to eat a sausage on a stick (he remembers eating this from pictures in our photo album). Wyatt and Hudson enjoyed their sausages on a stick....a quick lunch for two little boys.
Wyatt and Conner got to ride on a mini roller coaster. As Conner said it was the best $1 a person ever spent. The ride lasted 10 minutes. Conner was a good sport and Wyatt absolutely loved it. After the park we went to a little mall across the street from our hotel and we got Hudson some shoes and Wyatt and pair of jeans.
We spent the afternoon relaxing and visiting the hotel pool. Hudson decided he wanted to go in too. He loves the water and loves to splash. We don't think he has ever been in the water before.
He is pretty adept at using his left hand. We are looking forward to helping him learn use his right hand.....lots of hand therapy will be needed. Teri are you available? He is such a content little guy but when he does not want to do something he throws a tantrum to let you know. Thankfully this has only happened a few times.
Today we visited the Henan Museum. It was a very nice museum of local artifacts but the two little boys were not all too interested in seeing old relics. We left there early and headed to a brand new Apple Store (one more Apple Store for Conner to check off of his bucket list). Back to the hotel for snacks and hopefully an early dinner.
We leave by 8am for our flight to Guangzhou in the morning. We will need to be up early so we can be at breakfast by 7 or so. We will be in Guangzhou for 4 nights and then off to Hong Kong for one night and then HOME! We can't wait to see all of our precious children. We are missing them all.
Please continue to pray that the rest of our time goes smoothly especially tomorrow's flight. It is about a 2 and 1/2 hour flight and will be our trial run for our 15 and 1/2 hour flight back home. A long time for two little boys to sit still!
Good morning or should I say good night? It is 5:30 am Wednesday morning and 4 of us are up and ready for the day. Hudson is still asleep. Yesterday was an exhausting day. We were up by 4:40 am and left the hotel at 9:00 am and arrived back at the hotel at 8:00 at night.....one long day.
We went back to the civil affairs office where we received both boys to get our official adoption certificate. As we sat there waiting for the brief ceremony we were able to see all the moms and dads, and brothers and sisters with their new little ones. It was so precious to look around and see some sweet smiles on the faces that only 24 hours prior had been screaming. We had a little while to really see each one of these precious ones who were made in the image of their creator. On the surface some of them like our Hudson couldn't walk others were missing ears or eyes, some had cleft lips and palates, others were in need of heart surgery and still others were unable to hear.....but the one thing that they all had was a new mommy and a new daddy to love them no matter what. A new mommy and daddy who would introduce them to the Savior and who will teach them right from wrong, who will make sure they get plenty of food and who will read to them and tuck them in bed each night. What they all have is a family who has chosen to want them and to love them. Something every person needs and deserves.
After we left the civil affairs office we headed to the Yellow River Notary to have all of our documents notorized......this was quick and easy except that the office was on the 6th floor and there was no elevator to get to the top. Mommy carried Wyatt up these steps last year and Daddy carried him up this year. Thank God that Conner is with us to help Daddy carry Wyatt up the last few flights! Conner to the rescue again.
Next we arrived at the Zhengzhou train station at 12:25 to get our 1:00pm bullet train to the city of Sanmenxia to apply for Hudson's passport. Train stations in China mean lots of stairs and no elevators. Lots of exercise for all of us especially Tim and Conner who were carrying Wyatt and his stroller. Wyatt fell asleep on the train and we put him right into his stroller. We came to a huge stairway and were just about to take him out of his stroller to carry him down and a kind and strong Chinese man just picked him up stroller and all and carried him to the bottom. He then stayed with us and shared with us in his limited English how much he appreciated us and our willingness to adopt orphans. He teared up when he told me how much we loved children and he thanked us for adopting them. He was another sweet reminder of God providing just what we need even using strangers to help us.
Once we arrived at the police building we waited for the orphanage director to arrive with additional paperwork. A photo was taken and fees paid and the passport application was complete. We were thrilled to be greeted by Angela a young lady from Orlando Florida who spoke fluent Mandarin and English. She is a worker at the Sanmenxia Orphanage. I had emailed her only the day before we left to ask if we could visit this orphanage to see the room that he spent 17 months of his life. I received her email from a sweet friend Julie that we met on our trip to get Wyatt. One of her sons is from this same orphanage. How thankful we are that she shared this information with us. This orphanage stopped allowing visitors about a year ago however they made an exception and we were surprised to be allowed to visit his first home.
We were given the tour of his orphanage and we are ever so thankful! We were also permitted to take photos. They showed us his two different cribs and we were able to meet many of his baby nannys. They were all so surprised to see him. He has been in foster care since October and they all came up to him saying Shao Yu, Shao Yu! They were all surprised how much hair he had and how big he was. It was wonderful to see this place and document it for his life book. He was so so tired that he did not really react to seeing these familiar faces. Part of this we suspect was self protection, part exhaustion and part he had not seen them in over 4 months.
It grieved my heart to see so many babies and later little boys and girls and older boys and girls who still need to be adopted. Oh how it must grieve God's heart too! He must desire the church to wake up and to take his word seriously! He must desire for the church to put hands and feet to their faith and to rescue the needy orphan and to provide for them the illustration of the gospel. As believers we have all been adopted and when we adopt we are able to not only share the Savior with them but we are able to better understand our own adoption as sons and daughters of the King of Kings. If you would kindly pray that God would open your heart to welcoming one of these precious children into your family. We will pray too!
Wyatt woke up this morning and snuggled between Tim and I and leaned over and kissed me and said Mommy thank you for adopting Di Di. I love him! I am glad he is in our family. Then he asked me why all the babies and other kids didn't have Mommys and Daddys like him and Di Di? He wanted to know if they had to wait because their new Mommys and Daddys were filling out paperwork? Oh how I wish that could have said yes! That all of those precious children were only waiting till all of their paperwork was through to be united to their forever families. Please pray for the millions of orphans worldwide to find their families this year!
Yesterday was hard to put into words. First off we woke up a 4 am since we went to bed at 8 pm the night before. That wasn't all that bad since it gave us plenty of time to get ready for the day. We got to the civil affairs office at 10:30. This was the same place we met Wyatt for the first time just over a year ago. He said he remembered it but I think it was from the pictures he's seen. There were about 15 families waiting to meet their new baby or child. It's amazing to see the emotion on the faces of Mommy's and Daddy's when they first see their little one for the first time. Adoption is such a picture of the gospel when Christ first holds us when he adopts us into his family for the first time. Often the little ones cry which is a good sign that they actually attached to some caregiver and are grieving this loss. I guess its similar to way that we grieve over our sin when we are first brought into God's family. Dawn is reading through the book of Galatians and her reading yesterday was Galatians 4:4-6 "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because we are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying "Abba! Father!" May we all cry Abba Father daily as we realize the gift of adoption that he has given to us.
Well, we finally saw Hudson come through the doors and Dawn held him. He didn't cry at first as he looked like a dear in the headlights. His right leg and hand which is weak due to the stroke he had as a newborn was even weaker because of the recent break he had to his femur. At nearly two years his is unable to walk nor grasp any thing from is right hand. He is so adorable and precious. We stand in awe over the privilege of raising another precious child for the Lord. Wyatt loves him already and seems to realize that his Di Di (little brother in Chinese) is weak and needs him to protect him. When we got back to the hotel Dawn was able to get some smiles as well as a belly laugh. He loves the iPad, playing ball, and playing matchbox cars. He can't crawl well but rather scoots around. He loves doing whatever Wyatt is doing. We are so thankful to have Conner as our photographer!
Please continue to pray as we will be gone from 9:00 am until 7:00 tonight....more paperwork and another bullet train trip to Hudson's town he was born in to apply for his passport.
We just took our first bullet train! Quite an adventure! We met a kind Chinese man who helped us to navigate where to stand and who waited with us until we were all on the platform and ready to run for our train. If only 2 of us were going on the train with backpacks it would have been a bit of a challenge but doable. However, there were the 4 of us, six suitcases, 4 backpacks, a stroller, a walker and a little boy that needed to be carried. Did we mention that we needed to stand for an hour waiting in a mass of people for the train to arrive and then we had to push our way to the ticket collector and then down a huge flight of steps to the waiting bullet train. What a scene we made. Conner raced to the bottom with 2 suitcases, I rushed to the bottom with Wyatt, a stroller, and 2 backpacks. I waited at the bottom with the luggage while Conner ran up the steps against the masses of Chinese rushing down to grab 2 more suitcases. Conner got to the bottom and met Tim halfway up to grab one of the suitcases that Tim was carrying. Conner was the hero of the day!
Once were all at the bottom we began our run to the right train car...car 13! We ran for 5 minutes along the train to get to our train car. Poor Tim, running (hobbling fast) to the train with his ankle. We arrived about 2 minutes before the train pulled out! It was quite an adventure. Once on the train we were able to relax for 2 and 1/2 hours.
Once we got off we met our guide Danielle. She was the same guide that we had when we adopted Wyatt. She is so nice and it was wonderful to see a familiar face. We will meet her at 9:30 am this morning to leave to go and meet our dear little boy Hudson. We can't believe in just a few hours we will meet him! Please pray for him to not be afraid of us and that Wyatt will be able to handle Mommy loving on Hudson. We appreciate your prayers and will post photos later today which will be most likely during the Super Bowl! Many blessing to all of you!
Mother of 13 and writes this blog.