Monday, January 12, 2009

Virginia Bound

The picture above says it all...

We will try to add some addtional photos and/or video to wrap up shortly.

Last days in Guangzhou

This is a group photo of the other familes from Small World Adoption who became our friends and advisors during our week in Guangzhou. Between the eight families, they have adopted a total of 26 children. Many (in fact most) of the kids have been special needs (cleft palette, various heart conditions, club foot, deaf/mute, etc). These families have endured and sacrificed much to change the world by changing the life of a child...26 times over. We were honored to get to know them to have them as part of our journey.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bedtime Tuesday night...

Updates from Guangzhou

We've added some more photos and put a slide show at the bottom of the page. Today we visited the Guangzhou zoo in the morning. Jake had a good nap and we are going to pick up our laundry and go for a walk this afternoon. We are enjoying spending time with other families here who are also adopting. At least the kids can talk to each other and the parents can talk to each other....

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Medical Exam today

Jake had has medical exam today to satisfy a requirement for his US visa. The exam is done by the Chinese at a public health clinic. He got a completely clean bill of health. The doctors that looked at him wanted to know why he was "special needs." We gave them the original medical reports saying that he had a cleft. An ENT doctor looked at him and didn't find anything abnormal, so they had they had a second ENT look at him, who also didn't find anything wrong. Needless to say we are very grateful.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

More photos--January 1-3

In Guangzhou

We are happy to be in Guangzhou now. It is much warmer and the area immediately around the hotel is nice for walking. There are seven other families here in the same hotel who are all adopting through the same agency that we have used. Of the eight families, we are the only ones who are doing this for the first time. All of the others have adopted at least one from China before. There is lady here from Charlotte who is picking up their seventh girl...

Jake is doing great. Everyday he seems to adjust and accept us more. Today I asked a Chinese lady to ask him where his mom was, and he looked straight at Loree. He is full of personality and loves to talk. We can't understand most of what he's saying, but he's got an extensive vocabulary for a two year old. Several people have told us that boys are very much spoiled in Chinese orphanages, and he is certainly used to having his way. He's pretty stubborn at times, but in general has been very good and a lot of fun to be around. Here's video Loree took at dinner tonight.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Day

Happy New Year...

We rang in the New Year last night by going to bed at 8 o'clock. Today is our last day in Zhengzhou and we are looking forward to getting to Guangzhou tomorrow. Jacob is doing great. He sleeps well at night and takes an afternoon nap each day. It's tough to know what he may/may not be "going through" in his head and heart, but outwardly he seems to be good. He's got a great personality and is full of facial expression. He also seems to have a stubborn streak, during which we have started to call him "Chairman Mao." We are having fun trying to decipher his code and communicate with him. We are learning some essentials (i.e. bathroom, hungry, etc.). Yesterday we visited the museum for Henan Province, and this morning we visited a vista on the Li River that is the home to a couple of old emporers. It is a beautiful park for walking, but it is very cold today so our stay was short. As soon as Jake wakes up from his nap we will go pick up some clean laundry down the street and finishing packing the suitcases for Guangzhou.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tuesday morning...just a couple of quick photos and another video. Jake slept over 11 hours last night. We finally opened the blinds this morning to stir him. He's had a bath and we are going to get breakfast.

Another short video clip.

Meeting Jacob, December 29th

Monday morning, December 29th

It's been a whirlwind here this morning, but I guess this photo captures it. The orphanage workers brought Jacob from his orphanage to Zhengzhou on the train (4 hours) yesterday and met us at the hotel with him at 8:30 this morning. Since then, we've been to four different offices doing paperwork for the adoption. Now we have returned to the hotel for nap time. We are grateful that the day has arrived and that he appears to be happy and healthy.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


We arrived at the hotel this evening at 11PM after more than 30 hours of continous motion getting here. A lady named Miranda met us at the Zhengzhou airport and brought us here to the hotel. She works for the adoption agency and will be our guide through the process here in Zhengzhou. Loree crashed immediately. I've never seen her go to sleep that fast. She is trying to be at the top of her game for tomorrrow. Miranda told us that Jacob is already here and we will meet him tomorrow morning at the hotel at 8:30 before going to the Civil Affairs Office to begin the paperwork. We will get custody of him tomorrow and he will be here with us in the hotel tomorrow night. They have already set up a crib in the room for him. We got to talk to the kids via Skype on my laptop when we got connected at the hotel tonight. It was great to hear them...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We have not added to this blog since Thanksgiving at the cabin. It is Christmas Eve morning. A lot has happened in the past few days.

A week ago we got an email from Kathy at Small World telling us that many things had fallen into place quickly and that we had to be perpared to leave on Saturday, Dec 27th. Since then we've been in a real scramble trying to get prepared for the trip, leave the kids for two weeks, and come home with a 2 year old.

It's been fun to see God's fingerprints on all of this. We had hoped and prayed both to complete the adoption by Dec 31st and to be able to accomplish all of this within a year of the time we started. In the end, we will complete the adoption in China on Dec 31st AND be home on January 9th, exactly one year to the day that we first saw pictures of ChaoChao and agreed to adopt him.

We leave Richmond at 6AM Saturday and connect in Atlanta to a direct flight to Shanghai. In Shanghai, we have to transfer to another airport (2 hours by cab) to fly to Zhengzhou the same evening (Sunday) that we arrive. We will get the hotel late Sunday. On Monday morning, someone is meeting us to give us instructions. We believe that we will get Jacob sometime on Monday. We will stay in Zhengzhou until Friday completing the paperwork needed and waiting on his Chinese passport.

Friday, January 2nd we will fly to Guangzhou where we will file the paperwork at the US consulate to apply for Jacob's US visa. This will be complete by Thursday and will we return home on Friday the 9th, arriving back in Richmond at almost midnight.

As Christmas is all about The Child, we are grateful in this season for our new child who will be with us soon.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

This is a picture taken in July 2008 when Maddie and Jason visited the orphanage in Xinyang. ChaoChao took to Maddie quickly.

It is Thanksgiving evening 2008. We have spent the day with Loree's family at "The Cabin." Robbie is teaching us how these blogs work so that we can have a place to record and share details and progress of ChaoChao's adoption.

We tracked ChaoChao's Letter of Acceptance and see that it was received in Beijing today. We expect to receive our authorization to travel within the next three weeks. Once that is received our agency (Small World) will schedule appointments for us in the required places. We will first spend about a week in Zhengzhou (capital of Henan Province) to complete the adoption with the Chinese. When that is complete, we will go to the US consulate in Guangzhou to apply for a US visa for ChaoChao so that he can travel home with us. This will take another few days. If all goes well, we will have to be gone a total of 12-14 days.

We are hopeful that some of this travel will take place over Christmas break and that we will return home the first week of January. It could all have to wait until sometime in January, depending on how quickly the Chinese government responds to our LOA.