Sunday, November 20, 2005

 Journey to Mikayla

Today we dedicated our daughter, Mikayla Jian-Wei Lane, to our Lord and Savior before our Church Family. It took a while to happen, but then nothing about our journey has happened on our time, but God's time. I can't think of a better time to do it than the Sunday before Thanksgiving for we truly have something to be thankful for. November is also National Adoption Month, so we hope that we have continued to help that cause in some small way today. Below is a video (6 MB) set to music that summarizes our Journey to Mikayla...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

 The Essence of Dreams

A church member sent me this daily devotional:

September 9, 2005
Daily Devotional

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

All my life I’ve longed to own a little red pickup truck, but I could never afford it on my teacher’s salary. “Besides,” I admitted to my wife, “I don’t actually need a truck—I have nothing to haul.”
One day, on my way home from work, I spotted a small, red ’89 Dodge Ram 50 truck sitting on the Common Sense Cars lot, with $600 printed in large white numbers on the windshield.This is no showpiece. It has more dents than the moon. At 170,000 miles, it uses oil and it struggles to reach fifty miles per hour in a tailwind. It’s fully equipped with nothing, not even a radio.Then why do I love it so much? Because it’s red and it’s mine. I paid only four hundred dollars for it, so I don’t need costly insurance. I don’t worry about it getting dinged—one more dent would never be noticed. And, to my amazement, I’ve found a thousand things to haul.I was wrong. I need this truck. Something deep in my soul needed proof that dreams can come true this side of heaven, if I’m willing to modify them a bit. When I reduce my dreams to their absolute essence, there is hope.It reminds me of a friend of ours who wanted a baby more than anything in the world, but couldn’t get pregnant. Now she and her husband are the happy parents of a little girl, adopted from Taiwan.

What’s your dream? If you’re willing to settle for its essence, you may find that somewhere on this side of the rainbow, skies are blue.

Lord, I love You for giving me this truck, at last.

By Daniel Schantz

And Lord, thank You for giving us our daughter, at last.

Friday, September 30, 2005

 Finally Home

We got home yesterday at around 4:30 pm and was welcomed by a crowd of
family and friends. We had to make a stop at the restroom to make
everyone look a little more presentable after a rough day of travel
before coming out to the welcome. We had to get up at 4:30 am China time
(5:30 pm 9/28 CST) to get ready to go to the airport. The flight to
Japan was a nightmare cause Mikayla got sick. She was crying and
screaming and I couldn't get her to go to sleep, so one of the male
flight attendants asked if he could take her. He put a cloth on his
shoulder and picked her up and took two steps into the kitchen area and
Mikayla spewed everywhere. We thought this was kinda funny since he
probably wasn't counting on that and that 10 seconds earlier it would
have been on us. Well, 5 minutes later it was on us as we took her back,
she puked down my chest and then on Anita's lap. But after that, she was
fine and went to sleep. I had to change clothes on the plane and the
girls changed in Tokoyo. The flight into Japan was spectacular looking
at the ocean and the smaller islands and then getting to see Mt. Fuji
peaking up through the clouds. The flight out of Japan to Detroit was
just horrible with turbulence seemingly the whole flight. Mikayla
wouldn't sleep on me and Anita held her most of the flight. It was a
definite low point of the trip of running out of gas and going stir
crazy. I didn't sleep much and skipped both meals on the plane, Anita
ate some dinner about 3 hours after it was initially served while I took
Mikayla exploring around the plane. We met a missionary returning to the
US who had been to 12 different churches in China teaching. We got to
see the sun go down and come back up on this flight which is an
experience. I was aware when we got over Seattle and knew we were
finally over US soil, even at 35,000 feet. Mikayla slept through her
change of citizenship as we touched down in Detroit, but I filmed it for
her. There we had to go through Immigration and turn in her paperwork
and then go through customs and recheck our luggage. We finally got off
the ground after a delay and headed home on our 3rd flight of the day
(Mikayla's 4th flight in a week). When we touched down in Nashville, I
got chill bumps cause I knew we were home and the long hard journey was
over. The welcoming crowd was awesome, but not as much as watching both
grandmothers crying with anticipation. Mikayla seemed to warm to
everyone and was not scared or intimidated. Once we finally made it out
to the car, Mikayla got to try out her first car seat. This was a
welcome change to not having to hold a squirming child during
transportation as we had the past week and a half. After we finally made
it home through the traffic, we were welcomed again by gifts and food
and signs. Mikayla got to see her bedroom and the rest of the house.
Anita had to crash after my mother came over. Then Mikayla got her first
meal sitting in the high chair in the kitchen and her first bath in her
"ducky" bathroom. Then Mimi rocked her to sleep and she went into her
crib without a sound and slept all night. After that, I unpacked all our
stuff and made sure none of our keepsakes got broken, which they didn't.
Thank you Lord for our daughter, for safe travel, for the strength to
persevere, for an experience we'll never forget, and for appreciating
what we take for granted.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

 Last Post in China - Visa Day

Mikayla has her US Visa and we are ready to come home!!! We went to the
US Consulate today to get the visa and to take the oath saying that all
the paperwork we have turned in is "accurate to the best of our
knowledge". We were not allowed to take pictures inside, I wish I could
have video taped it. There were about 150 people in there taking the
oath and getting visas for their children. It was so nice to just see an
American Flag. We came back to the hotel and had one last dinner in
China down in the hotel. We then did some final shopping for some
artwork to hang up in the house. We have just finished packing and it is
going on 11 o'clock. We have to have our bags out in the lobby at 5 am
and be ready to leave at 5:45. Our flight leaves at 8:20 for Tokoyo and
then to Detroit where we will have to go through imigration and customs.
This is where we will turn in the final immigration paperwork and
Mikayla will be a US citizen as soon as the plane touches the ground in
Detroit, which should be around 12:40 pm CST. We are scheduled to land
in Nashville at 4:15 pm Thursday afternoon. We will call family members
once we get in Detroit to let you know if everything is still on time. I
will also be able to send an email from the airport if we are going to
be getting in late. Can't wait for sweet tea, air conditioning, English
speaking television, football, baseball playoffs, going to Church,
seeing family, and watching my daughter go into her room for the first
time. See you on the other side of the world, Lord willing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

 Group Day

Today was another fairly easy day for the most part. I had to wake
Mikayla up so we could get to breakfast on time, she has been sleeping
well despite the night coughs she is having. Mikayla is full of energy
and is into everything and will eat anything and often. It's like she's
been let of jail and sees the world for the first time and wants it all.
There were so many people at breakfast, we had to wait for a table. The
hotel is at capacity with mostly adoptive families. After breakfast, we
had to wait in our rooms for several hours while our coordinators were
at the US consulate processing our paperwork so they could call us if
there was a problem (we didn't have to go for a change). This was
designated playtime in the hall for lots of babies, they made a mess
that the hotel probably wasn't happy with. Everything checked out and
then we were free to leave the room. We did some more shopping after
lunch and then came back for a nap. We are so exhausted, I can't even
put into words how worn out I feel. We then got ready for the group
pictures in the hotel lobby which was sort of a fiasco but tradition.
After that, we went over and had a meal together one last time paid for
by CHI. Two couples will leave tommorow evening after we visit the
Consulate to get the Visa and to take the oath, most of the rest will
leave Thursday morning very early including us. It cannot come soon
enough. We have been so blessed on this trip with safety and protection
and pray that it will continue as we travel home. I posted video of the
Physical exam and some pictures from today on the web site.

Monday, September 26, 2005

 Shaiman Island

We are having a good day today on Shaiman Island- land between rivers
here in Guangzhou. We got Mikayla's VISA picure made this morning and
then went and had her medical exam. This was really rudimentary (how do
you like that big word) She weighed 20.4 lbs and is 75 cm long, had a
normal temp, could hear sounds on either side, and they opened her
diaper and barely looked at her parts. She only got upset when the
nurses took her from me to weigh her and she didn't see us. We shopped
some buying a dress for her dedication and chinese night clothes, a
puzzle of China's provinces. We also got a very small pearl bracelet
that she is wearing now- looks so sweet. She had her first puke before
lunch today right after she had her bottle. We handled it well. She is
down for a nap now, HA, HA, she is playing in her crib. I am finally
feeling better, the congestion is not in my head anymore. We got to see
soldiers practicing hand to hand combat today on our walk to the
medical, but we were not allowed to take pictures or video. Yesterday
an armored vehicle was at the bank next door and there were two,
seriously packing, soldiers on either side of it. The White Swan Hotel
is quite breathtaking with jade sculptures, porcelain artwork, silks, a
koi pond and waterfall, fresh cut flowers everywhere. We are definitely
more comfortable here, and I realized today how very close we are to
heading home!! Then more change for Wei-wei. We did see her concern
when we changed hotels- she was very clingy and uncertain about her
surroundings, but she is fine now. Getting her to bed and diaper
changes have become easier. Mark is the bottle maker and I am the
diaper changer- I definitely got the wrong end of that deal, literally.
We are off for a Thai dinner tonight and hope to squeeze in a massage
before we leave- only 8 dollars for 50 minutes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Some
things in China are better after all.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Today was a pretty easy day, nothing official to do. We took our time
getting up and ready to go to breakfast (though Mikayla was up at 6 as
usual and we got her a bottle). I took our laundry over to be done and
then we went to the local church. It was pretty interesting to see and
great to be a part of. The place was packed and they sang 3 songs in
Chinese and one in English with words projected on a screen. After that,
a message was taught out of the book of Jeremiah. They did reference
Jesus as Christ and spoke of his sacrifice and of forgiving sin, so I am
not sure of the information that I am getting but it seemed to not be
restricted on what they could say. I got up and took Mikayla out early
and bought a Chinese translated Bible for her as a keepsake and then
talked with one of the musicians who was standing at the gate. His name
was Aaron (Moses' brother as he pointed out) and he was selling
Christian music CDs (country, gospel, contemporary) and he told me that
he was doing this because they were not allowed to sell them in the
store. He was amazed when I told him that I was from where all that
music was recorded. I told him that I would not buy one so that he could
have more to sell to those who don't have access to it. The rest of the
day we just spent shopping and napping and now I am up late typing this
note cause they just dropped off the laundry (it's a quarter to
midnight). There was a huge media circus here tonight due to some Hong
Kong government people here or something. There was at least 2 dozen
reporters and as many camera men running around and police cars outside
the doors. Guangzhou has definitely been a nice change from Nanchang, it
is much more comfortable and the hotel is 10 times better. We go to take
Visa pictures and get the medical exam in the morning which should be a
stressful day for both parents and babies. We ran out of minutes on the
cell phone, which now works in Guangzhou. I will look for another card
tommorow. In case you haven't been looking, there is additional pictures
and video on the web site.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

 Mikayla's Birthday

Today is Mikayla's 1st birthday!!! We just celebrated with all her
buddies from the Jian City Orphanage at a local restaurant in Guangzhou.
We had a birthday cake for Mikayla and Leah whose birthday is also
today. We are now at the White Swan Hotel and thankful to finally have
working air conditioning. It has been such a miserable time the last
couple of days, the service in Nanchang started getting pretty bad. We
went porcelain shopping yesterday and then spent the rest of the day
sweating and packing. We did go out with a few families for one final
Chinese dinner in Nanchang with some local cuisine. I also got a
dragonfly kite for Mikayla's room, I haven't checked to see if it got
broke yet in the flight. The clear glass was broken on my framed
porcelain and one of Mikayla's tea cup saucers got broke, but nothing
else. I hope to ship some of this stuff home via FedEx or UPS rather
than check it on another flight. I went out to get water and to look for
Mikayla a birthday present and I met a girl named "Sweet" working at one
of the shops. She was wearing a Jade cross necklace and she asked all
about me. She started talking about her Bible study and asked if I
studied the Bible too. I told her yes and showed her my necklace and got
to explain how to say Jesus in English, something she didn't know. She
invited us to Bible study tommorow at one of several times. We will
probably go check it out and see what kind of service they have. I do
know that they are not allowed to speak of the resurrection and
salvation but I guess it's better than nothing to get people in the Word
and let them discover on their own. I ended up getting Mikayla a pair of
squeaky shoes that were her size and since she is walking, it made for
good entertainment. She loves them. I see where the hurricane came
ashore in the US, there is a typhoon that is passing just to the south
of us here. We got some of the rain today. Besides church and laundry,
we don't have anything we have to do tommorow. I wish I could say I
could sit back and watch some football and the race, but not only don't
we get it here but it won't come on till we go to bed tommorw. I am so
ready to come home...

Friday, September 23, 2005

 Missing home

Our last full day in Nanchang and it couldn't come any sooner! We stay
hot and sweaty since there is no air conditioning in the hotel common
areas- dining room, lobby, hallways- or in any of the local restaurants
or shops. I am missing so much of home. I realized this is the longest
we have gone without going to church worship in several years, and I
yearn to be with a body of believers singing praises to God and hearing
the Word. We don't realize how blessed we are to have 3 services a week
to sustain us. There is a church in Guangzhou that has service in both
Chinese and English that we hope to attend. It is non-denominational,
but the Chinese have to register if they want to attend and then they
can get a Bible. They use the Bible, but they don't preach salvation
through Jesus Christ. I miss communication with my family. I miss my
dog, and Mark and I both have said to Wei-wei, "No, Amy." I miss
vegetables. I miss drinking water and brushing my teeth from the tap.
I dont miss TV, which we haven't watched since leaving home. I miss
having a place for everything and everything in its place- well, most of
the time. Tomorrow is Mikayla's 1st birthday, and we plan a party in
Guangzhou with the 12 other families in our group so stay tuned....

Thursday, September 22, 2005

 Slow Day

Yesterday was a slow day for us, we needed the rest. I needed to be able
to have more than one cup of coffee at breakfast, we've been so rushed
all week. We skipped the countryside tour, though I have posted some of
the pictures another couple took. We decided to walk up the street to
the pedestrian walkway, which is a closed down street with shops on both
sides. We bought some clothes to wear for all three of us and a Chinese
dress for Mikayla next year. We tried not to do too much shopping here,
but we had nothing else to do. It was really nice and cool here, but
very windy. Because of this, yesterday was the first day we had people
coming up to us telling us to pull the pants or sleeves down on the baby
if any skin was showing. Yet, you got other kids running around with
their butts and fronts hanging out in the split pants. Anita now has a
cold but I am feeling better. One of us had to go down and do a bunch of
paperwork, but Anita needed to take a nap and the Mikayla wouldn't, so I
took her with me in the carrier (we have better diapers now). I was the
only parent with child strapped to my chest as I did paperwork (she
slept through the whole thing). Afterwards, we had playtime in the hall
with several other babies. Here we found out why Mikayla is bigger than
some of the other babies her age from the same orphanage; she steals
food. We did more walking practice and she can now walk about ten feet
unassisted. Anita had her walk a certain distance, turn around and come
back. We also had a good bath in the sink where she actually had fun
playing with the bubbles. Today is our last full day in Nanchang and we
go to get Mikayla's passport. We are also going porcelain shopping.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

 Jian City

Yesterday we traveled down to Jian City where Mikayla's orphanage is
located. Five families got into a bus that we rented and headed south on
a 3 hour road trip and it was tough. I guess it was a good preparation
for the plane trip home, but the plane does not dodge oncoming traffic
and hit pot holes at full speed. New experience: if both of your lanes
are full of cars, use the other side and play chicken with the bus
heading right towards you. It was still so hot that you don't want to
even go outside, but this was a unique opportunity that not all families
had so we were compelled to do it. Driving down we got to experience the
countryside of Mikayla's home province which is mostly agriculture.
There were lots of people out working their fields with the big conical
hats that you associate with Asian workers and there were lots of water
buffalo. We passed by some oyster farms for cultivating fresh water
pearls. This was our first trip outside of a major city, so now
everywhere we go we are a big hit because people are not as used to
seeing foreigners. People will crowd around you to see the Americans
with their babies as if you are famous, or crazy. We stopped at a "truck
stop" so that some screaming babies could get a break and changed
diapers, and in the store every one of the women working in the
restaurant came out and watched us shopping for drinks. We finally made
it to town which is a decent sized city but still very poor looking over
all. Even Nanchang where our hotel is looks beautiful and new one way
and disgusting in the other direction. Our guide explained to us on the
way that Jian is known for their intelligence and that some people send
their children to Jian for one year when they are older to prepare them
for the entrance exams they are required to take to graduate high school
and to get into college. We pulled into the orphanage and right off it
looks deserted, like a ghost town (no parked cars, no people outside, no
kids playing, no water in the fountain, weeds growing up everywhere,
piles of trash, etc.). We go inside and we are greeted by some of the
nannies that we met earlier in the week. Let me preface the rest of this
again by saying that I believe the women working here truly loved and
cared for the children the best the could but it was obvious they didn't
have much to work with. We were being ushered upstairs and it apparent
that we were being kept from seeing certain things. One of the nannies
came out of a room to see us with a baby in her arms which looked like
she had some head surgery or at least some cuts and she was immediately
told to go back inside so that we could not see them. There was no air
conditioning to speak of except for one unit in one of the play rooms.
We go into a meeting room so that we can meet the director who I never
saw smile. He seemed very cold to me, like doing this was just a means
to provide for himself and nothing more; the babies were a commodity.
His wife, however, seems to care for the children very much so it is
comforting to know that she was there to persuade him. We were taken
into one of the playrooms which had a few walkers, no toys or anything
to play with. The walkers that you see in the referral photos are very
old and grungy, fabric is rotting off of some of them and covered with
mold. We then saw the bathing room that had 4 large sinks for giving the
babies a bath, which I don't think happened more than once or twice a
week I would guess. Then we went to the bedroom which had these little
beds put together in twos side by side. There was total of about 16 beds
in this room and all they had for padding was a bamboo rollout pad (i.e.
no padding). They showed us where each of the babies slept and who they
were beside. Mikayla was right between two girls who will be living in
middle TN and we will be able to visit from time to time, isn't that
amazing? The babies that were currently in here looked so sad and
pathetic, one of them was obviously sick and covered with some kind of
white powder. They all had about a 2 foot cord tying them to the bed. It
wouldn't keep them from falling out but just from leaving the bed and
into the next one. I think we all tried to keep ourselves composed and
to not focus on thinking that our children had been here for one year in
these same conditions, or else it would have been too much. This was
more like a research project, gathering information to have later in
life when questions are asked and leaving emotions at the door. We said
our goodbyes and left and then went by the spot where Mikayla was found.
Two of the girls where found at the orphanage gate, other than this, we
were the only one from the entire travel group that was taken to the
spot where our daughter was found. It appeared that the place where she
was found has undergone some rennovation and new construction so it
doesn't look like it did last year. We were invited to lunch with the
coordinator which was the most interesting yet. When someone scooped a
chicken's foot out of one of the dishes and then pointed out the head, I
was done eating. It was explained that separating the head and feet from
the animal would not give it an opportunity in the next life. When we
left the restaurant, we had to wait for our bus and so we started
attracting a large crowd on the side walk. It starts to get a little
unsettling. One last stop before we headed out was to go by the
appliance store where we as a group bought the orphanage an air
conditioner. Sometimes, the only way the orphanages get anything is
through these private gifts. The fees that are paid up front go to the
government and getting those funds applied back to the orphanage is
questionable. It was much appreciated and our coordinator was very happy
that we did this. We left the city feeling drained and hungry. Our guide
ordered pizzas for us to be delivered to our rooms when we got back.
After pizza, I went out and got Mikayla some baby food because it has
become apparent that we are not feeding her enough. She ate carrots with
apples and then apples for dinner prior to her bottle with formula and
rice. She did not want to go to sleep so we all crashed on the bed and
she fell asleep between us. I later woke up and put her in the crib and
she didn't wake in the middle of the night as she has the past two
nights. Today, we are going to take it easy and maybe go shopping. It is
supposed to cool off and we need clothes. One week before we head home...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

 The Day After the Day After

Today was also another first...first time getting pee'd on carrying
Mikayla around in the baby carrier in a leaking diaper. By the end of
the day today, I think we are starting to see what kind of child Mikayla
is: extremely active, aggressive, and she cracks herself up. She will
just sit and play with an empty box and laugh. Over the past two days,
we have spent at least 6 hours just sitting on the bed playing. It's too
hot outside to do much else. We went to McDonalds for dinner tonight and
had to take a taxi. I can't believe how many more people were on the
streets tonight and how much imminent danger they all seemed to be in.
It seems like the taxi drivers actually aim to hit people, especially
bicycles, like they have no business being on the street. I also had an
experience today at the supermarket with my necklace. The cashier
motioned to the woman at the cash register next to her about what was on
my neck and said "heysus eye knee" which of course is not the literal
spelling but how it sounds when they say "Jesus Loves You". She then
waved to the cashier on the other side and they were all smiling. We
have learned allot about the underground church over here through a
couple in our group. I believe there are allot more Christians over here
than the world is led to believe. There is actually more Christians here
than in the US, but percentage of the population is much less. Now, to
finish my post from Sunday, now called "Forever Day" instead of "Gotcha
Day".....After spotting Mikayla, they called our name and we had to show
our passports before they would give her to us. She did not seem scared
at all, I think we were more scared than her. It wasn't long before they
ushered us back out to the bus to take us back to the hotel. When we got
back to the hotel, we had 15 minutes to go up to the room and get our
paperwork and be back down in the meeting room to fill out forms and ask
the nannies questions. I don't remember all the questions we asked or
what the answers were, but I have it all on tape. All of the nannies
seemed to really love the children and wanted to play with them. Now,
since it was Mid-Autumn Day which is like Thanksgiving and a big family
holiday where family usually travel great distances to be together for a
meal, we decided to invite the nannies to dinner with us and celebrate.
The nannies had to stay in the hotel because it was too far to travel
back. I bought some mooncakes at the store to give them and passed them
out and then after dinner, we got to go be with them one last time and
let them hold and play with the children they've raised for the last
year. I also got each of the nannies to write a note to Mikayla for her
later in life. I don't know what they say yet. We are going to the
orphanage tommorow so maybe we will see them one last time, but only 1
of the 3 orphanages represented in our group has this opportunity. So
now, I direct you to the web site for Day 7 pictures of Mikayla's big
smiles and video from Sunday of the big moment. (Direct link to Video


Since our last post we have experienced many firsts- first cries, laugh,
restless night, and bath. She cries now when i change her diaper, and
she had a good cry when i put her in her night clothes. Her first laugh
was at the notary office when Mark threw her up in the air. She also
laughs when we plays ball with her and is giggling right now as I type
playing ball with Daddy on the bed. She bit his finger- another first.
She woke in the middle of the night upset but her diaper was clean. She
was up about an hour. We gave her the first bath this morning and it
was traumatic. There is a baby tub here with pictures on the bottom.
She cried the whole time, but was happy to get out and be wrapped in a
towel in Daddy's arms. She does wonderfully in the baby carrier- we
were out all morning yesterday and today and she is content in it. We
experienced Walmart China yesterday. First floor is food and second
floor is basics. There is a ramp escalator between the two. Wei-wei (
we will transition her name when we get home since she responds to her
given name) has two dimples below her mouth in the corners when she
smiles. We visited a palace today that gave a beautiful panoramic view
on Nanchang. We will be traveling to her orphanage tomorrow 2 1/2 hours
away and hope to see her finding place. Mark is struggling with an
intestinal bug so please remember him. We are enjoying parenthood!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

 The Day After

Mikayla just got up and she still has not cried and slept all night
long. I am amazed at how comfortable she seems to be in what is
defintely a strange place for her. Waking up in a room with two strange
white people could be a little frightening :) Last night, I was falling
asleep at the keyboard as I was trying to post the pictures and did not
have the energy to write anything. Apparently, our phone is not going to
work here because I have no service. The internet connection is slow so
I doubt I will be able to post any video, but may try later. We
definitely have more video of yesterday than pictures. Everything
happened so extremely fast yesterday that we couldn't compose ourselves
or have things ready. When we stepped off the plane yesterday, it was so
extremely hot and muggy here. It was about 95 degrees and 90% humidity
but it felt so worse I guess because we were on the runway and parking
lot with the extra heat. The bus did not have good air conditioning so
we were all sweating profusely. We then got to the hotel and had one
hour to unpack and get our things ready to go to the adoption center but
I had to spend most of that time going to the supermarket to get formula
for us and some of the other couples. Therefore, I was late getting back
and we were last to get on the bus. It took about 5 minutes to get to
the center and we all walked in with us bringing up the rear cause I had
to get all my gear hanging off me correctly and then I helped another
mother change the tape in her camcorder. So by the time we got in there,
we were coming in behind the babies, sort of behind the scenes. To give
you an idea, the room where we got the babies was the exact room that
was in the movie that most of you saw "China's Lost Girls", which was a
long narrow room with two parts. We came into the room where the babies
were being held and I stood there taking video from a different bxcvcnt
(Mikayla says hi here as she sits on my lap and pounds the keyboard)
angle of all the couples as they got their babies. So, as Anita said, we
were in the room looking at all the babies and didn't see Mikayla or
didn't recognize her. Then, she appears out of nowhere behind us and
smiles at us immediately. It was so amazing and so chaotic at the same
time. I am going have to end here and finish later today cause we have
to leave for lots of paperwork this morning. So family, we won't be able
to call right now but will try later. Please send us emails. Love,
Mark, Anita, & Mikayla

 Forever Day

Praise God and thank you for your prayers!!! She is ours and we are
hers forever!! Today was unbelievable! (And we thought we were
exhausted last night, ha!) Mikayla has not cried the first
time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The only time she started to was when we got
back to the hotel with her and just for a second neither one of us was
focused on her. She does not seem phased by anything. Even a 15 minute
long clothes change. When we went to meet the babies, Mark and I were
at the front of the room where all the nannies and babies were, but we
couldn't tell which was Mikayla. We were to be the 10th of 13 families
to be united with our child. after awhile a nanny walked up from
behind us, and I was close enough to look at the baby's ID- Ji Zhou
Wei!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mark and I started talking to her while the nanny held
her- we had to wait until they called our names and checked our
passports before she would be handed into our arms. Her favorite toy
was her ID badge. We didnt have time to make a bottle before we had to
be back to the lobby to do paperwork and be able to ask the nannies
questions. She ate Cheerios very happily and liked to play with the
small container. She threw down the toys we tried to give her except
for a very small board book. Mikayla and I sat in the floor and she
mostly entertained herself while Mark did the paperwork. She also liked
to play with the travel roll of toilet paper (if you don't know about
Chinese toilets, i'll fill you in when we get back) She has a runny
nose and cough but she is not fussy. She eats like a horse- rice and
steamed eggs tonight along with Cheerios and two bottles. We got to
spend a few precious moments with the nannies who obviously love her
very much. When we got back to the room after dinner- which I never
managed to be able to hardly eat- she played and played with her
stacking cups. We wondered how to get her to bed- a bottle does the
trick. She is already walking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are in trouble
when we get home!!! She is interested in everything- the cameras,
etc. She even went back and forth between me and the nannies without
getting upset! I know you were bathing us in your prayers, and God has
extravagantly answered with a beautiful forever day!!!!


Saturday, September 17, 2005

 Forbidden City & Great Wall of China

We are beat. What a whole lot to cram into one day. We started out as we
have every day so far by eating breakfast, except we had not only our
whole group in the breakfast room but lots of other adoptee parents who
all came in yesterday. We have been waking up at 4 am for the last 3
days so our days have been long. We all boarded a bus and went to
Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. The day was absolutely
gorgeous, especially compared with the last few days, with blue skies in
the mid 70s but windy. There is a lot of work going on everywhere we
have been in preparation for National Day but they were also working on
several permanent monuments in the Square for the Olympics. We did a
whole lot of walking across the square and through the city. The place
was pretty packed with tourists, both foreign and domestic. One
interesting thing happened while I was sitting on a wall next to some
young girl. Either her friend or sister came over and sat between us
having given her camera to her dad and they leaned over towards me with
"peace" signs held up a smiled for their picture with the American.
After the tour we went and had Peking Duck for lunch near the CHI office
and then went over to the office for some "orientation", which was more
like a perspective Powerpoint presentation promoting more adoption,
especially boys with special needs. Then we piled back on the bus for
the 1 hour trip to the Great Wall. Only a couple of people made it to
the top of the section we were at and I wasn't one of them. Anita,
David, and I made it further up than most and got our engraving at the
4th tower that says "I climbed the Great Wall..." Afterwards, we came
back to the hotel and went to Pizza Hut for dinner. Here they have a
salad bar which seems to have fascinated the Chinese people. Everyone at
the bar would take great strides to pile as much onto a bowl as humanly
possible. They would go in layers and build up and out as they added
things, placing things with great precision so as to fill up all air
pockets and create a firm foundation for the next layer. One woman was
at the bar for at least 20 minutes and made about 5 laps. Tommorow is
THE DAY and we are spending our last night alone together too exhausted
to move from all the walking and climbing. We fly out at 10:50 am and
get to Nanchang at 12:50 and will make it to the hotel by 2:00 pm. We
will have 2 hours to unpack and get ready, perhaps go to the store, then
we will get on a bus and go to an Adoption Center where we will receive
the babies shortly after 4:00 pm (3 am CT Sunday morning) and then go
back to the hotel. Tommorow is Mid-Autumn Festival as well which is a
really big family holiday of thanksgiving. We were told today that the
aunties and Orphanage directors will have to stay in Nanchang and not be
able to return home to celebrate with their families (this is their
routine, some of them are driving 6 hours and won't be getting there til
4). So, we have decided as a group to take them out to dinner if they
will go and to by some mooncakes so we can all celebrate together, that
is if we can manage this with the new additions. I can't really
comprehend the kind of emotional day it is going to be tommorow. It is
so unreal to think that tommorow is the day we have been working on for
over a year and waiting on for over 6 years. Praise God!!

Friday, September 16, 2005

 Summer Palace

Today we did way too much shopping for this point in the trip. Now we
are going to have to carry it for the next two weeks. We started out
this morning going to the Pearl Market where we bought matching pearl
necklaces for mother and daughter, some table runners, some bracelets,
and a 2 GB thumbdrive to exchange pictures with other couples. We then
went to the Beijing zoo where we saw 2 Panda bears and nothing more. I
don't know if there was more to see or not, but that's all I really
cared about. It was neat to see these endangered animals but the living
conditions for them seemed pretty inadequate. Of course we had to buy
some more stuff here. We then went to the Summer Palace, as if the
Forbidden City wasn't enough for the Emporer, he had to have a getaway
where he forced the people to dig a lake. Here, there was the only
Beijing 2008 Olympic store that we've seen. We bought Mikayla an Olympic
hat to wear during the event in 3 years. When we left the palace through
a side gate, we were swamped by people selling all kinds of knockoffs
including Olympic T-shirts. I bought one for $6 only to find out later
someone else got one for $2. Buying anything was a big mistake cause
once they saw I had money and was willing to spend, they surrounded me
and wouldn't leave me alone, very persistent. When we got back to the
hotel, 6 more families in our group showed up. We will be up to 11
families tommorow for the tour of the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.
In about 41 hours, we will have Mikayla.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

 Temple of Heaven

Today was an amazing day of touring parts of the city that aren't
normally part of the typical "adoption" itinerary. It was just Anita and
I, Brian and Gayle Moore, and David and Sarah Bales along with our guide
and driver. First we went to the Temple of Heaven which is 600 years old
and is now a huge park It of course has a spiritual purpose but I
couldn't tell you the exact meaning of everything so I won't even try.
Though the architecture of the buildings was spectacular, what was most
interesting was all the different activities going on in the park. There
was board games, Tai Chi, Tai Ball, Calligraphy, music, and dancing. It
is best to just direct you to the videos I put on the web rather than
try to explain, which are just below the Photos section on the main page
of After the Temple, we were taken to a little more
obscure but popular restaurant since we were in such a small group today
and was served more Chinese food than we could eat in our own private
room. We than went on a Huo Tong tour by way of bicycle driven rickshaw.
After being on the roads and seeing how motor, bicycle, and pedestrian
traffic interact and somehow miraculously coexist, I was a little
hesitant to want to get into a rickshaw. The lack of a bumper and a
layer of sheet metal between me and the oncoming traffic was a little
worrisome. However, we really never went out onto the main roads and the
ride was very comfortable and relaxing and an excellent way to tour the
neighborhood. It was a rainy day so it was also a good way to stay dry.
The Huo Tong area is an old part of town that is comprised of these
little "quadrangle" buildings where there are 4 houses in a square with
a common courtyard in the middle. We actually got to visit one family
and go into their house. One stop on the tour was at the Drum Tower
which sits across from the Bell Tower. These two towers were used to
broadcast the time in ancient days to the Emporer. The Drum Tower has 24
huge drums in it that were played at the bottom of the hour whereas the
bell was rung at the top of the hour (I think this is right). After all
this, we made it back to the hotel and took a 1 hour nap. We then
decided to add a little more road excitement to the list by taking taxis
over to the Hard Rock Cafe in bumper-to-bumper traffic. The food was not
all that great but we had a good time. I don't know how any of these
cars over here have any side-view mirrors. Tommorow, we have negotiated
to be taken to the Pearl Market first, and then to the Zoo to see the
pandas (hopefully to see Ling Ling), and then to the Summer Palace. We
did drive by Tianemen Square and the Forbidden City today but they
aren't on the schedule until Saturday, along with the Great Wall.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

 Finally in China!!

Well, of course we made it or you wouldn't have gotten the last post
from the plane. Coming in for landing over Beijing, it seemed like going
anywhere else until the plane got low enough to where you could read
signs and billboards. We are not in Kansas anymore. It was a very good
trip as far as all day plane rides go. We got through all the
checkpoints very easily and got our bags quickly. Then, after passing
through the last line for customs so we could not declare anything, it
was like someone flipped the switch on utter chaos. Outside baggage
claim at the airport looked like the floor of the New York Stock
Exchange with people looking for each other, holding up signs and waving
hands. Luckily, our guide found us thanks to the buttons CHI gave us to
where when we got off the plane. Then it was off to the hotel, which was
an interesting ride. Joyce, our coordinator for the next couple of
weeks, seems really sweet and she did a good job getting us to our room.
We are on the same floor with two other couples in our group. We went to
the market with one of the couples to get some water and got a quick
introduction into what to expect over the next couple of weeks. Imagine
Walmart on a Saturday afternoon packed full of people, then imagine half
of the people are screaming out solicitations that you can't understand
and the other half are cutting in front of you on every aisle when not
being run over by the stock boys moving their pilot jacks. Well, maybe
that's not much different from Antioch after all. We came back to the
room and laid down for a quick nap. Anita is still "napping" 4 hours
later. I'm going to have to wake her up so she can get ready for bed. We
didn't make it back out for dinner and probably won't eat again today.
I'll be posting pictures on the website rather than adding to email, so
be sure to check there in the photos section ( Over
all, I really felt all the prayers today and felt little to no anxiety
about the trip and everything went smooth. Thank you God for a safe trip.

 Almost to China!!

Actually, as I type this, we aren't even over China yet. We are
currently over the Sea of Okhotsk after crossing over Siberia, Russia.
We took the path from New York (got to fly right over Manhatten by the
way), up over Quebec, across the Hudson Bay, over to Alaska and crossed
the Beiring Strait into Russia. It is almost 10 pm CST and we've had
about 2-3 hours of sleep on the flight (not as much as I'd hoped for).
When we touch down, we will need to stay up at least another 6-8 hours
just to get on schedule. We have already had about 4 meals today and
will have one more before its over. We have exactly 3 hours and 11
minutes before we get to Beijing according to the navigation screen in
the seat. We are wearing buttons with Mikayla's picture in it so we are
getting asked all kinds of questions. As you can imagine, there are alot
of Chinese people on this flight heading home. One lady has given us
some instruction on shopping and wrote the shops down in Chinese so we
could give to a taxi driver. I met one other couple on the plane that is
also adopting but I haven't got to talk with them much. Even the lady at
the ticket counter said her son was adopting from China. I was also
amazed to hear two different people say on this flight that there seems
to be alot of people from TN adopting from China. In our travel group
alone of 13 families from around the country, there are 4 families from
Tennessee. Is this a new definition of the Volunteer State? Hope to be
on the ground soon and anywhere but this seat.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

 All Packed!!

It's after midnight and we have just finished packing. We are supposed
to get up in 4 hours so now I wonder if I should even go to sleep. I had
to work a lot of the day which did not help the packing effort. There is
an itineary section now on the web site with the full run down. We
should be touching down in Beijing at 12:45 am CST on Wednesday, 1:45 pm
there. We will get Mikayla on Sunday afternoon, about the time most
people are going to bed Saturday night. That day is also Mid-Autumn
Festival day, sort of the Chinese Thanksgiving. What a day to give
thanks for!! It should be pretty neat; besides eating "mooncakes" and
watching the full moon, everyone puts these red laterns outside to light
the evenings festivities. We will leave Jiangxi, the only place Mikayla
has ever known, on her first birthday. That's all for now, next message
from the other side of the world, Lord willing.

Friday, September 02, 2005

 Finding Ad

We received our finding ad a couple of days ago, which is the advertisement that was run in the Jiangxi paper looking for parents of an abandoned child. We paid for this service for someone to locate this ad so that we could get an earlier picture of Mikayla as well as pickup additional information about her origin. The service is available through Research China. The ad was run on November 3, 2004 in the Jiangxi Economic Daily, along with hundreds of similar advertisements. The translation is as follows:

Ji Zhou Wei
A girl;
Birth Date: 9/24/2004
Finding date: 9/25/2004
Found abandoned at the gate of the District, Gunan Street office
She has light skin, an Apple-face, and has double-eyelids.

Full Page

Monday, August 29, 2005

 Going to China!!!

It's official, we are going to China! The schedule is set and we have our international flights booked. We will be leaving at 7:00 a.m. on September 13th and will be returning at 4:14 p.m. on September 29th. In between those two points of time our lives will forever be changed. Here is our agenda:

Sept 13 - Depart Nashville,TN 7:00 a.m. Arrive Newark, NJ 10:10 a.m.
Depart Newark, NJ 12:00 p.m.
Sept 14 - Arrive Beijing, China 1:45 p.m.

Sept 14-16 Rest,rest and Siteseeing, rest, shopping, rest
(from CHI)...
Sept 17 - (Sat.) Sightseeing in BJ (Great Wall, Forbidden city and Tiananmen Square) and CHI Orientation
Sept 18 -(Sun) Fly from Beijing to Nanchang as a group and meet children in the afternoon (Since there are several orphanages involved, it is subject to change if meeting your child on Sunday or Monday.)
Sept 19 - (Mon.) Do adoption paperwork (registration and notary)
Sept 20-23 free time and sightseeing in Nanchang
Sept 24 (Mikayla's Birthday!!!) -(Sat) Fly from Nanchang to Guangzhou
Sept 26 -(Mon) medical for children
Sept 27 - (Tues) ACS appt at 9:30am
Sept 28 - (Wed.)-get visa late in the day

Sept 29 - Depart Guangzhou 8:20 a.m. Arrive Tokoyo, Japan 2:10 p.m.
Depart Tokoyo 3:10 p.m. Arrive Detroit, MI 1:40 p.m. ET
Depart Detroit, MI 3:47 p.m. Arrive Nashville, TN 4:14 p.m. CT

We have two weeks!?!

Friday, August 26, 2005

 Travel Approval

We received our travel approval today along with our entire Jiangxi Travel Group. Our group was the only group with CHI which has received travel approvals so far, so we are grateful. What this means, is that our coordinator was then able to apply for a consulate appointment on our behalf. Once the appointment is confirmed, we can book flights. The two travel date ranges requested was September 15-28 as Option #1 and October 6-19 as Option #2. Please pray that we get Option #1 not only so we don't have to wait as long, but so that we can be with Mikayla on her first Birthday on September 24th. We also received our travel visas back from DC today stamped from the Chinese Embassy, so we are ready to go.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

 First Baby Shower

Tonight we were showered with gifts from friends and family at our first baby shower, ever. We received so many great gifts, some of them either hand-made and/or personalized. It was a night that many times we doubted we would ever have. We thank everyone for your gifts and can't wait to start using them.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

 Family Life Interview

Today I gave an interview over the phone for a radio show called "Hope for Orphans" with Dennis Rainey for Family Life. It was recorded for future use and they may or may not use my portion for there were many different people who were scheduled to call in. Here is a portion of the interview that I prepared from a Christian's perspective, knowing that there are many non-Christians who adopt as well.

"The story of adoption is a model of Christianity. We, the Gentiles or non-Jewish people, were outside of the first covenant God made with the Jews; we were not his chosen people. But through His Son Jesus Christ and his sacrifice, we have been adopted into His family forever if we choose to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died for our sins. We become part of a huge family of brothers and sisters in Christ and share a common bond through the Holy Spirit. This bond crosses all the boundaries that separate the world and brings us together as one people, regardless of nationality or race. If God loved the whole world enough to send His only Son to die so that we could become a part of His family, then we too should display the same type of love towards others. It is this love that will cause you to reach out and care for someone who needs it, to bring someone without a home into your own, and to mother or father a child who has neither. It is this type of love that will break your heart but also fill it up with limitless joy and happiness."

Monday, August 08, 2005


Today we received the traslation of the Chinese documents we received in the referral package last week. Up until now, we had only the photos and knew only vital statistics and that all tests were normal. Here is an excerpt of the translation for little "Wei Wei":

"...Currently she loves to reach the object with bright colors; after she grabs one she puts it into her mouth. She screams or cries loudly if someone takes away the stuff from her. When people call her “Wei Wei”, she smiles at them. She gives loud laughter when she is happy. She loves to go out to streets. She shows a strong interest in everything she sees. She keeps looking here and there with curiosity. She ‘dances’ joyfully when she sees her caretaker, opening her arms wanting to get a hold. She is delighted at seeing her food. She cries when she is hungry or unhappy. She is able to stand straight when given assistance under her armpits. She is able to sit for a while in her sitting chair. Sitting in her walker, she is able to step her feet onto the floor and tries hard to make the walker move. She loves to watch TV. While watching TV, she is focused, eyes opened wide. She has a mild temperament. She is energetic and quick-responded. She is a clean child. She loves to be given a bath. She is very adorable especially when her round face wears a hapy smile."

Friday, July 29, 2005

 Meet Mikayla

Ji Zhou Wei is waiting for us in Jiangxi Province, and we have seen her beautiful face today for the first time. She was born September 24, 2004 and is quite the picture of happiness with chubby cheeks, bright eyes, and a cute smile. We got her referral in the UPS parking lot early this morning and took copies of her pictures to the proud grandparents- and now share them with you. She weighed 14.3lbs in March at 6 months. Her medical report says she is active and restless. Most of the report is in Chinese, and we won't get the translation for a couple of weeks. The Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs will begin making the required appointments, and then we will be able to schedule travel, likely the end of September- her 1st birthday.
Thank you God for our Mikayla Jian-Wei Lane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

 Take Out Girl

I had my first opportunity tonight to talk to someone from China about our adoption. I am in Maine on a business trip and I went in for take-out at Chia Sen, a Chinese Restaurant in Portand. The lady at the register read my necklance that says "Jesus Loves You" in Chinese. Of course, that conversation led into our adoption story. It seemed very strange for a woman from China to ask me what so many people have already, "Why China?", almost as if she was asking why I would want to adopt someone like her? We talked until my order was done and, though very interested, to my suprise somewhat uninformed about the situation over there. After about 10 minutes, she said thanks for speaking with her and wished us luck and then I left with my food. Looking back, the irony of the situation grows on me, having discussed our "take out girl" with the Chinese "take out girl".

Friday, June 24, 2005

 On Deck

We've been waiting now, somewhat patiently, on referrals for the month of June. It was rumored they were mailed earlier this week so we expected to hear something one way or the other by Monday. Well, I got a phone call today at work and she said she was with Children's Hope International...and I think I stopped breathing for a second. Then, by the tone of her voice I could tell this wasn't a good call. They received referrals today for Log In Dates as late as 12/10/2004 and thus did not receive ours. They only received 3 referrals total which she thought was odd. It appears by looking at the web that this batch of referrals went through 12/21/2004....we missed it by 2 days. Our local Children's Hope office doesn't have any waiting parents with LIDs betweeen 12/10 and 12/23, so that's why they didn't get any more. We are now, without a doubt, what they call "on deck" and will be at the top of the list this time next month (Lord willing).

Thursday, June 09, 2005

 Mikayla's Room

Mikayla's room is complete- except for her! We (mostly Mark) finished decorating the walls after VBS. Mark got the idea of hanging her comforter on the wall from the Ervins- our neighbors who brought Elayna home from China in April. Her room is most definitely my favorite in the whole house! We chose the theme/colors based on the bedding we picked out back in December. Little did we realize that Mark's baby blanket matches! Our Lord is truly wonderful!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

 Adoption Yard Sale Fundraiser

We had another fundraiser today to help pay for adoption expenses. Our family members donated all of their spring cleaning and we set up tables down at Nolensville Road Baptist Church (where we got married) at 6 a.m. this morning. We had absolutely perfect weather and was busy all day, raising nearly $1700. Thank you Lord for the great turnout and for those who helped and donated.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

 Shaohannah's Hope Donation

In Tribute to Mikayla and in appreciation to the Lord for His blessings, we donated a portion of the funds received from the Adoption Coffee House to Shaohannah's Hope, an agency that gives financial assistance to those wishing to adopt who are less fortunate than ourselves.

Shaohannah's Hope Donation E-Card

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

 Holy Grounds Coffee House

The Holy Grounds Coffee House, with proceeds going towards our adoption expenses, was a success. We raised over $2000 to help pay for upcoming fees. We would like to thank all of you who came out, donated money and/or desserts, worked the kitchen, and performed. We had 17 different singers to sing after worrying about having just a few. I would like to have seen more new faces than I did but hopefully just the newspaper articles will help bring some visitors to the church. Overall, it was a great night to sing praise unto Jesus and continue to look forward to the day we meet out daughter.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

 Brentwood Journal Article

Brentwood Journal Article - April 13, 2005

This article ran in on the front page of the Brentwood Journal as well as the second page of the Franklin Review. Both of these papers are region specific inserts into The Tennessean. We are so grateful for the support we are receiving from an adoption standpoint but I am more excited to see how God works through us according to His good purpose. Success of this Coffee House will be measured by how many lives it touches and not by how much money is raised.
Online Version

Sunday, April 10, 2005

 Adoption Saturday

Yesterday was a full day of adoption related activities. We went to our last adoption class for 6 hours yesterday afternoon which was fantastic and filled with good information. We met one couple with the same LID as ours so its possible we have met one of the couples we will be traveling with already. For the most part though, we were further along than most people there so I felt like a veteran of sorts compared to previous classes we have attended. After the class, we had to race off to a Steven Curtis Chapman concert who is a strong advocate for adoption, for those of you who do not know. On this tour he is raising support for Shaohannah's Hope, the organization they started to help overcome the finacial burden to adoption. It was a Chapman concert a couple of years ago that really planted the seed for not just adoption, but an adoption from China. Here are a couple of clips from the concert that are really touching.

What Now (Steven Curtis Chapman)

I saw the face of Jesus
In a little orphan girl
She was standing in the corner
On the other side of the world
And I heard the voice of Jesus
Gently whisper to my heart
Didn't you say you wanted to find Me
Well, here I am
Here you are

So what now
What will you do now you've found Me
What now
What will you do with this treasure you've found
I know I may not look like what you expected
But if you'll remember
This is right where I said I would be
You found Me
What now

What Now

When Love Takes You In

Saturday, April 09, 2005

 Adoption Fundraiser Article

Adoption Fundraiser - Article from the Nolensville Dispatch, April 8, 2005 Edition.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

 Still Waiting for ... Mikayla

Well, we are still just in waiting mode for our referral. We still have about 3 and a half months to go before we expect something. However, this week we did manage to get a dresser for the nursery and put in some some storage shelves in the closet. We also decided on a name: Mikayla. We will wait until the referral before picking a middle name so that we can possibly incorporate part of her given name. We are also getting immuninization shots while we we wait. We both received our second of 3 Hepatitis B shots this week. It takes about 6 months to complete the course of shots. This also includes two shots for Hepatitis A.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

 Logged In Date - 12/23/2004

We are oficially in the books. Our dossier was DTC on November 30th and we finally received a notice in the mail today that our Log In Date was December 23, 2004. I was starting to worry a little bit because I was seeing many people whose DTC was later than ours already receiving their LID. Thankfully, there doesn't appear to be any problem with our dossier and we will go back into waiting mode.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

 The Brown Envelope

We received our "Brown Envelope" today from the American Consulate in Guangzhou, China. Just another of the many milestones along the way. This envelope contains a letter stating that they have received confirmation that we are approved for international adoption. It also includes all the paperwork to fill out to apply for our child's VISA when we are in country.

Monday, November 22, 2004

 All Gone!!

I am happy to say that our dossier is all gone, it was turned in today to the agency. All that work now comes to completion and I am truly thankful, particularly this week of Thanksgiving. The dossier should be sent to China on Wednesday of this week. Below is a little clip from the Chinese Authentification page of our 171-H form.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

 All Done!!

We got our documents back from the Chinese Embassy on Thursday as expected with no problems, thank God. After making some copies of the newly added pages, we expect to turn everything over to our Agency on Monday along with another big check.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

 Chinese Embassy

They didn't get lost. Our documents are now at the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C. They are due to be picked up on Wednesday (11/17) and we should have them on Thursday. Looks like we are heading for a DTC of December 2004. If all things hold the same, we will likely be traveling around the middle of August during our anniversary.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

 State Certified

Now that we have the 171-H, I was able to go get all our documents State Certified yesterday. I wish I would have thought to copy all of our documents BEFORE taking them to the State. It is much harder to make copies after the State has attached their papers. After much debate, I decided to send the documents to a courier rather than go to Washington myself. The courier we are using is Laura Morrison - The Assistant Stork. Everything went out today and we should have them back next Thursday (11/18). It's scary putting everything you have been working on for months and spent so much money on into the hands of strangers otherwise known as "The Big Brown Machine". (UPS). I just hope they don't get lost.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

 I 171-H Received!!

We received our 171-H form yesterday!!! They received the homestudy on October 4 so it was closer to a 30 day turnaround rather than 45 days. We are all set to take the rest of our forms to the State and then to Washington D.C. We will be lucky to be DTC in November but we are going to try.

Monday, October 25, 2004

 Waiting on 171

Well, still waiting on the 171-H form. Had to go back and get some medical forms re-done but ultimately we are waiting on C.I.S. before we can send our documents to Washington. I had a feeling that we would get the 171-H this week and if there is anything to this ladybug thing, we saw lots of them yesterday. We will see...

Monday, October 18, 2004

 Airfare Assistance

Considering the large up-front expenses associated with an adoption, starting the process can require a leap of faith for some people. I know that this adoption is something that God wants us to do and I am confident He will help us through it both financially, emotionally, and physically. I am happy to say that thanks to my step-father's frequent flyer miles, we will be able to fly to China for free in business class. Praise God!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

 China's Lost Girls

Yesterday we received our DVD copy of China's Lost Girls, the National Geographic special about the one-child policy and adoption in China. We had heard alot about this special but, oddly enough, we had never seen it or any other special like it for that matter outside of the few seminars we have been to. I highly recommend this DVD for it gives a very good overview of the situation in China and the adoption process once you get there.

Monday, October 11, 2004

 First Post

This is the first post of what I hope is many along the path to bringing our daughter home from China. First, some background on how we got to this point.

Anita and I were married on August 13, 1994 in Nashville, TN where we currently reside. We just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We have been trying to have children of our own for more than 5 years. We have been through all the fertilty procedures up to the point but not including invitro fertilizaiton. At that point, rather than compromise our moral beliefs and continue to move forward in this vain, we decided to call it quits for a while. This of course was a very depressing time, but God started working on us and steering us towards adoption. It took about a year and half of convincing and serveral adoption seminars before we decided to take this plunge of faith. We decided on China for several reasons, but the biggest was because we feel that's what God has chosen for us. We were skeptical of the domestic adoption process, not to mention of the longer waiting times and higher costs. The biggest fear is the ability of the birth mother to change her mind and take the child back. We have been through too much to suffer that right now. Thinking internationally, China offered the quickest and least expensive process along with the best chance of receiving a healthy child.

We sent in our application to Children's Hope International the first part of July, 2004. When we returned home on July 17 from a mission trip with our church to New Mexico, we had a message on our answering machine that our application had been accepted. We have been hard at work doing paperwork since then and have recently completed our homestudy. Our fingerprints were taken on September 29 and the homestudy was sent in to C.I.S. on October 1. We still need to complete some State certifications but right now we are basically waiting on our I-171 form from C.I.S., which we hope to get by the middle of November, and sooner would be better. We are toying with the idea of taking our documents to Washington D.C. ourselves if it turns out that I need to attend some training in Baltimore. I'll let you know how that turns out.