Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sorry So Slow

Is it August already! I'm sure anyone still following this is not thinking I got stuck in Guangzhou. However my blog site did! I did make it home safe and sound and managed to recover from jet lag over the weekend. Before long I was back to full swing at work and realized I no longer had the time to ponder what I wanted to write! I did want to provide some closing thoughts that can be summed up by my last few minutes in China:

As I climbed on to the airplane (a tad frazzled as that was the first time I have navigated through an international airport solo) I slowed down enough to let the magnitude of such a trip hit me. Just then a little boy speaking Chinese with his grandmother behind me started to sing...."Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so, little ones to him belong, they are weak but he is strong...Yes Jesus loves me, Yes Jesus loves me, Yes Jesus loves me, for the bible tells me so..... sung in an adorable Chinese accent of course. I turned around and said "That was wonderful!", he replied "sank you". As you can imagine the tears flowed for awhile. Yes Jesus Loves us all and made his presence known at every turn.

For those of you following, I will be posting pictures here and there as I have a chance to edit them.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Life in Guangzhou

Now that all the families are back together and finishing things up at the US Embassy, it has been a wonderful time to catch up, hear stories, and celebrate milestones in the life of each child that have occured in just these few short days. Because so many Americans come to this area with their adopted children, the area is very "Westernized". Shops line the streets with just the right items to by to capture the time spent here, and there is a Starbucks right around the corner. When we walked in to get our coffee this morning we all said "it smells just like home!". The area reminds me of Savannah GA, or somewhere in New Orleans as it is by the water and has colonial like stucco buildings. I do wish I had better pictures that capture the essence of it. Although there is something very comforting and familiar about it, I am glad we had such a rich experience of Chinese culture in Wuhan. I thought I would just post some pictures of our time here...medical appointments, filling out embassy paperwork, playing and going to church. Although I have been lugging my camera around I have missed many moments I now wish I could share with you.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Christ Church

Who would have thought that I would go to church in China and that the name of it would be Christ Church (the name of my home church). We all walked in this beautiful old building wide eyed and curious. You could tell they were in the middle of renovations and that it was going to be a beautiful sacred space. We were all pleasantly surprised by their spirit filled open handed worship. There was joy on their faces, and joy in my heart. It was a momentous occasion as there is a possibility that this was the first time these little girls have been to church. It was very powerful to see everyone with their heads held high and singing out. During the welcome one of their leaders said "We are all one family in Christ"...and it took me back to the last service we had in Christ Church Rockwall as we sang the hymn, In Christ there is no East and West and in that moment I felt like a child of God, part of a very large family.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Puzzle Pieces

As most of you know putting together the history or story of an adoptive child is much like putting a puzzle together with many of the pieces missing. With very little information received or even obtainable, adoptive parents treasure what little they can get. Some families receive information about where the child was found before being placed in orphanage care, as was the case with the Zimmer family. With information from a police report we journeyed to where Faith's adoption journey ultimately began. We can weave a story in our minds of what Faith's birthmother must have been going through, the decisions she was weighing in her mind...the lack of options...the desire to care for her child. There is so much we will never know. With a deep and primal sadness, our mood matched the weather which was damp and rainy. Geared in ponchos and carrying video and cameras...we gathered near the "man made mountain" to pray. The words I remember most clearly came from Faith's daddy who was holding her, he prayed "God we pray for Faith's birthmother and we ask that as she thinks of this park and that day, we ask that you comfort her and give her peace".

Friday, July 13, 2007

We're here...finally!

Whew! What a long day of traveling. After about a three hour stay at the airport and such it is after 11:00 here and we are just getting in. To say the least we are all so very tired. But for those tracking the journey I just wanted to let you know we made it safely. We had a very special day leaving Wuhan. We stopped at the park where Faith was found and it was a very moving experience. I will post and say more later, but for now off to rest!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Last evening in Wuhan

Today was our last full day in Wuhan before we meet up with the other families in Guangzhou. There we will be finishing up the adoption process with the US Embassy. I can imagine all parties involved are ready to see the comforts and routine of home, but there is still one more step in this journey.

We visited the Hubei provincial museum today and it was absolutely fascinating. The artifacts in the museum were from an excavation of an old tomb from an ancient dynasty. It was the ultimate definition of "You can't take it with you..." well this particular king sure tried. When he died he was buried with over 21 women who were the players of a large chime system that took up an entire room. One could tell he lived a social life with an appreciation for music and entertainment. The tomb he was buried in weighed over 8 tons. One of my favorite artifacts was a beautiful carved duck that was a symbol for friendship and love. The whole experience left you with a sad feeling of this person clinging to his life, thinking he would carry on as usual in the afterlife...and there we were looking at those things hundreds of years later. Our visit ended on a high note as we watched a performance of the chimes being played on a set of an exact replica of the large structure from the tomb. It was so much fun to watch Faith as she stared in wonder. At times she would look forward wide eyed and clap to the beat. Much to our delight and surprise the players ended their concert with "Joyful, Joyful we adore thee". It was such a sweet reminder of why we don't have to cling so hard to things of this earth.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Saying goodbye

Every day I learn a little something new and today it was how to get the pictures with the post. Now that I figured it out I feel kind of silly for not figuring it out sooner. Again I can't thank you enough for your comments.

It is hard to know what words to choose when describing our morning. Our group visited the orphanage today. Faith was raised in a foster family so she did not spend much time there, but it was a very important part of her history. It was a rich experience, one that is very important to document in our minds and hearts for the children's sake but it was nonetheless, a difficult one. They only allowed us to see certain parts of it, and would not allow any pictures to be taken of any children in the home. The first room was difficult to walk into as it was the room for children with medical problems and severe special needs. We also saw the baby room where it was said that the children first go to when they arrive to the orphanage. One of the caretakers was holding Faith for a few minutes for a picture and you could see that look of concern on her face, then Kim stepped in for the picture and Faith said "Mama" and clung to her neck. Rick and Faith had bonded over "Jesus Loves Me" the night before so he carried her around much of the day. As we were leaving the orphanage director leaned in and placed his forehead against Faith's, it was time to say goodbye. It is hard not to be taken with the memory of the children you did see walking the halls there. But I am also encouraged that they reported more than half the children that come into their care go to foster homes as they feel it is better for their physical and emotional health.

After we left the orphanage, we went to the most wonderful museum of sorts. It was a bonsai tree garden and a museum of stones. There was a display of large trees that were millions of years old that had turned to stone. There was a crystal room, and in it was a crystal so large that it weighed many tons. The room was actually built around it. Although it was very hot, it was a beautiful place to visit. The museum was followed up by a lunch in the city. The whole group has been pretty adventurous at trying new things, and I am always glad when I do. The only thing I didn't try today was the fish, as I have a hard time eating a dish that is staring at me. I know, I know...what did I expect! The culture here is just wonderful. I wish I could describe the view from my hotel window. We are on the 17th floor, and as far as the eye can see in every direction you can see skyscrapers. I believe we were told that around 8 million people live in this city! Maybe it's just that I am comfortable with city life or there is a little piece of China is in my soul, all that is to say, it has been such a wonderful experience being here. We have felt safe and excited at every turn. People have been friendly and eager to help. The sights and sounds are fascinating.

On the other hand being here and being with a family during their adoption journey, I often think of the waiting families. I so desire for you to be here, to have this experience. As I know you have a piece of China in your soul, and your daughter is here. I am looking out my window at the lights of the skyscrapers as far as you can see, and praying for you tonight.