Jake let me sit near him at dinner last night and gave me a kiss. (I usually bribe him). He then told Cindy our coordinator, "I gave mama kiss and she gave me a kiss. We are okay". Ha! Small steps right? He also will say, "Mama, mama, Look at me!" in Chinese. I held his hand coming back to the hotel from the hot pot restaurant. BTW, Jake loves lamb, whole garlic cloves, and vinegar! How nice that he sleeps with Eric! Grant discovered he is a big lamb lover too! Go figure, Mr. Picky! Jake offers a toast every time we sit down to a meal. He really enjoys toasting very much which makes me wonder why he's so good at it! Really funny boy! He did much better last night even though he asked when his mama was coming to pick him up. He still gets confused when we talk about things he has at home and thinks it is his foster home. I'm kind of glad we decided not to go to the finding place as I think the long ride into a different town would make him think he is going home. I think it's best we just bond right now. He slept pretty well last night just waking up to look for his truck that Baba bought him. He always sleeps with a truck and his backpack has to be close by.

I've had so much swimming in my head and can only get a 10th of it down on "paper". At night my head is just racing. There are so many different emotions with this adoption. It is always painful to see a child go through something difficult and then I feel guilty for even feeling badly that he doesn't care for me. Considering what he is going through, he is doing so well. I have discovered the Asian Denice the Menice!!!!!!!


Jake video

Here's another video of Jake talking to Ally. Click here


Slurp, Slurp!

We went to a local Muslim noodle shop for lunch. They had the cold flat noodles that the area is known for which is the kind San Er likes. We paid 5$ for 5 meals and the plates/bowls were FULL. Saner got up to run out the door and told the owner and our coordinator he had "to poo". Guess he was going to do that in the street too! The shop owner took him upstairs to the bathroom and Saner came down 5 min. later very happy. Weird how other cultures do things. The noddles were very yummy and Saner enjoyed them very much. We all ate w/ chopsticks as there is no other choice but we are now very good at slurping noodles.
We headed to the local market. For some reason, I'm having a terrible time uploading video and pictures. When we were in the seafood section, Jake wanted to play in the bowls of little fish and said he was very upset that his Baba wouldn't buy him anything!
Today, I made small little steps of progress. He still cries if Ayi (our coordinator) isn't near. BUT he let me hold him in the hotel room for about 1/2 hour and the bites and pinches are fewer than the days before. Jake let me console him a bit when he bumped his head. Before, he would turn his back and not let me near him. I'll take the little steps. Eric left the room and he didn't have a melt down so that's progress too. He has corrected Eric's Mandarin. He has told us off MANY times too! We have learned "Ching Ching Duh!" EASY!!!!!!! and will be using alot! He is all boy!
Can't wait to upload Jake doing his magic tricks! He also told the coordinator that he know more poems that songs.
Allyson is doing great with this transition. She spoils him and cares for him. Grant is adjusting and I can see it is difficult for him. Eric took Jake out for a walk so I could spend some quiet time with Grant and then switched off to take Grant down to play chess in the lobby. Poor kid, he's bored and Jake gets attention everywhere he goes because he talks non stop to everyone on the street! I think once we get to Guangzhou it may be easier for everyone. We are all doing okay and getting through this transition, Jake included.


Cutest videos ever!


JAke has been crying for foster mama on and off all day. The sobs are soooooooooooo sad. He does NOT like me either which makes it more diffficult. I keep reminding myself this favoring a parent is normal and goes away w/ time. He pointed his little finger in my face and told me in no uncertain terms that I wasn't his mama! And then pinched the heck out of my arm. He bit me when I asked for a kiss. Can u say STINKER! I've been to the bathroom twice to cry! He will give kisses most of the time when asked. He ALWAYS gives Eric kisses. I know it will take time but it's difficult to see him go through this. Hoping for a night with less crying tonight.

We bought him shoes today and chose 2 pairs for him and let him decide which he liked best. He was so cute. He said he "had to compare them" and then examined them both on his feet and walked a bit before choosing the camouflage ones. I think I may take a pic of the pink and purple sneaks and then give them to the orphanage as they were new from his foster family. Seems silly to keep them when they could really use them. His clothes, however, I'm keeping. Eric wanted me to toss them. They were kind of yucky and old. I'll just put them in a plastic bag to travel and wash them when I get home HE had so many layers on that he looked big, but when we got him undress he looks like a little Ethiopian! Big head, little body. REALLY small. The pajamas keep falling off. His feet are almost the size of Grant's. He hasn't stopped eating either. HE can slurp some noodles! They said he was left at the hospital and they think that the mother was told he had cerebal palsy because she had a difficult and long labor. They think he was left on the waiting child list awhile because people thought no Chinese would leave a boy if he was not healthy. I'm praying he gets through this grieving process quickly, but I think I'm asking an aweful lot for a child who just lost his mother. He told the orphanage workers he didn't need foreign mama and baba because he already had some! He is absolutely adorable though. Grant says he's cute, but very naughty! He draws a crowd in every store we're in because he talks to all the staff and tells them things......lots of things. They all laugh and seems to really like hearing him talk. His foster family lived a ways away and Jake speaks with a strong accent. Our coordinator (not from this area) says she only understands 50% of what he says. That doesn't stop him from chatting with everyone in town! I can only imagine what he is telling them. They all laugh and chat back with him. He's quite a ham!

The people here are very nice and literally stop to watch you. The mother's stop w/ their child on the street and point at us and tell the child to say Ni Hao. Cindy says the mother's want them to know what a foreigner looks like. They like to stop and talk but we have no idea what they are saying. VERY kind people though., just very curious and not afraid to invade personal space!
Gotta go, 2 kids asleep. JAke's still playing w/ the flashlight watching professional ping pong on tv.


Pictures....what you REALLY want

Pic of us leaving the orphanage yesterday. The kids were SO cute!

Jake took this. Good photographer, huh?

Today, heading to the notary office

Had to sleep just like Baba and in Baba's bed.

Like I said, NOT letting go of the backpack even when napping!


Jake, Day 2

Note to self: Keeping two active boys in one small hotel room packed with suitcases and 3 beds is very, very difficult! Spicy bamboo shoots.....not yummy!

Today we went to the notary office and promised again to always care for Jake and told them why we were adopting, promised never to abandon him. He wanted to sit with the orphanage staff on the van and talk with them. Evidently, when they went to his foster home on Sunday to take him to the orphanage, they told him his new parents were coming. He said, basically, no thanks, he had parents! They told him foreign parents will take him on the airplane and once they assured him it was a real one, he decided to go! They asked him if he liked his new mama and baba. He said he didn't care for us because we made him play in one small room and wouldn't let him outside! He said his new sister and brother were nice to him. Off to buy shoes for Jake that aren't pink and purple.

We noticed what looked like old scars from burns on his feet yesterday. We had them ask him what happened. Last summer, he was riding on the back of the foster baba's bike and he got his feet stuck in the wheels. He said "I was bleeding!".

The layers of clothes completely fooled us. I thought he was big! At bath time I found out just how tiny he is. He is tall and skinny, but all muscle. This kid can eat!!!!! His little jeans are falling off of him.

His foster family lives an hour or so away and has an orchard of pears and apples. He told our coordinator to come over to his house so she could have some! He loves talking and, from what we are told, can tell some exaggerated stories! We received a copy of his finding ad and he was found at 6 days old. It had the same picture we received in original referral papers in June. (I was kind of hoping for an infant picture. One can hope, right?). The photo was of him when he was 2 yrs old. Not sure if we will be able to visit his finding place as it is about an 1 1/2 hours from here.


First Day (and night) with Jake

So far Jake has taken the toys and pictures in and out of the backpack we gave him 942 times and NO ONE is going to move that backpack! He also LOVES his cars. He has also chewed 9 pieces of gum in about an hour and a half. He whispers in your ear asking for a piece of bubble gum and gives you a kiss just to make sure your going to give him a piece. He peed joyfully all over a tree outside too! And, of course, baba is number one! He is repeating words in English regularly and thought wearing matching pajamas (like Grant's) was the coolest! He came wearing pink and purple sneakers that his foster parents bought him before he came to the orphanage. The staff said he was so proud of them that he should everyone at the orphanage. We're shopping for shoes tomorrow, but don't know if he will give up the other ones as he won't let them out of his sight! Just wanted to post so I could remember!

We've been to a ton of offices today and applied for his visa at the police station. We got questions and stares by many people at every office. Our translator said they were asking why we were adopting a Chinese child when we are not Chinese. Jake did just fine putting his little hand into the red ink pad to put his "seal" on the paper making us a family. He thought getting messy was cool!

Our first night: Sorry I'm putting two posts in one and they are not organized. Best I can do right now considering. Jake played with us in the hotel room this evening. After bath time, Eric took Grant downstairs to play chess and spend some one on one time with him. Jake was doing just fine with Allyson and me. After awhile though, he put his pink and purple sneakers on and his backpack and went to the door to leave. I wonder how he thought he was going to get himself "home" ,but English or no English, it was very clear that's where he decided he was going. I diverted his attention with some toys and he was fine. Then, about a half hour later, he looked at me and you could tell something switched. He laid across the bed with his head in his arms and tears began to roll down his cheeks. The sobs were quiet and he was saying something with "mama" in it. I knew I wasn't the mama he wanted. The sobs became louder and louder and he did NOT want me to console him. I tried, but he became angry and moved to the other bed, wailed for "mama", and buried his head in a pillow. It was one of the most heartbreaking things to see. After just giving him some space and time, I moved and closer and picked him up. He fought me for awhile and then allowed me to hold him even though his little body was stiff in my arms. Eric came back in the room and he went right to him and settled down again. I'm glad he is going through the grieving process because it means he loved his foster family. I can't really even imagine how hard this will be for him. BUT, I know he can bond even if he hasn't picked me to do that with yet. I'm happy he loves his Baba! He find comfort in Eric and for that I'm happy.

Jake slept with Eric last night. He sat up in bed for close to an hour fighting sleep just sitting and staring into the dark. Can you imagine what he must be thinking and feeling at (still) just 3 years old? Once he fell asleep he held onto Eric's ear ALL night long. The foster family's note said that he rubbed his foster mama's ear to fall asleep. Eric said he did it to fall back asleep all night. He had one bad dream and was quite vocal about it but did not wake up. Eric's going to have some long nights! Hehehe! I think maybe we will find a blanket with a silky tab for him when we get home, but for now, rubbing Eric's ear will at least provide some comfort. He is still sleeping now so I'm trying to get everything into this post so I don't forget, but I've written the post in segments. I hope it make sense!

Please continue to pray for Jake's healing, grieving, and bonding. He is a great fit for our family, very active and full of personality. I'll try to post pictures tomorrow.


First few hours with Jake

He's here! He definitely knew us and could say JieJie, BaBa, Mama, GooGoo. He was not afraid of us in the least. He talks ALL THE TIME! He thinks we know what he's saying! He's very possessive of his things and yet, will share his candy. He has already repeated several words in English. He loves Eric to death; I'm just someone in the room right now. Jake is a bit naughty. He has thrown a car at Grant, kicked Ally in the rear (and laughed I might add), bit Eric's earlobe, and caused so much chaos in the civil affairs office that the gentleman moved us along without the interview! BUT he is excited and loving (we have all had several kisses). He cries for BaBa (Eric) when he doesn't get his way. He is as stubburn as they come and has his own ideas of what he will do and won't do! He loves attention and you can tell he hasn't ever lacked it. The foster family had 2 grown daughter in college that spoiled him rotten along with his foster parents! Hopefully, he will learn boundaries soon. He is very, very smart and loves the camera...both sides. He loves smiling for a picture and acting silly and LOVES to take a pic. Wish I had bought one of those little tikes type cameras for him. He was so proud of his backpack that he showed EVERYONE in the orphange. Oh, and I gave him a wipey and he asked if I poured wine on it I guess because of the alcohol smell from it! Loves CARS! He asked the Ayi if his Baba had a car. When Eric said he had two cars, Jake literally jumped up and down and squealed! He was so happy! So much more to write and remember, but Eric is holding down the fort (I mean disaster of a room) so I could blog. Later! Thanks for praying! Keep praying, this kiddo is SOOOOO busy and active that I don't have many pics that aren't blurry! Trust me, he is FULL of personality and is such a cutie! I'll try to get a video of him chatting away!


Loving tuna fish! Hao! Good!


Gotcha Day!


Made it to Yinchuan!

We're here! We had a 1 1/2 flight on Air China. There is a couple from Lancaster that flew with us along with our coordinator. The coordinator flew with us from Beijing because there was not an English speaking guide/coordinator here. Her name is Cindy and she's great. The airplane landing was interesting. We couldn't see the ground until RIGHT before we landed because of the sand/dust/ pollution? I'm not sure which. I was just praying that we landed quickly, but not TOO quickly! Ha! Yinchuan seems very dusty, brown, and flat. But that is just my view from the ride from the airport. We're going out in a few minutes to get some water and snacks. So far it reminds me a lot of Kazakhstan.

Cindy said she hope we liked Chinese food because that's all we're getting here. There are not alot of foreigners here so we should be getting some interesting looks. Yinchuan is part of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous region and is Muslim. There is a large mosque down from our hotel, but we are not allowed in it. You know I'd go if I was allowed!

TOMORROW is JAKE DAY! We are heading to the orphanage tomorrow morning and will be meeting him at 9 AM. I can't believe it! Cindy said he was probably moved from the foster family to the orphanage today so he will only be spending one night there. Oh, I hope he's ready and not too scared! I hope I'm ready and not too scared! Tommorrow is a full day of getting Jake, getting formal pictures, getting visa paperwork done, going to the police station, and who know what else. I'll post as soon as I can. Maybe Eric can take a picture with his phone and email it to the blog. I'm so nervous, anxious, and excited that I have butterflies. Not your average butterflies, but the kind that go from the tips of your fingers to the tips of your toes! Wahoooo!!!!!


One more...


We haven't completely adjusted to the time change. We're still getting up between 4AM and 5:30 AM! At least we are ready to go in the morning though. Thought I'd add some pictures as blogger is working right now. Some still won't let me turn them....sorry! Hope you don't get a crick in your neck!

This is the kind lady who opened her home to us and prepared us a meal. Eric took a picture of her kitchen.

This is the room of the house besides the little galley kitchen. They sleep here, dine here, wash up here, visit here, and watch tv here! The young woman in the photo is Angelina (can't remember her Chinese name). She now has Eric's business card because she wants to come work for him in the States! Our last translator in Kazakhstan did the same thing.....but nothing ever came of it.

Here is another picture of us with our host. She said we had "red hearts" meaning we were kind hearted loving people. I'm sure it was she that had the red heart! She certainly made us feel at home. She also said she thinks that Grant looks just like Eric!

These ladies were our "connection" at the Pearl Market thanks to our guide Peter. They string them right in front of you. As soon as we walked out of there, I regretted not purchasing more!

A mass of rickshaw drivers!



Hutong Village


Beijing, Day 3...

We had a fantastic day today full of experiences! We started off with a tour of Hutong village which is part of the "Old Beijing" that was built my Mongolian people when they came into China. It was so cool! You could tell who was a commoner, "middle class", or related to the emperor by the number of beams above the door and steps to the house. The door opened to a small walkway or courtyard and only one family lived in each on many, many years ago. These days, MANY families live in one. We visited one of them and the resident said that 11 families lived in the "unit" which contained a total of 30 people. We opened her home to us which was one room that contained the bed, a small couch, a small dining table, and a small galley kitchen. Her and her husband (a retired steel worker) are both retired, and she does this as part of working for the government so that her rent is lowered. She has lived there 30 years and raised two daughters. She cooked us a very delicious meal of rice, pork and garlic stems (sorry for the bad description but it was literally the stem of the garlic plant cooked up; she brought the plant out of the kitchen to show us), a chicken dish, cherry tomatoes (stayed away from them since they weren't cooked), sweet potato chips, and cookies. She asked me (through a translator) if I liked dumplings and two minutes later there was a pile of them sitting in front of me. Oh my! They were good! The kids did so well trying things. We went back to our rickshaw driver who took us around to the drum tower. There was a bell tower that was rung in the AM and a separate drum tower for the evening. We so enjoyed the rickshaw ride and walking around Hutong village. The people were so kind. At the drum tower, the "rock star," AKA Allyson, had multiple people asking to take a picture with her!

We took about an hour rest and then headed to the pearl market via the subway. So far, we have taken a rented car and driver, taxis, subway, rickshaw, and public bus. If you've ever taken public transportation in Beijing, you know you're in for an experience! We saw some mules pulling wooden carts with vegetables and melons. That's about the only transportation we haven't taken! You can buy anything at the Pearl Market and our pocketbook is thanking us that we didn't have all day to spend in there! BTW, Peter, our guide, knows a manager at one of the shops at the pearl market who gave us a good price on some things! He also said he knows the manager at our hotel and that is how we received such a good deal to stay here. We couldn't have afforded it otherwise!

After the Pearl market, we headed (after another short rest for the kids) to the Beijing acrobat show. All of the acts were phenomenal but the young kids that were in it were just amazing! One little girls was the size of Grant and then there were a couple of other young girls and boys about 8-10 yrs old. The little girl came up to us after the show and tried to sell us a DVD of the show. She did the act where they continually stack chairs and balance on them and stand on their hands and flip all around. I was holding my breath! Oh, I could go on and on! Sorry!

We took a taxi back to the hotel. Peter wrote the name of the hotel down for us so we could show the taxi driver. Once "home", I got the kids cleaned up and us packed up to head to Yinchuan tomorrow morning. Eric went down a couple of blocks for food. He hit the KFC and bought what he thought was popcorn chicken. No one ate it. He thought it was fried squid! I'll post pics and video when I can. I'll try to get a few in tonight. Super tired!

It hasn't sunk in completely that Jake will be with us in just two days! When I do think about it, I get nervous., anxious, and excited. It's a good thing we have been so busy here in Beijing as it has taken my mind off of it a bit. Not that I don't want to let my emotions feel everything they should feel, but my stomach hasn't gotten over my jetlag indigestion! (Obviously, I haven't let that stop me from eating my way through Beijing!)

Keep praying for Jake as his life is about to be turned upside down! Pray that God gives him a peace in his heart.


Its what's for breakfast

Fungus soup.... Looks like some orange fruit in juice poured from a pitcher. Can't figure it out!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


Beijing Day 2 pics

One of the market street near our hotel. PACKED!

You'll see in the posts below, that we ate an authentic Chinese meal today. So, for dinner, we hit the McD's. Grant was beyond was Eric! He said the Big Mac tasted just the same, and, yes, the meals are number like the States!

Near our hotel, is one of the interesting food streets. I've seen these on the travel channedl before, and always told Eric that I wanted to go there. We went! This lady is selling Asian crepes which happen to be my favorite thing!!!!! My stomach has been a little sour since yesterday.

These scorpions were still ALIVE and moving!!! He also had seahorse and grubs to fry up for you! He was very eager to sell us some. NADA! Would have loved to try it, but I have a long way to go on this trip. Can't get sick. Our guide, Peter, said these foods were good for Chinese people but give tourists diarrhea!

Water cube from the Olympics.


Beijing Day 2

We toured the Olympic Village. Here's the famous Bird's Nest!

After the Great Wall, Peter took us to for an authentic Chinese meal. Allyson had MULTIPLE helpings and tried everything including the spicy chicken dish. Grant ate the sweet and sour pork and the fried rice. We also had a Chinese vegetable and honestly, I'm not sure if it was bok choy or not, but it was delicious. I ate it for breakfast today too, as it was on our breakfast buffet at the hotel.

We travel 2 hours away to a less "touristy" part of the Great Wall. On our way, we traveled through several small villages. It is always so fascinating to me, to see how other people live, rich or poor. I wish we could have spent time just walking around some of these villages. It probably didn't faze Grant, but I hope it made an impact on Allyson.

This was a "touristy" shot at the Great Wall, but Eric couldn't resist paying this guy for his picture! "Ghengis Khan" was soooooo enthusiatic and even let Grant hold his spear. Grant loved it.


Great Wall, Beijing Day 2

View of the mountains from the Great Wall of China

View from one of the watch towers

Grant loved to pretend he was shooting from the smaller shooting holes in the Wall. Peter explained that the "small holes for shooting" and "the bigger open area for gaurding". Sorry it's cockeyed. It is correctly rotated on my computer but won't for blogger

Should be on my next Christmas card, but we are missing a family member! Think I can photoshop him in? Hehehe!
Ahhhh, the squatty potty. The kids have been introduced to it. You haven't lived till you've packed your own toilet paper and used a squatty potty!


Beijing Day 1

We have had a fantastic day. The kids did absolutely great! No complaining from all the walking. Tianamen Square was huge and very interesting. The line to see Mao Tse Tung's tombs was crazy long. Really cool to walk around. Oh, remember I said that our hotel was next to the Forbidden City? Well, when we were eating breakfast, we sat at the window, and I thought, "Nice wall. Wonder why they put that big wall so you can't see the street?". When we me Peter this morning, he told us that that wall was part of the Forbidden City Wall and is original to the structure built 600 years ago! Yeah, we're that close! So cool! We saw the emperor's thrones, jewelry, carvings, bedroom, his mother's bedroom, jade carvings, dressing area, oh my, a ton of other stuff! After Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City, we hiked up a hill to see a panoramic view of Beijing. So beautiful up there and quite a workout! We could see the Olympic Village from there as well. Back down we went and took the bus back towards our hotel. Peter said the bus would be an experience for us. Definitely! Experiences, definitely what we are looking for in this tour of Beijing.

Little did we know that we brought a "rock star" with us! Allyson has been commented on many times. People say she is beautiful. They like her hair color, and on and on. One little girl even asked to take her picture. The people are so very nice. Grant has received some suprised looks whenever he opens his mouth.....he gets a lot of surprised looks because he has not stopped talking! Earlier this morning, we were walking across a busy street avoiding cars and bicycles and a woman said, "Baby, Baby! How old are you?". I realized she was talking to Grant! You can imagine how pleased he was at this comment! He did answer he with some prompting from mom!

Peter took us to a mall with tons of places to eat and some food markets and showed us around. We decided on a place to eat. After he got us settled in to eat, we said goodbye for the day. So, guess where we ate? I know, you're thinking we caved and hit the McD's here in Beijing, didn't you? Nope. Chinese? Pizza? Nope. We chose a Thai restaurant where we had fried rice, soup, chicken satay, spring rolls, and coconut rice and mangos. YUMMY! Yes, mom, the kids ate too! It was so very, very delicious!

Sorry the below pictures are without captions and in many posts. Some are even doubled. My pics and/or computer was not cooperating and it was too many to post in one post! Tomorrow is a long day as we are headed to the Great Wall. Will post when I can!


more pics






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