Monday, August 31, 2015
The adoption has been finalized! Introducing Daniel Bollinger!
Next up: We have to take the high-speed train to Daniel's city to apply for his passport. After that, we will visit his orphanage.
THANK YOU to all who have written comments or e-mailed us! Your comments come straight to our e-mail account. E-mail is our only access to the "outside world". (I am e-mailing to the blog, as we have no access to the blog or FB.) Any information can be duplicated to FB as desired.
Now, off to the train station!
Daniel came to us without crying. However, he screams during diaper changing times. Unfortunately, he has "diaper rashes" that are so bad, he has open wounds. Thus, diaper changing time is TORTUROUS!! And, he now has diarrhea. Poor guy. He's under a lot of stress.
Paperwork will begin at 3 p.m. our time, so I need to get little guy to bed for a nap.
Actually, I should say: "Derek will need to get little guy to bed for a nap."
Since I have had to do the diaper changing times, I am the "bad guy" and Derek is the "good guy". That's ok for now. <3
Sunday, August 30, 2015
We traveled from Beijing to Zhengzhou today in order to prepare for Daniel. When we arrived, we exchanged money, and then went to the store to buy Daniel formula and snacks.
We needed the help of our interpreter to read the labels on the formula and snacks. Daniel is allergic to eggs, milk, and soybean, so we wanted to be sure to only buy him items that would be good for him.
His diaper bag is now ready and waiting by the door for tomorrow morning.
We leave the hotel in 12 hours to meet Daniel. We will receive him around 10 a.m. Monday China time--10 p.m. Sunday night EDT. We're on the countdown!
The children are beside themselves with excitement!!! They seem to almost be jumping out of their skins!
Hope prayed for me tonight. She asked God to "help Mommy, because she's about to have a baby any minute!" ;-) Sweet girl!
BTW, we received an update: Daniel is afraid of strangers and of new places. Poor little guy's life is about to turn upside down! =(
We'd love to have our prayer warriors praying for him, if and when you think of him. Thank you!!!!
Up next: Gotcha Day Pictures!!
P.S. I can only e-mail three pictures to the blog per post. I may just have to have 3+ "Gotcha Day" posts ;-).
Saturday, August 29, 2015
The "normal" tourist sites are closed due to the new, upcoming holiday here in Ch*na. There is a great show of power and strength. Let your mind run wild about how big the we*pons are, and your imagination would not be "wild". So, we have been keeping ourselves out of the way!
We spent today with the locals at the Olympic Water Cube (which is now a water park).
What I learned about the Chin*se people:
1. They like their modesty. The little girls all the way up to the elderly ladies wore beautiful swim dresses. Beautiful and modest. It would be extremely difficult to find such gorgeous handiwork and elegant style combined with modesty in the States. Here, it is the norm. Normal I tell ya. The ladies were/are truly gorgeous.
2. Ladies and girls like to wear swim caps that match their swim dresses. Some caps are so darling!!!!! They dress up to swim--with the cutest outfits!
3. The men do not tatoo their bodies. Those who do would be in the extreme minority.
4. They carry their babies around like little trophies. It's sweet to see!
5. A white girl with Chinese children ain't so cute. (I got mostly disapproving looks today.)
Hope and I were together on the "Lazy River" cuddled in a tube, and Hope looked at me--as if for the first time--and exclaimed, "You have blue eyes! And, blonde hair!" Me: "Yep, that's right!" Hope: "How did you get them?" Me: "God gave them to me." As we were talking, I observed what I had been observing all day: people taking "selfies". Then, as the tube of the people in front of us began to turn about, I saw the lady flipping through pictures of Hope and me on her phone! The lady hadn't been taking selfies; she had been taking bold pictures of us! And, while their back was turned to us, I saw her zooming in and editing OUR picture. Boy did I feel weird!
Ever feel ugly and awkward? I felt that way the rest of the day at the water park. Chinese ladies are so gorgeous, and then was me...with cute Chinese kids. I felt like a freak show.
Oh, well. I'm blessed Cherish, Hope, and Andrew think I'm pretty, call me "mommy", and choose to be with me. <3 It is enough. <3
Friday, August 28, 2015
Thursday, August 27, 2015
It's a look.
It's a feeling.
It's a person. with such void. such emptiness. without hope.
As we sat at New Hope watching the children, I didn't really want to take pictures. I wanted to watch. To really look at the children. To look into their eyes as they looked at me. To think what they must be thinking. To think about what they might be feeling.
Some children were bright-eyed and vibrant. Others looked hollow. empty. listless. void of emotion. These were the newcomers, no doubt.
What would it be like to be an orphan—with no one who really cared? With no one who really knew you? With no one who really understood you? With no one who truly cared if you were sick or well? To be an orphan who barely got fed or changed. To be an orphan who learned not to cry, because no one cared and no one was coming.
Oh, yes. People care—to get a paycheck. But, at the end of their shift, they are gone. Gone.
And they are left with no one to come and comfort each and every wound, care, tear, nightmare, etc.
It. is. visible.
Then, children get terribly sick or hurt and are blessed to be chosen to be transferred to care centers like New Hope or Maria's Big House of Hope. They are looked at and noticed. They are touched and cradled. They are held and kissed.
And hope enters their lives.
Even for just a short time.
We Americans can hardly understand hopelessness. We have hope—even if it's just in insurance, in the phone call from a friend, in warm housing, or food in the refrigerator. Hopelessness is foreign to most of us. Yet, it is very much alive and around the world.
What if each of us who had hope could give hope? What if even a few dollars a month was given to care for an orphan or widow who was truly hopeless?
What if we went and served the hopeless? What if we held a widow or orphan and brought a warm sense of love—even for a moment—into a life void of touch or love?
I wish each one of us would really see, understand, or feel hopelessness at some point in our lives. Then, perhaps, we would live to care for others—instead for ourselves.
From hopeless to hopeful. It is a sight to behold.
And at New Hope, as children come and go, as they are served and returned to their orphanages, the entire gamete of hopeless to hopeful is written all over the children's faces.
There are helpless and hopeless everywhere.
What will I do now to help?
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Thank you for praying! We are feeling so much better! After long, untimely naps, constant Airborne, and Albuterol treatments, we were doing great. We spent lots of time visiting with Dr. Joyce and the ladies who are serving here on their summer missions trip. (The ladies are teaching preschool, and exposing the orphans to English.)
Afterwards, we spent time playing outside, meeting some children, and observing a 30-minute preschool class in the afternoon. Cherish did so well helping with the children, that the teachers asked Cherish to stay for the remaining classes to assist in the classroom. Cherish was in her element!
She stayed and helped the teachers while Derek and I took the two littles back to our room for play and rest time. Andrew ended up falling asleep around 4 p.m. for the night. He was out!
Derek took Hope down to the preschool room to pick up Cherish, and they all spent about a half hour playing with some children before the children were taken to the canteen for dinner.
During this afternoon, we saw a shift in Hope. It was as if she was transformed back into an orphan--becoming like the other children in the room. It was so good for her to feel us lift her and remove her and take her to spend special time with us. At six years old, and only being home for a little over a year-and-a-half, she has not yet fully embraced the meaning to begin chosen, loved, and a forever daughter.
As we are currently awake through the middle of the night, and I am watching her playing a game with her brother and sister, I am sure she is feeling what it's like to live in a family and to be noticed, wanted, and loved.
She's ours for keeps! Even if she doesn't understand permanency yet.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Picture #1: Boarding our first flight after dad and mom had only about 1.5 hours of sleep.
Picture #2: Colds + asthma is bad news. At least these two have each other.
We are in Beijing and safely tucked into our room at New Hope. We had planned to volunteer for several days at Maria's Big House of Hope (where Andrew lived the beginning of his life), but they are currently displaced due to needed updates to their building. Thus, we planned to volunteer at New Hope instead. However, since we are sick, we won't be with the children as was planned. So, I'm not sure what our time here will hold.
Thank you for praying for us! We can tell we're being surrounded by prayer! This was the easiest trip we've taken to China so far. =) The children all did great! There's a strange sense of calm, peace, and ?. I'm not sure how to word it. There's no stress or anxiety. Derek has even mentioned the strange stillness and calm. We all felt perfect peace--like we were headed home.
Home. Here we are. Where our son is. We will hold him soon!
But first, we need to work through this jet-lag. There's a roaring game of Skip-Bo happening right now in the middle of the night, so I'm going to join the family now. =)
Monday, August 17, 2015
Friday, August 7, 2015
Thursday, August 6, 2015
This week we began our homeschooling year--since the children will be heading to China with us on August 24th. We changed Cherish's curriculum to Switched-On Schoolhouse, which is proving a good challenge for her. Though she is technically a third grader, she is doing fourth grade work. She thrives on challenges and strives to meet them!
She and Andrew make great partners! They play their phonics games and do other activities together--and it is beautiful to watch them work together and encourage each other along. It's a blessing to watch!
Such sweet friends!
Our tender heart!
Cherish wrote me a note yesterday saying that she loves her "new, fun school", and when I asked today if Andrew likes Kindergarten, he stated: "I SUPER love it!" Let's hope the feelings remain ;).
These children are a blessing!
What a joy it is to be with them each day!
Sunday, August 2, 2015
THANK YOU SO MUCH for providing us with a new-to-us van!!!!! We are SO THANKFUL for your MANY KINDNESSES!!!
We found a van that has anchors for 6 car seats, so prayerfully, Daniel will not be the last child we are able to adopt! THANK YOU IMMENSELY!!
THANK YOU! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!! Thank you for praying, giving, and supporting us! GOD BLESS YOU!!!!!!
See the children's video HERE.
Saturday, August 1, 2015
A week when teens and their adult leaders from our church head into the community to play with the children and tell them about Jesus. There were 81 hosts who opened up their front yards or community centers for the children to come, play, and learn.
Here's our Power Up Club week in pictures:
And, flowers from Power Surge--the closing festivities:
What a fabulous week it was!