Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Free Day

As we wait for Samuel's passport to be processed, we have some free days ahead. Since today is Daniel's first Gotcha Day Anniversary, we did all things child-friendly. We spent the day at the park (via the subway), and the children had lots of fun playing, painting, and riding rides! 

Everyone was so kind to us, and we received lots of "thumbs up" signs. Several people who spoke English helped us in the subway, or talked with us in the park, or simply talked with us about the children.

Here we are just off the subway and ready to begin our day of fun in the park.
Daddy and Hope having fun on a ride:
Good daddy!
Andrew behind Cherish.
They are catching balls in nets while riding in circles.
Cherish always looking out for the younger ones:
The "twins" who like to do everything together:

Daddy's walking buddy:
The "twins" riding together again:

These two! 
Samuel calls me "mama"!
Actually, it's sweet, but that must be what he called all his nannies.
Either way, I'll take it! 
 Look at Daniel holding Samuel:
Painting time:

Daniel getting Samuel's bottle out for him.
(It's his original bottle from the orphanage.)

After our time in the park, Derek treated us to Pizza Hut pizza--which was so yummy!!! We love eating all things Chinese while in China, but sometimes, deviating is fun.

When we got back to the hotel, Derek took Cherish and Andrew swimming while the others played in the hotel room.

Afterwards, we all went out for dinner--extra large ice cream cones!!! YAY!! Awesome? Right? Well, it's China. So, it was green ice cream mixed with white ice cream. The green ice cream was tea ice cream. It tasted like greet tea leaves pureed until the puree was creamy. It was interesting. He he.

When the ice cream was finished, we took Samuel on his first trip to WalMart. You should have seen his eyes popping out of his head!  He was wide-eyed at all there was to see. When I wasn't holding him, he thought everything was a toy, so he pushed and moved everything around. I think he liked WalMart! 

Tomorrow, we head to Samuel's orphanage to meet his nannies and to thank all those who cared for our little guy.

Thanks for "traveling" with us!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Reality #1:

Every "Gotcha Day" night, I bathe the new child. Samuel was the first one I did not bathe on day one. He was sick with congestion, that I didn't want to take a chance of him catching a chill.

In addition, last night he fell asleep in my arms while he was eating. Thus, he didn't get his teeth brushed.

So today, reality set in. I put him in the bath tub, and he began to cry--which was very good. I showed him he could splash in the water and the laughing began. It was so precious! He cried when he had to get out of the tub. (he he)

Then, he had to have his teeth brushed. Oh! The tears!

To add to that, Samuel cried when we put him to bed. Derek and I hugged him, cradled him, and put him back to bed. The crying continued as Derek rubbed Samuel's back and I rubbed his face.

It was sad to hear him cry, but for those who have gone through this process, you know it's actually very good.

Children can express stress and trauma in various ways, and one way is to shut down. With Sammy beginning to cry and express what he likes and doesn't like, it allows us to see that he is feeling more comfortable with us, and it shows us that he is allowing himself to feel. It's all "good" and part of the process.

In due time, he will trust us to care for his every need.

"Sammy, we love you! We love that you are feeling more comfortable with us!" 

Reality #2:

We're back to washing laundry in the tub and air drying the clothes. It's all good.

Adoption Day

Samuel is on medication for chest congestion and red dots that cover his body. The medicine looks and smells awful! It obviously taste terrible, too. At first, Samuel will quietly turn his head away, wait about a minute, and then turn back to take the medicine. I quickly wash the medicine down with a snack.

The boy doesn't cry and seems so pleasant. Perhaps his chest is too full of congestion to the point that crying would hurt. I don't know. Either way, he is a silent child who "goes with the flow".

He went to bed easily last night, and he slept through the night. He woke up without crying.

 He clings to Cherish!

 Early morning waiting for everyone else to wake up:

When our 24-hour guardianship time was over, we were asked if we would like to keep Samuel. With raised hands, we said "Yes!" Tears rolled down my cheeks at the thought of having to be asked such a question. Yes! Yes! Yes! A million times: YES!

At the government office waiting for the adoption finalization:


It's done!
His name is officially
Samuel Yao-Chen Bollinger!
Chosen. Loved. Wanted.
For life!

After all the finalization and the notarization, it was back to the hotel for lunch. These two brothers slept through lunch:

Time to get ready to apply for Samuel's passport. More later....

Monday, August 29, 2016

Samuel's Gotcha Day

We left our hotel at 9:30 a.m. to go to the government building where we were going to meet Samuel. We didn't realize that he had already arrived! He was waiting for us instead of the other way around.

We didn't have a chance to get our cameras out. However, another family with us had their phones out and quickly began to video tape the event of us meeting. I will upload the video once we receive it.

So for now, here are the pictures we were able to take of our first few moments together with Samuel:

Samuel seems to have quickly warmed up to us. Yes, he was scared at first and shed a few tears, but the children's Asian faces I think helped his transition.

Samuel is so very gentle and quiet. He reminds us of Andrew.

He is currently napping and sucking the index finger on his left hand--just like Andrew used to do. It's so sweet!

Everyone is getting along and the transition time is very smooth right now. I know that can quickly change as evening and darkness rolls around, but for now, there is peace and a sweet sense of calm over everyone.

Thank you for your many prayers for Samuel and our family! God bless you all!

P.S. Samuel is a bit under the weather, so please keep up the prayers for him. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Travel to Zhengzhou

Today was travel day to get to Samuel's province. We took the high-speed train with two other families in our group.

The children were kept busy on the train by the gift of a tablet lent to them by one of the families--the Whittons. Thank you, sweet family!

When we arrived in the capital city of Henan (Zhengzhou), we were able to exchange some money and prepare for tomorrow's Gotcha Day.

Here is what welcomed us in our hotel:

Currently, Daniel is sleeping in the crib on the left. It has a side that folds down so a child can climb in and out easily. Daniel loves it!

So, we are on the countdown. We receive Samuel around 10 a.m. Monday (i.e. 10 p.m. Sunday, Eastern Time).

We would appreciate your prayers for Samuel as he goes through a very stressful day of change. Thank you!

By way of update: Daniel's fever subsided last night. Thank you for all the prayers! God answered your requests! Thank you!!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Great Wall of China

Today, Saturday, those in our group who were available went to climb The Great Wall. We went to a new area this time, which was very exciting.

Oh, the steps! The steps!
The steep, steep steps!
(I know the picture doesn't do it justice, but, oh my!)
 The littlest climbers did a great job!

 New friends:
Little did we know that Daniel was spiking a fever on the wall. Poor guy! Graciously, a lady in our group offered me her Kinderpack to carry Daniel around in. What a blessing!!!!! It was so amazingly easy to carry Daniel around without feeling his weight.
Thank you, Kyra!