Tuesday, July 29, 2008

BRINGING HOME THE GOLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In the spirit of the Beijing 2008 Olympics, we are proud to say that we're on our way home now to BRING HOME THE GOLD! ...And here she is:

"Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy." ~Psalm 82:3-4

Last Day in Guangzhou

Oh, how bittersweet it is to say that this wraps up our time in China...

We have fallen so in love with this country, the homeland of our precious Li Ming. These amazing people have shown us nothing but warmth, love, and hospitality. The people of China live under some very difficult circumstances, but their spirits do not show it. We have learned much from them, and are truly humbled to have lived among them, if even for such a short time. We will be forever grateful for the GIFT we've been given by this country. She is "exceedingly, abundantly above all we had hoped or imagined!"

We have witnessed God's Hand like never before. The minute details that we've been praying for over the last 3 years have ALL been answered beyond our wildest dreams. We BELIEVED GOD, and the mountains moved! We stepped out in faith, and He led us every step. I remember my fear back in the summer of 2005 when I was wrestling with God over whether or not we were to pursue this...and I remember how I told God that He really didn't want us ordinary little ragamuffins to do such an extraordinary thing as adopt....and I remember how I prayed, and wrestled this all out with God...and I remember that Sunday morning, August 21st, 2005, while sitting in the church service when I clearly knew that this was what God was calling our family to do...and I remember going to the end of the 11th chapter of Hebrews and writing: "Hebrews 11:41 (adding my own last verse) By faith, Phillip and Rhonda believed God when He called them to adopt..." I knew He had ordained the time and I was sure of what He'd called us to do.

Today, almost 3 years later, I sit here at my computer at 1 am in China while the most angelic little cherub on the planet sleeps securely 4 feet away. She is no longer an orphan. She is ours'...forever. She has a mommy, a daddy, 3 awesome brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and a whole community of people who have hit their knees interceding for her since before she was even conceived. In just a few hours, she'll board a plane headed to the United States of America where she'll be welcomed and embraced by these people who will love her and pray for her, and ultimately show her Jesus. I am in awe. I will forever be in awe.

The extraordinary was accomplished, but it was THROUGH us; not BY us. This is His story; not ours'. We're simply the vessels He's using to accomplish His purposes. God's heart is FOR the orphan. If you are praying about adopting, please e-mail us and let us share with you some of what we've learned in this process. We have been stretched, and we have discovered a deeper love we'd have never known without this journey.

A couple notes about the pictures above: Several are just random shots of us today. One is Peyton standing in front of a Uighur Restaurant. This is a muslim people group in Northwest China. Our new friends, Lesli and Rusty, took us there for lunch today and it was a hit! They've had the privilege of spending some time with these people and it was fun to hear Rusty order our food in their native tongue. This has definitely been an educational trip. Another picture is of all 4 of us standing in front of the U.S. Consulate today. You can see in our hands the MOST precious packet of papers, the famous "Brown Envelope" (all you China adoptive families know, don't you?!). This is the packet of info. we hand over to the immigration people in the U.S. customs tomorrow when we land in Chicago. Without this, little Miss Li Ming can't enter our country. At the consulate, we all raised our right hands and swore that all our information was true and correct....They wouldn't allow cameras of any kind in there, so it was a bummer not to have that moment captured for Macy Li to see one day, so we just took this shot as we left the building. That appt. finished up our official business here in China. Tomorrow, she flies home on her Chinese passport as "Gan Li Ming." She becomes a U.S. citizen when she passes through Customs in Chicago! We can hardly wait to show her off to you when we get home. We'll be arriving into Nashville at 9:30pm on United Flight #7884 from Chicago.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Another Great Day in Guangzhou

All I can say is that we had another amazing day with our "little" princess. She loves to be on the go, and boy were we ever.  All of our paperwork was finalized and she is our "FOREVER" girl!
Enjoy the pictures, we will give you more details tomorrow.....
Goodnight from our beloved China.

Phillip, Rhonda, Tater, and Macy Li......."lil" Ming

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Girls love to shop!

Macy Li Ming Kemp here, reporting in from Guangzhou!

Big Dude, Little Dude, and the lady took me power-shopping today on Shaimian Island! Boy, did I rack up! I should have known it was gonna be good when we left with several big empty shopping bags this morning. Well, whenever the lady found something cute for me and showed it to Big Dude, he said, "Get it! She'll look like an angel in that..." Whenever I looked up at him, he melted like butter....and it had nothing to do with the 100 plus heat and humidity. (They said this has to be the hottest, most humid, place on earth).

We had a great time! The locals totally dig me and tell me I'm a lucky baby! Hey, I think Big Dude, Little Dude, and the lady are the lucky ones! They got the sweetest chick in China! Speaking of sweet, I love it when the lady wears her hair down because I rub it and eat it and do this wild french-kissing all over her face! She's pretty much slimed when I'm finished, but she loves it.

I'm so exhausted, I came home, had a bath, slammed a bottle, ate a few saltines and took a nap . I can't wait to see what's next. I'm lovin' the good life here. They tell me I've got a couple of way-cool brothers waiting on me when I get home. They are in something called "Wall to Wall Football" (or Two-a-days) this week. I've been practicing my cheers for #11 and #9 for Friday nights this fall! They keep showing me how to say, "Give him 6!!!!!" and "Go LIONS!" and "Get that ball, Tyler!" and "Take him down, Nolan!" and lots of stuff like that. I don't get it, but it sounds fun! I hope I have some little girls ready to wag me around on Friday nights because I have a feeling the lady is going to pretty much ignore me. And with his camera-fettish, I have a feeling Big Dude is gonna be off snapping like crazy...That's cool because I have no trouble finding people who want to hold me.

Well, here are just a few of the many pics we took today.....

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ni Hao from Guangzhou!

Well, we arrived safely in Guangzhou last night. Macy Li did great on her first flight...just a little claustrophobic! It was sad to leave Nanchang, knowing that we were taking her from her "homeland," but we were also ready to get to a more modernized city. And boy is GZ modern! So far, we've loved it. This morning, we had breakfast at the top of the hotel in the revolving restaurant. Macy Li enjoyed her eggs and congee! After that, we loaded the bus and headed to Shaimian Island, where all the babies had their photos made for their Visas to leave China. Then, we took a short walk down the street to the medical clinic where they all had their physical examinations. It was a little chaotic, but she did fine. As it turns out, she weighs 7.9 kg...which is a little over 17 pounds. I'm sure life as a Kemp will fatten her up quick! After our medical appointments, we went grocery shopping for baby food, formula, snacks, diapers, etc...We got stared at some more, but it was fun. Little old ladies come up to Macy Li and say in Chinese, "Lucky baby, lucky baby!" This afternoon, we had our "paperwork party," which was just an hour and a half meeting where we filled out more forms, and got LOTS of paperwork together for the Consulate appointments we'll have on Monday. I went to that, while Phillip and the kids napped. Shocker! Tonight, we and several other families walked a few blocks up the street to a great Italian restaurant. That's about it for today! Another great day.

Macy Li is REALLY starting to giggle and cackle out laughing! She's doing a lot of mimicking and thinks Peyton is the funniest thing! We are falling MORE in love every single minute. We just keep saying, "HOW could we love her any more?!" It feels like she's been with us since birth. WE CRAVE HER EVERY BREATH! And to think we could have missed this....To think that "fear of the unknown," or a desire for our comfort zone almost kept us from this most incredible blessing! When we look in those little slanted eyes, we are looking at the face of Jesus. Our hearts have discovered a whole new dimension, and we feel like we're a little closer to understanding the love of God towards us. How deep and how wide is the Father's love....

In the morning, we are off for our big shopping day! Woohoo!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Leaving Nanchang!

We are filled with emotions having to leave this wonderful place. Macy Li is taking a nap and we are packing up getting ready to head to the airport to fly to our final destination in China: Guangzhou. We had to make one last trip around before we left. This place has changed us forever.

Thanks, Nanchang, for our "'lil Ming," as Big Dude calls her!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nanchang Day 4

Here are some photos of our 4th day in Nanchang. We are amazed at how Macy Li is adjusting, or maybe I should say how we are adjusting. She has been fantastic. It is like she has been with us for ever. I can't imagine life without her. She is the Bomb!!!!!!!!

This evening, Maggie and Mary took us to a really great Chinese restaurant, where they ordered some really unusual cuisine for us. There was this one really odd looking egg dish they ordered for our babies. At first, I was scared... It was floating in this brown liquid. I had visions of salmonella dancing in my head! Mary said, "Go ahead! You're baby will love this!" Reluctantly, I obeyed because Mary and Maggie have got it going on and I have learned to trust ANYTHING they say. Well, little Miss Li Ming tore into those eggs like they were the best thing she'd ever eaten! They probably were! There was a show at this restaurant which captivated her attention. After our dinner/show, we loaded the bus to head down to the Gan River, where on the banks they do an amazing light show which would rival Disney's best. They do this every single night here in Nanchang, and families with children are EVERYwhere! It was really a lot of fun...but again, the people-watching was the best to me. People stare at us as if we were little green Martians. We just smile and wave, and they wave back and some take pictures. Every Chinese person we've met has been the sweetest, gentlest, most gracious soul! We have fallen for these wonderful people.

I have to tell you about their traffic. First of all, I'm not sure if there are any rules. It's every man for himself. It's like the whole city's playing a big game of chicken! Who's gonna flinch first?! Meanwhile, the Americans on the bus are gasping and gripping the hand-rails just knowing we're out to wreck at any minute! In between all the lanes of traffic (where you could stick your arm out and touch the side of the vehicle beside you) there are people on bicycles and mo-peds driving the OPPOSITE direction with no helmets, women in high-heels, and some carrying babies. They're PERFECTLY comfortable! Meanwhile, we cringe, waiting for imminent death! If you are a pedestrian crossing the road, you'd better get prayed up first! I'm serious. I have been pausing to pray every time I run accross the road, with Macy Li in my arms. They just don't yield for ANYthing! Police are everywhere, but they seem not to be concerned.

This was our last full day here, as we fly to Guangzhou tomorrow. GREAT, further SOUTH to where it's gonna be TOASTIER!!!!! Oh joy! Guangzhou is in the Guangdong Province and is located very close to Hong Kong...a short boat-ride away.

Well, that's it for tonight!

Macy Li's Orphanage

I was able to go to see Macy Li's orphanage today. This was such a God-thing.
Rhonda will fill you in with the details, but for now, the photos will tell the
story for us.

We love you all.

~Macy Li's Daddy

Hi...It's Rhonda. Phillip wants me to tell you about his morning visit to "Li Ming's" orphanage. To begin with, this visit should not have happened. But God intervened and made the way. That's all I can say here, publicly.

Anyway, off they went at 7:30 this morning in a van, with a translator, and a driver. It was Phillip, 3 other dads, one son, and one grandmother from our travel group. This drive took about 3 hours through the worst roads he'd ever seen. He said there were places where the driver literally had to come to a stop and barely roll over and through all the potholes. Along the roads, peasant farmers lay out there peppers and rice to dry in the heat of the sun....right ON the road! Drivers politely go around it so that they won't disturb it. He said the countryside and sights were amazing. They drove through rice fields and saw many farmers. He also said it was very tropical-looking.

When they arrived at the orphanage, they quickly realized that this was not the place where we'd seen pictures of. As it turns out, that was the Jianxin orphanage up until May 2007 when they moved to this facility. Phillip and the others were met by the Orphange director, who we'd met on "Gotcha Day" and the following day at the Civil Affairs Office. He is SOOOOOO nice and clearly has affection for these little orphans. There are 20 babies there, divided into 3 rooms: Room A, Room B, Room C...Macy Li was in Baby Room A, along with "Ahna" the Simmons' family's little baby. Their cribs were next to each other.

He was asked not to take pics of the babies, so you won't see any above.

This is the orphanage she's been at since November 2007. Prior to that, she was at her original orphanage, 4 hours further into the countryside, where she was found on July 8, 2007. This orphanage does not adopt out internationally. PRAISE GOD she was sent to Jianxin!

Phillip met all the sweet caregivers, who were so gracious and kind.

He felt like it was "pretty" clean.....definitely not sanitary by our standards. But he said it was neat and tidy, and they seemed to be doing the best they could with what they had. The donations we took them should provide for some needs there, and Phillip asked what was a great need. They said an "autoclave" or some type of sterilization method, as well as a refrigerator. We're now working to make that happen for them. The most difficult part will be getting these things delivered to such a remote place. But, NOTHING is impossible for our God! We'd do anything to help these little kids. If they'd have said we could take 'em all, we would have loaded 'em up!

Well, there's so much more, but that's the highlights!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Ni Hao! It's Macy Li Ming Kemp here, reporting in from ClubMed-Nanchang! I have a few thoughts I want to share with all my soon-to-be-peeps back in the U.S.....

I have hit the jackpot! You see, there's "this lady," and "this dude," and a "little dude." They picked me up Monday afternoon and for the last 48 hours have pretty much worshipped me. Have no clue why, but I'm not complaining. I've got 'em to where if I just LOOK like I'm in any way needy, they all hop up and scurry around to serve me. I think I may just stay with 'em 'cause if they're this easy to manipulate, then I've got a good thing going.

Little dude is hilarious! He kicks a little gold soccer ball around our swanky suite and I just giggle 'til I hiccup. The big dude just has this stupid looking starry-eyed grin all the time. Whatever I want, he gives it to me. In the slideshow below, you can see him feeding me congee this morning at breakfast. Now "the lady" I'm worried about. She seems to be having some problems with her tear-ducts...they just keep watering. It seems to be connected to me somehow, so I hope she can get over it.

Well, here's what we all did today...I got to see some really famous sites, see some old Chinese theatre, and go to this place called "McDonalds." Now I don't know what the big deal was about that, but they kept saying, "Awww, this is her first trip to Mickey D's and this is her first french fry"....The big dude gave me Sprite, but the lady kept saying it'd make my stomach hurt. So, I shot her a dirty look, and then she gave me some Sprite herself! They're toast.

Well, that's about it for now. I've got to go walk the streets of Nanchang while the big dude takes some more pictures...He's got a thing about cameras and I think it's really going to get worse with me around.

Wo Ai Ni! (I love you!)
~Li Ming

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pizza Hut Rocks

Tonight, the whole group decided to try to Americanize our additions with some good ol' from-the-States pizza. Maggie, our fabulous guide, delivered the "manna from heaven"... We tore into 'em like it was our last supper. We were all sitting around on the floor in the playroom, sharing stories of how our babies were adjusting, when we looked up and what did we see?.................Macy Li chomping on a piece of pizza crust. I guess since she's OVER being an orphan, she has given up on any more fish porridge! We didn't have the heart to tell her that it is normally not on the diet until you have an adequate number of teeth to chew it up...Okay the Dobson Poster Family we're not! But how do you say no to the most precious little girl in Nanchang?

Macy Li says, "I love Pizza Hut!"

After a warm and VERY splashy bath, here is our princess in her jammies!

Goodnight from Nanchang!


DNA is sooooo overrated! We are absolutely so in love with this little cherub that we are out of our minds. How could we love her any more just because she came from our gene pool? WE COULD NOT!

Today was our 2nd day in Nanchang; first whole day with Macy Li; and the day our adoption was finalized!

We woke up early and headed out for 3 offical appointments. The first was back to the Civil Affairs Office. This is where we got her yesterday. Again, our bus pulled up to a building you'd never suspect was "official" in any way. We made our 2nd walk down that "sketchy" looking alley to the entrance and up to the 26th floor again. Outside temperature: 900--inside temperature: 9,000! And we thought Beijing and Nashville were hot! We crammed into the elevators like sardines and went back to where it all started yesterday. What it did to our emotions was impossible to describe. After a little while, we were called back to a little office where we met with an official and had to explain why we wanted to adopt, that we would "never abandon her," that we would always love and care for her. We were asked about our dreams for her, what our educational plans were for her, questions about our own educational background, etc....These people are all business, but the lady was quite nice. She gave "Li Ming" an offical gift, which was a beautiful porcelain vase.

After we left the Civil Affairs office, we loaded the bus again and headed to our appointment with the Notary. Now, a notary in China is nothing like a notary back home. He is actually a judge, and is VERY stern and all business. I was a wreck. He asked us the same questions, kinda glared at us, snapped his questions, and "allowed" us to take a picture. You can see Maggie, our guide, standing at the end of the desk, interpreting every word.

Just a little sidenote about Maggie: SHE ROCKS! I want to take her back home with us. We're begging her to come to the States, and maybe we can coerce her to one day. She, like a Mother Duck, leads the way everywhere we go. We, like little ducklings, follow where she leads! Whenever we get "lost" or wander off, she comes running back to "gather" us back into her little brood. She is an interpreter, but she is also a great advocate. Whatever she's paid is surely not enough. We LOVE her! She works for an agency who contracts with the China Center of Adoption Affairs, and who our agency, America World, contracts with.

Back to our day....Our 3rd appointment was at the Police Station. Much to my surprise, this one was painless, and Macy Li got her official mugshot made.

After the Police Station, we were off to the Nanchang Walmart! SO weird! It was 2 stories and was, again, located in a building where you'd never suspect housed a Walmart. Since Nanchang isn't exactly a "tourist" type destination, there is NO ONE in this city who is not Chinese....So, you can imagine the stares we receive everywhere we go, but especially there!

After Walmart, we went to KFC! Yep, KFC! Strange, but these Chinese people love them some southern fried chicken! Since we've only had Chinese food up until this point, we were glad to get something familiar, and no chopsticks required!

After lunch, we came back to the hotel where we've finally had a chance to "nest" a bit. Macy Li took a 2 hour nap, slammed a bottle, pooped her first, and has been quite effective in letting us no that we are NOT to put her down for one second. She is SO OVER being an orphan!! Attachment is NOT going to be an issue here! This chick knows and wants her family! She's living the good life now, and she's not going to be ignored for a second! Who wants to ignore her anyway! She's the best! She is everything and more! Her little China eyes do "talk" as her Referral papers said!

Well, we're headed to meet the rest of the group in the "playroom" for a pizza party. All the kids are praising God for more American food!

I'm praising God for His indescribable gift!

Monday, July 21, 2008


Today was indescribable. It was an amazing day. We are emotionally and physically drained. There are more details to come soon. For now, just let the pictures do all the talking. 

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It Takes Two To Make A Baby!

Okay, I've heard all the hen-chatter for so long that it is now time for Macy Li's "Ba-ba" to be heard.

Just a few minutes ago, Tater and I were praying for today and Macy Li's adjustment to her new family and
it just dawned on me.......Hey I am going to be the father of a little girl. Okay, I know how to run a fly route, and
how to give the sign for a hit and run, how to screen for a lay-up, and how to stalk a whitetail deer, but ballet, dance and tea parties.....HELP!

It has been 11 years since I have changed a diaper..... Oh how time flies. It just seems like yesterday that Tyler was playing wiffle ball in the back yard, and since Nolan was learning to swim and snowboard, and Tater was being drug from one ballpark to another. I wouldn't change one single thing. What a ride.

A new chapter is about to be written today. One that starts out with...."Once upon a time in a land far,far away........" And oh how far away it is, but it is funny how God makes time and space go away when He is moving in your life....and oh how He is moving!

I want to say before God and man...........I AM UP FOR THE TASK! Bring on the tu-tu's, bring on the china tea-cups, bring on the dance music, and heaven forbid, the suiters.........even though I may have to work on that one.

I have never been so excited as the times I've driven so fast, running red lights on the way to the hospital to watch the delivery of my boys. This excitement is just as great. What God birthed in our hearts, He is bringing to fruition in our lives......TODAY! What a day this is going to be.....

I just want everyone to know, I'm gonna be her favorite!!!!!

Phillip--Macy Li's Ba-ba

"Once upon a time in a land far, far away........"

The "Water has broken"...

Ni hao! It's 6:10 am on Monday and we're headed for the showers and to the "hospital" for our amazing delivery!!!!!!

My baby girl will awaken in the next hour, and begin her last day in the only home she's ever known, with the only "moms" she's ever known....I would give everything I have just to peek in on her and see what today will be like for her...I worry about the long, ride through the rural backroads she must travel to get to Nanchang...I wonder if she'll have water for the trip in this heat...I wonder if she'll be okay...

SOON, baby girl! We can't wait to have you in our forever arms!!

Beijing, Day Three

Today was amazing, beginning with the church service. I couldn't believe I was actually in a "theatre" (by order of the "police station," they are not allowed to call it a church) where the Word of God was being taught, and people were worshipping freely in CHINA(!), however it was only because this place was designated for non-Chinese citizens. I believe most were tourists. Not even our tour guide, Maggie, was able to go in. She sat out in the bus and waited for us. Worship songs were sung in both Mandarin, as well as English. The message was delivered in English, then translated into Mandarin. I've never been to church where I was frisked, had my bags searched, had the wand thingy, had my bottled water confiscated, and had to show my passport in order to be allowed in.

After church, we were taken to a Jade Factory, where we saw many beautiful hand-carved works of art. The men carve; the women polish....hmmm, sounds familiar. ;) Also, we went and saw how the Chinese cloissinne is made, and had another chinese lunch. After lunch, we went to The Great Wall. Thankfully, the skies were almost clear, so we could see a long way. When we started up, there were 2 paths you could take..."Left" was the steepest and hardest to climb, but there was hardly anyone going. "Right" was not as difficult, but most of the crowd was going that way. Well, of course, we chose the "Road Less Traveled!" And the air is thin! Our ears were popping enough just on the bus ride up the mountains to where we began our climb. Where there were actually steps, they were very high. Other parts were just a VERY steep walk. Let's put it this way, if someone was only 5 or 6 steps ahead of you, they were ABOVE you. The pictures below do NOT do it justice....We had a great time and were in awe of the scale, history, and the scenery you could see from the highest point that we climbed.

We finished off the day with another traditional Chinese Peking Duck dinner. Another great day!

A funny note: Peyton now has 2 new buddies from our travel group, Eli and Mason....."Eli and Peyton!" And Mason's nickname is "Mater," so they are "Mater and Tater!"

NOW, to WHAT WE'RE HERE FOR: "Gan Li Ming!" This day is over. Phillip and Peyton are snoozing away, and this very "pregnant" mom is pacing the hotel floor, labor pains are very close together, I'm packing my little bag of baby stuff for the "hospital," and wondering what tomorrow will hold... Will she like us? Will she hate us? Will she scream her little head off? Will I be in a puddle before we even get there? How long will it take us to get that first giggle out of her? Is she well? Is she sick? Will her caretaker grieve as she hands her to us? Will we get it all captured on video? What do we do next? I'm kind of a wreck at the moment....Exhausted from the past few days, but wide awake with wonder. We have to check out and head for the airport early in the morning. We've been told that, upon arriving in Jiangxi, we will probably be taken straight from the airport to The Civil Affairs office of Nanchang, where we will receive our babies. We don't know yet if the government is going to allow us a visit to her orphanage... but boy do we all want to go! We plan to beg tomorrow.

Well, that's it for now...here is some of our day today:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Good Morning!

It's Sunday morning, and we are just about to leave for church. We have to show our U.S. passports because Chinese citizens would not be permitted to attend a Christian service. Unbelievable. Thank you Lord, that Macy Li is coming home to freedom where she can hear the Good News!!!

After church, we're headed to The Great Wall! Woo hoo!! We're all so excited, and it's about 900 degrees again today! Fun!

Phillip and Peyton are downstairs at breakfast right now, but with "Macy Li Day" right around the corner, I'm not much for eating at the moment. The realization of just how close we are to her brings butterflies big-time!

Please pray for Peyton when you read this because he's been having some problems with dehydration and yesterday took a big toll on him. We're forcing fluids and thankfully we have a pediatrician in our group.

Speaking of our group, we spent the day yesterday getting to know one another and the people with us are awesome! A few families are flying with us to Nanchang in the morning to get their babies from the same orphanage where Macy Li is. Others are traveling to different provinces in China....But on Friday, we'll all fly to Guangzhou in southern China with our babies, where we'll all be re-united for the last portion of our trip. The couples are from all over the country and everyone has SO enjoyed getting to know each other. No offense to family and friends back home, but no one really understands what we've been through with this horrific process but those who've walked this road as well. These people here have been in our same exact shoes and therefore we have an instant bond. I heard a few times yesterday that "9 months of throwing up would have been easier!" hahaha! But after tomorrow, I know that the wait will seem like a distant memory and every second of it will have been more than worth it.

We've been enjoying hearing from you in the comments...keep 'em coming!

When we get back to the hotel tonight, we'll post more pictures and highlights from today, so check back.

We love you all and covet every single prayer!

Beijing, Day Two

Today, we toured Tianamen Square, Chairman Mao's Burial Site, The Forbidden City, and the Emporers' Summer Palace which is on Kunming Lake. We took a short boat ride over and toured many beautiful gardens and courtyards surrounding it....These ornate buildings house centuries of history.

It must have been 900 degrees and it was a looong day, with a lot of walking. As we did, what was most interesting to me was to get up close and personal with the local Chinese people. They are such sweet people.

With the world coming in twenty days for the Olympics, China is definitely putting it's best foot forward. This is one amazing place. I could go on and on, but I thought these photos could speak a thousand words... The longer I am here, the more my heart falls in love with the people of my daughter's homeland...

Some of the very modern buildings below are "2008 Olympics" structures, including the "Bird's Nest"...very cool.

And perhaps the lightest moment of our day....this fellow we met at a pearl shop after lunch....I couldn't resist! I HAD to talk to him, so with my new friend, Bill Simmons from Cincinnati, we approached him as all our travel group laughed and snapped pics. (Notice mine and Bill's facial control! ha) He was visiting China from Romania, where he is a college professor of ancient writings! The funniest thing was that, here in a city of over 16 million people, who do we run into at DINNER but him again?! And AGAIN, with no shirt! We couldn't believe it.



It was a good day, and now we're even closer to Macy Li!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ni Hao from China!!!

We made it--One giant leap closer to Macy Li! We arrived in Beijing about 5 hours ago and now we're here in our hotel room (it's 7pm here), It's a strange feeling to leave home at 7:45am on Thursday, and to arrive here at 2:00pm on Friday, and it was daylight the whole way! Well, Peyton is conked out across the BRICK (yes, the beds are bricks!---larger than "twin-size," but smaller than "full-size" and rock hard!), Phillip has run up to the grocery to grab a few things, and since I know our family is chomping at the bit to hear or see some news, I thought you might like to see a few pictures below.

First of all, the long flight from D.C. was great--just long. Thanks to my physician friend, Reggie A., I was able to sleep like a baby on the way ;)...It's so surreal, sitting here looking out the window at the skyscrapers and listening to the sounds of the hustle and bustle below. It has a very New York kind of feeling, car horns and all. Today is rather hazy, but the city of Beijing has definitely put it's best face on for these upcoming olympics! Everything is spotless, and well manicured. Driving through the city, it was cool to see so many Chinese people on their bikes and scooters, women under their umbrellas, to hear the little Asian tunes you think of when you think about China. The Chinese people we've met have been so kind and gracious. Before we came, we were told that we'd be stared at, and it is so true! As we were leaving the Beijing airport, this young man came bolting up to us with his camera and was so giddy with excitement to take our pictures! Then, he had another guy take his picture with us. He kept bowing and doing his hands together. Then he ran off showing everyone our pictures on his camera ...We felt like celebrities! hahaha...

In a little while, after Peyton has rested, we're going to venture out in the city to find some dinner and take a taxi to see some of the olympic village sites, the "bird nest," etc...It's supposedly a sight to see at night.

Anyway, here are a few pictures from the trip over and sights from the bus window as we came from the airport to the hotel.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

China, Here We Come!!

Well, we're just about to walk out the door! This "labor" is going strong now! First, we're flying to D.C., then to Beijing! Monday morning, we'll fly from Beijing to Nanchang, Jiangxi, where we'll get her that day! China is 13 hours ahead of us, so we'll be getting her while you sleep on Sunday night. Next Friday, we'll fly from Nanchang to Guangzhou in the Guangdong Province. And the following week, we'll fly back to Beijing to Chicago to Nashville!! Please continue to pray for her health and protection, as well as for her attachment and adjustment during this transition to her new life. Thank you!! (Xie Xie!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

24 hours!

We're packed! 4 bags under China's 44-pound limit! Woo hoo!!!!! Considering we have to bring an entire nursery and pharmacy, that is an accomplishment! Now I'm off today just to tie up a few last-minute errands. I'm in a bit of shock seeing those closed bags by the front door.

Just as it was when I was leaving for the hospital to deliver my boys, I'm having all those "Mom-thoughts," such as this morning when I was cooking breakfast for Tyler and Nolan before they went off to football, "...this is the last breakfast I'll fix them without a baby on my hip," or this is our last day in this house being a family of 5 and life as we know it..." Moms, you know those "last" thoughts you have on your way to the hospital. That's me today. I'm trying not to let my "to-do" list distract me from soaking it all in. Our lives will never be the same. In the midst of insane joy, I have to admit to some pretty overwhelming melancholy emotions right now. It's odd. After an almost 3-year "pregnancy," I'm almost there...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

48 hours...

In just 48 hours, we'll be on a plane headed for Beijing! Somebody pinch me!

Hang on, we're coming "Gan Li Ming!" Your whole family is just about to burst! We love you so much!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Labor pains getting stronger...

3 more days "til we leave!!! 7 more days 'til we get her!!! We covet every single one of your prayers!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

...90 hours....

..In about 90 hours, we'll be gone...headed for the other side of the planet on a mission...Mission: Macy Li!!! I can't believe it. I haven't been blogging much this past week, as the requirements for such a mission are much! In a day or so, we'll be ready.

I can't stop thinking about how this sweet angel's life is about to radically change...Though WE all know this change will be Life-giving on many levels, SHE will have no idea. We expect the grief, the fear, the sadness. She will surely long for the only life she's ever known...for a while. It makes me sad, though I cling to the Promises of the bigger picture. Isn't this just like us with our heavenly Father?!?! We're lost, without any hope, until He adopts us as His own and we become forever His', heir to all that is His. Not until we're adopted do we receive life abundant, life full of hope, life eternal. Mind-boggling....

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Celebrating Macy Li...

The Boys are back in town!!

The boys are home!! K-Kountry and K-Colorado (kanakuk.com) kamps ended yesterday and they all came home last night. Phillip went out to Missouri for Peyton's closing ceremonies, while I flew out to Durango, Colorado for Tyler and Nolan's closing ceremonies. As usual, all three of them had two amazing weeks, and are already counting down the weeks 'til they go again next summer. I'm going to post some highlight photos here in the next day or two, as soon as I get them from all their cameras. You'll want to come back and see some of these. Last night, we all sat out on the front porch and just listened to them tell story after story of their camp adventures, their new friendships, but mostly about how impacted they were, once again, by the life-changing Truths taught there. All day today I've just thanked God for how He is working in their lives and transforming them into His likeness. I'll tell you, they challenge me! I'm so proud of how they're growing up, and making wise decisions. Of course, they fail daily because they're a Work in progress, but aren't we all? I'm humbled by how God is using them, in spite of what ragamuffin-parents they have. We are in constant need of a heavenly Father, all of us, to grow us up His way. Tyler, Nolan and Peyton, we are so proud of you young men! We see the fingerprints of our Father all over you! We're so privileged to be on this journey with you. We love you!

" Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name." Ps. 86:11

Thursday, July 3, 2008

"Mission Macy Li": 2 Weeks!

Wow...We did it. The flights are booked and paid for. 2 WEEKS FROM TODAY WE'LL BE ON OUR WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Woohoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We beat those olympics, afterall!! My heart is racing just typing this. There is soooo much to do, but just thinking of taking that sweet baby out of there gives me so much energy to get it all done. Hang on, sweet little Macy Li! We are coming to give you an amazing life!!!!

"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." Romans 8:15