Thursday, October 30, 2014

I could take another day like....


Bryan Jinhua (we are still using both names until he gets used to Bryan - then we will just use Jinhua when he is in trouble/we get formal - since it is his new middle name) 
woke up HAPPY AGAIN!!
(That is FOUR days in a row if you are counting!)

AND he just went to bed...
NOT crying or screaming!!!
(It seemed that we traded our morning unhappiness for night time unhappiness....Bryan Jinhua has been SCREAMING and CRYING the last three nights. Oh has it been hard. We hold him. We love him. We lay with him. We tell him in our best Chinese "It's okay" and "We love you".....but he has just SCREAMED and CRIED himself to sleep - in our arms. It has been heart-breaking for ALL of us)

BUT tonight he laid down next to me....without a peep and went to sleep!

Ahhh - it was heaven!!

 Jamma bought the boys matching pajamas - aren't they TOO cute?!

We fall in love with this sweet face a little more each day!

Silly, snuggly brothers after a bath!

I know, I is not REAL Chinese food - but we are getting desperate here!

Darren came home not wanting ANYTHING to do with Chinese food - but Bryan Jinhua likes his chopsticks and misses his noodles, steamed buns, and dumplings. So, a mom has to do what a mom has to do - even if that means Chow Mein from Panda Express! It tastes quite similar to the noodles we had in China AND I found on the internet a "copycat" recipe of it - so tomorrow (wish me luck!) I am going to try and make it!

We have been HOME a week!

Bryan Jinhua has been OUR son for 2 1/2 weeks!



Monday, October 27, 2014


THANK YOU for all your love and support!! 

Hearing from other adoptive mamas that their wee ones also experienced grieving much the same as Bryan Jinhua has helped me during this difficult time. 

Hearing that it is normal....

Hearing it is necessary to grieve....

and being told just to do MY BEST to comfort him....
(even when my best doesn't seem like enough!)

Bryan Jinhua INSISTS upon falling asleep in his own bed. Since he didn't cry when he woke up in China next to me - I have starting taking him into our bed once he is asleep (tricky of me huh?!)

Last night (or early morning 2am) he started to whimper...

and then cry loud enough to wake me up....

so I rubbed his back, hummed a loving tune, told him in Chinese that "mama loves him" and "it's okay"......

AND he calmed down AND fell back asleep!!!

PRAISING GOD that I was ABLE to provide comfort to our son!!!

And this morning when he woke up....laying between Darren and I (cause we played a little bed twister last night)....he smiled and laughed!!!

YAY JESUS!!! who heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds!!!
(Yes, I realize this was only one morning. Yes, I realize there is A LOT of healing that still needs to take place. Yes, I realize there is still grieving to walk through....but I am choosing JOY today!)

Praying that each day continues to get easier for our son and that we can continue to walk this difficult road with him.

 A bike ride for three!

Big brothers are so much fun!

Raking leaves like the big kids - but holding mama's hand!

First trip to the park - he loved the swings!

 Bryan Jinhua is VERY flexible and cute!

Sooo.....before I could push "publish" we have had two short periods of grieving. I am thinking evenings are harder when you are tired? And jetlagged? We might try an earlier bedtime tomorrow....especially since he isn't getting the 2-3 hour nap he was used to getting at the orphanage. 

THANK YOU for continuing to pray for Bryan Jinhua and his sweet, grieving heart!

Blessings, Sandy

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Transition

If you asked me how Bryan Jinhua's transition into our family was going - 
I would say "amazingly well"!

We are finding foods he will eat - so far his favorite are grape tomatoes, ramen noodles, watermelon, grapes, bananas, hard boiled eggs, and milk.

Bryan Jinhua LOVES to play with his brothers and sisters!

Legos, trains, cars, nerf gun/sword battles - he just squeals with excitement and laughs and laughs as they play together.

Bryan Jinhua is learning about life with both a mama and a baba. Some kids greatly favor or reject one parent when first home from China, but so far that is not the case for Bryan Jinhua.

Food and love from mama, silly games and love from baba.

The seven months he spent living in the rehabilitation room at the orphanage were tough on him. We can tell that he missed out on physical touch, on comfort, and on love.

Bryan Jinhua is learning to be held, be cuddled, be comforted, and be loved.


Bryan Jinhua is grieving. 

It is so very hard to see! 

I can't kiss away the owie and make it all better...

I hold him, I rock him, I hum the songs that comforted my other kids, I tell him two of the few Chinese phrases I know "Mama loves you" and "It is okay", I offer food/drink, we watch the Thomas and Pleasant Goat DVD's I bought that are in Chinese, and I pray.

I kick myself that I didn't ask the nanny and orphanage director how they comforted Bryan Jinhua when he was upset (Did they even comfort him?). Maybe if I knew I could do it too?

I just posted the following in a "After Adoption Support" group:

"I am looking for ideas. In China Bryan woke up happy every morning! I even commented on it because I was surprised. We have been home two days and both days he has sobbed upon waking up. In China he slept next to me in bed. At home he is insisting on sleeping in the firetruck toddler bed....that is one foot from my bed. Last night I made sure to leave a night light on but that didn't change anything. I woke up before him (stayed in bed)...he barely stirred and then LOUD sobbing - so very sad! Any ideas as he is breaking my heart!"

Could you pray for his grieving heart?

Could you pray this mama knows how to comfort her boy? 

Thank you, Sandy

Thursday, October 23, 2014


We made it home!

PRAISE GOD from whom ALL blessings flow!!!

We took the 3am van to Hong Kong. A half hour into the trip Bryan Jinhua got car sick and threw up. Luckily I heard him make a few noises and grabbed a bag. Most of it ended up in the bag - the rest on the outside of the bag! I felt really bad as I had been asking him if he was "okay"....but he had no way to tell me (and we were sitting in the dark!). He had been wearing sea bands, but I quickly gave him a Dramamine!

We made it to Hong Kong in TWO HOURS and without the driver falling asleep!

We checked in at the Delta counter AND they gave us SEAT ASSIGNMENTS!! AND we were sitting TOGETHER!!


PRAISING GOD for that answer to our prayers!!

 (One of the few moments the ear bud was IN his ear!)

We made it to Tokyo just fine - besides the fact that Bryan Jinhua cried when the flight attendant made him put his seat belt on. It was a sad little cry :(

We had a little over an hour in Tokyo - checked in at the gate, but no seat assignments yet. Picked up McDonalds and tried a fancy "pumpkin oreo Mcflurry" - why not?!

We got seat assignments *just* as boarding was beginning - AND our seats were together!!
We were in the VERY last row AND the flight was very full - and we were on OUR WAY HOME!!

The flight was over ELEVEN HOURS!!! No way around it THAT is a BEAST!!

I felt a bit like we were in an experiment: Give them a drink....give them a snack....turn out the lights....have them sleep....turn on the lights....give them food....turn out the lights.....have them sleep....turn on the lights....repeat - over and over again!!

Bryan Jinhua did FABULOUS!!!!

The ear buds didn't work with his ears - so he mostly watched silent movies!
 He also slept quite a bit - I have no idea how much as you lose track of time and can't figure out WHAT time it really is as you move from timezone to timezone!!

  Sooooo HAPPY to be back HOME with my FAMILY!!

Blessings from HOME! Sandy

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tuesday - our LAST day in China!

Breakfasts at some of the hotels in China are HUMONGOUS! There are multiple rooms of food - both Chinese and American. The breakfast at our hotel is much smaller. It is mostly Chinese food - with toast, waffles (not as good as frozen according to Rhiana), and cereal (that is some what stale). I have fun filling Jin Hua Bryan's plate with all sorts of interesting goodies. He tends to like fruit, noodles, and rice congee for breakfast.

The congee and porridge station

A *long* line of choices!

You could have beef ribs for breakfast!

Or fried eggs or chicken wings?

Or boiled egg? (Jin Hua Bryan loves these) or chicken meal sausage?

or milk immersion corn? One of Jin Hua Bryan's favorites!

Or fried udon noodles? or green vegetables?

I usually give Jin Hua Bryan a serving of whatever noodles they are serving as he seems to like them. I did skip it the morning they served spaghetti!

Your choice of tea, coffee, warm milk, or coffee/milk?
(The coffee/milk is tasty!)

There is always a spread of sandwich fixings - without the bread

This is where Rhiana and I tend to concentrate :)

Although garlic bread isn't that good for breakfast! The cakes, pita, buns, rolls are all very dry and not sweet. So we go for the waffles and toast....and bring our own peanut butter - why not!

The fruit, drinks, and cereal. The cereal display is small. When we have cereal we end up emptying the whole display bowl!

Every morning at breakfast watermelon, cantaloupe, and one other fruit is served. Today it was dates! Who knew what dates looked or tasted like not dried?! Jin Hua Bryan LOVED them!

The next day it was grape tomatoes for the middle fruit. Jin Hua Bryan ate them by the handfuls!

Napkin anyone? What? You say it looks more like a tissue? Why yes - it feels that way too!

Most restaurants give you one napkin. Many of the restaurants charge extra for napkins!

McDonald's has a sink so you can wash your hands. It is located right by the door.

Pizza Hut gives out plastic gloves when you order take out - so you don't get your hands greasy!

When you don't wear a watch....and you are not turning your cell phone on to avoid international have to carry your TRAVEL clock around to be sure not to be late to appointments!
We are COOL like that :)

Rhiana learned how to write her name!
(Yes Alex - she is doing school!)

I found a kid's devotional!

Jin Hua doesn't know how to read Chinese - but I love that it contains some of his culture!

Someone forgot to tell Jin Hua Bryan that it *might* be harder to walk in hotel, adult size slippers!

A belly laugh!


A friend described it so well - that I asked if I could quote her. I might be a tad bit tired - could be all that walking :)

"In China there are two ways to cross a street and both are nothing like where we live. The smaller streets you cross and hope you don't get hit.

 The pedestrians do NOT have the right of way. The cars do NOT slow down. 

Other pedestrians will shove you out of the way to get where they are going. The larger streets are separated by a white fence down the median which means the cars can not turn around in the streets and pedestrians can not cross. The cars have to go up on an exit ramp, turn around on the ramp and go the other directions if they need to turn that way. The pedestrians have two options (depending on which one is available). Some places have underground crossings to get to the other side of the street and others have pedestrian bridges you cross over the street. Either way you climb 100 steps up and 100 steps down. There is so much walking in China."

 This is my LAST blog post from China!

We leave for home at 3am tomorrow morning!
We will travel for 24 hours and then hopefully I will be HOME to hug ALL my babies!!

THANK YOU for all your prayers!!

We have definitely felt a peace that only God and prayers surrounding us can bring!

I won't continue to blog everyday - but will probably post pictures for the next few weeks as Jin Hua Bryan transitions/adjusts to life in our family.

Blessings from China! Sandy

Monday, October 20, 2014


Today we had our appointment at the US Consulate. The scheduling of this appointment is what our whole trip was based upon. This appointment is scheduled first, then Gotcha Day, then all the other needed appointments. 

We applied for Jin Hua Bryan's visa. They said there is a 99% chance it is ready tomorrow afternoon.

Assuming it is ready then we will leave for the airport at 3am....YES - I just wrote 3am!!

It is a 3 hour ride and we need to be at the airport at 6am to hopefully catch an 8:30am flight.
Our current plan is to fly Hong Kong to Tokyo to Detroit.

We will see if God has other plans for our travels. We feel at peace. We know we will get home soon. We have our son! All is good!

Once Jin Hua Bryan goes through immigration at the Detroit Metro. Airport he will be a US citizen!!

After our consulate appointment we spend a little time walking around looking at the sights.

We love the lions that are everywhere!

It was VERY smoggy! That is The Canton Tower in the background.

We celebrated our Consulate appointment with an ice cream cone from the corner store (similar to a drumstick ice cream cone). We think that it was Jin Hua Bryan's first ice cream cone! After the first few licks he got the hang of it!
(Notice the napkin in his hand....he doesn't like to get dirty! That's my boy!)

And if celebrating with an ice cream wasn't enough we could have bought wine from this vending machine!

I just HAD to take this picture. We rode in a different van today and Jin Hua Bryan did exactly what Darren used to do in that van - held onto the handles!

We headed back to Shamian Island for a few more gifts today. It is such a beautiful place to walk around any excuse to go there is a good one!

A Gift From China is one of my favorite stores. They donate money to orphanages and have such neat items.

We then crossed over the river to sight see....

And we found an unusual market!

Deer hoofs?




Needless to say we didn't buy anything!

Tonight for dinner we headed out in search of some authentic fried rice. Wing Ying's restaurant came highly recommended.

They had a LARGE supply of chopsticks on every table.

Besides having to change my first POOPY diaper standing NEXT to a squatty potty - with my child standing (of course!) wasn't all that memorable. I miss the fried rice we had on our last trip to China. Oh well - this trip has been fabulous in other ways!

Blessings, Sandy