Monday, March 28, 2011

Leaving on the Midnight train to Tianjin (Part 2)

We literally left at midnight on the overnight train to Tianjin.  Tianjin is about 25 minutes by train from Beijing.  It is the city where the emperor would have people go to instead of Beijing.  There they would wait for their invitation.  It also has been  the home of many foreigners over the years.  There is a European part of town and quite a bit of European influence in the architecture. Tianjin is where Eric Liddell was born and where he served when he came back to China.
Taking the train is always interesting.  We have done the fast train to Beijing and a hard sleeper to Hailaer.  A hard sleeper has six beds to a compartment and the beds are, well, hard.  A soft sleeper has four beds to a compartment and the beds are kind of soft.  Either way, you are using a group squatty patty that can be quite unpleasant.  Aside from that, train travel is really great.  We got on a little after midnight, slept badly until about 7:00 and got off in Tianjin.  
One funny thing was the light.  In a hard sleeper, the lights go off at 10:00. We were expecting the lights be off when we got on the train but they weren't.  We asked our cabin mate when they would go off and he said the train would turn them off soon.  In the morning, we discovered the switch that turned them off.  Life here is constant learning!

In spite of the officially aesthetic position of the government,  religion is alive and well here.  We went to a Buddhist temple while we were there (no pictures as the camera malfunctioned) and it was packed with people burning incense and offering incense to the many gods.  Most of the people we know here share the same beliefs as we do or have no religion at all. It would be interesting to talk to someone who is a Buddhist in today's China to see what exactly they believe and how it impacts their lives.

I love these small tea pots!  I
 found one in a market that had a dragon pattern on it.   I loved it so Paul bought it for me.

The drum tower.

We spent most of the day at the Zhou Enlai memorial and the history museum (yes, I am a very good wife) .  Zhou Enlai was the first premier of China and a hero to the Chinese people. He was a moderate during the Cultural Revolution.  Interestingly, Nixon coming to China was a very small part of the memorial.  It was commemorated only by this small picture.

Watch out?  There was no water in the stream.

There is always this interesting contrast of old and new in  China.  A water park, next to the memorial.  The buildings are not old, just old style.

I think that every Chinese museum we have been to has this kind of display  of white statues at the entrance.  Many people were putting down flowers in front of the stature.  A woman was cleaning them up so they could be re-bought and re-offered.

Every Chinese museum also has these amazingly lifelike scenes.  This is of Zhou Enlai and his wife and other fellow students as they get ready to form the new China.

In the Tianjin history museum, we were shown around by charming students from NanKai university.  They explained the displays in great detail.  This one stood out to me because of the great omission. It says "Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a great paleontologist and head of the French Association of Geology.  In May 1923, he came to Tianjin.  He had taken part in the research of Peking Man at ZhouKoudian."  The interesting part to me is what isn't mentioned- that he was a Jesuit.  The picture is of him in his priest collar.  He was in China on the duties and scholarly research described in the picture.  He was a controversial Jesuit but I still find it a curious omission.

So where did our little guy go while we were gone?  Well, he went to Miss Jones's House of Boys!  There he hung out with two other little foster sons and had a great time.  They seemed to all have survived! Miss Jones is a teacher here in our city and she has an adorable foster son. She kept our little guy and another friend's little guy (he was at our house for an afternoon a few weeks ago).

Here they did a little tummy time practice with her roomate.

We took the fast train back yesterday afternoon.  The kids from the Shenyang International School were in the car ahead of us but we tried not to embarrass our daughter and stayed back in our car.  It was a good weekend for all of us.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Leaving on a midnight train to Tianjin (Part 1).

Every year all of the ISC schools gather in Tianjin for a choral festival.  They go down two days before the festival and practice for two days. Each school does individual performances and then they all sing together.  Paul and I went down to go to the festival and see Tianjin.
First some pictures of the festival.

Waiting to perform.

Introductions in English, Chinese and Korean.

Wuhan had four girls who sang beautifully.

Shenyang also sang beautifully.

The Wuxi school. This is their whole high school.

Tianjin is the biggest school as you can tell by the size of the choir.

All the schools together.  

They sang Cantate Domino, The Lord is My Shepherd, Weep No More, Vive L'Amour, Niska Banja and Hark I hear the Harps Eternal.

A lovely night for all- we really enjoyed it.
Tomorrow- sleeping on the train and why you shouldn't listen to your cabinmate.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Still persevering

before our Father, who loves him more than we do.  We are thankful for the many who are persevering with us.

Don't buckle me in!

Carrots are good!

Yes, a messy eater... and an enthusiastic one!

We are heading to Tianjin for the weekend to see some things and go to the Choral Festival.   Elisabeth and her classmates are there practicing with students from international school from all over China.  The concert is tomorrow night.  We are looking forward to having a few days away to relax and regroup.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I love these two children.  One, the child of my body and heart.  Much wanted, much longed for, much waited for.
The other unexpectedly came into our life.  He is much wanted, much loved, such a wonderful addition to our lives.
We always knew there would be a goodbye to both of them.  In a year and a half, college for the first.
For our sweet baby, our hope was to a forever family who could love him forever.  Our whole mindset has been to get him ready for a family.

However, we now know that he will not be able to be adopted some day.  It's very complicated- a mix of laws, and culture and views of Down Syndrome and so on.  His life will be here in long term foster care.
Is this a bad solution for him?  If it works well, no.  We love this country and so much of its culture.  People are kind to children, indulgent.  He could end up staying with a family for a very long time.  But we don't know.  It's the uncertainty of his future that makes this so painful.
We will keep him as long as we can.  When it's the right time to make the transition,  we will help him along the way.  Other people will follow up on him.  He is still young and can adapt.  We have tried all the resources available - Reece's Rainbow, Rainbow kids, blogs and China adoption message boards.  But the no is from this country end and that can not be overcome.
Honestly, it's just killing me.  We adore him.  He has made such a major impact in all of our lives, teaching us about love and sacrifice and the Father's love for orphans.  We still love this country and culture and it's people.  It is certainly not that we think China can not take care of its children.  But adoption is rare here and special needs adoption is even rarer.  Our hope was for adoption.  But for now, it's a no.
We are very tired.  The last few months have really take a toll on us in many ways.  Many things in our lives right now are just tough.  I am going to take a blogging break for a while and try to recoup.  I can't write anything happy or feature anything unusual about living here.  I just need to be sad and spend time with my family.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Shameless plug for a worthy cause.

This is my second time doing 30 Hour Famine. The first time was at CGC teens in the States. This time, I'm not only participating in it, but I'm also helping organize and lead. It's a LOT of work, but it's completely worth it. Through this event, our school is helping make a difference in the world.

Click on the link below to learn more and find out how you can be a part of this.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The book club.

Today was Book Club Day.  In between travel and Chinese New Year and people's schedule, it's hard to get together as often as we want.  Paul and Elisabeth went off to the International Church and our sweet little guy came with me and hung out with three of his doctors (all fantastic orphan advocates) and two other foster moms.  It was fun to see him roll around since they have all known him since he entered foster care.
At one point, one of the moms let him have her Kindle.  Or maybe it was a Nook.  Either way, he took a gander and decided he liked it.

It was much better than the cloth book that his mother had given him, that's for sure. Sadly, he had to give it back.  But it was fun while it lasted.

Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Houston, we have lift off (of a sorts).

We have had a sitter for a while...doesn't he look proud of himself?

Also a roller.

Sock grabber.

Sock puller offer!

Plus the pushing up into the Little Mermaid pose.

But now.....

We have actual movement!  Not quite crawling and not quite schooching!  But somehow he is ending up off the blanket and on the floor, getting what he wants.

Jia You, Little Baby!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


This fostering thing wasn't exactly his idea...but he let me do it anyway.  Somehow, someway...true love has grown. There is nothing like love between father and a little boy.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Real men in China..

aren't afraid of cold!

Actually in the lap lane in a speedo.

See the ice skaters to the right?



Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Play's the Thing.

Treasure Island that is.  This weekend was the Shenyang International School Play.  It was pirates and swords and "Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum."  The kids did a good job and it was totally fun.

The week before, Elisabeth had some of the girls over who were in the play.  They watched "Treasure Planet" and played Mexican Train.

The usual multi-lingual introduction and announcements :  English, Korean, Chinese.

Mrs. Hawkins

Mrs. Hawkins tells her son Jim what to do.

The doctor comes.

Fear at the pirates arrival.

Black Dog arrives

The Captains dies.

The multi-ethnic pirates.

The whole crew.

Mrs. Hawkins gets flowers.

Our friends took their three children to the afternoon performance.  They left their sweet little foster son with us. After sleeping three hours (and our little guy miraculously slept for 2.5 hours!), we got them up to play.

Our little guy is a little freaked out by other children. Here he is examining him with his foot!

Then he wanted his glasses.

So we had to separate them a little...but the foot still wandered over!