Friday, September 25, 2009

The gift of a child

A gift is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; Wherever he turns, he prospers. Proverbs 17:8

Jade is considered a precious stone of China. Jade is also my precious baby girl. I tell her that daily both in Chinese and in English. She too is a gift to me. I praise Him for designing her for me daily as I know that such a perfect gift could only come from Him.

I stood in my kitchen the other day and was just watching her explore her new world. I thought about the gift He sends to us in the form of a child. Each day with her, I feel like I see something new in her. It is like I am unwrapping this beautiful package each day and the gift justs keep getting better and better.

Even if you don't have children, God did this for us as well. His son, Jesus Christ, was sent to us as a child. When you accept Christ as your Savior, each day is a new day and you get to see something new. I learn new things about Him each day. I also see areas that He is working on in me. I am soooo glad that He is still working in me as I don't want to make mistakes with her. I can see areas in my life that He has been molding me for so I would be ready for this moment with her. Each day living for Him and with Him is a gift.

For those of you who have experienced the gift of a child through adoption, I thank you for eliminating one more orphan in this world. For those of you who have not, you may want to consider it. It is an amazing gift. For my friend who have given birth as well as adopted, they say there is no difference. They are your child. I know that as I look into her eyes, I see the eyes of God...perfect, pure, meek, loving, patient. Everything about her was designed specifically for me.

Right now, she lays upstairs sleeping. She awoke from her nap earlier and got up briefly. She had shots and blood drawn today. She lay in my arms downstairs and just kept asking for Cheerios, a drink and to go to sleep. Jetlag and all these daily challenges as dr appts, carseats and visiting daycare in preparation for Monday have been challenging. I know He is watching over us and directing us. I pray He continues to let me clearly hear His wisdom as He guides me on what is best for my precious baby girl.

Our friend Nancy holding her at the shower they had for us at work

Jade with her grandpa

Jade with my brother's son, Hunter

Jade and I at Laura's wedding reception before we left China

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Prayer Request

This will have to be quick. I have not had consistent internet access the past two days so I apologize for not updating the blog via email. We leave SFCV in 2 hours. We head to Beijing for church, see some things, lunch and the airport. This will be a challenging day. She has seen the suitcases already and knows there is a change coming. She has been whining due to that.
We need prayer. Our flight leaves Beijing at 9:15 tonight and we fly into South Korea. We have a 10 hour layover there. We are going to stay in a hotel and that will be a nother transition for her. We fly to Washington at 10 am ish on Monday morning on a flight that is over 13 hours long. We then have a 5 hour layover before we get to Rochester at 6 pm.
His mercies are new every morning and we have a few mornings to get through until we are home. I am glad I am doing this journey with Him leading and guiding us. I can't imagine doing this without Him. Just please continue to keep us in prayer. I know that things have gone so well BECAUSE of all the faithful who have been praying for us! We thank you for that!
As we step off the plane in Washington, Jade will officially be a US Citizen! See you soon!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Praise the Lord Pictures

Jade and Shelby

Jade and Teacher Wang

Jade and Sara

My world traveler...have potty, will travel

Praise the Lord!

The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him. Psalm 28:7

Thank you to all of you faithful who have been fervently praying for us on this trip and especially for today! I praise you Lord for all you have done and are going to do in my daughter’s life and in mine!
She made it! I can’t say with no crying but so minimal it doesn’t even matter! She walked and playfully ran through the airport! Woohoo! First major challenge averted! Lord you are soooo good! Whined a little while waiting for tickets but truly minimal. While waiting for the plane, she decided she too wanted to carry bags like Laolao (maternal grandmother) and mama were so we gave her the “potty” bag. She was pleased as punch to drag it around in our area! She thought she was pretty special! She got on the plane and only whined a little about putting the seat belt. She slept for an hour and got whiny after two hours but I got up and took her to the bathroom and she was content again. Changing scenery seems to help. So does giving her those 5 minute warnings. It will be so much easier when we both understand each other more.
Driver Gu picked us up at the airport. He told me she was beautiful. I do agree. We got to SFCV and were met by friends. She needed a nap so I had to hold people off for a while. Transition was making her whiny…as expected but still nothing in comparison to what we have been going through. Thank you Lord! She didn’t want to get up from her nap but once we got her outside, my baby girl was back in action. She wanted to be down and with the children. She stayed near me and made sure she knew where I was but still was willing to talk to my friends and the other children here. Lord, you are soooo good!
The hardest moment for me was when one of the nannies asked me why I didn’t adopt a child from here. I tried to explain that you can’t always get matched with a child that you desire, especially once you are already with a specific agency. I know there are so many God stories out there testifying of beating those odds but also I know this is the child God created just for me.
This wise nanny told me that all the children here need a mother and a father to take care of them. I told her they were blessed to have them to love them until that time comes. She told me it is not the same. I agree. May those of you who have never witnessed the miracle of adoption or the precious face of an orphan see what happens to a child when they enter into a family. Though they may be loved where they are, there will NEVER be anything that can be as good to them as a family to call their own. I ask those of you who have no children, already “have enough” or have already raised a family to consider this. Is He calling you to adopt? Is He calling you to step out and help orphans in some way? Find out. If it is adoption, it is the most amazing thing you will ever experience in your life and the blessings you could bring to a child’s life with be numerous.
Tomorrow, I must say many goodbyes to people I have come to love here and will forever be in my heart. I don’t understand why God moves many people out of here that the Chinese have come to love and respect but I do know that He leaves that whole in their heart so He can fill it if they let Him in. Pray for the Chinese staff here that do not yet know Him as well as pray the staff here that does know Him will speak boldly in His name and testify what He has done in their lives.
Lord I am just so glad that you are my Savior and that you are with me and my daughter as we go through each and every day!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Swearing in

But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26

He is so faithful and again, He hears the desires of our hearts even when we don’t go to Him and tell Him. I was disappointed today as I had expected to attend a swearing in ceremony with families I didn’t know. I wanted to be a part of our group. He knew that. Today, the last eight families had their paperwork done at the consulate and because there were so small a number of families, they moved their swearing in date to today! Yippee! Praise the Lord! Not only was I there with the families that I have gone through this journey with but the Kulp family (from our AWAA Support Group) was also there. I love how He takes those desires and puts them together better than you could have ever asked for! He has proved that again and again on this journey.

This is going to be a short one as I need to get up in 5 hours to catch our flight to Beijing. Jade continues to have challenges going into new situations with large groups and in noisy places. A family suggested I try cotton balls. I am not sure if that is for her or to hand out to the people around us but we are going to try that tomorrow to get through the airport and the flight. She did not do well at the consulate today. She cried and screamed for a long time. Once we sat down and I sang to her, she did better. She prefers Old Macdonald right now and tells me by putting her hands on my face, looking at me and saying “Ee Ii Ee Ii Oo”. Hey if it works and keeps her from crying in those situations, I will sing it until I lose my voice! Please pray for her. Pray I have the wisdom to know what will comfort her and that the people around us have patience with a crying child on a 3 hour flight. My back is starting to bother me and carrying two bags and her tomorrow through the airport could be challenging.

With a flight back to Beijing, I have to put her through another transition. This one could be more challenging as it is an orphanage situation. There will be many Chinese friends who will want to meet her. She tends to shy away from the other children as well and last I checked, SFCV still has over 100 children there. We will only be there 3 days before I have to take the long flight home with a 10 hour layover in South Korea. Just please continue to keep us in prayer.

I didn’t have time to download pictures so I will try to get you some extras tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Loys of Little Blessings Pictures

My sleeping baby

Jade and I in a park on Shamian Island

Jade and I with a "sister"

Jade and I on the terrace of our hotel

Lots of little blessings

Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4
Blessings…that is what the last 24 hours has held for me. It started last night. I forgot to tell you about something she did while we were lying down and trying to fall asleep. I kept telling her in Chinese and English to go to sleep. One time when I told her to go to sleep in Chinese, she turned to me and corrected me!  I felt like I was back in Chinese class. Even my daughter knows my tones stink! She is quite the funny little lady.
This morning started out with paperwork. Fortunately, I didn’t have to go to the consulate…only our guide goes. She took care of all the paperwork and I got a call at 10:45 am telling me she was done and her paperwork is complete! Praise the Lord! Tomorrow we head to the US Consulate for the swearing in ceremony at 3 pm.
Please keep the families in prayer. There are still two families who are having challenges with their paperwork. Remember that paperwork I was waiting on from USCIS and it going from there to the National Visa Center? Well, two families had the proper documents that said it was all in order but the information here that was sent is not accurate. They have been working since we got here to get it in order. He is still in control and He still sits on the throne! This will all work out on the 11th hour, 59th minute. Just pray they can keep His peace while they wait as there is nothing else they can do at this point. It is in His hands and there are no better hands for this to be in.
While we walked around on Shamian Island this afternoon, we ran into one of my favorite families: Tara, Joe and their daughter Mylii. They walked us over to a shop that was run by “brothers and sisters”. It was wonderful to talk with them. They were so excited that Tara and Joe brought their friends back to their shop. They were very kind. We also found a shop that all the proceeds benefit orphans. I would like to help them find a way to sell their wares in the states to help raise funds for them. The handiwork is unique and good quality for the cost. I found the most precious Christmas stocking in the silk brocade for only $7. This was another one of those stores that I felt no need to barter at.
While shopping today, one shopkeeper was talking to my daughter. She was asking her questions. Some of their conversation I understood. At one point in time, she looked amazed. I asked her what Jade said. She told me that Jade had just told her that her mama loved her and she loved her mama. It may or may not be what Jade truly said but it touched my heart anyways. Her mama does love her…more than she knows.
As we lay down to sleep, we said our prayers as we usually do. Jade doesn’t want to hold hands to pray but she will put her hands together on her own now. Tonight, after we were done praying and we were just laying there snuggling, she put her hands together again and said “Amen.” She certainly touches my heart in places I never knew existed! Lord, may you continue to draw her to you and may she one day come to know you as her Lord and Savior.
Thank you Lord! You continue to bless me beyond measure and way beyond what I deserve. Thank you for loving Jade and I that much!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We Passed the TB Teart Pictures

We passed the TB test!

“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14

Praise the Lord! It was not pretty initially but He is faithful and she passed. We were the first ones in because her “spot” was 8 mm x 5 mm. Anything 5 mm big will require an xray. Let’s just say it was so painful to have to hold her up against the xray machine and the more she struggled the longer it took to get a clear picture. He is so faithful though as both xrays showed clear lungs! The entire bus cheered as we got back on the bus!
I have been talking to some of the women here and many of us have had those human doubts and fears that we know are not of God while we are here. There are so many Godly families in this group. I know that does not make the enemy happy. It means there are more children that are going to hear about God’s grace, mercy, faithfulness and be able to see the light of Jesus Christ shine through their families. He doesn’t want to lose this battle but as far as we parents are concerned, we will openly take on this battle with the enemy. We will NOT hold back all of God’s goodness and share the gift of having a savior with our children. One friend of mine, who has adopted a little one from China almost 4 years ago, had her daughter recently tell her that Jesus was her daddy’s best friend and she wanted him to be hers too. As sweet as it is to hear my daughter echo back to me “I love you”, those words will be so much sweeter.
I forgot to tell you one of the sweetest moments from yesterday. Since touch is one of my love languages, my daughter has had to suffer from many kisses and snuggles from her mama. Fortunately, she has had no complaints so far. Yesterday, as she was crying in my arms, I leaned down and kissed the top of her head. A few seconds later, she lifted her head and kissed my chin. I have a tear in my eye just thinking of that moment. I know I have already told you this but I love her!
After the torture of the xray, she was emotionally spent and we were supposed to walk around Shaiman Island and shop. Many of the families also wanted to get our pictures taken at the White Swan Hotel. This is a famous hotel re: adoptions. There is a red couch inside that families go to have their children’s pictures taken on. Let’s just say…Jade was not too cooperative for this one. Mom’s joke lately is “How are we going to know Jade was even here in China? All we ever see you with is a child with a pink hat…no face.”  We do have an increasing number of those but there are just as many other precious shots of her. However, this afternoon was another wonderful moment in the baby steps she is taking! I have had to carry her around up until a few days ago when she started to be willing to walk around holding my hand. Today, she was willing to ride in the stroller for over an hour! Woohoo! We may make it through the airport in South Korea and Washington yet! 
Tomorrow, they do the paperwork at the consulate for Jade. On Wednesday, I get sworn in and we get her visa. On Thursday, we head back up to Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village. As much as I long to see everyone there and be able to complete my packing and my good byes, I just want to take my little girl home. She has had to go through so many transitions. Adding one more to her list isn’t what I want to do but there is no choice in this. I couldn’t take all my luggage with me all over China so returning is necessary. Just keep her in prayer as she faces one more transition and then a LONG flight home. I am praying that what happened on the last flight doesn’t happen on Thursdays or our flight back home. I love that His mercies are new every morning and He doesn’t give me more than I can handle.

Another Long Emotional Day

“Fear not, for I am with thee; I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather you from the west; I will say to the north, Give them up; and to the south, Do not keep them back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;” Isaiah 43:5-6

As I fell asleep last night, I cried. I am so blessed to be given such a precious child. It feels like I have always known her and that she has always been mine. Other than the fact that we don’t speak the same language all the time, we were designed for one another. I believe this is why God creates the lonely in families…so children can be joined with their forever families.

She wakes up and is the sweetest thing. She wants to snuggle for at least 15 minutes until she is awake. Once she is awake, she is ready to go. Well, I should say she is happy, laughing and a joy to be with…until you want to dress her. This is when she often starts crying. I think she knows that after we get dressed, we leave the comfort and security of our room.

She calmed down enough to eat a good breakfast. She was fine leaving the hotel, even though we walked outside and the heat took your breath away. You didn’t even have to move and you were sweating. (At 8:30pm, the temp was 90 degrees and the heat index was 96 degrees just to give you an idea how hot it was today.) Everything changed about 15 minutes later.

Today, we went to the Guangdong Folk Arts Museum. It was stunning. Jade didn’t think so. I don’t know if it was the heat, the fact she didn’t get her full 12 hours of sleep, or just part of this process. She seems to get better and then when we do large group things in some places, she loses it. It started like it usually does with rambling through all the family names as she cries. It breaks my heart when she gets crying so hard she can’t catch her breath. Today was different though. She just kept saying “go home”. Eventually after 45 minutes, she got so exhausted, she fell asleep on me. It was hard to find a spot in the shade because I couldn’t leave her hat on her. She was way too hot and too emotional. While she was sleeping, many Chinese people stopped to look at her and ask me questions. I was able to answer many of them with my bad tones and some simple phrases or bits of info. One older man kept walking back and forth in front of us. After his last trip past us, he told me she was piaoliang, which means beautiful. I agree.

Once the group was done here, they headed to a tea house. I opted out of the tea house. There was no need to push her any further today. We sat on the bus. She slept for a little while. When she woke up, she wanted to eat. Food seems to comfort her. By the time the group returned to the bus, my baby girl was back to normal.

Tomorrow should be challenging for her as well. We have to return to have the children’s TB test evaluated at 1pm. Keep us all in prayer. Jade’s has raised and swelled some. I believe they only allow 5 mm before they have to run an xray on the child to see if they actually have TB. Jade’s is larger than I would like it to be as many of the families have said their child has no mark on them at all. Just pray. He is in control. It will all depend on how she handles all of this on whether we will join everyone on Shaiman Island for shopping and walking around.

Update…just ran into a family who just adopted with our group as I came down to Starbucks to send this out. They said their friend adopted a little albino and she comes alive inside and at night. Maybe the light is effecting her more than I realize.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Exhausted but making it pictures

Exhausted but making it

"I will go before you and level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through
bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." Isaiah 45:2-3

Sorry I didn’t blog yesterday. It was a L O N G day. We had to fly to Guangzhou on a 3 hour flight. She started having problems in the airport. Our plane was also delayed for over an hour. She calmed down before we got on the flight. God was so good. She did phenomenal on most of the flight. The last hour was horrendous. She woke up right before the descent crying for her foster family. This lasted for over an hour…through the end of the flight and through the airport until we were finally able to find our guide. Some of the times she was so overwhelmed with emotion she was screaming. It breaks my heart when I can’t comfort her.
We didn’t get into our hotel, which is stunning by the way, until almost 8 pm. I have gotten a cold and between that and the emotions, by 8:30 I was exhausted and ready for bed too. At least it was better than some of the families who didn’t arrive until midnight and had to get up 6 hours later. Keep the families we are traveling in prayer as a couple of the moms are also sick.
We got to start the stress all over again today. We had to go and have our medical exams done today. Fortunately, none of the children are now sick but one has finally been able to break her fever after 4 days. Nothing is more stressful to the children than transitions and then to be poked, proded and for those who were 2 years old and older, they needed a TB test. Jade cried and screamed during that 1.5 hour ordeal too.
She fell asleep on the bus ride over to the shopping center. They took us to a very expensive mall. I have had to carry her everywhere for the past 5 days. Now that she sees other children walking around with their parents, she is at least willing to walk around holding hands. This is a big step. She still doesn’t want anything to do with the stroller, but at least it is helpful in carrying our bags!
Please keep her in prayer. I am having a hard time getting her to drink enough. I am concerned with her getting dehydrated, especially since it is in the 90’s and humid where we are now.
She is the most precious thing I have ever laid eyes on. She is such a good girl and already has me wrapped around her tiny little finger. Imagine that! I have had so much fun being the mom and the dad. I picture a family I adore and how her husband who has raised 6 girls still, 40 years later, does silly things with his girls before he puts them to bed. His wife then has to come in and remind the girls it is time for bed. I am doing both of these, but how to I tell her she needs to go to sleep when I am the one that wound her up?  Fortunately, I tell her to go to sleep in Chinese and she smiles at me and lays back down.
What a gift she is. I know that God’s plan to have me in China over the past year was to help me to be able to communicate with her. I do believe this is one of the reasons she is doing so well. I praise you Lord for all you have done for the two of us. I continued to be amazed with how smart she is. On the day we were leaving Tianjin, she told our guide that her mama had taken her necklace away from her. That happened on the first day I got her because I didn’t want her to break such a precious gift. Because she remembered that 4 days later and told our guide, I was able to show her where it was and that seemed to reassure her. Today as she lay down to take her nap, I was amazed to hear her count in Chinese up to 50. Today, she started initiating in English. I had to take care of some things and mom was giving her some yogurt. When Jade “Congcong” was ready, she told my mom “Ready!”. It only takes one or two models for her to learn things. (This may be normal for all of your own three year olds at home, but not typically from a child who lived in an orphanage for the first two years of life.) I so love her.
I need some sleep but have to go downstairs to send this blog out…internet cost around $12 a day if you want it in your room. Please continue to pray for many of the fathers on this trip. As would be expected, the children typically bond with their mothers and want little to do with the fathers. This has been very hard, even though they have expected it. A few of the children have done the opposite and only want the father. This too breaks a mother’s heart. Please pray that over time, these children are able to attach with both of their parents. For those of you who do not understand attachment issues, there is a great website written by two adoptive parents. I thank you all for all your prayers. I know it is in the power of prayer that Jade and I have bonded so well and are working through the challenging times with God’s strength and wisdom.
Tomorrow should be easier. We are just doing some sightseeing and then the afternoon is open. Maybe we will head over to the beautiful park right across the street.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Jade’s sight pictures

Jade’s sight

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” I Corinthians 2:9

Every day just gets better. She is getting less nervous as we leave the room. This is good. As she lay down to take her nap, she didn’t cry for her foster family. Praise the Lord! Thank you for your prayers of comfort for her. It is because of the power of prayer that she is doing so well.

When I came to China last year, He always amazed me here in ways I have never experienced before. This journey is no different. I never knew I could love someone so much. I expected to love her and enjoy every moment but not to this intensity. She continues to amaze me.

When you adopt a child, you expect that they will be delayed. The common expectation is 1 month for every 3 months they lived in an orphanage. Reports vary for how long Jade was at the Tianjin Social Welfare Institute. I was told that she moved to a foster home in March but the note from the foster mother says she had Jade for a year. Minimally, I expected at least a year’s delay. I am not seeing that at all. Today, she started counting and was able to count to 25 on her own. We counted some objects in the hotel and she was able to get to 19 on her own. She is already imitating me in English. She has accurately answered a variety of questions my guide has asked her. Yesterday, our guide was teaching Jade how to say “Hurry up mama!” After a few times, Helen said it in English and Jade turned to me and said it in Chinese. There were a few other instances today where someone said something in English and she said it in Chinese. I may have a very smart little lady on my hands.

Another amazing thing is her sight. Granted, I am no neuro-opthamologist but her vision is not as impaired as I expected. She is able to find things in the room with no difficulty. She is able to identify things that are within 2 feet of her without a problem. She loves to look at the pictures I take of her and is able to identify who is on the 2.5” screen. She has more difficulty with dark objects on dark backgrounds and distances. She appears to be using her peripheral vision when focusing on things across the room, like when she was kicking the beach ball to me. Things that are written she holds closer to her eyes. No matter what, we will figure it all out.

One thing was unexpected though. On the first day, I went to take her to the bathroom and found a spot on her leg that is the size of a large egg that has course hair on it. It looks very familiar to a hairy nevus. I’m not sure if it is or not so I will have to wait until she sees the pediatrician the week we get home to find out. This too, we will figure out.

While on this trip, mom has been sharing with me things I used to do as a child that I had never known about. I guess Jade and I are very similar as Jade lays in bed talking about a variety of things. Sometimes she is singing, sometimes just rambling or so it sounds and sometimes it sounds like a conversation. Mom says I used to rerun my day as I lay in bed retelling of all the day’s events. Lord, you never cease to amaze me.

I still think that the sweetest thing to my ears is her voice and her laughter. The sweetest thing to my eyes has been her smile. I can’t thank Him enough for this gift He has given me in my daughter. I love that God has put two people together and both of our love languages are touch and words of affirmation!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A day in Tianjin Pictures

A Day in Tianjin

"Oh Lord, you are my God; I will exalt and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago." Isaiah 25:1

Mom and our guide Helen headed out first thing this morning to go to the notary office to pick up the official documents. What joy it gave me to see her name with the official Chinese red stamp on it saying Jade Mingcong Rittenhouse is my daughter! I will forever be amazed that you, Lord, loved us enough to make us a family.

Jade has finally eaten a few good meals. Our guide told me yesterday that I wasn’t feeding her enough for a Chinese 3 year old. I only was feeding her until she was full. I thought that when she just kept pocketing the food that I gave her that she was full. Guess I was wrong.

This afternoon, we ventured out to the Ancient Market Street. It is a reproduction of traditional market street. As we walked through there, many people stopped and told us how beautiful Jade was. As I was talking to my guide tonight, she said most people had no idea that she was Chinese as she had her sunglasses on and unless she spoke, they wouldn’t have known. It was hard for me at dinner. I know this will happen but my mother feathers got ruffled for the first time tonight when a woman sat at another table and blatantly pointed at my daughter and was laughing. Maybe it was because she was wearing capris instead of long pants. Whatever it was that she found “funny”, I found it very hard and just wanted to hold her tighter, tell her how much I love her and remind myself that God made her perfect since He makes no mistakes.

My question to you my friends is when everyone was offering their wisdom from all their experience, why did no one suggest that I would need to start carrying around a 25 lb bag of potatoes to prepare my body for this? Let’s just say Jade doesn’t like the stroller and my mother can only carry her for a little while as I don’t want her to hurt her back. For those of you who were blessed to have their husbands with them to carry their children, you make sure you go and thank him today for all that he did for you during your time in China! J
Jade’s latest thing today was creating patterns while lining up our shoes. Initially she lined them up in pairs from smallest to largest. Then she started getting creative by alternating little one, big one. She got to one point and she needed another bigger pair. She went over to me and started jabbering about my sandal and started to help me take them off so she could use them. Fortunately, though it is a little obsessive-compulsive, I can stop her in the middle of things and she will walk away from them. Phew! I do think my house will end up being more orderly as she likes things in their places. Well, one recommendation was as a mom, I would need to be more organized. Enter in Jade Mingcong!
Bath time went much better. She only cried initially. She can be quite the drama queen and knows how to work the tears already. It quickly stopped as we started playing with tub toys…glad they finally worked! Tonight was the first night she didn’t cry out for her foster family before she fell asleep. Praise Jesus! We are coming along. She is having a hard time with transitions and when we leave the room. Her personality becomes much quieter outside of here. Not sure if it is the light, the noise, a fear of me bringing her back…I just don’t know.
Tomorrow, if my back and neck can handle it, we are going to go see some more sights in Tianjin.

It's Official!!

"Thanks be unto God for his indescribable gift." 2 Corinthians 9:15

Today was the day we had to go to the Civil Affairs Office. It is there that I signed more papers. Yesterday’s papers gave me 24 hour custody of her. As of today, she is now known as Jade Mingcong Rittenhouse. What a gift she is! I am not deserving of such a gift but I am so glad He has given her to me.
I got mommy demerits while at the office today. The weather was supposed to be in the mid 70’s. It wasn’t. I dressed her in a dress and a sweater. No problem in the US. In China, children need to be kept warmer than adults and her legs were exposed. OH MY HENNA! What will happen to her? J I had to tell them that I would never abandon her, mistreat her or neglect her. It is a good thing I didn’t have to say I would dress her appropriately and in enough layers too!
One thing I have found out is that when they told me she would only go on the little potty they sent her with, they were telling the truth. She had to go to the bathroom a few times while we were out this morning but refused to go when I took her. Our guide even tried but no go! She is very strong willed and if it is not the way she knows it needs to be, it is NOT happening! Hmmm, two strong willed women living under the same roof…should be very interesting! Mom and I have decided that no matter where we go, the pot goes with us! Wonder what security will think when we fly to Guangzhou on Friday with it.
I want to tell you my favorite moment of the day. It happened at bedtime. Well, bedtime started at 7:15 but took until 9:15 until she actually fell asleep. When it is time for rest, this is the time that she cries the most for her foster family. It is very hard to hear your child crying and know there is nothing you can do to comfort her but pray and stay with her. It only lasted 20 minutes tonight compared to yesterday’s 45 minutes. I have been telling her in Chinese for the past two days that I am her mama. Every person she meets in Chinese has been telling her the same thing. When it is time to sleep, I lay down with her and rub her back as she settles down. I needed to get up and take care of something. She rolled over, looked for me and called out “Mama?”. She did this two different times. She is beginning to know me as her mama. What sweet words those were to my ears. As we snuggled together, she started imitating the words I was saying to her in Chinese. I was telling her she was my precious daughter, my baby girl and I love you. Her little voice echoed those words back to me. I know she doesn’t yet know what they really mean but one day she will. Thank you Lord for these gifts. It has touched my heart in ways I didn’t expect.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

Gotcha Day Pictures

Gotcha Day

"For this child I prayed and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him." 1 Samuel 1:27

It is really real! The day I have longed for and prayed for has arrived! Jade Mingcong Rittenhouse is no longer an orphan. She is my daughter! She has been in my arms since around 10:30 am. I can’t even begin to tell you the size of the smile that brings to my face as I write this to you.

We left Beijing and headed out on the fast train. We got to Tianjin in 30 minutes when it usually takes a taxi at least 2-2.5 hours to get there. We immediately went to the orphanage. I am still trying to figure out how to download my videos to my laptop so please be patient. My friend Sara from SFCV came and joined us.

Two women brought Jade in. The woman carrying her was her jie jie, or older sister. This woman’s mother was Jade’s foster mom. Jade has been crying out for her most of the day. She has been asking for her jie jie, mama and baba most of the day. Please pray for her as this is very hard on her. I know she has been in a very loving home. They sent Jade to me with a bag of clothes, many of them new, as well as food, a little potty, a second pair of shoes, a toy, her own real pearl necklace and a real jade bracelet. I think my favorite was the note the mother included inside the bag. She was able to have someone translate it for her. Please pray for her as she truly loved my daughter as her own until she was placed in my arms.

Our guide, Helen, has been a gift. She is well aware of typical behaviors of adoptive children and has told me that Jade (they call her Congcong) has obvious bonded with her foster family so she will bond to me. She retold me all the things I already knew but it was good for my mom to hear it from someone beside myself. Jade is in mourning over her loss and because she was able to create such a bond with them, in time, it is likely that she will do that with me as well. The hard part is many times she is seeking out my mother when she wants comfort. I believe this may be due to the fact that my mom may be similar in age to her foster mom. This is also hard for my mother as she desires to comfort her but has honored my requests. It is so critical right now that Jade knows I am the one to give her all that she needs.

She is so thin. When they said she only weighed 24 lbs, they were accurate. I am not sure she even weighs that! She seems to be fitting the 24 mo/2T clothes I brought. Thank you to those of you who ran out and got us some smaller clothes to bring on this trip! Her skin is very pale. Her hair is more white than blond. Her lashes are very long and she has very few Chinese traits other than her Tianjin hua (dialect) and the fact that she speaks Chinese. My friend Sara says she looks more European than Asian. Her eyes are a very pale blue and when the light hits it just right, you can see the pink in them. She is just beautiful.

She is a very bright young child! I do believe when she was given the name Mingcong, it was a good match. It means “bright” and “clever”. I had used the top of the cheerios bowl as a plate for the apple I had cut up for her. She never saw the lid on the bowl yet picked it up, sought out the bowl and put the two pieces together. I am able to understand many of the things she is talking about. Her voice is the sweetest thing I think my ears have ever heard. God is so good! Had I not worked this past year in China, I never would have taken Chinese classes and would not have this knowledge to use with her.

I have sat here and watched her throughout the day and chuckle at the traits she has that are similar to mine! I love how God works! She knows what she wants and has no trouble telling people, even in a different language, what she wants. She loves structure. She loves praise. She loves to snuggle. In time, we will be ok. Thank you Lord for loving us so much that you have brought us together to be a family.

I have said over the past few days that I can’t believe that it is finally here! A friend shared with me the day before I left for China that this is how we will feel when we finally stand before Christ. All that we have endured will be worth it. We have waited for that amazing moment and when it finally happens, everything else fades away. It is true. I think I caught a glimpse of what is will be like when I am finally able to stand face to face with Christ as I saw Him in my daughter as they handed her to me.

I could write so much more but since I don’t have to type this into my blog, I probably should stop here. I will tell you more about her tomorrow. All I have to say is…she is perfect and she is mine!

Today is the day...

A wonderful friend sent me this poem and I immediately thought of today when
she sent it to me. I forgot to add it in my last blog but woke up this
morning and knew I wanted to share it with all of you. Today, Jade moves
from being the child of my heart to the child in my arms. Lord I praise you
for loving me this much that you have given me the desires of my heart. I
will never be able to thank you enough.

May you be safe and sleep soundly through the night,
May you be safe as you wake to the morning's light
May you feel my love from so far away,
May it comfort and protect you throughout each day,
I will pray for you my little one,
Until our time of waiting is done.
I will pray the the Lord keep you safe from harm,
Until the child of my heart becomes the child in my arms.

-- Anonymous--

Silk, Pearls, & The Summer Palace Pictures

Silk, Pearls, and The Summer Palace

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:45-46
Today started out with a wonderful blessing. We all went to my home church, Beijing International Christian Fellowship (BICF). The worship was wonderful. As we sang of all that Christ has given us by dying on the cross to save us, it made me think about all He has taken me through to get me to the moment of receiving Jade as my daughter. Thank you Lord for loving me enough to make me into the mother she needs me to be.
We left BICF and headed to the Pearl Market. Here we learned that oysters don’t just make one pearl inside. The one we opened actually had 20+ pearls inside it! We also went to the silk museum. One of the things I wanted to bring home was a silk purse. I had bought one on my first trip to China. I brought it with me to China but it was stolen from my luggage. I have hunted all over China this past year looking for one I loved as much…no additional luck today. I guess it just isn’t something that I needed.
We went to the Summer Palace in the rain. It was extremely cold and was wishing I was smart enough to pack pants for me. Oh yeah…mommy demerit #1…forgot to pack pants for Jade too. The next two days are supposed to be cool and nothing offends the Chinese more than children not dressed in enough layers. Guess we will be visiting Walmart sooner than expected! I wish I could tell you some interesting facts about the Summer Palace but I wasn’t paying attention. Sorry.
Mom and I are heading to bed. They are picking up our luggage at 6:30 am so we can head to the train station. We are taking the newest train to Tianjin in the morning. I sit here excited and nervous, hoping I am prepared for this. I know that no parent enters into parenthood knowing all that they needed to know or are “ready” to handle everything that they will face. No one else was, so why should I expect to be? Fortunately, I know I’ll be alright. I have the one who knows everything walking through this with me…what more could I ask for. Thank you Lord for being there for me and my daughter, Jade.

Beijing Pictures