Saturday, March 31, 2007

Beijing Day 3

Well, I trust that my posts are going through, since I cannot actually view my blog from here. funny thing, the first day I could, but now I can't. My theory - China can't block everything, but they can block something once they know it exists. Maybe after I accessed my blog from here it signaled something to block it. I hate to think that there is anything on my site that would offend the Chinese government...

Today was a LONG day! Keith and I were up quite a bit of the night. It seemed that once we finally fell asleep, the alarm was going off. Now, it wasn't really that bad, but it was not a great start to the day. Fortunately, God has better plans for us than that and He is not hindered by our lack of sleep. At breakfast, we met the rest of the wonderful families in our adoption group. We have been so blessed by the people in our group.

After breakfast, we went to the Great Wall, but on the way, we decided to stop at a government owned Jade factory. Goods that are sold from a government store are of guaranteed quality. Goods that are not sold from a government store are not as closely regulated. So, if you are going to purchase a good quality anything, best to go to the regulated store, unless you can tell fake from real...which we can't. Here is a photo of one of the workers polishing a jade dragon statue.

After the jade factory we actually made it to the Great Wall. Keith and the boys climbed to the top and purchased bronze medals with their names on it. The are truly heroes, at least in the eyes of Chairman Mao who once stated that only real heroes make it to the top. I personally made it up a modest amount, but then headed back down to chat with some of the ladies from our group. I did at least make it up high enough to get some decent pictures.
This picture is also at the Wall. These are locks placed by people who have been married at the Wall to symbolize their union. Pretty neat!

After our jelly legs recovered sufficiently, we went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. This particular restaurant happened to be located right next to the Pearl Market...MORE SHOPPING! I guess it is a good thing that we are made of money! Anyway, we managed to spend just a few of our hard-earned dollars there, too.
From the Pearl Market, we walked to the Summer Palace, home of the largest pagoda in China.

Here is a glimpse across the lake at the Summer Palace.

The Summer Palace was the summer retreat for the emperors who lived in the Forbidden City that we visited yesterday. It was beautiful, but we did not see the whole thing. The place is HUGE! China does not seem to do anything on a small scale!

Inside the outer portion of the Palace, there was a gentleman writing a poem on the ground with long wet brushes. His writing was beautiful. This is a hobby of his and, according to Vivian, our guide, is a method for him exercise both body and soul.

Tomorrow, we are heading to ChongQing Province. We will have to leave pretty early for the airport, so this evening before I drag my sore, tired body into bed for a LONG night's sleep, I have to repack the suitcases. But, it is so worth it to be going to the province where Hannah will soon meet us. We are almost there!!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Beijing Day 2

Today we we joined with another couple from our adoption group, Tim and Jodie. We started the day off with a buffet breakfast in the hotel. It was good stuff - a nice combination of western, European, and Chinese.

After we had our fill, we boarded the van for a trip to Tian Men Square. This is a huge square, covering over 160 acres! The square is pretty much dedicated to Mao. His HUGE picture is on the gate to the Forbidden city. Which is where we went next. Now I know that you all would liek to se some pictures of this portion of our adventures, but I left my camera in the van. I did get some video, but it will take me a little while to sort through all the excess footage.

For lunch, we went to a Hutong family home. Hutong is a place where there are some single dwelling homes that share a courtyard. This used to be the way of life in Beijing, but in the 70's the government forced people out of these homes. It wasn't until 2004 that this particular family was given back their home.
The husband of the family, who did not wish to be included in the picture is a Tibetan Herbalist, and his family is considered higher class, and this portion of Beijing is a fairly well-to-do neighborhood.
There were only 7 of us, and they brought out TONS of food. Way more that we could have possibly eaten. It was all quite delicious!

To get to this house, we rode on bicycles with a bench on the back. These are called rickshaws. It was interesting weaving in and out of traffic, with some close brushes with walls and vehicles. The rain made it even more interesting. Still, though it was quite fun! This is the view from the rickshaw as we were passing the canal.
After lunch we went to a tea house. This teahouse was government run, which just means that it is regulated by the government. There we were shown a traditional tea ceremony and were given samples of tea to try. Of course, this was followed by the opportunity to buy said tea and teapots to serve it with. Yes, we made our contribution to the People's Republic of China and purchased a lovely tea set and some tea. Hannah will get to have a nice tea party when she is old enough.
Tomorrow we are going to the Summer Palace and the Great Wall. More pictures to follow...however the more important thing is that tomorrow is the last day of sightseeing for Beijing, because the next day we fly to Chongqing where Hannah is!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Beijing Day 1

Our first day in Beijing...exciting! We landed about 6 AM local time, cleared customs rather quickly, then were met by our guide, Vivian. She had a driver take us to our hotel where we checked in then promptly crashed.

After we woke up, we took a small walk around the local area to find some food. We went to a European-style bakery that our guide had recommended. David picked out a piece of cake with chocolate chips in it - or so we thought! As he was eating, we discovered that they were actually beans! Funny!!

We also ordered pizza (I know, not exactly Chinese). It was good stuff.
We walked around a littel bit more, wathcing the people around us. There were a lot of people walking and biking. Traffic is crazy with lots of horn blowing and weaving in and out of lanes! We hoped we were safe on the sidewalk, but weren't exactly sure.

After that it was to the 24 hour store to pick up some bottled wather, then back to the hotel.
We went swimming this afternoon, then had dinner at the hotel. Tomorrow we are doing some official sightseeing!

We are here!!

We have arrived safely in Beijing, and also have taken a much needed nap. We are getting ready to go explore for a little while. The next post will include pictures!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Take Off!!!

That's right! Today id the day! We leave home in a couple of hours and fly out this afternoon. The next post will be from beautiful Beijing, China!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


We are done packing - almost! The kids are done with school and we have all of their assignements. David has his Eagle Scout Board of Review (interview) this evening. Just a few more boxes to check off and we are ready to leave tomorrow.

Monday, March 26, 2007


We are leaving day after tomorrow. Today, we plan to finsih packing, install the car seats, put up the baby gates, and all the last minute stuff we can cram into one day. Tomorrow will be almost as busy with all the really, really last minute stuff! I can't wait. China, here we come!


Sunday! I love Sundays! We did not do much in the way of preparation for our trip today, except show Jarod around the house. He is the wonderful young man who is taking care of our pets and house while we are in China. The dogs were on their best behavior (thank goodness!) and even the cat was social. Whew! We didn't scare him off, even after we told him all the quirks about the pets. We have been so blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives. God has provided for us in SO MANY ways.

Everyone at church was wishing us a good trip today. In a way I am so sad not to be able to take all of my family and friends with me to get Hannah. Everyone has been so supportive and loving. I can't wait to bring her home to her new family, her new extended family, and all of her new friends. She will be as blessed as we are!

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Can you believe that we leave in four days!?! We had a busy day running errands, picking up some last minute things from the grocery store and the department store. Certainly, we have bought enough stuff...

We all went bowling this afternoon. Keith bowls on a league. The boys, one of their friends, and I bowled on another lane. Keith is the only one good at bowling. But, at least the rest of us were pretty evenly matched - that is until Keith got done with his league bowling and came to help me. Suddenly, I was the winner!! Of course the boys weren't very happy about that..."No fair!" It was all in good fun, though. It was a great time together.

Tomorrow the person house sitting for us is coming over to check out his job. I hope we don't scare him off! No seriously, he is a great guy and we are so thankful that he is doing this for us.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Only five days until we leave for China! But even better is that there are only 10 more days until we get Hannah! Woohoo! I will have to start a whole new countdown!

Oh yeah, the kids were disappointed this morning when we woke up and it was 34 degrees, and no snow on the streets - so off to school they went! I bet a few of the teachers were a little disappointed as well...

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Snow??!! It has not hardly snowed all winter - seriously, we shoveled once, and it was all melted by noon. Now, we have had snow almost constantly for 2 days. It is not sticking, but we are supposed to get 6-9 inches tonight. The ground is warm, so I doubt that the kids' school will be closed or even delayed, much to their dismay. Can you imagine living in a climate like Germany and going the entire school year without having taken a snow day? The poor boys received a snow sled for Christmas and have not gotten to use it once!

Praise be to God, we did get the van back today!

We are in a packing slump. We have the pre-packing done (everything that we don't use on a regular basis and clothes). We can't do much else until we are a little closer to leaving. Probably on Sunday we'll get the rest done...or most of the rest at least.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I picked up our plane tickets today. We are so glad to have those in hand. Now we really have our flights confirmed! It is beginning to seem more real everyday. Now that we are only a week away, we have all been saying thigs like "This is the last time we will ____ before Hannah comes home." or "Only one more ____ before we get Hannah." I think the whole family is READY!

The van was not ready today, so we will be getting that back tomorrow. At this point, waiting another day is no big deal, although it would have been nice to have it back by now. Praise God that we will have it back in time to make the trip to the airport.

Finally, we have been talking to some adoption attorneys in Oklahoma to find someone to handle Hannah's readoption. Readoption is adopting Hannah again in an Oklahoma court. This gives her a US birth certificate and makes her adoption recognizable in all 50 states. States have a choice as to whether or not they recognize foreign adoptions. While Oklahoma does, our nomadic lifestyle is better suited to covering all the bases with all the states! I thought this part would be easy, but most attorneys will not touch it with a 10-foot pole. I guess we have cooties or something. Every time I called, the attorney referred me to someone else! No kidding! If anyone knows of an adoption attorney willing to handle a case for a military member stationed overseas, adopting internationally, residents of Oklahoma, but not living in Oklahoma, just leave a comment.

Or, leave a comment anyways, whichever works for you :o)~

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Today Hannah is 10 months old. By the time she turns 11 months, we will be at home where she has her own room, her own toys, her own bed, but most importantly, her own family.

We have received confirmation of all of our flights. The leg in China that was in question has been resolved. Thank you God!

We have filled out a ton of paperwork today. Keith has requested permissive TDY (special type of "vacation" days offered by the military) to go to China and we filled out a force protection plan (plan that describes how we (especially he) can be contacted in China and how all the "what if's" will be handled). Being overseas and being Americans means that we have to be extra careful in this day and age. We have filed our travel itinerary with the embassy and consulate in China.

My to-do lists are getting shorter. Of course, there is always the to-do list that has to wait until the last minute - that part is always the hardest! At least for me. If I could pack everything today, put the suitcases in the car, and fill it with gas, I would! Well, I guess I could do those things, but I would have to do them again next Wednesday! Oh well...

Monday, March 19, 2007


We have our itinerary for our trip! We are so excited to know what we will be doing while we are in China, and we are especially excited to know that we will be getting Hannah on the 2nd of April. Until recently, the 2nd of April did not have any significance that I knew of. However, through my mom and my aunt, I was told that the 2nd of April is actually my grandmother's birthday, she would have been 77 this year. I never knew my grandmother as she passed away when mom's family were still kids, but I am so glad to know that we will be receiving Hannah on her birthday.

Here are some of the things we will be doing and places we will be going while in China:
Arrive in Beijing, visit the Forbidden City and Tian’an men Square, visit the Great Wall and the Summer Palace, transfer to Chongqing. April 2nd - Forever Family Day! Receive Hannah, go through adoption proceedings, visit the Zoo and see the treasure of China---PANDAS, visit the Three Gorges Museum, transfer to Guangzhou. Visit the Chan Clan Acedamy, complete medical examination for Hannah, Consulate appointment, oath-taking ceremony, German Consulate to apply for the Schengen Visa, and, finally, depart for home.

Sounds like a whirlwind tour!!

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Ten days until we leave for China! Right now, we have started packing - one suitcase down, 3 to go. Four suitcases seems like a lot for us, but we are taking quite a few consumable goodies for ourselves and some German goodies for our travel buddies, and that takes up nearly a whole suitcase. Plus, we are packing a few things that will be carry-ons on the way back - like the diaper bag.

All of this leaves empty suitcases for any treasures that we purchase while we are in China. Treasures and clothes for Hannah that is. It is not quite like bringing home a baby from the hospital. We have to have enough clothing to get her through nearly 2 weeks, plus a long plane ride home. We do not have a good idea of what size clothes will fit her, so we are just taking a few outfits in a couple of sizes and will just have to get some more when we are there. Poor you can see from the baby shower picture - she just has no clothes to wear! (kidding, yes) Of course that picture does not even begin to show what all is in her closet already. But, we do not want to fill up a suitcase with something that doesn't fit, and still have to buy clothes and then another suitcase to bring it all back in. I'll just have to suffer through the's a sacrifice, but anything for Hannah.

We will, of course, be taking the cameras and computer so that we can share our experiences right here with you! We cannot wait to be writing much more exciting posts like "Here is Beijing!" and "Here's Hannah!", which will then be followed by numerous pictures and posts of Hannah and her new life. Yeah, I know that is what you all really come on here for. It's not's all about her. Come on, you know it is true...

I had a really neat experience when I was booking the tickets for our flights. I was praying as I arrived at the travel agency that God would lead me to the right tickets and the right person to sell them to us. I went in and spoke to the travel agent and she found us some tickets that were cheaper than anything else I could find online or through the airlines. After the tickets were arranged and purchased, the travel agent begins to tell me the story of her adopted younger sister, and how much she loves her. She told me that they prayed and prayed for her when her birth mom came to try to take her back when she was 15 (it was an informal adoption in Fiji), and how the courts had decided in the adoptive family's favor even though their parents had passed away and the adopted girl was living with her older brothers. It was a very touching story and it really opened some doors to talking about how God led me to this very travel agent to sell us our tickets. I have promised to bring Hannah back to visit her after we get home and share how God has brought her into our lives. It is just a testimony as to how He knits our lives together.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

We have our consulate appointment!

We leave for China March 28th. We will receive Hannah into our family on the 1st or 2nd of April. We can't wait!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

No News...

No consulate appointment today. Wow! This is taking a long time...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Who woulda thunk it?

The US Consulate always replys within 72 hours...or at least they used to, that is until it was our turn. :o)~ Yep, you guessed it - no consulate appointment today. While part of me would like to be upset, the smart part reminds me to wait on God.

Be still. Know that He is God. Trust in the Faithful One. Thank You, God, for making me wait until the timing is perfect. Thank You for reminding me that You are in charge.

Thank You for putting all the pieces of this puzzle together correctly, the first time, and not having to try each piece over and over in different configurations until You get it right. You KNOW what the picture is and how each piece fits into it.

I will wait on You, and when it gets hard, I will lay my impatience on Your altar, and wait some more.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Still no consulate appointment

Well, here we are, once again, still waiting. Wow, it is a good thing that I am patient...NOT! I feel as if I am on an emotional roller coaster - what a wild ride! Even though, I know there are only a few more weekends that we will have to wait until we leave, then a LONG weekend of waiting in Beijing, followed by Forever Family Day!!! That is the day that Hannah officially joins the Ross family. We are SO ready!!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

We have TA!

We did receive our travel approval yesterday! Now the "new" wait...for the consulate appointment. Once we have our consulate appointment, the agency can tell us when we are leaving. Currently the plan is for us to leave Germany on the 29th of March, and return the 12th of April. I think that with that itinerary, that we would actually get Hannah on the 2nd of April. It is not as soon as we would have hoped, but we are trusting God in all the circumstances. We should know for sure by Monday afternoon.

Now just pray for some cheap plane tickets. For some reason leaving the 29th instead of the 22nd, the cost of the plane tickets increased by 50%-100%, yep, almost doubled! Our plans to take everyone back to the states when we go to get Hannah's citizenship are dwindling! We are all disappointed, but we realize that everyone going back home is what we WANT to do, but not what we HAVE to do. Only one parent and Hannah HAVE to go...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Why the wait?

Why are we still waiting? Good question. All I can say is thankfully God sees the big picture, cause if I could get my dirty little hands in the mix, we'd be in China RIGHT NOW!

We did not get the travel clearance as expected today. The e-mail to our adoption agency from China now says "tomorrow". How many more tomorrows until we hold Hannah? Too many! Our agency will request a consulate appointment the first 2 weeks of April. If we are able to get in at that time, we will either leave around the 22nd or the 29th of March to go to Beijing. If we are not able to get in the first 2 weeks of April, it will be the 2nd week of May before we can go, due to some trade shows near the US consulate and a labor day holiday the first week of May. So, all of you prayer warriors can help me pray that our consulate appt will be sooner rather than later.

Friday, March 02, 2007

It is all starting to come together

Today, we received the healthcare coverage letter that we will need to process Hannah's visa to come back to Germany. That is one more thing checked off of my to-do list...

More importantly, today we also received an e-mail from our agency stating that they expect to have our travel clearance on Tuesday!! That is only 3 weeks, 4 days after our letters of intent to adopt were sent to China. usually it takes 3-5 weeks to get travel clearance, but we figured that it might be delayed a little because the China Center of Adoption affairs was closed last week for the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations. Depending one when we can get a consulate appointment, we could be in China in just a couple of weeks! Yeah!!!

Praise God for a day of good news!!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

When are we going to China?

We picked up our Chinese visas today! All of our passports are stamped and ready to go. So, now the big question: When are we going to China, and when does Hannah physically join our family? Well, we don't know yet. Right now, we are waiting for travel approval from China. This greatly desired piece of paper gives us permission to travel to China. Once our agency gets that, they will request a US consulate appointment for us. Then they will count backwards from the consulate appointment to give us enough total days in China to travel to Beijing for a couple of days, go to Chongqing, get Hannah, officially adopt her, get her passport, then go to Guangzhou where she gets a medical exam and we file for her US and German visas. Once we have done all that, and have visas in hand, we get to come home! It is hard to imagine that this entire trip takes only 12! Let's just say that we need to prepare for a whirlwind!

We expect to receive this travel approval either by the end of this week, or next. Waiting is just so hard!