Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day

We had a great time this weekend in Wilmington, NC. Anna got to meet a bunch of her new family/friends at a cookout my parents house. The girls had a great time playing, eating, and getting to know everybody. We are so thankful for people who love on us and our kids.

We decide to get up a little earlier and head back home on Sunday so that we could be to church at NewSpring. We didn't really know how Anna was going to respond to the nursery situation without Jennifer. But, she did great! Her and Lydia played and played. Our friend Alicia gave us a few text updates and even a pic from the nursery to let us know how they were doing.

Sunday was also Father's Day. I got to see my dad and I get to be a father to 3 sweet little girls. Each one is different, and each one if very special in her own way. It's still hard to believe everything that has happened in the last few weeks. I'm thankful that God allows me to be the dad to our girls, and I'm depending on HIM everyday to show me how to do the best I can.

- Kendal

Father's Day Weekend

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Girls In The Pool

Great Wall Family Pic

Adjusting To Our New Lives

Hey guys. Sorry it's been awhile since we last posted anything. We have been busy transitioning to our new lives with Anna in the family. We have crossed some pretty significant lines over the past several days. Anna is now sleeping through the night (which is a big deal). Her internal clock is finally getting used to American time.

Anna and Lydia are still getting used to each other. They get along pretty well, but we have had some hair pulling/pushing/scratching/etc. But that is to be expected with their age and their adjustment. They do enjoy playing with each other outside, in the tub, and all over the house. I think they are going to be great friends as the days go by.

Jordan is being a great big sister/little momma. She has been a huge help to Jennifer and I over the past several weeks with the girls. Honestly, I don't know how we would be doing all this with out her help. It's awesome to see how God is working in her life through this whole process too.

We continue to deal with the issue of boils coming up on Anna's head. She is now taking an oral antibiotic to help out with what we think is an infection of some kind. Praying that those things will get healed up quickly.

Honestly, these days are a little overwhelming at times for Jennifer and I. We are working with the girls to establish a new normal in our daily lives, we have lots of things to do in our new (much older) house, getting started with post adoption paperwork, and we are getting back to work, church, and the other things of life. We would appreciate your prayers as we continue our transition time.

I can't help but think of the other 10 families who were with us in China. They are all dealing with the same issues we are right now. I'm praying for them, their adopted children, the biological kids, and all their adjustments too.

Last thing for today - I don't know who all is reading this blog right now, but some of you guys should consider the possibility of adoption. I know that many of my college students are keeping up with our journey, family members, friends and others. I honestly believe that many people look at adoption as something people do as a last resort. Let me just say that adoption is not Plan B. Adoption is something that, if God tells you to, you should consider as Plan A. Scripture is pretty clear when it says "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (James 1:27)
I know that adoption is not for everyone, but let me encourage you to consider the possiblity of giving a child a whole new life through the means of adoption. It's a beautiful picture of what Jesus did for us on the cross. We were once seperated from God, but by Christs' sacrifice he made it possible for us to become part of the family of God. Just something to think about...............

Friday, June 11, 2010

No Place Like Home

After being awake for about 30 or so hours we finally arrived home. We reached Florence around midnight and attempted to put the girls to bed. They finally went to sleep around 1 or and Anna decided to wake at 5. So yes, we are still sleep deprived. More to come later, but we wanted everyone to know that we are home. Thanks for your prayers!!

- Kendal

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Last Update From China

Well the time has come to pack our bags and get ready for the 3-4 hr bus ride to Hong Kong. We will spend a few hours in a hotel and then get up early in the morning and fly to Tokyo. From Tokyo we will fly straight to Atlanta Georgia, then to Columbia, SC. In theory, we will be back in South Carolina by about 9:30 pm on Thursday. This will be the last post until we get state side.
It has been great to travel with 10 other couples that are all adopting special needs kids. Some are older, some have heart issues, some vision issues, and a variety of other things. All I know is that each on of these kids is heading for a loving home where they will be cared for and given as many opportunities to grow as possible. We are looking forward to getting home and helping Anna transition to her new life with us and two sweet sisters. Can't wait to give my little girl Lydia a big hug.
Thanks so much for following our journey to bring Anna home. We have really appreciated your prayers so far, and would appreciate a few more on our long flight home. Maybe the girls will do some good sleeping as we ride. We are just hoping for no delays and not changes to our schedule. Can't wait to see everyone. Here we come!!!!
- Kendal

Trying Snakes and Flying Home!

Well, we have just spent the last full day here in Guangzhou. We ended it with a meal at a Cantonese restaurant. I am including a picture of Kendal and Jordan eating water snake. All three of us gave it a try and it was actually the best thing on the table! On the way into the restaurant, you could actually pick out your meal, while it is still alive!!! That's right. So, we walked by 3 cages of snakes on the way in and I thought I would chicken out of trying it. But, we all did it.....Anna, meanwhile, enjoyed the rice.
We are super excited that tomorrow at 5pm we are getting on a bus for Hong Kong and then flying out early Thursday morning. We are ready to get Anna home, get her checked out by our pediatrician and give lots of hugs and kisses to Lydia, whom we have dearly missed!!!

Pray for our travel and that we won't have delays. We have known that so many have prayed for us along this journey here; thank you so much. Well, gonna cut this short because the computer battery is running low.

Jennifer D

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ready to Be Home!

So, today has come and gone. We had our first appointment at the US consolate's office. Basically, this was just for them to look at our paperwork and we didn't even have to go, our guides went for us and things went well. No issues to report, so tomorrow we will have to go in person and do the interview and whatever else comes with that. This will take place about 3 tomorrow afternoon. The rest of our day was spent doing some shopping and hanging out at Shaman island. We did visit the White Swan hotel and try to take a picture on their famous red couches where so many adopted families have come through. But, Anna was not in the mood for that, so we did the best we could. The girls were wearing their new Chinese clothes that we bought. Don't worry, Lydia has a couple of outfits too. Going to have to do a photo shoot sometime when we get back.

Jordan wants me to make sure that I tell everyone about her new friend, Melanie. She's a sweet girl (who was adopted several years ago, and her family is now on their 3rd adoption from China). Jennifer wants me to remind everyone to pray for Anna's issues with the boils and her transitions to living with us and in America.

Just so you know, Anna is a handful. Once she came out of her shell, she came all the way out. She is rough around the edges, so I think her and Lydia are in for some battles. Jordan thinks we might need to get a wrestling mat for the basement. We are trying to teach her how to play not so rough and not to bite/scratch/etc. Jordan keeps calling her little tiger - the nickname might stick. Hopefully, with time she will learn to channel some of that aggression.

Have I mentioned that we are ready to come home? Well, we are. China is nice but I like the USA a little better. We have been trying to save some money by eating PB and J in the hotel room for lunch the past several days and eating McDonalds at night. It's much cheaper than the hotels buffet every meal. We have a chance to go to a restaurant tomorrow night that where you can get all kinds of live things killed for you to eat. This includes snake, eel, and lots of sea food things. Don't know if we are going or not, going to have to check the funds before we make that decision.

I guess that's about it for tonight, we will be heading for Hong Kong on a bus Wednesday night. We will stay in a hotel there for a few hours and then it's off to the airport for an early morning flight to Tokyo, then to Atlanta, then to Columbia. Thanks for all your sweet messages of encouragement, we really appreciate each one of them. Have a great week - we are.

- Kendal

Sunday, June 6, 2010

All Smiles!

Becoming Part of the Family

Hey guys. Sorry it has been a few days since we last updated the blog. Here goes..... we arrived in our last city and things have gone pretty well. We had 'medical exam' and did a little site seeing. The internet is hit and miss at best (and costs $15 a day). Anyway, Anna has a couple of boils on her head due to the bad condition of the place where she has been living before we got her. One of those boils ruptured during the night and we had to go see a "Doctor" this morning. They cleaned it and told us to go to the hospital, but that is always their advice. The experience was not pleasant. A couple of nurses on our trip with us said that it should be good until we get home. But it has stressed Mom and Dad (and big sister out). I can't lie, it makes me angry that the orpahange did not take care of our little girl like she deserved to be. But, we will just have to make up for that.
Anna had only been letting Jennifer hold her until yesterday. Now she only wants Kendal and Jordan to hold her. Don't know what that is about, but at least we have all had a turn now. She is up running around and wrestling with Jordan and Kendal. She is quite a little rascal, should fit in with our family well. We are all ready to go home, but we still have work to do. Tomorrow is our first appointment with the US consilate. The we have a couple other things to do there after that in order to get her visa. Hopefully, that all goes well.
Sorry this is brief and no pics, but my battery is running out and the charger is up in the room. Gotta go for now, but we will try to do better with the blog updates from this point out. Thanks for all your prayers.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Jiangxi Porcelain

So, today we went to do a village tour and saw how the majority of people in China actually live. The people live on very little money and survive by living together and growing much of their food. It was humbling to think of how much we have in America compared to these people. After the village tour we went to a porcelain shop to check out what was there. Jiangxi is known to have the best porcelain in the entire nation. In fact, it's shipped all over the world. So naturally we wanted to get a few things from Anna's home region to remember our journey. I also learned a few things about porcelain. First, it takes a long time to get all the raw materials to make pieces with. The have to be combined in a special way and are often hand painted and fired at very high temperatures. While porcelain is obviously breakable it is very strong because of the process by which it is made. In fact, the owner of the shop took two of the bowls that we eventually bought and knocked them together pretty hard - no cracks. It was pretty impressive.

As I thought about that it made me think of our little Anna. Just like the porcelain pieces we got today, she was made with precious materials. She was put together in such a way and crafted by the hand of God. She has been through more trials by fire than most adults I know, and in such a short amount of time. Just by looking closely at her body we can tell that she has not been treated like the precious gift of God that she is. The trials will make her strong and determined, but she's still very delicate and breakable. Our job as parents and siblings is to strengthen her and help her to be everything that God desires her to be. Thanks for all of your prayers and the way you have already invested in her life.

- Kendal

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Small Breakthroughs

Today we visited a famous Pavillion in Nanchang. We took a tour, got to see a short show (music, singing, and dancing), and toured the gardens around the Pavillion. It was great to get out and walk around. We also had decided on our own to get out into the city. We walked to a place called the RT Mart to do some window shopping. Yesterday we went to Walmart and it was super crazy. The sights, sounds, and smells were overwhelming. It made me thankful for our Florence Walmart - now that's scary. But the RT Mart was more like Super Target. It was a little calmer, not as trashy, and not as noisey. But it did have live fish/crawdads/turtles/frogs/
eels and more to buy and eat. And yes, we did take pictures. Jordan thought this was crazy.

All that stuff aside, Anna had some small breakthroughs today. When she woke up this morning I got her out of her crib. She cried some, but them let me hold her for a little while without crying. She interacted with Jordan more than she has with smiles, laughs, and even reached for her some. The best part of my day was our trip to the RT Mart because Anna let me carry her the whole way (15 minute walk) and didn't seem stressed or cry at all. I'm so thankful for all of your prayers as Anna continues to transition into our family. We pray that she grows more confident and trusts us more and more each day. She also had her first stroller ride today. She cried a lot when Jennifer first put her in, but warmed up to the idea and actually stayed in it while eating supper. That may not sound like a bid deal, but for Jennifer to have some time where she didn't have to carry her constantly was a huge blessing.

Tomorrow we go check out some places that sell pottery that Jiangxi is famous for and we will be taking a village tour. Have a great day. More to come soon.....

- Kendal

Anna on Gotcha Day

She's so precious! Sorry for only having on picture to share with you all for now, there have been a few complications with the internet connection! Hopefully we'll get all the little things worked out and have more to share with you later!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Hello everyone. Sorry for the delay but the internet connection in Jiangxi is not too great. So, Stephanie Moore (one of my BCM students) is putting this up for us via email. Pictures are also difficult to get out, but we are trying. So, Gotcha day came and unfolded in a different way than we expected. We found out that Anna was going to be brought to us at our hotel instead of a governement office. We were told that we would have some time to get to the hotel and get some some things set up, then Anna would be there. The other couple traveling with us found out that their baby was already at the hotel waiting as we drove from the airport. So, we were going to go in and video them getting their baby. So, we go in and not 5 steps behind us is a woman carrying a little chinese girl dressed in fleece PJ's with monkeys on them. It was our little girl, Anna. It was not the story book ending that we were hoping for. Anna was highly stressed, and Jennifer had to take her from her caregiver. Poor baby cried and cried (she even smacked Jennifer right in the head) (and yes I did video that). She was having a really hard time and they told us just to go ahead and take her up to our room because that would make it easier on her. Needless to say, they were right. Anna stopped crying and bonded with Jennifer very quickly. In fact, she doesn't want Jennifer to put her down. Anna clings to Jennifer with every bit of strength she has.

Later that afternoon, we went to the government office to do paperwork and be interviewed. We gave the nannies their gifts and the orphanage director his gifts as well. After that paperwork was done, we recieved a read folder that officially makes her our daughter in the eyes of the Chinese government. Glad that part is over with.

I will be honest and say that this part of the adoption process is very hard for me and Jordan. I'm glad that Anna has bonded so much with Jennifer, but it's tough because she really doesn't want me and Jordan to hold her. In fact, she cries long and loud anytime we try to hold her or get too close. You can look in her sweet little eyes and tell that she has been through a lot of pain in her short life and it will takes her some time to trust others. My prayer is that as time goes by, she will learn to trust us and love us too.

Please pray for Jordan especially. She has been gotten to play with the other adopted girls, but Anna is a tougher nut to crack. Jordan has so much love built up over the last 4 years that she wants to pour out on Anna, but she's just not a place to receive it yet. I can tell that it hurts Jordan's little heart. I pray that over the next few days their bond as sisters will start to form. It's just hard right now. Thanks for keeping up with as the process roles on.

- Kendal