Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sunday morning was rough, but so worth the struggle! Please read this post!

Our group took a tour of Guangzhou City on Sunday morning. I will save the trip and photos for another post, but I believe the Lord has laid something on my heart that I need to share with anyone reading.

By our third stop, Mia had taken about all she could. She became your typical toddler while trying to do some shopping. We can tell she hasn't been around very many males, if any, because I am about the only one she wants to hold her. Well you mothers can relate...we need a break every once in awhile! She was screaming, kicking her feet, throwing her arms. Phillip has been wonderful with her and trying to slowly bond with her as she lets him. We are beginning to firmly grab her hands when she does this and tell her no and we feel she is responding to that and understanding what no means. All I wanted to do was go back to the room. When you are "touring" with a group, that is not possible! We had to wait on everyone to finish shopping. Mia, and myself, finally calmed down.
I got her in the room and started trying to get her down for a nap, which was way past due! She started screaming at the top of her lungs again. I simply stood up with her, held her as close as I could and bounced her up and down. Once she finally gave it up, I sat in the chair with her for a moment and reflected on what had just happened. It was like the Lord spoke straight to my heart!

This whole journey simply started with making the decision to adopt a little girl from China. Then God started to show us the correlation between adopting a child and His adopting us into His family. Adoption is the PERFECT picture of salvation! We were lost, homeless, dirty, alone, unsure of our future/eternity. He stepped in and welcomed us into His family...taking with it all the negatives and baggage we would bring in! But because of His grace, mercy, love and compassion, He allowed His Son, Jesus to pay the ultimate sacrifice for our sins on the cross. He wants to be our Father! As God revealed this to us, we knew adoption was the right thing for our family. We could love a child, give her hope and a future, and most important, show her the love of Jesus!

As I continued to sit there and hold Mia after her screaming fiasco, I learned the next correlation in adoption. How many times, once we have come to the Father, do we throw our own little tantrums? We rebel against things that we know the Lord has and wants for us. We kick, scream, throw our heads back thinking that will get us what we want. What does God do? He sits there, frustrated I'm sure (just as I was with Mia), and holds us until we are done. He doesn't leave us but instead is patient. We are like little children in need of a loving Father who promises to love us unconditionally!

Don't you see? God loves the orphans all over this world. He has mentioned them in Scripture over 60 times! If salvation is the most important message in the Bible, then don't you think He desires the same for these homeless children? We have said time and time again that adoption is not for everyone. We were called by God to adopt Mia and are so thankful for the opportunity. Our job isn't over though once we get home. We have to continue to do work to care for these children. In China, if kids aren't adopted by age 14 they age out of the system and put to the streets! What do you think they will do to survive? My guess is a lot will do whatever they can (drugs, prostitution). We have been amazed at the stories we have heard from different families while in China. One lady traveled here to get 3 deaf children. Her plans were to only get 2 until she was made aware of a 13 year old boy who only had a few months left before he aged out! She too him into her family...she saved him from a life of misery!

Please ask God what He wants you to do help the helpless!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Outdoor Market

On Saturday we decided to venture off the island.  There is only so much walking around and going in and out of gift shops one family can do!  There is a bridge that everyone walks across to get to the other side of the interstate.  We were told when we got here that the island is very safe but once you step foot off the island that theft and pick-pocketing are very common!  We headed across with Mia in stroller and backpack double knotted and tied up.  We had been told by a few other families that had gone what we might see, but until we actually walked the streets I couldn't believe it!

There were tons of mushrooms, herbs, snakeskins, etc at first, not to bad.  But then we turned the corner and there they were...lots of live animals crawling in buckets!  First was scorpions and they were in a large plastic tub, almost like the outdoor swimming pools we have at home.  They were just crawling everywhere and all over each other! 

As we walked a little further we saw a few common things such as turtles and chickens (which weren't in a cage but just walking around inside this little store, sounds clean, huh?)  Then there was a small tub of what looked like to me tiny baby pigs, but we came to the conclusion they were baby mice/rats!  I hope the picture can do them justice!  By this point I was getting a little queezy just thinking that the people actually come here to buy these things to take home and eat!  Our last stop before heading back to cleanliness was probably the favorite...at least for the males in the family.  Can you guess?

Snakes! Live Snakes!  Dawson, as you can imagine, was fascinated!  Thank goodness these were in cages.  The biggest snack and scariest was a cobra.  It had it's flat head up in the air.  I was starting to get a little uncomfortable at this point so I started to push Mia a few  yards away.  Phillip even said that if they tried to get the cobra out, he was running!  The man got out one of the snakes and was holding it out for Phillip and the boys to see.  He pushed it up to Phillip as if saying, "please hold...it won't bite".  Well Mr. Adventurous took the challenge.  From a distance I zoomed the camera in for a photo opportunity.  Once the head started coming towards him, he politely handed him over!  We went on our way and I made everyone sanitize immediately. 

What an experience!  That has been one great thing about this trip...seeing how this culture differs from ours, some good and some not so good.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Great Wall of China and Shopping

**This post and the post of Tienanmen Square and Forbidden City are the first 2 days we arrived in China. We had trouble getting the blog up and going then. These are actually "pre-Mia" days but wanted to have them on the blog. Mrs. Ashley, thought these would be great to show the class because of the famous sites! Enjoy!**

Today we went to the Great Wall of China. Wow! What a sight to see. The Wall was built to protect Northern Chinese borders from intrusion. Most of the remaining wall was built by the Ming Dynasty. It was absolutely freezing and the wind was blowing which made it even worse. There were times on our hike up the steps that we had to stop b/c the wind would almost knock you over. We walked a pretty good ways up and maybe would have gone further if it weren't for the wind. Those of you who know Payne well enough will laugh at this one. He would count every stop that he walked!

We also made a stop at the Jade Market. Jade to China is like diamonds in the US. It is beautiful! We saw pictures of Michael Phelps in the store because he came and bought some jade during the Olympics. Speaking of the Olympics we were able to see where they were held and take a quick photo from the road.

Well tomorrow is the day we fly to Guangzhou! The city we really long to see simply because our daughter is there! Mia, we are one step closer to you!

Friday, December 3, 2010

1st Day in Beijing

**This post should have been on of the first ones. These were "kicked back" to Gretchen, but have been found!**

After being up for about 30 hours we finally arrived in Beijing, China at about 9:30 pm (7:30am your time).  We had our tour guide, Michelle, that was with us for the weekend pick us up at the airport.  Yes we were one of those families that was looking for their family name on a sign! :)
We stayed at Park Plaza and it was super nice!  We settled in Thursday night because we had a long 2 days ahead of seeing all the sights of Beijing.  Friday morning we met Michelle in the lobby at 9am and headed to Tienanmen Square which is the largest public square in the world.  This is where we were introduced to street vendors.  They were selling all kinds of things but especially panda hats, scarves and gloves.  They would literally try to put it in your hand.  Poor Dawson didn't know what to do when they handed him some gloves.  He walked over to me with them with a look on his face of "What do I do with these?" Michelle told us to keep walking and don't make eye contact!  This is also the first time we started to get all the "stares"!  Our blond hair, especially Payne, was something some of these tourist have never seen.  They were all very nice about it and we came to find out that staring must not be considered rude over here!
  Needless to say  the boys had several pictures taken of them with the Asian people.  They did great! We then took a tunnel under the street that led us to the Forbidden City.  We have learned that everything China is about even today revolves around their past history.  The City is basically the place where the Emperor lived with all his concubines and where no common people were allowed, which is where the city got its name. There was a garden toward the end that we would have loved to seen in the summer/spring.  I think it would have been beautiful!
 We then had lunch in a restaurant located in a park area. It was very good and we had several dishes to try! We then made a stop at the Pearl Market which was very interesting.  The boys were able to choose an oyster and
she opened it to see about 20 pearls!  We made a few purchases and went on to our next event.
 We took a Rickshaw ride through Hutong, the oldest city in Beijing.  It is the center of the city and goes along with the Chinese theory that the closer you live to the middle of the city, the wealthier you are.  We were actually able to enter into one home and talk with the lady of the house. We then went to the top of drum tower, and when I say top I mean TOP with a very steep set of stairs!  We watched 5 young people do a drum demonstration...the boys loved that!

 By this time in the day we were zapped!  We thought we would go back and take a quick nap, grab some dinner and go to bed early.  Well we went to be early....5:00pm!  We never woke up from our nap.  Needless to say we were all up about 2am.  Mrs. Ashley and Mrs. McMillon you would be proud because we took those early morning hours to do some of their homework! 

Some of Mia's 1st...we think!

Well yesterday was a fun day, except our first stop.  We had to take the girls for their medical exam.  It felt like we were in a movie set in the 50's!  There is a nurse in our group and she commented on the nurse's hats...remember the ones they wear strapped around their head?  Those were it!  I really don't know what we accomplished really.  The "exam", if you can call it that, was very basic.  We all have special needs children so you think there may have been some extra test run.  I guess they know we will do that anyway once we get home.

Jocelyn, our rep from CCAI, took our group over to the shopping district.  Everything here seems to be built up because there were so many floors.  It was basically what we consider our mall.  The building we went to and spent most of our time (thanks dads for being patient with the women) was the jewelry, but one store in particular...pearls!  Jocelyn said that  we in the US will pay 7,8,9 and sometimes 10 times what we pay in the States.  I got several gifts for the family for Christmas.  I was worried about Christmas shopping but think I'll at least get most of the adults while we are here!  Payne was starving by this time so we all experienced Chinese McDonald's (1st number 1 for Mia)!  Needless to say I didn't try to eat healthy!  I wasn't sure what I would end up with!  All joking aside it wasn't too bad.  The boys got sweet and sour sauce instead of ranch for dipping though.

Once we got back to the island, we took Mia to the playground (1st number 2 for Mia).  I felt like that overprotective mother.  There were kids everywhere and I was a nervous wreck that she would get knocked down the stairs or pushed off of a slide.  She discovered she likes to slide and then we teeter-tottered (have no idea if I just spelled that right!) with another little Chinese girl.  Fun!

After dinner, we stopped at the water fountain.  I thought she just wanted to watch the water spray, but no she wanted to play IN the water!  I let her lean as far over she could without falling in and splash away (1st number 3 for Mia)!  It was almost bedtime anyway so who cares if she got wet!  She had a blast...and was drenched!  Needless to say, we saw her temper again when we had to make her leave!

She may have done all these things before but my guess is she hasn't.  We are ready for her to experience life as being a kid, and experience it with her!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Park on Shamien Island

We have learned that Mia loves to be outside and loves to watch dogs...Blakely, you will definitely have a play buddy.  It just makes me wonder how much she has really been able to be outside.  Oh how we need to appreciate the small stuff!  The flowers on Shamien Island and all over Guangzhou for that matter are beautiful!  The island where we are staying is so unique and the buildings very pretty.  There are times that we don't even feel like we are in China. 

There was a collie dog that was playing ball with its owner in the park today.  Mia loved to watch them play.  We sat down and watched them for probably 15 minutes! 

We are enjoying reading all of your comments so please keep them coming.  I can't respond obviously because I can't even see the blog, but they are being emailed to me!  Have a great day!

Play Time

We finally made it down to the play room in our hotel.  We are staying at the White Swan, which is known for housing many adopted families!  There were lots of toys and balls to play with...I think Dawson and Payne enjoyed it just as much as Mia!  Ashley Cupp, I'm going to email you a picture of the boys with a special friend...we thought of Gavin today!

In one of the pictures is another family in our group that used CCAI as their agency. Her name is Mia as well and that is her big sister, Morgan. They are from Utah and this is their 6th child but 1st adoption. We have really enjoyed getting to know them and hope to keep in touch after we all go home! Our Mia loves Morgan. She will go up to her, turn around and plop down in her lap. So cute!

B Girl, We Miss You!!

Blakely Ann, we wanted to tell you how MUCH we miss you and wish you were here with us!  The boys have already said when you and Mia get older we will have to bring you back to China.  Hang in there, we will see you in almost 9 days...we can't wait!  Hugs and kisses from Mommy, Daddy, Dawson, Payne and now Mia.  We love you!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Scroll Down

Due to some technical issues, the first blog post was delayed. Be sure to scroll down to see the first post from China!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ahhhh....Pink and Bows

I was dying to get some pink and a hair bow on Mia this morning!  They told us not to rush changing her clothes or giving her a bath right away.  We left her in what she was in for most of the first night.  I will always keep this outfit...long underpants, red sweat pants, beige turtleneck, pink sweater and red shoes.  And yes it is 75 degrees here!  Needless to say she was burning up!

We went back to the Civil Affairs office to get a family photo and have 2 interviews.  Afterwards we went to the supermarket to get some snacks, milk, juice, etc.  We stayed safe with some cereal and cookies that looked familiar!  Get this...you have to buy your bags at checkout!  They asked how many I needed and I didn't know what to say!  We then went back to the island where we are staying.  We had a Subway sandwich and hung out the rest of the day.  I am now listening to Mia laughing and giggling as the boys are playing with her.  Sweet sound!  We have got to get in bed!  Hopefully things will slow down and I'll be able to stay caught up with the blog.  Until then...Goodnight!

Gotcha Day with Mia Lin!!!

Words cannot express the feelings we had today as we saw Mia for the first time!  It all happened so fast.  There were probably 20 families in this room receiving their child today.  Our group, which consisted of us and 2 other families, were told it was our turn and that the Greers were first.  We hurried around to give our cameras to the others to take pictures.  I turned around and was literally staring at Mia and the lady waiting on me to take her!  I was simply going off the few pictures of Mia that we have received, but I knew it was her!  Phillip wasn't even with me yet b/c he was showing another guy how to run the video camera.

Before we left the hotel, we came together as a family and prayed that the Lord would walk ahead of us and prepare Mia for our meeting.  He so answered our prayers!  She did not cry one time and the boys had her laughing within 10 minutes.  I remember telling our small group at church the Sunday before we left that I longed to see her smile and laugh...I just didn't expect to see it so soon!  We were prepared for a rough day, actually a few days, of her adjusting to us and being taken away from everything she knows.  It was just another confirmation that God had her part of our family before she was even born! 

We stayed in the hotel room that night to bond with her.  She had her first bath and then I put her down about 9:00.  She slept until 5:30 and then with me until 7.  She is doing great!  Enjoy a few pics of Gotcha Day.  Thank you all for being patient while we are trying to get some posts on the blog. I had no idea it wouldn't work in China!  Thanks Ryan for helping us out!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Coming Soon! Be Patient

The Greers hope to post some pictures and stories soon, but they are facing some technical issues to overcome. Some websites, including Blogger, are not accessible in China. We have some plans to bypass these restrictions and you should see some updates soon!

In the meantime, keep them in your prayers. They get to meet their newest daughter in 4 hours! Praise the Lord!