Saturday, November 30, 2013


Saturday was medical exam day for Jude.

Violet took him through the various stages of it while I waited with Jake.

Checking his ears, throat, etc. — good. Stripping down to check him all over — not as good. Drawing blood for the TB test — what do you think? Jake and I both heard this loud crying and looked at each other, practically saying at the same time "That sounds like Jude."

Then we turned and saw him coming out of the room to mommy's waiting arms. Poor little guy. It's amazing, though, how soon he forgot about the pain when he took my iPhone to make some cupcakes on the Easy Bake Oven app.

Here are some pics Violet took of Jude getting checked out:

Meeting an old friend

Five years ago, a wonderful woman served as our guide in Xi'an and Guangzhou when we were adopting Jake.

We know her as Kelly. She lives in Guangzhou and works as a guide for Great Wall China Adoptions. Her trip to Xi'an to serve as our guide in 2008 was her second time ever in the city, but she did a great job leading us through the paperwork and showing us the sites of the city that always will hold a special place in our hearts. She was even more valuable during our time in Guangzhou.

On Saturday, we were going through Jude's medical exam in Guangzhou. Violet was taking Jude through the various stages while I waited with Jake. He and I were playing games when this woman came up and spoke to us. I looked up and saw the same smile I saw so much 5 years ago. It was Kelly. Violet had seen her while standing in line and they chatted. Although it took a bit for her to recall, Kelly quickly remembered the important details about us.

Jake didn't really have much recollection of Kelly, but Kelly remembered him. She was happy to see him and to see how much he had grown in the past 5 years. We were happy to see her, too. Violet and I had remarked to each other before we even go to Guangzhou that it would be nice if we were able to run into Kelly again.

Half a world away from home and we still can rekindle an old friendship, even if it was only briefly. ... Kevin

Kelly was kind enough to pose for a photo with Jake.
And, here they were 5 years ago when we visited the Terra Cotta Warriors.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

We have one of THOSE children ... and thankful for it

With all the official ceremonies and most paperwork behind us, today we visited Chongqing Zoo, which went pretty much worse than we'd feared. We're not huge fans of zoos anyway, but it was on the itinerary, so of course we had to go, and you never know when that magical moment of attachment will happen, and you should just make the best of seeing everything in China you can.
So this is how it went down.
We step off the bus and immediately Little Bit runs to the hawkers and grabs a pinwheel and some bubbles. The women hand more of the same to Jake, who has no clue and I'm sure thinks they are giving it to him. After all, how many times at parades and other fun events does that happen?
So we shell out the 5 yuan each for the stuff, but Kevin apparently paid the wrong woman for something, and the other one gets mad and tries to take the bubbles from Jake!!
Really!!? I know you need the money and this is how you make a living, but to thrust it at my son then try to take it away. I got pretty firm with my Bu (no!) at that point and we managed to disengage and let them fight it out.
But Jude threw a tantrum when the bubbles got packed away and only had just calmed down when we entered a place where you can get refreshments and we would not get him more toys and drinks (we offered him water which we had in our bag, to no avail).
Yes, we have one of THOSE children. AND we love every inch of him, but it will make for interesting times.
He did pretty well after that, so maybe we made strides.
After the zoo it was onto an ancient structure that was like a temple but really was only a place where royalty resided. It was more than 300 years old and beautiful.
At that point it was into the afternoon, so we missed the photo op at the river convergence (way more cooler sounding than the zoo in my opinion) and headed back to the hotel. We ate nearby (Jude's first Happy Meal!) and were checking out a kids' store for a size 2T (yes, you read it right) pants for the 4-year-old when Mr. Bull in a China Shop (aka Jude) starts making messes and being his grabby, wonderful self.
So Kevin and I decided he would take the boys back to the hotel so I could shop in peace.
Well, Little Bit has been attached to me today, so you can imagine how that went down.
Kevin was grateful no one called the authorities about the man carrying the child who was screaming for his mama and whatever else in Chinese.
Back in the room, safe and sound, the little stinker decided to push the boundaries some more by pulling down his pants in the main part of our hotel room instead of using the bathroom (which he knows perfectly well how to do) smiling the whole time. He was only faking us out, though. Then he went to two trashcans and did the same thing before finally going to the toilet and doing the real thing.
But he settled down and we ended up having a pretty good family bonding moment with Jude's first pillow fight. He was laughing the entire time. It was wonderful to see.
Then we decided to get brave again and venture to the very fancy hotel restaurant with our kids for turkey dinner, which was not on the menu but they would "figure something" as the waiter said.
Jude dived into his fried rice with pork and some kind of tart fruit. Rice was going everywhere.
Kevin and I got our turkey, complete with a little gravy boat, so when I poured some gravy over my turkey, Jude picked up his mango juice and poured half in his rice!! And then he ate it! Rice flew some more. He then climbed on my lap and started to feed me ... an entire roasted small potato. Then before I could hardly get it in my mouth he tried to give me another. I was laughing so hard I nearly choked on a potato. It made Jake laugh, until he worried I was choking to death (I wasn't I was just really cracking up!) He came over with his spaghetti sauce-stained face to make sure I was OK.
We felt like country bumpkins bumbling into a 5-star restaurant, but we wouldn't have had it any other way.
Day ends with room service ice cream, baths and bedtime. The boys fell asleep immediately. Oh, and Jude LOVES his footed pajamas (will try to get pics of him tomorrow).
Jake, as usually, took things in stride and was a good big brother to his headstrong DiDi. We owe him some major reward one-on-one time with Mom or Dad when we get home.
Oh, and did I mention, we have one of THOSE children. AND we love every inch of him, but it will make for interesting times.
We have rest tomorrow until we leave for Guangzhou in the afternoon to get Jude's Visa and medical checkup in the next few days. Happy Thanksgiving from China everyone! We are blessed beyond measure by our family, friends and our wonderful Lord.
~ Violet

The Huguang Guild Hall, more than 300 years old

 Jake and Jude monkeying around at Chongqing Zoo

 First Happy Meal!

 Watching one of the pandas at the zoo.

 Jake on Dad's shoulders and Jude on Mom's!

Huge Christmas tree at hotel

 First pillow fight

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It's official, we are Jude's parents

We've had a busy couple of days.
On Tuesday, we went back to the Chongqing adoption center to make things official. We officially are Jude's parents now. They had a ceremony, too, unlike when we adopted Jake. A woman conducted the ceremony while a man took photos. She handed us our adoption certificate, then we posed for a family photo, our first official photo of us as a family of 4.

After that, we spent a little time in a park on top of a mountain around a pagoda. Jake and I were the adventurous ones, we climbed the eight flights of stairs to the top of the pagoda and looked down on those below. Jude wanted to go, too, Violet said, but his little legs would have given out, mine just about did.

On Wednesday, we spent the day going to the two orphanages where Jude stayed. Both are quite a drive from our hotel and in opposite directions. We visited Love Manor first. It's atop a mountain in a forest park. It's a pretty setting. We got to walk around and see the places where Jude stayed. We also found out he was not always with a foster family there, like we had thought. We got to see the crib where he slept until the end of his stay there.

After Love Manor, we drove the other way to Jiangjin Social Welfare Institute, where Jude first stayed. We got to see the new facility, which opened last year. Jude never stayed there, as he moved to Love Manor in 2011. We then drove to the old Jiangjin SWI, which was abandoned last year and is scheduled to be demolished. The director of the orphanage pointed out Jude's finding spot, which was just outside the gate to the old orphanage. We took some photos and posed as a family on the spot, and we toured the old facility. As we were when we visited Jake's orphanage and finding spot, we're not ready to post photos. It was a pretty emotional day, and seeing all that hit me hard.

It was interesting, Jude got upset as Violet was carrying him up the stairs at the old orphanage, so she took him out of the building to calm him down. He refused to go back into it, but came running to me when I came out of the building. We're making strides in our attachment, but it's going to be a slow process as he accepts us as parents and not just as two more caretakers. ... Kevin

Here we are, officially a family of 4.

Jude loves to ride on escalators.

Hi everyone!

The pagoda.

See how high we were!

This was breakfast Wednesday. He can get messy. He was being a fussy eater but decided he liked the chocolate-covered doughnut.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Gotcha Day! He was the first one through the door

We were one of two families that were waiting for our children at the adoption office Monday afternoon, and we all were pacing the floor, ready for the moment to happen.
We were early, the children were late, and nerves were in abundance.
Eyes were glued to the doors, but as the minutes stretched we would glance away or pay attention to our children, who were alternately waiting for their siblings and playing to pass the time.
Then … a little whirlwind rounded the corner, and there he was, our son!! Jin Fuzhi was here and nothing else for the next 30 minutes mattered.
We have learned several things since that time. Our son is smart!! He is extremely headstrong! And he is very curious!
He does mind, but he will let you know that he is not liking what you are telling him to do. At first he wanted nothing to do with us, but soon he was holding my hand and following us, though he was not happy about it.
After the ride to the hotel, he looked at Violet and said very happily Bye, Bye, as he sat in the van. But he came with us when Violet remembered to unlock his seatbelt!!
We got to our room, and the first thing he did was grab the TV remote, turn on the television and start changing channels.
Did we mention our son was SMART?!
He also knows how to work our cameras, Jake's iPod and the computer.
We showed him his suitcase and he quickly showed us how he works the toothbrush, complete with motions of swishing and spitting.
He is not fond of Sprite and seems to favor french fries. He is into EVERYTHING!
He talks and talks, and is very independent. While he seems to share it must be his idea to do so.
We think he is seeing Jake as a rival right now and not as a brother. While we are certain this will improve in time, it is hard on Jake right now. So please pray for him.
The transition has gone pretty smooth. Jude had a hard time falling asleep, and we think the time he is really feeling the pain of loss is when we don't understand him.
But again we know this will get better.
Keep us all in your prayers!!

This was our first photo of Jude. No warning, just one second no one was there, and the next there he was, so the photo isn't the best.

And, here are more from our first day as a family of 4:

Our first family self-portrait with the 4 of us.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Goodbye Xi'an, hello Chongqing

We made our last day in Xi'an count.

We went to see the city wall, the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower.

The city wall is impressive. It surrounds the old part of Xi'an. It was built 1370-1378 and is rectangular in shape, measuring 8.5 miles. It is 39 feet tall and more than 40 feet wide and was built of bricks to protect the city. It's been restored several times over the years and now is a big tourist attraction in Xi'an. You can climb atop it and walk around or rent bikes and ride. Jake really wanted to do the bike ride, so we rented a single-seat bike and a two-person bike. Violet and I took turns riding with Jake.

You be the judge if he had a good time:

The Bell Tower and Drum Tower served as clocks. They would bang the drum and ring the bell to tell time.

This is the Bell Tower:

Here is Jake beside the bell they would ring:

After the fun, it was off to the airport for the flight to Chongqing. We finally get to meet Jude tomorrow afternoon. We're here with another Lifeline family. They are from Georgia and are here to adopt their daughter from the same orphanage Jude is at.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A special day

Today was an incredibly special day for us. Our guide and driver did yeoman's work and got us to Jake's orphanage in Jiangzhang and his finding place in Fufeng.

Jiangzhang is a village about 1 1/2-hour drive from Xi'an. We had an address for the orphanage but no idea exactly where it was. Once we got to Jiangzhang, our guide and driver would stop and ask people for directions, and we eventually found the place.

Jiangzhang Social Welfare Institute, however, no longer cares for children. It's strictly for senior citizens and special needs adults. Our guide talked with one of the officials there, and he allowed us access to the grounds. We were able to walk around and take photos of anything we wanted. The part of the complex that was for children now is an apartment building, so we weren't able to go inside. Just being there, though, was enough for us. Just to be able to see and touch the place where Jake spent the first nearly 2 years of his life was satisfying.

Then, it was another 1/2-hour drive to Fufeng and the garden entrance that was Jake's finding place. Once again, our guide and driver would stop and ask people for directions. We didn't have an address, just a name, but they were able to lead us there.

The garden and park are beautiful, but to be able to see the entrance gate was an emotional experience for Violet and me. We both thought of Jake's birth parents, who were faced with an incredibly difficult decision. We know nothing about them or their circumstances, but I believe in my heart they felt so much love for this little boy they made the decision they felt was best for him, the one that would get him the medical attention he needed. I can't even fathom having to make that decision or actually carrying it out. The courage it took, and the love it took for them to take Jake to this beautiful place where he would be found and cared for. My heart breaks for them. Violet and I wish we could talk to them, to let them know how great Jake is doing.

We aren't ready yet, and we may never be, to post photos of Jake at his orphanage or particularly at his finding place. Right now, we feel that is part of Jake's story, and his alone to tell or not tell as he sees fit.

We do have some photos of our Chinese zodiac signs that ringed a beautiful structure in the park.

Jake is a dog.

Violet is a monkey.

Kevin is a tiger.

We fly out in the afternoon to Chongqing. Gotcha Day for Jude is Monday. The next adventure is almost here.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Back in Xi'an

We finally made it to Xi'an late Thursday night. Flights from Seattle to Beijing (more than 11 hours), then another 2 hours from Beijing to Xi'an. We left Seattle on Wednesday and landed in Xi'an Thursday, crossing the International Date Line, so we lost a day and I'm not even sure we ever flew at night until we got to China, we kept chasing the sun as we flew.

It's been 5 years since we were in Xi'an adopting Jake. We love the city and have been dreaming of coming back, so Jake can see once again the area where he was from. He was not even 2 last time so he doesn't remember anything. Hopefully, this trip he will gain some memories he can cherish and keep forever.

One of our favorite things about Xi'an is the Terra Cotta warriors. I could see them 100 times and still be amazed. The first emperor of China created the army to guard him in the afterlife. They've identified the location of about 8,000 of the life-size clay figures and have unearthed and restored 2,000-3,000. It's amazing, each of the of them is different — no 2 look alike in the face. They also were beautifully and colorfully painted, but most the paint has been lost through the years, and when they are exposed to the air when they are unearthed the paint just flakes off. That's a shame. I can only imagine how awesome they would look in full color.

We went to see the warriors again today (Friday). Jake obviously was more attentive today than he was when he visited with us in 2008. He asked a lot of questions. I love that he's so inquisitive.

Here are a few photos of the day:

This is Jake with Pandie the Panda. Pandie is coming along on the trip on behalf of Jake's class at McKinley Elementary School. We've been taking pics of Pandie at locations along the way and emailing them to Jake's teacher. Hopefully, she's been getting them.

Jake as a Terra Cotta warrior. He looks good.

Seeing the Terra Cotta warriors all lined up is breath-taking. This building (the largest of 3) is huge. It houses the first warriors uncovered and restored.

One more full day in Xi'an. We're hoping to be able to see Jake's orphanage and his finding place. His orphanage apparently no longer cares for children, just senior citizens and adults with special needs, so we won't be able to visit, but we can drive by and hopefully get some photos of Jake there. His finding place, well, our guide is going to try to locate it. We sure hope we are successful. Sunday afternoon, we fly to Chongqing and will be united with Jude on Monday. ... Kevin

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Almost time to go

We got our visas to travel to China on Thursday. Our flights our booked. We head out Nov. 19 and will spend a few days in Shaanxi Province, where Jake is from, before we head to Chongqing and Jude.

We're hoping to get to see Jake's finding place and orphanage, although we've heard his orphanage no longer is for children. Instead, it's been converted to a home for senior citizens and special needs adults.

It will be fun to be back in Xi'an for a couple of days. We loved it there in 2008 when we met up with Jake. We plan to go back to the Terra Cotta Warriors and check out the sites in Xi'an, too.

We head to Chongqing Nov. 24, and Gotcha Day is Nov. 25. We know of at least one other family with Lifeline who will be in Chongqing to get their daughter at the same orphanage, Love Manor, where Jude is, so we won't be all by ourselves. It will be fun to be with a travel group, we're wondering though if there will be more or just us 2 families. Our trip in 2008, we were with one other family in Beijing, then they headed off to their daughter in Inner Mongolia, while we went to Shaanxi. We met up with them again in Guangzhou, so we spent a lot of time by ourselves.

Our consulate appointment is Dec. 4 and then we plan to go to Beijing for a day so both boys can see the Great Wall before we come home.

The excitement is building. Jake's pretty excited about becoming a big brother, and Violet and I are excited about becoming parents to another son.

Hang on Jude, we're almost there.