It's been more than fifteen years since I've visited with Mom while awake. But I have visited with her numerous times in my sleep. The passage of time is taking away the most beautiful gift that was given to me when she died. Quickly after her death I started with her in my dreams. I always woke so happy and peaceful, because while I slept I was with Mom. The dreams never feel like they're long enough, but they've always been gifts and make me smile. It's probably been years since my last. I would hate to guess how long, but it's been quite some time. Until Wednesday night.
Like Shellie I posted the family photo of '79 or '80 (Shell' in the red and white checks) as the wallpaper on my computer. This has resulted in me looking at Mom (and all of you!) every single day for some time. I love that picture of Mom. I know that Dad didn't like her hair, but I think she looked GREAT!! I like remembering her that way.
Unfortunately, since her death, I have had a personal policy of not having a picture of Mom up in my house. I have her baby picture, but not a grown picture. Crazy, huh? Years ago I tried and it was simply too painful. The one that I sat out in those early months was of she and Kari. I quickly took it down. For some reason that picture brings back negative stuff for me. It wasn't always a great time in our relationship. I didn't want to remember the bad stuff. For me, there was plenty of bad but there is no reason to think of it every day that I see her picture. I know this same picture brings comfort and joy to others. Please know that this is only my experience. It has nothing to do with Buggy or anyone else. It is simply the way Mom looks in that picture. We fought a lot when she looked like that. Why was I so self-riotous?!
The family picture is different. I wasn't old enough to fight her yet. I didn't understand her then and might have been frustrated with her at times, but it was my goal in those years to please her. I don't know if I did, but I tried. I like seeing her face in that picture. It makes me happy.....very happy, and tearful.
So, after staring at her face for days and days.....she visited me in my dreams. Want to hear how our visit went? Okay..... I was visiting Shelley Evans and her daughter, Rebecca (Sandy's neighbor). I was in their back yard and said hello to the neighbor behind them. She turned around and smiled at me. It was Mom! We both walked slowly to the fence and through tears I said, "Are you my Mom? Are you my Mom?" She simply smiled that same smile that is in the picture and slowly nodded her head yes. When we were close enough I held her face in my hands and looked in her eyes. It was my Mom! She told me that she didn't want to be a bother to us kids and decided to move away. She had been living in this home behind Shelley's house so that she could watch Sandy and her family grow up. And then she gave me a great big hug and told me she loved me. Do you remember her hugs? I didn't until I woke that morning. And now I remember again.
I hugged my Mommy and told her that I loved her! Wow -- what a gift from God!
It was so amazing to feel her arms around me again and to hug her like I've never hugged her before. It's great to remember those hugs again. I can easily see her face as I go through my day now. I had lost that. And I can imagine hugging her again. That had been gone a long time. I'm going to look for the large version of that family picture and find a spot in our home for it. I think I'm ready to have Mom's picture up around here. Hard to believe that took fifteen years!
I pray that Mom visits you one night very soon.
Love you all!
Our Journey to Jaden is complete.
We have traveled to Jaden's homeland and brought her home. This particular chapter in our lives has come to an end, but a new journey has begun.
It is now time to replicate this journal on CD and in book form for our three children to keep.
If you're interested, feel free to join us at our new blog address: http://journeytojaden.typepad.com/smith_family_journal/. Currently, the blog is without a login and password. However, we will be securing it in about a week. Please email us for the login and password for the account.
Thank you again for all of your love and support through these past months.
Scott, Traci, Valerie, Kevin & Jaden Smith
Take one very cute and adorable Chinese-born ham....
Jaden reached up for her brother while he was busy getting ready for school. He didn't have time to play with her and that lead him to this conclusion: "This kid just worships me!"
Mom is trying to keep me from being a toddler so soon and Grandma is teaching me to walk. It looks like Grandma's winning! If I keep this up I could be walking by my birthday.
Don't be sad Mom & Dad....I'll still be your baby!
I shared some of my crackers with Grandpa too. He was hungry when he got to his room!
Uncle Rick & A. Shellie came down to hang out with all of us. This is U. Rick and I dancing to the great blues music playing at Lu Lu's Restaurant. (We missed you Daddy!) We left Grandma and Grandpa alone for a little bit today so that Grandpa could get some rest and get his pain under control. I hear that Mom, A. Shell' and U. Rick got in trouble for being gone FOUR HOURS without calling and checking in! Shame on you adults! (Seriously, Sorry Dad and Dawn. We didn't mean to scare you.)
Thankfully Mom took her time introducing me to the sand. At first I screamed when my feet touched it. But this sand was beautiful. Soft, white sand.....aahhhhh.
......thanks for asking.
Many of you have written and asked me how he's doing and we're happy to report that all went well. They are even saying that he might go home by noon tomorrow.
As little as five years ago repairing an abdominal aortic aneurysm was massive! High mortality rate on this one. And now with modern medicine it's nothing short of cake (at least in comparison.) Well, he does have a sore back from laying so long and from the spinal, but other than that he's GREAT!
Thank you for the prayers...God took care of him for us again! Thank you God!
Above you see a video of Don, Tammy, Tanya, Tabi, Cayti and Jared singing to Jaden. I walked in on this and it was so fun watching them and joining in their fun. This was so spontaneous and fun! Thank you Bundys!
I never take a picture of this crew that I don't like. (Well, except when Kevin gets sick of the camera being in his face. I can't hardly hold that against him!) How fun to see Jaden sitting with the Four Amigos! (Maybe she's a little tired of the camera too. Hmmmm....that's something to think about as we head down to visit Dad.)
Thank you for visiting with us friends! We love you!
Scott, Traci, Kevin, Valerie & Jaden
It sounds as if we have a birthday party to start planning soon. In addition, in three more days Jaden will have been with us for one full month. It feels like we've been with her forever.....I mean, has it been that long?! Funny that both of those feelings can exist at the same time, isn't it?
We're settling in beautifully. We still strike a bit of a snag after school as we try to entertain an eleven month old while helping Valerie & Kevin with homework. I am remembering now why I thought two parents and two children worked so well. We'll figure that part out (which means we'll continue to strive for a 3 PM nap for Jaden). Until then I will smile as I remember how narrow minded I was about growing our family. Thank you Valerie, Kevin and God for changing our hearts and our thinking.
We saw Dr. Horvath today and he's making a few minor adjustments. We think the medication to reduce the acid in her belly is starting to take effect. She has been more peaceful during sleep these past two days.
Valerie & Kevin are finding their way as well. It helps to keep the family at home as much as possible. Scott & I enjoy time with all of the kids individually and collectively. Kevin has had more of an adjustment than Valerie has. He has displayed a lot of stress and we strive daily to meet his needs in the best way that we know how. We're spending a lot of time with him and offering him opportunities for stress reducing activities. High on that list is wrestling with his Dad. That can make a grumpy boy very happy! Coming in a close second is love time with Mom. No one can hug like that boy can!
Valerie is in heaven. She strives to accomplish everything on her to do list so that she can get to her sister. She has dreamed of this forever and we allow her to care for her sister as much as possible without hurting others feelings. We're teaching her that Jaden has many people that love her and that others (i.e., Mom, Dad & Kevin) need time with Jaden too. She's grasping that concept and often asks her brother if he would like to hold Jaden. We're proud of her. She's getting there. We are so grateful that both kids are involved and are eager to do anything possible for their sister.
Jaden and I leave for my Dad's on Friday. Neither of the older kids are happy about that. Kevin doesn't want me to go and Valerie feels there's something really wrong with me taking her sister away for a week. It was a tough decision but Dad has to have surgery and can't make it up here to meet Jaden as he had planned. We know how excited he and Dawn have been (not to mention incredibly supportive) for Jaden's arrival. We want to introduce Jaden to her grandparents as soon as possible. After all, she's growing every day and she'll be out of this baby stage too soon. So, she and I will fly down to visit and pray that our older children understand. I found out that my younger sister will be traveling down as well. It will be nice for Jaden to spend time with her also.
There's our update. We hope that everyone is doing well. Thank you again for your love and support.
Please be patient with me. This makes me laugh. I said, "There aren't accidents in China. The traffic is actually pretty controlled. It's neat how they are 'in the game'." Yada, yada, yada....
Here is a link to what happened to our friends in China yesterday. Traci, you're so full of balogna. It cracks me up!
Here you go, link to accident!
I'll stop about traffic soon! Very soon.
I have figured out video! There's no stopping me now. Well, the ten month old in our house might stop me, but other than that...
I have put together a five minute clip of our girl's first few days at home and leading up to our trip home. You'll see many smiles in this clip. Pray that she stays happy. She's currently struggling for the first time since we met her. She's not sleeping well and we can tell that she's in pain. She was diagnosed with bilateral ear infections last week and she has finished her antibiotics. We see a nurse practitioner tonight and her doctor again on Monday. Ibuprofin is working but it wears off too soon.
It's amazing to us how similar she is to Valerie in terms of her medical status. In addition to everything else she has significant reflux. It feels great to have complete faith in our physician. We've been down this road before. We'll sit back and let Dr. Horvath manage her. On occasion I've bucked his advice and I have ALWAYS been wrong. Lesson learned. This time I'm in the game and open for instruction. Scott & I will take turns until she's sleeping again. I really feel for those Mom's whose husbands are already back to work. I'm thankful that we're both here for her (and each other.)
We hope that you enjoy the video. If I can continue to find the time during naps and school I'll put one together of China. I am only able to load videos up to five minutes, so I can't load the full length China video that I'll create. You'll have to come to our house to see that one. I need more time though.
Scott & Traci
Our friends, Carrie & Bryan are in Nanchang, China right now. They have their beautiful Lily and will be home in about a week. They just placed video on their site of an intersection at night. What their one-and-a-half minute video has that ours doesn't is the sounds. Just as you can't fully understand China without the smells, you can't fully understand China traffic without the horns. Here's a link to show you what I mean: China traffic!
Love, Traci & Scott
Take four minutes out of your day to learn about one cultural difference between the U.S. and China. If the video doesn't look like much then you need to pay attention a little more and watch a little longer. This video was shot from the thirteenth floor of our hotel in Nanchang, China. The mandarin that you hear in the background is the cleaning ladies chatting away. Enjoy....it really was fascinating.
If I can upload this video then I can upload more video. I'm working on it. Not much time with a ten month old in my lap. We're having a great time!
Daddy and his newest little one. We lovingly call her Peanut. Our love for Jaden was immediate and perfect. Who knew that the love for this child could be just as deep, rich and complete as it was for Valerie & Kevin?
Probably anyone who has ever adopted. God is amazing!
ONLY KIDDING!! I will never forget that wait but at least I now know why.
On Friday night we were blessed to have Jack, Jeni, Jasmine and Josie come by with an El Sombrero dinner! Thanks again Romicks!! This little cutie pie is Miss Josie. She is absolutely adorable and reminds us A LOT of Jaden. Too cute! Thanks for sharing our pool, a meal and your children with us.
"Aunt Sandy, are you watching? Kari's pretty darn good!"
It was fun taking the kids to watch Kari play. Time together on a Saturday afternoon.......
It's been a long time since we've watched Kari play and we had a lot of fun! Thanks for letting us come to your game Buggy!
Bonding issues? No, there sure doesn't seem to be. We are blessed!
After time with Grandpa we went home to spend time with the Turners at our pool. I don't know if it's beause we had a long weekend or what but I never pulled out the camera. I wish I had pictures of their cuties. Their four swam with Valerie & Kevin while the adults caught up. Thank you for dinner, Ben & Tracey - it was yummy!
I have to tell you that we are overhwhelmed with Jaden and her adjustment. She seems to love us just as much as we love her. When we are with others she looks to us for comfort. We were visiting at the Lavey's yesterday and Jaden became tired during our visit. She started to whine and turned to me for the comfort that she needed. She left her friend Brittney (our babysitter and one of Jaden's biggest admirers) and came to me. She fell asleep in my lap within minutes.
These past few days have been very busy for us and Jaden has met a lot of people. We have enjoyed seeing everyone but it is definitely time to burrow back in our den. Jaden is not napping as she should due to the activity and stimuli and she seems to smile less when there is too much stimuli. So, we'll bring it down and hang at home. That won't be too hard.
We think Valerie & Kevin could use some Mommy & Daddy time too.
Thanks for all of the wonderful visits everyone. We've enjoyed seeing you.
The Smiths (Who still need time with the Bundenthals!)
"Mommy, are you sure that my brother and sister are down there?"
"Yes Baby, I'm sure. We're almost there."
"Okay, I'll keep looking."
Together at last! This picture was taken at the gate and after our tears were through. You can't see it in this picture but Sandy had given Valerie & Kevin Chinese and American flags to wave. We thought that was great! We're proud that Jaden is an American now but we honor her birth country and the fact that she is Chinese-American. Thank you Sandy!
"So you're my Jie Jie. They said that you love babies, and that sure seems to be true. I sure hope we get to play with dolls soon. I seem to be all set in the Jie Jie department."
"Hmmm...he's awful cute and our eyes match. I'm holding my own bottle, but his arms are pretty full. Yep, you're cool. I'm set in the Ge Ge department too!"
And then we prepared for bed and shared a good old American snack, straight from China......
...Chocolate cream oreos with Chinese writing on the package. The kids thought that was great.
After enjoying our time together and staying up very late...we all went to bed. It was fun tucking three kids in to bed....in our room. This was definitely a "special night".
(Special nights are nights that the kids sleep in sleeping bags on the floor of our room. Very fun stuff when you're six and eight!)
We're finally sleeping at the Smith home. As long as the phone doesn't ring after 8:30 at night (you know who you are ;-) we're in decent shape around here. Scott & I start to look longingly at our bed around 5:00PM each night but wait until the kids are down to get there. We wake very early each morning (5 AM again?!), but we're sleeping. Now, on to important subjects....
.....Jaden is sleeping. She went to bed last night at 8:15 and slept until 6:00 am this morning. WooHooo! You go little trooper. We spent yesterday on the move and so her nap schedule isn't what it should be yet but we'll get her there.
She saw Dr. Horvath (our favorite ped.) yesterday. After describing some things to him he readily agrees that our dear daughter #2 also has a pretty severe milk allergy. Jaden and Valerie have a lot in common. Jaden has a hemangioma just like her sister, she has allergies just like her sister, she has sensitive skin just like her sister and she has beautiful brown eyes just like her brother. (Remind us to tell you about the severe allergic reaction she had in China. Youza! It even scared this team of experienced parents.)
After our appt. with awesome Dr. Horvath we went to lunch. Just the three of us. Because our 10 1/2 month old eats table food like a champ we ordered her a grilled cheese sandwich and applesauce. Aren't we good parents? Aaaahhhhhh..... She ate 1/2 the sandwich and 1/4 of the applesauce. Did you hear me say that we had JUST been to the doc? Milk allergy? HELLO!!!??? Experienced parents my foot. Poor Jaden had to pay for that cheese for the next few hours. I'll go to the health food store TODAY to buy more cheese for Valerie & Jaden.
Carlyn brought us dinner last night and she was so sweet to make soy mashed potatos for our girls. Okay, so she didn't know about Jaden but she thought of Valerie and Jaden had the opportunity to share in that sweet gift.
One more little note before heading to the shower. Because Jaden is sleeping now she is starting to show her true self. Valerie & Kevin had the opportunity to see her last night at dinner. The three of them were belly laughing and having a great time. Valerie turned to us and said, "Is this what she was like in China?" We said, "Yep, this is your sister!" We look forward to you all seeing her smiling face soon.
I'll get some more pictures posted soon. I'm back to my desk-top computer and the pictures are on the laptop. We have a lot to show you. Give me a little more time. I don't want to live on this computer. Way too much Mommy love to give out to our babies.
That's twice now that I've optimistically looked at the jet leg. Funny that I said on day one going and day two coming home that we're in good shape. What a joke. A twelve hour time difference is definitely nothing to sneeze at. Scott, Jaden & I all "died" at 5:00 last night. We thought that we had explained everything to Valerie & Kevin pretty well. We set them up with a movie and went to take a "quick nap". At 8:20 last night I awoke to the sounds of crying on the staircase. Both of our sweet babies were on the stairs crying and loving on each other. I'm so grateful that I heard them through the closed bedroom door.
I spent the next hour getting them food, loving, reading to them and putting them down to bed. (We ate a late lunch at 3:30, so we weren't as neglectful as it might sound.) That afternoon hour was rough in China also.
I'm thanking God that our children are forgiving. When I found them crying Kevin said through his tears, "We want you to sleep but we need you. It's hard." I love those babies so much!
Jaden is definitely turning around. It's slow but it's happening. She sleeps most of the night but she wakes every 1-3 hours fussing. Scott & I alternate comforting her and trying to get her back to sleep. We leave the lights off in the house as we comfort her. If anyone has any other advice for us then we'd love to hear it.
I'm going to lay down and get a couple more hours sleep before our big kids wake up. Jaden is in the living room with Daddy. We think she might be up for the day.
Take care everyone!
Traci, Scott, Valerie, Kevin & Jaden
We are home and hopefully through the toughest part of the jet lag. We know it's far from over, but yesterday was rough. It has to get better from here. I woke up at 6:00AM today (after Scott took the second half of the night to care for Jaden) and I've done laundry, dishes, made breakfast and enjoyed our children. All three of them.
We'll head out to Kevin's soccer game at 2:00 today. We're looking forward to getting back into the game of life. Thank you Tammy for getting us over the hump. The hours that you spent here yesterday are invaluable to us.
I'm off to enjoy my family. Have a good night.....I mean day! ;-)
Who knew that Los Angeles, California would ever be considered home? Not us, but tonight it is definitely home. We can't tell you how good it feels to be in the United States. We stopped and asked a security person at LAX a question and he answered us - IN ENGLISH!! I know that doesn't sound like much but after two weeks, it made me giggle. He said, "You've been gone a while haven't you?" It was obvious that he had encountered this before. Here are some pictures of our girl, our travels and our love of the U.S. :-)... (Click to enlarge photos.)
Notice my position at the clinic? That is an air conditioner and I somehow found myself right in front of it. Aaaahhh.....
You'll hear my whine about the heat for at least another month. It will be tough to forget!
Grabbing a seat to talk to the friendly local people in Guangzhou.
Little Peanut is ready to meet you too!
Here is Mom playing pack mule through the L.A. airport. Where's Dad? Oh, he's taking pictures! ;-) I think this shot was really to show all of the stuff. He was actually in charge of pushing the cart. I was responsible for Jaden and her bag.
This beauty is Emma Staub! She is absolutely precious and we can't wait for she and her parents to arrive home. They have a couple more days in China before they can make this journey home. We're waiting Julie, Chris and Emma!
Look out Tipp City...Jaden is coming home!
Good Morning!! Is everyone else ready to go?
I can't wait to meet everyone!
OH!! Guess what? Mom & Dad went to the jade market and the pearl market today. I think I've got a surprise coming. (And they didn't think I was paying attention.)
If anyone sees my brother and sister would you please tell them that I said HI and that I love them? Thanks!
Alas, we have arrived in Guangzhou. It was certainly bittersweet to feel the plane pull off of the tarmac in our daughter's home province. I felt sadness as we said 'goodbye for now' as well as pure joy as we thought of being one step closer to home.
Jaden WanRong made a terrible fuss on the plane before take off as it was her naptime. We had a partial bottle on hold for take off and she couldn't wait to put her hands on it. She also thought it was a terrific time to fill her diaper. That worked for us as we need practice in managing such things in flight. Team Smith handled it all just fine. All three of us.
Finally the plane took off and we helped Jaden find her bottle. Within minutes she was fast asleep and comfortable in Mommy's arms. She surprised us by sleeping through the entire flight. She even managed to sleep though the roughest landing I've ever experienced. It felt like the pilot dropped the plane straight out of the sky and onto the tarmac. I'm very happy that I didn't drop Jaden. Why didn't I get a Baby B'Air?!
After a 40 minute bus ride we arrived at the White Swan Hotel. OH MY!! We knew it was nice. We knew it was very nice but we didn't expect this. Nanchang to the White Swan.....equivalent to the Beverly Hillbillies log cabin compared to their mansion. This place is amazing and we've only seen a few halls and our room. We'll take plenty of video for you. Yesterday we walked through a village outside of Nanchang that is representative of our daughter's home town. Sobering. Beyond comprehension for many. Today we are opening hotel supplied Nutrogena soap in our gold-fixtured bathroom, using a master control next to our bed to control our lights, temperature, privacy, etc. and enjoying the fact that we have two bathrooms in this beautiful two-room suite. This feels like culture shock all over again.
The first item on the agenda was to find Julie, Chris and Emma. We obtained room numbers for them and for all of our other friends that we have yet to meet up with. Julie & Emma came right down and we enjoyed meeting gorgeous Emma! She's a doll baby! We had intended to call other families as well but Julie said Perrin's family is sick and we're worried about interrupting nap times for everyone. We'll try to catch up with our other friends very soon. (We're in room #2730 if any of you are reading this.)
We have many, many pictures and videos to show you. I will work on putting something together for you today. For now though, we are going to take a nap with our girl.
Valerie & Kevin,
Mom, Dad & Jaden are missing you so much. We are so happy to be in Guangzhou and to know that you have moved to A. Sandy's. That puts us all one step closer to being a family of five! Dad & I are glad that it's Friday and that you'll have a chance to get more rest tonight. Mommy Bundy has told us that you haven't been getting quite enough sleep. Relax and enjoy your weekend. Only six more days to go.
Love, Mommy, Daddy & Jaden
Here's a little tease for you until after our nap! Good night All!
Hey, are our kids growing while we're gone?!
We called V & K to introduce them to their sister just before they left for school on that first day. We had met her only three hours before this. Having this picture means the world to Scott & I.
Another priceless moment caught on camera.
I'm so glad that you are in Miss Luke's class Valerie. We can't wait to meet her. How are all of your friends? Morgan, Hunter, Jenny, Becky? I'm sure there are more in your class. I can't wait to hear all about it. Has the homework started yet? Maybe you'll have a break and won't have to start until next week.
Daddy and I miss giving you piggy back rides downstairs in the morning. We miss snuggling with you while you wake up and we miss seeing you smile so big when you talk about horses! Our arms are ready to hold you tight.
We'll be there as soon as possible......and we'll bring your sister!! She is going to love you so much, Valerie!
Kevin, We don't ever want to forget that funny joke you played on Daddy and I after school on that first day. When you told us that you pulled a card, we were so dissapointed! We wanted to give you a firm talking to about behaving in class, using self control and making good choices. When you said, "JUST KIDDING!!!" Daddy and I laughed so hard! You really fooled us.
We're so glad to hear that you had a great day. We can't wait to feel one of those very special Kevin hugs when we see you at the airport.
Wait until you meet your sister. She is amazing and sweet and smart. We know that she is going to adore hanging out with you.
Ready to walk out the door. I feel like reaching out and kissing this picture. We were thinking about all four of you and praying that you would have a great day! It sounds like our prayers were answered.
I can't wait until Daddy and I can take you to school. We only need a little bit more patience. Next week at this time we'll be heading home!!
We can't wait.....
Daddy Smith and I love you all so very much! Cayti and Jared, thank you for sharing your room with Valerie and Kevin. We can't wait to bring Jaden home to meet you. You are being very kind to our family and we appreciate you both.
Tammy, Don and Girls; Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for taking these pictures and for taking such great care of our kids. Receiving these today made our day! Seeing our babies faces sitting with their friends almost made us feel like we were home.
We can't wait to come home...............Eight more days.
We love everyone!
Mommy & Daddy
Good Morning Everyone,
Just as we suspected this little girl crawls!!! Cheerios with fingertips from one hand to the other and then to her mouth......and she can crawl. Wan Rong's Ma Ma has taken great care of her!
Our baby has been loved completely!
Today at approximately 11:00am China time we became the proud and legal parents of Wan Rong. I have heard those that came before us speak of how perfect their daughter is for them and for their family. The same is true for us. Scott & I couldn't have written the script for this leg of the journey and made it any more perfect.
The typical "gotcha' moment" is nothing short of pandamonium. We're really quite surprised that anyone from this province is able to obtain pictures of the moment that they meet their daughters. However, we were blessed in that we had the opportunity to drive back to our hotel with Wan Rong's foster mother (Ma Ma) and her orphanage director. Wan Rong fell asleep in Daddy's arms on the bus and when we sat down with her Ma Ma (I'm Mommy), we handed our sleeping baby to her. Wan Rong's Ma Ma held her while we talked and visited. After spending a significant amount of time with her it was time to go. However, Wan Rong was still sleeping. We asked Wan Rong's Ma Ma if she would like to hold her through her nap and then say goodbye. She thanked us as she teared up. Scott & I left and went up to our room.
We took time to reflect on all that had happened and made Wan Rong a bottle. We went back to see how things were with Wan Rong and her Ma Ma. Wan Rong was awake by then and being cared for and loved by her foster MaMa. We let the video camera roll as her MaMa cleaned her nose, gave her water to drink and covered her to protect her from the air conditioning that she is not accustomed to. At what seemed the perfect moment Wan Rong's MaMa handed her to her Daddy. Now that was a Gotcha' Moment worth remembering. Wan Rong's Ma Ma cried and cried as she fussed over Wan Rong in her Daddy's arms. She and the orphanage director hugged me as the translator continued to bridge our language gap. While we were talking the orphanage director pointed to Scott and Wan Rong and said something that didn't need translation. Everyone turned to see Scott and Wan Rong rubbing noses and laughing with each other. Wan Rong had a huge and perfect smile on her face as she looked up into her Daddy's eyes. Everyone in the room appreciated the beauty of the moment.
It was at that point that Scott emotionally shared his own adoption story with our new friends. He said, "It's important to me that you know why we wanted to meet you and have video of you with Wan Rong. I was adopted when I was four years old. My foster family kindly wrote a letter to my adoptive family and gave it to my new parents. My adoptive parents destroyed it." Scott patted his chest as he said, "That was MINE. That letter didn't belong to him. Being here with you right now is not about Traci and I. This is for Wan Rong. Thank you for agreeing to come here and spend all of this time with us. We will keep these pictures & video forever for Wan Rong. You have richly blessed our daughter and we thank you." The orphanage director and Wan Rong's Ma Ma were crying and they both came to Scott to hug him. It was beautiful. We said our teary goodbyes and they walked down the hall to leave.
We pray that Wan Rong will be blessed by the information that we have obtained for her. We pray that this will somehow help her to understand her birth country and process her complicated history. We have been blessed as we pursued this information for her. God has answered our prayers.
Wan Rong, Valerie & Kevin's Mommy & Daddy
This is when we presented our gifts to the foster Mom. The orphanage director is in red. Unbelievable moment!!!! We had so much time with them. They watched the Shangrao DVD and the foster Mom said the the "baby in the pink hat" is Wan Rong. WOW!!
95 degrees today and high, high humidity. Good grief we were sweat boxes!
Mommy and Wan Rong. Daddy had her a lot. She adored him and slightly prefers him right now. She's doing great. Didn't cry at all until Daddy left her about an hour after we received her. I took tons of video and that's why there aren't stills of Daddy.
The day was perfect and we are so blessed. More later. Love you!
Remember you can click the thumbnail for a larger view. I copied Traci's notes from her e-mail for each picture. I'm not as experienced at posting pictures, but hopefully this works for everyone. Isn't she beautiful?! ~SJ
I had the pleasure of being introduced (via webcam) to Wan Rong early this morning. What a complete doll baby!! She's just as beautiful, cute, lovable, and unbelievably sweet as she appears in the pictures we've been looking at for weeks.
I was fortunate to be a fly on the wall of their hotel room while Scott & Traci held, kissed, laughed with, fed, and were amazed at how developed she is. As I understand it, many of the children that come from the orphanages are delayed in their development, but Wan Rong doesn't seem to be since she was lucky enough to be in a loving foster home. I watched her hold a Cheerio between two fingers and move it to her other hand and then put it in her mouth. After all Traci has read about delays over the past 1.5 years, this was a pleasant surprise for her! Scott said that earlier Wan Rong had an animal cracker in her hand and was taking bites off of it. They think she can crawl, but haven't seen her do it yet. Traci put her on the floor to see how she did but she wasn't in the mood for it--she wanted to be held by her mommy (how sweet is that?!). They said that was the first time she had fussed at all and she was happy again as soon as Traci picked her up. If you're wondering, she has four teeth.
They had the opportunity to meet and spend about 45 minutes with Wan Rong's foster mother. They had a translator and were very happy with having the opportunity to speak with her. Their tour guide video taped the whole thing, so we'll be able to see how it went. I'm looking forward to seeing that!
Traci is going to e-mail pictures to me to post for you. She will be back to posting when the time is right but for now, they are spending time getting to know Wan Rong. They are very thankful to everyone for their support and they send their love.
We have the pleasure and honor of announcing that we have met our daughter and our day couldn't have been more perfect. Please understand that she needs our attention and we still aren't sleeping. Sandy has seen her on video cam and we're sending her pictures to upload. Please give us just a little more time to get a post together for you.
Wan Rong is beautiful and perfect! God is soooooo good. We give praise to him for this union and this day. After a series of perfect events we were blessed to be able to video cam with Valerie & Kevin and they were able to visit with their sister and watch her play with Mom & Dad. Soon....very soon the Journey to Jaden will be complete and we'll all be together. We can't wait for that.
I can hardly keep my eyes open. Please pray that we sleep more than five hours tonight. We need sleep. I can't express how hard this journey is. When the adrenaline stops I'm in big trouble.
We can't wait to share more. Oh, by the way. She adores her Daddy! She's a smart girl!
I think I can post pictures while I work around the room. We're busy, we have a plane to catch. We have a very important date today..... :-) YEA!
We enjoyed The Great Wall with our new friends Kim and Ed. What nice people. We look forward to meeting their daughter. Their girl lives in the same foster home that Wan Rong lives in.
This is the route that most people take up the Great Wall. We chose to go the road less traveled. We were interested in a little serinity as we hiked the wall. It was amazing! We have so much to tell you about it. Later, Traci, later. Keep packing.....you have an important date today...
My guy and I on the Great Wall.
Lunch with travel mates.....
The Marble Boat at the Summer Palace....
We have been told for the past year and a half that Scott would draw a lot of attention and they were right. I'll tell you all about our day. Prior to leaving this morning we each had one cup of coffee with breakfast. I choked it down because it was so unbelievably strong. I didn't think much of it and headed out with the group. That cup of coffee had me flying! One cup of coffee has never had that much effect on me. I think it was a triple espresso or something. The rest of the group agreed. I think that's one of the reasons that our time at Tianamen Square was so lively! We laughed and had so much fun. I think the locals must have had the same coffee. We had a blast with all of the people. The humidity had not hit yet and there was a nice breeze in that wide open space. I'll include pictures below.
Our tour in the morning started at Tianamen Square went through to the Forbidden City and then we went onto Imperial Gardens. We had SO MUCH fun at Tianamen Square. I think that Scott and I could have stayed there all day. There were families playing, flying kites, laughing, and just plain having a great time. Check out this website for great information about this historical place.
All Americans draw a lot of stares. We don't go anywhere that we aren't being stared at. I've taken to waving and giving a very botched NiHao with a big smile. I practice my mandarin on them. Did you know I spoke mandarin? Here you go; NiHao, ShiShi, Bu and I learned sorry today but darn if I don't forget it already. That sweet girl and I practiced hard too! Dang! I'll have to ask someone again. I love how they laugh there heads off when I completely screw it up. It's also fun listening to them practice there English. Some are pretty good and others smile and shake there head back and forth while saying, "No, no, no."
We were at "Wonderful" (local grocer) last night and I was looking for peanut butter for my skinny, rail of a husband (who is at risk for dissapearing on this trip). I asked a salesperson if they had peanut butter and they said, "No." I still don't know if they don't have peanut butter or if he meant that he doesn't speak English! Poor Scott. We might have to shop for size 29 pants when we get home. I've digressed....expect that a lot until I get some sleep.
I'll let the pictures show our great time. We have great video of Scott with his fans. I should have worked harder at learning how to upload those videos. I'll see how I can do with this fogged brain.
One more thing before the pictures. We went to the bathroom near the entrance of the Forbidden City. Dear Father, I will never complain about a port-a-pot again. I have enjoyed the diversity of this trip. I will continue to have an open mind and take in this awesome experience, EXCEPT where these public toilets are concerned. I can honestly say that I have never been in a bathroom so pungent that I was hurling while peeing. Too much info? Then skip this paragraph. The rest of you stick with me. It was beyond what any person should have to endure. Picture this:Okay, so the bathroom wasn't this nice. There was no way that I could have smiled in this situation and my pants were around my knees but you get the idea. I pulled this pic off of the internet. (Thanks model girl.) Okay, okay so I also exaggerated a little in that I didn't really hurl, BUT I was seriously about to. One of our travel mates rescued me and many others. As I was walking out of the stall I was gagging big time. The sweat beads had started forming on my brow and I knew I was going to lose it. The place wasn't that dirty but the smell was beyond what I've ever encountered. Our travel mate sprayed something with a sweet smell on my hands and said, "Cover your face with your hands now." THANK YOU JENNIFER!! I remember being told to bring our vix and we did but it was in the hotel room. For those soon to travel make yourself a list of things to take on these tour days. Your brain is so fogged you'll never remember the things that you spent 18 months learning about. Don't forget your toilet paper, vix or other pungent odor fighter and hand sanitizer. And for heaven's sake when your guide says, "Does anyone need to go to the bathroom?" Ignore her and keep walking!
Here are the highlights of our day:
This is our guide, Katherine. This woman has some wheels. She stands about 4 feet tall (okay, maybe a little exaggeration again) but she kicks everyone's butt on walking through these tourist areas. Click on these pictures. We were all so amazed we finally decided to take a picture of her racing along. She kept saying, "Don't lose the flag." I thought we came her to adopt a baby but sometimes it felt like we were part of The Amazing Race.
She's really great! It just made us laugh that our legs are so much longer than hers and she kicked our tails with the walking. I suppose she had a little something over our jet leg. We shouldn't forget that.
Here is my celebrity husband. You can't imagine how many people stopped him to have their picture taken. We all felt like his enterage! I kept saying, "Hey, I'm his wife. Do I count?" He had a really great time. We all did.
Oh my gosh this was so much fun!!! Aren't these girls beautiful? It sure does make us miss our children!
This is Rich, Angela, Scott, Eve and Chris at Teinamen Square.
These my friends are split pants.......
Peddlers are everywhere....
We were told that this lady is 90 years old. People were so friendly.
Traci & Angela at The Forbidden City...
There are 9,999 rooms.
Driving in China. Whooaaa! Watch out!
We only have a minute. We have so much to tell you but it will have to wait. If we're late when the group meets then we'll be left behind. That happened to one family this morning. I have about five minutes.
Jet leg has hit me hard today. I want to lay down so desperately. We're off to see the Acrobatic show. I hear it's great. I'll post more when I can but when we return my butt is hitting the bed. We'll be in touch soon.
Scott & Traci
We met Paula and Craig at the L.A. Airport during our layover. They live in Orlando and have three teenage kids. Two girls and a boy. We enjoyed their company and look forward to seeing them again.
Hotel? Has anyone seen our hotel?!
Scott was successful in blowing the breakers in our room right away. I think that we might have over thought the whole conversion/adapter thing. Oh well....we're up and running.
The robes, slippers and umbrellas that are in our closet. This is a very warm and comfortable room.
What an awesome bathroom we have. That's it...I'm redoing our bath at home. I love an all-tile bathroom. Check out the shower.....(...give me a break we haven't left the room hardly at all. As boring as this is, it's all that we have for you so far.)
I've always wanted to try one of those shower heads. It felt great! If only I wasn't paranoid about the water getting in my mouth and eyes while in there. It would be much more enjoyable then.
The view outside our hotel room window. This was at 4:00 in the afternoon Friday. Look at the haze in the air. My cough was under control on the plane. Barely noticed it. However, I haven't stopped coughing since we got off of the plane in Beijing. Poor air quality. I'm glad Valerie isn't here to breathe this stuff.
Well, it's 4am Saturday morning. I only slept six hours before waking up at 3 am. I thought that as tired as I was I would be able to sleep until 6 am. No chance. Scott & I are up. He's watching a muted TV. He wishes that he could watch the news and understand it. That would be very interesting, wouldn'tit?
I bet we'll be ready for a full nights sleep Saturday night. We're going to the Temple of Heaven on Saturday morning and then to the Acrobatics show Saturday afternoon. We'll post more soon. Love you all!
Valerie & Kevin,
We only have 2 1/2 more days until we will have your sister with us. Can you believe it?!
Love you! Mommy & Daddy
(aka......Scott & Traci)