Monday, July 31, 2006

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Hello Everyone from Guangzhou, China!

We are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and are getting very excited about coming home! It has been a miraculous two weeks here in China, with God's presence among us the whole time. That's not to say that there haven't been difficult times what with jetlag in Beijing, the initial encounter with Jiang Yongxing (Lily Grace) in Nanchang, and the continuing saga of who Lily Grace considers the cat's meow each day. But in everything and in every circumstance, we give thanks to God for what He has done and ask His forgiveness where we fall short of His hopes and desires for us.

Today we went to the zoo (see Austin's blog). It was ok, but we have been spoiled by the grandness of American zoos. Lily Grace pointed alot at the animals(that's what she does when someting peaks her interest). She was most interested in the monkeys, which is funny because 2004, her birth year, is considered by the Chinese as the year of the monkey. We had hoped to see pandas, but they were mostly asleep inside their cages and only one was outside. He too was napping. There were 9 families with adoped children, so we were as much a spectacle to the locals as the animals themselves! But we didn't mind, as the locals are very nice to us. The zoo was very, very hot and extremely humid. They don't report it, but I'm guessing the heat index was well over 110. Everyone was soaking wet by the time we left.

We took a dinner cruise as a part of the Lifeline experience and got to see Guangzhou at night. If you think Las Vegas has some lights, think again. Guangzhou lights up the night with the most beautiful array of lights on every building along the river and surrounding Shamian Island. The food wasn't so good (Chinese buffet, ugh!), but the sights were really good. Austin loved it.

In between, we were supposed to have a group picture of the 9 familes and adopted children, but we didn't make it. Lily had not had a nap (oops, we forgot today) and was definitely not wanting to be party to any picture taking sessions. So we skipped the photo shoot and sneaked in an hour nap before the dinner cruise.

Well, today was Austin's day to be Lily's favorite. She held out her hands for him every time something upset her and cried if she couldn't find him. I think he liked it since both Connie and I had had our turns to be the ones who hung the moon. Several of the ladies on the trip surrounded Austin and Lily on the dinner cruise and wanted to know all about him. He was very much taking in all the attention (it is very well deserved!). There are three other boys his age and all are extremely good big brothers and helpers to their moms. In these boys, God has created something special.

Connie bought some Chinese clothing for both Austin and Lily Grace. The clothing is beautiful and is very inexpensive, so we were able to buy a few outfits for future years as Lily Grace gets bigger. Hopefully, both Austin and Lily Grace will wear something Chinese to Family night next week.

Tomorrow, we go to the U.S. Consulate here in Guangzhou to request immigration visas for Lily Grace (and the other adopted children). Please pray that all goes well with that. It's essentially the last step here in China before heading home.

Just a little warning to everyone when we get home. Lily Grace doesn't adapt all that well to people she doesn't know well, especially if she's tired or hot or hungry which she probably will be when we get home. So if she buries her head in our chest when approached, please don't take it personally. Sometimes she even does that with whichever of us is not the cat's meow that day! You can even tell if she's not happy with you for something that happened earlier, which is something the Nannys told us about her - they really knew her well! But boy when she does take to you, the little Lilo can make your day in a hurry with her contagious smile and laughter (she sounds like Lilo from Lilo and Stitch).

We will be leaving Guangzhou around 7:30 or 8:00 Wednesday morning and arriving in Huntsville, AL Wednesday 2 August at approximately 4:30 (I think) via Northwest Flight 4701 through Detriot, MI. Please pray for a safe return, as we miss all of you very much and long to see you again.

We will post some more pictures soon.

For Him!
Jerry, Connie, Austin, and Lily Grace


Roy said...

Loved the Blog. such a sweet story, got a tear in my eye.