Day 13 – Consulate Appointment/Shaiman Island

4 06 2013

We had our Consulate Appointment today! It was so easy but just a little emotional for me. It always get me choked up to think about my babies finally becoming US citizens. Although it will not be official until Levi touches his feet on the ground in the Chicago O’Hare International Airport!

Our guide took us to Pedestrian Street and to the pearl market. We had been to the pearl market two other times so we just walked around with the other families. It still amazes me to see six floors of nothing but pearls and jewelry! It’s CRAZY! It’s too much for me to even begin to make a decision.

When we returned to the hotel we jumped in a cab and headed to Shaiman Island. We spent several hours there just looking around and shopping a little. Then we realized that we had not brought very much money and barely had enough to get a cab back to the hotel! Shame on us for not being prepared!

Upon arrival at the hotel, we walked to Takila’s! It’s local Mexican restaurant! Can you believe it? We ate the best meal we have had since we left the US! It was expensive but so delicious. We started to really get excited about heading home to all the comforts of home. BUT mostly to our family and friends! We have missed those we love and we can’t wait to get off the plane in Charlotte.

Levi probably thinks that his new life is all about go, go, go! He must wonder if he will ever get to sit and play with toys for more that 30 minutes. We know that he is so confused. It will not be long until he gets to see his new life. It’s a life full of love and so many people who want to meet him! He just has NO idea!

God is faithful and true! You can count on it!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give

you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11


Day 12- Shopping on Shaiman Island/TB Results

4 06 2013

We have the BEST news ever! We are TB free and that means that we are free to come home as soon as Levi gets his visa. We are so thankful that we are yet another step closer to being with our family. This is our third trip and has been by far the most difficult for Douglas and I to be away from our children. They are in the most capable hands of my wonderful mom but we have just missed them so much. We cannot wait to come home.

Today we were scheduled to visit the Six-Banyan Temple but we have already been there twice. We opted not to go and had a free day. (except from 1:30-2:00pm for TB results) We decided to head to Shaiman Island. This is one of my favorite places in all the world. I just love the atmosphere and the architecture. We have heard that Island was just not the same as in the years past. One of the major hotels on the Island has been closed for remodeling. (After seeing it today, I would say remodel is NOT the right word! They have gutted the entire building down to concrete supports.) Therefore, the traffic on the Island has changed tremendously. There are more shops open now that in July of 2011! YES, the Island is quiet and not very crowded but the made it more endearing to me. The people that own the shops are obviously in hard times and have raised the prices. I assume that is the whole supply and demand issue! I have a wonderful few hours and will be going back tomorrow to spend more time shopping and strolling around! It’s so peaceful and just a little piece of heaven for me.

We were back in the hotel room by 1:30 and prayed that our guide did NOT call us with the bad news of TB! He did not call and we were thanking God for his watch care of that situation. Then we all took a much needed nap!

At 5:50, we left for the infamous Riverboat cruise. It was a great experience. We have wanted to go on the cruise for about four years. The food was terrible but our Levi thought it was GREAT! He ate more than his fair share. He also loved the wind flowing through his short little hair. He seemed to be loving the time on the river. Douglas and I tried to take some pictures but honestly we had our hands full making sure he did not go overboard. The cruise ended with a lady doing some balance tricks, juggling and dancing. It was a very nice evening that we shared with several other adoptive families. We are thankful for our hotel beds by 10:00pm when we got back. This hard bed never felt so good! Two more sleeps until I can sleep in my own bed! Praise the LORD!!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“You are my God, and I will praise you;

you are my God, and I will exalt you.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;

his love endures forever.”

Psalm 118:28 & 29

Day 11- Safari Park

3 06 2013

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We spent our entire day in  the Guangzhou Safari Park. We had visited the zoo in 2011 when we were here to bring home Hannah Li. The park had really changed so much. They have added three large exhibits and we could tell they are continuing to build. The animals were mostly the same but they added a snake and dinosaur exhibit. Levi enjoyed the animals but we can tell he has a fear of animals. This is a little concerning being that we have a dog. He watched all that was going on in the zoo but never really had any major reactions. He is definitely a laid back kind of kid! The weather was VERY warm and after about five hours in the sun, we were ready for a break. We spent a little time in the room and then headed to dinner with friends. They took us to a local Chinese restaurant. I ordered noodles and veggies. Doug ordered rice and pork. My noodles were good but very spicy. They never brought Doug’s food. It was so weird. We kept asking for it and they would say okay but finally we just told them to cancel it because everyone was ready to go. I felt really bad for him. We had eaten breakfast but nothing else but ice cream at the Park. I know he had to be hungry but he did not complain once!

I want to add a little to this post about the “real story” behind our little guy. I have read hundreds of adoption travel blogs over the past six years or so. I am always amazed when I follow a families journey and EVERYTHING is perfect the entire time. I am baffled because I know in reality everything cannot be perfect. Children who have a beginning in hard places are in need of patience and understanding. It is obvious to Doug and I that Levi has not been outside of the four walls of the orphanage very often. I am sure they played outside but his experience and knowledge of the outside world is very limited. He has been hungry and that has manifest itself in him picking up every piece of food that drops on the floor or food he sees on the ground outside and trying to eat it. He is needy for attention and is not 100% ready to give and receive love. He wants us to hold him but does not really want us to kiss him. He lets us hug him but does not hug back. He has spent many hours entertaining himself. He has many quirky movements and sounds that we are sure were forms of self-entertainment. He can make a game out of a napkin! Seriously! I am not telling you this to make you feel sorry for him but just to let you know that our journey to Levi is NOT perfect. I want to be honest and truthful!  However, he is our son! He is a precious child of God! I want to have a written record of him now so I can look back in the months and years to come and see how far he has come. We are honored to be able to love him and show him the difference that being part of a family can make! No adoption journey is perfect but the rewards are life changing! The joy of watching the changes and the treasure of introducing him to Jesus is more wonderful than I can articulate.

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

Day 10- More Paperwork and Nanling Park

2 06 2013

Levi’s Medical Exam was the first item on our agenda today. The clinic has been moved off of Shaiman Island and is now located very close to the Garden Hotel. The clinic is so much bigger than before and in a very nice space. They even have AIR CONDITIONING! Imagine that! If you have been here….you know that is HUGE! Our visit went as well as you would expect. Levi was very tolerant of the Doctors and Nurses poking and prodding. He did not cooperate on the eye exam but I do believe he did not totally understand what they wanted him to do. Our guide in Nanchang told us that he speaks the local dialect version on Mandarin. Therefore understanding traditional Mandarin could be hard. Or it is possible that he decided not to cooperate. I would not put that past him. He does have a mind of his own at timesJDuring the Medical exam; they take blood work to verify that he is TB free. This is the next item that needs YOUR prayers! No news is good news and that is what we need…NO NEWS! We are not even going to entertain the “what if’s” at this point!

Day 10 Nanling Park 6.1 009Day 10 Nanling Park 6.1 006

Merry Christmas in June:)

Day 10 Nanling Park 6.1 010

Wine vending machine. You can get the entire bottle! This is a first for me:)

Then we returned to the hotel and our guide told us to take a break in our rooms and one parent to meet on the 30th executive floor to do paperwork. He asked us to have a break and meet him in 15 minutes. What? A 15 minute break? I needed longer to recover from the medical. But I hurried to my room, organized my paperwork and off to the 30th floor I ran! The paperwork was so easy….I got the China side of the paperwork down! Easy! (Now to make the state side easier-that would be an act of Congress…literally!)

One hour later, we were off to Nanling Park! It was a large park and was packed today! Today is a holiday in China…..insert laughter….It’s Children’s day! The park was full of families and activities for children. While it was very hot, we did enjoy the history of herbal tea shop and listening to a gentleman play these small wooden flutes! Due to the holiday, all the little girls were dressed in their finest dresses! Levi rode in a stroller because he still wonders off from us. We had to buy yet another stroller from China (three time now;) just to make sure we did lose him.

** Note: The large white carving is made from camel bone! Ick!

We were stuck in rush hour traffic on the way home but it was nice to talk to a new friend I met via a mutual friend. She is here adopting a precious little boy. His laughter is contagious! We enjoyed our time getting to know her and gleaning from her experience as an adoptive mom!

After arriving at the hotel, we decided to go to dinner with two other families quickly and then come back to hotel to CRASH! At dinner, we got to meet my friend Mary Margaret’s three boys! After all these months of friendship, I finally met her entire family! All three boys are handsome! It was great to spend time with them and get to know their newest addition!

Day 10 Nanling Park 6.1 068Day 10 Nanling Park 6.1 067

Levi’s first Starbucks!

Needless to say…a day FULL! But a day full of blessing too! It does my heart good to see so many families, in our hotel, that are providing families to the fatherless! I want to keep count and post the number on my facebook page! If you know me, I always like to post “One less” when a child meets their forever family. It’s too many to keep track of…but I would just LOVE to post …..”100 less!”  (just guessing at that number!)

What a mighty God we serve! Douglas and I have been adopted into the family of God! We did NOT deserve it! But God paid a HUGE ransom for our lives…..He traded His life for ours! That’s the reason we are willing to pay a ransom for the lives of these children! It’s been done for us. It’s the very heart of God to care for orphans! It’s not easy but oh the reward in our lives. They bring us joy unspeakable! We hear over and over… you have too many kids! …how do you afford so many?…what about college?…in a joking manner people continually make fun of our large crew! But we count it a privilege to parent each child! We have the best news on earth to share with them. We don’t have all the answers but we are best friends with ONE who does! That’s how we do it! We DON’T! God DOES!

“Yes, Barley, it’s okay,” she said.  “Some families look alike and others don’t. All families

are different. What makes a family is their love for each other!”

I Wished for You by Marianne Richmond

Day 9- Min Temple and Travel to Guangzhou

1 06 2013

The Min Temple was yet another building with exquisite architecture and beautiful scenery but all designed and created for a false god. It is hard for me to walk through these buildings without quoting scripture in my mind.  It makes me so thankful for the freedom I have in Christ. My prayers are continually for the lost people of this country.

Our flight was very exciting because it was Levi’s first flight. He was so brave considering he was experiencing so much at one time. He sat quietly and looked out the window with Douglas. He enjoyed seeing the plane soaring above the clouds. When they served dinner, it was beef noodles and our boy was so happy! He ate hardily and wanted more. Douglas and I both choose not to eat our meal but were fearful for Levi to eat too much at one time.

We arrived quickly at Guangzhou Airport. Our guide, Elvin, was right there to meet us with a sign that said…”Huber Family- Bay Area Adoption”! It was so nice to be greeted by a smiling face. He then informed us that we were waiting for another family to arrive. It is so nice to meet other adoptive families. It’s just nice to talk to others that understand the call and the impact it makes on your life. It’s also great to glean information from others’ experience. Douglas and I had to laugh at being called veterans in the adoption community. We feel so unworthy of that because we know so many families that have been doing this longer and with many more children that we are. We only hope to bring God glory in our journey to build our family!

When we arrived at the Garden Hotel, we were amazed. We WERE totally White Swan people in the past! We had to choose another hotel due to remodeling. But this place is amazing. It’s the nicest hotel we have ever seen! AMAZING, folks!  We checked-in the room and fell in the bed!

Levi is doing better each day. He is learning more and adjusting to all the new things he sees and hears. He’s defiantly over-loaded! He has a long journey ahead….but he has a family that loves him! We know that love will go a long way!

Psalm 68:5-6 –

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows-
this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families;
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land

Hello From Guangzhou!!

31 05 2013

We are here! We had an easy day of travel!

Our schedule is VERY busy!

I will post ASAP!


Love you all!

Day 3 Final Day in Shanghai

25 05 2013

This is my second attempt to post tonight. I had the entire post ready and it disappeared. Here we go again!

Our day began with a stop at the Jade Buddha Temple. We requested not to visit any temples on this trip but it was the first stop any way.

Day 3 Final day of Shanghai 5.25 008Day 3 Final day of Shanghai 5.25 006

Then we were off to the Yu Garden. This Garden was privately owned at one point in China’s history. Then it was destroyed in a war with Japan. The people liked the Garden so much that the Government took control of the garden. Then the people of China raised the money to repair the damages. It was a beautiful garden with unique trees and very unusual rock. We enjoyed our time there. The running water, shade trees and breezy weather made for a peaceful experience.

Day 3 Final day of Shanghai 5.25 013Day 3 Final day of Shanghai 5.25 011Day 3 Final day of Shanghai 5.25 015

Day 3 Final day of Shanghai 5.25 029Day 3 Final day of Shanghai 5.25 027Day 3 Final day of Shanghai 5.25 019

Then Douglas talked our guide into taking us to the east side of the river. That is where all the tall, modern financial buildings are located. He has been wanting to see the TV tower up close for the past two days. This building is amazing.

Day 3 Final day of Shanghai 5.25 046

The next thing I knew, Doug had convinced her to take us to the Shanghai World Financial Observatory. The building is 474 meters or 1555 ft above ground. It is the highest observatory in the WORLD! You can walk on the transparent glass-floor walk way. Do you see where this is going? YES, we spent over 20 minutes getting to the highest point. Needless to day, Douglas was thrilled and in his element. I, on the other hand, was holding on to anything that was NOT glass and clear. I will admit it was an unbelievable structure….that I wanted to read about in a BOOK! My mind knew I was safe but my body felt sick! I could not look down and I promise the building was swaying back and forth.

Day 3 Final day of Shanghai 5.25 052Day 3 Final day of Shanghai 5.25 058Day 3 Final day of Shanghai 5.25 043Day 3 Final day of Shanghai 5.25 063 (2)Day 3 Final day of Shanghai 5.25 042

It was time to say goodbye to our guide. Her American name was Leena. She was very educated and had a great “book” knowledge of the US. We really enjoyed discussing how the US and China differ in politics, religion and culture. She did a great job making sure we enjoyed our time in Shanghai. She is not able to take us to the airport in the morning because she lives in the rural part of the city. She is not able to get here early enough to make our flight. (Don’t worry, Mom, they are sending another guide to make sure we make the flight!)

Day 3 Final day of Shanghai 5.25 074

Here are two other pictures from our day:

Day 3 Final day of Shanghai 5.25 034Papa Johns? Who knew?

Day 3 Final day of Shanghai 5.25 038McDonald’s delivery anyone?

This is our final post before we become a family of 8! We are so excited to finally meet this precious child of God! If you are reading this post, will you take just a few minutes to pray for Levi? The next 24 hours+ will be very hard for him. I know that the loss and grief he will feel is difficult. We believe that the love a family will help heal that loss. Our God made this sweet boy and we trust Him to help us every step!

We fly to Nanchang in the morning and then have been told that we will meet/get Levi in the afternoon. We do NOT have a specific time yet. So, keep checking back and I will post again as soon as I am able. Thank you for all the sweet comments and emails. We are encouraged by your love and support!


“What did you do when you first held me? Asked Barkley.

As hard as he tried to remember, he just couldn’t.

He was a pretty little Barley then.

“Oh, Barley,”

“I fell deeply in love with you. I looked into your face and right then

you became my wish come true!”

-I Wished for You by Marianne Richmond