Saturday, December 31, 2011

We are Home!!

We finally made it back to the great state of Ohio around 8:30 last night. We were so happy to hear, see, eat, and smell all things American. Speaking of American-Rae is one of the newest ones. She has her green card until we get her official certificate in the mail soon. She did great on the plane. She either watched movies, played games on iPad, or slept. It was a very long day that started at 9:45 pm EST on Thursday and ended at 8:30pm Friday night.

We are thankful for all your prayers and support thru this. Now we have to get over this jet lag.

Check out my husbands recent post - very insightful.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nearing the End

At the end of some vacations, we are not ready for them to end.  This one, however, we are!! We are ready for our home, our bed, our cooking, English, no smoking, and to drive ourselves.  Noel is considering using some of the driving techniques he learned here like, making your own lane and constantly blowing your horn. I will miss the weather here in Guangzhou though - sunny and 60's.

Today was another exciting day - we took the oath for Rae to be a US citizen.  It was a pretty cool experience with all the other families at the same time repeating the oath.  When we entered the US Consulate, I was so happy to see the Stars and Stripes!!  Before we left, we were trying to get Rae to say "USA, USA..."; "I now renounce my citizenship to China"; and "I pledge allegiance to the flag...".  She didn't, but we will definitely be working on that.  So, now when we land in the Detroit airport, and she steps off the plane -  Rae will be come an official citizen of the United States of America!!

Our days with Rae are getting better, and we are having more and more bonding.  We still have language issues, but it is getting better.  Emily is excited that Rae loves to blow-dry hair.  I was happy to find out how to give her a bath without any screaming and crying.  She is learning to trust us more, especially Noel.  She loves his airplane rides and riding on his shoulders. She even went to the playground in the hotel with just him.

Tomorrow we will get Rae's visa, and we will board a van for a 3 hour ride to Hong Kong.  Friday morning (Thursday night for our readers) we will board the big plane for our long trip home. I am not sure if I will update again before we arrive home, but one thing I will say - GOD BLESS THE USA!!!

One last thing, I saw t-shirts an entire family was wearing that pretty much sums up God's command for adoption - GOT LOVE? ADOPT.  I would not trade this experience for the world, and we are thankful God is allowing us to be apart of this little girls life.  We will be changed forever!

feeding giraffe at zoo

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas From China

Last Christmas we kept saying - next year we will have our new little girl, and guess what? WE DO!! Last night was Christmas eve, and probably one of our best nights.  Due to the holiday a lot of the restaurants had raised their prices and/or would be already booked, so we stayed in and ordered room service. We sat around, had dinner, talked about our year, sang songs, and just laughed.  It was the first time Rae really played with BaBa.  We were slightly sad that we were not at home, but we made the most of our family time together. We also allowed the girls to Skype a friend last night.  They were happy to call and hear from home.  Rae tried to join in a little on the conversation too. 

This morning, we had some little gifts for the girls to open.  It was not much, but they enjoyed them.  I think Rae was a little amazed.  The biggest hit - jump rope and stacking cups.  After breakfast we were able to attend a church service on  Shaiman Island.  The service was in Chinese and English which made it a little easier to understand.  As I sat in the church service listening to the children perform their little Christmas program, I thought about Rae.  Knowing this is her first church service and hearing about Jesus.  I almost just sat there and cried.  We were also happy she sat there and behaved fairly well.

We had a fun afternoon at a nearby park before meeting the other families for dinner.  We did find a food she doesn't really like - iceberg lettuce.  Also at dinner, she was putting us to shame with her chopstick skills, but Hannah and I didn't give up like Noel and Emily. I was happy I tried my first sushi - a beef roll.  I know maybe not too adventurous to some, but if you know me - it was. 

We hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas from the Dear Girls!!

the girls Christmas presents

Rae opening hers

the girls ready for our afternoon in the park

riding on the paddle boat

wearing Mama's sunglasses

Friday, December 23, 2011

On to the Next Leg of our Journey

It is already Christmas eve here in China.  We are missing all the preparations leading up to the big day.  Christmas decorations are up here, but it focuses on the commercial aspect of Christmas.  We found out that we will be able to go to church on Christmas morning, and we are looking forward to that. 

Our last couple of days were spent getting the rest of our paperwork finished and Rae's Chinese passport.  We also visited the Chengdu Embroidery and Brocade Museum.  Noel was a little skeptical, but we enjoyed it.  It was amazing to see how the ancient embroidery was made. 

Food in Chengdu has not been the greatest, but Noel was able to find 2 western restaurants a Tex-Mex and another called Grandmother's Kitchen.  Both were a nice break from Chinese and fast-food.  Rae enjoyed her first milkshake and hotdog. She still cannot get enough french fries.

Yesterday we flew out of Chengdu into Guangzhou, our last stop before heading home.  We are happy to be in a nicer hotel, and we are looking forward to seeing the other families.  Here Rae will be checked out by a doctor, get her TB test, and finish her travel paperwork.  We are all tired and ready to get back to America.

We miss you all, and cannot wait to get back home and here some English.  Merry Christmas Eve!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

First Family Outing

Not much to update on today.  We are waiting on notary paperwork to be finished before we can leave the province.  So, today we visited the Panda Research Facility.  Chengdu has the largest population of panda's in the world and are native to this province.  It was amazing to see this many pandas from baby to full grown super mamas.  We even saw the one who was the inspiration for Po in KungFu Panda.  Our family has not been calling them pandas but Shu-mer (I think that is how it is spelled), which is what Rae calls them. This is the first time she has ever seen one as well.  We were all very excited to be out as a family.  I had seen one in the Atlanta zoo before, but never this many.  I was so much fun, and even Rae got BaBa to buy her a stuff Shu-mer.

On a funny note - Rae thinks the hotel is our home. Oh, Well!

Rae saying she want to be a part of our family

Our first official family photo

having fun seeing the pandas

the panda

red panda

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's a Girl - OFFICIALLY!!!

Yesterday according to the Chinese government - Yang Rui is now RAE MICHELLE DEAR.  She can never be taken away from us.  It was a wonderful family day with more bonding and having fun.  We are thankful for our guide and Hannah knowing Mandarin.  Last night we found an American restaurant - Peter's Tex-Mex.  We had a great time and Rae tried everything.  She loved the hot dog, salsa, peppers, and most of all the milkshake.  After coming back to our hotel we got our playing cards out and played a game that only Rae knew.  We have never laughed so hard.

Everyday is getting better.  Last night she told me she loved us.  Also, nothing like sleeping in a bed with 3 little girls.  Today we are going to see the giant pandas.  We are all excited to them.  We also decided not to go back to her orphanage, but we may try to see her city. 

This has been an amazing journey that we have been following the Lord on, and we cannot wait to see where it leads us and this little girl.

tdmw - typed by Rae

Monday, December 19, 2011

Rae Day and the Magical Food!!

What an amazing past two days it has been! As a family we have climbed two BIG walls - The Great Wall of China and now the wall of Adoption.  Climbing the Great Wall, amazing as it was, does not compare to having a new child join your family forever.  As I sit here and type, there are 3 little girls asleep together on the floor of our hotel room.  We are a family of five in this small room.  Yes, we do have another room, but we just wanted to all be together our first night.

Yesterday we boarded a plane very early in the morning and headed to Chengdu.  It was a very interesting flight, especially being the only Caucasians on the plane.  I just sat on the plane thinking about how our lives were about to change.  We arrived in Chengdu (the Silicon Valley of China) and met our guide and interpreter Emily.  She is very nice and helpful.  We learned from her that our daughter is the second child adopted from her orphanage, but the first to an American family.  She is also the first girl to be adopted.  We arrived at the hotel and freshened up.  We then get our bags to head off to meet our girl. We arrived before her, but she was not far behind.

I was standing in the hallway as she walked in.  She was so beautiful and smiling, but very attached to her nanny.  She has had the same nanny her entire time at the orphanage, so she is a little spoiled.  She loved her nanny very much as we can attest to the grieving she is going thru.  At the civil affairs office we tried to gather as much info about her life as we could.  She eats anything, loves dolls, playing on the computer, and taking pictures.  Emily showed her an iPod and she loved playing with it.  The orphanage staff told us how she showed everyone the pictures that we had sent her of us.  She bragged that this was her new momma and pappa and sister.  We had also sent a camera in her care package, and they brought it with her.  They said the nannies took some pictures, and she did as well.  I cannot wait to see these pictures.  We were finally able to get her to warm up to us and start talking and playing a little.  Little did we know what was about to come. 

We had prepared for the worst, and we were about to get it.  After the nanny slipped out, it was time to leave.  Noel had to pick her up and carry a screaming 6 year old down 3 flights of stairs and then get her into the van.  Emily, our interpreter, tried her best to calm her and explain to her what was happening, but she wanted her nanny and she wanted to go back to the orphanage.  She was not happy to say the least.  Nothing would console her.  When we got in the hotel, she proceeded to kick and scream for the next 2 1/2 hours. She would not even take off her coat until we just made her.  She held onto that coat and cried. I finally was able to hold her in my arms and I just held and rocked her.  She fell asleep for about an hour, but eventually woke up and was still very sad.  We knew we were in this for the long haul and would do what ever it took to help our girl and be there to comfort her.  During the time she was asleep, Noel slipped out to get us some snacks and McDonald's.  When he returned something amazing happened...

I offered her some cheeseburger, but she did not want it.  I kept eating mine, and then I decided to get in the floor with her.  I offered her a french fry, and she opened her mouth and ate it, and then another and another and then a little smile.  She LOVED the fries to say the least, but still no burger.  She ate the entire box of fries.  Noel decided to try - OREOS.  She new exactly what they were.  She opened that cookie up and ate it.  I had given her some water, but she saw her sisters' Sprite and wanted that.  After this, it was nothing but smiles and laughter.  We were able to get some burger and an apple in her, and the rest of Emily's Sprite.  We showed her our camera phones, and I can not tell you how many pictures were taken between my phone and Emily's iPod.  She thought it was fascinating to take a picture of herself.  We would pose for her, and we would laugh.  God had truly done an amazing thing right here in our room.  We had also bought her an American Girl doll so she would have one like her sisters.  I had it sitting in the room and after a while of playing with the camera she finally saw it. The girls got their dolls and they played with those dolls until bedtime.  She loved combing her hair and putting it up.  She had a ponytail holder around her wrist and she used it to put her doll's hair up.  Noel and I just sat there amazed and thankful to the Lord for this moment.

At bedtime, we thought more tears would come, which there may have been one or two, but she finally took her shoes off and laid done and fell asleep.  We go back this afternoon to the civil affairs office where we become an official family and where Yang Rui will become RAE MICHELLE DEAR (on my mom's bday).

I know some of you are wondering why the name change.  When we arrived in Beijing, Sherry, our Beijing guide, told us the correct pronunciation of her name and its meaning.  Rui is not roo-ey, but said like - ray.  Emily was not totally on board, but we are getting use to it and loved it.  Her name means 'heart of the flower.'  At the orphanage she was often called - Rae-Rae. We know everyone will be confused, but this has been her name for her entire life, and we want to respect that.  We did find out that she told everyone after she was found abandoned that her parents were shoe vendors on the street, but we know nothing more.

We are looking forward to the days ahead when she will learn more English, but it is fun to hear her talk up a storm in Chinese.  I have taken videos of her playing with the girls that are just priceless.  Our girls are over the moon in love with her and our hearts will be forever changed by one little girl.

 I made it to Hero point on the wall, but Noel and the girls went much farther.

 They made it!

 We did it and the monkey hat too.

 The girls waiting...

 There she is!!!

 Rae and her nanny

 Still checking us out at the civil affairs office.
Me, Rae, and her nanny. I cannot image how she is feeling either.
all smiles with the camera phone!!

 orphanage director with his Auburn hat we gave him

Showing her pictures of family

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Big Beijing Tour Day

We think we have made it through our jet lag, but colds have gotten hubby and the girls down a little.  It is still cold here, but we are thankful it is not as windy today, which made touring more comfortable.  We also we able to meet the other families in our group.  All of us are adopting girls from different provinces, with the youngest being 2 years old and the oldest 9.  We all had a great time meeting one another and learning more about the country our daughters are from.  Being in the minority here - we received a great many stares and had our photos taken by the people.

Today's itinerary consisted of the silk museum, the Summer Palace, Ti'anmen Square, Forbidden City, pearl factory, tea ceremony, and dinner at the Peking Duck.  It was amazing to see different parts of Chinese history know that many of these places were built before America was even a colony.  We also learned that no matter the religion here - they all believe in feng shui. As you see, our guide Sherry, kept us very busy.

One of our favorites was the silk museum.  It is very fascinating to see that they use every part of the worm to cocoon, even it's waste product.  It is truly a wonder what is made from this little worm.  I enjoyed experiencing the tea ceremony at Dr. Tea.  Learning about different teas and tasting them.  Emily and I purchased us some new tea cups we cannot wait to have with our new tea.  I hope Dr. Tea will ship to US for when I run out.  Did you know there is a tea that is better with age, and it taste like rice?  It is called puer tea.

Tomorrow we will attend a church service in international visitors, and then we will travel to the Great Wall.  I am anxious to see how far up the wall we will make it.  Yesterday we climbed the Bell Tower, and that was pretty tough.  We cannot wait to see this wonder of the world. Despite the current state of affairs here in the country, it is a very interesting history and a long one at that.

It is hard to believe, in 2 days we will meet our daughter.  We pray she is just as excited as we are. 

 Our awesome guide - Sherry

 Here we are getting ready to take a rickshaw tour thru Old Beijing
 Coming down from the Bell Tower

 Girls with famous Chinese artist - Vincent

 pulling the silk

 building at Summer Palace

 In Ti'anmen Square getting ready to go into Forbidden City

tea ceremony

Thursday, December 15, 2011

In China - NOW!

It is now after 9 pm here in Beijing on a Thursday, and we have been in country for almost 24 hours.  We made it in last night with no problems on our flights.  We are thankful for no delays, only a little minor turbulence, and all of our luggage made it.  It is funny how we can pick out people who are here to adopt.  We are experiencing some jet lag, but hopefully it will pass in the next couple of days.  We are all battling some sinus issues - please pray this will pass quickly.  It is cold here like at home, but it is very windy which makes things very chilly.

We are here before the rest of our travel group arrives tomorrow, so we are able to see a few more sights of the city.  Today we went over to the Olympic Village where we saw the "Bird Nest" and the "Water Cube", as well as a few other sights in the area.  Other interesting places we visited were the Rainbow Mall and the Carrefour (Chinese "Walmart").  The Rainbow is like a department store, but with groceries in the basement.  We had fun looking at what is available from the different candies, drinks, and produce.  There is a definite different smell.  Some of the items we could figure out, but other - we have no clue. The girls thought seeing a WHOLE chicken just laying there was pretty weird.  You can buy all parts of the pig in there.  We did purchase 2 new flavors of Oreos that we have never seen to try. 

We are looking forward to meeting the other families in our group tomorrow, but mostly Rui on Monday. Tomorrow we are touring Old Beijing with our guide and attending an acrobat show that night. 

Pray that our jet lag with pass quickly.  It is just weird to eat breakfast when we normally have dinner, and sleeping when we are normally in school and work.  Praying that we will overcome this quickly, and our energy will perk up.  Being tired does make for a little crankiness.

 Mmmm - tasty?
 The Bird Nest and the Water Cube

Monday, December 12, 2011

China - Here we come!!

Right now I should be asleep. In a few hours my alarm will go off, and we will finishing getting everything in our bags and head to the airport. A friend is picking us up so we will not have to leave our car at the airport. At 7:10 we will start our journey to Rui. We have prayed and longed for this day. It is TIME!!

We will arrive in Beijing on my birthday. We will spend a few days there before heading to Chengdu. Our Gotcha Day is the 19th, and it will be finalize on the 20th, my mother's birthday. After this we will travel to Guangzhou to finish up some more paperwork, obtain her visa, and soon travel home. We should arrive back in the US December 30th.

We are excited and praying for a smooth transition, but we are expecting a few bumps. We hope to keep everyone updated on our blog. We have a VPN - wish us luck.

See you soon as the Dear family of FIVE!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane

After a very long 18 months, we have purchased our plane tickets to go get our daughter. We cannot believe it is actually happening now. We are leaving on December 13th, so that is a mere 12 days to get things done and prepared. There are several things we need to get done before we leave.

- Pray that Noel can get his schoolwork and church work done before we leave.
- Pray that there are no weather delays.
- Pray that Rui's transition will go well, and that she will understand how loved she is.
- Pray that all of our luggage will arrive to it destinations.
- Pray that we remember everything we need.
- Pray that we will all stay healthy leading up to and during the trip.

Thanks everyone who has prayed and been with us through this journey.  We are almost there.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We are headed to China

We just got the call - we are headed to China!!! Our tentative date is leaving the 22nd of December, but we have requested a week earlier.  Pray that this can happen, but we are just happy to be near the end and will travel when we they tell us.

Now we really have to get house in order!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ornament Fundraiser

Worthy of the Prize is selling the attached Africa Glass Ornament as a fundraiser for our current adopting families to raise the $ they need to bring their children home! ALL proceeds go to the adopting families that we support {will be split evenly between them} and you will get your ornament in time for Christmas. They are ONLY available for purchase through December 7th. No custom orders {sorry!}.
Please buy one and/or more importantly, share this fundraiser on your blog/facebook/twitter/etc to help us spread the word!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


When I opened my email this morning, we received an email the agency who did our care package for us.  Rui had drawn some pictures for us, with instructions from her teacher.  They included a note from her as well.  She hopes we love her pictures, and is looking forward to seeing her mommy and daddy very soon.  She also loved the presents we sent. 

The pictures made my day!! Here is one of them.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Come on TA!!

I thought I would give everyone a quick update. Last week our Article 5 was picked up and sent to the Civil Affairs office.  The Article 5 is Rui's visa info, and now we are waiting for them to approve her to travel and us to go and get her.  Once we get this, we will submit our day for our consulate appointment.  After all this - WE BUY PLANE TICKETS!!!  This wait is approximately 2-3 weeks, but could be shorter or longer (please be shorter!!)  We are praying we leave on my birthday (Dec. 14th) or before.  This would allow for cheaper plane tickets as well, and we would get back home before the end of the year.

Rui's room is almost ready for her.  I have had some nice people send me some hand-me-downs, which has been great.  I need to get her things put on her wall that I have.  I will try to post a pic one day.  It is hard to believe we could possible have our girl in less than a month.

We are so blessed to be able to do this, and looking forward to what Rui will add to our family and us to her life.  Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us along this journey. Keep on Praying!!

(Also, please pray for our girls as we go to get our travel shots.  This is not something they are looking forward too.  I have heard the typhoid shot is not very fun.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

VISA Application

We have filled out an enormous amount of paperwork for this adoption.  There is one set that has been a thorn in my side - VISA application! I have filled out this paperwork 3 if not 4 times and printed multiple due to mistakes I find.  We filled it out the first time and sent it in to be processed, but then the Embassy changed it's mind on something. Our agency sent it back. They also went from a 2 page application to a 4 page, because they want more info, like where you are staying, where you work, do you have insurance, etc. We also went from being able to use the Embassy to having to use the consulate in New York with a new courier.  So, we were going to wait till getting our TA before submitting it due to some extra paperwork we thought we were going to have to do.  Thankfully, with hubby in school, he can go on a student visa - YEA! This saves money and a few headaches.  Now, last week we receive an email from our agency telling us they can now do our visa paperwork and courier it for us at their rates.  PTL!! This saves us money, and we can go ahead and submit the application.  Funny thing is - I had already filled out the paperwork for the other courier, and with the new turn of events - I had to redo the application again.  If any one needs a visa application filled out for China - I am a pro!

Many are asking if we have a travel date, and the answer is - NO! We are closer though.  We should hopefully know something by the end of Nov. or first of Dec.  We are waiting on what is called Travel Approval and to now wait for our visas to come back.

Keep Praying!! Is it too early to pack?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


So happy to get these in the mail this morning.  Can we go get her NOW?!?!?! We could be leaving in as little as 6 weeks.  So much to get done.  We are coming RUI!! She has the album we sent her.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Care Package to China

Yesterday I ordered Rui's care package from Ladybugs n Love.  I knew I was to send our letter and pictures, but for some reason the email had not come thru.  I checked my spam file and there it was.  So, off went the letter and the pictures today.  I just received and email back from Angela with a picture of the care package she it to receive.  I love the photo album!! In addition to these she will receive a cake and her letter from us.  I just wish I knew what these books were about.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Past Pictures

Today I finally got some pictures together to send to Rui.  I included pictures of the family and our home.  We also got to include a letter to her.  I told her about us and some things we enjoy doing.  Every day we get a little closer to traveling to see her.  Please keep praying it will be before end of the year.

Here are a few pics of when we received our LOA/RA.  I have not had a chance to upload them until now.
The FedEx lady bringing our letter of approval. I loved that she new it was important papers!!

Our approval letter

The envelope it arrived in.

Dad signing the letter!! YES WE WANT HER!!