Monday, July 31, 2017

Gotcha Day Details

 As part of the China adoption process you bring gifts to the officials at your appointments. On Gotcha Day we needed 2 gifts in red bags and 2 gifts in red envelopes. I also packed a backpack of toys and snacks for Henry Mingyu.

We knew Henry Mingyu could walk (we had been given 2 videos as evidence) but we weren't sure how far so bought a cute Chinese stroller just in case. (Good thing because it is needed. He walks with a little limp, his shoe on his small foot is 2x too big so it makes him trip, and he is not used to walking far distances).

 The hotel had a crib set up in our room when we checked in. I didn't expect Henry Mingyu would be using it, but figured it would make it good side rail. (It does)

 Our new hotel has even more breakfast choices....Alex was a very happy boy! ๐Ÿฉ

 It even has a donut tree!!! I think my dreams have come true!

After a few last minute instructions our travel group was on the bus and headed to receive our children ❤ (One couple was becoming first time parents! Our group has become close and includes some amazing families! We were all so thrilled to witness their special day)

This is in front of the adoption building. I can't remember exactly what it says -something about families and love ❤

We arrived! I can't describe the overwhelming feeling it is to be walking towards and then into a building knowing that you will be meeting your child within minutes.

Knowing that soon you will be meeting the child God has picked for your family ❤ Knowing that this is your last China gotcha day since now "the rules" have changed ❤ Knowing how hard this will be for your child ❤ Hoping and praying and trusting that you are the mama Henry Mingyu needs you to be ❤

 When we walked into the room the first time parents saw their child. We all gathered around to watch them become parents. I turned around and noticed Henry Mingyu playing by the play structure. I fumbled in his back pack for a toy car to use as a peace offering. His nanny told him I had arrived. He smiled, giggled and ran away.

 Henry Mingyu crawled under the play structure. He wasn't crying but you could tell he was scared. I sat beside the structure and we played peek a boo. If I waited too long to peek he would look for me ❤ I drove a few of the cars I had brought under the structure. We played cars and he started slowly moving out.❤ I also offered him a lolly pop. He never took it but had fun when I would pretend to lick it or he would pretend to lick it. ❤

 Henry Mingyu is definitely silly and his sweet sense of humor started showing. His laugh and smile just light up his face and the room ❤

 It was time for the adoption paperwork picture. I wondered if he would have to be pulled kicking and screaming out from his safe spot, but our guide was able to encourage him out. I was so thankful it wasn't a dramatic moment ❤

The official told me to put Henry Mingyu on my lap....why yes I would LOVE to!! I was holding OUR SON❤❤❤

After the picture he was ready to play.

Oh that smile ❤

He is a big boy!! Henry Mingyu has thick arms and legs and is very solid! He reminds me of our Jason....I think Henry Mingyu can control his density too!

When we walked into the adoption offices our guide was told the rule had changed and all the paperwork needed to be completed before we left. Thankfully Alex was able to watch Henry Mingyu and he only tried to escape once.

I ended up signing my name in Erik's spot once and on my 2nd try (after redoing the whole paper) I missed a line and everything was off. The stress of the day came flooding in and tears couldn't be stopped. Thankfully 3rd times a charm and I got that darn paperwork done!

I had my first experience explaining to a child how God makes us all unique. Another child in our travel group asked about Henry Mingyu's hands. I think I did okay and next time have a few thoughts on what I might say differently. I knew the comments would come, but it caught me off guard coming so fast (as we were waiting for the bus to take us back to our hotel from gotcha day).

When we got back to our room we video chatted with our family that was still awake (I might have woken up Baba).

Henry Mingyu loves to play, is full of energy, is silly, loves to laugh, is amazingly capable (uses his mouth to often help him), and is OUR SON ❤ Henry Mingyu and I spent the afternoon playing and getting to know each other ❤

According to his update Henry Mingyu naps, but we weren't going to push it. When he fell asleep at 6:30pm in the stroller and stayed asleep when I picked him up I was a bit worried.

But I figured some things are worth it ❤❤

Turns out he slept through the night! He is a bed hog. I didn't dare move Henry Mingyu figuring that would cause him to wake up so I slept on about 20% of the bed. I was still in my clothes and he never got his night time pull up but....


Grateful to God for his AMAZING gifts ❤❤

Grateful, Sandy

Gotcha Day!

PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW ❤ We met Henry Mingyu today ❤ He is a cute, silly, busy little boy ❤ We are grateful to be his family ❤ (Sometimes Gotcha Day looks like your new son hiding under a plastic play structure for 45 minutes because he is scared and ends squeezing yourself onto a plastic teeter totter because he is willing to open his heart just a little...and it makes him laugh ❤) #FromMichiganToMingyu #KrepsPartyOf11 #GotchaHenry #ThanksPhotographerDevin

More details to follow....but for now gotta go play with our new son ❤

Grateful, Sandy

Sunday, July 30, 2017


I just love these views from our hotel. I could stare out the window for hours looking at all the variety below...the old and the new are everywhere.

Love me some China ๐Ÿ’œ

 On Sunday we checked out of our Beijing hotel. The lobby had this huge and really cool book wall!

 Waiting for the bus to take us to the bullet train. Love these status that are all over China!


Our train snack. So cute! Alex is not an adventurous eater and I am gluten free so we saved it for Henry Mingyu.

The train ride was 3 hours from Beijing to Zhengzhou. It was amazing smooth! We really enjoyed seeing the country between these large cities. Getting on the train in China is always an experience. Huge crowds of people, so much pushing and shoving, and cutting in line is typical. Our guide encouraged us to think about it as a "free massage"!!! He said not to stand back but to get right in there and give them a " free massage" right back! Ha!!!

We received an update on Henry Mingyu. I don't think any of the information was new...except for learning that he likes animal fish. The good news is....we have fish! We also have two little dogs so hopefully he can learn to like animal dogs too!

 In 5 1/2 hours we meet our guide/travel group in the lobby to go to gotcha day! ๐Ÿ’™

My prayer right now is that God comforts Henry Mingyu through all the many changes happening to him. I also pray that I am the mama that Henry Mingyu needs me to be!

When we arrived in our hotel room there was a crib set up. In don't really expect that Henry Mingyu will sleep in it, but the side of the crib pushed against my bed should make a nice side rail. Seeing the crib just makes it so real! I spent all day coutimg done the hours until gotcha day.

We purchased a stroller. We are not sure if he can walk long  distances on his little foot. Strollers are also a nice place for kids to rest, eat, and keep out of mischief! Just seeing the stroller in our room makes my stomach flip flop!

We also visited the grocery store yesterday. We wanted to stock up on food and snacks for our new children (or kiddos as our guide George often said - ha!). I love going to the grocery store in China! So many unique items. And I love see American brands with Chinese writing. Yesterday it made me feel stressed. I think being tired, a stressful day of traveling, and having no idea what foods Henry Mingyu would like made me feel anxious. There are so many unknowns right now. As a mama I want to buy the food he is familiar with, foods that bring him comfort, foods that prevent him getting hangry -ha! Shopping yesterday just made me feel so inadequate as his mama. Next time I head to the store...Henry will be with me ๐Ÿ’™

I won't lie....this is the best I could do for dinner today!

Thank you for covering us in prayer!!!

Blessings, Sandy

Saturday, July 29, 2017

2 Questions

1. Do you have Henry Mingyu yet?

I have been Wechat video calling the kids twice a day. In my morning (which is their evening) and again in my evening (which is their morning). Every time we talk this is their first question.

We meet Henry Mingyu on Monday morning at 9:30am (so Sunday 9:30pm EST).

We think Henry Mingyu went back to his orphanage on Friday. Please pray for his heart. That he isn't scared being in an unfamiliar place. That his heart is ready for a family. That he accepts love and comfort from his new mama.

2. Why did you travel to China so early?

Two reasons.... We can't be late for gotcha day. And jetlag!

A delayed plane, mechanical problems with a plane, missing your train....these don't work. You After 9 months of paperwork (blood, sweat, and tears) no one wants to see if the orphanage and officials will give you a second chance.

We left Wednesday, arrived Thursday (14 hour flight and 12 hour time difference), had Friday (our buffer day that allowed for problems with flights etc) and Saturday (our one extra day. We went back and forth whether we should take that day. The cost was minimal. We used hotel points. I haven't been to BJ or seen all the amazing sights and due to China's rule changes this will likely be our last China trip for many many years.) to adjust and Sunday we are traveling to Henry Mingyu's province and we meet him on Monday.

Have you met jetlag? It is a beast! China is 12 hours ahead. It is hard to get your body to adjust. By traveling early I gave us 2 days (Friday and Saturday) to adjust. It is 2am in China right now. I just slept 9pm until now. Worries about Henry Mingyu and jetlag have me awake. I need to be on my "A game" on Monday/gotcha day. These 2 days give me a fighting chance. I have done all the "what to do to get over jet lag".... but in the end for me it takes time. (And having mama worries doesn't help either).

Thank you for your love and prayers for our family!

31 1/2 hours until we meet Henry Mingyu!

4 1/2 hours until our bus picks us up and brings us to the bullet train!

Back to sleep....Sandy


We met our guide and travel group (3 others families right now) at 7am. Our guide said if we can beat the traffic it will take 1 1/2 hours to get to the Great Wall. Well....3 hours later we arrived (we didn't beat the traffic).

 If I had a bucket list climbing The Great Wall would have been on it!

Parts of the wall are amazingly steep! This was the Juyong Pass section.

 Look how high this step is!

The step heights vary...some only one stone high.

 This was a photo taken on the way down!

The wall is 5000 miles long and so super cool to see in person!

Alex and I climbed up to the red building. Turns out it is now a gift shop.

Alex was a bit of a celebrity with his blond hair!

We also visited the Jade Factory.

We had lunch with our travel group. The food is always served on a lazy susan and shared as a group.

And we also saw a Chinese acrobatics show!

 It was neat to watch

 I wished all my babies were there to see too!

 The strength of the performers was amazing to see!

It was a fun day but by the end our jet lag was making it hard to keep our eyes open.

Tomorrow we take the bullet train to Zhengzhou! 37 hours until we meet Henry Mingyu!!

Blessings, Sandy

Friday, July 28, 2017


Some random thoughts at 2am:

We haven't been able to find a grocery store here in Beijing. It will be one of our first stops in ZZ (need to buy some PB&J for Alex). We found a Pizza Hut today. It tasted like back home and made for one happy boy!

We meet Henry Mingyu in 2 days.

I was sooo tired yesterday afternoon. I took a 20 minute power nap and had a hard time waking back up!! We went to bed early. I slept from 8:30 to 11:30pm....and slept so hard I was convinced it was morning. Luckily I fell back asleep until 2:30am. Hoping for more sleep before morning!  

Henry Mingyu is likely back at his orphanage (from his foster group home). I pray he is being treated well and his heart is ready for a family 

Tomorrow we climb the Great Wall! I am super excited!! I don't have a bucket list but if I did this would be on it!!

So many changes coming up for Henry Mingyu. My heart feels heavy for him.

We have been blessed with a small but wonderful travel group. Here in Beijing there are 4 families. 2 or 3 more will join us in ZZ.

Henry Mingyu lived in Beijing. I know it is a huge city but I can't help think about him being here as we walk around/tour.

I just messaged Erik "You will be happy to know that as we walk around this HUGE crowded city often I hold onto Alex's arm. I tell him his daddy would be happy to know he is taking care of his mama".

It is so hot. I am not much for the water but this heat might make a fish out of me too! I wonder if Henry Mingyu will like the water/want to swim?

Rhiana did such a amazing job of helping me pack. Will Alex and I be able to get it all back in the carry on suitcases when we head to ZZ tomorrow? 

Will I be the mama Henry Mingyu needs? Can I teach him how to deal with all the comments and stares he will get due to his limb differences? Can I help him realize how much he is loved by our family and his creator?

I miss my babies back home. Thankfully we have been able to wechat video twice a day. It does my mama heart good to see their sweet faces. I am hoping our good internet connection continues in ZZ and GZ!

Will I be able to comfort Henry Mingyu as he grieves? I pray I can help our sweet boy through all he has to process.

Yesterday we had the Hutong tour Chinese meal for lunch and then went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. Both were really good meals. My favorite was the homemade meal! I am happy that even though I am gluten free now I can still enjoy the food of "my China". 

It is now 3:30am. I will try and sleep again. We have to get up early to meet our travel group at 7am to head to the wall....night! Sandy

Beijing Tours!

Today we toured Tienanmen Square, Forbidden City, and went on a Hutong Tour.

I really enjoyed seeing more of China. 

I am tired and hoping if I take a short nap I will still be able to sleep tonight. I have been up since 4am and it is hitting me now!

 Tienanmen Square

 The history is just incredible!

 It was 85 degrees, humid, cloudy/smoggy.

 Forbidden City

 So many people!

 Really pretty neat to see!

 Hutong Tour...riding in a rickshaw!
 Our rickshaw driver

 The home in Hutong where we ate a delicious lunch

Don't tell Erik but Hutong means "alley". So we took a rickshaw through lots and lots of alleys and then had a home cooked Chinese meal. It was really good and quite a neat experience.

Gotta love me some Chinese signs!!

Grateful, Sandy