Thursday, August 17, 2017

Henry Mingyu update

My mom texted that all the "Henry fans" would probably like an update. 
(I am thinking she would like more pictures than the few I have texted!)

In some ways our journey to China feels so long ago already! When I count I realize we have only been home 5 days. It has only been 2 weeks and 2 days since we met Henry Mingyu! WOW! How time is funny! It makes me realize how far we have come already...this boy is definitely stealing my heart ❤

Henry Mingyu is 
  • sweet (very loving and cuddly), 
  • silly (his laughs are THE BEST, his smile lights up his face, and he has a great sense of humor that crosses language barriers), 
  • is shy (around new people), 
  • is busy (he doesn't sit still long and plays hard), 
  • is so brave (it breaks my heart to think of all that he has lost)
  • stubborn (he knows what he wants and is not easily convinced or distracted otherwise). 

Horsey rides with baba ❤

Henry Mingyu has been faster to warm up to Erik then our other Chinese blessings. He still wants mama near and still heads to me for comfort, but he has realized this goofy man is pretty awesome!

Henry LOVES having big brothers! The brothers have done really well adjusting to a busy little brother.

The boys were laughing so hard I thought they might wet themselves! 
Sorry baba...just had to include this picture ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Henry plays with the three youngest boys. He is quite demanding and although 4 1/2 years old at this point acts more like a 2 year old. They don't speak Chinese and he doesn't speak English. The three big brothers have been amazingly patient so far with our "sweet tornado" as baba calls him.

Henry Mingyu is determined....I love this ๐Ÿ˜

I love getting to know and learn about our new son. He is so capable! I love having a front row seat to watch this amazing little boy ❤

This might be my FAVORITE picture so far ๐Ÿ˜

Bryan was struggling to walk up the grassy hill with his walker so Henry Mingyu came behind him and started helping/pushing ❤❤❤ (baba noticed and ran over as backup)

Bryan is the sweetest most joy filled child. I was praying that Henry Mingyu would have a heart for Bryan and not bully him/make fun of Bryan's challenges. So far we are heading in the right direction and this mama's heart is full ❤

Erik got his first kiss yesterday ❤

Although demanding and fairly quick to throw a fit, Henry Mingyu is very loving and cuddly to his new mama and baba. He spends a lot of time with a hand on me to keep me near.

We ventured to the lake yesterday for our first outing. Henry Mingyu was braver in the water than we expected. He was very determined carrying his heavy bucket of water. I ordered a Paw Patrol swimsuit (in a much larger size!) from Amazon while in China. I guessed right...he was VERY willing to put it on yesterday for our trip to the beach (one point for mama!).

Jet lag is a beast. That's all.

Seriously. Each day is getting a little better. It takes a day to adjust for every hour of time difference. That will be 12 days for us. How can one person be so tired during the day?! And so wide awake during the night?! Nuts!!

A friend texted asking how Henry Mingyu is adjusting. I answered:
He is doing well. He is learning to live in a family. He is loving having a mama and baba. He is learning there are limits and that we still love him if he throws a fit. He loves having big brothers. ❤

Another update I texted: Henry doesn't want me out of his sight. He is more open to Erik than the other boys were at this point, but still wants mama within eyesight. My Darren needed me so close that he would stand in the shower with me. Henry will usually just peek in once to make sure I haven't disappeared. Erik calls Henry our sweet tornado. He is sweet, busy, and demanding. I can't believe we have only been home 5 days. It feels much longer...although we still feel so far from a new normal. I am trying to focus on today and not worry about how I will handle everything once Erik goes back to work next week.

Another message sent when asked how we are doing:
Good, working hard, good.

Grateful to God for all His love and many blessings,
(How was that mom?)

Saturday, August 12, 2017


             There is no place like home ❤

Henry Mingyu has LOVED being home ❤

He has been playing with Jason, Darren, and Bryan almost non-stop! ❤

He has been very comfortable with Erik since Baba held him up away from the scary dogs. ❤

 It only took a short time for Henry Mingyu to get used to the dogs. Now we have to teach him "gentle". ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Alex was so tired he was dizzy so he laid down for a nap. I just took a 20 minute power nap and am trying really hard not to lay down again. So.tired. Jet lag is a beast!

Thank you for all of your prayers ❤

Erik has the week off of work so we will cocoon as we teach Henry Mingyu what a family is ❤

Grateful, Sandy

Friday, August 11, 2017

Still Friday!

We have gone back in it is still Friday!

We arrived early to the GZ airport. We enjoyed the shops and walking around. We finally found our gate assignment. It was in the "throw back" area. It was old seats, not much air, and packed with people. Then we had to take a tram to our plane and WALK UP THE STEPS INTO THE AIRPLANE!! Keep in mind we now had 3 back packs, 3 carry on suitcases, 2 neck pillows and 1 baby blanket, 1 slow moving toddler and 2 tried travelers!! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ But we made it!!

 Henry Mingyu (and Alex and I) did AMAZING!! I guess leaving at 10:15pm has its benefits!! We had very few tears (from any of us!). Thank you for praying us hone!!

It was an almost 12 hour flight. We were served dinner twice. Not really sure why...but oh well!

We slept, watched movies, played, ate twice!, and felt happy to be heading home ❤

Pretty view from our window just before taking off.

We are now in San Francisco. We had a 3 hour layover. We needed it to get through immigration and find where to check in and our gate.

We leave at 10:45pm and arrive home around 7am Michigan time ❤❤❤

Praising God for safe travels and an amazing China adventure to get our sweet son ❤๐Ÿผ

Grateful, Sandy


We get Henry Mingyu's visa to enter the USA at noon today. Once his feet hit USA soil and we turn in his paperwork at the immigration counter at the airport he will be an American Citizen ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

Our flight leaves China at 10pm tonight. We are leaving for the airport at 4:30pm. We will be super early but the traffic is so bad we can either sit at the airport or sit in traffic.

A mama can't help to cuddle with her sleeping sweet baby once she lifts him from the stroller ❤

Last night Henry Mingyu fell asleep at 5:30pm on the way to dinner. It is 5:20am and he is still asleep! In his foster group home he took naps. He is 4 1/2 and I can't see that he will be willing to take naps at home. We haven't fought him to take naps in China although most days he has taken a "cat nap" somewhere along the way. I guess all this activity caught up with him. We can only hope he sleeps so well on the plane! ✈

The first words Henry Mingyu spoke when he woke up this morning were "mama wo ai ni" ❤❤ this boy ❤❤

Just being real....THIS FLIGHT COULD BE LOOOONG ๐Ÿ˜–. Sweet Henry Mingyu is also very stubborn. On our 2 hour flight from Zhengzhou he had a couple of melt downs. He didn't like the seat belt. He wanted to stand during take off. He wanted to kick the seat in front of him. He used the bathroom twice. He spilled his drink. Our flight home is 12 hours from GZ to San Francisco. Then we have 3 hour layover and then a 4 hour flight to Detroit.

Just pray. That's all.

 Yesterday we spent a little time at a park on Shamian Island. It had a cracked, very old and dirty slide (Henry is pictured coming back down the stairs after deciding not to go down the slide). The only other playground item were the monkey bars.

Have you heard me say "My friends son has a similar limb difference and the only thing he can't do is the monkey bars"?!

Really?! Monkey bars!! What are the chances?!!

If my back wasn't hurting so much I could have lifted him up just like my friend was doing for her son. I could barely lift Henry Mingyu to my hip.There was no lifting him above my head. He didn't ask...but my mama heart broke a bit for our boy ๐Ÿ˜ช

 The hotel next to ours has this really neat arch
 Don't judge! We have eaten more Chinese food this trip than both of my other trips. It has been really really good!

 There is a McDonald's right across our hotel parking lot.

 We just had to try one of the unique cones! It was "green tea and Oreo"....and really YUCK!

 The street sweepers use such unique brooms!

We have a budding artist! Henry Mingyu was so proud of himself that he showed Baba (The Chinese word for daddy) on Wechat video calling this morning! Henry Mingyu had the cutest little proud smile on his face ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

 We spent our last hour and a half touring a museum that is only a block from the hotel.

Super interesting to get to walk around the tomb!!!

Off to the airport ✈! It is 4:30pm. Our flight is at 10pm, but our guide says we can either spend it sitting in traffic or sitting at the airport. We are choosing the airport. We fly 12 hours to San Francisco. We have a 3 hour layover and then fly to Detroit. At 6:30am Saturday August 12 we arrive !!๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰ I can't wait to hug and kiss my babies ❤He


Thank you for praying us home ❤

We are so incredibly blessed and grateful to God for our new son ❤


Thursday, August 10, 2017


My sister sent this to me. It couldn't be more fitting! Life is messy right now, but I couldn't feel more sure this is where God wants us to be ❤

STOP THE PRESSES.....Henry Mingyu said "mama wo ai ni" ❤❤❤❤❤

It means MAMA I LOVE YOU ❤ in Chinese!

I have said it to him a few times a day since meeting him ❤

I have probably kissed him hundreds of times by now. (At least once a day he will kiss me back! ❤)

I figured in time Henry Mingyu would learn to love his new mama. And then at some point even tell me he loved me. I didn't figure the day would come so soon ❤

He was happy to see I was excited so has repeated "mama wo ai ni" to me probably a dozen times today ❤

Sweet, silly, shy, and oh so stubborn baby boy already has my heart ❤❤❤

 We headed back to Shamian Island today. It is one of my favorite spots!

The White Swan Hotel is open again after years of renovation. It is beautiful!

 We tried pictures by the statue again. This time didn't even bother trying to photograph Henry Mingyu alone!

Our travel mates Leah, Rob, and Carter joined us for our island adventure.

 Alex's favorite statue!

 Silly selfie ❤

 We spent a little time at the pool again today. My back was really hurting so I didn't mind that Henry Mingyu just splashed at the edge. The pool is deep so when he is swimming I have to hold his wiggling, active little self the whole time.

No breaking those pool rules! Ha!

Earlier today I pulled a muscle in my lower back. I suppose carrying around a 41 pound "kiddo" and the stress of everything finally added up. Otherwise I am trying to savor the last full day in "my China" ❤

Blessings, Sandy

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


I love how God connects you to people at just the perfect season of life. Henry Mingyu's bestie from his foster group home has the most amazing family working hard to bring him home. His new mama has been a wonderful support during this whole journey. She is a glass half full person just like me ❤ When either of us hits a rough patch she is quick to say "List 5 positives". I thought I would share my latest answer ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

1. That Henry Mingyu is officially our son ❤
2. That my "kiddos" at home are doing well ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
3. That my mom has given so much to my family while I am away. She has stepped right into the role of mom and is doing a fabulous job (thanks mom ❤ I love you ❤)
4. That Alex and I have been healthy and safe in China
5. That Erik is an amazingly wonderful and supportive husband during all the cRaZy of an adoption journey

 "Family picture"

Alex has been a great travel partner! We work very well together in both fun and stressful situations! What a gift for this mama to get to spend this time with him too ❤

 CCAI group 2458 picture (one Family missing)

We enjoyed so many wonderful group dinners out for Chinese food that I have lost track of how many!

We had an AMAZING group!!! I am so very thankful for all of the friendships, love, and support we shared ❤

 An early breakfast before meeting in the lobby at 7:30am for our consulate appointment.

 Breakfast anyone?!

 American Consulate appointment to apply for Henry Mingyu's visa into the USA

Henry Mingyu played with the other kids in our travel group for the first time. He is usually very shy when we leave the room. He even shared his toys and food!

 We celebrated with some McDonald's. Henry Mingyu was most impressed with the Happy Meal toy. (We didn't order any of the interesting choices in the picture)

Where we are staying in Guangzhou

 Parked in front of our hotel!

Guess who got in?!!

It took him an hour, but better late than never! I made sure we all headed down to the pool with BARE FEET! Henry Mingyu stood and then sat at the edge of the pool and splashed for a long time. Finally Alex thought we should just pull Henry Mingyu into the pool. I didn't want to, but gave Alex the go ahead. Henry Mingyu wasn't happy and screamed a little fit. Then decided the pool was fun so played for 30 minutes until it was time to get out for dinner.

A couple of stories I don't want to forget:

Our guide Jason was given the English name Lloyd by an English college professor. After working for CCAI for a while the owner said he was tired of being asked why "Lloyd" was his employee's name so he told Jason he needed to pick a new name...ha!

I shared with a fellow adoptive mom. (who lives in Shanghai) that changing a child's name feels wrong. She shared that now when they are school age all Chinese kids are given an English name by their parents. That makes me feel better. I had no idea! We started by calling our new son Mingyu (his given name and what he was called in his foster group home). This week we have added Henry to it. At some point after we are home he will probably get called just Henry. Mingyu is now his middle name.

Apparently there is not really a Chinese word for the English word "please". I guess please just isn't used much! Interesting!

Last night before bed Henry Mingyu and I cuddled. (It's hard to get a good picture of someone cuddled right up to you. I did snap this as he popped his head from under the covers.)

He is learning to love a new mama ❤

He is learning to be loved by a new mama ❤

I don't know how much he was loved and cuddled. In the pictures I received it looks like he was the oldest child in his foster group home. There looked to be maybe a dozen kids? My guess would be they had their hands full cuddling the babies.

He is learning to cuddle his new mama ❤

Last night Henry Mingyu wanted to lift my shirt and lay his head on my bare belly. I hope you don't think badly of him. Or think it odd of him. He wasn't doing it in a sexual or strange way. Right away it brought me back to my "babies like that skin to skin contact with their mama's". Henry Mingyu and I missed out on that. I love that somehow intuitively he knew he needed that. He knew as part of our bonding and attaching to each other that skin to skin was important ❤

Two more days until we start our long journey home,

 Grateful, Sandy

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


I realize yesterday that Henry Mingyu is only calling me mama now ❤ This morning his first word was "mama" as he woke up next to me with a smile ❤ Since it was only 6am he closed his eyes and fell back asleep.

Henry Mingyu's first few days with us he called me "Ayi" the Chinese word for nanny. I started correcting him. I would point to myself and say "mama". The rest of the week half the time he would say "Ayi" and the other half "mama"...sometimes even correcting himself.

Sorry to blog a book each time! Apparently if I don't write it down it didn't happen ๐Ÿ˜œ. I am also blogging on my phone. For a mama of "advanced maternal age" who just started wearing reading glasses this year it is tough! Sorry for all the typos...I just can't SEE them!

 Henry Mingyu is amazing with his dexterity! I love watching all he can do for himself.

Today we went shopping with Ann. I had heard about shopping with her for years. She knows where families can get wholesale prices and also not taken advantage of. Jenn, Matt, and their new daughter Lily Grace joined us for our adventure. We had met them our first morning in Beijing and have really been blessed by getting to know them ❤

 Jenn wanted pearls so we first stopped at the Pearl Market.

 Not sure it's official name...but I am going to go with "Jade Alley". Fascinating place! I have no idea how they can afford to have so much inventory.

 We then headed to the whole sale toy market. We wanted to pick up a few gifts for our "kiddos" back home.

 Chinese Legos!

Did I mention it was once again a 99 degree and humid day? Oh my! So sticky and so sweaty!

I love these red lanterns ❤

We played "how many people can we fit in a taxi?" today as we traveled from location to location. People here don't wear seat belts or use car seats for why not?! Just for the record we can fit one teen, one toddler, one baby, one shopping guide, and two happy to be shopping adoptive mamas in the back of a taxi! Ha!! ๐Ÿ˜œ

 We then headed over to Shamian Island without Ann.

I love Shamian Island ❤ It is such a beautiful place and I have so many happy memories of time spent there with my girls on my previous trips.❤

 It is an adoptive family tradition to take their newly adopted child's photo with this statue.

Henry Mingyu wasn't having Alex showed him how easy it was to cooperate!

This is as close as Henry Mingyu would go. Did I mention he is a bit stubborn? ๐Ÿ˜•

 I had to settle for a mama and Henry Mingyu picture. He wasn't even happy with that and we almost ended up with a melt down.

Jenn and her family leave in the morning. So blessed that God provided such precious friends to walk along side us in China ❤

Henry Mingyu found the scissors and started cutting! Go Henry Mingyu!! You are AMAZING!!

grateful, Sandy