Thursday, December 29, 2005

Takin' Care of Gwen

These big brothers and sister are enjoying their roles!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tub Time

Gwen and her cousin Caden had fun in the tub together tonight. There was just a bit of kicking and splashing going on! In case you can't tell who's who, Gwen is the one with the tan, and Caden is vanilla! Both adorable, of course!


Gwen had a really good day today. She played more with her siblings, and had fewer meltdowns. She woke up happy this morning, and ate well at meals. I am amazed when I consider the total life change she is experiencing, that she is doing this well. I know kids are resiliant, but this has to be a God thing. I keep praying for her to feel safe and loved with us, and it seems she is more and more. I know that there will be bumps in the road, but it is awesome to see God's hand here so clearly. Again, I thank you all who have prayed and continue to pray for her. God hears!


Madelyn and Gwen were given matching outfits... thank you so much, Sauers! Madelyn was so pleased to get to wear them for the first time yesterday. Too cute!

Home with Dad and Mom... and brothers and sister

Have I said yet how good it is to be home?! Of course there are responsibilities here that we didn't have in China... like cooking meals and doing our laundry! The lack of total undivided attention has taken it's toll on Gwen... she's been fussier here than she was while we were in China, but then again home for us meant a whole new set of unfamiliar things for her. I think she's really doing beautifully as she learns to fit in to our family, but the learning curve is high. I'm so thankful that she is sleeping all night and going to bed without a peep. That makes me much more friendly!
Please continue to pray with us for her to feel safe and loved with us. The kids want so much to play with her, but often she prefers me or Scott over them. Perfectly understandable, but not something we want to promote. She has had great times of laughing with the kids and taking them by the hand to show them things also... so there is definite progress.

The second night we were home, when Gwen was still waking up in the night thinking it was 4 in the afternoon, Caleb went and got her when she cried and I didn't realize it. I heard him calling me sometime later and didn't find him when I looked in his bed. I found him in the office, holding her... she was fast asleep in his arms, and he was shivering with cold from being dressed only in shorts for bed. What a wonderful thing it was to see her cuddled up in his arms!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas From the Liptaks

Taken today after we returned from church.

Scott, Lynne, Caleb, Seth, Madelyn and Gwen ~

Fun With Food

Saturday, December 24, 2005

We're Home!

Just want everyone to know that we made it! Our own beds have never felt so good. The flight was long, but not unbearable. Gwen had a few bouts of frustrated crying, but slept a lot, which really helped. We breezed through customs and immigration at O'Hare... Gwen is officially a United States citizen now! It was awesome to see the kids' faces as we walked toward the doorway that they were waiting on the other side of. We stopped midstride to get out the video camera to capture their reaction to seeing their new sister for the first time! Gwen was only slightly hesitant... she reached out to the kids quickly and even let them hold her. She fell asleep very quickly in her carseat once we were on the way home... that in itself is a blessing because a carseat is a completely new experience for her. The first night she woke up around 2 in the morning pretty wide awake, but we offered her a bottle of water and she eventually slept again and didn't wake until 7:30. We're trying to switch her to local time here cold turkey! She is enjoying exploring our house with the kids' help, and is getting lots of attention from them!

Alright... there is more to tell but it will have to wait. Enjoy the pictures of Gwen at home... finally!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My Prayer

As we are just about to close our suitcases tonight after a monumental packing job, I am in tears thinking about Gwen's first parents. I want so much for them to know that she is well and loved so very much. I can't imagine their anguish at what they had to do. I pray that they will somehow know that their angel is safe with us, her new daddy and mommy.

Thank you, China... thank you, Jesus, for this most precious gift.

Next Stop - Chicago, IL U.S.A.

Home sweet home. Ahh... a universal phrase yet so personal in its application.

This afternoon after the swearing in of 40 little Chinese girls as US citizens, the representative at the US Consolate in Guangzhous said, "Congratulations, you have just made it through one of the toughest bureaucratic processes known to man." Well, I don't know if it was that bad, but I am very thankful for the Children's Hope International Adoption Agency. They are supremely efficient and competent in their work. Our personal assistant, Elsie Chen was amazing, and there is no way we could have done it without her. Elsie- Thank you, and God Bless you as you continue your great work. Please come visit us in Chicago soon.

Tomorrow morning we embark on the end of this part of our journey. It promises to be a very long day. In fact, with the time change, it will be a 38 hour day for us. The most challenging part will of course be the 13 hour direct flight from Beijing to Chicago. But it is the beginning of the next part of our journey that I look forward to the most. The introduction of Gwen to the rest of our family. Caleb, Seth and Madelyn - you are going to absolutely love Gwen. She is such a happy little girl. She has been studying your pictures in the album we brought. She loves to point at each of your faces and jabber away. I am convinced she will recognize you instantly... and you are going to love her smile. Thank you for the way you are each opening your hearts to her. It is so worth it! Mom and I can't wait to see your smiling faces when we walk through the tunnel at O'Hare.

So we say goodbye to our new friends here. Matt and Kerry and their new daughter Emma, Steve and Jennifer and their new daughter Kate, Dean and his daughter Jessica and their new daughter/sister Alia, and Carol with her new daughter Kimberly. We will miss you, but hopefully only for a short while. We look forward to a reunion sometime next year. And we say goodbye to China. A country for which many people have strong opinions, both good and bad. As for us, we now know you for your sincere and gracious hospitality, your hard working spirit, and for the incredible gift you have afforded our family. We say thank you for the precious daughter you have given us. We will love her and we will let her know of the good in the country where she was born. We look forward to returning one day when she is older and can understand more fully the unique circumstances that led her to us. For now, our humble prayer is that God will extend his gracious hand to the country of China. Our hope is that one day when we do return that it may be a place that is able to provide more hope for its people, and that they will have made great progress toward their toughest social challenges.

Have a blessed Christmas celebration. We look forward to talking to everyone soon. Thank you to everyone that posted comments to our blog over the past few weeks. While we were not able to view them while here in China, we do look forward to reading them all when we arrive home... sweet home.

Our Beautiful Girls

Kimberly, Emma, Gwen, Alia, Kate (Kate does not like group pictures!)

We ended our time here tonight with our new friends with a pizza party in the hallway, where this picture was taken. Scott enlisted the help of our local guide, Dave, to call a Pizza Hut for us to order in our dinner. Having eaten nearly every meal of the last two weeks in a restaurant, we thought it would be a nice break for the little girls and for us! We tried to order breadsticks to have with the pizza... they said they would send bagels instead (??!), but they send onion rings! Oh well. Jessica ran to the local cafe to to get mashed potato and scrambled eggs for the babies, and Steve went to 7-11 and got drinks for us. It was such a fun, relaxed way to end the adventure. We all marveled at our beautiful girls as we ate... and how life is changing for all of us!

Signs Around China

We had fun with the English translation of some of the signs we saw... I guess some things don't cross the language barrier very well! Here is a sampling.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Gwen and I play with Jess and Kimberly last night on the red couches.

I need a little help here, Dad

Favorite From Tuesday

We took a lot of pictures today... way too many for me to get on here tonight! This one is my favorite from today and was taken this evening at the farewell dinner Children's Hope hosted for all forty of the families that are a part of our larger group. The dinner was in a restaurant just a short walk from the White Swan. We sat with our travel groups, which in our case was our four Sichuan province families plus Matt and Carrie and their little girl, since they were the only ones that went to their province. It was a very fun meal, lots of different dishes brought and placed on a large lazy susan in the center of the table. The congee (rice porrige) and steamed egg that the babies like was brought first... great planning for forty moms and dads with wiggley babies! Gwen ate more tonight than I think she's eaten the whole time we've been here. :-) During the meal the CHI coordinators played a power point presentation for everyone with pictures from the whole trip. Lots of pictures of our group because we submitted a lot! They also thanked us for adopting the babies, and encouraged us to come back for another baby! They asked us to tell others about adoption... they told about the CHI foundation, which provides funding for medical care for orphans with special needs. It was really a special time, pretty emotional. At the end they gave every family a matted paper cut of the animal of the year of our daughter's birth, made by older special needs orphans. Gwen was born in the year of the monkey... very fitting in her case!
Anyway, this picture was taken after the dinner when Gwen and Alia were hiding behind the cloth that had been hung on the wall to project the power point presentation on to. A fun game of peek-a-boo!

Scenes from an Open Market

A couple of us went on a little outing this afternoon... we had heard there was a market just off the island where we're staying. All kinds of weird things there, we heard. It took us a little time to find the correct bridge and get off the island, but once we did... well, it was a like stepping into a different world. We were absolutely the only westerners~ three women with cameras and two of us carrying Asian babies... let's just say we were pretty conspicuous. Much of what was for sale was unrecognizable to us. We were able to identify dried starfish and sea horses, and what looked like dried snakes. There were lots and lots of live turtles, all sizes, for sale. There were tubs of live scorpions, and the women at that booth were spooning them into empty plastic soda bottles. When we asked our guide later what they were for, she said they boil them and drink the liquid to help stomach ailments. Pepto Bismol would be fine for me, thanks!
One of the turtle booths

Show Me the Way to Go Home

We are so thankful for the relationships we've formed with other families here, and we will be sad to leave these special people and go our separate ways... however, we are ready to go home! Can anyone tell us how to get there from here?!


I got back from shopping this afternoon to find these two like this!

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Home Stretch...

Yesterday afternoon (Monday) we went to the Shamian Medical Center for the standard medical examination. This triggers the final acceptance of Gwen's American Visa (later today, Tuesday), and once that is finalized, we will go with her to the American Consulate (tomorrow, Wednesday) and she will take an oath in order to become an American citizen (I assume we will take the oath for her).

She did pretty well at the doctor, although it is quite apparent that she has a natural fear of people in white coats. The trauma was accentuated by the fact that we were there with 10 other kids, each in their own state of trauma... lots of crying and screaming at different intervals. The great thing is that Gwen finds comfort with Mom and Dad- so not such a bad thing. Her height is 78 cm, her weight is 9.7 kg, her eyes, ears and throat seem fine, and her chest examination still shows a pretty good cold, but getting better. In fact, we are happy to report that she is taking the medicine just fine now.

After the scene at the doctor, we stepped outside toward the river with a close circle of our new friends, children Alia, Kimberly and Kate (with their parents) and the four kids played with the bubbles that Kimberly's mom Carol brought. It was the perfect cure for a rough half-hour at the doctor. Within minutes each of the kids had forgotten about the experience and were mesmorized by the floating clear circles... laughing and popping them and of course asking for more. Caleb, Seth and Madelyn- we have the perfect Christmas present for Gwen... Bubbles. I wonder if they freeze if we blow them outside in the winter? I think we should experiment!

Pictures from our day-

Gwen and Kate

Our China Doll

Daddy's Girl

Can you tell how much Gwen and Scott enjoyed being together today? It has been wonderful for all of us!

We try to imagine what could be going on inside Gwen's head... does she wake up every day and think at first that she is still at the orphanage, and then remember that she's with us now? I am so thankful that she is trusting us both now... even to the point of feeling safe enough to express her frustrations, which she didn't do at first. It is the best feeling to be able to laugh with her... and it's pretty amazing for me to watch her and Scott giggle together! She is so full of life and energy... I praise the Lord for preserving that spirit in her, even when she was in a place that may have taken it out of her. We can't wait for her to meet you, Caleb, Seth and Madelyn... she has been looking at your pictures in the little album more and more. You will have so much fun together!

Just loving being together!