Day 12…….Christmas Eve & U.S. Consualte

I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas Eve so far!! We are sure missing our family today!

Today two of the families left for Hong Kong.

Our travel group. (We were so blessed to get to know these wonderful families)

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(left to right) Meyer Family (Chloe-2yrs old), Pilato Family (adopted their first child, Eli, 19 months old), Tracy (adopted Kya 2yrs old) and us with our Elyana (2yrs old).

It was very hard to say goodbye to these families…… We spent a lot of time with Susannah and A.J., and it was like being there for the birth of their first child on Gotcha Day! What a beautiful miracle to be a part of. Something amazing happens when you are there together to receive the sweet gifts from heaven, you have prayed for….and waited for, for so long. They are such special people, and Eli fits like a perfect puzzle piece right to them.  AJ has such a funny sense of humor and Susannah is so very sweet.  We will miss you guys! Enjoy that American cheeseburger for us when you get back!

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(we were rushing off to our Consulate appointment, so I didn’t get a family picture of the Meyers) We didn’t get to spend as much time with them, since their little girl was from a different province. They were such a great family from Indiana with 2 older, very sweet kids!  They introduced our kids to a really good Chinese candy, HI-CHEW (sort of like star burst). A big hit with Ryan and Jenna!

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Today was a very special day for us.  After saying goodbye to the other families, our family and Tracy went to our U.S. Consulate appointments, to finish up ALL paperwork and apply for the visa for Elyana. (with Christmas tomorrow, we will get her Visa the Dec 26th)

We could only take pictures outside.  There are no electronics, cameras, back packs ect. allowed inside. We had to leave everything with our guides, except for a transparent grocery bag with items needed for Elyana.  I really wish I would’ve gotten a picture of the VERY long lines of Chinese people waiting to get a chance for a visa to the U.S.  We had to walk by them all.

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Crowds of people lined the fence outside the Consulate all the way around.  I have always known being an American citizen is an honor and priveledge…but understand it more after today.   It’s very sad to see all the people wishing to go, but cannot.  To them, Elyana is a “lucky baby”….and many times Chinese people will tell adoptive families that when they carry the children through.  We bypassed the big line outside and inside, to go upstairs to the adoptive family office.  We got a number, took our oath, then one parent was fingerprinted.  Once again, I wish I could’ve had my camera in that room.  It was a beautiful site with all the adoptive families there, with their sweet children.  One girl being adopted (probably about 8 years old)……brought a toy over and sat beside Elyana and played with her.  For some reason this made the tears spill out…for me. (hid them from the children though…they probably already think we are crazy) lol. She was so sweet with Elyana…..touching her little cheek and saying hello.  I wondered what her life had been like here in China waiting for so long to be adopted, and guessed she felt more comfortable playing with children like Elyana than all of us.

My heart both ached and felt joy for these little ones….

Ached, because they have said goodbye to all so familiar to them-thier birthplace, familiar native tongue, birth mother & father, and all the faces of the nannies that have cared for them.

Rejoiced, for they have gained a forever family that will love them unconditionally.  They are gaining so much, but loosing something/someplace deeply rooted inside.  It’s hard to explain all these emotions we feel for her.  It’s truly been a day mixed with rejoicing, and tears for me.

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After we left the consulate we did a big “hip, hip, horray!” and Elyana just laughed and smiled.  Her life is forever changed, and ours will never be the same either. We are so grateful on this very special Christmas Eve, to be celebrating the end of the long paper chase, and most importantly the birth of our beautiful Savior and our own adoption as His sons and daughters.

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After our morning at the Consulate, Elyana took a nice long nap while John and the kids went out to adventure again.

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Local community row of shops….this would be where the locals would shop for dinner.  (this would also be why our guide Helen told John to not eat the street vendor food) Thank you Helen for your common sense commands! lol

You can see the butcher block in the background.  yum….appetizing…

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yikes….goat head…again.  (this time with bits of hair still attached)  Kind of glad I stayed in the room this time.

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Chicken feet from the 7eleven anyone? We can bring you some home!

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It’ hard to explain….but this place has really grown on all of us.  I’m sure it’s because of Elyana, and also because we have met some wonderfully kind people like our guide Summer.  I teared up AGAIN when it was time to say goodbye to her this evening.  She truly cares about all the families and children.  She looked out for us at every turn…making sure we experienced China while staying safe and comfortable.  She always had the biggest/sweetest smile on her face.

Elyana with Summer before we said goodbye. Summer had volunteered on the mission trip this past August, so had already met our children and was able to tell us allot about the orphanage and nannies.

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Christmas Eve service was so wonderful this evening.  There were many adoptive families staying in the hotel with us, and one of the Dad’s was a pastor.  He just threw a message together and  it was perfect.   It was so great to sit outside with other believers and have church. (and no DeAnna, we didn’t get arrested) lol…although there was a man with a walkie talkie watching us. (in China if a group of people larger than 25 are meeting, they need a permit) We were safe though…no worries. Makes us grateful for the freedoms in our country.

The message was amazing (more tears for me) and singing Christmas songs felt so good!

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Elyana’s first church service….just our style….felt something like the first church would’ve felt.  It was awesome to be connected with other believers on Christmas Eve.

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After the service we headed back to the hotel room and had Christmas Eve dinner (room service) with our friends Tracy and Kya!

Tomorrow evening we have reservations down at the restaurant….but a little simpler dinner for Christmas Eve.

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We can’t believe how much Kya has improved since Gotcha Day! Prayers are working! We got a few smiles out of her tonight!

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Before dinner the kids opened their Christmas p.j.’s.

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Our three sweet kids….

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Dad was of course making them all crack up…..love the smiles and laughter God has filled our little hotel room with.

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We hope and pray your hearts and homes are filled with the joy and celebration of the birth of Jesus today on Christmas Eve!  We love and miss you all dearly!

Merry Christmas!

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace!”  Isaiah 9:6


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