"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:18

Sunday, January 31, 2010

We're In CHINA!

It's Sunday afternoon here in China and we've made it to Nanning. That entaled a Des Moines to Chicago flight (piece of cake), a 14.5 hour Chicago to Shanghai flight (a large chunck of something else...much less desireable than cake), by the time we got to hour 6 I thought for sure we were almost there, I about cried when I realized we still had 8 hours left, then  a twelve hour stay in a Shanghai hotel, and  a 3.5 hour flight from Shanghai to Nanning.  
If you haven't undertaken a 14+ hour plane ride with three small children in the last few months, you should give it a try. It will make all those things you don't look forward to seem like a warm ray of sunshine...like say cavity fillings at the dentist, the upcoming tax date, etc. Actually the kids did amazingly well on the flight and it honestly could not have gone much better.  Praise the Lord!
Our hotel in Nanning is great and it feels good to be able to unpack a little bit and stay in one place now for the week.  Now, we are just trying to get over the jet lag...
We had fried noodles for lunch today and much to my surprise Parker loved them.  I already knew Aly and Austin liked them, but was surprised Parker did too.
We meet Lilyia tomorrow (Monday, February 1st) at 2:30 pm China time which will be 12:30am US time.  Keep us in your prayers during this transition for everyone.  
I am going to try and get some sleep now since Alyson and Parker are both sleeping.  Austin and John went to the grocery store to get some milk and juice for our mini fridge.
We will post more after we get Lilyia.
The Christen Family

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Tomorrow morning, January 29th at 4:00am we will be loading the kids into the van and driving to the Des Moines airport to fly to the other side of the world to bring home our baby girl! The next time I blog I will be in China. We will be meeting Lilyia Sunday evening at 8:00pm (US time), but it will be Monday morning at 10:00am China time. Here is our itinerary while in China. Thanks to everyone for your prayers, we greatly appreciate them! We will be checking e-mail while in China, but the only e-mail address we will be able to check is johnpchristen@msn.com

The itinerary for family Christen adopting Xu Chunxin

Jan.31: Arriving in Nanning by HO 1171 at 11:30
Staying at the Mingyuan Xindu Hotel in Nanning
Feb.01: Meeting baby
Feb.02: Registration and Notary
Feb.03: Local sightseeing (Museum)
Feb.04: Local sightseeing (Qing Xiu Hill and People’s Park)
Feb.05: Local sightseeing (Zoo)
Getting passport for Xu ChunXin
Flying from Nanning to Guangzhou by the flight ZH 9604 (1840/ 1950)
Staying at the White Swan Hotel
Feb.06: Taking picture and medical check for Xu ChunXin
Feb.07: Local sightseeing (Liu Hua Lake Park)
Feb.08: Applying for ChunXin's visa at 10:00 a.m.
Local sightseeing (Pedestrian Street)
Feb.09: Attend swearing ceremony
Feb.10: Getting visa
Local sightseeing (Six Banyan Tree Temple)
Flying from Guangzhou to Beijing by a late flight
Feb. 11th-Fly Home

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We leave in two days

In less than two days we will be on a plane to China! I guess that's all I have to say for now. It seems unreal that this is really happening!

Monday, January 25, 2010

We leave in Five Days!!!

This past weekend has been filled with shopping, doing laundry, and packing to get ready for our trip. So far, I have all the kids stuff packed so I now I just need to work on my clothes and all the "extra" things we need to take and thankfully my husband packs for himself. The kids only have about 3 outfits left for the week cause everything else is packed. :) I have also packed the kids back packs as their carry on bags so they have to use plastic sacks as their school bags for the rest of the week. Sorry kids! I hate to wait until the last minute to pack.

I can hardly believe we leave in FIVE DAYS for China. Our plane leaves at 7:05 am out of Des Moines, IA on Friday, January 29th. We fly to Chicago and then leave Chicago at 10:35am and fly straight to Shanghai, which is a 13 hour flight. We will spend the night in Shanghai Saturday night and then fly to Guangxi province on Sunday the 31st. Guangxi is the province Lilyia is in. We will get some rest on Sunday, and then Monday, February 1st is our "Gotcha" day. We will meet Lilyia on the morning of February 1st. Between the time change and my nerves I don't think I will be getting much sleep the night before. I am so incredibly excited as well as a bit nervous. I can only imagine how I will feel while we are sitting in that room waiting for her to come in and meet us.

WOW-13 hours on a plane with 3 kids (4 kids on the way home)-fun times! Even though it will be difficult with all the kids on the plane and with the jet lag, I am still so happy we are able to take them. This will be such a great experience for Alyson and Austin and I feel in my heart that having Parker there will really help Lilyia bond with all of us, since they are the same age. We have a picture of Lilyia up on our wall and every time I say to Parker, where is Lilyia he goes right over to the wall and points. He carries her picture around and kisses it too. It's so sweet! Alyson and Austin are so in love with their little sister and they can't wait to go to China. I think for her to see other kids and see the way we love and are towards our other 3 children will show her right away that she can trust us and that we are going to love her just as much. This is what I am praying for anyway.

So, we count down the days...in less than one week we will be holding Lilyia in our arms! I can hardly type that without tears coming to my eyes.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

We are going to China!!!

We are praising God that we received our travel approval from China and will be leaving on Friday, January 29th to bring home our daughter. We will meet her on February 1st and will be finalizing things over in China and finishing up paperwork and then we will return home on February 11th. We will be blogging while over in China and taking LOTS of pictures, so please follow along with us on our journey. We are excited to say the least!!! Seems hard to believe we are finally this close to holding our little girl.

Please keep the following things in prayer:

*Smooth and safe travels (no delayed flights, etc.)

*Good health for all of us-especially the kids

*Lilyia’s transition into our family will go well. She knows nothing about us and she will be taken from the only life she has ever known and placed with who she considers complete strangers. Regardless of what her situation is like now, it is the only life she has ever known. So, this is going to be a hard transition for her and we pray she will know and understand our love for her from the very beginning and would bond and attach well with our family.

*Alyson, Austin, and Parker: They would do well with the transition of a new sibling into our family.

*Finances: Please pray God would provide the rest of the money needed to finish up our adoption.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lilyia's History

1 Chronicles 29:11-12
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all.
Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone.

Lilyia was born on April 22nd, 2008. She was abandoned by her birth parents at a local police station on June 7th, 2008. The policeman who found her cared for her overnight and then she was sent to the Social Welfare Department of Guilin (orphanage in her province). She stayed in this orphanage for about 6 months until November 20th, 2008 where she was then put in a foster home with a Chinese family.

So, now the question is why did her parents decide to abandon her? This is a question that I couldn’t really answer until I lived in China and was able to see first hand the Chinese culture. Before living in China, John and I often said, how could any parent abandon their child, that is just awful? Well, I have a completely different attitude about it now. I think that for anyone, including Chinese parents, abandoning their child was probably the hardest thing they have ever had to do, but I also think that for many parents it is one of the most loving things as well. I hurt for her biological mom and dad, how difficult that day on June 7th must have been for them. I am sure they think about their baby often and wonder about her. The reason many Chinese families abandon their children, especially their special needs children, has a lot to do with the Chinese culture and society. A child with any kind of special need is not accepted as a part of society in China. They are considered “broken” and will not be given the opportunities that other Chinese children would be given. They are looked down upon, openly stared at, and often made fun of, even by adults. The Chinese culture does not know how to deal with a child who has a handicap of any kind, and because of this, many parents who have a child with a special need are often forced or pressured to give that child up.

Children with a handicap are sometimes not even allowed to go to school in some parts of china. Those with severe handicaps are often shut away in an orphanage which is the reason the Chinese cultural doesn’t know how to react when encountering a handicap person in public. Finances can also play a huge part in their decision. For some children, a simple surgery is all they need done and then they can go on to live a long and full life. However, there is no form of health care in China and because of how poor many Chinese families are, they have no money to even get a simple surgery done for their child. So, they abandon their child in hopes that somebody will save that child and get a surgery done for them. Abandoning your child in China is against the law, thus it is always done secretively and usually in the middle of the night.

So, it’s interesting…there is no form of health care to help these families get medical attention for their children. There is no support system for families that do have children born with special needs. Yet it is against the law to abandon their child. I just feel so saddened for these parents who have been pressured by family members or maybe even forced to give their child up because of something as minor as a paralyzed arm or a cleft lip and palate, or club feet. So, why did Lilyia’s parents give her up? Well, I guess I don’t know for sure. But, since she wasn’t abandoned until she was 1 ½ months old my guess is that her birth parents started noticing that she couldn’t move her arm and that something was wrong. They were probably scared, had no money to take her to a doctor to get any kind of idea as to what was wrong with her, and were possibly even pressured by their extended family to give this child up. Each family in China is only allowed one child, so they want their one child to be complete with no handicap. I love the Chinese people; they are some of the friendliest people I have ever met. I think they just don’t know any different, this is their culture, this is what they know and they just do what others tell them to do. But, deep down inside I know they have to hurt for that child that they lost. I wish I could tell Lilyia’s parents that it’s okay, that Xu ChunXin (Lilyia) is going to be okay…we will love this little girl with all of our hearts and give her the best life possible. I pray for her birth parents that God would give them a comfort like no other and that they would come to know the Lord so that maybe one day they would be able to see their daughter again in Heaven.