Friday, August 31, 2012

Ethan Update

While we anxiously await news about Ethan, we are trying to have a normal life.  I am so blessed to work in a Christian environment with great Christian women and families who have been amazingly supportive.  Being back around all the sweet kids has been very helpful.  Even though it is hard to see the toddlers that are the same size as Ethan, I love them all to pieces and am glad I am getting back into the groove.  One God moment was when Ms. Megan brought the Mini-Monkeys in to give me some Welcome Back balloons (made out of paperplates and pipecleaners) that they had colored pictures on.  Precious Boone told me that he drew a picture of me looking at a rainbow because that is God's promise.  I teared up and hugged that sweet boy so hard.  I love kids!  What a perfect reminder of God's promise to never leave us or forsake us.  He's with us through all of this heartache, waiting, and uncertainty.  I also came back to work to brand new carpet in my office!!!! Most of you probably have no idea what a fantastic gift this was!  All the teachers worked with Dave and Kevin to give my office a much needed and appreciate make-over.  Awesome!

So, we are still "discussing" our refund with GW for all those fees we prepaid and didn't use.  I am praying (and ask you to join me) that God will speak to their hearts to do the right thing and give us a refund.  Mainly because we need it to give right back to them to travel again.  It is absurd to me that they are expecting us to believe that they gave all of our nearly $9,000 to a "vendor" in China to distribute to guides, drivers, hotels, etc.  Since the last 9 days of our itinerary never happened, those guides, drivers, and hotels didn't get paid, so where is all that money?  Haven't gotten a straight answer yet.  Again, I am praying that GW will make an exception and help us out with this matter.  I understand it is a business and the money is supposed to be nonrefundable, but our adoption is not like any other and requires a little bit of extra compassion and understanding.  I am hoping to see this situation bring out the best in everyone involved.  Please continue to pray about this.

And now the best news...  we did get an update on Ethan today. GW found out that he has been in Nanjing since the 23rd, which was the day after we left Nanjing :(  .  He has not had surgery and the doctors decided they wanted to wait until he was older, like 2 1/2.  Which is still 6 months away.  He is stable, with a heartrate of 55.  GW agreed with us that we should try to bring him home for another surgery, so they are working to figure out if he is stable enough to travel.  The plan is to work with Half the Sky and the China Care Home (look those up if you are interested because they are both amazing organizations that do wonderful things for orphans and China) in Beijing to move him there.  They have excellent people working there that can take care of him until we are allowed to go get him.  Everything still has to go through the CCCWA, but hopefully people will keep advocating for what is best for our little boy.  I just want to be the one who comforts him and we want so badly to be a part of his healthcare decisions.  I know God is the one who ultimately heals and we trust that He will be with each and every doctor, nurse, nanny, and person that is with Ethan.  God will guide their hands, hearts, and minds as they make decisions about how to care for him.  There is so much comfort in that. 

I am trying not to be anxious about thr trip back to China and bringing Ethan home.  I am not a very good traveler and that long plane ride is tough.  To add to it a medically fragile two year old is very stressful, so I am praying for the best possible route and an easy trip home.  I wish we could afford to pay for a doctor to go with us!  None of our girls will go with us this time, so I will have to coordinate their schedules and all that again.  This is a time to ask for help from family and friends and I am definitely getting better at admitting we need help.  Thank God for all the people who volunteer to help in so many ways!

We discussed with GW some of the special needs that we are comfortable with so they can begin looking at baby girl files for Reese.  It is exciting to think about completing our family with two China sweethearts.  And then we are done.  All the seats will be full in our vehicle and around our table.  We are so blessed!  Please be in prayer for us as we work with GW for the perfect match for our family. 

I am feeling so thankful for my husband today.  We were talking about how much we have been through and how this isn't at all what we dreamed about when we met and got married.  God has definitely made our lives exciting and wonderful and He has helped us through some very hard times.  I can't imagine going through any of it without Tim by my side.  We have had to lean on eachother in the last two weeks like never before and I love him more than ever for working so hard to help our family stay positive and move forward.  He has been smart, sweet, and strong through everything, but especially when I was being irrational, emotional, and weak.  I pray that all of my girls will be able to find a husband like their daddy and I pray Ethan will grow up to be just like his daddy.  Pretty sure I don't deserve him!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Little Rays of Sunshine In the Storm

It seems Ethan's story is causing quite a storm.  In one way, this is heart-warming to us, as the love and support that has been expressed to us during this difficult time, has carried us through.  The prayers that have been lifted up have made a huge difference in our lives and we will be forever grateful to our brothers and sisters in Christ for calling on God to help our family. 

On the other hand, the storm is causing distress for GW.  We would like to respectfully ask that people channel their anger, support, and efforts into something positive.  The last thing we want is for Ethan's adoption to be compromised because of negative press.  There is a time and a place to stand up for what is right and we kindly ask that people think of positive ways to help make this situation better. 

As a family, we are praying for God's will to be done.  He has allowed this crisis for a reason and we strongly feel that part of that is so we can have a better understanding for other adoptive families.  Our Adoption Ministry is so important to us and we want to have all the tools and resources we can to help others.  We now have advice about what to do when something terrible happens.  Even when it is hard we are called to rejoice in times of trouble.  I am so thankful that God has been by our side the entire time and even more comforting, that He is with Ethan at all times. 

We are praying without ceasing for Ethan and hoping we will get a call very soon that he is ready to come home. He has been moved to a hospital in Nanjing for another heart surgery. I was thankful to know that he is alive and that they are taking care of him. My heart hurts so badly that he doesn't have his mommy and daddy to love on him while he is hurting and recovering. We picture angels surrounding his hospital room, guiding the doctors and nurses. We hope he feels loved and protected.

One thing that has been on our hearts is that maybe God is leading us to our baby Reese sooner than we thought.  Even though we have been waiting for many years (our paperwork was logged in March 8, 2007), we knew the wait was going to stretch out for several more.  Our DTC FB group has many families that are adopting two special needs children at one time and we have discussed several times how we should have pulled our dossier out of line and found our baby girl at the same time as our son.  These thoughts came when it was too late to do that.  Now we feel strongly that it is time to find Reese with the hopes of Ethan recovering and being able to travel to adopt them both at one time.  This will complete the Tucker family and give us the rest of our lives to help other people adopt!  I know we have a lot of prayer warriors out there and we want to ask for your prayers for us as we pursue our 6th and final child.  It may seem crazy, but nothing about our life right now is "normal"! 

Honestly, we are ready to complete our family.  The stress of adopting takes a lot of time, money, energy, patience, and perseverance. It is time for us to complete what we have started and move on to being a support for other families. God has given us the desire to bring Reese home and we believe He will help us with all the details.  We do not think waiting for a non-special needs referral is what is best and thankfully we had a wonderful conversation with GW about our options.  We were contacted by Diedra, who showed so much concern and compassion that I finally felt like someone from our agency was going to help us.  She made it clear that CCCWA knows we want Ethan and that we have never waivered in our love and commitment to him.  It is so unfortunate that this conversation didn't happen a week ago.  (wow, it's hard to believe it's been a week since we came home- what a nightmare of a week)  I think the pressure of outsiders combined with me flipping out on the phone has caused GW to take a look at what exactly they are doing to help and how they are conveying that to us.  I can only think of one other time in my life that I have even come close to being that upset and angry and frustrated.  I don't like that feeling.  My mama bear instinct was really showing in my last phone call with Kim.  Hopefully Diedra has learned that that is not the kind of person I am, but that I have been pushed to my limit emotionally. 

We want to reach out to the BTDT crowd of adoptive families and ask for fundraising help.  We feel we have done it all at this point and do not feel like we can ask our community for much more.  Does anyone have unique fundraising ideas that we could use?  Or maybe someone has a shoebox of cash that they want to give us?  HA!  We tell potential adoptive families all the time to not let the money stop you from adopting and that you just have to be faithful and diligent in cutting back your budget and choose successful fundraisers.  It is so much easier to be reassuring to other people than to ourselves!  We would appreciate greatly any help we can get in this area!  We do have a diamond tennis bracelet that we are thinking about auctioning off, but have never done that.  Anyone with a suggestion on how to do this?  I've always been intrigued by the puzzle piece fundraiser, but not sure exactly how that works.  Please email Tim with suggestions or advice

I know I said I wasn't going to blog, but I just can't help it.  Tim has proofed this post and given permission for me to post it (hahahaha).  Thanks for keeping up with our story.  We look forward to sharing the happily ever after part...

Thank You

We truly appreciate all the love and support many people are giving to our family during this time in our adoption.  I’m at work right now and do not have time to go into any details about what is happening and we may find it appropriate not to get into all the details.  However, my family has been working with GW over the last several days and we had a very productive conversation with them yesterday.  I know many of you are outraged out what has happened in our adoption.  However, as sometimes is the case on the internet people not connected to the issue can cause problems.  Again we appreciate all the support from everyone and we welcome that support.  However, “storming” GW with calls and emails maybe counterproductive for our family and ultimately Ethan as well.   Let my family sort some things out and check back here for a productive way to support our family.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

no more blogging

Our attorney has advised us to not talk about our situation anymore, so I won't be blogging for awhile.  Please continue to pray for our family and if you want to send us emails, please feel free to send them to Tim at

My heart is completely broken and I will miss being able to vent and share here. 

God bless.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

End of the Day Thoughts

“My God’s not dead, He’s surely alive, living on the inside, roaring like a lion.”


My girls love that song, they sing it at the top of their lungs and I love hearing them.  Those words probably have a different meaning to the people who wrote and sing it, but today, to me, they mean that God is working.  He is speaking to people’s hearts loud and clear. 


Our agency is not Christian based, so their decisions are not being made based on what the Holy Spirit is leading them to do.  They have no clue what it means to call on God to intervene.  While a war is being raged between us and GW, God is rallying His people and calling them to do something in His name.  I am overwhelmed by the support that is pouring in from all over the world for us.  People are on their knees praying for Ethan, people who have never met us, people who care so deeply about orphans that they see Ethan as our child rather than a case number.  We are so grateful for the messages of hope and love from so many people.  We have a fantastic group of family and friends close by that are supporting us, which I know we could not make it without.  And then there are people who have heard our crisis and want to help.  We had many emails today offering help in a variety of ways we had not even thought of.  It will take time for us to sort through what to do, who to contact, decide which path God wants to lead us down.  Knowing there are so many good people willing to go above and beyond to help us makes the lack of action from our agency easier to swallow.


  Where do we go from here? 


We will never give up on Ethan.  It is possible that we will pursue another referral, but we will never “withdraw” from being his family.  All of a sudden GW has information that his condition is more serious than they once thought (interesting that they suddenly have information when the orphanage is supposedly not cooperating and giving any info) and the CCCWA may decide he is not adoptable.  They don’t understand how we feel, which is why the letter full of lies was so hurtful.  I wish we could explain how much we love this little guy.  As a family, we have had so much fun preparing for his arrival.  We have shopped the clearance section of every store gathering clothes for him, dreaming about the day we would argue over what he should wear.  We decorated his room, the perfect science room for our one and only little boy.  In typical Tucker fashion, we over did the theme, down to the Albert Einstein doll he was going to cuddle with.  The girls each painted a canvas to hang together that say 3, 2, 1, Blast Off!  A little gift from all his sisters to show their love and excitement.  The times this summer that we gave up things financially seem to be completely wasted now.  Does GW want to hear about that?  Nope, they don’t care to steal our money to further their 1 million dollar profit each year (pretty good for a non-profit organization).  The many fundraisers we did as a family that took time and energy were all for nothing.  Each dime we spent on this adoption came with sacrifice.  We had so many people giving so much to us.  We don’t have rich friends (maybe a few) but we have generous friends and family who also love Ethan and gave sacrificially and in love.  For what?  So GW could pocket our money and mess up our adoption?  This is not why people gave, for it to be wasted.  Ryleigh and Reagan cashed in their entire savings, their savings bonds, and every penny they had in their piggy banks so they could help pay for their tickets to China, because they love their brother and wanted to be there in those first Gotcha day moments.  We wanted Reagan to see her birth country and appreciate it’s history and culture.  All of that will never be a reality.  These dreams have turned into a nightmare that doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon. 


I have said many times in the last 7 years that every adoptive family has a story.  God chooses children for parents willing to adopt and He does a marvelous job.  I believe God has a plan and that whatever happens, it is His will.  I want Him to use us to help others when we can.  I want our story to have a purpose, just like our other adoptions have.  We can take all this negative and people can learn from it, families will know what to do and not do in moments of crisis, if God forbid this kind of thing happens again.  There have been many moments that we were at a loss as to what to do because we were not education enough about this kind of situation.  GW took advantage of that and manipulated documents, phone conversations, and letters.  We don’t know why.  Our suspicion is somebody messed up right at the beginning and everything that has happened since has been to cover that up.  They will not tell us when or how they found out Ethan was sick or why they wouldn’t let us see him.  They sent us home and cost us thousands of more dollars, and not once did they apologize or show any sympathy for our circumstances.  Nobody could help that Ethan was sick, but so many things could have been done differently to help us make decisions about what to do.  We should still be in China, and if we were it wouldn’t have cost us any more money because it was all already paid for.  If we wouldn’t have been forced to come home, we could have stayed and been updated by our guide on Ethan’s health.  Maybe he is better and would’ve been able to travel soon.  We will never know. 


Lots of people are wondering how the girls are doing.  They are doing well.  They are sad, but they are also moving on with their lives and school.  I think they are afraid to talk about Ethan, so they just play and act normally most of the time.  They love having all this awesome food every day and they get excited to know who is bringing dinner.  I am so thankful for all the people who have been cooking for us.  My kids will never want me to cook again after all the delicious meals we have been having!  What a blessing to have so many people bringing food to us. 


We were so prepared to have Ethan home.  Our lives had been rearranged in preparation for having a toddler.  We got everything we could think of planned ahead of time so his transition into our family would be easier.  We knew he would have a harder time than Reagan, who was just a baby, or the big girls, who were old enough to understand what being adopted meant.  We were ready for two year old tantrums, diaper bags, and sippy cups.  We had the carseats in and the little boy dishes in the cabinet.  I made Reagan’s lunch for school yesterday and almost cried when I saw the Spiderman sandwich container that we had put away for Ethan to have for his lunch.  I am so sad.  So sad that we might not ever meet him.  So sad that he won’t ever know how much we want him, need him, love him.


Tomorrow I am going to go to work.  I’d rather not, but I know I need to.  One step at a time I will make it back in the real world.  Thanks for your prayers.

From Bad to Worse

After being informed there was no news again Monday morning because Snow (supposedly) called the CCCWA and all the directors were in a meeting all day (how convenient).  We were given the same canned answer from Kim (sure, sure, I definitely understand, blah, blah, blah).  It weighed on me so heavily I couldn't do anything but sleep, my body physically could not get up and do anything.  The phrase "weight of the world on your shoulders" applied for sure.  So, during the conversation, Tim asked for a copy of the support letters that have (supposedly) been sent to the CCCWA on our behalf.  Kim said "sure, sure, she could definitely send those".  So we waited and waited and no email all day.  GW closes at 4:30, so when that time came and went, we knew she wasn't sending the letters.  Then lo and behold after dinner, Tim checked his email and there was one that was sent at 5:00 from GW.  We proceeded to read the first letter that had the subject line "Tucker family withdrawal letter".  The entire letter was sent to inform the CCCWA that we wished to withdraw Chang Yi Dong's referral because of his medical condition.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????  This was dated August 20th, which was our Gotcha Day.  Never ever ever did we say anything that day or any other about wanting to give up on him.  It all started to make sense why we can't get information... the orphanage, Chinese officials and who knows who else think that we don't want him.  I am so mad at GW, so hurt by their actions, so confused about what they are thinking.  They lie.  Not just once our twice but multiple times throughout this process.  It's no wonder they made us go home.  They apparently wanted it to seem like we made the decision not to proceed with the adoption so their hands are clean.  They are the only people who can advocate for us with the Chinese officials, so pretty much we have nobody.  We are desperate for help and answers and all we get is lies.  I called the emergency number and tried to talk to Kim about it.  She had the nerve to tell me that I was misinterpreting that letter.  She claims the CCCWA knows we want him.  I read her parts of the letter that clearly states the Tucker family has decided to withdraw from the adoption of Chang Yi Dong.  How else can that be interpreted?  She refused to listen to anything I had to say.  Obviously they are trained to just keep reading their canned answer and keep talking over people.  She literally would not shut up.  I tried to interupt and ask questions and talk and she would not stop repeating the catch phrases she has been trained to use.  I lost it and yelled at her to shut up and said a few other choice words and threw the phone to Tim.  She hung up so Tim called her back and it was the same crap.  I went to Ethan's room and cried.  I feel like I am never going to get out of this nightmare.  The lies and deception have completely ruined our chances of ever adopting Ethan.  And forget about getting a referral for Reese, there is no way that is going to happen now.  We are dealing with corruption from all sides.  It's a good thing Austin, TX is so far away or GW would be getting a visitor.  I cannot believe an agency who used to be so respected is so full of incompetence now.  We are demanding to talk to Snow Wu.  If she has any sort of compassion or integrity she will help us.  But I am not holding my breath.  She had written a letter, dated the 24th (so China wouldn't have seen it until Monday) stating to the CCCWA exactly what our family's desire was.  This is the letter that should have been written at the beginning.  It probably wasn't even sent because Leigh Ann (who by the way, we have NEVER even talked to about this) already wrote the withdrawal letter.  Here's where we stand now, we will be at least $16,000 in debt with no child.  Our family has sacrificed and planned and looked so forward to loving this little boy.  We had dreams for him.  He is not just a number to us or a statistic to us.  He is Ethan Thomas Tucker and he is half way around the world alone and sick.  He will never know how much we love him, how many people rallied together to bring him home, or how the devil ruined it.

I know there are a lot of people following our story and I wish I could post the happily ever after version.  I have not lost faith that God is with us and He has a plan.  I know that He understands my heart and my hurt and He will comfort me.  What would I do without a Savior? 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Not Ready

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love.
Washington Irving

I realized that I am not ready to face reality.  I was up until 3:00 am last night and after the girls went to school I went back to sleep for several hours.  I talked to a few people on the phone, but they are my safe people that I can really talk to without the fear of being judged, they are reminding me that life is still moving outside of my house and I am thankful for that.  However, I am not ready to face the world that doesn't get what's going on.  I don't want to be out and about until we know something and it looks like we won't know anything until next week.  It is so frustrating that GWCA isn't doing more to get information for us.  When they called this morning they were questioning what our guide said exactly and who she talked to.  Tim's response was that maybe they should CALL HER and ask HER!  We have her phone number for goodness sakes, you can't tell me they can't get a hold of her.  They act like she overstepped her boundaries by telling us we could get a referral for Reese.  I really feel like they just don't want things to work out.  Like they will be afraid that our case will set some kind of new trend or something, who knows.  Tim suggested that Snow Wu call all of her contacts in China because they brag about the fact that she is native Chinese and can handle problems that come up because she has the capability to speak directly to them.  How bad do things have to be before she intervenes. After this frustrating call, we were so discouraged.  They can't even tell us how Ethan is doing.  I researched low heart rates in children and it does seem like Jane may have been right that they could be putting in a pacemaker.  But that's only if they care enough to do that.  Oh how I wish he was in the U.S. where I could be with him in the hospital and talk to the doctors.  It's so sad to think that sweet baby, who has never known the love of a family, is trying to fight for his life alone.  And here we sit, trying to figure out what to do.  I know I am being a crappy mom, wife, friend, daughter, preschool director, etc. right now.  I feel like I have completely shut down and I can't figure out how to get moving in the right direction.  I have this weird desire to be up at night, when it is day in China so I am awake when something might be happening.  I am embarrassed to even type that because it is so absurd.  Maybe it also has something to do with being able to cry in private when everyone is sleeping and there is no chance of people calling or coming over.  I still have hope that he is going to be okay and that they will call and let us know we can come get him.  I am clinging to that. 

GW called back in the afternoon to tell us that Snow Wu is going to call somebody Sunday night (Monday morning in China) and that she was drafting a letter to send.  So, that is something.  It's so vague though that I am not sure I want to get my hopes up.  We are at their mercy.  They can withhold information, lie about what they are doing, and manipulate things to fit their agenda.  I really don't like feeling this way about an agency we used to promote and work for.  There are many families that have adopted or are adopting through them because of our recommendation.  I feel sick thinking about that.  I am praying that nobody ever has to feel this cheated and lied to by any agency. 

We were blessed by another delicious dinner tonight and more sweet cards and words of encouragement.  We really do have the best friends in the entire world.  We don't know how we will ever thank everyone.  It makes it even harder knowing that Ethan is missing out on the joy of all these people loving him, too.  I just pray he will someday know how many people it took to pray him home safe and sound.

Hoping to fall asleep soon and wake up with a more positive attitude.  Prayers are still appreciated so much.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I feel silly for posting the last post because I myself was acting like a junior high kid worrying about what other people think and what ignorant people say.  Please forgive me for my lack of censorship in how I was feeling, it was a moment of deep hurt, exhaustion, and sensitivity.

We are so blessed by the extreme outpouring of love and support.  It is overwhelming, encouraging, and it is what is getting us through this difficult time.  Thank you to everyone who has called, come by, fixed food, met us at the airport, prayed for us, watched over our big girls, and sent messages of sincerity to us.  Again, we are so blessed.

Our trip home was emotional.  Leaving the hotel, driving to the train station, and saying good-bye to Jane was hard.  Probably the most difficult part was going through Changzhou City on the train.  That is the city where Ethan is.  We were traveling 180 miles an hour, so it was hard to see things too clearly.  I did see the words "China Post" on a building, which could be the post office where Ethan was found abandoned on December 30, 2010.  Tim saw a hospital that could be where he is right now.  We were so close, but so far away.  It sounds stupid, but it is true.  The train took us to Shanghai, where a driver picked us up and took us to the airport, which was about an hour and a half away.  Each leg of the journey was sad.  Even knowing that we were going to be back to our own comfy beds, normal food, clean water, and loving people, it was so sad to leave without our little boy.  We ate lunch at Burger King at the airport and waited for our flight.  Ryleigh and Reagan were in pretty good spirits, which help us to not dwell on the hurt and disappointment.  By the time we got on the plane to Chicago, we were all so tired and each of us slept most of the way to America.  There was a family with an adopted daughter on there and I couldn't make myself talk to them.  She was adorable and they were such a cute little family, I wish I would have had my emotions under control enough to talk to them. 

By the time we went through customs and security and went to the bathroom in Chicago, it was time to fly to Springfield.  Waiting for us at the airport were some of the most special people in the world to us.  I know it was hard to see us and be there, but I appreciate the love and support so much.  The hugs we got felt so good.  It was an amazing show of care and concern. 

It was great to see Isabella and Becca and to hear the girls are talking and laughing and sharing the last week's events with us made life seem somewhat normal again.  Our friend, Lance, drove us home, as we weren't in any condition to drive.  It was nice to talk to him about everything and to know how much he and others care and want to help.  We got home to a ton of delicious food and cards and a perfectly clean house.  I did have a few tears looking at all of Ethan's pictures on the fridge, but for the most part, we pushed through and enjoyed being back home. 

This morning GWCA called with no news.  I wish I felt more confident that they were doing everything they could to find out how Ethan is.  It seems like making some phone calls would be so much better than emailing.  I feel like now that we are home, it's going to be more difficult to get any information and help.  I don't think our family is being advocated for and I am disappointed that they don't seem at all concerned about what has happened.  Tim very nicely let them know that there are hundreds of people waiting to hear the outcome of how they are going to handle this situation, especially refunding our money and it is a time for GWCA to be the hero or the jerk (my words, not Tim's... he said it much better!).  A lot of people have negative things to say about GWCA and this would be a time to do the right thing to earn back some of the respect that they used to have in the adoption community.  But maybe they don't even care about that. 

So, we sit and we wait.  We are boldly praying for the best case scenario... Ethan will get better and we will get regular updates that give us the truth about his health.  We want to adopt him and we will continue to have hope that God is going to heal him and the orphanage director will give his permission for him to be adopted.  Second, we pray that our referral for Reese will come soon and that we can adopt her at the same time.  This will give us the chance to complete our family in one more trip to China. 

I believe that God is faithful and I have laid all of this at His feet.  I don't want to be filled with worry, anxiety, doubt, and fear.  I want to be confident that my Heavenly Father is working out His plan and His plan is perfect.  Mine is not.  I am thankful that I have my faith to lean on.  When we got in the car last night and turned on The Wind, the first words I heard were from the song Mighty to Save, "Savior, he can move the mountains".  So comforting and so true.  There is a mountain in the way of Ethan's adoption and even Reese's, too, and my God can move that mountain.  He is writing our family's story and He will use us in a big way if we let him.

I want to continue to advocate for orphans, now more than ever.  I want to be a voice for speeding up the adoption process and for helping families with fundraising.  I want to be able to say from experience that adoption is not easy, but when God calls you to it, He will work out the details.  I don't want this bump in our journey to be discouraging to others.  I want to be an encouragement that even in the darkness, God is light.  He is right there and when you perservere, there are blessings waiting.  Yes, it stinks right now and I feel sad and hurt, but as my favorite singer Steven Curtis Chapman says "out of these ashes, beauty will rise".  There have already been good things happen out of this situation.  I will do my best to focus on the good.  But I still need your help because this is easier said than done.  It was hard to get up today and face unpacking.  Opening Ethan's door and going in his room was not easy.  Unpacking all the things we so excitedly packed less than 2 weeks ago was depressing.  But I did it and I survived.  I feel like God is wiping every tear away and giving me reasons to not just lay down and pout.  I got all the suitcases emptied and got the laundry done.  I sorted the mail.  One step at a time, I made it through the day.  We were blessed to have dinner brought to us by a dear friend and I was able to share openly with her about how I feel, so awesome to have friends who understand adoption and the whole process.  It's comforting to have a pastor who goes out of his way to love on us when we need it the most.  All of the people who have asked their friends to pray and shared what has happened are too many to count and say thanks. 

I am dreading going out into the real world and facing people.  Going back to work will be hard.  But I know it's what I need to do.  I miss Bright Beginnings and my wonderful co-workers and I am excited to meet all of our new kids, but it will be hard to go back knowing I don't have my little tag-along Ethan with me.  Being around all the kids his age will be sad.  But I have to do it. 

Please keep praying for us.  A miracle will heal our baby boy and get him home where he belongs and a miracle will expedite Reese's adoption and will bring her home, too.  I believe in miracles.  My friends got amazing news today about their adoption and it was a reminder that God is so good.  I hope I can share it soon, but I think her news should be announced by her at the right time.  The adoption world is too fantastic to ever dwell on the negative for too long.  Thank you, Jesus!

God Bless.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

going home

Just wanted to briefly say a few things before we shut the computer down and head to the train station.

It is very tempting for people to judge us, I made the mistake of getting on facebook and even among all the beautiful and loving and caring posts and prayers, I saw those who want to judge our situation.  First of all, have the guts to use our names if you are going to talk about our situation.  Don't be a junior high kid and talk in half-truths and imply things to leave people wondering what you are talking about.  Please leave us alone if you can't truly be on our side. Pray for us, not against us and stop trying to pretend you know what God's plan for us is. 

God Bless all of our true friends and our amazing church for everything they are doing, I know I don't even know half of it.  We are mature enough in our Christian walk to know that God has never left us, He has a plan and it is so much greater than ours.  We have an entire community of believers who know us and know that we can be hurting without blaming God for what has happened.  God allows things to happen so He can be glorified.  We will praise Him in this storm.  But we are still broken hearted and that is where the body of Christ comes in.  Thank you to everyone who came to LifePoint to pray for us on Tuesday night.  My mom was so impressed and told us how much we are loved and supported.  It was awesome for Isabella and Becca to witness that.

We were left with no choice but to leave this place without Ethan.  We were not allowed to make the trip to see him and we will have to live with that fact.  We will do everything we can to come back and adopt him.  He is our son and that will never change.  God is good ALL THE TIME.

Prayers are appreciated and needed.
The Tuckers

We Need a Miracle

I have not been able to blog about the last 30 hours but I wanted to finally tell what happened so all of our supporters could hear it from my perspective.  I owe so much to so many people for the prayers, love, and support from the first announcement of our plans to adopt Ethan to now.  I have never needed prayer as much as I do right now, along with the rest of my family.

Yesterday morning we were all prepared to meet Ethan.  We had not slept very well because of all the excitement mixed with jet lag.  We got up and got ready, the girls were so cute and giddy.  We skyped with the girls at home and my mom and we all kept saying things like “this is the last time you’ll see us without Ethan” and “this is the last meal without Ethan”.  Our guide was supposed to meet us in the lobby of the hotel at 9:30 so we could go to the Civil Affairs Office.  At 9:15 our phone rang and it was Jane asking if she could come to our room.  I knew in my gut that something was terribly wrong.  She came up and gave us the devastating news that Ethan was too sick to travel and she immediately started telling us that we could just switch to another child.  I was so upset and confused.  Ryleigh began to sob.  We were so confused because she wasn’t telling us what exactly was wrong with Ethan, only that his heart rate was 30 and that his surgery must have not been successful.  My instinct was that it doesn’t matter, we will wait for him to get better, he’s our son.  We want to see him and hold him and tell him everything is okay. We did not travel all this way to turn around and go home and leave our baby sick and alone.  Jane was doing her best to help us.  Tim was so much more clear headed than I was.  When she said we could get another referral immediately from the CCCWA, he thought of Reese and asked if we could just request her referral, meaning a non-special needs baby girl.  We could adopt her now and come back for Ethan.  Suddenly it seemed that there was a solution.  Things were so emotional and we felt like we were having to make life altering decisions in a matter of minutes, yet we wanted to make quick decisions as to not waste precious time.  Jane asked the details of the American side of the paperwork and encouraged us to call the consulate in Guangzhou.  Tim did and they were so nice.  She said that we could accept another referral while we were here and they could expedite all the necessary paperwork.  She said they would gladly change our Consulate Appointment to fit our needs.  She said it would be up to our immigration officer to handle everything from the U.S.  With the time difference we couldn’t get a hold of anyone.  Everything was such a blur.  We cried and cried and prayed for wisdom in the choices we were making.  We called my mom, Kelly and Bridget, and began to share the devastating news over facebook, begging people for prayers. 

We called the GWCA emergency number at some point and at first thought that they were going to be helpful.  Kim said that she would contact Jenny, which I asked her not to, but to please turn it over to someone who could really help, like Snow Wu, the president of GWCA.  I just pictured our agency bending over backwards and helping us through this horrible situation.  In hindsight we realized that Kim knew what was going on before we called.  She wasn’t surprised or shocked or one bit compassionate about what was happening.  It was all business.  She said she would contact our immigration officer.  We planned on doing the same.  So, we waited until 8:00 Central time and Tim called the USCIS.  Our officer was not in, so he got connected to her supervisor, who was unbelievably nice and sympathetic.  She said there would be no problem helping us with another referral and that we could expedite everything.  At some point we had heard that when this happened to another family, they were stranded in China for 6 weeks because nobody would expedite the process for them.  We felt Cathy was really going to advocate for us and make something work.  According to Jane, we could have a new referral quickly, so she had us write a letter saying what we wished to do.  I wrote out on hotel stationary that we wanted to request our non-special needs baby girl and also that when Ethan is better we want to bring him home.  We had an advantage, we thought, because our immigration approval was for 2 children, as we knew we would someday get a referral for Reese (been logged in since March 8, 2007) so all we needed was her name and information so the U.S. could start processing that information on an 1800 form. 

I know I am mixing up the timing of everything because it was so emotional and we are so exhausted in every possible way.  We received a phone call from Kim at GWCA at some point with the bad news that even though the Immigration supervisor made it seem like we could get this done quickly, there were no guarantees and it could take up to 6 weeks, so pretty much we need to just leave to come home and grieve while the bureaucracy plays out.  No support, no apologies, no advocating for anything.  It was the most pitiful excuse of customer service I have ever dealt with.  I reminded her that we are human beings with broken hearts and it would be nice if someone would think about Ethan and what is best for him.  She didn’t care and when Tim was on the phone with her, she began to discuss how we will not receive any refunds from the $8,000 we paid for the travel portion of this adoption.  Mind you, we are not staying in the hotel in Guangzhou that was $300 a night for  6 nights, which she claims cannot be refunded.  Have you ever heard of a hotel that doesn’t refund your money with a weeks notice?  And we will be paying a guide to take us on tours that we will not be going on, and plane tickets to a city we will not make it to.  We paid for breakfasts we won’t ever eat and for help we will not be receiving and NOT ONE DIME will we get back.  You have got to be kidding me.  The contract we sign is all about if we decide to not accept the child after the 24 hour period.  There is nothing that says what happens when other people decide he cannot come home due to his illness.  We are receiving no information and nobody is helping us.  We are dealing with a 13 hour time difference.  When Tim tried to get a hold of someone at GWCA during regular business hours, it took about 8-10 tries before he was connected with Cori, who has never been involved in our case at all.  She said they had been “briefed” about our situation.  So, someone was letting everyone else in on how they could screw us over.  Nice to know they can’t call and talk to us, even though Kim said that Jenny would call us.  But in typical GWCA fashion, we received a carbon copied email that was from Jenny to Delight Travel saying we needed help getting home.  Really?  That was the final decision?  News to us.  Oh, and by the way, we have to pay another arm and leg to get flights out of here. 

I am so angry, hurt, confused, and sad.  We have been dreaming of Gotcha Day for so long and never even thought this could happen.  China adoptions are supposed to be safe and predictable.  We chose China because we didn’t want to go through a domestic adoption and lose the child after having bonded, we didn’t want to pay for fertility treatments all those years ago because there was no guarantee.  Has adoption become such a business to those working in the field that this is acceptable?  We have spent every last penny to get here and to bring Ryleigh and Reagan with us to experience Ethan’s adoption first hand.  We owe a $12,000 loan and have nothing to show for it.  We won’t be able to get a tax credit because we have no child.  We will be paying for this adoption that never happened for years to come.  We have had so many people contribute to our adoption fundraisers and I feel so bad that their hard earned money that was given with so much love and generosity is just wasted.  How will we show our faces to all these people?  How will we go home and look at all of Ethan’s stuff.  We have prepared for him for so long and everything is sitting there waiting for him.  We begged to see him and were told multiple times that we can’t.  We are leaving some of his stuff for Jane to give to him when he is better.  Will he ever get better?  Will anyone even try to fix his heart?  Are we leaving him to die a lonely death in a hospital in Changzhou, China?  He will never know how many people love him.  He will never be kissed by his mommy, daddy, and sisters.  He’ll never meet all his little friends at Bright Beginnings.  Unless there is a miracle and we are allowed to come back and we can find the money for another trip and he does survive.  Should we even hope for that?  Should we just grieve as if he has died and we will never bring him home? 

My heart tells me that we would gladly accept Reese’s referral.  She would not replace Ethan because we have wanted her and waited for her for many years, but I don’t think there is another Ethan.  Ethan is Chang Yi Dong.  He is my son and I love him.  I love remembering all the days of staring at his picture and wondering about his personality.  I love thinking about all the shopping the girls and I have done and how fun it was to decorate his room.  My heart is breaking for Tim because I know he was so excited to have a son, someone to kayak with and play baseball with, someone to watch American Pickers and Storage Wars with.  He deserves to have a son.  How will we move on? 

I feel God’s presence.  I feel the prayers that are being lifted up on our behalf.  I just don’t know how to go on and go home with nothing.  I feel so bad for Isabella and Becca.  They don’t understand all that is going on, but for them, this is just another tragedy, another loss in a long line of losses in their short lives.  Their hearts are hardened because they have experienced so many losses and injustices in their lives.  Ethan was going to be our little guy that was a gift from God to all of us, the person we could celebrate together and love together.  He was going to help heal lots of wounds.  We all deserve him and he definitely deserves a family like us to shower him with love and affection.  Why is this happening?  God is with us, He has a plan, He will continue to give us strength.  We are hurting so badly.

Ethan is named after my granddad, who is the most fantastic man I have ever known.  I was so excited to have a son to share his middle name of Thomas.  I knew Ethan would live up to this name and grow into a Godly, wonderful man.  I am sad that the two of them may never meet. 

I am worried that our story is going to scare people away from adopting and that it will be told over and over again as a negative thing to discourage people from helping the orphan crisis.  How can we overcome this?  How can we not share our hurt but not be discouraging in the process?  Our friends in the adoption community know.  They understand.  But the people who are watching this unfold that have not been blessed by adoption may forever be changed in a negative way.  So many people helped us get here and there will be those that regret giving to our cause.  I don’t blame them.  It’s a waste of money.  Nothing is coming out of this trip except heartache and pain.  We need a miracle.  I am too exhausted to even think straight. 

Tim is finally sleeping after being up for almost 3 days with only a few hours of sleep here and there.  I have never seen a more tired person in my life.  I am worried about having to travel in this state of mind and physical exhaustion.  It is pouring down rain here for the third day in a row.  I feel like it is my tears streaming down the window right now, only I don’t have any tears left. 

Ryleigh and Reagan have been so good.  They are playing quietly when they need to and being so helpful.  They are so sad, too.  Ryleigh asked how God could not answer all the prayers when so many people are praying for Ethan.  I don’t want her to have to learn these hard lessons at her age.  I want to protect her from this.  I am glad we are here together.  They have been a good support system and distraction.  I am so blessed to be the mommy to 4 amazing girls.  Maybe I was being selfish to try to add more kids to our family.  Maybe I need to be content with my girls.  Maybe I need to not have to desire to keep adopting.  It was a joke a couple of years ago that I had an adoption addiction.  I just don’t understand how something that seemed to right and so awesome has turned out so badly.  We need a miracle. 

Please keep us in your prayers.  Ethan needs to be healed and so do we.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

We Made it to Nanjing!

Well, we just broke the cardinal sin of jet-lag… we took a very long nap.  I couldn’t help it, we made it to Nanjing, got checked in, had a quick tour of where to find all the essentials, ate McDonalds, and bam… it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I laid down for just a minute and now 3 hours and some crazy dreams later, I am awake.  Ryleigh and Tim did it, too.  Reagan entertained herself by doing homework and playing games on the computer.  Now we will surely be messed up to go to bed on time later, but boy did I need that nap!

Our morning went very smoothly.  We got loaded up with our group and made it to the airport in plenty of time.  Our flight was nice, it was full and we were the only non-Chinese people on there, but they still announced everything twice, once in Chinese and once in English, thank goodness!  It was a short flight of an hour and a half.  When we took off, most of the people on the plane made an excited “Wow” kind of a noise, like Reagan did the first flight.  It was cute! 

So we got to Nanjing, got our bags (one is now ripped), and found our guide.  We love her already!  She is so nice and very assertive and really knows her stuff.  Of course, the first thing I asked was if she had any news.  She didn’t really, but she said that she thought the problem was a complication from his surgery.  Scary because his surgery was on his heart over a year ago (June 14, 2011).  It really bothers me that for the last couple of weeks, we have heard multiple times about how to “not accept” the child and “don’t sign anything until you are sure”.  I’m not sure how other people “love” but when I signed on to petition to adopt Chang Yi Dong, I fell in love with him.  Not just “oh, it would be nice to have him for a son, if it all works out perfectly”, but head over heels, I’ll do anything, that child is a gift to us from God, hurry up and get me to China because I AM HIS MOMMY kind of love.  I am playing mind games with myself now, like would there be anything that could happen tomorrow that would make us not bring him home?  He’s our son, he’s a little brother, he has friends waiting for him and church and Bright Beginnings.  He’s a part of us already because he has been growing in our hearts for almost a year now.  Please pray for our Gotcha Day tomorrow and for my sanity as we wait these last few hours.

Jane said that the pediatrician from the orphanage will be coming to the Civil Affairs office to explain what happened.  They are picking Ethan up from the hospital and getting on a train to come here.  We will be leaving our hotel at 9:30 to meet them.  Jane wanted us to have some water and juice ready for him.  She said it will be a long trip and he will probably be thirsty.  She took us to a mall that is just around the corner that has a grocery store.  She helped us find some juice, apple/carrot juice YUM! 

The city of Nanjing is the best city we have ever been to in China.  It is very pretty and clean and somehow just different.  Jane gave us the history of Nanjing on the way to the hotel and it is quite interesting.  I won’t take the time to tell you about it, but you can google it!  The hotel room is nice and the air is working, which is a huge blessing after a very hot van ride over here and some very hot walking to and from the mall.  We get so sweaty and gross.  Please don’t try to make a mental picture of this, but when we got back to the room with our lunch, we were all so hot we took off our sweaty clothes and ate without shirts on.  (Two Tuckers even took their shorts off).  Yeah, not a pretty sight, but hey you do what you gotta do to survive. 

There’s a crib already in the room and lots of space for a hotel room.  I need to get things organized because right now it looks like all of our suitcases have thrown up all over the room.  We are excited that there is lots to do right around the hotel.  The mall has a bunch of kid friendly things.  We will see how Ethan feels and how he reacts before we take him out and about though.  My stomach is in knots with not knowing what the next 24 hours will hold.  So, stay tuned… Gotcha Day is in 15 hours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Prayer Request

There’s so much to write about our Saturday, but I want to first request prayers for Ethan. On the way to the Great Wall, our guide informed us that she had gotten a text from Jane, who will be our guide in Nanjing, that said Ethan is in the hospital. Grace called her and let me talk to her. She had very little information except that he was taken there by the orphanage yesterday and they are planning on bringing him from the hospital to us on Monday. I asked a few questions, but she had no answers. When I hung up, Grace was trying to be very reassuring that maybe he just had a fever or a cold. I know things in China are not like in America, so it is hard to know what to think. I believe that God is watching over him and has him covered, so I am doing my best to be at peace and not worry. I just want to hold him and let him know how much we love him. He needs a family to comfort him. It breaks my heart to think about him being so alone, especially in the hospital. Thanks for lifting us all up to the Great Physician. We started the day by eating at the hotel’s breakfast buffet. Nothing like the White Swan from Reagan’s adoption trip, but it was fine. We played it safe and ate cereal and a few other American things, stayed away from the fungus salad! We met the others from our group, Amanda and Sherri. Amanda’s sister is with her to help with the adoption of 2 kids! This will be Sherri’s first! We will go our separate ways to different provinces, but it was nice to make new friends and share experiences with them today. At 8:30 we met Grace in the lobby and waited for our bus. The trip to Tianemen (fogot how to spell that) Square was crazy, the traffic was horrible and only got worse as the day progressed. We were there with a million other people and Grace seemed to just want to rush through everything without giving us all the information like Veronica did back in 2005. It was fine though because it felt like 110 degrees and the humidity is so bad. We were all drenched in sweat, as you will see in the pictures. So we made our way across the street by going under (reminded me of Riga) to the Forbidden City. There were so many people it was hard to keep together as a group. Reagan was not impressed. In hindsight, we should have given her the history behind everything before we left. Tons of people wanted to take pictures of our group, mainly because the other women are tall blondes with blue eyes. It was funny! I guess they don’t see Americans very often! Everytime we saw a little boy, the girls would say Oh, look, how cute, etc. They got to see real live split pants and the reason they wear them. No wonder China stinks so bad! Grace took pictures of us to send to Veronica. We really wish we could have had her as our guide. Grace is fine, but we loved Veronica so much, she was with us the entire time with Reagan’s adoption. She and Grace are friends and even came to America together last year. After the Forbidden City we got back on the bus to head to a Jade Factory to tour and have lunch. Again, the traffic was awful. Grace said she had never seen it that bad. We arrived and it looked very similar to the place we ate in 2005 only it was jade instead of vases. We had lunch, which was pretty good. They brought out all these dishes, including sweet and sour chicken! There was nothing weird or gross. Ryleigh is being a little picky, but Reagan ate a lot! We got a tour of how they make all the jade things, like jewelry, trinkets, etc. It was interesting. We watched several people working and saw pictures of the Olympic medals that they made, there were pictures of Michael Phelps kissing his gold medal with jade on it. Pretty neat. We didn’t buy anything despite the high pressure sales people. It was pretty expensive and we know even if it is fake jade (we got a lesson on how to spot a fake) it will be cheaper in Guangzhou. It’s going to be hard to find gifts to take home for Ethan, much different than shopping for girls! The ride to the Great Wall was supposed to take 10 minutes. Unfortunately we got caught in traffic for over 2 hours. Then it started raining and that is the point we got the call about Ethan. So, it took a lot to make the Great Wall fun. However, that was one of my regrets last time, was not enjoying being at this amazing place. Reagan had fallen asleep on the bus, so she was grouchy at first, but once we made up our minds to have a good time, we did! It was dangerous trying to walk up all those steep steps in the rain and there were a billion people, so we took our time and stopped to take a lot of pictures. It was also very smoggy. We didn’t get any of the history lesson from Grace, in fact I think she just stayed on the bus, so I wished again we had brushed up on some of the facts of the wall to share with the girls. Reagan commented a few times that she didn’t think that it would keep people out of China. She’s funny! I hope she remembers everything she is seeing and doing, but let me just say, that kid is 100 percent American! We witnessed a girl about her age peeing right there on the Great Wall. It’s perfectly okay for people to let their children pee and poop in public, in fact there is a little tiny ditch which serves as drainage for that. Super disgusting, but made us laugh! When we left the Great Wall, we got back into the wonderful traffic. Exhaustion set in and we fell asleep for a little bit on the bus. We drove through the Olympic Village and Grace talked about the different areas. We saw the Watercube and Bird’s Nest and where they athletes stayed. It was neat to see a glimpse of it. The smog made picture taking difficult. Ryleigh and Reagan slept through it and it wasn’t worth it to wake them up. Grace said you can swim at the Watercube for $25 a day. We arrived back at the hotel around 6:00. We were too tired to think about going out for dinner, so we ate beef jerky and crackers. We got to talk to the big girls and my parents, it was so good to hear their voices. I think about a hundred times a day that they would love being here. I miss having my girls all together! They survived their first 3 days of high school and seem to like it! We got packed up and showered and ready to leave bright and early. At 9:00 I thought I couldn’t stay awake for one more second so I crashed. Now it is the middle of the night here and I am probably awake for the day. It’s exciting to think that in just a few hours we will be in Jiangsu Province and there will be no more traveling before we meet Ethan! It’s been a long journey, physically and emotionally, but the time is near! Thanks for following along. Hopefully the internet will be as good in Nanjing and we will post easily from there!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Day of Travel

Greetings from Beijing, China!  We arrived to our hotel room after midnight, local time, about 27 hours after we left Lebanon.  As far as international travel goes, our trip went well.  I was still rushing around before we left trying to get my house in perfect order for my mom, so Tim took the girls to school.  I think it was easier to say bye at home.  When Tim got back we loaded up.  Yes, once again, I do believe I overpacked (see more on that topic later).  After we went to the bank, we headed to Springfield.  We had plenty of time and the plan was for my parents to meet us there so they can keep our vehicle at their house.  We also needed to get some bracelets that my sister made for us to give as gifts.  And I had our garage door opener, house key, and the “instructions” for Isabella and Becca.  So, we walked in to the airport and the lady from American Airlines yells over to us “Chicago or Dallas?”  We say Chicago and she tells us to hurry up.  Tim told her we are on the 11:45 flight and she says “Oh, no, that has been changed, you’re needing to board right now”  WHAT?????  So without arguing (hindsight… we should have!) we go into panic mode and start rushing grabbing our passports, etc. and I called my mom and told them to hurry, but knew there wouldn’t be enough time.  Long story short, we left without seeing them and had to leave a bag of stuff for them at the gate with our not so friendly American Airlines woman (who got an earful from my dad, apparently… go dad!)  We made it through the security and boarded the plane at 10:00, along with 5 other people.  So the first leg of the trip was very laid back and Reagan was absolutely adorable and so excited.  She and Ryleigh talked non-stop about every little thing on the plane and outside.  The trip was so short to Chicago, it was the perfect little start for the girls.  So, getting the O”Hare early, meant that much longer to our already looooooong layover.  But, we made the most of it.  It worked our pretty awesome because we got to see our friend Marla, who was coming home from India.  The timing was impeccable, as we had just found her gate and saw her flight had arrived.  Literally 30 seconds after we sat down to wait and watch the people coming of the plane, we spotted her!  She looked so beautiful and it was so good to see her!  She used to babysit Ryleigh and Reagan and her parents are good friends of ours.  Anyway, we got to chat for a few minutes.  She was one of the first people we saw at the airport when we got home from China with Reagan!  She had to go try to find her sister, who was waiting in the non-secure area, so we didn’t get to see her. 

We had a very delicious lunch at Chili’s and then found a place to park ourselves at the gate we would eventually leave from, K19.  The girls were extremely well-behaved and entertained themselves for many hours.  We took turns walking around with the girls and saw lots of interesting people!  We got to talk to Isabella and Becca when they got home from school.  Our flight ended up being delayed for 30 minutes and then we also had to sit and wait on about 60 people once we boarded who were on a connecting flight that was late.  It was the first part of that flight pretty miserable.  Every seat had been sold, so it took a long time for the attendants to figure out why there were two empty seats.  They finally gave up and we took off after 9:00 pm.  Reagan and Ryleigh were very impressed with their personal tv and game system at their seats and we got settled in for the 13 hours trip!  It ended up going relatively quickly, as we all got to sleep for several hours.  They fed us lots of good food (the flight attendants spoke English and Chinese as they needed and even asked Reagan in Chinese if she wanted chicken or beef dinner, the look on Reagan’s face was priceless and then when she realized she was an American kid, she asked her again in English) and it was a pretty non-eventful flight.  PTL!

When we arrived, it was 10:25 pm local time.  It took us over an hour to get through everything and find our ride to the hotel.  We got in line to go through customs, which was kind of long and all of a sudden this guy tells us to go to the “Special Line”.  Really, it was marked with a neon sign that said that!  We didn’t argue because there was nobody in that line, so we breezed right through, never knowing what made us special!  But considering it was about 90 degrees with 100 percent humidity inside the airport, we gladly took the break!  We waited at baggage claim waiting for our 3 checked bags for what seemed like and eternity, possibly because I was so worried Ms. Grouchy pants from American Airlines Springfield wouldn’t have gotten them in the right spot to get all the way to China!  But eventually, they came down the chute and we headed to the outside world.  We were all sweating and stinking so bad at this point and it was so hot I thought we might pass out (not really, but it was super hot!).  Our friendly driver was standing there with a sign that said “Great Wall China Adoption” and he immediately grabbed our cart of bags (after gasping at how much stuff we brought!) and we headed to his van.  The memories I have of our first trip to China with the scary driving all came flooding back as we weaved in and out of traffic and he drove so crazy, but pretty safely at the same time.  Horns are used A LOT around here.  Our hotel was about 30 minutes from the airport, which seems stupid, so hopefully GWCA books us here because it is closer to the tourist stuff we are doing today.  It’s a nice hotel, but the air doesn’t seem to be working… UGH.  We were all wide awake and got settled into our room with all of our stuff (too much stuff, did I mention that?).  We all had showers without getting the water in our mouths and brushed our teeth with bottled water.  I had forgotten to warn the girls about that, but they did well!  The beds are like concrete, only harder, and so tiny, but we did manage to sleep for a few hours.  We have to go to breakfast at 7:00 and we are meeting to leave with 2 other families to go on our sight seeing adventure at 8:00. 

I am excited to be here, but I feel like the time in Beijing is still just one more hoop to jump through before I meet my son!  One more thing to check off the list to do and then hold my little guy for the first time!  Reagan seems a little annoyed so far with China.  She said too many people speak Chinese and too many Chinese people are here.  Even though she is Chinese, she is obviously Americanized and so much more beautiful than any other girls we have seen!  She said again how funny their eyes look!  She is such a hilarious little girl!  I hope that she will make good memories here the next few weeks, not just meeting her brother, but meeting her homeland, too.  But she definitely is an American girl with a sassy attitude! 

We are all up now, it’s almost 5:00 am here.   Hopefully we will be able to stay awake all day and go to bed at a normal time tonight.  Our flight leaves early in the morning for Nanjing.  Finally we will be in the same city as Ethan!  Then Monday is the big day!  Stay tuned for that!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Before/After Packing

I feel like I have been packing for an eternity. But as the picture shows, everything is packed and by everything, I do mean almost everything in our house! So many good-byes in the last couple of days, but the hardest will be in the morning when we drop Becca and Isabella off at school. The emotions are so hard to describe... so excited to finally meet Ethan, but dreading being away from our sweet big girls, especially since they are just starting school. Praying for everything to go smoothly with grandma. Everyone had a good first day. It was the first time I didn't walk Ryleigh in to her classroom, apparently that's not cool in 6th grade!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Counting down hours...

This journey to our son has been a long road, but we are finally at the counting down hours stage, rather than months, weeks, and days! There has been so much to do to get ready to leave and while I know God's timing is PERFECT, I have had to wonder why we are leaving for China as soon as school is starting. The summer has flown by and I feel bad that my girls didn't get to do much of anything. I worked more at BB than I ever have in the summer and feel guilty about it now. Things have been so stressful getting things ready and feeling like there's so much last minute stuff! It is going to be a good feeling to be on the plane, knowing that I can breath a sigh of relief, even if I'm not leaving everything as perfect as I want to. I am so blessed with friends that are stepping in and making sure the beginning of the school year goes well at BB and also all the wonderful people who are helping Isabella and Becca adjust to HS. I think I am more nervous than they are! They don't have any classes except ELL together, so they are going to be on their own for the first time in their lives. It will be good for them, I think. I pray that they will make some new friends and enjoy their new classes. It's hard to believe that Reagan is starting second grade! I remember taking her to the class parties when Ryleigh was in Mrs. Bechtel's class and she always made herself right at home! She has some great kids her in class and I know it is going to be a super year for her! (Even missing these two weeks) It's equally hard to believe that Ryleigh is a sixth grader! She also has some great kids in her class and is looking forward to being at Hillcrest, even though she still misses Mrs. Starnes! We have been praying for our little Ethan, specifically that he will immediately feel safe and loved by us. Everything in his little world will be changing and I just want him to be able to be comforted by us. I'm afraid that the girls will be disappointed if she doesn't play with them right away. They are wanting it to be like playing with Caysie and the other kids his age at BB. I tried to pack toys that would encourage bonding, but realized I had too many packed, so I had to take a few things out. It's so hard to know what he will be interested in. I did buy a bag of suckers because his last update said he likes candy. Not sure why he gets candy when he's not even two years old, but hey, whatever might work, I'm gonna try! He has a pretty cute Spiderman toothbrush to scrub all the sugar away! I'm kinda bummed because I looked at our travel itinerary and noticed that the flight home is actually 15 hours. That is a looooooooong flight, especially for a not quite 2 year old. Prayers for that flight specifically will be very much appreciated! Mostly I am just ready to go. I am tired of thinking about so many plans, packing, paperwork, fundraising, longing for my baby, and wondering what our new normal will be like. It's going to be a crazy time, but I can't wait!