Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Finding Maeve

Today was a hard day. We went to vistit Maeve's finding place and also her orphanage. Maeve was left as an infant  near a clothing store in a smaller town outside of Jinan. She was most likely left in the early morning hours and found before the store even opened. Our hearts broke when we took this all in.  Of course, we have been aware that Maeve was abandoned, but when you are standing in the exact spot, seeing the people, hearing and smelling what her birth mom did- it's all so much more real. We are thankful that her birthmom left her in a place where she would be found quickly and we are thankful to her for giving Maeve life. I believe that the decision she made was not easy or made in an attempt to "get rid of a problem." I believe that she knew her little girl who not have a full life in China and she made the ultimate sacrifice.  Love.  We are broken by and grateful for her sacrifice and know that our lives and Maeve's have been intricately woven together by a loving and merciful God.

After visiting her finding spot, we continued on to the orphanage. Talk about an emotional roller coaster of a day. The orphanage is beautiful- clean, colorful, and the staff- oh, what amazing people! Their dedication and love for the kids was apparent. It was so wonderful to speak directly with Maeve's care givers and ask them questions about her. They knew her like she was their own little girl- her likes/ dislikes, her fears, and her favorite friend, who happens to be a little 2 year old boy named Chen Chen! These women are my heroes and I am completely indebted to them. They have showed Maeve what love is; what a gift. I am so sad that I missed out on the first 17 months of Maeve's life, but I know that she was in very capable hands with people who loved her dearly.

* I'm having trouble getting pics from this morning uploaded to my computer. I'll try again- these were the pictures that I really wanted everyone to see.

This evening we went on a tour of the springs in Jinan. They were really beautiful and we wish we could've spent more time there! We have just a few pictures before it turned too dark to see anymore!

 We've seen a lot of cute little popos in China!

 These little kids taking a roller blading class were amazing!

Maeve loves her Daddy!

Love this little girl!

 This is a fountain near the springs in Jinan.

 This group of dancers performed for us- it was something like River Dance!
John joined in and they all got a kick out of him!

This is the river where the spring flow into.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Day 2 with Maeve

Today was our last day of paperwork in Jinan- we spent a few hours having documents notorized. Maeve did great- no fussing or crying! She is a pretty happy, easy going little girl! We spent the afternoon relaxing in the hotel- a much needed break from the busy schedule of the past few days. Tomorrow we will visit the orphanage and Maeve's finding place.

We went out for lunch today and this lady brought her gandson over
to meet Maeve! This little boy is 7 months old and twice the size of Maeve!
Many people have been very curious about Maeve and either come 
over to see her or just point at us and whisper as we walk by.

A lunch special- french fries with sprinkles!

Starbucks in Jinan! 

 Maeve was a little angel today!
She is fun and loves to interact with us!

Suckers are always a hit!

Monday, July 29, 2013


I don't think this post needs too many words, just pictures! Today was a dream come true, a moment we've been waiting for and anticipating a long time. It could not have gone more perfect than it did. We are amazed at how quickly Maeve went to all three of us (no tears all day long) and how quickly she began to babble, giggle, and interact with us. She is beautiful, always hungry (I think she ate snacks all day long!), and very interested in playing with us- Wow! God is good and has blessed us with more than we could ever have asked for. This was just day 1- who knows how tomorrow, or the next few months, for that matter, will go- but we are rejoicing in today and know that this has been a gift from God to our family.

Now, on to the good stuff!'s almost time!!!

 Here she is!!!!! Our little girl has arrived!!!

 Charlie Chin, aka Charlie Sheen, is the man from the orphanage who brought 
Maeve to us.  He seemed to know Maeve well and made sure she was doing well.

 Maeve and Daddy!

 A smile for big brother, Tristan!

 Jennifer and Anna, along with Maeve and me!
Anna and Maeve were in the same room at the orphanage 
and know each other well. It is awesome that Anna's family lives
in Milwaukee and we will be able to stay in touch. We are so thankful
that we can share this experience with Jennifer and Preston and that our
daughters will grow up knowing each other- what a blessing.

Making it official!

 While we signed papers, Tristan was Chief of Entertainment.
He has been a wonderful help and we are so thankful he is here with us.

I think Maeve ate almost a whole container of Puffs today!!

I have about a million more pictures, but this is all I'll post for today! There will be plenty more to come!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hello, Jinan!

We are here in Maeve's city!!!! And tomorrow is the BIG day!!! We are so excited and nervous all at the same time. It is a miracle that we are here and we know that it is only through God's faithfulness and mercy to us that this is possible.

This morning we left Beijing around 9:00 and took the bullet train to Jinan. It was a short 1.5 hour ride at 187 mph! When we arrived we met our new guide, John who took us to our hotel. It is HOT here, about 100 degrees. We are doing lots of laundry in the sink so we have fresh clothes each day!

After we arrived we went to the bank to change our US dollars into RMB. Our small stack of dollars turned into quite a large stack of Yuan!

Next we went to a huge mall which is very close to our hotel. It is huge and fun to look around! We went with another family, Jennifer and Preston, who are adopting Anna, a little girl who is just a month older than Maeve! We were so happy to learn that they live in Milwaukee-  there will definitely be get togethers when we get home!

At the mall we ate lunch together at a little joint that sold fried dough balls with stuff inside (not sure what else to call them!) They were very good and the people who worked there were happy to help us figure out what to order :)

The next stop was back to our hotel and John and Tristan went to the pool (which is amazing!) for a swim. Mama took a nap :) I'll try to get pics of the pool next time we go.

Tonight our whole group went for dinner at Papa John's! Pizza never tasted so good :)

 It's time to get on the train!

Jennifer and I enjoyed the ride together!

John met a man who used to be a prof at Cornell- they chatted the entire ride!

 NOT our lunch today, but it was an option!

 Lunch at the mall!
Dough balls filled with yummy stuff!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Beijing, Day 2

Our second day in Beijing was full of sightseeing around the city. Our first stop was Tianaman Square. It is a huge open area where many people, both Chinese and foreign people, come to visit.

Tianaman Square with our Beijing guide, Tom.

After we spent time at the Square we crossed the street and visited the Forbidden City. Our first impression was the sheer size of it- it's huge! There are many courtyards that are the size of the several football fields surrounded by beautiful buildings that are centuries old. The architecture and detail is stunning. One of our favorite parts was an inner garden that had unique rocks surrounded by cedar trees and fish ponds. Our visit to the Forbidden City was a highlight of the day!

 This one is for you, Aidan! Do you see the basketball net behind the soldiers??

After we visited the Forbidden City we took a rickshaw ride to a Hutong, which is a traditional Chinese village in the heart of Beijing. They are characterized by inner garden courtyards surrounded by 4 main rooms (parent's room to the north, girls rooms to the west, boys to the east, servants to the south). There are many of these home connected by narrow alleys. In one of the homes we were introduced to the daughter of a local artist who does intricate paper cutting. His work was beautiful. At the next Hutong we visited we were served a delicious lunch by the family who lives there.

Our rickshaw guide tore through the narrow streets, narrowly
 missing the people and other rickshaws that were on the street. 
It was crazy!!!!

 This is the inner courtyard of a Hutong home.

 The alley way that connects the homes.
Everybody uses bicycles for transportation- they are either in use or lined up everywhere!

This is the tiny kitchen in the Hutong. 
Despite it's size (approx 5x8), these ladies turned out an amazing meal!

Lunch at Hutong

Our next stop was a Tea House where we were served 6 different teas.
 They were all unique and delicious- even John joined in!

Leaving the tea house through the beads!

Tomorrow we leave Beijing for Jinan! Maeve, here we come! We feel much anticipation and nervouse jitters as we prepare to meet our little girl. This has been such a long process and it's difficult to comprehend that the day is finally here. We are ready and grateful.