Thursday, December 29, 2011

Yes, it's been a while...

When I said we were going to sign off for a while and just go be a family, I had no idea it would be almost 10 months before I posted any updates.  WOW!  Time flies!  It has been a wild, wonderful and yes, sometimes hard road since coming home from our nearly month long stay in China.  But one word sums up the entire time...blessed.  More about that later... 
Christmas was a bit more special than past years as there is no longer an empty place at the table, or an empty stocking holder on the mantle (well, there almost was...Marcie came through in the final stretch), or an empty corner of the living room Christmas morning.  We were full in the house and especially in our hearts.  Overall, the children (and even the parents) were pretty spoiled, and Maggie was fairly overwhelmed with all the activity.  But she just cranked up the cuteness meter and the meanness :) meter and jumped right in.  It was fun to watch...especially when we consider what the last two Christmases must have been like for her.

GO CATS!
As a quick update on the kids, Trevor is nine going on 30 and it is fair to say he loooves his little sister.  On occasion, he has to be reminded he is not her parent, but it's pretty cute to watch him dote on her nearly every waking moment.  Brandon is four going on 10 and searching for his role within the new dynamic of our family of five.  This has been the most notable difference since we came home as Trevor focuses on Maggie more and more and Maggie seeks to interrupt any attention Brandon receives.  And he is very confused about the somewhat different parenting style regarding Maggie as we seek to bolster bonding and attachment.  Don't get me wrong, the little trooper is a happy big brother and even happier baby boy, but just keeping it real...we have some work to do and changes to make in order to enrich his overall experience (and everyone's for that matter).  Maggie gets more and more comfortable with every passing day.  She has come a loooong way with regard to considering Marcie her primary "go to" and me an OK alternate, and we can tell she really likes us, but they were right about the process...it takes a while and others don't/won't really get it.  But we are blessed with understanding family and friends, and quite honestly, it's going better than we thought it would.  This experience has changed us...it has enriched us...and we have been blessed beyond comprehension by every step.
Smile Week March 2010 with Teresa,
4 middle school students, the school
director, 4 nannies, 3 friends and
our Maggie (2nd from left)
Maggie Jane 8 months

Speaking of blessings...if you recall, Marcie & I were fortunate to meet Maggie's part-time foster mother on Gotcha Day.  She just "happened" to be at the orphanage on "that" day (God is so good).  We have shared several emails since returning home, but today we awoke to an email that contained pictures of our sweet baby girl we had never seen before.  We even learned a little about Teresa's program and the way she funded Maggie's cleft lip repair.  A middle school class in the International School of Beijing raised the money to cover surgeries during Smile Week, Teresa's program's cleft lip repair celebration.  WOW (we say that a lot these days)!  How neat would it be to thank those kids in person?  The blessings continue to overflow and we are thankful God chose us to walk this journey during this season of life.  What an amazing time it has been.  That's it for now...we pray that you had a blessed Christmas and wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!  (Marcie just now announced our Christmas tree is staying up and being redecorated for Chinese New Year) :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Busy Season Is Upon Us...

Today (2/28) is a big day in the Peck household...lil'...er, ahem, sorry...big ol' Brandon turns 4 today!  Happy Birthday big man!  On this day in 2007, your Mommy and Daddy learned how exponentially love can and will grow...you came into this world wrapped with a great big bow and we have never been the same.  So proud of the gentleman you are becoming and the way you are carrying the torch as both big and little brother…not an easy task and you bear it well.  Have a great day buddy!

And so, with the coming of February 28, the festivities begin.  Not just B’s birthday, though…in 11 days, Marcie and I will celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary (except for all these kids seems like just yesterday)…the day after that, Marcie will celebrate her 33rd birthday…two days after that, T will celebrate his 9th birthday (and I’m not even going to begin discussing those emotions).  So the busiest two weeks in the Peck family’s lives have begun, and, as usual, we are all running in different directions and give quick hugs and kisses as we pass in the driveway.  Maggie just kind of stares at us with this little “why are you people so worked up” look and then retreats back into Mommy’s arms with her favorite “as long as you’re not taking me” glance out of the corner of her eye.  As for me, well, I decided to join the party and trump them all…utter nonsense that I should have to wait until August to celebrate “Kevin”…so I plan to have gall bladder surgery as soon as absolutely feasible (ugh!).

God did decide late last week and over this past weekend to allow the cold bug to waft freely through our home, thumping all five of us right in the nose (and chest) and slowing down the speed of real life for a few days.  It was a neat, but slimy opportunity to simply watch our new family of five be together…really together…like all in the same 15 square foot vicinity…ok, a little too together at times (ha).  But even with the piles of tissue and bottles of meds, this new little family had a chance to love on each other and continue to build a trust that only hugs, kisses, snuggles and time will allow.  While she is very content and happy most of the time, Maggie knows Marcie’s hip and shoulder well…and she now knows comfort and love and safety can always be found there.  Cries become whimpers there…whimpers become sniffles…and sniffles become sighs…finally.  And even though there is still a little bit of apprehension, a little bit of occasional inconsolability when it comes to the men of the house…she is learning slowly but surely that the boys and I are trustworthy too.  And I will argue with her ‘til the end of time to convince her that I love her unconditionally and that she can trust me absolutely. :)  Her brothers seem up to the task as well…and they’ve never exhibited the patience it takes to boil water (ha).  She’s a game changer, folks, in every sense of the phrase.  Shhhh...nobody tell her she already has me wrapped.

We feel good…this feels right.  She holds her own with her brothers.  The big brothers worry about and defend her.  Mommy and Daddy are parenting and loving all of them in a way that didn’t fully exist before we spent three weeks on the other side of the world.  We see it differently now.  We saw our very own burning bush.  Many would say we saved an orphan...and sure, we added to the “one less” column…but the truth is, she saved us.  She and her story were exactly what we needed and this season of life was exactly when we needed her…and God knew that all along.  Humbled…

Friday, February 25, 2011

Timeline

Here is a quick rewind on the whirlwind that has been the past two and a half years:

June'ish, 2008:  Kevin hears the voice say "Don't miss another minute!"
July 16, 2008:  Conversation with local attorney/church friend/father of child born in China
August 8, 2008:  Preliminary Application approved by agency
August 14, 2008:  Formal Application approved by agency
October 24, 2008:  Home Study completed
March 6, 2009:  Dossier to China (DTC)
March 20, 2009:  Log-in-Date (LID)
Lots of prayer
Lots of prayer
April'ish 2010:  Switched to special needs after considering from the beginning
September 27, 2010:  Referral & Match (hi sweet Chen Xiaoli)!
October 18, 2010:  Letter of Acceptance (LOA)
November 16, 2010:  Provisional Approval (PA)
November 25, 2010:  NVC Notification
December 22, 2010:  A5 notification
January 3, 2011:  Travel Authorization (TA)
January 6, 2011:  Left Paducah
January 10, 2011:  Gotcha Day (hi sweet Maggie Jane Xiaoli Peck)!
January 29, 2011:  Family of Five together at last ! ! !  :)
February 25, 2011 (today):  whew...still remembering to breathe.

More to come later.  God Bless!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Home

Yep, we made it. And the flight into Nashville landed 45 minutes earlier than the itinerary indicated…so the long anticipated reunion with the babies we left behind commenced sooner than planned and continues as I type. Oh sweet Jesus it feels good to be with our boys again. Shock and awe does not describe how much bigger and older they look than when we left, but their tears, laughs and tight embraces brought back the little boy in a few of us. As for the trip home, we knew the loooong (14 hour) flight to Detroit from Hong Kong would be difficult, but we underestimated upon who most of that difficulty would rest. Little Miss Maggie was remarkable…barely uttered a single whine or whimper that wasn’t caused by our utilization of that dreadful new English word she has learned to comprehend fairly quickly…no…or by our inability to get her meal ready fast enough to satisfy her diva style. Marcie and I joked more than once that we may be the only adoptive couple in recent history (that we know of) that forced their child to cry on the flight home just to make sure she was still capable of that emotion. We, on the other hand, were not as content. God answers many prayers…some he has different plans for other than what we are asking. The aisle seat in our little corner of the back of the plane was occupied…boo. We had prayed hard that we could utilize an empty seat between us for many reasons, but that just didn’t come to fruition. At least he was very nice and extremely accommodating. We felt bad every time one of us had to use the bathroom…or Maggie needed changing…or Maggie needed to eat…or we just needed to walk around a little bit. But he was about my age (a little taller and a little wider too) and has two pre-teen girls at home that he was missing terribly, so we all bonded pretty quickly. I mention the wider part not to judge physical characteristics (even 20 pounds lighter I could stand to lose a few – ha) but to bring your attention to the width of a typical three-seat section of the Boeing 777…18 ½ inches for each seat. So he sits on the aisle (I don’t blame him for booking it), Marcie has to lean a little left to keep from them being all over each other the whole trip, which forces me to lean a little left to avoid she and I being (lovingly) all over each other the whole trip. That’s really not fun for 14 straight hours. Ugh. Lots of stretching and walking around took place on the layover in Detroit. Believe me when I say we were delighted to get off that plane. The other thing I didn’t think about was that this would be a mostly night flight (it left Hong Kong at 10:30 AM for goodness sake). I remembered leaving Seattle on Friday evening on the way over and getting there in the wee hours of Sunday morning and it was dark the ENTIRE trip. That was confusing enough. So we leave HK at 10:30 AM Saturday and a few hours later it’s pitch black outside (got to see a beautiful sunset from 7 miles above the earth…God’s details are so overpowering). We never saw the sun again until somewhere over northeast Montana (about 4 hours prior to landing…10 hours into the flight). And then we landed at about noon on Saturday…yep…noon…and hour and a half after we took off from Hong Kong. Huh? Yeah, I’ve decided to stop thinking about it and just be. Be tired that is. Whew…gonna require some time to shake this fog I’m sure. Maggie slept a grand total of 7 hours on the flights…a four hour nap and a three hour nap…Marcie and I never grabbed a wink.

Marcie and her mom got caught up on the ride home from Nashville, and I was a great traveling companion for her dad as I dozed off every time I wasn’t answering somebody’s question to me. Aside from our immediate family, we were greeted at the house by some wonderful friends who will never know this side of the veil how much they mean to us and how much we appreciate their unfailing love and support of our family. We are undeserving people…and LOVE you all dearly. Repayment seems impossible so we will simply say...just call…anytime…and we are there. The house had been cleaned, the fridge and freezer had been stocked (with good ol’ American meets, veggies and snacks…wahoo!) and gifts were stacked on the counter. What a tremendous blessing.

To all those that poured out their prayers and encouraging words…to those that opened their pocketbooks (still in awe)…to those that showed up and showed off…anyone that has ever even had a positive thought about this journey on our behalf…thank you and we love you. You helped make it possible. (PS – I want to speak to whoever was responsible for providing the meal that rendered me basically useless for the last few days of the trip).

To our families…whose undying, unconditional love and support was a part of the very foundation on which this entire journey was built…words can’t even begin to do our emotions justice. So please just accept our heartfelt thanks and a great big ol’ WE LOVE YOU! Thanks for caring for our boys in our absence…they were well loved…well provided for…obviously well spoiled. Please don’t let this one little paragraph be an indicator of how much each one of you mean to us (I could fill an entire post, but I’m running out of tears with these few words so to get anything posted I need to just leave it at that).

To Teresa…the Chinese foster mother that speaks fluent English and took care of our precious little Cinderella for 12 of her first 16 months. Wow…to meet you and have the opportunity to share a few stolen moments…no words…no words. Just thank you…and we love you.

To an unknown woman on the other side of the world…thank you for being brave. Thank you for working through what must have been an excruciating decision. We pray that somehow, some way, some day you will know in your heart that the little girl you gave birth to and had to leave behind is being loved and cared for in a mighty way. Thank you and we pray for you.

To God…the creator of all things everywhere. Thank You for planting the seed. Thank You for growing the desire in our hearts to do more…to know You better. Thank You for so adamantly and decisively steering us back to the path when we strayed or showed frustration. And thank You for bringing us back home safe and sound. But most of all, as I wrap up the logistical side of this journey and get down to the basics of simply being a family, thank You for perfect, little, beautiful Maggie…and especially the survival instinct You instilled in her little heart the day she was placed, alone, on the south lawn of the Venetian Hotel (no, not the fancy one) in the bustling, polluted, somewhat trash riddled southeast corner of the city of Beijing. Thank You for the care she received in our absence, and thank You for uniting us as the family of five You had designed even before time began. You kept Your promise to us…again…and we are eternally grateful.

Signing off for a little while…gonna go be a family and make up for lost time. We love you all!

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

Thursday, January 27, 2011

God is Good

Yes He is. He has covered this family with an extra dose of just about everything we needed to get through the past 20 days (with one more to go…kind of…15 hour flight gets in two hours after it takes off…that cracks me up). Thank you to everyone for your thoughts, prayers, encouragement, physical assistance, monetary support, and anything else you provided…aside from God, two other words come to mind as I think of you all….HEART & LOVE. We are overwhelmed by your presence in our lives, and we look forward to sharing the rest of our journeys on this side of the veil with each of you. LET US NOT STOP UNTIL THE WHOLE WORLD HEARS!
A quick prayer request: there are obviously tens of millions of orphans all over the world. But China is near and dear to our heart, so that’s where the prayer request lies. We learned during our oath taking at the US Consulate that 67% of US adoptions from China in 2010 were special needs…even higher % expected this year. That’s wonderful, and we pray families continue to feel led down this path. Unfortunately, that means many non-special needs babies are being left behind. Please pray for the lives of these children and for the red tape that seems to be causing the rather long wait to be matched with one of these little precious lives. They all deserve a forever family. Thanks.
Not sure what tonight in Hong Kong will bring with regard to internet access (or tiredness after a train trip, a Hong Kong train station and a taxi with no guide)…so, this might be it from this side of the world. Goodbye China. Almost home. See you soon. God is Good…all the time.

Starting to Count the Hours

It all started 19 days ago. Wow, it seems like a lifetime but of course now seems to have flown by. We have made the official switch to counting down the hours (it’s Thursday morning here and we leave on Friday afternoon for Hong Kong). I’m still working on the overall hours (the whole go back in time thing is really confusing) ‘til that oh so precious moment of a reunion with two little boys that brings tears welling up in my eyes just typing the words. Boys, like I used to tell Maggie for the past few months…hold fast…Mommy and Daddy are coming (but it’s not like you’re miserable or anything having spent the last three weeks in two environments akin to Disney…hope you still want to live with us -ha). Missing the two of you unlike anything we have ever missed before in our lives…and we are soooooo proud of the little men you have proven yourselves to be during this time away. Mommy and Daddy love you very much and can’t wait to hold you tightly in our arms! OK…need to change the subject or blogging stops here. Anyway, some last minute shopping today, and I am going to venture out for a little while with the girls for some video and pictures.

It felt near 70 degrees so we decided not to put Maggie’s fuzzy pj’s or coat on for our little venture…and boy did we garner some nasty looks and presumably nasty comments from the Chinese grannies around the island. Even a few younger shop owners chimed in with their own lecturing “ohhhh summer baby”. Geez, come on people, it’s 70 degrees, she’s got long sleeves and long pants, she’s happy (see the smile), get over it. I might have put my video camera directly in the face of a few of them…they scatter a bit more quickly then…ha!

Leaving Guangzhou in 16 hours 45 minutes (9 PM Thursday here). Can’t lie. Really looking forward to it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Minor and Major Crisis Averted

No kidding. As I mentioned in an earlier post, today (our Wednesday) started with sitting in the room while Connie (the guide) took our paperwork to the US Consulate for our Visa appointment. “If you don’t hear from me by 10:30 (pronounced tin sirty) everything OK…you can go do whatever you want until 2:00 when we leave for oath.” So at 10:28 the phone rings. “Kevin, there is a wrong date on the English translation of the adoption registration…we must to go to office around the corner to fix and take with us this afternoon…should be ok.” Well, in the process of fixing the date that 5 different people missed when checking our documentation, Connie noticed an error on the original certificate (Chinese version) as well, which 4 Chinese people checked. “Hopefully they won’t notice that mistake this time either BECAUSE WE HAVE TO MAIL BACK TO BEIJING, THEY HAVE TO FIX AND MAIL BACK…AND IT’S ALMOST CHINESE NEW…” Connie literally trailed off when she saw my face come to the realization that she was saying MORE TIME in China. You want to talk about a few hours of begging, pleading, on the knees, in the shower, on the bus prayer time…this was it folks. And all our prayer warriors at home were worthless to
us…seems like all you people do is sleep . It felt like just us against all of China. BUT, we had a secret weapon on our side…yep…our great, Holy, magnificent God. Connie threw us a quirky, doubtful look as she walked up to the window to take care of our discrepancy prior to the oath. A few seconds later she turned around and gave the universal OK signal (two big thumbs up). Marcie & I screamed a little bit and gave each other a huge hug…as the other 4 Madison families began to wonder what was up. They were dumbfounded that we hadn’t been in tears the entire trip over to the consulate (so were we a little bit). But in

the end, God provided again, as He has done soooo many times before (and particularly on this trip). Thanks to anyone who might have been thinking about or praying for us, or just felt like something might be wrong somewhere in the world and said a prayer for whatever it was around 1:00 AM Wednesday (Paducah time)…when the people behind the glass wall said OK and Connie whirled around with her thumbs up!!! Whew.


18 down…3 to go. Blessed by every step.


Maggie is still doing wonderful and just gets sweeter and more beautiful by the minute (as evidenced by the picture…just before the eyes disappear when she smiles ).

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Bartering Monster is Born

Today’s agenda featured one thing and one thing only…Marcie goes shopping. And let me tell you, it has been a thing of beauty to watch her get the lay of land and compare prices at 20 different shops since we arrived. And thanks to the knowledge passed on from friends who have blazed this trail before us, she knew the one shop that has reasonable prices (making comparisons much easier). Plus, since the island is a matter of a few blocks by a few blocks, jumping back and forth is no problem. So this afternoon, she and Maggie come bounding through the door all smiles with stroller handles full of bags. “Kev, you will never guess how much I got all this for and how much I saved us!” Funny, seems like I hear that almost every time she comes back from Wal-Mart or Sam’s…same story, different hemisphere. Anyway, she was right…several outfits, more squeaky shoes, little gifts for family and friends galore and other knick knacks…for the low, low price of 475 Yuan (approximately $75 for those of you keeping up with the exchange rate). You know me, the answer I give in the States would work here too, but we have saved major funds on my lack of eating the last few days, so I abstained. Sounds like she stuck pretty close to the “never pay much more than 50% of what they are asking” instruction we received stateside. It was so fun to sit and listen to her talk about the negotiations and walking out on people who just weren’t interested (until she walked out of their store and they ran her down and said OK).
Two funny moments in the conversation: 1) “You think Wal-Mart in Paducah would mind if the next time I get groceries I offer to pay them $120 out of the $240 they’re asking?” 2) “I told one shop owner as I left ‘asi-asi’, trying to express my thanks…then I realized I just told him ‘so-so’ in Spanish.” (Here it’s Xie Xie…pronounced “she-ay she-ay”, but sounding more like “she she” when they say it so fast.) She said the guy said “you’re welcome”, so who knows? 

Maggie was a little trooper and was wide-eyed and bushy-tailed for the majority of the trip…and had a new little Barbie doll in one hand when she got back (hasn’t let go of it since). She was the real winner of the day, as evidenced by today’s photo. She already looks a little too grown up for me…so all you out there with little boys that think…..well, never mind for now.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Kevin & Marcie go a little crazy

No, not the kind of crazy some of you might be thinking (see picture ). It’s the kind of crazy that is the product of either 2.5 days’ worth of traveler’s illness (just me), cabin fever, the realization of 16 days in a foreign land with 5 more to go (thinking of two little boys), the sudden awareness of and longing for the comforts of home (including family & friends), or maybe it is some combination of all the aforementioned elements. Whatever it is, we just had one of the funnier moments of our trip. Marcie: “If you keep feeling better, I bet you could have some steamed rice.” Me: “The only even remotely Chinese food I will be having in the near future is going to come from Jackson St or Hinkleville Rd…and it’s going to be next week!” Marcie (laughing): “Well, I just hope you get to feeling better soon.” Me: “Yeah yeah, you just want me to get better because you’re tired of eating 7-11 snacks for lunch and supper.” Marcie (laughing harder): “I wonder if McDonald’s would deliver a couple orders of fries?” (btw – McDonald’s & KFC deliver in China). Me: “If they do we’ve got the rest of our time eating here covered.”

In a matter of about 12 hours, we have gone from full-fledged, experienced, and integrated into the Chinese culture world travelers to sitting in the room all day and making out a schedule for Maggie’s feeding on the flight home in 5 days (she passed the Benadryl test today ). Think we are ready to come home? Marcie is even getting her proverbial ducks in a row for the packing that hopefully will commence soon.

Today was a day off from appointments, paperwork and sightseeing, hence the invigorating topics presented in today’s post. Sorry…will try to liven it up in the future.

All that said, we are still loving our time here (mostly). But we are, nonetheless, painfully longing to give lots of hugs and kisses to two particular little boys. God has this journey covered from start to finish and from top to bottom…and we feel His presence still. Thank you for your continued prayers and love…can’t wait to see you all!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Girls’ Day Out

Today’s tour took us to the Six Banyan Temple. And with Kevin temporarily (hopefully) under the weather, it was me and Maggie on our own (well, with Connie and 15 other people in the Madison group). I’ll have to admit that I was a little skeptical about going in the first place…kind of felt like I would be cheating on God. After some internal struggle, I decided it was good to educate ones’ self on other religions. So off we went. Once there it would have been easy to get caught up in the beauty of the statues or the meticulous landscape. I’ll have to admit watching the monks perform their ritual was also impressive. However, for this old Southern Baptist girl I couldn’t get past the fact that these poor souls were there to worship and offer sacrifice to a god that is dead and not the one true GOD. It saddened me to the very core that they didn’t even know that Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice and He is waiting for them. I found myself praying for these people who I don’t even know and for their Salvation. Who knew going to a Buddhist Temple would end up bringing me closer to God. He did! So one funny thing about the temple…here we are walking from altar to altar while people are praying and many in the group are snapping photos. The thought crossed my mind how different that would be if large groups of Asian tourists were standing in our balcony taking pictures while Pastor Todd is preaching the word of God.

For the lighter side of our Sunday we then headed to a government store for a little shopping. While there we got to watch a local artist work. All of his paintings were done with his fingers or the palm of his hands. His work was absolutely beautiful, but the price reflected it. After finding a few items of interest we headed back to the hotel for lunch and a nap (and to check on the patient).

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Visa Photo, a Medical Exam and a Paperwork Party

The newest little Peck was a real trooper today (Saturday). It started with a quick photo session for the Visa photo…for which Maggie graciously stuck her tongue out to the side as she so often likes to do. Then sitting and waiting in the medical clinic and running through three stations where they check height/weight, general medical condition and ear/nose/throat…and barely a whimper out of her. Actually, the only time she wasn’t happy was when the tongue depressor was shoved in her mouth…and even that only lasted about 5 seconds. We knew she was a blessing, but she just continues to impress us at every turn. It didn’t hurt that shots or even a TB test were not necessary since she’s under two. We simply had to sign an affidavit stating we would take care of any necessary immunizations within 30 days of arriving home. So, another two items checked off the to-do list.

We had four other Madison (our placement agency) families with us today, and Connie asked everyone to meet back at the hotel to go over the “the very important Visa appointment paperwork”. Marcie and Maggie headed up to the room for Maggie’s naptime, while I stayed downstairs with my big ol’ briefcase full of every single piece of documentation they ever sent, we ever signed or somebody ever said we might need. The other four families were there in full force…kids and all (mostly older children). Connie then says “would the parent who knows most about the paperwork please come sit at this table with me.” So at this point, the four wives from the other families and I stand up to go to Connie’s table. Yeah, me and the girls gonna take care of some business. A couple of the other husbands got a real kick out of this and started snapping photos left and right. I chose not to capture the moment anywhere but in my mind . Besides, Marcie had two rough pregnancies…this one was all (well, paperwork wise) mine.

Love to all…and let the countdown to homebound begin!

PS: Finally ran into another UK fan over here on the other side of the world. One of the other Madison families is from Lexington, and, like me, the husband was decked out in full BBN attire.

Friday, January 21, 2011

An Emperor’s Burial Site & a Park

Today was a full-fledged tourist day. First, we visited the burial site (tomb) of the former emperor from way back when what is now Guangdong province was separate from the dynasties controlling Northern China (yeah, we forgot his name but it’s on video…give us a break…there were LOTS of steps and Maggie was a very busy little bee in her new squeaky shoes). Pretty neat tour…the emperor even allowed a few of his concubines to be buried in the tomb…his two favorite being Lady of the East and Lady of the West (named for which side of him they were laid to rest).

The night before our tourist day I got excited when Connie proclaimed “I’ll pick you up in the lobby at lunch and we will go to Moo Shoo Pork.” Imagine my dismay as I realized she actually said Yue Xiu (pronounced You Shoe) Park…and we embarked on a 90 minute walk around a large, beautiful park in the middle of a bustling city (think Central park on a much smaller scale). It had a considerable lake intertwined with the walkways and scenic overlooks, and all I could think was “man, the boys and I could tear this place up with a spinner bait!” Connie told us the stroller would be fine and then proceeded to make us walk up 12 flights of steps (with a short landing between each one) to take our pictures with the five goats…another story for the video camera to tell. Overall the park was a lot of fun…and we were blessed to spend our day with a beautiful family from North Carolina (NOT Tar Heel fans…whew).

Marcie and I were determined to step out of our box for dinner tonight and went to two different authentic Chinese restaurants that we heard had picture menus. After nearly losing our appetites and what little lunch we still had in our bellies, we proceeded back to Lucy’s for basil spaghetti with garlic toast (M) and sweet and sour pork with steamed rice (K)…we suck (insert clucking sound here). Tomorrow is medical exam and Visa photo day…so please pray for very few or even no shots (not likely).

OH YEAH….PS…we met Jordan tonight! He is one of the shop owners that many friends and blog posts have told us about (he’s a Christian). This guy starts waving us down in the middle of the street and we start to quickly move away thinking we’re about to be accosted. “I’m Jordan, this is my shop (pointing behind him).” He wants to give us a free gift and make an engraving for us to pick up whenever we come back by. He was genuinely disappointed that he went home early the night before when we first visited. Neat guy…he yelled “God Bless You” as we walked away…refreshing to hear and even more fun to say back.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Oh my goodness…it’s a heat wave

We finally made it to Guangzhou no worse for the wear. Like with most travel days, it started relatively early with final packing, Mary picked us up a little after noon, we were supposed to take off at 3 but sat on the plane for an hour + waiting for “incoming Chinese New Year air traffic to clear” and we landed in Guangzhou around 7:30. Mary told us Connie would be “the fancy one waving at you” after baggage claim. She was right…no sign with our name on it…just waving…and very fashionable (fancy). I wondered at first how she knew it was us, and then I remembered out of 480 people on our plane, 478 of them were native Chinese. Multiply that by a couple of other flights and I guess we weren’t too hard to pick out of the crowd. We already miss Mary dearly…she hugged and loved on all three of us and waved with both hands until we disappeared from sight. But she has our email address and we look forward to staying in touch. Connie seems equally wonderful and we eagerly anticipate our time with her over the coming days. Maggie was an amazing little trooper on the plane…other than a few whines over the seatbelt situation she barely uttered a sound except for the occasional giggle (missing supper wasn’t an issue for her either…for me & Marcie it was awful ). God took care of her during takeoff and landing and had her knocked out cold…hoping with all our heart the 15 hour trip yet to come goes as smoothly .

Guangzhou, or at least the little tiny part of it we currently occupy (called Shamian Island), is beautiful. It doesn’t take long to circle the entire island and stroll down the 5 or so side streets that intersect the three main roads. There are numerous little shops, a Subway, a Starbucks, a 7-11 (or two), and a bunch of restaurants (Chinese, French, Western & other). We had lunch at Lucy’s (see picture)…and it was everything friends near and far said it was…definitely going back there. Palm trees and colorful gardens line most of the streets and fill the really cool park overlooking the Pearl River. It’s a balmy 55 degrees here today and people look at us like we’re crazy in our single layer outfits. For fear of retribution from the quite motherly (nosy) older Chinese women we still bundle Maggie in her pink fuzzy outfit, though. Sixty plus degree the rest of the time here…so we may be breaking out the shorts and sunscreen!

All three of us feeling a little tired for some reason…maybe 11 days on the other side of the world has kicked in…and Maggie is just worn out from all the stuff that has changed in her world in that time. Resting this afternoon (Thursday) and visiting a park with Connie and another Madison family tomorrow, then off to take a Visa photo and get a medical exam on Saturday. No comments allowed on wondering about me rolling in and out of this bed! More to come later…love to all!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Born here but not from here…

So tonight we pack, and tomorrow we fly to Guangzhou. Two US passports and one People’s Republic of China passport in hand, and the girls are packing everything up. Well, actually one of the girls is packing and the other one is, well, helping a little bit . Marcie has expressed on more than one occasion this evening: “where are my packing helpers we had the last time I did this?” So if ya’ll aren’t doing anything, come on over!

Saying goodbye to Beijing will be bittersweet. We’ve been away from the boys for far too long, but we have enjoyed seeing our daughter’s/their sister’s birthplace in all its simple, yet stately, magnificence. And while Beijing, China will always be an important part of our family, and it will always be Maggie’s birthplace, she is now and forever more will be FROM Paducah, Kentucky. This little angel, who spent the first 16 months of her life under the care of wonderful people on the other side of the globe, has always been meant to be from our little corner of the world…as God had always planned. Her Chinese heritage is simply one of many of the characteristics we will see in her, but it will NOT define her. I pray more than anything that she will come to know the love of our one and only Savior, Jesus Christ, and, in turn, know and feel the love her earthly forever family has had for her for quite some time now.

Our God is great, friends, and we pray that He touches each one of your lives in a mighty way…as He has unquestionably and immeasurably touched ours. This trip, this family, this little girl, even this rambling, boring blog is ALL ABOUT HIM.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Beijing is wonderful…but 10 days is a long time

We have been in Beijing for eight days now, and aside from the wonderful Maggie moments we continue to have (which is the focus of this whole trip), the longevity is starting to wear thin. The free time is great…the sightseeing is wonderful…but these are all moments that our WHOLE family should and can’t be together. We wish there was some way to take the eight (literally EIGHT) days of actual adoption appointments for this 21 day journey and squeeze them into, let’s say, NINE days. Well, we know God has a reason for it, and we continue to trust in Him. But I have to admit, when Marcie proclaimed the most exciting parts of her day (sans the Maggie moments) were the realization that waffles had been replaced with French toast on the breakfast buffet and the tub was more fun to use than the sink for washing our clothes, I knew we had reached the apex of our Beijing leg and were headed in the other direction . Looking forward to single layer clothes (& no long johns) and the ability to head outdoors on occasion in Guangzhou…but looking more forward to an unbelievably anticipated homecoming at the end of the month.

Picking up Maggie’s passport tomorrow (Tuesday), then headed to the Temple of Heaven for another tour. We leave for Guangzhou on Wednesday…average temp next 10 days…62. Continuing to delight in the journey He has laid before us today…and looking forward with eager anticipation to the next. Your continued prayers are being felt and are much appreciated.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tian An Men Square and the not-so-Forbidden City

This post has a new author (but she hired an editor). Tian An Men Square was basically a huge square with several thousand other tourists walking around on it too. I’m sure it was supposed to be impressive, but I’ve seen large areas of concrete before. These people seem to have something against grass and trees or maybe it’s just that they won’t grow because of all of the pollution. Give me fields of green and blue skies any day. Editor’s Note: Interesting that the main image in my mind of The Square is the young man standing in front of the tanks during the protest…that piece of history did NOT make the talking points for the tour. Otherwise, your new author hit the proverbial nail on the head. Yes, the buildings are beautiful and the spectacle is foreboding, but it represents something I don’t particularly… (well, let’s save that for after we’re back on US soil). :)


Even 12 degree weather couldn’t keep us away from the Forbidden City. Well, actually it could have, but Kevin said we’ve already paid for it so we’re going. Truth be told, it was a remarkable place. The ornate detail in everything from the roof to the decorative stonework in the walkways was unbelievable. Too bad Maggie didn’t see any of it, as she coped with the cold by sleeping through it. Mary told us many facts about the palace and the two dynasties that ruled there. But the most fascinating part was the corridor that held the concubines. Editor’s Note: Yeah, I agree! They each had their own beautiful courtyard surrounded by several rooms. The most interesting story was about one of these women who was taken away from her true love to serve the Emperor. She ended up giving him his only child and after the Emperor’s death her son took control. She, however, ruled the kingdom from behind the veil. Just like a woman, all the work and none of the credit. Editor’s Note: Umm, disagree. Also, it was quite odd to see the considerable number of souvenir, photo, memento book, etc. vendors INSIDE the Forbidden City. I even saw a military guard (dressed just like the ones standing their post) selling replica military hats out of a backpack while presumably making his rounds. It looked pretty capitalistic to me.

We had intended to visit a silk store but it was lunchtime for the little lady. Mary and I did have a chance to discuss some of the traditional silk outfits and the meanings behind them. She was able to get a dig in on the fact that, due to western influence, the younger generation prefers to wear a white gown. That’s right, you may outnumber us, but our marketing can’t be matched. I also did a little size comparison, and I’m sorry to say I won’t be trading in my blue jeans and t-shirts for silk. A large (the biggest I could find in this particular store) compares to a size 4 in the states. Rats, just missed it by a size or two, wouldn’t you know it. Maybe I can find a scarf in my size. Editor’s Note: Not touching that one. Love to all!

More Comfortable

Maggie woke up about 1:30 this morning and just couldn’t get settled enough to go back to sleep. Social workers and doctors all told us not to try to parent TOO much at first and do whatever it takes to let her rest. Yep, that’s right…co-sleeping. Sorry, Trevor, but we had to allow it. I could swear just before she drifted back to sleep (since she stopped crying the second Marcie laid her between us) that I saw a little wicked grin and a wink. Yep, she’s a Peck…through and through. It worked, as we were all able to sleep until 7:30 or so. And coincidence or not, when she woke up, she immediately put her hand on Marcie’s arm and started patting it, and then turned to me and got up in my face and smiled. Again, maybe it was the co-sleeping, maybe it was a fluke, maybe it was a step in the right direction with getting more relaxed with us, but whatever it was…we all liked it.

After breakfast we ran down the street to pick up some more water and some Coke & Sprite (livin’ large now folks). We simply zipped into the convenience store, held up our items to the cashier and asked “how much”…paid the few Yuan and back to the hotel for our day of rest (it’s what the itinerary says…so we have to do it ).

Maggie is cutting another tooth and still has a pretty bad cold, but she remains happy and active when it’s not eating time (Peck) or sleeping time (Wilson). Things continue to get better by the minute over here. Started listening to KLOVE on the computer the last few days since we aren’t freaking out every other minute about something…it’s good to hear the encouraging words and songs again (shh, don’t tell China we’re immersing ourselves in the One who brought us). “Cinderella” came on and of course I had to pick up my little princess and dance with her. What a great God we all serve…can’t wait to see what’s next. Love to all…thank you for your continued prayers.

PS – my blog logistics manager is gone for the weekend to take the boys to the UK basketball game, so these posts will go online after Sunday.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Big Blue Nation goes to the Great Wall…and Marcie Misses Home

Maggie took us on a short tour of her homeland today, and then fell asleep when we got there. But we came, we saw, we sort of kicked its butt. BBN was well represented (as evidenced by the gloves in the picture and a shirt you can’t see), but once again, nobody else noticed the Wildcat logo emblazoned on my apparel. I guess since Yao didn’t play there…


Anyway, the Wall is an absolutely incredible feat of Chinese engineering. To stand on just a very small piece of it and be able to see merely another few miles or so of it in either direction is amazing; yet, then you realize there are actually another 3,900 actual miles of wall you can’t see…5,500 miles if you include branches, trenches and rivers that act as additional barriers. Wow…and the rugged, mountainous, beautiful terrain that surrounds it is astonishing. The leaders and workers who built it may not have believed in God, but He certainly had a hand in the beauty of this place. And we could feel his presence in every piece of it.

Have I mentioned how tall each step is? Or that it looks and feels like it goes straight up (and straight down coming back)? Or that we are not in the best shape? Or that Maggie fell asleep and Marcie could barely see each step? Anyway, the girls hung out at the lower Tower 1 while Dad trudged on up. Oh my, I forgot (on purpose) what breathing in 20 degree air feels like when I‘m breathing hard. Nice workout. But I had to prove the carved stone right. The saying in the picture means basically “he who climbs the wall is a real man, a sort of hero” according to Mary. Oh yeah. 

The other heading in today’s post is not meant to incite worries or fears regarding Marcie’s feelings about home…it was simply meant as an opening to one of the funniest things I have ever heard come out of her mouth. So we went to the wall…where restrooms exist apparently wherever little Asian children are standing and lunch was included at a large tourist building (looked & felt government owned) that wasn’t the cleanest facility we’ve ever been in (I even kept an extra eye open). So we get back to the hotel and Marcie starts that little whiney voice I love so much… “I miss home”. Me: really, what’s wrong? Marcie: “I miss the FDA, the EPA, OSHA, the Dept of Transporation and all those other people that keep us clean and safe.” Bwahahaha. Good one Sweetie…good one.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Short but Interesting Adventure

Anybody ever wonder if a woman on a shopping mission would have survived back when our good and great God changed up the language people were speaking (Tower of Babel) so nobody could understand each other? Yeah, me neither. But today I received an answer to that question anyway. And it is a resounding YES. We packed up a few items (passports, diapers, wipes & snacks), bundled up a ready to nap little monkey and ventured out on our own in downtown Beijing this afternoon. The term “a few blocks down and a few blocks over” does NOT mean the same thing here as it does at 4th & Broadway in Paducah (shout out to my PFGW peeps). A half hour later we were standing in front of a ½ mile wide, ¼ mile tall billboard of Kobe Bryant hawking some new sneakers (ok not quite that big…but huge)…with a bunch of large, fancy stores with elaborate Chinese characters over each one. Marcie put on her big girl panties and off we went into a couple of department stores and market shops in search of … whatever. I was simply along for the ride…keeping my bearings on which way the hotel was as best I could. We never did find the supermarket Mary said would be so easy to find, but we did come across a convenience store (yes, it was written in English on the outside), so I stocked up with 6 liters of bottled water for 14 Yuan ($2.12 US) and off we went. Aside from being the only non-Asian people within a 3 block radius of our hotel (again, don’t think downtown Paducah), the trip wasn’t too bad…except when I decided it was time to cut back toward the hotel and picked a “side street” instead of a main thoroughfare. The authenticity of the side street was pretty cool…the stares and the characters who were giving them were, um, not.

We survived, Maggie napped and now we rest. Thinking about supper…I’ve often wondered since we got here if I might be the only person in town who is eating Chinese food three times per day? (heh heh) It’s ALMOST like having a Chong’s on every corner, downstairs at the restaurant and picking up the phone when I dial room service. Pave the streets gold and show me a mansion…’cause I’m in heaven.

Paperwork complete…waiting on Passport

That’s it…all of our Beijing paperwork is complete and we are simply waiting for Maggie’s passport to be picked up (next Wednesday…grumble grumble) so we can leave for Guangzhou.  Three different offices this morning…back to Civil Affairs for the completed Adoption Registration (which means she’s officially our very own little Communist), then off to the Beijing Public Notary Office for the notarization of her adoption certificate, her birth certificate and her abandonment certificate and we finished the day at a huge police station to apply for and take the photo for her passport.  A quick story about the Notary Office:  so we start paperwork 2 ½ years ago, get the go ahead on 9/27/10, leave on 1/7/11, fly 4 gazillion miles and cross 42 time zones, get in a van and drive through the traffic we have only begun to understand on US news stations, walk into a huge building filled with 400,000 people, sit down in a conference room with another obviously western hemisphere family…the Danglers…from…wait for it…wait for it….Kentucky.  Of course they are.  He works for UPS and they are completing the adoption of their second daughter from China, a five-year old beautiful little girl that speaks very fast and very fluent Chinese.  Their interpreter told us what she way saying about wanting to play with Maggie.  So sweet.  It was really neat to watch mother and daughter communicate about coloring Mickey Mouse and chewing gum.  It was even sweeter, no offense to the Danglers, to turn and see Marcie and Maggie giving each other lots of sugars.  We are experiencing God’s hand on many fronts over here, and each occasion is more special than the last.  Good night to you all…we’re going out for lunch (seems like all you people do is sleep).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Grannie!

Another early start to the day, but this time it was Maggie’s fault. I guess 12 ½ hours of sleep isn’t required on back to back nights, so 8 ½ hours had to suffice last night. Unfortunately, that 8 ½ hours of sleep started at 7:30PM and ended at 4:00AM. Yaaaawwwwn….streeeeeeeeetch. On the plus side, we were able to Skype with the boys while Maggie was wide-eyed and bushy-tailed. We also came to realize, thanks to a thoughtful little 8 year-old that has apparently been paying attention to the time difference, that we were experiencing Grannie’s birthday before she was. Happy Birthday Grannie! We got you a present, but we’ll have to wait until the end of the month to let you hold her .

Maggie spends fewer minutes each morning looking at us like we’re aliens and pulling her hands and arms away with that “don’t get too close to me just yet” look on her face. She just sort of stares at us like we are a couple of crazy people that won’t go away (now she knows how her brothers feel). But those moments in the morning are getting shorter and shorter, and pretty quickly laughter fills the room, followed by the occasional, VERY strong-willed, but very short –lived “I don’t want that” or “I don’t like that” hissy. She doesn’t cry or yell, just hits at it or throws both arms at it and shakes her whole body no. It’s actually pretty cute. Even before time began, God knew this little survivor would steal our hearts…well, I’m here to tell you that it has come to pass. Every little woo, every little laugh, even every little fit, deepens the love we have for this child of God. He has been, is and continues to be so good and faithful in orchestrating this plan…thanks be to Him for bringing her into our lives!

Well, it’s back to the Civil Affairs office today for a few things and then we have several free days and tour days…the Great Wall tomorrow, Tian An Men Square and the Forbidden City on Sunday and the Temple of Heaven on Tuesday. Wednesday we pick up her passport and fly to Guangzhou for the remainder of the trip.

Love to all. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Random Ramblings

I was catching up on the Paducah Sun early this morning as Marcie and Maggie continued to sleep…precious sleep…oh such precious sleep. Anyway, I noticed Defense Secretary Robert Gates was in town (Beijing, that is) Tuesday for meetings with his Chinese counterparts. Funny, we never saw him. I wonder if he knows we’re here? Hmm, anyway, maybe we’ll see him when we venture out today…gonna maybe walk two blocks without Mary…we’ll see.


Quick update…Little Miss Maggie just woke up (8:50 AM Wed here) after a 12 hour, 20 minute sleep…attta girl! Breakfast buffet awaits…

We had a chance to Skype with our boys before they went to bed. Our longing to see and hold them is beyond words and knows no bounds…odd, I think I said that same thing a week ago about a certain little monkey. Please continue to pray for those two little troopers back home in the states…the littlest one is not feeling well and I don’t need to tell anyone where sick little boys need to be. But we rest easy knowing they are being well cared for, well loved by four of the most amazing grandparents ever to walk the face of the earth. Feel better soon buddy. Sleep well Trevor…and remember…God’s got this too.

Quick note on another first today. Maggie leaned forward after her snack (quasi lunch) before nap and smacked a big ol’ smooch on Mommy’s cheek (see picture above). Needless to say, this made somebody very happy.

Mini meltdown…

We had our first glimpse of a more traditional “getting to know you period” this evening, or at least what we have heard to be the norm for many of the post gotcha day episodes from friends that have blazed the trail before us. And it was NOTHING compared to some of the stories we’ve heard…or even comparable to some of what we ourselves have experienced at 4811 Stanley Drive (love you boys !). It could have been hunger (except she just ate), it could have been weariness (except she was on schedule post nap), it could have been boundary testing and losing (likely scenario), it could have been daddy taking the nose cleaning job to keep mommy from having to be the bad guy…um, gal (bonding suggestion from folks smarter than us) or it could have been the slow realization that TaoTao was not coming back (Maggie’s nanny at the orphanage from the day she got there to the day she left) and neither was Teresa (possible…who wouldn’t miss these two wonderful human beings?). Or it could have just been a 16 month old’s way of saying I’ve had it, I’m done and I’m going to bed. Or wait, is that what Marcie said? I don’t know. I’m not sure what day it is, what time it is, whether to add 14 hours or subtract 14 hours, or how many ml are in an oz. Come on, the metric system was a phase…grow out of it! Anyway, all is quiet now as both princess and queen are sound asleep. Truth be told, I was a bit relieved to see some of that type of emotion from Maggie…there can actually be as much wrong with too much contentment as there can be with too much melting down (hmmm, I could learn a lot about myself from that statement…thanks God…appreciate the quick glimpse in the mirror ). A happy medium is where our first two children landed…maybe this is a first sign that our third child will land there too. Time will tell. For now, she still reaches for both of us, she still laughs with both of us, she still gets pretty frustrated with both of us…so it sounds like we’re doing it right so far.

Desperate to be home for two reasons (one 8 the other 3), but breathing in every stinkin’ (see supermarket post) moment of this journey. I am humbled that God would choose my family to walk this journey…the reality is He could have cared for her all by Himself or by some other means far more luxurious than anything we have to offer…but He chose to send my family halfway around the world to bless a little Asian orphan with a family. And I am forever changed that He would do so. Blessings to all!

Beijing Civil Affairs Office…and a supermarket

Today was a light day, thank the good Lord. It started very early though (about 4 AM), as Marcie & I had napped with Maggie (not literally with…but at the same time as) the day before from about 4:30 – 7:00. Yeah, I know, great parenting skills guys….let me tell you, when you rock shock a little girl’s world, you let her decide when eating time, nap time and bed time is…especially when she hadn’t uttered even the slightest upset cry since she met us. Maggie slept until about 7 and had to be rousted a little bit. She was a little unsure of her surroundings when she woke up and a bit leery of these two white people that kept making over her, so we did another hour or so of introduction much like the day before at gotcha time. It didn’t take long for her to start laughing at me and scheming against Marcie and her schedule . Breakfast went off without a hitch and off we went with Mary to the Civil Affairs office. Just a short bit of paperwork to attend to there, but they no longer have a photo studio for the family picture so we had to cross three…yes three intersections in downtown busy Beijing. The term “stick close to Mary” was not just a good idea…it was the essence of survival. Whew, these lovely Chinese can cook the living daylights out of some rice, noodles, veggies and meat, but they can’t drive worth squat. And I think every single one of them owns a car. Anyway, picture got taken and back to the office we went. Luckily I remembered the answers to the questions we were asked over two years ago about why China? Why adopt? Promise to care and never abandon? What about education and healthcare (not going to touch that last one)? Because they asked us again. Stamp this, sign that, stick your finger in red gooey stuff and make fingerprint here, here and here. Thank you, that will be $250 Yuan goodbye (but they were very nice about it…and loved on and made over sweet little Maggie). We go back Thursday to pick up the finalized papers from Civil Affairs (not “finalized”, finalized, but finalized with that piece).

Then it was off for a “quick” trip to the supermarket. Let me say this…IGA (Jian Mart IGA) in Beijing is a world of difference from any IGA I’ve ever seen in Western Kentucky. And I’ve said many times that God is here…I’ll just go ahead and say that based on my Faith that he was in that supermarket too (but there were times…). Basement levels, upper levels, a smell the likes of which I could not have ever fathomed, a heat that could only emanate from the bowels of something awful, however, the workers were friendly and the prices were right down this ol’ tightwad’s alley. One quick story I have to share…we were forced into the bottom of the pit because we wanted to find an umbrella stroller, which we did (actually it’s an umbrella stroller on steroids…much better than any of those Toys R Us hawks as must haves), and we were done…time to go. Uh oh, escalator is broken…Mary’s hands are full, my hands are more full and Marcie is pushing Maggie in a stroller. It’s 1005 degrees, we have on long johns ‘cause it’s 12 degrees topside, and there’s a broken escalator in the way. Mary and I (in front) turn to start to help Marcie by redistributing our loads to help Marcie with hers…”ya’ll just go, I got this”. About that time, I watched the sweetest, most quiet, calm little lady I have ever known (ha) COWGIRL UP. She hoisted that stroller up in the air in front of her (Maggie Moo and all) and told those little Chinese people “watch out…hot momma coming through!” And up the broken escalator she strode…like she owned the place. We hopped in the van, drove back to the hotel and vowed never to venture outside of our hotel room unless Mary goes with us ever again (not really, but almost). By the way, 64 diapers, a far better than average umbrella stroller, 8 Liters of bottled water, a 12 piece rattle toy pack for Maggie, baby soap, 5 days-worth of baby food and shaving cream for wild woman’s legs…wait for it…wait for it…$82. Suhweet. Love to all…sorry for the long ramblings, but I have a lot to say . Free day tomorrow and we are fully stocked…so we’ll see.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Clarity

Well, maybe not total clarity, but today brought a few unexpected blessings (yes, in addition to our Gotcha moment) that brought some clarity regarding our daughter’s first 16 months of life.


1) The orphanage was practically new (since October) so we were pleased to know she had been in a   clean, loving, beautiful environment for at least a little while.

2) We were allowed to go in her room, which she shared with another one and a half year old and two slightly older toddlers (2 cribs, 2 beds)

3) We met the nanny that has cared for her since she came to the orphanage

4) While completing paperwork, a stranger (Chinese lady…see picture) burst through the door with all smiles and a few tears streaming. Turns out our precious Maggie has been in a foster home for 12 of her 16 months and this was her foster mother coming to say goodbye to her precious Xiaoli.

5) Teresa hugged and loved on all three of us as if we were all her children (she whispered to me during our goodbye hug that she could tell we would be good parents to her).

6) Did you catch in #5 that the woman that has cared for our precious Maggie for 12 of her 16 months speaks FLUENT ENGLISH (not broken, I’m talkin’ down home English).

7) In that very plain English that I can’t seem to get over, Teresa asked if she could have our email address to send us baby pictures…in return for a few later on. Umm, sure.

8) Teresa Woo had been with Maggie since the beginning and cared for her through two surgeries (hand-picked the surgeon), visited her in the orphanage and provided for the basic needs of love and nurture we had so desperately prayed for while assuming the worst.

9) Maggie’s cleft palate has already been repaired. Go figure.

10) That’s all…but that’s enough…it’s more than enough…it’s more than we can almost bear.

Gotcha Day!


For several months now, maybe even for two and a half years, a certain little Chinese orphan has been somewhat of a thought, an idea of sorts in response to a call from God.  The paper chase, the prayers, the couple of agonizing decisions that had to be made in the process all seemed to center around something extraordinary, but nonetheless, just a thought.  Today, that thought became real and tangible.  She has 10 little fingers and 10 little toes.  She has a few wisps of black hair and two little dark brown Asian eyes.  She has a mouth full of teeth, a little bitty smushed in nose and the sweetest little lips you have ever seen.  She has a personality that shifts from quiet, calm and laid back (Daddy), to scheming, conniving and a little bossy (Mommy) in a matter seconds (Peck).  We are overjoyed to introduce you all to the newest little member of the Peck family…Trevor and Brandon’s baby sister…Maggie Jane Xiaoli Peck.  She was placed in her Mommy’s arms at 9:56 AM Monday morning (Beijing time), January 10, 2011.  We are thankful to know her…we are thankful to have her…and the only other thing I know to say at this point is this … God is faithful.  I have said many times that your prayers have been felt but never more strongly than this morning.  He has answered them…and in a big way.  More to come later, but please know our hearts are full today, and each of you has had a hand in that.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

First Day in a Foreign Land

It’s Sunday January 9, 3:20 PM here in Beijing. Marcie was feeling tired so I told her she better nap while she can . Funny to think almost every single person we know and love is asleep at this very moment as it’s 1:20 AM Sunday in Paducah. We started the morning after breakfast with the task of exchanging our Traveler’s Cheques to Chinese Yuan (RMB) to cover all of our adoption related expenses in Beijing. We only freaked out a little when the hotel exchange informed us that they were nearly out of money due to it being Sunday and we would have to wait until Monday for the banks to open for the amount we needed. This being a free day (meaning a day without our wonderful Mary), we were tasked with trying to find a bank open on a Sunday. The hotel folks, who speak decent English but not in depth conversation decent English, couldn’t find one…so emergency phone call #1 to Mary (who said “anytime”). Of course, Mary found one…”Bank of China…Dongan Plaza…three minute walk from hotel.” Uh oh….you mean just us, leave the hotel and walk out into downtown Beijing…um, ok. So we got spotty (at best) directions from the hotel staff and off we went. Found it! Closed! Not the one Mary spoke to…bad directions from hotel staff. Back to hotel. Decided to let Mary talk to hotel staff. New directions. Off again in the exact opposite direction as before…found it…OPEN on a Sunday. We understood less than a dozen words…we caught “take ticket, wait”, “number 1024”, “what you want do” and “you welcome”…that was it. An hour later we trudged back to the hotel like the richest little broke couple in China.


Now we rest, but we are anxious for what tomorrow brings. We’re nervous too, somewhat, and a little scared. What will she think of us? How will she respond to our desires for kisses, hugs and snuggles? Will she like the toys we brought? Will she scream until she has sucked all the oxygen out of the room? We don’t know. But we know this…God has fulfilled His promise to us. He planted the seed in our hearts, He nurtured and grew it. He provided the details (zero lost paperwork in 2.5 years, every $ necessary, and even worldwide airline regulation changes) when only He could. And here we are, ready to lay it all at His feet.

People keep saying she has no idea how lucky she is and how much her life is going to change. True…but the real truth is, we are the lucky ones and we have been blessed beyond measure.

That’s all for today. Next time we post, we will be a family of five…anxious to get home with the newest little Peck. Thanks for your continued prayers…what a privilege to walk this earth with each of you.

Navigational Systems Malfunction…

We made it to Seattle on time but only had a chance to use the restroom, grab a couple of bottles of water at the tourist trap and run over to the gate before we had to board. A few minutes later the pilot came on and notified us that a navigational system issue was being worked on by maintenance…and that with “tonight’s flight over parts of Russia and China, believe me folks, you and I both want this system in working order”. Er, ah, ok Mr. Pilot Man, do what you gotta do. About an hour later we were notified that maintenance could not fix it nor find a replacement part so Delta Headquarters was working on rerouting us over “somewhat friendlier parts of the same countries.” OK, that was just too much to wrap our heads around, so we’ll just sit here in the plane for as long as it takes you do whatever in your professional opinion is the SAFE and right thing to do. After another hour, the Captain proudly announced “the various required Embassy paperwork has come through and Headquarters has released our new route…basically folks, the worldwide regulations just got re-written in a matter of 60 minutes.” Heh, heh…God moves mountains people.


The flight was long (11 hours), no doubt, but not really that bad. A few naps, a few movies and a little restlessness, but overall not too bad. The really good news is our in-country guide, Mary, was still waiting for us when we cleared the rather easy customs process. Hooray for Mary!

So we’re here. We’re tired. But we have arrived. And I’m sure there will be more to say about what China has looked like, felt like, sounded like, and yes, even smelled like so far later. But for now, before signing off for an interesting night of sleep (been pitch black ever since an hour after we got on the plane in Seattle at 5 PM Fri…and now it’s just past bedtime 12:30 AM Sun?!?!), we’ll simply say good night to our family and friends on the other side of the world.

And for the last and final time….hold fast Maggie…Mommy and Daddy are HERE !