Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Just so you don't forget.......

Check out the ticker people. Getting pretty darned excited.
As soon as January rolls around I am so going to be on it!!!

I am seriously glad I bought the tickets when I did. You would think with the price of jet fuel going down
prices would have dropped. Not so far. I still got a great deal.

I have no idea where my electronic tickets are!

The visas are easy peasey so no worries there.

Bit nervous about traveling with two girls and will need eyes in the back of my head
to keep a look out for them. Of course, they are old enough to stay near me and to be cautious with
strangers...........but I will still be hyper vigilant.

Have a Blessed and Holy Christmas and stop by our other blogs and check out my wonderful family.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

New Hope....

Am following the blog of a family adopting from New Hope and have snagged a photo from there.
Since their adoption is a private affair I am not sharing more.

There are actually lots of photos on New Hope's web site.
I was amazed at the organizational skills of Joyce and her staff back in 2001
and now that they are at a different and much bigger facility I am sure I will be even more
blown away.

I am hoping they can teach me to do that at home with just three kids, when they have so many.

We are all at home today doing nothing and in a candy induced stupor.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Four months........

At this rate it will be here before I know it. So far the girls just don't have a lot to say on the subject. I keep telling them they are going to have to help with their Chinese in the hopes it will get them to practice more. Guess we will see. I have heard that Hope (the foster home we are staying at) is going to be pretty busy while we are there. I am hoping we can hook up with some folks (other volunteers) and do some traveling together on our off time. I would us like to wander a houtong on our own and around the Forbidden City and not be too structured. I will need to weight the girls interest and attention span and exercise some caution that I wouldn't were I alone.

I need to start doing some research and make a solid itinerary. On Isabel and my trip last March I made a point of doing a little outing every 3 days or so, and then we did a full day here and there, and a 3 day trip to see the pandas in Chengdu. That was unforgettable. I love the planning stage. Visas and such take no time and I will get those after Christmas.

Yikes!!! Before we adopted I never gave China a thought....except for chinese food which I have always it is hard to imagine I am making my fourth trip back. (Derek went alone to get Beth, which I regret...we should have all gone together).

Each trip has been easier.I guess that is because I now know what to expect and am more relaxed. Luckily we have always had good people helping us out as well.

And you should know chinese food is way better in China than in North America.

Just thought I would add a little something, something so you knew we were still here and the wheels are still turning.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Living vicariously.......

We are so enjoying our friends and fellow bloggers stories on their trips to receive their new daughters in China. Two families from right here on our beloved island and friends not yet met from other lands and far away. My heart is with them in that ancient land and I share in their joy as their lives change and love blossoms. Through all the worry and waiting and preparations and fatigue and yes, the jet lag yet to come. It really is a wonderful world despite all the sadness and sorrow always around us. It is a rare pleasure to share those first moments together and to see it all unfold day by day.

Someday I will have to stop spending this time watching the wee screen and smiling here in my little world at the antics of tiny children I will never meet. I don't makes me happy. Maybe because I know how they feel right now and that it will get even better in short order........and it will never change or go away. You'll see.

God speed my friends. Come home safe and sound and together. Home.

Mary Anne, Qing Qing, Alyzabeth and Susannah and all the other sweet and dear little ones.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Become a follower.....

Maybe you got here from reading our other blogs? If you did, become a follower and get automatic updates as we get ready to travel and during our trip. Just click the appropriate spot to your left and it is done. Don't be shy!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Good for Beth..

Beth is in grade 6 this year. She came home today saying her teacher wanted them to think about supporting a worthy cause this year. Of course, Beth thought of China and of New Hope. I gave her an old brochure I have kept all these years and we looked at their website together. She is going to do a little presentation and show them the site and we will see if it is something the class might like to get behind. They would have to come up with some ways to raise funds and then decide what best to do with them.
Very exciting and I hope the class is receptive. There are so many out there who need help it is a tough job to decide where to direct the assistance.

Monday, August 4, 2008

How about this....

Met someone on the internet who has recently moved from Canada to China on a 2 year teaching contract. They have 2 children. I have been following her excellent blog on yahoo. She is making lots of contacts and has very graciously invited us to visit when we travel in March. How cool is that? I love the internet and fellow Canadian adoptive families.

She is in Huangdao, outside of the city of Qingdao, Shandong...........I had to look it up on a map. It is a beach town just south of Beijing. I know there is a famous mountain there and it would be interesting to do the hostel thing again and to know someone there would be bonus. I am going to investigate and see if we can add it to the itinerary and if the budget and time at Hope allows.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Week of the Olympics........

The summer Olympics open on the 8/8/08.........eight is a very lucky number for the Chinese.
Lots of Chinese travel being featured on TV and in print and lots of everything Chinese in general. Kind of fun for us! 

I will work out an itinerary for us in the fall so I will know day by day where and what we will be 
up to. I want us to do the Great Wall, of course. We never did see the Forbidden City or have a Hutong tour so would like to do that. Not too interested in the shopping but will get the girls Chinese names painted in a bottle because Isabel cherishes that souvenir from her trip this year.
This is just part of the fun of the entire trip for me.

We have had updates on some of the children we grew to know and love in that brief time on our Xi'an trip. Hop over to the 2008 trip and read on. I am trying to prepare my heart for this trip. It is hard not to fall in love with the children at the foster home and I worry that they will not find a family. What will become of them? How will their lives play out? I am still grieving for the little ones at Starfish. Part of me thinks they will be okay no matter what but of course we don't know that and it can be difficult in China without the support and love of a family.  It can be difficult anywhere in the world when you are alone. At least for now they are not and that is a comfort. They are being cared for and have a home with lots and lots of brothers and sisters and many Mommies...........and tons of volunteers loving on them.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Flight booked....check!!!

I seriously hope I did not jump the gun here and way over pay for these flights!!! 
Time will tell.  Paid $3260 for the three of us with fees, taxes and fuel surcharges et cetera.
What do you think?

So we leave February 26 (bus & ferry x3)  and will overnight in Vancouver (hotel + dinner) and up early for a 6am hop to San Francisco and then it's Beijing here we come baby.
 Get in around 330pm where we will be met by the good folks from New Hope Foster Home and transported to our digs. I believe we are staying in the main building which is good. Hopefully we can wander around and visit the children at will.

Returning March 20th.

Fares $3260
Bus/ferry $91
Hotel $113
Dinner/misc $100
San Francisco magazines/snacks $100

TOTAL=$3664 from budget of $5000-6000 (best case/worst case)

I think that's pretty good for 3 travelers for 3 weeks

See our blog link section for our last trip and family blog.........and more.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Something is up.....

Those cheap fares were too good to be true. They must offer very few at those prices and when they are gone they are gone. Every time I tried to book them they came up as "sold out". What's that all about???

Heard from Hope. Good news, bad news situation. Yeah,  we can come but they now charge for room and board. That will add $600 to our budget. I know it is a deal and I know they have expenses but still it ups the ante.

Also talked to a woman who was there with her daughter last year and with another woman who lives in Beijing with her daughter who is the same age as our girls. Fact is I met her many years ago on Grace's adoption trip. Long story I will tell you about later. Great gal. 

We are making progress with our plans. We are so blessed to be able to do this. It is huge that I get the girls back to China. It is a promise we made and did not take lightly when the miracle of adoption brought us all together. I wish the whole family could go together but for now we have to do it this way. I am grateful.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cheap flights....

Have found some great fares to Beijing and am seriously thinking of purchasing them now.
For budgetary reasons I need to hold off just a bit longer. Fingers crossed they are still there next week.

I have emailed Joyce at New Hope and asked if we can come next spring break.  I am hoping to speak with  several people who were there last year. I really hope we can be of  help in our time there, not just some tourists stopping by.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I took this photo at the panda reserve in Chengdu in March of 2008 when Isabel and I had our return trip to China. That place was one of the highlights of our trip. Loved the city as well. It took a real hit during the earthquake.


We are on vacation at the beach.....see our family blog in the links. I plan to book our flights in the fall but meanwhile I continue to follow, via blogs, all the adoption stories still happening. It makes me kind of sad that a lot of the experiences people have are not positive ones. I wish I could tell them that two weeks under the stressful conditions they are under is not enough time to get to know the real China or her people. I was as judgemental until we went back too and I was sorry for that and learned from it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

World's most boring travel blog...

Honestly it is like watching a clock. We really won't be booking until the fall and in the meantime we just keep living. School is out for the summer and you can either bookmark us and come back or check out our other blogs.....past and present. They are under the LINKS area to your right. For me I will continue to do my homework and arrange the best trip (trips) ever.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Nothing new...

Naturally this blog will be quiet until we begin to make travel arrangements. I am thinking October or November. I still go to kayak and expedia et cetera and price our flights out but it is kind of silly because we don't know what fuel surcharges will be like in the future. I still am thinking we will go to Hope and I still think spring break. Since we are also thinking of trying to go to England next year we may switch travel times. Maybe UK in early summer and China later. Don't know. Part of me would love to go back to Starfish for at least a couple of days but not sure how helpful we were or would be if we went again and without wouldn't be much of a holiday for my girls. China is definitely our number one priority. I took Isabel so now I must take the younger girls.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Air fares...

Had I been smart and had I the money I should have booked our flights a few weeks back.
Sadly, I did not and now since fuel has sky rocketed I will have to pay the surcharges. It is becoming clear that I will have to book by about September or so to get any deals. Whether the cash will be available is another story.

I am also investigating other airlines. Last time we used Air China and I had no complaints coming or going. The individual TV's were good and kept us entertained.  We had books and magazines and munchies. The girls can bring their Nintendos. What else could we need? Actually once on the planes I didn't find the flights all that long. It is the layovers and waiting that is tedious.

It would be a dream to fly first or business class but that is way beyond our plan of a budget trip so it will remain a dream!

I am excited already and it is still months away. The planning is part of the adventure for me.
I hope this time we can be more helpful than last time but we will do what we can.

Monday, May 26, 2008


I am learning a lot on this journey to a journey. Hope is looking more and more like the place we will be heading for. While reading all about the terrible tragedy of Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman and his family, and the loss of their little girl, I came across his connection to Joyce and Robyn Hill. He and his wife and their organization are building a home in Henan province. It maybe the a place that could use us. I will keep you posted.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Found another one...

Have discovered another foster home in China run by Westerners. It is called Home of Hope and is in GongYi village in Henan Province and a second Home in Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province not far from where Grace was born. It has a very nice website and no doubt I will be exploring that over the next few days. I have been in email contact with the Director and he seemed receptive. Stay tuned!!! I am learning alot.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Check out my cool ticker...

Blogging is so much fun I don't understand why everyone doesn't do it!!!
See our cute little plane ready to just take off?
I have just under 10 months to pull this one off and I have every reason to belief that we can do it!!

I know of folks who have traveled or are planning to travel back and I would love to hear about the planning or the actual trips. Obviously these will happen more and more as the children get older and the agencies will scramble for customers now that the adoption trips are sadly dwindling.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Actually have something to say...

My little emailing fingers have been talking to Joyce at the Hope Foster Home outside of Beijing.
Now Hope is a foster home we have actually visited way back in 2001 on Grace's adoption trip. I had met over the internet a Canadian ex pat teaching in China and when I traveled to get Grace we hooked up so her daughter could play with mine since they were close in age. Kirsty was very warm and welcoming and we were at her apartment a couple of times. She took us to Hope which was an organization her school supported with donations and such. I am so sorry I lost touch with Kirsty. 
 Joyce was out of country at that time but I did talk to her husband and he outlined what they planned to do and how. Back then they were in a different location and had just 16 babies. I was impressed at how well organized and well run the place was. Now 7 years later they have 155 babies and 4 sites and palliative nurseries .......exactly how they had planned it. I am still impressed.
 Also through the internet I was contacted by a woman in Ontario who found our blog on our spring trip and she and her daughter had been at Hope the previous fall. So we got to chatting and I looked at their web site again and pondered.....and thought and did some math. I think we might go to Hope next spring break.
I am not sure what we would do but surely we could be of service in some meaningful way. Joyce has said no problem and was fine with bringing the girls. 
Thanks be to God!

Monday, April 7, 2008


Have begun to do some very light research. Am brainstorming about whether we should go back to Starfish or maybe look into other places to volunteer. Part of me wants to see the children we left behind and part of me will be sad to see them still there one year from now.
It is too early to try to cost out flights. Obviously I am a woman on a mission and I have barely finished organizing our photos and such from the last trip. Foolish of me, I know.
While we were in China a couple who were in our first, Isabel adoption trip, were on a tour with their two daughters. I would love to compare trips and hear what there impressions were.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Okay...change of plans.....

After much debate and a lot of pleading on Beth's part we are now talking about taking TWO  girls to China next year. Our rationale is that since they will both still be under 12 we will save on airfare and it leaves room for visiting England and Scotland one summer ,which we have wanted to do for ages. As a sweetener I may see if we can stop in Hong Kong on our way and visit their Disneyland. Don't know how this will actually play out but I will start research soon. How lucky are we to be able to have this wonderful opportunity. Truly blessed.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It is never too early...

Isabel and I are just back from our trip and I am barely over the jet lag........but the wheels are turning and time to start planning!!!!! Where will we go this time ? Not sure. Stay with us and find out.
This is my lovely Grace and she is fully on board.