Friday, January 30, 2009


Let's see, we have been the parents of our beautiful daughter for exactly 26 amazing days. And today is the very first time that Halainah did not cry when we gave her a bath. And get this...she even smiled for a little bit. Let's go back a one January 4th...Gotcha day. Our angel was soaked with sweat and I wonder why. Well because she had 5 layers of clothes on. So we decided to give her a bath. That is the one and only time she cried. Day 3...she screamed more. Day 5...daddy decided to put on a bathing suit and get in the tub with her. She still cried but not so hard. Day 7...tears, tears and more tears. And so on and so forth. When we got home we tried taking her in the shower with us. Yup she didn't like that either. So for the last few times I have been giving her a bath in our kitchen sink in a tub ring that she can sit in with tons of toys. And I think she is starting to like it. Hey, if bath time is our only difficult part about being Halainah's parents...I'll take her bath sadness. It just breaks my heart to see those tears.

All Clean and ready to go out!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009



I must agree and I guess that's why I have a complete obsession with shoes. Truly you can never have too many pairs of shoes, with so many different styles to choose from. You need a pair for every mood and everyone knows that women have a lot of different moods.

I fear that Halainah may have the same shoe obsession as I do. I simply say that because I could not help myself while in China. They have such beautiful little girl shoes. And they were cheap cheap cheap. They ranged anywhere from $3.00 to $4.50. That's right...where else can you buy really cute leather shoes for that price? I knew you would agree so now you can understand why I bought so many pairs. Most of them are called squeaky shoes. They squeak when you walk in them. In China they believe that it helps the baby to walk. They hear the squeak of the shoe and they want to continue to make them squeak so they try harder to walk. But don't worry the squeakers come they won't drive all of us nuts.

So I knew all about these shoes way before I left for China. My goal was to buy Halainah 30 pairs of squeaky shoes. So you will be proud of me that I didn't go that crazy. The main reason is that I simply got confused. I wasn't sure which ones I had already bought and what sizes. They started to all look the same to me after a while. So I bought 22 pairs in all different sizes and they are oh so cute. In the picture you will see 24 pairs. That's because Jiu Jiu bought her a pair...can you guess which pair...don't peak at the answer below. Anyone that knows Jiu Jiu will know exactly which pair he picked out special for his niece. The other pair are the ones Halainah was wearing on Gotcha Day. The orphanage picked them out special for her as they still had a tag on them, they were brand new. Check them all out below:


Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year

Our daughter Rao Qinyang NKA Halainah Grace Qinyang would like to wish all of her friends and family a very happy New Year. Especially all of the families with whom we shared our most miraculous journey of a lifetime. And to Sissi, our guide in Nanchang and dear friend who will always have a special place in our hearts. We learned while in China that The Chinese New Year is a very important holiday and families gather near and far to celebrate together. We had one guide who told us that it would take him 24 hours of travel to get home to his family. He would take a train, a plane, a taxi, and even a bicycle to his village. He only gets to visit his family once a year and it's on Chinese New Year. We are elated that we were able to share Halainah's special holiday with her in her home rather than in her orphanage. She is truly a gem and our beautiful China doll. Thank you Jiu Jiu for Halainah's awesome hat and thank you Aunt Deb for her traditional Chinese outfit. We dressed up for daddy as a surprise when he came home from his first day back to work since we adopted our angel.

This is Halainah's funny face that mommy taught her. She likes to make this face ALL day long!
Halainah is so beautiful...I can't stop bragging!

Halainah was SOOO excited to see daddy when he came home from work.
They both hugged each other VERY tightly it melted my heart!
Halainah stared at her daddy for a long time to make sure he was really there with her!
Daddy's girl and always will be!

Sunday, January 25, 2009


We have spent the last 10 days enjoying our little Lainey Bug. I still feel as though it is not real. That she isn't really ours. Almost as though I am going to wake up from this amazing incredible dream and she will be gone. Tony and I will sit for hours staring at her while she is sleeping and repeat over and over...she is ours...she is ours forever. We pray that we will make her as happy as she has made us. Our entire family has fallen in love with her...with her spirit...with her charm. She emits a glow to all those she's around. She has won the hearts of all of our family. We have spent the last 10 days with our family members so that Halainah can get used to everyone. In the first few days when we arrived back home she was withdrawn struggling with jet lag and the confusion of her journey home. But by day 5 she was back to her happy sparkling self. Here is a list of things that Halainah has learned since being in our lives:

  • blows kisses
  • gives kisses (mostly to mommy and daddy but working on family)
  • says mama and dada (not sure if she knows what it means but still cute)
  • shakes her head yes and no
  • blows raspberries
  • makes a funny face (mommy taught her this one)
  • rolls her tongue while talking (too cute)
  • claps her hands
  • starting to stand flat foot instead of tippy toes
  • pulls herself from a laying down position to sitting
Halainah had her first doctors visit on Friday. It went very well. She commented on how well Halainah looks and sounds health wise. She certainly was taken care of in the orphanage and she has hit the US charts at 50% for height and weight. Which is really good considering that she is from an orphanage and generally Chinese babies are on the smaller side compared to the US. Halainah is currently 20.8 pounds. I'm not sure where the confusion was in China...they claimed
she was 25 pounds but I don't think she lost weight. I say that because she eats EVERYTHING. She is such a good eater. We have given her almost everything except for peanut butter and chocolate...which she will not get for a long time. She is behind motor skill wise. But the doctor can see how far she has come in the last 10 days that she feels she will catch up in no time. She had to have 2 vaccines which she screamed for. I felt so bad for her. We have to review her immunizations with a specialist that deals with adoption from China to see what else she needs. But the best part of the entire visit was that our pediatrician said that she does not hear the heart murmur and believes the hole most likely closed. We are scheduled for an ultrasound of the heart by a pediatric cardiologist so we will await those results. But everything is looking really good.

Let's see...Halainah goes to bed at 9 pm. She usually falls asleep drinking her bottle but if she doesn't, we simply put her into her crib with the lights out, rub her back for a few minutes and she's off to sleep. And she wakes between 9 - 10 AM. How great is that? I just hope it lasts. She naps lightly in the afternoon, maybe 1 or 2, 1 hour naps. But I'll take sleeping 12 - 13 hours through the night and no naps...that's fine with me.

My Aunt Ann, Uncle Klause, cousins...Sultana, Tyler and Sasha came for a visit on Saturday to meet Halainah. It was an awesome day as we don't get to see them that often. They fell in love with Halainah within minutes. She went to each of them easily. She had us all laughing. Tyler who is 2 1/2 enjoyed playing with Halainah and I think Halainah was loving having someone little to play with. We went to a Chinese buffet for dinner and they were all shocked by how much little Lainey bug can eat. She just kept shoveling it in...tons of noodles, rice, chicken, vegetables and fruit. She was still eating when we were all done. She got to eat for free and I think she ate more than all of us.

Aunt Bonnie stopped by on Saturday to bring Halainah Elmo Live. Yup Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Mario spoil her that's for sure. Let me tell you that Halainah loves Elmo. I think she was a little scared at first that Elmo was talking to her. But soon enough she was laughing and clapping and talking to him. And Elmo blows kisses which Halainah knows how to do thanks to mama. So when Elmo blows kisses, Halainah blows them right back....way too cute.

Unfortunately Tony has to return to work tomorrow. Halainah and I are really sad that daddy won't be able to spend the days with us as we were loving this last week as a family of 3. I guess life needs to go back to normal. But we will miss him. And Halainah who is a complete daddy's girl is going to go through withdrawals. I am sure daddy will call at least 10 times tomorrow to see how we are doing.

Life is awesome and God is good. Halainah is a pure joy, a treasure, and a miracle from God, we thank God for her everyday.

Halainah meets Elmo Live...thank you Aunt Bonnie
She is so fascinated that Elmo talks to her.
She loves to touch his mouth while Elmo talks to her.

Halainah clapping for Elmo while he told her a story...way too cute.
Halainah fell asleep in her's so rough being a 1 year old.

Halainah in her crib that Grandma and Grandpa bought for her.

Halainah and her cousin Tyler...isn't he handsome?
Halainah and Uncle Klause...this photo is my favorite and must be framed :)

Monday, January 19, 2009


We have been home for 4 days now and there is nothing like sleeping in your own bed. Especially since the beds in China were as hard as the floor. But I must say that I do miss beautiful China and all of our friends that we all shared our one of a kind journeys with. It has been hard trying to adapt to the time change and overcome our jet lag. We are still very sleepy during the day and are taking long naps in the afternoon. For the first couple of nights Halainah has been waking at 5 am and ready to tackle the day. Mommy and Daddy on the other hand would like to stay in bed and catch as many zzz's as possible. But it's all about Halainah now so we must adapt to her schedule. Her time clock seems better today as she slept until 8:30 this morning which is what her schedule was like in China.
Halainah has become stranger shy since we have been home. And this was not the case in China. In China she would go to anyone with a smile on her face. Towards the end of the trip we noticed her favoring us and by the time we got home she wanted her mommy and daddy and only us. On one hand it makes me feel so wonderful that she has attached herself to us like she has known us forever. But on the other hand it is so unlike our Lainey Bug that it makes me realize how much this long journey home has affected her. She met Grandma on Thursday and Roseann and Joe. It was so heart warming that they came all the way to the airport to see us for the very first time. I had tears in my eyes as we walked into the waiting area totally exhausted with our daughter in our arms and I could see grandma jumping and crying in excitement. She has waited a long time to meet her granddaughter. Lainey whimpered when she held her but in a short time she will get to know her grandma. Opa picked us up at the airport and he was able to hold Halainah for a few minutes without a cry but the rest of the evening was rough. She didn't sleep at all on the plane so by the evening she was exhausted. I kept her up until 7 and than let her drift off to sleep. She has slept in her own crib since she's been home and seems to be doing well except for being confused about the time change.
On Saturday Tony's parents and sisters came to our house to welcome Lainey home. Halainah met all of her cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents and they made her feel like she has been part of the family forever. It was really touching to see. Aunt Annmarie bought some goodies for Halainah that she purchased from an Asian grocery store..all of Lainey's favorites. She loved all of the noodles and rice and even had a scallion pancake today for breakfast. My girl can eat! By the end of the evening she seemed to be adapting to her new family and was even making funny faces and blowing raspberries to everyone.
On Sunday we took Halainah to church for the very first time. It was so surreal to bring her to God's house. The house in which we spent what felt like eternity praying for her. God has given us our miracle...our little Lainey Bug. Afterwards, we went to my aunt Bonnie's for my grandmother's birthday. Again Lainey was introduced to many new faces. She hesitated to go to others but an hour into the day she was sitting on Aunt Bonnie's lap eating Lasagna and watermelon and yogurt and whatever else Aunt Bonnie would feed her. She laughed for everyone and Uncle Mario was able to get the best belly laughs from her. It felt so good to Tony and I to see Halainah the way she was in China. I know she needs a little more time to get acclimated but she is doing a really good job so far.
I was not able to post on our last day in China as we had to travel to Hong Kong to start our journey home. But before we boarded our train we went to the US Consulate office in Guangzhou with about 15 other families to finish the very last piece of the adoption. We showed our passports to enter and were not allowed to bring in cameras. You will see pictures of Halainah in her American eagle sweater as a tribute to this day below. These were taken in our hotel room. An official from the US Consulate came out and gave a short speech. We were asked to swear that the information we provided is accurate. To which the entire group said, "I do." And just like that it was over. Jiu Jiu was crying and I think Tony and I were just very relieved that we finished the last piece of the process that took almost 2 years to finish. We were handed Halainah's passport and a sealed brown envelope which we needed to have in order to pass through customs in the US. So we were nervous carrying that infamous sealed brown envelope from one side of the world to the other. When we landed and stepped off of the plane we passed through imigration, handed them the brown envelope and went off to customs. We passed through dozens of people totally exhausted and met
our family in the waiting area. It was then that Tony and I placed Lainey's little feet on US soil and so was the moment that she became a US citizen...see pic below.
We arrived home to a huge wooden stork which welcomed Halainah Grace Qinyang home forever. It was so awesome to see and I thank the Gardiner family for reading my mind and knowing that I wanted a sign like this for the longest time. I have dreamt of that darn stork sitting in my yard welcoming my daughter. I will post pics. soon of the awesome stork.
Aunt Bonnie filled our house with goodies for Lainey...all of which she loves. And welcomed us home. Lainey was cranky and she didn't force her to come to her. Thank goodness for the groceries because we still have not ventured out to the food store as of yet.
And so our life of a family of 3 has begun at home. We are so thankful for God's glory and all of the miracles that he has given us. Lainey is a pure joy, she makes us laugh, she makes us cry and most importantly she fills the void in our hearts that has been there since the day we longed for a child. She is the most precious gift from above.
We will continue to blog about Lainey's life and all the wonderful memories we are about to have as a family. Thank you everyone for your comments they kept us going while we were in China. Thank you everyone who has helped to bring Halainah home. She is home in our arms and hearts where she will be forever and ever.

Thank you to Jiu Jiu Bobby for sharing this most amazing journey of our lives. He kept us grounded in China. He let us focus on Halainah while he worried about all of the travel stuff and money stuff and all of the worries that comes with being in a foreign place. He was such an important part of Halainah's journey and he already has a very special bond with her. She certainly misses her Jiu Jiu these last couple of days. And we love you Jiu Jiu so VERY much.
Enjoy the photos of our last day in China and arriving at the airport.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


It was a long journey to my daughter, and a journey I will never forget. There was much frustration in our agency and many nights Dee and I were beside ourselves. However, we persevered in our faith and our miracle was only days away from us. Beaten was the darkness, and yet with one last effort, Deanna and I faced the incompetence of our travel agent. Our plane tickets were purchased on 12/24/2008 and we were not told until 01/01/2009, our first night in Beijing that our flight home would have Dee and I separated. Information that would have been more useful on Christmas Eve. Dee and I would have opted for a later flight when we could guarantee our sitting together. After pleading our case to our travel agent, I decided to email Continental myself. When Dee and I arrived at the Hong Kong airport, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that Continental had accommodated us and we were indeed sitting together on our 14 1/2 journey back to America. Wonder why my travel agent could not help?

Dee and I and Bobby arrived in Beijing to a colder climate then the weather reports had indicated. Not freezing, but still cold. The Novetell hotel we stayed in was nothing fancy but it was a place to hang our hats and we were just grateful to be there. Our Miracle was still a few days away.

Blogging was going to be difficult as there was no complementary Internet in our rooms. And the only free Internet available was down in the lobby on 2 Apple PC's. No Camera card slots either, so picture uploading was not happening. Deanna simply decided to blog to let everyone know we arrived safely.

In any event, we all decided to have a taste of Beijing and began our nightly wonderful explorations. One of the things that caught my eye was all the Christmas decorations littered through the stores. Many windows bore Merry Christmas signs, and there were beautiful giant lit up Christmas trees on the streets. Very pretty. Besides all the lit tree's, the city blocks were also lit by a myriad of store fronts all promising a bargain. The neon in of itself was a pretty sight to behold and casted a sense of safety that might not have been there if the streets were just dark.

Night time also brought forth those who had little money. Many women approached us begging for money uttering the words xie-xie (Shay Shay). I felt compelled to offer something to one women who thanked me and walked away. Well apparently I must have been on some sort of camera because after this, every one looking for money approached me, even going so far as tugging on my shirt. It was difficult to try and ignore them and walk away when I knew many would go hungry that night. I could not help them all, so I offered what I could which was my prayers. Later we would find out that many of these people belong to a ring which solicits folks for money although they are not poor. I am glad I did not know this when I offered a few dollars to one woman. I would rather believe she needed it.

Soon we were all on a plane bound for Nanchang. A place we would quickly fall in love with and a place we would finally be united with our daughter. On this leg of our journey, we all fell in love with our guide SiSi who made us feel so welcome and showed us nothing but kindness. She made sure our stay in her home country was comfortable and enjoyable. She took us to many sights and made sure our bellies were full as we sampled much of the food Nanchang had to offer. Food I still think about today from my home in America. And a dear friend whom I shall miss dearly. Thank you SiSi :)

As great as our first few nights in Nanchang were, we burned with the yearning of finally meeting our Lainy Bug. The Grand Gloria in which we stayed was great and I really enjoyed breakfast here as well. Every morning we would wake at 7, go down to breakfast and prepare for the days journey of sights and sounds. January 4th was quickly approaching and we could think of nothing else.

I can remember hardly being able to sleep on the eve of the forth. Almost as if I was a child again trying to sleep on Christmas Eve. I dreamed of all that Dee and I would do with our Lainy bug, and how our lives were about to completely change. I could not wait :)

January fourth finally arrived and we awoke with the excitement this day would bring. It promised such joy and happiness, and it did not disappoint. That evening, we went to SiSi's room to await Halainah's arrival. We watched as the first family (a family we would grow real close with) received their child. To see Robert and Susan hold their baby for the first time was an event I was honored to have seen. You could see the love emanating from all of them. It truly was wonderful. And then as I turned to look into the lobby, I saw the face I had only seen in pictures. The face I had come to memorize. The face of my daughter! I exclaimed to Dee "Halainah's here!!". And in an instant, all of the frustration we encountered, all the mountains that were placed before us, all the heart ache we suffered was instantly dispelled as our daughter was placed in our arms. Lainy never cried, nor whimpered nor looked scared. She looked at us as though she had known us, as though she recognized us. And it was then that I knew that God not only granted us this miracle, he granted us another. He granted Lainy with the knowledge of who her parents were. There was no separation anxiety felt by Halainah. She knew she was in the arms of her Mommy and Daddy.

And in a blink of an eye, Dee and I were parents. We whisked Lainy to our hotel room where we began to peel the 5 layers of clothing off of her. Her clothes smelled of dried sweat and I wanted my Lainy bug out of them and into some clean clothes. This is not a reflection on the care she received. Lainy was healthy and well taken care of. It is only as window into the conditions many of these orphanages are in. A reason why donations to these orphanages are so important.

Well, Lainy was stripped and immediately given a bath. She cried as we expected. And we consoled her with all our love. Lainy was soon calm and smiling and laughing, melting our hearts with each passing second.

With Lainy firmly entrenched in our hearts and as exciting as Gotcha day was, it was nothing compared to what we did the following day. In a small office in a Civil Affair's building, we completed the paperwork that would make Lainy officially ours. And I believe for me, it all fell into place. She was ours and we were hers. A family now of three, and a tiny child to care for and raise. A future to provide for and so many questions and doubts to how good of a Father I would be. I leave those questions to my faith and to my wonderful wife. We will tackle all together and as ONE.

Dinner with Lainy each night was comedic. She would slurp noodles so quickly, you could not help but laugh. Her smile was infectious and we could not help but fall deeper in love with this little angel. Together we saw wondrous sights and experienced much of what Nanchang offered thanks to SiSi. Parks were filled with exorcising locals, card playing members, and music making individuals. The beauty and traditional China was surrounded by a concrete jungle. The new complementing the old, and the old shining like a star in the night. This culture, and it's people will forever have a special place in my heart. Alas, with all good things, an ending is never far off. Janurary 9th saw us leaving Nanchang and saying a very tearful goodbye to SiSi. And a 2 hour plane ride would now bring us to Guangzhou.

We settled in at the White Swan Hotel. A hotel I admittedly looked very forward to seeing with all the praise that was shared with us by families who had stayed there. Sometimes hype is a very good thing, but in this case, I was very disappointed. Although a 5 star hotel, I really felt as though the service lacked what the lesser star hotels offered. The Grand Gloria may not have been as asctically beautiful as the white Swan, but their service was indeed superior.

Guangzhou was a lot different. It was a tourist spot and therefore did not reflect the wonderful China we had experienced in Nanchang. Stepping out of our hotel we had the distinct feeling that we could have been anywhere in the world other than China. The traditional China we saw in Nanchang was missing from Guangzhou. None the less, we ventured out each day and night stopping to shop in the many quaint little stores. We quickly fell in love with Michael's and it became our shop to frequent. Our first night in Guangzhou, we found ourselves stopping at Lucy's. Another hyped eatery that boasted Chinese food and American. Well, who in the blue heck wants American? We had so many delicious dinners in Nanchang, we wanted to experience more. Well, let me say that I did not love Lucy :) Our food was undercooked and without much flavor. We vowed not to return.

One particular night, we decided to visit another hyped eatery called Cow and Bridge. This is the very same restaurant that would infamously become known between us as the night of the cucharacha. Or secretly, the night Deanna jumped out of her skin :)

I have to admit that up until the cucharacha incident, we were all enjoying the food. That is until I began enjoying the Tai noodles a bit too much. With a wad of noodles in my mouth, I reached down to chopstick myself some more from my plate and noticed what I thought was an almond. AN ALMOND? A closer inspection revealed it's true identity, and I reached for a napkin to discretely and quickly excavate the wad of noodles from my mouth. While Rob and Susan thought I had swallowed a spice that did not agree with me, Deanna had noticed the stow away on my plate and quickly pushed her self away from the table while LOUDLY exclaiming "OH MY GOD!" All the while she was practically in poor Rob's lap who looked very bewildered at Deanna's sudden attention :) Well, after a second, the restaurant went dead silent, and all you could hear was the chinks as chopsticks, forks, spoons, and knives fell upon waiting dishes.

The manager had come over to see what the matter was and the look on her face when we told her what we had noticed in our plate was one of "YEA?" And we were immediately reminded of something SiSi had told us. "In Guangzhou, the locals eat anything that flies except airplanes, and anything with four legs except tables." In any event, the kind manager did remove the meal from our bill and even brought us a plate of fruit. After a quick investigation to make sure there were no other stow aways, the fruit was deemed edible and we all enjoyed.

By the end of the week we were all just ready to go home. And Dee and I looked forward to sharing Lainy with our awaiting family, and all the adventures our daily lives and America would offer. We left Guangzhou on a train to Hong Kong, where Dee and I would bid a tearful farewell to Jiu Jiu Bobby. Bobby was instrumental in our journey providing us not only help, but sanity and comedic relief. We are forever grateful for Lainy's Jiu Jiu :)

As we waited for the train to take us to Hong Kong, Dee stressed to our Guangzhou guide that she wanted her to write our Hong Kong hotel name in Chinese just in case. Our guide insisted that we would have no problem in Hong Kong as most folks spoke English. Well, just as our luck would have it, we got into a cab with the only Hong Kong driver that did not speak English!! Any one who knows us, there should be no surprises there :)

A quick call to the drivers boss, who did speak English, and we were off. 20 minutes later, we arrived at the Novetell hotel. The room was beautiful and my favorite of the trip. It was the only hotel in which I was able to watch Cartoon Network. LOL :)

The early morning called, and Dee Lainy and I were soon on a shuttle bus to the Hong Kong Airport where we finally settled in and braced ourselves for the 14 1/2 hour flight home. Lainy was very restless but otherwise good. Wished we had purchased a seat for her. Good advice to anyone else taking there steps in their own adoption journey. The flight was not without incident. About 10 hours into the flight, we hit massive turbulence. And I mean massive. At one point the plane took such a sharp nose dive, I was sure we were going down. Even with our seat belts on, I felt my rump rising from the seat!! The prayers from my mouth were fast and furious. And it was not long before I felt like ice and my fingers and toes were tingling. A quick trip to the bathroom, and I returned all of my lunch. I needed to visit the bathroom all in all 3 times before I finally was able to calm myself. I was so exhausted after all the returning, and drifted in and out of sleep. Deanna who suffered a panic attack in a flight home from Colorado did not fare well either. However, with some medication, the new Mommy overcame her fear and was able to look after Lainy. Thanks Dee :)

And now we are all home, safe and sound, and I write this blog from the comfort of my home while Lainy sleeps in her new bed and dreams of all that is to come.

As Dee and I look forward to all we will share with our Lainy bug. Even looking forward to the day we can give Lainy a sister (or brother) :)

To all who have followed this blog, thank you for all of your support and kind words. We loved hearing from each and every one of you.

-I Samuel 1:27

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


As told by Jiu Jiu Bobby:
Our China trip is winding down. It is Tuesday evening, Jan 13. Tomorrow we have a final meeting and an oath taking meeting for Dee and Tony. We will all hop on the 8:15 pm train to Hong Kong for a two hour journey, after which I will part ways with Dee, Tony and Halainah since we are staying at seperate hotels. Dee and Tony will hop a plane back to the states at 11:30 on Thursday. My journey will last a little longer. My flight is at 7 pm on Thursday, so I will have the day to check out the sights of Hong Kong. Then, I fly to Taipei, San Francisco and finally back to Denver. I am not sure if Dee and Tony will be able to update the blog tomorrow evening in Hong Kong, so please send out positive thoughts to the universe for our long journey back home.
We have done lots of wandering in the last few days and have seen everything for sale on the streets from clothing to herbs, Jade to tiger paws, monkey skeletons to snake penis wine and everything in between, pretty incredible. China has been a fascinating and enchanting place, and its spirit is forever etched in our hearts. She is a land of contrasts, steeped in tradition, yet full of modern day fervor. We have enjoyed amazing food, warm and curious people, incredible architecture, and tradition abound. I would certainly recomend a trip to China, it is a place every person should visit at least once in their life. I will definitely return.
Halainah responds to her Chinese name Qinyang, yet we have been calling her Lainey Bug, Snowball, Noodle Girl, Chubsy Ubsy, Spicy Girl and Congee Girl. There are even more, as most of you know we are a bit wacky! Halainah has been a joy to be around, and it makes me sad to think that we will part ways tomorrow. I have enjoyed her spirit, and feel forever bonded with her. I will even miss her restlessness, which you will understand completely after you meet her. Halainah is a special little girl, and her uncle is proud to have shared her birth country with her through this miraculous journey. It has truly been a pleasure, and this little girl has melted my heart- can you tell? So, as her blessed parents prepare to bring her half way around the world to meet all of her new family and friends, I will leave you with some things we will and will not miss about China:
We will Miss:

  • Spicy Jiangxi cuisine
  • Sissy- Our treasured Nanchang guide and friend
  • Our new friends Susan, Rob and Lily (The Last Emperor)
  • 1 hour massages for $10 (just me)
  • Kids in 5 layers that look like the Michelin Man
  • Chinglish
  • China!!!!

We will not miss:

  • Pollution
  • The Clothing Police
  • Diaper blowouts in a small hotel room =-o
  • Coffee, Chocolate & ice cream- some of my favorite things that just don't translate in China
  • Snot rockets
  • Neutron conversion
  • The fear of being run over by a car- they just don't stop

I will never complain about being amongst too many people ever again, on any given day wherever in China you may be, there are more people than you can imagine. You have to love a country where you can visit a Buddhist temple, shop among a sea of people for anything under the sun, and eat spicy grilled octopus on a stick all in the same day- priceless!

Zai Jian everyone, we will see you all stateside.

Jiu Jiu