Sunday, April 27, 2008

Our Goal

Our goal is to move everything over from YouBelong to here. Please be patient as it will take a little time. We will then attempt to bring you up to speed on the latest happenings with theups.

Monday, June 4, 2007

June 4- She's a Georgia Girl!!!

Today at 9:00 AM, we met Judge Dunaway in his courtroom to re-adopt Elizabeth according to Georgia's laws. Elizabeth is now an official Georgia Girl!! She will soon be receiving her new birth certificate with Todd and I listed as her daddy and mommy. What a wonderful day!!!!!


Congraulations Georgia Girl!!
Posted by: Jill on June 4, 2007 at 07:25 P.M.

Awe, congratulations!
Posted by: Becky on June 6, 2007 at 12:23 P.M.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

May 29- Big Brother Is Going Back well.. eventually

What can I say? So much has changed since we have arrived home. Elizabeth has grown into a sweet, one-year old baby. I’m so excited that she is getting the hang of walking, but hasn’t abandoned crawling. Sometimes, I wish we were back in the hotel with her on the bed playing with her cups. We are all very protective of her and will always be there for her. It won’t be long before she is always walking and talking. Then I will wonder where the time went. Oh yeah, I left it back in China. Overnight she is going to grow up on us even though I wish she wouldn’t. I love to come home from work and see her smile and laugh. I love having her give me kisses on the cheek. Surely there are no sweeter kisses than that of a baby who loves and trusts you.

Now that we are back in America, I see some of the differences from here and China. All humans are focused on looks, but Americans are terrible about it. Elizabeth is a very cute child with a great personality; but Americans cannot help but stop us ALL the time and gaze. They are spellbound by her looks. We all desire to tell these people that looks aren’t everything. It’s what’s on the inside that counts. We don’t want her to have a big head when she grows up thinking she walked out of a magazine. We want her to become a follower of Christ and be a godly lady. I wish Americans could see that the heart is more important than the outside appearance (1 Samuel 16:7). We pray that her heart will be in strong in the Lord’s values and not in the world’s values.

It’s really funny, but when I came back to the States my claim to fame was eating the Frog Cream (AKA Frog Jelly). Adoption friends, church members, family, and co-workers were in disbelief that I did such a thing. I understand Anthony Bourdain. He made this statement: “I’m a chef, restaurant owner, published author, world traveler, but no, people only remember me for eating a cobra heart.” I understand him because I’m remembered for the Frog Jelly, even though I’m not a chef, published author, nor restaurant owner. I guess the Frog Jelly is my only claim to fame. That is why I have provided the actual video for you.

Homesick isn’t the right word. I miss China like I have a home there. It’s almost as if my house was in the White Swan and Shamian Island was my home away from home. Both of my parents and myself long to go back to China at least one more time: specifically Guangzhou. It really does feel like we have left our “book” of China incomplete. It feels like we have one more chapter to read, or go through. We believe that if we can go back one more time, it may satisfy our longing. I have promised myself- that Lord willing- I will go back before I die. China left an amazing, unexplainable impression on me. What was it that stole my heart? I have no idea. It must have been Elizabeth, the group, the experience, the local friends we made, the challenges, the scenery, and our developing daily routine. I secretly fear that nothing will be the same when I return and I will be disappointed. But, I thrive on the hope that my China journeys will be complete if I can go back at least one more time.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

May 2- Elizabeth's 1st Birthday!!!!

Today we celebrated Elizabeth's 1st birthday!!!
Of course, we let her "play" in her birthday cake (which was made by our sweet friend, Mrs. Phyllis), but she didn't seem to know what to do with it. She tasted it, thought it was "okay" but preferred green beans over cake. What???? I think Daddy has had TOO much influence over her!! Where's my daughter's sweet tooth?? Maybe it just hasn't come in yet???? :)
Mr. Don, the music director in our church, brought Elizabeth some roses from his garden for her birthday. They are Queen Elizabeth roses and they are BEAUTIFUL!!! Elizabeth is quite taken with Mr. Don and each time he stands up to lead music, she notices nothing else except for Mr. Don. I think she's awfully young for developing a crush, don't you??
Elizabeth can walk when she holds onto something like the sofa or coffee table or our fingers. We bought her a walker so that she can push it and walk with it! As you can tell by the picture, she had a blast walking with it!!!
Elizabeth LOVES her big brother (who is really spoiling her, I might add!!!). He made sure she had a special present from him, too.
Elizabeth is the sweetest little girl in the world. Everyday I thank God for choosing us to be her family. I LOVE being her mommy and think it's the BEST JOB IN THE WORLD!!!
Happy 1st Birthday, Elizabeth Ann!!! We love you soo!!!!

Happy Birthday Elizabeth!!!!!!
Posted by: Melissa Ward on May 3, 2007 at 05:18 A.M.
i hope you enjoyed the special music i sent tuesday nighti picked it out my self. Happy birthday
Posted by: walter on May 3, 2007 at 03:02 P.M.
Happy Birthday Elizabeth!
Posted by: Becky McGhee on May 4, 2007 at 06:08 A.M.
Happy Birthday Miss Elizabeth!!!Kelli
Posted by: Kelli on May 5, 2007 at 07:51 P.M.
There's the birthday girl!
Posted by: Big Brother on May 7, 2007 at 06:41 A.M.
Oh my she is just beautiful. Happy Birthday, sweet girl.
Posted by: trina on May 8, 2007 at 07:28 P.M.
Dear Elizabeth,You and our sweet Cherish Faith share a birthday. She turned 5 on May 2nd. Happy 1st Birthday Precious Little Girl.Debbie
Posted by: Debbie Yuck on May 11, 2007 at 03:46 P.M.
Hello to you all! Happy 1st Birthday Elizabeth - Wow you truly are beautiful! I love her hair and the bow. Ella too is walking along holding onto hands, couch, chairs etc. We also got her a push toy which she loves. Keep up the good work - Love, Paul, Laura, Evan & Ella
Posted by: Lazar Family on May 15, 2007 at 07:04 A.M.
Getting more and more beautiful all the time! Happy Birthday Elizabeth!! Her hair is getting so long. She'll have a ponytail by the end of the summer. Love being able to keep up with all these wonderful Yangchun girls!love to you all,Jill, Mike and Maya!!
Posted by: Jill on May 16, 2007 at 08:35 A.M.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

February 28- More observations from Todd

-Pedestrians, if they enjoy their health, will yield to all motorized vehicles. Vehicles yield to no one including, older people, dads named Todd pushing strollers, or bicycles
-Elizabeth's large wide open eyes are captivating to the Chinese. The Chinese think that large open eyes are a very good thing
-I have eaten bacon every day since Saturday and I still love it.
-Most of the retailers here will remember your name in hopes that you will patronize their establishment
-Elizabeth can instantly go from playing and cooing to a full blown cry without a breathe. I have not heard a child do this before. She can also stop instantly.
-All of the hotel workers that deal with the public regularly have American names that they have given themselves. They know that Americans have a hard time pronouncing their names.
-The men of Calvary Baptist have been working very hard on the floor of our home
-When I look into the eyes of the Chinese I see the same lostness and emptiness that I see in Americans eyes. The difference is the Chinese will tell you clearly they are not Christians whereas Americans will tell you they are.I suppose Americans think by virtue of birthplace they are Christians.
-I have seen a tatoo on one person, who was an American male.
-What has made James Cameron so smart now? Maybe I smell a movie coming. Or is he a theologian?
-The smog is pretty thick here. I have not seen a blue sky yet.
-I am thankful for WAFJ 88.3 in Augusta for piping christian music over the internet
More to come...

I love the toothy grin! Sounds like y'all are getting along well there. Love the pictures!
Posted by: Kim O on February 27, 2007 at 05:46 P.M.
Did you have squidburgers or hamburgers at McDonalds?Love,DanielShari's youngest cousin
Posted by: Daniel Hall on February 27, 2007 at 07:13 P.M.
Hey, that toilet looks like "une toilette à la turque" or the Turkish toilet that I refused to use in France!!!Bisous!!!
Posted by: Tante Cheri on February 27, 2007 at 07:23 P.M.
Yep, she looks more like an Upchurch everyday (especially that huge grin)! We're so glad to see ya'll are doing so well there. We love the "Observations from Todd" keep it up!Praying Daily....
Posted by: Melissa and Granny on February 27, 2007 at 07:31 P.M.
So glad things are continuing to go well. Love the BIG smile on her face--amazing what "family" can do! And the pic of that sweet foot and toes is too cute.
Posted by: Lisa Breedlove on February 28, 2007 at 05:51 A.M.
I know you guys are glad you found the McDonalds. Elizabeth looks so happy. Take care.
Posted by: Paula on February 28, 2007 at 06:04 A.M.
i have really been enjoying the observations and especially the photos. congrats to you all! i just can't wait to meet her!
Posted by: lisa hoffman on February 28, 2007 at 09:22 A.M.
Daniel, the hamburgers here in China are EXACTLY like the ones in the US!! No joke!! Maybe one day you'll be over this way and you can try them, too!!His,Shari
Posted by: Shari on March 3, 2007 at 04:38 A.M.

Monday, February 26, 2007

February 26- More observations from Todd

-I still have to think about it when I type February

-Boy, I wished I'd paid attention to metrics in school

-I heard today that the Pearl River Delta (what I am sure is the water source for Guangzhou) is 10 times more polluted than the East River

-The Chinese people are very friendly

-Today we went to finalize the adoption paperwork at the Civil Affairs Bureau. We get the document tomorrow stating this-We have seen a man every morning swimming in the Delta. WOW!

-According to my bride Diet Coke is not the same as China's Coke Light-According to me Coke is not the same as Coke in the states

-The dollar will buy you more in China than in the states

-What hamburgers are to us noodles and congee is to the Chinese

-When you severely overcook rice you have congee

-If you stay in the White Swan in China you had better get the breakfast bar in the mornings

-The effects of Communism are very apparent in this place

-When you think you have it hard and are not pleased with your house, you need to see what these people live like.


AMEN to the last observation Todd! I hope things are still going well and everyone is staying healthy. How did Elizabeth do your first full day with her?
Posted by: Melissa Ward on February 26, 2007 at 05:47 A.M.

I love the foot eating picture. Too cute!
Posted by: Big Brother on February 26, 2007 at 05:53 A.M.

I would just like to through in the little luxury that we have back here......the FDA. Something many of us complain about. But as I can see from the above pictures, you have had an unfortunate run in with the FDA lack thereof.It is amazing what ppl call a "home". There were many times during this process that I became angry that I had to prove myself worthy, and think about the state in which the children they keep live in. There has never been one doubt in my mind or heart or soul that we have all done the right thing, that our daughters will be so much better off. Now that you have seen the way the Chinese working class lives, imagine what our daughters would live like being the lowest of low in the social heirarchy. They are all so precious. Soon you will be home and Elizabeth will offically be a CHAP( Chinese -American Princess) AND ALL will be right in the world......Sals
Posted by: Sally on February 26, 2007 at 06:34 A.M.

Hey Upchurch family. Elizabeth is so adorable. I just can't get over it. I hope she gets to feeling better soon. Goodness how adorable is she!
Posted by: Paula on February 26, 2007 at 06:38 A.M.

I absolutely love viewing the pictures of Elizabeth in your arms - finally! God is so very good!
Posted by: Connie J on February 26, 2007 at 06:44 A.M.

Todd and Shari,Congratulations! Elizabeth is even more beautiful than her referral pictures. I'm so happy for you all. I know you are enjoying finally having her in your family. I hope she feels better soon.
Posted by: Bethany on February 26, 2007 at 11:35 A.M.

The pictures are great! Elizabeth is a beautiful child, and so very fortunate to have parents such as you. May God continue to bless. We are counting the days to your arrival home.
Posted by: Don & Pat McCorkle on February 26, 2007 at 11:45 A.M.

Hi Hope Elizabeth is feeling better. She is so precious. I just love the pictures. She looks a lot different in your pictures than the other ones.
Posted by: Helen Phillips on February 26, 2007 at 12:18 P.M.

We're in love! She is so so beautiful! We are so happy to see you all finally together. Let us know if you need anything! We love and miss you!
Posted by: Granny and Melissa on February 26, 2007 at 04:22 P.M.

Hey ya'll i hope she is feeling better now.Love that morter and pestle I can really appreciate that! We love and miss you. Let me get back to my CHICK-FIL-A now! JUST KIDDIN!!!!
Posted by: Casey on February 26, 2007 at 07:21 P.M.

We can't wait to meet Elizabeth!!!! She is adorable. Grandmother wants to meet her as soon as you can get down to Mobile.I do not speak Chinese so I'll say "au revoir et à bientôt." Nous vous aimons!!!Tante Cheri et tous à Mobile, en Alabama.P.S. Tell Josh to teach her to say "War Eagle."
Posted by: Aunt Cheri and all on February 26, 2007 at 07:45 P.M.

Elizabeth is just beautiful, she looks like a little doll!! I hope she is feeling better soon!Love,Kelli
Posted by: Kelli on February 26, 2007 at 08:52 P.M.

I'm so excited for you all. You are missed and we are all axniously awaiting your return. The pictures are just lovely--more,more! Hope you are seeing interesting sights and enjoying your stay. Be safe. Linda Patchin
Posted by: Linda Patchin on February 27, 2007 at 12:48 P.M

February 26- More Observations from Todd

The reason that I choose to post observations is for those of you that know me I do not care for a lot of details. I need the jest of it and I am fine. Most of you know what I mean. Too many details and I am gone.

-Fatherhood is still a WONDERFUL thing-America is a great place to be from and live-Being able to put your toothbrush under the faucet's water is a great thing

-On that note; the first toothbrush is believed to have been invented in China

-Philly cheesesteaks twice in a row from the same americanized delivery place in China named Danny's can do amazing things with your colon. Hey, I'm just being honest

-Almost all men that I have seen smoke. I have not seen one woman that smokes. It is looked down on for women to smoke.

-Baked Beans on a breakfast buffet??

-I am convinced that the water that comes out of the faucet is from the Pearl River Delta

-If you have not been to China and are planning to come you better learn the game Charades.

-Elizabeth sleeps through the night!!

More later...

I have enjoyed reading your observations! They take me back to China and I can get a good chuckle knowing excatly what you mean. I'm so glad that Elizabeth slept through the night!!! That's wonderful. Neither one of ours did the first night.Have a great day!!
Posted by: Melissa Ward on February 25, 2007 at 03:38 P.M.
I love you family photo!!! I have to agree with Melissa, it's nice to relive this through you and know that we are all normal when it comes to cultural submersion. Those crazy people that say, "it was the best time of my life, I loved every minute of it!!!", must have gotten alot of crazy genes.I did however enjoy the time spent and feel very blessed to have had the experience, it makes you realize how fabulous we have it here in the USA!!!!I promise, when you look back a year from noww, as we are doing, you will realize how much fun you really did have and what a blessing the entire experience is. We are at that point now.I am happy to hear that Miss E. is sleeping through the night and hope she continues to do so. You will need her to do that when you lag back here at home................Sals
Posted by: Sally on February 25, 2007 at 05:09 P.M.
Praise the Lord-She sleeps through the night. What a wonderful thing to hear.Also, they had the baked beans on the buffet 2 years ago too. We stuck with the omelets, chicken nuggets and tator tots. Enjoy that sweet bundle of love!
Posted by: Kim O on February 25, 2007 at 07:51 P.M.
Your PW sisters have been praying for you, and continue to do so. And they are REJOICING in the Lord with you - thanking Him for blessing you with such a precious, precious wee girl. She is absolutely beautiful!!!!!! And so are you Shari. How absolutely delightful to see you cradling your darling baby, holding her, feeding her, loving her. Your photos have made me weep with Joy - for all of you.Speaking of photos, how surprised I was to see you have some posted already. You must've received Elizabeth on Sunday night (China time). I was certain you said you'd be receiving her Monday. How absolutely lovely that you didn't have to wait that extra night. Methinks you'd waited long enough!Congratulations to you all. Surely our God is good - all the time!!!Blessings,Debbie
Posted by: Debbie Yuck on February 25, 2007 at 09:18 P.M.
Hurray!!! I finally checked your site and am rejoicing with you! Can't wait to meet your daughter... Thanks for all your great posts and pictures. Almost makes me feel like I'm there (except I can run my toothbrush under my faucet). ;-)
Posted by: Kirsten on February 25, 2007 at 10:55 P.M.