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.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

February 25- The Day of Blessing

We have Elizabeth!!!!!!! Her little face has had some irritation which is common. In her pictures I thought she was much bigger. When they brought her in she was a little thing. She stayed so calm.

This is one of the most wonderful days of our lives Elizabeth all because of the Lord and you. You bring SO MUCH joy, love, and happiness with you. The Lord has blessed our lives with you. Now you are ours. Now you will always be Elizabeth Ann Upchurch, my mei mei.
Posted by: Big Brother on February 25, 2007 at 02:47 A.M.

Hey everybody! Watch a video of Elizabeth playing by putting in this
Posted by: Big Brother on February 25, 2007 at 03:37 A.M.

Prayers have been answered for you guys. She is beautiful. Congratulations.Jennnifer
Posted by: jennifer on February 25, 2007 at 04:52 A.M.

Congratulations! I'm so happy for y'all! She is just beautiful. I love how she is holding your finger in the third photo. May God bless this time of transition for her and strengthen the bonding process.
Posted by: Kim on February 25, 2007 at 05:41 A.M.

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! to the whole family! I know you will never forget this day. I'm so glad that you finally have her and she has you. We'll be praying for a smooth transition and continued health for everyone while you are there.
Posted by: Melissa Ward on February 25, 2007 at 05:54 A.M.

Congratulations on your amazing little blessing! She is just adorable. Praying for you.
Posted by: Dusty on February 25, 2007 at 06:03 A.M.

Praise the Lord...together at last! Elizabeth is even more beautiful in your arms! Praying that the rest of the trip will go smoothly.
Posted by: Lisa Breedlove on February 25, 2007 at 06:28 A.M.
Hey, it was great chatting with you and I know you will be great!!!!!!!!!! if you need anything, I will check in with you later in the week.Thanks for sharing your amazing and phantasmagoric adventure!!!!!!!!!....Sals
Posted by: Sally on February 25, 2007 at 07:07 A.M.

I am looking through the pictures for the hundreth time I am sure. I wanted to point out to you that in the picture of you feeding Elizabth her bottle that she is making really great eye contact with you. This is a great sign that she is trying to attach to you. I suggest humming a little tune and using the same song consistently. I sing a special nite time song to the girlies and when they are upset I use it to clam them throughout the day time. Keep up the good work.Did you take a front carrier? If you did make sure you use it in the face to face position. I notice on alot of web-sites that ppl put them facing out so they can see where they are going, that is fine encourage bonding and attachment from the getgo, get as much "face-time" as you can. The front facing position also encourages you to wrap your arms around her, where the out position kinda leaves her hanging, if you know what I mean.....loveya, Sals
Posted by: Sally on February 25, 2007 at 08:29 A.M.

How wonderful!! You all look so happy and Elizabeth is gorgeous!! Welcome to your new family Elizabeth!
Posted by: anne, gunther and lexie on February 25, 2007 at 08:43 A.M.

Congratulations Upchurch Family!!! She is absolutely beautiful! I am so excited for all of you and can't wait to follow the rest of your journey. We will certainly have to have another Peach gathering so that we can meet Miss Elizabeth soon!!Milledge and Angie
Posted by: Angie Wells on February 25, 2007 at 09:17 A.M.

She is beautiful! I am so excited for you!! Congratulations!!Today is just the beginning of so many more precious years to come!
Posted by: Jennifer Posey on February 25, 2007 at 09:56 A.M.

So happy for you!!! Elizabeth is another beautiful China Peach. Praying for you.Marye Gary Iris and Anna
Posted by: Marye McKenney on February 25, 2007 at 01:48 P.M.

She is beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!(Shari, those exclamation points are just for you.) :-) Love, Noelle
Posted by: noelle on February 25, 2007 at 02:45 P.M.

Congratulations! Your daughter is precious. She seems to be comfortable with you. Thats because she can feel your love for her. Be safe, and enjoy the trip.
Posted by: Paula on February 25, 2007 at 07:13 P.M.

February 25- More observations from Todd

Yesterday at the end of our meeting with the guides I talked to a nice fellow in our group about mindless stuff. One of the things that he mentioned is that when you leave this island (our hotel is on Shamian Island) things will be different. Well this piqued my interest because Josh and I wanted to venture out into Guangzhou proper and see real life.

**Keep in mind that I am not being negative here, I am just making observations that stand out.**

-Well, he was right. When you leave the island (just a short walk) things start changing fast. You will be stared at like you are an alien with 4 heads.

-What you and I call pets they call food.

-I would bet that the places of business here have never had a health inspector visit.

-McDonald’s here in Guangzhou is great.

-There has not been one internet site that has been blocked for me. I think staying in this “American friendly” hotel might have something to do with it.

-The men here love to play mahjong. I was invited to play yesterday with a group of men on the mainland who could not speak a lick of English.

-Men and women have their hacky sacks and are amazing with them.

-The island that we are on is American friendly and the people here are very eager for your business.

-On the mainland Josh and I saw a cute cat running for his life with several adults right on his tail. Pet? Food? Who knows.

-Josh and I saw an overweight dachshund walking around amidst the market area. Lucky chap.

-Young Chinese people want to practice their English on you. The older ones are kind but curious.

If anyone has any questions we will do whatever to answer them. It doesn't matter what kind of question it is, ask it.

More to come…


I am glad to hear all is well! We miss you and I hope you don't eat to many stange things there. I'm glad you didn't take Bandit with you. HA!HA!
Posted by: casey on February 24, 2007 at 06:41 P.M.

Hey Todd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, I forgot to tell you, be VERY VERY VERY weery of "pets". No Rabies vac required in China. Peace-out, Sals
Posted by: Sally on February 24, 2007 at 08:21 P.M.

You forgot my favorite part: We walked down the narrow, stone alley and saw a huge, dead rat on a pile of grain and stones. I jumped when I saw that fat thing.
Posted by: Big Brother on February 24, 2007 at 10:05 P.M.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

February 24- Saturday happenings...

Today was full of new adventures for us. It started off with eating breakfast at the infamous buffet here at the White Swan. It is a huge breakfast buffet with everything from cereal to by request omelets and yogurt to French toast. YUM!
After breakfast, we headed to a meeting with our travel group. Our CCAI guides, Kathy and Jocelyn, went over the way things will progress when we received our babies tomorrow. We will leave the White Swan at 2:00 PM, drive to the Civil Affairs Bureau by 2:30 and we should get our babies about 3:00! Elizabeth Ann will be here TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
At the meeting, Kathy and Jocelyn gave us each a copy of the routine that our child has followed at their orphanage. Also included was how to make their bottles (a bit different from the way it’s done in the US) along with a box of formula and what they call “rice” cereal (it says “Chinese Yam and Barley Cereal” on the package).
When we got back to our rooms, we found Going Home Barbie waiting for us!! On the back of the box she's in it says "This souvenir is presented by Mattel to adopting parents of Chinese orphan children staying at the White Swan Hotel, Guangzhou, China." If you will notice in the picture Barbie is an American mommy and the baby is Asian. What a wonderful gift for Elizabeth!!!
Joshua decided to go to dinner with most of our travel group tonight. They went to a local Cantonese restaurant- you know, REAL Chinese food. He has some interesting tales to tell about the experience there. Be sure and ask him about it.
Todd, Leslie and I decided to stay back and order dinner from a place called Danny’s Bagels. There’s more than just bagels there. Todd ordered a Cheese Steak Sandwich and Leslie and I shared a BBQ Chicken Pizza- COMFORT FOOD, let me tell ya!!!!
Right before heading to bed, a lady that works for the hotel came to our room and asked “May I turn down your bed for you?” She quickly proceeded to neatly and accurately fold the bedspread, fluff the pillows and unwrinkled the sheets. She left the two little red packages for us on our pillows, too, with chocolates in them!
Thank you soooo much for those that are praying for us!! The prayers definitely were felt today as we are all starting to feel a little more “normal”. Keep praying, though, because starts a big adjustment time for Elizabeth!!
We miss you all!!!

I'm so glad that everything is going so well so far! The staff at the White Swan is SO wonderful! They will do any you need. They are definately hard working. Danny's has great mac & cheese also. It's more than enough to share with someone. I'm glad that you all are starting to feel more "normal". Get a good nights sleep tomorrow will be a day you will never forget. :o)Melissa
Posted by: Melissa Ward on February 24, 2007 at 07:51 A.M.
We will be praying for you and Elizabeth. How exciting, I bet you can't wait!
Posted by: Tanya on February 24, 2007 at 08:23 A.M.
I can't wait to see Elizabeth in your arms! We're waiting here with excitement for you!
Posted by: Connie J on February 24, 2007 at 08:57 A.M.
Glad that you made it safely! Danny's Bagels was a favorite of ours in Guangzhou, too. Can't wait to see the Elizabeth pictures tomorrow. :-)
Posted by: Dusty on February 24, 2007 at 07:42 P.M.

February 24- Observations from Todd

Here are a few things that I have observed since 3 am.

-Every room in our hotel has a hotpot so that you can boil the water.The water is not to be drunk until it has been boiled. From what I hear the locals do not drink it.

-Be grateful everytime you put your toothbrush under the faucet's water. (Pat Tracy you were dead-on with this one.)

-It is recommended that no fresh fruits or veggies be eaten until they are cooked. (See above)

-The workers that we have encountered so far would embarrass American workers. Their (China) work ethic is amazing. They anticipate your next move and want to help you.

-On that note. something that bothers me in America is when I tell someone "thank you" they reply "no problem."Did I say there was a problem? I thought when someone says "thank you" that you are supposed to say "you're welcome."Here in China they actually say "your welcome."

-Be thankful for every english speaking TV station. All we have is HBO, ESPN, AND CNN. (Mr. Don I am starving for FoxNEWS. At least I have the internet to read Fox's site.) Watching CNN is absolutely torture. For those of you that don't know me I am a proud conservative and cannot stand liberal politics. So CNN is draining the life out of me like Superman and cryptonite.
I will have more observations later.


If you don't have normally sensitive stomachs, you should be able to eat watermelon and oranges with no problem. For the first week of our trip, we adhered strictly to the no fresh veggies/fruits, but then we started trying things as we finished up in Nanjing. We had no problems with fruits that have to be "peeled"...melons, grapefruit, etc. My husband and I were stuck to FoxNews because we got so sick of CNN. Hehehe....have fun!Mary
Posted by: Mary on February 23, 2007 at 04:34 P.M.

Hang in there. this too shall pass.God loves you and He is watching out for you. He said I will never leave nor forsake you, so stand on that promise because He is trustworthy. When we lose faith He remains faithful so just trust Him.Job said "shall we accept good from God and not bad?"I have a large number of people praying for you for these next days and we will continue to do so. God has great and marvelous things in store for Elizabeth and I cannot wait to see her.God Bless
Posted by: grandpa and grammy on February 23, 2007 at 07:36 P.M.

So Todd.....have you had a bacon cheese burger yet? Watch out for the egg. I wash cloth over the faucet, will curb your desire to run water over your toothbrush.Well boys and girls, there is little time left for you, tomorrow Elizabeth will be with her new family, and the newest "UP"will be the best "high" you have ever had. WE are thinking of you, know that you are in our thoughts and prayer and our hearts runneth got my number.....night or day.............Peace out, Sals
Posted by: Sally on February 23, 2007 at 09:01 P.M.

This place does have it's ups and downs, but all in all, we are here to get Elizabeth. She is our wonderful goal.
Posted by: Big Brother on February 23, 2007 at 10:09 P.M.

I know exactly how you feel about CNN! Once you get Elizabeth, nothing else will matter. China has it's ups and downs, but at least it makes us appreciate what we have here in the United States.I sit here Saturday morning in GA and knowing that sometime in the next 18 hours or so you will be getting Elizabeth. Little does she know how wonderful her world is about to be, even if she doesn't realize it at first. I just can't wait until the morning to see pictures of all of you with Elizabeth!Try to get a good nights sleep. :o)Melisssa
Posted by: Melissa Ward on February 24, 2007 at 05:40 A.M.

Todd,When we were there, there was a National Geographic channel. We learned all about an extinct monster elk. That sucker was huge.As far as CNN goes, either take a walk or prayer for them. Either on should help!!!Our prayers are with you!!!!Cris
Posted by: Cris Ward on February 24, 2007 at 02:23 P.M.

Another proud conservative waiting dad here. I am enjoying your trip so far. We are LID 10/28/05 so our turn is coming soon.
Posted by: Charles on February 26, 2007 at 02:02 P.M.

Friday, February 23, 2007

February 23- We're in China!!!!!!!!!!!

I cannot believe it!!!! We are in Elizabeth's country of birth!!!!!

We left our home Wednesday morning at 11:00 AM, flew out of Atlanta at 5:30 PM to Los Angeles. We had about a 4 hour layover there (horrible airport, by the way). We boarded the plane to China and had a 15 hour flight to China. We arrived here Friday morning here in Guangzhou at 7:00 AM (which would be 6:00 PM Thursday night in Georgia- y'all are 13 hours behind us).

I had NO idea how hard a 15 hour flight would be. Not only was it incredibly long, but I discovered just how claustrophobic I am!!!!

We were greeted by CCAI's wonderful hosts at the airport- Kathy and Jocelyn. They picked us up and brought us and other families in our travel group to the famous White Swan Hotel on Shamian Island in Guangzhou. This is such a beautiful hotel! We are definitely being spoiled here.
We've spent our day today getting settled into the hotel and walking around Shamian Island. This is such a lovely place and very unlike any other area in China- it was once a British and French settlement so the architecture reflects that style.

We ate lunch at the famous restaurant called Lucy's. It's supposed to have more American style food. While not as good as if we were in America, we'll probably go again before we leave.

OH!!!! Major news flash!!!!!! Most of y'all know that I am a HUGE Diet Coke fan. Well, they do NOT have Diet Coke here!!! They have something called Coke Light that they said tasted just like Diet Coke, BUT IT DOESN'T!!!!!!!! So I will not be able to have a Diet Coke until March 9 when we get to Los Angeles!!!!!!!

We are all more tired than any of us ever imagined we would be. We all look forward to a long nights sleep tonight. However, the beds are as hard as a rock!! So I guess our backs will have to get used to them before we can sleep really really well.
Tomorrow we have a big group meeting and may have a group dinner at a local Chinese restaurant (surprise!!).

PLEASE keep praying for us!! And PLEASE pray for Elizabeth!! Her world is going to be completely changed in a mere 2 days.

More later!!!!!!


We are glad to here that you made it safely there. we will be praying for a good first meeting with Elizabeth. We will also be praying for your safe and good visit and safe return.In God We Trust EverythingDavid
Posted by: David & Melissa M. on February 23, 2007 at 03:51 A.M.

Hi guys. We are glad that you made it. Try the Green Apple Fanta's from the 7-11. They are wonderful :). We are saying our prayers for you guys. Jennifer C.
Posted by: Jennifer on February 23, 2007 at 05:36 A.M.

Good morning. I am so glad you made the trip ok.I hope you have a good visit. I know you can't wait to have Elizabeth in your arms. I also continue to pray for all of you.Helen P.
Posted by: Helen on February 23, 2007 at 05:51 A.M.

Glad to hear that you have made it safely!!!!Just so you know, I don't have a lot of sympathy for you regarding the diet coke, the beds, and how tired you would be when you got there. I WARNED YOU!!!!!!!In all seriousness, congratulations!!!!! Have a wonderful trip and bring Elizabeth home safely!!!!!CrisFather of Emilie-Ann JieYu and Leah FuXiao
Posted by: Cris Ward on February 23, 2007 at 06:07 A.M.

Yay! You're there! I'm so glad you had a safe trip, and I can't wait to hear all about your first days with Elizabeth. We love you guys!Lisa
Posted by: lisa hoffman on February 23, 2007 at 06:18 A.M.

I'm SO excited for you. Reading your post I almost cried. I know you will have a trip of a lifetime. It's Friady night there, so when you wake...only one more day to Elizabeth! It's in times like these that you experience God in such a big way. We'll be praying!Melissa
Posted by: Melissa Ward on February 23, 2007 at 06:22 A.M.

So glad you made it there safely. I agree with you about the claustrophobia thing on the plane. But the tight plane and hard beds are worth it. I can't wait to see Elizabeth in your arms!!!
Posted by: Kim on February 23, 2007 at 06:41 A.M.

SORRY!!!!.....I forgot about Coke LITE!!!! does not translate into madarin AND ppl will not buy something with diet on the lable. The Chinese are not pre-occupied with dieting like we Americans are. Try the deli on the same side street as the White Swan, when you come out the street side doors go to your left, the have great bakery items and yummy yougurts to drink!!!!!!........take care, Sals
Posted by: Sally on February 23, 2007 at 07:19 A.M.

I look forward to keeping up with you journal each day. In 2004, we found the best meal in all of China at a restaurant on Second Avenue on Shamian Island, a steak that tasted like steak, ice cream that tasted like home....Have a blessed journey. Robbie
Posted by: Robbie Mattox on February 23, 2007 at 07:37 A.M.

I'm so excited for you! I hope everything goes well and we will be praying for Miss Elizabeth. We once went to the coke museum in Atlanta and tried drinks form China, and you're right, it tastes horrible. Drink bottled water, there isn't much they can do to mess that up.
Posted by: Becky, Marcus, and Madelyn McGhee on February 23, 2007 at 08:11 A.M.

Wow!! So glad you made it okay. Rest today and get ready for the time of your lives! I can't wait to see pics of you with Elizabeth. Go to the Thai restaurant on Shamian Island-it was my favorite!! Tell Kathy hi from Anne, Gunther and Alexandra-travel group 1078!I am loving reading your blog!
Posted by: Anne, Gunther and Lexie on February 23, 2007 at 08:11 A.M.

Monday, February 19, 2007

February 19- What about the pets?

Most people that have pets consider them important. The same is also true of us. Being away for a couple of weeks can make one worry about the state of their pets. But I have to say...that is not an issue with us. We have it taken care of.

How? you ask. His name is Walter. He is my friend and my right-hand man. He cares for our pets when we are gone as if they were his own.

As we leave, we can rest assured that Sam, Martin and Katie are in good hands with Mr. Walter.


YOU ARE IN CHINA NOW!!!!!!!!It'S 10 am in Guangzhou, and a nice day. I hope you have had some rest and are seeing the sites of the Pearl River Delta, they are beautiful! Be sure to take one last stroll alone on the river at twillight. Reflect on how far you have come in the journey and how truly marvelous it is. I am thinking of you, praying for you and shedding many tears of joy for you both. My heart if full reliving this time through you and Elizabeth.Loveya, Sals
Posted by: Sally on February 22, 2007 at 07:40 P.M.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

February 17- A video of Elizabeth

Recently Shari got in touch with a lady who adopted from the same orphanage that we are adopting from. She was at the orphanage in late December. God, in His great providential way, saw to it to have that family film several things including some of the little ones. You guessed it…she was able to film our Elizabeth for a few moments.

This site that you are presently on does not have the video. If you will copy and paste this address into your browser you will be taken to the video.

She is the last child you will see before the ladies start talking together. She is lying on her stomach with a Snoopy (oh yeah Casey!) top and red pants. Of course being her Dad I think she is the cutest little one on the video.


Shari,This is priceless. We have several pictures people took of Rachel when they were at Yangchun but no video. This will be a special treasure for you.God bless!Tamara (another Yangchun mom)
Posted by: Tamara Arant on February 17, 2007 at 09:14 P.M.

How awesome! I can't wait to see the pics of you with her!
Posted by: anne (another YangChun Mom) on February 18, 2007 at 08:42 A.M.

Hi, guys! This is just awesome! I am so excited for all of you. What a wonderful little teaser this video clip is. In just a few days you'll be off to get her, and I just can't wait to hear all about it and meet sweet Elizabeth! You are all in our prayers. Lisa Hoffman
Posted by: Anonymous on February 18, 2007 at 09:30 A.M.

I loved seeing you Elizabeth. Just a few more days and you'll be in our arms!
Posted by: Big Brother on February 18, 2007 at 12:58 P.M.

How amazing! congratulations and best of luck in your travels. We are awaiting the arrival of our baby girl from Korea and only have two pictures. How blessed you are to receive such a special video!
Posted by: Tracey Smith on February 18, 2007 at 03:33 P.M.

I can't view the video (dial-up), but I wanted to take a quick moment to pray God's blessing upon you as you travel in just a few days.I don't suspect you'll actually get to post too much while you're away - you're going to be very preoccupied you know - but I'll greatly anticipate hearing of your entire trip once you've recovered sufficiently from jetlag after your return. May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and give you peace. And may the Holy Spirit go before you and prepare darling Elizabeth for your meeting. God Bless you all. Enjoy this very, very special time.Debbie
Posted by: Debbie Yuck on February 19, 2007 at 07:48 P.M.

Friday, February 16, 2007

February 16- Fun things at home...

Yes, you are looking at a picture of baby food jars. YIPPPPEEEEE!!!! I HAVE BABY FOOD JARS IN MY HOME!! Some of y'all just may be laughing at that comment, but I've been waiting for 37 years to have a baby!! Baby food jars, smelly diapers, spit up, crying in the middle of the night- I am looking forward to ALL of it, the good and the not-so-good. :)
This little dolly is from Elizabeth's soon-to-be-new-friend, Leah. Leah is almost 3 and she's from China, too! She sent Elizabeth this sweet doll named Calin Yang and a fun puzzle, too!! Thank you, Leah!!!

I am so excited to meet my little cousin (only by 2 months), Elizabeth!!! We are going to have a GREAT time playing together over at Grammy and Grandpa's house!!! I love you already!!Love,Sarah
Posted by: Sarah Farley on February 16, 2007 at 09:42 A.M.
I know how you feel about the good and the bad. It's all great. (Well, most of the time :o) ) I wouldn't trade any of it for anything! Have a great trip!
Posted by: Melissa Ward on February 17, 2007 at 08:11 A.M.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

February 14- Our Itinerary

2/21 Leave the U.S. for Guangzhou.

2/22 Families still en route…

2/23 Families arrive in Guangzhou.

2/24 Group: A group meeting will be held to prepare paperwork, fees and gifts.Your CCAI rep will be giving you detailed instructions regarding your daily schedule and paperwork.

2/25 Please be sure you are dressed in Business Casual attire for today’s events. Thank you! Go to the Provincial Civil Affairs Office this afternoon to receive your child. Congratulations! The children will be delivered by the Orphanage Director and orphanage staff.

2/26 Adoption Registration and Notarization.An optional shopping trip to the local department store for supplies. Pay as you go.

2/27 Receive your child’s adoption registration certificate today.Apply for your child’s passport.

2/28 Free time. Optional city tours are available. Waiting for adoption paperwork.

3/1 Your child’s visa physical exam and visa photo will be today. You will be walking to the clinic. Bring baby/child supplies (bottle, diaper, water, snack, etc.). Be ready to go!3/2-4 Free time. Rest, shop, tour Waiting for adoption paperwork.

3/5 Group meeting today (only 1 parent per family please) to prepare paperwork for the Consulate appointment.

3/6 Receive your child’s passport today.3/7 Today is your Consulate appointment.

3/8 Go to the U.S. Consulate to take the oath in the afternoon. Note: The U.S. Consulate prohibits your adult travel companions from entering the building. Your adult travel companions must remain at the hotel.

Receive your child’s visa packet at the U.S. Consulate.DO NOT OPEN YOUR CHILD’S VISA PACKET!

3/9 Families leave Guangzhou for the U.S.3/10 Welcome Home to Georgia!


WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! Less than a week before you leave. I know you are getting excited. Are you staying at the White Swan?
Posted by: Melissa Ward on February 15, 2007 at 06:56 A.M.

hurray! We will be praying every step of the way!
Posted by: Frank & Darlene on February 15, 2007 at 06:11 P.M.

Monday, February 12, 2007

February 12- Plane tickets are here!!!

Yep, here they are- OUR PLANE TICKETS!!! These arriving today makes this seem all the more real to me. We're NOT waiting anymore to find out about Elizabeth. She IS real!! We ARE going to get her NEXT WEEK!!!
Why are there 5 plane tickets? Aren't only 4 people going over? Well, the fifth ticket is Elizabeth's for her trip HOME!! The four adults have round-trip tickets but Elizabeth's is one way- the way home.
And yes, the ticket is in her Chinese name (Yang Chun Hua Bing) because she will be issued a passport with her Chinese name. We will change it all to Elizabeth Ann once we arrive back home. :)

ok ok ok thay got the tickets, all that is left is to go get her next week yahoo troops!!!
Posted by: walter on February 12, 2007 at 06:19 P.M.
Congratulations!!! What an amazing day for you all! Just a few more days and she will be in your arms!!!
Posted by: Mary on February 13, 2007 at 01:57 P.M.
I love the sound of "one way ticket".....kinda makes me think of our salvation...there's no turning back!
Posted by: Melissa on February 15, 2007 at 09:33 A.M.