Isaiah 43:5

Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. Isaiah 43:5

Friday, September 27, 2013

*Xie Xie/ Thank You!

This post is wrapped in much love and gratitude to YOU my friends!  So many of you were "pieces to the puzzle" in helping Lucy Kim from orphan to beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter!  It could possibly be said that "it took a village", but I'd have to add that the most critical part of our village is it's leader!  He proved His faithfulness in so many kind and loving ways and through so many kind-hearted, gracious and loving people!  
Thanks so very much J.E.D. for all your love and help with the puzzle!
Friends, you have practiced "caring for an orphan" in some of the kindest and most practical ways!!  The gifts of love that were given on Lucy Kim's behalf  were so very precious to us- from graciously donating and bidding on everything from homemade cookies to Kellogg cereal bowls and even a full size washer at our fundraising auction, to purchasing dozens of cupcakes made with love by our dear daughter her friends, purchasing "puzzle pieces" in Lucy's picture puzzle, sending notes letting us know you're praying for her (and us!), sharing her story with other's, donations, monetary gifts given in loving memory of our very dear friend, Jason Milholin.

And for those of you who still think what you did wasn't much, let me remind you of the starfish story found here!!  You've made a difference for this one!

One less orphan....

One More Zimmerman!

* Xie Xie - pronounced phonetically in English= zhay zhay (thank you!)

 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:27

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Advocating for Emily - follow up post

This three minute trailer might be hard to watch, but sometimes "Living Out Loud" is tough.... I encourage you to watch all three minutes with an open heart...... (click link below)

Find Me - Emily

Three weeks ago today, while in China, we met a very special girl, who we fondly gave the English name, "Emily."  Her deep desire for a family of her own broke our hearts! From that day three weeks ago,  I've carried her in my heart and mind.  I've prayed many times for her tender heart and for her family to "Find Her."  For those of you that were "traveling with us" while in China (following this blog), you'll remember this blog post I wrote, advocating for sweet "Emily."
Each time the adoption director takes an adoptive family on a tour of the orphanage, Emily always asks the director if a family has been found for her.  She desperately wants to have her own family and time is running out....

Shortly after we arrived back in the United States, our dear friends at Find Me- the documentary fb page have been very busy continuing to advocate for Emily in helping her forever family to "Find Her." (same friends who helped us to FIND our waiting Qu Yan (a.k.a. "Lucy Kim")!
I am beyond thrilled to report that many, many families have expressed interest in adopting Emily!!

An update from Emily's social welfare institute has reported that "Emily's paperwork is now complete, and as of last Friday it was sent to Beijing.  They are waiting to hear when she is considered logged in in China."

I am soo happy not only for sweet Emily (and the family that will welcome this gem into their home) but also for the other children that she will help to find a family for!

In bravely expressing her emotions and desire to have a family of her own, she was a voice and a real life visual for so many other children who also long for a family but are not able to be heard or seen. (tucked away in eerie silence but w.a.i.t.i.n.g. and longing just the same).   Praise God, her story has been seen by over 11,000 people (within a week) and there are families who are praying, thinking, considering and researching being an adoptive family for the older child who has a limited amount of time to secure a family before they "age out" and it is no longer possible.

I hope to continue to keep you updated on "Emily's story......."

In the meantime there's something very powerful we can be doing for the "Emilys and Lucys" that are waiting and begging God for a family!  Please consider being a prayer warrior for these orphans as well as  prospective families considering adding to their family through the gift of adoption!   They need our love, support and most importantly our prayers on their behalf!  The adoption process is tough, expensive, and can be emotionally draining but WORTH the reward waiting on the other side of the paperwork and finances!
REMEMBER......where GOD guides, HE ALWAYS provides!!
 “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

First Weeks Home..........(part one)

As I sit here typing, Lucy Kim is napping peacefully.  We've been H.O.M.E. for a week and a half now.  (three weeks from when we officially adopted our littlest love).

sleeping beauty with "Kimmy"

TRANSITIONING  would be a good describing word for all of us.  We're learning a "new normal" for the Zimmerman family.  Having adequate sleep and NOT having jet lag this week has really helped make this phase easier that's for sure.

We're transitioning slowly in changing our sweet little one's name.  Qu Yan (again pronounced phonetically chew yen) to Qu Yan Lucy and occasionally simply calling her Lucy.  In the past three weeks, she's already lost all that's familiar to her, we're in no rush to drop her Chinese name.  Some people have asked if we're keeping her Chinese name as her middle name or a derivative of it.  The short answer is no. But there's a much longer explanation that I won't try and explain in this particular post.
Puzzle made by a fellow adoptive Mama
Qu Yan Lucy is also transitioning from being comfortable in only the living room to any room in the house to include the back deck and our yard!  The first two days home, she did not want to go into the dining room or on the back deck.  She needed to keep her world small because that felt secure and comfortable!  I "get that", don't you? 
Try for a second to imagine being three years old (shoot even an adult!) and getting into a large aircraft flying 15.5 hours to the other side of the world where suddenly the smells, sights, buildings, landscape, language and people are vastly different then you've ever known!!  That's scary stuff, I'd want to contain my world too if I could!!
The whole gang - September 2013

Lucy Kim is also graciously transitioning to being ok and even enjoying being held or picked up by all of our immediate family.  (at least most of the time).  And there are a lot of us!!  She seems to be very bonded to her Mommy (which is an answer to many, many prayers) and that is such a sweet blessing in and of itself.
Big brother sneakin'  kisses!

The few times we've gone out to run a short errand, when we come home, I say loudly, slowly and with a lot of enunciation -  HOME, Qu Yan, we're HOME!  She gets a huge grin and you can see her whole body relax.  She's already feeling secure at home!  Unfortunately baby girl struggles with being car sick.  We noticed it while in China.  I'm certain is was rare for our little girl to go outside of the orphanage walls in her three and a half years.  Her body is just not use to the motion of a car.
front plate of Mom's taxi :)
Rear bumper sticker of Mom's taxi!

I too am transitioning!  I feel physically so much better this week now that jet lag is behind me.  I can also tell that Qu Yan Lucy is ok with me leaving the room she's in for a short period of time. (prior to this I've always been in her sight so that she feels secure).  I have been able to get some of the household chores done this week.

typical view from our driveway
Praising our Father God for a very good first week home!  More pictures and updates to follow......

Many thanks to those of you who have sent notes or encouraged me with kind comments about this blog, it is encouraging to know that you're "enjoying the journey" with us!    

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.     James 1:27


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tidbits at two weeks .......

Because my old  noggin often times can't keep things in the "recall" department when I need to remember something,  I have this handy dandy pop-up reminder that I use A LOT on my computer.  You see the days of using a calendar with small blocks to write in appointments/plans, we have long ago outgrown!

One of the reminder "pop ups" that started coming up while I was in China was from Wednesday, August 21st - "prayer and fasting for Lucy day".  Blog Post written HERE.  Normally when a past event pops up, I hit the dismiss button and it no longer reminds me.  BUT..... when this one popped up, I was overwhelmed anew with love and gratefulness to our Heavenly Father and for all of you who prayed for little Lucy!  FRIENDS --- God has done such an incredible work and I'm asking those of you who pray to please take time to THANK our Great Father God for bringing beauty from ashes, for His protection, love and care of a special orphan that was waiting for her family to find her.  I still haven't dismissed this reminder.,,,,,

A small sampling of the things we've learned about Lucy in the past two weeks......

- She LOVES to laugh (LOUD), giggle and act silly IF she's feeling comfortable and secure in her surroundings.
See how my whole face lights up when I smile!

- As with most three year olds, if something strikes her as funny the first time, she'll want it repeated 25x more because it'll be just as funny to her each time!
- She so likes familiar and what to expect (which is tough when you've moved to the other side of the world with people who don't speak your language) -- but she's already feeling comfortable here at home with her family!
- Conversely she gets very fearful when we get into the car to go away -- you can see fear written all over her face wondering where we're going and what we're going to be doing.
- We found out yesterday she loves the swing that is on our back deck
fishing with big sis in Xi'an park

- She is willing to try new foods (for which I'm so grateful).  She will take a first bite "to try" and if she's not fond of it when the second bite is offered, she'll shake her head "no"
- She's a puzzle queen
puzzle queen

- She's fully toilet trained and learning not to be scared to death to hear the toilet flush
- She reverts back into her "shell" whenever someone new comes into the room
- Going to bed - we're currently looking for a little routine that prepares her mentally that "bedtime/naptime" is coming.  As is normal, she dislikes being pulled from fun and doing the "sing and rock" routine.
- When she's feeling coy, she has this great smirk she'll flash
- Her Daddy thinks "she rocks" and her Momma loves her to pieces
Kisses for Mama

Because of my limited time, I have not been able to make individual replies to notes, e-mails or private messages.  BUT.... I sooo loving hearing from you and I am receiving them!  I'm just trying hard to keep Lucy and time with her my main priority.    Thanks for wanting to journey with us to China and back.......the journey has only begun.  STAY TUNED!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

China - Day Fifteen - Bringing our girl H-O-M-E!!!! (9/12/13)

As I thought might happen, Merle and I awoke before the alarm rang at 4:15 a.m. on Thursday morning..  Breakfast was arriving at our door at 5:00 a.m. and we were scheduled to meet Lily, our facilitator in the hotel lobby at 5:20.  We packed up the last minute things before getting the girls up.

Dressed in our comfy travel clothes, we were ready to roll.  We said our goodbyes to Lily who was a kind and sweet facilitator.  Her accent was heavy and could be hard to understand at times but she was so kind and often would console Lucy in Chinese with such a sweet motherly tone.

The four of us climbed into the comfy mini van (with the driver on the right side - in Hong Kong the steering wheel is on the opposite side of the car).  In China, they have the steering wheel on the same side as the United States.  We would cross from China into Hong Kong in about two to two and a half hours.  Lucy slept in Daddy's arms for about an hour when poor baby woke, she was very nauseous.  This time I was a bit more prepared.  I had two extra sets of clothes for her as well as myself and Merle!  The van driver didn't miss a beat and handed bags back to us as he continued his driving.  We stripped little Missy down and put on fresh clothes.
At the China border, our van doors were opened as well as our trunk and passports given to security (ALL vehicles have this inspection). Everything went fine. And only a few hundred feet ahead was the Hong Kong inspection border and we did the same thing there with the addition of having this "radar looking gun" zapped at all of us.  When we inquired with Joe what that was about, he informed us that they were taking our temperature.  Can't go into Hong Kong with high fever?!  
Shortly after these inspections, we were at the airport.  We unloaded all of our luggage, tipped Joe and entered the beautiful Hong Kong airport to await our fifteen and a half hour flight!  We were able to switch our one seat so that three of us could be together in a row and the other right on the other side of the aisle.  These seat locations were nice with having a toddler because they were very close to the bathrooms!

Unfortunately, none of us slept much.  Few cat naps throughout the entire flight was all any of us seemed to be able to get.

We arrived in Newark on schedule then had to go through customs/immigration.  It was crazy disorganized and crowds of people of all different nations were trying to huddle into a cattle shoot.  I think that wait was about an hour and a half  --that was to get to the first immigration officer.  Once we got there, we sailed through and then Lucy and I had to go to a special room to deliver her immigration paperwork and passport.  Merle and Emily headed down to baggage claim where Lucy and I later met up with them.  We didn't wait long and they called us up to the counter to return her Chinese passport.

Thankfully our luggage all came through without any problems on any of the flights we had.  Now we needed to wait to get the shuttle to the hotel parking lot where our van was parked.

I think by the time we got into our van it was about 3.5 hours from the time we landed in Newark.  We hit the GPS button for H-O-M-E and started the last leg of our travel journey.  About 45 minutes in, the girls were sound asleep and Merle and I were very heavy eyed.  So another stop at Starbucks was in order!

We safely made it home about 7:30 p.m.  Absolutely exhausted.  Poor Lucy Kim was beyond tired and we put her to bed shortly after arriving home.  It was sooo good to be finally H-O-M-E!!!  
Praising God for His Guidance, Direction, Provision and Safety in bringing Lucy Kim Zimmerman HOME!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

China - Day Fourteen - Last Day in Guangzhou.....Packing Up and Taking One Last Taxi Ride....

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 is our last full day scheduled in China.  Tomorrow morning at 5:30 a.m. (5:30 p.m., Wednesday night for those  on the East Coast of the U.S.A.) we will board a van and travel approximately 2.5 hours to the Hong Kong Airport.

Today, we needed to "pack it in" - suitcases repacked, carry on bags packed with toys, neck pillows, light sweaters, reading material and lollipops!  While Mommy did the packing, Daddy and Lucy girl went "out and about" the hotel and nearby Guangzhou to keep busy.  Daddy found an interesting little local grocery shop as well as a place to pick up a few snacks (including some "frozen milk tea" for Mama!)  He even took a picture of his purchases :)

This cool grape flavored water had a
marble in it to entertain the kiddos!

Grocery Store in Guangzhou
Snack goodies

Emily's flight from Beijing went well and she landed here in Guangzhou at 2:10 p.m. as scheduled.  A driver picked her up from the airport  and brought her the 45 minutes to the Garden Hotel where Daddy and Qu Yan Lucy were waiting in the lobby for her and Mommy stayed in the room in case there would be a phone call from the driver or Emily.  We were very thankful to have no incidences and have Em with us again!

We decided to try "Malaysian Cuisine" for our supper.  Emily was hungry and we ate early.  At 5:00 we had the restaurant to ourselves.  We ordered some pasta, rice and meat dishes (ordering based on the pictures from the menu!)  and shared everything.  We decided that Malaysian wasn't our favorite but we gave ourselves a pat on the back for trying something new and different.

Since Emily had not done any sightseeing or shopping in the Guangdong province, we decided to visit yet another plaza that we were told was about a 10 minute taxi drive from the hotel.  Ok -- that is IF you're not leaving the hotel at rush hour when everyone and their brother is trying to grab a taxi also!  After waiting about 20 minutes to get a taxi and then traveling about 30 minutes in heavy traffic we arrived at the destination!  This shopping district was more modern and westernized then any other we had visited. 

Wearing her new shades at night!
Soon after we arrived back in our hotel room we showered and set the alarm for 4:30 a.m.!  Trying to mentally gear up for the L-O-N-G trip back home.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

China - Day Thirteen - Consulate Appointment, Shamian Island and Liwan Plaza

Don't know where I'm going and I'm scared!

Today's appointment at the United States Consulate in Guangzhou is the appointment date that we based all of our travel dates/plans around.  Our  "CA" (consulate appointment) was set for 9/10/13 at 10:00 a.m.  All necessary paperwork was to be placed inside a clear large envelope and our passports as well as Lucy's passport were the only things permitted into the Consulate.  (no watches, cell phones, cameras, etc!)  The place where Lucy had her medical exam is directly across the street from the consulate.  Lily went into the medical bureau and picked up Lucy's necessary medical paperwork from Saturday's exam and then we all walked across the street to the embassy.  There were lines and lines of Chinese people waiting to get in to apply for visas to the United States.  Adoptive families are escorted to a place to show our passports to a guard and then they check a list that has that day's appointments.  They checked the list three times and couldn't find our names?!  The names were in all different crazy fonts and sizes (copy and pastes from difft. e-mails??).  Looking a fourth time at the bottom of the one page in teeny tiny font was my name and on the following page was Merle's.  Phew!
We then were scanned through security and proceeded to the second floor where several other adoptive families were also waiting.  A gentleman behind a windowed booth (much like a bank teller) announced a warm welcome to all of us adoptive families over a speaker and also asked us all to stand and raise our right  right hands to take an oath.  After the oath we were individually called up as families.  Handing our paperwork through a small hole in the protective glass it was reviewed and stamped.  It will remain at the embassy until tomorrow mid afternoon when each adopted child's visa will be printed and ready for pick-up!
(thus our needing to stay in country until early Thursday morning)
Outside the United States Consulate in Guangzhou

The whole process probably took about an hour.  From the consulate we had planned to go to the well known "Shamian Island".  (about 20 minutes via van ride)  Shamian Island means "sandy surface" in Chinese.  It is known for it's beauty and tranquility.  We enjoyed watching many older Chinese men and women playing what we might call "hacky sack" in groups of four!  We also observed some older people doing a yoga or fitness program together and still others were together to enjoy singing as a group!  There are also several tourist type shops, where I might have picked up a pair (or two) of "squeaky shoes" for the littles :)
Another extremely hot and humid day we found ourselves inside a Starbucks to cool off with an ice cold frappucino.  
So hot and sweaty!

Dressed in my patriotic attire for consulate day and sporting
my "smirk"!

A restaurant on the island called "Lucy's"
I absolutely loved all the adorable statues that were all over the island.  Lucy doesn't much care for being taken out of the stroller and being asked to pose for a picture.  She's not sure "what's happening" and she is fearful. Poor baby girl.

After visiting the island for a few hours we made a stop at the Liwan Plaza.  This particular plaza has several floors of  jewelry, pearls and jade!
Lily and I looking at the beautiful pearls

It was now mid-day and we were hot and tired, so it was time to head back to the hotel.  We rested briefly before getting our act together to go back out via foot to find supper and some bottled beverages to bring back and put in our hotel fridge (finding COLD drinks is not common unless you stop at a convenience store).  However, the heat and humidity is making us want to drink COLD beverages!

The view from above :)