Monday, December 27, 2010

Musings along the way

14 Sep 2010

Musing yesterday afternoon of the change about to come for our daughter to be - uprooted, transplanted, asked to thrive.

I weep for her.


Change Coming

Change is coming,
Massive it will be,
Overwhelming magnitude. 

Gone my country, a new country now,
Left the city I have known, what place is this?

Family left, a new one now.
Friends come and gone, who will friend me now?

Now at last one alone - me.
Who am I, where have I gone?

A new identity, finding myself.



Autumn comes,
I see your face.
The miles separate us.
I yearn to hold you.

You do not know me,
I know you from afar.
Your sweetness captured my heart,
Would that we would never part.

We came together from different paths,
Our lives meet, we travel together,
Hand in hand for awhile,
Then we part our separate ways.

You will always be a part of me,
I will always be a part of you.
Though death take me,
I love you my children.



China Callings

A far and distant place,
Land of mystery, grandeur and beauty,
Half a world away,
China calls.

Businessman, teacher, poet;
Musician, artist, diplomat,
Intrigued they are,
China calls.

Many faceted though you are,
Something for everyone,
Happiness pursued.
China calls.

A land lush with variety,
Some are not wanted,
Others wish to embrace.
China calls.

The Land - China.
Although we leave your shores,
China calls.

Belonging, whether near or far,
Always, our home,
Our Land, China.

14 Oct 10


When, when, when?
The questions never end!

When the time is right,
Be it day or night.

Little girl, little girl,
You make my heart twirl!

Coming, coming,
We are coming.

Now we are four,
But soon no more.

Waiting for Article 5,
Waiting for TA and CA, we 5.

19 Oct 2010

A few days ago Jacque wrote some words "The present she has yet to unwrap, is that of a family of her very own, no more an orphan to be."

This is for Natalie (Gotcha 12-27-10), Star (Gotcha 11-29-10) and all the other children waiting to come home - 

The Gift Yet to Open

Your birthday comes and there are gifts.
      Pretty things, useful things.
Gifts from friends or caretakers, 
      They give happiness, for the moment.
Still something is amiss,
      Tucked away in the corner, nearly hidden,
There sits one giftyet to open.

Picking it up, examining it, turning it over and over.
      There the treasure lies,
It is a family of your own.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

New World

12/11 - We arrived at the Atlanta airport around 7 pm Saturday, 27.5 hours after we got up the same morning in China to head home.  Since we left our vehicle at the hotel we left from 15 days before, we had reserved a suite to spend the night in on our return since there is a fire regulations rule that prevents 5 people, no matter their size, from occupying one hotel room.  We wanted Star to arrive at her new home in daylight hours.

In the hotel by 8 pm, after about freezing waiting on the shuttle, since we had no coats to speak of.  Out for provisions of something besides airline food, our first adventure of Star riding in her car seat.  We had not gone far when I heard Yu-Hsuan say to Star, 'Dad, he drives fast, vroom, vroom'.  Hmm.  Back at the hotel, after fries and what passed for chicken, burgers and what not it was time to hit the pool for those of us so inclined which was everyone save Ellen.

A dip with the children in the indoor pool followed and more importantly the heated one.  It was nice even if we were dead beat - well at least for this adult.  Carrying Star around in the deeper end of the pool (5 feet), she seemed to like it.  Hearing her squeals of delight warms the heart.

Finally back to the room and to bed, all of us more or less worn out.  Star sleeping with Mama and Yu-Hsuan sleeping with me while Tian took the couch in the other room - her choice, so she could watch TV longer.  Up by 4 am and slowly getting ready we left by 8 am Sunday, 12/12 heading home.  A stop in northern Atlanta for breakfast, Star's introduction to Cracker Barrel - aka Southern food.

While we were there, the temperatures kept dropping and it was bitterly cold from what we had been used to in southern China.  Snow started as we left heading on to Chattanooga and by the time we reached our exit, it was coming down heavy.  We arrived home, I made sure the dogs were outside.  Then Ellen went in and took this picture of Star entering her new home.

Her new bedroom.

Experiencing riding piggy back with Baba

Watching a few flakes fall

Brother tickled over something

On to new heights

Decked out in new coat 
(thanks Ladybugsnlove)
Gracie, Star, Yu-Hsuan

A girl has to do her art no matter what

Dreams of China she was and is for me, but for Star, it is now, life in a new world. From my vantage point she is embracing it with open arms, eager to learn, open to what she is presented with, enjoying life like never before.  She still is the bravest person I know and I am blessed to be her baba.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Heritage visit - curtain call

12/10 - Our final full day in China.  We are today to visit Tian's orphanage for a heritage visit and her finding place.  Tian was adopted from the orphanage in the province of Guangdong, city of Foshan, Nanhai District in March, 2008 and our lives from that point forward have been so enriched, blessed beyond our wildest dreams.

Tian and some of the caregivers who knew her.

Ms. Tang, orphanage director

Baba taking pictures of bulletin board 
pictures of Tian and others we know shown

The workers were glad to see Tian,
saddened that she did not understand them,
did not remember them

Ms. Tang, us, Mr. Pang, SWI Director
presenting us with handmade decoration

A short drive away to meet Tang's mother
She took Tian and a roommate to school for a year

Tian's alleged finding place, a park.

Star, Connie, Tian, Tang

Tian wandering in the park
I have to wonder her thoughts

Gardening crew
we think prisoners

Next we moved to Nanhai middle school 
to meet Tang's daughter, whom Tian remembered

Coming back to the island a couple of shots of the water on the north side - for whatever reason, this is Ellen's favorite picture.

Night descends on the island

Along the main drag between 
Lucy's and the White Swan

Tian and Tim 
December 2010

Tim and Tian
March 2008

Tian, Yu-Hsuan, Tim, Star
December 2010

12/11 - Up at 430 am Saturday (330 pm Friday, Chattanooga time), a boxed breakfast awaits us, a bill for 2.5 yuan for phone calls made (40 cents), as we left the hotel at 545 am for our 8 am flight from Guangzhou to Beijing and Star's first flight.  She pulls a mean suitcase.

Leaving Beijing around 1 PM, two weeks before Christmas.

Tears as we said goodbye China:

- for Star, leaving her homeland
- for us, missing it already
- for China's children, without babas and mamas

Written as we flew homeward bound -

The Land

The Land - ancient, timeless, a place I never dreamed of going.

Somewhere between journeys one and two a deep love and appreciation for the Land became a part of me.  Leaving now is much harder this time not because of people I've met there - but leaving the land itself.

A deep love and respect has grown for this land, this culture, wishing to preserve what once was, not Westernizing it.

Social upheaval is good some times if what comes after is better than the past. Peaceful change is best, let the people embrace this ideal, make it their own.

For the orphans though, my heart hurts most - the least of us - tossed aside, no one of their own to love them for who they are - often the not physically or mentally perfect - left here and there....

Written late into the flight from Beijing to New York - 

Across Hudson's Bay

North to South
We traverse
frozen lands, puffy clouds stretch 
to the horizon.

What life lies below us?
furry creatures, swimming creatures, birds, more?

Sliding further southward,
pools of lakes big and small dot to horizons
pattern there most likely is,
moon scape, snow scape,
rhyme or reason?

A settlement in the distance or
the sun winking on the snow?

Far, far away to the west,
dreams of China still exist.
Tears form and fall for my daughters
leaving their homeland, once and twice.

I, too, love their land, the Land.
More so though I love her children who have no family
          to love them. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Shopping with family

12/9 - After Liu Hua Park, we came back to the island, had lunch and proceeded to go shopping across the road off the island, to the place the group had gone three days earlier.

Then to a central plaza

Not sure what the deal is here - 
he tooted a horn from time to time

Same structure Ellen had her profile picture 
taken in 3 years ago

Returning from successful shopping trip
Suitcase and DVDs

Get your live small scorpions here

Or if you prefer, larger ones

Yum, lizard on a stick.

At Lucy's that night, sitting in a back room, too cool to eat outside, on the wall a map of the United States.  Looking at our homeland, state by state, I started thinking of the families I know in so many of the various states with children home from China and other places.  Without warning the tears formed and fell.  Blessed I am to know so many families across the states and blessed are their children to have forever families.

Thus ended 12/9 - a very full day.