Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Our Night

Last night before bed. Brian and I cried and prayed over Gracie. For her heart and fear, and specifically that she would drink and be able to go to the bathroom. She slept fitfully in our bed, and woke up in the middle of the night so thirsty & drinking juice like she had never had liquids in her life. She also had two poopie diapers - Praise God! She slept in her bed the rest of the night.
We have yet to see her walk. She walked when they brought her in, so we know she can. She is still so frightened. She is getting better at maintaining eye contact with me and Brian. Every little second counts in building trust. She hasn't wanted any of her toys either. I know that little Gracie is trying to process so much. Our hearts ache for her. We are praying for breakthrough today.
One specific way aside from Gracie we are asking for prayer in - Everywhere we go they take our temps, and I keep getting pulled. I can't tell you the anxiety this causes me & the kids. Please pray for the anxiety level, and specifically that we will maintain low body temperatures.
Thank you for your prayers. You have no idea how they are carrying us through.
"As your day, so shall your strength, your rest and security be." Deuteronomy 33:25

Tough Day

Hello all. Missy here writing for Rachel, posting her messages from e-mail. I've had a little technical difficulty this morning with Blogger, but here is today's post:
Grieving + constipation=a long day. Poor little Gracie is so sad today, and only showing tiny seconds of relaxing with us. On top of that, she is not eating or drinking well, and is constipated! We're all pretty exhausted.
This morning we went back to the adoption center to complete the adoption. We had to sign a ton more paperwork and pledge never to abandon or abuse our new daughter! Mercy!
We left there to go shopping at a huge 3 story food department store. We are SO not in Kansas anymore! (No offense Lori!) It actually made me miss the Taylors WalMart! We spent the rest of the day here @ the hotel. Gracie napped and Erin and Quinn went to the pool with Brian. Ali stayed with me and was a huge help when Gracie woke up. She did eat a little more congee between sobs. Tomorrow we go to the police department to do paperwork for Gracie's passport, and then we go for her medical exam. We really covet your prayers! Off to bed!
1. Waiting at the adoption center.
2. Making it official.
3. Huge super makert.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Our First Night

It's 4 am & Mommy & daddy are wide awake! Last evening Brian finished some paperwork while Gracie napped a little. She woke up shaking and terrified. At that point all we could do is hold her & allow her to cry. We ended up ordering congee through room service for her so she would have something familiar, and she ate a full bowl in between crying jags. The magic touch was giving her a warm sponge bath. She relaxed & seemed to be seriously studying us more. I got one tiny burst of a laugh when putting lotion & pjs on her. She fell asleep immediately on top of me in our bed. We put her in her bed(reluctantly, I might add) at around 9pm & she has slept like a rock. Today we finalize the adoption and plan on unconditionally loving this sweet girl God has given us. Amazing...love at first sight.
1. Adoption paperwork in our guide's room.
2. Check out the size of that foot
3. First bath!
4. Quinn is in love
5. Sound asleep

More Pictures

1. Sugar bribe
2. Daddy's Girl
3. Exhausted!


We received Gracie at the Guangzhou Adoption Center this afternoon. It was very emotional for the entire family. Gracie Shu has had a difficult day; she traveled 6 hours yesterday to spend the night in the Guangzhou orphanage, and was brought to the adoption center by a local adoption worker and an office worker from her orphanage. She is beginning to grieve, and seems very frightened. We couldn't be more thankful to have her in our arms! Please pray for peace, rest, and comfort.
"He who promised is Faithful." Hebrews 10:23

1. Our first glimpse of her
2. Love at First Sight
3. Our travel group

Three More Hours!

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I'm sitting here in our room by myself trying to process the thought of being a new mother in less than 24 hours. I distinctly remember how felt each night before Ali, Erin and Quinn were born. I recall having the same feelings of inadequacy (His grace is sufficient). I recall with Erin & Quinn feeling so sad that their older sibling wouldn't be my "baby" anymore. There was fear of the unknown, and there was lack of sleep. Right now I'm giving Gracie again into the hands of her Creator. I'm asking that her last night in her familiar bed will be a restful one. I'm asking that God would minister to the ones who have cared for her daily. I can't wait to kiss that face!

1. Rainy day boredom
2. There are literally hundreds of these apartment buildings in the city. Mind boggling.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

An interesting day

Here's the latest update via e-mail from Rachel:
Today we spent more time shopping on Shamain Island. We ventured with another CHI family across a bridge to where mainly locals shop. It was mostly outdoor food vendors selling every living creature known to man, most of them live. Joined with the heat and humidity it was an unforgettable experience! Needless to say, none of us were hungry at lunch time!
I'm getting better at not holding my children in a death grip during our taxi rides. Have mercy, I've never seen anything like the traffic here & the way people drive! Another thing we're getting used to is coming inside form the stifling heat to absolutely freezing buildings. Then there's the joy of watching TV & trying to guess what they're saying in Chinese. Yeah, we know how to have fun.
We will greatly miss worshiping at CrossRoads tomorrow. We realize more and more every minute we've been here how truly blessed we are.

Captions for pictures:
1. Hotel lobby
2.Sea horse anyone?!
3.Live scorpions
4.Live eel
5.Bathroom with a view...Thank goodness there's a curtain!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 2 in Guangzhou

Friday was our first full day here in Guangzhou. We tried to keep going all day so that we would be ready to sleep last night. We "kept in touch" by watching CNN...Michael Jackson, news of our state's governor (so sad) and then this morning news of Farah Fawcet's death. I always had to be Kate Jackson when we played Charlie's Angels growing up. I always wanted Farah's hair.
Last night we took a taxi (talk about near-death-experiences) to Shamain Island. We walked around the beautiful White Swan hotel and ate at a restaurant called Lucy's. The pace on the island is so much more relaxed than where we are downtown. We were initially scheduled stay @ the White Swan, but plans changed because of renovations there.
We started the souvenir build up also last night. We met a great shop owner named Jordon who was very anxious to use his English speaking skills on us.By the way Lori, he remembered you from last year! He was very entertaining and also revealed his faith to us. Very cool.
Today we plan on more shopping with the other Children's Hope family here. There's a museum nearby that we may visit also. We miss SC, our family, our water, our fresh Greenville air, and familiar foods, but we are soooo ready to welcome Gracie in 2 days!
Love to everyone. God's presence is very real to us here and we are asking at every moment to be sensitive to the Spirit's voice. His Kingdom come!

Captions for photos:
1. Quinn showing off his new hackey sac skills
2. White Swan hotel
3. Pearl River
4. One of the huge, beautfull jade carvings in the lobby of the White Swan
5. Quinn's Guangzhou girlfriend


Hi all! My name is Missy, and our family is blessed to be friends with the Woodards. Rachel had hoped to continue to e-mail her updates directly to post on this blog, but Blogger is completely blocked and I am her posting back up plan. I know we are all delighted to receive any news, especially updates on how we can pray. Blessings! MK

We arrived via train from Hong Kong yesterday, the 25th. Our guide, Elsie, met us at the station. We are so relieved to finally be here! We walked into our room to see...Ta Da...a crib! We then ate at the famous Chinese restaurant, McDonalds. The kids have done better than Brian and I have as far as jet lag goes. Today doesn't seem to be as bad as yesterday. This morning we met another CHI family here @ the hotel. Four other families will arrive Sunday, and all six families will receive their children on Monday!!
Our journey on Tuesday began w/ a delay @ GSP. We met a great guy named Josh Olson. You can read about his incredible ministry at www.dtdgolf.com. Brian and I are convinced God sent Josh to help our family on our journey on Tuesday. He took us through the Chicago airport, treated us to lunch, and upon our arrival in Hong Kong, led us in the right direction toward customs and immigration. We also had a pretty scary experience I'll share later. God was totally protecting us.
We were then met by our second "angel" of the day, Richard. He was so gracious and took us to our hotel and made sure that we were settled before he went home. He also had purchased our train tickets for the next day. Brian said it is truly as if God used these men to father us through a long, tiring day. We are so grateful!
It is so surreal to finally be here. Our train trip allowed us to see more of rural China. Now being in a city of over 7 million is mind boggling.. We visited a park near our hotel today.It is over 200 acres and quite beautiful. The not so pretty part...90 percent humidity. We now have added a 6th member to our family - my huge frizzy hair. Have mercy - the flat iron isn't going to help out here! Let's just say our family sticks out here like a sore thumb. - lots of stares. I love seeing the faces of the Chinese people. Each one is beautiful to me, young and old.
Counting the days now till we see our girl! Please pray that God will be preparing her heart for her transition, and for her care takers as well as they prepare to send her out of their care.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hong Kong

cWe're here!! This morning we take the train to Guangzhou. Pray for safety! We plan to try to post there & get some pictures up. The flights were fine, and the kids did GREAT! God sent us a couple of angels yesterday by the names of Josh & Richard. More on that to come later. Just wanted everyone to know we're OK. (Sam and/or Sue please tell Mom & Dad!)
God is good.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


The time has come!

We plan to post when we can. We've been told Blogger and possibly even email is being blocked in China right now, but we have a few back up plans! Thank you for your promised prayers!

"He Who promised is faithful."
Hebrews 10:23

"Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to Your Name be the glory."
Psalm 115:1

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Today was a wonderful Father's day. The kids were able to spoil their awesome Daddy, & Brian and I were also able to celebrate the incredible, Godly fathers we each have been given.

This morning at church was a very special time for us as well. Our family was prayed over and loved on by our church family. An emotional time really - so many faces that have spoken words of faith and encouragement over the years, so many generous hearts that have given financially and of their time. We are so blessed. Our time ended with some very generous donations that answered a very specific financial prayer as we prepare to leave. We are in awe and very humbled at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, the obedience of fellow believers to His leading, and the provision lavishly poured over our family at this exciting time. THANK YOU!

"May He give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
We will shout for joy when you are
victorious and will lift up our banners in the Name of our God.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the Name of the
LORD our God."
Psalm 20: 4-5, 7

Friday, June 19, 2009

Please pray with us!

There are some specific ways we would love for you all to be praying with us for our trip.
We as a family have been praying some very specific things for Gracie
and for our travel as well. We would be honored if you would go before
the Father on our behalf. He is so faithful and so mighty!

  1. That Gracie will have a loving nanny, familiar with her and her story , who will accompany her on the six hour drive they will take to meet us in Guangzhou.
  2. That Gracie will be healthy.
  3. That God will be preparing her heart to meet our family. We've asked specifically that He would give her a vision of us so that we will miraculously be familiar to her. Also that he bonding process will go smoothly and that God will minister to all 6 of us during that time.
  4. That we would be able to find out the details of how and where she was found in her home city. We are praying that we will be able to obtain a copy of her "finding ad".
  5. For complete safety on every one of our flights and on the train and any other forms of transportation that will be taken in China as well.
  6. That we will make all of our flight connections.
  7. For wisdom with the currency exchange and over every purchase and transaction that will be made.
  8. For safety over our home and house sitter while we are away.
  9. That no one on our in-country or international flight will have the flu or exhibit any flu symptoms.
  10. That we will not be quarantined or detained upon arrival for any reason.
  11. That we all will adapt to time changes and be able to deal with jet lag, especially on our return home as Gracie's days and nights will definitely be mixed up!
  12. That we would hear Gods voice at every turn, and honor Him with every word spoken and in every action. We want to see His glory at work!
"I will go before you and level the mountains to make the crooked places
straight; I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut asunder
the bars of iron, and I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden
riches of secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the
God if Israel Who calls you by name.
That men may know from the east and the rising of the sun
and from the west and the setting of the sun that there is no God
besides Me. I AM the Lord, and no one else is He."

Isaiah 45:2-3, 6

Three years of our lives - Precious papers!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

To all our family and friends

THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for the love and support you have shown us over the last 3 years. We can't imagine walking this path without the love and prayers that have been poured over our family. We are so grateful for the role you have already played in Gracie's life!

We saw an excellent letter issued by one adoptive family to their family and friends explaining the bonding process their child would be going through when he came home. We've taken that letter and adapted it to our situation because we feel it's so important for you to see what we will be processing through as a family, and also give you an idea of how you can be praying!

"As we prepare for Gracie's arrival, we've learned that her emotional health is of the utmost importance. In her short life, our daughter will have gone through more changes and life altering experiences than most adults could handle. Imagine how much harder the changes will be for her. While she may not consciously remember all of the events, she will still experience immense loss of a birth mother. She will also soon be experiencing the loss of familiar and comforting caretakers as well as the sights, smells and language of her birth country. Her world will turn upside down. She will struggle with feeling safe and secure and she may lack the ability to trust that we will meet her needs.

We have prepared to meet her emotional needs so that she does learn that we will always take care of her and will always keep her safe. We need your support. In order to form a strong and healthy attachment we will allow her to regress so that she has the opportunity to go through all of the emotional stages with us despite her chronological age. Although it may appear that we are spoiling her, we have been advised that is is best that we meet every need quickly and consistently. Until she has learned that we are her parents, we need to be her primary caretakers at all times. It is essential that we always hold her, feed her, and do all of the nurturing. You may wonder how long this will take, but the timeline is different with every child. We will follow her lead and trust God's leading as well.

We have all been waiting anxiously for Gracie to arrive but she has not been waiting for us. She may show grief and confusion in many ways and we are trying to prepare ourselves to help her through it and prove that we are her forever family. We are actually praying that she will grieve when we first receive her, because that means she has attached to someone before us, and has the ability to attach to someone again. We trust that as our family and friends you will help us to do what is best for our daughter, and we thank you in advance for your support and understanding!"

We love you all!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sacrificial Love

Today God used someone we love very much to give a very generous donation toward bringing Gracie home. We are so humbled and pray God's richest blessing on everyone who has given in any way - whether it has been financially, or through a gift, encouragement or prayer.

"Religion that God our Father accepts
as pure and faultless is this:
to look after orphans and widows..."
James 1:27

"The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
The LORD turn His face towards you
and give you peace."
Numbers 6:24-26

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Practical Love

Today was one of those days where I saw the love of Jesus lived out through one of His sweetest creations. My dear friend volunteered to keep our little Quinn so that the girls and I could run some travel errands. In the course of only three hours we were able to hit 5 stores and the library.
Not only did I receive two beautiful handmade gifts for Gracie, but also a loaf of homemade wheat bread and herb butter... I could get used to this! Thank you dear Missy. The part you have played in our adoption process is priceless to me! My to-do list has grown a little smaller, my outlook is a little brighter, and my capris fight a little tighter thanks to that fabulous bread! :)

I love this blanket!!

Too pretty to wear?!


Monday, June 8, 2009

All About Our Girl

My Dad commented yesterday on the miracle of loving someone that you've never even met before. That's us...Head over heels over our new daughter with only a few pictures and nowhere near enough (for this Mama!) information on her.

Lian Jia Shu was born on February 1, 2008 in Lianjiang City in the Guangdong province. One fact that saddens me so far, is that we've been given no information on where/when she was abandoned. Our prayer is that we would find this out when we receive her in 3 weeks. I desire to "piece together" as much of her beginnings as possible to give those details as a gift to her one day. We have almost literally mourned all of the "1sts" we have missed with our girl, but know we will be making "1st" memories with her from the start of our new life together.

When we received our referral in March, we received some information on her from when she was 8 months old...

She was 7.5 lbs when she was brought to the orphanage.
She was crawling at 7 months. She is developmentally & physically on track.
"Distinguishes between acquaintance and strangers"
"Knows name, turns when called"
"Fond of playing games"

And my personal favorites...
"Deep sleeper"
""Laughs aloud"
"Active & restless" :)
"She screams when she so excited." Yeah...she'll fit right in.

Our recent update only included weight, height & foot measurements. She's at 20 lbs and looks quite healthy to us.

We are anxious to get her home to begin the process of of meeting her medical needs. We have a clinic here that has agreed to meet with us when we return. This clinic encompasses not only the plastic surgeons who would perform her upcoming operations, but also ENTs, and speech therapists . We are already covering these people in prayer, whoever they are, as they will be the ones to treat Gracie.

We have prepared ourselves for the fact that Gracie will probably not be verbal due to the cleft palate. If you ever need a laugh, take a peek in our window one evening to see our family trying to learn baby signs along with our pitiful attempts to learn what we can of the Mandarin Chinese language. "A new normal" for sure!

We're also preparing our hearts for her bonding/grieving process. I can't even begin to imagine what will be going through her mind as she will be taken from the only home she's ever known and handed to total strangers who happen to look like no one she's ever seen before. We're asking God to prepare her little heart and mind for this life-changing transition.

We're counting down the days. Coming soon sweet girl!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Travel Dates!!!!!

After another roller coaster week of more travel delay news (I couldn't even bring my self to post about it), we received the best possible e-mail from our agency on Thursday. We were given official travel dates & were told to book our flights!!

We will be leaving on the 23rd and flying home July 10th. I'll post a more detailed itinerary soon. We are in awe of how God has worked this week. He brought the most incredible travel agent to us through a friend on Wednesday, and as of Thursday he found airline tickets for us that were almost half of what we were expecting. We even woke up this morning to an email saying he had found an even better deal! I had prayed earlier this week that we would see God's glory at work, and we definitely have!

It's time to get out that luggage set we purchased over 2 years ago for this very trip! :) Our bedroom so far has been the "staging area" for everything we've been accumulating for travel, and now I can look at that stash w/ joy knowing we have official dates!!

"You are the God Who does wonders."
Psalm 77:14a

"Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have
accomplished You have done for us."
Isaiah 26:12

"Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens
and the earth by Your great power and by Your
outstretched arm! There is nothing too hard or too
wonderful for You."
Jeremiah 32:17

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A plug for a friend indeed

Sassy, eh?!

You must go HERE to see some great items my friend Lori has made to help bring home her beautiful new daughter!! I can't wait to see how God will bless her in this over the next couple of weeks!