Meeting Ruth

Meeting Ruth

After some frustration trying to log in to WordPress, we have finally managed to figure out a way of getting in to post although it is slow and takes some abracadabra.

After a hearty breakfast yesterday morning we went and got a few supplies. We mainly just went for water because tap water is undrinkable and, although the hotel supply bottles, they won’t do so in bulk, and won’t give the bottles directly to you, rather they will contact the service center and have them sent up to you. My first request failed so we had no water one night and my confidence in this system was soon destroyed. I will recommend to the hotel that they put drinking water dispensers at various locations, maybe near elevators.

We managed to resist some temptations on the way…

Shortly thereafter, we went to the Civil Affairs Office to get Ruth and this was our first meeting…

It was immediately obvious how good natured she is. Of course she was obviously overwhelmed with everything and just followed her favorite nanny, refusing initial attempts that Carrie made to make contact. Ruth was very quiet and accepting of contact but reaching out for her nanny at every opportunity.

…she was even less impressed with her new daddy…I have no idea why.

Here we all are with the orphanage workers.

Finally it was time to go back to the hotel to play and chill out. I don’t think child car seats exist in China, by the way.

We were yet to get a smile out of Ruth but after a change into some lighter clothing and cunning application of stinky breath to soapy liquid, there were both smiles and wonder…








Blowing up a balloon caused similar excitement.

By now we were getting hungry although Ruth didn’t seem interested in eating or drinking much at all. The girls stayed in the hotel while I went out foraging for some dinner and couldn’t resist the pull of the fare from a fine dining establishment down the street. The menu items sounded so appealing…

















After a hard time trying to eat and trying to get Ruth to eat or drink, it was time for a bath before bed. I am surprised how sweet and laid back Ruth is. She will adjust really well and be a wonderful daughter.

At the Garden Hotel



We made it through the cattle herd of 2 train stations, been nearly assaulted by a beggar buying our train tickets, but now we finally made it to our last destination. We are at the Garden Hotel and it felt almost like we were in the movies coming in as you’re treated like royalty.

Unpacking we found 2 packages of these masks and cracked up. In general the “Chingrish” here is hilarious.

We tried to do some videoing on the way to the train station, but missed the guy on the moped with 2 huge water tanks. Last night we saw a family of 5 on a motorcycle. Welcome to China!





China – Saturday 10th


Here are the highlights of the day:

1. “Wet Market” aka fish and poultry market
2. Wal-Mart
3. Foot massage aka entire body beating
4. Then jet lag set in…..blahhhhh
Kyle took us to the local fish and poultry market where you could get about anything imaginable and some still alive from the sea – eals, squid, crabs, any kind of fish. (I didn’t appreciate the lady who through a fish back into some water and splashed my entire legs). There were so many kinds of eggs for purchase from what looked like from small birds, to chicken eggs, one egg covered in what looked like dirt. Kyle said that some of the eggs they cook in coal (??? or something like that) and that’s why they were covered in the black stuff. You could pick you chicken or duck out LIVE and they slaughtered and skinned then right on the spot. So glad I didn’t witness that. Still didn’t see dog. Thank goodness. There was every kind of rice and grain imaginable. We also passed a place that sold rice wine and some had snakes in it. Freaky.
After lunch at the old Charles DeGaul ship, we headed out for Wal-Mart where I found some cool things, including a typical baby’s outfit – crotchless pants. (split pants is the official name)
It was only in the past couple of years that there were any kind of disposable diapers here. A lot of the traditional Chinese grandparents watch the grandchildren and the kids are potty trained by the time they’re 1 and 2 at the latest. Amy and Kyle said they make a little whistle noise in the child’s ear and they know to do their business on the spot. I don’t know how they do it with newborns, but I saw the newborn crotchless pants too. One of the funniest things I saw at Wal-Mart was that there were 2 rows of massage chairs and they were all occupied like it’s a social thing to do. And along the children’s book isle, children were sitting shoulder to shoulder each reading. Downstairs there was any imaginable Chinese food you could ever want. Along all the other isles, especially by the beauty products, an employee would be holding a product out trying to get you to buy something. Labor must be cheap here! Speaking of cheap labor, it’s only supposed to be $200 per month to hire a nanny/cook who’ll come in the mornings to cook for the family, clean, take care of the children and do all the shopping!!! But, I can’t say that would tempt me one bit to move here. The kids do learn Chinese quickly though.
So, as I wrote yesterday, we really wanted to try out the foot massage. It’s $9 and you can’t beat that price in the states. Sooooo, yesterday afternoon we went in and got a private room with recliners, a flatscreen TV on the wall. Our tea glasses were never empty. We were all given wooden buckets with I swear boiling water in them. I just about screamed. It took about 4-5 bowls of cold water to cool it down. So, that was the start of the 80 minute torture session and let me say I think every muscle in my body hurts today. It was not just a foot massage, it was primarily a squeezing of every muscle in your body and places you never knew existed. George was quite verbal and had his massage girl laughing most of the time. In hind site, I wonder if Amy and Kyle took us there for cheap entertainment. Actually no, I completely understand why Kyle won’t go there now. The weird part was the flicking on the head, on the legs, popping of the fingers and toes. At the very end they put hot towels wrapped around our legs and then our feet and lower legs were massaged with some kind of oil. Of course none of them wore gloves, so bless the one who did George’s feet. hahaha (just wait til he reads that).
 I had the “Gorgeous foot massage”.
Amy, Kyle, George and I. (Did she find the wart???)
After our massage my body started shutting down and Kyle had to bring me back to the apartment I felt so sick. Then I woke up ever 2-3 hours and had to take dramamine to get back to sleep. I am so ready to sleep through the night…..but then again, we’re getting Ruth tomorrow so fat chance of that.
It was probably in the mid 80’s yesterday and so humid that I could smell myself stink by the end of the day. The massage girl kept wiping George’s sweat off his face. So, I am excited about our hotel in Guangzhou having a pool as I think we’ll be in it a lot.
We’ll be leaving early afternoon by train for Guangzhou – an hour away.
I am bummed that we’re having trouble with the VPN service or else I could put some pictures up. I talked my parents through it all on the phone this morning so hopefully they can help out. I’d love everyone to see Gotcha Day pictures tomorrow.
Thanks to Amy and Kyle for a fun visit!

In Shekou

I’m glad we survived the flight. Any time I felt weird I just kept popping another dramamine. Poor guy at the end of our row had to keep getting up every hour for my bathroom breaks. I got served what looked like between a small celery stock and a squid with my dinner, but other than that the food wasn’t too terrible. I actually felt well enough to watch the Timothy Green movie. It was really cute, but doubt Lucy would really get it. George didn’t sleep at all, but he must have gotten desperate at one point as I woke up to his head on my lap.
We had no trouble going through Hong Kong. We went to the signs that said “Mainland China” and a lady asked me where we’re going (Shenzan Wan) and she slapped a sticker on my shirt, took my suitcase and waved me to the counter to buy our tickets. Then took me to a row of seats and told me “sit here”. We were told to wait 10 minutes, but some guy grabbed us as we hardly sat down and took us outside where some kind of minivan like vehicle pulled up. Amazingly he got everyone’s stuff in the back. There were 2 Chinese, a Taiwanese, a German and us all shoved in. Our driver texted or used some sort of Chinese Facebook the entire drive to the mainland Chinese border. When we got there, there were about 2-3 checkpoints and the driver opened the sliding door as the check point guard called our names and we peeked our heads out. The driver had to pop the back open, but no one examined any of our stuff. When we got to the border area, we had no clue where to go and were wondering around. I guess most people actually get on a bus and not a private car to get into China. There you get sent through like cattle Kyle said and he also said we used to only company he’d ever trust coming in the way we did, which is the quickest way.
So, eventually we just stayed at one spot and we spotted Kyle before we spotted him. There were lots of men calling out for taxis everywhere, but that is for unlicensed taxis where you get charged 200% more than what you should. You line up for the legal taxis. It was about a 15 min drive or so through the city to Amy’s apartment.
Kyle studied with me in Germany at Schwaebisch Gmuend – back when I had an International Business and German double major. He and Amy teach at an International School here – they teach junior highers. Apparently no Chinese student is allowed to go to school there, only those with foreign passports, because they teach what’s censored in Chinese schools. Most of the students parents are here for various jobs and this actual area “Shekou” is a very western area where expatriates live, where it feels more like Europe than China. We did get warned that we may see skinned dogs hanging up to be sold though. *eeeek*
Surprisingly we arrive and are wide awake – probably with the time difference. I know I will pay for this later. We went out to eat last night at a Western/Thai restaurant that was quite the happening place – live music on stage. We ate outside in the nice 80 F weather (aren’t you jealous yet?) So, we get back about 12:30 AM and we’re still wide awake. We both took showers to feel human. Went to bed about 1 AM and I woke up at 4:20 AM and have been wide awake ever since. So, when it became light outside I decided to get up and take some pics of the great view. You can see the harbour with mountains in the background. The apartment is on the 26th floor. Kyle’s apartment is on the 21st floor.
So, we have yet to experience the “real China”, but this is a good transition. There’s a place down the street that do feet and upper body massages for $9 over 1 1/2 hours that George and I both insist on visiting today. Amy said she can’t get Kyle to go because the bruise him, so she seems quite pleased we want to go.


China bound in 4 days!


There are so many emotions flowing over the past few weeks, knowing our journey to Ruth Yu Fen is almost to an end. We are so thankful for the friends and family that have been there cheering us on, as its been a long, rough road.

So right now the feelings are…..


Complete joy





We know Ruth will be doing some really heavy grieving – leaving all she’s known, and the nannies who she loved and the nannies loved her dearly. But, knowing she’s from a wonderful orphanage (Huadu SWI), gives us hope that she can also bond with us as she has bonded with the nannies there. We hear the children are very loved there from 2 different people who recently visited her orphanage, and one who got to spend time with Ruth and send us pictures. Also, we know that she is severely delayed and we have to prepare ourselves for that reality, but we have faith knowing that God has chosen her to be our daughter and we will give her every opportunity to thrive and we have faith that she will.

I’m sure none of you who know me well will laugh to know I’m taking my stethoscope and otoscope on the trip. Our suitcase is filled with anything for any illness.

We’re excited about my college friend Kyle, from my year in Schwaebisch Gmuend, meeting us as we get over the border into mainland China and spending the weekend with him and his fiance Amy. Kyle teaches at an international school. This will also hopefully distract us a little bit, awaiting the big Gotcha Day.

We’ll be staying at the Garden Hotel in Guangzhou starting November 11th, which we hear is absolutely unbelievable. Probably the nicest hotel we’ll ever stay at. We look forward to all the new memories we’ll be making with Ruth there.

“Gotcha Day” is Monday, November 12th @ 2:30 pm. (That’s 12:30 AM central time). I don’t know why it needs to be late. We’re going to be so frazzled by then.

Our suitcases are 98% packed. We used these special bags that kind of vacuum seals, so we could fit more clothes in. The problem is that only about 50% of them worked and I just about gave up on the idea of them at all. When they work though, I wish I knew about them 16+ years ago when I was an exchange student. I was such a pack rat then.

Ruth is much smaller than the last update we were given. We’re told she’s 8.5 kg, which is just under 20 lbs. We’re obviously very concerned, since she’s 2 1/2 years old. But also, we know what she’s eating.

I got the cutest picture of Ruth last week, which is what you all want to see anyway!!!


A request we ask is that you pray for us daily – for safety, health, bonding, and lots of fun!

Thanks and stay tuned!!!!!!!!! 🙂

Socks and packing


I don’t seem to be much of a blogger and anyone who has met Lucy would understand why. But anyway, we are hoping for some big news any day……AKA travel approval!! I know a few people who have been waiting 3 weeks, but I hope we’ll be back at the shorter end, like China had been at before their week long holiday. So, in preparation we cleared out Walmart (or that’s what our bank account felt like)……lice shampoo – check, pull ups – check, wipes – check……. Oh, and we realized we have all these clothes for Ruth, but nothing to put on her poor lil feet! So we got some socks and Lucy and I spent time painting the bottoms with puffy paint – one of the few projects I’ve done from pinterest. By painting the bottoms, it’s supposed to make them anti-skid. We’ll have no carpet in our new house so we don’t want any falls!
Here we are below:


And here is the finished project:







We are awaiting travel approval right now and hope to not only be on our way to China in a month, but to raise approx $5,000.

So, I’ve been making necklaces like crazy and can custom make designs. Feel free to contact me for an order:

Here are some pictures for those asking.