Wednesday, February 29, 2012

We Made It!


     Feb. 28 was an incredibly long day.  I went to bed at 2:00 am. (the guys way before me.)  We got up at 3:00 am -- we were woke up by JM -- because mommy forgot to set the alarm.  He couldn't believe that we weren't up :)  He helped us get the last of everything in the bags and out to nanny and pa's car.  We said our last good-byes' to the kids and left at 3:45 am.

     We arrived in GR at 5:00 am, checked our luggage in, went through security and immediately got on the plane.  WOW!!  Our flight left at 6:10 am.  It was a bumpy flight with a terrible landing BUT we made it!!!  We picked-up Starbucks and hiked across the entire airport and arrived at out gate 3 1/2 hours early.  Yep, that's amazing for me!!!  We chilled, had breakfast, FBed, used our cellphones, and walked around.  FINALLY, at 9:15 am we started loading the plane.  We were all in and ready ON TIME!  We took off at 10:20 am.  AMAZING!!! Matt and I looked at each other and said, "Finally, here we go again!"

     The flight started very rocky.  It was incredibly bumpy and wavey for about 2 1/2 hours.  Our lunch bumped around.  I was praying constantly that God would hold us safely AND calmly in His hands.  Thankfully, about 1:00 pm our flight settled off and was very calm the rest of the 11 1/2 hours.  

    I had a window seat -- the views were amazing.  I did lots of sleeping and reading.  The boys -- well, they didn't sleep much.  They watched some movies, read a bit AND talked LOTS.  Yes, Matt met some great people to talk with and spent lots of time chatting in the back of the airplane.  He now has so much planned for us in the next couple days!!  YIKES!!!!  Although, he has found out about some AWESOME shopping and fabric markets -- I'm actually so excited!

Landing in Shanghai

     We landed, went through customs, got luggage and met our guide in what I consider record time.  The drive to our hotel was about 1 hour.  Our guide, Cindy is fabulous.  She gave us lots of history and information.  Shanghai is such a neat looking city.  It is humid, foggy and rainy right now.  BUT that's really ok.  

 Me going through VISA check.

 Driving to the City!

     We got to our room -- slept for about 3 or 4 hours and then decided to get some dinner -- a bit late for China but really early for USA.  So, off to KFC -- I know, not to fancy but it was fast and actually tasted ok.  BUT they had my mango drink -- that is the best tasting thing ever!!  It's called 9 lives.  Why can't KFC in USA have this???  PLUS it's cheap!!  Yep, my blood sugar went up but don't worry INSULIN!!!

 Exchanging $$$

My 9 Lives drink at KFC! (MANGO!)

     We went to 7/11 -- they did NOT have mango oreos or mango chips --- boohoo.  BUT we still found some interesting and yummy stuff. 

 MD Checking out what is cookin at 7/11

LOVE the description on this Latte -- 'Take a magic travel finding the secret of coffee'
Hmmmmm.....wonder what that means???

     We found a great Chinese Cafe.  Some great things and some very interesting things.  A hotdog danish and paprika hotdog was very interesting --- NO I did not try.  The deserts --- YUMMY!!!  The coffee/tea ---- YUMMY!!! 

 Matt thinks we should try these -- not me!


     I did lots of reading on the plane.  I am reading Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis.  If you haven't read it --- oh, you have to!!  I found a quote that I want to end with ----

The truth is that the 143 million orphaned children and the 11 million who starve to death or die from preventable diseases and the 8.5 million who work as child slaves, prostitutes, or under other horrific conditions and the 2.3 million who live with HIV add up to 164.8 million needy children.  And though at first glance that looks like a big number, 2.1 billion people on this earth proclaim to be Christians.  
 The truth is that if only 8 percent of the Christians would care for one more child, there would not be any statistics left.
This is the Truth.  I have the freedom to believe it.  The freedom, the opportunity to do something about it.  The truth is tat He loves these children just as much as He loves me and now that I know, I am responsible.

WOW!!! That is my feeling exactly!

  1. We made it safely to Shanghai.
  2. We have a great guide and great hotel in a great location.
  3. We all feel well!
  4. All our luggage made it!!
Prayer Request:
  1. Our safety and health (specifically my diabetes)
  2. Our children at home
  3. Elizabeth -- that she is being prepared to leave the orphanage on Mar. 5
  4. That all 3 of us have FUN the next few days!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The time has arrived -- AND My students :)

The time has arrived!!!

     The bags are packed.  All the clothes, paperwork, technology and medical supplies.  All Matt, MD, Elizabeth and my 'STUFF.'  It is all in three suitcases, three backpacks and 2 personal small bags.  AND I even have room to spare.  Unfortunately, tonight I don't have much time to sleep!

     The three younger kids are handling all of this well.  We have done lots of reassuring that we will Skype often and have given lots and lots of loves.  JM has set his alarm for 3:00 am so he can get one last good-bye :)  The kids will be well taken care of.  Lauren (and Jason) move into our house during the week.  Matt's mom helps out as well.  My mom and dad take over on the weekends.  

     Our flight out of Grand Rapids is at 5:57 am.  We arrive in Chicago at 6:00 am and have a 4 hour layover.  Finally, we are off to Shanghai.  Yep, it's a 14 1/2 hour flight.  I have LOTS of books down loaded on my reader and snacks packed.  We will be picked up at the airport and delivered to our hotel.

     It has finally hit me that I'm leaving :)  I am tired but not really stressed.  I am in complete awe that God picked us -- ME to be Elizabeth's mommy.  He has blessed me with FIVE children and a great husband.  I never would of planned my life this way BUT God saw much more in me than I did myself.  Really, I'm married to a farmer -- something I swore -- in front of LOTS of people I would never do :)  I'm teaching in the school I graduated from.  I have FIVE kids -- Three of which are Chinese and two are SN.  God sees the whole picture and I'm so thankful for the way He has written my story HIS way.  Thank-you, Lord!

  1. We are leaving for China.
  2. We got an update on Elizabeth
  3. All my prescriptions and supplies FINALLY arrived.
  4. The finances actually worked out :)

Pray Requests:
  1. Safety on our trip.
  2. Health for all of us on the trip.  I have a small pharmacy with me BUT please pray we stay well and my diabetes stays controlled.
  3. Elizabeth's adjustment --- Mar. 5 is our gotcha day.  We are praying that she is being prepared for this day.
  4. Our children at home -- safety, health, fun, comfort.
  5. Matt, MD and I have a great trip -- filled with great experiences.

     AND now to tell you about the wonderful last couple of days at school.

     We have been talking and talking about what our family is doing.  Many of the 6th grades students are very interested in our adventure.  Our team decided to show the National Geographic segment/video titled The Lost Girls of China.  Wow -- did that start up some conversations!
     We have a class that works on philanthropy and since the students knew that Matt and I will be visiting the orphanage they decided to do a fund raiser for us to purchase items for the orphanage.  
     The kids did a little presentation on Thursday to present me with them money AND they all wrote me letters.  I LOVED the letters.  They are so special.  I thought I would give you a sample.

Dear Mrs. Woller, 
I am very happy that you can finally go get Elizabeth from China.  In Mrs. Pobjewski's Exploratory we have been raising money for the orphanage in China.  We have raised $$$$$ for clothes, food, and other things that are needed to make the lives of the kids that live in the orphanage better.  WE did this project because we wanted to engage in daily Global Events.  By doing this project we have become better philanthropist because we used our time, talent, and treasure to become an informed, educated, responsible citizen.  Have fun and have safe trip.

Dear Mrs. Woller,
Congratulations for adopting Elizabeth.  In our exploratory class, we raised some money for you to take to buy stuff like toys, blankets and whatever you think they need for the orphanage.  In this class we learn about philanthropy and our demonstration to you is giving out time selling stuff to raise money to help the orphanage.  Have a great time in China. 

Dear Mrs. Woller,
In this class I have been able to complete a goal.  That goal was to make someone but me happy.  I thought is would help you be happy because you felt like you wanted to help the orphanage and now you can.  Thanks to some of my time, treasures, education and trying to be a responsible citizen this is what I helped do.  What this also made me realized was I got to be in a project I never would have been in with helping the orphanage in China.  Helping the orphanage made me think of the core democratic value, common good which is what we are doing to show you we and them we care.  

     Well, there were MANY letters!!! I could keep going BUT that is a sample.  Again, to the 6th graders -- THANK-YOU!  It was so special.   

     On Friday a couple of my classes gave me some going away fun.  They just really made me feel special.  Thank-you PURPLE Class.  I will certainly miss my students BUT I have left them in good hands.  I have the best substitute ever!!!! 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Daddy/Daughter Date Night


     Wow, the girls were over the moon about going out with daddy.  Our church planned a date night for daddy's and their daughters.  My Darling actually asked me if I would be ok about her going out with MY HONEY!!!  So, funny :)  She didn't want me to have hurt feelings.

     My Darling then asked if I would make new dresses for her and BaJabs.  Ok -- How could I say NO to that?  So, even though it was last minute I did it.  My Darling decided on the fabrics and I decided on the style.  AND I finished the last sash 45 minutes before they had to leave.  Yep, I work best at the last minute :)

I even had time to do their hair pretty! Although, I did not have time to make my bed!!!

Matt even got beautiful little corsages for the girls.  Yes, he picked them out AND ordered them :)

My Darling was beside her self with JOY!!!

After Matt put the flower on her wrist she just jumped into his arms and hugged him, "Oh, my goodness I'm so happy!!!"

Daddy giving BaJabs her flower.  She just couldn't stop smiling.  

They are already to go!!  Dinner, nail painting, bracelets, pictures, games, balloons and more!!!

And since the girls and daddy were going out, the boys and I decided to go out as well.
I finally got to take them shopping for some much needed new shoes, black pants and a shirt.  We also went out for Chinese!!!  YUM!

 It was definitely a fun night, full of memory making.  The text I got at dinner was --'Hon, we r home had a fun date with 2 girls'  I texted back -- 'good BUT did the girls have fun'  Matt's response -- 'My Darling said it was the best night ever!'  

Thank-you Lord for our blessings!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Praise the LORD -- an UPDATE!!!

     Well, I went to bed last night --- VERY LATE!!!  The last thing I did before going to bed was email our contact in China and told her when we were coming and if she could check again on Elizabeth because I really wanted an update.   I also asked for prayer that we would get an update as soon as possible.  AND at 7:30 this morning Matt came in the bedroom and said, "There's an update WITH pictures, get-up!"

     If you know me --- 7:30 is TOO early on a Saturday :)  BUT seeing sweet Elizabeth -- well, I would of stayed up all night.  

     Yes, most of the questions were answered, too!!!  SO -- without further ado -- here is the newest pictures of Elizabeth!!!

This is the panda we sent her :)

And here she is with the picture album we sent!!

    They answered many of our questions and gave us some extra information!!  Her leg difference is MUCH less than BaJabs'!!  She loves the color red.  She is not sick often but has had a cold.  She knows she is getting adopted.  They let me know what she needed when we come and it is NOT a stroller or wheelchair.  They gave me some of her favorite things to do -- sing and dance!  AND her fears!  They also told us what they would prepare to send with her -- yep, I was surprised with that!  There was a bit more but for Matt and I :)

     Thank-you for praying!  We think she is beautiful!  AND I can't wait to actually see her in REAL life.  23 days!


     It is finally setting in!  Flights confirmed and payed for!  We are leaving for China and I can barely believe it!!!  Our flight leaves on Feb. 28th and we return on Mar. 15.  WOW!!!

     I have 10 more days to teach!  I have packing, some last minute shopping, packing, lesson plans, packing, schedules, packing, a birthday, packing, money -- AND I'm sure lots MORE I'm forgetting about because I'm so excited!

     We know our travel plans but don't have the final itinerary for the trip.  We know we are getting Elizabeth on Mar. 5 (please be praying about this day.)  We know our Consulate appointment is on Mar. 13.  That's all that matters.  

     Please Pray:

1.  My brain stays focused and organized and I can work out all the last minute details.

2.  Elizabeth KNOWS we are coming and is being prepared.

3.  The rest of the $$ comes in.

4.  We have sent gifts and made a phone call with questions -- we really would like those questions answered BEFORE we leave so we are prepared.  PLEASE pray we get the information ASAP! 

5.  MD to get all of his homework completed and finals taken -- yep, it's exam week while we are gone.

6.  For JM, My Darling and BaJabs -- we are going to be gone for a bit and even though they LOVE the arrangements they are still nervous about us being gone.  It is also BaJabs' birthday while we are gone and she is not happy about it!  I've promised ones here would make it special, I would call AND we will have a special birthday when I return.  But pray for her.

7.  Elizabeth AND our adjustments.

8.  Our health!

Thank-you so much!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

TA and CA

      I was going to shut down the computer because I was going to bed early.  I thought I would check the emails quick before I shut-down.  AND there it was.  The email I have been waiting for!!!!  

I opened and read it!! THEN yelled for Matt -- yes, it was 11:20 at night!

     So,  without a further wait ---

CA (Consulate Appointment) is Mar. 13, 2012.  
Which means our Gotcha day is Mar. 5, 2012. 
We will leave about 5 or 6 days before that because we are taking a little tour :)  

     I will post our itinerary as soon as I know.  WOW!!! It's finally here!  

     Ok -- I really needed some good news as it has been a rough week!  Thank-you Lord!!!

     Now after emailing the travel agent, announcing on FB and now the blog I really need to go to bed :)