Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Meeting the Foster Family

Girls swinging at the Peoples Park

Outside of the apartment building of the foster family

Foster Mom (Ah-Moo) with the kids and the fruit basket we brought for them

On couch with foster mom...and the small fruit we ate..yikes

Sarah with her foster father

Sarah in her old bedroom

small plant on the porch...we have several photos of Sarah in front of the plant...both were much smaller

foster mom with the girls

boys with foster mom

sarah with her old bear and the picture of her with it

foster mom with kids as we were leaving

girls in front of wedding poster

We had a slow start today as we didn't have anything scheduled until our meeting with the foster family at 3:00. The kids loved the park so much so we went back. It is a rather large park so Tom, the girls and I explored a different part of the park and found a playground. The girls enjoyed swinging and playing on the equipment. The boys took off on their own and went on the boat again. Of course, we had to feed those fish again at 3:00 p.m. we headed over to a fruit market to purchase a basket of fruit as a gift for the foster family. We also stopped at a pharmacy to pick up some cough medicine for Lily. She has been coughing a lot so I was concerned. Well, the Chinese cough syrup didn't go over well and ended up all over me.

We arrived at the apartment complex at 3:30. It is a large complex and is much like the typical apartment in China. I've included a picture of the building that has the apartment in it. We waiting downstairs for the foster parents to come greet us. It was just like I had imagined....Ah-moo (that is what Sarah called her when she lived with them and is a term of endearment for an older lady in one's life) ran to us and first wrapped her arms around me and kissed me and then did the same with everyone else! Then the foster dad scooped Sarah up and carried her up to the apartment..on the sixth floor. He told us that he always carried her up the stairs since it was so high. The apartment was just as I had imagined, only smaller. There were two small bedrooms, big enough for a full-sized bed. The kitchen was very small. The living room had a couch, a few chairs, a television and a table. We spent about two hours together talking, laughing and crying. They insisted on us eating fruit with them. We ate two new fruits that were rather good. I'm a little concerned that the girls ate grapes. We were told not to eat fruit that isn't peeled. I hope we don't regret allowing them to eat it.

Our visit was a lot of fun as we shared stories of Sarah both when she was with them and now that she is with us. You'll notice a monkey in one of the pictures. When we heard that the foster brother had his first baby, the girls went to Build-A-Bear and made the monkey for him. We also got a wooden train set from Amish country. I took pictures of the girls making the monkey and sent them along with the monkey and the train. It was great to see both the monkey and the train. There was also this white bear. Sarah said, "That was my bear." When Sarah would look at her pictures from China she would always ask me, "Where is my white bear? Why don't I have it?" I would just explain that the foster family could not send it. They gave Sarah that bear. I added a picture of her holding the bear and the photo album with her and the bear in it. It was fun to look at all of the photo albums. Two were from us and there were others of other foster children. They had fostered six children; Sarah being the last.

We all just love the foster mom....she is very loving.....and talked so much. The foster dad was very quiet. We knew that he had spent some time working in Africa as an engineer. We were surprised to hear that he was still working there and had come home the week before to meet us. He will be home for one month. We also got to spend time with the foster brother who is a security officer for a bank. We did not meet his wife as she was working at the bank. We did get to meet the granson, but he was pretty shy. I was so impressed with how well they treated all of the kids. They even gave Lily a stuffed animal. And the foster mother kept hugging on the boys throughout our visit.

After our visit we all walked down to the courtyard where the foster mom would tell everyone something where we only understood "xiao ning." I'm sure she was telling everyone that this was Xiao Ning who used to live with them. We made arrangements to meet for dinner tomorrow evening near our hotel. I'll do better at getting pictures of all of us together.

Again, Sarah lived with them for 18 months! What a blessing to have met them and to have speak to them in Mandarin, "Thank you for taking care of and loving our daughter until we could bring her home." What a special time we had today. Sarah was so happy the entire time although she said she did not have any memory of the apartment. She was bold enough to ask to see her room, which we did. She shared a room with the foster parents.

Another good day for "Sarah's Story."

After our visit, Tom and I decided to eat Chinese for dinner. The boys didn't want anything to do with it, so we gave them money for McDonald's and a taxi....gave them the necessary hotel information for their return and sent them on their way! You should have seen their eyes when they realized we were allowing them to take off on their own. Not to worry.....they are now safe in the hotel! I added a photo of their girls in front of a wedding banner. There have been six weddings in this hotel since we have been here. All of them have these banners made. The bride and groom greet everyone at the banner in their wedding clothes and give them a small gift and/or snack. It has made for conversations with the girls about their weddings...too funny!

Tomorrow we are free most of the day. We'll have dinner with the foster family. We leave for Ghanzhou on Friday morning. We are looking forward to the White Swan hotel...a familiar place for most Americans who adopt from China. It is where the final in-country swearing ceremony is at the US Consulate. The medical exams take place there as well. Since Lily was a Guangdong baby, we stayed at the White Swan the entire time. We will also enjoy Shamian Island, where the hotel is located. I understand it is under construction, but will still be a great place to finish up our trip. We have great memories with our travel group from our Lily adoption trip in 2004...hope we get rooms on the seventh floor! The girls have such different stories. Sarah has a connection with her foster parents. Lily has a connection with the other girls that were adopted at the same time. If Lily's "China Sisters" are following.....stay tuned.....Ghangzhou here we come!


  1. You can't put a price on the closure that comes from a trip like this. It's just a "piece of the puzzle", I know...but it is priceless. Praise God.

  2. I have tears as I read your post and seeing those pictures of your family with Sarah's foster family also! Giving lots of praise that this meeting went so well and ended much better than the last with Sarah kicking and screaming. Isn't it such a blessing how HE works!! Sam

  3. Geeshhh!! I'm starting to really miss you guys being gone this long:) !!!! Note to Tom and Kathy, avoid eating any "little fruit" ;-(