Monday, December 29, 2008

Home!

First Toes in the Ocean
Daddy and his girl
Macie THRILLED to see her puppy
Night we got home - opening gifts
First night home - checking out dog

Hi all!  We are home!  It's been 4 days, and I am barely now able to form complete sentences.  :-)  Between the jet lag, a head cold, and a bit of lingering stomach issues, it's taken a bit of time to recover.  We are all feeling better and are starting to sleep a little better at night.  Wen Jun is already bopping around the house and is doing very well.  She misses her friends at Bethel, a lot, which of course we expected.  She laughs at all the funny things in America, like how quiet and un-crowded the stores are!  We have been so blessed to have my parents here holding down the fort.  They have cooked, cleaned, entertained kids and been invaluable!  I don't know if I could have done it without them.  I will update more in a few days - I think I've used my quota of brain power for the day!  

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Goodbye, China!

Macie pretending to eat a pigeon head at our
traditional Cantonese going-away dinner
Daddy's girls
All the new adoptees
Mama's girl
LiLi Xi Hua and Jenna Mei in their Chinese dresses

Wow, we're at the end of the road, and the beginning of a new journey.  We are finishing up our 3rd hour of packing for a 4:30am wake up call tomorrow morning.  We will leave Guangzhou at 8:30am, fly to Tokyo, Detroit, Atlanta and home to Ft Myers by 11pm.  Over 25 hours of travel!  Wen Jun is excited, nervous, scared, etc.  We had our final swearing in at the US Consulate here, today, and it was like a weight was lifted off all of our shoulders.  Sometimes, I think she kept wondering if something would go wrong at some point.  

We thank all of you for following along with our blog and we hope to continue to post updates when we get home.  Your words of encouragement were so wonderful!  Say a prayer for our safe travels, if you get a chance.

Much love to you and we'll see you in a day or so!
The Linne 6

OK, I guess a few words from the new father are in order.  How about... toilet paper... shampoo... endless talking and giggling... and a spigot from my wallet.  Those are the words that come to the top of my mind. 

Actually, I am feeling very blessed from this trip.  A wonderful new daughter that will add so much to our already incredible family and tremendous learning about life and the rest of our family has made this one of the most valuable experiences in my life.

Seeing my daughters give selflessly at the orphanage and at the school.  Watching my wife love, live, laugh, and organize us was an incredible site to see.  She is an incredible woman that has brought these types of experiences to my life and I am forever indebted to her for opening my eyes to a life of true service.

I have missed Tiffany so much on this trip.  She is so much a part of our family and I could picture her at every venue and I wished so much that she could be with us.  I pray that she and Wen Jun will get to know each other in the years to come.

For me, well, I have been humbled and brought to a global perspective over the last 17 days. When you see children that are being adopted in the midst of many others that will never know what it means to have a family, it makes you feel pretty incompetent.  When you hear a young woman speak of the inability to even fathom being able to cast a vote on how her government will direct her life, you feel very empowered. When you hear that children who have disabilities that are very easily repaired in the U.S. and that are accepted if they are not, are not able to get an education, not able to find work, and unable to get govt. support, you feel incredibly sad. When you see a little girl, with a small amount of vision in one eye, look closely into her new mothers eyes and say "I love you mommy", I become blinded by my tears.

China is an incredible place.  They have figured things out that we have lost or never understood.  We can learn a lot from these people.  I have found that we can all learn a lot from others who are different from us. 

The world is truly flat.

It is so flat that someone like me could marry a simple and wonderful woman from New Mexico, and be allowed to serve in this incredible way.  Many will say we have made a great impact on the world.  But, I will tell you that the "world has made an incredible impact on us".

We love you all and appreciate your following our journey.  We are blessed that you care.

Larry


Monday, December 22, 2008


Our Children's Hope Int travel group
This little girl has attached herself to Avree and calls her "jie jie" or
"big sister."  She is being adopted by another family and we may have to 
move next door to each other.
Visit to the Sun Yat-Sun Memorial

Playing in the Sun

Cutest 4 year old in China
"Times Square" of Guangzhou 6pm on Sunday
Larry and Macie playing a version of hacky sack with a local guy
Macie and Larry drawing a crowd w/ volleyball
Wen Jun learning volleyball
We have been having a good time enjoying the sun, playgrounds, friendly people and shopping here on Shaiman Island in Guangzhou.  There are tons of adoptive families and we're enjoying dinners, park dates, and play time with all the other kids.  Yesterday, we visited a jade and pearl market and were able to pick up Wen Jun's pearls for when she is old enough to have them.  Today was her medical exam, needed for her American Visa, and she was subjected to a full exam and 4 shots!  She was a tough girl and we celebrated the end of the 2 hour ordeal with a frappucino - yes, there is a Starbucks here, and no, it is not cheaper.  It was about $10 for a latte and a frapp!  :o(  She *really* loves frappucinos, and I've had to warn her that it is a once-in-a-while treat in America! lol!  

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Big Daddy, Little Daughter!


Back in the Tropics!








Well, we are happily in warm weather in Guangzhou.  It was fantastic to pack the coats away!  Everyone is in a better mood - change of scenery, warmth and sunshine.  GZ is SERIOUS shopping, so we are having fun already.  Even my girls are learning to bargain and negotiate!  There are tons of other adoptive families here at the end of their China stays, so the mood is very festive.  There are so many cute little girls Lia's age and she is in hog heaven playing and ruling the roost.  

Friday, December 19, 2008

Last Night in Hohhot

Wen Jun thinks my hair smells like candy.  :-)
Adorable Chinese girls
Avree's hair drawing a crowd
McDonald's play-place - bringing children together.
Macie's pic for Doopey and AuntT

I can't believe we are leaving Hohhot tomorrow morning!  When we arrived, I couldn't imagine how we would survive 6 days in 2 tiny hotel rooms with 4 children.  Now, it's over and we're off to Guangzhou in the morning.  We are looking forward to the warm, Florida-like weather.  We received Wen Jun's Chinese passport today, but for the rest of the day, just lazed around and relaxed.  We're finally getting our body-clocks set to China and can sleep in a bit - just in time to come back West!  The girls are all great - getting a little cabin fever - but all is well.  Miss all of you tremendously!  Thanks for the emails and comments- so great to hear from home.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Visit to BaoTou Orphanage

Sisters walking into the orphanage
BaoTou City Orphanage
Wen Jun's bedroom
Us, staff and children (director is the gentleman)
Wen Jun and her "big sister"
Today, Wen Jun, Macie and I visited the orphanage where Wen Jun spent the first 9 years of her life.  It was a very heavy day.  BaoTou is 99% children with special needs.  It is very modern and clean and the staff there seem to care very much for the children.  The fact remains that I went into room after room with 6-8 babies with hydrocephalus, cleft palates, Down's, etc. and it was agonizing.  Many of the ayis remembered Wen Jun and were so happy to see her and see that she had a family.  The hardest part was Wen Jun saying goodbye to her best friend at BaoTou, a 15 year old girl with hydrocephalus.  They bawled in each others arms and the entire staff and I were bawling as well.  

After we toured for about an hour and a half, the director and his staff took us out for a traditional Mongolian lunch.  Each person had a pot of soup in front of them that was on a boiler.  In the middle of the table was a lazy susan that was piled with raw slices of lamb (traditional meat for Baotou), vegetables, noodles, tofu, etc. that you would cook in the boiling soup.  Macie and Wen Jun were given yogurt to drink and the adults all had a warm, purple taro root milkshake (!).  Macie was amazing trying everything  - she ate more than any of us!  She will NEVER be able to say that she doesn't want to try a new dish!  It was one of the most delicious lunches I have ever eaten.  We also got to visit the place where Wen Jun was found as an infant - very touching.  The 6 hours of driving today were so worth it and I will remember this day forever.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hohhot Traffic - always on the verge of being run over

video video

The first clip is a top view of the street we crossed, the 2nd clip is our attempt!  We almost lost Wen Jun and Dad to a bicycle tonight.  No one obeys traffic laws, and when we stepped out into the sidewalk, a bike almost took all of us out.  Wen Jun has track marks on her sweat pants!  She said she was just glad it wasn't a car.  :-)

Happy Birthday Avree!


"Happy Birthday" in Chinese
9 year old!
HUGE Breakfast pancake!


Happy 9th Birthday, to my sweet Avree!  Our chef here at the hotel kept the pancake with candles breakfast tradition alive...even though the pancake was a little different than the ones we're used to!  Lunch was traditional Chinese, and for dinner, Avree chose PIZZA HUT!  We came back to the hotel where Larry had arranged a black forest cake with candle.  Our coordinator, Gessie, prepared a gift for her - a little red bracelet with a Fortune Cat and a pink purse.  She was tickled! I am so proud of her for being such a good sport not being able to have a traditional birthday, but really enjoying the idea of a birthday in China.

Museum Day






My poor home schooled children...all the way to China and Mom is STILL dragging them to museums!  Today we visited the Hohhot Museum of Natural and Mongolian History.  It was an amazing place, as you can see from the photos.  There were many beautiful exhibits and we were all glad for a few hours outside of our hotel.  We ate lunch at a very traditional restaurant with our sweet coordinator, Gessie, who we have all fallen in love with.  We are getting a tiny bit stir crazy, but trying to enjoy Inner Mongolia while we have the chance.  Unless you are adopting or have official business here, Hohhot is not for foreigners.  Check out the video of the traffic!  It is wildly colder here today than it has been.  We definitely felt the chill of the wind blowing from the north.  Tomorrow, Macie, Wen Jun and I will travel about 2 hours to visit Wen Jun's orphanage and the clinic where she was taken as a baby.   She is very excited to say hello and goodbye to her friends at BaoTou.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wen Jun's signature saying she likes us.  :-)

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