The Future

Lucy has been talking about our time together in China a lot this week. She talks about Baba, Mama, Hanna, and Lucy swimming or playing piano on the iPad or wearing her red pajamas in Guangzhou. She says, “Baoji!” when we look at pictures and videos of her participating in the Sparrow Fund Photography Workshop in October and has also been telling me the names of the other children in the pictures that her foster parents sent home with her. I plan to have a friend help me write them down properly sometime in January so we can make sure to keep those safe for her even if she forgets them.

Today she told me she thought she would like to go back to China. She thought we should take a plane or a “fei ji” to Guangzhou. She was a little disappointed with my answer of “not today” and “someday.” She told me that we should eat spicy noodles when we go and also sing the newest song in her repertoire while we are there…
“Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head…”

I watch her grieving and processing and changing and growing by the minute and think of all that is being planted in her sweet heart right now and trust him to water those seeds and dream about what the future could hold. Maybe she will take a “fei ji” back to China someday. If so, we pray she will carry songs about the Little Lord Jesus with her.

For out of the mouths of children he has ordained praise.
Psalm 8:2

Food We Ate

Here are some pictures we took of food we ate in China.

One does not drink tap water in China. Even in the nicest hotel I have ever stayed in (in Guanghzhou) there are signs by the bathroom faucet reminding you not to drink the water. This water is bottled by Coke, if we were lucky we could find it for under 2 Yuan, about 30 cents a bottle.


I bought these biscuits at a popular bakery (they call it “Mickey”), turns out the biscuits have a fair amount of pepper in them. We didn’t finish them.


We assembled this dish from separate vegetable and meat dishes. There were no paper plates or forks, so eventually I figured out I could pay for extra carry-out containers for us to eat from. Notice the chicken bones on the lid behind.


This is Hanna eating dinner in the room. She did really well considering she had never held a chopstick until 4 days earlier.


These were a staple food during our time in Xian. 18 Yuan is about $3.


I bought roasted chestnuts from a street vendor a few steps from our hotel entrance. In this picture I’m trying to explain to her that I only want 5 of them, and she is trying to explain to me that they don’t come that way. They were interesting to try, but not our thing. Another day I bought a roasted sweet potato from the same cart, I didn’t actually get to taste that, Lucy and Mom ate it.


This is a pork pita thing. This was another staple during our time in Xian. I would walk to the restaurant next door and point to the picture and hold up 4 fingers. For carry-out I would be given 4 of these stacked in the bottom of a plastic bag. I tried to get one of the top ones, they were crispier. IMG_0260

This is a noodle restaurant we went to, our girl loves noodles (good thing we waited to buy the rice cooker). The name and theme are wheat.

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Lucy doesn’t like a lot of sweets, but one afternoon she was eating the ketchup (from Dad’s hamburger) with a toothpick.


This was beef and rice on the plane from Xian to Guanghzhou. I found a hair in mine and didn’t eat it. I found some granola in my bag to tide me over. The man next to me ate his so voraciously that I thought perhaps he had never eaten. I offered my bread to him.



This is at the orphanage. Clockwise from Lucy the dishes are; cabbage, scrambled eggs and tomatoes, pork, sweet and sour zucchini,  chicken and celery, cooked greens. in the middle are steamed buns with filling.


This was at a dumpling restaurant, if you do it right, all dumplings look the same from the outside, so they label the steamer trays. This symbol means beef.

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This is chicken from the restaurant next door to the hotel. Needless to say it was a little spicy for us.


Things “we ate” is an overstatement on these potato chips, but on our last day in China I bought them at the grocery store for Lucy – kind of one last hurrah – she loved them! In case you are having trouble with the label, it says “Fermented Soy Bean Prawn Flavor”.


This is chicken and rice we had on the plane back to the US. Lucy ate every bite of everything on her tray, I found some granola in my backpack.


Troubled yet not distressed

Sorry news has been scarce from us lately. We have been overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by life and overwhelmed by the love and support we have received.

-We are getting to know each other, finding out what makes us happy and what drives us crazy. Lucy has a bigger job, she has to get to know 6 people and a foreign country.
-Kirstin’s grandmother Lotella Kirchner passed away last week. It is a sadness to not have her with us, and we were sad that we didn’t get to spend more time with extended family while they were in town.
-We have also been fighting some sickness. Last night at 11:30 I could hear a staccato chorus of 4 kids coughing. Mom is taking Michael to the doctor today, just to be sure he doesn’t have pneumonia or something (and perhaps put a name to whatever “itis” he has).

-We are blessed to have many people supporting us (with little feedback!), and helping the kids get to their activities.
-We are grateful that Lucy has not been sick, this is a tremendous mercy.
-We are not doing a lot of social activities, but we have popped in to the grandparents house for a few minutes. It was a great reminder of how things will be when we settle in as a family.
-We had a medical and a vision appointment for Lucy. She is healthy, AND there is great optimism that they can improve her vision. We are praising God for this.

Thank you for your faithfulness, we are looking forward to spending time with you soon.


A picture of motherhood.


Overcooked eggs and piles of napkins.
Cutting up food for one child while the other one eats off of her plate.
One child in pajamas the other wearing 2 dresses, a wedding veil, and a bow tie.
Mom with her hands full and Dad standing around taking pictures.


Time at Home

We are home and have enjoyed a few quiet days playing together and
exploring the house.

Lucy enjoys playing dress up, paper crafts, popcorn, singing, playing dress up, did I mention playing dress up?

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Welcome Home!

We had a wonderful welcome home from friends and family at the airport!
Thanks to everyone who came out to meet us, we are so sorry for those that had to miss due to our flight change!

Here are some great pictures that have been shared with us of our time at the airport.
We are so glad to be home and have ALL seven of us together!!


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We are starting to prepare to come home!
This has been an amazing journey…
but we are ready.
If you would like to see a glimpse of our Sparrow
before we go into hibernation,
come see us at the airport Thursday afternoon!
Flight UA896 – Hong Kong to Chicago
12/04/14 11:10am lands 11:45am
Flight UA3713 – Chicago to Omaha
12/04/14 3:08pm lands 4:43pm