Monday, May 27, 2013

We're Home!!

As 5am approaches this Memorial Day morning...I'm reflecting on the last few days that we have been home.  I haven't been able to blog since we've gotten home, so I thought I'd share with you our journey home.

Hind Sight...I am so relieved to be sitting here in the comfort of my own home.  The air conditioning keeping things just comfortable enough!! It's the simple things we missed while in China.  Easy Communication, Comfort Foods, fresh fruits and veggies, ice in our drinks, drinking water from a faucet, brushing your teeth with water from a faucet, Air Conditioning, Fresh Air, Good Smelling clean laundry, a yard to play in, Running room, our family and friends.

We have been so blessed to have spent the last three weeks on our journey in China...but it is SO good to be home.  Thank you so much to all our family and friends for your love and support while we were gone.  Words do not communicate effectively just how much you mean to us.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all your prayers and encouraging emails while we were gone!! And after coming many of you have been gracious to help us get settled.  You will never know what a blessing it is!!

We left Guangzhou China, Friday morning (5:30am) May 24th to head back to Alabama. Of course, this was Thursday afternoon our time.  It was crazy early to leave and hindsight...we would have rather left Thursday evening because it made for a VERY long trip home!

Our Flight from GZ to Beijing was about 4.5 hours, From Beijing to Seattle - it was about 10.5 hours. We had a 10 hour - Yes TEN HOUR - layover in Seattle, and it was brutal.  We were exhausted.  It gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "Sleepless in Seattle!" was SO GREAT to be back in America where the airport was air conditioned, and we could eat chips and salsa and drink coke with LOTS OF ICE!!! :) (again...the simple things!)

After that long layover...our flight with Alaska Air to Atlanta was a Red Eye flight.  From 10pm to 5:30am Atlanta time.  This was a pretty good flight.  Only about 4.5 hours (time zones make it look longer).  This airline was SO WONDERFUL after using Hainan Air.  Whew.... it was NOT our favorite!! :)

We left Atlanta at 8:15am and arrived home in Huntsville at 8:09am.  (time zone difference).  It was SO GOOD to land home!!! We were all so relieved to know that we made it safely through all 8 flights and while there were some close calls while we were gone...God was SO FAITHFUL to protect us!!

That made for a total of about 41 hours of travel time.  Need less to say...we were all exhausted.  Considering how tough it was...our kids did AMAZING!!! I was so blessed to watch them.  They were troopers and not one time did they complain about the travel...other than the basic...ready to get this over with! It could have been a night mare...but they did so wonderful and Mark and I were so proud of them!!

We saw first hand just how Sophie is truly growing into a wonderful young woman!! She is strong, independent, conviction oriented, loyal, and very thoughtful and sweet hearted!! We saw so many strong qualities in her on this trip!! It's amazing how she has grown since our last trip in 2007.  We are so proud of her!!

Silas was such a joy to have on this trip. While his carefree ways sometimes had us on the edge of our seats....seeing him enjoy the adventure and step up to the plate in certain ways was such a blessing.  Being a boy...maturity comes slower than with girls...but we really saw great strides in him on this trip!! He is SUCH a joy and we are so blessed to have had the opportunity to bring him with us this time around!!! We know that seeds were planted in his heart by the Holy Spirit that would have never been planted had he not gone with us!! He is going to do mighty things for the Lord - We just know it!!! We are so proud of him!! :)

Sadie got to visit her "homeland" as our guide, Michael, from Beijing described it.  How many children adopted from another country get to visit their homeland? Very few do...and we got to witness first hand God stirring things in Sadie's heart that we know will last a lifetime!! This little girl is SO STRONG...and such a trooper! She is very helpful and selfless!! She is tough and can handle so much!! Sadie provided so much help as well on this trip and we are blessed to have been able to see her experience it.

While in Chongqing...she did have a brief moment of sensory overload and broke down crying.  We feel it was a good moment and I got to love on her and just talk things out with her in the hotel room. It would have to be overwhelming experience all the sights, sounds, and smells of another country...especially...a country where you are from. was so good for her!! We are glad to provide her with the opportunity to go!! We look forward to revisiting our trip over the next few days to talk about all that left an impact on us!!

Shep...well...what can I say about  Shepard? This little boy is SO PERFECT for our family.  God truly has a plan and it is a blessing to stand back and just let HIM work it out!! Shepard is a total joy!!! He is very agreeable....light my guess would be to say he is a Sanguine personality.  You can tell he has been given his way a lot. But he is pretty quick to obey and is just a delight to be around.  He makes us all laugh with his contagious laugh!! (Much like Mark's laugh is so contagious!)

Since being home...we have found out he is TERRIFIED of our dog, a Miniature Schnauzer, and our dog is afraid of him. (We will be working on that!) But he has adjusted to his new home and family pretty good.  There are definitely hurdles we will have to overcome in finding our new normal...but we  know God has a very special plan for this little one and we are blessed to be able to help direct and raise him in the direction and ways of the Lord!!

I know this has been a long post.  But I have been so "informational" in most our posts while gone.  I just wanted to share some of my thoughts and feelings!! We are so full with all that God has done and we are excited about the future and what He has planned for our whole family.  Our hearts are open and we have no  plans other than to follow HIS leading and direction.  Our prayer is that somehow God would use us to further His Kingdom on this earth.

If there is anything we'd like our family and friends to take away from following our is that God is a good God.  He really does have a plan for our lives and He is so very faithful to lead and guide you.  We pray that you would listen to your heart and the things that the Lord places in your heart.  Don't be afraid to say YES to things you know He is calling you to do!! Step out in obedience and don't worry about the details.  Just follow his leading through the passion in your heart!! There will be ups and downs...and you may not know how it's all going to play out....but this I will find more fullfillment in following HIS will and plan for your life than doing anything else on your own!! 

It has been our JOY and honor to share our journey with you!! We look forward to watching God work to help close out the rest of this particular chapter.  Thanks for your continued prayers!!! We would never want to do this without our family and friends!! Thanks guys for everything!! We love you all!!!
Mark & Buffi

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Note To Our Family & Friends As We Arrive Home

Dear Family & Friends, 

After a year and a half of waiting, praying, longing, hoping--- little Shepard is on his way home! We are overjoyed at God's grace, but we also realize this will be a season of adjustment for our family. We know that each of you receiving this letter has-- in some way-- supported, loved and prayed for us. Because we know your care for Shepard and our family, we want to share with you some information that we hope will best equip everyone around him to assist us in laying the strongest and healthiest foundation – emotionally, physically and spiritually.

In many ways, Shepard will be like the children who entered our family through birth; we will seek to bring all of them up in the instruction and discipline of the Lord. But there will be a few, initial differences in the way we have parented in the past. 

We are confident of this: God’s design is PERFECT! His plan for parents and children is a beautiful and meaningful picture of His love for us. Attachment between a parent and child occurs over time when a baby has a physical or emotional need and communicates that need. The primary caretaker (usually mommy) meets the need and soothes the child. This repeats between a parent and child over and over to create trust within the child for that parent; the baby is hungry, cries in distress, mom nurses & calms the baby – which teaches her that this person is safe and can be trusted. By God’s very design, an emotional foundation is laid in the tiniest of babies, which will affect their learning, conscience, growth and future relationships. The security provided by parents will, ultimately, give children a trust for and empathy towards others.

Children who come home through adoption have experienced interruptions in this typical attachment process. The loss of a biological mother and father at an early age can be a major trauma on their little hearts. Shepard has experienced the loss of familiar and comforting caretakers as well as the sights, smells, and language of his birth country. When Shep comes home, he will be overwhelmed. Everything around him will be new and he will need to learn not just about his new environment, but also about love and family. He has not experienced God’s design for a family in an orphanage setting. His world is turned upside down. He may struggle with feeling safe and secure and he may lack the ability to trust that we will meet his needs. The good news is that we can now, as Shepard’s parents and forever family, rebuild attachment and help him heal from these emotional wounds.

The best way for us to form a parent/child bond is to be the ones to hold, snuggle, instruct, soothe and feed him. As this repeats between us, he will be able to learn that parents are safe to trust and to love deeply. We are, essentially, recreating the newborn/parent connection. Once Shepard starts to establish this important bond, he will then be able to branch out to other, healthy relationships.
 Shepard will have, what may seem like, a lot of structure, boundaries and close proximity to us. Although it may appear that we are spoiling him at times, we have been advised that it is best that we meet every need quickly and consistently. He may show his grief and confusion in many ways, and we are prepared to help him through it and prove that we are a forever family. You may also notice us tighten our circle a bit, stay close to home, and we may seem a little less available socially, for a while. Please know that these decisions are prayerfully and thoughtfully made choices based on our personal research and instruction from trusted adoption mentors. We will be doing what we believe is best to help him heal from those interruptions in attachment as effectively as possible. 

Why are we telling you all of this? Because you will actually play an awesome and vital role in helping our Shepard settle in, heal, and lay a foundation for the future. There are a few areas in which you can help us:

The first is to set physical boundaries. It will help us immensely if adults limit what is typically considered normal, physical contact with Shepard. This will (for a while) include things like holding, excessive hugging and kissing. Children from orphanage settings are prone to attach too easily to anyone and everyone – which hinders the important, primary relationship with parents. Waving, blowing kisses or high fives are perfectly appropriate and welcomed! Shepard should know that the people with whom he interacts are our trusted family and friends.

Another area is redirecting Shep's desire to have his physical and emotional needs met by anyone (including strangers) to having us meet them. Orphans often have so many caretakers that they, as a survival mechanism, become overly charming toward all adults. A child struggling to learn to attach may exhibit indiscriminate affection with people outside of their family unit. It may appear harmless and as if they are “very friendly” but this is actually something that isn’t good for the child. To share this is difficult for us because you have openly loved on our other children and we have loved on yours as well, and treasure that connection. Please understand that we want nothing more than to have Shepard hugged, cuddled and cherished by ALL of you. But until he has a firm understanding of family and primary attachments, we would be so grateful if you direct him to us if you see that he is seeking out food, affection or comfort.

Also, please feel free to ask us any questions at any time. We are learning, too, and are grateful that you are seeking with us to help Shepard feel loved, safe, and secure. We are incredibly blessed to have so many loved ones around us. We couldn’t ask for a better extended family & circle of friends for our precious Shepard. Thank you so much for your love and support over the past year. We are truly blessed!!!
We look forward to seeing you all once we arrive home!!!
Mark & Buffi

Final Days in China

We had our Consulate Appointment today, Wednesday the 22nd.  The pic above is Gotcha Day.  They would not allow cameras at the Consulate.  We are SO glad to get that portion of our trip completed. After the CA...we went to Shamain Island...which we LOVE!! It is so beautiful there.  Unfortunately...I don't have photos cause it rained! :-/ Sorry!!  Tomorrow...we get Shepard's Visa to come to America!! WHOOHOO!!! Then we will leave EARLY Friday morning to fly back toward home!!!

What an amazing time this has been!!! First...we'd like to say THANK YOU to Tonya Bohlinger and her AMAZING family for sacrificing time and money to go along on this trip with us!! It has been a tremendous help and we could never let you know enough just how much of a blessing it has been!!! (For all those behind is a HUGE blessing to have someone with you to help....especially if you are taking your whole family!! Thanks Tonya, Frank, Luke, Mary & Maddie!!! We love you guys so much and thank you with ALL our hearts!!

We'd also like to thank all our friends and family for your prayers and support of us through this journey!!! We could not have done it without you all!! Thank you so much for many words of encouragement and prayers for us.  There have been several moments we have really needed those prayers here. So thank you tremendously! Please continue to pray for our flights as we have a 38 hour trip to make it home!  Whew...we are all gonna need lots of prayers to make that one!!

Here are a few special photos of our trip!! I FINALLY have a little time to load them on blogger!!
Special moment Outside of Shep's orphanage
Loved being able to see Tienanmen Square
Loved being able to share Sadies "homeland" with her!!
Loved this special moment between brothers on Gotcha Day!

Fun Gotcha Day Moment going to the bus!!

I would add a TON more photos...but for some reason...blogger will not let me!! All these have been posted on FB. There are so many more if you haven't seen them!! It has been such a wonderful week and we cannot wait to post once we get home to let everyone know what life is like in the "real world" outside of hotel living! :) What a blessing it was to have all our children with us this time!! Lots of bonding has taken place and we cannot wait for more!!

Speaking of's obvious from photos that Shep has really bonded with Mark.  He has not bonded with me.  We believe that he had a VERY strong bond with his foster mother that is causing him to not want me (Buffi).  I'm walking a fine line...trying not to push myself on him...but also trying to still be available.  It's challenging at times...and it puts a lot on Mark. (It was the opposite with Sadie...she only wanted me and not Mark.)  Anyway...we know it will change once we get home.  It will just take time!! Thanks for continuing to pray for the merging of the new life into our family unit.  It will happen!! Lots of love and time spent together and things will fall into place.

Again...thank you all for following this journey.  I will post again once we have made it home and let you know how wonderful our trip home was!! Thanks for your prayers of safety and protection!!! Love you all!
Mark & Buffi

Sunday, May 19, 2013

An AMAZING DAY at New Day South!!!

We had a WONDERFUL day today with Doug and Janice Bush of New Day South Foster Home. Aside from our Gotcha Day and getting Shepard...this has been the MOST SPECIAL day!!! Not only was it wonderful to see Doug and Janice (They are from our church at home - The Rock)...but we got to play with and love on these precious little ones that live at the New Day South Foster Home!!

After seeing several orphanage environments...I cannot tell you what a HUGE ministry and outreach this Foster Home is.  It is AMAZING! They provide these children with so much and give them lots of love and care!! We were SO impressed.  If you are looking for an international orphan ministry to support or to connect with to arrange mission work or internships ..  PLEASE keep Doug & Janice and New Day in mind. You can email them here: or you can check out their blog here:  We are so grateful for the work they do to care and love on these children and to help prepare them for their new adoptive families when they are blessed with their forever family!

We all agree...this has been the best day!! I tried to load several photos here...but was unsuccessful!! Such a bummer.  It was such a precious day!!  I'm going to load several up on FB. Again...if you are friends with us on FB...please feel free to see the photos there!!!

Tomorrow we go to the Guangzhou Zoo and we will have free time after that!! Thank you all for continued prayers as we finish out this week.  We begin our trip home on Friday morning here.  It will be Thursday evening there in the US.  It will take us 38 hours total to get home! :( PRAY for us!! LOL!! We have a 10 hour layover in Seattle. Our plan is to eat at Chili's for lunch and for dinner during our wait and eat as much chips and salsa and drinks with ice as we can handle!! ;)  It's the little things that you miss...for sure!!! :) Thanks to everyone for continued prayers!!! We love and miss you all!! Can't wait to see you soon. Blessings,
Mark & Buffi

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Catching Up!

Our last few days have been a little crazy trying to transition from Chongqing to Guangzhou.  So I have missed blogging and sharing details! Sorry guys!!! I've got some time now while Mark is at the pool with the kiddos! :)

While Chongqing was nice and our hotel Le Meredian was nice...we were SO READY to leave!! Not much happened after Shep had his allergic reaction in the hotel restaurant to seafood. We spent a LOT OF TIME wandering around trying to help the kiddos exert some energy.  All we could do was walk around the hotel and mall outside the hotel and look for ways to waste time as we got ready to leave.

Shepard is QUICKLY becoming a Daddy's boy...which is great!! He just wants Mark to hold him all the time and he is a chunk to hold!! But its sweet and things will get more regulated once we get home!! Here is a cute pic of the boys at lunch today!

When we left our hotel in Chongqing to head to the airport...we left so we would have about 3 hours to get checked in and wait.  WELL....our plane boarded 45 minutes late and we sat in it without being able to take off for another 45 min to 1hour.  We were all frustrated and whew...Shep was NOT wanting to sit still!

After we made it to Guangzhou (2.5 hours late) we heard there was a bomb threat at Chongqing airport and they shut the whole airport down and evacuated it.  We are SO THANKFUL that we got out in time.  We wouldn't want our appointments to get behind this week!!

WHICH...makes me think, Praise God...they got all the families from last week caught up and we will be having our Consulate appointment on time and we will be coming home on time!! YAY!!!

We should be landing in Huntsville on Saturday, May 25th at 8:09 AM.  We cannot WAIT to get home!!! We are all very ready.

Everyone is doing good...we are just ready to be home now that we have Shep! The kiddos are troopers!!! Silas has been a huge help with the luggage since Mark is carrying Shep.  So has Sadie and Sophie too!! They've jumped in and filled in the gaps where needed.  It's a little harder for Silas to understand that things have to be about Shep right now.  It will change...but so much is focused around him.  Silas struggles some with that!! But they all LOVE their little brother and he makes us all laugh SO MUCH!!

Tomorrow (Sunday) we are renting a van and going an hour and a half south of here to see Doug and Janice Bush at New Day South.  Doug and Janice are from our church The Rock and they are now the house parents at New Day South.  We can't wait to spend some time with them and with the kiddos at their foster home!!! We are excited for the opportunity but also for Tonya to spend some time with the kids there too.  We are praying her and Frank get matched with their little one soon!! Wouldn't it be SO NEAT if she could meet her little one tomorrow?!?! just never know what God is going to do!!

Well...that's it for now!! Gotta get the kiddos baths and ready for bed!!! We have a fun day tomorrow!!! I'll post again tomorrow night and hopefully with some sweet pics!!!

Thank you all so much for your prayers and encouragement!!! Love and miss everyone greatly and cannot wait to get home!!! Night!!
ONE MORE THING....I have posted another album of photos on FB if you'd like to see them!!! There are a ton on there!! If someone following the blog isn't on FB and would like to see pics...let me know and I'll try and find a quicker way to get them on blogger! :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Very Interesting Days

You never think about the simple things, such as the ability to communicate, being such a blessing.  We have spent a great deal of time the last couple of days wondering around with some free time.  It has been quite hilarious and frustrating as well.  We could probably beat you in a game of charades after this trip though.  It has been HUGE in our communication.

We were looking for a gift bag a day or so ago...and wow!!! Who would think trying to ask for a gift bag would be so difficult.  I bet we spent 30 minutes talking to workers...or I should say...gesturing between us and workers to try and find one.  We got close...but didn't quite make it! :-/  It was quite frustrating in the moment...but we can laugh at it now!!

Also...regarding ordering food...who would think ordering a cheese pizza at Papa Johns would cause so much confusion!! We have gotten so many laughs out of it!! Even so...tonight...we just decided to get a ton of junk food and eat in the room.  It was easier and cheaper!! LOL!! Great memories thought!

Today was a VERY interesting day.  On Gotcha Day...we found out that Shepard is allergic to seafood. (We will probably try to find out exactly which ones when we get home).  But we have been very cautious to keep him away from it while we are here.  At lunch today, we ordered he and Sadie Wonton soup. They both really enjoy it.  After Shep had eaten two Wonton's already....Sadie mentions she thinks they have seafood in them.  The waitress said it was only pork.  But after talking with the chef...he confirmed that they had seafood in them. OH MY...we got SO NERVOUS!!! Shepard all of a sudden began to zone out and stare toward the ground...leaning forward some.  He wouldn't respond to us when we tried to see if he was ok.  Tonya ran to get Benedryl...and I ran to call Dr. Record who is also traveling with us.

After Shep took Benedryl he seemed to get a little better. Dr. Record gave us some steriods just in case.  We tried to get Shep to take those pills...but he spit it out twice. :( (Covered in ice cream and all)  We prayed over him and declared the healing of the Lord over him! It was very scary...but definitely eye opening to things we will need to keep an eye on in the future!!!

Tomorrow we leave for Guangzhou.  It will not be until 6pm China at 5am Central USA time...we will be flying to GZ. It's a short flight...about an hour and a half.  Not too bad!! We just found out today that the US Consulate has opened back up...PRAISE THE LORD!!! Hoping that our CA will stay on schedule. We will keep you all posted!!

Thank you all for continued prayers.  We are SO READY to come home!! We miss everyone so much!! We are ready for some FRESH FOODS and some ICE!!! I will keep you all posted to let you know if we will expect any delays! Thanks so much for everything.  If all goes well...we will be leaving one week from today to start our trek home!!! CANNOT WAIT!!!

I'll post again soon!! If you would like to see our photos from today....please see our FB page!!! If you cannot access it...let me know! Thanks! Talk soon!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Orphanage Visit and Day off!

Sorry for my delay in posting a blog.  Yesterday it was a little tough to get around to blogging.  We were able to visit Shep's orphanage.  We only got to see a small portion of it. We were able to play with some children while there but they did not allow us to take pictures while we were up there. We SO wanted to take photos.  It was a good visit...but it would have been nice to have seen more.  I posted photos on FB yesterday of our visit.

One thing that was very interesting while we were we were leaving the orphanage Shep's foster dad met us outside the gate.  It was uncomfortable for everyone.  He kept motioning for Shep to let him hold him, and Shep kept shaking his head no and pushing away with his hand.  (there is supposed to be no contact between the foster parents and adoptive families...even our guide was uncomfortable).  The foster dad told Shep that the foster mom was waiting on his phone call.  That would explain his constant fight to get to the phone in the hotel room. :( Especially at night.  We finally put all the phones in the closet. It just makes it harder on Shep.

Last night was tough...but not as tough as the first night.  He cried just a little bit...then Mark got him to sit and watch some of "Daddy Day Care" on the ipod with him.  It has to be hard not knowing the language...but he sat and watched it and fell asleep.  So glad!!

One thing we do know...he LOVES technology. He know's all about an iPad and LOVES to play fruit Ninja!! LOL...He's good at it!! He also loves Thomas the Tank and Sponge Bob...and also likes the Chinese cartoon The Pleasant Goats.  He loves noodles too!!!

Today we spend most of the day wandering from the hotel to the attached mall.  It was a free day and was a tough day.  All of us in a hotel room with not much to do but wonder around a mall...was a little boring and exhausting for all of us!!

Tomorrow we go to a Panda Zoo.  It should be fun and interesting for all of us!! :) I'll have more photos on FB for it!!

OH...before I forget...please keep the US Consulate and all the Consulate appointments in your prayers. We want God's will and HIS Divine plan and appointment ultimately...but we SO can't wait to get home!!

I'll leave the blog tonight with a short video of Shep counting to 10 in Chinese. It is SO CUTE! Our guide in Beijing showed us how to count to 10 using only one hand instead of both.  It has been a great thing...cause Shep loves to count to 10 for us!!!

Here is a little sneak of this precious little boy God has blessed us with!! Enjoy! I'll post again tomorrow! Love and appreciate you all!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Gotcha Day

What an unbelievable Day!! We woke up with much excitement and anticipation to meet our little man. We had to sign papers first and didn't go until around 1:30pm to get him.

When we walked into the room the minute he saw us he hollered "Mama, Baba!!!" And then he ran to us. He was very well prepared!! Thanks to all the wonderful caregivers here in Chongqing.

From that moment, he ran from me, to Mark to Sophie, to Silas and to Sadie calling them by their Chinese name of big sister and big brother! He was very excited.

We pulled out some toys we had brought for him and by FAR his favorite was the little Fisher Price digital camera. He play with us with that the whole time we were in there!! He ran the batteries down and filled up the camera. He took over 300 photos!!!

He did great and has such a sweet spirit and such a happy heart. He is precious. Last night at bedtime...I felt so bad for him. He began to holler for his foster mom. He was visibly uncomfortable. He wouldn't take his clothes off to out on Jammie's. we just let him keep his clothes on.

I stayed up all I could and eventually had to lay down. Mark and Silas played with him some. But it got so late. He was avoiding sleep at all costs. But when it was time, he got up in the bed with me and sat up. He stared across the room and put his little head in his hands. Then he started to bawl!! I felt so sorry for him. I know he had to be extremely uncomfortable in a strange place with strange people. We just let him cry and held him until he eventually laid down and went to sleep.

I was so glad he fell asleep. It's good that he grieved...but it's so pitiful to sit there while he is screaming and crying and all we can do is love him and pray for him. I know night times are always the hardest and it will get better thru the rest of this week and next week.

Having Sophie, Silas and Sadie was huge!!! It not only helped Shep feel comfortable and have someone to play was priceless for them to experience this as well. We are so glad they are with us!!! It is such a blessing!!!

And what an incredible help Tonya has been. You can thank her for all those amazing photos she took. She captured the moment perfectly!!! Thanks to The Bohlingers for sharing her with us these couple of weeks!!!'s 2am here and I need to try and get a little sleep. Ill post again tomorrow night!! We go and see the orphanage today. After his sadness last night it makes me nervous. But I know it will be good for him and all of us!!! Ill do all I can to take good pics. Love you all!! Thanks so much for the prayers!!
Mark and Buffi

Sunday, May 12, 2013

We Made It To Chongqing!

We had a wonderful couple of days in Beijing.  Not only was it wonderful to see all the amazing historical sites...but it did us good to try and overcome some of this jetlag.  Although...I've been awake every morning between 2am and 4am no matter what! :-/ Praying I can sleep all night tonight!

Our morning was pretty good. We were SO relieved that Mark found his iPhone! That was such a blessing!!! We left around 10:30 for the airport to head out to Chongqing. Chongqing is Shepard's home town.  It is a very beautiful town and is seems very well taken care of.  It is HUGE!! Our guide said about 32 million people!! Whew!! Cannot believe that!!

Tonight as we were shopping for a few things for the week...Sadie got a little overwhelmed.  There are SO MANY people here. I know it must seem overwhelming to her for everyone to look like her.  She said it was.  We had  a good chat and cry time tonight, just the two of us.  It was good for her I believe!!  It is an experience I believe that will leave a lasting impression on her and she will never forget it!! Continue to keep her in your prayers as we go to the orphanage to visit on Tuesday.  I know every little thing we do will stir lots of emotions for her!

We will be uniting with Shepard around Midnight on Mother's Day night (Central Time) there in the US.  So it is less than 24 hours before we meet him.  We have been praying for him and praying for all of us as well!!!

The kids are excited and Silas talks non stop about him and cannot wait to finally have a brother!! I am praying that they have a good connection and that the transition goes smooth!!

It is late...and I do need to get to bed.  Thank you all for praying over the next 24 hours.  These will be very important times.  I promise I will update with all the details of Gotcha Day and photos and all!!! Can't wait!

Love you all and appreciate you all!! Hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day!
Mark & Buffi

Saturday, May 11, 2013

China Trip - Day 2 (Beijing)

We had another awesome day today!! Aside from the fact that Mark lost his iPhone for about 24 hours, and then found it JUST NOW - PRAISE THE LORD - Everything else has been awesome and adventurous! Mark actually crossed the CRAZY street as a pedestrian and made it back ALIVE!! WHOHOO!! That in itself was a huge feat! LOL!!  We also did some other worth while things!!

The Great Wall is just the most amazing thing to experience.  Not only is it visually majestic...the history behind it is just overwhelming.  Our guide, Michael, has done an excellent job at giving us a tremendous amount of history this time.  We have learned so much more about the culture and history this time than we did last time!!!

Today we not only did The Great Wall, but we also were able to go to The Jade Factory, The Silk Factory, a real Tea room (and learned SO MUCH about tea and its health for us).  We had a wonderful lunch!!! Michael our guide said it was considered a country style/village style cooking.  We absolutely loved it!!!

Overall it was just an amazing day.  It is very hard to communicate the sights and sounds of all we see and do.  Pictures do not do it justice.  If any of you get a chance to MUST!!! Just amazing!!

We are getting our bags packed again tonight before we head off to bed.  We leave for Shepards home town!! AHHH!! We are very excited.  So two more sleeps until we are able to meet our little Shepard boy!! We look so forward to it!!

Just like last took too long to post too many photos. We have uploaded a few onto FB.  Most of them are the sights we saw today.  It was just awesome!! Thank you all for continuing to pray for us as we end this "touring" portion of our trip, and we move into the whole purpose of the bring our precious boy home!!! We will keep you all posted and will try to blog tomorrow night from Chongqing!!
Mark & Buffi

Friday, May 10, 2013

China Trip - Day 1 (Beijing Tour)

Whew...we finally got things worked out where we can access these sites in our room.  Wifi isn't very easy to use in our hotel room here in Beijing.  We eventually just hooked up the laptop through the cord and it is much easier to access things.  Sorry for delays in posting.  We were extremely tired last night when we finally got in.  We were just too tired to get anything done!!

Today we had a great day!! We thought we'd sleep in a little since we didn't need to meet our guide until 9:30am.  We woke up between 4:00 and 4:30am and could not go back to sleep.  Gotta love jet lag!! It is definitely good in the adoption do a couple days touring like this...just to get your body clock adjusted to China time.  Otherwise...when we would get our little one...we'd be SO EXHAUSTED!! the time we leave here on Sunday...we should be adjusted and rested up from that trip!! So glad!!

We did a few things around Beijing today.  We saw The Forbidden City, Tienanmen Square, The Summer Palace and The Hutong.  It was so great for the kids to see these things.  Silas was a "movie star". All kinds of people would come up to him and want their picture made with him. If they didn't ask...they sure stared a lot!!! It was so funny!!! I'm sure it was his blonde hair!! He loved it!!

Between touring our guide, Michael talked a lot about Chinese culture.  He couldn't believe we already have three children and are adopting another one.  He said in China...children are looked at as a burden. :( That is so sad.  Really broke our heart. It was an interesting look into the way the culture is around here!

Michael is a great guide!! We did some fun things today.  We would LOVE to share a few photos with you. Unfortunately...blogger is moving very slowly and we aren't able to load photos very fast at all.  If you are FB friends with us...we have a ton of them that went onto FB.  If our internet access gets better once we move on to Chongqing, we will post photos on our blog!!

Tomorrow we get to go to The Great Wall and maybe the Jade or Silk factory.  We're remaining flexible. It is all just very cool!! We promise to keep you all updated as much as possible!!

Just three sleeps until we finally get to meet Shepard!!! We cannot wait and we are so thankful for all of your prayers and support!! Please continue to pray for the day we connect!!! It is hard to believe that it is already here!!!

Thats all for now!!! We will post again as soon as we have the opportunity! Hopefully we can have photos for you on here soon!! Until then..feel free to check them out of Facebook!!

Love and appreciate you all!! We will connect soon!!
Mark & Buffi

Thursday, May 9, 2013

We're Here!!

After 24 hours of traveling, a security pat down, a lost wheel on our brand new luggage and Chinese customs... We made it into Beijing!! The travel went pretty smooth and we are all safe. But I must admit, there is nothing better than walking out in a foreign country and seeing a guy standing outside the customs area with a sign that says "Young." Our guide's name is Michael and he has been very helpful.

Right now it's 4:45am Beijing time and Silas and I (Mark) are downstairs in the lobby because there is wi-fi. We had a few hiccups last night with the Internet, but we will hopefully have it all worked out today. We will be going to Tiennamen Square, the Forbidden City and a Hutong tour today, so I am quite sure Buffi will be posting with more details and pictures tonight.

We love you all!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

On our way!!

We are on our first leg to China!! Our flights will leave in the morning headed that way!! We should arrive in Beijing on Thursday the 9th!! We promise to keep everyone posted of our trip!! Thank you for your continued prayers!! We love and appreciate you all!!! Until next post..hope you all have a wonderful day!!
Mark and Buffi