Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Thoughts from Acorn Ridge

How precious her love for us. We knew we would love her no matter what, but to see her return that love and to grow in her trust is so comforting. I write a thousand words everyday in my mind, many thoughts on her past, her birth, what her future may have been. Looking into her eyes everyday is changing us in so many ways. I've got so many journal entries, but don't quite know where to begin. Maybe I'll figure out just how to express my discoveries, or maybe you can give me some suggestions. What would you like to know about this adoption journey? Why did we follow this adoption path? Why China? What was her life like prior? What would have been? I'm sure I'll spend many days asking and reasking myself the same questions. But does anyone else want to hear about it? If you do, then I will.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Michaela loves Mia

The weather here is simply delicious. I just want to drink it in. How wonderful the days are passing with Mia's smiles and alertness making us smile along with her. The house is joyous. Isn't it amazing how children can transform any environment?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Settling In

Our jet lag is gone, I think! We are beginning to see some normalcy....I think. What a beautiful little person is Mia ZhuZhu. I love it that the title of this blog is Mia, Mia....where are you, because that is what we love to play with her to get her aquainted with her name and also to make eye-contact. She is learning so fast. She is funny, silly, loves music, dancing and people. Her motor skills are advancing fast too. We have a developmental specialist coming next week to help evaluate her. She is not able to do much on her stomach and needs help rolling over and sitting up when on her back. They will also help with her speech. She babbles and immitates pretty good, but is also behind for her age. My only fear right now is that if we don't jump start her quickly she'll begin to experience frustration. I don't think it will take long for her to catch up. She also is bonding well with me and Mike. I do think I'll have to slow down with her new people exposure. Church is a vast sea of faces and she'll go to just about anyone, especially men! Michaela is fast becoming a great friend and playmate. She especially helps with her "belly-time" as they roll and play in the floor. Mia's first introduction to the animals was a success too! I was so afraid she would freak, but the squeals I heard from her were of joy. She loves to watch them and pull their fur. Can you imagine what joy she brings us? We are beside ourselves enjoying this little delight with which we've been blessed.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Home Sweet Home!

How thank-full we are, for God has brought us safely home! How marvelous His grace and mercy. How excellent are friends who receive our Mia with open arms and open hearts. For all the kindness and many extra miles you've gone to cheer us on this journey we are grateful.

Mia is jet-lagged but still smiling. We had a pretty turbulent pacific ocean flight, our dinner ended up on our laps and scared little Mia. Our luggage is still missing. That's why I'm still up. Waiting for the courier to come with our underwear and souveniers!

I'm still trying to upload photo's. Michaela and Mia's first hug is priceless. Thank you all again for your support. All is well!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Well I am packed and heading to my first home of Lucedale from Mississippi State University to go and pick up Michaela. I am going to try to make sure the house is in order, so that mom won't have any work to do when they get back. It was great to be able to keep you all informed when mom was unable.
I'm now awaiting tomorrow afternoon when I can see my beautiful little sister for the first time. No sleep tonight.
May The Lord Bless You And Keep You

Swearing and Now Homeward Bound

Well this may be the last post until mom and the family get back home. I haven't heard from them yet, but I think I they will call one last time before they leave China.
All of the families went to the US consulate and they had to swear (or take an oath rather) that all of their paperwork was truthful and such. Now Mia Grace Yunzhu is an american citizen and she is (and has been for about 2 year) apart of our crazy family. Just from hearing about their trip, I know that Mia has a RICH heritage. The Chinese way is very different, but it is such a respectable thing. I'll let mom tell that story when she gets home...

Ok so Here's the schedule:

Flight out of Guangzhou for Hong Kong at 8:25 a.m. Saturday morning(6:25 p.m. Friday our time).

Flight Out of Hong Kong for Chicago: 11:35 a.m. saturday (9:35 pm. friday our time).

Arrive in Chicago 11:44 a.m. saturday (local Chicago Time.. yes.24 hours. they'll be exhausted!).

Mom said that they should arrive in new Orleans at 4 o'clock p.m. Saturday.. Michaela and I will be there with open arms.

**Please pray that everything goes smoothly and that they are safe and NO LAYOVERS!!! I just read on another families blog that they aren't getting home until sunday because of flight changes. I hope that their flight plans stay the same!

I know that mom will be very eager (after her rest of course) to take back over her job as "Blogger" and do a MUCH better job at telling you all her story.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

>Some Pictures<

I talked to mom this morning, and she said that they are all doing really well. Mia kept getting the phone and saying "Zhu Zhu" (jew jew) into it. HA. She really is such a loving, beautiful girl. She would jabber and jabber into the phone but when I said "hey Mia" or talked back at all... she would stop talking.... Mom said that she was kissing the phone. What a sweet, loving little girl. I can't wait to meet her!
Tomorrow the family is "sworn in" and Mia becomes a US citizen (what a BIG day for HER).
Pray for their safety and a safe flight home. They have heard that the flight BACK into the USA is the hardest (the flight over there wasn't SOO bad.. They recovered fastly). They will probably be out for several days once they get back. Thank goodness they get back right before a school holiday!
Thanks for praying for my family and all of the other adoptive families. God Bless!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentines Day!

We are counting down the days now! I think we've done all the local siteseeing we're gonna do so we're getting pretty bored. Mia is just a part of the family now and you're gonna eat up her cuteness! We are thankful that we've not been sick. We found some great tea in China that will cure any ailment so we drink a potful several times a day. I've got to learn how to cook Mia congee which is a rice mush laced with chicken and whatever veggie you throw in. She loves it and opens her mouth wide and says AHHHH when she see's it. She also loves broccoli! Our consolate appointment is Thursday (our tommorrow) and we have a group swearing in process. I don't anticipate any problems but please pray that all our paperwork is in order. Things are getting very climatic hear in regards to Chinese New Year. I can now understand the beauty of this holiday and will write more about it later when surfing the web doesn't cost and arm & leg. It's decorated beautifully everywhere and everyone is in the holiday spirit. They will take off for 2 weeks so if our paper work isn't done properly will be here.....indefinetly. I love chinese food, but I'm about done with it for a while...though I have lost those extra five pounds I was wanting. Wish I had time to talk more. I appreciate your love and prayers and hope to see ya'll soon!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Rumors of "Jesus" in Guangzhou

I was reading another family's blog (Nathan and Lisa-travelling in same group as mom and the family) and there is a rumor going around that one of the men on the trip saw Jim Caviezel (Jesus from The Passion of The Christ) in Guangzhou. He is supposed to be adopting a five year old boy. The man that saw him took a picture with him. No one can find anything on the internet saying that he is over there, but there is a good possibility that if Jim Caviezel is there, they could be in the Consulate on Friday together. How cool would that be?? Adopting a baby with "Jesus." ha.

Monday, February 12, 2007


The internet is 50 Yuan for 20 minutes about $6.00 and it takes a looong time for photo's. But Nathan and Lisa Smith have a laptop and are able to get wireless in their room so if you'll look to the links on the right you'll see what the group is doing. They even have a few photo's of us in the photo section.
We are now in Guangzhou. It's more American friendly here but life as a tourist is pretty tedious. We have it better than most because we were given an apartment. It's huge, about 2000 sq. ft. So now we can spread out and enjoy some solitude. We have 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, an office, a huge kitchen (no pots or utensils) and a bar! We even have a washer and dryer so we do all the groups laundry which keeps me occupied.
Mia is so cute! She's still got a bronchitis type cough and now has a rash, but she sleeps well and is very smiley and happy. We are loving her and she loves us. We are so thankful. I can't imagine that she belongs to anyone else. For the next two days we will just hang out and try to find stuff to do. We have our US consolate appointment Thursday and will start packing to leave on Friday. Our trip back will be over 24 hours long I know, but I'm prepared for 30 - 36 hours of traveling. We're so ready to get home to our Michaela and Elliott. It's been a hard week knowing they are "left behind".

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The picture with Mia feeling on Dad's face (which is something that she is quite fond of doing) is on "Gotcha Day," the day when the families meet their children.

some updates

Mom calls me and Michaela regularly (about 1 or 2 times day), so I'm pretty well updated.
They are now in their final stopping place in Guangzhou, where Mia will become a US citizen. Mom doesn't have access to internet,but she does hope to find SOMEWHERE with it before they get back, hopefully.
I have lost complete track of dates and everything... but some time in the past few days mom and dad spent about 2 hours filling out paperwork for Mia's Passport, Visa, and so on... The rest of the week will be pretty "uneventful" (yeah right). Mia has a doctor's appointment wednesday and their Consulate appointment is on Thursday. Mia is recovering slowly from her little sickness and will be better hopefully by the time they get back.
All of the babies have to be examined by the doctors and "pass" a medical test before they can come back. Pray that all of the children get better and stay well, if they don't pass that means that they have to stay long (blah).
Keep praying for our family and all of the other families as they reach the point were they are close to coming home. FINALLY!
This week is going to be a long one for a lot of people (especially me and Michaela).
Saturday at 4 p.m. their flight should arrive in New Orleans. Michaela, my grandmother, and I will be there with open arms.

**P.S. I forgot that Ethan had put some pictures up on "Facebook," and I had saved them.. so here they are..

Thursday, February 08, 2007

First Week

It's Friday morning here in Kunming. We leave tomorrow morning to go to Guangzhou. I think everyone is ready for a change of scenery. The sick babies have had to get IV's everyday and the parents days are tedious getting them hooked up and waiting while they finish their medication. Mia seems to be better today. We had given her Benedryl to clear her congestion, but I think that it was what made her very cranky. So we're just giving her something for her fever and the anitbiotic the Dr. here gave her.
The hard part of hotel life here is getting food. No one speaks english and even though there are several restaurants in this hotel, no one wants to serve the americans. Yesterday we found a Thai restaurant but when we asked to be seated they said "follow me" and took us to an elevator, pushed the down button and said "goodbye". We have had so much MSG that our heads are woozy. This afternoon we visit a park by Green lake. This should be a good outing for us. The bus rides even a short distance takes hours because of the trafffic. Please pray for the sick babies. If they don't get a clear ticket from the Doctor, they will have to stay longer. The parents are just wanting to go home. We miss you all.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Here I Am!

Mia ran fever early this morning and is congested, and fussy. We've been in the room all morning so we've had a little time to practice our walking. This afternoon we're supposed to get out and sitesee. Maybe even go see some of the children's finding spots.
We miss Michaela terribly! I can't believe it's just been one week since we've been gone. Yes, we are homesick! The trip is unbelievable but hotel life gets really old especially when you can't speak the language. It's pretty hard to just stroll the streets here. Hope everyone is well. Mia is learning so much so fast. I know she will love Michaela! WE MISS YOU!

View of the countryside-Yunnan Province


It has been a tremendous day in so many ways. I'll have to give you the brief version because internet time is rare.
First, Mia is warming us so much. She still prefers Mike, but she is loving on me and even said "Ma Ma". We went on an adventure today in the Yunnan provence countryside. We were on a cramped bus for 1 1/2 drive to the famous wonder of the world, "stone forrest". It's a vision kin to the Grand Canyon. The countryside was a site I'm so glad we got to experience. We ate in a little place amoung the mountains. I'll have much to write about this area. I would love to upload photo's of the silk embroidry factory - the children that swarmed the bus, the small farms, the food, the poverty.....It's so much. But do know how much today was to us because Mia is really starting to love us. She's truly 18 months old - her coordination is good and I believe she'll be walking before we get home. She is very smart and cute, but she does know how to throw a fit!
I must hurry - Thank you all so much for responding. It is definitely a world away from Mississippi. One more week to go!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Daddy's Girl!

Wow! I finally get a moment to post and I don't know where to begin. First, the "gottcha" day was crazy. Last night was just a little tedious but she soon settled in a slept all night until about 5:30. She slept, but I did not. The room was cold and we were instructed to keep them bundled and warm. I was afraid she would smother under so many layers so I kept my hand on her and kept checking to see if she was breathing, just like she were a newborn. I could just imagine something happening to her on the first night and I'd be locked up in prison for life! This morning I went with half the group to buy supplies, while the other half went to apply for the babies passports. There are 5 babies with pneumonia and they had to go back to the orphanages hospital for iv's for an hour. While they were doing that the director of the center gave us a tour and even fed the babies their lunch of "congee". The orphanage is just like the photo I posted earlier except much more buildings are included. The colorful building is the school. We got to tour the dormatories and were impressed with the organization and the cleanliness. They are the control center for about 400 children all ages. About 100 are at the dormatory and the other 300 are in foster care in the surrounding area. Every nanny spoke to Mia and told us little funny things she does. She was living about an hour away from Kunming.
Mia is so sweet. Smiley. She loves to put on a show! I see her really warming up today. We go to a special event dinner tonight and it will be interesting to see all the babies at the dinner table. Please continue to pray that those sick babies get well soon. They are doing well considering.

The Joy That We've Been Waiting For!


How beautiful my little sister is!. This two year journey is finally over just to start a new one. A new life has begun for Mia Grace Yunzhu Welford.

I know you’ve heard the stories
But they all sound too good to be true
You’ve heard about a place called home
But there doesn’t seem to be one for you
So one more night you cry yourself to sleep
And drift off to a distant dream

Where love takes you in and everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in

And somewhere while you’re sleeping
Someone else is dreaming too
Counting down the days until
They hold you close and say I love you
And like the rain that falls into the sea
In a moment what has been is lost in what will be

When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart

And this love will never let you go
There is nothing that could ever
cause this love to lose its hold

When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in it takes you in for good
When love takes you in....

-Lyrics by Steven Curtis Chapmen-
-When Love Takes You In-

Monday, February 05, 2007

Mia's Here!

I was getting so nervous because Mom hadn't called me and it was 7:43 a.m. here and I had to go to class, but RIGHT when I was leaving the dorm she called.
They're exhausted. They met Mia Grace at about 12 a.m. our time last night and they stayed in this SMALL little cramped up room for about 4 hours! Several of the babies have pneumonia and have to be treated, but Mia is doing GREAT!
She looks beautiful, and now she has a thicker head of hair.
At first she didn't go straight to mom, instead she wanted dad. Mom said that Mia is still "trying to figure her (mom) out" (aren't we all Mia... aren't we all).
It was about 11 o'clock p.m. monday there when mom called me and Mia was still going non-stop.
I had trouble hearing mom with the loud burst of joyful jibberish that came from Mia!
After not-even one day she refers to Dad as " BA BA" (which means daddy)! What a blessing. This little girl's heart is already with us!

P.S. Mom has had ZERO luck posting pictures, however, a couple that is with mom and them is Nathan and Lisa. You can check out the link to their website on the right of this blog. There are some pictures ( one of which mom and Ethan are in the Background of) and Mrs. Lisa has updated her blog quite often.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Not much internet time here(the internet gets quite expensive). It takes such a long time to upload photos.
Well we fly out for Kunming at 6:30 monday morning, your sunday afternoon, and we go straight to the civil affairs office to take care of paperwork. We should see Mia tomorrow morning!!!(not 100% sure though). The flight is 3 and 1/2 hours long (this flying thing is starting to get old).
The great wall was incredible, and I went to see an acrobatic show while Mike and Ethan went to sleep ( party- poopers). Also we went to a jade factory ( IT WAS SOO EXPENSIVE!).
It's 11:48 p.m. here. Tomorrow we will see Mia.. Tomorrow Morning. My mind is racing, and we are praying so much for this long awaited day!

Saturday, February 03, 2007


(email from Mom to Elliott,... She is having trouble logging in to her Blog site... Free thinking and being able to write about it isn't very popular in "The Republic of China.")
Saturday Feb. 3, 2007
We've had a BUSY Saturday and we are exhausted. You wouldn't believe what we've done, seen, heard and eaten today! Ethan has been great- stimulation is endless so his imagination is...well, you know Ethan - nuf said!:-) We will have a little more time at the end of our day tomorow. Today we had zero time on our own - we were out doing the entire time. Authentic everything. We ate Peking Duck for dinner. There was SOOO much food. Food just kept appearing on these Lazy Susan's. It was incredible. If I can get the computer to upload some pictures quicker - I'll come try to in the morning.

Today (Sunday Feb. 4th) we go a church service that is only available to foreigners (it's Christian, and that's why no Chinese are allowed to go). After the church service we will go to The Great Wall.

Must go and start the paper-work process. We've got a few copies and protocols to get ready before we leave here early Monday a.m. I think we leave for the airport about 6:30 a.m. monday and our flight to Kunming is shortly after that. We'll get all our paperwork done before we get Mia -so we'll see her pretty quickly I think Monday. I'll sleep good tonight, but I'll bet we'll be nervous Monday(sunday for you guys)!

After we get beautiful little Mia we should start to slow down and be able to do stuff on our own time. I pray that Mia's heart is getting prepared to leave what she's familiar with and be apart of a family that (although crazy) loves her very much. My prayers are that God has given her a sense of peace.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Beijing... FINALLY!

NO pictures yet, but they will be coming soon.
We arrived in Beijing after a 13 hour plane ride (wow, what a miserable ride)and we are pretty wiped out. Our hotel is ver nice, and we are right next to a wal-mart ( not like a U.S. Wal-mart, more like "34 flea markets in one building," says Ethan. Well Beijing is an interesting city with a ton of people.
They mentioned something about smog to us, but when we landed, it is definitely a noticeable thing. It's like a low lying cloud!
We are about to get to bed now (finally!) and we will start our site seeing tomorrow.
Tomorrow we see: Tienanmen Square, Forbidden City, and Summer Palace, as well as several factories I think!
Thank you all so much for the prayers and support, and please continue to do so as we stay here for 2 weeks.
Also pray for Michaela, she has never been away from her parents for a length of time like this. She knows that she must be a "big girl," but I know it's got to be difficult for her.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Chicago and Snow!

This is Elliott ( Katri's oldest son) and I am the one that mother has put in charge of updating her blog with pictures and such until she is able to get to a computer.

The family ( Mom, Dad, and Ethan) are now in Chicago. There flight went well from New Orleans, and they are waiting FOUR HOURS until their flight out of Chicago to Beijing! It is snowing in Chicago now ( something that doesn't happen AT ALL in southern Mississippi).
Continue to pray for their safety as they start their 13 hour flight to Beijing in just a little bit. They will get in Beijing at 1 O'clock in the morning Central time but it will be 3 O'clock in the afternoon in Beijing (MAJOR JET LAG)!!

God is good and in just a few short days little Mia Grace Yunzhu Welford will meet her family!