Count of Chicks for Children

God's Plan For Us

This is our journey - God's incredible plan for our lives. When we followed the moving of the Holy Spirit, He opened the windows of Heaven and poured out upon us blessings we never dreamed of! Indescribable joy!

" For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Shamian Island, typhoons, struggles

I'll be honest- I'm not sure how to go with this post. Keep it positive, or keep it real. Since there may be other families in the adoption process, I think I need to be real. I would be doing others a great disservice by only painting a rosy picture. The fact is, two of us had a meltdown today (and Enya wasn't one of them). Emma didn't care for Shamian Island very much. We've settled into what is becoming a familiar routine- She acts fine until we're with the guide, and then she acts like we have the plague. Once we leave the guide, she acts fine again right up until it's evening time. She then starts crying and wants to talk with the guide. Tonight she told the guide she doesn't want to go home with us. I know she is homesick, and my mind understands this, but it is hard on the heart to hear those words. I know once she is home and realizes it isn't a scary place that she will be fine. She's an outgoing girl, and I'm sure it won't take long to feel comfortable with the family and those around her.
On Shamian Island there are a ton of places to take pictures. I was excited to get some good photos of Emma and also some of Enya in some of the same poses as she had had six years ago when she was adopted. Emma refused to take any pictures. She wasn't interested in anything about the island, so we left quickly and came back to the room. Typhoon Roke (right now a category 8) started dumping a ton of rain on Guangzhou, so that has put a damper on getting outside. We're supposed to go to the zoo tomorrow, which Emma and Enya are excited about, but as it looks now we'll need to find some inside activity to keep us busy.
The highlight of my day was on Shamian Island. We were in a store and I heard what I was sure was worship music. When we went outside I realized we were right beside a church. Inside they were singing, "How Great is Our God". He truly is a great God and He is holding us in His hands! He is in control, which is such a comfort, when things feel out of control.
I'd like to ask for prayers that the TB test comes back fine tomorrow afternoon, and also that the interview at the US consulate goes well on Tuesday morning (They will ask Emma if she wants to be adopted and go to the US)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Guangzhou- Medical Exam Day

Last night we checked into the hotel, unpacked, and headed to a nearby 7-11 (yes, no kidding!) to pick up some ramens, bread, and drinks. Located right outside the hotel, it's very convenient for picking up basic supplies. After talking with Virgil and the girls, we headed on to bed. About 2:00 am I woke up to the sound of crying. Emma was upset, and it took a while to get her calmed down and back to sleep. The night before, she had also gotten upset, and it took about 2 hours to get her calmed down. Even though adoption is a beautiful thing, it is born from grief. Sorrow at being abandoned when they are small, and then sorrow at leaving all that is familiar to them. From what I can tell, Emma was well cared for, and for a while that will make things harder for her. In the long run however, it will be better because she won't have to deal with the memory of abuse that some children go through.
Imagine how hard it would be to be uprooted from your friends and caretakers, language, culture, food, sights and smells. Now imagine you were a child. So very scary.


This morning she was fine, though we had the same distancing herself from us when the guide is with us. I wasn't sure how the medical exam would go, but she bounced her way right through the exams and shots. They did a blood draw as well to check for TB. Prayers please that the TB comes back negative. If she tests positive, they will do a chest x-ray. If that shows TB, she will not be allowed to leave China until she is treated, which will take a while. I always breath a sigh of relief when we get the results back. We will find out the test results Monday afternoon.
Going to the medical exam building is always a pleasure for me because we meet so many other families who are also adopting. As I've mentioned on other trips, I'd love to collect all their stories and share them in a book. Each family is so unique. It was a double pleasure to go today because we were able to see a friend of ours who works with an adoption agency here in Guangzhou. We first met John when we came in 2011 to adopt Xiaoyun and Enya. He was our guide then, and also when we adopted Nini, Ximi, Erin and Meimei. He's like family now, and has kept up with us through the years. He hasn't seen Enya since 2011, so it was nice to reintroduce her to him.
One thing about staying at the China Hotel is that breakfast means you're bound to sit near other adopting families. This morning as we sat down to eat, we started talking to the family beside us. Usually I ask three questions- Where are you from? Where is your child from? How's it going?
I was delighted to hear they are also from Kentucky (Frankfort) - just an hour and half from our house. As we're talking, another family sitting opposite of them tell us they are from Louisville!!! Just down the road from us. What are the odds? I look forward to getting to know them more in the days to come.
After the medical, we went to Walmart to stock up for the week. The girls both picked out junk food to go with their super nutritious ;-) ramen noodle, and we headed back to the room. Emma was tired from the night before (I think she's also getting a cold) and she and I both rested for awhile and Enya played on the computer. Enya continues to keep a great attitude and goes with the flow.
Tonight John took us to a restaurant that is barely larger than some people's walk in closets. The girls had dumplings, and I had noodles that (I think) had some type of pork sauce. Emma ate a good amount, but is subdued still. I think partly from the shots, but also it is starting to be a pattern that as bedtime approaches she struggles. Please continue to keep her in your prayers!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Who Am I? July 21 on train bound for Guangzhou

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Red Folder- Nanning Day 4 With Emma

This afternoon we received what we've been waiting for- the RED FOLDER. Months of paperwork came down to this one special folder .It declares that she is no longer He Fuhao- foundling. She is now Emma Fuhao Willoughby- daughter of Virgil and Cindy. This is like her adoption birth certificate in a way. There are now 8 of these precious folders in our family and we thank God for them!!

Today we also went to a park in the center of Nanning. Surrounded by high rise apartments and businesses, it is an oasis in the middle of this city of over 6 million. It was close to our hotel- only about fifteen minutes walk. Miko said many of the older people go there frequently to get their exercise. She said because they often exercise in the city squares, they call them square dancers, though it is a far cry from the do-si-do we think of. This is my idea of exercise πŸ˜‰. The ladies are so graceful in their movements. There were some ladies being photographed, and a man with a traditional Chinese instrument- close to the size of a violin- accompanying two ladies singing. A small waterfall, several ponds and lakes, a cherry tree orchard and peach trees, children's playground, amusement park, and miles of trails lined with flowers, magnolia and palm trees were just a few of the things we saw.  In the midst of this bustling city, it is a place to get away and relax.This afternoon we packed for the next leg of our trip. We head to Guangzhou tomorrow morning. Only one more week before home!!! Thanking God for His goodness!!

Enya, Miko and Emma

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Day 3 With Emma

Our view at breakfast.
Emma's friend LanLan sent her the shirt. LanLan was adopted from the same orphanage as Emma and they were best friends. She now lives two hours from our home, so they will get to see each other

There are statutes throughout this park. They represent different children's stories

This is a tropical area and the bamboo grows well.

One of the many interesting things to see at the Green Mountain Park.

Enya and I climbed one million steps (ok, maybe not a million, but our legs felt like it-lol) to the top of the tallest pagoda in Guangxi. It had a view that was well worth the aching legs. You could see the entire Nanning city landscape spread out below.

Tallest pagoda in Guangxi

Emma and Enya loved feeding the koi. I have never seen such a thick group of fish. They were literally jumping out of the water to get to the food.

Today we went to the Green Mountain, a beautiful park with lush greenery and flowers blooming everywhere. Nanning's flower is the hibiscus and it was covering this park. Bamboo, palm trees, cycads, roses, and so many exotic plants and flowers were everywhere you turn. Teak furniture surrounded lake after lake, so you could sit and enjoy the view. Koi fish filled the lakes and ponds. Sculptures, carved stones, exercise areas, and children's areas were throughout. We could have spent a week there and never seen all there was to see and enjoy. Such a beautiful place.
As beautiful as it was, it did not compare to hearing Emma laugh for the first time. The girls were playing with a balloon, and Emma started laughing. It was good to see her and Enya playing with each other. She pulls away from us when our guide is around, but once we are alone she interacts with us. This afternoon has been the best, as far as talking with us and she is even using a few English words. Her demeanor is really improving. She asks about Virgil often and wants to know how long before we can skype with him the next time. I can't wait for them to meet in person!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Official! Emma Fuhao Willoughby

We officially have a new daughter!! Today we went to the notary and Civil Affairs office to finalize what we started yesterday. Because Emma is over ten years old, she was required to be interviewed and sign papers. When she was asked if she understood why we were here, she said "Yes, they came to bring me home". HOME!! What a precious word. Even the guide was touched by what she said.
There were three other families adopting today. What a blessing to see these other children getting added to families as well! There was a speech given by the director of all the orphanages in Guangxi, and then she presented is with the coveted red folder that says Emma is now a Willoughby.
When the lady from the orphanage said goodbye, Emma got emotional and shut down for a bit. When we got to the hotel she wanted the guide to come to the room with us. The guide, Miko, talked with her for quite a while. Besides being scared, she was also upset because the water in the shower wasn't warm. Bless her heart, I had showed her last night, but didn't stay in the bathroom so she could have her privacy and she didn't understand how to adjust the temp. I had no idea. 😞 Miko explained it again and also told her to point to my phone and I can call either Miko or Xiaoyun if she needs to tell me anything.
After that she has perked up, and is currently writing notes to send to Baba and the girls. She had learned to write the alphabet, but I don't know yet if she actually knows the letters or is just copying.
The Power of Attorney that we had to have still had not arrived yesterday. We weren't going to be able to proceed without it. God, in His timing, had it arrive just when it was needed. It was delivered as we were walking into the notary office this morning!! I have no idea why I stress when I know He is in control!! It is a lesson He is continually teaching me. (I sure wish I'd hurry up and learn this lesson!!)
Continued thanks for all the prayers!!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Emma Fuhao

Welcome Emma Fuhao!!
We have Emma!! She is tucked into bed playing video games with Enya. Our flight landed on time and before the storm (thanks so much for the prayers!!) . I found out there is a typhoon heading this way, but other than heavy rain it shouldn't affect us too much.
We had a few minutes at the hotel before heading to the Civil Affairs Office. Emma was very nervous, which is to be expected. There were a few tears, and I found out later that she had heard the orphanage director mention that she needed more surgery on her lip, and it scared her. Bless her heart. I'd be upset too. Leaving all you know, and hearing you have to have surgery, would upset anyone.
We visited Walmart for some comfort food, which looked a lot different for each of us ;-)
PB and J for me, ramen for Enya, and snack things for Emma. She didn't want supper, and they had told me earlier that she had been a little carsick. She's very observant, and quick to pick up on things (which is going to keep me on my toes!).
The director had some pictures of her as a baby, and they are also giving me some other information tomorrow on a flash drive. I'm so grateful to have that. She had the photo album we had sent, and when we got to the room she pulled it out and wanted to go over everyone's names. She and Enya are doing well together.
I think the day has caught up to all of us, so we are heading to bed early. Again, thank you all for the prayers!!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Monday, July 17 China local. - 12hrs ahead

I think I need to start a series on the best laid plans😊.

We arrived in Beijing Saturday afternoon. The flight was great. So many empty seats that Enya and I were able to stretch out and rest. I've never been on a flight that wasn't full. After clearing customs we found our way to the domestic counter only to find that our flight to Nanning had been cancelled. Because of lightning, most flights to southern China were cancelled. Of course I couldn't get the internet to work on the phone and it took hours before I was able to get in touch with someone from our agency. The flights for Sunday were booked, so we had to stay in Beijing until this morning (Monday). By the time someone made arrangements and picked us up to go to a hotel we had been standing in the airport for over five hours. We looked like the walking dead. Enya was a trooper and not once complained. Since we would be in Beijing a day and a half, I decided to show Enya a little more of China. Our guide took us to the Great Wall and the Summer Palace. It was hot, but beautiful. So thankful Enya was able to have this extra experience. 
We won't arrive in Nanning until this afternoon, which is when we are supposed to meet Emma so I'm not sure if we'll go to the room first, it straight to Civil Affairs office. 
Prayers please for Emma's heart and also for the weather. It is heavy rain there right now so prayers we're able to land. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

The day has finally arrived! Enya and I are sitting at the airport waiting for our flights. First to Dallas, then Beijing, and final a connecting flight to Nanning, China. We arrived at the airport at 6:30 am, and we'll arrive in Nanning at 11:05pm Saturday evening (China is 12 hours ahead of us). Hopefully we'll be at the hotel by 1am Sunday morning. Nanning is a city of close to 7 million so the airport could be quite a distance from our hotel. Sunday will be a day to catch our breath and stock up on supplies.
Leaving was hard, especially when we'd planned on Virgil and I traveling together. Fortunately most of the girls were still asleep so that made it easier this morning. Please pray for their hearts. Telling mama goodbye is hard, especially if you've had a mother say goodbye before and never return. Pray also for Emma, as she is about to have
her life changed completely.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Best Laid Plans Part 2

Right now Enya and I should be half way to China. Instead, I'm sitting in my living room. The paperwork needed for only one parent traveling should have been ready today. However, for some unknown reason, the consulate sent a message to all couriers that paperwork scheduled for pickup would now not be ready until next week. Without that paperwork, we are not allowed to proceed with the adoption, so we had to rebook flights yesterday and our coordinator in China is working on changing all in country travel. It feels like I was on a bullet train and the brakes got slammed on. Everything was ready to walk out the door. It's been an emotional rollercoaster. We will now fly out next Friday.
The worst of this is the fact that a little girl on the other side of the world expected to meet her Mama and a sister soon. She's been told there is a delay, and I pray it hasn't caused her to think we aren't coming. I can't imagine the doubts and fears she has anyway. Please pray for her heart.