Sunday, August 28, 2011


I was talking with a friend this week and she shared with me the verse from Psalms that she is focusing on for this part of her adoption.  Psalms was where I spent a lot of my scripture study time during the adoption.  It has always been one of my very favorite books of scripture.

A verse that I held on to was, to paraphrase, "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."   Partly for me, and partly for Emery.  And it is something that I still hold on to.  I do strongly believe that God has a plan for us.  Not that He keeps all bad things from our path, but that He knows the end result of where He wants us to be and who He wants us to be when we get there and that He does and will turn all things to our good, even the bad or uncomfortable.  I have seen it happen in my life and others, and while there are still a few things that have happened in my life that I don't know that they have truly been turned to the good category, I know that at some point they will be.

So as we head into this new phase of our family it is comforting to be able to lean on the Lord and truly I feel as though my burdens are carried by Him.  I am not concerned about Emery's health future.  I really am not.  I was blessed with a gift of peace and trust when we decided to go forward with her adoption and I still have it.  We will continue to look forward knowing that God's plans are not always our plans and that they are always better.

Emery is doing really, really well.  She is learning words in phrases which is hilarious.  She told me the other day out of the blue, "you're a funny girl."  Haha, she must hear that a bit:)  She is loving life.  We got to watch a Coast Guard rescue demonstration out of a helicopter yesterday and after she realized that, no she didn't get to ride on it, she was fascinated by the water coming off the ocean spraying us and the whole rescue.  We toured a boat which she loved exploring.  We have been to two lakes this week, when it is remotely sunny here you have to seize the opportunity to be outside, and she has gotten muddy and splashed in the water and looked at waterfalls and had so much fun.  She is doing really well with her brothers and even tolerates, ie ignores, the dog who is still so curious about this little girl.

Thank you again for your prayers, I know they are heard and answered.   I have always believed in the power of prayer, and that is continually reinforced by the way I see the answers to those prayers.

What a difference love makes!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Catch up

We just got back last night from Seattle.  It went really well.  We stayed overnight in the hospital to get Emery's oxygen levels back up.  The surgeons meet on Monday and should be able to give us a plan by Wednesday so that will be great.  Emery did really well and was very patient while we waited in the hospital all day due to backed up prior procedures.  She came out of anesthesia well, except for when she had her first popsicle and it broke at the end and mom couldn't put it back together.  That was very sad, but Tangled to the rescue and all was right with the world.  They found what they needed to know in the cath so that is good.  There are essentially five vessels getting semi oxygenated blood out of her heart.  So the surgeons will decide whether those can be used or whether there will be a shunt or how they will proceed.  The surgeon said that we could opt to do nothing and since she was doing so well she could live to 20.  Nope, I said that wasn't going to be enough for us:)  The nice thing is they go over all options and risks and pros and cons to determine the best ways to deal with things and I appreciate that.  We have nothing but great things to say about Seattle Children's.

We had an interpreter meet us to go over things with Emery, the upside was that she was not scared to go in to the surgery room, she knew that she would just have a sleep and then wake up and stay still.  The down side was that for attachment, an interpreter was not so great, so we won't be doing that again.  I was so grateful though that she was not scared.  We had fantastic nurses and the anesthesiologist was seriously the very best.  Emery was in very good hands.  Thank you for your prayers, the trip went very smoothly, even the hiccups were taken care of by very nice people(there was a booking error with our plane tickets and they were reversed, departing from Seattle instead of going to Seattle)  It is wonderful to be back home and sleep in our own beds.  It is fabulous to be with family.

Thank you for caring for us.  I am grateful for the family I was born into and the friends that have become family.  I am so very, very blessed.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

First Day at Church

It was so nice to go to church this week.  It has been a while and it was nice to be with our family together.  Emery did really well.  She loved the organ and singing.  She really likes music and sings all the time.  We love listening to her songs during the day.

So there was a talk today in church that was really meaningful to me.  I haven't been to worried about Emery's heart too much.  I know what the options are.  I know what we are hoping for.  I know the best and worst case scenarios.  I know the likely plan of treatments.  We did all of the research and education we could so we are not going into her medical needs blind.  But I don't really try to dwell or think about it much.  For one thing, Emery is doing phenomenally well.  I have to remind myself that she has not been a part of our family forever.  She fits in so well and has transitioned so easily that I am in awe of the way this adoption has worked out.  I know that it is still in the early, possibly honeymoon, phase, but she is truly a sweetheart.  Every now and then, especially when scheduling doctors appointments and flights, I think about the seriousness of her heart condition and the possibility that we won't have her with us for long, but I don't go down that road of thought often.

The speaker talked about the fact that we shouldn't ask God how long a certain trial will last, or to get us through it quickly or ask why us.  But instead, ask what we are supposed to learn from it and how it can make us better.  I found it really comforting.  The idea that it is ok for me not to worry about Emery's heart.  I don't need to be concerned with any of that, but to treasure each day and be glad for the journey.  Also in the talk was that no one dies early except those who are unprepared to meet God.

I don't mean to be morbid.  Emery is doing really well in every way.  And I am grateful that she is.  We are looking forward to all of the great things our family is going to get to do together.  And I am grateful for the days that we are given and the people we are able to spend those days with.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


This morning we had a delicious breakfast.  The hotel buffet is extensive.  We tried to get on the internet to blog but can't even get into email so we'll try again later.  We are doing some laundry and waiting for 1:40pm.  That's when we meet our guide in the lobby and go to meet Min!  The gifts for the orphangae director and caregivers are in red bags.  Min's backpack is filled with treats, books, coloring books, crayons and a mini magnadoodle and her doll is all ready.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous.  Min is leaving her orphanage this morning, riving for hours and being given to strangers who loo, talk, and act different than anyone she knows.  I don't know if she has been prepared for this adoption.  It could be truly terrifying.  We love her but she is about to go through trauma and I hurt for her.  I am praying for her heart in all ways.  I hope that God will comfort her and help her to trust us.  I am praying for God to walk with us all today.

Fast Forward....WOW!!!!!

So we were anxiously waiting in the lobby, got into the van and drove to an older looking building, climbed to the third floor and were directed to a glass walled room  in an office that was slightly similar to a DMV.  We walked into the glass room and there were three adults sitting on a couch...and our little girl looked at us with a bright smile and said "Ni Hao Mama!"  "Ni Hao, Baba!"  She smiled excitedly from the couch and there was a lot of Chinese spoken back and forth.  Let me just say that our entire time in Chengdu, very little was actually ever translated back to us so we tried to piece things together as best as we could.  So,  Min beamed at us and I walked over to the short table in front of the couch they were on and held out the doll.  She loved it and said Shi shi.  She smiled and showed it to her caregivers who really liked it, apparently it is hard to find Asian looking baby dolls in China.  Min kept looking to us and smiling constantly.  I sat down on the floor and showed her her bag full of things.  She gave me a hug and kiss on the cheek then gave DH a hug and kiss.  I truly think he was in a little bit of shock for a while. We had been gearing up for screaming and crying and sadness and here was this happy little girl who was THRILLED to meet us.  She had her photo book that we sent her in June and was very familiar with it.  One of our sons is in the background of the picture of me, like his shirt is visible walking out of the shot, she says Gege and points to his sleeve even in the picture.  She was obviously prepared and looking forward to meeting us.  In my wildest dreams our first meeting could not have been that amazing.  Min has the cutest smile with two little dimples high up on her cheeks under her eyes and she was positively beaming. 

Her caregivers were very kind and obviously cared for Min.  We asked/ tried to talk about the two other girls that Min has been raised with who are being adopted this year.  They knew about one and smiled when we told them her mom loves her very much.  The other they did not know about and they clapped, it took a bit to figure out who we were talking about, our pronunciation of names was not correct:)  There are not a lot of children who have been adopted from this orphanage and they were thrilled that they were getting families.

For  thirty or so minutes we showed Min what we brought for her, she shared a cracker with everyone in the room before she would eat one herself:)  Our guide payed the donation that we had wired prior to the trip.  There was a lot of talking going on, I wish I knew what was being said, but it was so nice to just be with Min and have her near and interested in us and what we brought and check with us to see if things were OK.  With each new item she smiled bigger and bigger.  Then we left and she held my hand and walked out the door with a smile on her face.

Our guide told Min that we would take her to McDonald's before she left us all off at the hotel after filling out some adoption paperwork, so much to my dismay(something just felt so very wrong about that being her first meal with us, especially when I don't like it in the US:)) we got her a happy meal.  She was very happy.  We went back to the hotel, she loved the huge panda in the water fountain wall at the entrance of the hotel.  We took her to buy some shoes which she loved.  We got two pairs for about $13 USD!  She let me hold her and kept patting my nose.  It is much bigger than hers:)She colored at the desk in the hotel room for a while, she is very good at coloring and very meticulous about having things just so.  We showed her the bag of hair bows I brought for her, she wanted every single one in her hair, the we painted our toenails, DH opted out of that one, and her fingernails. Then we gave her her new pink pajamas and she laid down after tucking her doll in next to her and went to sleep.  Not a frown, not a sigh, nothing but smiles and happiness the whole day.  While we know, and are praying for her to be able to grieve with us, today was a huge gift.  It was like a Disney movie and could not have gone better with a song and dance number(and I have a weakness for those!)  It was a huge blessing and Eric and I are in awe of this sweet little girl who tomorrow will  legally be our daughter.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


We left the hotel  at 4:30 am and the hotel had a taxi ready for us.  We loved this hotel.  They didn't speak fantastic English and we don't speak fantastic( or even passable) Mandarin so it worked out great.  We loved it.  We got to the airport nice and early for our flight,beat rush hour traffic and went through security.  DH got wanded, they are extremely efficient in China with their airport security.  We flew Hainan Air, small legroom, great flight, congee not so bad:)  We were truly spoiled in Beijing, everyone was kind and welcoming and it was a wonderful start to our trip.  When we landed in Chengdu, we searched for our guide and after a few minutes found her and were taken to our hotel.  We waited for our room to be ready for a while and then were shown to our room...2 twin beds almost wall to wall on a smoking no.  I went back to the front desk and after calls to our guide and the travel agency were assigned a room with one king sized bed on a nonsmoking floor.  We are HOPING to be able to fit a crib in the room for Min.  The hotel did not know there would be anyone but my DH and I in the room and it was difficult to explain that our 5 year old daughter probably wouldn't want to sleep in a twin sized bed with me.  There was not room in our room for a rollaway bed which our guide also explained to us would cost extra by the day.  I am not sure how 3 people could fit at all in the first room so hopefully it will all work out.  When I asked if we could upgrade or what our options were, apparently there weren't any.  So we walked up to our 2nd room, opened the door and it was trashed.  Not a little bit messy or rumpled, TRASHED.  We went back to the lobby, they said they would send someone right away to clean it, we left our luggage and went for a walk.  To say we were frustrated would be a major understatement, after coming from Beijing where we had flown by the seat of our pants and done all the arrangements for ourselves, and everything had gone smoothly except for the initial taxi switcheroo this unpleasant start to the 'official' part of our trip was extremely disappointing, but ultimately we are here for Min. Point blank, we want this to be OK for her.  Walking around the hotel was great.  There are little shops all around and restaurants everywhere and a nice, busy pedestrian area all around the hotel.  We went back to the hotel after walking for an hour and a half, they still hadn't started cleaning our room.  It took over four hours from when we checked in to getting into the room.  The staff was nice to deal with and the room is fine.  A bit mildew smelling, but nothing a little Lysol spray can't cover:)

We went to a grocery store to get water and had dinner at a great little restaurant where they cook the meal in small clay pots that are placed in giant clay jars.  It was so good and we had four people trying to help us, not understand our order, we are getting pretty good at pointing at pictures on menus, but to make sure that we got something to eat that we would like.  It was so nice and an answer to prayers for me to be able to center and focus.  It is really hard to keep your expectations low, and then to have those low expectations not met.  That has been what today has been for us.  From pick up at the airport through out the day, it has not been a welcoming or great day, I am so glad I am here with DH and not on my own.  Chengdu though is beautiful.  The people are lovely and kind.  We always feel safe and it is so fun to be in a different country.  Once the 12 hours of traveling and WAITING from one hotel room to the next had been taken care of and we figured out a place for Min to sleep I felt so much better.

I think it was a good day to have, ultimately, and I am glad to get it out of the way before we meet Min.  I want for her to be able to come to a calm, welcoming place.  I want her to know that we have planned for her, have room for her, will be taking care of her and providing for her.  I don't want her to feel at all like we are just wedging her in to our lives or that somehow she is not going to have her needs met.  I don't know what expectations she will have of us.  I don't know how she will react tomorrow.  I don't know if she will be scared, or nervous, or excited, or apprehensive.  I don't know what she will think of any living conditions she is presented with, and want it to go smoothly for her since she will be in transition for the next two weeks before we can go home.  I just want for her to at least not have to worry about where she will sleep with everything else she is going to be dealing with.

And of course I have 'we are almost there' jitters.  I am so excited that we are at this point.  I am a little bit in shock that we are so close.  I am likening this day to labor pains, they aren't fun and I don't enjoy them at all, but it gets you there.  So tomorrow is supposed to be the day, and I am so very, very thrilled and praying hard for the heart of this precious little girl who is about to officially become ours.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beijing Day 2

3:30am...I slept for 8 hours!!!

We met our guide in the lobby at 7.  We booked a tour through the hotel front desk, we planned the Beijing part of the trip on our own and then go with the travel plans through our agency once we get to Chengdu.  Sherry, our guide, was full of info.  We were together with a French couple, an Australian couple, and a man from Northern Ireland.  We went to the Ming Tomb first, there were a lot of similarities to Egyptian history.  A lot of the artifacts had been destroyed during the cultural revolution, so they are actually replicas.  The tomb itself is several stories underground and made completely out of jade.  It was extensive and amazing to see the amount of preparation for essentially 1 man's burial. 
Then we went to the Jade factory, got sales pitched, left, drove to the Great Wall.  We went to the Mutianyu section.  We lunch with our group and it was delicious...I would have loved to have eaten there again:)  Then we took the cable car up to the wall, the steps are not part of the wall just to access them so we wanted more time on the actual Wall, plus it was in the 90's.  When I say cable car, think old ski lift(no seat belts, no enclosure)  which went up quite a ways to the Great Wall.  Our guide showed us the hard side and the easy side and recommended the easier side.  It was over 90 degrees, extremely humid and DH and I were sweating, so of course we picked the hard side because it was up further and looked cooler!  It was steep and we went through several guard towers to get to the top one.  How many times are we going to walk on the Great Wall of china?  Exactly!  We were drenched, and everyone else was sweating, including the Chinese visitors.  The only ones who acted like it was easy were the children who scampered around like little mountain goats.  It was awesome and breathtaking.  Wow!  The boys would have loved cooler weather.

We drove back, visited the silk factory, escaped the sales girls who kept telling DH he would be the king of our home if he bought a dragon silk comforter! 
We ate a quick dinner at a local restaurant with a picture menu and went back to the hotel.  They set off a light and fountain show at the park across the street, which we can watch from our 25th floor room.

Tomorrow we are flying to Chengdu and are scheduled to meet Min on Monday.  I am excited and concerned for her.  It is going to be such a big change for her and I am praying for her comfort.  I have felt your prayers and am so grateful for them.  So far we have been safe and healthy and blessed with peace to be able to enjoy our time in Beijing and our children at home are safe.  Thank you.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Travel to Beijing

After over 24 hours of traveling, and one extremely long 12 hour flight which wasn't that bad, just long, we arrived in Beijing.  The airport was fantastic.  It was clean, efficient and quiet until you got outside, it was also 10:20pm:)  We got scammed by a 'taxi' in the taxi lane.  If they don't have meters, they ARE NOT a taxi, even if the have the taxi sign on top of their car.  We got safely to our hotel.  We love the hotel, it is right across from a gorgeous park, Longdan Park.  By street I mean 6+ lane road/highway.  There is a walking bridge over it.  After sleeping on an extremely comfortable western style bed for 4 hours I waited for DH to wake up at 6am.  We went to see about going to the Great Wall and booked a tour for Saturday, got a walking map and decided to walk to the sites.  We walked around the beautiful park first.  It cost 2RMB to enter, about 35cents.  There were groups of people doing tai chi and playing hacky sack. The park encircles a lake and there are rock gardens, recreated temples, and beautiful pathways.  We exited the park, walked the wrong direction for a couple/few miles, then asked some guards where we were, back tracked and went the right way to the Temple of heaven.  The architecture was cool.  It felt so very sad to me to see a place that was once an epicenter of worship allow peddlers(DH is a softy!) and noisy tourists. Even though it is not my religion I felt a sense of disappointment for the loss of belief or sacredness,  it is hard to describe, but like a historical site has been downgraded to a photo op for foreigners, although most of the visitors were Chinese.  I guess a loss of history.

Then we walked a ways to Tiananmen Square.  It is very large.  Then we came to the Forbidden City which is the Palace Museum.  We rode the shuttle to the exit accidentally and had to take another one back to the entrance since there is now only one way in and one way out to control traffic flow.  It was amazing.  The Forbidden City was so extensive and historic.  There is a beautiful Imperial garden in the center.  It was amazing even in the heat and humidity.  It was truly fantastic.  I could have spent an entire day there in 30 degree cooler weather!  Then we decided to get a taxi back to the hotel.  It was a 'no go'.  We could not get a taxi at all.  We walked back around the outside wall of the forbidden city(which is 178 acres big) to get back to the front, found a 'taxi' that had no meter and offered to drive us back to the hotel for way too much money so we walked to the subway.  For 2RMB(35cents) you can ride anywhere in Beijing, including connections.  We rode a packed rush hour subway back to our hotel vicinity and got back.  We walked for well over 10 hours straight, had a quick dinner and crashed.  Beijing is totally laid out for pedestrians.  It is extremely safe.  I really enjoyed our first day here in China...and my feet are killing me!!!!!!:)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday Post

I am hoping to catch up on our trip this week, but for now a little recap of the journey, since jet lag is hanging on and I was up with a wide awake little girl until 3am and then once an hour:)

It was amazing to take a trip with my DH  we don't get away from our children very often and it was really nice to spend time together.  I was amazed by the trip.  We were healthy the whole time, which was a major prayer of mine.  We didn't really have much jet lag on the way over.  The weather was hot, but wasn't overwhelming and I didn't get heat stroke which I am prone to, so that was another answered prayer.

Then there was all of the adoption stuff.  All of our paperwork was correct.  All of the adoption process went smoothly, other answered prayers.  We were able to complete each needed adoption step on time and none of our travel was delayed at all, more answered prayers.  I am grateful that with our agency, I was really confident that our paperwork would be correct and was grateful that we weren't one of the families with surprise fees or paperwork snags(not our agency).

Then there was meeting our daughter.  It could not have gone better.  We had prayed that she would be comforted and not scared of us.  She has come to us with an open and willing heart and except for testing moments(which I am not complaining about, I am thrilled that she is able to go through that part of development:)) she is a happy girl smiling through the day.  She is brave and embracing of new things.  She has been happy to have a family.  She has loved airplanes, especially the turbulence.  She was healthy through the entire trip, another huge blessing.  We were worried about plane rides and the heat and over exertion, and while she can't be tickled much or joked with a ton, because she laughs so hard she turns purple and then asks 'Again?' she is active and healthy.  Her heart is quite something.  Her echo confirmed that her need is very, very serious.  but her oxygen levels are good and we get to be home for rest, go back for a cardiac catheterization in a few weeks and go from there with knowing if and what kinds of surgeries will be available.  Another prayer of mine was that we wouldn't have to do emergency surgery upon arrival in the US and she could get to know her brothers a bit and her home before having to go through that.

This adoption has been an amazing walk of faith for me.  I was talking with some other adoptive moms in Guangzhou about how God completely directed and blessed our adoptions.  I don't truly know how things will work out.  I don't know God's plan for our family.  I don't know His plan for EmeryMin.  I do know that He cares for the orphans.  I know that He is a God of the downtrodden and those in need and when our family stepped out in the tiniest way, all of the doors were opened wide to bring Min home and I have been blessed to be a part of this journey.

Friday, August 5, 2011



More Pics


After an extremely long day of traveling, one train, three planes, one taxi, one airport shuttle, one rental car and a little girl who did not have one meltdown and was a champ through it all, WE ARE HOME!!!!!

The doctors appointment went well, her heart is quite a bit different than normal, and is what we expected.  her oxygen is high so we go back in a few weeks for a cardiac catheterization and then we will know if there can be surgery but the cardiologist said he is very hopeful and there is no need for anything emergency at this point:)!!!!!!!!

And now, for what you really want,,,,,, PICTURES:)!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Planes, trains and taxis

We are starting our journey home today. we pick up the visas on our way to the train station, overnight in Hong Kong then fly to Seattle via Tokyo. we will land in Seattle 10 minutes after we take off...hahaha!

everything has gone so smoothly and our guide here is AMAZING! we have really loved her. we are so ready to see our sons and miss them a ton, but first Emery has a cardiologist appointment in Seattle. it is going to be a really long day for her, your prayers are so appreciated. she is really looking forward to meeting her geges. she invited our guide to come other house and meet her suh geges.

we have loved Guangzhou and China in general but we are very ready to be home:)

Monday, August 1, 2011

One week ago

From: b mattson <>;
To: <>;
Subject: One week ago
Sent: Mon, Aug 1, 2011 6:23:03 AM

One week ago we were walking into a glass walled room to meet our daughter for the first time. It was truly a dream meeting, something out of the best fairy tales. She said Ni Hao Mama, Ni Hao Baba instantly, did not stop smiling for almost two entire days and gave us hugs and kisses. it was truly unreal and an incredible gift. those who have adopted before will know that we were expecting and even happy when that started to wear off and she was able to grieve. one week ago Emery, and our, lives changed forever. one week ago she went from being an orphan to a member of a family who loves her. one week ago today she trusted us enough to walk out of that building hand in hand with me, smiling as she looked forward to a new life that she had been told about.

One week ago today I was a bit nervous for her reaction and hoping that we would be able to help he grieve and to know what to say and do. a lot has happened in one week. we are now her legal parents. her medical exam was completed today, all three of our agency's children were negative for tb and we breathed a sigh of relief to have that last little hurdle over. Emery is still liking us in our room, but she is not attached to us yet, it will be a long process. She let's us see more personality than the almost silent girl of a week ago who looked for us and smiled constantly. She talks to us and let's us know what she wants. she smiles and claps and poses at mirrors, she plays hand clapping games with us and shrieks with laughter in water, her first bubble bath was a hoot! She is very particular about the way she likes certain things and we found that the trick to getting her to nap is putting her in pajamas, she only wants to wear the ones she wore the first night. she walks with one hand on her hip, likes wearing a purse across her chest, and loves cantaloupe. she LOVES over easy eggs, the runnier the better.
One week ago we didn't know what to expect, and while we still don't completely we are getting to know our daughter an a hundred different ways a day.
One week ago, I loved my daughter through pictures and video, without really knowing who she truly was, now I love her even more for more than just her cute smile(and it really is the cutesy thing!)
I am still missing my sons like crazy, thanks Kick, it meant the world. Thanks Catherine and Hannah! A,B,C,D I love you lots.

This has been such an interesting journey. It is amazing because we are hitting each of the steps we have read about in our adjustment and it is almost funny when we move to the next one because we expected it, if that makes sense? I am still feeling carried and led, and the end of our trip is flying by quickly for us.

As for Emery's heart, her coloring is GREAT! She doesn't really get short of breath or winded but she will ask to be carried if we have walked a ways. she runs and plays and has a good time and only a couple of times has seemed a little purplish tinged, so we are very encouraged and will see the cardiologist on Thursday.

So from across the world, as Emery says it, Ni Hao and HELLLLLOOOO!