Archive for January, 2009

Happy Year of the Ox to You!

Chinese New Year is in full force here in Tianjin.  The fireworks and firecrackers that celebrate the new year and scare off any lurking bad luck are a regular feature of each day (and NIGHT).  We decided to take the advice of friends for New Year’s Eve (Sunday, January 26th).  We went to a Holiday Inn in one of the new business development zones in our city – away from the residential areas where the firecrackers are the worst.  From the 22nd floor, we enjoyed the show as spectators.  It was GREAT.

Today is the symbolic day for warding off evil people — lots of firecrackers and eating dumplings together.  Sealing the dumplings closed represents closing the mouths of any who would speak evil of you.  We are considering a short walk to the post office, but with thousands of strings of firecrackers on the ground between here and there, we may have to wait one more day to get that care package!

Chinese New Year also ushers in the Year of the Ox.  As Daniel and I are both oxen, we were pretty happy to read a short description of what the lunar calendar would suggest about us:

“Those born in the Year of the Ox are patient, speak little, and inspire confidence in others.If you need honest, steady and unbiased advice, call on the Ox.The downside is they can have fierce tempers and although they speak little, when they do they are quite eloquent. Ox people are generally easy-going, but they can be very stubborn, and hate to fail or be opposed. Oxen don’t care to be pushed, especially since they think they’re the good guys of the Chinese zodiac. There is some truth to that theory, since the Ox is smart, trustworthy, caring and honourable.” (taken from the BBC online)

Goodbye Year of the Rat!  Welcome Year of the Ox!

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Newest Innovation in Vehicle Security in China

Few things surprise me anymore walking the streets of China. But this was awesome. On the way to lunch last Friday, my buddy Allan and I saw the new standard of vehicle security. Perhaps this person had good luck with this bike lock – why not apply to compact cars?

And up close…


Reunion with Hannah’s Foster Family

When we decided to travel to Guilin and Yangshuo over Christmas vacation, we hoped to see the beauty of Southern China, to purchase a few small gifts to give Hannah as she grows up, and to help her realize that her Heavenly Father was ALWAYS there, even when mom and dad weren’t (yet).  We were given so much more on this trip.  Our dear and helpful friend WeiWei obtained permission from the orphanage for our visit – and even to ask the officials if they would contact her foster family for a visit.  Wow.  What a visit it was!

Here you see Hannah’s forever and foster families meeting for the first time.  Mr. Li and Mrs. Liu have fostered many children over the years – to date, every child they’ve fostered has been adopted.  They were a delightful couple who remembered Hannah well.  She spent 19 months in their home – from the age of 5 months until they put her on the train to meet us in the provincial capitol, Nanning.

Their birth daughter, Liu Lu was nine at the time.  She helped care for Hannah and has been a huge part of caring for the other children in their household.  When she finished school, her parents brought her to our hotel so she could see Hannah.  What a lovely young woman! (picture below)

Our trip to Guilin felt like a Christmas miracle.  When we adopted Hannah, the government did not allow us to travel to the orphanage.  This part of her life remained a mystery – a locked door that might hold information helpful to her healing.  Over the past week, we not only were able to see with our own eyes the city of her birth, but we were able to talk to the couple who cared for her in those crucial early months and years.  In the scope of Chinese adoptions, this is a miracle indeed.

To put the icing on the proverbial cake, we met up with

a local young man who is the brother of someone I work with at the university in Tianjin.  Both men are now part of our Family.  This young man, who we gave the English name Peter, lives in the little village where Hannah was first found (about 120 km from the orphanage).  From the police records, he will be able to find the exact spot – her Finding Place – and send us photos and descriptions of the area and community.  In a country of 1.3 billion, who else could have arranged such a meeting?

Daniel put together the scrap book page below – on the left of each set of pictures are the photos we were given from 2002 and 2003.  On the right is the photo we took during this trip.  If you double click on the image, you will be able to see it better.  Also, we posted a number of pictures from the trip on Facebook – you can see them at

Have a blessed new year, knowing He holds ALL the pieces together in His mighty hand.