Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth and the life; if not through me, and no one can come to the Father" (John 14:6)

Isaiah 43:5

"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west"

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Changing of Power

I know there are elections and campaigns going on all of the world. The US, Arab nations, ect. But there is also a changing of power much more local to us. It is a battle going on inside of our family. Cali is not letting go of her status of power too easily. Mia seems to be oblivious to the battle going on around her. Mia , at this point is easily distracted but I know that will most likely change too. Give the kid a spoon and a container containing cereal or crackers makes her happy. Throw in some noodles and broth and she is good for an hour.
There is a little outside play area set up at the hotel. It's actually nice because it is outside and completely contained so Cali & Lily can be "free". It has a nice garden and some fountains. The pool is nice too, if I would have known how nice it was I would have brought a swim tube for Mia. I even went in, I know shocking!
We bought some nice things for our kids at home and for some of Madison's friends. I bought  my  mom and I matching tea sets. Not sure how I am going to get some of the stuff in our suitcases, but I have faith!
TV has been fun to watch. Cali's new favorite movie is Fast and Furious 2. Lily is liking Erin Brokovitz. Don't ask. Madison is catching up on every movie from the past 5 years or so. But at least they are in English. When we traveled for Lily we watched Stuart Little in Chinese several times. Table tennis was big on TV then too.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Consulate Appointment

We made through our consulate appointment. They did question why Mia's passport was issued December 2010. When I explained why, they said no problem - her hair has grown so much. Wait till we get home. The changes that occur both inside and outside of these kids are nothing short of amazing. I have had to assure some of the first time adoptive parents of the transformation. Some of them don't look so sure. They will be OK! More than OK !!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

The mountain and the Jade Market

We went to the Jade Market  yesterday . Today we are going back to the medical clinic to check Mia''s TB test. Then we are off to the Baiyun Mountain. Hopefully the rain will hold off. Yesterday there was quite a down pour but that is usual for this area of China during the spring and summer . Madi continues to be a great help.she is tired of Chinese food. Yesterday I got her a chicken pannini sandwich from Starbucks. Last night at dinner Cali ate mini hamburgers.
So today we went to Shamian Island. Sadly, the White Swan Hotel is closed. Thousands of Chinese orphans adopted into American families have traveled through that hotel. If the walls of that hotel could come alive, what incredible stories it would tell. Stories of  tears, joy, sorrow, survival, blessings, laughter, incredible  miracles .
As we were walking around the island many of the stores were closed. But one of the store keepers remembered us from our previous trips. It was sweet.
This trip has brought up some more questions from Lily (not surprising) . She just looked at me and said, "what would I do without you ? "  . " did you look on an the adoption website and just know I was the one?!? "
Oh my sweet Lily, "what would I do without YOU ?!?

Saturday, May 26, 2012


We made it , the flight was good our hotel is excellent and the weather has actually been wonderful. I think a bit of a virus is going around. Cali had a fever for a couple of days, then Madi and now me. But it will pass. I think a good night sleep will do me wonders. The Internet here is harder to access than in Fuzhou. Tomorrow will be going to the jade & pearl market. Some of the others families from our agency that we just met  today in GZ don't want to go but Madi and I want to go so we will be setting out for the market tomorrow. Then we will going to a mountain and the island although The White Swan Hotel is closed. We went to the medical clinic today and that is no longer on the island either. Mia had to have a TB test and that did not make her too happy! She is a carb monster. Noodles, rice... Can't find a fruit or veggie that she will put in her mouth. The first morning she ate watermelon but none since the first day. If I put any thing green in her soup, she will push it to the side. No mistaking what she likes and doesn't like. Greg will have her drinking kale shakes when we get home. Good luck to him!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Orphanage Visit

Visiting the orphanage is such an incredibly emotional trip for me. My heart aches like I can not explain for the children left behind. This orphanage is probably one of the best in China but my heart just aches. The staff was so so so very sweet to us. Their reaction to seeing Li Xiaol Li or Cali as we all know her was so unbelievable . As we were looking around , it seemed as though word got around that Li Xiaoli was back . Several of the staff members came to find us and all wanted to love on Cali. Many many photos were taken by them so many smiles, hugs and holding her. Some of you know parts of Cali's story and I think they all were amazed by how love of a family can make a little girl so beautiful and strong . They all just kept saying, she is so beautiful. Honestly at some point in the orphanage I just broke down . I can't even explain why I just could not control my emotions but I just could not. I think part of it was their reaction to Cali and me thinking what if ... What if she were one of the 300 children still left in that orphanage. And for the ones that are part of that 300. And really I do believe that this orphanage is one of the best , it is still a life without a family to call your own.
Then my Mia, today was a bit harder than the previous days. I think for one thing she is having a hard time pooping. :(  She is completely potty trained, she is dry even at night. But she has only pooped once and it was very painful. She cried on and off today but if I had to describe her in one word I would say SWEET. She is easy to console and laughs quickly.
When we were at the orphanage, Mia definitely knew she had been there before. But she was in no way frightened of the place. I guess she was hungry so she sat down and ate with some of the other children. The food looked fresh ( rice & cooked vegetables) and the kids really seemed to be enjoying it. Mia liked it better than the hotel food !
The directors took us out for a lovely lunch. At lunch they asked lots of questions about life in the US . They were especially interested in the concept of homeschooling. I also got to ask lots if questions. At points in the lunch i had to kind of remind myself where i was because it was a bit surreal.  They also gave Cali & Lily gifts, each one got an art kit. They asked us to come back and visit Xiamen again - and bring our whole family next time. I assured them we would be back again .
Then we said our goodbyes and headed back to the train station. A day that will last me a life time.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On the way to Xiamen

Looks like the weather for our orphanage visit looks great. We will be departing Fuzhou on the 8am train to Xiamen. It should take about 2 hours. On our previous visit the train line did not exist so it was a 4 hour van ride. The orphanage building is also new. I am praying it will be a great experience for all of us and them as well. Mia continues to go with the flow. Simply amazing .

View from the hotel

These are some pics from our hotel window in Fuzhou. We actually saw the sun shine today. We really never saw a blue sky with the sun on either of our previous trips, so waking up and seeing the sun was pretty exciting for us!

Fuzhou- May 21

The weather was great so we decided to walk around Fuzhou for a bit. We went to a area that had been renovated for pedestrian traffic, so that was refreshing. The girls could walk and look at stuff and I didn't have to worry that a car, bike, bus, scooter, or taxi would be within inches of their bodies! We bought a few things. Madi bought a really pretty dress. Madi has been an incredible help to me, could not have done this trip with out her. She is still sleeping, but this will be her first full night  sleep since we have arrived in China. She has helped me with the girls during the night. Lily & Mia are also still asleep (5:30 am). Cali has been awake for a while.
Everything went fine at the civil affairs office yesterday. I signed more documents and answered some more questions. Lily had to go to the bathroom toward the end of the appointment .thank goodness she has retained her talent/heritage of being a gifted scatty pottier.
So as our journey continues, all is well !


Three little monkeys jumping in a crib

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mia's First Bath

 Apparently Mia loves a bath. Not so crazy about showers. Lily wanted to give Mia her first bath, Cali slept through the event. Lily just didn't want Mia to poop in the bath.

All went well , no poop !

We got her !!

  We got her and she is laughing, playing & busy with her sisters! Praise God. I was honestly feeling a bit nauseated this morning ( from nerves) but God is so good and He calmed my fears. She is lovely and obviously has been loved! The orphanage director seemed so happy to see Cali. They kept saying how beautiful she is and amazed at her independence. Cali sat down and even chatted with them for a few minutes. I explained to her that they knew her when she was a baby. All is well  here in China...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sleep mix up

Please pray that our sleep will return to some what normal. Cali went to sleep at 4pm China time and slept until 1am . Now we are all awake , it's 3am. We doing the best we can but we really need to get on a better schedule. We met our guide, she is really sweet , super helpful. She gave us an update on Mia. True to Brannon toddlers- she does NOT like to nap. Really another kid that does not nap. The guide said she saw Mia a few weeks ago and she said "wow, she has alot of energy ! " where are the stereotypical quiet Asian girls- not in the Brannon house!

Interesting flight conversation for Madi

Madi was sitting next to a Chinese woman for the 16 hour flight from RDU to Shanghai . They did not talk until the last 20 minutes or so of the flight. I could hear the question the woman probably was dieing to ask Madison the whole flight but she didn't have the nerve. But then she asked the typical questions about why we adopted, how old where the girls, do they know they are adopted from China ? Then the odd question/statements- Does Lily like her dark skin ?!?! We can be certain that they will be good in math and science. The last statement reminded me of a utube video I watched a few weeks ago. It was you know you are adopted from China if .... It was made by two adored Chinese teenage girls. One of the things they sa

Friday, May 18, 2012

Shanghai for one night!

We made it to China. We arrived safely this afternoon. We will be spending one night in Shanghai and then on to Mia's province. I caught up on all the movies that I missed this year in the theaters. New Years Eve, The Descendants, the Facebook movie (can't remember the name), and one more that I can't remember the name either. Perhaps later in the post it will come to me. For those of you who know my sweet Cali, you will know that incredible sense she has in fashion. By incredible I do mean creative, unique or one of a kind in the states. But not so one of the kind in China. Our guide that picked us up from the airport was a pretty 20 something year old, that had on a cute t shirt, shorts, shoes and of course tights under the shorts. Polka dot tights. Perhaps she is Cali's long lost sister. Madi and I just had to chuckle. Cali was wearing a dress, polka dot leggings (although her usual is tights) and her red boots. At home in the US on most days at least one person will comment"oh cute outfit Cali is wearing" or something to that affect with the look of really, you let her wear that?!?. Not here in China, she looks quite normal. LOL!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Here we come!

See ya'll in China! XOXO

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mishap #100

So now I have lost my glasses. I was assuming I would find them today but I can't. So I am thinking I may have left them at Target, Walmart, TJ Maxx, the grocery store or who knows. Because I have been running around so much that they could be just about any where!! So if you see an extra pair of glasses by the side of the road, perhaps they are mine.. Two more sleeps until we land in China. 2 more sleeps until Mia is sleeping with us!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bags are packed....sort of!

Our bags are packed...sort of, I know it will get done. In the last two weeks we have celebrated my mother's 80th birthday with a wonderful group of family and friends, my oldest daughters graduation, my two college kids moved back home for the summer & getting ready our our China adventure. We depart on Thursday 5/17 at 8am. We should arrive in Shanghai at 2pm 5/18. Some of the fun things we are bringing are lots of coloring stuff, favorite snacks and our new (bargain of the year $27) DVD player from Target. My friends will know that i am a bargain shopper so this purchase made me very happy. One other item that I had promised Lily was a REAL camera so here it is...then she asked "Where is Mia's?!?" I guess I will have to start buying things in threes, especially if they are pink!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Updated blog format

If anyone from blogger is reading this - why did you update blogger . I hate it ! Why can't I "list" things. Why does it force it to look like a paragraph when I am listing!!! Not a good time to change things Mr. Blogger company.

Lists, list, lists

It is that time, two weeks to go so I list and then list and then list some more- To Do- 1.Organize clothing for the trip -myself -3 little girls 7 outfits each X 3 girls (we will do laundry),2 pairs of shoes each, 2.Organize meds-what ifs -stomach bug, colds, food poisoning, fever, headache, lice, scabies, too much poop, not enough poop, sleep aide, bandaides, anti-itch cream, anti infection cream,,, 3.Organize paper work,originals & copies 4.Go to Verizon store and talk about phone, data service 5.Date time with Greg 6.Number 1 daughter graduates college, moves out of apartment 7.Number 2 child, number 1 son, finishes semester in college, move him out of the dorm 8.Get 4 more passport photos of Greg & I 9. Make copies of itinerary 10. List, list and list some more...