FAITH is the substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not yet seen.
Heb. 11:1

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Quick catch up post/ Beijing

Woohooo!!  We downloaded Go Trusted and it's working, for now.  We meet Richard in :15 so this
will be a quick post.   Wed. morning we met Alice around 10:00 a.m. and made several subway stops
to Tianamen square/Forbidden City.  Wow!!!  It has certainly changed since 2000.  There were people
everywhere.  The economy is very good now in China, so many Chinese people are touring.  Lots of
groups.  We learned a lot from Alice and I'll need to get my thoughts together to post.  I really hate that
we haven't been able to post.  I should have written everything down.  Emmi really enjoyed the
Forbidden City tour.  We learned a lot and she got to see a lot. I think it's something that she'll defiately
remember.  After the tours, we walked through the back gate of the city in search of the bus.  Yes, we
rode the city bus.  And yes it was an experience.   It was a tight fit, but we made it.  Lots of looks for
this white caucasion female.   It was a little scary trying to get off the bus.  I was the last one, wait for
me Alice!!!!!!   We walked a little way and ultimately found the street I had asked about.  It was Wangfujing and it's where the nicer stores are located.  I just had to see the Gap.  It hasn't been open
long and wanted to check it out.   If you haven't been to this area, I highly recommend it.  There was a
huge shopping mall.  The street is closed to traffic and there's lots of music, dancing fountains, vendors,
etc.  We purchased a couple of "Gap" t's for the girls (Hong Kong, and Beijing) and ate at the Korean
restaurant (the same one that was in Tianjin).  Then off to the subway again.  The subway is only 1 Y
per person so very inexpensive.  We made three stops to our final destination, the pearl mart.  I wanted to get the girls a jade bangle bracelets.  Needless to say, we left without one.  Too expensive!!!  Emmi said she wouldn't wear it anyway, good thing!!  Wow, jade has really gone up in
price here.   We did manage to pick up a couple of things at the toy mart.  Jacob, you're gonna love
your gift.  Just wait!!!  And Maggie, we bought a couple of things on your list too.   After a long
day of walking, riding subways, and the bust, we took a quick taxi back to our hotel, the Novotel and
it was 5:00 p.m.  We were pooped to say the least!!  I'll post more pictures later.  It's time to meet
Richard.  Sorry if there are grammar mistakes.  I'm typing very fast.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Provincial paperwork complete!

I'm a post behind due to not being able to access through the VPN. 

Yesterday, Tues. we finalized Faith's paperwork in Tianjin.  After breakfast, we met Alice in
the lobby to drive to the Civil Affairs office and meet Mr. Foo.  What a drastic change in the
weather too.  We went from a high 70 degree day on Monday to low 50's and rain on Tues.  So
glad I found some tennis shoes.  Flip flops would have been a disaster this day.  We first drove
to the Civil Affairs office and completed the paperwork complete with signatures including Faith's where she consented to the adoption.  Yay!!  She's a Vantrease!!!  We left the Civil Affairs office
and drove to the Notary.  After checking, rechecking, and checking each and every document, we
were able to move on to the passport office where Faith had her picture made.  This office was located
in a different location so we took yet another taxi ride.  We were really hoping to be able to take the
bullett train back to Beijing early, however, the documents would not be ready until after 2:30 p.m.
Since we had already checked out of the hotel, we sat in the lobby and Emmi taught Alice and
Faith how to play "UNO".  Now there's something you don't see everyday in China.  And Faith loves
it too!!  The weather stayed wet and windy all the way to the train station, yuck!!  We walked and
jumped so many puddles to get inside the train station.  The ride to Beijing was Faith's first ride on
a train.  We were going 279 K per hour, FAST!!!  The train runs every :15 so there are several
trains.  Not sure how Beijng/Tianjin managed to get by before the bullett train.  It's packed!!!  However, you do have seat assignments and there are attendants dressed like flight attendants. 
It was sad to leave Tianjin!!!  But I know one day we'll be back.  Faith did great on the train and loved the ride.  We decided to take a taxi back to the hotel instead of the subway since it was
rushhour and we had tons of stuff to carry.  Beijing was wet and windy too!!!  We arrived at our
hotel around 5:30.  The girls and I decided to try the bakery next to the hotel for dinner. Alice suggested it as they had ham/cheese bread.  I can certainly tell that Faith loves to eat.  I had to
say my first "no" to her.  She chose a hot dog on bread, some type of donut with chocolate icing,
and a (long john) looking item with chocolate.  Then she wanted a fourth item, chocolate.  That's a lot of bread and
icing.  Plus we had other things to eat here too and a coke.  I've figured out that her days mostly
consisted of watching tv and probably eating/snacking.  She loves to snack too!!! 
   Last night Emmi pulled out her Chinese book from school again and Faith was repeating English
words Emmi was giving her.  It's weird cause she sounded really country saying those words.  I
think she'll fit right into her new Kentucky home.  The girls laughed and giggled til bedtime.  We
finally had lights out at 11:00 last night.  The child knows a lot of tv programs.  Hence, I'm sure
the tv stayed on and she had free will of the T.V.  Hmmm, it's gonna be interesting when we get home.
A little sad that she want have normalcy, but change is good.  

Things we know about Faith:

1.    She'd rather be called Emmi.  I don't think she likes the name Faith.  I might try to add "Adye"
to the front "Adye Faith".  What do you think? 
2.    She loves T.V. and can sing all the songs.
4.    She loves to sing, and knows all the songs.  We were at the "culture market" and we heard a song
playing at all the booths.  I wanted to buy it until I found out what it was about, Budha.  Nope, I don't
think so.  She knew that song too!
5.    She's not shy!!!  No way.
6.    She doesn't know what privacy means.  But we're working on that.  Good thing there's locks on the door.
7.    She loves to work puzzles!
8.   She loves stickers!
 9.   She loves orange juice
10. She tires easily from lack of exercise (we've walked a ton too)
11. She's a teacher! She loves to teach us Chinese and she loves to learn English.

I have more pictures but need to download first!

                                                      Getting ready to board the train!

Faith loves to put Emmi's hair up in a bun!

                                                             Too tickled to play!!!

Playing ping pong!!

Our room in Tianjin, "Golden Ocean Hotel"

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

We have Faith!!

After breakfast on Monday, Alice met us to go to the Tianjin orphanage.    The drive was very short.
The courtyard up to the entrance was very pretty.  There were stone statues of the zodiac animals
with kid size benches inbetween.  And of course there were lots of paintings on the walls too.  We
entered the orphanage and went up some steps and met Mr. Foo in a reception area.  After exchanging
gifts and signing paperwork, we went to the office to settle fees.  As we were there, Emmi saw Faith
pass by with several kids.  We finished the paperwork process and then went back to the reception area
where Faith and her friends were waiting.  I was so excited to enter the room and see all of them.  I
knew Faith immediately.  She stood up and gave me a hug.  All of the boys in the room were the same
boys that I've seen in all of the photos with Faith.  They are also Camp Ox kids and still available for
adoption.  I went around the room and said hello to each of them and shook their hand.  There was also
a little girl there too about the same age as Faith.  I didn't recognize her, but she too could have been a
Camp Ox kid.  We sat and talked for a few minutes.  I passed out candy to the kids and then they left.
I was sad that Faith's foster mom wasn't able to come as she was taking care of the other kids.  However,  it was probably better for Faith.  As we were all talking Faith started crying.  One of the ladies in the office (I believe it was a teacher) comforted her and talked to her.  I later found out from
Alice that her foster mom and the ladies at the orphanage had been preparing her to meet us.  They told her to be a good daughter and that she could learn and grow in America and have a mom and dad.  They prepared her very well.  A sidenote, she loves to talk.  On the way to Beijing tonight,
she started talking to the taxi driver.  He asked Alice if the two young girls were Japanese, Hello!!
Then he asked Faith where she was from.  She wasn't shy at all and told him that she was being adopted and that I was her mom.  She has called me mom, mamma, from the beginning.  And she's held my hand while we're out walking. 

Before we left the orphanage we were able to take several pictures of all the kids.  It was great to
get a group shot.   Walking to the front entrance, Faith did great.  No tears as of yet, however, she did
tell Alice that she was sad last night while sleeping.   I never heard her cry, but she did toss and turn a
lot.  That afternoon, we went to the dept. store and purchased a gown and some personal items.  And
we ventured to eat Korean.  The girls decided to play ping pong when we got back to the hotel and
I was ready to turn in early, 8:30p.m.   I had thought about a couple of things before we traveled and
thought it might be awkward to hug Faith when I saw her.  No worry, she hugged me first.  God
had it all under control from the beginning.  I had thought about how I would greet her a lot too.  Then I
also thought how neat it would be to meet her friends, but that would never happen.  They would be
in school.  I just couldn't believe my eyes when I saw all of them.  All God!!!  He has never left us
and never will!!  This journey so far has been amazing!!  Praying it all continues to go well. 

                                                 Artwork, benches, and zodiac statues!

                                                      Entering the orphanage courtyard!

Faith and her friends and teachers with
me and Emmi!

I was able to give this little one a hug and
kiss and let her know that her mamma is
coming soon!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


We made it to Tianjin yesterday afternoon around 4 p m.   It took us several subway stops (4 or 5)
while transferring stations too.  That in itself was an experience (pretty neat).  Emmi was a little
uncomfortable I think, but we made it to the train station just fine.  The bullett train, to my understanding, is relatively new (built for the olympics?).  Needless to say, it's very clean.  There's a train that run's every fifteen minutes and when it stops, there are people waiting to clean them.  What would have taken 1 hour and a half only took thirty minutes, NICE!!!  Once we got off the train, we stood in a line the length of a football field waiting for a taxi.  I felt like I was at a theme park waiting to
get on a ride.  CRAZY!!  It did move rather fast though!  There is a nice system in place!!!  Tianjin
has so many pretty buildings, lots of European style designs.  Our guide, Alice, said that many Chinese
visit Tianjin just ot see the buildings as they will never be able to travel to Europe, lots of European
influence!!!  Very pretty!!! 
Onc thing I totally forgot about China, is to step UP when entering a room.  I've tripped so many times
and yes there is a story beind why you need to step up.  I learned that at the Forbidden City in 2000.

Once we checked into our hotel, nice!!!  Emmi loves it!!!  We met Alice for Dinner.  She took us
to a noodle restaurant.  It was awesome!!!  We used chopsticks, no forks available, slurping and all
with NO napkins.  I can say that that was a true Chinese experience, loved it!!!!  After we ate we shopped for candy to take to their children waiting to be adopted with a few other supplies.  Then
back to the hotel.  After we returned to our room, around 6:00 p.m., I felt it - TIRED!!!  I've only
had around 8 hours sleep since Thursday night.  Woke up this morning feeling great!!!  And now
we're ready to venture downstairs to breakfast.  We meet our guide at 8:45 a.m. and then we are off to the orphanage.  It's so surreal!!  I can't believe it's time!!  Please pray for us!!  I'll post later
today with pictures.  Blessings to you all!!!

                                                            Emmi at the noodle shop!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

We are here!!!!

 After a smooth plane ride, we landed last night around 11:02 p.m.   Let me say it was a hectic
start as we did't leave our house until almost 2:00 pm to drive to Nashville (it takes an hour) and
our flight was at 4:01.   As we were rushing out the door, I realized I hadn't packed my tennis shoes.
A quick search and they were nowhere to be found.  I'm sure they were right in front of me.  So here
we are in Chna with my flip flops that I wore on the plane and sandals.  At least the temp. is warm. 
Emmi and I just finished breakfast and tried to try something of everything.  We meet our guide,
Alice at 2:00 to take the bullet train to Tianjin.  We're headed out to look around until then.  There's
a mall across the street.  Maybe I can find an inexpensive pair of tennis to walk around in. 

 I wanted to post before I left the house, but there was so much left to do.  I want to thank everyone for supporting our journey.  You all mean so much!!! I really appreciate each and everyone of you and all you've done for us.  We are truly blessed!!

 I dropped Maggie and Jacob off a school yesterday morning and said our prayer on the way as usual.  I almost cried durng the prayer.  We drove
around to the door.  I really thought Jacob would cry. They got out as usual, then I cried.   At least I held it in until they got out.  Then at work yesterday a sweet co-worker brought in a gift bag for me and Emmi to take on the plane.  There
was a card inside too.  I'll post what it said in another post.  It was the sweetest message from this young
lady.   Then before I got off work at noon, another co-worker called to say that they were waiting outside for me.  As I walked to my van there was a huge box with 2 gift bags in it.  The big box had all kinds of cereal (the good kind too), breakfast bars, treats, you name it and it was in there.  She brought it for Maggie and Jacob to have and also added some things for me and Emmi to bring with us.  Well bring on the kleenex cause the tears flowed.  I gave her a big hug - thank you Missy!!!!!!  That was so sweet and thoughtful of you!!! 

The next post will be from Tianjin!!! 

Many Blessings,

btw, Emmi's been working on her Chinese (taking it in middle school).  There's much work to be done but she's having fun trying to figure out what everyone is saying.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

T minus 32 hours and counting . .

 I can't believe it's time to finally bring Faith home.  We leave tomorrow
afternoon at 1:00 to drive to the airport.  Yippeeee!!  We thank you
all so much for your support, prayers, and encouragement.  We are truly
blessed to have met each one of you!! 
 We've run into a couple of obstacles and are asking for prayers please.  I
I'm off to the doctor this morning as I think I may have a bronchial infection.
At least maybe I can get on an antibiotic  before we leave.  Then as I was
trying to figure out our money this week (what goes with what and where), we
may be short.  I had set aside our tax money (which was about enough for
food and guide and driver fees) and had to pay unexpected bills.  That's just
the way it goes.  I'm really hoping our fees are less than what we've been
told.  We are pinching the pennines!!!
  I do still have the bracelets in the next post available and a few cookbooks
left, so if you'd like to purchase either one, I will mail them when we get
back home.  Just e-mail me here if you'd like either one.   I know it's all in God's hands and I haven't stressed until now.  Praying I can let that stress go and give it all to him!!!  

Many blessings,

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bracelets to help with adoption expenses!!!

Update - Sunday April 15th -   I just posted five more bracelets and 
would have posted more but I ran out of our charms.  I'll pick more 
up tomorrow.  This has been a family project as the kids have loved
stringing the beads.  And they've helped with the colors too.   Five
days and counting until we leave!!  I just can't believe it!!!! 

update - Saturday April 14th -    We've sold 8 bracelets with this
fundraiser!!  Yippeee!  We are so excited.  The kids get so excited
too!  I'll be adding more bracelets later today or tonight.  So please
check back.    We're down to six days and counting!!  I can't
believe it.    We found out earlier in the week that we may need to
take more money for unexpected provincial fees.  Please pray our
agency can work this out!!  I really hope to hear good news on
Monday.   Trying not to think about it and giving it over to God.

 Emmi and I have made several new bracelets to help with the remaining
adoption expenses that we need.   We used glass beads & some have the
metal  spacers.  These are so cute and each one has either a "Faith" or
"Believe" charm. These pictures don't reflect the charm too well, however,
the charm looks great and the words are very clear.  The bracelets measure
either 7 3/4" or 8" in length before I tie them off.   They are $20 each and I'm only  adding $1.00
for shipping.  So the total for each bracelet will be $21.  If you order
more than one bracelet, the shipping is still just $1. 

If you'd like to purchase one of our bracelets, please e-mail me here with
the # of the bracelet/bracelets you'd like with a brief description.   If
for some reason you can't open the link, please leave a comment.  I'll e-mail
you back with your total.  You can either pay through our "donate" button
on the right or you can pay by check.  Thank you so much!!!

A).  "Believe"  8" glass beaded multi-colored bracelet
B).  "Faith" black/white/red glass beaded bracelet  7 3/4"
C).  "Believe" multi-colored glass beaded bracelet 7 3/4"

D).  "Believe" 8" glass bead bracelet
The yellow bead is for *one less orphan!!!

E)  "Faith" 7 3/4" glass bead bracelet
This one also has a yellow bead too for *one less orphan

"Faith" light blue glass bead bracelet  7 3/4"

2.  "Believe" mushroom bracelet 8"

4. "Faith" pale pink/yellow with pink heart 7 3/4"

6.  "Hope" black/white beaded bracelet 7 3/4"

Monday, April 9, 2012

10 days and counting!!!

 I can not believe we leave in 10 days to bring Faith home!!  I honestly feel
like crawling under a rock, just because of what's left to do.  I'm super duper excited
to finally meet Faith.   She's been a part of me for 2 years.  I know I'll fall apart when
I finally see her.  She'll probably want to run.  I'll just have to try to hold it in.

There's still so much to do and we still have a wee little bit to go with our
financial need, $2000 more and that's it.   I'm going to try yet once again to add
a chip-in to my blog.  Hopefully I can get that up sometime tomorrow.  We've met our
Lifesong match of $2500, thank you my sweet friends who helped us get there.  You are my
angels here on earth.   Thank you again!!!!   

Our Lifesong account is still open, so if you would like to donate and receive a
tax deductable receipt, you can do that too.  Or you can donate through our
"donate" button on the right.  It takes you straight to paypal.  

For everyone who has donated, prayed, purchased from our fundraisers, and sent
encouraging words, THANK YOU!!!!  You just don't know how much I appreciate
you all.  I cry everytime I think about what you've done to help us get closer to the
ransom we need.   I am so humbled to have met so many caring
people.  My eyes and heart have been opened!!!  And I'll never be the same. 

Now, we just have a little way to go and Faith will be in our forever family.  Hand
picked by our Heavenly Father to be in our family.  We are so blessed!!

For those who have ordered cookbooks, they will be in the mail Wed.  I forgot
that the mail didn't run last Friday.   Thank you so much!!!

I will be adding more bracelets hopefully by Tues. p.m.  I'm trying to work & wrap
things up here at home to get ready for our trip, so my time has become limited.  I
only have 1 more full day off from work until we leave, YIKES!!!  Trying to work
up until we travel.  Literally, I'll be working until noon the Friday we leave, picking
Emmi up at school and then driving us to the Nashville airport.  I'm just a little
overwhelmed.  Still need to make dishes for the freezer to take care of my family
not traveling.  Oh, and then there's the bed challenge.  I still have to figure that out!!!
I almost broke down and cried in the furniture store the other day.  We don't need
a fancy bed, just bunk beds.  Hopefully I can get that worked out Wed.   I'm getting
tired just typing what I still need to do.  

So, if you feel led to help us finish the tiresome fundraising (really, I'm growing
weiry from fundraising) you can purchase one of our cookbooks or a bracelet
*which will be listed tomorrow night - late.   AND, I'm holding one final
fundraiser giveaway!!!  I just have to get pictures taken an uploaded of the
items which should be tomorrow night or early Wed. 

Please pray we get the last little bit of what we need!!!!  Many blessings to
you all!!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cookbook Fundraiser!!!

Update 4/6/12 - We still have 35 cookbooks left.  

 I picked up our cookbooks today from the printers.  They are really cute!!
The front cover was drawn by Maggie.  Jacob drew the back cover and Emmi has
a picture in the book - seen in the photo below (Nai Nai's cookies). 

 Nai Nai hadn't seen the book until today.  She was really surprised and liked it especially
the insert that is in each book.  It shares our adoption journey all the way back
to my dad, also an orphan.  She did say that she didn't think there were enough
recipes in it, however, when I took the book to print, I had lots of pages and it looked
like it would be fuller.  It's really hard to get a picture in your head of the outcome of such a project.  So I decided to include shipping in the price of the book.  Nai Nai did say that she
would sign each book.  How cool is that?    There are 21 recipes
included.  Please know this is a fundraiser and going toward our adoption expenses to
get our Faith home.  We just need our inter-country fees and we're finished. 

The cookbooks are $10 each including shipping or 2 for $18, 3 for $25.  If you would
like to get a tax deductable receipt, you can pay through our Lifesong account either
through mail or their paypal account.  Please include "Vantrease adoption #2661"
on the memo of the check or in your paypal invoice.  The paypal link is:

or you can mail your donation to:

Lifesong for Orphans
PO Box 40 / 202 N. Ford St.
Gridley, IL 61744

*don't forget to include #2661 Vantrease in the memo section.

There's a bible verse that I've been looking for, I even googled it.  But I couldn't
find it.  I received a sweet note from an adoption mom that I've met recently since we've been
on our journey to Faith.  In the note she referenced a Bible scripture.  The other night
I tried to find it.  However, the verse was in my e-mail and everyone had already
gone to bed.  I thought the verse was James 29 when in fact it was Jeremiah 29.  I
can't remember anything these days, mommy brain I guess.  So anyway as I was
looking through James, there it was James 1:27

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after
orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted
by the world"  James 1:27

The verse my sweet friend was referring to is in Jeremiah 29, lay down your life and
he will see you through it.