Saturday, January 30, 2010

We are grateful for the generosity of the Lily Endowment Fund that has made this trip of a lifetime possible for our family! The "Clergy Renewal Program" is part of the Lily Endowment Fund. The give many grants out every year to ministers encouraging them to take a step out of ministry to find a time of renewal. We are thankful to Fairfield Christian Church, the elders and members, that have supported us in applying for this grant. The Lily Endowment asks the minister this question, "What will make your sing?" As we talked (and dreamed) about the answer to this question, we were confident that the answer included, "God, our family and China." Our proposal focused on China because it has played such a role in the life of our family as our two youngest children were adopted from China. We were unable to take our children to China with us for the adoption trips and it was always a regret, yet we knew we could not afford to take them along financially. Our proposal was to allow us to take the entire family with us to explore the rich heritage of the birthplace of Lily and Sarah! We also included very detailed plans to visit the orphanages that were their first home, the finding spots where they were found on the day they were abandoned and the foster family that so lovingly took care of Sarah until she was 22 months old.

We welcome you to join us on this Journey Through China! It will certainly be a trip of a lifetime!

In Beijing we will visit the Dong Huan Men night market, Temple of Heaven, Tian En Men Square, Forbidden City, the Hutongs, the Great Wall of China, the Beijing Zoo, Summer Palace and take in the acrobat show. We'll take an overnight sleepper to train from Beijing to Xi'an.

In Xi'an we will visit the Shanxi History Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Furong Tang Dynasty and of course..........the Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses. We'll enjoy a Tang Dynasty music and dance on our last evening in Xi'an.

We will then fly to Guilin. While in Guilin we will visit the Longsheng Minority Village, the Reed Flute Cave, the Elephant Trunk Hill (remembering that from the Big Bird in China movie!) and The Seven Star Park.

We will then take the Lijinag River Cruise to Yangshuo (again, a familiar scene from the Big Bird in China movie!) and visit West Street in Yangshuo. We will then take a bus to Nanning.

While in Nanning we will visit Qinzhou City. We will visit the Forever Wishes Bridge where Sarah was found when she was two days old. We'll try to visit her first orphanage in Qinzhou and visit a small village outside of town. While in Nanning, we will visit A Mother's Love orphanage that took care of Sarah through their foster parenting program. We'll be fortunate to spend a great deal of time with the foster family that loved and cared for Sarah for 20 months! Of course, we are also looking forward to a lot of time in People's Park and touring Nanning!

We'll continue from Nanning to Guangdong Provice, our final location as a family. While in Ghangzhou, we will stay on Shamian Island....even though I understand there is a great deal of construction. We wanted to stay in the White Swan since that is where we stayed with both girls on our trip to adopt them. While in Ghangzhou we will take a day trip to Yangjiang City to visit Lily's orphanage, the Yangjiang City Social Welfare Institute. We'll also tour the city and visit Lily's finding location which was right outside the gate of the orphanage.

Kathy and the kids will return to the US while Tom visits friends in Wuhan. After Wuhan he is headed to Vietnam to visit friends there as well.

The sad part in all of this is that TJ will not be able to travel with us on this trip. We are thrilled that he will be able to share in our journey through this blog. Please pray for him while we are gone. He brings so much joy to Lilly and Sarah and I know they are sad that he can not go with us.

Again, thank you to the Lily Endowment Fund and to Fairfield Christian Church for blessing us with an amazing opportunity! And to any of you who choose to follow our journey...hop on will certainly be an amazing time!