Taipei – Day 0 and 1

On Tuesday night, we finished packing up our bags and our friend Seth drove us to the Seattle airport. I was rather proud of my packing attempt, as this is our first international trip and we were packing for three people.


Seth dropped us off at the terminal at 9:30 and our flight didn’t board until 1:30AM. The ticket agent was really nice and we had no problems getting our boarding passes printed and our bags checked. I was a bit worried our big suitcase was too heavy but it came in under the weight limit. Whew!

We sat around for a few hours, mainly just people watching. We were at the airport so late that we couldn’t order anything to eat or drink and finally had to get water out of a vending machine. What a ripoff! $1.50 for a little bottle of water. But we were thirsty and didn’t really have a choice.


Boarding went smoothly and we were thrilled to discover that the flight was not completely full. We had no seat mate so had three seats between the two of us. The seats were comfy and we each had our own little display.


The goal was to stay awake through the first meal and then try to sleep as much as possible. Our adoption coordinator suggested that we sleep on the flight and then stay awake all day long to try to shift our bodies to Taiwan’s timezone. It was hard staying awake until the first meal but we were hungry!

Dinner was fantastic! It was an interesting mix of American and Chinese food and all of it (except dessert) was delicious. I have no idea what the dessert was but my husband joked that it tasted like hardened jello flavored with cornstarch. Poor dessert!


I had fun watching the flight progress on my video screen. Surprisingly, I didn’t watch any movies. Toward the end of the flight, Jeff and I watched a half hour episode on great Taipei eats. That made us hungry again. Haha.


It was fun seeing that we flew over Japan. When I looked out the window, I saw a couple of lights below and waved to the tiny town we were flying over. Someday we’ll actually visit!


Breakfast was congee, a Chinese savory rice dish. I’ve never had congee, but if this was authentic, I want to learn how to make it. It was fantastic!!


We landed in Taipei to a beautiful sunrise. I was so excited to finally be in the same country as my daughter.


Immigration went pretty well, though I did not realize there was a form I was supposed to fill out before talking to the immigration officer. He kicked me out of line and told me to come back with the completed form. He was nice enough about it but I was a bit embarrassed. Five minutes later, we ended up with a different immigration officer who asked how long I was staying and another question I’ve already forgotten. Thankfully I was able to answer satisfactorily and she waved me through! While talking with the officer, she took our photo and scanned our fingerprints. I had a bit of trouble with the fingerprinting machine but the third time’s the charm.

Baggage claim was easy and we found our hotel driver quickly. 40 minutes later and we were at our hotel! We are staying at the Howard Hotel and I would completely recommend it to other adoptive families. The front desk staff are extremely kind and the concierge has been invaluable. The room is pretty nice, though we’ve yet to sleep on the bed. It’s not as soft as our bed at home but the pillows are fluffy.



I am in love with the bath tub in our room! And I have to include a picture of the toilet, simply because it’s a novelty to us as westerners. I have yet to figure out any of the advanced functions but the heated seat would be wonderful in the middle of Seattle’s winter!



We are on the seventh floor and the view from our hotel is marvelous!



This post is really long so I’m going to end here and write another about our day. I am so excited to finally be in Taiwan!

Break my heart, Lord, for what breaks Yours

Awhile ago, I asked God to break my heart for what breaks His. That’s a very dangerous prayer. If you can honestly pray that prayer, you have no idea what God will do. He has broken my heart again and again. When my heart was first opened toward adoption and orphan care, I had no idea where God was going to take me. But over the past two years, He has shown me story after story after story of children who desperately need a family. Children who desperately need to understand what unconditional love is. Children who need to know that they are loved. Valuable. Priceless.

I recently came across a description for the book titled Ghost Boy (Martin Pistorius, Nelson Books). I thought it would be an interesting book to read and review but had no idea it would move me to tears repeatedly.

In January of 1988, Martin Pistorius came home from school complaining of a sore throat. He never went back. Within a year, Martin had degenerated into a mute quadriplegic. By his fourteenth birthday he was a hollow shell, unseeing and unknowing; he spent his days at a care center, sitting blankly in front of the television while his family waited for him to die.

And then his mind came up for air.

For an unimaginable ten years, Martin would be completely conscious while trapped inside his unresponsive body, secretly aware of everything happening around him and utterly powerless to communicate it.

Ghost Boy is a memoir written by Martin after he learned how to communicate again. His story is absolutely heartbreaking. It is terrifying to hear the things that people will say or do to someone they can overpower. Because Martin didn’t have control of his body and was unresponsive when talked to, people believed he was brain dead. So they abused him both verbally and sexually.

It was an incredibly hard story to read because it happened. It’s reality. Martin is now safe from such abuse but these atrocities still happen every day to people like Martin. To children and adults who are unable to defend themselves. These events tell the victims that they are worthless, that they don’t matter. And yet they do matter. They are human beings, someone’s son or daughter or mother or father. And they are children of God.

There’s a song by Hillsong called Hosannah. The lyrics say:

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me

Break my heart from what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your kingdom’s cause

I know that God called us to adopt Cin-Ru, to make her part of our family. We have many hopes and dreams for her but one of them is to give her a haven. She’s an orphan no longer and will always have our protection. Be careful when you ask God to break your heart for what breaks His. He’s broken my heart and I have no idea where He’s calling us next.


Tomorrow. I can finally say “we leave tomorrow.” Yesterday I was super excited. Today I feel nervous and want to throw up. This is such an emotional ride!

I’m still working down my to-do list. Yesterday I finally transplanted my avocado tree into a bigger pot. I was surprised how big the root ball had gotten. I would have taken a picture of it but I only have two hands!

old pot

old and new pots

The side benefit to transplanting the tree is that I could finally adjust it so that it grows straight up!



I have no idea what this bug is but it was hanging out on our patio door when I got ready to come back inside. Pretty markings.

This morning I am headed to the grocery store. Our fridge is almost empty and we don’t have enough food to make it through today and tomorrow. I also need to pick up some staples for when we get back, as well as protein bars and snacks for the plane.

Yesterday we sorted through a pile of toys and activities to decide what we should take with us to Taiwan. At least my dining room table is half clean. Once I can get the clothes packed, I can pack the rest of these activities and finish cleaning off my table. This afternoon, after I take a nap, I will clean both bathrooms and then see what else needs to be done.

My prescription sunglasses are still not available, though I ordered them on July 3. I have to call and talk to the manager today to find out how they are going to fix this. I called twice last week and they just keep saying, “sorry, but they have not been delivered yet.” Yes, but I ordered them three weeks ago and I am going to Taiwan tomorrow. I’m also waiting to hear from the bank that they have our Taiwanese dollars available for pick up.

Nope, no stress! HA!

Four days!



We’ve been seeing lots of baby bunnies on our evening walks. They are just the cutest things!

Here it is, Friday night, and my mind keeps racing. I am so glad that it’s finally Sabbath so that I can step back for 24 hours and not worry about all of the preparation. I finished almost everything that was on my list today and now I can relax until tomorrow night.

This is our last Friday evening at home without our daughter. I can’t help but wonder – what will life be like once she’s home? Will she adjust well or will she act out in fear of all of the changes? I keep hoping that this will be an “easy” adoption. We are as prepared as possible for Hard but hope for Easy. I hope that my daughter will enjoy our evening walks. That we can sit down and have a nice meal on Friday night to welcome in the Sabbath. That we will be able to bond and enjoy time spent together. That we can have fun together!

This time next week, we will be starting the Sabbath in a hotel room in Taiwan. I have a feeling Sabbath will truly be a day of rest next week as we sleep a ton in preparation for meeting our daughter the following Monday.

And I also wonder… does my daughter think about us? We leave in four days but she still has 10 days before her life changes. Does she think of us or is she caught up in the summer activities of her orphanage? I hope that she’s staying busy and not stressing about our meeting. All I can do is pray that God will give her courage as the day approaches.

Six days!!

Today was a very productive day and I’m pleased with how much we were able to accomplish. This evening we ran errands, visiting Wal-Mart, Best Buy, the toy store, and Serial Knitters.

When you ask adoptive parents for suggestions of activities to do at the hotel in country, one of the most often recommended suggestions is Uno. Today I went through all of our games and discovered we don’t own it! My husband and I prefer Eurostyle board games over card games. But Uno is supposed to be a fantastic game to play with a child who does not yet speak much English. While at the mall, we discovered that the toy store opened today. Look what we found!


I have never seen Cinderella Uno before but I think it looks like a lot of fun. I hope our daughter likes Cinderella!

I want to take a knitting project with me to Taiwan. I can knit while waiting at the airport, while on the flight, at the hotel, waiting for our AIT appointment… it’s such a portable form of pleasure and doesn’t require that I stay glued to my phone. This is the scarf pattern I picked out.


And the yarn to complete it.


I have several projects in progress already but don’t want to take those to Taiwan with me. For one, I don’t want to lose a knitting project that is supposed to be a gift. For another, I wanted to work on something that I can give my daughter if she is intrigued by what I am doing. As all of my mid-process projects are gifts for others, I needed something new to work on. And honestly, I’m happy for an excuse to go yarn shopping!

My other big project today was several more areas of cleaning. I’m going to give full disclosure here – my pantry was a MESS.


Yeah. A mess.


For the past three years, we’ve had a trash bag hanging on the back of the pantry door. About a week ago, we finally bought a full sized trash can but obviously had no where to put it. This mess was ridiculous and embarrassing and I was determined to finally fix it.

much better!!

And this was my other big mess…


Under this sink has been a catch-all for ages. I pulled everything out, got rid of a few things, organized what was left, and stacked it all back inside. It’s still a catch-all, but at least it’s an organized catch-all.


Bruno has to help any time I open drawers or cabinets!


I’m not sure this looks much better at a glance, but I can now find things in there. Woohoo!!

Tomorrow I have to follow up about my prescription sunglasses. They were supposed to be available last Friday but still aren’t in yet. I also have to buy groceries and might visit the bank to talk about travel and debit cards. I’m not sure what else is on my agenda but my to-do list is still pretty long.

Six days and counting!!

9 days and counting!

I am so excited that our countdown is finally in the double digits! Other adoptive parents have told me that when they looked back, they could honestly say that the wait went quickly. I’m not sure I would say the same thing, but it is progressing at a steady pace. Nine more days until we leave for Taiwan! Yippee!!

Yesterday we met up with another adoptive family with children from Taiwan. I was able to play (American) football with their children and had a blast. That visit made me so much more eager to travel and bring my daughter home! I want to start building memories with her.

Today we are meeting with some friends from church to have a dim sum brunch. I’ve never had dim sum before and am excited to try it. I think this will be our last social outing before leaving as we still have a lot to accomplish and want to try to get some solid rest before we leave.

After dim sum, we are heading to the store to return a couple of shirts we bought for my husband and try to find me a new pair of sneakers. I had no intention of buying new sneakers before our trip but I discovered last week that mine have a rip down the side. I’m not even sure how old they are. Six or seven years, probably. I knew I was going to replace them at some point but was hoping to wait a couple of months!

This evening, I’m hoping to do a trial packing run for our clothing. My daughter’s suitcase is already packed but I have not tried to pack ours. I’m doing laundry this morning so that all of our clothes are clean. I want to know if everything will fit in one suitcase or if we need to bring a second or plan on doing laundry in Taiwan. I would prefer to not do laundry if at all possible, though I did find out our hotel has laundry service available.


On Friday I found this lovely blue binder to hold all of our visa paperwork. It’s so pretty!

Nine more days and counting!

Panic mode

I am starting to hit panic mode about our upcoming trip. We leave in only 11 more days!! It’s not that I’m not prepared, because I am. We’re almost packed, as much as we can be at this point. The paperwork is ready. Reservations have been booked. We have loose plans for each day in Taiwan. I’m about as ready as I can be.

But for some reason, I’m starting to panic. I’m trying to allow myself to feel each emotion and then let it go. If I fight against the panic, it just gets worse. I am most nervous about the travel itself. I have never flown internationally and have irrational fears about going the wrong way at the airport and getting chased by men with guns. Last night I talked to a friend here in Seattle about what it’s like flying internationally in and out of the Seattle airport. So she walked me through security, what the flight will be like, what immigration is like on the way back, and how to pick up our luggage. That conversation helped.

We have a hotel shuttle scheduled for our arrival in Taipei. A driver will be there with a sign with our names on it. The hotel does not have early check in but will see if they have a room available when we arrive. If not, they said they will hold our luggage for us so that we don’t have to haul it around Taipei while we wait for a room. Since we arrive in Taipei at 5:30 in the morning, we’ll have plenty of time to kill and will probably be exhausted. Again, getting these details worked out with the hotel helped.

Our time in Tainan is very loosely scheduled. We meet our daughter on Monday morning and will probably be at the adoption agency for several hours. There is a possibility that we’ll eat lunch with the staff. After that, we’re on our own. Just the three of us.

On Tuesday morning, we’ll be going back to the adoption agency. We’re unsure of the plans for that morning, but they could include an orphanage visit and a going away party for our daughter. It’s a half hour drive to the orphanage and a half hour drive back. Sometime late afternoon we have to catch the bullet train back to Taipei because our visa appointment is Wednesday morning.

Analyzing my feelings, I’m not really freaking out about the actual parenting. I know that meeting my daughter will probably be awkward. I speak a little Chinese and she speaks a little English so we’ll be able to communicate on a basic level. She does want to be adopted, though I’m sure she’ll be nervous and scared and upset about leaving what is familiar. Being mama is not what I’m anxious about. It’s all the travel. Getting around in a foreign country. A lot of it is probably because I will make mistakes with paperwork or where to go and I hate looking like an idiot in front of people.

I keep breathing and telling myself, “it’ll be ok. It will be ok.” I need to pray for peace. I wish I was confident enough that I could just hop on that plane and be excited about meeting my daughter. I am excited! I’m also terrified!

Paperwork galore

20 days until travel! 25 days until we meet our daughter!!

Today I finished gathering and copying and printing all of the paperwork we need for our visa appointment. I find it very ironic that she’s already legally our daughter and yet we have to bring almost an inch of paperwork to Taiwan.

This packet is on top of all of the court paperwork, her birth certificate and family registry, passports, etc. How many trees does it take to complete an adoption? Many, I am sure!

We get paid tomorrow and I have to make a copy of our pay stub to include in this packet. Once that’s done, we are ready for Taiwan! I can’t wait!

Three weeks to go!

In exactly three weeks from this moment in time, we will be approaching the tiny island of Taiwan. I am excited about finally meeting my daughter. I am nervous about the first meeting with her. And I’m mildly panicked about all of the things left on my to-do list.

My husband has reminded me that as long as we have clean clothes, a passport, and the paperwork needed to get her visa, we’ll be ok. The rest of the list can be left undone and our world will still move forward. He’s right! I keep reminding myself of that even as I keep cleaning.

Today I am going to fill out one last form that’s required for our girl’s visa and gather the rest of the paperwork we have to take to the visa appointment. I’m also going to keep working on our kitchen. The top half of the kitchen is decluttered, scrubbed down, and organized. Now to tackle the bottom cupboards, the fridge, and the floor.

Three more weeks until we arrive in Taiwan! 26 days until we meet our daughter!