Grace

Now that we have been matched with Li Zhong, we have to let our adoption agency know — officially — what our daughter’s “English” name will be once the adoption has been finalized. This is something Deb and I have talked about since we started this process. I don’t remember where within these past three years we reached this decision, but early on we settled on “Grace” for her first name.

Her name will be Grace Li Zhong…

“Grace” as in God’s grace, as in a gift, something precious given solely out of love without expectation and unearned. We will keep her given Chinese name because it’s beautiful (literally) and because from the minute we saw our first small photograph of her, we knew it fit. “Li” means beautiful and “Zhong” means China or middle of China. We will probably call her Li (or something based on that) when we welcome her to our family.

Grace Li Zhong: a beautiful gift of God, given from the heart of China.

Winter Storms and the Chinese Orphanages

We’ve been watching the news sites (the BBC News site has had the most information) the past three weeks with more than a little anxiety as they have reported on the impacts of the winter storms in China and the massive problems those storms have caused the people of China. The storms have caused massive power outages — some still on-going, even at this point three weeks later — and disrupted pretty much all of the travel and transportation in large parts of the country. Those storms hit just as millions of people were trying to return to their families to celebrate the start of the Chinese lunar new year this past week.

With a little girl somewhere in China, possibly in the midst of this, we have been praying fervently (and asking for prayers) for all of the orphanages and the people of China as they struggle with this.

Our adoption agency posted a bit of information yesterday indicating that Li Zhong’s orphanage is doing fine and the children are all OK. Many of the other orphanages in the most heavily impacted provinces are still dealing with lack of power and/or lack of heat. Almost all of the orphanages in the impacted areas of China are dealing with shortages of supplies (e.g., water, diapers, medicine) as a result of the disruptions of transportation.

Knowing that Li Zhong’s orphanage is doing OK is a huge relief and an answer to our most immediate prayers, but there are still millions of people in China, including not just the orphans and their caregivers but also all of the families whose homes have been destroyed (one BBC News article indicated over a million homes had been destroyed or damaged by the storms), those who could not return home to their families for the holiday, and the Chinese government, who need our prayers and our help. Please keep praying…

More Details…

Li ZhongWe got our packet today with more details about our Li Zhong…

“Li” means beautiful, and “Zhong” means China or middle of China. She was taken in at the orphanage on January 16, 2007. Based on the report we have, she typically wakes up around 7:30 am, takes a two-hour nap around noon, and goes to bed around 8:00 pm. She’s a “moderate” sleeper, and doesn’t need to eat during the night. In addition to rice- and milk-based formula, she eats eggs and noodles. She sits alone steadily, holds her head up while lying on her stomach, rolls over on her own, tears paper (hmmm…), and juggles. OK, that’s an exaggeration: she can hold blocks in both hands at the same time, and can pick up blocks with either hand.

She knows her name when she’s called, imitates sounds, follows motion by moving her head from side to side, and distinguishes between strangers and acquaintances. She laughs aloud, has a ready smile, has quick reactions, and she is described as active, restless at times, and sometimes impatient (sounds kind of like me). Her favorite activity is playing outside and her favorite toys are little animal toys.

The most recent medical information we have is from late October, and at that time she was just over 29 inches tall and weighed a little less than 19 pounds. We don’t know if that is with or without clothes, which might be significant as we’ve heard several times that they tend to overdress the children. (We’re guessing those cheeks are good for about 6 pounds each.) Everything (vision, hearing, heart, bones, mental development, blood count, hepatitis stuff) all checked out normal.

She sounds like a happy, healthy little girl.

Matched!

Cen Li ZhongThe telephone rang yesterday at about 12:30pm, and we have now moved from a waiting phase of our adoption journey to… a waiting phase. The difference is that we now know for whom we have been waiting: her name is Cen Li Zhong, born January 6, 2007 in the Jiangxi province of China.Those of you who might be liturgical types will notice that her birthday falls on Epiphany; just one more little miracle in this whole process.

The most recent medical information our adoption agency has is from late October 2007, and by all accounts, she is a happy, healthy, active little girl. I tried to scribble everything down as Kim from the agency told us everything they new, but my notes are pretty much illegible — there must have been something wrong with my hands. The agency has overnighted a package to us with all of the information they have on Li, so I will write more once we know it.

Cen, her surname, doesn’t carry any special meaning, according to Kim. “Li” in Chinese means beautiful. It fits.

Match Day?

Yesterday, Deb saw that our adoption agency had received the next set of child-matches which include our login date. At some point today, perhaps, the telephone will ring and someone on the other end of the line will tell us that we have been matched with a child in China…

I didn’t sleep much last night thinking about this. To be at this point after more than two years of waiting since our adoption dossier was received in China feels more than a little unreal. And I have a hunch that after three years (minus 9 days, give or take), these next few weeks of this process as we go from waiting to matched to traveling to meeting are going to accelerate at an alarming rate…