Thursday, February 18, 2010


Happy New Year!

Last Sunday was Chinese New year, or as they call it in mainland China, Spring Festival. We celebrated this year by joining some very good friends for lunch at a hot pot restaurant. We were really excited because it's been a long time since we've had hot pot. The area where I lived in China was famous for it's hot and sour hot pot, and we ate it often, even in the summer time. I tried to make it once not long after we got married, but I added too much of the hot and sour sauce making it way too spicy even for David to eat. It was quite a disappointing experience. That was not the case last week when we decided to go for the the spicy hot pot. It was excellent!

What is hot pot you may ask? Well, you start with a boiling pot of soup base placed on a burner in the middle of the table. We like it spicy, but you can start with any flavor base. Then you bring plates of thinly sliced meat and vegetables to the table to cook in the soup while you wait. There are many other things that you can cook also: tofu, quail eggs, lettuce, spinach, squash or pumpkin blossoms, bean sprouts, noodles, fish balls, squid, duck throat.... That should give you an idea of what it is like. Our Chinese friends sometimes like to eat more interesting things in their hot pot, but we try to stick to more traditional soup ingredients. I have to admit, however, that I like tofu, quail eggs and squash blossoms in mine. You add a few things at a time, let them cook, fish them out and eat them over rice. The restaurant at which we ate last week let each person have their own individual little pot; so, each person got to pick and choose what he or she wanted to eat. Mmmmm!

We are excited that this new year will bring Hannah Grace to our home. Will she like to eat hot pot? We don't know but we look forward to finding out during Spring Festival next year and for years to come.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"He Knows My Name"

One Sunday night last fall, we sang a song at church called, "He Knows My Name," by Tommy Walker. As I sang the words, I prayed for our little girl somewhere on the other side of the world. I wondered who she was and what her name would be. This song reminded me that the One who made her already knew her by name and was watching out for her. (The words to the song are written at the end of the blog.)

Now we know her names. (She is blessed to have two names.) When she was only a few days old, she was given the Chinese name Ji Zhou Nan. Ji Zhou is the name of the district in which the orphanage is located. I couldn't find a meaning for Nan in my Chinese dictionary; so, I wrote and asked some Chinese-speaking friends to help me translate it. They wrote back that it is the name of a tall, strong, and rare evergreen tree that grows in southern China. The wood is hard and fine and was used to build the ancient palaces. (Xie xie Molly and Jean!) The nannies in the orphanage call her Nan Nan.

We have given her the English name Hannah Grace. How did we choose her name? Well, God chose it! Long before we knew who she was or what her name would be, God knew, and when the time was right, He told us. He must have thought David needed to know first, but I'm getting ahead of myself. I've always loved the name Hannah because I love Hannah's story in the Bible. Whenever I read it, I am encouraged that God hears and answers our prayers so that the blessing touches not only our own lives, but many other lives as well. When God blessed Hannah with a son, He also blessed Israel with a prophet. (Thanks to Bob Underwood for preaching that sermon many years ago!) We hope that our story is a blessing to all of you. (You can find Hannah's story in 1 Samuel 1-2.)

I knew I loved the name "Hannah," but I didn't know what David was thinking. You see, God gave him a name for our little girl two years ago. I wouldn't let him tell me what it was because I wanted to wait to see what her Chinese name would be. A couple of months ago, he wrote down his name on a piece of paper, folded it and put it up until we were ready to choose a name. I also made a list of names I liked. After we were matched with Nan Nan, we went on a date to eat Chinese and to chose a name. ( We celebrate every adoption milestone by eating Chinese!) We opened David's note first. He had written out "Hannah Grace," the name God gave him two years ago. Underneath were a few others names that he liked. Then, we opened my note. The top two names were "Hannah" and "Grace." We prayed for confirmation and began calling our daughter Hannah Grace. Since Hannah means "grace," she will be covered with a double portion of grace. God even picked a name that is similar to her Chinese nickname, Nan Nan.

These days I often sing "He Knows My Name" to remind me that even when we didn't know Hannah's name, God knew it. he has known her name all along, even before she was born. I wish that I could be there to watch over Hannah and take care of her needs, but I know the One who gave her life is watching out for her now and will continue to watch out for her when she comes home.

I pray that you know today that your Father who made you knows your name. He sees what you are going through and hears you when you call out to Him.

I have a Maker;
He formed my heart
Before even time began,
My life was in His hands

He knows my name,
He knows my every thought.
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call.

I have a Father;
He calls me His own.
He'll never leave me
No matter where I go.

He knows my name,
He knows my every thought.
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call.

Monday, February 08, 2010


Hey everyone. This is just a quick update to let you know where we are in the process. We are still waiting on our pre approval from China, but hope it will come this week before the Chinese New Year break starts on Saturday. The government employees get the whole of next week off. Once we get the pre approval, our agency will try to get an update on Hannah with a updated photo. It would be great to see what she looks like now!

We signed a contract on a house last week and hope to close at the end of February and move by the end of March. It is a foreclosure and needs a few repairs before we move in. We are getting an inspection this week.

David and I made our first trip to Babies R Us last Friday night. It was a little overwhelming. We have some idea of what we need, but because Hannah is a toddler, we know we don't need everything. We're going to have to sit down with parents who have toddlers to find out what they think we need. Then we have to sort through the hundreds of different kinds of car seats and strollers till we find the right one for our little Hannah! It becomes really fun when we stop to remember for whom we are shopping.

Thanks again for all of your prayers.