Sunday, March 30, 2014

Our Visit to Harmony House

I am finally getting a few minutes to sit and write about our day yesterday. There is so much to share, so much to process. As I write this, we are sitting in the Beijing airport. We thought we had a flight out this morning but apparently, the wrong flight was booked. Long story but here's the short... We are able to get on a flight today at 2:30, traveling to Hohhot, the capital city of Inner Mongolia, Emily's originating city. She was abandoned in Inner Mongolia and the law says our "gotcha day" and adoption paperwork has to occur there. We will meet Emily in our hotel lobby 24 hours from now and will have her forever. FOREVER ours. Unreal.

Before I write anymore, let me say that Brady is fine. We are pretty sure his nose is not broken but his sweet face is very banged up and swollen. We are calling his little incident "The Great Fall" (which happened at The Great Wall). It was scary but once again, God has been faithful in maintaining a clear (but bumpy) path to Emily.

We visited Emily yesterday at Harmony House, where she currently resides. We had to leave her and can't have her for good until Monday morning. Here's how our day went. We eagerly awoke yesterday, ready to go see our girl. "Eagerly" meaning 1:30 am. Y'all. Jet lag is a beast. Our guide and driver picked us up at our hotel at 7:30 am. We are on our way. Only one hour away from our daughter! We could barely sit still. HAULT. Stand still traffic. Apparently, the government shut down all interstates in Beijing because of the smog (yes, we have been wearing our masks for the most part). Can I just tell you a little bit about how they drive in Beijing, without the rage of traffic jams? Holy cow. They make New York City look like a bunch of grandmas. I'm talking constant horn honking, jumping curbs, driving against the flow of traffic, and driving on side walks. No. Kidding. Another car actually hit our rearview mirror while we were driving. No courtesy. Each man for himself. I see glimpses of this in big US cities but nothing like this. Okay, so back to our saga. Government shuts down interstates. Lomans sit in van for over 6 hours! Needless to say, I was a bit testy and just wanting to get to Emily. We did finally arrive, late afternoon, which meant we only had about 2 hours to spend at Harmony House. Nevertheless, we arrived.

Harmony House was pretty nice, speaking in relative terms. There are no homes like ours in China. There are tall, run-down skyscraper-looking buildings with homes inside (similar to apartments). It's all concrete, no yards, rather uninviting. When we entered Harmony House, we were kindly greeted by rambunxious children and gracious nannies. My heart was broken immediately. The conditions here are very sufficient. But the fact remains. These precious children have no families. We played. We hugged. Emily was napping when we arrived so we were a little distracted.

The moment. Everything rests on this moment. Emily woke up and the nanny brings Emily to us. Que in the music and rejoice. Well, not yet. She did not want to come to me. Her lower lip quivered and she cried a little. This was actually a great sign! It means she doesn't trust just anyone. She was a little skeptical and this is very healthy! My girl did warm up after only a few minutes and we spent some amazing time with her. She clenched the lovie we brought her and the photo album of our family that we had previously sent her. She held them close and wanted to stay in my lap for the most part. She eventually went to Seamus. She was fascinated by the hair on his chin and arms. This little girl has a place in our hearts that is hard to express in words. We will forever fight for her. Whatever her need is, we will do our best to meet it. We were in awe of the miracles. Of all the countries, the hundreds of millions of orphans on the earth, and of the hundreds of millions of people in China, God chose Emily for our family. And yesterday, we held her. And tomorrow, she will forever be ours.

The food in Beijing has been phenomenal. I do not like "Chinese" food in the states. Turns out I have a sophisticated pallet... I love the real deal! ;) Oh! We had McDonald's delivered to our room last night. We were all craving a burger and it was almost as good as our McDonald's. ;)

What else about Beijing... The lost. Oh, the lost. It's heart-breaking, sobering, and devastating to see millions of people who don't know Jesus Christ. Christ's image bearers who have been told lies. Our guide in Beijing was a precious lady who we adore. As we parted ways, I had tears in my eyes, praying that Christ would intervene in her life and show her truth. I love her and want to see her in heaven. In the quiet this morning, Seamus expressed an important and eye-opening reality. We are here to get Emily but God has called us to China for an even bigger purpose. We are burdened. Our hearts ache for this population, these beautiful people who have been incredibly misled. I think about the lost in our own country and I've always considered our situation just as devastating... the many non-believers in my own community, or the many who think they are believers but really rely on their good works or some other redemption besides the blood of Christ. But my perspective has changed a bit. The Bible says that no one has an excuse not to believe because creation itself speaks about who God is. Furthermore (in my opinion, not quoting scripture), we have churches all over the place in America and Christians speaking the gospel is pretty commonplace. We proclaimed the gospel boldly to our guide and she was surprised by truth and asked so many questions. No one has ever given her truth before! If only this population could hear it, ask questions, know there's more to life than the superstitions and gods who ultimately fail them. Please, brothers and sisters in Christ, join us in reaching out to these populations! The alternative for them is hell. Maybe this should be the moment where I apologize for my preachy rant but y'all. This adoption, this trip, the exposure to reality outside of our bubble has wrecked us. And I am so thankful for that! I pray that you too are wrecked. That God would convict your hearts to look outside your comfortable life and realize the urgency of bringing the gospel to Asia, Africa, and to those in our own community.



Our sweet guide, Heidi

Potty Time!



Bye Mama, Baba, and Gege! See you Monday morning!


  1. So beautiful Laura. I'm praying for y'all continually. Much love my friends.

  2. I felt exactly the same way when we were there! Such familiar stories that we share. God bless you as you have your baby girl in your arms!