Rathjen Family

Rathjen Family
Rathjen, Party of EIGHT

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday in Guangzhou and some blogging catch up

Today we got all our paperwork ready for the Consulate. It went very smooth, as CCAI is very organized and informative. Our guide, Maggie is truly wonderful. She is so, so sweet and funny. She met with all of us and we planned the next few days. Tomorrow we go to the Pearl Market and Shamian Island. Tuesday we are going on a Safari. Wednesday we go back to the island and then on a dinner cruise on the Pearl River. Lots of cool things are planned for us.

When we arrived, Zoe started an ear infection. That went away and then Rance started running a really high fever, over 103. I got a bit nervous. When we received the twins, they were both congested and had colds. Every newly adopted child here is. We are wondering if it is from the pollution. Very possible. Anyhow, next thing we know, Rance has an ear infection. I brought antibiotics with me, so went ahead and started him. The last thing he needs is an ear infection going onto the plane ride. What do you know, now Tyler, Zoe and Rance have sore throats, and Zoe has a terrible stuffy nose. I wonder if they caught something on the plane and then got so run down they latched onto it.

We seem to be on the mends, thank God. We are loving Guangzhou. It's the coolest place. Beijing was neat too, but very busy. Scooters were constantly flying by us. Yes, on the side walk. Then you add the spitting people and the inevitable stares and it is quite the experience.

Zhengzhou was okay. We did a lot of walking because the things you need are quite a walking distance from the hotel. Once we added Trigg and Ivor to the mix the staring picked up even more. The people of this country do not seem to really grasp and realize how many orphans there are here. Secondly, they don't understand why we would want them. That's not all of them of course, there are several who tell us what a wonderful thing we are doing. Twins are considered good luck, so we get lots of admirers. They are pretty cute ones, to boot.

The three older kids are all totally on love with Trigg and Ivor. I am confident anyone who meets them will be smitten. Rance and Zoe love to push the stroller, and Tyler never minds taking a turn packing a tug boat. That's their nickname, considering they are enormous! We took them to their doctor appointment yesterday and Trigg is 26.5 lb and Ivor is 24. We are told Henan boys are big. Well I guess so!

Every one of the children adopted in our group are eating nonstop. Especial our brutes. We have all come to the conclusion they are just not used to food so accessible and they kind of like it!

They are sleeping through the night. They love to be rocked to sleep. At first they screamed and panicked at bath time but after Rance's bath demonstration and lots of patience easing them in, they are ole' pros. They go to splashing and laughing and it's a wild, grande time.

Tonight, one of the little girls in our group turned 2, so we threw a party. It was great fun celebrating with all the new kiddos. There is not one here, that's not absolutely precious.

Thank you Lord, for all these little sweethearts.



Some of my favorite pics...

Gotcha Day

Here are a couple photos from Gotcha Day. Trigg cried for the first half hour or so, but before long he was flashing his dimples. Ivor was handed to me, and he snuggled right in and just appeared very scared. He was the one we expected to do the crying. I think he was too shocked. They seem to be bonding beautifully now. They will not go to anyone but us.

Nī hāo

I think we can blog easier now! Everyone is having a pretty good time. We went to a Buddhist temple today. Very interesting, and the people were very nice. People were there worshipping and leaving flowers and incense. We took all 4 of the little kids' Chinese attire and took some photos. It was darling. Trigg still seems to be the leader and funny man. Ivor is extremely sweet. The Nannies said he is "sticky.". I think they were expressing that he likes to be held. He is quite the snuggler. We already can't imagine life without them. They were meant for us. We can feel it. We are humbled and honored that God chose us to be their family.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A few pics

So I think if the pics are on my phone I can upload them through my blogger app from our newest location. Trial run..

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wednesday, Day 3 with our boys

Today we have just relaxed and walked down to Walmart for some formula and other odds and ends. Words cannot describe how cute the boys are. The laugh and smile so much. They are already attaching it seems and things could not be going smoother with them. We are a little tired of rice and noodles. They twins however, love them! Trigg always had a pacifier but now pushes it away when offered. Ivor has never had one but thinks they are a great invention. We are having a great time getting to know them. They are sleeping through the night even! The kids absolutely adore them. They are really doing good with them. The twins think highly of them as well.

Tomorrow is going to be a little hard. We are headed to the orphanage where they have been the last few weeks. We are hoping to locate a friends baby there and give him a gift and some prayers. Then we will go to the place the twins were abandoned to see where it was their mother left them in hopes they would be found and cared for. Thanks to our almighty God, her plan worked. They will now have the care they need as well as all the love they can stand.

We promise to catch you all up on photos when we return. For now we have emailed some to my aunt and she is posting them and tagging me on Facebook.



Saturday, April 21, 2012

Next Stop, Zhengzhou

We are leaving bright and early to Zhengzhou, with our awesome group, on a plane. I, unfortunately have been awake since 3:30. With the big day so close, I am finding it nearly impossible to go back to sleep.

I am laying here thinking about how blessed we are to live in a free country. I think we take that for granted. We all know about the one child policy here, but have you ever thought about it? I mean, really thought about it? Our guide, Cindy, told us of her family story. Her father wanted more than one child so they conceived Cindy's little brother and when he was born sent him to live with relatives in a village, far from their home in Beijing. They longed for their child so much that after 5 months they brought their new son back to live with them. The government discovered this and punished their father by keeping his next two years of income. Wow.

If you want to drive yourself to work around here by motor vehicle, you must first apply to buy one. You would get approval in roughly six months. But now, you must apply for a permit to drive it. That's about another six months. Now that you are driving, you can only drive that vehicle on certain days of the week. Your license plate number indicates which days of the week you are allowed on the road. If you are caught, you pay a hefty fine. Dispite all these efforts, it is bumper to bumper traffic here. With a population of over 24 million in a city, I guess you'll have that.

We are having trouble with our VPN. That's a virtual private network. We need that in order to access Facebook and blogger. Why? Because the government blocks these websites from their citizens.

Cindy also informed us, you have to show your passport to get into a Christian Church here. This way, they are assured none of "their people" are attending.

I am grateful I live in a country that puts their trust in God.



Beijing Day 2

We cannot believe how much we have fit in, in just two days. We also can't believe how much we love our guide Cindy, in just two days. These two days have been simply amazing. I wondered if I could even enjoy them, being so anxious to get the boys, but they have been impossible not to enjoy. Today we did the Jade Factory, the Great Wall, toured where the Olympics were held and the Acrobatics show. Wow. Our boys are coming from a place rich on culture and history, that is for sure.

They do however, do things a little different here. For instance, if there is not a restroom nearby and your child needs to go, no big deal, just have her pee on the side walk. Oh, and that rule applies to the men also. Smoking has not gone out of style here, and they allow it almost everywhere. Dinner for ten where the locals eat, you can be sure $30 is enough. Hands to yourself rule, that does not apply either. They literally pet our children's hair and pinch their cheeks. Rest assured though, they are very sweet people. They are quick to smile, quick to wave, and try with all their might to communicate with us westerners. I simply love it here.

The Great Wall is one of those things that cannot be conveyed in photos. It is unbelievably enormous. It is far more than a wall.

We have never seen such amazing acrobats as we did tonight. Our guide said they practice for 10 years for their 10 minute performance but they usually make enough to buy a small business when they retire at the age of 25.

I was off on my math in last nights post. Of course it was the middle of the night when I did it, but we now have 2 more sleeps till we are a family of 7. Woohoo!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Beijing- Day One

I am having a hard time with my connection so sorry for the lack of updates. I have figured out its easiest to blog from my iPhone so I will keep it with me to take photos from here out, so we are able to post them. The other family here with an iPad is experiencing the same problem.

We all woke up around midnight feeling like it was time to get up. After two hours of tossing and turning on rock hard beds Rance and I took some Melatonin. Apparenty, the nicer the hotel, the harder the bed. Tonight I think we will just take the melatonin right away!

At breakfast we managed to hook up with two other families in our adoption group. We got aquainted early on which was nice. We are feeling so bad for one of the families who is stuck in Shanghai due to weather. They should be here soon. We absolutely love our group.

We met our guide, Cindy at 9:00 and were off for the day. It was truly a magnificent day. We did the Hutong Tour which was awesome to see real Beijing life. They took us by a local mans home to see and hear from. The culture here is very rich and the people are so, so nice. They often stop and stare and even take pictures of the kids.

We strolled through the Forbidden City for two hours and only saw 20 percent of it. It was drizzly but we still had a great time. When we stopped for a group shot, the Chinese people gathered and started taking our photos as well. It was quite comical.

We were on our own (without guide) for dinner. We went with our group across the street to a local restaurant. We laughed till we had tears running down our faces due to the difficult communication and the many closed pallets when it came to "real" Chinese food. Some of us were experiencing numb tongues from the peppers we guessed, and others simply filled up on steamed rice and soda. That dinner is the photo in this post. Perhaps the most surprising part was the bill. There were ten of us and it came to 240.00, roughly $35. Wow.

Hopefully we will get a better connection at the next place and be updating more often with more photos!!! Just two more sleeps till we get our guys! Eeeeekk!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Here we go!

I don't think I slept more than an hour total last night! Emotions are running high with all in our group as well as our close families and friends. All the well wishes, encouragement and prayers has me feeling like the most blessed woman on the planet. I can't thank you all enough. We are getting ready to board and off to San Francisco. Next stop, Beijing. My sweet parents were at my house at 4:30 with smiles on their faces. Dad teased us all the way to the airport that he brought extra bags for when they weighed our suitcases and we had to start yanking stuff out. We all came in under weight! Ha!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Packing and Preparing

Packing is well under way. I cannot wait till we are on that plane and I say to myself, "Well, if it didn't get done, it's not going to." I find myself worrying about the craziest things. What if we don't have the correct documentation to get on the plane? What if they mean a different document than I am thinking, to take to complete the adoption? I just want to feel completely confident that my ducks are in a row!

Our congregation prayed over our family today at church. That was surreal. When I really try to wrap my mind around the fact this is really happening I get too emotional, so I return to my scattered thoughts of what I may be forgetting. When I was listening to the announcements, and they mentioned dates I knew we would already have the twins, I realized how close it really is, yet it still feels far away.

3 more sleeps...



Thursday, April 12, 2012

Our Chinese Adoption Itinerary

We got our itinerary! Yay! We just hung up from a conference call with our wonderful agency, CCAI and our travel group, Group 1851. I have always wondered what that number would be...

April 18th: Leave from Durango and fly to Denver, then on to San Francisco and then on to Beijing.
April 19th: Welcomed in Beijing by "George," our guide, Head to Qianmen Jianguo Hotel
April 20th: Tour Beijing: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Hutong Tour, Acrobatics Show
April 21st: Tour Beijing, including the Great Wall
April 22nd: Fly from Beijing to Zhengzhou, check into Crown Plaza Hotel
April 23rd: Gotcha Day! Orphanage Officer, Wang Fang will deliver our babies to us.
April 24th: Adoption is made official. We will take a bus to the registration office to complete this paperwork.
April 25th: Opportunity given to rest and/or shop for our new little family members.
April 26th: Free time is given, optional tours
April 27th: Fly out of Zhengzhou for Guangzhou, check into the China Hotel
April 28th: Take bus to Shamian Island to get the twins' physicals and visa photos
April 29th: Free day in Guangzhou
April 20th: Free day in Guangzhou
May 1st: Prepare paperwork with a rep for the Consulate Appt.
May 2nd: Free day, as we wait to receive the twins' passports
May 3rd: Consulate Appointment, take Oath
May 4th: Receive the twins' visa packets, Travel to Hong Kong by train
May 5th: Fly home from Hong Kong

We should arrive at the Durango Airport on May 5th at 5:15 p.m. China is 16 hours ahead of us here in Colorado, I have posted a China clock on the right strip of the blog. We thank each one of you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers as we complete this journey to grow our family through adoption. Trigg and Ivor were transferred back to their original orphanage last week. Please pray for them, as we understand it was not an easy transition, for they do not remember every being there and I am sure they are missing their nannies and friends as they wait for us.

Trigg Cody! Ivor Jude! Not much longer baby boys!



Saturday, April 7, 2012


Last year at this time I was in Uganda, Africa, with a group of beautiful women. I think back, and I can still remember so many of the faces, the names and the stories from there. I hope I never forget the hurt I saw, the joy I experienced and the love I felt for that country. I would like to share with the world, the story of a little girl name Annet.


I met Annet at one of the orphanges. We had spent the day painting the orphanage and playing with the children. After school was let out, just across the lawn, Anett appeared. She was very shy, and watched me with intent. I approached her and we began talking. I could tell she did not expect attention. She was the only child over 3 living in the particular part of the home. She was so sweet and gentle with the smaller children, and it was apparent she was a caregiver as well. One of the little ones, Marion seemed to view her own mother.

I asked Annet how old she is. She promptly replied, "Six." I thought, and even said out loud, "Wow, you are tall!" She just replied with a sweet smile. Annet was excited to show me how she could draw, right and sing. She was so proud to show me she had her own bed. On it, were her few belongings. Thirty minutes into our time together she bluntly asked, "Will you please adopt me and take me to America?" Her words came out as smooth as butter in her darling little British accent. "I would love to Annet, but it is not that easy," I replied, my heart aching. She went back to drawing. Then, she started to question my current situation. "How many children do you have? What are their ages? Are they boys or girls? Wouldn't you like another girl?"

Try to explain to a child why you cannot adopt her. It was one of the hardest coversations I have ever had. Later that afternoon, I spoke with her "mama." Her mama informed me that Annet is actually fifteen. The first six years of her little life, she was severely sexually abused by her father. Her mother had died giving birth to her, and Annet's father felt it was her fault. In Annet's mind she was six. I believe this may be a condition called "arrested developement." A child does not, and can not develop normally; mentally or physically through such abuse. When the abuse ended, it is as if her life began. Somehow, she was frozen in time, striving to re-live her youngest years. Because she was fifteen, she did have the maturity to care for the other children. She bonded to them and treated them beautifully. She is responsible. She is kind. She cares for others. Which proves, abused children can overcome their past and be functioning, loving people in society. Unfortunately, Annet's father must consent to her adoption, which he will not. Therefore, Annet's life will be spent in this orphanage. By the grace of God, it is a wonderful orphanage, and the mama's there are truly magnificent. They love the children with all their hearts. I would imagine, eventually Annet will be a "mama" there. That is my prayer for her.

Before we left, Annet came over and handed me a neatly folded peice of paper. I opened it, to discover she had drawn a heart and written inside, "Jesus gives me hope."

You can imagine the rush of emotion that went through me. I will never forget that sweet little girl. Let her story leave an impression on your heart...

Here is Annet, proudly showing me everything she owns.