One week in…

Soldiers at Tiananmen Square

Soldiers at Tiananmen Square

Inside the Forbidden City

Inside the Forbidden City

While Noah was crying, our other kids started praying for him right in the Forbidden City - incredibly sweet for me to see

While Noah was crying, our other kids started praying for him right in the Forbidden City – incredibly sweet for me to see

One of the homes in the Hutong - this one is about 600 years old and still being used

One of the homes in the Hutong – this one is about 600 years old and still being used

Rinnah, Noah, and Toby in the rickshaw

Rinnah, Noah, and Toby in the rickshaw

The amazing moto act - you can still see the other 3 motos driving inside!

The amazing moto act – you can still see the other 3 motos driving inside!

Our family at the Temple of Heaven

Our family at the Temple of Heaven

One of my favorites - the boys walking into the Summer Palace

One of my favorites – the boys walking into the Summer Palace

In the Summer Palace

In the Summer Palace

Waterside at the Summer Palace

Waterside at the Summer Palace

Monkey! When Noah told Baba he loved him

Monkey! When Noah told Baba he loved him

Kids on the cable car up to the Great Wall

Kids on the cable car up to the Great Wall

One view of the Great Wall

One view of the Great Wall

Kids doing O-H-I-O on the Great Wall

Kids doing O-H-I-O on the Great Wall

Today marks one week that we’ve had Noah with us. Now we are just waiting for Noah’s passport so we can move on to the next step. Since we have this time, we decided to take the train back to Beijing and see some of the famous sites there and then later we will also go to Xian and do the same thing before heading down to Guangzhou and completing all the paperwork Noah needs to come to the States.

We continue to be amazed at how well it’s going. It hasn’t been perfect and we did have some tough moments in Beijing, but it’s just been so much better than we thought it might be and we have been thanking God and know that it’s all the prayers!

After a long travel day getting here and getting lost in the Beijing train station and realizing that Beijing traffic would add an hour minimum to every trip we took, we checked into our hotel. These rooms are about half the size of the ones we had in Jinan (just like hotel rooms in NYC!), but it’s a real relief to be somewhere for four nights in a row.

Our first day we saw Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City first. I was fascinated to see these, but there is a lot of walking. We brought Noah a stroller not knowing if he would be willing to use it, and the answer is, no he is not. He told our translator here, Alison, that everyone would think he was a baby, and really, I can’t blame him. If I was nine, I wouldn’t want to be in a stroller either. Add to that that the floor is 600 years old and that you have to climb up and down staircases to get through each hall and courtyard and I don’t know if our stroller would have helped anyway.

Nathan has been giving him piggy back rides and if he wants one he now says, “Monkey!” as in, I’m a monkey, let me climb on your back. Nathan carried him a lot, but really, this is a huge place and not particularly interesting for a nine year old. We also had dressed him warmly for an American, but this is about half the clothing he was used to which was totally our mistake. He was cold and tired and hungry and right in the middle of the Forbidden City, he was just suddenly overwhelmed. He was crying and mad and didn’t want to move and so we just stood there with him for close to an hour while Alison talked to him and we had no idea what either of them were saying and we just tried to rub his back and comfort him.

In retrospect and after talking to Alison, I don’t think he even really knew why he was so upset. I think it was all just suddenly too much and sometimes you just need to cry. Everything in his whole life has changed instantly and completely, and he didn’t want to be there and he didn’t want
to be so tired and cold and be with these people who are perfectly nice, but not his people yet, people he can’t even talk to.

Alison finally talked him into continuing and we moved a lot faster (which, let’s face it, means I tried to stop taking pictures every two seconds) and we had a snack and made it through.

Our next stop was a short Hutong tour (Hutong are the traditional Chinese neighborhoods right in the middle of the big modern cities – the one we were in was about 600 years old) and Alison has us do it on rickshaws. This was perfect because Noah thought that was super fun and rallied and enjoyed himself. We all did – this was a beautiful part of our time and one of my favorite things we saw.

When we were done, we asked Alison if we might be able to see some Chinese acrobats and if Noah would like that – she asked him and he was so excited! He told her he’d always wanted to do that, so we went to a short show that afternoon. We would describe it like the minor leagues to Cirque Du Soleil – they must get a lot of performers from places like that. Everyone’s favorite act was the moto driver in the steel ball. We thought he was amazing and then they added another. Then another, and another until there were 6 guys on motos in there! Terrifying and super impressive.

The next day we went to see the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace. Temple of Heaven had a wonderful park outside where people were doing Tai Chi and playing cards and dancing and we watched a man playing an erhu for quite some time who played so beautifully – it was like a little festival all the time. The Summer Palace was also beautiful, and we’d put twice as many clothes on Noah today and it was amazing how much it helped – he seemed to have a great time the whole time.

That night he was riding on Nathan’s back home from dinner and he said, kind of in a singing voice, “Father! I love you!” It was so out of the blue, Nathan looked startled and he said to him, “Wo ai ni?” saying “I love you” in Mandarin to see if that was what he meant, and he just said, “Yea!!” like, of course, didn’t you hear me? Then he said it to me too. We both had tears in our eyes, it was so unexpected! And of course, we don’t know if he’s just trying out phrases he knows or wants to hear it (and of course we told him we loved him too!) or what, but it was a beautiful moment.

Today we went to the Great Wall and were able to go to a location that has a cable car so we could ride up. Even with that there was a lot of climbing and Nathan carried Noah a lot. It’s funny – he has all the energy of a nine year old boy, and he really wants to run and climb and he’s always moving, but his body just shuts down. He has two minutes of fast walking, 45 seconds of running, or about 6 steps in him and then he has to stop. If we can fix his heart, though, I don’t think we’ll ever catch him again. He kept watching Toby running and saying “Oh, my gosh!” and I know he wanted to be doing it with him.

We didn’t stay very long because Noah was discouraged by all the walking and stairs, but we were all very happy to have done it. It really is an amazing thing to see!

We’re all very surprised and amazed at how much English Noah is already picking up. He is one smart cookie. I can tell he’s starting to think ahead now too – he’s thinking about his new home and tonight he said, “I have two dogs” to me in English. He was asking about our dogs at home and thinking that through. He’s also figured out the passwords to everyone’s devices but one. 🙂 And tonight we saw a bookstore and I thought we’d just check and see if there was anything he might like to read and he was so excited about all the books! He found a Kung Fu Panda book and a superhero series and started kissing them which we took as a subtle sign that he might enjoy those. Got them for him and he read the first one non-stop for an hour and finished the whole thing before we told him it was time for bed. I ran back out tonight and got a few more in the series to keep in my bag for long flights, etc. Looks like we’ve got another reader on our hands!

Today we had a very long train ride to Xian. Averaged between 250-300 kph on the bullet train. Again, I am so struck by the smog – even when we’re in the middle of the countryside, it’s so thick you can only clearly see things within about 100 yards, and it’s as if the world disappears 4 or 5 city blocks out. Noah literally read out loud to himself in Chinese for at least four hours – just like Toby (minus the out loud part)! We’re enjoying seeing everything, and we’re soaking it in, but I’m also thinking, “Xian is the last city before we can go to Guangzhou and start checking off more legal stuff!” I am anxious to get Noah home and to the doctors and start trying to get this little guy some answers.

Updated prayer request: It took forever to get a good enough connection to post this. Since then, Noah is really missing his foster family. He’s been looking at his pictures a lot and he asked our translator last night to call his foster parents. This morning at breakfast he said, “I like noodles, I like dumplings. I like Qingdao (his home town).” Please pray for him and his comfort – we are new and exciting right now, and as that wears off and he realizes this is permanent, I know he will be grieving. Thank you!

12 Responses to “One week in…”

  1. Jane Friend says:

    Noah, you are amazing! FeiXiang says, “Ni hao” and looks forward to meeting you soon.

  2. jennifer says:

    Thanks, Jane, I will tell him! And tell FX that he really loved his letter – his eyes just lit up when he realized he was in the same city!

  3. Linda Gygax says:

    Thank you so much for sharing all this wonderful info and prayers. Read part of it to the boys and Benny was so excited that you actually went to the great wall bcs they are studying that I’m school tomorrow! “That’s so cool!!!”
    We love you all and are praying.

  4. jennifer says:

    Thanks, Lin! Tell Benny it was cool, and the girls sang “Be a Man” from Mulan on the Wall and we taped it. Pretty funny.

  5. Jodi Abbinanti says:

    Thanks Jennifer for sharing your journey. My prayers continue for you, Noah and family as you begin this adventure. God Bless you.

  6. Judi Skonieczny says:

    So great to read your updates on your blog. I am remembering all of you. It will be an adjustment for all of you but especially Noah. You are right, at some point he will grieve but that is in His plans also! It is great to see how your needs are being met. Neat how the guys stayed in the office for you to get the paperwork done! PTL!

  7. jennifer says:

    Thank you Jodi! We appreciate your prayers so much! I think of you all the time!

  8. jennifer says:

    Thanks Judi, we have for sure felt the Lord working each step of the way!

  9. Marlene McCormick says:

    It is so awesome to read your updates on your blog…and the pictures are fantastic!!! Can’t wait to meet Mr. Noah and can’t wait until you “all” are safely home!!
    Praying for all the Shaw’s and for safe travels. Miss you guys!!

  10. jennifer says:

    Thanks, Marlene, we are so appreciative of the prayers and miss you too!

  11. Jennifer Oswald says:

    Thanks for sharing all of your stories and pictures. We have appreciated learning about your journey. How wonderful to see God’s fingerprints in everything! We have missed you all and look forward to your return.
    With love, Doug & Jennifer, Kate & Elisabeth

  12. jennifer says:

    Thanks, Oswalds, we miss you all too!

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