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Friday, June 17, 2011

It Is Finished!

Last night Sophia woke up a couple of times.  The first time she settled back down herself, but the second time, I had to rub her back and eventually she fell back to sleep.  I'm sure the mid-night awakenings are just the start of some sleepless nights for Dave and I as we attempt to settle her (and ourselves!) back to EST!

I was up again before the alarm at 6 a.m. to get ready for the day.  We eventually had to wake Sophia up before she was ready, but she didn't fuss and drank her bottle, for which we were very grateful.  Yesterday she really didn't eat or drink much, and we were really concerned about dehydration, especially in this wicked heat and humidity!  Today she has done so much better, and I attribute it all to your prayers!  God is so good!

We ended up arriving a couple of minutes late at the American Institute in Taiwan, or AIT, for short.  This is where all Taiwanese citizens who want to enter the United States must go to get a tourist, student, or immigrant visa.  The first floor was packed with people waiting to get tourist and student visas.  The second floor was where Americans could take care of business if they were living in Taiwan (voting, updating passports, reporting births, etc.) and the third floor was immigration.  That's where we went.  We met our social worker who had already got the ball rolling for us.  There weren't many people in immigration at 9 a.m. today.  We waited a little bit and then went to a window and answered some questions, handed in our tax return from last year, and signed a couple of things.  Then we waited again to be interviewed at a second window.  Our interviewer was a very friendly African American officer who basically had us sign some things, congratulated us, and sent us on our way!  We were told to come back at 2 p.m. to pick up Sophia's visa...from start (a few minutes late!) to finish we were there an hour.  Again, your prayers being answered!!!

So now we had time to kill.  With our social worker, who lives in this area of the city, we went in search of some socks for Sophia to use with her leg braces (thanks for the heads up, Mandi!) and then were among the first lunch customers at the original location of Din Tai Fung.  It was so nice to see Sophia drink water with her spoon from a bowl, and try a few noodles and some broth...set my mama heart at ease a bit!

Our social worker showed us the proper way to eat dumplings (oops...no wonder people were laughing at us the last two times we ate there!) and we had a great time of fellowship.  After lunch we went to a local tea store and tried two types of oolong tea, made from tea leaves harvested in the high mountains of Taiwan, and jasmine tea, Dave's favorite.  We bought some to bring home, then continued on to a little food store for some dried pork powder to bring home for Sophia.  (Think ground pork rinds...only thing I can compare it to!)  We exchanged a few more dollars at the local bank so we could pay for our taxi to the airport (after spending money today!) and headed back to AIT to wait for Sophia's visa in the AC...it was hot!!

Promptly at 2 p.m. we were handed Sophia's visa and it was finished!  I took a photo of our "sealed envelope", but then thought twice about posting it...probably not kosher to share all that info with the world!  But we do have it in hand, along with her passport...praise God!  Now back at the hotel Sophia took her typical 45 minute nap and is now vegging on the bed, watching TV.  Good times!

We're not sure what we are going to do tonight...maybe venture out and check out the neighborhood a little bit...we'll see.  Last night we took the subway to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and it was lovely...much cooler than during the day.  The area around the memorial is a cultural park, and there are two buildings dedicated to the performing arts there, the National Theater and the National Concert Hall.  So many people were milling around in the cooler night air, practicing their break dance moves or ballroom dancing in the open air.  The subway station hallway leading out to the memorial was lined with beautiful paintings, and when we arrived, a blind musician was playing his violin accompanied by piano background music.  Sophia loves music and was simply mesmerized.  I tried out my camera's night feature...what do you think?

All in all, our time in Taiwan has been good.  Dave and I commented today that we want to bring Sophia back some day when she's older, along with her brothers...and it must be at a cooler time of the year!!  Had it not been so hot and humid, I think we would have meandered around a lot more outside, but it was just too hot.  I have never sweat so much in my life!  Sophia loves to be out and about...she just watches people and things and takes it all in.  However, we are ready to come home and allow Sophia to begin to adjust to her family and home.  It has been difficult to watch her grieve and not know what to do.  It has also been difficult to be far away from our sons.  Sophia's needs are different than we expected, and this has produced some anxiety and lots of talks with God on my part about unconditional love.  As is so typical in our journey of life, God uses circumstances and events to teach us more about His grace and character and our need to utterly rely on Him.  I'm a slow learner sometimes...

In less than 24 hours we will be hanging out at the airport.  This may be my last post from Taiwan.  I can't even begin to put into words my utter gratitude for all of you who have prayed us through this journey thus far.  Don't stop now!  God is answering your prayers in amazing ways...our faith has been strengthened beyond measure.  God is SO good!

Humbled and grateful...

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stephanie garcia said...

Hey, that night setting on the pictures works great! Pedro liked the photo of Dave and Sophia in front of the hotel, with your reflection in the window. He said to tell you, "Great family picture!" :)

So thankful to God for His paving the way to bring you home quickly. Love you!

panim said...

Yay! It's so cool to see how God answered so many prayers from around the world. Praying for your trip home...
Love ya, Jenn

Anonymous said...

Yay! I love your photos of the CKS Memorial...glad you had a cooler night to enjoy it. When we were there the first time we adopted, it was so hot on the plaza, but last week we had some beautiful weather. Glad everything went well at AIT. Hope your journey home goes smoothly and Sophia transitions well to her new family!