Monday, January 30, 2012

Matthew 25:36 
I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

This verse really hit me square in the heart this past week.  Right after getting our official Letter of Acceptance from China, I hopped on a plane with my friends from Koinonia House Ministries and headed to Angola Prison in Louisiana.

The orphan lives not only within the walls of an orphanage, without Jesus Christ he or she lives within the walls of a prison.

You can help bring an orphan to the heavenly Father by supporting ministries like Chinese Children Adoption International and Koinonia House Ministries.

Please visit the links below.    Thanks for letting me share my heart ~  Brian

Ephesians 1:4-5
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.  God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Letter of Approval

In the world of international adoption, there seems to be a million acronyms.   It was a new language to us and at times seemed very much like Chinese!
Yesterday, on the first day of the Chinese New Year, we had great cause to celebrate.
The LOA is the Letter of Approval from China naming us as the parents of a Beautiful and Lovely little girl.  To celebrate we went out for Mexican food :)  and began filling out immigration paperwork and we Rejoiced.

The Father is faithful to gather his children from the east and the west.
"Do not be afraid, for I am with you.  I will gather your children from east and west."  Isaiah 43:5

Introducing our China doll,  picture below, our baby sister and our baby daughter.  

Travel dates are yet to be set but we will meet her this spring.  God is FAITHFUL to finish what He starts.  Please continue to pray for His hands on all the plans to come, and for a little heart so very far away that will have some big changes as she joins the Hill tribe !

Monday, January 23, 2012


A description of our daughter at 21 months old.  

ZhaoQian (translates to beautiful & lovely)
 “She”   likes to chase around and giggle with friends. If Ayi, “auntie”  asks them to line up, she likes to say at the end of the line. When it is cartoon time, she will set with her friends to watch the show, however, she will move around after over 10 minutes watching, she will touch friends’ faces or clothes to get their attention, sometimes, she will push friends from their chairs and set in the chairs, if Ayi points her out, she will lower her head for  a short time 
and gives the chairs back to friends and be happy again. 
This little bird is ready for big brothers.
She has Moxy, she is a Hill girl, and we are ready to have her home.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Romans 8:38-39

Sights in Henan China - Rope Bridge
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.     new living translation

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy New Year!

    (New year begins on 1/23/2012)  
    (This Chinese year is the Year of the Dragon) 
    The Chinese calendar has been in continuous use for centuries. It predates the International Calendar (based on the Gregorian Calendar) in use at the present, which goes back only some 430 years. Basically, a calendar is a system we use to measure the passage of time, from short durations of minutes and hours, to intervals of time measured in days, months, years and centuries. These are fundamentally based on the astronomical observations of the movement of the Sun, Moon and stars.
    Days are measured by the duration of time of one self rotation of the earth. Months are measured by the duration of time of rotation of the moon around the earth. Years are measured by the duration of time it takes for the earth to rotate around the Sun.

    Fun Activities and Traditions 
  • An important tradition on New Year's Eve is for families to gather together and spend the evening preparing Chinese dumplings (Jiaozi). According to Chinese Culture Guide Jun Shan, it is common to hide a coin in one of the dumplings. Whoever gets the dumpling with the coin will supposedly have good luck in the coming year.
  • Give out money packets - On New Years day, children receive leisee - red packets decorated with gold symbols and filled with "lucky money".
  • Serve festive foods - Throughout the New Years season, certain foods are served because they symbolize abundance and good fortune. Besides preparing special dishes, tangerines and oranges are often passed out to children and guests, as they symbolize wealth and good luck.
  • Prepare a Tray of Togetherness - This is a circular or octagon-shaped tray with eight compartments, each containing symbolic foods such as lotus seeds and lychee nuts, that provides a sweet beginning to the New Year.

Hope you all are enjoying our cultural and informational highlights as we wait for our travel date!     Brian

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lily's Souvenir

 We have been doing extensive research on history, cultural and things to do while our family is in China.  Lily has more than once asked to bring home a Panda Bear as a souvenir.  
 Cathy and I were delighted to find the following information about the Guanzhou Zoo, since we will be spending a few days in this particular area.   I'm sure Lily will be wanting to bring home this little pet in her suitcase.  
 I wonder if we'll be able to convince Customs and Immigration upon arrival in Chicago?                  

Guangzhou Zoo is one of the three largest zoos in China (the other two are the Shanghai Wild Zoo and the Beijing Zoo. It is situated in the east part of Middle Xian Lie Road. With an area of over 42 hectares (about 100 acres) and large quantity of animal species, it receives about 4 million visitors from all over the world annually. After the previous over 50 years' development, Guangzhou Zoo now has become a diversified place for animal exhibition, science education and entertainment. 

Guangzhou Zoo has around 400 species with a population of over 5,000 animals. According to different categories, animals in the zoo are displayed in differently: insects, amphibians and reptiles, birds, members of the cat family and Corythosaurus. There are endangered species like the South China tiger and rarely-seen overseas animals like the Chimpanzee. Moreover, the zoo has now successfully reproduced over one hundred species, and has become the leader of zoos in China for breeding animals like chimpanzees, Asian elephants and giraffes.

According to the layout of zoological classification, the animals inside are exhibited in three tourist districts: Central Exhibition District, Bird Paradise and Garden of Reptiles and Amphibians. Mammals are major members in Central Exhibition District, including lions, tigers, monkeys, hippos, pandas, dogs, elephants, giraffes, rhinos, zebras, deer, and so on. Bird Paradise now has over one hundred kinds of fowls and birds. The Reptiles and Amphibians Garden exhibits amphibians, reptiles, fish, and so on.

Guangzhou Zoo has rich types of scenery. In addition, there are some new attractions, such as the Goldfish Garden, Animal Performance, Dinosaur World, Lake Scenery, and Butterfly World. The Goldfish Garden exhibits nearly 100 species in total of 10,000 famed and precious fishes. Animal Performance has performers like lions, tigers, monkeys, dogs and horses, and their acrobatics must be the favorites of children. Using modern technology, Dinosaur World will give visitors a vivid world of dinosaurs. Lake Scenery includes three lakes all together with many swimming birds, springs, small islands and pavilions. In the Butterfly World, visitors will view graceful sights of butterflies.

And yes, there are two resident Panda Bears on site!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Great Wall

As most of our friends and family know, the Hill Family loves geography, history and travel.   Upon arrival in Bejing, our agency will give us a couple of days to acclimate to the new time zone and "rest" before traveling on to Henan to meet our new daughter.   We will have the opportunity to visit several sites in Bejing and the area.   The Great Wall is on our list.    Here's a little information I found:                Brian
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Great Wall of China ‘zig-zags’ central-east Asia and it is an incredible structure. It took over a thousand years to build and is over 1500 miles in length. It is the longest, oldest, most time consuming construction project ever attempted, in history. Neil Armstrong (the Apollo astronaut) said that it could even be seen from space.

The Great Wall was built for defensive purposes, especially to stop attack from the north of China. Emperors feared that China would be conquered from the north. The Wall stretches across deserts and up and down mountain ranges.   Building started in the Qin dynasty (221-206BC) and continued until the Jin dynasty (1115-1234AD).

The Great Wall was part of a Chinese strategy of preventing mass invasion. In the early years the walls were made of rammed earth but as hundreds of years past more sophisticated methods of building were developed with rocks, bricks and mortar being used. It is estimated that over one million people helped in the construction of the Great Wall.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Letter To God

My son Beau wrote this and left it on the kitchen counter.
He didn’t have a reason, other than, “just because”. The picture below is a picture of Elvis. He said he tried to draw God, but ended up with Elvis. I will admit, God would be pretty hard to draw.

I found this phrase this morning, “My love for you is a journey, starting at forever, and ending at never.”
That is the love of a family. That is the love for my adopted daughters. Their beginnings were with the Father, alone they were, yet very much with Him. He knew they would have a bit of time before we would be placed in their arms, but He was there.

My daughter Lily remembers times in Kazkhstan when her cheek was caressed and yet no one was there. She knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that was her Savior. I pray the same day after day for my china doll, that she senses her Savior. That the Spirit resides with her now in my stead. Our journey to her remains a mystery, but our love for her truly does begin and end at forever.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Chinese Fried Chicken

My son requested “home-made” Chinese for dinner last night.  Anything that makes us think and feel our trip is eminent is currently welcome in our home.  We are lonesome for a little girl we have never met, but yet she resides in such big places in all of our hearts.  For this we are amazed and very grateful.

After dinner, I introduced the kids to a new friend, her name is “Google Translate.”  We committed to learning a new Chinese word but I have quickly run out of the 10 or so words I thought I knew.  This amazing technology allows you to type something in English and then you can listen to the Chinese.  The lady sounds a little bit like my GPS lady but she is wonderfully fluent and distinct.  We all learned the phrase “I love you."

Beau quickly understood the science behind what I was doing on the computer and typed in “I love you fried chicken.”

As of this morning, none of us could remember where the Chinese part of I Love you begins and where fried chicken ends.  There is a real possibility our daughter will be nicknamed “fried chicken”, but we will love her anyway!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Big Bear to Little Panda

Dear Baby Sister,
My anticipation grows as we come closer and closer to our date of travel. I can not wait to see you and to hold you for the first time. I know that God in His divine goodness has placed you into our family for a reason and I will try as hard as I can to be a great big brother and a role model.
   I love you so much and I can't wait to see you.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

a letter from "jei jei" - big sister, Lily

Dear Baby Sister,

I have got two very special birthday presents for you.  They both were mine at one time.  But, I think you should have them.  I hope your nose will feel better soon.  And, one of the presents has gold sequence on it.

PS.  Sequence are little any color pretty things, like little beads.

All my friends are really looking forward to seeing you.  I think you are very cute.  And, we have a room for you.  It has a pink cradle and there are Chinese pillows in there.  And at Christmas time, you have a pink stocking with designs on it.

By the way, my name is Lily.  L I L Y.  I am 7 and 1/2.  Beau is 9 and Bailey is 15.  You will like our house.  We have 2 guinea pigs.  One is Zuzu and one is Gingersnap.  My friend Brooke who is very close has 2 guinea pigs that almost look the same as ours.

Your birthday presents are:  I can't tell you what they are, but  I can tell you a little bit.  I got you shoes from where I used to live, in Kazakhstan.  And, I got you a pretty doll with a pink dress with flowers on it.  I want to know what your favorite color is.  Mine is pink!

I am sooo excited to see you.  I could ALMOST pack my bags and go alone.
I love you.
Lily Isabella-Joy

Monday, January 9, 2012

Letter to New Sister - Beau

Dear Baby Sister:
I can't wait to meet you. I just want you to know that my name is Beau.  You pronounce my name as BOW,  like bow tie pasta.  You will have a sister and another brother.  Lily is our sister, she is very sweet. You will like her. Bailey, which is your other brother, he is the oldest. He plays football and is very nice.
I pray for you everyday. I love you!
From Beau

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It really is the little things...

  It was one week ago, new year’s weekend to be exact and 3 days off.  Brian forwarded me an email from a lady named Emily.  She indicated she was a volunteer for our agency raising money and awareness for the orphans in Henan.  I read the email and learned her current project was collecting hand made blankets for Henan. 
  Evidently she had not read my resume as I do not sew, a button here and there, but not blankets.  I mentally filed the email, but something stayed with me, such a little request for such little children...
  I got home and emailed, perhaps fleece blankets would do I thought.  Emily heartily agreed and with 3 whole days off, we headed off to Walmart to find fleece.  Twelve dollars later and the kids and I were on the floor in the nursery cutting, pinning and tying. 
  Beau was particularly concerned if ‘our’ blanket would reach his sister.  I told him it was about helping children, and soon we could make and give his sister her very own blanket. 
  One week later and as we gathered for bed this evening I clicked on Emily’s website hoping to follow 4 families traveling to their children.  As I scrolled to find the blogs I noticed 3 new pictures and the words, the “great wall of blankets.”  There on the screen were lovely blankets, hand made, hand tied ready to head to China.  Two little blankets, my children had made. 
With great pride they looked at the screen and sensed they had made a difference and their love would soon make some little babies in their sister’s hometown warm. 
  God tugs on our hearts in little ways only to reward us with the huge warm loving hug of obedience.  He is incredibly good, and cares to teach children in incredible ways.  Even old children, like me.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Our little girl is on my mind tonight as she is so often. Today, we took down our Christmas tree. It was about  6 weeks ago when we hung "her ornament".  We had bought it the Christmas of 2010 dreaming she would be with us for this Christmas.  It was with some grief I hung that little treasure.  I did not know her then.  I didn't know she had beautifully sparkling almond eyes, full cheeks, and that she is now 21 months old. She is described as shy and likes to be told she is "pretty."  This afternoon as I held that ornament, she seemed so close, yet she remains half a world away.  But not in our hearts.  She is as much a part of us as my three other children taking down ornaments and thinking fondly of next Christmas and the many to come when we will be a family of six.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Brian sent our little box to China today.  I imagine her every moment of the day seeing her toys, and wearing something wonderfully soft until I can hold her.

It felt good to be busy as I filled that box, and already this morning, I was mentally filling another one.  I told Brian if it is not too expensive, I am hoping we can send one every 2 weeks.  Next time some chocolates for her caregivers and toys for her friends.  We know she is in a room with 7 little children her age.

I fill my thoughts with her and read blogs of those that have traveled to learn what we may need, experience, or see.    I also see that there are so so so many orphans, many of whom will never know a family.  It is inescapably incomprehensible to me that this child was chosen by God's hand for us.    Today, I saw this quote in one of the blogs.  It perfectly captured my emotions...
"You have not chosen one another, but I have chosen you for one another"  -  C.S. Lewis
It is a perfectly wonderful thought that nothing happens by chance.  This child like my 3 others will be lent to me for a time to care and nurture.  Her true parent tho is her heavenly Father, He is with her now and will be with her to the end of the age.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sealed with a Kiss

Tonight, we had the sheer delight of going to shop for our little girl.  It seemed a little bit like Christmas all over again.  We purchased 2 outfits, soft pajamas and a photo album that is safe for a baby.  We inserted our first picture of her, and one of our family with little chinese labels to identify all of us.  Hopefully she will like what she sees. :)   We also enclosed a little rosebud blanket I had picked up at Storeroom months ago and some stacking cups.  The cups were new but exactly like the ones I purchased for Bailey some 15 years ago.  God is truly gracious to grow our family in this way and let us experience such joy x 4! We sealed our box with a kiss tonight and tomorrow it will be on its way to China!


Henan Province
Translation "South of the River"

Henan Province is the most populous province in China thanks to separating Chongqing from Sichuan. Henan is the breadbasket of China. It ranks first in the production of wheat, beef, and fiber crops. It ranks second in the production of coal, cigarettes, fertilizer, tractors, peanuts, sesame, gold, and cotton. It ranks third in the production of beans, tobacco, apples, pork, mutton, and honey. Zhengzhou, the capital, is the most important rail center in China. Henan has China's largest reserves of molybdenum, asbestos, natural gas, bauxite, coal, perlite and refractory clay. We lived in Xinzheng just south of Zhengzhou for a year.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

In our inbox today we received our pre-approval.

I am not 100% sure what this means, but in general terms it brings us one step closer to our little girl.
Also, we now have the address for her and can send her a care package.

At that moment, we as a family will be introduced to our daughter by her caregivers.  We will send a photo and it is suggested we send clothes and toys.  We can send no larger than a shoebox so we will make these selections carefully.  You can be sure there will be plenty of pink packed in this tiny box.

When the box is received the caregivers will begin to introduce to our daughter her new family.  I will be labeling, in Chinese, the photo such that she will see her sister, brothers and of course, mama and baba,  mommy and daddy.

This project, the paperwork and prayer fills our days until she is ours.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012



An older man was walking along a beach when he saw a young boy. Along the shore were many starfish that had been washed up by the tide and were sure to die before the tide returned. The boy was walking slowly along the shore and occasionally reached down and tossed a beached starfish back into the ocean.The older man, hoping to teach the boy a little lesson in common sense, walked up to the boy and said, "I have been watching what you are doing, son. You have a good heart, and I know you mean well, but do you realize how many beaches there are around here and how many starfish are dying on every beach every day? Surely, such an industrious and kindhearted boy such as yourself could find something better to do with your time. Do you really think that what you are doing is going to make a difference?"
The boy looked up at that man, and then he looked down at a starfish by his feet. He picked up the starfish, and as he gently tossed it back into the ocean, he said,
"For this one, it makes a difference."

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

Our hearts are full of  anticipation as we await the news to travel to China for our "Little Bird"

Brian, Cathy, Bailey, Beau & Lily