Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Good Name

Proverbs 22:1 says "A good name is more desirable than great riches".  Many people have asked us about Ren's name so I thought I would let everyone know how she got her name.

This week we received a copy of the birth note that was left with Ren when she was abandoned.  She was abandoned when she was three weeks old.  She was found outside an outpatient building in Beijing.  The note that was left by her birth mother did not give her a name.  When she was taken to the orphanage, they gave her the name, Baojuan Ren.  Baojuan was her first name and Ren was her last name.   She was not given a middle name.

When we were matched with her, we decided to name her Sarah Ren Griffin.  We wanted to name her Sarah because that is Grandma Josie Griffin's first name.  We both love Grandma so much and know that our relationship with the Lord has a lot to do with her Godly heritage.  We loved the name Ren, so we decided to keep it.

So why Phillips?  This is one of my favorite "adoption moments" to share, (prior to getting Ren, of course).  A few days after we received the paperwork and pictures of Ren, my Daddy made a suggestion.  He said that he had been thinking and that Sarah Ren needed to have "our" name too.  At first I wasn't sure what he meant.  Then he said, "You know, like Henry.  He is Henry Phillips Griffin."  My Daddy has no idea how much that meant to me.  If you are a parent of biological and adopted children it is a huge blessing to know that all your children are accepted as part of the family.

After that conversation, I never thought about it twice.  She would definitely be Sarah Ren Phillips Griffin.  Phillips is a bittersweet name. It is sweet because I am very proud of my family and have always been proud "to be a Phillips".  But it is also a little bitter because I so wish my Mimi and PawPaw Phillips could have met Ren on this earth.  My Pawpaw always called me "Little Girl".  I know he would call Ren the same.  Or he may have called her "Burr Head", (another one of his pet names).

To Grandma Josie, to Mimi and Pawpaw, and most of all, to my Daddy, Thank you for the "Good names".
Sarah Ren Phillips Griffin

Giving Kisses

Today was a wonderful day with Ren.  She woke up smiling!  We toured Tiananman Square, The Forbidden City, and took a rickshaw ride through a Hutong neighborhood.  We ended the night at our hotel with pizza and ping pong.  Ren has laughed and been silly all day.  She is responding to her name and giving kisses.  Daddy even stole a few kisses today.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ren's Firsts

It is hard to believe that we have had Ren less than a week.  It seems like she has always been with us and I guess in many ways she has.  The last few days have been many "firsts" for Ren; her first ride in a taxi, her first tub bath, her first trip to an aquarium, her first diet Coke, and best of all, her first time being smothered with kisses from her parents!
Yesterday we went shopping/bartering at a clothing market, we went to an acrobatic show.  Ren was not too impressed.  We spent the show in the lobby eating cheerios.
Today we went to the Cloisonne Factory and the Great Wall.  The Cloisonne Factory was very interesting.  You would definitely recognize the vases from any Chinese buffet in America.  The amount of work that goes in to each piece is unbelievable.  Since Ren was born in 2008, she is Rat, according to the Chinese Zodiac calendar.  Of course her daddy had to buy her a "Cloisonne Rat"!
The Great Wall was unbelievable!  I would so like to say I climbed some part of it, but after several steps, we were done.  There is some good footage of "our hike" that I hope to post on Facebook.  We went in a few temples.  One temple was the Horse God temple.  On one side it was very funny.  There were a group of Europeans doing some kind of something in front of the temple.  When you stepped inside, there was an altar.  People still go in to pray and leave offerings.  It was a very eerie feeling.  I could not help but praise the Lord that our sweet Ren would now grow up being taught to worship God our Creator, instead of worshiping creation.
We ended our day at an International Hospital.  I noticed yesterday that Ren had a coating on her tongue that I was sure was Thrush.  Yep!  It is and she also has a mild infection in both ears.  She is now bathed, fed, medicated, and sleeping, like my baby.
Yes! That's Tyson and Flat Stanley!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Great Ride!

The first few days with Ren were mostly spent in the hotel room or in government offices.  For the most part she has remained very quiet and seemed very introverted.  Well, that was until yesterday.
Our first stop of the day was the Blue Zoo, which is an aquarium in Beijing.  The aquarium was mostly like the ones in the US, with the exception of the live mermaids!  The family that went with us to the aquarium adopted Zach.  We are almost sure he and Ren know each other.  They are from the same orphanage and they have the same special needs, (cleft lip/cleft palate).  When Ren sees Zach she immediately smiles and laughs. Plans for an arranged marriage are in the works! HA!
Later that evening we went to an unbelievable outdoor mall.  It was so creatively named, "The Place".  Little Miss Ren went wild.  She laughed and danced.  She walked everywhere.  She even made silly faces!  She was also the center of attention.  Lots of Chinese people came up and asked, "Take picture?"  They all wanted a picture of her.  They also kept saying, "She so beautiful!"  I asked our tour guide about all that and apparently Ren has the most desired skin tone by the Chinese, the fairer the skin, the more beautiful.  So not only is she a wild woman, she is also a little princess.
Before we came to China we were told that we may be approached by Chinese young adults who were just wanting to practice their english.  Well, we met a guy at the mall, who wanted to practice his english.  He told Tyson over and over again, "You are handsome!"  Hilarious!  He also wanted to know if Tyson liked beer!  Too funny.

Our great adventure!

At the end of the evening we had a slight communication error.  We asked a guy that drove one of the bikes with the carriage on the back to take us to KFC.  KFC was the only thing in Beijing that we did NOT see.  He asked us for our card, (hotel card).  After stopping for directions five times, an hour and a half and thirty dollars later, we arrived at our hotel!  We went all over Beijing.  He took that bike on the interstate, through the ghetto, and anywhere else you could think of.  Ren laughed, pointed, and clapped through the whole adventure!  Since we lived through it, it was a great ride!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Lord has Done Great Things!

There is so  much to say.  I am not sure words can express all the events of the last few days.  I think I will just share pictures of Ren and let her tell you her story.  The first pictures are from her "Forever Family Day", the day she met her mommy and daddy that she now belongs to forever!
Ren meets mommy.
Ren's nanny.
A few hours after we received Ren we went to our first government appointments.
Appointment at the China Civil Affairs Office
First bottle with Daddy!

So far our little girl is very quiet and a little somber.  The poor thing has no idea what has happened to her. Everything about her life has completely changed.  Nothing looks, smells, sounds, or tastes like anything she's ever known.  She looks at us with those big eyes and I'm sure has no idea how much she is loved.  

Of this one thing we are sure, Psalm 126:3, "The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!"  We are filled with joy that can only come from following Christ and watching His miraculous plans for our family unfold.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Walking Worthy

In the middle of preparing to go to China, I have also been preparing for another journey.  It's one that I knew was coming, but had no idea how emotional it would be. 

I was walking through the mall the other day, hand-in-hand with my sweet Ty.  I asked him for a hug.  He gave me a big hug and then said, "And a kiss too!"   Right in the middle of Hamilton Place Mall, my son gave me a kiss; completely unashamed.  Immediately my heart broke with the realization that it wouldn't be too long before he would be "too cool" to even go to the mall with his mom.

As we've prepared for this new journey all summer long, I have thought, "I wonder what parents feel like who send their adult children off to the foreign mission field."  On some small scale I think I know.  Because last Friday I didn't walk my son through the mall, but through the halls of New Hope Elementary School.  He wasn't going to Africa or China, but he was starting kindergarten!

Ty, where ever  you walk, your mommy loves you and prays Colossians 1:10, that you would "walk worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way."