Thursday, October 13, 2016


Today wasn't a busy day, but it was a hard day. We've had many power struggles as Joey tests our limits. Like I said, we were told by his Foster Grandpa that Joey pretty much ran the house and we have come to the conclusion that they probably allowed that and didn't discourage it at all. He has many, many behaviors that just aren't going to be accepted and today he tested us on just about all of those, lol. (Hitting, spitting in our faces, throwing things that shouldn't be thrown, yelling at us and kicking...just to name a few!) Again, we were trained for this and we were expecting it, but that doesn't always make dealing with it easier. Being in public with staring eyes doesn't make it any easier!! It literally felt like we spent half of our day correcting him and that is super tiring!

We did go to the zoo today which was quite an experience. Joey had pretty much no interest in the animals but it was nice to be out and about. We walked a lot! We were with the other adoptive family and by the end of our day it seemed as if we had gathered a crowd. I think we may have been the main attraction instead of the zoo animals, lol.

At the end of the day we still having a wonderfully loving boy who is learning us, just like we are learning him. We're making progress and realize we've only had him 4 days! Tomorrow is a new day!!

Speaking of tomorrow... Tomorrow we move on to the next leg of our journey. We will take a bullet train from here to Teagan's province. It's about a 2 hour train ride. We're so ready to move on and we know Joey will do well with the transition. He's really good about just going with the flow!

We are starting to prepare ourselves for adding another child. It is REALLY intimidating to be honest with you!! Joey keeps us on our toes so adding another is going to be a challenge. Jeff's been trying to take over as primary parent with Joey to free me up for adding Teagan. This has gone well so far.... Joey loves his daddy too! That will make things easier for sure :) We will get Teagan on Sunday!

Thank you everyone for all of your kind words and prayers. Hearing from each of you means so much to us <3

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Orphanage Visit

Today started with us and the other adoptive family visiting a walking park with our guide. It's a park where the locals go to exercise, dance, and bring their kids. There's a small area with kiddie rides so we decided to be brave and let the kids ride. Joey LOVED this!! He is so brave and just smiled and smiled... until it was time to leave then we had a MAJOR breakdown. We survived though so we're glad we went ;-)

After the park our guide took us to a local noodle restaurant. The food was so-so but the entertainment of Joey slurping his noodles like a Chinese man made our time there worth it. This boy knows how to eat and he is so funny to watch. We definitely will be working on manners when we get home because many Chinese eating habits are just not acceptable in the US, lol.

After lunch we went to our room for a quick 1/2 hr nap then had to meet our guide to head to Joey's orphanage for a visit.

This is a day that I have to honestly say I have been dreading pretty much forever. Joey has been so good with us but I've known that he has a foster family that loves him so much and have had a hard time feeling like he is 100% mine. I know it is irrational thinking, but I have felt like I'm taking him from a family that he already had. As much as I needed to meet them I was so afraid that he would see them then wave goodbye to Jeff and me and want us to leave. In the same way, I feared for the hearts of his foster parents that he would cry and not want to go to them because of us, then their hearts would hurt. Turns out I had nothing to fear at all <3

Earlier in the week we had shown our guide Joey's paperwork which listed the spot where he was found abandoned. Our guide told us this spot was on the way to the orphanage so we would be able to go there. Joey was abandoned in a small flower garden in a park when he was 3 years old. We found this spot easily and it felt very surreal to be there. To think of a 3 year old trusting some adult who took him to the park and then all of a sudden that adult is gone. I can't wrap my head or heart around that. I understand the cultural differences and I know how hard it is in China to raise a child with special needs, but I can't imagine how alone Joey felt when he realized the person he loved was gone. I was happy to hold my baby extra tight in that same spot today and give him extra hugs and kisses while we were there!

When we pulled up to the orphanage you could tell Joey knew where we were. He jumped out of the van quickly but was sure to hold my hand and Jeff's hand as we walked towards the school. As we were walking up the steps I guess it was snack time because a lady was pushing a cart full of apples. Boy did Joey know it was snack time and ran right over to her. Did I mention this kid like to eat?! ;-)

We went to his classroom first and he walked right in, as Jeff said, as if he owned the place! (We've pretty much figured out that's how he walks in to any room!). All of the kids were sitting around the table waiting on their snacks so Joey went and got his chair... which has his picture on it... and put himself at the table. We stayed for a little while talking to some of the kids then told him it was time to go. He quickly got up and waved to everyone then off we went!

Next we headed over to his foster family's apartment building. I guess there are about 30 sets of foster parents that each take care of 6-8 kids. These are all older kids who are higher functioning we were told. The younger kids or kids with significant special needs stay in the orphanage with nannies.

When we got to the door to Joey's foster home the director knocked and foster dad came to the door. The parents are actually older so they are called Grandma and Grandpa. Joey kind of just stormed right in, again as if he owned the place. Foster grandma didn't know we were coming so she had gone to the store so Grandpa called her and Joey talked to her on the phone. You could hear Grandma on the other end of the phone so excited to hear "Fu Yan's" voice. It was sweet. I was very sad to find out that Grandma wasn't there but I know that God planned out our day and for what ever reason, whether it was for my heart, Joey's heart, or her heart... she wasn't meant to be there. As we walked into the living room Joey pulled each of us by our hand and had us sit on their couch. We spent a lot of time talking to Grandpa and asking questions about Joey. The love he had for Joey was overflowing. <3 He said Joey was the "leader" of their kids in their home... No big surprise there ;) He told us about some of his eating habits, etc. We got to see where he slept and ate. Their home was very clean and neat and they had family pictures on the wall, which Joey was in. It was such a nice home. Grandpa said he and Grandma are so happy that Joey has been adopted and as I thanked him, he thanked us. It was a wonderful visit and when it was time to leave, Grandpa picked Joey up, they had kisses and hugs goodbye then Joey got down and grabbed my hand and waved to Grandpa. And THAT is the moment this sweet little boy became 100% mine <3 I love him so much!!

On the way out we heard some kids playing in the yard and Joey definitely recognized THESE kids! He went running and the kids came running to him too... "FUYAN, FUYAN!!" It was so sweet. There was one little boy who was really happy to see him and we soon were told this was his foster brother that lives in the house with him. All of the kids were excited to see him though. Joey was excited to show them his backpack of course. They all talked for a while and when we were ready to leave they all got together and said at the same time "Zai Jian FUYAN"... Goodbye FUYAN. Again so sweet, and again Joey grabbed my hand, looked up at me and smiled, and we climbed in our van and left.

This boy... We are so blessed that he is ours <3

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

He's a Jarrett!

Today we spent going building to building finishing up adoption paperwork. We started with our adoption certificate which made Joey officially a Jarrett. The guy signing the certificates said in Mandarin which was then translated to English... "From today on, you are this boys parents". We gladly accept!

After we had the adoption certificate we had to go get Joey's picture taken for his passport then go to the government office to apply for his passport. We just spent a lot of the day going place to place!

We had a few power struggles today, but we've expected these! Joey likes to run off and when I chase (to try to keep him from going into traffic or something!) he thinks it's funny. We've had to get pretty stern with him which led to some crying but he gets over it pretty quickly. He has also been hitting when he gets mad so we're trying to deal with that too. When we yell at him he folds his arms across his chest with a "Uuggg" and glares from the tip of his nose. One of the other adoptive moms asked me how we are going to discipline him when he is so stinking cute, lol. He is definitely going to keep us on our toes!

He's definitely a little sour patch kid though. So stubborn at times then 2 seconds later he's sweet as pie. We just love him and Jeff and I just look at each other when he's being so sweet and silly and we just smile. This kid has the ability to change the world one person at a time <3 He waves at anyone who will look at him too!

We had the funniest thing happen when we were sitting in a waiting area at the one government building. There was a Chinese lady sitting in front of us and Joey decided he was going to poke her in the back to try to get her attention. I was trying to get him to stop because I didn't want her to get annoyed with him. Telling him to stop made him want to do it more of course, so eventually she turned around and looked at him. With perfect timing he smiled at her and pointed to Jeff accusing him of being the one who was poking her. It was classic and we were cracking up laughing, which of course made him want to continue poking her so we had to pull ourselves together pretty quickly. Lol. This boy <3

We were able to go to a classic Chinese restaurant for lunch, with our guide this time so she could order for us, and it was pretty good. Joey LOVES to eat and Jeff recorded him eating because he he's from China. Lol It's so funny to watch him.

After lunch and some more office visits we came back to the hotel for a quick nap then went across the street to walk around in the mall for a little while. It was overall a really good day, again!

Tomorrow we will go to a park in the morning then visit Joey's orphanage and Foster family in the afternoon. This is a day that I am in a way dreading. I'm so happy to learn more about where he comes from and meet the people that have loved him, but very afraid that he will see them and want to stay then we will have to pull him away. Please pray for his heart tomorrow. And for me and his Foster Momma!

Goodnight from China!


Monday, October 10, 2016

First Day with our son...

It's 2:00am China time and I finally got enough sleep to think straight! I want to get everything about this past 24 hours in writing before I add on more thoughts tomorrow :)

First I have to tell you how amazing our God is!! There is something about each of the kids that, as I dreamed of our first few moments with them, scared me. With Joey, I was really afraid that he would be so scared and that he would hate us and we'd be trying to carry around a kicking and screaming child. As I prayed for our "meeting" I prayed that he would accept us quickly, that he would have peace with us, that we would have patience in understanding his fear and grief, and that God would show us how to give him the love that he needs and that Joey would feel it as love.

As well as our meeting, and entire day went..... God answers prayers as I have learned in new ways over and over again!!

In my previous post I told how we first saw Joey. It was amazing, and sweet, and PERFECT! Like I said before too, Joey is very social and waves and talks to EVERYONE. And tries to share their food and toys and crayons, etc. lol We spent hours at the Civil Affairs office following him around and trying to keep him at a good distance from the other families so they could have some privacy as they met their kids. It was a challenge, and honestly they all really didn't mind him intruding in their gatherings ;-)

Speaking of the other families meeting their kids... when we adopted Jasmine and Jewel they were brought to our hotel so we were the only family there when they were handed to us. This time we went with another couple with our agency, plus there were other families from other agencies there as well. Probably 10 families in all meeting their kids for the first time. The loss and grief and fear in the room was soooooo horribly sad. Nannies crying, more like sobbing as their kids were handed over to strangers... one nanny had to be taken from the building as she sobbed and had to be held back in the parking lot so she wouldn't go back in at which point she collapsed to the ground. The kids were equally as scared and sad as they tried to hang on to their nannies necks and were torn away to be handed to their new parents. It was heartbreaking. Adoption is a beautiful thing... in the "end", when the dust settles I guess you would say. But adoption comes from great loss and that was never more clear to me than today

Joey was brought to us by a worker from the orphanage. He came with his backpack that we sent to him as a care package. It is so evident how loved he is by his Foster Mom. His backpack had everything in it that we sent him, but also was packed to the edges with food and a few other things by his "mom". I can't image how she felt as she packed his last bag, wanting to make sure he has what he needs. The love was so strong to me as I opened his bag and saw all of the stuff. Amazing.

And boy does Joey know that this is HIS backpack. There was no way we were taking it from him anytime soon!! So sweet ;-)

After several hours we were finally able to head back to our hotel. Joey was happy to jump in the van, with his backpack on of course, and go with us. He sat between Jeff and I and just smiled and "talked" the whole ride. When we got to the hotel he got out, grabbed my hand happily, we said goodbye to our guide and into the hotel we went. As we reached our floor it really hit me. This boy now has a forever family! Just a few hours ago he left an orphanage and now he is walking down the hall to his room at the Hilton! That thought has a mixture of emotions attached to it but praise God that this is our SON!!

After getting to the hotel and secretly unpacking Joey's backpack (just because it was heavier than he is and I was so afraid he was going to fall over with it on) we decided to head out to lunch. Hand in hand, with Joey and his now empty backpack and as happy as can be, we walked. We found a Pizza Hut and had a much easier experience ordering this time. And boy can this kid eat!! Jeff and I have been saying that he and Jonathan are neck and neck in how much food they can put down!! lol. As we were waiting for the food, Joey entertained himself (and us) with a small cup, as spoon, and some water. I would pour a small amount of water into the cup and he would sip it out of the spoon Chinese style lol. Since I was only pouring a little water into the cup at a time he was frequently needing more. I'm not sure if I mentioned yet that Joey doesn't speak (not even in Chinese), only gestures and grunts to let you know what he wants. He's good at it though! Anyway, he kept pointing at the water and grunting when he wanted more, so I showed him the "sign" for more. After only 2 times of me showing him, unprompted he did the sign for more when he ran out of water. This kid is smart <3

We did some walking around and spent some time at WalMart. There is an escalator that goes up to a walking bridge to cross the street then and escalator to go back down on the other side. I'm pretty sure Joey have never seen this before but boy did he think this was fun! :)

All in all, besides just a couple of moments of breakdowns about not getting what he wants, we had a GREAT day. We were able to video chat with the kids and Grandma at home which was perfect as well. We're going to have our hands full with this little guy but we're so happy to be able to be his parents!

As we got closer to bedtime I began to prepare myself for the worst, the big freak out and breakdown. I gave him a bath that he wasn't real happy about and put PJs on him. He went to the bathroom (he is truly potty trained which I wasn't expecting) and climbed into bed with me. We read some books, played on the tablet for a little bit, and around 8:00p I just couldn't stay awake any longer. I patted on the bed for him to lay down, which he did without hesitation. I gave him some kisses and cuddles which caused him to giggle then he put his hands behind his head and fell asleep next to me, literally with a smile on his face.

I'm still preparing myself that reality eventually may set in with him that he is staying with us forever and he may freak out, but for now I'm just soaking in this sweet happy little boy that is laying in my bed. He has even giggled in his sleep a few time ;-)

Tomorrow we have to go back to the Civil Affairs Office to finish the adoption process. We have been given approval to go visit Joey's Orphanage and his Foster mom on Wednesday afternoon. This will be a very emotional time I'm sure as Joey will say his final goodbyes. We are also hoping to visit the place that Joey was found abandoned when he was just 3 years old. That will also be a very hard time for me.

Thank you all so much for your love and prayers. They truly are felt here on the other side of the world!!



Gotcha Joey!!

I hope what I am about to type makes sense because I am EXHAUSTED!! I will post more pictures to Facebook tomorrow sometime :)

We left the hotel this morning around 9:45a to head to the Civil Affairs Building where we were to meet our kids. This was the first adoption where we met our child with a group of other people meeting their children. I was very busy, and very emotional!

As soon as we pulled up to the building I started video taping because I saw there were some kids inside the building and I wanted to have the moment we first saw him recorded. As we all got out of the van another van pulled up behind us and our guide says, "this is Zhengzhou Orphanage's van". Sure enough the driver lifts out Joey who comes waking toward us with absolutely no fear. The orphanage staff who was with him says, "Momma" and points to me and Joey just walks right up and gives me a hug. I started crying but quickly stopped myself because I didn't want to scare him off, lol. After a long hug and a couple of pictures I handed him to "daddy" and he get hugs too! Such a sweet little guy!

We quickly found out that Joey is very social as he went around talking to EVERYONE! He also has a VERY stubborn streak and a bit of a temper! We are in love though and will share more about him hopefully tomorrow. I am literally falling asleep as I type though so I think this "blogging" is going to have to wait for now ;-)

I really REALLY want to thank everyone for praying for us today. We couldn't have asked for our day to go any better and that is only because of God. We also appreciate you continuing to pray as we have our power struggles and try to figure out who is in charge, him or us! Lol We love you all!


Sunday, October 9, 2016

We're here!!

I can't believe this time has finally come!! I got teary at the airport as we were leaving on Friday evening because I have been working for that day, full time, for a year straight. Every night, for a year, as I lay down and try to sleep I would think about the day we leave for China and the day we meet the kids for the first time. On the plane I felt so happy, so much so that my smiling and laughing may have annoyed Jeff a little. Lol. Truth is though, as supportive as he has been in this adoption, he doesn't know how much actually went into it, so in no way would he be able to know the relief and peace I have in finally being on the road that I have dreamed of over and over again. So I just continued on, annoying him ;-)

We left home at 12:00pm and flew to Chicago where we had a long 4 1/2 hour layover. We got so many questions asked about why we had 2 strollers and no kids. We were happy to be able to brag over and over that those strollers will not be empty when we come back home!! At 5:00p we boarded our LONG flight to China, about 13 hours. The plane was full, all 226 seats, and maybe 10 of us were Americans. As far as I was concerned the flight went smoothly and quickly, watching movies and sleeping some. Jeff would most likely DISagree, seeing that he was in the middle seat next to the stinky sausage eating, snoring, no concept of personal space Chinese guy. LOL

We landed around 8:30p China time (exactly 12 hours ahead of Ohio). We smoothly, although not so quickly, made it through customs and found our driver holding the sign with our agency's name on it. We made it to our hotel around 10p probably and waited in the lobby for a while as we're not sure if we were or weren't on the reservation list and our driver, who spoke no English, argued with the front desk people. After a quick phone call to someone with our adoption agency, we were indeed on the reservation list and were given keys to our room. The room was nice, with Rock Hard beds and Wifi that would barely stay connected. We were very happy to be able to be connected long enough to "talk" with our kids at home and get a quick picture of Jonathan getting ready for Homecoming! He looked so handsome <3

This morning, 10:30am after breakfast that included fried rice, "ham" (spam) and "breakfast sausage" (a hotdog) we were picked up by another driver in his minivan with red shag carpet and love pillows on the seats (You can't make this stuff up). There was another couple and their daughter already in the van so we really REALLY had to cram to fit ourselves and everything in. We were taken to the train station where we would catch our train to Zhengzhou in Henan Province, where Joey is from. We pulled up to this huge area, the driver helped us get all of our luggage out of the van then waved Goodbye and left us standing on the curb. Signs everywhere, in Chinese. We started walking and found a little tiny, winding entrance that we could barely fit though let alone our luggage so Jeff just decided to throw our luggage over the Gate so we could get in. Once we were inside the gate we still had no idea where we were going so we follow a group of people through a TINY metal spinning door which we again barely got all of our stuff through. (Any of you that know Jeff well will understand that by this point he was NOT enjoying this, lol). We go though the spinning entrance and immediately inside there is a luggage belt to scan our luggage. There's tons of people as well so we just throw our luggage on as we can. We make it through the metal detector and gather our selves with the other family only to realize we have just entered the area to buy tickets, which we already have. Sigh... back out though another TINY spinning metal door. Eventually we found our way to the actual entrance and to the waiting area. It was an adventure for sure!!

Once it was time to load the train everything went pretty smoothly. The seats were nice and big with plenty of leg room. We got served some Chinese "snacks" and were brave enough to try them! This was a bullet train that went about 180MPH. We made to Zhengzhou in about 3 hours with no issues. Our guide, Danielle, met us at the train station and took us to the bank (which took literally and hour to exchange money) then to our hotel. We've been dragging this luggage around with us for about 36 hours so it was nice to be able to put it somewhere where it will be staying until Friday!!

We really like the couple we are with, Cherri and Paul, so after getting settled into our rooms and saying goodbye to our guide for the night we decided to venture into the streets alone, without our guide. We walked a ways and found a "steakhouse" which was the only place we could find that had any sign of English. Come to find out, that sign was the only English about it. Not a single server or cook spoke any English but they did have a big picture menu that we used to pick our meals. The food was decent and besides them not understanding we wanted something to drink besides the hot tea they gave us (Jeff and Paul ended up running across the street to get us drinks) and not understanding when we were done that we were ready to pay, it went ok. After dinner we ventured into WalMart and got a few things to munch on plus a few snacks and drinks we're hoping Joey will like. We just got back to our hotel around 9:30p. We will unpack and head to bed because.....

Tomorrow, at 10:30am, we will meet our son!! Our guide is meeting us at our hotel at 9:30a to take us to the Civil Affairs office and we will take custody of him there. We are so excited!! We're already talking about the things that we saw tonight that we can go out and do with him later this week! I can't believe this is happening!! Cherri and Paul are adopting 2 children also and they are both here is Henan Province so they will get both of them tomorrow too!

So please, PLEASE pray for us and for Joey tomorrow (tonight Ohio time). He will be so scared and confused as I'm sure they will take him from his Foster Mom first thing in the morning. A lot of times when older kids are taken by their new parents they feel as if they are being kidnapped so that's how they react to it. Please pray for peace for him and pray for us to have patience and understanding, and the ability to be able to offer him love and comfort. We need that prayer now more than ever! We'll post again tomorrow, ASAP!!

PS: I didn't have a way to post pictures on this blog tonight but I'll put them on Facebook

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

And Now Introducing......

I am so excited to finally be able to write this post!!

We haven't always thought we would adopt 2 kids at one time, but after attending a special needs camp over the past 2 summers my kids have really formed some close relationships with some boys with Down Syndrome. When hearing we were planning to adopt again, they really hoped to have a sibling with Down Syndrome.

I also have had my life changed by a child with Down Syndrome.... When we were working toward adopting Jewel, I decided to pick up a second job to increase our income. I was hired by a company that employed nurses to work with children, in their homes, that need extra medical care. There was a little 2 year old boy named Truman that had Down Syndrome and he had a full time nurse during the day. I started working with him a couple of days a week and completely fell in love with him! The sweetest little guy. Truman passed away in 2014. He is the reason I switched my career path to working with special needs children, and now the reason I feel comfortable changing my parenting path as well...

We had already committed to try to adopt Teagan, but knew it was possible to adopt 2 kids at one time from China. We decided to add a child with DS to our family as well! :) After talking and praying about it, we found a little boy who we were interested in who had DS. We submitted our letter to our adoption agency, asking to be approved to adopt 2 kids...

Not to much later, we began to talk about a name. I had a name in mind, but Jeff said what about “Joseph”? This was the name I was thinking too! Joseph means “God will add…a son”. So we decided yes, his name will be Joseph and we will call him Joey!

Shortly after deciding on the name, the little boy we were interested in was chosen by another family. I was sad, and prayed. I asked God to please make it very clear to us if a boy with Down Syndrome is supposed to be our son. I literally prayed, “Please lay OUR Joey in our lap so we know he is ours”. The next day I posted on and advocacy site asking for people to list their favorite boys with DS, under the age of 7. One of the very first responses was from a young lady who volunteered at a summer camp in China. She added the most precious picture of a boy, 5 years old, who is advocated for by the name “Joey”. OUR JOEY, set right there in our lap!

We are so excited to say that TODAY we have been preapproved by China to adopt Joey!

Introducing Joseph Truman Jarrett...

And just a side note, Truman LOVED bubbles. And one of the first pictures I saw of Joey was him blowing bubbles. I'm so blessed that Truman's parents are allowing me to name my son after their angel, Truman!

Below is Truman blowing bubbles and our Joey with his bubbles <3