A bit about the Himsels

In July 2011, we were drawn to a posting by our adoption agency of a little girl that was soon to "age out" of the orphanage in China, and they were hoping to find her family before her birthday in February, when she would no longer be eligible for adoption. After reviewing the information, giving it alot of thought and prayers, we knew she was to be our daughter. So we started the paperwork chase to bring her home. But God had a bigger plan in mind for the Himsels. Along the way, we decided to pursue adopting a little boy, and that journey actually led us to two little boys, who are 18 months and 14 months old. All three children are located in the Guizhou province. We are excited to be so close to bringing home Ella (Jinglan), William, and Ethan, and we hope you follow along with our journey.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Gotcha Day!

Wow - where to begin. Vickie, our guide, said she would pick us up at noon, so we could go to lunch first before we had to be at the adoption office at 2:00. The kids were being driven down from up in the mountains and it was a foggy, drizzling/icy drive for them and it would take quite awhile. So after our very large breakfast buffet, Lynné, Andrew and I took off to find the Walmart. As we left the hotel, we saw groups of people dancing in one area, another group doing a fan routine, and then another doing Tai Chi. We asked Vickie later about it and she said that it was their morning exercises. Very interesting and peaceful to watch. Peaceful - the exact opposite of the Walmart trip. The Walmart here is all under ground, and it's certainly not like our Walmarts. It was pretty crowded, had a strong fish smell because of the fish market, and I never did figure out the layout of things. But I finally found the correct brand of formula and cereal for the boys It took quite a bit of energy to maneuver everything, and we were exhausted when we got back. Just in time to head to the lobby to meet Vickie.

We walked to a great restaurant, and had a fabulous Chinese lunch. They like things spicy here, and it's the first time we've had some food that has a kick to it, making Lynné and me very happy. But it was hard to eat knowing we were just an hour or so away from meeting our kids.

After lunch, we returned to the hotel to pick up gifts and our documents so we could head to the adoption office. It was a pretty small office, and only one room had a heater - the others were icy cold. Immediately we saw our little William and couldn't wait to get my arms around him. Not so fast mama, this boy had a male care taker and he wanted nothing to do with me. So we took it slow, with his care taker laughing at how William was avoiding me. Finally we had Chris try, and he had a bit more luck. William wasn't completely happy with Chris but at least he wasn't crying his eyes out. We found out that Ella and Ethan were still delayed on the icy roads and would be awhile before they arrived, so we went thru all the paperwork for the harmonious agreement (the 24 HR period where we took the kids with us before the final adoption) as well as signing all the adoption paperwork. They wouldn't file the adoption paperwork until tomorrow, but went ahead and got it all signed and thumb printed. You have to put your thumbprint in red ink over each of your signatures, and there must be over 20 documents we filled out and signed. Normally Chris would be taking care of all that but because William wanted nothing to do with his mama, I got to fill everything out.

It was somewhere in the midst of all of William's crying that we noticed that Andrew had left. He was sitting out in the very cold hallway, near tears. For some reason William's crying triggered something in him, and he was quite upset. So while Daddy continued to bound with William, I consoled Andrew and reassured him that crying babies are normal, and that we'd be ok. He eventually came back into the room and we got a great picture of the two of them.

We still were waiting for Ella and Ethan, and the other family was waiting for their daughter, Hope, who was coming from the same town. Ella and Ethan arrived next with another little boy who appeared to be about 5 or 6. Suddenly the room was packed and we were being shuffled around working on the paperwork. The family adopting the little boy are from Spain and they arrived as well. So in a room that should fit comfortably about 8 or 9 people, we had our family of 6, plus Lynné, plus the other family and their kids (7 total), plus the Spain family of 3, Vickie, 3 different orphanage directors, 3 different care takers, and about 5 people who worked in the office. It was cold, crowded, and smoky - certainly not the ideal environment to meet your children for the first time. There was alot of paperwork, tears, and confusion, and the other family hadn't even seen their daughter Hope yet. But we were so excited to have our family all together (even if Andrew still wasn't too sure about the crying William.) We did have a chance to ask questions of the caretakers, and it was obvious that each child was well cared for by them. I was surprised at how excited Ella was about coming with us, so I know they have prepared her well for the adoption. But you could tell she was a bit sad and hesitant to get too far away from her caretaker. We got plenty of pictures for her though, and hope she is able to adjust without too much pain ad sadness about leaving.

About the time we finished the paperwork for Ella and Ethan (those 20 documents x 3), little Hope arrived, adding to the masses of people in the room. So we waited for them to finish their paperwork, before we could all load up. Finally back at the hotel, we were able to unwind a bit. I was worried that with all the attention the boys were getting, Ella might be feeling a bit lost, so we took some time to go thru the clothes we had bought for her, and she absolutely loved the Barbie. We decided on room service so we could keep the kids all together and get better acquainted. One thing was for sure, William wanted only to be held by Chris. Anytime Chris needed to pass him off to me, we heard the tears start back up. Luckily Ethan wasn't nearly as particular, so we shuffled kids back and forth, and got along pretty well. Ella was a big help keeping them entertained as well. We struggle with the language with her, but she is a very sweet girl, and very patient with us. Both boys went to sleep very easily after getting their tummies filled with congee, and Ella found a show on tv she liked and fell asleep with her Barbie by her side. A pretty great Gotcha Day I would say!


  1. I'm so happy for you guys! What a gorgeous family you have. I love reading your posts and look forward to hearing more as your journey continues! Your all in my thoughts and prayers!

  2. Congratulations! The kiddos are just precious! So proud of andrew, too. - Inessa

  3. You are the first family I have heard of adopting three at once! Sounds like the handover went REALLY well! Congratulation on your three new family members! They are ALL absolutely precious!

  4. What a wonderful day! I'm sure you're in for lots of ups and downs, but off to such a good start. Hang in there, Andrew!! You'll be a wonderful big brother----so much you can share and help your new brothers and sister adjust to life with the Himsels.
    Can't wait for you to get back home with all of them so you can really, truly begin to settle in as a familly.
    Judy C.

  5. Congratulations! We are so excited for you. The girls are enjoying your blog and they can't wait to meet Andrew's siblings! - Christi and Bill

  6. Congrats you guys! So happy everything went well on Gotcha day. We're so excited to be a week behind you but it would have been even better to be there with you. Our prayers are with all of you as you transition into your new family of 6.

  7. Wow! you are really a Family- a Family! it is incredible and with so many people thinking about you guys, I am sure no hurdle is too great.Your 1st son must be very proud of himself for being such an important part of showing these other children how to be part of a forever family. It is a big task, but he looks like he is very familiar with how to help and how to lead.
    Great news!

  8. Congratulations to all of you. What a beautiful family! God certainly knew what He was doing through all of this. Thank you for allowing us to follow you on your incredible journey.
    JADA Conner