This is jing’s post…

Hello, everyone, I am Jing, as You know, I am from Nanchang, China. last year, my dad brought me to USA, We travel to Guangzhou for the… well I can’t remember, but we went to Beijing to see the Great Wall, that’s very fun!

So, once I landing in Omaha, I saw our family! Ally, Mom, Aurora, I am very happy to see them. and I went to school in Christ Lutheran School, is a nice school, I got a lot friends from school, and they help a lot too. I am glad I have good time with then.

Right now I speak English, not pretty good English, but I can communicate with my friends, so that’s awesome! my favorite subjects is math, because that help me solve lot problem. Also I very like Computer, my dream work is Computer Engineer or a Web Developer

Right now I am in High School, in Norfolk High School, also I get a lot of friends at here. Also I own a website called loveios, which is about Apple products website:, also I have a web hostig website:

Week One In Nebraska


Well, it’s now Monday, March 16th, and we have officially had one week together as a family in one place…

We got in Sunday evening in Omaha about 9:20 p.m. Made it home by midnight, and was in bed by 1 a.m. I woke up, and thought I should help Ally get ready for school. I then realized that it was 10 a.m. She had been gone for two and a half hours. Hello jet lag!! Jing woke up about the same time I did.

Then, off to the National Guard Armory. We had to go to the Armory to add Jing to my family for insurance, and in the military, you have to do that through a computer system called DEERS. Thankfully the armory bubbas helped us out and we did not have to drive all the way down to Omaha to do it at Offut.

Tuesday –

3b9475_bf8bcc9ab1994f481751f45be453888e.jpg_srz_764_764_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzJing went with mom to her eye appointment. He had an eye appointment on Thursday, and we hoped that it would prepare him for his appointment to let him get to know the folks in the office. After the appointment, Lisa went to her voice lesson. For those who don’t know, Lisa takes vocal lessons from a lady in Creighton, NE who is a world famous opera singer. She is from Greece, and an amazing lady! Of course she felt in love with Jing at first sight..

Wednesday –

leongebhardtOur first doctor’s appointment with Dr. Gebhardt. We have two fine pediatricians here in Norfolk, but Jing hit it off with Dr. Gebhardt. We had been given very little information regarding Jing’s condition, only “musculature issues”. Doc Gebhardt visited with him for a short time, and with a great amount of confidence told us that Jing has cerebral palsy.

However, CP has varying degrees, and Jing’s condition, while serious, offers a great potential for improvement by therapy. We don’t believe Jing received a great deal of therapy in China. We plan on a three pronged attack, (speech, occupational, and physical therapy).

Lisa and Jing in Dr. Gebhardt's office
Lisa and Jing in Dr. Gebhardt’s office

With consistent and determined effort, we believe Jing can improve in every aspect of his daily physical life. In fact, while he might not be the starting point guard at Duke, he should be able to play basketball. Today, that does not seem like a possibility. But who knows about tomorrow??

Wednesday evening saw us at Lenten services at Christ Lutheran Church. What a joy to be back among our community of faith! And everyone reached out to Jing with warm greetings. I think he was a bit overwhelmed, but I also think he was pleasantly surprised. I doubt if he ever received the amount of attention in China that he received from dozens of well wishers Wednesday night.

Thursday –

Jing was off to the eye doctor! He has one eye that is great, and one eye that is not quite as good. It was difficult for him to do some of the tests due to his condition. There is one test where you place your chin on a chin rest and look into a big machine that has a picture of a hot air balloon. Just did not work for Jing. But, again, a start!

Friday –
Did some shopping, and introduced Jing to family movie night. We chose Night At The Museum 3…but poor Jing bailed and was about to fall asleep halfway through the movie.

Saturday –

29935535Saturday was Omaha day!! Slept in a bit, then got in the car to go to Omaha. Met Aurora at Zio’s for pizza. (really, is there any other pizza joint better than Zio’s in Omaha??), then off to the Henry Doorly Zoo (which is the best zoo ever, sorry about that San Diego Zoo!) We had a good time, but had a hard time finding the front door, much like Don Henley (it’s hard to leave when you can’t find the door – Life’s Been Good To Me). Once we got out, we had two tired kids, but one more place to visit.

Yes, it was Costco. I have decided that Costco is like a wagon trail. Nice and pretty, but you can lose your shirt around the next turn (or aisle). It’s not robbers you have to worry about, it’s those people who offer a sample. Anyhow, we finally made it home.

Sunday –

You would think that Sunday is a day of rest. We thought so too, but started off with church and Sunday School. After church, my lovely bride had purchased steaks for lunch (Yay Lisa!!!). Sadly our grill died, but Lisa cooked them inside and they were still great!! Chores followed, then Jing worked on a puzzle. Then it was off to Ally’s TAPS dinner and recital.

jing morenoWe had dinner at the recital (catered by Jim Smutney, never can go wrong when he’s catering! BTW, he catered our wedding!) and dessert was on the table. We have discovered that Jing lives for the moment, and chose to eat his dessert first. By the way, the first item with Jing’s new name on it, right here!!

Next post – Jing’s first day of school! Thanks for following the blog, and please keep those prayers coming!!

Leaving Beijing…and coming home!

I am writing this post a bit late…we got home and I have either been sleeping or spending time with Jing, Lisa and Ally. Posts will continue, but here is the next post in line….

IMG_2954The time finally came for Jing and I to leave Beijing on Sunday. But before we did,  we did get a chance to have a few new experiences.

I asked our host if we could attend a church service. We did attend a state church of China. This past Sunday was International Woman’s Day, so the focus of the church service was on women, and the woman who poured perfume on Jesus. The service was more of a non-denominational feel to it, and as a Lutheran, it was not my particular cup of tea….

But, they did sing “Holy, Holy, Holy”, and the hymnal was in both Mandarin and English. So, I had the opportunity to sing with over 600 of my chinese brothers and sisters in the faith. That was…cool.

The state church is sanctioned by the state in a way that house churches are not. I’m still  unsure of the exact relationship with the state church and the government. My hunch is that they do not rock the boat a great deal, and do not stray into areas the state deems subversive.

I have to tell you, while I was there I was always aware I was in a communist country. The people were always pleasant, but at each location, police and soldiers were in plain view. I am so thankful to be living in America, warts and all!

So, we had a final meal in China after church. Our guide Dion took us to a chinese restaurant. I told Jing to eat up, since this would likely be his last “real chinese” meal. All chinese restaurants in the states are prepared with american palates in mind. So, he ate up! But some of that stuff…. he wanted “fermented eggs”. Folks, that just looked nasty. But he seemed to think it was pretty good.

After the restaurant, off to the airport we went. Got checked in, and waited for our flight. When we boarded, we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was not a full flight! Jing and I were in a row with three seats, and it was just the two of us. This gave us room to stretch and make ourselves comfortable. Jing slept most of the way, but there were a few movies subtitled in Chinese. I think he liked the new Captain America movie the best!

Twelve hours later we landed in Chicago. We had to go though a section for foreign nationals. The line seemed like it would never end, and they had three agents for 300 people. Finally, they got more help, and we got through…the first line.

Then we had to collect our bags, and go to the second round of agents. One guy looked at our paperwork, told us to have a seat while he visited with his buddies. 20 minutes goes by while they are just visiting, and we are sitting. Then, lunch break guy gets back from his break. Evidently he is the only one who can do this paperwork. He was pleasant, and finally sent us on our way. We then had to go to different terminal, check in, and get to our gate. We arrived at 4:30 and our flight to Omaha was at 7:30. We made it with fifteen minutes to spare!!

welcome home jingBut then, the best part was getting home!! Lisa, Ally, Aurora and her boyfriend Ben met us at the airport. It was so good to finally get home! A two hour ride home got us to Norfolk about midnight Sunday evening. I woke up the next morning, and was thinking about helping Ally get ready for school. I then looked at the clock and saw that it was 10 a.m.! So, we’re still getting over jet lag. In fact, it’s Thursday, and I woke up at 2:30 a.m. wide awake. Of course, about 1 p.m. I’m gonna be in bad shape, but so far so good!

The trip is over, but the adventure and journey is just beginning! We will continue to share our experiences with you. Thank you so much for your support and your prayers! We truly appreciate them!!!

I will call him….Fred!

Fred and Jing
Fred and Jing

In Beijing, traffic is a nightmare. Period. However, we are lucky to have Fred. I didn’t know his name, so I decided to name him Fred. Fred is a BOSS when it comes to driving!! We will come to a bunch of parked cars, and Fred can sniff where a five foot opening is, and take us through!! He can drive for the secret service or NASCAR, his pick. Dude has got game!! I’m serious, you think you’ll be in traffic, and think you’ll be parked for days. Fred will put on his game face, and boom! We are speeding along at 60 mph. Thank God for Fred!!

Great Wall of Walking

jing wallWe went to the Great Wall of China today! Man, I’m here to tell you it’s a bit of a hike!! I saw ladies in heels walking the stairs. Gotta give ’em credit, either incredibly strong, or incredibly not bright….

As impressed as I was by the ladies, I was even more impressed by Jing! For someone who has difficulty with mobility, he was a beast today!!!

locked heart 2And I learned something about the Great Wall…it’s a romance haven! When a couple gets serious about settling down, they make a trip to the great wall. There, they seal their love with a lock on a chain that is attached to the Great Wall. There love is “locked in” and will stand the test of time, just like the Great Wall.

Living and (almost!) breathing in Beijing

Well, yesterday was a whirlwind day in Beijing! We had breakfast (must admit, it was a step down from the Garden in Ghuangzhou…sniff sniff). Our hotel is more in line with my original expectations. We then met our guide Dion (the one who speaks better English than I do!!) and we were off!

IMG_2802First stop, Tiananmen Square. We had to wait in line to go through security. In the past, members of an anti-government group called Falun Gong snuck gasoline in what look liked soda pop bottles, got into the square, doused themselves and lit themselves on fire. The Chinese don’t want that to happen again.

Just as we were leaving the checkpoint, there was a commotion. Tiananmen Square is the seat of the Chinese Government. Right now they are having a big meeting for the leadership, kind of like a two week joint session of congress. So security is crazy tight. Two ladies were wailing on their knees. Dion told me that often times people will come to Beijing to approach the government, since their concerns or issues are not addressed at the local level. I thought about taking a picture, but thought I would rather enjoy the day with my guide, and not with 15 chinese soldiers on my back smashing my face into the ground.

IMG_2805We walked on to the square. It seemed cool in terms of grandeur, but I couldn’t help but think of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. If you recall, in 1989 there was a college student uprising. Hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of people were cut down by the chinese military. As I walked the square, that was foremost in my mind.

Interesting story told by Dion. Do you remember the picture of the one guy against the tank? About three blocks away is a tall office building, with an office for Associated Press. The photographer’s office looked down on the square. He happened to look out the window, and saw something was going on. He came down and starting taking pictures, including the tank guy. Things were getting hairy, so he went back to his building. But the military had secured the building, and were shooting people nearby. The guy knew they would search him and take the film. Thinking quickly, he saw an american college student, complete in tank top, flip flops and bushy hair. He called out to them, like they were old friends. The college kid was confused, but as the photographer got closer, he asked the kid to get the film out. The kid did, and we now have that famous photograph!

About Dion, he’s a Christian, and worships at a house church. Very faithful, and just an inspiration on so many levels. But I asked him if his parents chose Dion. He laughed and told me how he got his name. Many chinese students who study english want an american name so it is easy to communicate with americans. Some choose Joe, Roger, and so forth. Well, as Dion was choosing his name, Titanic was really really big….and so was Celine Dion’s song from the movie. He knew Celine was a girl’s name, but the last name sounded good. So that is how he came to be known as Dion!

IMG_2812So, from Tiananmen Square, we continued to the forbidden city. It’s called Forbidden City because it was the place the emperors hung out, and the local folks were not allowed in. This place is hundreds of years old, and breath taking.  It has been renovated and spruced up regularly, the last time for the Beijing Olympics. Friends, this thing is big! It was cool, but frankly I was still stuck on the events of Tiananmen Square. (And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. – Gen 4:10) There were a good number of people there, but it was very manageable. Lot of walking…and Dion recommends that if we return, we do it anytime EXCEPT between May and August. There are literally throngs of people that fill the place, and you feel like a sardine, while sweating up a storm. Yesterday was nice in comparison. Jing did well. I was worried about him getting tired.

By the way, we are currently with another family from Ohio. They have come to Beijing first, and will pick up their daughter on Sunday! They have two boys with them, aged 4 and 7. These kids are a handful…whirling dervishes!! They provide us with no end of entertainment….the kids were on full throttle the entire time we were in the square and at the forbidden city.

So, we finished that part (about 2.5 hours) and went to have lunch at a chinese restaurant. Now I’ve got to be really really honest with you. The first full day I was here, I went to a “real” chinese restaurant, and was lost. I ordered something (still don’t know what it was!) but it was nasty! So, I was dreading the chinese meal. Dion saved the day! “Hey, we’re running a little late, do you mind if I order for you?” “You go boy!” So, he ordered….and…it was good! My favorite for those keeping score was…green beans! They are cut up into small pieces and fried! I tried to get the recipe for Lisa, but it’s in chinese….

IMG_2864From the restaurant we go to what is called “old beijing”. We go to a small home and have a class on calligraphy or mask painting. We go through alleys that are fifteen feet wide. And…we are on a rickshaws, or as our driver tells us, Chinese BMWs. Interesting that these houses seem very old, (they are! many have been in a family for four generations or more!! 200 years plus) and you would think they are in poor condition. Well, they aren’t great, but they are nice. These homes which look like a level just above tenements are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The folks are “house poor”, meaning they don’t have a lot of money. If they sold their homes, they could probably get a cool 2 million plus…because land is that valuable, and the “old beijing” is very very desirable.

IMG_2901So, we leave old beijing and head to a tea ceremony. Now, as many of you know, I’m a cultural snob. I like the high fallootin’ stuff. Not. So, I’m not sure if I’m gonna like this Tea thing. We get there, and…it was kind of cool. It wasn’t a ceremony really. This lady just showed us different types of teas, and we tried several. During the time there, the kids were still on full throttle, and provided extra entertainment at no cost. I discovered I actually liked some of the teas. Weird.

After the tea shop, it was time for the acrobat show. By the way, Beijing traffic is a bit different than traffic in Norfolk. The biggest traffic jam in Norfolk is after Big Bang Boom near skyview. To get an idea of the traffic in Beijing, park your car in the middle of the Norfolk High School Parking lot, and pack every square inch with other cars. Then sit there for 7 hours…and you begin to get an idea…

And – when we first got into Beijing, the smog was horrible. Coughing, nasty smelling air. I always saw Asian folks with those face masks…now I understand…

IMG_3210So, we get into the acrobat show a little late due to the traffic. We have assigned seats, (theater is only a quarter full, but chinese like order, so we will sit in our assigned seats. But some ladies are in our seats!! So, attendant lady goes over there and tells them to move. The ladies are not interested in moving. So attendant lady starts flashing her flashlight at them. She yells. They yell back, and aren’t moving. Finally four of them move down. We get in…but there are six of us. Two more need to move down. They ain’t doing it, and other folks can’t see the show. Attendant lady gives up, and the other two of our party sit in the center VIP section. The show was pretty good…

I was told I could take pictures, so I got a few pictures on my iPhone. Suddenly there is a green laser on my phone!!!! This green laser light is flashing on my phone. It’s their way of saying “no pictures!!”. So I turn mine off. Then I look around and other folks are using their phones, and getting lasered. Actually, it’s a good way to stop folks from doing that!!

So, the show is over, and it’s about 6:30 p.m. We are dragging. So we get in the van and head to dinner. Chinese? Nope. We’re are doing italian food in the heart of Beijing!! We get to the place, and it was pretty good!! The two small kids are done. They are asleep at the table. We try to wake up one for supper, no dice. The other kid wakes up, sees the pizza, and eats with his eyes closed. It was hilarious! And what did I choose? Six thousand miles from home, confronted with this exquisite meal selection? Fettuccine Alfredo. You can take the boy out of Nebraska, but you can’t take Nebraska out of the boy…

And that friends, was our first full day in Beijing! Tomorrow we are headed to the great wall!! Thank you again for all of your prayers! Keep them coming! And – we get home on Sunday!!!! Woohoo!!

Beijing, and questions answered!

IMG_3206So, we got to Beijing last night about 10:30 p.m., and to our hotel just before midnight. We met Dion, who is 20 something. He speaks better english than I do! That is refreshing. Lily, our guide in Ghoungzhou was wonderful, but at times it was hard to understand her.

We were going to finally hit the zoo yesterday, but rain stymied our efforts. Instead, we found a store close by that had an arcade. 95% of the games were for toddlers, but they did have those basketball games where you can shoot baskets. So we did that..

And..the first night in Ghuongzhou, I was looking for a store. Went down, and was told it was down the road a piece. So, went down the road a piece, took a wrong turn, backtracked, then found this small market. So went and got some stuff. It’s a bit of a hike, and Jing can walk, but he’s gets a bit tired.

Then, day before yesterday, we were talking with another adoptive family who had a two year old. Dad was going to run to the store to get something. “It’s like a SuperTarget”.

“Oh? Good..and where is it?”

“Two blocks away.”

“you…..are….kidding me!” I had gone right past it. It is in a building which looks more like an office building. Lesson learned!

Questions, you got questions:

1) What are Jing’s physical challenges? Are there specific services he is going to need here in the States?

Good questions. His hands are curled in, and it seems like there are some neurological issues. However, I am unsure. He walks with a limp, and he contorts his face to speak….we will have him see our pediatrician next week to get further clarification. We imagine he will need speech and physical therapy.

2) What does Jing think and feel about all of this?

So far, he thinks things are cool. The orphanage regular adopts kids out, and he has seen many kids leave. It’s a familiar thing..but now it’s his turn. He has had no trouble sleeping or eating. In fact, he ate too much! Jing’s usual breakfast is congee and bread. He has been eating American breakfast (eggs, sausage, bread, and pastries) and has skipped a few meals. He says he’s too full!

He has certain behaviors that are “new” to me. He will hold my hand and “pet” me. Evidently children try to soothe their parents after a rough day. So he will do that, as well as take his fist, and tap my shoulder or knee. This, I have been told, is a sign of affection.

3) Does Jing speak English?

Well, yes and no. He knows many english words (and takes great pride in showing that!). We walk by a Starbucks, and it’s “coffee!”. Other words that we have come to know are “hotel”, “tv”, “zoo”, “eat”, and “shower” among others. But it is difficult to have a conversation. Instead, I give thanks to God daily for google translate. It’s not UN translation clear, but it gets the job done!


Keep the questions coming!


So…What Questions Do You Have?

question post.001I have been posting for some time, and like most pastors, I can go for a while! I was just thinking…maybe you guys have a question for me! You can ask me anything! Some topics might include:

  • the adoption process
  • Jing’s preferences and likes
  • Chinese culture
  • Plans once we get back home
  • How to rock a flat top like a winner…;)

So, if you would like to ask a question, just email me at and we’ll get an answer for you!!

At The Consulate

Mike and Jing at the consulate...
Mike and Jing at the consulate…

Today was our day to go to the consulate. On February 26, we adopted Jing in the eyes of China. As far as China is concerned, we’re done. We can go. The next step in the adoption process is getting America to recognize the adoption, so that Jing can enter the states. Also, as soon as he sets foot in the good ol US of A, he is an American citizen. Cool.

So we get on the road earlier than usual…7:50 a.m. Usually we’ve been leaving for various tasks at 9:30 a.m. It’s ok….just about every morning I’m up at 4:30 a.m. 7:50 a.m. is no sweat! We get to the consulate, and my guide gives me detailed information. Evidently guides are discouraged from coming in the consulate with us. The new director got tired of ALL the folks coming in, and said that Americans could probably be trusted to do the paperwork by themselves. So, sure enough, I went to window 7 on the second floor. I got a number, and waited about 90 seconds before I got called up to window 10 with Jing. A nice lady from Texas waited on us. A Texan in China…there has to be a joke in there somewhere!

She looks at our paperwork, says we’re good, and the adoption agency folks will pick it up tomorrow morning. I am told over and over again that this paperwork will be more valuable than gold, and never to let it out of my sight. So, when I get off the plane in Omaha on Sunday evening, this paperwork will be in my hands. But actually, the most important thing is that Jing will be with me!

We continue to covet your prayers. We have been blessed beyond measure thus far. No travel or paperwork hiccups, things have gone well for us. And – those of you who have supported us financially have been an extra blessing to us. Instead of bearing this burden alone, you have stood beside us. You have NO idea how much that has helped us emotionally. We have breathing room, and it is because of you!

Zoo postponed, so time for the….mall!!

We have this morning free, so we had planned to go to the zoo. One is an hour away with eleven pandas. The other is down the street, and it has two pandas. I don’t know about you, but you see one panda, you’ve seen them all. So, the close zoo was the plan.

But we got downstairs and it was raining. Unusual for Ghaungzhou, but there you go. So I asked Jing if he wanted to go to the zoo in the rain. Unsurprisingly, the answer was “no”. I asked if there was someplace enclosed that we could visit. Sure enough, there was a mall close by. So into the taxi we went. Here are a couple of observations so far…

There are a lot of Chinese people! We went to the mall and there were at last 200 restaurants! (Ok, not 200, but a lot!!) They must have a lot of customers! And – just about everyone is issued an iPhone or samsung. Everyone has a phone! You want to shop for a phone. No problem…here is an entire FLOOR of phone vendors.

gauntlet of phone stores
gauntlet of phone stores

The stores sell the exact same items. The thing that distinguishes one from another? They are all playing music…really, really loud music! So, the next time we go, we’re taking ear plugs!

So, we get through the gauntlet, and find a store that sells iPods. iPods, for those that don’t know, have the same capabilities of an iPhone, just no phone. So all of the apps and such will work on an iPod. We have ordered one for Jing with his name on it, and it should arrive in Nebraska this week. I think he’s gonna be happy. But – aside from the “bling” factor, he can access “google translate” on it. That may be a lifesaver from time to time, and I want him to have some type of “security blanket” as he starts his time in Nebraska. He will have an iPad as a seventh grader from Christ Lutheran, but the iPod is much more convenient and can easily be carried.

bruce lee.001So, as we move along, I discover that Bruce Lee is not dead. You may remember the karate and kung fu master from such classics as “The Chinese Connection”, and “Enter The Dragon”. Reports of his death were greatly exaggerated. Evidently he now lives in China and runs a fast food chain of delicious chinese food that is economical for the whole family!!!

IMG_3148In the mall we also found a full service grocery store. So, you can pick up things for dinner along with your kungfu dinner to go, samsung phone, and new dress and shoes. They had a book section, and since reading is Jing’s thing, we got two books. Books are relatively cheap…I think 2 sodas and two books were about five bucks. But I was surprised to turn from the cereal aisle to see a full service make up booth. Just like at Herbergers or Dillards. I can’t think of the other cool stores, save for Foley’s from my childhood. Sadly Foley’s has gone the way of all flesh, and is no more. Anyway, when ladies run to get groceries, they can also get made up. Really convenient, I guess. I wonder if we took this idea to HyVee, what they would say….

Finally, we may have many differences with the Chinese people in politics and other venues. But – there were no “saggy pants” to be seen, and ladies dressed like…ladies. Both men and women dress modestly, and that was refreshing. Well, that’s it for the moment. We continue to ask for your prayers as we continue Jing’s Journey!