Harder Family

Harder Family

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Guangzhou: Day 1

Psalm 68:35 "O God, You are awesome from Your sanctuary The God of Israel Himself gives strength and power to the people Blessed be God!"

Before I get into what happened today, I just want to say that we worship an awesome God! Time and time again on this trip, God has shown up in some amazing, powerful ways. I am blown away by His compassion and love.

The hotel we are staying at is gorgeous!! The buffet here is even more amazing then the previous hotels (and those buffets were great!). The boys had a blast this morning figuring out what food to devour for breakfast.

Hotel lobby

After breakfast, we left with our guide for the boy's medical appointments. The boys are so curious and are always asking everyone a million questions. 

This photo captures a glimpse of DJ's personality. He is a lot of fun!

At the end of Shan Chen's appointment, we had to wait around for his paperwork. Shan Chen started waving and telling me something emphatically in Chinese. He was smiling from ear to ear. I heard him say mei-mei, which means little sister. Once I received the paperwork, he ran out and was saying hi to this little girl. I called our guide over and asked her to ask Shan Chen if he knew this little girl. I knew that his foster mom had lost another foster daughter about a week ago. I knew it was far-fetched, but I wanted to find out if this little girl was Shan Chen's foster sister. It turns out that she was. Her parents also came to adopt two children. They picked her up first from Chengdu on Sunday (the day we were picking up DJ). They then flew to the next province to pick up their son. No wonder why Shan Chen's foster mom was crying so much - she lost two children in 4 days!! The look on both of their faces was priceless. They had so much joy in seeing one another. God is so compassionate to give them both this opportunity to see each other again. We found out her parents live in Ohio and have family in Chicago. So, it is possible in the future to get these foster siblings together again. Once we left the appointment, Shan Chen asked permission to call his foster mom and tell her that he saw her mei mei. It was wonderful to hear them speaking to each other and hearing the joy in their voices. I'm telling you, God blew me away again!!

After we left the appointment, we headed to Shamian Island to check it out. Our guide told us that it was originally occupied and owned by the British and other foreign governments. After the opium war, this land was then occupied by the Chinese once again. The architecture is beautiful!! We had a chance to do some shopping on the island as well. I ordered all the kids their own chops (which is a fancy word for a stamp with their Chinese characters engraved in them). I also shopped at A Gift From China. This stores entire profit gets donated to orphanages around China to help the kids. I was able to find two scrolls with Bible verses written in Mandarin.  

I have seen this picture a hundred times by other adoptive parents. It always looked cute. I discovered today that it looks cuter with little kids then big kids. DJ decided to just sit on the arms of the little kid. 

Shan Chen loves to pull up his pants and be goofy. I told him he looks like an old man.

Looking at the Pearl River

Since we had extra time, we decided to head to the Pearl Market. This mall area was astounding. This mall is seven stories high and as far as the eyes can see, there are tons of stores and people selling all kinds of jewelry and other merchandise. I was so thankful that our guide knew where to take us!!

One thing I decided months ago to splurge on was pearl necklaces for the girls. I wanted to give them something special when they turn 18. I also read that it is a Chinese tradition for the mom of boys to give a pearl necklace to her daughter-n-law. So, I bought eight pearl necklaces. DJ seemed confused why I was buying 8. He said, "We are boys, we don't wear necklaces!" They were so patient while we shopped!

Another Chinese tradition is jade. I purchased each of the boys a 
 jade circle pendant. I asked them to pick out the one they wanted. Shan Chen took it very serious and took a long time making his decision. 

We headed back to the hotel after finishing shopping so that we could all rest. We later went out to dinner at a local noodle place. The boys love their noodles!! The food was absolutely delicious and it was super affordable (around $20 USD for 5 large dishes of food).

After dinner, we headed to Haagen Dazs for a special treat. We had heard that this store not only had plush seating, but that they had some fun treats. Since the boys did so well shopping earlier in the day, we decided to go out for some ice cream (Bīngqílín). The experience was super fun. When I told the boys that we would all be sharing one dessert, Shan Chen inquired why. I told him because it is expensive. He then told me that, "I am very smart." I wasn't sure if he was talking about himself or me, so I asked him. He responded, "Meaning: you and I are very clever." Glad he is humble too!!

When we were done with our dessert, we ventured out to find Walmart. We had to buy floaties for the boys since tomorrow it will be about 75 and I told them we could go swimming. We were supposed to go today, but it was only 65 and raining. I love walking around the cities that we have visited and exploring on our own. We also have enjoyed finding small Chinese restaurants to visit. This trip has been so amazing and I feel so blessed.

I am also so thankful for all of the opportunities we have had to see God moving in our boys' lives. At each meal the boys ask us to pray. They get very excited, fold their hands and bow their heads. How wonderful is that? It has been such a blessing to see God moving in our lives and see first hand how much He truly cares about these children. 


  1. Oh, how good of our Father to arrange that meeting between Shan Chen and his mei mei. :)

  2. I can't even express how wonderfully blessed I am just to witness the amazing love of our Father through your testimony. God is soooo good!!!

  3. I can't even! Shan Chen with his foster sister?! The hearts of your two precious boys ... seriously bawling my eyes out over here over God's goodness. <3