Stromberg's Adoption Dream

The journey to our little girl in China

Please feel free to stare

Great day today, our last one in Zhengzhou. Good evening, Lars here.

Today, as our hosts waited for our children’s Chinese passports to arrive, we CCAI families had a free day to tour or rest before we head to Goungzhou tomorrow and start working on getting our daughter back home. Katie and I joined our KC friends Jeff and Tracy on a day trip to the Shaolin Temple, a Kung-Fu mecca just a couple hours out of the city, and beautiful opportunity to experience Chinese culture. We traded the heavier smog and concrete of the city for slightly less dense smog and rolling mountain peaks.

One thing you should know is that in Chinese culture it is perfectly acceptable to point and stare at others. We’ve experienced it ever since we’ve arrived. Some are inquisitive and want to try out a little broken English. Some follow you with kind eyes and warm smiles. Some simply stop their walking and stare at you like you’re a panda at the zoo. We’re raised in America to see this as exceedingly rude, a real etiquette faux pas, but it’s a normalized practice on the streets of China.

And man, did I get some stares today. I spent the entirety of our 4 hours tour with Lydia facing me in the Ergo baby carrier, laboring much of the day to keep her from pulling off her hat, kissing her on the cheek, and whispering little things about her brothers in her ears. The last hour, she slept on my shoulder. It was really great. But nearly every Chinese fellow tourist looked at me and laughed, smiled, stared, pointed. I typically would smile at them, say hello, and move on.

While this might be seen as rude to some, I had no problem with the pointing and staring at all. First, I’m sure for many locals, it is an exceedingly strange sight to see, and I can’t blame others for noticing and being interested in why these white westerners are carrying around a Chinese baby. But second, and most poignant, I don’t mind the stares because, even after only 3 days, this is no longer strange to me. She is absolutely as much my child as Quinn and Alby are. She’s not an interloper, and truly never felt like one. She’s my daughter and though it may look strange to some, both in China and when we return home, it’s not the least bit strange to me.

So please, feel free to stare. She is remarkably beautiful.


Tomorrow we fly to Goungzhou, a 2.5 hour flight, so it will be a good test run for the big trip home in 9 days. All of our Chinese paperwork is completed, and our focus turns to the US consulate and all the American paperwork yet to do. A couple of items to pray for:

– No hiccups with paperwork. Things have been remarkably smooth thus far (thank you CCAI – can’t say enough about them).
– Bedtimes for Lydia. She is acting frantic and we’re not sure what to do. Tonight was better than last night, and I would pray for a calm spirit for her and discernment for us. Pray that each night would get a little better.
– For time to move quickly now. We’re missing the boys but have enjoyed Facetime in the mornings. We’re ready in our minds and hearts to come home, but are choosing to see this last week or so as a gift of special time with Lydia. Patience is not my chief virtue. Pray for time to go quickly and be well spent.
– Praise that Lydia is eating great, has an incredibly sweet spirit, and that we’re having a great time with the other families in our group!

Goodnight everyone! Enjoy a few pictures from the day.








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8 thoughts on “Please feel free to stare

  1. Jean and Bill Bristow on said:

    I can imagine how eager the boys will be to meet their baby sister. We keep you in our prayers. Bill and Jean Bristow.

  2. How blessed Lydia is to have parents like you two. Such love! We really enjoy the blog and especially the pictures. Great job, you two. Love and prayers, Ellen and Gene Larson

  3. judge525 on said:

    So thrilled for you…only can think of one fitting word to describe us all…it’s THRILLED. This beautiful, lively, sweet, affectionate little girl is and always has been a part of our family. We can’t wait to hold her and snuggle her. Her big brothers are only calm and quiet once a day…when we read and look at this blog. They just stare….and stare they will…with big smiles on their faces.
    Can’t wait to see you on Jan. 26.
    Lovingly, Mom (Mormor)

  4. Kathy Soneson on said:

    We are so proud of you and happy for you, Katie and Lars. What a gift your family is to Lydia and she is to you! I have loved reading your updates.
    We are praying for you. May God bless you as the 3 of you bond and begin your life together. Love you all and can’t wait to meet Lydia!

  5. Charter on said:

    Thanks for sharing your journey,praying for your requests!

    Sent from my iPad


  6. Beautiful pictures! I especially like the one of you, Lars and Lydia, laughing, and the one of the three of you together! Did you notice someone else taking your picture, too? They are not just pointing or staring, but capturing the moment, as well!

    I also appreciate your firsthand story of love, new experiences, and cultural differences. Thank you for sharing this most remarkable experience with the rest of us, Lars and Katie! May God continue to open the path and doors for you to come home into the welcoming arms of Quinn and Alby and many, many others!

    • Sending our love and prayers from Geneva. She is as sweet as sugar!! Ava started looking now too! Perhaps staring :)!!! Love that. Love your words and pictures. I know you are drinking deep of every moment and God’s incredible mercies in all of this. prayers daily for you and yours!! cathy and family

  7. Vernadene on said:

    The pictures of the areas visited are beautiful but the loving faces on you, Lars and Katie are the greatest. My prayers are for the things you requested. We can’t wait to have you home and meet Lydia.

    It’s such a blessing for you two to share this journey with all of us.

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