Long Road to China - Our Adoption Story

Trustmark National Bank account set up:

Donations can be made nation wide at any Trustmark National Bank through the account:
Phillip Smith or Niki J. Smith's Adoption Account

If you would like to mail a donation, please mail it to
Phil or Niki Smith
P.O. Box 332
Rienzi, MS 38865

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wednesday morning.......

Many people have asked & Nope, still no refunds from United.  Phil had to call them again last night about our  flight seats (a totally different issue) & the rep was just so rude!  I don't know if they dislike their job, if they are overworked, or why they cannot be nice when we call???  

We have prayer requests today.  Colt was getting sick yesterday & woke up feeling worse.  We started him on antibiotics last night.  I think it's just allergies & we have been lucky not to be sick prior to now.  

Also, we have friends flying out today.  Please keep them in your prayers for a safe flight!  Both families are flying home with their adopted daughter & have had issues with United also.  Also pray that their children fly with no problems!  I know it can be unnerving on a 20+ hour flight! Then adding the unknown of how your child will react to this long in the air can be even more stressful.

We are so grateful for our rock....YOU that have helped & supported us!

Continued from United.......Not over yet!

We heard from Kim again from Senator Wicker's office.  She has again been on the phone with United.  United said that they will refund $250 + $25 per ticket.  They have not yet agreed to refund the $700 extra per EACH ticket they charged us.  Kim is going to call again tomorrow to speak with another supervisor at United & continue to work on our behalf!  I'm so grateful to have them working for us & doing all they can to get the situation resolved!  I will continue to update as I know more!  Please continue to pray!

Tuesday night...Ugh

I know everyone is waiting to hear how things are here.  We are all together so that is most important!  

We could not get our flights changed from Saturday which means we will have the extra expenses of staying an extra week than planned.  We got a message from Senator Wicker's office & Kim said that United Airlines had agreed to refund us for the additional charges.  I'm so grateful to their office for spending time to help us!   I hate to sound negative, but with all the time we have spent feuding with United, I wasn't going to get too excited until I saw a refund on our credit card.  We were asked to allow up to12 hours for the credit to appear on our bill.  Welllllllllll, that was 18 hours ago & it has not appeared yet.  I'm still hopeful & hoping not to have hours of headaches to fix it!  I'm going now to contact Senator Wicker's office, United, & anyone else I need to see what is happening.

I have had some of the very sweetest, kindest & compassionate messages!  I will get back to you ASAP; unfortunately I have to deal with United first.  Please know that they really lift our spirits & often bring us to tears!  Tears of joy & humbleness that others are so caring.  

I'll end for now on a sweet note!  GiGi started saying last night "Uv Lou" to Phil & I!  It's her version of Love You & it couldn't sound any sweeter!!! 
The best part was she was laying in bed & said loudly "MaMa".  
I said "What baby?"  
GiGi said "Uv Lou" !   (She was not repeating us, but initiated it!)
My heart melted like she has never before melted it!  And I broke out into a funky dance party (almost waking Colt & Macy Jade)!  Of course I heard "MaMa, Uv Lou "  hundreds of times after she thought my dance was the funniest thing ever & every Uv Lou got that dance from MaMa! 
She did eventually tell DaDa "Uv Lou" but since he isn't as crazy as Mama; I got more "Uv Lou's"!
Another reason this was so awesome is in the past we could not even get her to repeat Love you in any form!  Everytime we would say "Love you!"  She would be a stinker & shake her head "No" & laugh!

Just before I got on here, she came to me &  started hugging & swaying on me then initiated a kiss.  She has initiated kisses on Daddy today too!  I think she is truly happy even though she can pitch a crying, arm throwing, leg kicking fit as any other child!  We love all 3 of our kids so very very much!  Each one is so unique & different!  It's strange how there has really been no adjustment period with the 5 of us.  Once GiGi was placed with us, we are just a family!  Thank you for all of your prayers & support for our family!

I could write forever about things that have happened, but I need to go frustrate a United Airlines personnel! lol  We are so thankful for you & continue to pray for you all!  I'll let you know as soon as I know more!  Maybe I'll have time to post more about our angel & not issues next time!  Love to you all!  Niki

Monday, July 30, 2012

Where are we at now.....Monday

It's after noon here & I wanted to let you know nothing else has been changed EXCEPT we did get GiGis visa today!  All the families in our group got their child's visa this morning.  YEAH!  I'm so thankful because we had friends that really needed it to fly out today!  I'm so glad they are not further delayed!  We have been so blessed with Christian friends to be here with us through it all!  They have come to our room, held hands, prayed with us, encouraged us & been a rock when we were weak!  We are so very grateful!

As far as flights, nothing has changed YET.  However, I received a personal call this morning from Kim Chamberlin (she is from the office of  junior US Senator Roger Wicker) -- first person I've spoken to from the United States since we left for China.  She was so kind & said that the problem  Friday was Not with the printers but a malfunction in the computer system linking back to Washington & it has affected approximately 2,000 visas.  She has told us that Senator Wicker & his wife are both concerned and that she is personally updating them.

Kim is calling United Airlines to see what she can do for our families.  She was hopeful but could not promise anything.  Kim will let me know as soon as she hears something.

This price inconsistency & gouging should NOT happen to ANYONE!  We paid $10,000 for our tickets at the first of July & now we have paid over $4000 more just to have the return date changed to a different date (NOT a date we picked, but a date that worked for United Airlines).  If you know how we can work to prevent this in the future, PLEASE let me know!  I've heard from others that it's at the discretion of the personal you speak to!  It should be FAIR for each person NOT whether the personal from United is in the mood to accommodate you but NOT another!  Every one should be treated EQUALLY & that is all we have asked for from United Airlines.  They changed other tickets in our party for NO CHARGE for a family of 4, reduced for $300 total for another family of 4, $500 for a family of 3, & $4000+ for our family!  The family that paid $500 & our family are the only ones from Mississippi! Hummm.......see any differences here??  We all booked within 24hours of each other & were delayed due to the visas on Friday.  I will be glad to speak out until we are heard & everyone is treated equally!  We've had over 8,000 hits to our blogspot so I know people are reading & this does not include the ones that are reading us from Facebook!  We are not the type to cause a problem, but believe in equality!  This is not only a problem for us but many others have reached out to us & shared very similar problems.  Also, it should not take days of calls/headaches & getting Washington involved to get consistent treatment for all!  We want others protected from this happening in the future so it's not just about us!  

A special thank you to EACH one of you!!!  Thank you for every lead/email/name/call to try & fix this problem, words of encouragement, help financially, & every prayer!  We have not personally responded to each one of you because we have been trying to follow leads, make contacts, & making arrangements to stay longer.  Our problem is not over nor solved with United Airlines so we may still be following leads & making contacts.  Please know how grateful we are for everything you have done for us!  We are so humbled!

 Also a special thank you to our Senator Wicker, Senator Wicker's staff, & Rita Parks from the Mississippi State Senate!  Phil's mom has spoken with MS Senator Rita & she is also working to correct any issues we are having over the last few days. I know there are people that are probably left out but these are the names in Governmental Office that I know is trying to assist us at this time.   I thought you should be aware of the ones working to help us as you are following our story!  I will keep you updated on the what they are able to get done for our families!

I've had some people ask how they can financially help us with all the added costs we've incurred (even if the flights get changed, we are still in China extra time=more $).  At the top of the blog, you can find this information:

Trustmark National Bank account set up:
Donations can be made nation wide at any Trustmark National Bank through the account:
Phillip Smith or Niki J. Smith's Adoption Account

If you would like to mail a donation, please mail it to
Phil or Niki Smith
P.O. Box 332
Rienzi, MS 38865

To the right side of our blogspot, you can find the paypal link that looks like this:
If you feel lead to 
donate to GiGi's
adoption fund, you can 
donate through PayPal 
by clicking the donate 
button. You do NOT 
need a PayPal account
 to donate. No amount
is too small! Thank you 
for helping bring our 
Daughter home!

You have all done so much already & we thank you!
God Bless each of you!

This is the church we visited yesterday.  This was after services, but it was full during the regular Mandarin/English service.  We had to sit in a separate room because there were so many in attendance!  We really needed to be with other Christians yesterday & will post more details later.

Colt doesn't like his pic taken, but Phil was able to snap this shot of him.

When we adopted GiGi, we had taken her a doll from the US to give to her.  We had given it to her several times, but she never acted as if she knew how to play with it.??  Yesterday, Macy Jade was playing with the dolls & she showed GiGi how she was caring for them.  GiGi begin feeding (first pic below) the dolls & nurturing them!  It was a moment I will never forget!

GiGi says YOU are the reason she will be going HOME soon!  :0)

When looking at this sweet face, I'm reminded how she is worth every effort we've made over the year+ to bring her home!  We'd do it a million times over for this angel!  We cannot imagine our family without her!  She has changed our lives in the last 2 weeks!  Thank you for helping us give her a FOREVER home!!!!  She is SO happy!!!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Dear Lord,  You've always taken care of me & provided!  I'm so sorry for my times of doubt & little faith!  Thank you for loving me in all my shortcomings, giving us a precious daughter, giving us food & shelter,giving us good health, a good night sleep, wonderful Christians that are willing to help us, surrounding us with Christian friends that are here with us & will pray for us, a wonderful church family that has provided much support, for allowing us to be together, & most of all for sending your only Son to die for my sins.  There are so many things I should be thankful for that you have provided & I'm so unworthy!  The things I've mentioned above do not even start to scratch the surface!  Thank you for friends that have carried me through their prayers.  I'm awake & refreshed with renewed strength & faith!  I love you Lord!  Thank you for providing & for sending us on this journey!  I'm here to service you!  I beg of you to let me know the path you want me to follow & I will follow where you lead!  Amen! Niki

I was so exhausted last night that I just passed out on  the bed.  I was emotionally drained!  We are on our way to church.  I pray for each of you as you pray for us!  We need to be with Christians so we are headed to church on Shamian Island.  We have leads we will follow when we return.  Thank you so very much for every lead, prayer, support, encouragements & the information you have  provided!  We have not answered each of you so please think we are ungrateful!  We are following up on emails, names, information as soon we return.  We just feel we need to be at this church.  We will continue to update you & we appreciate everything you have done to help!  We are so unworthy & have asked so much but you just continue to support, pray, & carry of through!  Thank you is not appropriate as we are in awe of your faithfulness!

What is happening today???? Super frustrated!

Last night I was frustrated but feeling what is there for me to do???  Our China rep said that we would have to wait until ATLEAST Monday to get visas & United acted as if they were booking up & the soonest we could fly out was next Saturday for a fee of $4000!  The next date was Tuesday the 7th for $3500 but it would cost us more for the cost of staying here, Phil would miss school & the kids would get home the night before they were to return to school with major jetlag!

What was I to do??  I was panicked, feeling isolated from eveyone that could help, & no way to call home for less than about $10 per min.  Today the following has occurred.  

Our agency has emailed us THIS MORNING stating that they were working & trying to get the visas done today.  WHY did they not tell us this yesterday prior to us all rebooking & spending the night rearranging everything????  I finally got ahold of our China rep here & she acted like she has not spoken with our agency & knew nothing of visas being completed today.

On top of that it cost us over $4000 to change our flights to Saturday....that was the soonest they acted like we could get out of here.  The next would be the following Tuesday (7th) and that would be only be $500 cheaper {costing more when adding in the cost of staying here that many more days}.  

I also woke up to finding out the other families affected are NOT being gouged like this!!!  One family changed this morning & got on the SAME flight we were trying to get on.  They were charged NOTHING to change & are the same size family flying as our family! Why were we told we COULD NOT fly out until Saturday???  WHY are we being charged $4000 to fly out later????  This family was originally told the cost would be $7000 (we were originally told the same amount).  We've been on the phone with the airlines for hours & cannot get it straight!

The other families were able to change flights for $500 total for all of them!  I'm in tears & we cannot get anywhere with the airlines.  We are trying to deal with them but we cannot get anywhere.  We are going to work with someone else, but do not know if anything can be done!  If anyone knows how to deal with them, PLEASE let me know!  

Friday, July 27, 2012

The last 20 hours

I'm going to try & catch you all up on what is going on by messages I've sent/posted else where since yesterday:

If you are up, please pray for us! The consultant is having problems getting all of our children's visa issued. They closed 20+ min ago & we still have not gotten them. It's looking grim for getting them today. If we don't get them today, it will be Monday afternoon (couldn't fly out until Tuesday at earliest!) & we are suppose to fly out on Sunday. I'm not sure our insurance will cover a situation like this & GiGi's return flight cost $2,200 (we have round trip so not sure of the cost, but I think you see my point) Not to mention the cost of staying additional days.
(17 hours ago)

No more visa will be issued out today so we are here until atleast Tuesday. I've got to check on our flight insurance to see what it covers. Please continue to pray for us as this is a really huge huge deal if our insurance will not cover.
(16 hours ago)

Phil just talked to them about insurance. They will NOT cover for this! I'm trying to see what our options are & how much it is to change flights, if we can change our flights, etc - even though we do not know when we can depart. Phil is speaking with our rep here in China to get all the details & I will let u know as we know.
(15.5 hours ago)

We are still checking on everything, but it looks as if we will have a credit of $700 per person to go toward fights returning home.......maybe you could all visit us in China..........Just kidding parents! Return flights are $2050each to return for EACH of us. I'm trying to laugh to keep from crying! I have no idea why but this is happening for a reason. I'm not to know only trust & we are trying to keep the faith! We are checking the cost to continue staying here verses going to another hotel. We also checked the price of the kids & I returning & Phil & GiGi staying in China. However, we have to fly out of Hong Kong to use the $$$ toward another flight. We would have duplicate charges for hotels & traveling from here to HK. It would only save us a few hundred dollars for us to split up by the time we paid for traveling to HK 2xs & rooms there, etc. We are going to check stand by prices & see if we can use the $$$ toward that also. We are checking everything so please continue to pray for us! I will not lie in saying we are so thankful our family is united but it is stressful for us right now! Thank you all for your continued support! You know there will be yard sales when we get home! ha
Oh and GiGi got her first busted lip during all this & Colt appears to have an ear infection. Just thought I'd ask for all the prayers at once. Maybe my next post will not be so grim. We have not eaten since morning so we've got to grab a bite. We will keep you updated.
(14 hours ago)

Looks like we will be here until ATLEAST next Saturday -----YES, 8 more days! WOW!!! Anyone got any ideas or suggestions??? If we were still in Beijing then we might be able to get paid tips for pics with Macy Jade (remember when I posted about everyone wanting her pic there! lol) Wowy, I'm wondering what plans God has for us here that many more days???
(10 hours ago)

We have heard of a Christian church on Shamain Island & we plan to attend it this Sunday. I'm sure there will be much to tell. We went ahead & rebooked & paid for flights for next Saturday (4th). There was a typhoon that shut down HK for several days this week. If we didn't book for the 4th, it was going to be the 7th before we could leave without paying for first class tickets. That Tuesday was only going to cost alittle over $100 less per ticket. I think I'm going to have to process all this tonight as I'm honestly overwhelmed. I think Phillip is going to get on here in a few. I keep looking at that silly giggly tiny girl that keeps calling me Mama & remember that we are only here a short time! Hearing her & seeing the difference a few days has already made in her has made it more than worth it all! God has some plan - He just hasn't let me in on it yet! lol
(9 hours ago)

Remembering the reason we are here:

--->>>First, because we were following God's plan!

.........................Which lead to..........................

Sunday, July 22, 2012

We made it here!!! YEAH

We are here & yes, we made it yesterday!  We tried & tried to get on the internet last night but even the engineer couldn't get us on! ha! Inside joke since that is my brother's profession, but actually the engineer did come in last night! I will have to explain all that later!  

I just wanted to let all know it appears we will now have internet service & I will update you all as much as possible!  We are all doing better than anyone could expect & are having the best time together!  We also have a McDonald's right next door - I do not like Mc but it was delicious last night after eating out of vending machines last stop!  

We have toured this a.m. & are eating out as a group tonight.  

I cannot believe we leave China in a week!  WOW! We are going out for a bit.  I will update more soon, but wanted to let everyone know we are here & doing well!  This place is so much nicer than the last city!!!  Blessings to all!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Visiting GiGi's Orphanage

Today was the hardest day I've had while in China!  We visited the orphanage.  Pictures don't even do justice for the orphanage GiGi lived in for 2 years!   I've never seen conditions like this before & I cannot believe GiGi lived here for 2years!!  I've been sick all day since leaving there!  You cannot capture the smell & it was unlike any I've smelled before!  It wasn't urine or poop but much worse!   The children's rooms opened to the outside & they didn't even have doors on them!  They just had thick plastic strips.    I'm pretty positive no one even stayed with them at night as it was wall to wall cribs with no room for a chair or anything!  When we came back our interrupter said they would only show us the best part of the orphanage & that it was much worse in the other parts (which I cannot imagine anything being much worse!)  I could not have handled seeing any more – our GiGi lived here & other children are there now!  I cannot put into words how broken my heart is tonight!

There were 2 babies that had arrived yesterday.  No one was holding them & one was blue.  The baby was still alive but I seriously doubt she will live a couple more days.  Both children had a horrible cough that sounded like pneumonia!  While we were there the police arrived to leave another child but we did not see it!  Please pray for all these precious babies!  It was a life changing experience & anyone that hasn’t personally experienced it could not understand!  Phil posted some pics but he couldn't even bare to take pics of it all!  The lens would not capture the coldness & smell through the peeling paint, concrete floors, wall to wall cribs, & all the babies that lay there without anyone holding them!  

The orphanage workers were unbelievable!  They are so nice & thoughtful!  You can tell they loved the kids, but they can only do so much with what they were given!  The nannies seemed to love the children very much!  GiGi was very fond of all the workers & let them hold her.   When it was time to go she came back to me & waved bye to them.  When we got in the bus she cried & cried & cried herself to sleep!  I think she realized it was good-bye forever & was so hard on her!  No matter how bad the conditions are this was her home!  I have no doubt adopting these children is best but it hurts to see your child in such pain!  She has clung to me like never before!  A long day would be an understatement!  

 I really really thought I was going to vomit after the visit!  No American could understand the conditions if you haven’t traveled to a 3rd world country!  Phil couldn't bear to get the worst that we saw in pics because it was so heartbreaking!  It is crucial that we get these children out of there into forever families! I was planning on posting more about our visit today, but I am emotionally drained!   I will try to write more about it at a later date, but I’m just not emotionally up to any more tonight!

Thank goodness we leave here tomorrow! No one has been fond of being here & is ready to go!  We fly out at 12:50 & will land in Guangzhou at 2:05.  I'm not sure how the kids are going to handle flying (all the families & adoptive children here will fly on the same plane).  I hope the internet service will be as good there as it has been here.  We will post as soon as possible once we are there!

Pictures from XX Orphanage 
& the beautiful children
awaiting FOREVER Families
.........are you willing to change a child's life????