Li-Ann and Mia attend school together and are in the same class. They are best friends as you can see in the picture below. They have grown so much since we adopted them at 2 and 3 years of age. They are such outgoing happy little girls.
CHINA – OUR TRIP:
I am so excited and proud to share with you that we have finally adopted Li-Ann and Mia, and they are officially our daughters.
On December 10th 2011, we, along with our team, left for Japan to visit the various ravaged areas affected from the earthquake and tsunami that had taken place on March 11 of that year. We did a lot of filming for KCTV and visited the missionaries that we support for a few days – Peter and Atsuko O’Neill. On December 15th, we left for China, not knowing what to expect. We arrived in Beijing and started filming almost immediately. Due to the prophetic words that Kim had received over the years, the team filmed at various locations to broadcast our Den and Matrix meetings from China.
On December 17th, 2011, we met Li-Ann for the first time. We drove to the rehab center where she had been living since her heart surgery, about a year and a half before. We toured the facility and met many of the children that our ministry has helped by financially providing for these life saving surgeries. We were overwhelmed by the medical needs of some of these children, who without intervention would definitely not have survived.
We met Li-Ann for the first time in the lunchroom, where she was sitting at a table finishing a cookie when the director, Cindy, introduced her to us. She would not make eye contact at first, and just pointed to a stool and told us to sit. Very bossy!!!! She was the loudest child in the lunchroom. We knew from the outset that she would fit in with the Clement Clan very well.
After various meetings and long hours of securing the official paperwork, she was given to us. What a beautiful feeling it was to know that after all these months of preparation and anticipation, she was safely in our care. We had a difficult time getting her to sleep at all the first night, and I noticed a rattle in her chest, which I had heard at the orphanage. I assumed it may have been from her heart condition and recent surgery, so didn’t think much more about it. But by the next morning, she was running a fever and I knew it, “Kim, this child is sick!” I insisted, and he immediately went into action. He contacted our guides from the orphanage, and they had us with a doctor extremely quickly, which was a relief. They were truly a great help to us. It was so stressful and I felt panicked as we rushed to the hospital, not wanting her to be sick in the first few days of knowing her new family.
At the hospital, they took X-Rays of her lungs and found that she had pneumonia, we spent the next two days there, which was a blur of breathing treatments and antibiotics, before we left to get Mia.
Mia was in Zhongshan City, in Guangdong Province. It was extremely sad when she said goodbye to her nanny, our hearts were breaking as she cried, and when we went back to the hotel, she just clung to me, not allowing anyone else to touch her or pick her up. We were very nervous with Mia because she has not yet had her heart surgery. Although Li-Ann needs only a cataract surgery, she has already had her heart surgery, and is quite healthy overall. Mia, on the other hand, is still in a much more delicate state.
Our trip was, unfortunately, extremely challenging in many ways. Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong, as if everything was against us. We recognize this as resistance from the enemy and defiantly continued on. We were a small army, in a foreign land, and resistance was coming from all directions. Without Jacquelyn’s help, I don’t know what we would have done. She is a born mother, soft and patient and nurturing, and she was and still is an irreplaceable help to us.
After we had both girls, we still had to wait in China for over a week to finalize everything, and our appointment with the US embassy was set for the 30th of December 2011. During this time, Kim and the team were working on interviews for the next stop in South Korea. Amazingly Kim had planned on ministering in South Korea after the China trip and ironically (as prophesied) the Prime Minister of North Korea, Kim Jong ll Long, died. This was an awful week. Everyone got sick with the flu, including me. Kim fortunately was kept from the virus and I understand now that he was holding everything together spiritually, and needed complete strength as this was a ministry trip and the demands were great. At one stage while he was filming in a public place in China it occurred to him that what he was doing was illegal in China. As he was ministering to all of the warriors via the camera, a crowd started gathering on the Square. They were so hungry to hear the good news. Suddenly out of nowhere officials appeared and so Kim brought the broadcast to an end. He wasn’t arrested but it was a close call.
What made things so difficult was that Mia would not go to anyone but me, and she would not let me put her down for a minute. This became distressful when I got sick, because we didn’t want Mia to get it. With her delicate heart, congestion and flu before an international trip was unthinkable. But that is exactly what happened. Li-Ann had been sick, Jacquelyn got sick and then slowly everyone except Kim was extremely ill. We feared that I was getting pneumonia around Christmas.
Our Christmas didn’t feel like Christmas at all. Kim the diehard, tried to make the best of it, and took us to dinner in our hotel. The waiters and staff were so kind to us, even singing to us at our table. But we were all so sick; we just wanted to get back into bed.
Mia did get sick, and when her lips started to turn blue, we rushed her to the hospital. We spent the rest of our time there in and out of Chinese hospitals, on crowded buses and all the while Chinese people kept taking pictures of us. I think this was because we were “American” and the regions we were in are not common tourist areas. Every time we went out, Chinese people were yelling out “Harry Potter” to our son Jakob, who wears round classes like the character from the story. This was embarrassing to him and he walked around most of the time with a hood over his head and red cheeks. What crowned it all was that Kim would call him Harry Potter when people were nearby and they would start taking shots of “Harry.” Jakob was highly indignant. Then Kim had to sign papers in the lobby of the hotel and there were a number of policemen downstairs. Suddenly Kim was surrounded, and the police asked for a picture with him. Kim was paid back and it was amusing to see “Mr. Large and in charge”…blushing!
The day of our appointment finally arrived. We were to go to the same building where so many families have gone to adopt children from China. There are countless videos on You Tube where you can watch families in the office of the U.S. Embassy as they go through the final stage of the adoptions. It is very emotional and moving and I encourage you to watch some of these videos. Search “Chinese adoptions” or the like on YouTube, and you’ll see the black and white couches in the waiting room. We were in that room on our last day in China, and what a relief when everything was finally completed and they were officially our daughters.
The next stop was going to be more challenging because everyone was at the height of their illnesses, and leaving Chinese customs was going to be the last attack. Quite honestly it was quite demonic. After standing in a line for at least 30 minutes we started clearing customs to exit and take our flight to Seoul, Korea, the Chinese official decided that we were not going to leave and began shouting at us. Our translator, Ami, was trying to translate while simultaneously arguing with this dimwit. Eventually Kim told everyone to be quiet and tried to walk up to the official in his booth, but he waved his hand at Kim warning he would make life very difficult for him if he came any nearer. Kim walked back and told all of us to be still and not say a word. He prayed, and then the official told Kim to bring everyone’s papers and he, albeit with great duress, let us through.
But now we were late for our flight to Seoul. Kim looked for a cart and jumped on it with all of us, intending on driving it himself, but the driver came running over and told us to get off. Kim waved $20.00 at him and we were suddenly whisked away and traveling at supersonic speed. The driver got us to the gate, as they were about to close. But the struggles were not yet over. Only Jacquelyn and I could hold the two sick babies, who were clinging to us, through the huge International airport. This was trying enough, but what was worse was that we found the people to be most unhelpful. Mia was not eating, and this was worrying me terribly. Kim completed his work within hours and we waited at the airport for the International flight from Seoul, Korea to Los Angeles.
Both girls were sick for the duration of the flight. Li-Ann threw up the whole time, and Mia was getting worse. This was a terrible stress for us because we worried so about Mia’s health and the physically draining, long flight was almost unbearable. By the time we got home, Kim was showing signs of the flu with fever and sore muscles.
The next day was New Years, January 1st of 2012. Mia was running an extremely high fever, so we took her to St. John’s hospital near our house. What a difference to the hospitals in China! I was so grateful to be back home in America and I felt completely safe when they took Mia in an ambulance to UCLA medical. They took excellent care of her, had her on breathing treatments and also did an ultrasound on her heart. They saw that she had no fluid around her heart, which was great news, and although she has a few defects, her overall heart function is good.
It has now been 2 months, and I want to thank all of you who supported us on this mission, and prayed for us. Li-Ann is doing so much better and loves being at home. She’s very helpful and always wants to clean up. She is speaking so much better now, I never dreamed we’d be watching “Barney” so soon, but it certainly helps them with numbers and words. Mia has settled in amazingly. Compared to the first few weeks it’s a giant step for a little orphan who was abandoned on a street in China at the age of 8 months. This has been one of the highlights of my life, and I hope that you follow us on our journey with these very special children who have stolen our hearts.