My Marilyn JiaBing

One of the highlights of the trip for me was sitting next to Marilyn JiaBing with my mom on the other side for the whole 12 hour flight home. I thought JiaBing would sleep a lot, but other than a short nap she didn’t at all. That was ok. Instead my mom and I found ourselves giggling with her, playing games, singing song after song with her, and watching in incredulity as she very carefully placed over 100 teeny tiny “Hello Kitty” stickers on a white 4×6 index card.

I named her Marilyn, after my mom, for a lot of reasons. I have a Max named after my maternal Grandpa and my mom and Grandpa were always such a pair that it just felt right to have my own Max and Marilyn pair. My mom is one of my best friends and has helped me through every challenge and milestone in my life since before my first steps to this last addition to my family. She has been the most influential teacher in my life and my example. For all of those reasons, I wanted to give my one and only daughter that name.

The biggest reason though was because every time she hears her name I want my daughter to know that I love her. I want it to be a constant reminder she is my true daughter in every way. She may not have been born from my body, but she was born from my heart, mind, and soul. I feel such a strong bond to my mom and by giving Marilyn JiaBing that name I want her to know that I am bound to her in the same way and feel the same amount of love, devotion, and commitment for her that my mom feels for me. I want her name to be a manifestation to her our mother-daughter bond as it is an echo of the mother-daughter relationship I have with my mom.

Watching the way that Marilyn JiaBing bonded to my mom was so deeply gratifying to me. It was incredibly precious. They were almost instantly comfortable together. My mom got snuggles out of her the first night or two that I still haven’t received three weeks later. JiaBing teases my mom, plays with her, and laughs with her in a way that is unique to just the two of them. I loved watching that develop.


In a lot of ways, we are still on a journey to our “Marilyn JiaBing Parker”. She knows that is her legal name, but she spent the first seven years of her life as Wei JiaBing and that is still mainly who she is. She is growing into Marilyn JiaBing Parker and now she is not traveling alone. Her world is changing and she is right along with it. Wei JiaBing will always be the little girl inside of her, a part of who she will become, and we will love walking with her and discovering alongside her who she will become.

Coming Home

I don’t deserve it but I’ll take it. I say this a lot. I say it about my wife and my life in general. I feel it acutely today.

Taking off yesterday from San Francisco with my beautiful family asleep next to me and a clear view of the city, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the San Francisco Bay, my heart was so full. The last leg of our journey was short but very sweet. I don’t sleep well while traveling so I got to spend a bit over an hour staring at my complete family and our beautiful country. I’m so grateful for such a marvelous little life.

I love traveling. I especially love international travel. I could write about how it broadens horizons, expands our minds, and blah blah blah, which is all true. The biggest reason I love it though, is related to that. It’s coming home.

I love coming home to my little home (big by the world’s standards). I love my little quiet life here. Coming home always makes me realize all the stupid junk that I let keep me from fully enjoying our nice little life together. It makes me slow down. It makes me realize how little a lot of things matter. And how much the most important stuff does.

And my important stuff grew by 25% this trip. Seeing our family together and (we think) complete in our home is such great evidence of the correctness of this whole plan. And believe me, traipsing around the globe spending time, angst, and emotion to find our three treasures was not our plan. Each of them has their own little miraculous story about their addition to our family. We’ve been guided at so many points on our path to parenthood. Some of those have required a ton of faith in the Lord and His guidance for us. And the payoff is worth it.

Noah is a passionate, brilliantly imaginative ball of energy with deep eye-popping hugs. Max is quietly funny, so smart, and such a little worker. Marilyn JiaBing seems to be a good little lady with a healthy dose of aggressive silliness. I adore my three children. Much of what I have felt yesterday and today is gratitude for her and for this trip. But much of it is a different brand of fullness coming from the feeling that our family is now complete. Sure, angels could announce a different plan for us but I don’t think they will. I think our family is complete. And I’m so very happy about that. It feels like the opening of a new chapter in our life and the closing of an old and good, but hard, one.

We have some work to do but things are going as well as can be expected and will continue getting better and better. It will be nice to have conversations with our daughter in the near future and get to know her even better. For now, though, her giggles and smiles are plenty of compensation for the months of wait. And she will someday appreciate what we already know: that we are so richly blessed to live our little life here in America, where we are free from so many worries and hardships that so many throughout the world cheerfully plod through even as we complain about Netflix not working or Internet Explorer not responding again. I’ll take it.


The newest little American is in San Francisco. Four hours to kill and we’re on our way to SLC and our own beds. No more hotels for awhile! The flight was mostly fine. Noah always hates the ear popping and JiaBing tossed her cookies about 30 seconds before touchdown. Lucky we packed those awesome American Flag shirts to change the kids into after clearing immigration.

It’s good to be in America where everyone is so different that we really stare at no one. I always appreciate our nation’s diversity after leaving it for awhile.

One More Night

We made it safely to Hong Kong. It’s amazing and under different circumstances we’d paint the town. After a long walk from train to hotel and with a long day tomorrow, we’re just resting at our airport hotel on the South China Sea.

We had no sickness and a pretty uneventful trip until a bit of a meltdown at the end by our scared and tired daughter. She’s fine though. We’re hoping for a good trip tomorrow with lots of sleeping. Either way, we’ll be home in 36 hours!