I have learned to hold all things loosely, so God will not have to pry them out of my hands. --Corrie ten Boom

How Much Longer?

I Knew I Loved You...


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Thank You...


Just a brief note to thank you all so much for your thoughts & prayers over the last couple of days in regards to my Granny. My Mom just phoned briefly to say that my Granny is doing very, very well. She is up in the chair & visiting with the family. She doesn't seem to have any deficits from the events of the last few days. She has moments where it takes her a minute to recognize certain individuals that she hasn't seen in a while, but other than that she appears to be doing very well. She is still currently in the ICU & is continuing to be monitored very closely, particularly in relation to her respiratory status. Only a day ago the doctor said that she likely would not make it through the night, so we are all very happy to see this improvement. She is still very weak & tired & will no doubt be in for a long recovery in regards to her hip. She has also developed pneumonia; they think from choking on something that she drank. They call this "aspiration pneumonia". She will have a swallow study/evaluation by a speech therapist tomorrow. They will make their recommendation in regards to her drinking & eating by mouth after that is completed. Up to this point she has been able to take nothing by mouth. She desperately wants coffee! My Mom reports that today when she asked her if there was anything that any of us could do for her, she responded; "Pray, just pray." It seems that you all have already been doing that & that it is working, so keep it up! Thank you all again!

Jen

Friday, December 28, 2007

Top 10 Baby Names of 2007.....

Top 10 Girl Names:

Sophia
Isabella
Emma
Madison
Ava
Addison
Hailey
Emily
Kaitlyn
Olivia

Top 10 Boy Names:

Aiden
Ethan
Jacob
Jayden
Caleb
Noah
Jackson
Jack
Logan
Matthew

Well, there they are. The top ten baby names of 2007. Thomas & I were so glad to see that "Mia" stayed off of that list, at least for this year! "American Girl" rolled out their newest doll recently & her name is "Mia". (No, she is not Asian.) We know how popular "American Girl" is, so we figure that the name "Mia" will soon become much more common here in the U.S. We are hoping not, but we know that there is nothing that we can do to stop it & we are not changing our mind about the name that we have chosen. We were also pleased to see that our boy name did not make the list either; "Maxwell Gavin". We will call him Max. (This is ofcourse if we are blessed sometime in the future to add a little guy to our family.) "Mia & Max" will be our names for our kiddos; God willing. I would love to hear from any of you the names that you are considering or choosing if you would like to share them here in my comments. I think this will be kind of a fun poll to find out our most popular names around our adoption community! (or, if your are pregnant & want to share, that would be great too!)

Jen

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Not a great Christmas Day for the family...

My Mom's side of the family had our annual Christmas Dinner yesterday at my Uncle's home. I had to work, so we didn't make it. (it was a couple of hours away) My Mom phoned me last night with some bad news. My Uncle has recently done some remodeling on their home. They have this big new bonus room where the kids were playing. It is not yet completed so right now it is a concrete floor with a ping-pong table & such in the room. My Great-Grandmother who is 89 years old had just arrived to the family gathering, (she didn't even have her coat off yet!) when she heard the kids out in the room playing & wanted to say hello. There is apparently a step down to enter into the room. She made it fine & was talking with the children. She turned to go back into the room & when she went to step up she must have misjudged her footing somehow & "Granny" fell. ("Granny" is what we call her.) At first she thought maybe that she could get up, but quickly realized that wasn't going to happen. My cousin is a Paramedic. He was at the dinner. He came out & assessed her & stated that he was afraid that she had broken her hip. At that point it was decided to call an ambulance. My Uncle & his family live WAY out in the country. They knew just getting the ambulance there would be an ordeal, but they had no choice. Many first repsonders & Paramedics showed up & after over an hour the ambulance came. Granny was freezing on that cold concrete floor, so my Mom had gotten her pillows & blankets & was on the floor with her holding her hand; comforting her & trying to keep her warm. My Grandma; Granny's daughter was allowed to ride in the front of the ambulance & went with Granny to the hospital & begged everyone else just to stay at the dinner, eat & "try" to have some sort of Christmas as usual & that she would call as soon as they had an initial report. The dinner continued. However, my Mom said that everyone was totally miserable, nervous & "out of sorts". My Grandma; "MeMa" phoned & said that Granny's hip was in fact broken. They weren't sure if she could make it through a surgery, as her lungs are not in great shape & having to intubate her could make extubation a very long, if ever process. Anyway, this morning it was decided that they would move forward with the surgery. The only other option was for her to be bedfast at a nursing home & for her that was not an option that she was willing to consider. My Mom just called & the surgery is over. Thus far, she has hung in there. They are preparing to move her from recovery to the Intensive Care Unit. The doctor's have said that she will be in the hospital for at least three weeks & then it will be necessary for her to receive continued care in a rehab unit for at least an additional three months. Currently, prior to this fall, she lived in her own home by herself. This will be a big adjustment for her. We will just have to wait & see how things go over the next few weeks now. She is very thin & has no reserves. This will be a big concern during her recovery period.

Jen

Big Surprise!

On Christmas Eve I was doing some things around the house when my Mom called to ask me about what kind of beef that is that you put on the outside of a cheese ball......you guys know, that dried beef. She said that she was at the store & couldn't find it or remember exactly what kind it was. Well, you may remember in a previous post that I had mentioned that due to work schedules & Ol' Man Winter we weren't going to get to see our family over this holiday season. I was a little sad about that. Anyhow, I had just gotten out of the shower & the door bell rang. I ignored it momentarily, as I mentioned I was not dressed & just getting out of the shower. They rang the bell again. I thought that it was either a neighbor dropping off some Christmas goodies or someone selling or adverstising something; but I found that hard to imagine on Christmas Eve. Well, they didn't go away. Matter of fact, they continued to ring the bell & beat on our front door. I threw on a shirt & ran to our side window to see who it could possibly be. My parents car was in our driveway.!! I threw on some jeans & ran to our front door. My ten year old niece & Mom jumped out & yelled "Merry Christmas!" I was so surprised & so thrilled. It was the best gift ever! My Mom, Dad & Niece stayed with me the afternoon. We went to the store where Thomas was working & briefly visited with him. Then, we all went out to a nice dinner. Thomas got off from work shortly after & then he joined us as well. It was such a surprise that they were able to make it up to spend the time with us! We were so happy! Thank you Mom, Dad & Maddie for making the trip & for making our Christmas Eve so much more special! It was so good to see you & spend the time together! (oh & if you are asking yourself, "What was with calling about the beef on the cheeseball?!?!" Well, that was my Mom's way of making sure I was still at home! Sneaky, isn't she!)

Jen

Monday, December 24, 2007

Note from our agency....

We received a note from our agency. They told us that currently the wait is 24 months. People who have LID's of 02/06 still have like 75 LID's to get to before them & they are already at a wait of 22 months?!?!?!? So, with that in mind how can "24 months" even be close to accurate!?!?! I mean, c'mon.....we all know that the CCAA isn't going to get through 75 LID's in two months, right? In the same note we were also told that with a LID of 07/20/07 that we should expect a wait of 20 months. YAY, only 15 months to go.......NOT! I just can't imagine that. She broke it all down & talked about "heavy months & light months & attrition" etc. I don't know.....maybe they know something that we all do not, but realistically I just can't wrap my head around these predictions. I would LOVE to believe it, but how can I? I feel like I would just be sitting myself up for a big ol' dissapointment later down the road. If her "20 months" statement were true, & we don't think it is accurate, but if it were, then that would mean we could expect a referral in March 2009. At this point March 2010 would be a surprise, much less 2009! (However, I would love March as that is Thomas's b-day month, plus the weather would be pretty decent too.......who am I kidding!?!?! I don't care. Whenever; 10 degrees or 110 in the shade we just want to bring our daughter home~)

Well, I just thought I would share this with you all. Please "comment" & let us know what you are thinking about all of this. I am sure I can guess anyway, but share away!

Jen

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Baby Einstein......

Well, there has apparently in recent month's been some controversy as to whether or not Baby Einstein is edcationally appropriate or stimulating for young, developing & growing minds. Back when I purchased these according to our research they were supposedly the best thing around! I got a fabulous deal on these sets. A mother of twins was having a sale. She had all of these, some not even opened yet. Generally if you price these DVD's new they run @ $28.00-$30.00 per DVD. I have not priced the box sets. I am sure you get a break for purchasing the whole set. Anyway, I purchased all of these; thriteen DVD's in all, for $35.00! I was so excited when I purchased them, but now find myself wondering if I made a good purchase or not. I know the price was right, but what about the item itself? Is this something that is good for Mia? We are not planning to let her watch much television, but we did think educational programs/DVD's in small amounts would be okay, especially Baby Einstein! In hearing the latest, they are just mainly now saying nothing before the age of two television wise if we heard correctly. Guess we will just have to do some more research. None the less, I am still pretty proud of this bargain! Jen

Thanks Jim, Maureen & Melissa!

These are finally the pictures of the chopsticks set that the nicest people that we met at the Dumpling Festival some months back gave to us. They bid on & won an item at the silent auction; a cooking lesson by a Chinese Specialty Chef in their home. With this came this set of chopsticks. Jim, Maureen & Melissa said that they already had several sets & that they would like us to have this one. We were just overwhelmed with gratitude & thankful for their generousity & kindness! We will never forget it. Thanks again Jim, Maureen & Melissa! By the way, how was that cooking lesson?

Jen

"Retail Therapy"



Well, if this isn't evidence of my "retail therapy" I don't know what is! HA! These top three photos are of just SOME of our Rubbermaid containers of Miss Mia's clothes, toys, books, shoes etc. that are stacked in our garage. The two here are of her bumper for her crib. We will do her room around these colors red/white gingham, black accents, white & a light green & LadyBugs ofcourse.

This picture is Home Interiors. I actually purchased it on Ebay months & months ago when we were paperchasing. Saw it, loved it & bought it all in a day. Not sure where we will put it, but I thought Mia would like it as much as we do.
I will take some of the cutsie things out at some point & get some close up shots for you to "oooh & ahhh" over when I get a chance, but I thought this for now would give you some idea of what I am up to when I say "retail therapy"!
Jen

5 Month LID Anniversary....

December 20th was five months that we have been logged in at the CCAA in China. In reflecting on what that means for us & our family on the days leading up to that day & since then I couldn't help but think about when we first chose International Adoption & then chose China. I vividly remember the moment when we were told that the average wait time was six-nine months. What I remember most about that very moment (& I remember it so well!) was the overwhelming feeling that six-nine months was so long to wait & that we just couldn't believe that it was going to be that long before we would see our daughters face for the first time! What we would give now for someone to give us that kind of a time line! I suppose it is just all relative, isn't it? Now we just spend our days praying & hoping that our wait won't go over two years & with every day that passes & every day that the CCAA's website doesn't change we become more weary & convinced that more than two years of waiting will no doubt be in our future. With the 2008 Olympics being in Bejing & fast approaching (August) all of us waiting families can't help but fear what this will do to our worlds; to the world that we all live in; this world of International Adoption. Like anything that consumes one's life it becomes this whole "thing", doesn't it? A whole community, another language & an amazing common bond between those of us living in this world of International Adoption. Irregardless of all of the uncertainty, in the middle of all of the ups & downs & the ever lengthening wait we continue to just wait, hope & pray. This time of year ofcourse we can't help but to wonder how many more Christmas's will pass before Mia will be here with us. We would like to think this would be our last, but know that will likely not be the case. Instead, we must face the reality that it will be very likely that we will have at least one more, if not two Holiday Seasons before we will have her big brown eyes on the front of our annual holiday cards. Like with most milestones in one's life I suppose most every occasion in our futures will be marked in some way with us no doubt wondering if the next time we do this very thing, "will she be here with us?"

Jen

World Vision.......

http://www.worldvision.org/donate.nsf/child/giftcatalog_christmas07?Open&campaign=124608133&cmp=BAC-124608133

Above is the Christmas campaign website for an organization called World Vision. I would ask that you all take the time to check this site & organization out. They do great things all around the world. There are many options within this organization from buying seeds for a family for harvest for $17.00, to ten fruit trees for a family for $60.00 or a goat for $75.00 to actually choosing a child to sponsor. Child sponsorship is so awesome. For as little as a dollar a day you can offer a child a life! You can actually choose the child from the site. They show thousands of photos & tell a little about each child. After doing this you will then get information on your chosen child & then you can even begin to correspond with the child & even send them packages & share photos, stories & updates. You actually get to see what your money is doing & how it is directly changing the child's life. The lessons that your own children & ourselves as well can learn from this can not be learned any other way! The accounts from people who have done this are so emotional & life changing you just can't imagine! These children in these places all know of World Vision & their mission. The children that are old enough & do not have a sponsor spend their days praying that someone will choose them. Especially the ones who have lost both of their parents & have no one. Some are literally living on the streets with no one & are only all of five years old! One of the little girls on the site said that her mother had to sell her for $500.00 to feed the rest of the children/family. She was at a young tender age, not even a teenager yet required to "service" twelve "clients" a day.

In paying less than $5.00 for a school uniform you are not just buying the child the clothing, you are buying them an education as in most of these places without the uniform they are not allowed in school.

I just want us all to take a moment & think about the abundance that we have here in our lives in each of our worlds. We are all one race; the human race. We drew the lucky card. We were born in a land far from where most of these children & families live. It is really all just logistics.

As we are scurrying around to buy gifts & prepare meals it would be very easy to forget about all of the lost, lonely & hungry in other far away places.

Our family has been trending more & more towards less & less gift giving among the adults. I think this is such an important thing. I think tradition & "Santa" for the children is so wonderful & is certainly a tradition that we want for Mia, however, it will be a tradition & not a lavish showering of a mounds of gifts, so many that she doesn't even know where to look first or what to play with. I have to wonder that if we lined up fifty kids ages three-twelve & asked them what Christmas meant to them if we would hear "Family, traditions, God & Jesus, Church, Dinner together, Decorating the tree, Charity; doing for others, sledding, caroling........" or would we hear "Shopping, presents, stress, crowded stores, playing with my toys, time off from school........." As a society I believe that we are very confused & I am not so sure that all of this gift giving hasn't caused a big part of the confusion & stress. I think we all need to reshift our thinking back to what Christmas means to each of us & our families; what is important. For us, we realized that the very time that we could be spending with our family & friends we were instead running around stressed preparing & shopping. That was not okay with us & will even be less okay with us when Mia is here.

If you stop to think about it just recently in your daily lives when people ask you, "Are you ready for Christmas?".....what they really mean is, "Do you have your shopping done?" After Christmas what is the most common question; especially to children? How about "What did you get for Christmas?" I don't know that I have ever heard anyone ask a child, "What were the traditions/activities that you & your family did over this past Christmas that meant the most to you?" Think about it. Does any of this make sense?

Anyway, I just ask that you check out World Vision & also take a moment to examine your own holiday & at the very least make sure your children & families know that Christmas isn't about what you get under the tree!

Jen

Ol' Man Winter....

Ol' Man Winter came knocking loudly with the first ice storm of the season a couple of weeks ago. My goodness was it ever a good one! I didn't get out to take any pictures of it myself as I couldn't even stand up without slipping & sliding. We were without power for hours at a time several different times. Some of my friends in other areas went without power for days! It was awful. However, the ice was beautiful when the sun finally did come out & shine on the icy trees! I wish I would have taken some photos. I thought maybe I would get another chance as last evening Ol' Man Winter came knocking again. This was no surprise as it was the first day of winter. It was freezing rain for a couple of hours & then it began snowing. We only received a thin sheet of ice & probably a couple of inches of snow. Not nearly as bad as they had first predicted. I am off today & tomorrow, but Thomas had to go in to work this morning. He made it fine. I wonder what the rest of the winter season has in store for us?

Jen

The "weight" of it all.......

Since I have been away from blogging I have emarked yet once again down my low carb journey. As a lot of you know year before last I did this & successfully lost 75 pounds. After losing the 75 pounds at that point I still had about 50 more that I wanted to lose to be where I thought would be my "dream goal". Well, unfortunately the fiasco in January with our failed domestic adoption was all the excuse I needed to allow myself to turn to my drug of choice for comfort......food. After leaving the hospital without our daughter I "allowed" myself a week at my Mom's eating all things comforting & didn't stop for months afterward. Thankfully, I didn't regain it all back.......25-30 pounds of the 75 that I had lost however did find me. UGH! Funny how that happens, huh? So, a little over a month ago.....well, let's see it was actually November 12th, I recomitted myself to once again regaining control & getting back on my plan. A little over a month later I am happy to report that I have lost 25 pounds! So, I am almost back to where I was when I fell off of my plan. I am happy about that! Everyone thinks I am a nut for even considering beginning my journey once again just two weeks before the Thanksgiving Holiday, with Thomas & I living part time away from home while he was in Cameron & eating out a lot, my b-day, Christmas & New Years, but in my mind there was no better time. I knew that coming into this holiday season that if I didn't start then that by the end of the holiday season the 25-30 pounds that I had gained would no doubt be at least 40! I knew that as always in the beginning the weight loss would be fairly rapid & that would give me great motivation to keep going right past all of the temptations at this time of year! I am proud to say that not once since I started have I had even one bite of a single item that I wasn't suppose to! Currently, I have about 40 pounds to get to where I will be really pleased & 60 pounds to hit "that goal". I will get there. I am lucky that thus far my extra weight hasn't seemed to cause me any health issues. However, I do have PCOS, so which came first the chicken or the egg?!?!? Who knows? Did the PCOS cause the weight gain & the difficulty in getting/keeping it off or did the weight cause the PCOS?!?!?! Like I said, which came first? The chicken or the egg? If anyone out there is resolving now or after the holidays to low carb or change their dietary lifestyle for weight loss or just overall health improvement & would like to keep in touch, share pointers & support one another let me know! I would love to be your buddy! I will keep you all posted. I just really want to be happy & healthy in my own skin so that Mia can have a healthy body image too! I don't want her to see an unhealthy Mommy or to learn unhealthy eating & exercise habits from her Mommy either. I want to have it all in control & a good grasp on my daily regimen so that when she comes home it will just be second nature to make the right choices diet & exercise wise & she will learn by my good example.

Jen

A cut & color........

A few weeks ago I got my hair cut & colored. It is getting pretty long. I intend on continuing to let it grow for a while. I figure that I am nearing an age where having really long hair won't be such a good idea in the coming years. So, I thought while I still have a few more years with age on my side I would give it a go. I actually have a really curly perm, but in these photos you won't be able to tell as I have used a curling iron on it. When I don't use the iron it is really curly. I wear it curly when time is not on my side & drying my thick, full head of hair is not an option.


Well, there I am all cut & colored cheesin' for the camera like a goof! .........I like it fine curled like this or really curly without using the iron. Don't have any pictures of it that way I don't think. It looks a lot darker that way too as it is all moussed up & more of a style that is kind of scrucnched & sprayed. Everytime I go back & forth from one day to the next wearing it between the two different ways I am always getting asked, "Did you color your hair?".
Jen

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Beautiful........

"We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God’s very own hands." ~Anonymous

Almost two months........

Well, it has been almost two months since my last post. WOW, huh? I don't know what got into me. Just for whatever reason I was not into blogging for a bit. Needed a break I suppose. Well, let's see, I suppose there is much to catch up on. Half of which I will no doubt not remember, but I will give it a shot anyhow. (No doubt it will be a marathon post & I may split it up into a few post over the next few days as I have a few days off & it is icing & snowing out again as I type so no traveling for us, but instead seems like a good time for me to catch up here!)

Thanksgiving was okay. It was a little hectic & tough too for us though as it was also my b-day (11/25) & for the first time in many years Thomas & I did not get to spend either occasion with any of our family. As most of you know, he was working in the Cameron store about two & a half hours from our home. We were living in two places between here & there as work schedules wouuld allow; sometimes together, sometimes apart. He had to work over the Thanksgiving Holiday there at the store. I did not want him to spend Thanksgiving alone, so I went there & stayed most of that week. We had our Thanksgiving meal at a truckstop! Cameron doesn't have a lot of choices in the way of restaraunts & what they did have wasn't open Thanksgiving Day. It didn't matter though as we knew even eating our Thanksgiving meal at a truckstop that we have so much to be thankful for. My b-day as I said was the following Sunday. Thomas was off that day. He took me to Kansas City for the day. We had a great time. We went to Crown Center & to the Plaza. We walked around & did some sight seeing & a little shopping. Everything was all decked out for Christmas which made it extra special. We went to this restaraunt on the Plaza for my b-day dinner & I had the best steak & all around meal that I think maybe I have ever had. Immediately after that we walked down the way a bit where Thomas surprised me with a horse & carriage ride all around downtown K.C.'s Plaza area. It was chilly, but we were all bundled up in blankets & snuggled up together & the Christmas lights & music were so beautiful that neither of us seemed to mind the cold. After the carriage ride was finished we walked a bit up to a Starbucks & each got a coffee. YUM! Then, we walked to the HUGE Barnes & Noble there on the Plaza. It is like three stories & even has escalators. We were impressed. Thomas bought me a couple of last b-day presents there (cookbooks that I had been wanting). From there we decided to head back to our hotel in Cameron as by this time it was almost 9:00. We arrived back to our hotel around 10:00 & went to the pool & enjoyed the sauna & hot tub for about forty five minutes. It was the perfect ending to my perfect b-day day as we were the only ones using it so it was cozy just he & I! Thank you Thomas for making my day so special!



Thomas spent a total of five weeks managing the Cameron store. He is home again now. I am so glad to have him back home full time & he is very glad to be back home. Hotel living, fast food & a very small town began to make him weary at about the month mark. Overall, it went very well. He did an excellent job & everyone was very proud of him. Way to go Thomas! On his last day at the store the associates surprised him with a very nice card in which most of them had written in & signed & also a carry in meal! He was so surprised. One of the ladies took photos of this & for that I am grateful as she got some great shots & you could certainly see the surprise on Thomas's face. He is now back working in the Kirksville store again. For how long we are unsure. He is now beginning to apply for stores in areas that we are interested in. This could be a short or possibly a long process. Only time will tell. Generally when a store becomes available many applicants express an interest. Sometimes as many as seventy or more. Usually only the top three will get an interview. We would like to stay in Missouri or in one of the surrounding states, Kansas would be a good option for us as well. It appears that Branson is in the process of building a new store that will need a manager in February 2008 so maybe something will come of that.
Our Christmas Holiday is not looking much better as far as work schedules & not getting to be with our family! Thomas has to work Christmas Eve & I have to work Christmas Day. If we are slow at the hospital I can probably just take call, but then have to be within a thirty minute drive of the hospital, so we still couldn't travel to be with our family. Hopefully though I will get to just take call as that way at least I can be home on Christmas Day with Thomas. We have some time off coming up in January & plan to catch up with family during that time. We are just grateful that everyone is happy & healthy. We can celebrate & have our traditions anytime.

We weren't sure if we would be home this Christmas as early on we did not know how long Thomas would be in Cameron. We hadn't planned on doing much decorating here at home. However, when I found out at the last minute that Thomas was coming home, I wanted to at least do a little. I couldn't manage getting out our big tree by myself, so I did a small fiber optic tree & just some various decorations. I wanted it to be cozy & "homey" when Thomas came home that day. I also couldn't manage our usual outside lights either so I just did some wreaths & such outdoors. It is just enough for us. Here are a few shots of a little of what I did. I did some other decorating around with wreaths, arrangements & candles & such, but here are a few shots.


Here are a few of our big tree last year. It is really pretty & we always enjoy it, but I couldn't even get it out of the box by myself!














Okay, that is probably more than enough in one post. I will be back again soon.

Jen

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Finally....Our official LID!

Well, to our surprise we got it today; our official LID! Our agency notified us that they received our LID officially from the CCAA! We are just thrilled to finally have it! What does it change? Well, nothing actually. We just can now have the peace of mind that for sure everything is in motion! The surprising thing is that we are way farther along than we had anticipated. You see, as mentioned before we were told our DTC was July 19th. That was the day that our courier service let us know that are Dossier landed at the CCAA in China. Well, guess what our LID is? July 20th! Wow, huh? We would have never thought in a million years that our Dossier would get to the CCAA & be logged in that quickly! Most families that we have spoken with have had their Dossiers sit at the CCAA for a good period of time after arrival before they have actually been officially logged in. All of this time, we figured that since our DTC was July 19th that if we were lucky we might have an official LID somewhere in the neighborhood of mid-end August. So, to officially be notified today that our LID is July 20th......well, needless to say we are all smiles! Yes, the wait is still long, but this puts us a little closer & these days as we all know, every day counts!

So, c'mon referrals! I have been reading the rumors that possibly the CCAA made it to December 12th ! That would be so great! I would love to see a couple of weeks in a batch! Here's hoping....

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I am here.....

Hi. I know, I know. It has been almost a month since I last posted. I just needed a break. You all understand, I know. No need to explain why I am sure, however, for those of you wondering that don't know......this wait, the rumors about everything & anything related to International Adoption, the holidays approaching without our baby AGAIN etc. The list could go on & on. We are fine & life is mostly good, but I just needed to be "away" for a bit.

Well, I really don't know where to start. Let's see......we went to this event called The Dumpling Festival a couple of weeks ago. It was fun. I will post some pics at some point, but I forgot to take my digital camera with me, so we bought one of those disposable ones on the way. So, I actually have to get them developed & on a CD so I can load them on our computer. The Dumpling Festival was fun filled with lots of food & Chinese Culture. We saw some couples from one of our "Waiting Families" Groups. It was nice to see them. We had lots of Dumplings ofcourse & many other Chinese dishes that were really good & others that were "interesting". It was good preparation for our trip to China I am sure! (Food wise, I mean) There was a lovely family at our table who had adopted a daughter from China many years ago, like eleven years ago. Her name was Melissa & she was very fun to visit with. They were a very, very nice family & we enjoyed visiting with Jim, Maureen & Melissa. There was a silent auction on this evening as well. We bid on a few items, but didn't win anything, however, Jim, Maureen & Melissa did. One of the items they bid on & won was a private cooking lesson in their home with a Chinese Chef. With this auction item also came a beautiful box set of chopsticks. They are wooden & have carved Chinese writing on them. The box/case that they came in is just beautiful as well. Anyhow, before leaving the event Jim & Maureen said that they would like for us to have those. We told them that was just too generous, but they insisted. We were so surprised, so thrilled & very thankful to them for such a wonderful gift! We can not thank them enough. We will treasure them always! THANK YOU AGAIN JIM, MAUREEN & MELISSA!!!! (Again, no pics of those yet....however, I will post pics of the chopstick set as well.)

Been watching "Survivor China". We hated last week when they did the switch & such a good player got voted off. It was no surprise & was probably the best thing to do strategically, however, it seemed so underhanded! I know it is just a game, but at least they should have just told Aaron & James that they were going to throw the competition or afterward that they had thrown it. Just out of respect as they were both very good players & deserved at least respect. I don't think it was very fair the way that the show made this move as really the two players that had to change tribes really didn't/don't have much of a chance, do they?

Also, we have been watching "The Biggest Loser" too. Also with it last week, Phil getting voted off! UGH! When they let that go to a tie & had the other team decide Thomas & I about fell off the couch! Kim is going to be SO furious! We can't wait for this week to see what happens.

Thomas & I have a DVR. So, we "record" our shows & watch them when we have time commercial free. We LOVE that! Our DVR has really changed the way we watch television.

I have done a little "retail therapy" here & there ofcourse. Have bought some great clothes, books & toys. We are planning to start thinking about nursery stuff soon. I mean, we have thought about it tons ofcourse, but I mean thinking about it as in narrowing it down to what we might actually purchase. We plan to wait a while longer though as to see how fast.....or slow the CCAA moves now that they are surely through November & onto December. We are hoping that once 2006 gets rolling that they are going to pick up speed. That will help us decide how soon we are going to actually start the nursery. I may have mentioned that the town/house that we are in now will likely not be the town/house that we will bring Mia home to, so investing very much in anything that can't be moved isn't a good plan for us. However, we do have the glider/rocker to buy, plus all of her nursery furniture; the crib & stuff........all of those items are movable, so we could start on those anytime. However, if we were going to move soon we would just rather not have to move it. The problem is, we have no idea when Thomas will get a store to transfer to?!?!? So, we wait. For now, we will just wait on the CCAA & see what happens there. For the time being, we would just be really pleased to have our LID officially. With a DTC of July 19th, we are at three months now without it & we are ready for it! Not that having it will make a bit of difference, but.......

Speaking of our LID.....we should get it with this next batch of referrals. If we don't I am going to get a little antsy! So, we are a little excited about the next set of referrals hitting our agency! We hope our LID is enclosed with them!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More information/history on the "Moon Festival".....

(Thanks Brandi!)

A Mid-Autumn Festival (Chung Chiu), the third major festival of the Chinese calendar, is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month (September 25, this year). This festival corresponds to harvest festivals observed by Western cultures (in Hong Kong, it is held in conjunction with the annual Lantern Festival). Contrary to what most people believe, this festival probably has less to do with harvest festivities than with the philosophically minded chinese of old. The union of man's spirit with nature in order to achieve perfect harmony was the fundamental canon of Taoism, so much so that contemplation of nature was a way of life.
This festival is also known as the Moon Cake Festival because a special kind of sweet cake (yueh ping) prepared in the shape of the moon and filled with sesame seeds, ground lotus seeds and duck eggs is served as a traditional Chung Chiu delicacy. Nobody actually knows when the custom of eating moon cake to celebrate the Moon Festival began, but one belief traces its origin to the 14th century. At the time, China was in revolt against the Mongols. Chu Yuen-chang, and his senior deputy, Liu Po-wen, discussed battle plan and developes a secret moon cake strategy to take a certain walled city held by the Mongol enemy. Liu dressed up as a Taoist priest and entered the besieged city bearing moon cake. He distributed these to the city's populace. When the time for the year's Chung Chiu festival arrived, people opened their cakes and found hidden messages advising them to coordinate their uprising with the troops outside. Thus, the emperor-to-be ingeniously took the city and his throne. Moon cake, of course, became even more famous. Whether this sweet Chinese version of ancient Europe's "Trojan Horse" story is true, no one really knows. The moon plays a significant part of this festival. In Hong Kong, any open space or mountain top is crowded with people trying to get a glimpse of this season's auspicious full moon. The old man on the moon: There is a saying in Chinese that marriages are made in heaven and prepared on the moon. The man who does the preparing is the old man on the moon (Yueh Lao Yeh). This old man, it is said, keep a record book with all the names of newborn babies. He is the one heavenly person who knows everyone's future partners, and nobody can fight the decisions written down in his book. He is one reason why the moon is so important in Chinese mythology and especially at the time of the Moon Festival. Everybody, including children, hikes up high mountains or hills or onto open beaches to view the moon in the hope that he will grant their wishes. To celebrate this sighting of the moon, red plastic lanterns wrought in traditional styles and embellished with traditional motifs are prepared for the occasion. It is quite a sight to see Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, or Morse Park in Kowloon, alight with thousands of candlelit lanterns. These "Lantern Carnivals" also occur spontaneously on most of the colony's beaches. The lanterns are made in such traditional shapes as rabbits, goldfish, carps, butterflies, lobsters and star-shaped fruits. However, in modern Hong Kong you will also see lanterns in the shape of missiles, airplanes, rockets, ships and tanks. In Chinese mythology, the butterfly is the symbol of longevity and the lobster the symbols of mirth. Star-shaped fruit is the seasonal fruit in the autumn, and the crap is an old symbol of the Emperor, personifying strength, courage, wisdow and, of course, power.

Happy "Mid-Autumn Moon Festival Day"!

To Share One Moon

(Thanks to Amy; Momma of Jadyn for parts of this information/post!)

Happy Mid Autumn Moon Festival Day! And to think, you didn't even know it was a holiday! September 25, 2007 marks the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival and is the second most important holiday in the Chinese culture. The Chinese Moon Festival is very much like Thanksgiving in North America. Families join together and admire the bright, full moon, while eating sweet moon cakes and enjoying one another's company. Under this full moon friendships are renewed, families are reunited, and long lost lovers find their way back to each other. Under the bright moonlight, the families toast each other, enjoy family togetherness and wish peace for everyone. Familes also reflect on those family members that cannot be with them on this special night. If only for a brief time, they can be joined together by looking at the same moon. It's a time for reflection on the bounty of the harvest, loved ones and to wish families and friends well. This holiday is celebrated by nearly everyone in China, both young and old, rich and poor. There are many legends and myths from thousands of years ago, but as time has passed, families celebrate much like we celebrate Thanksgiving, with food, family and friends and thankfulness. Chances are, tomorrow, many a birth mother and father will celebrate this very special Chinese holiday. Teaching our Mia Chinese culture will be important to us, while still teaching her from a Christian perspective as well. Quite likely, one day Mia's birth parents will gaze at the moon while celebrating this holiday and they will reflect on family both near and far. Something in my heart tells me that her birthmother will long to know if she is okay. She will think of that very small bundle that she so unselfishly walked away from and wonder where she is, is she safe & if she is cared for? Having a mother's heart myself, tears fill my eyes as I reflect on the uncertainty she will have in her heart. So, as we celebrate today & for our future this prayer seems so appropriate.
"Father, you are the Creator of all things. The earth, the sun and the moon are Yours. Thank you for the blessing of these children. As we look at the moon that You placed in the heavens, we ask You to bless these children's birth families, but especially Father, wrap the birth mother's in Your arms tonight. Lord, we pray that if tears fell from their eyes or will fall from any birth mother's eyes in the future as they do what they feel in their hearts that they must & that is best, that as they look to the moon, that You will dry their tears. Father, we pray that they will find comfort in You and You alone. As it is only from You that we find perfect peace. Help them to know in their hearts that these children are cared for and loved so very much. Give them a perfect peace that passes all understanding. Father, you allowed them to give us the most perfect gift - the gift of these children and for this gift we will be eternally grateful. Thank You for this gift." We will reflect on family, both far and near, on "family" in China that we will be forever linked to and on all God's blessings. So, if you happen to notice that beautiful full moon, say a prayer of peace and thanksgiving.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Six more.......

Okay, let's give these a try:

Good (Hao)
Very Good (Hun Hao)
Yes (Yoh)
No (May Yoh)
I (Waw)
We (Waw Mun)

Good Luck!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Words for the week:

We borrowed these words from a friend's site. (Thanks Brandi) Thomas & I are trying to learn too & thought that this was a great post to share & a great place to start!

The words for this week are:

Hello - Ni Hao (Nee How)
Goodbye - Zia Jian (Tseye Geean)
Please - Qing (Ching)
Thank You - Xie Xie (Shee -eh Shee-eh)
You are welcome - Bu Ke Qi (boo kua che)
I Love You - Wo Ai Ni (wo eye nee)
Don’t be afraid - Bie Pa (bee a pah)

Remember:

1) The combination of the “ao” makes the “ow” sound as in “how” and “now”
2) The vowel “I” makes the long “e” sound (as in “see”) when preceded by consonants other than z, c, s, zh, ch, sh or r
3) “X” is pronounced “sh” as in sheep
4)“Q” is pronounced “ch” as in chore

UGH..........

Well, the big "Survivor China" debut is now over & I am not yet sure what to think. I liked the fact that they showed bits & pieces of the culture & scenery & they they are including different aspects of Chinese symbolism, I hope we see more of all of that. I did enjoy those elements a lot. This season itself; the cast, oh my! I am not sure what to think after only an hour, but I will say that I am not thrilled with who they chose to eliminate this first round. Personally, I wanted Ashley to be voted off. I understand that she was ill the one day, but just overall, she was my least favorite as far as a being a team player". Over all, I think that thus far I find myself rooting for the red team. Time will tell though. It is a little early at this point to decide. I also was immediately not a fan of Courtney; the waitress from New York. I found her to be disrespectful walking into the opening ceremony rolling her eyes & her actions were very disrespectful in the temple! Not to mention her poor attitude & immediately speaking hatefully of her teammates!Also, Leslie; I think that is her name, the Christian Radio Host, I also was a little taken back by her response in the temple. I understand her concern about praying to other God's, I am a Christian as well & have her same belief in regards to praying to other Gods, however, I do not believe in religious discrimination & I do think that a person can stand silently & respectfully in the midst of others as they worship in the manner in which they are accustomed & in which they believe. She did choose to go to China & enter into their world & culture & at the very least I think she should have stood silently & quietly honoring & respecting their beliefs, traditions & customs.

So, there you have it.......my opinion after one episode. I really like the one guy.....I can not think of his name, but I do remember that he said he is a grave digger by trade. Big buff guy. He seems to be a hard worker; the strong silent type. I think he knows that keeping your head down & mouth shut, working hard & diligently until getting to know people a little better is sometimes the wise choice.

Well, suppose we will all tune in again next week, huh? Can't wait to hear what everyone else thought!

Almost Time!

Okay.......are we all ready to put ourselves in front of the television glued to "Survivor China"?!?!?!? I am & my DVR is set too! Most generally we will probably DVR it so that we can skip all the commercials, but for tonight we think we might watch it in "real time" since it is the first episode & we are anxious to see it. We really hope it is a good season!

For all of you "Big Brother 8" fans.........what did you think about the finale'? Well, earlier on in the season I would have never thought that Dick could win the jury over, but as time went on I knew that he would win if it were he & Danielle in the final two. We can't help but wonder how much of the $500,000.00 that Dick will give to Danielle. Honestly, neither of them would have won without the other. They really should have just shared the money or something. Also, are Nick & Danielle going to get together or what?!?!? Her poor boyfriend back home! What about Jessica & Eric? I think they are way cute! They need to have some kind of follow up six months later or something & let us know what happened to everyone, huh?

To be honest, it is embarrassing that I am such a slave to reality t.v.! I hate to own up to it, but it is just like mindless relaxation for me. I love "The Apprentice" too! I am also a sucker for a good game show! I DVR "Deal or No Deal". Right now Thomas & I are hooked on the latest season of "The Biggest Loser"! Anyone a fan? One that we don't watch is "Dancing With The Stars". My Mom likes it though, so I hear about it often! Thomas teases me all of the time lately for "sucking him into the vortex that is reality t.v."! HA!

Our DVR has changed the way that we watch television. A normal program that would take an hour to watch we get through in about twenty minutes. Not to mention, we watch what we want when we want on our own schedule not when it is aired. It is so nice. We highly recommend it! Plus, when our Mia comes home........to be able to DVR most all things & save them for after she is sleeping will be so important to us! Television these days; even the darned commercials are not for a little ones eyes or ears!

Well, I better get my iced tea & get comfy. It is almost time! Happy viewing everyone! Oh & for our friends in our Columbia "Waiting Families" Group, we are looking forward to seeing you Sunday!



Thursday, September 6, 2007

"I Would Die For That"

Check out this video.......http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqfGqOx2iDQ

Any woman or family touched by Infertility or anyone who has yearned for a child or even any one who is a parent or ever wanted to be will be moved by this video. Even for myself; now at peace with knowing that our daughter is in China & that this is our destined journey/path to parenthood I still found myself very moved by this video & wanted to pass it on. Let me know what you think.

National Adoption Day.....

Just so we will all know & can make preparations well in advance to celebrate one of the most important things in so many of our lives & even for those of you reading this who are not adoptive parents it it likely that your life has been affected in some way or that you know someone whose life has been affected by the miracle of adoption.....So, I wanted to make sure & put it out there early: SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17th, 2007 is National Adoption Day!! I would love to hear any ideas or plans that any of you have already or that you come up with in the future as to how you & yours will be celebrating! We have not yet put our plans into place, but are thinking on it for sure & know that it will be a day that we definitely want to mark down on our calendars! We will keep you posted with our plans as we hope you will us with yours!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A must have for your packing list!

Well, we are finally home after being away for about ten days. We went to Columbia, Lake of the Ozarks, Roachport etc. visiting friends & family. We had a lot of fun. It is always good to be home though. We hiked a lot & did a lot of outdoor activities....they were all so nice, but all along we were both constantly longing for our Mia to be with us! That just goes along with everything we do these days & I assume it won't change & will only get worse until we bring her home.

Speaking of bringing Mia home........what does everyone think about the latest update of the dates on the CCAA's website?!?! Could they move any slower? I guess they could, so I shouldn't ask that, but GOSH! It seems like they have to surely be about done with November. I just keep telling myself that once they get through November we are going to see a huge speed up! Am I kidding myself? Does anyone know if the Hague Treaty will have any effect on the amount of children available for adoption? Will this treaty make more orphanages open up to make their children available for International Adoption?

Okay, now for the must have for your packing list: It is "Downey Wrinkle Release Spray". This stuff is AMAZING! If you haven't tried it, give it a test run! I am compulsive about ironing at times, especially when living out of a suitcase. So, on a whim & a total impulse buy I picked up the travel size while on a quick Wal-Mart run. You really won't believe it. You pull your item out of the suitcase, spray on the solution tug the seams at the sides & from the top & bottom a couple of times, lay the article of clothing over a chair or from a hanger to dry briefly & there you have it wrinkle free! We did not break out an iron the entire ten days we were off & living out of a suitcase & for me that is unbelievable! This stuff is great & we will definitely be taking the big bottle with us to China! Every morning when we would use it we just couldn't believe how great it worked. It was like magic! Anyway, it is so worth the money for any trip when you will be in a hurry & living out of a suitcase & you don't want to break the iron out! I just had to pass on this tip to all of you waiting families!

I am struggling with allergies & haven't felt well at all. Been sleeping off & on most of the day today. I am not even a napper generally, much less a daytime sleeper off & on all day, but today I did good to get anything accomplished. If I had a dollar for every time I have sneezed......... Thomas brought me home some Claritin-D, plus I have been taking Benadryl & Ibuprofen for the headache. I can at least hold my head up now, so I am feeling a little better.

Well, for those of you who watch tonight is "Big Brother". I hate it that I get sucked into those crazy reality shows, but I must admit that I do. Plus, tonight starts the next round of "The Biggest Loser" & I have watched that in the past, so I am sure I will be tuned in for that. I noticed that they are both on at the same time, so I will be putting the ol' DVR to work. Gotta love that DVR!

Well, now that the Claritin-D seems to be kicking in a little I better get some laundry done. Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend.

Oh & I must mention to that I went on a little shopping spree for all things pink while we were gone.......I hit the Columbia Goodwill just to check out if they had anything that we couldn't pass up. Well, someone had dropped off TONS of adorable, lots of brand new with the tags, precious little girl items. Oh my.......there were some real gems. I bought lots & lots of items in new & perfect condition! I am washing them all up this afternoon getting them ready to pack away. Another Rubbermaid Tub down to add to the stacks of them already piled up in the garage.....keeps me busy anyway! My family & friends keep telling me that we will have to change Mia's clothes every hour for her to ever be able to wear all of those cloths! OOOOPS! Well, it's fun & like I said it makes me feel like I am doing something other than just waiting with nothing keeping me busy!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Reflections for our daughter.......

How To Make A Beautiful Life....
Love yourself. Make peace with who you are and where you are at this moment in time. Listen to your heart. If you can't hear what it's saying in this noisy world, make quiet time for yourself so that you can hear it. Enjoy your own company. Let your mind wonder among the stars. Try. Take chances. Make mistakes. Life can be messy and confusing at times, but it's also full of surprises. Always remember that the next rock in your path might be a stepping-stone. Be happy. When you don't have what you want, want what you have. Make Do. That's a well kept secret of contentment. There aren't any shortcuts to tomorrow. You have to make your own way. To know where you're going is only part of it. You need to know where you've been too. And if you ever get lost, don't worry. The people who love you will find you and Daddy & Momma will always help you to find your way home if you lose your way. Count on that always. Life isn't days and years. It's what you do with time and with the goodness and grace that's inside you. It is true what they say, "Life isn't made up of how many breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away!" Make a beautiful life....the kind of life you deserve.

A little time off.......

Well, Thomas & I are really enjoying some R&R. Staying up late, sleeping in & just taking time out for all things that we really enjoy! First, we headed about an hour & a half south of our home & attended our newest "waiting families" group get together. It was great being around others who truly do understand what we have & are going through & all of our thoughts & feelings......it was really nice! Thanks guys! Thomas's Mom lives in the same town where our meeting was, so then we headed to her place. His Dad is here from New Mexico. We have not seen him in about fifteen years. It has been a very nice visit so far. He & his Dad have been playing "washers" (a fun, outdoor game kind of like horseshoes), doing some handy man work around mother in law's house & just catching up in general. I have really enjoyed seeing Thomas & his Dad spending time together. I ofcourse know that Thomas is a great husband & I know what a great father he will be & that he is a good son to his mother. However, I haven't had much opportunity to see him with his Dad, so this has been a joy for me. We have done a lot of cooking & eating & have had several Scrabble matches too. Thomas & I have been going for a walk/run each morning & really taking some time to really get in some quiet time; just the two of us, so that has been so nice. It has just been nice with no schedule, no agenda; just going about our day together with some time on our hands. This morning after our walk/run we went to the coffee shop; Panera's. I had a wonderful salad & an iced coffee & Thomas had a sandwich. It was nice spending the morning together like this. This afternoon we have plans to go to the pool. Think tomorrow his Dad is planning on heading back to New Mexico. Thomas & I are thinking of heading to some of the smaller towns here in our state doing some sight seeing & such.

Mia......Momma & Daddy are having a great time & are enjoying this time together, but know the whole time that as always we are talking & dreaming of you with every activity. We may go to the zoo in the next few days & yes, we will have a good time, but will long to be pushing you in the stroller & to have you here with us!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Waiting Families Meeting......

We are looking forward to tomorrow. We are meeting a group of other waiting families all in process for China. We are involved in a couple of other area groups as well, but this is a new one that we have recently happily joined. This will be our first meeting with this group. Thomas's Dad is here from New Mexico. We are both off from work for a while so we will be spending some time away from home visiting family & getting in some R&R. Heard rumors today that we may see something in the way of referrals next week......still waiting on official word of our LID. Our agency tells us that our LID will probably come with referrals. So, any news of referrals means possible news of our official LID. Our DTC was only July 19th though, so we are barely just over a month out so it may be a bit yet before we hear anything. We will just cross our fingers! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thanks Andrea & Family!

I got the nicest surprise the other day. I was talking on the phone when the doorbell rang. It was my friend Andrea & her family. They live near by us so they put the kids in the stroller & walked on over. She & her oldest son had made us a blanket. It is red & green & is the softest fleece & is covered in appliqued ladybugs. It is the cutest! (I will post a photo of it below.) We were so surprised! We just love it & know that Mia will too! We haven't even put it away yet as just looking at it makes us happy. Currently, it is hanging over a chair in our living room. THANKS Andrea & family for the surprise, for being SO thoughtful & mostly thank you for your friendship!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Something a friend said.........

You know how sometimes someone says something & you just know that it is gospel? Well, one of my co-workers Charissa; who also happens to be my friend as well recently said something to me that has stayed with me & rang so true in my mind & heart that I want to remember it always.....not that I could forget it anyhow because I feel the same way in my heart & the same thought rings true over & over in my head too. Even though I knew I felt this way & I knew already that this is & would be the truth & the way, to hear someone say it out loud other than myself (& the fact that it came from a bio Momma) just was great. In my life; being a woman of reproductive age & being surrounded by women who are either trying to get pregnant, have just found out their pregnant, have just had a baby or have two or three at home.........all things pregnancy & the "miracle" of it all seems to be the topic of discussion more often than not....... & don't get me wrong, I get it.......well, I guess I get it. I haven't experienced a biological pregnancy; well, not past nine weeks anyway, but I certainly agree that it is indeed a miracle. Anyway.......Charissa & I were, as we so often do, talking about being a mom & all that comes with it for all of us; adoption, pregnancy, babies, joy, stress etc. Anyway, I was talking with her about the sense of peace that Thomas & I have in our hearts & minds in regards to our journey to parenthood. This peace of mind & heart knowing that this is our journey & that since the day that we knew that our daughter was in China that there has never been a day when there has ever been a second of regret or second thought or even a minute when we have looked back..........anyway, back to Charissa's & my conversation..........I did say to her at the time that we were talking that I couldn't imagine not being where I am today with all of this because I know that Mia is our daughter & that any other path would not have led us to her! So, because of all that we have been through during this journey to our family I am now & will forever be so grateful. This did not come over night mind you......& there are days that I admitted that maybe at times there is a little part of me that thinks maybe I am missing something in not experiencing the actual pregnancy.......you know; that miracle of a life growing inside of you. Of course, I know in missing out on that I have gained SO MANY other things. Mia is MOST CERTAINLY growing in our hearts & I have not & will not ever for one second question that miracle of life..........however that little foot kicking my belly, hearing her heartbeat for the first time-you know; those little special milestones that comes with a biological pregnancy. I know that I am getting so many other special milestones....., but still being human & I think especially being a woman that these feelings are inside of me tucked away & from time to time do make an apperance. Anyway, I mentioned to Charissa that I might at times feel a little envious of others getting to have those experiences, knowing that I would not.....however, I mentioned all of the things health related for the Mommy & the Baby that I would get to bypass or miss out on & in that respect I feel that not experiencing the pregnancy is in some ways a blessing......you know the morning sickness, blood pressure problems, the weight gain, gestational diabetes, swollen ankles etc. Charissa looked at me & said to me something such as, "Yes, pregnancy is okay, but not one moment of a pregnancy can not compare to the first time your baby puts their arms around your neck & squeezes you with a big ol' hug or looks up at you with those eyes.........there is no comparison & yeah, being pregnant is alright but your not missing the good stuff." No doubt I am not quoting her perfectly, but that was the just of what she said. Now, she & I have had many a talk & lately, nine times out of ten during our more intimate chats, one or both of us has tear filled eyes at some point in our conversation. We seem to always be on some subject or story that is tugging at our heart strings. Charissa is also the one that many times over has said to me that she would have loved to have anyone raise her babies & hand them over when they were a little older & that in her opinion we "would be getting our Mia at the perfect time". She said that once they get out of the itty bitty baby stage & develop more of a personality that all of the fun starts. Now, I will admit that not everyone probably shares the same feelings as Charissa on this subject. I have heard many say that they love the baby stage & wish that they could stop the clock........, but for me on this day & so many other days I needed to hear what Charissa said to me. She reminded me of something that I already knew & just to hear it from someone that I respect as a Mother & a friend meant a lot to me! Basically, I am just wanting to say thanks Charissa. For us adoptive Mommies; especially those of us who have struggled through years of infertility, we live in a world where it seems that around every corner we run smack into some big ol' pregnant belly & all we ever hear about is the miracle of carrying this child & sometimes there are days when you just feel like you are missing something that other woman get to experience; missing a miracle that as a woman you feel you have a right to & for some reason because you don't get this "experience" you are said to be surely missing out. I just want to say thank you for reminding us that "the good stuff"; the real parent/child relationship comes later. I am not discounting that initial bonding or making light of those special first nine months when your baby is growing in your belly & I am certainly not saying that it wouldn't be wonderful to have Mia from day one, but the reality is that for us that is not the way it will be........Yes; I can hear some of you screeching now as you are reading this about the "bonding & those first seconds after the baby is born" yada, yada, yada..........that is great, but just remember that for some us, parenthood comes to us in a different way & that just because our "babies come by plane" that maybe we really aren't missing out on anything at all......it might not be what we once imagined or the "traditional" bonding from the beginning that most mommies experience, but we will have all of our own first & many memories will be made & much bonding will be done & I for one believe that there will come a day in which we won't be able to remember a time when Mia wasn't with us!

Thanks Charissa!

Jen

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Gift of Life.......

Mia,

I didn't give you the gift of life,
But in my heart I know,
The love I feel is deep and real,
As if it had been so.

For us to have each other
Is like a dream come true.
No, I didn't give you
The gift of life,
Life gave me the gift of you~

Never forget for a single minute-You didn't grow under my heart, But in it.

I love you!

Momma

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Comfort during the wait.........

If anyone is interested I just wanted to mention that "You Tube" is such an awesome resource for so many things. Obviously, for us right now we are so into all things adoption related that this is our reference for the purpose of this post..... One day I was just doing some "surfing" on the web for all things adoption related & decided to check out "You Tube" to see what it might have. WOW, was I surprised! If you go to "You Tube", just http://www.youtube.com/ & in the "search" box type in either "China adoptions", "China Gotcha Day", China adoption stories" etc. you will get lots & lots of hits. Some are short, some are long, some are funny & most all are so, so moving! Most often these are the actual videos of many special moments put together to documents a specific families journey. Our favorite right now are the ones that do such a great job of documenting right down to that fateful moment when their little one is placed in their arms for the first time. This is always, no matter how many times Thomas & I watch a new video of that fateful "Gotcha" moment, so comforting for us. It helps us to know that this is really going to happen for us & that even though some days the wait seems difficult that it will be so worth it when Mia is in our arms! Anyway, whatever your passion check out You Tube. If you are so inclined & have the time, check out a "Gothca" moment or two! Promise, you won't be disappointed!

Monday, August 6, 2007

"How does your garden grow?"

Well, last year we planted a "patch" for a garden. A few tomatoes, a few cucumbers, zucchinis & a strawberry patch. Thomas found that gardening was a passion for him & I found out that I enjoyed it too. So, this year we decided to jump in with both feet & actually plant a garden. Not being farmers or on a farm we really didn't have the tools that we needed to accomplish this new hobby short or long term. So, to get started until we knew if this would be a one shot kind of thing for us or an annual household tradition we decided to rent the expensive tools & purchase the less expensive ones that we knew we could always use for just general yard maintenance. We hired a man to actually use a tractor to till a large spot & later on rented a small tiller for cultivating. We purchased shovels & hoes, a garden "weasel" & some other gadgets that we thought we would need. Well, we found out that we have green thumbs. Our little project took off in a big way! Even the items that we planted by seed that we weren't sure if they would come up took off & some even took over! We planted peppers of all kinds, tomatoes of several varieties, green beans, cucumbers, several kinds of lettuce, cabbage, carrots, sweet, regular & new potatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, a pumpkin patch, squash, zucchini, radishes, turnips, onions & herbs of all kinds that included Lavender, Spearmint, Basil, Cilantro, Sage, Thyme etc. We also planted a large row of Sunflowers that we keep calling our "Jack & The Beanstalk" attempt! They are so tall that they seem to go right on up to the sky. They finally seem to have stopped growing & are blooming & are so beautiful. My most recent picture only shows a couple in bloom, but now almost the entire row is flowered! We have been harvesting many yummy items from our garden, more than we can eat. So, all of our neighbors & friends have been getting their share as well. We didn't know that we weren't suppose to plant the pumpkins until later, so here we are in August with about twelve pumpkins about ready to pick! Oh well.........we wanted to get good at growing those so Mia can have a pumpkin patch of her own! It only took one try for us too get good at the whole pumpkin patch thing as we planted the pumpkins from seed & my goodness did they take off! (they took over the garden!) Our garden has been a learning experience for sure & at times a lot of work, but has been so enjoyable & rewarding. We know now that this will for sure be an annual thing for our household! We have been cooking & baking with a lot of our harvest & are even thinking about trying our hand at canning. Can you imagine?


Saturday, August 4, 2007

"How much longer?", you ask.........




Well, that depends on how things go at the CCAA in the coming months with referrals & back log. Currently, from your log in date the wait is about eighteen months. In past years the wait has only been six months so yes, this is a long wait! However, the regulations to adopt from China have recently changed & not near as many people will qualify, so the flow of Dossiers will surely slow down a lot. We are hoping that the wait time will lessen & not get any longer. In our minds we are just hoping that we can travel & have her home by December 2008 (that will be about seventeen months wait time for us) & anytime before that will just be even better. However, in order not to be too disappointed, we keep ourselves very grounded & always remember that it could be longer. The wait is difficult, but we are using the time wisely preparing for her & our growing family.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Her name & Our ultrasound photo........



Mia Lynn in Chinese















There is really no big story as to how we chose her name. I had heard "Mia" before & always had liked it. Thomas & I have a history of liking very different names; not different as in unique, but different as in the two of us liking nothing even close to the same. He always tended to like very simple, plain, common names & I always liked more unique or uncommon names. Once we had our adoption application sent in & we knew that our daughter was in China we often found ourselves day dreaming about her. We thought that we should give her a name right away. We knew that she was already growing in our hearts & wanted to be able to name her even if we didn't have her precious little face to go with her name just yet........we knew that day would eventually come! So, one day I mentioned the name "Mia" to Thomas & he said, "That is a beautiful name!" I must admit that I was shocked. I said something like, "Really?!?!?" To be honest there really wasn't much more discussion about it than that. We mulled it over for all of about two seconds & both agreed that "Mia" would be her name. We were both very pleased with our decision & very happy that it came so easy. In past instances a baby name is something that we had never been able to agree on & this just came to us & was perfect in both of our minds. Kind of like knowing that our daughter is in China, once we came to that we have never looked back. Her name was the same way. Then, days later we came up with "Lynn" for her middle name & again we just knew that was going to be her middle name. There wasn't any searching through name books or searching online like in times past, this time we just knew. We do plan on keeping part of her Chinese given name on her birth certificate in honor of her heritage. So, there you have it......the story or lack there of as to how her name came to be.

Waiting for our official L.I.D........

Now, we wait some more...........we are waiting for our official log in date from the CCAA. Even though we know that the CCAA (the organization that handles Chinese Adoptions) has our Dossier in their hands we still have to wait until they notify our agency of our official log in date. Theoretically, our Dossier was logged in shortly after they received it. However, until we get that date officially, the countdown of our wait time doesn't start. All of this time we have spent running this marathon, better known as the "paper chase" doesn't count! We have been told that it can take the CCAA a couple of weeks to a couple of months to notify your agency of the official date. Even though we know we have been waiting all of this time & proceeding this whole time, the CCAA doesn't begin to count us as a waiting family until we are officially logged in. Everything rides on our log in date. We will receive our referral based on this date. Receipt of your log in date is a big day! We are planning a celebration for when we get it! That day will be a culmination of many, many months preparation! We will let you know!

HAPPY "D.T.C."!!!!!

On Monday, July 16th, 2007 our agency facilitator said to us what was music to our ears. Our "paper chase" had ended, our Dossier had been reviewed & re-reviewed & it was found to be in perfect form & that it would be leaving via courier service that afternoon & would finally be CHINA BOUND! Soon after, we received a tracking number from our agency so that we could log on to the courier service's website online & watch our Dossier make its journey. It made its way across the country & half way around the world! We watched the times & locations change with great anticipation as it moved from one state to the other ultimately ending up in China!! On China time, it arrived Thursday, July 19th, 2007! (obviously, our time this occurred on Wednesday as they are a full day ahead of us) We were so happy to finally know that it was there! Thomas came home from work & had a "HAPPY D.T.C." (Dossier to China or Date to China) card awaiting him with a special message from Mia & Mommy. We went out to a local restaurant for dinner to celebrate this milestone that brought us one step closer to bringing our daughter home! We then returned home & watched a DVD that we had purchased called "China's Lost Girls", a documentary that followed along with several families on their journey to bringing their babies home. It also discusses China's "One child policy" & visited many other issues surrounding International Adoption.

Looking to our future........








In the months to follow we grew more excited as with each passing day our daughter continued to grow in our hearts. We mailed in our I-600A; petition to adopt an orphan & soon thereafter received in the mail our invitation from the Department of Homeland Security to be fingerprinted. We went & completed our fingerprinting process & a little over approximately three months later on June 23rd, 2007 we received our I-171H in the mail. This form was our approval that our fingerprints had been cleared on all levels & that our initial petition to adopt an orphan had been granted & that the petition had been forwarded onto the American Consulate or Embassy in Guangzhou, China. This was a great day! On June 26th, 2007 we went to our Secretary of State with our entire Dossier to have the State Seal placed on all of our notarized documents. From there, we hired a private courier to hand deliver our Dossier to the Chinese Consulate in Chicago to have their seal placed on our documents. We sent our Dossier via Fed-Ex on June 26th, 2007 to the courier that we hired. (I had a slight bit of anxiety about handing over our Dossier to the Fed-Ex clerk. I knew it was something that needed to happen in order to move forward, but that stack of documents was something so much more to us! However, sealed with lots of love, a kiss & a prayer we handed them over!) Our courier was great! He called to confirm that he had received it & hand delivered our Dossier to the Consulate in Chicago on the following day June 27th, 2007. He called to let us know on July 3rd, 2007 that he had picked it up from the consulate & mailed in back to our agency in Texas in the overnight pre-paid Fed-Ex envelope that we had supplied & that all was well! YAY! Our agency confirmed receipt of our Dossier in their office on Thursday, July 5th, 2007. Our agency worked diligently during the next week making the final preparations for our "DTC"; also known as Dossier or Date to China!

Twist & Turns...........

On September 27, 2006 we contacted an adoption agency in a nearby town. I spoke with the owner/facilitator on the telephone for two hours on this day. We discussed all things adoption, got to know each other a little bit & decided that we should meet face to face. We made the decision to meet at the agency about a month later on October 23rd, 2006 at 11AM. We met with her for about two hours in her office. Thomas & I felt that she & the agency were a great fit for us & the future of our family. On the day of this meeting we gathered all of the information the agency had available for us so that we could make the best decisions for us in moving forward. We knew we were going to adopt. However, that is only the first of many decisions to be made in the process. Knowing that we were going to adopt, we knew we would need a favorable, completed home study by a licensed social worker/agency within our state. Therefore, on this day we contracted with the agency in order to begin the process of our home study. At this time, we had not decided whether we would pursue a Domestic Adoption or an International Adoption, but knew we would need the home study with either & could customize our Dossier (the paperwork that goes to the agency in China to process your adoption) as needed as we went along. We came home with a lot to think about. We were filled with anticipation, excitement & a few nerves as well. We were to phone our facilitator in the coming days in order to set up a day & a time for her to come to our home & begin our home study process. In the meantime, we began gathering documents, filling out applications & reading everything we could get our hands on. We met again with our facilitator at the agency on November 14th, 2006. We handed in documents, signed more paperwork & got to know each other better as we knew that we would be working closely with one another over the coming months. We mailed out request for character references to many of our friends & family. (Thank you again to those of you that helped with those. We have each of them & they will forever hold such a special place in our hearts! Your words were so heartfelt & meant so much!) Thomas & I ultimately decided that an International Adoption best suited us. After years of Infertility, we wanted a sure thing. We knew that with an International Adoption that often the timeline is uncertain, but the process is not. The end result is a family & that is what we wanted. Domestic Adoption didn't offer that for us in our minds in the state in which we currently live (& in the months to come we would unfortunately be reminded of this in a very up close & personal way). With the decision to proceed with International Adoption then came the task of choosing a country. We researched many countries, but we always came back to the same one........CHINA. "Why?" The best answer to that question is, "Because our daughter is there!" There were many reasons that we chose China. For now though, for the purposes of this post I will just leave it at that & get more into the "why China?" question at another time. In order to move on with an International Adoption is was necessary to contract with another agency......a larger agency who is contracted with China who would help us bring our daughter home. We chose a wonderful agency out of Texas. On November 30th, 2006 we spoke with this agency for the first time & verbally contracted with them to get the process started. On Decemeber 4th, 2006 we mailed the initial application & contract to our Texas agency with our initial payment. Soon after in the days that would follow we continued to run the infamous "paper chase", mailing off request for original birth certificates, marriage license, local, state & federal clearances etc. On December 12th, 2006 our in-state facilitator came to our home for our first home study visit. It went very well. During this visit she said that she hated to even mention it, as she knew we had chosen to proceed with an International Adoption, but that she possibly had a Domestic placement that she felt she should mention that we were well suited for. We knew that our daughter was in China & we were not willing to abandon our journey to bring her home, but we thought that maybe this little one here in the states was meant to join our family as well. We soon found out that the birth mother was due in January 2007 & wanted to proceed with a birth plan & placement plan immediately. We let our agency know that we wanted to be considered. We didn't even have our "Life Book" put together for the birth mom to view so that she could learn about us & our family life, so our facilitator just took various photos of us & our life & a letter to the birth mom from us. We got a call on December 21st, 2006 that the birth mother had narrowed it down to two families & we were one of them. On December 23rd, 2006 our facilitator called Thomas at home at around 5:30PM & told him that we were chosen. He called me at work & asked me if I was ready to be a Mommy. On Christmas morning, December 25th, 2006 we met our facilitator at her office & signed the final papers for our Domestic placement. On Christmas Day at our family Christmas dinner, right after the prayer, right before we ate Thomas & I announced to our family that we were adopting domestically as well & that we would be welcoming our first baby home much sooner than we had anticipated. We hired an attorney on December 30th, 2006 & put everything in high gear. Again, we never for once wavered in our decision to bring our daughter home from China, we just chose to put things with our International Adoption on hold just long enough to get this little one home safe & sound. We signed paperwork, met with our facilitator numerous times, spoke with our attorney on multiple occasions & prepared our home for all things baby. It was a joyful time in our lives! On January 11th, 2007 I was putting chicken wings in the oven for lunch. I could even tell you what I was wearing on this day.......funny how that works.....Some events or days in your life you just never forget a detail no matter how much you wish that you could. Anyway-the phone rang & it was our facilitator. The baby had been born early in the morning hours by emergency c-section. Everything was fine, well; the baby anyway was perfect. However, the plan was not going the way we had expected it to. To be honest, I don't want to rehash every detail of that day or the days that followed. No purpose will be served by doing so. I will just say that the birth mother's sister saw that perfectly healthy, beautiful baby girl & after all of that time knowing about the pregnancy & the adoption plan decided that she thought that she could raise her. The birth mother asked to meet us so we traveled several hours to the hospital where she had given birth. She told us she wasn't wavering, that the baby was ours & to go to her.........so, we did. The next day when we arrived at the hospital & buzzed the OB Ward to go in we were told that "she had company". I asked, "Do they have the baby in the room?" They told us that they did. My heart sank & in my mind I knew it was over. My heart wanted to believe otherwise. We waited in the lobby when the nurse finally came out to say that the birth mother was wavering & that we should go home & that someone would be in touch. At around 4PM on January 12th, 2007 our facilitator called to let us know that the biological family would be taking the baby home. There were a million other events that surrounded those days, but this gives you the basic story. I stood there gazing at that beautiful, perfect little life knowing in my heart that she was ours & we walked out of the hospital that day with empty arms & left the parking lot with an empty car seat. It was gut wrenching. We came home to my parents where we were surrounded with support & love. We took a few days there to catch our breath & then came back to our home to all things prepared for baby. We took a short time to get our heads wrapped around what had happened. Then came the task of packing away all of the things that were so lovingly & carefully selected for her. Now it was time get back to some state of normal. Shortly thereafter, we were ready to move forward & get back to the journey of bringing our daughter home from China.