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...

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!


Friday, August 10, 2007

The Gift of Life.......


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!


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.

This is how it all began.........

Hi. Glad you found us! We hope that you will check in on us here from time to time as we will update here with all of the latest & greatest happenings from our house to yours!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

For those of you who don't know our history......
Thomas & I find ourselves traveling through this winding road that is now our journey to parenthood. For those of you that don't already know our story we started this journey some time ago. Actually, many years ago. On April 25th, 1992 Thomas & I were married. I was 19 & Thomas was 21. "Young?", "Yes.", "Any regrets?", "NO!" "Would I do it again the same way?" ,"ABSOLUTELY!" On our next anniversary we will have been married sixteen years! I can hardly believe it myself! Many years passed as Thomas & I navigated together day by day learning about all things that come when two people join together to make one life. We were finding our way in so many different areas of our lives. There have been many great times & some difficult ones too, but mostly, I feel so blessed every day that we get to wake up & know that we have each other! We developed many passions; individually & together. We always felt that when two individuals marry that each of them need to be great separately, but just better together. This way, you don't feel as if you completely lose yourself. Thomas loves all things music (he is a great singer & can play the heck out of a guitar-he can also play the piano too!), gardening & computers; actually anything electronic. He is most certainly a "gadget guru"! I love photography, gardening, hitting the local garage sales/second hand stores & am really getting into scrap booking. We both love to travel, playing Scrabble, Karaoke, spending time with friends & family, hanging out in coffee shops, fishing & being outdoors. We love our weekly trips together to our local Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings. It has become a weekly ritual for us that we look forward to. Our life was & continues to be full, but not complete. We always knew that we would have children, we just didn't know where our journey to parenthood would lead us or the path that we would take............Thomas & I thought that we would grow our family the way that most married couples generally think that they will become Mommy & Daddy. After several years of marriage we decided to see a doctor to get the green light to go ahead & try to conceive our first child. We felt that we had done it all right. We waited until we had jobs, until we were married several years & settled in a house..............We got the green light from our doctor to go ahead & try, but after several months we were still not pregnant. So, off we went to see an OBGYN with a specialty in fertility who put me on a low dose fertility drug. The second month of this treatment we were thrilled to find out that we were pregnant. However, our excitement quickly turned to sadness at our six week ultrasound appointment when no heartbeat could be found. However, the baby continued to grow, so we continued on with subsequent ultrasounds & blood work. We hoped that somehow the date had been miscalculated. Sadly, around the ninth week of our pregnancy I began to miscarry. We continued along the path of Infertility & all that comes with it; doctor's appointments, test, procedures, surgeries, hospitalizations etc. Knowing that I had once been pregnant, we convinced ourselves that it would happen again. I was ultimately found to have Stage 4 Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Hydrosalpinx; a blocked fallopian tube in which toxic fluid backs up in........the list seemed to go on & on. After many years, Thomas & I decided that our focus was to be parents & to grow our family & that our focus was not necessarily to become pregnant. We soon realized that what we yearned for was not to "replicate" our genes, but we yearned to be parents & to have a family! With this decision behind us we quickly realized that our path to parenthood wasn't what we had long ago thought that it would be, but that growing our family through adoption was to be our path & our journey. During this time we began to embrace our new journey & became so, so excited that we were finally going to become parents & have the family of our dreams!! To the left is the Chinese symbol for Double Happiness!