Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Well, we leave two weeks from tomorrow and I am amazingly calm. I'm sure the panic will set in anytime now. I have moments when I can't believe we're actually doing this, and the time is here. But, for the most part, I feel very peaceful, which has taken me quite by surprise. I'll post again at 2 am if I start to freak out.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Just a little taste of our Christmas morning.

Sadly, I think this is the only one we have of all four kids together. Gotta do better next year.

I love this one of my big boys. They look so............big. Don't know when that happened. I must've blinked.

Remember Smores, who won me the $25 Amazon gift card? Well, you'll see him in a few minutes, but even Smores' box scored big points. Will have to sneak this out of the house during nap time......

Matching sister clothes for DD and Abby. Yes, Gymboree.

This is my absolute favorite Christmas morning picture ever!!!! It is a truly genuine response, no faking or exaggerating or posing here. I happened to be snapping away with my SLR, and caught this perfect expression. The joy of giving your child something badly wanted, yet completely unexpected (one of those things they want super bad, but because they know who's really bringing the presents, they had no hope of actually getting it). I love it!

By the way, in case you're dying of curiosity.....it was a Pokemon card booster box, which contains 36 packs of Pokemon cards. Outrageously expensive, but I scored it on ebay (shhh...don't tell him). Apparently, an 11 year old boy's dream come true.

I love this next one because it was a picture of one sweet little girl, but little brother in the background stole the show just by his natural enjoyment of his own present. Can you see the look on his face?

I'm absolutely exhausted, because I've been staying up late for a week working on scrapbooks that I didn't even finish. Maybe for a New Year's present......

And in our minds and hearts.........

We're coming, baby!!!!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009


We got our dates!!! We will arrive in Beijing on January 14th, and fly to Guangdong (Abby's province) on the 17th. CA will be on January 25th. I don't have plane tickets yet, but those dates should put us home on January 28th, which is DH's birthday (and he's not traveling with us, so he'll get to meet Abby on his birthday), and just in time for his promotion on January 29th. Oh, and I'll still be home on January 9th like I wanted for little man's 2nd birthday.

So, why did I stress about the timing of all this?? I couldn't have scheduled it better myself!!!! God gets all the credit for these perfect plans - His timing always IS perfect, isn't it????

Praising Him today, and off to enjoy a JOY filled Christmas. I was so sad for a while that Abby wouldn't be here, but just knowing when I'll see her sweet face makes it OK. I'm going to bake, wrap, watch It's a Wonderful Life, sing, praise God, and play games to my heart's content for the next few days. I'll pack next week.........

Monday, December 21, 2009


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Praising God today, for holding me up during this seemingly endless wait!!

By lunchtime today, we just couldn't take it. We tried to call our SW again but were just getting voicemail, not even a real life receptionist to answer. My DH was going to email the main office, but then decided that he might as well try to call. I had called them only once before, a few months back, and they hadn't taken my call. They had then reprimanded my SW for it, letting her and us know that we should be going through her to get questions answered. Which I honored until now, because frankly I got pretty tired of being ignored. We just wanted a straight "Yes, TA is here", or "No, sorry". If it was the latter, we were going to push for more answers as to why it had taken so long.

Well, suprise #1 - they actually took his call. Not so surprising, I guess, was the answer that YES, TA is FINALLY here!! They did get it on Thursday, when I had gotten that "mysterious" email from the travel agency. We still don't have dates, because they're still trying to schedule or CA (Consulate Appointment). They're hoping for arrival in Beijing on Jan. 14, which would be PERFECT. That would put me still at home for my little man's second birthday, and BACK in time for my DH's big promotion ceremony!!

Thank you for all your prayers, and for listening to my roller coaster emotions the last few days!! Now let's pray for that CA!!!

God is GOOD!!!

And the Saga Continues

Well, I made it to Monday morning.
I feel like I'm in labor, except instead of waiting for the pains to begin, I'm kind of waiting for them to END. Or waiting for the OB to schedule an induction (I've done that before).

Friday, December 18, 2009

No news

Well, my SW said she hadn't heard anything but she would contact the China Team (at our agency's main office) and find out. She emailed them twice and they never responded one way or another. Which I frankly find a bit rude, but, hey, I'm just an adoptive parent a week away from Christmas dying to hear news about traveling to get her daughter. I would've asked our SW to actually call the China Team, or I would've called myself, except from past experience I already know that would just get ignored as well.

So I'm not sure if their lack of response means TA is not here and they're too busy to bother telling us so, or it is here and they don't have CA scheduled yet so they don't want to tell us.

I'm not feeling quite ready to face the weekend.

On Pins and Needles

OK - I haven't heard anything official yet, but.......
First, I emailed the travel agency back yesterday and directly asked if our adoption agency had asked them to contact me. They said no, they were just updating their files and wanted to touch base with people that should be traveling soon.

However, I did confirm with about 10 different APs that adopted with our agency within the last few months that they did receive that same email from the travel agency a day before they got the call about their TA. And, some of these people contacted the travel agency just like I did and they also denied that they knew anything about TA being there. So I'm feeling pretty positive that our agency has our TA right now. Why, oh why, must they play these games and not tell people right away??? I just hope that I get a call today and don't have to wait 'til Monday. And I hope I'm not just getting myself worked up for no reason.....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Don't want to get too excited.........

I just got a suspicious email from the travel agency that our adoption agency works with. They were sending some paperwork to help us prepare for travel and wanted to ask about our passport numbers, which I'd neglected to send to them. They have had my paperwork in hands for MONTHS, and I don't really know why they are sending this to me out of the blue right now.......UNLESS they know something I don't know. Our agency likes to book the Consulate Appointment before notifying their clients that TA is here, so I'm wondering if they contacted the travel agency to line up our travel.
I emailed my SW but haven't heard back anything.....
There's no way I'm sleeping tonight!!!!! Please pray that this is IT!!!!!! And pray for a few other families waiting along with me!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Love this Song

None but Jesus – Brooke Fraser

“In the quiet, in the stillness
I know that You are God
In the secret of Your presence
I know there I am restored

When You call I won’t refuse
Each new day again I’ll choose

There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise

In the chaos, in confusion
I know You’re Sovereign still
In the moment of my weakness
You give me grace to do Your will

When You call I won’t delay
This my song through all my days

All my delight is in You Lord
All of my hope, all of my strength
All my delight is in You Lord Forevermore

Monday, December 14, 2009

Easing my doubts

I started the day today in prayer, literally pleading with the Lord to help ease the anxiety and doubt that I felt coming over me once again about Abby's adoption. It seems the more time I have to wait, the more room it allows for doubt and fear to set in. Are we doing the right thing?? Is this really all from Him, or have I imagined it all up, have I dreamed up that He is asking me to step forward here, that He is the one who has called us to do this? I've had times where I've been SO sure, so certain that no matter how it all turns out, we stepped forward in faith because it was definitely His voice we heard calling. Yet once again this morning I found my faith wavering, not my faith in Him, but just that this adoption will actually happen, or that it was even meant to be. I have to admit I've had days (this morning being one of them) where I've felt like He is not watching, like He's busy elsewhere and does not see me, for after all, what is our little daily drama in the scope of the whole world???? So I do what I do at such times, and I prayed for strength and for a renewal of my faith. And this is the sweet gift He gave me......

I opened up my Bible just for a brief moment before racing off to the gym (I usually have my quiet time after I get back. I have to make it to the gym before DH leaves for work, or I don't get to go). Very randomly, just cracked it open, and I was reading these verses: "Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." Matthew 10:28-31

What a nice reminder that He is watching over our every move and has not forgotten us, or Abby!! With a smile on my face and already feeling better, and enjoying the fact that I have such an awesome Father and that He picks me up every single time I start to stumble, I headed off to the gym.

I got back and managed to finish a shower and still have a housefull of sleeping children, which meant time for a truly QUIET quiet time. Again, feeling His love here, because He knew I needed it today. Turned to my devotional, where the focus verse of the day was Matthew 14:31 "Immediately, Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, 'You of little faith, why did you doubt?" And the reading to follow reminded me of how Peter leapt out of the boat without hesitation when Jesus called, but his faith fizzled out and he started sinking. What a very appropriate reminder for me today!! The prayer at the end said "Heavenly Father, when your direction is obvious, help me not to doubt". By this time I was pretty astonished, and realized His message could not be any clearer if I was looking at a burning bush...... And I felt so incredibly loved, and so GRATEFUL that He is so patient with me, when I continously develop shaking knees if I have to wait more than "average" waiting times for anything. And grateful for the fact that He hears me and so tenderly and DIRECTLY answers me.

And as if that were not enough, I turned to my SECOND devotional (yes, I love devotionals). I was actually reading Dec. 13 because I don't read my devotionals on Sunday. A quote from J.R. Miller awaited me "If you are in the deep shadows because of some strange, mysterious providence, do not be afraid. Simply go on in faith and love, never doubting. God is watching, and He will bring good and beauty out of all your pain and tears."

Awesome!!! Isn't He SO GOOD?????!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thank you Smores

Something WAY cool happened last night. This will show you that the title for yesterday's post was completely accurate...... I am going completely crazy at this point waiting for our Travel Approval. One thing that brings a bit of sanity to me is reading other people's blogs, and Stefanie over at NiHao Y'all has served to distract me the last few weeks in a BIG way. She had asked people to post Christmas gift ideas, and eventually this turned into a bit of a contest. She decided to break the ideas up into age groups, and then after a predetermined date she would select a winner for the best idea for each age group. I had sent in a few ideas before, but yesterday at the very last minute I decided to send in what actually is my favorite gift I'm giving this year, and I'm not really sure why I hadn't already sent this in. I sent in to the 4-7 category (even though my DD who is getting this is 8) because I really think it's probably most appropriate for the younger age group. But my sweetie has been wanting this for years and I was never willing to pay full price for it. It was finally on sale this year and I know she would STILL love it, I know Abby will love it, and little man after them will get a lot of joy out of it for years to come. Anyways, this was my submission to Stefanie's contest: Smores the Pony

And I'm still shocked because I WON. I never ever win anything, this is so AMAZING!!!!! The prize is a $25 Amazon gift card, and let me tell you, this has made THIS Christmas shopping mama very, very happy. I feel ridiculous about how excited I am about this, but frankly I know it's a side effect of losing my mind over the wait for Travel Approval. My kids thought I was really funny doing my little jig around the room last night when I found out, even though they only know half the story because of course, I could not tell them what the winning idea was.

So thank you Stefanie, you made my day!!!!! Of course, I absolutely LOVE the runner up, and now I have to go searching for that for my two little ones.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I had to take a minute to type this, because it's been on my mind all week and I want to flesh out the thoughts on "paper". I hesitated to post because I realize that I am speaking about a group that I am now a part of, and I didn't want this at all to seem to be self serving or a pat on the back for myself. Then I realized that most people reading this would understand where I'm coming from. Please know that I am not speaking of myself at all, but just that I find myself in awe at the people I have found myself SURROUNDED by. I don't think what my family is doing in any way compares to what most of these families are doing, not even close.

I posted a couple of months ago about how grateful I am to have found an online community that has walked the road of adoption before, because they are my true cheerleaders in this whole process. Well, lately I have felt completely overwhelmed lately by the stories I've been reading about on other peoples' adoption blogs. And maybe not so much the stories, but the love. It is so amazing to me that so many families out there feel called to adopt, and then respond with such PASSION. I was literally in tears a few nights ago reading about a family waiting for to travel for their SN boy, and that's when it struck me. This is not what the world would consider "normal". Not only do these families seek to add to their numbers by pretty unconventional means, but then to be so utterly excited at every little step of the process. To feel pure JOY at the privilege of getting to be a part of these little ones' lives......... Little ones that most others would consider "imperfect". It has been such a blessing to me over the last few months to get a peek at these families' journeys, to watch so many of them wait and wait with great expectation, and then be united with their children, and then to watch them blossom into a family; some journeys smoother than others, but all having a breathtaking amount of LOVE behind them. People besides themselves with anticipation waiting to bring home children that they did not genetically contribute to, children that will have countless medical and emotional issues to deal with in months to come. And these people can NOT wait to bring these children home. And then, they travel halfway around the world and bring them home and deal with grieving children, temper tantrums, and a mountain of communication issues - all things they knew ahead of time would have to be dealt. with. And they CHOSE to do this - and continue every day to choose to love these kids!! And the real kicker, they count THEMSELVES blessed.

These families have inspired and changed me in countless ways. I have seen the love of Jesus firsthand by watching all of them, and I frankly do not have enough words to express what a thrill that is!!!!! It is HIS love that is ACTIVE, changing the world, at a time when so many are SO cynical and would make us think the worse of those around us. I have hundreds of stories to share with those people now, and with those who would question if GOD is really active today - He is, He is , HE IS!!! And I get to read about it EVERY NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. My favorite story of HIS love in action this week is here. Read it from the beginning and have yourself a good cry.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Don't Laugh

For the last couple of years, my kids have INSISTED that I make them a birthday cake. I think they must be doing this because they enjoy laughing at their mom - they revel in finding something that she is pretty much a failure at, and knowing full well my weakness for them and for trying to meet their every birthday request, they take advantage of that. Personally, I think it's cool that they're asking me to make them a cake rather than trying to get the $30 DQ Blizzard cake that I request on my birhtday, so I just play along. They don't ever ask for a specific cake either, they just want me to surprise them. So for Jake's 11th birthday this week, I masterfully created the Wii remote cake. I'm trusting those of you reading this will be kind enough not to laugh. I did it out of love.......
(click on the picture for a REALLY good laugh with a giant close up)

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Article 5

I emailed the Consulate in Guangzhou one more time last night in a desperate attempt to get ANY information at all about the status of our paperwork. They promptly responded letting me know that our Article 5 was picked up by our agency on Nov. 30!!!! This is the very last step of this wait. The Art. 5 gets delivered to the C**A and they will then issue Travel Approval - then we're on our way to Abby. What is most exciting is that this is it for the US side of things, and the last step where any hiccup could've taken place is BEHIND us. In theory there could still be holdups, but not of the type where someone could tell me something is wrong with my paperwork.
Sadly, we will not be traveling in December at this point, though. I had hoped and prayed to have Abby home for Christmas. But just knowing we have such a mountain behind us is enough of a Christmas present for me. It looks like our agency is planning to send a group the first week of January, and hopefully we can make it out with that group!!