Friday, August 29, 2008

A little bit of everything!

Drew and AC at dinner before he left for China

Painting with my new paints from Esther and family!

I love to paint!

Deep concentration

Look at my beautiful painting!

Riding the city bus with Daddy

Sweet gifts from Elizabeth and family!

Beautiful dress waiting for sweet baby Kate to wear!

First of all, Drew left for China yesterday and he arrived safely today. He will be there until December when he comes home for Christmas, doing a semester abroad. Since he is in Beijing and Kate is right outside of Beijing, there is a good chance he will be able to visit her!!!!!! If he does, he is going sometime during the weekend of the 12-14. (His classes don't start until later because of the Olympics, so he will be around touring with his group until then. This is the earliest he can possibly go.) We are very hopeful that this will go through, as we have already talked with some PHF people and they have given the okay!

On another note, just what I needed today... a few thoughtful friends sent gifts. Our chatty friend, Mrs. S sent a sweet package for Kate and AnnaClaire. Inside was a beautiful pink and green flowered dress for sweet Kate to wear next summer. We LOVE it. She also included a little water color set for the big sister, Miss AC! AnnaClaire played with her paints today and she LOVED painting. She made quite a few beautiful pictures and mastered the whole "dipping the brush in the water before putting it back in the paints" thing. Her concentration and joy when she was done brought smiles to my face.

We also had a little package from our other sweet friends who I've mentioned on the blog before. Elizabeth's family sent us a package with a sweet, sweet book about all the children of the world. They also sent some tide packs to bring to China. Last but not least, they sent a priceless video of Kate at 7 months old. You can view the video here. There was a little bit not on this link that was in the video, but for the most part- it's all there for your viewing pleasure. She was so intent of having that Dora toy!! It was good seeing her crawl so well, even at 7 months! I was also so glad to see the nanny pick her up and comfort her when she started crying. At the end, (which is not in the video in the link) they zoom in on the nanny feeding Kate. So sweet. She looks so tiny and just perfect. Can't wait to get her!

Thank you S and other S families for your generosity. It definitely brought me joy on this day!! We love you guys so much!!

We've gotten a few more quilt squares since I last updated the quilt blog, so be on the lookout for that. I'm going to update that blog soon. Speaking of squares, I know I've told a few families we would get those out to you- which we WILL be doing this weekend, I promise! Hang tight because they are coming!!

Other than that, I am just looking forward to a long weekend... and hopefully some news on the LOA front next week!!


I cannot believe I am even writing this post. We thought for sure we would have LOA by the end of August. However, that is just not going to happen. Here we sit on Friday, August 29 with absolutely no news of LOAs even coming. I had honestly thought that there was no way we would reach day 80... I mean other people, but not us. I was wrong. Monday is September 1. Monday is day 80. Monday is also Labor Day so we have no chance of hearing anything then. Tuesday is September 2. Tuesday is day 81. Our agency is closed on Tuesday (as well as Monday.) So at this point, the earliest we will possible hear anything is Wednesday. Wednesday is September 3. Wednesday is day 82. Wednesday better bring some good LOA news!

I honestly thought this time around would be so much easier since we have Miss AC to keep is busy. In some ways, it is a little easier. However, to be honest, the "little" bit easier that it is means pretty much nothing. I have a sister... she's in China. My heart aches to get our sweet girl. I cannot wait much longer. Waiting is taking a toll on me.

Sorry I've sounded so down lately. It's just so hard. I'm tired of waiting and I don't think I can do it much longer. I'm starting to worry that October might not even be an option for us. Trying to stay hopeful. I know that we have an AWESOME God and His timing is always PERFECT. However... no matter how many times I remind myself of that, the wait just gets harder.

On another note, check the below posts if you haven't already. I'm going password protected until we get LOA. I've sent invites to everyone whose requested them. Email me at if you want one. I'll open the blog back up as soon as we get LOA... hopefully Wednesday. Bear with me :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008


There are a few reasons that have made me decide to go password protected. HOWEVER, this will just be for a few short days (hopefully). Once we get LOA, I will open the blog back up. Anyway, I'm going p/w protected TONIGHT so if you want to be able to access the blog, please email me ASAP and I will put you on the invite list.

Thank you for understanding and hopefully within the next week, I will be able to open the blog back up for everyone. (Come on LOA!!!)

Keep my blog on your links/bloglines/favorites because I promise I will be back once we get LOA. I just really feel like I should lock it until we get LOA due to all the info and pictures of Kate that I have posted. Although I have kept from sharing her Chinese name for those reasons, I feel like due to all of the pictures, I really should p/w protect it until we receive that coveted paper! (HOPEFULLY SOON!!!) Thanks again for understanding!!

My email address:

Miraculous (God story part 2)

I had a 3 part "God Story" story that I was going to do. Well, today the 3 parts increased to 4. I'm putting this one ahead of the other two because it is weighing on my heart to share... and since we just heard about this today, I wanted to share is now. First of all, I want to mention that I hesitated sharing the early on pictures of Kate, where her angioma is VERY large. I have gotten over that. Her angioma makes her who she is... that is how she is ours. If she did not have that, she would not have been on the SN list and wouldn't be our Kate. I have gotten over that hesitation because I think she has the most incredible story and I just want to share it so badly. I also want to share what a MIRACLE she really is... So, here it goes.

We have a sweet agency friend, Susannah's Mommy, who I have mentioned before on the blog. About a week ago, she mentioned that her friend's daughter is at PHF RIGHT NOW. She was there last year, and went back in May to be there for the summer. She will be there until October, so hopefully we will be able to meet her while we are there. Anyway. She told us that she thought she might have a picture of Kate from this woman and wanted to share it with us. Susannah's mommy also said that her friend's daughter had a blog and might have some videos/pictures with Kate in them. Sure enough, she was in some of the videos. Okay... so today she emailed us and told us that she had talked to them and was POSITIVE that the baby was Kate. You see, Tabitha sent out a postcard when she was support-raising for her second trip to China. On the front of the postcard (at the top of this page) there were four pictures... of four of the children who had touched her. Read this:

I have kept this postcard by my desk and have prayed for these children each time I looked over at it. Janet told me that Tabitha picked these four photos b/c these children pulled at her heart extra and that when she left China after her first trip there, she just wanted to take these four home.

Susannah's Mommy sent me these pictures of the picture by her computer :)

She also mentioned that Tabitha spent tons of time with Kate and has lots of video and pictures of her!!!

I am in awe of God! How awesome is He? She went on to say that because of Kate's cheek, she was considered to be a child who might never be adopted. I just cannot get over that. It tugs at my heart that her outward appearance could've made her "unadoptable." Yes, in the worlds eyes, she is flawed. However, in God's eyes, she is perfect... and lets think whose eyes are more important! :)

And so you get a taste of the miracle... look at this recent picture of our precious girl. You would NEVER EVEN KNOW that it is the same child if I hadn't said so. IS HE AN AWESOME GOD OR WHAT? He can do anything. Over and over again, He keeps revealing himself to me. I am just amazed at what an awesome God we serve!

The Power of Prayer

I ask you to pray for this family who just lost their sweet baby girl. She was adopted from China through AWAA in June (yes, 2 months ago) and went home to be with the Lord after a routine heart appt. I don't want to get the story wrong, so you can read more about it at her website. It is a truly unimaginable loss and although I do not know this family personally, I feel very connected to them through adoption. They were also in the travel group of some of our dear friends. My heart just breaks for them. Please be in prayer for them as they grieve the loss of their sweet daughter and sister. The power of prayer truly works, as I have witnessed so many times. Cover them in your thoughts and prayers. They need them right now.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


So it is now day 74 and we still have nothing. I wish I could say otherwise... but unfortunately, there is still no news. We are really hoping for LOA this week. There are still three more days. Please, Lord!! I really don't want to make it to 80. Monday will be day 80. Hopefully we won't go there. There is a group of people with our agency who got TAs late last week. Unfortunately, they were unable to get their requested CA (Consulate Appointment) because September is booked completely shut. With all of the Olympic stuff and the trade fairs in October, September is a very full travel month.
(Sweet Caroline AKA "Scary, Happy Dragon!")
Anyway, I am heartbroken for them. Waiting a whole extra month is a long time to wait when you should be able to have your child. Special thoughts/prayers for Susannah's mommy who has very, very little info on her baby girl and should be able to get her in September but will have to wait a whole month. So, we are so sad for the families who were very hopeful to travel in September and now will not be able to.
However, there is some hopeful news (for us anyway.) They were given new (TENTATIVE) travel dates in early October. We have been holding our breaths to see if AWAA would send a group in October. Now we know they are... Do you realize how important it is that we go then?? Have I mentioned our visas expire on October 22? If we were able to go with this group, we would get back home the day our visas expire. If not, it will be November... and we'll have to pay to re-do our visas.
PLEASE pray along with us for that to happen. Well, first pray that these tentative dates will be concrete and this group will be able to go. Then pray that we will be able to join. So, we need our LOA and we need it SOON. TAs have been recently taking about 3 weeks. Come on, God!!! We are praying HARD right now... for many reasons that I have posted recently. God has been so faithful and I know he will continue to be.
On another note, I started school yesterday and I am already ready for summer. It's going to be a hard year and it is VERY hard to concentrate in the midst of an adoption. Missing two weeks will be very tough, but I'm going to try to keep up... I wouldn't miss our trip to China for ANYTHING. I already have a ton of homework... on the second day of school. All honors classes will be difficult... Okay, so you can probably see that I am not excited to be at school again. On a good note it's nice to see everyone again! :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hannah Tana

First of all, I have a few more amazing stories to share, but I wanted to interrupt with a little AC story. Yesterday, AnnaClaire wore her Hanna Andersson dress. When Mom put it on her, AnnaClaire looked up, smiling and said,

"I'm wearing my Hannah Tana dress!!"

She just cracks me up sometimes. She later found Will's xBox Live headset... she looked like quite the little Hannah Montana rockstar :)

Just had to share. I know with all this Kate news, I haven't really posted many AC pictures. I have a bunch to share from the baseball game she went to with Mom and Dad tonight. They even caught a baseball! But for now, I should probably head to bed... school starts tomorrow (Monday) :(

Saturday, August 23, 2008

November 1, 2007... (God story part 1)

(first of all, hope you don't mind me sharing this, Jeanette. Thought it was just too amazing not to share!)

...was just an ordinary day. It was a Thursday and our dear friends were in Beijing, China, preparing to meet their daughter, Elizabeth. While in Beijing, they took the 45-50 minute drive to Tianjin* where the Shepherd's Field Children's Village is located. They were able to walk around and see the sweet children who lived in those houses. They saw one little girl, in particular. She was known as Shia. Our family was living vicariously through their website and saw the above picture of a sweet little girl. A very sweet, baby girl. At the time, that picture was just another sweet Chinese baby girl. Our dear friends watched each child and held this sweet baby girl, rubbing her back and praying over her. They prayed for a family for this sweet girl. They prayed that her at the time, VERY large cheek would not hold a family back from adopting her. That God would provide a Christian family for this sweet girl so that she could know the love of a family. They left that day and Shia laid there with an amazing God watching over her, continuing to write her perfect story of faithfulness and love.

Seven months later, our family received a call from Melissa at AWAA. They had a 15 month old baby girl in the Jiangxi province who needed a family. We locked her file and immediately starting doing all the paperwork to make her our Katherine MeiLing. At the time, we didn't realize anything special about her file/pictures. Other than the fact that the background in her referral pictures was very odd considering most of the referral pictures coming out of her orphanage feature a very bright background and a yellow, wicker chair. Kate's referral pictures featured hard wood floors with a bright blue, gingham mat, and a brown couch in the background. Plus, her file said she had lived in some odd named Children's Village that we had never heard of and brought up no google results (we now realize that it must've been something that was lost in translation.) Elizabeth's mommy later told us that the minute she saw Kate's referral pictures, she knew that this baby looked familiar. However, at this time, she did not know why.

Two months after receiving the referral for this sweet girl who we affectionately refer to as Kate, we received an update of our beautiful girl with the most joy in her face and absolutely no puffy-ness of her cheek. The next day, another sweet friend sent a string of emails which resulted in letting us know that she had found these same pictures in a Philip Hayden photo album, while looking at her friend's son who was also at PHF... the little girl's name was Shia and she was living in Philip Hayden's House of Love. 30 pictures and dozens of emails later, our friend's find was clarified. Little Shia was our Kate.

We quickly thought back to Jeanette's travels to Philip Hayden in the fall and wondered if she possibly had any pictures of Little Shia/Kate. I searched her blog and found a picture that I thought was her. Mom emailed Jeanette and sure enough, it was. Plus, they had VIDEO.

But the amazing thing came a few days later. Jeanette remembered Shia. She remembered how large her sweet cheek was. She remembered praying over her that a Christian family would be able to adopt her, to love her just as she is.

It all made sense... The puzzle pieces fit together. When she prayed for a family for Kate, she was praying for US. No one knew it at the time (well God did- of course!) but she prayed for our family... Kate's family! Somehow out of all the families waiting to adopt from China... and out of all orphans in China, the files at the CCAA... on the shared list... somehow, this sweet girl is going to be a part of OUR family.

Tell me that's not amazing.

Tell me that's not a God story.

The picture we had seen on November 1, 2007 was not just any sweet, Chinese baby. She was our baby girl. Our sweet Katherine MeiLing...

And yet there are still people that say there is no God.
What does it take?

*- I had thought that the PHF was located in Langfang, but it turns out that all Christian organizations were kicked out of there, so it is actually located in Tianjin. Sorry for that!

Thoughts and Prayers

I know I sounded really down yesterday (day 70 was a hard one!), so I did want to mention that my trip was really great. Every year, our high school goes to a young life camp before school starts. It's really fun and just a good time to see everyone again. They have all kinds of things- blob, zipline into the water, a huge water slide, this really cool swing that two people go on, rock climbing, a pool and hot tub, sand volley ball, an ice cream/slushie shop, etc. So, it was just a really awesome time of getting to see everyone/meet new people. That is one of the many things I love about going to a small, private, Christian high school. I know almost everyone. Most of the public schools are so big and people don't even know everyone in their grade- let alone their school. Our grade of 70+ is very close and we all always have a good time :). It is also very cool to be able to connect and know everyone. Our small groups were made up of a few people from every grade with seniors leading them. It, of course, is also awesome being able to talk about our Lord and Savior at/during school/school events. I think a lot of people take that for granted.

I did want to mention a prayer request. Kate has had a lot of moving around to do in her young life. She was found at 2 months old, so that is two months she spent with her biological family. She was then brought to an orphanage in Jiangxi where she lived for another two months. In July of 2007, she was moved to Philip Hayden where she has been for the last 13 months. She lived in the House of Peace for most of that time, but was just recently moved to the House of Love. Anyway, she has had a lot of moving around and change and to be honest, the last thing we want is for her to have to move back to the orphanage. It is simply not good for her at that young of an age to be moved that many times. So I pray that somehow we will be able to get her at PHF rather than her being moved back to the orphanage the week before we get her. I KNOW this has happened more than once and I pray that God would allow it to happen in our case. While we would still have to fly to Nanchang to complete the adoption, it would just be so much better for her if we could get Kate in Langfang- which is only 45-50 minutes outside of Beijing. Praying, praying, and I ask you to join us in prayer about this!

Friday, August 22, 2008

70 days.

Today marks 70 days. 70 LONG days of waiting to hear of our LOA. And unfortunately, we still don't have it. So much for things going faster because our dossier was SN only. Sigh. People who got their referrals the same day as us are leaving next week. And here we wait. Our agency as well as lots of other people got LOAs on Wednesday. Not ours... I'm glad I wasn't home.

It'll come. It's just so hard to wait and not know WHEN... knowing that your baby sister is getting bigger all while you're waiting for approval... just so you can turn around and wait for another approval! We are still praising God that Kate is at PHF, that she is still there, that we have over 30 pictures of her (and a few videos!!) but we are really praying for an LOA... and SOON!

We've already heard that CAs are just about booked for the months of September and October. If we got an LOA next week, we could possibly still travel at the end of October. Just really praying... praying HARD! 70 days is long enough.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sweet baby girl!!

Oh what a sweet Valentines baby! This is my very favorite picture yet... look at that gummy smile! (11 months)
Beautiful, big brown eyes girl!! I love this one! !(13 months)

(they must love this outfit on her... see above!) Kate and one of her nannies outside during the earthquake memorial where all the houses made signs in honor of the victims! (14 months)

Kate and one of her nannies celebrating Children's Day with stickers (14 months)

Sweet girl all dressed up! (14 months)

Funny faces at 13 months! (notice the pink dress which she is wearing in our most recent pictures? She's wearing it here, over other shirts!)

Baby girl, getting a massage from her nanny! (5 months)

We were able to get in touch with someone who works at Philip Hayden. She sent us more pictures (I'm not including all of them, but here's a bunch!) and some info. Best of all: Kate/Shia is still at PHF!!! We have been praying so hard she was still there. Still not exactly sure why our update said she was back at the orphanage, but whatever! That doesn't matter because SHE IS STILL AT PHF! While we know she'll be moved back to her orphanage at some point, I pray that she is at PHF as long as she possibly can be. She is said to be VERY attached to her nanny. Also, she is "such a sweetie". I'm so glad she's still there!!!!!! We found out that she was actually with our chatty friend's daughter, but was just moved to a different home and is now with our new friend's son!! Amazing. Also, she never had surgery!! She was on a treatment that caused the puffy-ness of her angioma to go way down!! You can tell such a difference between the early on pictures and the recent ones. Her cheek looks SO, SO good!!! Praise God! Her angioma also looks lighter. Of course that doesn't matter to us, anyway.

We are praising HIM!!! We have over 30 pictures of our sweet girl from almost every month from 4 months until now. It's amazing to see how her cheek gets better in every picture. We think she is just beautiful and are so anxious to get our hands on her. However, we are so thankful that although we have missed out on 17 months of her live, for 13 of those, she has been in an AMAZING place with AMAZING people loving and caring for her... fulfilling her needs and doing special things with her. God is SOOOO good. Praise Him from who all blessings flow!!

So this is it for a few days. We have a school retreat Wednesday-Friday. I'm sure I'll be back on then... maybe even with more pictures?! Or possibly an LOA?! Please, God!!

Day 67!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Kate's First Birthday!!!

Katherine MeiLing turns one!!!

Celebrating friends!

Here are two more pictures of Kate I found tonight!!! This is her first birthday celebration. I think it is so awesome all the things that PHF does with the kids. I cannot even begin to tell you all the fun things we've found pictures of them doing!!

We found a video (with Kate in it!!) tonight and at the very end, the kids are singing "Jesus Loves Me." That is another amazing thing- 95% of the nannies there are Christians and they are able to teach the kids the love of Christ. The kids all know "Jesus songs" and there are Bible verses all around. It is truly a place where the love of God flows. Our sweet Kate could not be waiting for us in a better place. We are so blessed. God continues to amaze us... every step of the way. Now what could be better than an LOA?!

**Read the last two posts for more so that you know what I'm talking about!**

Wait! There's more!!!!!

Our precious girl... 7 months old!

Kate is in the corner with the white and red! Recognize the couch, mat, and floor from her referral pictures?

HE just never stops amazing me. Shortly after we found out that Kate is at Philip Hayden, I was trying to think of friends who visited there to see if they had any pictures of our little Shia. It dawned on me that our sweet friend, Jeanette had been there in November! So, I went on her blog and looked through the pictures. I found one who I was pretty sure was our Kate, but it was from a different position so it was hard to tell. Mom emailed Jeanette to see if she remembered little Shia. Sure enough, Jeanette did. Not only were the pictures (that we thought were of Kate) of Kate, but she also said that she HELD her! Yes, SHE HELD OUR KATE!!!

Here's what she said about her...

i held her. :) she was SO sweet and cuddly-but very tiny and petite :). unfortunately I don't have any other pics..but I'm attaching the ones I do have, which I had posted on our site. how God is it that the 2 pics of Kate that I have, I posted on the site...and 9 months later you would need them?!
oh I cannot believe I've held Kate. I KNEW her referral pics looked familiar -I just couldn't figure out why!!!

And it gets even better... She has VIDEO of her!!!!! Video of her CRAWLING!!!!!! They visited on November 1, so she was not quite 8 months old at that time.

It truly amazes me that 9 months ago, we were following Jeanette's blog and saw pictures of a precious little girl... not just any little girl... OUR little girl. Yet, we had no idea!

So, we continue to be amazed. It just keeps getting better. We also know that there is a picture of our little Shia Kate in the PHF calender in November. We haven't seen it yet, but have a friend sending it to us.

We still don't know if Kate is still at PHF or not... it is odd that our update said that she was at the orphanage and had been at PHF for almost a year... there are pictures of her on August 6 at PHF. She went in July... so that would be over a year. We are praying she's still there. However, we know that they bring the kids back to the orphanage before they are adopted... we shall see.

Right now we are thankful. Thankful that she has been nourished, loved, cared for, and gotten to do fun things like celebrate birthdays, the Olympics, and other Chinese holidays. But with all these pictures (we now have 19 total of her...) it makes us want her so much more. Praying for LOA this week!

Thank you again to those ladies who helped us find out all this info. It all started with a string of emails from Amy W. who was looking at her friend, Jocelyn's son, Elijah from Philip Hayden. she recognized Kate from the birthday album, where she was wearing the pink dress that she's wearing in our update. She then somehow figured out her name was Shia, which led to many more photos found of our girl. Thank you Charlene and Amy I. for all the info on Philip Hayden and how to contact people to find out more about Kate. And thank you Jeanette for filling in even more about our sweetie. I know you had no idea she was ours when you saw her, but I will be forever thankful for the pictures and video you got of her that day in Nov. Can't wait to see the video!

I stand amazed.

**see below if you haven't read it yet so you know what I'm talking about**

Praise God~ Our sweet "Shia" Kate!!

Recognize her?? This is our sweet Kate! I LOVE this picture. It is also the first picture that we can see her angioma in. It's not bad at all! We were expecting so much worse...

Kate is in the purple... Love that little smile! Not sure when this was taken, but it looks like around the time of her referral pictures

We are pretty sure she's the one in the purple. Beautiful baby girl!!!

Our beautiful Katherine MeiLing!! (Once again, not sure when this was taken but it looks recent!)
Dressed up for Christmas!! (Nov. 07; 8 months)

Sweet BABY Kate when she arrived at the Philip Hayden House!! (4 months; July 12, 2007!)

Our little Kate with her new haircut (16 months; July 15, 2008)

Celebrating the summer kids' birthdays!! (17 months; August 6, 2008)
Sweet, sweet baby! (9 months?; Winter 2007)

She's in pink in the middle... eating cake! (17 months; August 6, 2008)

Kate and her nanny at the Olympic celebration! ( 15 months; July 4, 2008)

Shia and her nanny celebrating Children's day with stickers! (14 months; June 5, 2008)

Our God is SOOOOO good! Through an amazing turn of events and a few (very) sweet friends, we have found more pictures of our sweet Kate... who is known as Shia! We have 12 pictures of her from age 4 months (the day she came to Philip Hayden) until as soon as August 6th! How? She is is PHILIP HAYDEN!!! Well she was. We aren't sure if she still is because we were told she is back at the orphanage. We are SO, SO blessed! We also found out that she did, indeed, have surgery! You will notice how puffy her cheek is in the earlier pictures. Look how good it looks now!!!! We aren't sure when she had the surgery, but we know she did sometime before June and after March. We also know that she was not alone and had a nanny with her during surgery. Praise GOD!! These are the pictures we've found so far, but there might be more!! Right now, we are just enjoying seeing our beautiful girl and wanting her 10 times more!! OHHH her little smile. I'm so in love. Not only in love... so THANKFUL. We have seen pictures of her celebrating Children's Day, getting a hair cut, celebrating kids birthdays, having an olympic party... the list goes on. We are so blessed. If she can't be here at home with us, this is the best place she could be. AND, our sweet girl is with our chatty friend's newest daughter!!!!! What a God-thing!!! AnnaClaire and Shaoeys referrals were "surprises" on the same day and now we found out that our newest girls (5 months apart) are together!! OH MY GOODNESS, SHE IS SO CUTE!