Tuesday, September 30, 2008

WE'RE GOING TO CHINA!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Kristen called at 2:37 to say that our TA IS HERE!!!! I was home from school all day sick (or maybe just in need of a day off!) I was praying so hard that it would come while I was home... and today so we wouldn't have to wait another week... and GUESS WHAT? IT CAME!!!!

I heard the phone ring and my heart skipped a beat, but we have workers in and out, so I figured it was them. Then I heard Mom screaming and I ran downstairs. I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!! IT'S HERE!

We prayed that it would come in September... it did! We prayed that we would be able to get there without redoing our visas... yes, that will happen, too! We prayed that it would be sent before the holiday... yep! That, too! GOD IS SOOOOO GOOD!

Our tentative travel dates are October 23-November 5. Still not positive though. We'll have to go a few days early because our visas expire the 22nd.



Monday, September 29, 2008

3 Weeks Down

3 weeks down in the TA wait that is supposed to be 2-4 weeks long! There have been a few people with our same LOA dates (not with our agency) who received TAs today... The CC*AA is closed this whole week for a national holiday. There is a possibility that TAs were mailed out on Friday and will arrive tomorrow. If not, the earliest we'll see TA will be mid-next week. I would really like to avoid hitting the month mark... God has a perfect plan. Right now, we are just wanting our baby girl HOME.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Precious {big girl} Mei Mei

With all of these posts, updates, and pictures of Kate, Miss AnnaClaire is kind of getting left out of the blog! I thought she needed a post ALL about her and her sweet self... so here it goes.
About a month from now (10/27) AnnaClaire will turn THREE! It's so hard to believe that she will be 3 already. Wasn't it just yesterday that we were at PF Changs celebrating AnnaClaire's first birthday, while she was waiting in China? I know we are going to enjoy every minute of AC's last month as a 2 year old!
AnnaClaire is doing AWESOME in her big girl bed! She loves it! She looks so TINY in it. The excitment of it still hasn't worn off and she always lets us know that she is going night night in her BIG GIRL BED. She has never tried to get out of it. She just sits and talks, waiting for someone to get her out. She always has the biggest smile when someone comes to get her and she never fails to tell us how good she slept or what a long nap she took.
AnnaClaire goes to a "pre school" every Thursday. It's not technically pre school, but it's at a nearby Church that does a womens Bible study and AnnaClaire goes to the little Bible school for the kids on Thursdays. AC LOVES it. They go outside, have a little bible lesson, do crafts, have snack... it's just like pre school.
One of her Bible school teachers from last year (who now leads a different class with Mom) brought her a Barney the other day. AnnaClaire LOVES her new Barney. It sings songs, plays games, plays peekaboo, etc. I think it is her new favorite toy. She loves it! She is always giving it kisses, too.
She also LOVES being outside. After her nap, she likes to go play in her sandbox. She is learning out to build sand castles in it and thinks those are too fun! Yesterday, Dad was mowing the lawn and AnnaClaire brought out her little lawn mower and helped! She was so cute! She doesn't like loud noises though, so she would stay as far from the mower, but still where Dad could see her! It was so cute! She always covers her ears when she hears something loud!
I have been working with AnnaClaire on coloring in the lines and tracing and she is doing so well! She does LOVE to color!
If you ask her where she was born, she will happily say, "CHINA!" And then she'll proceed to tell you how she cried and cried when she came to us. It's so cute!
She is VERY on the go. Loves to do anything if she is going somewhere. Every night, she asks where she is going to go the next day. She loves going ANYWHERE. She has come to a few school volleyball games with me and absolutely loves going to those. Everyone at school knows (and loves) her and she is always the center of the crowd... and she knows it!
She cheers for everyone and loves watching and cheering with all my friends on the sidelines!
Little Miss is extremely sensitive. You can just tell. She hates to make people sad and will say sorry over and over. She gets extremely hurt when someone says or does something to her. Of course, she does not like getting in trouble at all!
AnnaClaire has the sweetest personality. She is outgoing if you ever did see an outgoing little girl! She has never met a stranger. When she meets new people, she is best friends with them by the end of the day! She is so friendly! She talks up a STORM. In fact, she never stops talking! Everyone is amazed when we tell them she isn't even three yet... because she is so verbal! She is constantly laughing and smiling. She is the HAPPIEST little thing.

AC is excited about Miss Kate! Well, excited as a 2 year old could be. I don't think she completely understands the whole thing, but she knows she's going back to China to "get Kate!" She knows that she is going to share her things and her Mommy. The other day, Dad brought her some necklaces he had got. There were 2. AnnaClaire picked them both out and pointed informed us that one of them was for Kate and the other was for AnnaClaire. She is constantly doing that sort of thing... told you she is sweet! Last week, we were giong through some of her things, and AnnaClaire helped pick out some books to bring to Kate's room. She made a few little stacks and excitedly brought the books into Kate's room. She always asks when we are going to get Kate and she is always pointing Kate out in pictures.
As you can see, my first little love is doing great. She is so sweet. She has the best disposition. I just look at her and think, "Can you imagine life without AnnaClaire?" I just love this little girl. Her joy shines through her. It is so fun watching her because she is so FREE.. free or worries and living life at her own beat. She is always dancing, jumping, running, hugging kissing, and LOVING. She is SO full of LOVE. And oh how I love HER.

Tainted Formula

From what I understand (this isn’t my area, so all info is second-hand through a translator!), we only use Nestle. The nannies are very particular about using the same brand all the time, especially with the babies. But, occasionally guests would bring different brands, including some of the affected brands, and then it would be used. The affected brands haven’t been a consistent part of the kid’s diet, and even then, it’s been the older kids who would have received it. I talked to our medical team and Tim, and they feel our kids are safe.

We are definitely relieved to hear this from a contact at Philip Hayden.

I did read last night that in Kate's home orphanage, Shangrao, 19 children were diagnosed with kidney stones. 3 were hospitalized and the rest are receiving treatment in the orphanage.

My heart just breaks for these children, along with the other thousands all over China that have been affected. It makes me sick that anyone would ever purposely put harmful things in baby formula in order to use less of the actual stuff.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cookie Kate!

Here's sweet Kate eating a cookie! She's wearing the outfit and bows we sent her :). Could she be any cuter? This picture was taken on 9/19 by a team who traveled to China and worked at Philip Hayden for a couple of days. That day, they had bought cookies and brought them to each child! Kate looks like she is in full concentration eating her cookie! Aren't her little piggies so adorable??

Susannah is HOME!!

Are words even necessary? I think from the picture and the title, you can see how awesome our God is. Susannah is a MIRACLE and praise God that she is home safely! Continue to pray for her as she has doctors appointments and possibly surgery very soon. Keep checking their blog for updates on precious Susannah!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ling Xu Liu~Shia~Kate!

Name: Shia
Chinese Name: Ling Xuliu
Birthday: March 6, 2007
Where I Live: House of Peace
Favorite toy: blocks
Personality type: shy and quiet
Favorite friend to play with: my nanny
Favorite thing to do: play outside
New Accomplishments: I am getting better and better at walking
Matched with a family: No
Attends school or pre-school: No
Medical Update: Her facial hemangioma has almost completely resolved and she has not needed further treatments since March. She is doing well and developing well. We will continue to follow the site of the hemangioma, but it should continue to fully resolve.

We have friends adopting a sweet girl from Philip Hayden who were able to receive their daughters sponsorship info. We had asked if we could receive all of Kate's updates that went out to her 6 sponsors as well! Thank you again for these precious glimpses into our sweet girl's life!!

The one posted above was from July 2008. She has since moved to the House of Love. Obviously, the "matched with family" nows reads a big, bold YES. I guess Philip Hayden was not notified when she was matched with us. Of course, they know now! :) Anyway, this is such precious information to have. We have 4 reports total from August 07, somewhere between August and March, April 08, and July 08. These reports gave us a few extra tidbits about our girl that we did not know yet. Such as, she was learning to walk and almost doing it independently as of April. Also, she was seen by the Beijing Children's Hospital in March and has not had any treatments to her hemangioma since then, as it has resolved! Oh and this is unimportant, but her PHF name is actually pronounced "shay." We've though it was "she-a" all along!

Her progress reports all included quite a bit of info on how she is doing, which is precious to know. In addition to each paragraph about Miss Kate were quite a few pictures. Some we had already seen, some were new to us! I posted a few at the top. I'm having trouble getting some of the other ones (especially the ones at a younger age) because they are on pdf files. Anyway, at the end of each report is this: "Thank you to her sponsors as your monthly support allows us to give Shia the best possible care while at PHF. Please pray she would soon be part of her own forever family."

Soon, sweet girl! Just hang on a little longer... your forever family is coming!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A little update on Kate's development

We have been so blessed with the fact that Kate is in Philip Hayden. The updated pictures and priceless glimpses into her young life are more than we could ever ask for. One thing we did not have was a update on how Kate is developmentally. The last we heard, she was an 11 month old who was doing basic 11 month old stuff. Today, we were very blessed with a few paragraphs on how Kate is doing developmentally! What a blessing! Philip Hayden has so much to offer. One of their newer additions to the program is therapy. They offer speech, occupational, and physical therapy for their kids. The lady who runs the therapy program recently joined the PHF yahoo group and has been giving parents info on their kids development progress. Today, she sent us an email, providing us with a glimpse into Miss Kate's development skills. When they first evaluated her in March, she was 12 months old and right on track in all development stages. This month, she was re-evaluated and is doing well! She is receiving speech and occupational therepy two times a week. Her speech is a bit delayed, and her fine motor skills are slightly delayed. Her gross motor skills are right on track. We were informed that most of the kids at PHF are late talkers because with busy schedules, there are little opportunities to talk. Oh how that will change when she gets home and around Miss AnnaClaire! We were told that her delays are minor and will change once she is in a family environment, although she should be evaluated again once she is home. So anyway, it is nice to have a view into sweet Kate's life and know what to expect when we get her!

On another note... 2 weeks down!! We are officially in the TA time frame so it could come any day! That's a nice thought :)

We got another update on Kate tonight that I will share with you all tomorrow. New pictures and some more precious info about our sweet girl!

Waiting is HARD.

I received a comment yesterday that brought up a point that I have been meaning to post. While I don't know who you are, I want to thank you for reminding me to post about this touchy subject... waiting.

I want to start by saying that this blog is like a journal. It is like my adoption/family journal where I can put my thoughts. I realize that my blog has become so much more and I am glad that people follow this blog and enjoy reading it. I think that is awesome. However, I still feel the freedom to talk about my feelings and my desires. I am LONGING for Kate right now, and I'm sorry if you think that I am being un greatful for the GIFT of Kate that we have received. I am SO greatful. You have no idea how excited and thankful I am for my precious baby sister! I feel so blessed that we are in the home stretch of her adoption and I am so excited that she will be with us soon! However, we aren't quite at that point yet and for now, I am having a lot of difficulty WAITING.

My heart breaks for all of you going the NSN track and still waiting for a referral. Our original LID for AnnaClaire was 7/22/06. We have lots of friends with LIDs around that time and my heart just breaks for all of you enduring this long and painful wait. I realize it's hard and I think you are amazing people for sticking to a wait that could and is expected to go beyond three years. That takes a lot to put your life on hold for that long of a time and I applaud you for not giving up. However, there are many people that are called to adopt a child on the SN track. We, as a family, decided in early July 06 (before we were even LID) that AnnaClaire would come off of a SN list. That was not an easy descision, especially being first time adopters. However, we knew that was what God was calling us to do, just as he had called us to adopt TWO girls (that call came in October 2005). When AnnaClaire's referral came on July 25, 2006, we were faced with a really difficult decision because there were so many unknowns (as there are in any adoption.) However, in the end, we knew this was our baby girl and no matter what her SN was, we would do anything for her. We came to realize that if Mom birthed a child who had some SN, we would love her no matter what and do everything for her because she is our child. It is so obvious that AnnaClaire is the child that God intended to be a member of our family. We have no doubt about that. She is perfect for us, she is healthy, she is happy, and she is an AMAZING little girl. The wait for AnnaClaire was HARD. We waited close to 5 months from referral to gotcha day. It was an extremely hard 5 months. I felt the same way then that I do now. I longed for that day to hold my precious baby sister, just as I do now. Those 5 months went by so slowly. Every single day was hard. Finally we got her, and that wait has been erased. She is the joy of my life and I am thankful that God has placed her in our family. Shortly after our 6 month post placement, we filled out the application to adopt a second baby, Kate. We were on the SN list from the get-go and in June 2008, we received Kate's referral. Once again, we had to ask ourselves that question. We at once knew the answer was YES. No matter what happens, we KNEW that "Ling Xu Liu" was our Kate, just as we had known that "Chen Xun Hui" was our AnnaClaire!! For 3.5 months now, we have stared at every picture we have. It is so very hard to have these pictures and know who our precious Kate is yet have to wait for her. We have wondered what she is like. We have questioned when we will go. I realize that some day soon, it will be time. Some day soon, God will allow us to be with Kate. Not as fast as I would like, but it will happen some day soon. However, that doesn't make this wait any easier. It doesn't make the pain of waking up and being half a world away from your baby sister any easier. It doesn't make the fact that she was a 15 month old at referral and she will soon be 19 months old any easier. It is hard to wait. It's hard to wait no matter how long you wait for. 3 months is hard, 3 years is hard. I know... waiting is HARD. The wait is hard for ALL OF US, no matter where we are or what our situation is. We have been looking at Kate's sweet face for way longer than we should be looking at it. She should be here right now, but she's not. Unfortunately, there's nothing I can do about that. I just have to wait. That is a hard thing to do. I am 15 years old and I am HUMAN. It is part of human nature to want things to happen NOW. I wish I didn't have to wake up every day wondering if this would be the day that xxx came, wondering when she would be in our arms. I wish I could go through a day of school without constantly wondering WHEN or HOW she is doing or WHAT she is like. Unfortunately, I'll just have to wait a little bit longer to know those things. All this to say, I want you to know that those waiting are in my prayers. No matter how long you have been logged in, no matter if you are adopting SN or NSN, no matter how long you have been waiting for the child that you have been gazing at for who knows how long. It's hard no matter how long. It's a painful thing to wait, yet it is something all of us in the adoption community must do. Some wait longer than others, but we all wait.

On another note, SN is a GREAT way to adopt. I know it's not for everyone, but there are so many needs that are so manageable. Some of those things you look at and wonder, "Why is that even a SN?" I realize that there are also many severe needs, but there are a lot of needs that could very easily be taken care of. I hope that you would consider and pray about adopting SN. Sometimes it takes the bold question of, "If I/Mom birthed a child with this need, would we love her/him and do everything we could to help her/him?" Our agency, alone, (AWAA) placed over 75 children off of the Shared List in the summer months (June, July, and August). It is a great program and while I don't expect every family to be open to every need, and I realize this program isn't for everyone, I challenge you to pray about considering a child with special needs.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


It has been 100 days since we sent our LOI to adopt precious Katherine MeiLing. I am so thankful that we have LOA at this 100 day mark. I am praying that our TA will arrive this week and we will be celebrating that. This wait has not been easy, that is for sure. Some days are worse than others... today I am longing to hold my precious baby sister. For 3.5 months, now, we have had these pictures of our baby girl. She was a new 15 month old at referral and she will be 19 months not too long form now. It's so hard to have those pictures, know your sweetie is growing, yet not be able to be with her. My thoughts constantly drift to Kate. I know this is how it was when we waited for AnnaClaire, too. I know that once we get our baby girl, this wait won't even matter... she will finally be with us and that is all that counts. However, I can't wait until she is no longer a thought, but actually here. I can't wait to be done with this waiting. I'm longing for that day when we can finally meet our sweet Kate... I can only pray that that day is only a month (or less) away.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Apple Orchard Fun

Sweet friends Mia and AnnaClaire! (Not only friends... also "sisters!" Chenzhou sisters, that is!)
How tall this fall?
Remember this from last year's apple picking? How much she has GROWN in just a year!
After hearing the Johnny Appleseed story, the girls got to stuff and make a scarecrow!
AnnaClaire loved running around to find hay!
They made a BIGGG scarecrow with all their stuffing!
AnnaClaire loved playing in the hay!
Mia loved the dried apple snack!
Lunch time! Apple sippers filled with delicious apple cider were the drink! Both girls LOVED them.
AnnaClaire not only drank hers all gone, but also half of Moms!
Beautiful Mia running around the orchard
The little girls loved picking their apples! Aren't they cute looking at the bags of them?
This is a "kid" orchard and although they have lots of apple trees, you pick the apples from a big, wooden crate. It was perfect for the little girls because there were lots of activities and they could reach the apples to pick!
The girls made great friends with one of the ladies who runs the orchard's daughter!
Mia with her apples
The tractor hay ride was also a big hit of the day! What a fun day we had! Thanks for the fun day, Mia and Mrs. L! Can't wait until next time!