Monday, June 21, 2010

Gotcha Grace!!



Ashton again.
They have their precious girl! She is BEAUTIFUL and Emily says she hasn't stopped smiling. I can't get enough of her precious face! Congrats Emily and Family!



Thursday, June 17, 2010

They Have Charlie!!!!



Hi everyone, this is Ashton, Emily's friend and I wanted to just post on the blog to keep you updated. Charlie is a total cutie and is doing well! Praise God!

Here is what Emily said...

"We have Charlie!! He is amazing, so perfect, and the entire Gotcha Day story with pictures is on the website."

www.ToChinaForCharlie.com

Oh and P.S. Grace Day in THREE days (for Emily. It is already Friday in China!)

Friday, June 11, 2010

We made it!

It's been a long 2 days, but we are finally in Hong Kong!

Check the website for more... that's where I'll be posting throughout the trip!

www.tochinaforcharlie.com

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

And We're off!

First things first, I will be posting at http://www.tochinaforcharlie.com/ during our trip! If you know me, you know I post a LOT. I hope you don't get too sick of me for 24 days! :) Anyway, there may be a few posts here, but everything will be on our travel website, so be sure to follow us there!
And in other news...

The fish have been dropped off at AC's friends house to be taken care of...
We've eaten at Chi*ckfila for the last time in the next month... and said goodbye to all of our friends...
Charlie's carseat has been recovered with a more boy-ish cover... (aren't you loving the longhorn?)
Our TA's have arrived...
We are completely packed...

And we are leaving for the airport in less than FOUR hours!!!!!!!! Woohoo!!!!!!!!!! We're going to China FINALLY!

We are so excited because despite a lot of confusion with travel, we are going to get to meet this family and this family in Nanjing... (woohoo, we finally have a group in the province! And such sweet families, too!) Can't WAIT!!!

AND, we are so excited to see this family in Guangzhou! We have prayed for almost a year that we would see them in China this trip (we just missed them in 2008 when we traveled for Kate.) God has answered our request and I can't WAIT to share pictures of all of us together! I want to share our miraculous stories when I have those pictures...

And last but not least, amazingly, we will overlap in GZ a couple of days with one of our chatty friends, this family... We traveled back in 2006 for our AnnaClaire and their Mia and are SO excited to get to give them all big hugs in GZ! They are going back in a couple of months to adopt a precious 10 year old from the same camp as Grace, too!

Kate's Referral Day



Since we will be in China on Kate's 2 year referral anniversary, I wanted to post now...

I love Kate's story because I see God so evidently in it, just as I do in the stories of AnnaClaire, Charlie, and Grace. It is just so clear that He chose for us to be united as a family.


I should start by saying that when we went on the "interested families list" 9 months earlier, we had put down one special need. Not because this was the only special need we would accept, but because we really wanted to adopt another child with this need. However, by the end of May, Mom and Dad started talking about why we wouldn't put other things down if we were open to them... why not open ourselves up and allow for God to work? They checked "yes" to quite a few other needs. There was one that they went back and forth on. Hemangioma. After some prayer, they put yes and turned in the list.


Fast forward to June 12, 2008.


The day before, our agency had posted that a new shared list was out and they would be matching families. A had a feeling that this might be it.


It was a Thursday and there had been a big storm the night before. We had no internet, no phone, no cable. Mom, AC, and I were out at Hall*mark Father's Day shopping when around 11:30, a call came.


As she picked up her phone, I noticed that the area code was our agency's area code. My heart started pounding. I could sense Mom's excitment and I knew that "this was it."


She couldn't have gotten off that phone fast enough for me. I knew I was about to be a big sister again and just wanted to know all about our sweet Kate! But finally, she did. There was a little girl named Ling Xu Liu who was 15 months old with a hemangioma. Did we want to lock her file?


Of course, we had Dad on the phone by now and he said, "lock it!" We had to move quickly, because anyone could see her file on the list. They were more strict with locking back then and you were only supposed to if you had reviewed the whole file. However, it would be over 30 minutes before we could get to Dad's office (remember, we had no internet at home) to read the email. So we told our coordinator to lock the file.


The whole way to Dad's office, he tried to explain how cute she was. It was the longest car ride. Finally, we got there and as we stepped into the office, her picture was on the screen. A sweet little girl clapping her hands. She had the cutest little crooked smile. There was no doubt she was our Katherine MeiLing.

We went to lunch and ran her file to our ped. and Mom and Dad went home to write the LOI...

A few hours later, they heard back that she was perfect :)

Of course, we already knew that anyway!

When Mom was introducing our sweet girl to her friends, one commented on how familiar Kate looked to her.

A few months later, we found out that Kate was at the Philip Hayden Foundation, sharing a room with the daughter of another good friend of Mom's.

Not only that, but remember that friend who had felt like she had seen Kate before? She had. She had been in China adopting her darling daughter in November. Their family sponsored kids at PHF and went to visit them. While there, they met a little girl named Shia. Jeanette actually held sweet Shia and prayed for a family that could get past her needs and bring her home. She held our precious girl and PRAYED FOR HER! She had even posted a picture of sweet Shia on her blog... we had seen this picture of our little girl... yet at the time, we had no idea!

Little did she know that the sweet girl of her prayers would be a cherished member of OUR family!!! Is that not so amazing how God works?

My sweet Kate. She can put up a pout like no other, but oh, how I love her. She is the most appreciative, loving little girl. I marvel at how God has transformed her life in the 18 months that she has been in our family.

I am so thankful for the way he brought precious Katherine MeiLing into our family. I remember how hectic and absolutely exciting that day was as we looked at her face for the first time and fell in love with another sweet precious sister!

Thank you, Jesus, for our precious Katie Cakes!

2009

2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Itinerary!



This morning we had an email that our agency had been up all night working on our situation and the other 11 families' situations.

The email had taken her 20 minutes to send as she cried over it.

They had tried everything but neither Nanjing or Chongqing would budge. We were going to have to cancel our trip and the next available CA isn't until July 12.

At 6:45 this morning, Mom had a call saying there was good news now! The China contact had kept working on both offices. Nanjing won't do anything. She told us we are going but will have to do Chongqing first. We can definitely live with that! :)

This afternoon, we received our itinerary!

I think it's safe to say that we really, truly are going. :) I'm feeling better now that we have an official itinerary.

Praise the Lord. He moved mountains for us today! I'm not sure what all happened last night, but I do know that our travel coordinator and our agency's contact worked very hard on our behalf... and we are praising Jesus for that, while we pray for the situations of the families we had really, really hoped to meet.

So finally, here is our itinerary
June 10: Leave our city for Hong Kong
June 11: Arrive in Hong Kong
June 12: Tour Hong Kong
June 13: Flight to Chongqing
June 14: Tour Chongqing
June 15: Tour Chongqing
June 16: Free day to rest.
June 17: ***CHARLIE DAY***
June 18: Go to Civil Affairs for the adoption registration, notarization and apply for child’s passport. (passport will be sent to us)
June 19: Chongqing to Nanjing
June 20: Tour/rest
June 21: ***GRACIE DAY***
June 22: Go to Civil Affairs for adoption registration, notarization and apply for the child’s passport.
June 23: Tour Nanjing
June 24: Tour Nanjing
June 25: Pick up passport, travel from Nanjing to Guangzhou
June 26: TB tests and medical exams
June 27: Tour/shop
June 28: TB test results
June 29: Tour/shop
June 30: Consulate Appointment
July 1: oath-taking ceremony
July 2: Pick up the visas in the afternoon.
July 3: Guangzhou to Hong Kong by train
July 4: Flight from Hong Kong to our city. We land a little after 7:30 PM!

TWO DAYS!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

What a day

The other day, one of Mom's friends offered to take care of the girls this morning so that we could get some things done for our trip. Oh my goodness, it was SO helpful. We got Charlie and Grace all packed, finished up shopping for Grace's foster family, and did a few other last errands.

The girls had an absolute blast and have been talking about how much fun Finn and Mina's house was, how they loved playing with them, and how they want to go back soon and play some more!

We have had quite the stressful day today and there were times when we were sure we weren't leaving for China on Thursday. (Can I say that the Dragon Boat Festivals are officially my least favorite holiday?) However, Mom was able to talk with S. from our agency and she was literally in tears at how badly she just wants everyone in China. We are going on Thursday with absolutely no idea what is going to go on and when, but we are trusting that God has it all planned out even though we don't! It was either go and trust or spend thousands of dollars to change all of our travel plans! I have never been more thankful that we are spending so long in China, as it gives us time to get everything done, despite the fact that the civil affairs office will be closed for 3 days (thanks to the Dragon Boats...) I am confident our awesome agency will get it all planned out, but just pray that everything will fall into place! The main thing is... WE ARE GOING TO CHINA IN 3 DAYS!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Enjoying summer and getting ready for China!

The pool is open, which is always a highlight of the summer!
AnnaClaire loves swimming with Sis! She is such a big swimmer and can also now stand on her tippy toes in the shallow end! (3 ft) She has come SUCH a long way with her swimming! Just look at her!! I think I taught her well :)
Kate got a few new nightgowns the other day... She LOVES nightgowns and doesn't ever want to sleep in anything else! Here she is brushing her hair with her new princess brush!
Booie is so excited because scooters were on a really good sale at Wa*lMa*rt the other day and she has been dying for one for months! She loves wearing her helmet and going on "scooter walks!"
Cakers got a treat when we were out shopping, too. She picked a Do*ra doll, who doesn't leave her side!

It has been a busy week, but we have gotten things done! We've done pretty much all the shopping we needed to do before we leave, we've organized the paperwork and set apart what we have to have on the trip, the suitcases are out of the attic and ready to be packed, gifts have been purchased, flight toys are sitting in bags, hotels have been booked, and we are gladly telling everyone that we FINALLY know that when we are going to China!!!!!!!!And SOON!

We are still waiting for our itinerary, but should have it on Monday! The Nanjing (the capital of Grace's province) civil affairs has still not gotten in touch with our agency's contact, and because of the Dragon Boat Festivals in China the week we will be there, we still do not know when we will be getting her. What we do know is that sometime next week, Grace will be a part of our family!!!!! PLEASE keep her in your prayers, as she is going to leave the foster family she has been with for the past 9.5 years... I cannot even imagine how difficult this will be for them and her.

I cannot believe we leave on THURSDAY!!!!! I think our trip will go in the record book for one of the longest China adoption trips... 24 days! I cannot wait. And I think it is perfect that Grace and Charlie will become US Citizens on the Fourth of July. At first, Mom and I were really bummed to be coming home that day, because we know we won't have that "airport greeting." However, we have a bunch of friends who are getting into GZ on 7/2, and now we will have an extra day there and hopefully get to see some of them and their new kiddos... and also, what better day to become an American?!?!

A lot of people have asked who is going to China.... Mom, Dad, me, AnnaClaire, and Kate. I know the boys would love to come, but Will is in Alaska right now doing an internship, and Drew is taking classes this summer and cannot miss them. So it will be just 5 of us in China, but Drew and Will (who comes home on July 2!) will be at the airport waiting! :)

And... OF COURSE I am journaling from China! We have a site set up at www.tochinaforcharlie.com! (From China, go to www.mychinajourney2.com/tochinaforcharlie.com) All the posts will be made under "travel logs." I might also get a friend to log in and post a bit on the blog (Blogger is blocked in China!) Trust me, you will be hearing from us! You are probably going to be SO sick of me after 24 days!

I think I've covered it all... hopefully on Monday we will have our final itinerary and know when "Gracie Day" and "Charlie Day" are!

Keep praying for us as we prepare for our trip and ESPECIALLY for Grace and Charlie as there is no doubt that these next couple of weeks will be HARD for them!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

TICKETS ARE BOOKED!

Woohoo!!! It's official! We're going to CHINA! :)

We leave at 6 AM on Thursday morning (6/10) and get home at 7:30 PM on the 4th of July (not our preference, but it is saving us $1300 to fly home then instead of Saturday... guess we'll know who our true friends are when we get to the airport! ;))

We fly from our city to Dulles
Dulles to Chicago
Chicago to Hong Kong

and home the opposite route!

I think we have found THE cheapest tickets on the internet, and they are still quite expensive compared to what we spent the last 2 trips. Dad has literally been searching every possible option since we got the "TA is coming" email on Tuesday! For those of you getting ready to travel, we paid $1383 for each of our flights and $1084 for one-way tickets for Charlie and Grace.

Still waiting on our itinerary... but we will get Grace on either 6/13 or 6/14 and Charlie on either 6/20 or 6/21!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh my gosh. We are going to China. In ONE WEEK!!!!!!!! :) :) We have SO much to do. Not a single thing is packed!!

Oh and yeah... you really did read our travel dates right... 24 days in China!! :)

God is SO GOOD!

We have a CA!!!!

our TA celebration dinner last night... P*ei We*i, of course!


AnnaClaire was talking on her "cell phone" today and said, "HI! We are going to China SOON!"
Soon as in...

ONE WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our Consulate Appointment is on June 30!

I'll let you know when we have an official itinerary... but we are leaving on Thursday, June 10 and coming home on Saturday, July 3!!!!!!

In one month, Grace and Charlie will be HOME!!!!!!

We have so much to do!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

AnnaClaire has an announcement to make...

video



I've been waiting exactly 11 months (that's how long it's been since we saw Charlie for the first time!) to say this and finally...

OUR TAs ARE HERE AND WE ARE GOING TO CHINA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll post with the details once we know more... but we could be leaving on Thursday!!!! As in a week from tomorrow!!!!!!!!!

GOD IS SO GOOD!

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy! Psalm 126:3

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A lot of hope in one little email...

First of all, thank you for all of your sweet comments and emails last week. I have been at the beach since Thursday with a friend and just got home, but I have read every comment and truly appreciated them all. Anyway, I'm updating today with some good news! :)

Our agency emailed us today and they confirmed with their contact in China that there is a big package of TAs on the way!!!! And ours is most likely in this package!! Could it be?!?! They say that they could be here by Friday or else Monday... And that we might be able to leave as soon as next week or the week after!

This is the best news we've heard in a while :)