Monday, June 30, 2008


(In front of the DMV with my permit!)

I got my permit today!! In NC, we can take drivers ed at 14.5 and get our permits at 15. I've been 15 for 3 months, but I took drivers ed late, so that's why I just now got it. I did behind the wheel last week and so I was able to go to the DMV for my permit today! Dad and I started the morning with breakfast at Chickfila, ran to the bank for my SS card and birth certifercate, ran to the school for my driver's eligibility certificate, and then went to the DMV! We got there an hour and a half after it opened, and surprisingly there wasn't all that long of a wait! (especially since it was a Monday!) For the 45 minutes we did wait, I just studied and stuff. I had to identify 12 signs some blank or some with words, do a vision test and then do the written test. I got a 100 on the signs and a 100 on the written!! So that was exciting! :) My behind the wheel teacher told us that 50% of people getting their permit fail the first time... So I was extremely nervous and had studied a good while this weekend, so I was really pleased to get a perfect score. We have to get an 80 or better (20 right out of 25) to pass. So anyway... I can now drive with Mom or Dad in the car! (I'm taking advantage of that and got to drive all around today!) And I have a really cute Vera Bradley case to hold my permit :)

I have lots of cute pictures of AC opening a package from a sweet friend (thanks, Meg!!!), so stay tuned for those. Plus I have a few quilt squares to post on the quilt blog. I'll try to do that tomorrow! Thanks to everyone who has sent them! We really appreciate it! If you would like to swap with us/send one and haven't already told me, please email me at!! Thanks!

Friday, June 27, 2008


So it doesn't really mean much (in fact, we didn't even get it with AnnaClaire's adoption!) However, at least we know the CCAA is looking at our stuff and has given us the "okay" to adopt our sweet Kate!! Yay for pre-approval!! Now we wait for LOA!!

Here's the email we got this afternoon...

Dear Bill and Pam:

The CCAA has processed the Pre-Approval (PA) for your family’s request to adopt LXL! The PA is issued electronically once the information from the Electronic Acceptance has been reviewed and approved by the CCAA’s Special Needs Department.

Once the CCAA has fully reviewed your Dossier and application to adopt a specific child, they will issue the Letter of Acceptance. (LOA) How quickly the PA was received has no relation to how long it will take to issue your LOA.

I have printed the PA from the CCAA’s website and have attached it to this email. Be sure to print one off for your records.

Please contact me if you have any questions and congratulations on this step!



Tuesday, June 24, 2008

While we wait...

I figured it was about time for a true update. First make sure to read the post below (about the quilt.) We definitely need quilt squares if you would like to help us out! :) I do thank everyone who has already sent emails about sending a square/wish. Anyway...

Life is pretty crazy here. We are all enjoying summer and it is hard to believe it is the end of June. There's not really anything special to note... just having fun with everyone home, taking AnnaClaire to the pool, summer league swim meets, hanging out with friends, spending time with my sweet girl, bike rides, etc. It hasn't been deathly hot, as it was the first week of summer! That's nice! I have to say that the wait for TA is much more bearable when we already have our first girl home to keep us busy. It's hard to believe its been almost 2 weeks since we got the call!! However, we are very anxious to travel and are really hoping and praying for September. The shorter that Kate has to be in the orphanage without her family, the better. We are soooo ready to bring her home!

But for now... we wait. AnnaClaire is definitely a summer girl. She loves having everyone home, having big kids in and our of her house, etc. She absolutely loves going to the pool. Her whole face lights up when I tell her that we are going. EVERYONE at the pool loves her. Random people come up to me (yes, it's a rare occasion that she goes to the pool with someone other than me!) and tell me how cute she is. The lifeguards give her free (junk) food. Everyone wants her to jump into their arms, to play with her... She is quite loved, that is for sure! We have a park by our pool, and we've gone their a few times. AnnaClaire likes it a lot. Sometimes we even go there during adult swims! She loves parks, although she's not much of a player. Mom and I took her to one of our nice parks the other day, and she preferred balancing on the wood plank things over sliding. The slides are "too hot." However, if she finds a friend to play with (most of the time!), she loves to play!!

We made a trip to Babies R Us last week and got a few things for Kate. We also found a pink booster for AnnaClaire! She loves sitting at the table with us and loves her new pink booster! And of course matching sister dresses. The hard thing is that AnnaClaire has soooooooo many adorable hand me downs that will fit Kate. So while they won't match all the time, they will definitely have lots of cute sister dresses!!

AnnaClaire is starting to get more used to the idea of having a baby sister. One day, we were praying before lunch. She folded her hands and squeezed her eyes shut and did her usual prayer, "Dear God, thank you for my food. Amen." Then she goes, "And dear God, thank you for Kate!" It was so cute. Tonight, she told us how she was going to ride in the wagon with Kate and that there are two seats in the wagon... once for each!

Most people are shocked when I say she is 2.5. She talks SO much. I love it when she says something that starts with f. She always says it with an s. Fish is "sish" and then there's "sun", "sork", "sore", "sive", etc. It's so cute though. Especially when after I take her to the pool, she says, "I had so much sun (fun) at the pool!" She is also SO big. And of course, she is potty trained. My mei mei is growing up wayyyyyyy too fast!

While I'm thinking about it~ I know I posted a ton of pictures. Keep in mind these are from the past 2 weeks. Most of them were taken with the new SLR, but a few are with my camera. We are definitely having fun with the new camera!! It probably helps that we have such a cute model :)

AC is about the most mannerly person I know. She is so good about using her manners. We have been working on instead of, "I want that!" to say, "Can I please have that?" She is doing so well. She of course always says thank you, your welcome, etc. Whenever she uses good manners, she makes sure to let us know by saying, "Anna GOOD manners!"

She knows numbers 1-20, our phone number, and can point out the letter A. Whenever she sees an "A", she says, "That's an A for AnnaClaire!" The phone number thing cracks me up. Mom was calling Melissa right after we got our referral and AnnaClaire just starts saying our phone number. It's not like we even say it that much. She amazes me. Whenever she plays with her phone, she says, "Hello this is Pam H..." and then babbles away our phone number. She is so funny.

As I mentioned, last week we met a family with a little girl, Mia, who just so happened to also be from Chenzhou. Well today after storytime today, Mom and AC went with Mia and Mia's mom to Chickfila! I wish I had been there (I was doing a VBS). Unfortunately, there was no camera. However, we are already planning another playdate so there will be pictures, trust me!! I hear they had a very fun time! (God really amazes me, as another time last week, we met up with a lady who has a daughter from Kate's same city, who lives very nearby!)

So that's pretty much what's up with Miss AnnaClaire Chenhui. I know there are people wondering what's going on with Kate... so now for that!

We are waiting for PA which comes from between 1-3 weeks, normally. It could take longer. However, we are expecting it anytime. This pretty much means nothing except that we are approved and that the CCAA is looking at our stuff. Then we start the wait for LOA which is an unpredictable wait. I've seen it as fast as 7 days (already through the review room) and over 200 days (someone in another country.) Melissa did tell us that it might not take as long, as we were logged in as a SN only dossier, so the CCAA won't have to worry about moving our file from NSN to SN. So we are thinking (or more like hoping) for 1-2 months. TA is about a month (or less) after that. Then we will be free to travel! Like I said, we are soo praying that we will be able to travel in September. Our whole family will go to China!! Will (sr.) and I (sophomore) will have to miss 2 weeks of school, which will be difficult, but we wouldn't miss this trip for anything. Drew will actually be in China, as he is doing a semester abroad. We will probably meet up with him in Beijing and then he will fly to Nanchang with us for gotcha day!

As for the room situation. We are planning on walling in our living room (which is never even used anyway). We will make that Drew's room/guest room. It's a nice sized, first floor room which will be nice to have. Then we will move AnnaClaire into Drew's room, first painting it and girly-ing it up! Kate will then go into the nursery. You know what that means- we are going to have to start transitioning AnnaClaire to a big girl bed. We had lots of different options and we finally decided on this. Hopefully AnnaClaire will be okay sleeping in a big girl bed. We are getting a beautiful yet not too expensive, wrought iron daybed!

We already have Kate's carseat (same as AnnaClaire's... Britax Marathon) We got it awhile back, knowing that Kate would use it once she came home. However, all this time, we have had one carseat in each car, which has been very nice. Right before we leave, we'll have to move one of the carseats so we will have TWO pink carseats in the car!! AnnaClaire's in the booster now, so Kate can take over the highchair. As I mentioned, we will get a stroller at some point. We have one picked out. I can't remember the brand, but it's a sit-n-stand one. We are definitely good in the toy department! So, there's not too many things we have to get...

We have pictures printed everywhere, frames all around the house with her pictures, and of course pictures in my purse and swim bag! As I mentioned, we have bought a few things for her. Only one dress (the Easter dress I talked about a few posts back.) I think we are waiting until we get her to know her exact size until we get her too much. For now she can just wear all the hand me downs we have. We love AnnaClaire's clothes and there is no point letting them go to waste when we have another girl who will fit right into them! Plus, all the clothes out now are summer and we don't really need summer clothes for her.

We are still over the moon and SOOO excited. I love this little girl so much already. I cannot wait to meet her and just smother her with kisses! God is so good! :)

As for me, I am doing very well. This week I am leading a Vacation Bible School with some friends. A woman from our Church runs it at another Church every year and lots of the high schoolers lead it. The Church we do it at is located in a poor area and gives assistance and love to those who need it. They run VBSs all summer. Most of the kids do it every week in the summer. One little girl in our group told us that it was either doing VBSs all summer or going to a summer camp all summer in the mountains. Different churches come each week to lead it and love on the kids. The kids are all precious. They are between 6-10. They all love all of the leaders and beg for attention, for us to play with them and hold them. While we are there from 8:30-1, the kids stay all day... I guess until their parents pick them up after work. There are lots of fun crafts, games, stories, etc. But most of all, the kids just like doing anything that involves being with a big person. It's going to be hard to say bye to them all on Friday... they are all so sweet and I just love all of them. I will definitely have to post some pictures later this week.

I leave next week for Romania. AHHH NEXT WEEK. I am really excited but also a little nervous. It's been a long time since I was gone by myself for that long. I have traveled all over, but I have never been alone (as in without my family) in another country. But I know it is going to be an amazing time and I pray that we are able to impact these kids and help them see the Truth and love Jesus.

I am sure there is more I'm forgetting, but this post is long enough for now. Enjoy all the pictures! :)

I'll try to update again this week and I'll definitely post some pictures from VBS!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


(AnnaClaire laying on her quilt, holding Kate's squares and wishes)

It's that time again... We will once again be making a One Hundred Good Wishes Quilt and we need your help to make this happen!! We were blessed by 102 squares and wishes for AnnaClaire's quilt and it turned out beautifully! My uncle's mom made it for us and brought it to us at my cousin's wedding last June. We know AnnaClaire will treasure this quilt and we want Kate to have a quilt of love, too. We have received two quilt squares (thanks Esther and Elizabeth and families!) already and need 98 more!! If you are reading this, we want one from you!!!! Please email me if you will be sending one and I'll give you the address you can send it too. If you are also collecting quilt squares, please let me know and I will send one to you!! Thank you in advance for your help...

If you would like to contribute to Kate's quilt, here's what to do:

1. Cut an 8 x 8 inch square of a piece of fabric that you like or is meaningful to you.
2. Make a "good wish" or prayer for Kate on paper/notecard/card, etc.
3. Attach a small piece of the fabric to the wish (so we know which fabric goes with which wish.)
4. Sign who it is from (you can include your family picture if you would like!)

If you would like to help (we would SO appreciate it!!) please email me. My email address is In the email, please include your blog address! Thank you so very much!!

(Kate's quilt blog is set up but there's very little on there. Go here to see it!)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Meeting Amy!

Mom's "chatty sister", Amy is here for a big conference this weekend so Mom, AnnaClaire, and I drove up to meet her! We had a really fun time. We went to Chickfila because Amy had NEVER been there! (I don't think our family would survive without Chickfila!) We had a very fun time talking in person, finally! Although we've "known" Amy for 2 years, we hadn't yet met her. We had a very fun afternoon and were sad to bring her back to her hotel for the conference! Amy- can't wait to see you again! Maybe next time, we can meet sweet Sara, too! We were also able to meet another sweet lady, who we discovered lives very nearby! She has a 4 year old from the same city that Kate is in!! We definitely had a wonderful morning!

We were right by our big outlet mall, so we ran there afterwards. Well first, we went to Babies R Us to get an umbrella stroller. We got a really fun one... lime green with big blue and pink polka dots! It well be perfect to take to China with, especially because it has a travel bag. While we will eventually get a double stroller, we won't be using a stroller for Kate in China (baby carrier only... that's what we did for AC, too). AnnaClaire will definitely need one, though. Plus, we don't want to bring a really nice stroller to China. So yeah. We then ran to the mall... or Strasburg atleast. They are having a big sale!! We got AnnaClaire a really cute dress and her baptismal dress. We had bought her a beautiful one before we got her but when we brought her home, we were in the midst of trying out new churches, so we didn't get her baptized. Our Church (we've been there since I was in 1st grade!) ended up changing things around and we liked it much better, so while we are back there, AnnaClaire has still not been baptized. Now, we are unsure if we will be baptizing the little girls together or separate. Kate will wear the dress we had originally gotten for AnnaClaire, as it is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. AnnaClaire's new one is gorgeous. I absolutely love it. Anyway, she will either get baptized in August (by herself) or in January (with Kate). Either way, her dress is beautiful and I cannot wait for you to see her in it! But really, it's not the dress that matters! Lastly, we got Easter dresses for next year. Yes, way in advance. However, we loveeeee them. We had actually ordered for AnnaClaire this year, but it was backordered. They had both girls sizes on sale, so we figured to get them now and not take the chance or them being gone. They are sooooo cute. I cannot wait to see them in their matching dresses! Before we left, we rode the merry-go-round, which is what the last 2 pictures are from. It was a fun day! :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Kate it is!

Although we aren't buying clothes quite yet (waiting for the fall stuff and also we already have lots of "hand-me-downs" for Miss Kate), we are buying other things. One of our very favorite things with AnnaClaire has been her little backpack. It was a baby shower gift and we use it all the time. So, we just had to get one for Kate! We also got her a bib. AnnaClaire has this same bib with her name in green. It is definitely one of our favorite bibs of hers. We just love monogrammed stuff :). Anyway.... her name is officially Kate. Once you have it monogrammed on stuff, there really is no going back. It was pretty much Kate all along, although Dad still loves "Katie Mei!"

On another note, it was a week ago that we were scurrying around to get everything done after getting Kate's referral. I continue to be amazed with how much God blessed us. If you don't remember me mentioning, Kate came off of a shared list. I've been reading quite a few threads about shared lists and I am truly amazed that our shared list experience went as smoothly as it did. The fact that we were actually matched and able to lock our sweet girl, is now something I see as a miracle in and of itself. For that, I am thankful. God is so good! Now we just need to bring that sweet girl HOME!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A word from the big sister...

"I have a little sister, too!" That is what AnnaClaire told her story time teacher today, after being asked if I was her big sister. I think she's warming up the idea!

Anyway... this is a video of AnnaClaire introducing her mei mei! This was taken the day after we received our referral! I think she definitely knows whats going on. She has been a little full of herself lately. (Don't you love how everything is "no" in the video... and when I tell her to kiss Miss Kate, she says, "No, I only get a kiss!" as in she wants all the attention!) I think it will definitely be difficult, but it will all turn out fine and AnnaClaire is going to make a great big sister! It's still weird to imagine AnnaClaire as a big sister.

I'm not really in the mood to post pictures, because I have quite a few to post... but here's one. (Taken with the new camera!!) I did just have to mention a really amazing coincidence that occurred today. AC had story time and Mom had really wanted to look at books, which is hard to do with AnnaClaire, so I said I'd go to story time with AC. Anyway, we sat by a very sweet lady who appeared to have a daughter from China. I talked to her a little and Mia and AnnaClaire were just as sweet as could be with eachother. Mia is just a few months younger than AnnaClaire. So afterwards, I told mom that I thought I might've found a friend for her. (You see, Mom has lots of online friends, but all her good friends here have older kids... not 2 and 1 year olds!) Anyway, after chatting for awhile, Mia's mom said Mia was from Hunan. We were like, "Oh! So is AnnaClaire!" All excited that we had found another spicy girl, Mia's mom goes on to mention that Mia is from Chenzhou. WHAT? CHENZHOU? Yes, Mia and AnnaClaire are orphanage sisters and here we meet them and discover we live just 5 minutes away!!!!! "Sisters" all the way from across the world, meeting up in the public library at storytime, and discovering they live just minutes away from eachother. Okay... what are the odds of that? So there will definitely be some playdates between these two girls in the future! I still can't get over how amazing that is. I really, really can't.

Other than that, we are still on cloud 9 about getting Kate's referral. (She is pretty much definitely a Kate, by the way.) We are still enjoying telling everyone we see. I bring pictures everywhere and show them to everyone. Yes, I am very excited!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

More referral information!! (and father's day!)

It's hard to believe that last father's day, we filled out the application to adopt again. It was June 17th and we had just had our 6 month post placement meeting. I remember taking a family picture for our dossier in this exact location! I can't believe that this father's day we are celebrating Miss Kate's referral!!

That brings me to some more referral info I wanted to post :). This is all as of March 1, 2008. I just can't get enough of my sweet new sister. I cannot wait to meet her. Anyway... she is 26.7 inches tall and she's 14.7 pounds. So she is definitely a little peanut!! She was found 2 months after her birth with extra clothes and formula. This leads me to believe that her birth parents loved her and wanted the very best for her! It is said that she was pretty weak upon coming to the orphanage, so she was sent to a Children's Village where she thrived. From what we know, she is back in her orphanage. She is described as extroverted (just like AnnaClaire!) and a deep sleeper (Mom's loving that!). She supposedly "loses her temper" sometimes. She smiles readily and is very fond of her nanny. Her report is kind of hard to understand, but it says something about when she makes a mistake, she will lower her head, to tell her caretaker that she won't do it again. Then the caretaker will smile and nod her head. Sweet Kate then "jumps" and smiles, excitedly. Awwwwwwwww. She sleeps from 8-6 and takes a 2 hour nap. She can sit, crawl very fast, walk holding a hand, can stand alone steadily, and can pick up a "pill" from the ground. She puts blocks in and takes them out of cups and bangs blocks together. She can imitate words and knows what "no" means. She is active, restless, and fond of imitating. She likes listening to music and playing with toys. She has a very ready smile and gets along very well with others. She doesn't like it when its quiet! :) She is quick in reaction. She likes playing games and is very energetic! She sounds perfect and really sweet. I'm glad to hear that she has a PERSONALITY. Of course, who knows how accurate these reports actually are. AnnaClaire's seemed pretty accurate (other than that it said she could tear paper at 5 months old!) I just can't wait to meet her. She sounds like the sweetest and happiest little thing. I'm sooooooo in love!!

Secondly, I wanted to thank you for all the sweet comments. They really meant a lot. I will save them all for Kate and she will get to see them one day!

...How's the newest big sister, you may ask?! I have a really cute video of her introducing her mei mei. I will have to post that this week. I think she will be a really great big sister, although it may not be easy. She does talk about Kate a lot. We are trying our hardest to prepare her. I'm not sure she loves the idea of sharing all of her attention. It will be good for her though. She and Kate are 16 months apart, which I think is a really good age gap!

Lastly, I have lots of father's day pictures to post. Dad had said that we would get the new camera after we got Kate's referral. So... yesterday, we went and got it. We ended up getting the Sony a350. That is the one we had really liked to begin with and both camera people we talked to recommended it. It was on sale, plus included a good lens for a good price. We love it and are very pleased with the pictures we have taken on it. We set the tripod up to get some good family pics today and they came out well. I've posted my very favorite above. Anyway, I will post some more sometime this week. We have been very busy, which is good. Hopefully it will pass the time for LOA and TA. I'm ready to go get Katherine MeiLing NOW!

Thanks for checking in. Hope everyone had a really great Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day!

I made this last Father's Day but I really like it and figured I could use it again :).

Happy Father's day to all the Dads and Dads-to-be! Especially to MY dad! I love you so much!

The pictures are all pretty old. The ones of Drew and me with Dad were taken in May 06, the one of Will and Dad is from Dec 06, and the one of Dad and AC is from June 07.

Friday, June 13, 2008

It's A Girl!

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"
2 Corinthians 9:15

It is with great joy and excitement that I announce the referral of our newest little sister/daughter,
Katherine MeiLing
She was born on March 6, 2007 (15 months) and is from the Jiangxi province.
We are absolutely in love and are already very anxious to get her. We are hoping to travel this fall!

On Tuesday night, I had this gut feeling that our referral was coming soon. Wednesday afternoon, my mom informed me that a new shared list came out. Although we weren't expecting anything, the thought of having a baby in this batch did cross my mind. (This same thing happened when we received AnnaClaire's referral in 2006.) Fast forward to Thursday. Mom, AnnaClaire, and I left around 11 to do a few errands. We were doing some father's day shopping in Hallmark when Mom's phone rang (at 11:57!). She pulled it out and right before she opened it, I noticed a 703 area code. This was it. I tried listening and had to contain myself from jumping up and down, while AnnaClaire was getting into things, Mom was in complete disbelief and trying to find out more... I called Dad and soon Mom was on with the coordinator, I was on with Dad. Of all days, we had no phone or internet at home (we had a huge storm on Wednesday night) so we could not even run home to get the email. We finally decided to drive down to Dad's office to see the pictures and info. I was going CRAZY. (This whole week has been crazy. Getting home from New Jersey, broken water heater, Drew came home from China, and now a referral!) I don't know how people wait days to see pictures. 45 minutes was too much for me! Now, this was a SHARED referral and anyone could be looking at it. Sooooooooo. We had to act very quickly. We took a step of faith and locked the file. We felt like she was our Katherine from just hearing about her. None of us had seen her pictures yet. Mom, AC, and I ran out of Hallmark and drove quickly to Dad's office (about 30 minutes away.) The whole way there, Dad (who had already taken a sneak peek!) tried explaining her to us. He said that she was ADORABLE with chubby cheeks and "a haircut that looks like a weed eater went through it." He then ended with, "She's ours." Right when we got to Dad's office, we ran up and her pictures were waiting on his screen. She is beautiful and I am so in love. We all sat there admiring her while we called the boys and told them all about her. Anyway, we only had 48 hours with her file. In that time, we had to bring the file to the ped and have her look over it and we had to write our entire LOI. We stopped for a quick lunch at Chipotle and ran by the ped on the way home. She wasn't in, but thankfully we are friends with both her and her sweet nurse. We were able to give the nurse Kate's file to then pass onto the ped. Oh it helps to have connections! (Thankfully they were in town, as our ped was not in town when we got AnnaClaire's referral, so we had to go with another doctor and it was 2 weeks before we could get an appt and send our LOI!) We went back home and emailed the ped to let her know that the nurse had the file and blah blah blah. I had a summer league swim meet that night, while Mom and Dad went on and wrote the whole LOI so that everything would be ready for when we heard back from the ped. I got home a little after 10 and she had just emailed back saying Kate's file looked great and to go on with the adoption! We submitted all our paperwork to our agency this and they sent it to the CCAA!! We actually just got the confirmation that our EA (electronic acceptance, which I guess is the same as LOI) just a few minutes ago! So now the waits for PA, LOA, and TA begin. We are hoping to travel in September or October of this year! I don't know how I'm going to wait. I think she is the cutest thing ever and I just want to wrap my arms around her! We are coming sweet girl, just as soon as we can!

GOD IS SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also~ after receiving her referral, we are not sure if we will call her Katie or Kate. What do you think? (Oh and she and AnnaClaire are 16 months apart!)

Lastly, our agency told us to use caution in posting our referral. You might have noticed that I left out a few details about our sweet girl, that is why. Once we get LOA, I will be able to post those things. I did want to ask that you do not share her pictures until we get LOA. Thanks so much!

I'm a big sister again!! :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008


48 hours...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A year and a half

June 11, 2008

December 11, 2006

18 months ago, my life changed in a way that I will never forget. A beautiful, screaming child was placed into our arms. A child that we had never met before, but we were already head over heels in love with. We had looked at her pictures, taken 8 months prior to that date, for almost 5 months, and now this bundle of joy was ours. Yes, it truly was a day that I will never forget. It was the day that AnnaClaire Chenhui became a part of our family. The day that she was no longer just a picture carried around in our purses and cars. She was finally the living, breathing daughter/sister that we had our hearts set on. And she was ours. She screamed that day. She cried out "buuuuuuuuuuuuu" throughout the whole day. She cried and screamed and cried some more. She was pitiful, but she was ours. We tried soothing her, but we knew there was nothing we could do. We let her cry. Cry for all she had been through, all she had lost in her short 13 months of life. We gave her a shoulder to cry her tears, hoping that a little bit of comfort would help her bond and accept us as her forever family. A year and a half later, I think it is safe to say that she has bonded and accepts us as her forever family. Never have I seen a child with the joy that AnnaClaire has. She is always smiling and laughing at herself or at other people. She has sweetest love that a 2.5 year old could ever have. She is just filled with love. Love and joy. She fits in perfectly with our family. She is busy and full of herself, but she is perfect for us. The Lord could not have made a better match. Today I am thankful. Thankful that this darling little girl is part of our family. So on this day, 18 months later, I remember the baby that was put in our arms. I look back on this year and a half that we have spent together and I thank God for every minute that she has been a part of our family. Our forever family. (Click to read the posts from Forever Family Day, 6 months and 1 year!)

18 months later...

A year and a half with my family!

Celebrating (okay not really) at the pool!

I am the happiest little girl!

It was fitting that Drew got home from China on this day marking a year and a half with our sweet China girl! She joined me and Mom at the airport to greet him. Before we left, AnnaClaire helped me make a welcome home sign.

AnnaClaire holding up her "WELCOME HOME DREW!" sign.

Drew came home armed with gifts. For AnnaClaire, he got one of the Olympic mascots. She loves her little Jingjing! More importantly, she was so excited to see her oldest brother!

Happy year and a half together, precious girl! I love you!
(make sure to check below for all my posts from our beach trip!)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wiped out after a very fun trip!

There we go! I'm all caught up on the trip. Read all the below posts to hear all about our fun trip/reunion. I think it's safe to say that AnnaClaire was exhausted after her fun weekend! She slept until after 9:30! We had lots of commotion today with a broken hot water heater and no internet... then tonight we heard from Drew that he is in Toronto, but his flight back to Boston was canceled due to weather. Soooo he won't get there to get on his connecting flight back home. So we're trying to figure all that out. We're praying we'll get him home tomorrow!

Here's a picture of my princess sleeping. She awakes so easily, so I have never been able to get a picture of her sleeping in her own crib. Finally, today I went in her room at 5:15 to wake her up and she was still sound asleep. I watched her for a minute, ran and got my camera, and took this. I have waited 18 months for this picture! I think it's safe to say that she was exhausted.

P.S. As for the comments on her bathing suits- the turtle one and the tulip one (my personal favorite!) are from Gymboree and the green flowered one is from Mini Boden!

Sunday- Beach, pool, and matching girls!

(sharing was the motto of the weekend! here Claire and AC are working together to pour the water into the hole!)

Sunday was our last full day in NJ and our last beach day. It was also the hottest day. We took a quick walk down to the beach and definitely enjoyed the last day. The girls played in the sand and the water a little before lunch. We then walked up to the boardwalk for our picnic. It was so hot while we ate and we decided to go to the pool to cool off. The pool was (only.. haha!) 71 degrees, but it felt so good. Everyone enjoyed it so much, so we ended up staying there the rest of the afternoon. AnnaClaire especially absolutely loved it. She got very brave and would jump right in, and swim around in our arms. She loved it! She also loved the baby pool. All the girls had a very fun time swimming around. We left the pool around 3:30 and headed back for naps. All the girls slept very nicely! Mrs. Laura cooked a very yummy pasta salad and then we headed out for pictures. Mrs. Keri had gotten all the girls matching dresses and bows. While we had put them in the dresses on Friday, we didn't get a chance to take good pictures, so we put them back in the dresses for pictures. They were very cooperative for the most part and were rewarded with ice cream! The ice cream was very good and all the girls definitely deserved it. We enjoyed a beautiful walk back to the house, getting to see the town. It really is such a cute town. We were very sad to leave!