Thursday, July 30, 2009

It's a BOY!

Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare. Psalm 40:5

It is with great joy, excitement, and thanksgiving that I announce my little brother,

Charles DaShan, "Charlie"

He was born on January 5, 2006, which makes him 3 1/2, 2.5 months younger than AnnaClaire and almost exactly 14 months older than Kate! His name is Zhou Da Shan and he has lived at the Chongqing SWI in Chongqing, China since he was 2 days old! He is described as a clever and lovely boy who is loved by all. He is tiny, weighing 26 pounds and is 33 inches tall!

And we are SOOOOO excited to bring this little guy home!

I know you all want the story of how exactly Charlie came to be... and it's a good one. I am just amazed at how God brought him to us... so here we go.

We've always said that AC and Kate would be it... before we even knew what we were going to name them, we knew we were going to adopt two little girls from China... and that was it. Yet, my mom has also dreamed about having 6 kids since before Dad and Mom even got married. But then we went to China for Kate and we just knew that we were done. Our family was complete with the seven of us... or so we thought.

For the first few months home, those hard months with Kate, we were sure we were done. And then, on Mom's birthday, we took a picture of all the kids... and it looked so empty... like someone was missing. Our family started talking and Gracie/Charlie constantly came up. However, although we talked about it, from what I saw and heard, I knew that God was literally going to have to drop a little one in our laps if he wanted us to adopt again.

April came, which was when our 6 month post placement took place... when we could apply to AWAA again. We didn't, and I was sure that was it. We still talked but it started feeling more like a dream than a reality.

In June, we started talking more about a "Charlie" than a "Gracie" and knew that if we went back, it'd be a little boy. That is when Mom really felt that God was calling us back, and that he had a little BOY in China who was OURS. She started looking at lists (I don't even know why I said started... we looked at lists long before... but that's when she REALLY started looking at lists... as in not just thinking, "aww he/she is cute!")

And then on July 2nd, I was lifeguarding when Dad brought AnnaClaire and Kate to the pool. He came over and said, "You will NEVER believe what your mom is doing right now." I laughed and said, "What?" He then told me that she had found a little boy on a list named "Charlie" and she was asking for his file. He also told me that his SN was club feet and he was a little older than Kate (we later realized we had gotten the birthday off by a year, so he's closer to AC.) I asked if he was cute, and he said they hadn't seen pictures. I knew it must be serious if Mom was asking for a file without even seeing pictures first!

I got home and everyone was around the computer talking about him. All there was was a little line that said, "Charlie Male 1/5/06 club feet Chongqing." Mom had found the list through the No Hands But Ours website. She had seen the agency before, Madison Adoption Associates, but she had never asked to join the yahoo group... until that day.

They had all the referrals in the files. I then was able to find his entire FILE on the yahoo group. We saw the little picture of him holding the pink ball and we just KNEW he was ours.

My mom emailed D. and told her we had found his file and were definitely interested (thankfully, he was on the individual list, not the shared list... so we had TIME! Which was nice since it was a holiday weekend!) Now remember this was a Thursday NIGHT after hours. She emailed back with a form to fill out and told us that she had just received on update on Charlie and she would get it to us soon. On 4th of July morning, we got the update... 3 more pictures which had been taken not even a week ago, and his measurements.

However, our biggest concern was still not answered... was he walking or not? In his initial referral information, which was done when he was 2.5, he was not walking. We knew he was ours though and that he would walk eventually (him not walking was due to his club feet), so we sent off our LOI, asked them to hold the file, and filled out a few other things that MAA needed.

That week, we brought the file to the dr. and got the official okay. We also found out that he WAS walking... a definite praise! Our LOI went out on July 10th and I was in China when we received the news that we had PA, which was on July 18th! (oh and MAA allows pictures to be posted after PA, which is why I can post them!)

So that's how Mr. Charlie came to be... a story perfectly orchestrated by the God who LOVES and CREATED him...

What's next for us? We are busy with the paperchase! We have a deadline to get our dossier in China by 10/17, but it can be extended. Our biggest issues have been with our homestudy... we are doing it with our last social worker (our new agency isn't licensed in NC, so we are using our old agency for our homestudy.) Let's just say, we applied 3 weeks ago and STILL haven't been approved. So very frustrating, but I guess we are going to have to learn a bit of PATIENCE... not easy for me! God has definitely given me peace in the wait so far... I hope that he continues to show me that good things come to those who WAIT! He has promised us little Charlie and in his perfect timing, we will get to meet this precious little boy that we have fallen head over heals in love with! We are hoping to travel in the Spring of '10!

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;
Jeremiah 1:5

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Backpacks...

January 5, 2008 (his 2nd birthday!)

Bill asks if I want my "Charlie"! (Charles Henry~ yes we have a boy name ready to go.) I think Kate will be it, for us, though. I don't know if I'll have it in me..... Bill seems to think HE will!!!!

January 17, 2009

I’m really not sure about going back. But I have swayed from my thoughts in China the 2nd time that “this is it”. God still has some work to do on both of us, if it’s to be. We do have a name though~ Charles Henry~ Charlie. We’ve had that as a boy name since we were pregnant with Emily.

Monday, July 27, 2009

To Be Continued...

Once our eyes are opened we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act.
Proverbs 24:12
Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west....Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth- everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.
Isaiah 43:5-7

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Happy Referral Day, AnnaClaire!

Three years ago today, our lives were forever changed by a phone call. Let me back track a little and say that it was just a week before that we had filled out a SN application. Then, on Friday the 21st (the day before our LID), we had seen the following posted on the AWAA website:
"America World was surprised to receive four Special Needs referrals this week and anticipates the receipt of the remainder of the set in the upcoming weeks. The Special Needs Coordinators are unable to predict precisely when they will arrive. The four Special Needs referrals are being translated and eligible families will be contacted once the translations are received. The Special Needs Coordinators are unable to give out any information on these four referrals until the complete medicals translations are received. When the remainder of the referrals do arrive, the Special Needs Coordinators need time to translate these referrals to process them accordingly. All applications received on or before Friday, July 21st, will be considered in the matching of this Special Needs referral group. Please understand that there are many families on the Interested Families list that have requested female, 0-2 years, with minor special needs. Due to the increase, not all families on the Interested Families list will receive a call with this upcoming Special Needs referral group."
I had asked Mom if she had seen, but obviously, we thought nothing of it. Afterall, we were looking for a baby girl and we had JUST been added to the list.

Our "surprise referral girls"... Lucy, Shaoey, and AnnaClaire (the 4th one was a little boy who was adopted a few months after our girls)

And then on Tuesday, July 25, 2006, our lives were changed... with that phone call I just mentioned. It was just after 1 when that call came... The day before, our family coordinator had called, but we were out (getting a carseat... which we thought we'd have for years! ha!) so she had left a message. Mom called back, but she had already left. They called and missed eachother a few more times, but this time we were home. We had just gotten accepted into the waiting child program and my Mom had called the Friday before, because she had some questions about the program. So we thought this call was just a response to Mom's call. What we didn't know, is that we were about to learn firsthand how the waiting child program worked.

I was reading The Waiting Child when the call came... I had run to see who it was and knew it was our agency. I knew that a surprise list of 4 referrals had just come out, but I also knew that my mom had just called to ask questions, and as I mentioned, that is why we thought Tabitha was calling. I listened and heard my mom, who was close to tears, say, "Of course! We would love further information!" They talked for a few more minutes and I just knew that we had received a referral... I ran downstairs and Mom told me she was not even 9 months old, from the Chenzhou SWI, and her name was Chen Xun Hui. We called Dad and waited an agonizing 15 minutes for an email to come with our sweet girl's pictures and file. When it finally came and we saw that precious, chubby, baby face looking back at us, there was no doubt in our minds that this was our sweet girl... our precious AnnaClaire Chenhui.

I love looking at the pictures of AnnaClaire holding her referral picture... how different she looks... a big puffy red jacket to sweet, girly clothes... an orphanage wall in the background to a door to her house in the background. Yet, at the same time, SHE looks so the same... that sweet little round face, those gorgeous brown, almond eyes...

July 25, 2008

July 25, 2007

Happy Referral Day, precious girl!

and Praise HIM who perfectly brought us together and made you a part of our forever family.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Could it be...

Another little sister?

Or maybe, a little brother?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Home From China

I got home late last night after an incredible trip. I so wish I could've stayed longer, but it does feel good to be home. We met some absolutely incredible people in China and also got to love on the sweetest kids ever... I have fallen so in love with all of them and was ready to bring them all home with me. Too bad it doesn't work like that!

Obviously, I wasn't able to blog, as blogger (and facebook and a bunch of other sites) are blocked in China. But I'm still going to go back and blog about each day at So to hear all about my trip, go there! We have some just AMAZING stories and some funny ones, too. And a whole bunch of pictures... Just can't wait to tell you all :)

And about my little secret that I've had to keep from you... I PROMISE I will post in the next couple days about it. So stay tuned :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Headed to...

(I took this picture on the Great Wall on Dec. 10, 2006... the day before we received our sweet AnnaClaire!)


Sorry to leave you all hanging... I really hate doing this to you... (who am I kidding? I LOVE seeing your responses!) but I have to wait for a certain something before I can share more... so hopefully I can go into FULL detail (maybe a few more hints first!) about what exactly my crazy family is up to once I'm home.

Love you all! Prayers for my trip are appreciated! And remember, if you want to follow "live", go to!

Thanks for the prayers and thanks for bearing with me :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Is it just me?

Or does it look like a little someone is missing?!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I made a blog for my trip to China months ago, but finally made a header and actually posted to it! If I am able to, that's where I'll be posting in China... so check it out HERE.

Friday, July 10, 2009


I know, I know... how can I even do this to you?!

But I thought these pictures were well deserving of an interruption...

In case you didn't know, today was "Cow App*reciation Day" at Chick*fila! I'm sure if you have followed my blog for even a couple of days, you know we are HUGE Chick*fila fans... and so, I have worked on costumes, we found cow boots at Tar*get for $4 (and plus, the girls love to dress up in boots, so we didn't get them just for cow day!) All things said and done, we probably spent more on the outfits than we would've on the meal, but dressing up was the fun part. :) My friend and I dressed up, dressed the little girls up, put black face paint spots on, and went off this morning. The cow bells rang as we walked in and we all got free meals... free COMBO meals! It was sooo worth it. We had quite a few people taking pictures and were even declared the "best" dressed that they had seen all day. AnnaClaire was ALL over the cow. She loved it and walked around holding it's hand for soooo long. So different from the little thing that screamed out the site of anything big and dressed up when she was younger! Kate's starting to get over that phase... she does love the idea of the cow, but has to be held the minute it gets close! So anyway, it was a fun afternoon out! Plus, it was fun looking like a cow... and getting a completely free meal that would've cost close to $20 was pretty nice, too :)

The picture that started it all...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Three years ago on this day,

our dossier was somewhere in between NC and Beijing (Alaska to be exact), on it's way to the CCAA. We thought we'd be getting a "healthy" baby and we thought we'd be waiting a year. And then, not even 3 weeks later, God surprised us... with our sweet AnnaClaire Chenhui. (we were logged in on 7/22/06... we'd still have many months to go.)

Two years ago on this day, we had had our sweet AnnaClaire for almost 7 months and were paperchasing for a little sister for her...

Last year on this day, we were a few weeks into the wait for LOA for our precious Katherine MeiLing.

And today...

well, that's a story for another day.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy 4th!

My sweet little girls on the firetruck during our July 3rd festivities
Going for a walk together...
Kate is such a little party girl!
AC and Kate brought their balls and loved playing ball with Daddy!
Kate loved the chicken nugget tray that we had with dinner :)
All the girls!
Kate was smiling all night long! She loved the festivities!
As did AC... here she is with some chalk!
The little girlies enjoyed doing the chalk that Mrs. L brought for them!
Me and AC
3-D glasses/masks/fans
AnnaClaire thought it was a good idea that one little boy brought ear phones for the fireworks..
But covering her ears and watching in Mr. P's arms was fun, too.
Kate was soo into the fireworks. She just sat on Dad's lap and ohed and awed over them.
My sweet girls all decked out on the 4th of July! (we got their dresses at Crack*er Barr*el when we stopped for a bathroom break coming home from Texas... can you believe it?)
Me and my sweet sisters...
All the girls (well minus one!) on the 4th!
All the kids.. Will was working so he couldn't come and Drew was with friends.
All the moms and dads!
Dad and Kate churning ice cream!
beautiful little Kate with a sweet smile
AnnaClaire loved playing bean bag toss with all the big guys and dads!
Miss Kate with the bean bags!
S and I with the little girlies
Kate watching fireworks
AnnaClaire, with her ear plugs, enjoying the fireworks!

Well we have had an exciting weekend to say the least :) In between all the excitement we've had a couple of Fourth of July celebrations. Friday night (the 3rd) we went with a couple of other families to a symphony/firework show by one of our malls. We all brought different dishes and enjoyed an awesome meal, music, and fireworks. It was so much fun! The girls enjoyed playing ball, doing chalk, checking out the firetruck, just running around, and they both liked the fireworks, too! Kate was completely enthralled with them. AnnaClaire, who is terrified of anything loud, was a little scared but just kept her hands on her ears and enjoyed watching them. It was a late night but both girls were such troopers and had so much fun! Me and the other older girls who were there all went out for fried ice cream after and it was delicious!
Then yesterday (the 4th!), I had to work the morning/afternoon shift at the pool. AnnaClaire, Drew, and Dad came by and AnnaClaire loved had a ball once me and a few friends got off work... lets just say she had lots of big girls doting on her :) She even did a water balloon toss game with one of our neighbors! Once she and the guys got home, Mom, Dad, the little girls and I headed over to one of our neighbor's houses with some other neighbors (the same group from yesterday plus one other family and another friend) for dinner. We had ribs, BBQ chicken, squash casserole, rolls, fruit salad, baked beans, and a cookie cake decorated with blueberries and strawberries to make an American flag. We churned ice cream, playing bean bag toss, and just chatted. We had so much fun just catching up with some of these dear friends of ours! Then we went over to the house of one of the families who was there for fireworks and (homemade) ice cream sundaes!

We've had an awesome weekend... hope you all have had a fun 4th, too!