Sunday, January 31, 2010

More sledding~

Despite the fact that I went to get AC this morning and she was crying while saying, "the sun is out! All the snow is melting," it did stick around for another day... the first time we have had TWO snow days in a row in YEARS. Church was cancelled, so we had a late breakfast of coffeecake muffins and egg casserole and then the girlies begged to go "fledding" (as Kate calls it) again! All of the kids on our street were out and about making it a very fun afternoon... with lots of excitment on the big hills :) The girlies and I went up and down, up and down, as Dad talked to the nieghbors and rated the girlies sledding runs... which was a total hit to them! (and to his credit, he did go down a few times!) The girlies enjoyed sledding today just as much as yesterday and we got up to some big speeds after all of the snow froze over last night and we were left with a LOT of ice! There was more hot cocoa and cookies for snacks, and AnnaClaire played out in the backyard by herself for over an hour! Both girls are just LOVING this white stuff! I'm just happy because even though a LOT melted, there's still enough on the streets (and a high of 13 tonight to refreeze the wet roads!) so school was cancelled! WOO!

Thank goodness for snow... and the excitment it brings each and every time it comes... and a very fun, snow filled weekend! (and of course, that despite the fact that we HAD to have our 2 snow days over a weekend, that I'm getting me day off after all!

Not many pictures today... figured I had enough from yesterday and today was kind of the same... plus, sometimes it's just nice to enjoy things without always taking pictures!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow day!

We had such a fun snow day! We didn't get quite as much as we were expecting, but we did get some good sledding snow!!! And for once, it didn't melt and I am still holding out hope that enough will be around on Monday to cancel school! Anyway, the girls were soooo excited. We made snowman shaped pancakes for breakfast, Booie and I played her snowman board game, and then Dad, the girlies, and I headed out. The snow wouldn't pack enough to make a snowman or a snow fort, as AnnaClaire had wanted to do, but we did go sledding for a longggggg time and both girls LOVED that. LOVED it. I have never heard either girl squeal or giggle as loudly as they were as we sledded up and down the hill. We live on a pretty big hill, so it made for some fun sledding! I was surprised at how much Kate loved it to, as she cried last year. Kate was out for about an hour and a half and then her mittens had completely soaked through, so she went in and helped Mom make cookies and some hot cocoa. AnnaClaire's friend, Summer (she's in the pink shirt in the second collage), from across the street had come out, so they played for awhile, and then went to warm up inside at Summer's house with hot cocoa and cookies, too! They had a blast! They are only a week apart in age and have very similar personalities, so they always have fun together, and today was no different. I went over awhile later to pick her up and my friend and I took AC and Kate to another big hill for more sledding. They were so worn out after their big time and took great naps! Of course, by the time they woke up, the streets had completely turned into ice and we couldn't even walk without slipping, so much to their disappointment, we had no more sledding.

Oh, the joys of snow. :) Enjoy the pictures!! It was hard to choose out of all of the good ones that I got!!! I have to say- the perfectly white background makes my girlies look all the more beautiful!! (you can click to enlarge the collages and see all the pictures better!!)

Friday, January 29, 2010

First Snow of Season!!

We got our first snow this afternoon! The flakes came down fast for a while, but it just stopped... It's supposed to snow more tonight and tomorrow and we are supposedly getting close to 4 inches! (A lot for us southerners...) I have to say, the little girls are a bit more exicted than I am. First of all, I'm not even going to miss any school out of this! And second of all, our sweet friends who I blogged about adopting Aliana and Sarah Mei were supposed to fly home tonight, and their flight has been cancelled :(. But the girlies are so so so excited. We went to get AC up from her nap, and she was sitting on her window seat (with the biggest smile EVER) yelling, "IT'S SNOWWWWWWWWING!" Kate was still sleeping and I got her up and brought her to the window and she said, "It SNOW!" They were excited to get in their snow gear and catch some flakes on their tongues~ even if it was just for a bit. Maybe there will be enough to sled tomorrow :)

Oh and... I know our "first snow of the season" looks really pitiful... the pictures are from the beginning stages :) and remember... we live in the south!

And completely random, but here's some pictures of sending our LOA out on Wendesday:

Me and girlies... one holding the package with our LOA and one form, going to our agency... and the other with a bunch of documents that have arrived at USCIS!

AnnaClaire with her dossier to "send" off!

Oh and in other big news, our agency seems to think that our TA could come in 6 weeks!!!! I feel like that's a bit optimistic, but 7-8 is seeming more and more doable... which means that I *could* celebrate my 17th birthday in CHINA!!!! Please, Lord!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A beautiful site

Look what came from F*ed E*x today... a beautiful site for these anxious eyes :)

In case you couldn't figure it out, it's our LOA!

And a few have asked... LOA stands for Letter of Approval (or technically, the letter of seeking confirmation from adopter.) It means that China has OFFICIALLY matched us with Charlie and now we begin the steps that lead to getting our TA (Travel Approval) That whole process is so very complicated, but basically, we will be travelling in 2-3 months!!!!! My spring break begins April 2nd, so I am praying that God will move mountains and allow us to be there then, so that I won't have to miss as much school. Plus... my birthday is on March 31... it would be a good birthday present to be flying to China/holding Charlie/getting ready to leave. It never hurts to pray, right?!

Thank you for all your sweet comments and for celebrating with us!!! For once in all of our adoption processes, I feel like something actually came QUICKLY! Praise God for that!

Oh and did I mention that all 15ish pages of the complicated paperwork was filled out for us?!?! We love our agency :) :)

Mom signing... WE ACCEPT!!!

Dad signing... WE ACCEPT!!!

One step closer to our sweet little BOY!!!
AnnaClaire wanted to join in and do paperwork. She was so excited to get to do a "real" form! (we made a copy for her.) She is so into paperwork... She would work on her "dossier" (so cute how she says it!!!) for hours.

She was so funny, writing her letters in between the lines and everything! Oh how I love her!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A note from the girlies...

Yes, day 52!!!!!!!! I came home from swimming and mom said, "I was going to make spaghetti but........ I think that....... we might need to eat some..... Chinese." Too scared to get my hopes up, I said, "Are you trying to tell me something?" She started smiling and nodding...

PRAISE GOD!!!! One HUGE step closer to our sweet Charlie! We are thinking we'll be going to China in APRIL!!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A trip to the zoo

This week has been CRAZY! We had spirit week at school and between making banners, decorating our hall, getting outfits, making a balloon arch, swimming, our basketball spirit game, and just school in general... it has just been crazy! Then on top that, I had the S*AT yesterday morning. It's nice to have today to just relax and watch some football! :) Anyway, wanted to share some pictures from the zoo! While I was decorating our junior flag with some school friends on Monday, Mom and Dad took the little girls to the zoo. I heard allllllll about it when I got home and I think the word FUN would be an understatement. AnnaClaire was so excited because Mom let her take her new digital camera! She showed me all of the pictures once they got back... let's just say that the digital camera has been quite a hit! Enjoy the pictures of my beautiful girls :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Forever Families United

My sweet friend, Ashton, is in China with her family adopting her sweet little brother, Andrew! They just got him this morning :) I am posting for her and you can follow along here!

The H. family (some dear friends who live nearby) is also in China and just got sweet Sarah Mei on Monday!!! Isn't she adorable?! Go here to follow along and see more of the cuteness!

The E. family (our other dear friends who live nearby) is also in China and got sweet Aliana Grace on Monday! She is so so beautiful... go here for their website!

And last but not least, the B. family (some longtime friends through adoption) is also in China and they received precious Ethan on Monday! Doesn't he have such a sweet smile?! Go here to follow along on their trip!

So many special moments this week... I just love it!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Missing Him~

July 2008... 2 1/2 years old
June 2009... not quite 3 1/2
January 2010... 4 years old

Last night, my friend texted me this verse...

Oh that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for. Job 6:8

She probably didn't realize that it came at the perfect time.

But it did.


I'm so sick of waiting.

Monday marked 6 months since we received PA for our sweet guy. For 6 months, we have been approved to adopt him, yet still we wait. We're nearing 7 months since we saw his precious face for the first time. He's growing, and we're waiting. I pray that God is preparing his heart as he waits. I know it's for a reason and I have no doubt that His timing is perfect.

But still. It's HARD.

Before we we heard of our LID, I was surprised at how much peace I had. Waiting 87 days for SOMETHING on Kate had been so very hard. It was still a bit fresh, and I had expected Charlie's even longer wait to be so much harder. But for the months that we paperchased, I had PEACE. And I am thankful for that. And then, we found out that we were LID. Finally, there was something we were waiting for. We found out on 12/18. 5 months from our PA. Then we celebrated Christmas, Charlie's birthday, and got an update. New pictures. Pictures showing that our little boy wasn't so little. He's growing and we aren't there to watch him. And that is hard.

I still have peace. I know God has our timeline in his hands. He has a perfect plan. But still, I am anxious. My heart is aching. There's a little boy who I love. And he's in China. We ordered some clothes for him and they came today... but he's not here to wear them.

I know HIS timing is perfect. Yet still, I am sad. I just want my sweet little brother home.

Oh that I might have my request... that God might grant me what I ask for... He tells us to hope, to ask, and He promises to answer those requests.

Please, Lord. May our LOA be here soon. And while we wait, prepare his little heart for what is to come.

Wordless Wednesday- a video you just have to see...

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Monday, January 18, 2010

H a i t i ~

I promised to keep you guys updated, so I thought I should let you all know that I will NOT be going to Hai*ti next month. We were supposed to leave on Feb. 13th- a month and a day after the earthquake. I am so disappointed, but know that truly, there is just no way. You've all seen the news, seen the pictures, read the articles... it's bad. There is a lack of food and water and tremendous violence as a result. In the words of our trip leader, young white people are the most sought after to kidnap. They simply cannot take 24 of us to an already dangerous country at such a dangerous time. Then there are the issues of the airport being close, roads totally ruined, bodies everywhere, lack of food, water, supplies, etc. After months of planning, it's hard to have been SO close and have this happen, but of course, it's not about us. Just trusting God that he brought us this far for a reason! I have every intention to go there sometime, but for now, I'll pray from a distance. Also, if you haven't heard, you can text 90999 to donate $10 from your cell phone bill to the Re*d Cr*oss Ha*iti fund!!! Keep praying. We have heard many MANY stories and seen a lot of video from the ministry we were going to work with and this country NEEDS your prayers. It is CHAOS there and the pictures are heartbreaking. But in the midst of it all, God is still God, and He is still good, as one pastor preached there on Sunday morning amongst the rubble and ruins.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

An old tradition

When my brothers and I were little, Dad took us out for doughnuts every single Saturday morning. While we don't go nearly as much with the girlies, every once in awhile, they get to enjoy our old tradition. Yesterday was one of those days... our Dun*kin Don*uts breakfast was delicious... Kate likes the little chocolate munchkins while AnnaClaire's favorite is glazed with chocolate and sprinkles :)

And just because they are so cute, here's a picture from last weekend. They love having camp fires!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thank you...

Thank you for all of your sweet comments from yesterday's post. I really do appreciate it. Anonymous/Beth Ann, thank you for leaving your name. I think that is great that you have found 5 of your sweet kids in the US. However, I really don't feel the need to argue about God's calling to our family, so I will just leave it at the fact that our family was called to China, and THAT is why we have adopted from there. You could make your argument about "bringing 4 children home from China is keeping 4 children from coming home from the US" for any adoption from any country. I can't say enough that God has called us to China, and that is where we have found our precious ones. It's not the open adoptions keeping us from the US, it is simply that our hearts--and my siblings-- are in China. When we bring Grace home, we will have completed 4 adoptions in 4 years for 4 kids with "medical needs." I think it is great when people adopt from anywhere! No matter where kids are from, they all deserve a chance at a FUTURE, and chance to know a God that loves and created them! They all deserve a Mommy and Daddy to tuck them in at night. Your 5 kids did, my 4 siblings did. Where they are FROM doesn't matter. What matters is that between our families NINE of the 147 million orphans have found love and LIFE. I don't feel like I need to explain myself anymore, so I will just let these 4 pictures, my 4 amazing siblings, do the talking for me...

AnnaClaire Chenhui, 4 years old, adopted at 13 months from Hunan, China
Katherine MeiLing, 2.5 years old, adopted at 19 months from Jiangxi, China
Charles Dashan, 4 years old, waiting in Chongqing, China
Grace TongJiao, 10 years old, waiting in Jiangsu, China

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm just saying.

I'm going to ask this, and please don't take it as rude...

Do you really think it's fair to her, TongJiao, to make her wait even longer for a family simply because you want her and will have to wait until after Charlies home to officially do much of anything? Why should she sit in an orphanage longer, when another family could have possibly wanted her, and just not been as quick to move as you were, or didn't find her until moments before she was removed? A family that is paper ready for her, and could possibly pick her up in the Spring/Summer verses having to wait until the fall/winter? That just makes her suffer longer.

Another thing, quite frankly, she's an older child... What ever happened to thinking about the children here in the good ole US of A who live in foster homes, group homes, institutions, etc... all waiting for a family... All who could easily be in your home within weeks or just a very short few months? I'm curious what makes your family think the children of china are so much more important or special than the children of the usa?


Dear Anonymous,

Isn't God good? He burdens all of our hearts with different things. Isn't is great that people are drawn to all different places in the world to care for orphans? God calls some to Russia, India, Ethiopia, Taiwan, Korea, and the list goes on. Our family feels burdened for all of the orphans of the world. They ALL deserve families. NEVER have I said that orphans in China are "more important" than those of anywhere else. However, God has clearly called OUR family to China and we are thankful to have precious children from there. It sounds as though YOUR family has adopted children in the USA who are in foster care and need families. How many children have you brought home? Just wondering.

As you have mentioned, quite frankly, Tong Jiao IS an older child. Unfortunately, families do not flock to adopt older children. Often, older children are on lists for close to a year before a family comes forward to adopt them. Before Grace was on our agency's list, she sat for close to 3 months on another agency's list with not one family willing to bring her home. Even now, out of the 40 + files from the list she was on, only a handful of kids have been matched, and she is the oldest of those kids. I can assure you that if there had been another family interested in her file right away, our agency would've allowed them to review her file first. However, there weren't any other such families. Yes, maybe another family would've come forward 6 months to a year down the road, but they might not have even been paper ready. Oh, and by the way, she's not suffering. She's been with a loving foster family for NINE years. She looks so happy and is so healthy and we have no reason to believe that she is suffering. In the grand scheme of things, summer vs. fall/winter really won't make much of a difference. What DOES matter is that our sweet girl has a FOREVER family. And pretty soon, she will know that.

I'm going to ask this, and please don't take it as rude...

Actually, it IS rude to leave a less than nice comment and not even sign your name to it. If your comment was truly sincere, you would not have been afraid to sign your name.

I'm just saying.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Please pray...

As you probably know by now, there was a terrible earthquake in Haiti. You can read one story about it here: Well. I am supposed to be flying to Haiti in exactly a month with a team of 32 from my school. Now, we are unsure if we will be able to get there and are still waiting to hear on that, and if we are going at all. Please pray with me that God would make a way. I feel like we are needed there now, more than ever. Yet, if it's not safe and if the airport is still not open, we cannot go. Please pray. And more than that, pray for those people who are among terrible devestation... They need God so much right now!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Charlie's site!

Charlie's website is up and running!!! You can see it at! We really had no preferences for what it looked like- just something boyish! Love what he came up with... Bay*lor colors to match the picture on the homepage! :) So now Charlie officially as his website! It will mainly be used for when we go to China, but I've posted a few things there!