Sunday, December 31, 2006


Counting down to the new year. Wow. As the Vicar said in church this morning, a whole new calendar without scribbles on all the pages. But the scribbles on my old calendar are the happenings in our life. In these waning hours, before I put up that fresh calendar, I want to celebrate the scribbles that represent the significant events of 2006. (These represent actual scribbles from our family calendar)

January ~ Went in for what was to be minor knee surgery. The doctor found significant damage which he repaired. The recovery was tough, but my knee is so much better now.

February ~ After attending an information session by CCAI, we made our decision to pursue an adoption from China. Wow, what a life-changing decision.

March ~ Attended CCAI's orientation session. Began our paperchase in earnest. Celebrated our one year anniversary.

April ~ Attended the USARC Strong Bonds marriage seminar at Callaway Gardens. Had a wonderful time of renewal.

May ~ Spent Memorial Day Weekend at Brunswick Island on Georgia's coast. Got sunburnt, but loved relaxing in the sand.

June ~ Lady turns 13. Still happy and healthy after all these years.

July ~ Received our 797c from USCIS and our dossier was finally ready and off to China.

August ~ Road Trip!!!!! Visited family in Nebraska and spent time in Branson, MO with my parents. Our dossier was "logged in" in China.

September ~ CCAI Reunion - we met many waiting families and those who have adopted from China. Had breakfast with Josh and Lily, the founders of CCAI.

October ~ On Friday we climbed Kennesaw Mountain and attended our first First Friday event. On Saturday B left to play in the big sandbox in the Middle East. What a difference one day makes.

November ~ Our church revived its military family support luncheons just when I really needed it! In November I began to learn firsthand the challenges and blessings of being an Army wife.

December ~ Travelled north to see friends and family. We are truly blessed by the people in our life. I was hoping for a white Christmas, but there was no snow!!!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

'Tis the night before Christmas...

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring but my computer and mouse.
The family's all sleeping and snoring in bed
but I've got my Christmas thoughts bouncing around in my head,
Then I had a light bulb up there in my nogger
I'd put my Christmas thoughts out on my blogger...

OK, I guess that's the extent of my creativity this late Christmas eve. But I can't sleep for thinking tonight of those who are with me and those who are not.

For those who are with me, Merry Christmas to my family and friends whom I've gotten to visit during this Christmas tour. My love and prayers are with my cousins C & M as they continue their own adoption journey. And with other cousins who are increasing their families the old fashoned way. To my aunts and uncles, I love you even when I don't tell you. To my mom, dad and brother, you mean so much to me.

For those who are not with me, my heart grieves. For my family out west, I deeply wish we could be together. To my hunny B, the love of my life, I wish you a safe and happy holiday so far from home. To the child I have yet to meet, I already love you more than you can imagine. I send to you the words to a song by Third Day, called simply, Merry Christmas.

There's a little girl trembling on a cold December morn
Crying for momma's arms
At an orphanage just outside a little China town
There the forgotten are
But half a world away I hang the stockings by the fire
And dream about the day when I can finally call you mine
It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you Merry Christmas
As I hang the tinsel on the tree and watch the twinkling lights
I'm warmed by the fire's glow
Outside the children tumble in a wonderland of white,
Make angels in the snow
But half a world away you try your best to fight the tears
And hope that heaven's angels come to carry you here
It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you Merry Christmas
Christmas is a time to celebrate the holy child
and we celebrate his perfect gift of love
He came to earth to give his life
and prepare a place for us
so we could have a home with him above
It's Christmas time again and now you're home
Your family is here so you will never be alone
So tonight before you go to sleep, I'll hold you in my arms
And I'll tell you from my heart, and I'll tell you from my heart
I wish you Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The calm before the storm

As part of my holiday tour, I spent a couple of days with my friends in Toledo. I woke up one morning to hear the happy bustle of the house. I could hear the kids running around getting ready, squabbling, teasing, laughing. I dug myself deeper under the cover and just lay there, enjoying the sounds of family, knowing that as soon as I stirred from the bed, I would be swept into the fray. I loved it there in the dark, enjoying the calm before the storm.

I'm trying to muster the same feelings about our adoption. I'm sitting back, watching and listening to families with children, not yet being a part of it all. I know that once our referal comes, we will be thrown into the thick of things. I may wistfully remember these quiet times. Can I enjoy the calm before our adoption storm?
(photo by Tim Smith)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fantastic Four Month Anniversary

Four months down and X to go. The only problem is we don't know the value of X. Going back to my high school algebra, I'd have to say we don't have enough information to solve for X. The only thing we know is that X is smaller by one month than it was in November.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

Our house is decorated for Christmas. Our tree is completely decked out in red, white and blue.

Since most of you won't be stopping by for coffee this week, I thought I'd post some pictures here for you.

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Referrals are on the way!

Referrals are due to arrive today or tomorrow for families with LIDs between August 25, 2005 and September 8, 2005. Congratulations to those families who will be seeing the sweet face of their child this week.

And warm hugs going out to my friends with September LIDs who missed the cutoff as the rumor roller coaster bottoms out and starts to climb the next hill.

We are a little closer to receiving our own referral, though at this rate, it could be a while.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Rumor Roller Coaster

Wheeeee!!!!! Roller coasters are fun. But I don't like to ride the rumor roller coaster. For those of you who are blissfully ignorant, there's a website, called In Search of Rumors, hosted by the Rumor Queen (RQ). RQ is an adoptive mom who monitors all manner of rumors related to China adoptions. Before you visit the site, I have to warn you. RQ, like the latest greatest roller coaster, is not for the faint of heart.

There appears to be a strong rumor that referrals will arrive later this week. Earlier this week the rumor was that this month's referrals would include all LIDs from September 2005. Over the weekend, the rumors turned pessimistic, saying that they would most likely not include September 12 or later. And the roller coaster is off and running again!

Obviously, how far they get each month will impact when we finally get our referral. The most recent batch of referrals came nearly 15 months after LID. If they don't refer entire months of LIDs, the wait time will necessarily increase. I monitor the rumors so we won't be surprised as the wait time fluctuates.

It's like when I was a kid. I loved to watch roller coasters, but I was terrified to actually get on the ride. (Ask my dad!) At this point in our journey, it's not too difficult to let the ride go by without getting caught up in the ups and downs of the rumors. As our time draws near, it will be more difficult to keep myself a spectator of the rumor roller coaster.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving! On this day of gratitude, I want to pause to think about all the blessings in my life.

  • I am truly blessed to be married to a loving, considerate, strong and handsome man. I am proud of him every day.
  • I have the best parents I could have. You have made me who I am and I love you so much.
  • I'm blessed to have my dog, Lady Byng, who is my constant companion through the ups and downs of life.
  • I am grateful for my friends and family. I may not talk to all of you everyday, but you have enriched my life and I treasure you.
  • I am thankful for my online friends - people I've never met who have blessed my life and opened my eyes.
  • To our First Friday friends - thank you for your friendship, prayers and support.
  • We deeply appreciate our church home; remembering that a church is not a building, it's the people inside.
  • I want to say thank you to my birthmother, wherever you are. Without you, I wouldn't be.
  • We are grateful for the opportunity we will have to adopt and pray we will be worthy of this challenge.

Monday, November 20, 2006

August DTC Cyber Shower

Thanks to C & J, our Cyber Shower buddies for November.
The present they sent was beautifully wrapped. And inside was a cute "taggie" book. Don't know what a taggie book is? Don't be ashamed, I just recently learned about taggies. They are bits of ribbon sewn into the seams of a blanket or, in this case, a book. The ribbons have different textures, like satiny or rough. Children really enjoy the different textures. The book itself is made out of the softest fleece.

Thank you, thank you!!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Freedom Team Salute

How cool is this? Today I received a letter and certificate of appreciation for my support of B. I'm really touched. Here's what the certificate says:

For outstanding support to B, a Soldier of the United States Army. The Army greatly appreciates your support of Soldiers fighting the Global War on Terrorism and is proud to recognize your contributions and personal sacrifices in preserving freedom and the security of our Nation.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veterans Day

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 marked the end of The Great War - World War I. In 1954, November 11 was declared a day to honor American veterans.

Take a minute to remember those who are serving or have served in the military.

Sending thoughts to my honey B, my dad, my step dad-in-law, my uncle, B's nephew R, multiple friends, and all the Soldiers and retired military I work with. Saying a prayer for B's dad, my uncle, and all those killed in action, particularly in the Global War on Terror.

Friday, November 10, 2006

3 Month Anniversary

By looking at our ticker (above), I see that today is the three month anniversary of our dossier being logged in by the CCAA.

This was the fortune in my cookie last night. Maybe there's good news around the corner that referrals will speed up.

J's gone to China!

My friend, J, and her husband left for China today to pick up their baby. They are adopting the sweetest little boy. She's one of the first people I met online when we began considering China. I've followed their journey from time they completed an adorable pink baby room through their decision to switch to the waiting child program to their being matched with a baby boy! After an excruciatingly long wait for travel approval, they are finally on their way.

This adoption journey is not a straight, short, paved road. It's a meandering path, sometimes narrow, often leading you to a fork in the road where there are no signs to guide your way. There are no mileage signs telling you how far to your destination. You just keep marching forward, confident that you will eventually get there as long as you stay on the path.

I'll be following their journey on her blog. I'm so thrilled to see J making this trip.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Did you vote?

I think that voting is one of our most important civic duties, and a core American value.

There are people in other countries fighting and dying to earn this basic right. And some people in the US can't be bothered to take the time to vote. I hear them talk: "There was a line." "It's only one vote, it won't make a difference."

You're voting for the people who will make decisions that impact our very lives, every day. You're voting for the people who will help set foreign policy, our tax structure and the very laws we must follow. The predictions were that only 48% of Georgians would vote this year. So our officials are elected by a majority of the minority of the state. Think about it...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Our journey so far....

This is a picture of our dossier. That's the big packet of information that represents you to the CCAA in China. Every document must be notarized, certified by the county in which the notary is commissioned (for OH and GA documents), certified by the Secretary of State, and finally authenticated by the Chinese Consulate that covers that state.

Here's a summary of our journey to be LID:

  • February 11 - Attended CCAI Information Session
  • February 13 - Began assembling our application to CCAI
  • March 3 - B drove to the CCAI to deliver our application in person because the fax machines wouldn't work
  • March 3, 4:00 pm - Accepted by CCAI the same day!
  • March 11 - Attended orientation
  • March 13 - sent B's birth certificate and our marriage certificate to Secretaries of State of NE and OH
  • March 20 - First homestudy visit, including home tour
  • March 22 - Submitted I-600a (request to adopt a foreign-born orphan) to USCIS
  • March 24 - sent marriage certficate to Chinese Consulate in NY
  • March 27 - sent B's birth certificate to US Dept of State (required since he was born in NE)
  • March 27 - second homestudy visit
  • March 28 - sent K's birth certificate to Secretary of State of MI
  • April 3 - third homestudy visit (including separate interviews with B and K)
  • April 10 - FINAL homestudy visit
  • April 11 - sent K's birth certificate to Chinese Consulate in Chicago
  • April 13 - fingerprinted by USCIS
  • April 14 - sent B's birth certificate to Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC
  • May 4 - Homestudy submitted to USCIS
  • May 10 - took 9 documents in person to GA Secretary of State
  • May 11 - sent 9 documents to Chinese Consulate in Houston
  • June 16 - delivered dossier in person to our agency (without the 797c which we were still waiting for) This is us handing our dossier to J, our most awesome dossier consultant!
  • June 28 - passed critical review
  • July 18 - received 797c
  • July 19 - took 797c in person to county and GA Secretary of State
  • June 20 - sent 797c to courier service in Houston
  • July 25 - received 797c from courier - drove it up to CCAI!
  • July 25 - our dossier was approved in GA and sent to CCAI's home office in CO
  • July 27 - our dossier was sent to China! This is our DTC date!!!!!!
  • August 10 - our dossier is logged in by the CCAA in China. We are LID!!!!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

First Friday

Last night I attended the First Friday gathering in north Atlanta. It is a group of parents who are considering, are in process of or have competed an adoption from China. What a blessing to spend time with others who know what we're going through. There were people in all stages of the process. It was great to talk to people who've been to China and returned with their child. And to talk to people who are waiting, just like us.

There was a couple there who just got their referral (they were matched with a baby from China). They had the cutest little "mug shot" of their baby. Their LID was 8/10/05, exactly one year before ours. That could be us in a year. Wow.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fallen Soldier

We had a Fallen Soldier Ceremony yesterday. I don't know if people realize it, but at Army Reserve Command, there is a ceremony for every single reservist who's killed in action. I always try to go to these, to honor the memory of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. I think these soldiers and their families deserve no less.

The SGM from G3 quoted the following: "It has been said truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom he abuses to burn that flag."

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Thanks so much to our July DTC Secret Pal!

We received the most wonderful gift from our Secret Pal from the July DTC Yahoo group. We received the a baby massage kit, including instruction manual, lotions, soaps, hooded towel (with bunny ears!), and lullaby CD. My Secret Pal is the best!

Participating in the DTC (Dossier to China)groups is a great way to stay involved and prepare for our referral. Because our dossier was sent in July and we were logged in in August, we're involved in two DTC groups, plus one just for people who are clients of our agency.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Our foray into the world of blogging

What are we doing here? We've asked that of ourselves. Everybody's doing it. That's not a good reason. If everybody jumped off a cliff would you do it?

We want to share our adoption journey with family and friends. Now that's admirable. It's easier to update this once and let everyone read it rather than send emails to each person. But that could be solved with an email distribution list.

We want a record of our process, thoughts and feelings to share with our child after s/he's home from China. I want our child to know how very much s/he is loved and cared for, even before we've met. That's it! That's why we're here.

We're in the process of adopting from China. We've completed the paperchase and submitted our dossier to the CCAA in China. Our log-in date (LID) is 8/10/06. I heard a good explanation of LID the other day. It's like taking a number at the deli. You don't know when you'll be served, but your place in line is secure.

The most recent set of referrals were made about 14 months after LID. If the wait stays the same, we would receive our referral - pictures of our child - in October of 2007. But the wait has been steadily increasing over the past year. Will it continue to lengthen? Will the wait times decrease? Time will tell.