Thursday, December 20, 2007

A little news from China

I've joined the Tianjin Families Yahoo group and am connecting with a number of people who have adopted from or are in the process of adopting from Tianjin. It's wonderful to get that insight. We've been following the Lewises blog and are living vicariously through them as they pick up David from Tianjin.

Also through the group, we've come in contact with an American who volunteers at the Tianjin CWI. I got an email from him and he asked about our son at the orphanage. Here's what he's learned:
Wei Jian Tong is in the Jinghai foster care program. Jinghai is a program that has about 200+ kids, split up into 3 kids per family. They are in a suburb of Tianjin, about an hour away by bus from the CWI.
What blessed news. Our Micah is living in a family setting getting love and care. We hope that will help his transition to our family.

We haven't heard any other news since our Letter of Intent was officially submitted to China on December 7. And so we wait. But we've had lots of practice!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Tag!

We've been tagged!!! Here are our answers:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Usually paper, but use gift bags when the present calls for one.

2. Real tree or artificial? We have an artificial tree because we leave it up so long a real one would be a fire hazard. (Though tree-cutting with Micah has been recommended for next year).

3. When do you put up your tree? The day after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? MLK weekend

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes, please. With rum. :)

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Hubby: electric football game (the kind that vibrates and the men move) Wifey: Close-N-play phonograph (played 45's)

7. Do you have a Nativity scene? Several. We have a large wooden set, a ceramic Bumpkins Nativity and a crystal nativity set.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My brother cuz if he wants it, he buys it himself.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Mom, the only problem is that I see so much I know she'd like, I want to buy out the store!

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Basket of partially used hotel shampoos and soaps.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail Christmas cards!!!!

12. Favorite Christmas movie? It's a Wonderful Life, Muppet Christmas Carol and Holiday Inn (it's impossible to chose just one).

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? December 26

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yep. But not *your* gift, of course.

15. Favorite things to eat at Christmas? Christmas cookies, Mom K's white chocolate covered pretzels.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Colored

17. Favorite Christmas song? Merry Christmas by Third Day; Mary Did you Know

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Travel. I've almost never woken up in my own bed on Christmas morning.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes, more eggnog, please!

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? This year we have a bow.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We usually exchange gifts with each other before we travel and have various exchanges with family and friends whenever we are together..

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Crowds and crabby salespeople in the stores.

23. What is the "corniest" family tradition you do, or miss doing? We pose for one big family picture along with pictures of each family with all assorted children.

24. Ugliest Christmas Decoration ever invented? Overkill on the lighted Christmas statuary (you know the house -- there's one in every town -- with 87 lighted elves, Santas and reindeer!)

25. Which looks the best, theme trees or homey trees? Theme trees are beautiful, but we prefer homey trees with all kinds of things collected through the years.

26. What does Christmas mean to you? It's a love story that began in Genesis, was revealed in the Nativity and continues to this day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hello, my name is....

Wei Jian Tong. This is our son's Mandarin name. The Chinese form names differently than Americans. Most noticeably, a Chinese name is written with the family name (surname or last name) first and the given name next, therefore "John Smith" as a Chinese name would be "Smith John". For instance, the basketball player who is commonly called Yao Ming would be addressed as "Mr. Yao", not "Mr. Ming".

Wei is his surname. Often children in Chinese orphanages are named after the orphanage, the region or the orphanage director. The director submitting Tong Tong's file is named Wei, so we suspect this in where his surname comes from.

Jian is his generational name. Jian means strong, healthy. In a two character given name, one of the two characters in the personal name is shared by all members of a generation. We've noticed that all of the boys referred recently from the the Tianjin Children's Welfare Institute share this generational name.

Tong is his first name. Tong means to connect or understand. Often the first name is repeated twice to form a nickname. His nickname in the orphanage is Tong Tong.

When generational names are used as part of a two-character given name, it is highly inappropriate and confusing to refer to someone by the first part of their given name only which will generally be their generation name. Instead, the entire given name should be used. In China our son would be called Jian Tong or Tong Tong.

When he comes home to us, his name will become......

Micah Jiantong Ladman

First Fridays Recap

A little late with my post, but I have to agreed with many that this was one of the most special First Fridays we've attended. Check out the new First Fridays web page for more info on this incredible experience.

The evening started with dinner shared by the Straights, the Christophers, the Perrys, the Hoffmans and the Nolans. As matches have occurred and children come home, our quiet dinner group has progressed to loud gathering with mulitple children. We must be quite a site for other diners to see.

The speaker for the evening was Amy Eldridge from Love Without Boundaries. It was amazing to hear her stories of children in China. She shared what she has learned about the abandonment of children in China. It's not as simple as the one child per family policy that's in place. Many children with obvious physical differences are abandoned because they are considered to bring bad luck. Parents who cannot afford surgeries to correct problems may feel they have no choice but to abandon the child. Sometimes there is pressure from extended family to be rid of a child with a difference. It's a very sad situation that has led our son to us and us to our son. It's amazing that God can make something beautiful out of such an ugly situation. If you feel a pull toward these orphaned children, please consider a holiday donation to Love Without Boundaries.

We were able to share the news of our match with Tong Tong. It was incredible being the ones with the referral after so many months of seeing others being matched and coming home. Shelby and her family were back from China and it was amazing seeing her in real life. (And I understand she wasn't at her best. When she's well, she's gonna be something!) We got to hang out with Sheridan, who is just a couple of months older than Tong Tong. We kinda got to "try him out for size." What a gift. It will be awesome that the boys will be able to play with each other. Sophia was there for her first First Friday visit. She's beyond cute.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Christmas Eve Sarejevo

Why am I posting this music video here? Because I can. It is simply one of the most amazing pieces.

Next steps

What happens next for us?
  • Today we submitted our Letter of Intent (a letter to the CCAA in China expressing our desire to adopt Wei Jian Tong) to our agency.
  • Our agency will translate and forward our LOI to China.
  • Several weeks later we may receive a pre-approval (PA) or they may skip that step. They will move our dossier to the SN section (I can only imagine finding it could be a challenge with so many dossiers waiting).
  • Then we wait. At least we have practice at waiting! LOL! They will review our dossier and if we're approved, issue a Letter Seeking Confirmation, commonly referred to as a letter of acceptance (LOA). The wait to LOA seems to vary greatly and according to variables only known to the CCAA. It could take anywhere from 2-6 months. We hope to be on the shorter end of that timeline since our file has already passed review in China.
  • Once we sign and return the LOA, three weeks later we'll get our Travel Authorization (TA).
  • After TA we can schedule consulate appointment and request our visas.
And where exactly is Tong Tong?

He's in the Tianjin Children's Welfare Institute, in Tianjin City. Home to 300 children, roughly 90% with disabilities, this is one of the better-maintained government orphanages. It is located in the city of Tianjin, roughly two hours southeast of Beijing by train. The children range in age from newborn babies to late teenagers. They live in comparatively good conditions and have access to facilities such as a performance hall, musical instruments, a children's playground, and a small yard for sports.

We've come across two other families who received referrals from Tianjin this week. They both have been matched with sons with repaired cleft lip and cleft palate. Could the boys all be buddies in the orphanage? Could we all travel together? Stay tuned and check out their blogs: Ladybugs, Motherhood and Other Musings and The Barry Family. And forging the way for all of us, the Lewises leave tomorrow morning to pick up their son from Tianjin. He also has repaired cleft lip and cleft palate. I think it's cool that the boys all share surnames and generational names.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It's a boy!

What a difference a day makes. Well, 4 hours actually. Approximately 4 hours and 12 minutes after I posted my last entry, we received word that we had been matched with a very cute little boy. Actually, our agency rep didn't say he was cute, we just noticed that he was. Come to think of it, she did say he was cute.

His name is Wei Jian Tong. He was born Aug 27th, 2005 and has a repaired cleft lip and unrepaired cleft palate. He is currently living in the Tianjin Children's Welfare Institute and continues to get cuter every day. He doesn't know that we are on our way to get him, but we'll get there just as fast as we can.

According to the report we received, "Tong Tong is a very well-behaved child. Whenever it’s time to eat, he always quietly sits on his stool and waits for the nanny to feed him. He never cries. Wei Jian Tong particularly likes to watch TV, and he especially enjoys listening to music. Whenever there’s a musical program on TV, Tong Tong will immediately focus his attention, stare with wide eyes, and quietly watch TV. Sometimes he will hum along to the beat of the music. Sometimes it even seems like he involves himself in the artistic conception of the music, jumping right in and forgetting himself."

How wonderful! He is perfect for our family, and I think he's ready to play ball with his daddy!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Random update

Sorry I kinda disappeared for the past week and a half. I guess I was too busy living life to blog about it. So here are some updates on vairous topics of our life in a fairly random order.
Thanksgiving My parents and brother came to visit for the weekend. This meant I cooked a full Thanksgiving dinner myself for the first time. On Friday we had our family Christmas gift exchange since we won't all be together in December. It was worth doing it early to be able to see people open their gifts in person.

China Adoption Program The rumors are predicting only a handful of days' referrals this month. Sending prayers to all those waiting familys and hoping this news doesn't send anyone over the brink.

When will be be matched? No news from our agency. We are praying that we will be matched with the right child and the right time. (And praying that we will have patience to wait for that). I try never to pray for patience because God always seems to send me a situation to test my patience. But since the situation is already here, I guess I'd better pray.

GraceFlock We're heading off tomorrow to another concert and workshop.

Third Fridays: Southside! Watch for more info on a place on the South side of Atlanta where families thinking about adopting, are in the process of adopting or who already have adopted a child from China could go to connect with one another. If you're on the south side of Atlanta, save the date: January 18, 2008.

Sorry to be so totally random, but I was afraid if I didn't get all these thoughts out of my head and onto the page, they'd be lost forever.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday Meditations

I've missed posting Monday Meditations the last few weeks, but I wanted to be sure I hit it this week.
1. Shelby is home with her family and making the transition to life in the US.
2. Ricky will soon meet his forever family.
3. I'm nearly done with my Christmas shopping.
1. Our agency received a list of over 40 children to be matched with prospective parents. Pray for those in the Waiting Child Department as they work to make the best matches.
2. We seek patience and peace as we wait to learn if our child is on that list.
3. Traveling mercies for our family traveling to our home for Thanksgiving.
4. My friend who's recovering from Leukemia is in the hospital with an infection.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

November is National Adoption Awareness month and National Adoption Day is November 17, 2007. Our thoughts turn to those touched by adoption - all sides of the triad.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veteran's Day, 2007

Thank you to all who serve or who have ever served. You are true heros.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

15 Months

Can you believe it's been 15 months since our dossier was logged in by the CCAA in China?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Referrals are arriving!

The CCAA has matched families who were logged in through December 8, 2005. Congratulations to all those who will get that precious call this week.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A good, tough read

I just finished reading The Kite Runner. I found myself compelled yet repelled at the same time. The story was well-told, resulting in several late nights reading when I couldn't put it down. It's a book that leaves you a different person than you were before you read it, so in my book that's good literature. Thanks, Irene for lending me this book and insisting that I read it!

Friday, November 02, 2007

It's the first Friday of November and you know what that means! Traveling to North Metro Church to see our fellow travelers on this adoption journey. If you can get there, I highly recommend going.
We'll be missing Donna and CJ and the boys. Saying a prayer for them as they are in China to meet Shelby!
Don't forget to check in on Tracy and Adam and Shawn and Steph who are also in China right now.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Away from a mama's heart...

One of my regular reads is the Love Without Boundaries blog. Love Without Boundaries is a wonderful organization that does so much for China's orphans.

Today's post, Dinner with the kids, details the LWB rep's dinner with the older children from one of China's orphanages. They sang to her a song which includes the line "Away from a mama's heart, where will you find happiness?" It breaks my heart to think of orphans anywhere growing up without the happiness of a forever family.
On this day, our child is away from mama's heart. And Mama's heart is full of love for that child. Saying a prayer for our little one wherever he or she is, and praying that our hearts will be united soon.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sounds of Waiting

This was written by a friend of mine. I liked it so much I asked her if I could post it here. Christina, if you're reading - you're a woman of great strength. Sending prayers as you wait.

Sounds of Waiting
Christina Mohs

The woman smiles at the uneven banjo twangs of the green frogs in the small pond off the patio. She shifts her legs to prop them up on the bottom rung of the outdoor patio table. The balmy evening breeze slowly rotates the open umbrella above and it click-click-clicks as it picks up speed. In the darkened outskirts of the lawn, the chain link fence rattles as a spooked rabbit dives under the safety of the neighbors' shed.

Through the open kitchen window, she can hear her husband on the phone. He draws out his Os, the Minnesota accent; he must be speaking to someone in his family. She hears only bits and pieces as he paces the length of the phone cord and back. "No word... could take a few more months... hard to wait."

A sudden siren ascends in volume several streets over. From inside the house, the dog scrambles to his feet, nails scratching the hardwood, to take up his throaty howl at the passing ambulance.

The breeze picks up again, rustling the dwarf cattail grasses around the pond. The woman glances at the empty swing as it creaks back and forth, back and forth.


Twelve hours away, it is a new day. A child wakes up slowly, drifting toward consciousness in the grey light as a truck outside shifts its gears and honks its horn in the thick, still air. The windows are open, and already an unbroken line of children's clothing dries over the sixth floor balcony ledge around the courtyard.

The baby reaches for the metal rungs of the crib to pull herself to her knees. The bamboo mat on which she sleeps slips and scratches against the plywood bottom of the crib. From this new position, her dark brown eyes scan the room with its peeling paint and dingy white walls. In a few hours, the babies will wander the playroom in misshapen and dented walkers, now and then jostling into each other like bumper cars, plastic wheels clattering on the floor. Some of the babies will sit still and sway from their walker seats to the tinny music from the small radio atop the counter.

But it is now still early and not all of the caretakers have arrived. A baby two rows over is crying. The sandals of one of the aunties smack on the tile floor of the hall as she approaches the room.

"Bee-eh ku, bao bao." Don't cry, baby. There are 47 babies in this room. One wail could wake them all. The auntie swiftly leaves the crib room with the fussy one. Her footfalls echo, slap-slap, slap-slap, down the hall to the feeding room.

The child lies down again. Her head has become flattened in the back from the hard surface of the crib bottom. Above her, a moth performs aerobatics in wide sweeping circles. She points a small finger at it before it flies away. The baby bends her knees, pushes her bottom off the mat, kicks both her legs straight, and allows her backside to thump back down again. She does this often. Thud. Thud. It will soothe her while she waits. Thud.


A dark-haired woman, briefcase in hand, arrives at the China Center of Adoptions government building in Beijing. Her low heels click quickly on the polished tile. In her cubicle, she flips a switch and the processing unit of her computer whirs to life.

With a sigh, she heaves the stack of color-coded files from the cart onto her desk and opens the orange one from the top. She fingers the passport photos of a blond man and woman. In their application letter, translated several months ago, they make their promises, as all adoptive parents are required to do. They say they hope to take their future daughter to museums, to the zoo. They like science, nature, spending time outdoors.

From her computer screen, several sets of dark brown eyes peer back at her. She takes her job of matching these children to their new parents very seriously. She reads the descriptions of the babies, looking perhaps for a sign, for inspiration. With the eraser of her pencil, she tap, tap, taps the orange folder.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Libby Free Day!!!

Not a day free of Libby, but the day that Libby is free of risk from the heartworm treatments. I think we'll celebrate this weekend by taking her to the dog park.
Not much to report on the adoption front. We are waiting to hear when our agency receives its next list of waiting children. Then we'll wait to hear if they match us with a child on that list. They said that since we are open to a boy, it could happen (there are many more requests for girls than boys). I'm trying not to get my hopes up so I'm not disappointed.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Blessed to be a blessing

GraceFlock has been blessed to be a blessing (stole that from Lans - I love that phrase). We leave tomorrow for Tennessee. Lans and Gary will be leading a workshop on developing a contemporary worship service in a Lutheran church. The band will be in concert Friday night and leading a worship service on Saturday. Pray for us on the road.
BTW, if you want to hear some of GraceFlock's music, you can listen and download from iTunes. 10% of CD proceeds will go to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in Biloxi, MS and to the Lutheran Disaster Response. The balance of proceeds will go to congregational outreach for Christ Our Shepherd Lutheran Church.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

14 Months Since LID

Today marks 14 months since we were logged in. And it's hockey season. One of those things makes me happy. Can you guess which?

Friday, October 05, 2007

What does this stork look like?

Referrals are here. The stork has flown, but it's difficult to see the stork clearly. The CCAA in China sent referrals out moments before closing the office for a week's holiday. Without posting the cutoff date. It appears that referrals cover November 30 or December 1, 2005. Congratulations to all the parents who received that precious call this week.

That leaves only 252 log-in days until they get to us. We are more and more confident that we will be matched with a waiting child long before China would get to us.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Monday Meditations

Matthew 10:29 -31 What's the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don't be intimidated by all this bully talk. You're worth more than a million canaries. ~The Message

"My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there's nothing my God cannot do!" Remember that song? Usually we use that song to illustrate the awesome power of God. He can move mountains and fell huge armies. But so often I forget that he can also solve the mundane problems in my life. And he cares about the smallest details of my life - even the number of hairs on my head. On Saturday we asked God to help with housebreaking of Libby. We had suffered a setback since she began heartworm treatment. By Sunday we had already seen improvement.

  1. Friends, Irene and Brian, who were recently deployed. Pray for all service men and women stationed around the world.
  2. Families hoping to be included in this next batch of referrals.
  3. First Fridays, version 2.0, beginning this Friday at North Metro Church.


  1. Libby seems to be doing well with her heartworm treatment. She is also making progress on housebreaking.
  2. The wonderful friends we have met along this journey. We love you all!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fall Festival

Today was Fall Festival at church. The day started early as I rang with the handbell choir for the both traditional services. Our contemporary service was filled will all kinds of wonderful music and stories of faith, thankfulness and grace. Then came a delicious barbecue dinner. HunnyB joined the youth group on their golf cart scavenger hunt and I wandered through the front lawn, watching the kids in the jumpy things (whatever are they really called, anyways?), and eating cotton candy. I talked to a friend who is leaving for China to get her little girl in 10 days. All in all, it was a day where God felt very close.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Travelogue on China

Last night we attended a travelogue called Perspective on Contemporary China. The gentleman presenting took a 24-day trip to China in 2003 right after it reopened from the SARSS epidemic. It was wonderful to see scenes from the land we hope to visit soon. The map above marks the route their tour group took through China.
A woman in the audience made a remark about how Asians live their lives in pursuit of excellence and are so very smart. I worry about the stereotypes our child will face, even the ones that seem positive. I hope our child will be characterized by his own personal strengths and weaknesses not pre-judged based on someone's perception of Asians.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

We've been reviewed!!!

This was posted late last night onto the CCAA website in China. They have completed review of files logged in in August 2006. That's us!!! It may still take a couple of weeks for families to be notified of questions on their dossiers, but after that, we should be just waiting for our referral.

As noted in the last post, we expect to be matched with a waiting child through our agency long before a referral would be forthcoming from the traditional program. Our dossier remains in place with CCAA so if for any reason that we opt out of the waiting child program or if a traditional referral comes first (yeah, right!), we won't lose our spot.

Win a pink Dyson!

Here's a cool contest to win a pink Dyson. Dyson has gone pink!
Target is selling them and the proceeds go to breast cancer research. They look pretty cool, so if I don't win the contest, I may have to just buy one myself.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Waiting Child Program

About three months ago we turned in our Medical Conditions Checklist to CCAI. We've requested that they match us with a Waiting Child. We were able to check specific conditions that we’ve researched and feel capable of dealing with. We have been encouraged by the experiences of our friends, CJ and Donna, Ron and Julie and Kim and Michael. We've been specifically insipred by Analiese, featured here, and feel strongly led by God in this direction.

Children in China who have something out of the ordinary are usually treated harshly. For instance, a child with a cleft lip and palate is seen as defective or bad luck. They are teased (or worse) by even adults. An abandoned special needs child in China, who does not get adopted, faces a very uncertain future.

Children with extensive needs, like those requiring surgery, are often unable to receive the kind of care and treatment that they need because of the cost involved. Families usually just can’t afford these expenses. This is the main reason why so many children with special needs are abandoned in China.

Our agency receives lists of Waiting Children every 2-3 months, and they received their latest one about a month ago. There are as many boys as girls available on the lists, so we are preparing ourselves for snips and snails and puppy dog tails as well as sugar and spice. They have told us the average time to being matched is 8-10 months.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Monday Meditations

  1. My friends at Journey to Shelby as they prepare to travel to China to meet Shelby.
  2. Libby Belle as she gets her second series of heartworm shots this week.
  3. The child who will someday be ours. We don't know if you're a boy or girl, how old or where you are, but we pray for you and that you may be a blessing to those with whom you come in contact. May your needs be met daily.
  4. GraceFlock as we prepare for our Fall mini-tour!


  1. Visit Somewhere Over the Rainbow to congratulate them on being matched with Ricky.
  2. The learning and growth happening in our lives during this time.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Amy's Contest

Head on over to Amy's Random Thoughts and read all about her contest! Sounds like fun! Join in, if you're into that kinda thing. Amy and her hubby, Michael are awesome friends and are in the process of adopting from China.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Name Me!

Stole this idea from someone who stole it from someone who..., well you get the idea. If you like it, steal it too!

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car)

Tippy Compass

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)

Moosetracks Snickerdoodle

3. YOUR "FLY Guy/Girl" NAME: (first initial of first name, first threeletters of your last name)


4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)

Det. Burgundy Dog

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born)

Michaele Mount Pleasant

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2letters of your first)


7. SUPERHERO NAME: ("The" + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink)

The Green Margarita

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers)

Clarence Lloyd

9. STRIPPER NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent,favorite candy)

Safari M&M

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother's & father's middle names )

Marie Glenn

11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher's last name, a majorcity that starts with the same letter)

Nieghbarger New York

12. SPY NAME/BOND GIRL: (your favorite season/holiday, flower)

Christmas Daisy

13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you're wearingright now + "ie" or "y")

Strawberry Gauchoie

14. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)

Special K Willow

15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: ("The" + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + "Tour")

The Knitting Sunshine Tour

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Under the magnifying glass

It's been a while since we're really had any adoption-related news to post. But here's the latest!

The CCAA in China has posted on its website that July 2006 has completed review. That means they have to be reviewing files logged in during August 2006.

During this time, China reviews our application to be sure we would be acceptable parents to an adopted child. If they need clarification of anything, they would send questions to our agency. For once, I'm hoping to not hear anything from our agency!

The next thing we hope to see is a post that August 2006 is out of review.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Never Forget

updated: Just got home from the 9/11 Memorial Service at church. The handbell choir played a song called Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace, inspired by the Prayer of Saint Francis. It was written by Kevin McChesney to honor those killed at Columbine and all victims of senseless violence. In this time of turmoil, let me remember these thoughts.
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Lucky 13

Today is the thirteen month anniversary of our Log In Date. I think we should have Chinese food for dinner. Yum! Lucky for me!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The End of an Era

Last night was our monthly First Friday adoption journey group. It's a groups of people who have, are or are considering adopting from China. It has been the most amazing experience. It's the place where this adoption feels real. There's no having to explain why it's taking so long or what LID means.

The place was crawling (or rather scampering) with adopted and bio children. We got to meet Laney and Sheridan both of whom recently joined their parents. We caught up on the lives of those who have been back for a while and celebrated the journeys of prospective parents. We were able to visit with the little angel who has opened my heart to a waiting child.

We have been meeting in the home of Dan and Susan who have adopted once from China and are logged in for another child. Beginning next month we will be moving to North Metro Church. If you are in the Metro Atlanta area, you should consider joining us on the First Friday in October.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

My new toy

What are you doing while waiting for your child? I decided I wanted to learn to play guitar. Here's my new toy:

Did you know that there are video guitar lessons on Comcast OnDemand? So far I've learned three chords! I hope I can stick with my practicing and can play lullabyes to our little one when s/he gets here. Right now I'm motivated and excited. Oh yeah, and my fingers are killing me!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy Labor Day!!!

Wishing everyone a wonderful Labor Day!

The best Labor Day present for any prospective China adoptive parent would be a referral! Congrats to my friend Tracy who made the cut. Referrals cover through November 25, 2005. This leaves only 258 log in days ahead of us.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

I've decided to join in the Thursday Thirteen Madness. Come along, if you dare!

Thirteen Things about being an Army Wife

1. You know which laundry detergents can be used on the new ACUs.
2. You call people sir or ma'am without being snarky.
3. Your dusting rags are old brown t-shirts.
4. When you walk before sunrise, you wear hubby's reflector belt.
5. You smile in disbelief when the show Army Wives depicts a close friendship between a COL(p)'s wife and a PFC's wife.
6. You know what the (p) in COL(p) means.
7. You got smacked on the backside with a sabre when you got married.
8. The world stops at 1700 for retreat.
9. You know the military alphabet - alpha, bravo, charlie, etc.
10. When hubbys asks if you're OK, you reply hooah!.
11. Outstanding is better than excellent.
12. All mechanical things in the house break when hubby is deployed.
13. You have to hit the Class VI before the weekend.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Trip to the Dog Park

Of course it was one of the hottest days of the year, but we had to go to the dog park. We adopted a section of fence in memory of Lady. It was a little sad, but her sign looked so perfect and it will be there forever - a lasting tribute to the best dog that ever lived. I still miss her every day.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thankful Thursday

I'm stealing this idea (and the graphic) from Digging a Hole to China. It's one of my favorite blogs. If you want an entertaining and often irreverent read, visit her.
  1. I'm married to a wonderful man - B is a caring, considerate and God-fearing man who I am blessed to know and love.
  2. Libby is recovering from her surgeries. She gets her stitches out today and seems to be healing well. I've seen no signs of new tumors since the first one was removed.
  3. When I moved to Georgia, I knew no one. It was tough to pack up and move away from friends I'd had for years. But since I've been here, I have met some of the most wonderful people. I'm thankful for special friends like Janet and Irene who keep me sane and love me the way I am.

What are YOU thankful for? (Answer in the comments)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Introducing Liberty Belle

I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of our family. No, it's not our child from China (I wish), it's our new doggie. We named her Liberty Belle (the Belle part is named for her doggie cousin) and we call her Libby. She already knows her name and is working her way into our hearts and home. She's about three years old and came to us from the local pound. There are so many pets there who need loving homes.

She's such a sweetie and everyone she meets falls in love with her. She has a couple of medical issues we are treating. Please say a prayer she can beat these and grow strong and healthy. Libby has bonded to me so strongly she practically panics if I leave her sight. So we continue to work on her confidence that Mommy won't leave her. I do wonder if God is preparing us for adopting a child who's afraid of being abandoned.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Happy Birthday to our log in date!

Today marks one year since we were logged in by China. I'm feeling pretty zen about the wait right now so I'm not going to rant about how we thought we'd be traveling about this time. But, what a difference a year makes!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Digging a hole to China

Remember when you were a kid and would dig in the backyard or sandbox? I thought if I would dig really hard, I could dig all the way to China. Of course, no matter how hard I'd dig, I'd never get to China. Sometimes this adoption journey feels like that.

I totally neglected to report that referrals arrived last week. The CCAA matched dossiers logged in through November 21, 2005. This leaves 262 log-in days ahead of us. It's nice to see this number decreasing though the rate of decrease is not what I'd like to see! Each month that China matches less than a month's worth of log-ins makes puts us further from our child.

I tell friends and family we're probably at least a year away from being matched. I've been saying that for almost a year now. It's difficult to never be making progress. All day long I dig and dig, but the hole never gets deeper and the pile of dirt never grows.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Top 10

This is making the rounds in the China adoption community. It kinda sums up a lot.

Top 10 Ways You Know You've Waited Too Long For a Referral From China:
10. You've stopped telling people you're adopting from China because chances are the next time you run into them you'll still be waiting.
9. When someone tells you a far off date in the future as 12-18 months you think to yourself "wow, that's coming up so soon!"
8. You know people who have had two kids in the time you've been waiting for a referral from China.
7. The last Olympics were happening when you started trying for a family and there's a good chance you'll be in China for the '08 Olympics there.
6. You know couples who have gotten engaged, married and had a baby all while you've been trying to start a family.
5. You try out all the baby stuff on the cat to "practice"-- and you take pictures to post on your website because there's no other news to report.
4. You automatically convert the time to Beijing time in your head because you think maybe the CCAA is working on referrals.
3. Your nursery bedding has been discontinued.
2. You've had to dust cobwebs off the changing table in the nursery.
1. You've gone on your last childless vacation.....5 times!!!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Welcome Home Warrior Citizen

Today was the Welcome Home Warrior Citizen ceremony to recognize Army Reservists from USARC who have completed a deployment. Hunny B received an encased American flag, a specially-designed commemorative coin and a 'Welcome Home Warrior-Citizen' flag (see picture). I got a set of lapel pins. All of the children received and ACU backpack or a teddy bear in ACUs. Oh, how I wish we had a little one so I could get my hands on one of those bears. The whole ceremoney was very cool.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The true cost of adopting from China

When we first began the process of adopting from China, the wait from log in to being matched was about 8 months. The most recent set of matches waited over 20 months and the wait continues to grow. When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping!!! Those of you who know me are aware that my shopping obsession is shoes. (and now the whole blogisphere knows too!)

I have acquired no fewer than 14 pair of shoes since our dossier was logged in. 'Nuff said!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Army Wives

So, my latest obsession is the new show, Army Wives. Kinda like Desperate Housewives goes to Ft. Bragg.

Yes, some of it's kinda Hollywood. But most of my life wouldn't make interesting TV. I'm sure they have to jazz it up and create some unrealistic situations or no one would watch. There are some inaccuracies, to be sure. There're some sloppy uniforms and more than a little "Pizza Delivery! (our slang for bad beret wear).

But some of the situations are amazingly true-to-life. Buying items for deployment checklists, without even knowing what the stuff is. Having life stop at 1700 for retreat. Jody's. Having to be a single mom while still being married. The camaraderie that comes from a shared experience of being married to a Soldier, even if you've never met the person. I love how they show the interaction of Soldier and spouse and that this is an occupation that is shared as a couple, whether the spouse works outside the home or not.

I'm interested to see if anyone who's not affiliated with the military is watching and enjoying this. A lot of my Army spouse friends are consumed with discussing this each Monday morning.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Yikes! Our fingerprints have expired. Now, I watch CSI and on that show, they can find the bad guys from fingerprints that are years old. So I know fingerprints don't really expire. I believe that it only our background check that has expired. However, USCIS background checks seem to be triggered by the act of taking fingerprints. We have plenty of time to get them updated when we renew our 797c. It does seem to me that they could just rerun the background check with our fingerprints that they now have on file. But I'm often accused of unreasonably expecting governmental agencies to behave logically.

It just feels kinda funny, being without "valid" fingerprints....

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rest in Peace

Lady Byng
June 15, 1993 - July 18, 2007
Playing with Bogey in doggie heaven

Monday, July 16, 2007

Phoenix Flowers

Here are my Phoenix flowers. No, not flowers from Arizona, but flowers that rose from the ashes. I left my gerber daisies in their pot outside all winter long, through three pretty hard freezes (for Georgia, at least). This Spring when I went to replant the pot - lo and behold - I found new growth. This is what they look like today!

Did I mention that gerber daisies are my favorite flower?

This one goes to eleven

July 10 marked the eleven month anniversary of the date our dossier was logged in by the CCAA in China. It's remarkable how this time has flown. We're spending our time preparing to be parents. We've read some remarkable books and watched some wonderful videos. We're planning a few trips as a couple without children. In short, we're trying to enjoy the journey and not just rush to the end.

Referrals are here!

On July 5, referrals arrived for those logged in through November 14, 2005. A whole week of LIDs this month. Who'd have expected that a week would seem like a lot. Only 260 log-in dates ahead of us.

It's easy to be excited for those who are receving that precious little picture and the news of their child match. It's hard to be excited for ourselves. At the rate of one week of LIDs per month, our match is 39 months away. Pray for the process to pick up.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

We're back!!!!

We're back from a wonderful trip north to visit friends and family. We had such a good time staying with friends at their lake house. My parents drove down and spent several days as well. A good time was had by all!

It's been busy transitioning back to day-to-day life and getting the blog back up to date, but I'm trying.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

OK, this is pretty cool!

Maybe most of you already know about this, but I recently discovered Bloglines. If you're one of the techies who's been doing this for years, just ignore me. But if you're a newbie like me, you might find it pretty darn cool.

Bloglines lets you subscribe to the blogs you read most so you can see when a new post has been made. Rather than clicking on link after link only to find no updates, you can see all your subscribed blogs on one page and the ones with new content will be highlighted. It also can generate a list of links to your favorite blogs that you can include in your blog (they call it a blogroll). It may also do laundry and dishes, but I haven't figured that out yet.

Anyways, if you click on this link, it will walk you through setting up an account and subscribe you to my blog. This is not a paid advertisement - I just thought it was cool and had to share.
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