Monday, December 31, 2012

It's a Girl!!

I know you're not going to believe it.  We barely do ourselves.  But it's all in God's timing!  

Now that we have our PA, our pre-approval today... I am now happy to introduce Dang Shi Qing.  I wasn't even allowed to say we were matched until PA.  Most parents can at least say their matched, but not provide details.  My agency said not to make a peep about match or anything until PA!

It's been hard; so I've been secretly post-blogging everything and will finally have it all posted up in it's correct timeline.  

The story of how we got matched (when told it'd be 14 months) is in another post.  But I thought the exciting stuff should come first!

Okay, back to Dang Shi Qing!  Last name Dang, first name Shi Qing.  (That's how they arrange the name in China.)  It's pronounced Dong Shur Cheeng.

Notice the 3 Chinese ornaments overhead?
1. Her photo 2. China - waiting 3. Stork carrying her
Well first, I will do like what another poster did and I will share a photo of her once a week.  Gives me something to look forward to sharing and makes the new wait on the other side of things not seem so long.  At least, that's the plan. I'm sure the wait is agonizing, no matter what!



What I can share about her is that she is 14 months old.  Her birthday is October 23, 2011.  She was brought to her SWI (orphanage/social welfare institute) on January 11th.  She currently resides at the Sanmenxia Social Welfare Institute in the Henan Provence.  

ANYONE WHO HAS ADOPTED FROM THE SANMENXIA SWI, PLEASE, CONTACT ME!! I'd love to learn more!

Now from my limited knowledge, children's names and where they come from are typically a mystery.  (I mean everyone knows the SWI gives it to the child, but why is unknown.)  You are usually just given their name; and you look up their Chinese character's meaning.  From there you imagine why they were given the names they were by their SWI.  I got to learn immediately from her profile that she wasn't just given her name thoughtlessly.  It was chosen with the utmost care.  It makes me so warm and thankful that she was loved from the start and given a special name.

In her file, it says, "Where Shi Qing's name comes from: Because she is an extremely pretty little girl, we hope that her future life is beautiful and picturesque.  We also hope that her future is a road of sunshine without wind or rain.  Therefore, we gave her the beautiful name of Shi Qing, Shi (words referring to poetry, poem) and Qing (fine or clear weather)."  

She is described as a "smart little girl", "her hands are extremely nimble and she likes to hold onto things", "she will sometimes be like a little princess and get upset and when you walk to her and don't hold her she will cry very heartily, but if you do hold her she will smile and be very pleased".  She "can stand when supporting herself", "sit on her own", "crawl", "make ma ma and ba ba sounds", "knows her name", and "claps hands with the nannies".  She "isn't a picky eater", "has a ready smile", is "quiet", but can be a "crier" when sleep time and likes to "sleep with the covers over her head".  

All I know is I have a child whose personality shines in her photos.  She seems alert and happy.  I'm so excited to be a mother to this child!  Praise God!

She sounds perfect to me!  I can't wait to get my baby home!
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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Adoption Bug Fundraiser Coming Down


I just got an email from Adoption Bug today.

"We want to notify you that since your account has been inactive for over 90 days, your fundraiser store with Adoption Bug will be disabled on January 1, 2013. Unfortunately, you have not sold any items since opening your store, so you will not be receiving a commission check. Thanks again for setting up a fundraiser with Adoption Bug. We wish you the best on your adoption journey and hope you have a very Happy New Year."

Therefore, it will be closed on Tuesday.

I try to push our fundraisers gently on facebook or on this site.  I try to not be obnoxious about it.  But every dollar helps.  I still have the Amazon (top left corner), our CafePress and Just Love Coffee (click fundraising at the top) left.  If you didn't get anything to pay it forward for the holidays, maybe you could try one of the 3 links here.

The new year is just around the corner!  And I predict it will be a fabulous one!
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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas at Grandma's


Today was Christmas at Grandma's house.  My mom and her 2 sisters, my Godmother, and my cousins and their little ones were all there.

We ate lunch, which was a pitch-in of sorts and then played white elephant. 

After everyone was done stealing the best stuff and the game over I handed my grandmother a green sparkly gift bag and told her it was for her.

She opened it up and pulled out a black frame that said "Great Grandma" on it with a picture of Ashton. She asked if it was her.  I said, "yes".  Her photo was then passed around the room and I was answering questions over here, while my mom showed 3 outfits she was crocheting, and my husband was answering questions over there.  

Everyone was very happy to finally see Ashton.  I told them I don't have P.A. yet, so no blogging, facebooking or anything about her.  

Then we watched old 8mm converted to DVD of our mothers as children.  Grandmas and my mom and aunts were having a hoot seeing all the footage.  It was cool!

Great Christmas!
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Friday, December 28, 2012

Ashton's Christmas Present

I love Etsy.  And I've had several things marked as favorites for a long, long time (since starting this adoption process).  On the 12th of December I decided I wanted to buy Ashton something for Christmas, something for her room.  So I went to my favorites on Etsy and looked through what I had marked as a favorite.

One of them was of a painting of a girl, on a swing, under a cherry blossom tree.  You could change the girl's hair to brown, black, blonde, or even red.  But the girl was wearing a pink dress and the cherry blossoms were every shade of pink you could imagine! (http://www.etsy.com/shop/jolinne)

I really adore the painting, however it's pink.  And my girl's room is red.  Yes, it would go, but I was purposely avoiding pink.  I wanted the painting of the girl in a red dress with red flowers.  Sure, I could change the hair color, but could the artist change the flowers and dress color?

I decided it couldn't hurt to ask.  So, I emailed her.  Within a few hours she responded, "Yes, I can change the colors for you to redder on the cherry blossom image."

Really?!?  Awesome!!  So, I put in my order.  And it arrived today!  I didn't expect it so soon.  Especially with all of the Christmas mailings.  This is the hardest time to get anything mailed in a decent amount of time.  Even better, it was packaged very well and presented so nicely!  I was really impressed.



It came wrapped in cellophane and in a pretty bow with her tag by the bow, as well as a thank you card and info for free shipping on a next order.  I was impressed how she was able to redden the flowers and her dress and shoes.  (Her hair bows already red :) )




I love details, especially details that are done carefully and with heart.  I could tell she put thought into this for me.  I really appreciated it so much!  I can't wait to hang it up in Ashton's room.  I have 2 spots to choose from.  I keep flipping back and forth where to hang it!

It looks so good against her red walls!!



If you like her work, I highly recommend you order from her shop!
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Russian Adoptions Stopped


I am deeply saddened to hear that President Vladimir Putin signed the law banning the U.S. from adopting Russian children!  It takes effect on January 1st.  This terminates the 52 adoptions that were matched to American families!

I hate how this victimizes the children to make a political point.

What is also sad is what Russia says about America to justify this law, such as their claims that Americans adopt the kids for organ transplants, sex toys, or cannon fodder for the Army.  Really?!?

I just went through so many hoops myself to be considered a suitable family to adopt.  There are too many amazing families that can't adopt, because of marriage, sexuality, age, and other discriminations.  What a slap in the face for these loving families.

My heart goes out to the families that are caught in the middle of this to have their child ripped from their hearts.  To be so excited, matched, and being patient with all the paperwork, to only have this happen!

What if I, myself, decided not to adopt from China, but chose Russia instead.  How could I cope if I were one of those 50 families.  It's crushing!

I pray God that Russia will open their doors again soon and for the lives and well being for all those children.
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

LOI to China


I submitted my LOI as fast as I could.  I had it ready on the 21st around 1:30 A.M.  I didn't turn it in until later that day along with other paperwork that CCAI asked for.

Well, I know that with the holidays it wouldn't go to China immediately.  They had to get my LOI and translate it to Chinese and then submit.  It was submitted on the 27th, a week after I submitted... but in all fairness that is a weekend and 2 holidays later with only 1 workday in between.

So though I feel like I've been waiting for P.A. since the 21st, it's really only been since the 27th.  And it has been so hard not to share all of this.  Once I hit P.A., which I pray comes next week, then I can share my happy madness   And I can send our sweet Thumper a care package, which I have been working on since match!

The wait has been hard, but I believe this wait for P.A. then L.O.A. will be the worst!
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Added Some Lettering


Just added a few letters to her room!!  I superglued the bits of cherry blossoms to the letters myself.  Turned out pretty well!  I really love the blinged out flower at the top.  Found it on mega-sale.  Think it adds to the name and cherry blossom theme.  I love it.  Just needs Ashton inside the crib asking to be picked up!  I can almost picture it. Someday... soon!  
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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Last Bachelor Christmas


This will be our last Christmas without Ashton.  It seems so surreal.  I cannot express what it is like knowing your next Christmas is going to have our daughter in it.  I cannot wait for 2013 to begin!!

Christmas Eve is a big day with my husband's family.  We usually spend it with his parents at their house.  But since his mom passed in July, we knew this Christmas was going to be really hard.  His father didn't want to spend Christmas at his house; he didn't even have the heart to go to Christmas Eve service.  

So, this Christmas was different.  We spent it at my husband's sister's house.  When we got there, we wondered how his father would take the news.  We were worried if Christmas Eve would be a good day or a bad day.  His dad is taking Kay's death very hard.  He put a Christmas wreath on her grave earlier that day.

My mother met us at our house and we all drove to my sister-in-law's place.

When we arrived his sister was finishing up the last meal items and his father was asleep on the couch.  He is still recouping from his heart attack and has been sleeping a lot since.

Once he was up and our niece and nephew arrived, we all ate dinner.  It was sub sandwich night.  But there was a great nacho dip and chips.  I had that and a turkey sub.  Then we played a few games together.  We played Pictionary Man then Catch Phrase.  Everyone seemed in good spirits.

Then is was present time.  Our gift to my father-in-law was laid out to give last.  My husband wrapped up her picture, in a beautiful stained glass picture frame, in the biggest box he could find.

When his father opened it, he thanked us for the frame, not figuring out that the photo was of Ashton.  We had to tell him.  It took a second to sink in.  Then the whole family was clamoring over him to look at the picture.  Everyone was smitten!  Ashton's referral was a huge success!
The frame we gave his father and his sister's Christmas tree.
Then the next day was Christmas day.  We woke up to getting ready to skype my best friend who lives in Finland.  We got on and talked for quite a bit.  It was about 4 P.M. their time; and 9 A.M. our time.  We then showed them our Christmas tree and were showing them a new ornament my mother bought us.
It reads, "Love at first sight!" and has a rabbit :) on it with the year 2012.
They couldn't see it clearly enough.  We had to tell them it was of our daughter.  My friend, Ms. M asked if she had blonde hair.  That's when I knew I better show them the actual photos. 

They oohed and aahed over her and thought she was perfect as we did.  Ms. M is still going to try and meet us a couple days in China.  She'd really like to meet us in Guangzhou so she can witness the Buddhist blessing.  That's as close as she'd get to seeing her baptized, since she can't make it to the states. And as her Godparent, I thought it'd be cool for her to witness the Chinese blessing and her other Godparents to be there for her baptism.

They were very excited for us.  Their daughter saw her photo and just said, "I'm not a baby."  She'll be 3 next month.  I'm sure Little Ms. S will warm up to our baby.

Then, we called my Dad and PJ.  My brother flew from Hawaii to Texas to spend Christmas with them.  So, I had all 3 on the phone.  Unfortunately, they don't have skype.  We told them over the phone.  They sounded happy.  I told them I emailed them the photos.  They opened them up and said she was beautiful.  Dad said he'd fly up to see her when we got back and would probably do Christmas with us as well.  We are very excited to hear that my Dad is excited.  

My brother though will be in Hawaii, so I don't know when he'll be able to see her.  But he does have skype on his personal computer at home.  So he can see her in China when we go.

We then went to my cousin-in-law's house and had a feast.  I had cheesy potatoes, garlic potatoes, mashed potatoes, turkey, green bean casserole  corn, and more... it was fantastic!  We all played farkle and had a great time.

Up next is my mother's family Christmas on Saturday... when I get to share with my Godmother (my mom's cousin), my Grandmother, my Aunts/Uncles, and cousins.  It will be a great day!  I can't wait!!

I know next Christmas will be the best Christmas ever, but so far, this is a hard Christmas to top!
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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Her First Birthday that We Celebrated

We missed her 1st birthday.  I'm very, very saddened that we weren't aware and couldn't send her anything to tell her happy birthday.  I'm saddened we couldn't send her a Christmas package either.  But you better betcha she's getting a "Hey we're your family!" package immediately!

Of course when I found out her birthday, I scrolled through my blog to see what I was doing.

On the day she was born, I did our family photo for our dossier!  It was like I was trying to have her with us.  We even have room for her in the photos.

Then this year on her first birthday I was celebrating Ms. N coming back after being out for weeks of recovery.  We went out for a Mexican lunch.

At least I posted and knew what I was doing on her birthdays.  That makes me so happy!

Regardless, when the 23rd came it was her 14 month birthday.  And seeing how 14 is a special number, we celebrated her birthday as if it was her 1st birthday... and it really was for us.

We baked a few chocolate chip cookies and put a pink candle in one of them to celebrate her 14 month birthday.  We wish it was with her, but we know we'll be with her very soon.
My husband and I sang, "Happy Birthday" to the little cookie, thinking of her.  We blew out the candle together.

We'll definitely have an amazing 2nd birthday together, that will be for sure!  


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Friday, December 21, 2012

The Day After Match

I woke up finally an hour before I was supposed to, and after waking up almost literally every hour, I decided I'd just get up and get ready for work.  The funny thing was, I wasn't hungry.  I just wanted an email back from our agency to lock in her file.

I got to work and by 9:30 A.M. I got a call from my husband to see if I got an email yet.  This is so unusual.  My husband never calls to check up like that.  But this was different.  He saw a girl that potentially was our daughter and he was afraid there could be a way she could slip through our fingers.  But as our agency is in Colorado and a couple hours behind, I knew it would be some time until I heard from them.

Finally by 10:23 A.M. I got an email. "Thank you for getting back to me!  I’m happy to hear you are interested!   Once you have had her file reviewed and you have made your final decision, please let me know as soon as possible."

My head was spinning.  We had MADE a decision; we want her.  I wrote "she's our girl" but it obviously it didn't translate.  I quickly went to call the agency.  Luckily, it didn't go to voice mail.  I said, "We want her. I have her LOI ready."  She laughed, said "Congratulations!"  Then told me there were a couple things to get done before LOI.  She'd email me the details.  

She also said that there was a long line waiting for her file after us.  I have no idea how we managed to get her first.  My husband thinks his mom, Kay, was blessing us that night and holding her for us.  I'd like to think that angel was holding her file and protecting her for us all this time.

About 20 minutes later, I had a check off list email from our agency of things to gather from our dossier and submit our LOI.  I submitted it to her a couple hours later.  She said she was very impressed with my speed and would get it translated right away.  

She said we should expect China to lock the file by the following week.  Then a couple weeks after that we should have P.A.  We are allowed to share with family at this time, but not anyone else.  We can't even mention us being matched on my blog, on facebook, not to that realm of life.

She mentioned more work would come my way the following week, but to enjoy Christmas and just bask in being parents and matched to our daughter!  I told her it'd be an amazing Christmas. That's how we'd tell our family.

We'd spend Christmas Eve with my husband's family, and we'd tell them then. Then during Christmas we'd tell my Dad, PJ, and my brother.  We'd also tell my BF in Finland when we skype that day.  Then when we have Christmas with my mother's side of the family on Saturday the 29th, we'd tell them!  This would be a lot of fun... however, keeping it to ourselves until each Christmas celebration would be hard.  And not able to blog or facebook about it and learn more about her SWI and what to start doing next would be really hard.

We were so blessed; we had to hold the biggest secret we ever had for several days... talk about torture!
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

14 Months, Make It 14 Hours


After feeling a bit saddened from being told about a 14 month wait, I finished my work day and got home.  It was an ugly, muddy, rainy day and I felt disheartened.  My slow wait had gotten incredibly s...l...o...w...e...r.

I knew it was all in God's timing, but to hear it would be longer than I imagined was still hard to swallow.  But I did my best to try and look at things positively.

I thought I'd cheer myself up by looking at pinafore patterns on Etsy, maybe a cherry blossom something, or some other form of cheap shopping therapy.

When I arrived home, my husband said he had some extra work to get done a few miles away and if I wanted to go with him.  I said no, I'd stay take care of the pups and stay home.  He usually doesn't ask me to go with him; I was touched he wanted my company.  I might have gone if I didn't feel so disheartened.  He said he'd be a little over half an hour and left.

I was on Etsy maybe 4 minutes and didn't feel like shopping.  I just couldn't browse.  I wasn't up for a search.  So, I clicked on my agency's site.  There were some new additions to the waiting child/special focus page.  I looked through them.  One was of a beautiful, baby girl.  I read her description.  Some of it was of concern, but was enough to peak my interest.  But realistically I'm thinking this surly is not THE ONE... and my husband wasn't here.  Then, I called my mother just to let her have a look to see if it aroused her interest as it did mine.

She looked on the site too.  I was curious if she saw what I saw... the possibility.  We chatted saying it could be worse or better than what they're hinting at.  We both came to the conclusion that it was definitely a worth to look at her file.  

My head was spinning... really?  Worth looking at her file?  I'm sure she's not THE ONE.  Just getting more information... but getting more information, wow that's serious.  I started getting anxious and nervous.

I began rationalizing with my mother.  I said, "I shouldn't ask for her file without my husband having looked at it".  She said, "Don't lose the file.  You can return it if he's not interested".  That is very unlike the two of us.  I'm usually one to go with my heart and be impulsive, wanting to dive in; and my mother is always the more cautious one.  It was so strange to see us the other way around.

So, I thought for a second.  I can't hurt to inquire.  Why not.  I said, "Okay, I'll email the same lady at the agency." This being the same, sweet woman who only hours earlier told me I would be waiting 18 months from MCC.

I typed a short email asking, "Am I allowed to see the file on your Waiting Child site to see if our family is interested?"

I told mom I sent the email.  My mom said, "Well you better call her too".  I said, "No, I'm just going to send that email".  She said "Do it.  Don't loose the chance."  

Again, I was feeling like I was wrong to step forward without talking with my husband.  I didn't want to make this decision without him.  And what if he didn't want to look at the file?  What if you're frowned upon for looking at a lot of files.  How "interested" is validation enough to see?  I didn't want to upset anyone or upset anything.  But I was truly interested... but also scared.  I'm not sure if I was scared of her being a fit or not a fit.  I think it was afraid of overstepping my husband or being let down, but there was so many factors.  Regardless I was just anxious all the same.  I felt silly calling up inquiring about the file too, because what if at first glance her file was too much for us to handle?  I'd feel embarrassed.  But then my mother was afraid someone else would jump at her and see the same possibilities we did; and we'd loose this girl.  I understood the facts, but it just spiked my nerves.

So, I called her up and got her voice mail.  This was about the time my husband gets home and the dogs are barking to greet him.  Therefore, I couldn't hear the beep from her voice message to leave a voice mail; so I hung up.  She may have gotten a message of me saying, "I didn't hear a beep.  Hello?  Puppies, quiet!  I'll call back!"  Talk about embarrassing!  At least I got being embarrassed done and over with.

I called back again and that time left an articulate message.  Whew!

I showed my husband her brief description on the website and the 3 photos they had of her.  I ask him if he minded that I tried to get her file without talking to him first.  He didn't care.  And what was shocking, my husband was VERY interested; which surprised me, but helped validate our "rush".

Not 10 minutes later, at 6:32 P.M. I get her file from the agency with the message, "Here’s the file you asked about in your message.  Please look over her information and let me know tomorrow what your initial thoughts are.  Thanks so much!"

There were 2 more photos, 7 pages of translated reports, and 6 of the same pages in Chinese.

We read and read; and all 3 of us are talking over each other.  Now the nerves have a new element.  Looking and discussing the file, the whole time I felt like  I was in a silo or felt numb.  I felt so detached to everything.  I was really concentrating, just going through everything studying it all.  It looked too good to be true to us.  But there were definitely some technical things that were over our heads.

We then decided to call a friend of ours who is a doctor.  We wanted his opinion to read some of the things that were over our heads in the reports.  To see if any huge red flags stuck out.  After we got a hold of him and he got home from work (that wait felt like it took forever), he said it seemed good enough (no red flags to stop here) to go pay for a professional opinion.

We decide to have her reports checked by professional doctors at Riley Hospital for Children, here in Indy.  Well, it's now nearing 8 P.M.  So, I have to call their 24-hour hotline.

The whole time I'm anxious and nervous, but still numb.  I can't describe the feeling.  It's not excited. It's just anxiety, because of trying to access all the information in a fast time to respond back to the agency and trying to be thorough at the same time.  The deadline and sense of urgency was the pressure I was feeling.

The receptionist was so-so sweet.  She loved my possible match adoption story and said, "I'll find you who you need".  

We had a bit of a cat and mouse game of waiting for each doctor to call us, but it went pretty smoothly.  Just took a lot of time.  We were able to have a couple doctors give us their opinions.  The scary part was her needs looked more than promising.  This was something we could handle (and for privacy, we are keeping her needs confidential.)

We couldn't believe we were getting the information we were getting.  We were expecting them to stress the worse case scenarios, to dash our hopes that it was too good to be true as we saw it, and tell us we didn't think of this huge issue or this.  Now sure, things happen or things come that were undetected.  We are expecting things that are not listed in the limited information we have.  But you get that with all children.  Right now, things looked good.  The doctors were very encouraging.  We were floored.  My husband and I began holding each other's hand trying to ground each other when hearing the good news.

There was no question after that.  All 3 of us knew to proceed.  God had laid our precious, little girl in our laps.  Now it was time to bring her home.

So, at 11:42 P.M. we sent an email to our agency that simply stated, "We are very interested!  That's our girl!"

Then, I knew I had better start writing our letter of intent, our LOI.  So, I wrote out in Word that we wanted her, would protect her, give her an education, and medical assistance.  I emailed the LOI to my work email so I'd have it ready when I got a call or email back from the agency the next day.

Then it was to get ready for bed.  That's when I looked up and looked out the window and noticed it had been snowing during that whole time.  It was our first snow of the season.  It was as if the ugly, rainy, muddy world that I came home from had turned to a pristine, beautiful, snow white as we were learning about our child.  It was as if God were physically showing us that our world was forever changing into something beautiful.  God also has a sense of humor, not 14 hours ago I had thought we wouldn't be matched for another 14 months, but then this child is all of a sudden here.  Now!

Getting ready for bed was hard.  I was waiting to feel excited now.  But I still felt oddly confused, or at odds.  Thoughts were swirling.  Did we really do what I think we did?  Are we truly sure we want her?  Is this happening?  This is too fast, this can't be right.  Why wasn't I excited?  We were still in shock and still numb. but all the anxiety was still there.  How would I possibly sleep?  I needed some reassurance.  It was already 1:30 A.M.  I had work the next day.  I was having problems focusing on my bedtime routine.  I forgot to moisturize, brush teeth; I was lucky to remember to put on my pajamas.  I couldn't do the things I typically do every night.  I was a mess.

As I laid in bed, a swirl of thoughts were going through my head.  The end of the world is supposed to happen tomorrow... hehe.  It was as if she was my Myan Apocalypse.  My world is FOREVER changed.  She is year of the rabbit!  My girl is Thumper!!  I was wearing Thumper pajamas!  I can "wrap" her up for Christmas and share with the family!  How fun would that be?  We could be in China by April or July!  Wow, that's so soon!  She's lived through 2 Halloweens and 1 Christmas.  Her second Christmas, she will have a family!  Gotta sleep... gotta sleep...  and sleep finally came.

But of course I kept waking up about every hour.  The next day I ran purely on adrenaline.  
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Longer Than You Think


I got a newsletter from my agency on Monday.  It mentioned to be sure to update how you'd like to be contacted, or they default to calling your home phone.  So I emailed my agency telling them to contact me via my cell phone.  

I got an email back the next day saying thank you for the update and if they could answer any questions for me.

I thought, since they asked, I'd inquire about my wait time to a referral.  I was thinking 6-12 months roughly from my LID (lock in date/dossier in China) date.  I've waited about 4 months so far.  But when anyone in person asks me I tell them the wait is anywhere from tomorrow - 2 years.  I thought 2 years is a long time, but things happen.  But I'd feel good knowing I waited so much less.

I got a call from my agency today.  I was so excited.  I mean they wouldn't just call to tell me a wait time would they?  They could just email me that.  They'd have to call about a referral.

The call was that I'd be waiting about 18 months from my MCC (medical conditions checklist) date, which is early August.  I wasn't surprised, but I was still let down.  I really was hoping to be told 6-12.  But as I was telling people 2 years, I guess this is sooner and "better" news technically.

But I'm still disappointed.  But that just means I have a lot more to do.  I can save up a lot more money to make things easier.  I have time to get everything just right for her.  So, possibly by February 2014, I may have a match.  I was really hoping for 2013.  I kept thinking that'd be my year...  it still could be.  But it really seems unlikely.

I wish I turned in my MCC earlier, but I didn't know I could turn it in before LID until the time I did turn it in.  Oh, well.  I know God has our child already matched to us.  Maybe she isn't even born yet. I'm on his timeline, not mine.  I will celebrate the birth of Jesus and know that it's all okay.  I just wish my heart believed my head.


I am ready to wait; I can wait.  I just wasn't expecting to wait through next year.  That's the hard part.  As there's nothing I can do about it.  I will just make peace with it.  But now I'm not really looking forward to 2013 anymore...

Who knows, maybe she's out there, waiting for me too and the perfect fit, unseen by my agency and is just months away.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fun Birthday


This is Blue II, Butler's mascot.  Thought it was appropriate.
I have had a busy few days.  First off, Saturday, my birthday was great.  I got to Skype with my best bud, Ms. M from Finland.  I got to see her Little Miss S.  She sang Happy Birthday to me in Finnish.  She even wiggled about.  I'm not sure if it was dancing, but it was cute and funny.  Her hair has grown so much since I saw her this summer!

Then my mom came over.  We spent part of the day together.  I went looking for pinafore patterns to sew for Ashton.  I thought that would be an easy thing to learn to sew.  And something I wanted to sew.  However, what I saw in my head didn't match anything in any of the pattern books.  I found some pdf patterns for sale on Etsy, but I don't know if printing it on 8.5 x 11 paper is the same as pattern sheets.  And being a fresh beginner who hasn't done this, I don't think it wise to start that way.  So I'm back to the drawing board.

We ate at my favorite restaurant and then went home and watched Butler beat IU!  Whoo hoo!!  Butler University beat Indiana University in basketball!  Big upset!  It was a great game and they were tied at the end so went into overtime!  It was crazy!  I went to Butler and my mother went to IU.  So I kept telling her for my birthday I wanted to kick her butt.  My husband said we'd be lucky to not loose less than 20 points!  But we ended up kicking butt!  Go Dawgs!!  

Then my friend Ms. D and her husband came over to play board games.  She gave me the funniest birthday card.  It said, "If we were dogs and I was wearing a cone around my head, you'd still find a way to tell me I looked good.  That's the kind of friends we are."  I laughed so hard, because it's so true.  We played many of my favorite games and my husband surprised me with a cream cheese danish.  I'd been craving one since Iowa.  They had them for breakfast and I had to have more!

So, Saturday was fun.  Sunday, my husband had to go to his father's and spend the night.  It was another bad day for him.  He is still taking Kay's death very hard.  And having the holidays without her is extremely hard.  I can only pray that God heals his broken heart and helps him live life with a spring in his step again.

Yesterday was a full day with meetings and then a work dinner.  I didn't get home until really late.  Today is small group with church and then tomorrow is time with a neighbor who didn't get to make it on Saturday.  So full days ahead.  I'm looking forward to Friday night because then it's a long holiday for me.  My last vacation was my one week July.  I get next Monday through Thursday off. 

I'm going to enjoy my extended vacation.  Because I won't be taking any vacation in 2013.  I'm saving it all for China.  If I don't go to China next year, I'll have a bunch to spend by the end of the year.   I'm very anxious to know if and when we'd go to China.  Once matched we could leave between 4-7 months after! So exciting to think about.
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Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Advent Calendar


I love advent calendars.  Well, I love unique, fun advent calendars.  I remember getting my first advent calendar.  I must have been in the 1st grade. My mother bought one that was cardboard with chocolate inside.  Everyday I opened a new door to a newly, Christmas-shaped chocolate.  I was hooked.

Today I have a wooden one with Christmas shapes on them.  There are so many ways to do an advent calendar, and I think they can be really fun for children.  So when I bought my daughter a nativity set, I found out there was also a matching advent calendar.  I was so excited... I mean REALLY excited, like a kid in a candy store.  You would think I was getting it for myself.  And half joking aside, if Ashton doesn't like it, I'd have fun with it.

So I waited and waited, knowing I would buy it, but shouldn't.  I finally broke down and bought it.  I am so thrilled!  It's adorable!



What I love about it is that it's the nativity scene.  It's the real meaning of Christmas.  Also, it helps the young ones learn their numbers and colors.  As the days of the week are on the back of the pieces as well as their corresponding week color.

There are so many things for me to look forward to Ashton playing, using, wearing... there are a lot of future memories that I have physical pieces of and hints of what could be... and I can't wait for them to come!  

Now, if only I had a countdown calendar to match day and gotcha day!
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fired with Questions

Last night I was at a Christmas party.  There was a pitch-in dinner and white elephant exchange.

Our friends brought main dish that they talked up for a year called the bacon bomb!  It's pork wrapped in pork sausage, wrapped in bacon!  And MAN it was GOOD!  So moist!  Everyone was faking heart attacks.

There were some new people we hadn't met at the party.  One was a striking young woman, she looked like a model.  She was a chatterbox.  

Well, when I was showing friends pictures of the nursery on the phone, she asked if I was pregnant.  I said, "No, we're adopting."  She lit up and had so many questions.  Lots that I've heard before.

Why China?  Do I know what I'm going to get?  Is it expensive?  Do I pay in a lump sum?  What's her name?  Could we not have our own?

All these I'm so used to and was able to deflect or answer bluntly to her curiosity.   I knew she meant well.  But then I was hit with a curve ball.  I was asked several questions I wasn't prepared for.

So here's the set up.  She asks, "Could you not have your own?"  

I reply easily as I have before, "I don't know.  We never tried.  Adoption was our first choice to expand our family."

"You mean you've never done it?"

I'm thinking, huh?  Odd way of thinking, but okay we'll go down this track... so I reply, "Of course.  We just never tried to have our own.  We wanted to adopt from the beginning."

Then she pops with, "So do you ever use protection?"

I'm whirling that she's still on the procreation topic, and I really don't see what any of that has to do with anything, but I trudge on.  "I'm on birth control."

"Oh. So did you two know before you were married that you wanted to adopt?"

We steered back on course.  Whew!  I mean, none of my close friends got that specific.  And if they did, I would have been put aback for a second, but then without a beat would answer them because they're my friends and are interested and respectful.  But a stranger... that was new territory for me!

She ended up very sweet and energetic.  But man, no holds bar on that girl!  I'm just glad it didn't get more uncomfortable.  I always wonder how I'd handle inappropriate questions.  I would like to say I'd be witty and have great, funny, dance around the subject answers.  But I'm not witty... even hours later I'm not one to say, "That's what I should have said."  I think it was handled fine, but I'd hate to be put in that touchy of a subject again.  I don't like talking about my intimate life with a stranger, even if they are friends of our friends and we're meeting at a party.

I'm just glad she had a sweet personality.  I'm sure if she were less smiles and innocent sounding, it could have gone a whole other direction... quickly!

Anyhow, the dinner was good.  White elephant went well.  Everyone had fun.  We then came home and I crashed.

Today our good friend, Ms. M is coming over to visit.  We haven't seen each other since early October.  She just moved into a new townhouse and has been super busy and with our family crisis and then Iowa and life in general, we just haven't gotten together.  She's leaving to see her family back in Connecticut on Saturday, so today is our only day to get together until next year.  

So I plan on taking my lunch at the end of the work day to go out and get dinner ready for her and be sure I have time to get everything ready on time.

On my way to work she gives me a call.  It's 7:30 AM, I've never gotten a call from her that early before and on a work day particularly   So I know something is up.  I'm assuming she is canceling or something else of urgency.

She says we're still on for tonight  but long story, can she stay with us for a couple nights until she leaves for Connecticut.  She can't stay in the townhouse anymore as the roommate/owner of the townhouse is having her fiance move in and she is moving out.  The fiance also has bronchitis so as she doesn't want to catch it she would like to stay with us.  She asked a couple of her single friends, but they are sick too.

I of course said yes.  So now Ms. M will be staying with us a few days.  I'm sure there is much more to the story, there always is.  So I'm anxious to hear.  But it will be nice to have her over.  

Only glitch is that since we were doing Ashton's room, our "Spare room" is all furniture on it's side and thrown together.  We have to pull it all out and arrange it back and put the bed back together and get it acceptable for a guest. So now I really want to get home and get everything going, knowing she's going to stay over.  I wasn't expecting that.  

So needless to say, again, lots going on.  But I'm more than happy to have Ms. M with us.  I'm sure the next couple days will be fun with us all together.  

Christmas is about loving your friends and family and helping out.  I hope that I can provide this for her.
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Christmas Card

Today we received a Christmas card from Gloria, the girl we sponsor from India.  She colored a house for us that then was assembled and put into this card for us for Christmas.

It was a nice surprise to come home to.  I love the neon yellow of the house.  I wonder if she picked that to match the house that is on the card.  It's so sweet to receive something from the little girl we sponsor in India.  It makes us feel connected.  We've sent some things to her too.  Time to send some more, to thank her for the house coloring.

We're now off to our church's small group, which we attend every Tuesday.  Tonight is a Christmas feast with the White Elephant game afterwards.  We'll see what surprises await us!  Should be fun!
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Thing-jump-play-do-hickie

It's been so busy over here.  We're been working on getting projects done; we had strike now that the musical is over; we have Christmas to put up; and we still have her nursery to work on.

I know from the photos posted, it seems we're done with her nursery, but we're not.  We have to repaint/resurface some of her furniture we bought her. It's all used, so they come with mark ups and cracks and paint flaking off that we need to spruce up so it looks like new.  We have her wainscot to caulk and paint.  We have her wall art to put up - I have a cherry blossom theme, so I have a few creative projects I'm working on.  Nothing like being cheap and working creatively from scratch.  But I think they'll look good when all up.  We also still have her doors to rehang.

So, there is a lot to do.  Balance that with Christmas celebrations and my birthday coming up and just being exhausted in general from working all the time, there's barely time to sleep.

We've even been helping the neighbors with their thermostat and gas line.  Well, my husband has, he's the Mr. Fix-It.  I just "supervise".  They were so grateful, they gave us this thing-a-ma-bob for our baby.  Their baby boy is now 2 and too big for it.  It's awesome.  It makes noise and does stuff.

It's a bouncy-chair-thing.  Notice Fancy and Skylar are supervising it to be sure it all checks out.  They are still getting used to the noise it makes.  If the pups hear it go off while they're downstairs, the dogs bark at it just like they do the doorbell.  I hope if Ashton does use it, that they learn to stop barking at it unseen.  It's so huge, it now sits in the hallway as it's too big to fit through a doorway.

It was so VERY sweet of our neighbors to give us this baby-bopper-jump-chair.  I hope Ashton does get to use it and love it too.
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December 5th, a Special Day

I will always hold December 5th in a special place in my heart.  It represents childhood memories and love for me.
As I mentioned in my blog last year, today is Tai-Pan (my first love, a Pekingese) birthday.  I loved sharing my birthday month with my baby boy.  He was amazing.  So Happy Birthday my sweet boy.  I know you are watching over us and an angel to my Ashton out there!  

Here are some pictures of us through the years.  He was my constant companion.
I must have been 14 or 15 here.  Living in Texas with my baby!


I had him with me for my senior pictures.  This is my favorite picture of him.

Us when I moved into my first apartment!
I also think of my time I lived in the Netherlands, every December 5th.  I wish I could still set out my wooden shoes for St. Nick and relive that tradition.  I know there are photos of my brother and me with our wooden shoes with presents somewhere.  But I don't know where.  One day... :)I think of all the traditions I will be celebrating with my daughter, especially all the new ones.  I can't wait.  The new memories that will come to be are so exciting. She won't have wooden shoes or Tai-Pan, but she will have Chinese New Year, she will have Dawson, Skylar, Kiara, Drusilla, Peyton, Arwen, Fancy, and Amadeus.  She will have lots to celebrate and much love to share!As I listen to my 30+ versions of 'Carol of the Bells', I want to wish you all - Happy holidays everyone!Image and video hosting by 

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Monday, December 3, 2012

The Crib and Secret Pal Surprise!

Tonight I came home excited to put up the crib.  But my husband said I had a package waiting for me.

I come to the kitchen table and I have a small box waiting for me.  I see written, "Open this end".  So I do.

In tissue is another note.  I pull out the note and stickered to it is a long ribbon and it comes out with it with tons of bows on it.  It was like a magic trick where the handkerchiefs keep coming and coming.  The ribbon was red with black and white cherry blossoms on it.  Stitched at the top was an "A".  My Secret Pal handmade me a ribbon holder with many adorable bows for Ashton!  It was so thoughtful and so beautiful!  I absolutely love it.  Thank you so much!!



I was ready to build the crib, but had to eat.  By the time dinner was ready, I came down with a terrible migraine.  So after force feeding myself dinner I took some medication and tried to sleep it off.  

When I awoke it was late, I was disappointed that I didn't get to build the crib.  But my husband did it for me while I was out.  It's beautiful!  We put the sheets and padding on together and are so excited seeing it come together!
It's so beautiful!

It's coming together!
We don't have all the furniture moved back in yet, especially knowing we have to paint the wainscot, but it's practically there!  I'm so excited!!  I got my Christmas wish to have her room done.  There's so much more to go, but all the major stuff is really done and it's looking beautiful!  

Now I've so got to get her throw rug done!
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