Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Best Friends

 My hubby and I were married eight years before our son, Josiah, was born. I had eight years of some serious prayin' before that boy came on the scene. A little more than two years later, he was followed by Brianna.

My son will be 13 soon (seriously???) and my daughter will be 11 this summer. Even before they were born I prayed they would always be best friends. And they have.

Just today, I was cleaning like a total psycho and I sent them both upstairs to make my bed (yes, mine). I should have known better, because right off the bat I heard giggling going on and then pounding...the pillow fight had begun. A chore that should have taken five minutes took twenty.

And I just let them play.

Because in just a few days, it won't just be Josiah and Brianna anymore. 

These best buds are about to open their lives to two little wonders from the other side of the world.

I'm so proud of them!!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Less Than Four Days

I know everything will be fine...but I keep feeling like I'm going to forget something.

 Like my passport.
Or my driver's license.
Or my entire travel folder.
Or my tickets.
Or my brain.

I'm down to the basics of preparation...last bit of laundry here and there, eating left-overs to empty the fridge before we go, yada, yada.

Everything is pretty much ready, but I can't help but feel like I must be missing something here. It seems when I read other people's blogs, they just have it all together, bags are packed, blah, blah, blah, but do they SECRETLY stress over the things that I am? 

Ok, I'll confess them to you:

I'm dreading getting up at 3:00 am for the flight. It makes me want to puke. 

I'm seriously afraid I'm going to forget something important.

I'm afraid I'm going to accidentally drink the water.

I'm afraid I'm going to open the brown envelope the we are instructed NOT TO OPEN.

Am I afraid to meet my kiddos? No.
Am I afraid of the flight? No.
Am I afraid of being in a foreign country? No.

God has all that under control. 
I'm afraid of blowing MY part. 

Ok, enough of adoption stuff. 
I know I promised a few pics of Josiah, but guess who's learning how to edit on the computer? Not me, it's him...Josiah.  Guess what he (my 12 year old) did to those pics. He used some editing thing and erased parts of his head, parts of his face....sigh. And because I'm the non-techie, I don't have a clue how to put his head back on his body. Would you like me to post pics of my son with a smudged off head? 

I can't wait to go to China...and no, Josiah's not getting his hands on those pics. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Random Thoughts

I'm believing today will be a productive day!! This is the last Saturday before we leave and I have to get this packing thing under control. I thought I was all done. It looked simple enough. I told everyone I was done. 

But I hadn't actually packed anything!! It was all on my adoptive son's bed and his desk....so I thought it would all fit. Ummm...yeah...about that. 

Here's how I operate, to a tee...I think I have something under control, it goes massively hay-wire, and then I go bat my eyes at the king of organization, my hubby.

Just to let you know, this is a very humbling experience for me. It takes me days to admit defeat and ask him for help. Why you ask? Because he is one of those gloaters. He LOVES to rub it in my face that I'm completely helpless without him. 

He was probably one of those kids when you were in school who would win a game and taunt the losers.

Sigh...so I asked for help, which he is going to do today, but I just KNOW he'g going to explain to me where I went wrong. It's alright; I've got my game-face on.

Other things going on in our household right now...Brianna, saying 50 times a day, "I can't wait to go get my brother and sister." It's so sweet watching her, because she wears her emotions on her sleeve, you can tell precisely what she's going through. Lately she's been very clingy and cuddly, especially with her Daddy. And I know exactly what's going on. She has always been a Daddy's girl. And she is SO excited for the littles ones to be here, but at the same time, I know she's wondering if she'll still have all these one-on-one times with us. So I've taken some time this week to reassure them of their place in this family. I explained to Brianna last night that a parent's love doesn't get split between children, it gets doubled, and that somehow God does that, and there's enough love to go around. She loved that response.


Now Josiah, he's like Fonzy (remember that guy), he just plays it cool, not much bugs him...except one thing...that 13 hour flight. That's all he can talk about. What if all the batteries in my game systems die, Mom? What am I gonna do on the plane then, Mom? 

Ummm I don't know son, how about...read a book?????


(By the way, this is the only NORMAL photo I could find of my son...he's always making faces at the camera!! I've decided I'm going to post those, maybe tomorrow.)

Ok, about my productive day, time to get started...time to go bat my eyes and make my hubby figure out my packing disaster.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Countdown Begins

Nine days left.

Just. breathe.

I go from moments of amazing calm to sheer panic. 

Honestly, I just want to go!!!!
I'm ready!!

I've taken some time this week to do things with Josiah and Brianna; to just spend one-on-one time with them before we double our kiddo count.

We've watched movies together, did a puzzle together...ok, Josiah lasted about 15 minutes on that one, but still, we bonded:) We baked cookies (Josiah was completely forced into that one). And I froze and took pics of them in the snow, before I ran inside like the sissy-girl I am.

I only have a few more things to do and I'm outta here!!!!

I always wondered what people were thinking when they were mere days away from travel. What was going through their minds? Well, I don't know about anyone else, but as for me, I can be in a conversation with someone, anyone, and my mind is going over my to-do list or taking a mental note of things I still need to pack in my suitcase. I dream about it, I think about it all. the. time. 

That is why I'm just ready to get on that plane!!! 
I'm tired of my brain playing and re-playing my packing list over and over in my head.

Nine days... 

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Winter Wonderland

Ok, as promised, here are some pics of winter in Iowa. It looks good, when you're not driving on it!!! Yeah, the streets are nasty so let's just pretend they don't exist.

I wish I knew how to edit photos 
(that's one of my goals in my lifetime.)

Cute pic of Josiah and Brianna standing on the hill.

Queen of the hill...


Brianna about to go down the hill.

King of the hill... 

Anyone want to move to Iowa?
Ha ha...yeah right.

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Love Blizzards

It looks like a Thomas Kincaid picture out my window. It really does!! I'll post some pictures this weekend. So here's the deal...I hate winter, I hate the cold, but if there's a blizzard and I don't have to go out in it, and my house is clean, and I have candles lit...and, and, and. You get the picture; everything has to be perfect and THEN I love the blizzard.

People make statements all the time about how if you live in the Midwest then you must be used to the cold. 
Not true. Not true at all. Not for me anyway. Men, for the most part, love it when it's cold. Women who have gone through menopause and are dealing with hot flashes love the cold. 

But I'm not a man, nor am I a hot-flashy woman!!!

I have asked God so many times, well, it was more like ranting, wondering why in THE world He placed me in the frozen tundra of Iowa. Why? No, I really am wondering why. Ok, I don't know the answer but I have a guess. Maybe so I don't get to have it my way or possibly to teach me something??? I'm reaching for straws here. Or maybe He's punishing me severely. Tee hee. 

Either way, He gives me an out. I told my hubby several years ago that if God was going to make me (force me to) stay in Iowa for the rest of my life, then I get to leave in the winter and go South (like a bird) for one or two weeks. My husband said that was a great idea and said it would make winter more bearable for me. 

So we began planning vacations in Feb to go South. We've been to Florida two years, Branson, Missouri once (that was still kind of cold for my liking). But this year we had to nix it because of China. But God is so good, He threw one in for me...my daughter is in southern China, so we'll be there for 1 1/2 weeks! How awesome is that?

Currently, the temperature in her province is about 60 degrees. That's fine by me, because currently in my city, it's 10 below. Yes, I said below. As in negative.

Sick, isn't it?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tickets Are Booked!

Oh my word, that was crazy. I swear God has to get a serious kick out of the things He makes me do. Booking tickets has taken me two days...TWO DAYS!!!

My brain does NOT compute with itineraries, and options, and well, money. None of this, and I mean NONE. OF. THIS...is in my personality. That's why you know this is God, because I would not knowingly, willingly, torture myself.

Yes, I said torture.

So I did what any normal self-described dumb-blonde (who's really a brunette) would do. I spoke with a travel agent. Actually, I spoke with two. One made my brain hurt, the other had a Southern accent and made me want to spend Christmas with her. I wanted to adopt her as my Aunt or something. She had the Paula Dean effect on me. I'm telling you, you could rob my house and if you have a Southern accent, I'll give you a hug while you're heading off with all my possessions.

So I pictured Paula Dean on the phone with me, and she won. I booked my tickets with Paula Dean, and I'm all set to go to China!!!

Ok, ok, I know you're all stuck on the dumb-blonde statement, thinking I'm cutting myself short, yada, yada.
Or perhaps you're a true blonde and you're seriously ticked at me. :)

Well, I know what I am, what I'm capable of, and what I'm not. Adoption has stretched me to the brink of insanity.  And it's all the paperwork; trying to figure out what they're even asking of me.

The truth is, I have a sense of humor about my lack of intelligence. It's kind of cute, really. Amazingly enough, I have people who sympathize with me, while they're mocking me, and help me (or more like drag me along) in life. 

If you would like a taste of my lack of smarts, here you go:

I am the person who pulled into a rest stop to ask some truckers which way Iowa was (I was in Minnesota at the time). They laughed and helped me find my state.

I am the same person who got lost in my own neighborhood, drove right by our street, and spent 10 minutes trying to get back. It's not like I had just moved there either. We'd been living there for a year.

I am the same person who, when discussing the weather with someone, responded to their statement about there not being any rain because there wasn't a cloud in the sky, by stating, "Oh, you need to have clouds in order to have rain?" She just stared at me and told me to stick close to my husband in life. :)

Now, with the exception of my cute little texting smiles I put in my writing :), I do have a few strengths; spelling, and writing. I try to keep my blogs short and quick so I don't lose anyone (because I also have a short attention span). But I really do like to write. 

Speaking of attention spans, what was I talking about anyway? Oh yeah, I booked my tickets!!! 

Yay me!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

We Have Dates!!!!!

Talk about edge of your seat!!!! I received TA and CA yesterday at about 10:45 am but did not have our "Gotcha Days."  Well, the day went on and I spoke to my agency every few hours with no additional info. 

Finally after hovering by the computer and phone, my hubby told me we were going out to eat and drug me away, literally.  Then at about close to 10:00 pm, I get a text from my agency rep saying she had good news. I couldn't stand it and had her call me. All day long we were speculating that our trip could be three weeks long and were on pins and needles hoping it could be less. Well, our agency came through!! We will only be gone for two weeks!!! They are expediting our process in our son's province, so the basic, rough draft timeline is this:

Feb 3:  Leave for China
Feb 6:  Gotcha Day for Le Hai
Feb 7:  Finalize Le Hai's adoption
and fly to Xi Yi's province
Feb 8:  Gotcha Day for Xi Yi
Feb 9:  Finalize Xi Yi's adoption
Feb 16:  Consulate Appointment (CA)
Feb 17 or 18:  Fly home as a family of 6!!!!!

That is all for now! I'm trying to book flights, so I will post as soon as I have the concrete timeline!!!

Thanks for all your prayers!!! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Yes, that means TRAVEL APPROVAL!!!!!!

So when do we go?

I have NO idea!!!!

I called my agency rep this morning after hopes of TA before CNY were looking bleak. 
(CNY= Chinese New Year, which = China is shut down for a week to celebrate.)
Anywhoo...I got her voicemail and figured, yep, that's it, no news today. Well, about an hour went by and she called back and said she had good news...both TA's and my Consulate appointment is already scheduled!!
The big deal about the CA already being scheduled is because of CNY messing everyone's dates up. So there are people who might receive their travel approval this week, but then need to request their Consulate appointment and because CNY is next week, they'd have to wait until the following week to make any flight arrangements at all. 

At this point, I don't know when we're leaving though!! My rep is trying to figure out when my Gotcha Days are (the day we meet our little ones). 

My Consulate Appointment is Feb. 16th at 8:30 am. So, not sure if we leave at the end of next week or the week after. I will update my blog the second I hear anything!!!

Oh my word....I'M GOING TO CHINA!!!!!!

Finally, after 18 months of being in the process and 18 YEARS of wanting...FINALLY...FINALLY!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chirp, chirp, chirp...

Yes, that is the sound of crickets...as in, nothing else is going on.

Perhaps I should title all my blog posts as: "Ugh!!"


But it's not just me, I didn't hear of anyone getting their TA today, not on the adoption forums I'm on, not on the Yahoo groups I'm on. So here's the deal, if we don't get our TA this week, then we will travel one week later than anticipated, simple as that. 

But I can't help but feel like I'm in a traffic jam. My whole journey has been like a person weaving in and out of traffic, trying to find the fastest route, only to get caught at a red light at every turn. Why am I constantly in the slow lane? I get the patience part, I think God has made that evident to me that I'm not going to get there faster by ranting about it. But why soooooo sloooooowwwww?

Is it to enjoy the journey?
It's hard to enjoy the journey when you want to bang your head on a wall.

I'm not sure on that one.

I just want to get on with it already. I've read books, read blogs, spoken to adoptive Moms. I've done a lot to prepare. At some point a person just wants to walk through that door. I've prepared my heart, now I want to start the next part of my journey.

Perhaps He's not done preparing little Le Hai or Xi Yi's hearts. Maybe they need a little more time. Maybe their foster parents would like an extra day or two before they have to say good-bye. I don't know. But looking at Xi Yi's foster Mama and how much she loves her, I think I could spare a few more days.

Ok God, patience...and enjoy the journey.

And prepare their hearts, Lord.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Don't Ask!!

Nope - no TA. But our timeline is still the same, so I'm not sweating it.  We are looking at leaving two weeks from today!!

Ok, I just have to get a little sentimental on you all here.

I remember reading other people's blogs about six months ago and I'd see how close they were to travel; I would look at those people and think, "Wow, those people are sooo far ahead of me!! They are some elite group of people who somehow miraculously made it to the end of the process.

Well, here I am!!! But, I've gotta tell ya...the wait does NOT get easier. But you do learn to deal with it a little better. I must say though, it is hard not being envious of those who just seem to breeze through the process.

Some people say that we'll all forget what we went through. Ummm...not sure about that!! I can remember my journey like a timeline and at each milestone there was an obstacle I had to overcome.

Every. single. one.

Many obstacles, yes, but many blessings.

And I can think of two very beautiful blessings waiting on the other side of this last approval. :)

And on the other side of this planet.

Anyone have a boat I could borrow? Tee hee.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Xi Yi 4th Birthday Pics!!!!

I never expected to receive these pictures so soon!!! While we were sleeping last night, our little ones were celebrating!! I figured our family may be in three separate parts of this planet, but we are all eating cake!!! So I sent a cake in honor of Xi Yi's birthday, one to her in Guangdong province and one to him in Henan province. These pictures are priceless!!

Le Hai and friends
(he's wearing the crown)

My little mess-maker!!


Check out the little boy on the left. Is he praying? 
Soooo cute!! 
I love how Le Hai is checking out the cake in this pic!!


Ok, just so everyone knows, this picture made me cry!! My little one, blowing out her candles!! Kind of bitter-sweet!
Lord, Jesus, get me on that plane, PLEASE!!!

I have a pretty good feeling this is her foster Mama. I will forever be grateful to her for taking care of my little one!! From every picture I have received, I can tell she is loved, doted upon, and very well taken care of!! If this is her, these pictures will be priceless to me. As of right now, she's the only Mom Xi Yi has known.

Those are some serious chipmunk cheeks. She looks like she's storing nuts!!!

These pictures made my day!! The only thing that could top it is TA!! Come on, travel approval!!!!

Happy Birthday baby girl!! 
It's past midnight in China now... 
Le Hai and Xi Yi, I hope you both had a blessed day!!

Sleep tight.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

No News...Yet!!

Ok, so no news yesterday or today on my TA. That's ok, I really wasn't expecting anything until possibly tomorrow.  The average wait for TA is 16 days...that would be tomorrow for me!!!

But what I'm dealing with right now...at this very moment...is...my little girl is waking up right now on the other side of the world. And it's her birthday. Her 4th birthday.

How do I know she's waking up? Because, just to torture myself I went back to her referral papers and it says she wakes up at 6:30 am. China is 13 hours ahead of us. She wakes up in a few minutes.

So, in China right now it's Jan. 12. 

I remember reading blogs and comments from adoptive parents who didn't make it to China in time for their child's birthday. I never understood how upset they were.

Until now.

I'm ok, really I am.

It would be different if I had months to go, but it's just weeks!!!!!!!!

So, in honor of my little birthday girl, here's a picture of one of her first referral photos. This picture is about a year old and she's changed so much, but I just love her goofy little smile.

Tomorrow we will celebrate her birthday and I will post more pictures then. 

Until then:

Bao Xi Yi

Monday, January 9, 2012

TA might sort-of, kind-of, maybe, might almost be here...

I received an email from my agency last week asking me to fill out a few forms concerning travel, etc. Well, last week was CRAZY busy for some reason, plus I knew my TA probably wouldn't be here until this week, so I figured we'd just fill it out this weekend. 

Last night I checked emails before bed and there was an urgent email from my agency telling me to get the travel info to them ASAP because our TA was coming this week.

I have no idea if they have indicators to know if it's on the way, but I hurried up and finished it just in case!!!

So, I called my agency rep this morning...and we talked TRAVEL...yay!!!!

There is a HUGE possibility, as in 99.9% probability of us leaving on January 27th!!!!! 

That's 2 1/2 weeks away!!!

So what did I do?
Did I pack?
Did I check travel prices?

No, of course not.

I went shopping and bought a pair of boots 
that I don't need. 

But they're SOOOOO cute!!!!! 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Speed Up! No, Slow Down!!

Ok, I've been AWOL for a few days. Do you know what I've been doing? 


I don't freak out where everyone can see I'm losing my cool...it all happens in my brain...the hamster wheel goes into over-drive and I plot, plan, mull things over at a psychotic pace in my mind. 

Here's the adoption process in a nutshell: Everything goes at a snails pace, you beg God to speed things up, complain to Him, then repent, gripe and complain to any and all yahoo groups/adoption forums you can get your hands on. And you SWEAR you're ready to go. 


Then, you finally get to the point where you are waiting for TA (travel approval), it dawns on you that you could leave in 3 weeks and then...

You freak out, whine and complain to God, and all yahoo/forum members, and gripe because there's SOOOO much to do, and YOU'RE NOT READY!!!

Thank God for my husband. He is the calm in my own self-created storm. I tell him all the things I HAVE to do. It's a four page list right now. He listens and pulls out about three things we have to do. The rest can wait, or doesn't need to happen at all.

All is well with the world again, and I can breathe!!!

Ok, so want to see pics of the care packages?

Here's the pic of Xi Yi's bear for her 4th b-day, our letter we sent her and her beyond adorable bunny photo album. Fyi, that photo album is the thing that did me in!! 
It's just too sweet!!!

Here is Le Hai's care package 
(we also sent an extra camera to Xi Yi)

Also, a cake will be sent to both of them on Jan 12, in honor of her b-day. I should get pics right away of their parties. I will post the second I receive those pictures. It will most likely be the last update I receive before we travel!! 

No more birthdays and holidays without 
their forever family!!!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Care-package Has Finally Been Sent

Wow, what an ordeal. It's done!! 
Here is what was included in the package: 

A camera for both children
(so the foster parents can take pictures of them in their home environment, to see a glimpse of their current home life.)

A stuffed animal (a bear) for Xi Yi, as her 4th birthday is January 12, and this is our birthday gift to her.

A photo album for both of them, which includes pictures of us so they can get used to our faces. Just realized right now that I didn't send pictures to Xi Yi of Le Hai or vice versa. Great. Oh well, I mentioned it in the letter, which brings me to the next thing...

A letter to introduce ourselves and describe what we are like as a family.

Here is the family picture I sent:

I didn't think I would get emotional when I received the email with the picture of the items in the care package, but it seems these days everything makes me tear up!!! 

Today a ton of people received travel approvals on a China adoption forum that I follow. They are all about a week ahead of me on their journey...which means according to all my calculations I should receive TA toward the end of next week. We'll see!!!

Just a heads up, as soon as I receive TA, my agency will need to set up our Consulate appointment and then we'll have bonafide dates!!!

I've been figuring this out on the calendar, and if everything goes according to schedule, we could leave either January 26th or February 2nd (a week later).

 Who cares.  I'm ready!!!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

5 Days to Send a Care Package

Actually, that should read five weeks. I swear every time I try to do anything technical, it backfires. I've been trying to send a care package to my kiddos for what seems like an eternity. I finally got ready to order it, went through the whole order clicking on all the things I wanted to send, got to the last page and realized I forgot to add something on, so I just hit the back page button, and it kicked me back to the beginning and deleted my order. 

Now, most people can order something in about 5 minutes tops. Not me. It takes me a half hour and that includes a phone call to my sister to decipher and explain the instructions to me. 

So once it deleted all my info, I was shot, and went to bed. That's one day gone.

The next day, I went to order, got through the whole thing and it said I had to use Paypal, which I don't have. My hubby wasn't home to figure it out, so it had to wait until the next day. Day two gone.

The third day I finally got the order done and paid for. Mission accomplished. Then I had to write the letter to my children that goes with the order. I had the letter typed...in my phone, which was dead and in the garage anyway. By then it was 11:00 at night. I decided to email it the next day. Day three gone.

Tired yet? The next day, I charged the phone and retyped the letter. The instructions in the care package said to attach 6 family photos to send to our children so they can become acquainted with our faces. Great. I attach the photos to the email and hit send. After an eternity, the email shows an error, and it wasn't sent. I call my techie sister and she said my photos will probably have to be sent one at a time because I have a nice camera and that effects how many photos I can send. Really? Ok, whatever. So I spend the next THREE HOURS of my life sending these photos. I'm not even going to go into the details of why it took three hours. Let's just say me and computers don't mix. Odd, seeing as how I'm on a computer at the present moment. So day four gone.

You'd think the drama would be done, right? No, I forgot to send a camera with one of the orders, so I sent another email asking if she could add it to my order. I haven't heard yet if she can do that. So...day five...gone.

When this care package actually DOES go out the door I will post a picture. It's actually really sweet. I sent a cake to both of them to celebrate us becoming a family and also because Xi Yi's 4th birthday is January 12. I sent her a stuffed animal for her b-day. Also a camera was added so the foster parents can take pictures of them for me. We will receive the photos when we're in China. In addition, I was able to write a letter to both of them introducing us and telling them about Josiah and Brianna. 

Hopefully, they will receive everything this week. I'm amazed I actually accomplished this task!! Why can't I just pay someone to do the whole computer thing???? I need a secretary...who lives in my house. I need like a nerd maid or something. 

I really, really, REALLY should have paid more attention in computer class in high school. It wouldn't have mattered anyway, I didn't even know how to turn the dumb thing on.