Monday, September 30, 2013

Nothing Deep

 I don't have anything deep to say today either. I'm one of those "glass way more than 1/2 full" kind of people...more like spilling over! I'm always looking for that silver lining in every cloud.  I'm in the dreaded LOA wait and I really can't complain. I'm approaching 80 days waiting for Fu Chao's and most people are freaking out by now, (60 days is the average) but I did this two years ago and it was 127 I've got a ways before melt down mode.
I've been staring at Fu Chao and Lulu's faces and I am verrrrrryyyy excited to go!!!! We have their names picked out (and no I'm not naming Luo Min Jia "Lulu." Cute nickname, but not the real name. Do you know how exhausted I get when I talk about her and I have to keep saying, "Luo Min Jia?" Yeah, Lulu will work for now.
I have an amazing peace and calm over me right now. It is so nice when you've adopted before. I've seen the hand of God even in the delays of my last adoption process. All my stressing out didn't speed one thing up. And it all worked out. The timing was just right. So for now I stare at their pictures, and shop for clothes for them, and decorate their bedrooms...and take a million more pictures of my littles.
I'm really enjoying my new round of photography classes, but boy do I have a lot to learn!!!
I can't believe how many pictures I have of Lily Anna, but she's the only one who'll play along!!

 This one cracks me up. I really need to post all the pics I took of her trying to eat her apple. She put her whole heart into every bite.

Fall is officially here! It is my favorite season and I have every intention of enjoying it!!! 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

In The Meantime

I have now crossed over to the dark side. When I was in high school I said I would never use computers in my life.
I hated them.
I barely passed that class, if you can believe it! And now, here I am using this thing edit, to email my agency, to finalize adoption papers, and to advocate for the children left behind.

I have a hundred things going through my mind lately. Usually when that happens, I ponder doing a deep, thought-provoking blog post, but instead I post a random stupid thought or a picture of my little ones. Why? Because I don't know how to fix it...the ones left behind I mean.
Maya is weighing on my heart super heavy.

She's running out of time, and she's healthy...there's no reason, NONE, why that girl is still waiting.

You can read about Maya here.
So because 100 things are going through my head (you know, like, when will I go to China), here are some pictures of Johnny and Lily:

 Perhaps I can pull myself together to write that deep, thought provoking post, but for today, it's pictures of my photography assignment! :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

That Smile

Once again...the boy with the million dollar smile:

Just today I was telling my husband how blessed we are that we have four beautiful children in our home and two more on the way. 

If adoption has ever crossed your mind, do what I did...look at the precious faces of children on people's blogs until one day, you just can't stand it anymore and you pick up the phone and call an adoption agency. 

My life was changed that day.

My heart was changed.

I cannot wait for the day to photograph two more little ones!!

Oh by the way, I took about 200 photos with my camera today, and about 100 more with my phone. I think these photography classes have turned me into an addict!!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My First Real Photo Edit!!

I am now officially in the wait for my children's Letters of Approval, and this, my friends, is where the TRUE wait begins. 

I remember it all too well...the average is supposed to be about 60 days but my wait for Johnny and Lily's was 127. I am already 60 days in for Fu Chao's and now I get to wait for Luo Min Jia's as well. So in the meantime I am taking more photography classes!!

And I finally, FINALLY learned SOMETHING when it comes to editing my photos and here is the end result:

Here is the before picture:

Here is the after:

To be honest, I kind of prefer the original, but at least I figured out what I was doing! By the way, it took over a week to edit this picture, because, well, I'm not very smarticle when it comes to computers. Yes, I know smarticle isn't a word, which proves my point!

I might play around with it some more but I think this pose is frame worthy!! I'm not sure I've ever seen Lily look so sweet!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Introducing Our New Daughter!!!!

This is Luo Min Jia!!!!!

Isn't she adorable???

She is 4 1/2 years old and is in Guizhou Province.

We received her referral one week ago, had her file reviewed by an international doctor and submitted our Letter Of Intent on Wednesday morning. I waited for our Pre-Approval before I announced the referral and then found out we already had PA and I didn't know it!

I had to look on a map to find her province because I hadn't really heard about it...not too many adoptions come out of there. 

She is beyond adorable and now that I have my referral for my girl and boy...


I am over 60 days waiting on LOA for Fu Chao and am now beginning the LOA wait for our daughter. 

I'm hoping they catch her file up to his and their LOAs (Letter of Approval) are issued SOON!!!

By the way, her file says she's an extrovert, a talker...that would make 6 children for me that are extroverts and talkers!!

I guess I'll always have someone to talk to!!!

Hang on baby girl...I'm on my way!!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Advocating For Maya

Beautiful Maya ages out in February!!

She will be 14, which means she will no longer be available for 14!!!

Be still my heart!!!!

She is healthy and listed with BAAS (Bay Area Adoption Services).

Their contact information is on their website.

Even if you are with another agency, I'm sure her file can be transferred!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Unattractive And Yet So Adorable!

You know how women in magazines always look perfect? It's because they're posed, starved to death, and then photoshopped. 

Well, when you take millions of pictures of your children like I do, you're bound to get some really neat pics, and some less attractive ones. 

Insert Lily. 

The girl can look beyond adorable one minute:

And the next:

Yeah, not so much.

That's a whole lot of jelly-belly going on mixed with a pouty face.

That's ok, she rules my world either way. :)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I'm Pointing Fingers

It wasn't me this time! 
I did NOT mess this one up!

I have to file a wonderful form called a Supplement 3 with USCIS because we're changing our age range that was originally in our home study. Before we had the age limit at 6 and now we've upped it to age 8. 

We originally intended on adopting a boy in about the 5-6 year range...but then I saw Fu Chao's face, and that was that. He will turn 8 in December so we need to fix some stuff in our paperwork. 

Sounds simple, right?

But this is me we're talking about, so it has to be right out of a "Days of our Lives" episode. You all know I love paperwork, right? (Insert sarcasm). So, as I'm freaking out over the questions they're asking in the forms, I dig out my original USCIS approval form and fill in the of approval...expiration date of approval...I began to fill them in and then realized to my horror that the normal 15 month approval is wrong. They had it listed for a two month approval, which means it was expired. As I ran around the room with my hair on fire screaming, "Why me, God...why is it always me???" I decided to call my agency. To my surprise, the calm lady on the other end said, "Lisa, we have your approval right here and it has the correct dates." Great, nightmare over. Why I have an original with one date and she has an original with another date is beyond me. I asked and she has no idea either. 

So the drama is done, right?


She said she'd email it to me. Fantastic. I checked my emails and there it is. Great. As I was looking at it though, I noticed they have my address as Missouri, not Iowa.


So I emailed my agency back, told them the discrepancy, and now I have to wait for a new approval. 

This is BOOOOORRRRRRIIIINNNNNGGGG stuff to me people.


I don't like doing paperwork, let alone doing it two and three times!!!

Once these things NOT happen to my graceful bloggy buddies?? They don't post all! 

Hmmmm....maybe I can pay those graceful adoption bloggers to do my paperwork for me. Then my process will be smooth sailing and they can run around the room screaming, "Why me, God?"

Monday, September 2, 2013

Beautiful Brianna

Those eyes...full of mischief and wonder. 

I've always been amazed by this little girl. 

Full of adventure and life.

Age 12 is not day you're as mature as an adult and the next, well, toddlers look more mature!

Thank you, Brianna, for being you.




That's my little girl. :)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Smiles, Sun, And Sand

The kids all had fun at our neighborhood park. 

Can you tell?

Usually Johnny runs from the camera but he began doing poses for me so I snapped away!!

I had no idea he could do the Chinese squat on a balance beam! I told him he looked like a bird.

He said he was being Spiderman.

More poses from the happiest little boy on the planet!

There's that million dollar smile! Did you know Johnny's Chinese name is Le Hai, which means "happy." Whenever people meet him they always say he's the happiest boy they've ever met...he's always smiling. He wakes up with a smile and goes to bed giggling. When he came out of his first day of school he had an ear to ear smile. If anyone is on the fence about adopting a boy...take a look at this picture:

 Yep, he's happy. If he gets in trouble at school it's usually because he's having fun...too much fun. He thinks life's a party and I'm glad for that. 

I can handle that kind of trouble-maker!!! 

Would you like to see another trouble-maker?

Yep, this kind of trouble-maker I gotta keep a close eye on! 

She befriended this adorable child and then she kicked into devious mode. Children started coming from everywhere to see what was going on. I took this pic, thinking it was all innocent and then a few minutes later Brianna came up to me and said, "Mom, you really need to actually LOOK in that sandbox and see what's going on."

Apparently after I took the pic, other kids started piling in there and  Lily was putting sand all over their hair, down their clothes...everywhere. 

It took 3 baths to get all the sand out of her hair.

She didn't care. She had a blast!

Oh btw, can someone teach her how to go down the slide like a lady????

Yeah, not very graceful!!!