Thursday, July 31, 2008

Looks Like I'm a Mess

I had a dental apt. this morning for a cleaning. The hygienist says to me "your teeth look great, but your gums are looking slightly irritated which is usually caused by stress and hormones." WOW. I just so happen to have an abundance of both.

I go by the salon to have a quick lip/brow wax (now you know:), and my good friend Jenny who is the greatest astetician (sp?) and has been doing my waxing forever (and when I'm lucky, an occasional facial) says to me that she is noticing some redness (inflammation) on my face that is usually caused by stress. I'm sensing a pattern here.....

I have managed to really work on our packing list and actually start packing some things. I have gone through the medicine cabinet and found things that we might need while traveling and started making an enormous shopping list of the things that we don't have. I'm sure that a lot of it will never be used, but I don't want to take any chances while I'm a million miles away.

It's so hard to know what to pack for Emma. I know that the latest sizes that we received may not be very accurate, so I am only estimating her weight to be around 18-20 pounds. So I am taking 12 month sizes that may end up being too small and 18 month sizes as well. I know that I should not over pack for her, but I have been waiting for a while, so I'm going to take several cute outfits so I can pick and choose what she wears. I'm also concerned about shoes. I don't know if she can wear cute little sandals since she has special feet, so I think I need to buy some little white sneakers. I have no idea what size. My other babies have size 9's and 10's, so it's been a while since I thought about little feet. As I posted yesterday, I'm only slightly worried for Emma and her slightly unprepared mom.

Still no working oven. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but I hope to have one soon. I am browsing. As soon as I find one that comes with self cleaning and self baking, serving, and cleaning up afterward, I'm taking out a loan and buying that puppy.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sharing our Story

I really enjoy sharing about adoption and God gave me a perfect opportunity today while I was at the dentist office with the boys. A lady overheard me talking about going to China and she started asking me questions. Of course, I have no problem talking about it and enjoyed sharing with her. I even gave her our blog address and hope that she follows along with us on our trip. She had done some researching into adoption before and I think the seed was there and it may really need some water. I hope that I was able to give her a little insight by sharing our story.

I called to make an apt. with our pediatrician for when Emma gets home. I am totally not thinking like a mother of a little one, but fortunately, the apt. secretary was. Conversation over the phone "I need to make an apt. for our newly adopted toddler upon our return." She asks how old and gives me a date to which I agree to. She asks "Would you like a morning or afternoon appointment?" I reply "Something in the middle of the day would be fine." Pause. She says "Well, usually little ones take their naps in the middle of the day, so are you sure that is the best time?" Mother of preteen and teen replies, "Oh, yeah, little ones take naps during the day (or at least I hope so), so maybe early would be good." She laughs and we make a morning appointment. I am so out of practice for little ones. Are you scared for Emma? I am a little bit. I guess we are in this thing together!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thank God this Day is OVER

Today is one of those days that all I can say is I am glad it is about over. Before I went to bed last night the oven went out. Of course it is 15 years old, so I guess it was about time. So now I need a new oven - great.

PALS is over and that is all I have to say about that. I passed, but it didn't come easily and thank God I only have to take it every 2 years.

Enough complaining, now I am going to rest for a while. With everything that was going through my head last night I think I finally went to sleep around 1 a.m. and then was up before 5 a.m. I am ready to call it a day.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Busy Day - And Wait - WE ARE GOING TO CHINA

My attempt to study for PALS didn't go as planned. I did manage to study for an hour or so this morning, then I took a break and checked out some message boards. I began seeing that several people with the same RA dates as us had gotten their travel approvals. I immediately e-mailed our FC and our travel coordinator to see if ours had arrived and at the time, it had not. Our travel coordinator called me back and said she thought it would arrive this week and that I could go ahead and send our visa applications and all that goes along with that. I made a quick trip to the UPS office and sent our paperwork, ran a few errands, came home and starting preparing corn to freeze that my in-laws had sent us, and then I got THE CALL. We are going to China (if nothing happens:) August 28. Exactly one month from today!! I can't believe that it's finally happening!!

Now, I just had time to share our news and now I have to finish dinner and oh, yeah, I need to finish studying!!

The countdown begins. Hold on little sister, we are on our way!!!

Please pray for our family!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fingerprint Appointment - YES

We received paperwork today to have our fingerprints redone (3rd time - have I mentioned that). The weird thing is that the appointment is for next Saturday at 11 a.m. I can't believe that the government is doing fingerprints on a Saturday, but I am not complaining. Of course I have already made arrangements for Brady to attend Sylvan that day at 11 a.m., but I will make the necessary changes.

Brady and Bo went to see the Batman movie last night and Brady thought it was the greatest movie of all times. He especially liked the Joker. He called me at work after the movie to tell me about it and what he loved the most about the Joker was his thoughts about not making plans, just going with whatever happens. I can see where Brady would think that was a good thing. He's not much on making plans or sticking to them:)

We had a really decent night at work last night, another answer to prayer. Dede and I spent some time studying for PALS and I think she is really concerned about me. I didn't do very well on my drug dosages, but I will on Tuesday when I take the class. I plan on spending all day Monday studying for the class and then hopefully I will be fine on Tuesday. I just feel like my brain is in overload with everything that is going on in our lives right now and studying for a test is not helping it. I would hate to think I had to go back to school at this point in my life!

I spent some time reading the Rumor Queen yesterday and one of the topics over the last few days has been about anger. Anger regarding the adoption system, particularly in China. Anger regarding the wait times and all the hoops that we have to jump through and the end result being children that are sitting in orphanages waiting on forever families that should be getting out of those places much quicker. I don't claim to be an expert on adoption, I only know what we have gone through and what I have read about others and I too have anger towards the system. I look at Emma's face, the face that has no smile at all, and wonder why it has taken almost 2 years to get her out of an orphanage. I know that we are going to face substantial delays in her development because of the increased wait time. As a Christian, I believe that God has a plan for all of our lives and that she is coming to us on his time table, but I also believe that had she been paper ready for adoption more quickly, she wouldn't face as many delays. It's a complicated system and I have to say that as thankful as I am for her and what the adoption journey has brought to our lives, I don't think I could ever go through this again. The wait times are excruciating and I don't see any purpose in them. The children are the ones that suffer. As pointed out on RQ, the system in the United States is equally bad. I have been asked on several occasions why we didn't adopt from the U.S. and although it really isn't any one's business, I point out that adopting from the foster care system in the U.S. is a nightmare. The goal of foster care is to place those children back in their homes with the very same person or persons that have neglected them, abused them, etc. I know that sometimes the system works out and the parents turn over a new leave, but oftentimes that isn't the case and those kids stay in foster care much longer than they should. I'm of the notion that the parent should get 2 strikes at the most and then you lose your parental rights and that child is up for adoption. I've witnessed several times in the ER where those kids just get shuffled back to mom (sometimes mom and dad) and it's just a repeat situation.

So, the long and short of it, yes, I'm thrilled to be adopting our daughter. When I look at her picture and imagine what lies ahead for us as a family, I am very thankful that God has brought us together. Am I angry that she, and so many others, have had to wait so long and that the wait just continues to increase, you bet I am. Would I do it again, well, never say never, but due to the many new changes in the Chinese adoption system, Bo and I wouldn't meet the requirements. It's all so very frustrating and I hope that at some point, the grown ups who run the adoption world, start to look into the faces of all the children who are suffering. Whether they are Asian, Latin, American, whatever. It's about the kids and they are the ones with no voice. That's why we as parents have to be their voice.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Another busy week. I hate to sound like a whiner, but I have been so tired after working this week. Bo has been working late everyday and we have hardly seen each other. I am looking forward to the weekend and hopefully having some family time.

Our fingerprints expire today and the wonderful USCIS has not sent us our apt. to have them redone (for the 3rd time). I requested they expedite our case, but of course, their idea of expediting and ours is obviously not the same. I hope to hear something from them next week, or I may have to contact our Senator. We cannot have anything that is expired when we travel and I'm afraid this may end up being a problem for us.

Brady has survived his first week at band camp and has actually decided that he liked it. He has even complained about another kid who is older than him being a "whiner" and not liking the exercises and running. Brady said "Mom, you think I'm bad, you should listen to this kid". I'm glad to know he can recognize a whiner:) I was beginning to wonder.

Ashton was supposed to go to Nashville Shores today with his best friend, Daniel, but the weather has turned out bad. Well, bad for water parks, great for everything else because we desperately need the rain.

The building project is on hold until Monday. We have to get a lot of stuff out of the basement this weekend. Doesn't sound too fun, but at least we are making some progress.

More China facts: The People's Republic of China has a total land mass of 3.7 million square miles. At it's maximum, it measures approx. 3,100 miles north-south, and 3,230 miles east-west. Its land border is 14,168 miles long. Apart from the mainland, there are more than 5,400 islands.

It encompasses 5 time zones, east to west. Despite the great distance, the central Asian region of Xinjiang is on the same time as Beijing, which means that in practice it is still pitch dark at 10 o'clock in the morning. So people in Xinjiang go to bed at about 2:00 a.m. and get up around 10:00 a.m.

And on another note, that whole plane incident that occurred over water yesterday has not done anything to make me more excited about traveling to China. I have not even mentioned it to the boys and hope they don't see anything about it. I may be right along with Ashton and his 50 Benadryl to help him fly. (Not 50mg, 50 total!)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gift Registry 101

I think I may have had more fun yesterday than I have had in a long time. I went to Target and registered for Emma's gifts and I had a blast doing it. The funny thing were the looks that I got from 2 relatively young pregnant ladies that were also registering. I'm sure they must have thought I had lost my mind. I'm obviously not pregnant and obviously not young, and yet I'm just scanning away at all these cool items. I really had fun and hope I didn't go overboard. It was like imaginary shopping, so what the heck!

I chose a different bedding set while I was at Target. The set was pretty cute and had lady bugs on it. I loved the colors and decided to go with it instead of my original plan. I also chose a lot of toys for her. That was fun too! Overall, as you can see, I had a blast.

The blast ended when I went to work. What a night! My body is screaming and I am heading off to bed so I can go back again tonight. My mother came and took Brady to band camp and Ashton has nothing on his agenda today. I'm hoping that I can get several hours of sleep with only minimal interruption.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Care Package for Emma

There's A Moose on the Loose in our Basement

I'm pretty sure there is a huge beast in the basement making a lot of noise and begging to get out. Between the sawing and hammering, that's what it sounds like. I foresee no sleep during the day around here this week, which is not good since I have to work the next 2 nights, but at least the remodeling project is underway and I am thankful for that. My father-in-law and another man are doing the work. Bo and I have been moving things out and just repositioning stuff so they can get around down there. What a mess!

Brady is back at band camp again today. He's moving very slowly and doesn't seem to be overly impressed with it, but that's to be expected. He only attends for 4 hours each day this week, but next week he's there from 8-5:30! Very long, hot days.

I received an e-mail from Ann from Red Thread China this morning with a picture of the care package that she is sending to Emma. I was very impressed. She also called the orphanage and got some updated information on her measurements. I am not sure how accurate they are, but she was 8.8kg (approx. 17 pounds), and is 77 cm tall (slightly over 30"). If those measurements are correct, she has grown 10 cm since December, but has lost about a pound. If she is walking, that might be right. It's just hard to know for sure how big she is.

My in laws church is planning a baby shower for us on August 10. That's exciting! I don't know for sure what size to tell people, but I'm going with 18 months right now. I am planning on registering at Target this week. I don't need very many "big" items since she is a toddler. I can't believe I'm doing this all over again (at my age:)

Ashton is still sleeping this morning, or perhaps I should check his breathing, because with all the noise in this house I can't believe he's still asleep!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

Nothing like coming home from vacation and hitting the ground running. I have worked the last 3 nights and for anyone who doesn't believe there is a correlation between a full moon and crazy events, you have never been in the medical profession. I hate full moons.

Bo has been working 10 hours since coming home from vacation and also had to work yesterday. It has been very busy for us and doesn't look like it's going to get much better in the next few weeks. Our remodeling project is in the works, but it's hard when he can't be at home to do the things that need to be done. I did manage to remove wallpaper from Brady's room in preparation for painting. I hate wallpaper:)

The boys have busy weeks ahead as well. Brady starts band camp tomorrow and has it for the next 2 weeks. That should be a tiring adventure for him. Ashton has golf in the morning and we have several errands afterwards. I also have some Gymbucks for Gymboree and I have to spend them this week. I know what I want and look forward to a quick trip to Gymboree.

I have to work 3 nights again this week, so there goes the week. Man, it's so busy right now with school about to start and getting ready for China. I finally completed our Visa applications and plan on faxing all of that information to AWAA today. I hope that I completed them correctly. We still have not gotten the paperwork we need to have our fingerprints redone. They expire on the 25th and I am hoping that USCIS steps it up a notch and sends us what we need. Don't even get me started about dealing with Memphis:(

Just a quick review and now I guess I should run. So much to do, so little time. Have I mentioned how glad I will be when this adoption is complete and we can finally take a breath? Well, adding a little one to our crazy life won't exactly be stress free, but at least she will be here and the paperwork craziness will be over! Hold on little girl, we are coming soon!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday catch up and Getting Real

First off, the missing dog is still missing and now presumed dead. 2 dogs in a week. Bo's getting a little nervous:)

I am still in the process of getting our care package to little bit. I have been in contact with Ann at Red Thread China and her e-mail responses have been so fun to read. She seems so positive and uplifting. She was quick to point out that the area that Emma is in - Jiangsu Province, is different from her area and the language characters are evidently different. It has been interesting to read her responses.

In the days to come, I am going to try to start posting some facts and history regarding China. I think that their history is so fascinating and I would like to share some of it with everyone who might be interested. The information for today comes from The Essential Guide to Customs and Culture in China. Funerals: The many beliefs surrounding death in China have survived into the 21st century virtually intact. Until recent times it was still the custom to bury clothing and jewels with the body. In Hong Kong, entire shops are devoted to selling paper money, paper furniture, cars, houses and paper clothes that are burned and placed with the body on burial; even the non-religious will often pay a Buddhist or Daoist priest to say prayers (several hours long) and perform ceremonies for the soul of the dead person. Another custom that would be thought very strange in the West was buying a coffin in advance and storing it in the house. White is the color worn at funerals. The Chinese believe the body needs to go into the next world intact, and so cremation is very unpopular. This presents a problem in the overcrowded cities where there is simply not enough space for graveyards. Another problem arising from the belief in the need for an intact corpse is that organ donation is rare in China. Very interesting. Sorry for the early morning morbid thoughts.

I was reading Melissa's blog a few days ago and was introduced to the Get Real blog and thought it was a interesting idea. I have had a few days to think about it and go over my mental list and wanted to share it as well. I think that most of the time, people only see what we allow them to see. That is usually only the good stuff, although occasionally, they might get a glimpse at the bad. Well, after reading some of the others Get Real lists, I realized that a lot of us are just alike is so many ways. It has actually been very revealing to make out my list, and believe me, the list could go on for days, I just had to stop somewhere.

Getting Real

  1. I'm very insecure. For as long as I can remember I have hated, despised, loathed my curly, frizzy, totally unmanageable hair. I'm very self conscious of it and it really has a lot of control over me. I know that outward appearance isn't something that we should place so much emphasis on, but I, like most women, do and I never feel like I look good enough and usually it relates to my hair. I know that sounds shallow, but I'm just being real. I was given the genetic code for unruly hair and it drives me CRAZY. I could also stand to lose 10-15 pounds, but that's never going to happen either:)
  2. Despite my insecurities, I talk a good game. I come across as strong and secure (most of the time) when on the inside I know that I have a lot of areas of weakness. I try to hide them well and don't even reveal them to my husband or friends.
  3. I do not spend enough time with God. It seems like no matter how hard I try, I never read my Bible enough or spend enough time in prayer. I seem to have a continuous dialogue with God in my head, but I seem to do more talking than listening. If it weren't for daily devotions sent to my inbox, I don't think I would ever carve out the time to study and pray. I have to work on that area in my life, but it's a constant struggle for me.
  4. Bo is a much better husband than I am wife. He's more loving and much kinder. I'm more hotheaded and fly off the handle easier and he is much more controlled. I guess opposites do attract. God blessed me more than I can say by choosing Bo as my mate. I have not always realized that and have often taken him for granted.
  5. I yell. I yell at my kids more than I care to mention. I'm not saying that at times it isn't deserved, but many times I'm yelling because it's just the way I respond. I also struggle with being patient with the boys. They can push my buttons and often do. Teenagers and preteens are interesting characters! I am trying to work on the yelling part. I realize that it's a problem, so at least that's a step in the right direction.
  6. I'm a worrier. No matter how much I try to give it all to God, I turn right around and take a lot of it back (and sometimes more), and start worrying all over again. Isn't that a sign of a lack of Trust? I worry about my kids and their struggles, I worry about Bo and his well being and struggles, I worry about finances, I worry about trying to get "it" all done, etc. Not matter how I hard I try, I'm always behind and of course, I worry about that. There is never enough of me to go around! (I worry about that too).
  7. Adoption has been the most amazing experience of my life. Giving birth to my boys was wonderful and I thank God that he blessed me with that privilege. I realize many people never get to experience that and I don't understand why that is. However, adoption brings on an entirely different set of emotions. To know that God, in His infinite wisdom, had a baby picked out for our family before we even knew we wanted to adopt has been humbling and very profound for me. Also, to think that another woman gave birth to this little girl and for whatever reason chose to give her up, it makes me just crumble on the inside for her. And God knew my life was a mess and had an emptiness that I couldn't fill and he put me on a path that has helped to bring about some balance in my life. And although our paths will most likely never cross, that birth mother was part of the process. It's all so amazing to me and I can say without hesitation, it's been the greatest, most emotional journey I have ever been on. Exhausting, frustrating, etc. - yes, but indeed the most amazing. Adoption has brought about a sense of purpose for me, but if I'm being REAL, it has brought about enormous stress as well. Now that it's real and there is an Emma, not just a name but a person, I worry about my ability to parent her well enough. Am I going to know how to handle the issues that are no doubt ahead of us. The questions, the looks, the moments that how I react and respond will determine how she deals with her challenges in the future. I have to be strong for her and I think that I will be, but I still worry about all of the unknowns that are ahead for her. I'm just being REAL.
  8. My list could also include: I'm not as organized as I would like to be, I'm not a great housekeeper, I spend too much time on the computer (yeah, I know:), I don't exercise enough (hardly ever), I need to spend more time thinking of others and helping them and have become slightly jaded after being an ER nurse for 12 years. I have no special talents, I can't play an instrument or sing. I have no artistic abilities at all. I love sports, but have no athletic ability. I would love a "gift", and am often jealous when I see other people who can do it all. So you see, my list is rather long and could be longer, however I'm choosing to stop now. I don't want to become depressed and have to eat a bag of something salty, chased with chocolate. At least not before 10 A.M.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Special Delivery

A Death in the Family - Probably 2

Well, my missing dog is still missing and my sick dog was called home last night. She was so pitiful and I'm so glad I didn't have to take her to the vet to be put to sleep. We came home from church last night and she had died. We buried her out in the field next to our garden spot. She was really a good dog and lived a very long life. I still don't know about the other missing dog, but I'm assuming he isn't coming home. It's been at least 4 days since he has been seen, so that doesn't look promising. At this rate, 2 weeks in China might take out all of our dogs! I hope not.

I am home working on paperwork today and trying to get a care package together for little bit. We are trying to get a letter sent to the orphanage so that we can find out more about her growth, health and history. I hope to hear something back from Red Thread China today. I have read several comments on groups about her and how reasonable and fast she was. I hope we can get a package to her this week.

Nothing much to add this morning! Just very busy. Bo headed back to work today and I know he was really looking forward to that:) I go back Thursday night and work Friday and Saturday. I too am looking so forward to that.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Happy 16 month Birthday Emma

We have arrived home. We actually got home yesterday, but I had no time to post. My house is crazy with paperwork piled everywhere and general house work piling up. I also came home to one very sick dog and one very missing dog. We have an old dog named Lucky, 14 years old, that is just a mixed breed that I rescued from the vet's office when Brady was a baby. She is getting very old and worn out, but now appears to be sick. She is currently missing in action, although we saw her this morning before we left for church. I can't stand for her to look so pitiful and I'm afraid we may have to have her put to sleep. At the risk of sounding cold (and I'm not - I love my animals), I wish she would just go to sleep and not wake up. I hate to have to take her to the vet and have her put down. I've had to do that before and I just can't stand it. One of our other dogs (we have 4), a cocker spaniel named Tramp, is missing. My mother thinks she saw him on Thursday, but he has not been seen since. He doesn't usually wander off, and he's getting old too. I hope he didn't wander off in the woods and die or something hurt him. It's very unlike him to disappear, but we have not been able to locate him. He's getting old, but he still has a lot of spunk. My lab and basset hound are still hanging around and appear to be fine.

I have been going over our travel instructions that we received from our agency and it's almost too overwhelming! Visas, passports, releases, take this, take that, etc. I can't wait until this is over with. I have had 2 biological children and that was much easier and I believe, less painful. And yes, I had natural child birth! Adoption is not for the faint of heart and I haven't even touched my beautiful child yet! Speaking of which, happy 16 month birthday to my daughter. I look so forward to getting her here! I don't think she will be home for her 17 month birthday, but I sure hope she is by her 18 month birthday! Brady has been asking me how old exactly she is and how old will she be in 2 years (do you see why I'm taking him to Sylvan). I told him she would be 3 years old in 2 years and he immediately started making his Disney plans for her first trip. Too funny:) He can't wait to take her to Disney World and let her experience that. I fear this little girl is going to be rotten.

I will be posting some pictures of our RA arrival and vacation later on. I didn't get too many, but I will post what I have so far.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Fish Tale

The fishermen have returned and from the looks of it, they did a great job. Bo said that they caught about 15 or so and that Brady did better than he did. Also, no one got sick! Praise the Lord. Brady is exhausted, immediately falling on the sofa and going to sleep. Poor Ashton, he has been bored with me today. It's not as much fun aggravating your mom as it is your brother. Less response. I will hopefully post pics of the fish when we get home.

Friday - How Can Vacation Week Pass So Quickly

First of all, say a prayer right now for Bo and Brady. They are deep sea fishing today and I so hope that neither of them gets sick. Bo is just convinced that Brady will get sick and was reluctant to take him. I'm hoping that Brady can endure and even manage to catch some fish. He was really excited about going. Ashton and I are spending our last day hanging out at the beach. The jellyfish were still out yesterday, but not as bad. The seaweed was much better yesterday, but it looks like it might be back today. They boys stayed out longer yesterday and as stated on my previous post about "not caring if there were sharks on the shore", well Ashton and I saw one while we were on our floats. We eased back closer to the shore and kept a close watch after that. I guess he was more scared of us that we of him (I doubt it), and we didn't see him anymore.

I had an e-mail from Leah Wednesday evening stating that she had received our paperwork on Wednesday and it was sent to China that day. Now we wait on the travel approval. I have no idea when that will arrive, but I know that I have so much to do when I get home. I'm trying not to allow it to stress me out so much, but MAN! Between the paperwork and business of getting ready to travel, the home repairs and getting little bit a room done, work, keeping the boys various appointments and things going, and basically trying to keep my sanity, I'm feeling the stress of it starting to stir in me. I also have to study for my PALS class for work, which of course would have to be at the end of July. I'm having a hard time focusing on the simple things, much less Pediatric Advanced Life Support! To top it all off, school starts on August 8 and we have to get back in that routine. My new mantra - I Can Do This.

A funny story about the boys and Ryan. We went to dinner Wednesday night and our waitress was a trainee. The boys made a few jokes about that while we waited. Ryan and Ashton ordered fried shrimp and when she brought the food out, it was grilled shrimp and she immediately told them that she had made a mistake, but that their fried shrimp were coming out soon and that they could have the grilled shrimp too. A look of pure joy went on their faces. 2 meals for 1! They loved the trainee! What can make 2 boys happier than extra food! They talked about it nonstop until we delivered Ryan back to his parents. They were too cute.

Well, I guess I need to get off and go enjoy my last day at the beach. Who knows when we will return and the next time we do, I will have a little in tow and I suspect my relaxing will be limited.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wednesday At the Beach

Okay, so in addition to the seaweed, the jellyfish have arrived. The water is full of them and no one is venturing into the waters. The boys spent some time at the shore catching them in a net, and then headed to the pool for a while. They have spent most of the day in the condo playing Monopoly and XBox. I think they may be bored and my 2 are certainly becoming more annoying. I don't care if there are sharks on the shore tomorrow, they are spending more time outside!

No adoption news today. I guess that's not a bad thing.

I finally managed to finish a library book from the Mitford series that I have been reading forever! I am now reading a book about adoption stories and Amy Tan's "The Bonesetter's Daughter". I don't know why it's taking me so long to read things these days. I guess I'm distracted!

I guess it's time for me to shower and get ready to go out for food. I have not eaten much today and am looking forward to something hardy!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Waiting - What's New?

After almost 3 years of this adoption journey one would think we would be used to waiting. We spent the entire day holed up in the condo waiting on our package. After some confusion regarding the tracking number and delivery, we finally received it around 3:45 and rushed to get the paperwork signed and sent back overnight. The Fed Ex guy looked a bit concerned when I started taking pictures of him as he walked from the street and up the stairs. I reassured him that we were not stalkers and he appeared less apprehensive and more inclined to have his picture taken. We were a little disappointed in that there was nothing new in the package. I'm not exactly sure what we were expecting, but it was a single sheet of paper from CCAA that was translated in English stating that we agree to adopt Ta Fu Yi, DOB 2-13-07. No additional health information and no information regarding her abandonment. As of now we still don't know her story of how she came to be at the orphanage. We are hopeful that we might get some additional information or perhaps find out more when we travel. Her information from the referral just states she was in the orphanage in March, 2007, but it doesn't tell anything more. I really want to know as much as possible about her abandonment because I think she deserves to know that information later on in life.

We got the paperwork sent and headed out to dinner. Dede and her family and some friends are in Destin, so we hooked up with them so Ryan could come over to our place and hang out tonight and tomorrow. Needless to say, the boys are thrilled to have someone to play with. They are outside hunting crabs in the dark right now. Hopefully tomorrow will be a great day at the beach. The waves seem more choppy tonight, but the seaweed was back out today. I am looking forward to laying on the beach tomorrow with today's ordeal behind us. When we get back home, I have to get some additional paperwork together and sent to AWAA right away. I also have to start the packing plans and get gifts for the nannies and orphanage director, which is customary. I just keep telling myself that in the next 6-8 weeks, all of this will be behind us and we will have our girl home. Then the fun really begins.

I'm sure you were able to see Emma's hands and see that she has only her little fingers. It may be hard to see in the photo that I posted, be we have another one that shows it well. We don't know what is ahead for this little girl, but we feel prepared and I know that comes from God. Are we scared? Certainly. Does God understand that? I think so. We just have to wait and see what is ahead for us. I hope that the doctors can perform some type of miracle on her, but that remains to be seen. I keep practicing things using only my little fingers and realize just how hard that is. I keep saying to myself "if she only had thumbs, it would be easier", and no doubt it would be. However, she may never have that option and we will just have to deal with that. Her feet also may pose some problems, but that also remains to be seen. God has gotten us this far and he won't turn his back on us now. This little girl will do amazing things and I just know it. I think my eyes are about to be opened to things that I never before thought of and when I see those things, I will be proudly seeing them through my daughter. Thank you God for this little girl thousands of mile away that is about to change our lives and I believe make them more complete. It is a blessing.

Oh, and for some good humor, check out Melissa's blog - and watch the two sides of Rory. All parents have experienced it, but Melissa and Brian have put it to music and it's hilarious!

Waiting on Federal Express

Today will be spent waiting on Federal Express to deliver our paperwork, then we have to read over everything, sign it, pay the last big fee to the agency, find somewhere we can print out the information and make copies, etc. Then we have to get it all back to AWAA by tomorrow. Just another day in the adoption journey. Nothing can be simple or easy:) I didn't bring our passports with us to Florida (why would I) and they need copies of those. Our FC said that we could send that as soon as we return. Of course, we don't have Ashton's yet! Our other big issue will be getting our fingerprints redone ASAP. They expire on July 25 and we have to have those expedited. I have to say, I have probably gotten a lot more grey hairs since we started this process, but when I look at her little face I know it's worth it. As long as there is hair color available, it will be okay.

We celebrated at P.F. Changs last night. The boys were okay with the food, we really liked it. Of course, they were humiliated that I asked our server to take our picture so we could keep it for her scrapbook. Another stupid thing - my camera battery is almost out and I didn't bring the recharger! Who knew? I also saw 2 really cute little girls who were obviously Chinese and the mom was not. I went over and spoke with her and she was so sweet. She told me that both of the girls had been cleft lip and palate. There was no sign of it at all. They were very busy and adorable and she was so pleasant and encouraging. Yes, I never meet a stranger.

Well, I guess I should put on some clothes besides my p.j.s otherwise the Fed Ex guy might not want to come by at all. I will post more today when we find out more about our little girl. The information we receive today will hopefully have updated medical information, her size, and more about her history. Please pray for our family that we can get all the paperwork taken care of today and not feel too stressed. Above all, pray for our daughter as she waits on her forever family to come bring her home.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Introducing Ashton and Brady's little sister Emma Elizabeth FuYi McGowan

We are officially going to be her forever family. I received the call while I was sitting on the beach reading my book and enjoying the breeze. God smiled down on us and we got the call from Leah, our family coordinator. Bo and the boys had already gone back up to the condo and I was enjoying some quiet time. I knew referrals were supposed to arrive today and there was a possibility that RA's would come also. When my phone rang and I heard Leah's voice on the other end, I told her that she was the only one allowed to interrupt my tranquility and she laughed saying she thought the news she had would be worth it. I knew it would be! So now, she has to Fed Ex our paperwork here tomorrow and then we sign it and overnight it back to her so it can go to China ASAP. She could only venture a guess as to when we would travel, but most likely around the last week of August or first week of September. Sooner would be great, but it's all in God's very capable hands. I'll leave it there. He has blessed us beyond all measure and I can't even begin to praise him enough.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


After a rather long drive, we are at the beach. The boys were a bit loud on the way down and therefore I didn't get to sleep on the way after working all night. As I suspected, the ER was very busy last night and we never got much of a break. But, the beach is great and I am looking forward to some quality down time. There is some seaweed to contend with, but nothing too bad.

The condo we rented is nice. It's always a gamble, but this one seems to have paid off so far.

I hope everyone has a great week. We hope to hear something about our RA this week, but that may be wishful thinking.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Well, we survived the first part of the family reunion. I came home after midnight and the guys stayed all night. They came home in the wild thunderstorm that we had this morning and headed straight to bed. I hear snoring from all directions. Unfortunately, they have to get up in just a little while to go back over to the reunion. This is the 50th year that our family has been doing this and I think that's pretty impressive. We had a good turnout last night and I'm sure we will today. Everyone was asking about Emma and I was able to show off her picture to my family. Of course they think she is adorable and she is. So next year, hopefully she will be able to celebrate her first independence day with her extended family. Red, white, and blue dress all the way!

I have still got to get packed for vacation. I have managed to make a list and that's about it. I am hoping for a good night at work tonight! Maybe no excessive celebration that leads to an ER visit, but you never know!

I can't believe it's already July 4. The summer has flown by and the kids will be back in school in a month. We have not had any downtime, and I am so looking forward to the beach. I hope the weather is perfect. The boys are ready for some beach time as well. It's hard to think this is our last vacation with just the 4 of us. Next vacation will involve little girl things and I will no longer get to just sit and read my book and watch the waves. Oh boy, my life is about to take on some major changes.

Happy 4th!

Thursday, July 3, 2008


I should not be on this computer right now! I should be cleaning, packing for vacation, baking for the family reunion, working on the family scrapbook I use only for the July 4th holiday (I'm a year behind), etc. However, I have not managed to do any of those things yet. I'm getting to it! All of my boys are off playing 9 holes of golf with Bo's life long friend Anthony. It's quiet in my house for the first time in a long time and I should be using my time wisely!

I had a late night last night. Melissa and I went out after church and made a quick Target run and went to see Get Smart. It was pretty cute and I enjoyed the company. She has been holed up in the house with a sick one and deserved to get away for a little while! I know she will do the same thing for me when Emma is having a spell!

While I was at Target I bought Emma a toy. All little ones have those plastic rings that stack (Rock a Stack), but now the top ring is a rattle. I thought that was cute and we can take it to China with us. I keep trying to think about things that will be simpler for her to do with her limited grasp. Although I'm pretty sure she will manage to overcome most everything!

I was very excited yesterday to read on our AWAA waiting child board that a family that received their PA on June 27 actually received their RA yesterday. A 6 day turn around! I don't know if that will happen for us, but I can certainly hope. They may travel before the Olympics start. I wish we could do that! So please keep praying that we will get our RA soon. Also, please pray for a good friend Leslie who is waiting to bring her precious little girl home. They have been waiting over 50 days for their RA and their little girl really needs to get home and have medical treatment. Please pray for strength for that family and their little one.

It's amazing how the wait worsens once you have a face to look at and know that their is a little person on the other side of the world who is yours. It will be 3 weeks tomorrow since we got the call and in that 3 weeks we have come to love this little girl so much and just want her home with her forever family. There's an emptiness in our home and hearts. We just want to bring our daughter home. I have 3 kids and one of them is missing, but, hopefully not for long!

I hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Stress Causes What?

Okay, so the last 2 mornings I have gotten up with a toothache and had severe tooth sensitivity to hot liquids (aka COFFEE). I managed to get an apt. with the dentist today and he seems to think I'm clinching my jaws at night while I sleep and causing me to have pain in my tooth. He said my jaw was very tight and it's tender to touch, so I'm sure that is probably the culprit. He asked if I was under a lot of stress and I refrained from telling him just how much! Bo says I've been snoring a lot at night and I have been so tired that I haven't even been waking up during the night. The last few weeks have been slightly exhausting! I guess it's just preparing me for when little sister gets here and I have to be up at night and all the things that go along with having a little one around. Don't get me wrong, I'm ready for that part of this journey! I just don't want to have to give up my beverage of choice!

We had our Hep A vaccines today and everyone (including me) did well with that. Ashton didn't even complain too much. Of course, his payment was a Krispy Kreme donut with chocolate glaze and sprinkles. He can be bought! We have to get another injection in 6 months and we should have life time immunity.

We has a great lunch at Red Robin. The burgers were great ! I highly recommend it.

I have not managed to get a lot done around this house this week, but it's always hard to accomplish much when Bo and the boys are at home. As soon as I do something, it's undone just as quickly. Bo is still wrestling with the basement and the pool. They boys have played Monopoly and argue during most of the game. They both like to cheat and that always turns into a screaming match.

One of my morning devotions was about worry. One of the lines in it said "Worry doesn't empty tomorrow of it's sorrows, it just empties today of it's strengths." I thought that was great way of looking at things and how very true.

I keep thinking about Emma and hoping that she is being held and loved by her caregivers. I hope that she gets to smile and laugh each day and when she goes to bed at night that someone gives her that last little touch and she goes to bed peacefully. I look forward to those moments when I can put her to bed after rocking her and she knows that she has a forever family that will never leave her and accepts her just the way she is. I also think about her biological family and the decision that was made to abandon her. I have nothing but respect for them because I don't know their situation and will not judge them. When I look at Emma's little hands and feet and think that her mom may have had the same condition and didn't want Emma to be shunned by people, or perhaps she knew that if she was adopted she could get the best medical care, I am forever grateful to this woman who made this choice. Because of her, I have the privilege to parent my daughter. I may be "glamorizing" the entire situation and she may have chosen to abandon her daughter for less honorable reasons, but regardless, she is now ours (or will be soon:) When I look into her little face I just see a bright future ahead of her with a family that loves her so much. I thank God that he chose us to parent this little dumpling!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

We Are PA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As of today, we are pre-approved by the CCAA to adopt little sister. This is issued electronically after the CCAA Special Needs Department has reviewed and approved our EA. Now we wait on them to fully review our Dossier and application and then we will receive our RA (referral acceptance). It has taken 2 weeks and 1 day for the PA to arrive after our EA. Now the race is on to receive the RA. It is estimated to be between 1-3 months, but I'm thinking it will happen sooner. At least I am very hopeful of that. Our dossier was logged in on April 29, 2006, so hopefully it will move quicker since we have been waiting SO LONG. We still cannot post a picture of sweetie pie, but as soon as we get our RA, her face will be plastered on this blog:) After the RA, we are allowed to send her a care package. I have been sleeping with a stuffed baby Simba the last few days that we got at Animal Kingdom Disney World. They recommend doing that so it has your scent on it and then we will send it to her. I hope it has a good scent! We will also send her a blanket and a camera, as well as a picture of us. Bo is chomping at the bit to do that! (No, she won't be taking any pictures, that is for the nannies to hopefully take pictures of her for us.)

No other exciting news. I worked yesterday and I mean I worked! I was very tired and went straight to bed when I got home at 9:30. Today was errands, hair apt., getting ready for vacation. Just busy stuff.

Tomorrow we go get our Hepatitis A vaccines. Ashton is beside himself with excitement. He was just as excited yesterday when he applied for his passport. The sweet lady at the post office asked where he was going and he begrudgingly said "China". She asked him if he was excited and he said "not really". He's a lovely child.