Sunday, August 31, 2008

Monday morning - Sept. 1

Well, I managed to sleep pretty well, but not too long. I have been up since about 3:15 a.m. I have not checked on Bo and Brady yet, but Ashton is still sleeping. They don't have much longer.

I was so afraid that our travel alarm might not work, so I kept a close eye on the clock. Wouldn't that just be our luck!!

I have plugged in the hot pot and made myself a cup of coffee (Folgers Singles- I highly recommend them if you travel here). It's not great, but I hope it will give me a boost before we leave. Another thing they don't have much of is Diet Coke. Sherry (our guide) said no one drinks it here. Only Coke and it tastes different.

I would like to go on record and say I am really ready for some regular food! The food has been good, but I would hate to think I had to eat it everyday. I have every intention of finding a Pizza Hut or McDonalds tonight. I have been boycotting McDonalds for some time due to their social agenda, but I may have to cut them some slack soon!

Thanks to everyone again for the prayers and support. My next post will have our girl in it! I will go straight to the heart of it and show pictures first.

Sunday evening - Tomorrow is the DAY

Exhausted and slightly crazy would describe our family right now. We had another very busy day at the Wall, the Jade factory, lunch, dinner and the acrobatics show - which I hear was good, but I slept through most of it.

First off, the Great Wall is indeed that. We made it to the first tower and then called it quits. The steps are completely uneven and we were too tired to go any farther. One of the signs posted as a warning on the way up says "People with Heart Disease or Brain Disease shouldn't attempt". Well, at this point I'm pretty sure that I suffer from brain disease.

I just keep thinking that tonight is the last night that Emma will have to sleep in an orphanage. Tomorrow night, she sleeps in a real bed with real parents and brothers. I hope that somehow in her little mind she knows that she is about to have a family.

Our schedule is pretty crazy again tomorrow. We had to pack all of our bags tonight and they are being taken to the airport tonight (we hope). We only kept our clothes for tomorrow and the important documents, etc. We meet in the lobby in the morning at 5:30 and head to the airport. There are 16 families and most of us are going in different directions. We have to rush to the airport and get boarded. I think our flight might take approximately 1 1/2 hours. They tell us we will have time to go to the hotel after landing, but I know that many times the babies are waiting for you when you arrive at the hotel and you get no time to prepare. I am taking some diapers, wipes and Cheerios with me just in case. It's going to be an interesting day I'm sure.

I forgot to mention that our first stop today was at the church. Beijing International Christian Fellowship church. It was a moving experience with all the different nationalities there singing in different languages. We had to show a copy of our passports before entering because the Chinese people can't enter without being registered as a Christian. I was so filled with the spirit I couldn't stop crying during the worship portion. Just looking around a room filled with so many different people in a country that I had to show my ID to be allowed in really brought home the fact that I am so glad to live where I can go in any church and worship. I hope I never forget the feeling that I had during the service.

Well, I am about to attempt to go to bed now. I know that you guys at home are at church and I know that many prayers will be prayed for our family today. Please know that each one of them means so much to us and that we have felt them. Pray for our girl as she lays on her little hard bed tonight and waits for her parents. Pray that she is healthy and that she will attach to us with ease. Pray that she won't be afraid of us. Just pray.

We love you all.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lotus flowers at the Summer Palace.

Sign in the bathroom at the restaurant.

Okay, I don't know exactly how to caption this one. We were getting back on the bus after the Summer Palace tour and I saw this in the bathroom from the bus window. Plucking a duck?

In front of the lake at the Summer Palace.

A squatty potty at the restaurant. Luckily, there were regular toilets as well. Sherry told us there are different types of toilets and they are rated 1 star to 5 star. 1 Star is "hold your nose" and the they get better. You have to remember to have your own toilet paper at some of them.

The Kunming Lake. This picture doesn't do it any justice at all.

On Tinenaman Square in front of Chairman Mao.

These are our guides from AWAA, Lineker and Sherry. The other girl in the picture is here with her mom to adopt a 12 year old boy.

Sunday, August 31 in Beijing

Good morning from Beijing.

We have survived our first day and it was a very busy one. We began the morning with breakfast. Very good buffet. They boys were very impressed.

Our next stop was Tiananmen Square. It's the largest square in the world. Very much a political area. Our guide, Sherry, who is a delight, was quick to point out that we are not to take pictures of the soldiers and don't ask any questions about the past uprising of the students. She said we would be trouble makers and off the bus:) The most interesting thing is how we are on display. The people just stop and stare at us and take our pictures. The vendors also start after you right away. Sherry taught us how to say no thank you in Chinese (Bu Yee) but they keep after you. Slightly intimidating. Our group had a picture made in front of Chairman Mao Zedong's picture on Tiananmen Square.

Forbidden City was next on the list. It was built at the command of the third Ming emperor between 1406-1420. It served as the Imeperial Palace for the next 490 years, spanning two dynasties and 24 emperors. In 1925 it was opened to the public as the Palace Museum. It's estimated that 9,000 people lived within the palace walls, including the emperor, his family and the imperial concubines, servants, guards, eunuchs and civil servants. It proved to be quite the history lesson.

Lunch at a traditional Chinese restaurant was next. We were seated at a table with other families (10 of us) and the food was served on a lazy susan and we shared it all using our chopsticks. Yes, I know I'm a germ freak, but it didn't bother me too much. Lunch was good. I'm not sure what some of it was. Nothing to out of the ordinary though.

We went to the Summer Palace next. It was an imperial palace built during the first year of Emperor Zhenyuan of the Jin Dynasty. It includes the Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake (a man made lake). It was beautiful. It has different areas that are representative of different parts of China. One area represented the area that Emma is from and it was beautiful. Weeping willow trees, a wonderful breeze. Sherry described the girls from that area as willows - skinny and swaying in the breeze. I guess we will see when we meet our little willow tree.

We went to the Government run pearl market and found out a lot of history regarding pearls and how they are harvested, etc. They have trained the staff, all young ladies, to be very good salespeople. One girl follows you around the store and shows you the jewelry. They are very well trained! I bought Emma a necklace and earrings for when she marries someday. I also bought a few other things there.

The Silk Museum was next. We were given a lesson on the silk worm and how they make the silk. I bought Emma a traditional Chinese dress for her picture that she will have done here with all of the other children.

We had dinner at the Western Restaurant. Yes, that's the name. Pizza, fries, salad, other Chinese foods. Not that great, but okay. Nothing very western about it.

Back to the hotel in the pouring rain and then off to bed. The driving here makes me very nervous. Bikes, scooters, buses, cars, taxi's. All very close and everyone is very offensive in their driving! Bo should love it.

There are so many interesting things to point out that I don't know where to start. I think the cutest thing has been the reaction from the Chinese people, especially older ladies, to 2 little girls in our group that are blond and blue eyed. They were practically mobbed yesterday by these older ladies who proceeded to hug and kiss them. The girls are young, but they handled it well. Their mom looked slightly nervous about the kissing and hugging, but she handled it well. I have a picture of them I will post later.

We are on display here. It's an odd feeling.

Today we attend a state run church. I'm looking very forward to that. We then are going to the jade market and the Great Wall as well as lunch and dinner and an acrobatics show tonight. But the most important thing of all is that we are less than a day away from Emma!! We leave in the morning to fly to her province. I'm not sure of the times yet, we will find it all out today. Everyone here is just so ready for that part. We are all liking the sight seeing, but that isn't the main reason we are here and we are ready to go get our children.

I still have not slept well. I seem to sleep for a couple of hours and then I'm awake off and on.

We are heading out to breakfast now and off to start the day. We love you all and I will post again soon. The next post may be after we get Emma, so that's really what everyone wants to see anyway!!

Friday, August 29, 2008


It's 6:10 in the morning here. We have survived our first night without incident and are heading to eat breakfast soon and then off to sight see.

We ventured out yesterday to the Chinese version of Walmart and it was an adventure. I have never felt so out of place. I should never complain about having to wait in lines at Walmart or Kroger again. We bought water and a few drinks for the boys. It's hard to imagine not being able to brush your teeth without using bottled water. So far I have remembered and I hope the boys do as well.

The food in the store was interesting to say the least. They were cutting all types of meats right in the center of store. Huge sides of pork just right in the open. Very neat. But I have to say, I have never felt so out of place. It's interesting to be the foreigner.

Ashton slept in my room last night and Bo with Brady. I think the boys slept great, but Bo and I not so well. I was up every hour.

We ate at the hotel last night night and the food was good, just very small portions.

Late Entry: We just returned from the breakfast buffet in the hotel and it was great. We have finally eaten our fill and think we will survive.

It's hard to put in to words just what we have experienced so far, but suffice it to say, I really love home and we have just started.

All of the families that we have met seem so nice and it is wonderful to finally meet the folks that you have been seeing on the blogs. Everyone is so excited to finally be here.

We are off to see the sights. I will post again later.

Plane pics

Welcome to Beijing - What Day is It?

After many hours on a plane, going over the North Pole, Artic Ocean and International Time Line, we are here. It is 4:20 in the afternoon (8/29) here and it's drizzling rain. Our hotel is nice. The beds are about the size of a twin size bed, so we are really glad that we got the boys their own rooms. Of course, they had managed to lock themselves out of it after being here only 10 minutes.

We had 3 other families on the plane that are adopting. Everyone is going to different provinces to get their children, so on Sunday we will all say good bye until it's time to meet back in Guangzhou.

The flight was not too bad. The plane was not full, so we were able to move about easy. The food was average, but I have to say all of the service from the United staff has been exceptional, starting in Nashville at the ticket counter. I am hopeful that it will be as nice on the way home.

Well, I'm about to wander on to the streets of Beijing and go to the Walmart here. Nothing says welcome like eels and turtles in the aisles.

We love you all and please continue praying for us.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wednesday - I'm Calling it a Day

After a very long and busy day, I'm about to try to sleep. We have to get up very early to be at the airport and I'm hoping that everything just goes smoothly. God has blessed us so much so far and I'm not about to stop believing now.

We are packed. 6 checked bags and each of us have a carry on. Not as bad as I had thought it might be:) Bo has weighed every bag and determined they are all under 45 pounds. I hope his scales are correct.

We appreciate every one's support. The love and prayers, the monetary gifts, the baby gifts, EVERYTHING. We appreciate it all.

I can't even begin to put in to words in such a short time period how I feel tonight. After almost 3 years of planning for this moment, it's here and I'm about to meet my little girl. The feelings that go along with it are beginning to wash over me and I'm sure that I will fall apart when she is in my arms.

We love you all. Keep us all in your prayers.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Itinerary - Crazy Busy Times

We received our itinerary today for our in country stay. Just a brief overview

  • Thursday, August 28 Depart for Beijing
  • Friday, August 29 Arrive Beijing
  • Saturday, August 30 Beijing Sight Seeing: Tienanmen Square, Forbidden City and Summer Palace
  • Sunday, August 31 Church Service and The Great Wall
  • Monday, Sept. 1 Fly to Jiangsu and then it's GOTCHA DAY!! Meet our girl
  • Tuesday, Sept. 2 Civil Affairs Apt.
  • Sept. 3rd, 4th Paperwork, Sight-seeing, and Shopping
  • Friday, Sept. 5 Fly to Guangzhou
  • Saturday, Sept. 6 Emma's medical exam
  • Sunday, Sept. 7 Paperwork party (that doesn't even sound fun)
  • Sept. 8th and 9th Free days in Guangzhou
  • Wednesday, Sept. 10 Consulate Appointment
  • Thursday, Sept. 11 Pick up Emma's Visa
  • Friday, Sept. 12 Depart from Guangzhou, Fly to Beijing, Fly to U.S.A.
  • Saturday Hope that everyone sleeps in:)

Okay, so I still have more to do than I can say grace over! Busy stuff and I have 24 hours to get it all finished.

We will have our laptop with us and will continue to blog while in China, barring any unforeseen problems. If I run into problems, Melissa is going to blog for me.

So, that is all for now. Please keep us all in your prayers as we continue to prepare to leave.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hot off the Presses

At this point, our travel itinerary looks like we will be leaving Thursday morning at 7:45 and fly to Washington. From Washington we are headed to Beijing. We arrive in Beijing on Friday, August 29 at 1:55 p.m. (which is 1:55 a.m. here). We should be back home on September 12 at 9:23 p.m. Can they be more exact?

I don't have our in country travel information yet, but we should get Emma on September 1. We spend the first 2 days in Beijing sight seeing and then on the third day, we meet her.

So now I'm off to get the boys picked up and break the news to Ashton that he will be flying on Thursday. Then to golf, tennis tryouts (per my mother-in-law) and Sylvan.

My to do list is very long, but I wouldn't trade it for anything! Please pray for me. My stomach has been hurting since I woke up this morning and I'm just hoping it's a good case of nerves and nothing else!

God Is Still in the Miracle Business

I stole those words from my friend Mrs. Kaye! Thanks for saying them and I am certainly convinced. Barring any unforeseen circumstance, we are leaving on Thursday!!!! There is still some confusion over the fingerprints and the Consulate's office, but I think that it can be taken care of.

I cannot thank everyone enough for your prayers and support. It has been a hard weekend, but God has answered our prayers and then some!!

I cannot post a lot right now and still don't have all the details, but we are leaving on a jet plane Thursday morning!! Now I have to get a lot done and ready to go. Nothing like waiting to the last minute.

We love you all!!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Brady performed well in his marching band routine last night according to all reports. Of course I was at work and didn't get to see it. The grandparents and Bo thought he was the most talented of all and they are certainly not bias.

Work stunk last night. Glad it's over.

I'm still slightly unglued from all the adoption mess. I am anxious to talk with the travel coordinator on Monday and see if anything has happened. I have just about come to terms with the fact the we will most likely travel on September 11 instead. I am certainly not happy about any of it, but it's out of my control.

I have the greatest friends in the world. I received a phone call from a former pastor's wife yesterday to tell us she was praying for us and that meant so much. Brenda, Angel, and Kay, my good friends at work, were waiting on me when I arrived yesterday and had been reading my blog during the day and knew how awful my day had been. They were there for me with hugs and support and I appreciated it so much. Dede listened to me complain most of the night about the whole situation. She has been there since day one. When you work all night with someone they have no choice but to listen to you:) They are confined.

I also appreciate the comments that I have received on the blog. It's strange to think that people that you will most likely never meet are reading about your life and sharing in your struggles. I appreciate all of the prayers from everyone. They are needed.

Well, we are spending a quiet night at home for once. Ashton is dying to go practice tennis now that he has a racket. We will see if we can hold him off. I'm planning on plopping down on the couch and staying there. It's pizza night and I will feel no guilt. I admit that I am an emotional eater and at this point, I don't care.

Have a great rest of the weekend. Keep praying:)

Friday, August 22, 2008

I Know What A Volcano Feels Like

If it were possible for 2 1/2 years worth of frustration to build up in your system and move from your feet to your head and then explode out of your ears, I would be leaving one heck of a mess in my house right now. I am beyond frustrated, I am downright about to blow.

The latest word is that we have to wait to see if there is an available appointment with the Chinese Consulate left for the August 28 travel group. It could take 1-5 days to find this information out, and in all likelihood, there is no available appointment. That being the case, it is looking more like we will be traveling on September 11 instead of next week. So believe me, frustration is putting it mildly.

So it appears that we enter the weekend not knowing if we might possibly leave for China in 6 days. Nothing like packing like a smuggler leaving down.

I am trying to see the good in this situation, but somehow it escapes me. Because of bureaucracy, my daughter will most likely spend another 3 weeks in an orphanage. That is 3 weeks of her life that we will never get back.

So please continue to pray that someone in the Chinese Consulate's office sees fit for us to get an appointment and that we can leave next week. Please pray for Emma as she waits on her mom and dad. And please pray that my blood pressure medicine really does work well, because I'm a stroke waiting to happen.

An Early Riser

Good morning. Shouldn't someone who is tired be able to sleep? I have been awake since 3 a.m. and finally decided it was time to get up. I can't stand to lay in bed and think. So I decided to move my show downstairs and add coffee, Bible, and computer.

I receive several devotions everyday and I attempt to read most of them, but a lot of days I just can't seem to find the time. Well, I've read them all this morning, so that is one accomplishment of getting up. One of those devotions came from the following verse: Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. I'm not doing to well with that one. All I can do is thing about how our life is in the hands of a supervisor somewhere and whoever makes the appointments for the Chinese Consulate. But then I think about it more realistically and know that our lives are in the hands of Jesus Christ and he remains in control even when I feel like the whole world is spinning out of control. Sometimes it's just hard to remember that.

I keep having so many thoughts running randomly through my head, but the one that seems to keep me awake is seeing Emma in a crib alone, looking so sad. I just keep wondering if she gets held very often, if they are taking the time to really feed her, does she ever smile. I think the revelation over the last week of the Chinese not finding the little girl pretty enough to sing at the opening ceremonies just keeps haunting me. Please understand, I'm not belittling the Chinese in any way, but their desire for perfection just eats at me. My little girl isn't perfect in their eyes. Her hands are not perfect. Her feet are not perfect. In their eyes, as well as most of the world's eyes, she is the picture of imperfection. But in God's eyes, she is perfect. She was perfectly made by him. So when we are experiencing the looks from others at our girl, and we will, I have to remember that she is a perfect creation in His eyes and my thoughts should be to pray for all of the other imperfect people in this world. She is also a perfect creation in our eyes. She was chosen especially for our family. I have no doubts about that.

In saying that about the Chinese, I also realize it's just about as bad in the USA. If there has ever been a country bent on perfection, it's here. Just look at Hollywood. So we can be pious if we want to, but the only difference between us and the Chinese is that we probably wouldn't be so bold as to admit to it.

Okay, enough preaching. Perhaps blogging before 5 a.m. isn't such a good idea.

So the question is, where will we be in a week? Somewhere in China or still waiting ever so impatiently here at home.

Today's agenda. Attempt to sleep before having to work tonight. Brady has his first ballgame. He has also begged to stay after school and ride the bus to the game. Of course, it's killing me for him to be so grown up, but it's a fact that I am going to have to get used to.

Ashton needs a tennis racket for his try outs on Monday. Poor kid has never had a racket in his hands, but he is so excited about trying out. I keep trying to remember what I learned in college about tennis, but that was too many years ago. He's such a natural athlete that he will probably make the team and add to the craziness that is our life. Side note, his team won the golf match on Wednesday and also got drenched in the rain.

Bo is finally off for a weekend. YEAH. We have so much to do, so it will be nice to have him home on a Saturday.

Please continue to pray as it comes to your mind today about our travel plans. I hope to hear something early because I'm sure I won't be able to sleep at all until I do.

I hear the alarm going off upstairs. I'll bet Bo is wondering where is wife disappeared to.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I finally managed to hear from our travel coordinator today and I still do not have any concrete information. I hope to know something tomorrow. The word is that she has to check with her supervisor and they have to determine if they can get us an appointment with the Chinese Consulate. If they cannot get us an appointment with the next travel group, we will leave on September 11 instead. So there you have it.

Please pray that we can leave next week. Emma is waiting on her parents and we are ready to go.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

8 Days and Counting

I have made every effort to nap this morning since I have to work tonight, but for some reason I cannot shut my mind off. There is no building going on today, so my house is quiet. So as I am laying in bed thinking about how I should take a nap, all I can think about is the trip and Emma. What does she look like now, how is she going to respond to us, is she healthy, what will her long term prognosis be? Is she walking, is she able to eat by herself? Are we actually going to leave in 8 days, does anyone know just how much I hate to fly? Will our daughter ever have a nursery, will my house ever look like a house? Can I pack for 5 people, will the luggage make it to China, will I be able to tolerate my 2 boys on an 18 hour flight without taking a sedative? Who will the next president be? Will 2 weeks of living on peanut butter and rice cause me to drop 10 pounds? So you see, I just have a lot on my mind and for some reason I can't rest. To say that I will be glad to get this part of the journey behind me would be the understatement of the century.

I just keep seeing her face. We know so little about her and I just keep thinking how incredibly amazing it is that God can touch all of our lives in such a way. How he can create this little girl in another country and already know that she is ours. I am still blown completely away by adoption. With all of the frustrations, and there are MANY, it's still the most amazing process. God knew when Emma was conceived that she was our daughter. It blows my mind and I am so thankful that I have a Creator that can do that.

So I keep envisioning the moment they hand her to us and what that will be like. I have been remarkably strong and stoic through most of this, but I am sure when that moment comes, I am one slobbering baby. No mascara for me.

I have not heard from our Travel Coordinator today as she is out of the office. Wouldn't you know it? So hopefully, I will have some definite travel plans by Friday. I don't think I can take much more of the not knowing. My type A personality is starting to show through.

Ashton has his first golf match this afternoon and it's against his best friend Daniel. That should be interesting:)

Well, I should be doing something constructive around here since I am not napping. Is blogging considered constructive?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

One is The Loneliest Number
LogoThere is
person with my name in the U.S.A.">How many have your name?

A Ray of Hope

After attempting to contact the NVC until midnight last night while at work, I was finally able to speak with the same lady from last week this morning at 6:45. She remembered me. After again going over the details of our situation, she was finally able to get some information stating that something had been sent to Guangzhou yesterday, but she didn't know what it was. Guess what? I would have to talk with a supervisor about that and she was away from her desk and I would have to call back. I don't understand the whole system of you have to call back and they can't call you and I explained that to her. She finally took my number and said that someone would call me back. I'm sure that it won't come as a surprise to anyone that no one called me back and I have been attempting to contact them since noon. FINALLY I was able to speak with someone else and he looked up our information and told me that the fingerprints had been sent yesterday to Guangzhou. Praise God.

Now we are waiting to hear back from our agency about where we stand.

The remodeling has been going on all day and there has been a glitch in the plumbing situation. I have had no coffee. That's not a good thing.

Ashton has informed me that he wants to try out for the tennis team. He has never played tennis, but I guess we will check into it.

Brady had to stay after school today for marching band practice. They have their first game on Friday night and of course I have to work. I think he's enjoying high school.

So that about wraps it up for today. Still waiting, but things are looking a little better.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Still No News

After contacting USCIS by e-mail AGAIN today (because they didn't answer my previous one on Friday), they responded saying they couldn't give me an exact time that our paperwork would be complete due to their "fluctuating workload", but would attempt to get the paperwork completed this week. What more can I say?

So I have again notified our Congresswoman's office to see if they were able to get any additional information and I have not gotten a response from them yet. So that's where we stand. We should be leaving in 10 days and don't know if that is going to happen or not.

I am scheduled to work tonight and again on Wednesday night. The county fair begins in our area this week and from an ER nurse standpoint, it's not the best time to be working. I'll just let you fill in the blanks. Oh, and Wednesday night is mud bog night, so you can only imagine my joy.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"Mom's Sleeping, Let's Party"

For those of you who have teenage boys, you know that food is constantly on their minds. I realize there are other things on their minds as well, but I refuse to talk about that:)

I came home from work this morning. Bo is working again today, so the kids had gotten up and already started their grazing. Ashton had eaten toaster strudel and emptied the milk container. Brady had eaten left over hamburger casserole and drank a Capri Sun. Yes, very healthy choices while I wasn't here. I brought them home some breakfast from Hardees and they ate every crumb of that and then I went to bed for a few hours.

After sleeping for a few hours, I came downstairs and immediately Ashton tells me he has made himself a snack of crackers, cheese, and bell pepper. Interesting. I also find a bowl of dried on strawberry oatmeal that he had eaten, a chocolate mini molten bowl scraped clean, generic Sprite and the remains of the hamburger casserole.

Brady is preparing himself a lean cuisine Alfredo, he has polished off 3 oatmeal cream pies, another lean cuisine and hamburger casserole. A brownie for dessert.

I feel like I'm feeding a small group of gorillas. They are always hungry and have a problem cleaning up after themselves. I immediately put them to work picking things up, folding laundry, vacuuming, emptying the dishwasher, and picking up their rooms. You would have thought I had asked them to sacrifice their right arms.

So tonight, I have to grocery shop. One of my favorite things to do with my family in tow.

So for those of you with little kids, beware, this is how it turns out. They are like sharks roaming the waters looking for prey. I can guarantee you that within another hour, they will be back downstairs looking in the fridge for something to devour!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Afternoon

Well, we enter into the weekend with no additional news except that I was able to speak with someone in our Congresswoman's office and she is looking into it for us. I hope that means we will know something on Monday, but I'm not holding my breath.

So now I head to work with another day of not getting any sleep because I am so worked up over all of this. I'm hoping this sleep deprivation will be helpful in the long run when Miss Emma is home and we are adjusting to new sleep patterns. I should be used to going on very little sleep.

Have a great weekend:)

I Understand Why The Government Screens Your Calls

My first phone call this morning has been to the NVC (National Visa Center) to see if USCIS in Memphis had sent them the paperwork for processing. I actually was able to speak with a real live person named Renee and although she wasn't particularly warm and fuzzy, (perhaps she was a robot), at least I was speaking to someone. When I attempted to give her all the available information that she needed, she was quick to tell me that she didn't have any information about my case and that I would need to call back later and speak to a supervisor. Well, I'm sure that she sensed the frustration (I'm putting it lightly - this is a family oriented blog), in my voice mixed with the tears so she put me on hold. After waiting an eternity she put her supervisor on the phone and she essentially told me the same thing. Her answer to my problem, and she was very nice, was that I should continue to contact USCIS in Memphis and see where they stand. Well, what a bright idea. So as you can see, I know why these places screen their calls, because people like me who are about to blow a gasket are on the other end, and I am one of the nice ones.

Next step, I called our Congresswoman and am waiting until 9 a.m. CST to call someone in their office who handles "cases". I attempted to call another Congressman yesterday, but I got no response from their office.

So you see, I understand when I see things on the news where the average person storms into an office and opens fire. Of course, I'm being slightly sarcastic, but it's all about walking in that person's shoes. I would gladly let someone else wear mine right now! Of course, if I do decide to blow, they have my fingerprints and could match them perfectly if they could just locate them! Here's a hint, they are somewhere between Memphis and D.C.

Thanks to my mother-in-law for her support yesterday. I was very amused and have decided that the only thing worse than a mother bear is a grandmother bear. She's all about protecting her cubs and grand cubs too and I loved it!

And for any law authority or psychiatric office that might be reading this blog, I have no intentions of blowing - just yet:)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Possible Glitch in the Plans

I have said it many times since we started the adoption journey, adoption is not for the faint of heart. The ups and downs of this whole thing can literally crush you.

Our plans of traveling on August 28 are not confirmed yet because we don't have a consulate appointment in China. This is a must have before we travel. One of the things that China requires is that all of our paperwork be up to date and they have it. Our fingerprints that were done on 8/2/08 (for the 3rd time - have I mentioned that before), are still in the processing stage and it would be easier for me to swim as fast as Michael Phelps than to get a concrete answer from anyone at the USCIS office in Memphis. I have e-mailed them AGAIN for any estimation of when the processing might be complete, and basically, that's all that I can do. So to say that I am only slightly irritated with the system right now would be an understatement.

I am tired after working last night and not getting any rest this morning, I am frustrated that our daughter's future might be lying on someones desk right now, and at this point after such a long period of time dealing with the highs and lows of adoption, I am so ready to get this process over with and get her home. Yes, I know that God is in control and that is most likely the only reason that I am not going postal right now.

So, that is where it stands. I just ask that all of my blog reading friends and family please pray that the USCIS will get a move on and get the processing done, that China will grant us a appointment soon and that we can travel on August 28 as we had planned. If that isn't what God has in store for us, I pray that I can have peace about it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Who Knew My Mom was So Good at Math!

I'm a moron. My daughter turned 18 months today and I have been messed up the entire time. I have been counting her age wrong all of this time and I can't believe I'm so messed up. Maybe I need to go to Sylvan instead of Brady.

Mother called me and pointed out that we have been wrong about her age. Her DOB is 2/13/07 and for some reason we have been a month behind. So it's a little depressing that I have missed a month and didn't even realize it.

Off to work. Congrats to my cool daughter (she knows who she is) on her good news!

Feeling Nostalgic

First of all, happy 17 month birthday to our little girl who is sleeping in an orphanage on the other side of the world right now. Little does she know that in just over 2 weeks, her life is about to change BIG TIME, as is ours.

Bo and I were talking yesterday morning before he left for work (which is about the only time we get a chance) about becoming parents again at the age of 40 and 43. I've thought a lot about this and think that I will be a better mother to a little one at this age than I was at 26 and 29. Maturity really does come with experience and when I reflect back I realize just how quickly life passes us by.

When I dropped Brady off at the high school I couldn't believe how quickly his life is going by. It was just yesterday when I walked him in to kindergarten and met Mrs. Julie and made it to the parking lot before I started crying. With all of the good memories that I have, I also have ones that aren't so good. Patience is something that comes with trial and experience, and although I'm a long way off, I'm better than I was. I have this horrible memory of working with Brady on making the letter a and getting so frustrated with him because he couldn't do it the right way. He was 5! What was I expecting? (Can you say therapy may be in order - for both of us.)

I have more patience now and hopefully that will be reflected as I parent a toddler along with my tween and teenager. When the boys were little, I didn't take as much time to sit and play as I would have liked. I was working full time, trying to take care of a home, and all the things that go along with that, as well as having 2 little ones in diapers. If you could see my house right now you would see I have come a long way on trying to keep a wonderful house. We LIVE here and although I would like for it to be clean more than it is, I really don't focus as much on it anymore. My son will graduate high school (at least that's what I'm praying for) in 4 years and be gone (I'm praying for that too). At the risk of really sounding like an old person, you look back on time and it's GONE. Kenny Chesney's song "Don't Blink" is really true. Where did it go?

The same rings true with Ashton, and probably more so. There are so many things that I don't remember about his infant and toddler days because I had 2 in diapers and was just slightly keeping my head above water. When he asks what his first words were, I have no idea. I can't even find his baby book! What kind of mother am I? So, I choose to make it up and tell him that he was so smart that he began speaking in complete sentences (which may be true) and I was in awe of his brillance.

So one of my decisions is this, I will sit down and have tea with my daughter and push her on her Princess Mobile, and read to her, and make cookies with her and try to enjoy all of those fleeting moments because I will blink and she too will be gone. This is my last chance to get it right and enjoy what God has blessed us with. I don't want to spend my time worrying about the little things when the little one is disappearing before my eyes.

I don't know where all of this came from and hope that it wasn't too depressing. It was therapeutic for me and now I am off to pick up my big boys from school. Granted, they will come home arguing and eating me out of house and home, and I will be thinking that I'm going to lose my mind! But what amazing blessings they are and those are the moments that I need to remind myself of it the most.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Name Is Emma

One of the ladies at A.C. First Baptist made this sign for Emma and I just love it.

Must Have Closet Space!!

I have gotten hand cramps from writing thank you notes for all of the wonderful gifts that our little girl received on Sunday at the baby tea. It was lovely and the ladies had it decorated so cute with lady bugs everywhere. We received so many gifts and gift cards and we appreciate it all. I am going to put some of the toys away and save them for Christmas. This child will be in overload if she sees all of this.

"All of this" is just laying in the floor, on the dining room table, in chairs! It's everywhere. I have managed to put some of the clothes away, but until little one has her room finished, I suspect we are going to have stuff everywhere. It's becoming a way of life!

Brady survived his first full day of high school with the upper class men yesterday. I was not a happy mom dropping him off yesterday morning and knowing that he was nervous, but was putting on a good face. I suspect that was to help me more than anything. He survived, but told me yesterday afternoon that it had been a very confusing day. I tried to reassure him that it will get better in just a few days and he will have it figured out.

I am very proud of him! He had a progress test at Sylvan on Saturday and his math skills have improved significantly. Of course, I expected them to for all the time and money we are investing. He of course says he has not learned anything from it and just wants to get out. We are much closer to that! I think my boy may end up being a math genius after all.

I had a great visit with Maria this morning. She came over and bought almost all of the little outfits that I had bought for Emma over the last 2.5 years that are too small. Her little Miss Ellie will be coming home in October and she will be able to wear the small stuff. Emma doesn't look like she will be able to wear any of the little things, so I was thrilled to get them out of the closet. I hated to see some of them leave because I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing and feeling when I bought them. Oh well, such is life! I hope that Ellie gets many wears out of them.

I love my new oven. It's pretty neat and my family is glad that I have not forgotten how to cook. I hope that is the last appliance that we have to buy for a while! Sears knows me by first name:)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Gifts from Aunt Pam Who Just Loves Janie and Jacks

Baby Shower pictures

What a great baby shower little Miss Emma had. She was more than blessed with a big turnout and so many sweet presents. I will be posting several pictures as I have time, but just wanted to get started with a few this morning.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday Morning

Okay, so my old stove is sitting in the middle of the floor and I should have a new one between 12:45-2:45 according to the call I received from Sears Home Delivery at 6:20 this MORNING. At least they are on the ball!

I keep looking at my house thinking "What gives?" I can't seem to get it together. I have luggage everywhere, but there is a system to it. My precious daughter won't have her own room when we get home, but I'm not so concerned about that. I imagine that she will be in our room for a while until she gets acclimated. The downstairs building project is coming along, but it isn't going to be done by the time she gets home. So Brady and Ashton remain in their rooms. It will take approximately a LIFETIME to get Brady's room disinfected and painted before we can move Emma into it:) I can only imagine the gems we will find when we get to moving his furniture out and painting.

So, as you can see, we are not prepared for her arrival. Well, our house isn't prepared, but our home and our hearts are ready and waiting!

I couldn't have felt more proud while watching the opening ceremonies and seeing how well China did in preparing for the Olympics. It was amazing to watch. Amazing may not even be the right word. Breathtaking. I just kept thinking about how my daughter will be forever connected to China and how I want to instill in her the pride that she so rightfully deserves to feel.

Today is baby shower day at Bo's home church. I am looking forward to it. I have cheated somewhat by looking at the Target registry and seeing what has been bought. Is that cheating or just being prepared?

Another busy week is ahead. I have to work 2 nights this week, and the boys have several things lined up. I really want to go to a consignment sale tomorrow, but I have so much to do. I would love to find a stroller and car seat. We need at least 2 car seats and 4 would be nice so that I can share them with grandparents.

I can't believe that we are only 18 days away from leaving! It's slightly blowing my mind. My packing list is slowly having items checked off. I have her medicines lined up, our prescriptions yet to be filled, many snack items bought. I have not found Tylenol suppositories yet, so that is an item I am looking for. We probably won't need them for her, but as a nurse, I think those are great to have just in case.

I continue to have the sense of overwhelming craziness with everything that is going on. It's not as bad, but it's there. However, I am asking God to give me a sense of peace and calm and not let me feel so overwhelmed that I can't enjoy this moment in our lives. I especially won't his sense of peace while we are in China. I know things will probably be crazy and I know that I tend to come unglued sometimes in those moments, so please pray with me that He will grant me a complete sense of peace so that I can enjoy all that is ahead and soak in these blessing that He has blessed us with. It's easy to get lost in the craziness and I don't want to do that.

Well, I have to get a shower and head to church. I am helping with VBS this morning and then rushing home to go to the baby shower. I can't believe that at the ripe old age of 40 I am having a baby shower. God really does have a great sense of humor.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Off to School

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the YEAR

Okay, so I'm a rotten mother who just happens to be glad my kids are going back to school. Let's be honest, most moms that I know are also glad!!

My "baby" started high school today. I can't stand it. It's seems like he just started kindergarten and now he's all grown up (in the physical sense) and going to high school. He must have been pretty nervous last night, because he has been so sleepy this afternoon and finally admitted that he didn't sleep.

Ashton was fired up with his new book bag. Of course, he only went a half day and could have made it fine with only a pencil and paper, but he loaded that bag up and took it with him. Brady took a pen. Do you see the difference in my boys?

Another busy weekend ahead. I work tonight, Bo works tomorrow, Brady has testing at Sylvan in the morning, church on Sunday, new oven on Sunday, and baby tea on Sunday. Now that sounds like fun!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Pictures of Emma's gifts

These are the cute things that Wendy and Madison gave our girl and my toes.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Happy Birthday to my Wonderful Husband!

So yesterday my husband turned 43. No bells and whistles, just another day. We are giving each other plane tickets and a trip to China for our birthdays, anniversary, Christmas, etc. We decided to go all out this year! I couldn't even bake him a cake due to the oven situation, so I did manage to pick him up a little something sweet at the bakery today. Maybe next year Emma can help make him a special cake!

The boys and I had lunch with my good friend Wendy and her daughter Madison Wednesday. Wendy and I met in nursing school and managed to suffer through together and have been friends ever since. We don't see each other often, but it's always fun when we do. She brought Emma the cutest presents. 2 baskets that I had registered for at Target and they were full of all kinds of things. Books, bibs, clothes, dolls, socks, and security blanket. She also gave Emma an adorable blanket that her mom had embroidered with Emma's name and date of birth and a special God Bless You. It was too much but so adorable. This girl of mine has so many clothes. I will have to change outfits at least 3 times a day for her to wear it all.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Busy is the Key Word

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'm just running in circles! I can't believe that I have not posted in several days, but everything has been so busy. Between band practice, golf practice, doctor's appointments, Sylvan, and getting ready for school to start back, I feel like I'm just slightly keeping my head above water.

Today' agenda includes Ashton having his physical in Nashville, coming home and then Brady having band practice from 3-6, then parent night at the middle school at 7 p.m. All of that, while trying to plan for our trip, do laundry, and clean my unbelievably dirty house.

The boys start to school on Friday for a 1/2 day. They are both ready and have been for a while. Ashton is bored and looking forward to getting back in the swing of things. I finally ordered my new oven yesterday at Sears and while there, Ashton got to get his dream book bag. He had been eying one at American Eagle and I had refused to buy it because it was too expensive. After negotiating with him, I bought it for him and he was so happy. He has it all packed with his binder and supplies and it makes me remember when I was little and we had those nerdy book satchels that we carried. Of course, they were not nerdy then and I always loved mine. So Ashton came home and mowed the yard to earn his book bag. Push mowed the yard. We are trying to teach them some character:)

I am hopeful that the fingerprint saga is over. We had them done on Saturday and now I just hope they make it to China as they are supposed to. I have requested they be expedited, but I have learned that really doesn't mean much to the powers that be.

Bo and I made it into the attic on Sunday afternoon when the temp. outside was 97 degrees. Well, he was actually the one in the attic and he handed things down to me. He just about overheated! Well, I have no car seat or stroller for Emma. The car seat that I had was an infant seat that Dede had given me, so that's too small. The stroller, well it was just too old. But on the plus side, she does have a very cool sit and spin thanks to Lawson (Dede's son).

Well, I'm off to start the day with coffee in hand. Ashton is going to be difficult to wake up this morning because he will be feeling the after effects of Benadryl. He seems to have gotten into some chiggers while in the woods picking up his golf balls and he is experiencing some itching all over his legs. For those of you unfamiliar with chiggers, let's just say they are mean little creatures that cause a lot of scratching!