Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Now that our family is complete,

we've officially moved. Our blog that is:

Please continue to follow our journey with 3 little ones and a teenager! There's never a dull moment!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

THIS IS IT!!!!!!!!!

We are finally counting down the hours instead of days before we leave to bring home our precious Anna Grace. I wanted to keep the journey travel part separate for her Lifebook, so I have created another blog that we will hopefully journal from daily while we are in China.

We will be spending the first 3 days in Kai’s birth city and from there, head to Hefei, where our sweetheart awaits.

Please keep us in your prayers for safe travels and that Kai’s going back to his birth country be a positive experience. Along with of course, our Anna Grace’s little heart being prepared for her new family. The new link is on the sidebar under Journey With Us To China!

Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement on this journey of love. Oh! And please remember to sign her guestbook.

Our next post will be from China!!!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Is this a test of my sanity?

Kai usually takes a nap on my bed every afternoon. Twice now he has gotten into the basket on my nightstand where I have their cologne, baby powder, baby lotion, etc. and has TOTALLY emptied the baby powder everywhere...again, he has done this TWICE! He definitely knows that this basket is off limits to him, and I will win the war so I refuse to move it.

Well, today, I layed him down for a nap, came back out to the living room to continue packing AJs suitcase. About an hour later, I peeked into the room, and he was sleeping soundly. My sweet angel. He woke up from his nap about an hour after that and came out all smiles, as usual.

UGH! A few minutes later I go into our bedroom where my suitcase was on the other end of our king-sized bed (facing AWAY from him, but open) and lo and behold the little (I can't write what I'm thinking)...grabbed the entire thing of baby powder and dumped it all over the top layer of clothes in the suitcase!! Everything was snowy white!! It took everything in my power (after two good smacks on his bottom) to control myself and toss him in his crib. He's done this waaaay too many times now and completely knew because he starting saying..."No! No!" as I was heading into the bedroom. He knew! ::deep breaths:: Needless to say, the clothes in that suitcase had to be pulled out, relaundered and repacked.

An hour later, I start changing AJ who had a wet diaper. I figure I'll put fresh clothes on him, but get sidetracked with something and just change the diaper and put him in the playpen so I can continue with my list. About 20 minutes later, as I head back into the family room, something smells REALLY bad. I head over to AJ and it never fails...he had taken off his diaper and done a repeat performance of what he had done a few months ago! This time, all over the playpen and the stuffed animals in there. This boy LOVES to take off his diaper and spread poop everywhere. It never fails! So, crying (me that is), I grab him....toss him in the tub, and sat on the bathroom floor hysterical. This time there were no pictures.

And we want THREE? Please pray for me. It's been a rough day!!!

Hearts filled with gratitude...

As we enter the final stages of our journey, there are so many people that we need to stop and thank for your roles in our journey to Anna Grace.

First and foremost, to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He led us to our Feng Qin and is now making her our forever daughter. We again humbly give you all the glory, honor and praise Lord for this blessing.

Scott and I are forever grateful to Anna Grace's birthmother for having given her the gift of life. For taking risks and courageously placing her in a place where she would be immediately found. May our Lord fill your heart with peace knowing that she will be a part of a family that will love her eternally.

A big thank you has to go to the world's best dossier consultant, Stephanie Reid. She has taken care of us during both of our China adoptions and not only is she the best at what she does, she is also a wonderful person with her own beautiful treasures from China.

To our children, especially Amanda, for the patience that she has shown throughout this journey. I know it must be tough having gone from no siblings at home to now three. The boys adore you and so will Anna Grace. And to all of my beautiful children, thank you for allowing yet another sibling into your hearts with as much love as I have for each of you.

To my family, especially my Mom, my sister and her husband. For praying for us, and encouraging and supporting us as the world thought we were crazy when we said we were going back, and for being there for us the entire journey.

To my Dad, who although had reservations about us going back again for another special needs child, not only supported us, but helped us financially to bring her home!

To our agency, Heritage Adoption Services. Peggy was amazing when we were trying to scramble to find out the details of Anna Grace's special need when we needed to make a decision. We are forever grateful for her honesty, support and efficiency. And to Vicki, the director, who has gone above and beyond to make sure that all has gone smoothly. We are so very impressed with their professionalism and would use them again in a heartbeat if God ever led us down this path again, although I believe our quiver is full and complete now.

A heartfelt thank you must go to the CCAA and The People's Republic of China, for trusting us once again that we will love and cherish one of their own.

And last, but not least, to a very special group of friends who have been there for me since day one of the journey. I know that you all know who you are. You have listened to me whine incessantly and have rejoiced and prayed with me both in thanksgiving and in requests. I know that it is because of your well wishes and prayers that our Lord has favored us with this blessing. Your friendships are treasured and I am so honored to have walked this journey with each you.

I posted this poem over a year ago on Kai's website when I came across it, and just find it fitting to end today's post with it again. Thank you all again and God bless you abundantly.


"On the street I saw a small girl,
cold and shivering in a thin dress,
with little hope of a decent meal.
I became angry and said to God:
"Why did you permit this?
Why don't you do something about it?"
For a while God said nothing.
That night he replied, quite subtlety
"I certainly did do something about it.
I made you.'"

Author Unknown

Sunday, June 10, 2007

2 days left!! YIKES!!!!

Yikes is right! We have two more wakeups left and I am running out of time. I've gotten a few emails asking where is today's countdown, but I am soooooooooooooo crazy busy today that I haven't had a chance. So, for now, here is the "Count" saying....."NUUUUMMMBER TWWWOOO". I will try and post later tonight.

PS. I had my first dream with Anna Grace last night!!! Ooohhh....I am so in love!

UPDATE ON TODAY: Ok...so, now I sit here answering email and proscratinating. Do you remember me saying I would be twiddling my thumbs with nothing to do but think about Anna Grace on Sunday night? WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!! I have so much to do. I don't understand how things have piled up. Well, not true. I do understand. It's because I've looked at the list and read it 100x and keep finding other things to do but what's on there.

We got up early today and went to church. WOW!!! What a spirit filled mass. Half-way thru mass I felt this huge shower of peace come upon me. My sister asked me last night if I was nervous? You know, I said, "No...not nervous, maybe a little excited." But the question has resonated in my mind all day, and come to think of it....yes, a bit of excited nervousness is flowing thru my veins. Today for the first time I thought about the fact (I mean REALLY thought) that we will have THREE babies at home. I thought about how miraculous it is that the little girl I had seen in a picture on a waiting child list back in September will be our daughter.....forever!!! That blows me away! How am I so worthy of this blessing? I remember distintcly sitting next to Scott as he was playing a game on his computer when I first came across Anna Grace's picture. At that time, she was listed as "Qin" on the waiting child list. I said..."Oh my God, Scott. Look at this little girl. Isn't she adorable?" He turned to my laptop, looked at the picture and said, "Yes....very cute!" I don't think he thought for one second that I would be thinking that was going to be our daughter. But God knew better. Now, when he sees a new picture, like the one of her on Children's Day before the performance, he walked in, saw the picture on my desktop and said, "OH MY GOD!!!!!! SHE'S BEAUTIFUL!!!!!" I can't wait to see them together.

So, I'm almost all packed. I spent about 4 hours today making AJ's food for 2 weeks. The boys eat homemade Cuban pureed stews that I make them. I usually make a huge batch to last for the week. They devour the thing!!!! And it's so good for them; filled with just about every veggie imaginable and either chicken breasts or beef. Anyways, I had to make two huge batches for my sister to have on hand for AJ and I still have to pack him. Please keep my sister, Ily, in your prayers also while we are gone. She is going from no babies to taking care of AJ and Amanda for the two weeks we'll be in China. As great as my kids are, it's definitely a task to keep them entertained. Amanda is looking forward to spending time with her aunt, and AJ loves being spoiled by his Ayi. I just hope he doesn't forget me. heh. We're taking a webcam so hopefully we'll be seeing them daily.

We also bought a new video camera so I will be able to post a bit of video, especially of gotcha moment!! Amanda was our videographer last time, and she will be missed greatly! I just have to keep telling myself that I want to take in every second of this journey and the time we are spending in our children's birth country. It is an amazing place and I truly want to enjoy ourselves without thinking every moment that I can't wait to get back. Amanda and AJ are in great hands and we will be having contact daily with them..

So, that's it for now. The list has diminished a bit, but still quite voluminous. I will post tomorrow before we pack up the computer. I can't believe 2 more wakeups!!!!

Friday, June 08, 2007

We're moving along!

ImageChef.com - Create custom images

The day is quickly approaching now when we will board the plane. One of the things I was a bit concerned about a few months ago, I am much at peace with now. That's Kai going back. I was a bit insecure about his feelings and suddenly being immersed around Asians, especially when we live in a city wth a very low Asian population. But, I truly believe that he will be fine. He is well attached, adjusted and knows that we are his family. He is also very much looking forward to seeing his Mei-Mei, Anna Grace.

I can't even count how many times we've shown him pictures of her and explained that she is his baby sister and that she is coming home to be with us forever. He knows the routine. We're going on an airplane to China. Why? To bring home Anna, and to eat!! heh. The latter, for some reason, he always adds on when asked why are we going to China.

I have asked around a bit about our guide in Hefei (pronounced HO-FAY), since I had not heard of anyone having this gentleman. His name is Mr. Ding. :) Well, thanks to the great adoption community, quite a few families responded to my questions. It appears that Mr. Ding is a wonderful and gentle man and very much liked. He is great with the kids and has been doing his job of guide for adoptive families for quite some time. I learned this because I've had families email me about him being their guide back in 1995!

We are very fortunate to have a great agency at the helm and I believe that it will be a great trip! I can't wait to get back to China. Truly a piece of my heart stayed there when we were there last. I know it won't be our last trip, although it will probably be our last one in bringing home a child. We hope to someday return as a family so that Kai and Anna Grace can come to know the wonderful country, rich in history, where they were born.

So, the countdown continues and we are almost ready to count hours before leaving. We are in full-blast-mode of getting things done, especially last minute chores like the lawn and the pool, etc.

Lastly, I just want to say thank you again to all of you that our joining us in our journey in spirit, through well-wishes and prayers.

Aaahh....it's all coming together!

Image by FlamingText.com

Things are going well. Last night I went to a prayer group that my sister leads at church. Wow! God really wanted me there. I was able to surrender all my anxieties to him and came home refreshed and made new. I know that He is in total control and that all will be perfect, for His glory and honor! I am completely at peace now.

We received our itinerary yesterday! Woohooo!!! Seeing it on paper makes it even more real. I can't believe we are getting so close!!!! I am going to wish the weekend away, although it will probably fly anyways because I want to finish EVERYTHING by Sunday night. I want to lay my head on the pillow on Sunday night and just think about the fact that a week from that moment I will be looking into my beautiful baby girl's eyes, and not just staring at a picture 100x a day. I don't think I'll be able to stop holding her or looking at her for days! I could just hear myself telling Scott, "I can't believe she is ours!!" over and over. YIKES!!!! The thought fills me with the most giddy and wonderful feeling in the world!!!! I'm in labor again and gonna be a Mama soon!!!!! GOD IS SOOOO GOOD!!!! ::deep breaths::

Here is our itinerary:

June 13, 2007: Leave US in the morning, via Detroit to Guangzhou, China!

June 14,2007: Arrive in Guangzhou stay at airport hotel.

June 15,2007: Leave hotel in the a.m. to catch flight to YiWu.

June 16,2007: Yiwu city Tour and countryside visit.

June 17,2007: Shopping at Yiwu Small Commodities Center. And leave Yiwu in the afternoon to catch flight to Hefei. Arrive in Hefei in the late afternoon.

June.18,2007: Go to Provincial Civil Affairs to pick up your daughter!!!! Your daughter will be with you forever! (WOOHOO!!!!)

June 19,2007: Do registration , notarization, passport application inthe morning. Shopping in the local department store by walking distance. In the afternoon shopping for shoes and clothes for your daughter.

June 20,2007: Book store and Hefei City Zoo (if you have enough time, you could visit a countryside village on that day).

June 21,2007: Visit finding spot and orphanage/foster family visit.

June 22,2007: Pick up notary paper and passport and leave Hefei for Guangzhou.

June 23,2007: Do medical exam and visa photo taken in the morning.

June 24,2007: Walking outside the island to visit Pet Market, Herb/medicine market, Pearl Market in the morning ; Go sightseeing to Six Banyan Temple and Chen Clay Academy in the afternoon.

June 25,2007: Do visa Appointment in the morning. Go sightseeing to Yuntai Park.

June 26,2007: The morning, go for massages! Then afternoon Oath-taking at Consulate.

June 27,2007: The local guide will send you to the airport for USA in the early morning.

June 27, 2007: Arrive in US, stay overnight and next morning head for home as a forever and complete family!!!!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Getting closer.....

Image by FlamingText.com

Last night I went to bed at 10:00. Being so close is really mentally exhausting. My mind just doesn't stop thinking and I am pretty upset about leaving Amanda and AJ behind....last night, it was Amanda (I take turns). I loved having her there when we were blessed with holding Kai for the first time and she was also present just a few hours after AJ was born. I so wish we could have afforded for her to go this time, but it just didn't work out. I know that it was intended to be God's plan that she not travel this time, and I also know that she will be fine with my sister, but it's that "Mama feeling" wanting her close to me during such an amazing moment in our lives. I think it's normal to feel that way, but it still hurts.

Our in-country itinerary didn't come in yesterday because our agency received NSN referrals and their translations took priority. It seems like everything is delayed, but I know that much of it is Satan trying to throw in those last minute wrenches and make me wonder if we are even doing the right thing. Although I was bummed because I really want to be finished with all the planning, I took it in stride and decided to head to bed early. Our God is so much bigger! And every fiber of my being tells me that Anna Grace is a child of my heart and created by our Lord to be forever ours.

After a week of complete insomnia and sleeping only 2-3 hours a night, I thought for sure I'd sleep all night. Nope! At 2:05 a.m., I woke up...bright eyed and bushy tailed! I'm done with Season 4 of 24 so didn't want to watch those again. I came to the computer and was happy to see several emails from people who had followed our journey to Kai and AJ and were still checking in and wishing us well on our trip!! I wish I could express how much it means to have so much support, especially as we get closer to that magical day. Thank you all for your sweet comments and emails. They are truly treasured, especially while we are in China when you feel so far away from home.

Getting back to my insomnia, I ended up falling asleep again around 4'ish. The boys were up and going at 7 a.m., so now I'm dragging....again. Oh well. It's part of the journey, I guess.

So, this morning, I await the itinerary so we can wire that money over and we're pretty much done except for some last minute packing, unpacking and repacking. Speaking of packing....I have brought it down to 3 suitcases, 2 backpacks, the laptop, a diaper bag, and the camera bag. And, I believe my Mom will have a suitcase and a backpack. Not bad considering last time we had 14 bags in all.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers that all go well and that we can travel to China and back without any major complications. But, most of all, please continue to pray that our little sweetheart be prepared for her new family and that she not grieve too much. Thank you and God bless!

P.S. When we leave to China, I will be putting our comments into moderation status. The reason for this is because sometimes blogger cannot be accessed in China (do not fear, my sister will post for us if need be, including pictures!) but if our comments are moderated, they will go directly to my email for approval and I can access them that way.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Counting down......

Just writing these words down seem so surreal. I can't believe that in only 6 more wakeups we will be leaving to China.

I am so very anxious to get there. The thought of heading back and being blessed with another child fills every second of my day.

Yesterday we finally got the call that we had been waiting for. Our consulate appointment was finally confirmed for June 25, our requested date.

Shortly after the phone call, our original TA arrived via DHL. That indeed is the Golden Ticket! I felt like Charlie in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when he was opening up the chocolate bar. I slowly opened the package as tears rolled down my face. That one piece of paper is the culmination of all of our efforts and the grand prize awaits us in a far-away land. A beautiful little girl whose life will be forever changed. Everything she has ever known will no longer exist in her world and it will be transformed into what we pray is what her little heart desires.

When I received the call about the CA, I was at my sister's office. I asked our agency director, what else needed to be done....her response, "Nothing....you just need to bring that baby girl home!" Well, that's all I needed to burst into tears on the spot. Again, I can't believe it's finally happening! It's been a great relief to work with our agency. They seem to have everything under control and working like a well-oiled machine, while providing very personal service.

We had some struggles with our airline tickets, but all-in-all, it worked out fine, except for the fact that on the way to Detroit, we couldn't get seats together....but we'll live. I just want to get to China. I also want to put a plug in for our travel agent, Sue Sorrells from Campbell Travel. She was amazing and worked really hard to get us a great price, considering the time of year, and how packed the summer flights are. We leave Ft. Myers on Wed. June 13 and return back home on Thursday, June 28. We are spending the night in Detroit on the 27th. We should be receiving our complete itinerary tomorrow, including in-country travel. I have received several emails from friends/family wanting to meet us at the airport when we return. Although exhausted, we would be honored to introduce you all to our latest blessing. Prior to leaving I will post more about this.

A big part of our journey is going back to YiWu, Kai's birth city. Being so sick last time, it is all a blur. And something about being there fills my mind with thoughts of "Is his birth mother watching? If she ran into us would she "know" that was her little boy?" I know it's absurd in a city of over 4 million people, and who knows if she is even from the city, but I just can't help wondering.

I've digressed. Going back to the preparations for Anna Grace's journey. The only thing left for me to purchase was those darn gifts. UGH! Although I've been through it before, and have been often reminded that it's not a big deal, it's just a truly difficult task for me. So much so that I worked myself up into getting one of those horrific stress migraines. Thank goodness for Amanda who took care of AJ while Kai and I napped. My wonderful hubby took the helm when he got home and made dinner and bathed the boys. After a few hours, some pills, and some quiet time in a dark room.....I am much better.

Things are pretty much going as scheduled and I hope to be completely done and sitting back relaxing by Sunday night, with nothing left to do but watch the clock tick down to that magic hour!