Sunday, December 14, 2008

Baby Shower!

My team at work hosted a wonderful baby shower for me on Tuesday, December 9! The food was awesome, and Kaelie received so many nice gifts. I am especially blessed to work with a staff that is so supportive of all three of our adoptions. It seems that everyone is excited! Next week is my last week of work before my maternity leave!
OK, on to pictures!


Beautiful Cake baked and designed by our in-house cake guru Kerri M.


What a load of gifts! I was shocked, and they were so pretty I didn't want to open them!



Here's a shot of me opening the presents!



The money tree! The staff collected money for the adoption trip, then gave a live tree in honor of Kaelie's adoption...this will soon be a fixture in our front yard!

All the opened gifts!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

TA's are here!

Our Travel Approval (TA) has arrived! Yippee!

Mike, our travel coordinator at the agency, is working on the consulate appointments (CA) for our group right now. I think he's requesting either January 21 or 22 (I'll have to look back at my notes and see).

Here is what my tentative itinerary looks like:

January 8, 2009 Depart US for Beijing
January 9, 2009 Arrive in Beijing
January 10, 2009 Tour Beijing (Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, Acrobat Show)
January 11, 2009 Tour Beijing (1/2 day)
January 11, 2009 Fly from Beijing to Guangzhou
January 11 (evening) OR January 12 (morning): GOTCHA DAY!!!!!
January 12 or 13, 2009 Adoption Day
January 13-20, 2009 Enjoy the sights in and around Guangzhou, get to know Kaelie
January 21 or 22, 2009 Consulate Appointment
January 23, 2009 Fly from Guangzhou back to US

Hopefully in the next day or two we will be able to start making travel arrangements. This is the last big hurdle to overcome for the trip. I have all the consulate and general paperwork gathered, and my suitcase is almost packed. My visa is supposed to come via Fed-Ex this afternoon. The only thing I need to get finished are my lesson plans that my substitute will use while I'm on leave! I'm so thrilled that this is finally happening!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Baby Steps Closer...

Hi Everybody....

It's been awhile since I posted...sorry...it's been hectic around here and also I've had some issues with blogger trying to get some pictures uploaded. Here's a few:

Our Stork! The Fed-Ex guy thought I was nuts when I tore out of the house to meet him, THEN asked him for a picture!

Shelby did the honors and dropped our acceptance package back via Fed-Ex! What a great big brother he is going to be!


Where are we now? We are waiting for our Travel Approval (TA) to come from the CCAA. We're also waiting for my China visa to come back from the travel agent. Once our TA gets here, then our agency will request an appointment from the US Consulate in Guangzhou. The purpose of this appointment is to process our immigration paperwork and to issue Kaelie's immigrant visa (i.e., permission for her to come to the United States).

Once the Consulate appointment is made, we will be making travel arrangements. We already know that I will be flying into Beijing for some sightseeing and also to get acclimated to the time change. Then, I will fly to Guangzhou for the remainder of the trip. Guangzhou is the provincial capital of Guangdong. The orphanage director and nannies will bring Kaelie from Yangxi to Guangzhou, and this is where we will first meet each other and get to know one another while we process the adoption and also work on the immigration paperwork.

I counted up, and there are only 5 more Saturdays until our tentative travel date. I am beyond excited! I'm looking forward to getting on that plane and starting this journey!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Update on Kaelie!










Ann at Red Thread China was able to get some updated pictures and measurements of Kaelie! I am so happy! Kaelie is so beautiful!

Here are her updated measurements:

Height :71cm (28 inches)
weight: 7.8kg (17 pounds)
head: 43cm (17 inches)
chest: 44cm (17 inches)
feet: 11cm (4.3 inches)
She has four teeth now!

Ann is sending Kaelie a care package which will go out in tomorrow's mail! Ann has had terrific service and I would highly recommend her! Also, my thanks to the orphanage staff and director for allowing the pictures to be taken and sending them on to Ann.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What was I doing on Kaelie's birthday?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I won! I won!

Thank You!

Hi Everyone!

Words cannot describe how appreciative I am to all of you for coming over and leaving a comment. I am in awe of the China adoption community and the bond that we share. I'm so thankful for all the Yangxi mamas who have left encouraging words of support and helpful suggestions. It's been so great to also meet several of my "new" travel buddies! I can't wait to meet all of you in person when we travel to adopt our daughters!

If you are still waiting, I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. It's difficult to see others waiting for their daughters...I feel a twinge of guilt for feeling so happy and elated when I know many of you are still wondering, "When?" It sounds contrite, but the wait really does melt away during those first few hours and days after referral.

Please lift up your thoughts and prayers for my friends, who lost their 19-month-old daughter this weekend in a drowning accident. Kari's parents and brothers were in Cub Scouts together. We would sit around the campfire all night long talking about stuff, laughing, drinking coffee. We haven't been close for a while, but it's still such a tragedy. :<(

Big hugs, Karen

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's A Girl!















































Chinese Name: Song Yun Juan
Birthday: February 13, 2008
Current Residence: Yangxi County SWI, Guangdong Province

On July 4, 2008, she weighed 13 pounds and was almost 24 inches long.

She is a deep sleeper.

Anticipating Travel: January 8, 2009

This is all we know at this time. We will receive our package tomorrow via FedEx.

Thanks for hanging with us for all this time! I can't wait to hold Kaelie in my arms!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Another Week Gone By...

Why do I feel like I am wishing my life away? We made it through another work week...well, we have Friday to go, but does it really count?

RQ is reporting that the cut-off might be February 20th. That's exciting that we are in, yet sad that it's still such a small batch. I feel sad for my friends, who, after referrals come out, will still be waiting to see the faces of their precious children.

It's sad because loss is at the heart of adoption. The triad ~ birthparents, adoptive parents, and especially the child ~ have lost so much. For Kaelie, this will mean that she will have lost the opportunity to be raised in her country of birth. It means for her that she will grow up in a minority, multi-cultural family. Her birthmother will have lost, whether by choice or not, the chance to raise the child she carried in her womb for nine months. How have adoptive parents experienced loss in the adoption triad, you might ask? The ability, as in our case, to carry and birth our biological children. Adoption for us hasn't been, and never will be, a second choice, but more along the lines of the "road less traveled."

Adoption is about love. First and foremost, the ability of a birthmother to love a child so much that she is willing to create an adoption plan for the child she carried for 9 months. A child who was hopefully created in an act of love and passion. I cannot begin to fathom the depths of that love, a love which will transcend time, and distance, a love that can leave a birthfamily wondering for a lifetime about a child they will not be able to raise. The love that the adoptee will be able to feel, the love of two families, one known and one only dreamed of. I figure that if we do our jobs as adoptive parents correctly, these children of ours will grow to love and respect their birth families for the opportunity that they gave to them. The love of the adoptive mother and father is immeasurable! As I've raised these two magnificient boys, I sometimes think I can't love them any more, but it's just amazing, it keeps growing and growing!

OK, getting off my soapbox...

Here's another fun Blogthing for you to do while you wait, ever so patiently, with me for news of referrals. I can't believe that it is finally here! There is so much to do!




You Passed 8th Grade Geography



Congratulations, you got 8/10 correct!

Monday, October 20, 2008

While we wait...

Here's something to keep us all busy while we're waiting for some referral rumors:


What Your Halloween Habits Say About You



You're a friendly person, but not the life of the party. You like making someone else's day - and you'll dress up if you think of a really fun costume.

You often feel invisible when you're in public. And it's a shame, because you're really quite a character.

Your inner child is full of wonder and very sweet.

You truly fear the dark side of humanity. You are a true misanthrope.

You're logical, rational, and not easily effected. Not a lot scares you... especially when it comes to the paranormal.

You are picky and high maintenance. If you wear a Halloween costume, it's only when you really feel like it. And it has to be perfect.

32nd LID'versary!

Yes, I'm a bit late in making this post, but...
Good things come to those who wait! And wait! And wait! And wait!
I never would have thought it would take this long to adopt our daughter!
Hopefully, in the next few days/weeks, we will see Kaelie's face for the very first time!
Wouldn't it be fantastic to see Kaelie's face before the election? WOW! I can't believe referral day is almost here!

Rocket Dog Sneakers

These shoes are a dream!


This pair is called Rocket Dog Asahi Dash sneaker. Very lightweight, super comfortable, great traction on the bottom for climbing the Great Wall! I tried them on today for the first time and they are terrific. My feet feel so good in them! The sole is very flexible. The downside is that they don't have a lot in the way of arch support, so I might have to get a Dr. Scholl's or similar inserts.
I purchased mine at Amazon for $44.99. They were shipped from Shoe Mall, so you might try there as well!
Thanks, Donna, for recommending these! I think we got matching pairs!

I've Been Tagged

OK, here's something fun to do since I'm in a cold-driven stupor! I guess I caught this bug being out so early Saturday morning in the cool drizzle at the Peanut Festival. Susan R. tagged me, so now I'm passing this along!

First: 7 Weird Things About Me

This is hard because I'm like this very, VERY normal person. But I will try:

1. The strangest foods I've ever eaten are a) fried alligator (in New Orleans) and b) ostrich (very yummy...David took me out for our anniversary to a fancy-schmancy restaurant!).

2. I love to eat marshmallows, the little ones.

3. I love country music, not that you could call that strange or anything, but we named our first child after Reba's son! (and a movie too, Steel Magnolias)

4. My favorite TV shows are medicals like Trauma: Life in the ER on Discovery Health.

5. For some reason, it seems like my life is consumed with all things China these days! What's up with that? HUMMMM......must have something to do with a little kid that I've not met yet but am totally smitten with anyway!

6. I'd rather fold clothes than hang them! Which do you prefer? What a thing to think about, huh!?

7. I like ketchup on almost everything, but not french fries. I hate eating fresh tomatoes. I love orange juice but can't bite into an orange.


NOW, I've got to tag 7 people! Here goes:

1. Sharon Sharon and I first met when she knocked on our hotel room door. No nothing kinky...we were in Savannah together for a reunion of internet buddies all connected to each other through China adoption. Sharon has such a great personality! From yardwork to sodding to household repairs to dressing up for the red carpet, Sharon will try anything once! Her daughter MaryAlice is a dream...spunky and full of life!

2. Jen Jen has a remarkable family! After having three bio kids, they were led to pursue a China adoption. Their two sons and two daughters are absolutely some of the best kids you will ever meet! Their youngest, Mei, has the sweetest butterfly kisses! I know because I stole one or two at a recent get-together!

3. Alyson Alyson and her hubby have the most amazing daughter Alyzabeth An! They just returned from China only a few weeks ago! Alyson is like a cheerleader on our DTC group, and she and her husband have the most amazing blog! I just wish I could blog like that!

4. Dusty Dusty and her hubby Chet have the most amazing story. After years of infertility, Dusty and Chet pursued a China adoption and were so blessed with a precious daughter Mary Joyce! She is the spunkiest thing! She is growing up way too fast too! Now Chet and Dusty have been blessed with their first bio daughter Katherine and are expecting their third child next year! Dusty is a woman of strong faith, the kind of person that I long to be one day! Dusty is another in-person friend...we met through APC years ago and had our first get-together over three years ago!

5. Tonya Tonya is a woman of faith is visits here often and posts the most amazing words of encouragement! Tonya and her hubby are waiting for TA for their special needs child from China. It would be amazing if we were in China together.

6. Evelyn I must tell you that Evelyn is the sweetest, most gentle soul you would ever want to meet. But, let me tell you that Mama Bear has been known to come out every once and a while! Evelyn and I are going to be travel buddies and I can't wait to share this most amazing experience with her and her sweet hubby Jesus! I'm keeping my fingers crossed Eve!

7. Rhonda Rhonda and her sweetie Mike have been through the referral wringer this month! But thankfully there was a rainbow after their storm and they have the most beautiful baby girl Hannah. Theirs is another amazing story of faith and trust. I can't wait to see Hannah in their arms because she is already wrapped around their hearts.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Today is...

October 11!

We will soon celebrate our 32nd and hopefully last LID'versary. I remember in February 2006 we hoped for a referral before Christmas! HA! What a wait this has turned into.

OK, I have been doing some fall cleaning! Yeah! Got the laundry room done and a few cabinets in the kitchen, will finish up tomorrow.

OHHH, I bought some shoes to take to China. Finally! Thanks to my bloggy-friend and travel buddy Donna for recommending them!

Here's another fun quiz from Blogthings to keep us entertained during this wait!




You Should Rule Saturn



Saturn is a mysterious planet that can rarely be seen with the naked eye.


You are perfect to rule Saturn because like its rings, you don't always follow the rules of nature.
And like Saturn, to really be able to understand you, someone delve beyond your appearance.


You are not an easy person to befriend. However, once you enter a friendship, you'll be a friend for life.

You think slowly but deeply. You only gain great understanding after a situation has past.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Today is....

October 5th, the beginning of the first full week of the last month of waiting for our Kaelie to come home! Oh, so exciting! I can't wait to see her little face and get ready to go on this journey of a lifetime! I have a ton of things to do today! I guess I better get busy and start working my list!

Here's something fun from Blogthings:


Your Hair Should Be Brown



You are an intelligent, well respected person.

You are very confident. You take yourself seriously, and other people take you seriously too.

You are a good leader, and you can be trusted with someone's life.

You motivate people well, and you command respect easily.

You are competent, successful, and organized. You can't stand chaos.

Some people mistake you for being cold, calculating, or elitist.



Too funny! Especially seeing I have a new color! BROWN!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The List

OK, now that I have 30 +/- a few days before Kaelie's referral, I have been thinking about everything that needs to get done before referral and travel. Here's a sampling of what needs doing:

1. Spring/Fall Cleaning ~ every room needs to be freshened up! Ugh! I hate housework! Especially the deep-cleaning stuff!

2. EBay Stuff ~ Photograph and list, have a huge sale!

3. Finish my closet ~ build one more shelf, paint

4. Finish attic ladder ~ add decorative trim, paint

5. Purchase car seat, stroller, high chair, baby monitor, area rug for nursery

6. Christmas ~ have all decorations up before Thanksgiving

7. Design referral announcements

8. Get carpet steam cleaned

9. Pack ~ I've got to get with my mom about what she might be able to carry in her suitcase

10. Christmas shopping ~ wrapping, etc. Need to be finished by Thanksgiving

11. Baby-proof house

12. Wash all baby clothes and put away

13. Lesson plans ~ Start preparing lessons for my students while I am on maternity leave (last two weeks of December, all of January, through mid-February (so I will have a couple of weeks prepared for when I come back).

Hummmm.....I know I could add a dozen more things to this list!!! OK, but I won't right now. Maybe when I get these done! I guess I could do all the housework chores this month, then focus on Christmas and travel after we get our referral.

OK, I'm exhausted now!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Cut-Off

Referrals were issued by the CCAA for families logged-in through February 15, 2006.

Big sigh here!

4 weeks.....

30 days......

It's hard to say "We're next!" when I was so hopeful that we would be in this batch. I really wanted it to happen this week.

I have so much to do between now and November 1 (plus/minus a few days!). I guess I need to start making some lists and getting things organized around here and getting prepared to travel.

I'm disappointed, but I've climbed bigger mountains. Kaelie, Mama's on her way, you hang in there! I love you so much!

So, with a November referral, I anticipate travel will be in mid-December. There is so much to think about: Will I be home for Christmas? I can't imagine missing it! Santa is going to need to do some early shopping to get ready for that one. Christmas decorating: definitely before Thanksgiving. I have a ton of stuff to post up on Ebay to get rid of, plus try to make some money.

Guess I need to do some shopping. We have three big items we need to get for Kaelie: carseat, high chair, and stroller. And some toys! Kaelie has lots of little goodies, but as far as like a toy kitchen, baby dolls, etc. No, I take that back, Kaelie has a Cabbage Patch doll. I want to find some Asian dolls. I can think about that later, though.

Guess I can get back to my life now. The last few days have been tough. The anticipation has been agonizing! I think I can say with certainty that we will be referred in November, 42 months since we started the process on May 30, 2005.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rumor Alert

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Today has been active on the rumor front!

According to Rumor Queen, a European source (Spanish RQ?) is saying that the cutoff is likely to fall between February 14th and 17th. I could have told them that weeks ago! My prediction at the first of the month was that the cutoff would be February 16th.

Earlier this afternoon, as I read a translation from the Spanish RQ, the way it sounded like was, well, the cutoff is going to fall BETWEEN these two dates, so it would have to be the 15th or 16th. Right on target for my earlier prediction and also right on target to trample my overly-excited mama heart. Trying to calm my heart down has been so hard!

I'm suddenly very hopeful! I'm going to go to bed and try to sleep so I can do some serious nesting tomorrow!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Rumor

Hi Everyone ~

There was a post on RQ tonight from a waiting family. The poster reported that their agency had contacted the CCAA and the CCAA is reporting that matching will be going on "as usual." I hope this is good news! Now if they would just do the next 8days!!! PLEASE!!! No word on the cutoff date yet!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Very Bad Rumor

Hi Everyone:

Rumor Queen posted today that a European agency is speculating that this batch will be extremely small because of the tainted formula crisis. They report that the CCAA wants to get updates on the children before sending out the referrals. She has this rated as an R2.

I'm upset about the whole formula business in China. Basically, what's happened is that the formula manufacturers added a plastic additive called melamine to infant formula. Melamine is high in nitrogen and therefore mimics protein in scientific tests. Therefore, the infant formula LOOKS like it is high in protein when in fact it is not. In lab testing, animals that ingested melamine developed kidney stones, renal failure, and infertility. There is not much out there as far as human ingestion is concerned. Melamine is the chemical that caused so many problems with the pet food last year.

I'm going to cross this bridge when I get to it. There's nothing to do at this point except pray. Kaelie is safe and sound in the hands of God and her caretakers and at this point I just have to trust that she is OK. I hope that she hasn't been given any of the tainted formula, but she probably has. In fact, CNN reported the other day on "American Morning" that this could go back as far as 2005. If we don't get our referral this month, then hopefully still next month. I'm trying not to stress out too much! There still isn't anything about a cutoff. Please pray that we are in this batch!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Nothing New

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There is hardly anything new to report today. The Spanish RQ is saying that there is a holiday in China next week (September 29-October 3) and that it is the usual custom for the CCAA to send out referrals before they are off for a week. This happened last year; referrals were sent out before the October holiday.
RQ predicts referrals to come in anywhere from September 24 through October 6.
Nothing, NOTHING! about the cut-off date!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Early First Rumor

This was posted on RQ in the comments section of her blog:

I have also heard from my agency that the group before mine with LID of 2/17/06 has been matched. No other information given.

The early rumors rarely prove true, but a mama can hope and dream........

How will the process work?

We heard from our agency (through a friend) about what the process between referral and travel is like. Thought I would share it here, mainly for my own recollection if nothing else.

Here goes:

Referral Call Process:

When the agency gets the referrals, they turn off their telephones and check and verify that each referral is in order. Most of the time they wait until the next day to make referral calls. We will not receive Kaelie's picture until it comes in via overnight delivery service with the rest of the referral package. We will not have any advance notice about when we will receive the call. We will likely know that referrals are on their way from other adoptive families and sites like Rumor Queen.

I'm hoping for the best. Best-case scenerio is that we would all be together on referral day. I don't know how likely or possible that is going to be, since we won't have a heads-up on when we'll get the call. I think I will have Stephe's call sheet in all possible locations: work, car, home. There is no telling about how it will go down. If I get the call at work, I'll most likely ask if Shelby can step out of class and be with me during the call. At least two of us will be together. Then, we will all go out and celebrate that evening! I will likely take the next day off so that I can meet the delivery service at home. Hopefully David and I will be together for that.

Acceptance Letter:

Our agency gives one week to get the acceptance letter back to them. This will give us time to consult an IA clinic and also talk with our pediatrician about Kaelie's health and if there is anything we should be concerned about. After all the acceptance letters are received, the agency will mail them back to China. If there seem to be major health concerns (this happens rarely, but it does happen), we have the option to turn down the referral and wait for the CCAA to issue another referral in the next batch. Hopefully, this will not happen!


Travel Approval:

After the acceptance letters are sent back to China, we will wait for our travel approval, which comes from the CCAA. I believe that during this time we will work on obtaining our China visas. After the TA's come in, our agency will work to secure our consulate appointments.

Consulate Appointment:

This is the final step! Once our consulate appointment is secured at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, we will be able to make our travel arrangements, book flights, etc. Our agency tries to travel about three weeks after the consulate appointment, but of course this could vary widely.


Usually the time between referral and travel is about 6 to 8 weeks. That's nothing compared to how long we have waited. We will be very busy working on Kaelie's room, getting ready for travel, making maternity leave arrangements and getting everything ready for school while I am away (I think I'm going to have a terrific sub who is a retired teacher!) I've spoken to several people who are simply amazed at the amount of paperwork that must be completed during this process. But after waiting for so long, I am completely up to the task! Daunting to be sure, but doable! I can't wait to meet Kaelie for the first time!

2nd Annual Sumner Egg Festival

Hi Everybody!

We had a great day at the Sumner Egg Festival today. My friend and fellow black belt Regina and I set up a booth to raise money for our causes: me to go to China and her daughter to go to Florida for a chorus trip. We split the costs of doing face-painting, temporary tattoos, and crazy hair! It was wonderful fellowship and we both actually made a little money for our trips. It was a lot of fun. Below are a few pics from the event:





Getting set up before the event




















Danny and Regina, black belt extraordinaires! All the while, Anya, an event coordinator and ATA buddy, chats (as usual!) on the phone!

Danny was a huge help with the set up and even made a drink run after while Regina and I set up the table! Also, thanks to Clint for helping with the canopy and setting up the board for the "Go Fishing" activity.




Sara and Steffany get a new look!















Regina hard at work...or play?











Horrible picture, but I did wear my Scrapping Panda t-shirt!











We did this family...the kids were so cute!

Jess helps out and earns money for her chorus trip!













Fellow ATA'er and lovely sister Lisa came by and visited this afternoon. We all ate lunch together and Lisa agreed to help us at the Peanut Festival. My sister is the best!

I have to give a shout out to Regina and her sweet family...we first met when I taught Jess in the third grade. We were able to start a stronger friendship when we all met up at ATA, then we all started working out together. It's amazing because two-and-a-half years later we all have our black belts. Our ATA center is like a family, that what keeps me going week after week, having the companionship and like-mindedness of kind people with strong moral values. Regina and Jess even kept the boys a few weeks ago when I needed an emergency babysitter. Thanks guys!

We are going to have another booth at the Georgia Peanut Festival on October 18. That festival is much larger and we hope to make more profit!

Kaelie, Mama's coming! I love you!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Mama Do!

Hi Everybody!

Since it is our 31-month LID'versary today (and HOPEfully our last, but who knows!), I treated myself to a new do. My good friend and ATA buddy Anya gave me a new cut and a drastic new color! Now I'm going to tell everyone at work tomorrow (not everyone knows about our adoption or they just conveniently forget, it's not like I'm showing or anything!) that it is my "New Mama" do!
I also got a French mani and a pretty pink pedi with a pretty big toenail design (sorry if that is too much info, but it is so cute!).
Then over to Walgreen's for some makeup...maybe it will go to China with me!

Donna, this is for you!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

LID'versary....

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Well, today is the day...on February 17, 2006, our dossier was officially registered with the China Center for Adoption Affairs. We've waited ever since.

Waited.

Waited.


Renewed paperwork.

And waited some more.

Prepared a nursery.

Shopped. And stopped.

Involuntarily changed agencies.

And waited some more.

And it is hard. I never believed the month or two prior to getting our referral would be the hardest. Are we next? Or aren't we? What will our little Kaelie look like? Where is she now...Hunan, Jiangxi, Chongqing, Guangdong? Is she warm? Fed...or hungry? Sick or well? How old is she? How big is Kaelie? 9, 12, 18 month clothing? How long has she been waiting for us?

A million and one questions keep going through my mind.

What will referral day be like? Where will I be? Will I cry? Will I remember Stephe's call sheet? How will we celebrate?

When will I travel (DH is staying home with the boys)? Over Thanksgiving, Christmas? What will China be like? Will I leave a part of my heart there like I did in Russia?

To my sweet, precious daughter-to-be: Know this, that God and I love you very much and I'm looking forward to the day we meet and become a forever family.

Love, Mama

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Desperately Seeking Rumors!

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HELP! I'm going rumor-crazy! If you're LID in February and heard anything new, please leave a comment and let me know!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Rumor Queen Projections!!!!


My heart skipped a beat when I saw this! OK, now I really, REALLY can't help it that I have my hopes up for October!
October, maybe, NOVEMBER FOR SURE!
Hurry up CCAA! I want to see my baby girl!
Here's one of the reasons that I'm really hopeful for October. There were only about 17 days between the August 11 and September 2 batches, and the CCAA referred 101 poll (RQ followers, you know what I mean!) families. So, if they can do 101 poll families in three weeks, why can't they do 107 poll families in a normal month???!!!!
Please post a comment and tell me what you think! I am so, so hoping that I'm right and not just getting my hopes up. So much for guarding my heart, I want to see our baby!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Happy Birthday and Butterfly Kisses!

The boys and I spend a wonderful afternoon among friends. The Weimers and I met through APC in July, 2005. Dennis and Kim had just come home from China with their precious bundle of joy Lia. In August, 2005, I met the Talleys at a get-together organized by Dusty and her darling husband Chet. Dusty and Chet brought MaryJoyce home in September, 2006, and Jen and Mike brought home Mei this past January. Once Mei woke up from her nap and warmed up a bit, she shared some kisses with me...it just melted my heart!

Lia was so excited because we were all together to celebrate her fourth birthday! Pizza was enjoyed by all, then on to Princess cake and ice cream! She received some wonderful presents and had a great time blowing out her candles with Daddy's help! All the boys played Commandos and War, and the girls played dress up. It was wonderful to hear the stories of been there, done that parents! The visit was truly amazing!

I have to give a shameless plug here for Dennis' new movie "Fireproof." This movie was produced by Dennis and Kim's church, and is to be released later this month. Dennis worked on the production team. It was so facinating to see video clips and pictures from the production. Much of the movie, starring Kirk Cameron, was filmed in Albany and south Georgia. I even got to hold the axe, which was signed by all the actors and the director!

I'm so disappointed because I forgot to take pictures!

Twenty-Nine Lines to Make You Smile!

ENJOY!

1. My husband and I divorced over religious differences. He thought he was God and I didn't.

2. I don't suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it.

3. Some people are alive only because it's illegal to kill them.

4. I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

5. Don't take life too seriously; no one get s out alive.

6. You're just jealous because the voices talk only to me.

7. Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

8. Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.

9. I'm not a complete idiot -- some parts are missing.

10. Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.

11. NyQuil, the stuffy, sneezy, why-the-heck-is-the-room-spinning medicine.

12. God must love stupid people; He made so many.

13. The gene pool could use a little chlorine.

14. Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.

15. Ever stop to think, and forget to start again?

16. Being 'over the hill' is much better than being under it.

17. Wrinkled Was Not One of the Things I Wanted to Be When I Grew up.

18. Procrastinate Now!

19. I Have a Degree in Liberal Arts; Do You Want Fries With That?

20. A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

21. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance.

22. Stupidity is not a handicap. Park elsewhere!

23. They call it PMS because Mad Cow Disease was already taken.

24. He who dies with the most toys is nonetheless DEAD.

25. A picture is worth a thousand words, but it uses up three thousand times the memory.

26. Ham and eggs...A day's work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig.

27. The trouble with life is there's no background music.

28. The original point and click interface was a Smith & Wesson.

29. I smile because I don't know what the hell is going on.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Obama or McCain?

Your Issue Profile: 56% Obama, 44% McCain


Truth be told, you're not really satisfied with either of the candidates.

You could vote for either of them. You are the typical coveted swing voter.

You may want to narrow yourself down to a particular set of issues in order to pick your president.

Or start looking at third party candidates. One of them might suit you better.

Referrals and Predictions

Hi Everyone!

I wanted to update that Rumor Queen is reporting that the CCAA has issued referrals through February 9, 2006. This is terrific news...now they are only 8 days away from our LID. That being said, I think that I can honestly say that we will receive our referral the first week in November, with mid-December travel. WHAT AN AMAZING CHRISTMAS PRESENT!!!!

Here are my predictions, based on an average of the number of days CCAA has matched (over 13 batches, that would be 6 days) and number of poll families (from RQ, 86 poll families across the last 7 batches):

October - LID's through February 16, 2006 (congratulations Rhonda and Lori!)
November - LID's through February 22, 2006 (that would be US!!!!!!)
December - LID's through February 28, 2006
January, 2009 - LID's through March 6, 2006

It would be awesome to get an October referral, but the numbers just don't lend themselves to it. I just can't get my hopes up. Anyway, a November referral and December travel would be great, it would give me a couple more weeks off at the end of January with Kaelie!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Long Time, No Blog!

Hi Everyone!

Wow, I didn't realize it had been so long! No, I didn't fall off the blogging earth, just been very busy with life right now. School's started back, and between getting both myself and the boys back into a routine, it's been really hectic around here.

Things on the adoption front have been really interesting too. I really can't say too much, but our adoption agency has closed, and our file has been transferred to another agency, and more $$$$ has had to change hands (from ours to theirs!). I've been really angry and frustrated at the whole situation. David and I even (briefly!) talked about pulling out of the adoption altogether, but it wasn't really one of our options. Thankfully, our adoption can continue and we aren't being screwed quite as much as other families in different programs at the agency. Let's just say that we're stilled logged in at CCAA and we will one day get to see our Kaelie.

Other things that have happened in the last few weeks:

1. My wonderful grandmother, at 86, had a hip replacement surgery at the beginning of August. She is beginning to get better. She's the kind of person that is going to push herself (well, most of the time!) and I think she's making great progress. She's having home therapy right now and it won't be long before she's going to our out-patient facility in our town. She had a scare with her heart while she was in the hospital, it was a major setback, but now that is all cleared up.

2. My sister Lisa has begun her teaching career! I think she's having a great time teaching her first-grade students. Sara's lost two of her baby molars this past week, she is so excited about that!

3. My brother-in-law (Lisa's husband) will be having a double-bypass surgery in his legs in the coming weeks. He's a diabetic smoker, with an amputation of his left leg. Hopefully he will soon realize that he is slowly killing himself bit by bit. Lisa is really having a difficult time with this right now.

In adoption news, referrals came out in mid-August for LID's through January 31st, 2006. So with the next batch we will see February 2006 referrals. It's really looking like November for us, with December travel. I'm going to be really upset to travel over Christmas, I don't want to miss Santa coming! Time will tell, though, nothing is written in stone, but I'm not looking for any big batches anytime soon.

Again, sorry it's been so long!

Friday, July 18, 2008

You know what they say about all good things!

Well, our family vacation is coming to an end. The last two days have been absolutely spectacular!



Yesterday David and I took the boys over to Bowman's Beach on Sanibel Island. What a beautiful place! The water looked only as it does in pictures: a beautiful blue-green, crystal clear. The beach had a lot of families, but it was absolutely pristine. The boys had a great time in the surf and sand. Unfortunately for me, even though I slathered myself with Coppertone, I got sunburned. UGH! I avoid sunburn like the plague! Oh, well...



After our trip to Bowman's Beach, we took a sunset dolphin cruise. It was so nice, the weather was calm, and finally, on our way back to the marina, we saw a group of three dolphins. It was a beautiful night.



This afternoon, after nursing my sunburn for most of the day, the boys and I walked down to the beach. It was another beautiful sunset, we saw a small sting ray swimming among literally hundreds of sand dollars. We found dozens of tiny shells, inhabited with tiny hermit crabs. It was funny because every time Jeremy picked one up, he squealed and giggled. Shelby, being more subdued, studied the underside of the sand dollars and counted the tiny crabs that hitched a ride on them.



We ate a wonderful dinner after our walk at Matanzas Inn. Delicious and I would highly recommend this restaurant!


















Wednesday, July 16, 2008

NiHao from (not so sunny) Florida!

NiHao from Sunshine-less Florida! This is the first beach vacation that we've taken without sun! What's it like with two kids, a hubby who has barely had a day off in six months, and a restless waiting mom? Not so pretty!

Only kidding! We are trying to make the best of it. We have a really, REALLY nice condo on Ft. Myers Beach, and we are enjoying being together. It's rained all day today. There is a non-tropical low that's formed in the eastern Gulf of Mexico that's really been kicking up some downpours and thunderstorms. When you plan these trips months in advance, the weather is the one thing that you can't really depend on. You plan and hope the weather is sunny. If not, you make lemonade out of lemons.

Here are a few pics from our first (sunny) afternoon here:





Shelby finds starfish in the tidal pool at low afternoon tide

















Shelby explores the tidal pool at low afternoon tide (ALWAYS the explorer!)












David chills while Shrek looks on! (I thought the photo looked strange with Shrek's one eye peering from the towel!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Agony of Waiting

This post really says alot about the wait. The long, long wait. The impatience, frustration, anger. The wonderment, the excitement, the expectancy. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Our Little Tongginator: Just Waiting, Part 25 ... or Large Thorns, Large Blessings

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

High Gas Prices

OK, I'm not complaining here, but the gas prices are really hitting our family hard these days! As a middle-class two-income working family, our budget is so tight these days. Seems like there's nothing left at the end of the paycheck!


I received an interesting open letter today from Delta Air Lines, of all places. I didn't have the best of experiences when I went to Boston at the end of March. Many of you, if you are a frequent flyer or in a miles program, may have received the same letter. Since it is an open letter, I'll post the contents here:

Our country is facing a possible sharp economic downturn because of skyrocketing oil and fuel prices, but by pulling together, we can all do something to help now.

For airlines, ultra-expensive fuel means thousands of lost jobs and severe reductions in air service to both large and small communities. To the broader economy, oil prices mean slower activity and widespread economic pain. This pain can be alleviated, and that is why we are taking the extraordinary step of writing this joint letter to our customers.

Since high oil prices are partly a response to normal market forces, the nation needs to focus on increased energy supplies and conservation. However, there is another side to this story because normal market forces are being dangerously amplified by poorly regulated market speculation.

Twenty years ago, 21 percent of oil contracts were purchased by speculators who trade oil on paper with no intention of ever taking delivery. Today, oil speculators purchase 66 percent of all oil futures contracts, and that reflects just the transactions that are known. Speculators buy up large amounts of oil and then sell it to each other again and again. A barrel of oil may trade 20-plus times before it is delivered and used; the price goes up with each trade and consumers pick up the final tab. Some market experts estimate that current prices reflect as much as $30 to $60 per barrel in unnecessary speculative costs.

Over seventy years ago, Congress established regulations to control excessive, largely unchecked market speculation and manipulation. However, over the past two decades, these regulatory limits have been weakened or removed. We believe that restoring and enforcing these limits, along with several other modest measures, will provide more disclosure, transparency and sound market oversight. Together, these reforms will help cool the over-heated oil market and permit the economy to prosper.

Now, I'm normally not the type of person that buys into alot of hype from the airline industry. I mean, they are charging us for peanuts, service isn't what it used to be, plenty of flights are delayed or cancelled for seemingly no reason. However, I believe that the health of the airline industry is somewhat of a gauge for the health of our nation's economy. I've heard before about the speculation on the commodities markets, but, not being an economist, well, it's just so hard to understand!

Right now, it's my understanding that the price of oil is really NOT $150 a barrel in actuality, but it's all on paper. The traders and speculators are making it go up. David explained to me that Bush signed a bill de-regulating the commodities markets way back when. I can't really comprehend all the politics behind it, but the de-regulation is basically letting the traders do whatever they want.

Here's the thing: What can we do about it? Right now, I'm not in a position to do much. I can't afford to go right now and buy a new vehicle that will get better gas mileage. I'm buying less, making less trips trying to conserve fuel. I work 14 miles from my home, so it's 28 miles round trip. I can't move closer to work right now, I can't afford to!

One thing we can do is to contact our federal legislators to let them know how we feel about the gas prices and commodities trading. This paragraph was at the end of the letter:

The nation needs to pull together to reform the oil markets and solve this growing problem.
We need your help. Get more information and contact Congress by visiting
www.StopOilSpeculationNow.com.

Don't stop reading. I got an email from a friend recently telling me about the Gas Price Protest. You can read on Snopes and other websites that internet-based petitions simply don't work. However, letters to our congressmen and senators do! Especially in an election year. If you visit the Stop Oil Speculation Now website, you can generate emails or printed letters to your representatives urging congressional action. Gas prices, in my opinion, will only continue to rise if Congress does not step in and do something soon!

And, finally, if you want to read an interesting blog about traffic, transportation, and gas prices, visit this web site.

I've Been Tagged!

Dusty over at Adoption Voyages tagged me today! My job select is to 6 words to describe how I'm feeling right now. Then, I'm to tag 5 more people to do the same. Let me see if I can keep it positive:


1. Proud! I am so proud of my two boys. They are growing into such fine young men. It's hard to believe that I don't have babies anymore. Shelby and Jeremy are so much alike, yet so different. All in all, despite some major mishaps along the way (don't ask me about the cooktop!), they are great kids!


2. Anxious! I'm so anxious to receive Kaelie's referral. It's hard to put it in the back of my mind and just enjoy living for today. I'm really looking forward to experiencing China and all she has to offer. God is so wonderful...I'm so blessed that I've had the chance to see the world through international adoption.


3. Lazy! I have so many projects that I was going to do this summer, that haven't gotten done. Summer's not over yet, though! I'm really looking forward to our trip to FL next week for some serious "Sun-Time!" I've been thinking, however, that we stay on the go so much, the down time has been refreshing.


4. Loved! I'm so blessed to have a wonderful family, a terrific husband and an incredible extended family! Lisa is going to help me with a fundraiser this fall. At our town's annual peanut festival, she is going to help me run a food booth raise money for our adoption trip. We are going to sell donuts in the morning, then we are going to sell peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, drinks (canned and lemonade), and snickerdoodle cookies for dessert.


5. Confident! I'm looking forward to my ATA school's promotional testing this week - I'm testing for my first-degree black belt.


6. Tired! It's 1:26 AM and I'm still not through with everything. Oh well, there is always tomorrow. What was accomplished today? Getting some items ready for Ebay, laundry, ATA class, organized some junk baskets, got a package ready to mail, among other things. Still not enough! I guess I'm thankful for my Scarlett ("I'll think about that tomorrow!") attitude!


WHO'S GETTING TAGGED!?


1. My fellow Precious Panda Lori. She just started her blog and she needs something to write about! LOL!


2. My travel buddy Evelyn


3. My travel buddy Stephe


4. My travel buddy Donna


AND....


5. Another Precious Panda, Rhonda!


I've had the distinct pleasure of meeting all 5 of these terrific ladies in person during this wait. Have fun, girlies!! Can't wait to read your posts!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Province Series #1: Jiangxi

Hi Everyone!

Well, I must tell you that I feel like my blog is a rambling of boring glimpses of a waiting mom! In an effort to make it a little more informative, I'm going to begin a series on the different provinces of China. First up: Jiangxi!



Jiangxi province, located in Southeastern China, is known for its natural beauty. Beautiful mountains and pristine lakes and rivers surround Jiangxi. Jiangxi is located in the lower Yangtze River Basin as well as being centered on the Gan River Valley. The area is agricultural, producing such crops as rice, sweet potatoes, and wheat, as well as the cash crops of cotton and peanuts, among others.

Poyang Lake, the largest freshwater lake in China, is home to the largest wintering habitat for white cranes in China. Mt. Lushan in the north is a beautiful summer resort area. Jiangxi is mountainous in the south, with lower evelations in the north.

Jiangxi shown in dark peach (above)



Jiangxi is home to some 40 million people. The current boundaries of Jiangxi were established during the Ming dynasty. Named during the Tang Dynasty, sometimes Jiangxi is known as Gan for short. Ceramics and porcelain have been produced in Jiangxi for at least 1,800 years.

Jingdezhen, a city in Jiangxi, is known as the capital of porcelain.

San Qing Mountain

















16th century porcelain




Nanchang (NAN-chung), the capital of Jiangxi province, is home to approximately 2 million people. It is an industrial and economic center featuring many factories, including a Ford plant. Nanchang is also a transportation center, known for both rail and air service. In years past, Jiangxi served as a corridor for migration between the southern and northern provinces (due to the river structure of the area).




Nanchang International Airport




There are many historial sites to see during a visit to Nanchang and Jiangxi. The Star of Nanchang is currently the world's tallest ferris wheel at 535 feet. Air-conditioned gondolas carry up to eight passengers on a slow rotation for spectacular views of the city. Bayi Square is the second largest public square in China, followed only by Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Tengwang Pavilion is one of three famous pavilions along the Yangtze River. The Donglin Monastery is a rather interesting place to visit, built for monk Hui Yuan.


















Tengwang Pavilion


Though not well-known outside of the province (as opposed to say, Sichuan cuisine), Jiangxi hosts distinctive flavors in its culinary style. Chile peppers are used in many dishes, as well as pickled and fermented products.