Our Baby

2 years and counting......

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas is here!! December 23, 2010

Our first Christmas with Autumn is finally here! So much is happening- so much going on- where to start. Since the last update, Autumn had her church dedication on November 28, 2010. She did so good. She was so quiet and patient. I think she enjoyed the attention. Our friend Allyson sang for her- a wonderful song by Steven Curtis Chapman, "Love Takes You In" Here are the words- it speaks volumes I think of our journey:
"I know you’ve heard the stories
But they all sound too good to be true
You’ve heard about a place called home
But there doesn’t seem to be one for you
So one more night you cry yourself to sleep
And drift off to a distant dream

Where love takes you in and everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in

And somewhere while you’re sleeping
Someone else is dreaming too
Counting down the days until
They hold you close and say I love you
And like the rain that falls into the sea
In a moment what has been is lost in what will be

When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart

And this love will never let you go
There is nothing that could ever cause this love to lose its hold

When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in it takes you in for good
When love takes you in"

Other updates: January 4th, Autumn will be having her cleft lip repair - I am worried, happy, nervous, all of these emotions. While I know it will help her so much, she is going to look different. She is so sweet and cute like she is now, I can't imagine her changing. I am trying to remind myself that this going to help her in so many ways, especially speaking and eating, not just aesthetics. She is doing well- her gross motor development just amazes me every day. She is a little slow still with the fine motor- speech therapy is working with her and probably after the new year, she will start occupational therapy to help with her fine motor. We are looking forward to a wonderful Christmas with her- she is enjoying the decorations, and we plan to attend this afternoon's Christmas party at her daycare. She loves going and playing with the other children. We have also gone through her first illness- bilateral ear infection, GI bug- all at once. She is a trooper. Anyway, I will try to update more later- but here are some new pics - courtesy of an old and dear friend- Ryan Bumgarner Photography. Merry Christmas!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

November has been a busy busy month. Autumn is doing great! She is running, jumping and really doing well with her gross motor. She is catching up quickly. Her fine motor skills are still somewhat behind. She is not feeding herself, but she eats great and is growing. I don't think it will be much longer for her to catch up there too. She had her first daycare day. We have her at First Baptist Asheville. Those folks are just angels. They are really loving and kind to Autumn, and seem to have a genuine interest in her doing well. She spent her first 1/2 day on November 16th. She did well. I was nervous leaving her, but felt much better after I saw how well she did. The second day, she ended up there all day. Mike had to go out of town. She seemed to have a really good time. She ate all her food we packed. However, she did not nap. She went to another class while her class napped. Hopefully, she will get used to this. She naps good at home, but did not want to nap there. Anyway, that night she was so tired, but insistant on more and more play. She absolutely crashed when she went to bed. The early intervention folks came out to see her, and hopefully, she will be starting some speech therapy soon to help with her talking and eating. This weekend, she will have her church dedication. We are looking forward to this. One of our dear friends is coming from Charlotte to sing. Here are some of the latest photos we have - enjoy!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!!!

Mike and I LOVE Halloween! I enjoy being at home, handing out candy and seeing all the kids- which is what I am doing now as I update. Autumn went to two houses, dressed as a bumble bee. That is about all she could take. Hopefully, will have those pictures up soon.
The last few weeks with Autumn has been AMAZING! She is such a sweet little girl. She goes everywhere with us, and seems quite at home whether we are at Church, Target, a restaurant, just wherever- she is happy to be there.
We have had our checkups with our Pediatrician, Dr. Chu- everything checked out well. He did a slew of labs, repeated some vaccines, and thought overall she looked good. He referred us to the NC early intervention program, and we met our caseworker last week. She was very nice, and Autumn qualified for their services, since she has a cleft lip and palate, and has some mild developmental delays. She recommended that we begin some speech therapy and occupational therapy also. So that will start soon. We also registered for daycare last week. I am so thankful that she will start at First Baptist Asheville. We looked at several, and I really was pleased with the compassion that they showed to Autumn. She also got to meet her classmates, and play a while on the playground with them. She had a ball, and cried when we left- I was sad/happy about that. We also had dinner last night at the neighbor's= she did great! She just takes it all in. Such a good girl- here are some new pics. We have about a 1000- hard to decide which ones to post! :)
We took Autumn to the Biltmore Estate- Antler Hill Village- she has a pull behind for the bike - she fell asleep during the ride! I think she likes it.

Autumn and me - her first time going to Church.

Autumn received her first "Steeler's" attire from her grandparents in the mail. CUTE!

Autumn and me at her first visit with Dr. Chu.

Autumn's first time on a swing - she LOVES it!

Autumn in her Halloween outfit! LOVE the skirt!

Still in her Halloween outfit- gotta find another reason to wear the skirt! She is so cute in it!

Probably the cutest pic I have- All my girls watching Daddy on the front porch!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Finally Home

We have now been home a week with Autumn. We have been quite busy, which is why I have not updated our blog. Mike and I have had a hard time adjusting to the time change from China, as well as jet lag. The jet lag was the worst. I am sure Autumn felt it too. We had over 24 hours of total travel time between the actual flights and airport layovers. Autumn did OK, considering she is so young and not used to any type of travel. She has done well at her new home. We were worried about how she'd handle the dogs. Her first sight, her little eyes were so big. No tears though. She lets them smell her and even accepts a lick or two. Initially, their barking scared her and she whimpered a bit, but is even doing a little better with that. She has explored all of the upstairs. Just a few days after arriving home, she really started to crawl good, and then, she stood up by herself. Wednesday, she really started walking. She is quite unsteady and falls down a lot, but at least she is trying. She is doing great with eating. We are trying a variety of things, and likes it all except for potatoes and Lima beans. With the weather being so nice today and yesterday, she has spent time on the porch and seems to enjoy being outside. She is not saying anything yet, but does a lot of laughing, smiling squealing with delight. She seems to be a very happy child, and I am so thankful for that. We had our first home vist yesterday with our social worker, and I think that went well. Autumn is our daughter, but we'd like to re-adopt her now that we are home. This will give her an American birth certificate, which down the road will help her tremendously. This weekend, she is playing host to Mike's family and has really put on a great show for them. Anyway, here are some updated pics. Enjoy - will try to add more later.




Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's official!

Autumn is officially our daughter. She had her consulate appointment yesterday. We completed all of our paperwork, and how awesome that we did not have to go! All I had to do was sign for Shiyan to go for us! We did not have to do anything! We now have her abandonment certificate. It is so sad that this precious child was abandoned. We also have the clothes she was wearing and her admission pictures taken at the orphanage. She was also wrapped in a hello kitty blanket, and we have this too. These items, her only connection to her real family. She has an amazing story. Once the paperwork is cleared, then Autumn takes her oath to become a US citizen- obviously she can't do this so we as her parents do it for her. This ceremony was today. I was SOOOOO worried about how she would do. It was a 30-45minute busride to the consulate, and then a lot of wait once there. She was a perfect little angel. She loves to ride the bus. I guess that she is amazed at all of the sights- she has never been out of the orphanage, other than her quarantine for chicken pox. Anyway, she did great! No fuss whatsoever. In fact, she was so happy! Even better, on the busride back, she took a bottle for mike, actually 2 bottles, they were small. Once we arrive in Chicago this week, she is officially a US citizen!! YEAH!! She is doing so much more. She is crawling up into my lap now to get some loving and is offering up some hugs. She reaches for both of us too. She is such a sweet girl. She is also more vocal - we can't understand it, but she is vocal. She is not walking, but will walk when she is in the crib and can hold to the sides. She has started to crawl too. Her nanny said that she stopped crawling a while ago when she started to walk. I guess she is regressed and will get back to walking. She is doing a lot more every day that passes.
As for us- Mike and I are doing great. We are thrilled to be coming home the day after tomorrow. And as a treat, I also had a mason jar full of sweet tea and lemmons tonight!!! Never did I think I'd find that in China. HEAVEN!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Turned a corner-

Here is Autumn with the "GUANGDONG BABIES" all from her province. We took so many pics like this, Autumn would not look at the camera. Ezra her buddy is right beside her, the other little girls Emily and Natalie.

Finally, after a week, things are somewhat "normal." Well, for living in a hotel room and eating every meal out, I guess normal. Autumn has gone back to drinking from the bottle. She just started last night. I think she is getting more comfortable with us and this is why? We have let her sort of take the lead, and not pressure her to drink too much. She did 5 oz last night, and 6 this morning. She also took another 4 ounces during the day. She is eating like a champ. And what goes in, comes out too. Mama is happy. She is starting to really show some personality and can get quite cranky when she does not get her way. She HATES a diaper change. Most changes, it takes both of us to get a diaper on. She also let me trim her nails. She gave me a nice scratch on my neck today, so had to be done. She also understands "no." She is getting a lot more active in the crib. She was trying to chew on the side rails, can't be good with her lip. She understood No, and seemed to pout a little but stopped.
We took a dinner cruise last night, she did pretty good. The papa john's pizza was great! Towards the end, there was some entertainment which the kids enjoyed. It was a good distraction. We are finding that children have very short attention spans, especially ours. We hope that everyone at home is doing well- especially Ronnie - hope you are healing well from surgery. Hang in there- can't wait to see you all soon!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

And she finally smiles!

Last night- finally got some smiles and laughter from her- it has continued on through today. She is pretty fussy, but is smiling more. She is pretty comical at times. We have had a lot of fun just playing. She is eating much better, in fact, the last few feeds, this has hardly been an issue. She ate an entire ladle of wheat oatmeal and a sausage link at breakfast, for example. She is still not taking the bottle though. Overall, I'd say things are some better. We are going on a dinner cruise tonight, and having Papa Johns pizza! Yes, they have it here. We can hardly wait. The weather is better, very hot. I just went out to buy more diapers, and locals are walking around in masks. I am not sure what kind of air I took in, can't be good. The smog is terrible. I have had a cough for the second day now. Shiyan has spoken to Autumn's orphanage director again, and we have found out the she took the majority of her meals in the crib- she stood while being fed. They also added sugar to her formula and her water. Chinese formula is much sweeter than what we have- it must have been like syrup. Needless to say, we have not done this, and perhaps that is part of the problem? She also fed herself her bottles in the crib. We have tried this too, but did not work. Anyway, here is a new pic of her wonderful smile. Enjoy, and I can't wait to see everyone very soon!! This week!!! :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

More Pics

Grandparents requesting more pics, so here you go. The one of Mike, Autumn and me is at the Chinese restaurant we went to, and the bucket of eels, evening special. Yes, they are alive and I assume you can pick the one you want. Our dinner was conservative, but delicious nonetheless. Other pics, Autumn at various times. There is one with her touching her toy with her last three fingers. She does not use her index finger, just the last three. She can, and we have seen her grip using the index, but no touching or pointing. She also had a mad screaming fit about 2pm today. I was in the process of preaparing her rice cereal, and turns out, feeding her made her better. She took it all, and some extra pear purree. Along with some left over formula and pedialyte. Still no bottle or sippy cup though. It is the best she has eat yet, so I will take it. The marks on her arms and face are from the chicken pox.
We also learned, thank you Amy, that the formula we brought for her is on the recall list. Not sure if it will make a difference, but while we are here, going to do only the Chinese formula. We don't have much of a choice. I will purchase enough to take with us and try to transition her at home. HOME, can't wait to get there. Enjoy the pics-

Friday, September 24, 2010

Today's update.

I think she may be doing a bit better. We went with our group to an authentic chinese restaurant last night. Shiyan our social worker here, is so wonderful. She wants so much for us to have a good time. She had everything arranged for us- the meal was served family style, and there were about 3-4 families per table. Our group is so supportive. Everyone is aware of the hard time we are having. Most of the kids are doing well. You can really see the difference in the children from orphanages vs. the kids from foster homes. There is a 3 year old with some delays as well. There are others having the eating issues, perhaps not to the extent that we are though. She was fussy about the entire time we were there. But easily calms I think. When we got back, she took about 2-3 tablespoons of rice cereal, and ounce of her vit. c liquid, no fuss. It was amazing. She still refuses a bottle though. We are just doing the best we can.
We took her to the payroom this morning. She played more today than she has yet. Ezra is another child about her age. He was fostered. He seems right on target with where he should be and is all boy. I think that Autumn enjoyed being around him. He will be in Knoxville, so hopefully, they will be good friends for a long time. Autumn did smile twice for me today. I almost cried. I will try to post more later.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Separation Anxiety?

So we've had Autumn since the 19th. She does not smile, does not laugh, and feeding her is pure torture, for her and me. It takes two of us to hold her down to get it in. Last night, she took about 1/2 ounce from her bottle and then it was like she realized what she was doing and refused the rest. We got it in her with a syringe though. She opens her mouth and takes it. Swallows, then screams. I just don't understand. Same with food. Shiyan thinks that she is depressed and it is a trust issue, ie she does not trust us yet. Shiyan thinks a little more TLC is all she needs. I cuddle her as much as I can, and so does Mike. We are using the strap on baby carrier (thank you so much Debbie Crain for this!!!) She likes it. Anytime we are holding her close, she seems content. She does not smile. She does not laugh. This transition I know is hard, but how long will it take her? Otherwise today, a little bit of a cough, no temp. This is very hard. In a lot of ways, I feel like I am a failure to her. She really is so precious, I just wish I knew how to make this all better for her.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mike's initiatiation to what prunes can do!

So yesterday, Autumn did not eat or drink but about 2-3 ounces. That's it. She took about 1/4 container of prunes, washed down with about 1/6 ounce of water. Then, our social worker came. Shiyan is so awesome. She brought prune juice and pedialyte. It took Mike holding her, and Shiyan holding her head, and a lady downstairs came an talked to her in Cantonese (her native language) and we finally got about 4 ounces of formula in her with a syringe. She turned flips, cried, and screamed, fought us to the end, but finally got it in her. She is dehydrated. Shiyan thinks she has a major case of separation anxiety and depression. So lots more TLC and hopefully this will get better. She went to sleep no problem. (probably tired from the fight) This morning, still would not take a bottle, but we got about 5 1/4 ounce of formula with the syringe. She took about 5 forced bites at breakfast and lastly had a major wake up stinky diaper and during breakfast, finished what she started. Mike was a good help, but certainly allowed me to do the changing. I hope things will get better for her. I hate force feeding her. She loves to walk- so going to strap on the baby carrier and take her to Starbucks.

Updates on Autumn

So a few new pictures- grandparents request. Autumn is a handful! She will not take a bottle. She will not eat. She will not drink. All day, I have managed about 1-2 ounces of watered down juice and water, 2 spoons of yogurt, and just now, she took about 1/4 of a container of mashed prunes. The liquids, all with a 5cc syringe! Interestingly, she took the prunes in her crib which makes me wonder if she was mostly fed in her crib at the orphanage. She will not take a bottle in it though. We have contacted our Social Worker who will arrive here later today, and she is going to call the orphanage for suggestions. We have figured out her "mad cry" which happens often. And her sad/scared cry. She loves to go for walks in the stroller. Thank the Lord we have a stroller at home! She loves it. There are cobble stone streets here and she babbles as she jiggles over the stones. This is the most talk we have heard yet. She is still quite shy. I also worry that she is sleeping a little much today, but understandably if she does not feel well. Being a first time mom - this is quite hard. Still hoping she has a good poop!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Last 24 hours -

The last 24-36 hours, not good. The evening of Gotcha Day, she started with a low grade temp. It spiked at 102.4 yesterday morning. She would not take much of a bottle, very cranky. We had several appointments yesterday, and bless her heart - with a temp of 102 - she survived all of it. I took pedialyte, but again, she would not take a bottle. We have infant Tylenol, which controlled it some. Anyway, we had her medical exam for US clearance yesterday, luckily her temp was 100.7. Still not so good, but he gave her antibiotics and "Chinese herbs" which turns out to be Vit. C. The doctor palpated some lymph nodes in her neck, and I can feel them too- he though perhaps she was suffering a sore throat? The nodes aren't very big. It was a nightmare last night trying to get the antibiotics in her- she screamed and let me tell you - she has a great set of lungs. So after finally getting the medicine in- she was so tired, we did not bath her. She sleeps so good. She likes the crib and self soothes very well. All she needs is a dim room, and her blanket. Thank the Lord for that. This morning - fever has broke. I was scared though - she slept about 7-8 hours and her diaper was dry! I was able to get about 5 and a quarter ounce of formula in her. She went back to sleep for another hour or so. Mike was able to get her antibiotics in her, no trouble this time and about 10 spoons of cereal. No poop since we've had her so I am worried about that, but plenty of gas. Sorry for the graphics, but would love some suggestions here. Trying to feed or bottle her is like torturing her. I don't know if she is traumatized by her situation or just doesn't feel good still. She is still very quiet, and timid. She did manage to produce a very wet diaper late morning - so that is good.

We were to go to the zoo today, however, with her feeling bad, we are going to for ego that. In addition, there is a typhoon on the way- I heard it is the equivalent to a cat. 3 hurricane. (overheard in the elevator this morning) and it is to directly hit Hong Kong, which is close to here. They advised all cars off the roads for Guangzhou today, for flooding. We have her passport appointment for later- not sure if we will be able to go with the weather? It started raining last night and is still messy today, lots of wind. Please pray for the weather and for Autumn. Not to mention her new mother who is about crazy with nerves today. I am fixated on what goes in and "out" and I worry about dehydration, but at least her temp is better. Mike however is great. She could not have picked a better Daddy. Very calm and patient with her. I will try to get some more pics up soon.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Gotcha Day!

So about 2pm today, our group ventured over to meet our children. We are a group of 4 families so far. It was a very emotional day. We saw Autumn before we met her. I recognized her instantly. Then, we got to meet. Her nanny told us that she was carsick on the way over. It is a 4 hour bus ride from Guangning to Guangzhou, and her first time traveling. She also missed her nap time. We first noticed lots of small scars all over her body, her face. Turns out that she was hospitalized late August through September with chicken pox. It looks like she is healing, but several spots nonetheless. She is VERY quiet and shy. She sat in our laps no problem. She whimpered a little, not loud, very soft cries. I think more than anything she was tired. She tolerated the bus ride back to the hotel, no problems. She seems to have good sight, good hearing. She watches everything you do. She has not spoken, but I understand she was talking very minimally at the orphanage. She sucks her fingers constantly. She loves to be held. She loves a blanket. Her hair looks very healthy - and quite a lot of it. She hates shoes. In fact, she was wearing a new pair today, and her nanny said that otherwise, she does not like them. She seems to like cartoons. She does have a cleft palate - I cannot tell how much affected, her front gum line is affected. She has had no surgery.
So back at the hotel, we finally got her to nap. She sleeps with her eyes half open. Mike is a little amazed at this. He has now gone to get supper. I hope that she will eat with no problems. Will try to update more in the next couple of days. Hopefully she will open up a little more, but for now, very quiet and shy.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New shoes and BIG TROUBLE!

So, our guide in Beijing said "no trouble buying shoes - take taxi to Carre Four - like WalMart - then taxi back - take a card with hotel name on it." Sounds pretty easy, right? Well, getting there - no trouble. Found shoes - very nice, not expensive. We also got a case of bottled water. Water here, not palatable. Anyway, we got back out to the sidewalk. No taxi. I literally stood for about an hour trying to flag one down. No taxi. In flagging taxi cabs- I also sparked interest in very questionable locals. I called our friends at the hotel - to try to get the hotel to send us transportation. Not successful. So I said a little prayer, or actually, said a big prayer. And about that time, here came a man on a rickshaw scooter built for 3. HALLELUJAH. We were saved! But, I can tell you, the ride back was very scary. There is not highway patrol here.In our ordeal, did not see the first policeman. The cars drive like maniacs. Buses almost running us over. Going the wrong way on a one way street. But in the end, here we are safe and sound. Will not be taking another taxi anytime soon! :) One story hopefully to laugh about someday.

We had a wonderful breakfast this am. The hotel serves a mix of Eastern and Western, so I had bacon and noodles. Topped it off with some cornflakes. The fruit here is exceptionally sweet. And after breakfast - we found some local shops - met Stella and Jordon who will help us hopefully with everything from diapers to gifts and laundry. Also found STARBUCKS!!

But the good news - we meet our guide at 12 (in two hours) to go get Autumn. And to answer other questions - yes, she is in our care after that. We have many days and appointments coming up in order to finalize the adoption, but in two hours, she is officially in our care. Exciting, and scary all at once!!

Now in Guangzhou!

Trying to see if downloading pics works. Here Mike and I are in the rickshaw touring the Hutong.
Mike and I have now arrived at the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou. We had to get up this morning at 345am to catch our van to go to the airport. We are very tired. We have to exchange our money, find Mike some shoes (long story) and hopefully find some lunch. I hope that we are able to get lots of rest this evening because tomorrow will be a very busy day! We don't know what time we will meet Autumn, sometime in the afternoon, I think? And after that, she is in our care. We just had the crib delivered.

A little about Guangzhou. I am so amazed at the rows and rows of apartments. I have often wondered how you can fit millions of people into a small area, now I know. It was truly amazing. Life in China is very different than what we are used to. Hopefully this week we can get out and explore the city.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Touring Beijing

Mike and I started with our group at 8am this morning for our tour. We first went to the Cloisonne factory where they make the copper chinese vases. It was very interesting. Then we went to the Great Wall. Unfortunately, it is raining today, but we made the best of it. We got an umbrella and poncho and did OK. The Great Wall is so amazing- it is so much more than what you see on TV. I did my best with the climbing..... step after step, and none of the steps are even. I wish it had of been more clear- lots of fog. Then on to the Hutong ricshaw tour, olympic village. I don't remember a time when I have ever been so tired. And the traffic here... oh my goodness. No traffic patterns in the US match what we have seen here. It is just crazy! All the time, not just at rush hour. Tomorrow, we will be leaving at 530am to catch our flight to Guangzhou. Will update when we get there.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Greetings from Beijing!

It is Thursday, 9/16 7:10 pm. Mike and I arrived earlier today, 240pm. It was a little bit of a process getting through immigration, and then a long bus ride to the hotel. I don't know very much right now, other that I am very tired. We are eating dinner and plan to call it a day soon. We will be doing some very quick sight seeing tomorrow, and then off to Autumn's province. Beijing has a lot of smog, a little rain, but for the most part, temps are cool and a nice breeze. Will update more later! Thanks for the prayers and well wishes.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It is finally time!

Well, today is September 14, 2010. We will be leaving in 18 hours to go to China. I am feeling a lot of emotions. I am excited, terrified, happy, sad, all wrapped up in one. I guess that is normal. I am wondering what our life is going to be like when we get home? Mike has all the carseats in place, safety gate up, and a nursery for a little girl half the world away is all ready. Please continue to pray for Autumn. Her world as she knows it is about to be turned upside down. I can't imagine what it is going to be like for her. I pray that we will be able to meet her needs emotionally because I know it will be hard for her. But with a lot of love, hopefully things will all be OK.
We will try to update our blog while in China- stay tuned.

Friday, September 10, 2010


We got our itinerary today. We will be in China during the mid-Autumn festival. There are lots of holidays in China. This one will run from 9/22-9/24. So, lots of government offices will be closed. So what does this mean? We will get Autumn one day sooner! We will not be in Beijing as long. We arrive in Beijing, stay a couple of days instead of three and then fly to Guangdong to meet Autumn. We are so excited. It will be a whirlwind of activities after that, not to mention getting to know our little girl!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

21 more days.....

"An Orphan's Prayer"
author unknown

Each night before I go to bed
I fold my hands and bow my head
Praying for a family and the day she will come for me
I ask God to watch over my friends at the orphanage,
The place that I call home
Wishing we find families and rooms of our very own.
I finish my prayers and climb into bed
Hoping that God heard what I said.
My prayers usually turn out to be my dreams at night
Hoping she will be standing there when I wake to the morning light.
One very special morning, I will hear their call,
I jump out of bed and run down the hall!
Is it her, Is it her, is that why they’ve called my name?
Running I hear them shout “It’s her, it’s her, she finally came!”
Have all my prayers been answered, have all my dreams come true
There she is in front of me, Oh Mama! Oh Mama!! Is it really you?

“Yes, it is my darling, I’ve come to take you home,”
“I will love, protect and cherish and you will never be alone.“
Mama looks at me so differently a look so new to me,
She touches me so gently, just as I dreamed it would be.
As I look into her eyes I watch them fill with water,
She embraces me and whispers, “I love you so my daughter”.
She takes my hand and I hold it tight,
I will never let it go, I hold with all my might.
Hand in hand we walk together,
No one needs to speak; we know this is forever.
And through our journey when we finally meet each other,
She will have found her dream and I will have found my mother.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Baby Shower

Cancer Care of WNC gave Mike and I our first ever baby shower yesterday. We were so overwhelmed by the outpouring of gifts for Autumn. We now have a carseat, a high chair, stoller, blankets, clothes, socks, hairbows, shoes, carrier, diapers, pull ups, potty chair, toys- you name it, she's got it. The nursery is complete I'd say.
The food was incredible, the cake was awesome. Then, off to Sylva today- another cake and more gifts. We are just so blessed. I can't wait to introduce Autumn to all of the folks at work who have been such a huge support throughout this journey. To her extended family at Cancer Care- we just can't thank you enough! 26 more days to China!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


So we are now working on confirming our flights. It is looking like we will be leaving on September 15th, and returning on September 30th. We will be meeting her for the first time on September 20th!! WOW! I cannot believe we are this close!
Once we get our confirmed itinerary, I will post here. Mike and I are planning to take a laptop with us, so that our family and friends can see pictures and posts of our time in China while we are there. Theoretically, this should work, however, China does not offer google- so I am trying to figure out how we will do this. But anyway- stay tuned. Lots of excitement now in the Sheron house!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

September 27, 2010.

So we heard today that we did not get the consulate appointment we wanted. Which means that we will not travel to China this month. I am very sad, but I guess that gives me a little more time to prepare. Ironically, our consulate appointment will likely be September 27, 2010 which is also our anniversary! Our social worker says that you take the consulate appointment and count backwards about 9-10 days, and that will give us the round about time we will travel. I am guessing that this will be sometime the week of the 17th. So now we have to go through another homestudy. This part is not a big deal, but another wait for immigration is what I am most worried about. Hopefully knowing that we have a consulate appointment will rush things up. We have also asked for more updates on Autumn. I am crossing fingers and toes for new pictures. And again- if anybody has any ideas on inexpensive gifts to take to China- please speak up! We are having a REALLY hard time finding things not made in China! Unbelievable. I am almost ready to start crafting.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


We FINALLY got our immigration approval today!! Our agency submitted a request for our daughter's US consulate appointment to secure her visa status. This very important date is what our travel dates depend on. So, I was told that tomorrow, we should hear something! I am on pins and needles - the earliest we could travel is in 2 weeks. WOW- 2 weeks! This is what my agency is hoping for- because our home study will expire next month. That means, you guessed it, ANOTHER immigration approval!! This could throw us into late September or even later. Then, China celebrates a major holiday around September 22. There is a trade show early October that goes over several days, and then there is the in country games happening between October and November. While I think that travel during this time would be acceptable, the costs may go up significantly because of all the events taking place. While I feel like I have no time now to prepare, I am crossing my fingers and saying my prayers for travel in August. But whenever we go, I know it is in God's hands and timing will be perfect.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Greetings from Folly Beach!

Mike and I are spending a short weekend vacation at Folly Beach. I have never been to Folly Beach. I know this is very odd, because Mike and I come to the Charleston area to vacation so often. It is so beautiful!! I love it here! The weather could be a little better, but oh well- we are still having a good time. I think we may check out the aquarium later today. Mike had a great idea that we may could find some cute things for gifts to take to China there. Since we are getting so far along now in this process, I thought I'd also share this photo we have. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Care Package

Here is a picture of what we sent Autumn this week. The candy is for her caregivers. To the right is a bag to keep it all together, and it is labeled with her name and a picture of her. To the left, a set of PJ's with a lady bug on them; the middle is a photo album with picures of us, and her new home- all labled in Chinese for her caregivers to explain who we are. I did not expect that. Ann at Redthread has been amazing to work with! Ann will also go shopping with us in China, if we want her to! Families before us have commented that she knows the best places to buy gifts in China and is an expert at negotiating prices! I am not sure if we will use her service, but we'll see. We also sent our Visa applications to Washington today. And the paperwork continues. Hopefully next week, we will know exact travel dates. So, stay tuned. (But again, that is assuming that immigration comes through for us in the next couple of days.)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Totally Amazing!

Guess what we got today - 10 days earlier than expected - That's right! TRAVEL APPROVAL!! It is amazing to think that right now we are just weeks away from meeting our daughter!!!! The exact travel date still is pending because we are waiting on, you guessed it, IMMIGRATION! The Chinese government has blown me away with how quickly they have been in advancing us through this process. Now my OWN government is holding us up!!!! I have to admit though, I have a really nice and sweet officer that has been more than eager to help me. The process is undergoing some changes, so in their defense, it really has not been a cake walk I am sure. I have waited over four years, so what is a few more days, right? We have lots more paperwork to do, and I am getting ready to mail our visa applications in the morning. We also have some minor details to take care of- it is customary in China to give lots of gifts. Since I don't know exact counts on males and females- I would love some suggestions on nice -not so expensive gifts, for either gender, that will travel lightly, and preferably not made in China. OK- off to do more paperwork! We are dizzy with excitement and anticipation!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Care Package Sent

Today we sent our care package. It included a doll, blanket, Pj's, a plush rabbit, some candy for her nannies, and a camera. It is my hope that they will take pictures of her now, then we can bring the camera home and develop after we get her. We also sent a bag to keep all her belongings together in, and a soft photo album of us. We included and individual picture of ourselves, one of us together, a couple of her room, and one of our home, and a letter to her from us. It is unclear how much she will really understand, but it is my hope that she will become familiar with our faces. I wish I could have sent pics of Lucy and Heidi, but I am a little unclear exactly what they think of dogs as house pets in the area that she lives. She will have plenty of time to get to know them later. I am still hoping for some pictures!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

They call her "Ying Ying"

I was excited to get some updates today on our little girl!! Today, she turned 18 months old. I was however disappointed that the updates did not come with new pictures. But here is what we know so far. She is 29 inches tall. She weighs 18.5 pounds. Her feet is 13 cm, and we calculate this to be 5 inches. We wonder if this is acurate? She drinks milk in the morning and at bedtime, eats 3 meals a day consisting of rice ceral and congee soup - not sure about snacks and other food items. We have to figure out how to make this *congee soup* as this seems to be a main staple in her diet. She is still drinking from a bottle, although drinks soup with a spoon. We asked about her cleft palate- it is described as a third degree cleft, although in the US- they are not described in this way. They all are different in severity and uniqueness. However, reassuring is that her caregivers indicate that it does not affect her daily life much and she has had no major illnesses - described as "hardly ever sick" which is good because cleft babies can frequently be sick with respiratory illness and ear infections. She gets up just after 6am. She naps at 12. She goes to bed at 1030! Oh my, she is a night owl! We do know from our original referral paperwork she is a heavy sleeper and sucks her fingers. She sleeps in a crib with other children. She is not potty-trained. She is only walking with assistance, but her caregivers think that she will be independent soon. Her caregivers have nicknamed her Ying Ying. She does not cry much. She likes to watch TV and listen to music - we know from our previous referral update that she is fond of imitating what she sees and hears. She can say Mamma. She gets along well with all the caretakers and other children. Now we asked if we could get updated pictures, and we were told yes. So hopefully, they are soon to follow? It sounds like she needs some TLC.

We got all of our paperwork done last weekend. YEAH! A huge weight is lifted. I think that we have just a few blanks to fill in once we have our travel dates and hotel information. We are still waiting on our travel invitation, which usually comes about 4-5 weeks after LOA.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A mound of paperwork, and more paperwork, and more paperwork.......

So I had a telephone conference with our Social Worker today, to go over all the additional paperwork that came with our Letter of Acceptance. Wow. We can now apply for our visa to travel to China! We have other paperwork regarding her vaccinations, that has to be signed and notarized. Thank goodness, that one will be easy. Then, paperwork to apply for her passport and visa, sign these pages, but wait and sign these pages in China. Make copies of this but not that. And the pen that we sent you in the mail, make sure you use it now and you take it with you. You have to use the pen in China! DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY PENS I GO THROUGH IN A DAY! I LOSE PENS ALL THE TIME! What pressure! All signatures in black ball point ink! Then, lets see- there is the matter of paperwork for the US to recognize her as an orphan. Then, she must have paperwork for her medical exam. Make sure to call the travel agency and tell them you have your Letter of Acceptance, and we are just waiting on your travel invitation from China! OH MY LORD! And then, lets go over the the I600, the I604, DS-230 part 1 and 2; the I-864W, and the brown envelope (not to be confused with the clear envelope). Wait, I don't even have those forms yet! I am trying to breathe, one page at a time, I will get it done.
I stay buried in paperwork everyday at Cancer Care. I have a Master's Degree. I spent 3 years doing paperwork for school. Nothing has ever been so overwhelming or intimidating to me. One little mistake can carry HUGE consequences. Bethany is really good- they try to make it as easy as possible- lots of examples- but I can't help being worried about this.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

List of Questions

Mike and I are able to submit a list of questions to our daughter's orphanage. We have a list of the basic things regarding health, size, allergies, illness, etc. We also plan to ask for new pictures. We can ask about 15 questions, any suggestions? This is so important to me, and I am afraid that I am going to forget something that would have been really important to know.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What to give a 17 month old girl?

So I woke up this morning- and just remembered that since we have our official LOA, we can now send our little girl gifts from "Mommy and Daddy."
What do you send a 17month old? We can send her pictures of us and her new home, and other pictures that may be pertinent to her new life. I am not sure at 17 months old, how much she is really going to comprehend. Any suggestions?
I also have to keep in mind that the orphanage may decide to keep some of what we send, especially clothes.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


We received our official documents from China today. We have OFFICIALLY accepted our little girl! Here is what an official document from The People's Republic of China looks like

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

L!!!! O!!!!! A!!!!!!!!!!

For those of you that have been in my shoes, you know what LOA means! This is a big, HUGE, GINORMOUS step in the international adoption process. I have whined and carried on about wanting to get ours, knowing very well that it could take up to 40 days plus. Well today, I had just settled in to teach my CPR class - my fellow co-workers, students all around. And the call from my social worker came. Sometimes caller ID is good, but every time she calls I can't help but get that sinking feeling. And truthfully, in the back of my mind, I did not believe she could be calling to tell us our LOA was coming! Oh my gosh!! Heaven is smiling down on me today! It came exactly 15 days after our pre approval! WOW! I could hardly breathe I was so excited!!!!
So, our paperwork will be hand delivered to the house sometime tomorrow. There is one document - the one that says YES WE WANT HER has to be sent back immediately. It has to be overnighted to Grand Rapids by Friday lunch. I was told it is so important that we get it there on time- to please NOT use the USPS! We have to use FedEx. So I did not know that overnight with the USPS is not always guaranteed, even though it is? Interesting. Well, I will get it there if I have to drive it myself!
There is a lot more paperwork to do beyond that SURPRISE. We are still waiting to hear from immigration- hopefully they are working hard since they are now centralized?
Our social worker also wants me to hold off on posting her picture publicly for now. We don't want to jeopardize anything to do with her adoption. It kind of reminds me of the "HIPPA" laws. HOWEVER, I can include her in a personal email. So instead of posting her pics, I will try to post more about her as I have time. She is such a darling! Her personality, what we have been told, is such a good match. I just can't wait to meet her! ONE STEP CLOSER!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

And to beat the heat-

Check out Miss Lucy's new toy!!

New Toys-

We decided that being a toddler, our little girl is probably going to need some new toys. So Mike and I went shopping. Check out her new kitchen- complete with *real* burner and cell phone, and all the cooking utensils and play food you could possibly need! I guess Mike is ready to teach her how to cook!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The countdown begins....

The next step in our process is the LOA, or "Letter of Acceptance." This is the *official* approval from China. Once we have this, we can post our little girls photo here on our blog and share more information about her. The average wait from our *PA* to *LOA* is about 35 days. The shortest time reported recently has been 10 days. The longest is 199 days. Families that are considered *pre-Hague* have a slightly shorter wait time, as there are less steps in the whole process. Thank the Lord that we are still considered *pre-Hague.* Tomorrow will be day 10. Here's hoping that we stay on this side of the curve!

Friday, July 2, 2010

What did we get today?

PRE-APPROVAL!!!!! I got up this morning and decided, "Lord, I can't take it anymore!" I got on Bethany's website and sent an email to the *china team* and asked for some information. We have seen other folks getting their *PA* within hours or just a couple of days after the letter of intent submission. What about us? Both my social workers are out of the office, it is almost a holiday soon - I want some news!!! Yes, I am impatient. So, did not really think I 'd hear anything, but emailing made me feel a little better. Well, at about 10-ish today, Susan calls me in my office and tells me that my agency is on the phone. WHAT!!!!?????? My heart sank. The last time I got a call like that, it was bad news. However today, it was the best news ever! Jaclyn with our China Team was calling- she got my email, and was calling to say that we got our pre-approval on JUNE 28TH and she was sorry we had yet to hear! OH MY LORD! I could not believe it! We had a wonderful conversation and she was glad to hear me sounding so much better these days. Last time we talked on the phone, I could hardly speak because I could not stop crying. What a wonderful turn of events. I am so happy! Is it finally going to happen? Is our little girl finally coming home?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Some news... Any news.... please?

I know I am probably being impatient. I am on pins and needles waiting to hear if our Letter of Intent has been officially submitted to the CCAA yet. I am seeing where some folks referred at the same time as us, getting their *pre-approval* from China within 24hours! That would be so amazing!!!!!! I have emailed our social worker for the second time today- she seems to understand my nerves are on edge. With a holiday lurking around the corner- I am just worried. Everything seems to *shut down* when holidays hit. Will I ever survive this adoption and keep my sanity?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Letter of Intent

We sent our letter of intent to Bethany today. Hopefully they will get it on Monday. The "China Team" has agreed to let me know once our information has been officially submitted. Yes, a little hand holding is OK I think, given what we have been through.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Smile Train

Ok - it has been such a whirlwind of a week- I forgot to mention one very important detail!!
I had mentioned sponsoring a child with this organization to pay for a cleft repair. I just found out this week that our donation was received, and a child will be helped with a cleft repair in the next few weeks! I am so happy!
I can't wait to get an update on the child we are able to help! I will post here when I get that information.

Immigration, Arrrgggg!

So, I found out today that Mike and I are only approved by immigration to adopt a fifteen month old child or younger!!! Our match is seventeen months old! So, we have to submit a new home study to Immigration- and wait for a new approval! YIKES- another wait from immigration! I hope this does not take long.
We also have found a very minor discrepancy with her paperwork- I think this is a non-issue, but it has delayed us a day or two in submitting our intent to adopt to China. In retrospect, it is good we waited a day because we need a new home study report to go with it, which has to be up to date for the seventeen month old. So complicated! To add to the complication- our international social worker is getting married! I am so happy for her, but, it scares me not having her around to help me at the exact second I need her! Our local social worker has been wonderful, so I think I am going to survive.
Lastly, I am trying to hold it together because I am so scared of losing her! I think that I will feel better once we get a little further with the paperwork. I have asked for some extra hand holding during this process from the staff at Bethany. I hope I am not driving Mike too crazy! Anyway, one day at a time, right?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Finally matched!

Well- after 3 months, we FINALLY have some news!
Mike and and I have accepted a new referral today! She was born January 28, 2009. She is currently in Guandong Province, China. I am cautiously optimistic, but a little terrified after the loss of our first referral. This little girl is a cutie pie- I hope that she is the one. I don't think I will be fully happy until her little feet take their first steps onto our front porch. So it is going to be a long wait now to get our approvals and be able to travel. I am hoping if all works out, perhaps we will spend our ten year anniversary in China? We'll see. Will update as I know more.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Living for Mondays!

I remember a simpler life, when I worked during the week, and lived for the weekend! Sleeping in on Saturdays - still like to sleep in. However, since we started this adoption journey to China, I find myself longing for Monday mornings! What? Mondays are usually full of updates on what the latest is out of China regarding adoptions. So here I sit, another Sunday night, counting down the hours until Monday morning so I can know what is going on. What is going on? Truthfully, I don't know. We are still waiting. Father's day is coming up- wouldn't it be a wonderful gift to Mike (and me too!) if we were matched again this month! A happy Father's day indeed! All I can do is say my prayers, and wait 'til Monday.

Today was a hard day. I made the journey to Asheboro, to memorialize the daddy I lost just four years ago. I miss Bill so much! I wish he were around to share this adoption with us, or at least give me some of that good advice! The engineer without a degree. He would be mesmerized that my upside down tomato plant has 27 small tomatoes right now! If anyone needs tomatoes, let me know. I am sure they won't be as good as Bill's though. :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Obtaining Goals

So Mike and I have been going to the YMCA for a REALLY long time now. I usually work out about 30minutes, sometimes more, about 3-4 days per week. Not really making much progress in the weight loss department, but I can say I have no problems with cholesterol. Anyway, I set a goal for myself, to step it up. I have been scared to death of running- fear of injury, fear I can't do it, and it has always seemed so hard. I hate it with a passion. BUT, tonight, I finally conquered my goal- I ran one mile. That does not seem like much, but to me, it is HUGE! I am going to try to keep it up! I'd love to be able to do more.

Other news- I have been trying to work on myself, and find some kind of closure with our lost China referral. There are 25,000 children in china- all ages, that suffer with Cleft Lip/Palate issues, of varying degree. Smile train is a wonderful organization, that helps repair and restore these children to be able to *smile* again. Anyway, in researching this organization, I realize that their work is so important, and the impact for these children must be incredible. Our lost referral has a cleft. Anyway, I made a donation, Mike and I, in the name of our lost referral to help one of these children. I hope that we will get an update in the next several months regarding the exact child we were able to help.

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Roses

I am so excited this year to see my roses doing so well!! It has really helped to keep me busy and preoccupied with things other than our adoption wait. Anyway, attached is some pictures. I was worried the winter weather would kill them all, but they are doing great!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The wait continues-

So, Mike and I continue to wait for our little girl. It is hard to have your life on hold for so long, and be vulnerable to a process for which you have very little control of. But, we know good things are yet to come.

HABAKKUK 2:3 But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.

Trying to keep hope alive... Thanks for all the wonderful thoughts and prayers!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Immigration renewal.

This has been a very slow week. However, we did get our immigration renewal. I think it came quicker than our fingerprinting appointment. Nonetheless, we are all updated again. The wait continues. I have been asked over and over what the status is on our adoption. Nothing really has changed, we are continuing to wait. It is increasingly difficult to be vulnerable to this process, but I have faith that God has hand picked our child, and she will be known to us soon. In the meantime, I keep the faith, and pray faithfully for the orphans that remain, and those impacted by the latest earthquake in China.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Looking back-

Mike and I are still surviving. I look back at our blog, and it is just amazing how happy we were for a short time over our little girl. We are still trying to understand why this happened to us. I am not sure that we ever will. We are taking comfort in that God has a plan for us, and he still has a perfect child hand picked for us. I know there is a reason that he introduced us to a beautiful little girl in Hunan Province. I miss her, but I take comfort in knowing that she has no idea that there is a family grieving for her. I hope that she grows up to have a wonderful life.
For now, Mike and I are waiting to see what our future holds. I am hopeful that this story will eventually have a happy ending....... please keep us in your prayers.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

An unfortunate turn of events....

It is with regret, and overwhelming grief that I update all followers to our Blog that our beautiful little girl was taken away from us this week, March 23, 2010. For reasons I can't begin to understand or even explain, she is gone. We are one of two families in our agency, and one agency of 34 around the world that are dealing with this type of loss. Adoption from China is embedded with rules, rules that are very predictable and issues like this are very rare. It is a trusted system, which is why we chose this process. However, the system has failed us, and many other families this week.
Mike and I are overwhelmed with grief over this loss. She was truly a gift from God. I ask that you pray for us, our family, and the dozens of other families in this situation; also pray for our little girl, and the millions of other children still waiting on their forever family.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Heard from Immigration!!!

Mike and I finally, FINALLY, heard from immigration today. Our fingerprints appointment is scheduled for March 31, 2010. It is not much, but it feels like something! One step closer to bringing Autumn home!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Autumn's Current Home

HuaiHua Social Welfare Institute ~ Hunan, China

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A very humbling week.

While we are so blessed recently with the news of our dear Autumn, this week has been hard. A very dear couple I know just lost their home, all their belongings, beloved pets to a house fire. I can't imagine what they are going through. It has just left me speechless. But during this terrible time, I have been humbled by the love and generosity of so many folks coming together to help out. Please keep this couple in your prayers, as they try to make sense of all this and move on.

Nothing new from Autumn. The days are dragging.... waiting patiently is not my greatest asset. We finally heard that immigration has cashed our check. So any day we should have our appointment for fingerprinting. We also got our updated home study from our social worker. A little progress anyway.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New Update-

Well, I heard from immigration today that they DID receive our request to get our fingerprints redone- we are now just waiting on an *official* appointment. It should be soon enough not to delay any travel plans to go and get Autumn. Yeah! Nothing else to report though. Waiting is still so hard!!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Feeling a little sad-

Our little girl turned 16 months old today without us. While I am so happy that we will be seeing her soon, I am sad that we are missing so much!! We have a lot of lost time to make up for.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Exactly 2 weeks since we first saw Autumn-

It has been exactly two weeks since we saw our little girl's face for the first time. I can't wait to be able to share- she is such a little angel. We are still trying to get the house ready for her. Her bedding came today- it is so cute!! It is amazing how small the fitted sheet is!! Anyway, it looks great! We are going to try to work on the curtains this weekend We have no news from China yet. I have met so many new friends in these last couple of weeks since we got our referral- a lot of folks in our same situation. It seems that most of the preliminary approvals are coming in about 4 weeks. I so hope it will come sooner!! We are still waiting on our fingerprinting appointment with immigration. I will probably have to email this week, as I am getting impatient.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The latest news-

Well, we got word fr0m our social worker that we missed a couple of documents that should have gone with our letter of intent- we quickly took care of that on Saturday and hopefully will get to Bethany's main office by tomorrow. We also heard from the travel agent as well. So all is progressing now I hope. We are also waiting on our fingerprinting appointment with immigration. Hopefully that will come soon. Mike also painted her room. We chose a pale yellow so that her room will be bright and cheerful. She will also have a great view from her windows. Hopefully the next update will be our approval, then I can post her picture!! :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

One step closer-

Well, we finished our letter of intent and sent it express mail to Bethany in Raleigh, NC. It has to go through a lot of channels before making it to China- I am thinking maybe 2 weeks? Then, we wait for our official "Letter of Acceptance" from China. I hope that I don't go crazy during this wait time!! It is so hard to know that you have a child waiting on you, on the other side of the planet!! China is so far away! Once I get this LOA, I think that I will be able to post her picture. She is such a doll! Tomorrow, Mike and I are going to check out some daycare facilities. I guess with an 8 month waiting list, we should go ahead and get on it. As for our other children, Lucy and Heidi are anxiously awaiting more snow that is supposed to come tomorrow.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


So Mike and I went shopping last night- how fun it was to pick up a few items for our little one! Some things we got- well, I love her hair- she has got to have some hair bows! She enjoys *picture books*- Target had a great selection of very inexpensive books; then off to Babies R Us. I was looking for some ideas on a crib set. Well, saw one, maybe two we liked. Things are SOOO expensive. We are trying hard not to break the bank. I did find one on line, reasonably priced, that I think we like most of all. What do you think? Mike seems to be hooked on the *Lady Bug* theme. Lady Bugs are a sign of good luck, so I am thinking that this will be a good choice. We also got her a pair of flip flops, and Volume one of the Classic Bugs Bunny videos. We are off to a good start I think. I was happy to see Mike have fun picking out some stuff. I believe Autumn is going to be a Daddy's girl!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What's next??

OK- so as family and friends are finding out, I am being asked "what happens now?"
Well, first and foremost, we have to submit a "Letter of Intent" to China- this just basically says yes we want her, and outlines our plan to be able to care for her. That is submitted, notarized, translated to Chinese and sent to China. After that we will wait for our formal "Letter of Acceptance" from China. There is lots of other paperwork to do also, regarding travel. We also found out that our fingerprints will be expiring on February 22, 2010, so we have to make our third trip to Charlotte to be re-fingerprinted. We submitted that request today- nothing like waiting until the last minute- right? That expiration date had somehow slipped by me. Anyway, last but certainly not least, she has a name. If you have not figured out by now, we plan to call her Autumn.

Friday, February 19, 2010

IT's a GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't even believe that I am making this post. Honestly, when I did this blog last weekend, I had NO IDEA as to what this week would have in store for me-
Mike and I are thrilled to announce that we FINALLY have been matched! I can't give too much detail yet but know that she is beautiful! She was born November 8, 2008. If all goes as planned, I hope that we can have her home by summer! Please stay tuned, as we will post as much as we can when we can. Keep us in your prayers-

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Celebrating Chinese New Year

Incorporating Chinese Traditions
"Bai Jia Bei"
To welcome and celebrate a new life, it is a tradition in the northern part of China to make a Bai Jia Bei: a 100 Good-Wishes Quilt. The custom is to invite family and friends to contribute a square of fabric and a wish for the baby. Most of the square is sewn into the quilt, while a smaller piece goes into a creative memory notebook with the wish for the child. The quilt contains the luck, energy, and good wishes from all the families and friends who contributed a square of fabric. The quilt is then passed down from generation to generation.
I invite all our friends and family to contribute to this-email me if you are interested.
My hope is to have a complete quilt by the time she gets here- what a wonderful gift from her family and friends!!
Happy New Year!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Current Kids-

Can't forget Lucy and Heidi - they are our joy!!!

Our girls so love the snow, which they are getting quite a bit of lately!

A journal for our adoption starting today

Today I decided that I would start a journal of our adoption process. We have actually been in this process for two years. What a long wait for china! Anyway, I decided as we get *somewhat* closer, I would start to document what we are, and have been going through. Today is Mikes birthday, he is the big *40*! Where have the years gone?
We started our adoption journey in 2006. We reviewed many agencies, programs, etc and settled on Bethany Christian services, and International Adoption through China.
When we started, the wait was about 18months for a healthy child. Now, it is almost 46!! We have decided to open our hearts, and consider a special needs child also. This may make our wait shorter. Not sure. But nonetheless, we want to be considered for both. I hope that you will share this journey with us!