Tuesday, February 27, 2007

China Sisters!

Last week, we had photos taken of Rachel with three of her friends from the Chenzhou (Hunan) Children's Welfare Institute. Our families traveled together in February 2003 to adopt our Spicy Hunan Girls, and it's clear that the girls, as well as the parents, have become lifelong friends. Our daughters call their little group "The China Sisters".

And of course, I couldn't resist having a few shots done of my girls!

Another "Sister Love!" photo!

And a big group shot! Have you ever seen such an adorable bunch of girls?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Favorite Abbie Story

One afternoon last Spring (Abbie was just barely two), I put a cute little pink bib on her that said "Drama Queen" (it seemed appropriate). I said to her, "How's my little Drama Queen doing today?" She started waving her arms and stomping her little foot, screaming and screeching hysterically at me, "I am NOT a Dama Keen! I AM NOT A DAMA KEEN!!!!"

Oh, sorry, my mistake...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Happy Third Birthday, Sweet Abigail Lihuan!

Our happy little girl!

Abbie certainly has a sense of style!

Crashed on the couch!
Happy summer days!
The Princess is NOT happy!

I've got my thumb - I'm ready for bed!
Corny girl!

Michigan Dunes, Summer 2006

Abbie's riding on the "bus" (she has quite an imagination)!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Happy Gotcha Day, Rachel!

Rachel Zhiheng then (2002-2003)

Early photo of Chen Zhi Heng taken by Half the Sky staff.

Our first family photo with the kind ladies who brought Rachel to us at the Dolton Hotel in Changsha.

Our little Rachel loved to eat!

Sunggling during a bus ride around Changsha.

See how chubby she was?

Rachel was a very happy baby and had lots of smiles for everyone...

...even the doctor who did her physical exam in Guangzhou!

Hangin' out at the Victory Hotel in Guangzhou.

Playing in the laundry (clean!) at home.

Happy Gotcha Day, Rachel! (Part 2)

Rachel Zhiheng now...

Our little girls loves sunflowers...

...climbing trees...

...and pumpkins!

Christmas 2006

Our little Rachelina!

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of this sweet, happy, beautiful little girl!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Recipe - Quick and Easy Ham with Sweet Potatoes

I know there are a few busy moms who check in on this blog from time to time. I have been trying several new recipes lately, and when I find a good one, I'll pass it on! This ham and sweet potatoes recipe was incredibly quick and easy to make. Al devoured his portion. I have a cold right now and not much appetite, so I left at least half of mine, which Al polished off. I guess that's a sure sign that this recipe goes in the permanent file!

Quick and Easy Ham with Sweet Potatoes

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yields: 2 servings

2 ham steaks
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (15 oz) can sweet potatoes, drained
1 cup miniature marshmallows

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Tear off two large sheets of aluminum foil. Place one ham slice onto each piece of foil, and sprinkle brown sugar on both sides. Spread a little bit of the crushed pineapple over the ham, then top with sweet potatoes. Sprinkle a little bit more brown sugar and pineapple over the sweet potatoes. Close the aluminum foil tightly around the ham, and place on a baking sheet.
3. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from the oven, and carefully open the packets. Sprinkle miniature marshmallows over the top, and return to the oven with the foil open. Bake for another 10 minutes. If you want the marshmallows really toasty, you could brown them under the broiler for a couple of minutes. You will end up with a sweet, juicy ham dish and very few dishes to wash.

Note: I just baked them for 30 minutes and then we ate them. I totally omitted the marshmallow part, and they were still delicious. And the cleanup was, indeed, very quick and easy (a wonderful bonus).

Let me know if you try this and how it turns out for you!

"What's the latest on Sarah?"

So many kind people ask us that question. Almost daily, someone wants to know when we will be bringing the newest member of our family home. And my answer, unfortunately, is always the same: "We really have no idea, but we do know it will be a very long wait."

Referrals are being sent out from the China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA) very slowly these days. About every month they finish the processing of about two weeks' worth of received dossiers. Right now, the wait for a referral is about 16 months, but if CCAA continues at its current rate, the wait will reach about 24 months. Our dossier was logged in at CCAA on August 14, 2006. You do the math...

Of course, we have plenty to keep us busy right here at home. Our three girls here keep us hopping. I can only imagine how agonizing the wait must be for first-time parents (oh, wait, I DO remember the agonizing wait for our first daughter - it was dreadful, and it only lasted about 7 months!). But in our hearts - in all our hearts, not just mine and Al's but our girls', too - we are a family of six. There are four girls in our family, and the littlest one's name is Sarah. We talk about her, plan for her, make home arrangements and furniture purchases with her in mind. Rachel knows that she is going to be Sarah's "buddy" (more on that in another post), and Abbie knows that she is going to be Sarah's "roomie". She is a definite presence in our family.

And so we wait. Sometimes the days just slip by and I realize that it's been one more month since our dossier went to China - one month closer to our Sarah. And other days, the wait for her is all I can think about, and I have to make a conscious effort to focus on the three beautiful girls who are at home with me right now and to try not to worry about the child I'm waiting for, missing.

So, thank you, everyone, for your interest and concern and enthusiasm for our upcoming adoption. And I really look forward to the day when I can provide a more optimistic answer than, "We really have no idea, but we do know it will be a very long wait."