Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"The haunts of happiness are varied, but I have more often found her among little children, home firesides, and country houses than anywhere else."
- Syndey Smith

Friday, February 19, 2010

Our Abbie Is Six Today!

Happy Birthday, sweet girl! You are our chatty, loving little one. Always there (always!) to help, to comfort, to snuggle. You love your family fiercely, and ask daily when your little brother will be home. You are smart, spunky, active and funny. We are blessed by you every day!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Testing... Testing...

Just practicing posting to our blog from email. I want to work out all the kinks so we can keep everyone updated during our trip.
I wanted to practice posting photos, too. Here's a precious candid picture of our Shi Shi, taken by a family who was visiting the Datong SWI just last week while adopting their son...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Seven years ago, Rachel became a member of our family. In 2003, February 16th was the Lantern Festival, the last day of the two-week Chinese New Year celebration. I love to tell Rachel how she fell asleep on my lap that evening (she had had a long, hard day), and as I sat cradling her in my arms, there were fireworks going off outside. I could see them through the window and hear them, and it was as if China was celebrating our precious little girl with us!
Rachel then (2003)... ...and now (2010)

Friday, February 12, 2010

From Start to Finish

We compiled and submitted our dossier for our fourth child in the summer of 2006. Three and a half years later, we are finally near the end of that journey.

In July 2006, Abbie was 2 1/2 years old. She came with me into Chicago to have the documents of our dossier sealed by the Chinese Consulate. I took pictures of our exciting errand.

Today, Abbie (now nearly 6) joined me as I drove into Chicago to pick up our travel visas at the Chinese Consulate. I thought a few pictures were in order.

Here are a few "Then and Now" shots...

July 2006 - outside the building

February 2010 - outside

July 2006 - just outside entrance to the Consulate offices

February 2010

July 2006

February 2010

One other difference: this time, the security guard in the Consulate came out and scolded me for taking pictures!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year To Me!

My great find at Goodwill yesterday - $ .99 for the pair (they're china)! It wasn't until I got them home, washed them and dried them that I saw the stamp under all the Chinese characters on the back: "For Decoration Only".
Who knows how much lead is in these things! Oh, well, I can put them on the plate shelf in my kitchen during Chinese New Year. They don't exactly fit with my "Country Farmhouse" style of decor, but then, who said we were a "typical" Country Farmhouse family, anyway? Perhaps a new style of decor will make its way onto the decorating blogs: Chinese Country Farmhouse!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Prayer of a Waiting Parent

Bless our child, so far away,
Keep him safe and warm we pray.
We count the days 'til we're together,
United for always...
A family forever.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Care Package

Ann at Red Thread China sent me this photo of the care package she sent to David for us. In it are a toy, a blankie, a book, cute little jammies, and candies for the caregivers. There is also a disposable camera included, in hopes that the staff might take some photos of David for us. Judging by the speed with which they gave Ann the most recent four photos, I'm very optimistic! Included is a letter and pictures from our family to the institute staff, telling them about our family and how excited we are that David will be joining us soon. It was difficult to express in a letter just how thrilled we are about David being a member of our family.

This is the first time we have been able to send our child a care package before placement. I'm sure Shi Shi doesn't understand that we have sent him these things to cuddle with, but if it brings him a little happiness over the next four weeks, then it's all good. It certainly makes me happy to be able to be doing something - anything - while we wait. And the pictures we received are so worth it!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

New Pictures of Our Shi Shi!

This morning, as I was fixing breakfasts and sack lunches for the girls, I peeked at my in box and found these:

This weekend, I ordered a care package for David from Red Thread China. Included in the cost of the care package was the translation of a letter we can send to David's welfare institute, and if possible, updated photos and measurements of our child. Ann got these to us very quickly, and she's been so sweet. I've heard wonderful things about her service, and I agree - she does a great job. She also provides a shopping service for families while they are in Guangzhou - she'll take you around to the pearl and jade markets and other shopping spots, helping you get the best deals on the best quality merchandise. Our group is planning to have her help us while we're there.
Included with the photos were updated measurements of David, but they really weren't all that different from the measurements we received in November. He's still a bruiser!
These photos made me cry. I just can't wait to get to our little boy! We leave four weeks from tomorrow. Still so much to do to get ready, so it will help make the time pass quickly.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Travel Group Number Four!

Last night, we had dinner at Stir Crazy with our new travel group! Greg and Judy brought their 5-year-old daughter; their new son is in the same province as David (Shanxi - with one "a"). Dan and Jamie brought their 5-year-old daughter, as well; their new daughter is in Shaanxi province (that's with two a's). They are waiting on TA and are hoping to have it in time to travel with us.

Our noisy little group must have been quite a sight! Three sets of parents, discussing everything from "family tree" school projects to which sippees we're bringing for our children to the best places to shop for jade in Guangzhou. Five little girls who kept taking trips up to the stir fry bar to watch the chefs cook the food. It made for a delightful evening with new friends! You could just feel the excitement at our table!