Thursday, March 27, 2008

For Van...

Thank you for the best 10 years of my entire life! This is our song.
Baby, I will, I am, I can, I have, I do!
I love you!

Gracie's Gotcha Day Song and Garrett's Song

How I love these songs! Carrie Underwood sang it on American Idol, and it is called "Angels Brought Me Here". Also, Guy Sebastian sang it. There are two versions.

Here are the song links for Gracie's song:


Garrett's song is "God Blessed The Broken Road" also sung by Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts.

Here is the song link:

The Lord's Prayer....You Have to Listen to This!

Go to this Youtube link. Two year old, Zoei Toh, sings the song....
This made me so happy today! What a sweet baby!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

100 Things...

Lots of friends on the adoption boards are doing the "100 things" list. This is one of those long "get to know you" posts that I usually don't have time to do.

1. I am a stay at home mom and am so proud to say that.
2. My daughter is three and a half years old and is adopted from Anhui, China.
3. My son is one and a half years old and is in a foster home right now in Inner Mongolia, China... He is waiting for us.
4. I think I have always known that I would adopt my children. My favorite book as a child was "The Family Nobody Wanted" by Helen Doss and I read it probably 15-20 times.
5. I need to elaborate on this...I believe that I have always known my children, that I met them in Heaven before I was born, and long before they were born, and that is why I feel strongly that I recognized them when I first saw their pictures. Both times, I experienced a moment that I cannot really explain, instant recognition, and I knew without a single doubt they were my children. They say the eyes are a mirror to the soul. I truly believe in that. It was Gracie's eyes that I recognized and also Garrett's eyes. And if you look at these two children, they even look similar in their eyes and smiles. Their eyes shine. They sparkle. My dad had eyes like this. He had a true twinkle in his eyes when he was alive. Some people have even said that Gracie resembles us...though we all KNOW that really isn't possible. My mom, when she was in the throws of her Alzheimer's disease and she truly didn't know what was going on anymore, said to others when showing off her new grandchild, "Gracie looks JUST LIKE Van." We had to laugh at that. But there is a possibility there...I believe in divine possibilities and miracles. God designed this life plan for Gracie and for us, and with Him, ALL THINGS are possible...even those things that others might think sound "cooky" or "crazy".
6. My first career and my B.S. degree was in Social Work-Child Welfare. I was a social worker who performed child abuse and neglect investigations... sometimes resulting in taking children out of dangerous homes removing them away from their parents.
7. I hated my job, but I loved my job, if that makes sense.
8. Sometimes, I think I should have been a police officer because I have a strong desire to see bad guys put behind bars where they cannot hurt people anymore.
9. I am not brave enough to be a police officer and I do not like guns.
10. I also think I should have been an attorney because I am very good at defending others when they have been hurt.
11. I am very organized.
12. I have a second degree. My M.Ed is in Elementary Education, and I taught school for 12 years. I was a fifth grade teacher for most of those years.
13. I loved teaching 5th graders...the actual teaching part, the planning for it, and the rapport I had with my kids. I hated the enormous amount of paperwork involved in teaching though and the after hours extras that went with it.
14. I think teaching school is one of the hardest jobs on the planet.
15. I was an excellent teacher. I still am.
16. I love to clean my house. Ok, maybe I like to HAVE a clean house...but the cleaning part is necessary to achieve that.
17. I love television.
18. I am pretty shy until I get to know people. Sometimes, I am even shy after that.
19. I love being a mother.
20. I would like more time to myself though...just haven't been able to figure out how to get that yet.
21. I am the seventh of eight children...really the eighth of nine if you count my eldest brother's twin who passed away at birth.
22. I love my family very much.
23. I have four great sisters and three wonderful brothers.
24. I have 14 nieces and nephews, and 3 great nieces and nephews.
25. We have two cats and one puppy (who at this moment is driving me crazy). The fantasy of having a dog is FAR different than actually owning one. But she is a great dog and we do love her. Cats are soooooo much easier though...until you get a dog and that drives them insane enough to scratch up your furniture.
26. I have no idea how anyone can hurt their own children or anyone else's children for that matter. It makes me sick.
27. My father passed away on Feb 13, 2003. My mom passed away on Jan 2, 2008. It is hard to believe that both of them are in Heaven now.
28. I love my husband very much. We have been married since 7/11/99. He is a great man, a wonderful best friend, and the very best father to Gracie. He is sensitive, caring, loving, generous with his time, would give you the shirt off of his back, and he loves his daughter and family more than anyone could ever imagine. He is very much like my own father was, and that is why I married him.
29. I was married before and divorced. The marriage was annulled by the Catholic church. It was a horrible marriage. I am lucky I made it out of it alive.
30. Pasta is my favorite food. Gracie's too!
31. I love love love chocolate!
32. My favorite restaurants are Asian Garden, Olive Garden, Ruby Tuesdays, and Panera's.
33. If you ever have a chance to eat at the Red Rox Inn in Middleburg, VA, just do it! It is my favorite historical tavern and bed and breakfast. Cool place and it is haunted!
34. I believe in ghosts. The one at the Red Fox Inn even came to visit us in room 19 near the attic. Very wierd! But very true!
35. I love watching/hearing ghost stories, and one of our favorite holidays is Halloween.
36. We have a BIG Halloween party every year.
37. I am also a Christian. Jesus is my Savior. I need to work on making that statement #1 in my life list. I am on a journey I guess...
38. I pray a lot!
39. Next Sunday will be the first time I have attended the Catholic mass though in over 10 years unless you count weddings and funerals and holidays. Doesn't make a lot of sense, but it is a long story....too long to get into here. I still have the same beliefs. I just haven't been a practicing Catholic in many years.
40. I am a writer and want to be published someday. Actually, a piece of my writing was published one time in the Love Without Boundaries/ Red Thread book. But I would like to write a book.
41. I like animals, and I love to take my daughter to the zoo.
42. I love to read, but I do not have as much time to read anymore.
43. I have researched my family history/genealogy on my father's side. Genealogy is an amazing, wonderful journey. My aunt who is a ex- nun (who married my uncle long after leaving the convent) says it is a very spiritual, divine journey, and it is as if your ancestors are tapping you on the shoulder when you find something of importance. I believe that is true.
44. I am tired of watching Caillou and Dora tv shows. LOL. My daughter isn't.
45. I watch American Idol, The Bachelor, Dr. Phil, and that's about it...unless I am channel surfing.
46. I just gave the dog a bath. Dirty dog!
47. I was the homecoming queen in high school. But I am not a queen anymore. My cute days are over. LOL.
48. I love to sing.
49. I was shot at multiple times by a gunman while driving my mother's car in highschool. There were four friends in the car with me. The bullets did not hit us. The guy had stolen his father's gun and was showing off in front of friends. He got a fine and probation.
50. I do not like to cook...I used to like to cook...but I do cook.
51. I do not get along with selfish, insensitive people. I would rather spend my time with people that are kind hearted and loving. Life is too short.
52. I lost 40 pounds in the past several years on Weight Watchers. But I have gained some of it back, and need to get back on my WW plan.
53. I am so happy that spring is here! I do not like cold weather.
54. I need to read the Bible.
55. I need to learn how to understand the Bible. I need to do a Bible study like every week for the next 50 years.
56. I love country music. Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Amy Grant, Vince Gill, Garth Brooks, Rascal Flatts, ....too many to list.
57. I am not a frilly, fancy, girly- girl... though I sometimes wish I had more of that in me. I do not do my nails, have pedicures, get my hair done often enough (it is showing my grey though so I need to do that soon), I hate to shop, I am not into shoes, and I wear sweats most of the time.
58. I guess I am a bit of a tom-boy in ways.
59. I love to do yard sales. I hate to pay full price for anything if I can avoid it. I stay out of the malls unless I have a special occasion to shop for.
60. I have a great deal of patience. It is one of my better virtues.
61. Driving makes me nervous especially if I have to drive in unknown territory. But I am a good driver...mainly because I stay off of the roads in those areas where I know I will be nervous.
62. Math is not my best subject. Writing and history are.
63. I will probably not go back into teaching when the kids are older. I may get another degree in elementary ed. counseling or library science and still work in the school environment.
64. I have lots of great friends...some I have known for over 30 years... though I find it is harder to make new friends the older I get because I am not out and about as much. Many of my new best friends have toddlers, and I have gotten to know them from doing activities with my daughter.
65. I have just started to sell Silpada jewelry, and need to do some more shows. Any takers??? Let me know. The jewelry is gorgeous!
66. I do not know what I would do without the use of my computer. It is a great way to communicate and keep up with what is happening in the world.
67. I need to make more telephone calls though...I do not keep up with my friends as much as I should.
68. We need to go on a vacation.
69. I have so much to do before Garrett comes home...painting, moving furniture around, oh is overwhelming when I think about it!
70. I want to go to China to get Garrett SO badly! But I think Gracie and I will be staying at home.
71. I am running out of things to say...We are having pizza tonight.
72. I wish that we lived closer in distance to my brothers and sisters in Alabama. I miss them a lot.
73. I started painting, and need to get back to that someday. I like to paint.
74. I like going out to eat.
75. We went to see Horton Hears a Whoo the other day, and Gracie only lasted about 20 minutes. That is the first movie (or part of one) I have seen in a movie theatre in years I think.
76. I love popcorn! I ate popcorn at the movie theatre with butter. YUM.
77. I think Garrett may be our last child. Not sure yet though.
78. I would really like to adopt another little girl from China after Garrett's adoption so that Gracie has a sister.
79. I lost one baby in utero in 1994.
80. I am extremely protective of my family.
81. I would love to live on the beach in Florida. I go to sleep each night listening to ocean waves and soft cello music. The cd is called "Forest Cello". Get it!!! Love it!!!
82. Since I quit teaching, I very seldomly know what the date is.
83. I love jewelry, but hardly ever wear it.
84. I played the cello from the time I was in third grade up through my second year in highschool. Quitting is one of the biggest regrets of my life. I was very good at it, and was first chair in the Birmingham Intermediate Orchestra. My teacher told me when I quit that if I didn't quit, she was sure I would get a scholarship to Juliard.
85. I would like to take private cello lessons again.
86. I am not into politics. It is very hard to know who, as far as candidates go, to support these days because I think all of them are dishonest and are just in it for the power and money.
87. I do not enjoy power struggles, and will back away from them when I encounter that type of mindset/person.
88. I am very interested in all things adoption.
89. I love to go fishing, and could sit on a pier or in a boat all day long and into the night (as long as I am not cold). My Daddy was the same way.
90. I have come to realize that as much as I would like to have a "'showroom house", it is not something that is important to me nor is it a priority. I like spending time with my daughter and family. And I do not like spending the money involved to get that look anyway.
91. And I like order and no mess, so the process of changing things gets on my nerves pretty badly.
92. I am trying to simplify my life.
93. My biggest fear in life is that something horrible might happen to my family, my children, name it. Violent, crazy people are everywhere. For that reason, I am over-protective and very careful.
94. I have OCD when it comes to cleanliness and order. I organize everything.
95. God has blessed me in so many ways. I count my blessings everyday, and thank God for them.
96. When life is truly hard, I try to remember that through pain and suffering, we are made stronger people, and those trials bring us closer to God. I haven't always been that way or thought that way though. My life hasn't been easy in many ways, but that is how life is. I try not to take anything for granted. There are no guarantees in this life.
97. My husband and my children are the greatest blessings in my life.
98. I do not like to complain. I avoid confrontation. But if pushed to my limit or beyond my limit, I will defend myself. I can be very stubborn. Forgiveness doesn't always come easy for me when I have reached that point. I pray that God makes me stronger and more compassionate in that area of my life.
99. My friends are the best friends in the world. I am so fortunate.
100. Life is a marathon not a sprint. I try to live every day like it is my last because you never know...Hopefully, I have a long life ahead of me. I want to see my children get married, and have their own children. I want to see them have their dreams come true. Ok, I want to be a Grandma someday too.

Hmmmm....Something To Think About

I saw this on another blog, and it had an "unknown author". I have no idea where it came from, but it was important enough for me to post it here.

You know you have a heart for adoption if:

1. The fact that there are 143 million children without a parent to kiss them goodnight has made you lose sleep.
2. You realize DNA has nothing to do with love and family.
3. You can't watch Adoption Stories on TLC without sobbing.
4. The fact that, if 7% of Christians adopted 1 child there would be no orphans in the world, is convicting to you.
5. You spend free time surfing blogs about families who have experienced the blessing of adoption.
6. It drives you crazy when people ask you about adopted child's 'real' parents.
7. You have ever been 'pregnant' with your adoptive child longer than it takes an elephant to give birth. (2 years!)
8. You had no idea how you would afford to adopt but stepped out in faith anyway, knowing where God calls you He will provide.
9. You have ever taken an airplane ride half-way around the world with a child you just met.
10. You believe God's heart is for adoption.
11. You realize that welcoming a child into your heart and family is one of the most important legacies you could ever leave on this earth.
12. You know what the word 'Dossier' means, and you can actually pronounce it!
13. You have welcomed a social worker into the most private parts of your life.
14. You shudder when people say your child is so lucky that you adopted them, knowing full well you are the blessed one to have him or her in your life.
-Author unknown

AN UPDATE! Garrett has seen pictures of us!

We received 20 additional pictures today from Serena in China, who is the China Care representative! Our adoption agency staff forwarded these to us this afternoon. Prayers have been answered! I was so hoping we would see Garrett with all of the things that we had sent to him in his care package last month. And they got them, and sent pictures of him opening them! Because of recent news that China Care would no longer be in contact with the American adoptive families, we were not sure we would see these. China care is trying to become accredited with the Chinese gov't and these contacts they have with adoptive families are not considered acceptable by the gov't. It is NOT the norm. So, we are incredibly LUCKY that we received anything. We sent one package to Garrett and one additional package to his foster parents. He is wearing the clothing we sent (Think Auburn colors orange and blue and Go Tigers!) and is playing with the toys. The most precious picture of all though is Garrett looking at OUR photos in the baby photograph album we sent to him. He has seen his family at last! And we now have pictures of both his foster mother and foster father in China. I wanted Garrett to have pictures of both of them as he grew up to remember his Chinese foster family. We feel so blessed, so excited, so overwhelmed with joy just knowing that he will most likely recognize Van when he goes to China to get him now, and he will recognize Gracie and me when he comes home from China. The pictures are amazing. He has grown, has gotten a big boy haircut (shaved...I hope they let it grow out) and he has a great smile with lots of teeth. We can see his top teeth and bottom....the cleft palate is effecting the way they have grown in, but he has them which is wonderful. We are so so happy! Thank you, China Care, Baotou City SWI, and Small World Adoptions! We are forever grateful for all that you do!

Lots of New Babies...

Just had to share pictures of my newest favorite babies...These babies are my new great nieces and nephew. Yes, I am a Great Aunt at 42 years of age, believe it or not. They are Katie, Elaine, and Grant. Katie is my nephew, Scotty's, daughter. Elaine is my niece, Katherine's, daughter. And Grant is my niece, Laura's, son. They are all precious, and we are so happy to have welcomed them into the family. Grandmother and D-Daddy (in Heaven) must be so proud of their great grandchildren too!

More Gracie Stories...

She is hilarious. Her sense of humor and quick wit make me laugh so hard.

This morning, I was giving her options for breakfast aloud...eggs, cereal, etc....and she says to me, "Mama, say cookies." LOL!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Naughty, but too funny not to write down

Gracie's newest thing:

If she does something that is naughty, and I tell her, "That is not funny, Gracie.", she will laugh and say, "But it's funny to me, Mama". (That may be true, but...)

If she wants to get my attention while I am very busy, she will say, "But, Mama, this is important for YOU."

If I have to go on several errands with her and I tell her, "Gracie, we are going to Target first (for example...but we do LIVE there). Then we are going to ______." , she will say, "Let's go to PetSmart first, then we can go to Target next." or "Let's go to Chuck E. Cheese first, then go to Target next." She will replace my errands for the morning with her own agenda for the day...of course, making her outing idea the highest priority. And her outings are never something we have discussed even doing! LOL.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter, Everyone!

Here is Miss Gracie as she was on the search for more eggs in the house this morning. We had so much fun with her when she woke up. Her excitement started when her eyes opened very early asking, "Has the Easter Bunny come?" and "Is it Easter, Mommy?" The Easter Bunny sure was good to Gracie. She had a full basket complete with Sea Monkeys, a yellow stuffed rabbit, playdoh eggs, an aqua doodle Dora booklet, and lots of little treats...Reese's eggs, one of her favorites. She was so cute going through everything and smiling the whole time. She also sat on the Easter Bunny's lap yesterday at the mall and had her picture made with him. She loved every second of that and wasn't afraid of him this year. It was a very busy day for all of us, and we enjoyed every minute of it.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Gracie is Growing Up

It is happening so fast! It really is amazing to watch her. Her language and her vocabulary has come very far in the past six months. My little baby is no longer a baby! It is hard to even think of her as a toddler now...She is such a little girl. Van and I were just talking about that the other day. Where has the time gone? What a personality Gracie has. She loves to laugh and sing and joke around. Some of my favorite things she says now are, "Don't even think about it." and "No way!". If she doesn't like something, she will say, "I am not really into that." and she will say to her dog, "Sugar, you're a mess!" She loves the "Sound of Music" cd and sings "Do Re Me" in the car. She now makes up her own songs. We go to the library a lot. Her favorite books are the Curious George books and we have probably read every one of them 3-4 times. Gracie is a negotiator. You tell her she can have one of something, and she will say, "How about two, Mama?" or "Let's make that three.". LOL. She is adventurous. This girl plays rough and tumble tough, and she loves being outdoors. She loves her scooter and her new Dora helmet and crash pads. Gracie will NOT let me put any bows in her hair. Too fussy for her! She likes games like Candy Land, High Ho Cherrio, Hungry Hungry Hippos, etc. She goes to sleep at night wanting her back scratched. She plays with her new dog, Sugar, and loves her very much. And of course, she loves her two cats. There is a new television show that we watch a lot besides Caillou now. It is Ni Hao, Kai-Lan...a very sweet cartoon that has a little Chinese American girl as the main character. Gracie is learning to speak some Chinese now because of the show. She is writing and drawing, cutting up paper, and glueing things all the time. She loves to bake and cook, LOVES to go to Pickle Bob's for ice cream with sprinkles, and she makes us laugh hard everyday. Above all, our daughter has a heart of PURE gold. She is the sweetest girl on the planet we think. When I hold her in my arms, I never want to let her go. When she laughs and smiles, she sparkles. I thank God every single day for giving me one of the greatest blessings of my life, my daughter, Gracie. I also thank God for blessing me with such a wonderful, loving husband. Van is the best, the very best! And we just celebrated 10 years together. Thank you, Van, for being the true love of my life!

Our Red Thread...

It occurred to me last night. I don't know why I had not thought of this before now, but as clear as day it came to me as I was saying our daily prayer for Garrett. This is the prayer that has been on our refrigerator since we were paperchasing for Gracie even. I LOVE this prayer. It is memorized and really is close to my heart every day. It means so much to me. Now, it has even more meaning...

Our red thread....Our son's Chinese name, Chenguang, means "Morning Light"

Here is the prayer again:

"May you be safe and sleep soundly through the night.
May you be safe as you wake in the morning light.
May you feel love from so far away.
May it comfort and protect you throughout each day.
I will pray for you my little one
Until our time of waiting is done.
I will pray that the Lord keep you safe from harm
Until the child of my heart becomes the child of my arms."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Just Waiting...Some Fun To Read "Gracie Moments"

Anyone feel like they have aged a little during this adoption process? Then, you can definitely appreciate this...

I was holding Gracie in my arms the other day and I was looking down into her eyes. Gracie says to me, "Mommy, what are those stripes on your face?"

And my repsonse, of course, "Those are wrinkles, Gracie. Thanks for noticing." :)

At the Asian Garden Restaurant a few weeks ago, Gracie points out a couple in the seats in front of us. Loudly, she says, "Mommy, that guy doesn't have any hair! Why doesn't that guy have any hair? His head is all pink." The poor gentleman was bald.

Also, at the restaurant, Gracie decides that she needs to "do her business" while we are eating. She is standing in the booth next to me, and has suddenly some extremely foul smelling gas. So, I am DYING at this point because there is a man directly behind us in the next booth. I could see his shoulders shaking so I knew he was laughing very hard. I said, "I am so sorry, sir. I have a three year old here, and she has gas." The next thing I am trying to do is to get her to stand next to our table instead of standing up in the booth so that the smell migrates somewhere else...And I tell her quietly, "Gracie, they do not want to smell that." She says to me very loudly, "Mommy, why don't those guys want to smell my poop?"

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Waiting for the 171-H...Just waiting! Finally!

We had our fingerprints taken on Feb 19th...The 171 H letter takes between 6-8 weeks usually to magically appear in the mailbox.

The 171-H....The Federal Gov't approval to adopt an orphan internationally...That is ALL we are waiting for now. Cannot believe it, but it is TRUE! Maybe it will show up tomorrow now that I have spent all night...and I do mean ALL NIGHT...It is 2 am... creating this blog and trying to document in one night what has transpired since June of 2007....There is no easy way to do that. But I tried. I documented everything for Gracie when we were waiting, and I saved every single important email about Garrett during this long wait. So, I used those emails tonight to figure out when and how everything happened. Forgive me if I sound too much like I have been complaining about the process...But it has been difficult to say the least. I am just so happy that we are close now to going to China to get our boy!

Double Check Mark on the Police Reports...AGAIN!

March 11, 2008...The police reports are completed and the letters are notarized. We waited for a little over 2 hours with Gracie in a tiny office waiting room while the notary (who had just left for lunch when we arrived) could finish the reports. She took a VERY LONG lunch. NICE!

March 12, 2008...After overnighting these reports, SW has them in hand now. Check marks the spot. Again!

No police reports??? What???? Huh???

March 5, 2008....No, this can't be! FF never sent our police reports to our agency, SW. So, we have to have them redone! Again!!! If this weren't so time consuming, we would be laughing. But we are not! One more time...we will survive. That is our motto now!

Another Update from China Care

More updates on our son from China Care...

February 15, 2008

Chen Guang is a strong boy and he is walking now!
The boy can say something like " Ma Ma, Ba Ba", but not too much.
He looks a little shy and does not like talking with strangers.
Cheng Guang has a good stomach. He likes to eat egg, rice, noodles, pork, dumpling, bean curd and some green vegetables. Also he likes to eat apple, orange, banana and peach.
The boy likes to play some toys with voice.
He likes to listen to music and watch TV.
He can imitate something from watching TV sometimes.
He does not like to play with strangers.
His foster parents have two grown children; their daughter is married and their son is studying at university.
The boys height: 83cm
The boys weight:14kg (30 pounds!!!)

February 15, 2008...More Videos of Garrett in China

We received three videos today of Garrett. On Youtube, you can see our beautiful little boy with his foster mom and some friends. He is drinking Coke from a cup, is dancing and smiling while holding an IPOD, and is eating what looks like a cherry! We love this kid already! God is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Good!!! We are beyond speechless and are so thankful!

Here are the links:

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

February 14, 2008... A Valentine's Day Gift

We received word that Garrett had his palate surgery done in China back in AUGUST!!! We are just now getting the word! It is fabulous news, and reaffirms that our son is getting the best of care in China. Thank you, China Care and Baotou City SWI!!!

More issues....YUCK!

February 11th...I receive an email cc'd to me and sent to FF that says...

We received the final version of the Home Study for Van and Madeline. It was sent without the requested revisions regarding the description of the child they wish to adopt. To ensure a smooth process for the family's Consulate appointment in China, we need the report to be generic. CCAA does not want a specific child addressed in the report. If there are any other conditions discovered during the child's medical exam in China, then the family will be required to have a homestudy update/addendum completed before they can leave China with their child. I have re-attached the report with the needed revisions, and appreciate your help with this. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Ok, will this never end???

FF is sending them the revisions.

CIS Appointment for Fingerprints

Our scheduled appt for our federal gov't fingerprinting is on Feb. 19th at noon! YEA!

And our medicals have been updated and renotarized correctly. All of the dossier paperwork is complete and is about to all be notarized and sent to Small World. HIP HIP HOORAY! I never thought we'd get here, but we are finally almost done!!!!!

January 27, 2008...More issues!

This time FF has issues with our medicals and the proposed guardian handout. We have to redo the notarization for the medicals and provide them with more info. SHOOT!!! I am getting so tired...cannot even believe this mess. But we will do it.

January 24, 2008

FF sent our finalized homestudy to Small World for approval! FINALLY! There is a light at the end of the tunnel. God is smiling and so are we!!!

January 23, 2008

We are asked for yet another piece of information that we have already provided to FF...this time it is the financial report. It is sent again...Grrrrrrrrrrr! I am getting anxious.

January 2, 2008... My Mom Passes Away

On January 2nd, my mom who suffered greatly for the past four years with Alzheimer's disease and strokes passed away. We are sad to know that we will never see her again here on Earth, but we know that she is finally at peace and is at home in Heaven. May she rest in peace and be surrounded by the love of her Savior, Jesus Christ. We also find comfort in knowing that she is reunited with my father, Edward, and her entire family.

This is another bump in the road for us as far as the paperwork goes, but I am reminded that Garrett will come home in God's time. It may be taking us a little longer to get to him, but we will bring him home.

December 18, 2007

CIS notified us that they are waiting on our original homestudy. What??? Thought that had been sent already by FF! I have emailed Forever Families to inquire as to why it has not been sent. Hmmmm...lots of bumps along the way this time...Van's gallbladder surgery (which I did not even blog about), lots of sickness for all of us this fall and winter, family stuff, and lots of little red tape snags....The paperchase is NOT for the faint-hearted. It is tough work! And we have had a lot on our plate the past six months. (Honestly, it has been over the past two years. Those of you who know us well know what I am referring to when I say this.)

October 10, 2007...A Video of Garrett in China

We received a video of Garrett in China. He is with his foster mother in an alley, and he is playing in his walker. Doesn't appear that he is walking... though I am sure he will be soon. He is so darn cute! We are plugging away on the homestudy and the dossier. It is taking us a lot of time...more than we considered it would. And Gracie keeps us so busy that it is hard to find the time we need to really devote to all of it. But we are getting there slowly but surely.

Here is the link:


August 8, 2007

China Care sent us more pictures of Garrett in China. We are so excited!!! There are 30 new pictures. He is so beautiful and smiles in almost every picture. We are praying daily for him and for his foster family in Inner Mongolia.

July 18, 2007...We Have our PA!!!

PA stands for Pre-Approval in the Chinese Adoption Community. Basically, China (CCAA) has reviewed our paperwork and has approved us to pursue the adoption of our son, Garrett. It is an exciting bit of news that we have been waiting for. Janell, at Small World, just emailed us to let us know. We are so excited! Now, we have the homestudy and dossier to complete in order to bring Garrett home. He is coming home!!! YEA!!!!

June 20, 2007...A Response To My Questions

I received the following response from Small World about Garrett. The answers were provided so quickly by the China care staff.

Here are some answers to the questions:
1. 郝晨光是用唇腭裂专用奶嘴喝奶,奶瓶是普通奶瓶。他早上起床以及晚上睡觉前都要和一次奶,其他时间则是大约4 个小时和一次奶
Hao Chun Guang is using cleft nipples (Pigeon brand), the bottle is a regular bottle. He takes formula when he get up and before he fall asleep. During daytime he will take formula every four hours.
2. 郝晨光现在可以吃多种固体食物,如面条,饺子,馒头,菜,肉等。但多是把这些固体食物捣碎了或是撕烂了吃。
Chen Guang eats a lot of kind of solid food, such as noodle, Jiaozi, steamed bread, vegetables, meat. But all the solid food should be cooked very soft or mashed or tear to small peace
3. 他并不经常患上呼吸道感染,但是会经常咳嗽咳痰,现在已经好多了,近一段时间也不怎么咳嗽咳痰。我也不清楚这个孩子是不是被医生检查过在 Chinacare里。
He doesn't have much upper respiratory infections, but still often coughs and has lots of phlegm. Recently, he is much better, less cough and less phlegm.
He has already recovered from bronchitis, now he doesn't have this problem. During winter, some kids are easy to get bronchitis for they are weak and then need IV. When they grow up, their condition will be stable.
4. 他现在有五颗牙了,上面两颗,下面三颗,牙齿形态以及位置看起来并没有太大异常。
He has five teeth now, two up and three down. The teeth and the position seem normally.
5. 但是他的腭裂对他的牙床尤其是门牙附近的牙床是有影响的
6. (asked hospital for first surgical records)
7. 目前身高:73cm , 体重: 10kHeight:73cm, weight10kg.

Questions for China Care about Garrett

This is the email I sent today, June 13, 2007, about Garrett...

Hello again, Small World Staff,

Now that we have completed some of the paperwork and I have had time to think, I do have a few questions about Garrett for you.

I also have a friend that is a speech therapist and she told me to ask these questions regarding Garrett. I was wondering if you could ask about him and find out the answers for these questions from the orphanage or China Care representatives.

How he is nursing -- Does he use a special cleft nipple/bottle?

Does he eat solid food or is everything mashed for him?

Has he had many upper respiratory infections? Sometimes cleft palate babies are prone to respiratory infections because they have trouble keeping their food out of their respiratory system. I noticed that he had bronchitus on his report. Is he well now? Is he being seen/monitored by a doctor through China Care?

His teeth will likely be displaced as they come in; he may have some missing tooth buds. I noticed that the report says he has four teeth already. Are they displaced?

Does the cleft palate effect his gumline in the front of his mouth?

If he has already had lip surgery, I'd be sure to ask for all the medical/surgical records so your maxilofacial surgeon will have those to look at past treatment and plan further treatment. Is it possible to get those?

Also, can you please tell me who to contact with China Care to keep up with Garrett's progress, if that is possible. Someone online told me that there are people that I can keep in contact with in China/Beijing and that I can send care packages to Garrett, etc. One lady with a child from Baotou said that the China Care rep sent her hundreds of pictures during her wait and also videos of her child. How wonderful that would be!

What is his current weight? height? etc

Thanks so much, Kathy. I know this is a lot. Just let me know if I am asking too much. I might be. I am already a concerned Mommy.



June 13, 2007...Our First Paperwork Completed and Sent

We sent to Small World today:

Signed application
Signed Care Plan
Signed Acceptance of Referral
Check to Small World for $1250

June 7, 2007 ...We are Approved to Pursue Garrett's Adoption

Janell and Kathy at Small World sent me an email today saying we were approved, and "Congratulations! It's a BOY!"

This is the announcement to family and friends that we sent out today in celebration of our new baby boy...

We just have to share the GREAT news!
We have a BEAUTIFUL baby boy!!!
We announce our new son and brother,
Van Garrett Chenguang!
I know so many of you are in total shock!
Well, we are too. :)

The Lord truly, TRULY works in mysterious and amazing ways! Can you even believe it? Just a week ago ago, Van and I were wondering why we had not even started our paperchase for our next baby from China with our agency, CCAI, and now we know why!!! Our baby was on another adoption agency's waiting child list!

WE ARE STILL IN TOTAL SHOCK!!! We just had to share the INCREDIBLE, SUDDEN, FANTASTIC news that we cannot even yet believe. Our loving Father in Heaven has blessed us with another beautiful, perfect baby in China. He is absolutely and totally meant for our family. We are over the moon in love with him, and we cannot wait to bring our first son home. Gracie has a little brother!!!! And we are proud parents again!

Introducing: Van Garrett Chenguang!!!
Chinese name: Hao Chen Guang
DOB: July 26, 2006
Waiting for us in: Baotou City SWI/ Nei Meng-gu Autonomy (InnerMongolia!!!)
Medical situation: Cleft lip/palate (post cleft lip surgery) and awaiting cleft palate surgery
He has the chubbiest little cheeks! He is described as happy, healthy, seldom sick, active, sunny, tempersome sometimes, and has no patience!!! LOL. We love that!!! He has the cutest little grin (like his Daddy) in some of his pictures. We have received 109 pictures of him so far!!! And He seems to be very well taken care of.
Garrett is a China Care Foundation baby...This is a VERY BIG deal, and we feel so incredibly fortunate that he is receiving extraordinary care in China.
See their website.
He has been in foster care since he was found at one day old.
Our agency: Small World Adoptions
Now, we just have to start and complete the paperwork to get him home!

Introducing Our Son, Van Garrett Chenguang

Sunday, June 03, 2007 1:03 PM

Van and I had been discussing and considering adopting a second child from China since December. We had always said that one day we would have a daughter named Gracie and a son named Garrett. But in our minds, we thought we would be adopting a second daughter this time around. That really was OUR plan. But as it happens in life, God had other plans!

I was looking at a friend's website one afternoon and happened to follow one of her links on her website to the adoption agency that they had used just recently to find and to adopt their son in China. It was Small World Adoptions out of Valleyford, Washington. I had never heard of this agency before, but I liked what my friend had to say about how smoothly their adoption had gone in China. They had lots of good things to say about the Small World Team. One thing lead to another and I sat looking at the list of waiting children on their website. One child caught my immediate attention. His name on the site was Galen, and he was PRECIOUS! I knew immediately in looking into his eyes in this picture that he WAS our Garrett. I don't know how I knew it, but I did. Just as I had with Gracie...It was all in his eyes. They sparkled! Just like Gracie's did...just like I felt when I saw her referral picture for the very first time. It was like I KNEW him. I recognized him somehow. He was marked as still waiting for a family. In my thoughts at that time, I was thinking, "Hmmmmm....There is just no way. This has to be a mistake. This child could NOT be available." My negative thinking, thank goodness, did not get in the way of my inquiring to the agency about him. I expected though to receive an email back from them saying that he had found his family already. All this time, my heart was telling me that he was meant to be our son. The feelings were very intense and very conflicting. My gut was to go with my intuition. And so I did...never telling Van about it, and just putting the email out of my mind for a little while. After all, we had not even started getting our paperwork together.

I sent the following email to Small World Adoption Agency:

My name is Madeline. My husband and I are interested in getting information about "Galen" on your waiting child list. We have a two and a half year old daughter named Gracie who we adopted from China in November of 2005. Thanks for your help. We want to start the process again. :)


On 6/4/2007 at 2:30 pm I received the following email from Janell Lucas at Small World...

Hi Madeline,

Thank you for inquiring about Galen. Attached is his information and below are the guidelines for placement of our waiting children. At this time, he is still waiting so you would be given first consideration provided you meet all the current requirements. Please let us know if you have any additional questions or would like to talk more about this precious boy.

Have a great day!
Janell Lucas
Small World Adoptions
Washington Office
9201 S. Madison Rd. Valleyford, WA 99036

When I read that email, my heart nearly jumped out of my chest. "At this time, he is still waiting so you would be given first consideration provided you meet all of the current requirements." I knew right then and there that we had found our Garrett, and he was waiting for us. I started to read the information about him...He was in Inner Mongolia at Baotou City SWI, but was in foster care. His birthdate was July 26, 2006. He had been found abandoned on that date. He had a repaired cleft lip and unrepaired cleft palate. After reading it several times, I knew I had to talk to Van...and he walked in the door to our house! I let him put his keys down, and catch a breath or two, and I said to him, "Van, you need to come over here and sit down." He proceeded over to the sofa, and as he sat down I said, "I have found our son. This IS Garrett. I just know it!" I expected a long discussion between the two of us, but he said, "Go ahead and call them and request more information about him." I told him I already had done that and showed him what had been sent to me about him. He said again, "Call them." So, I got on the telephone to call this agency that I had no real information about. I talked to Janell. My conversation with her went something like this... "Hello, Janell, this is Madeline. I am calling because we have been in contact about the little boy on your list named Galen. I can tell you right now that I KNOW WITHOUT A DOUBT that he is our son. I am looking at a picture of our son!" I remember that she laughed and said, "Well, he has been on this list for quite a while, and we kept waiting and waiting and praying for him to find his family. And all of this time, he has been waiting for YOU." I don't remember much more of the conversation other than that we discussed what Van and I needed to do to file an application with them overnight. I do remember her saying that she was putting him on hold for our family. I did ask her if there was anything that could happen between us filling out the Small World application and getting approved for starting the paperwork to adopt him. I told her that we did not want to risk even the slightest chance of losing this child. She assured me that he was waiting for us. He was waiting for US! And I knew that he was.

She sent us the application over the computer and also a HUGE slideshow of pictures of him that were taken by the WONDERFUL foundation that was providing for his foster care in Baotou City. It is the China Care Foundation. (This name I recognized and I will explain that later.) We never dreamed we would be so fortunate and so blessed to see pictures of him from the time he was found at a day old up until the current time. There were 109 photos in all! What a tremendous blessing to receive that day! The child is just beautiful!