Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas and After!

Mia and Anna don't understand what Christmas is about but will have a better understanding next year. They received a few gifts from family and friends and attended church. They do well in church even though they don't understand what is going on. They attend church with us each week and we will start teaching them about God. They are learning more English each day and will start school on January 8th.
The girls are still in the process of attaching and bonding to us as parents. They are confused on who are family members and who are friends. We do take time to explain when hugging is appropriate and when it is not. Hugging and kissing the dentist's assistant is not appropriate. Of all people, go figure! We are very lucky that both girls like to hug and kiss and are very affectionate. The eat well and are not picky eaters. They happily go to bed at 8:00 and sleep until 7:00-8:00am. Mia will go to sleep on her back and wake up in the same position. Anna will have all her blankets twisted and turned around on her bed. She must be very active at night as she is during the day. While Mia is more easy going, Anna is active and intense.
We took the girls to our favorite Chinese restaurant and they met our favorite waitress, Winnie. She welcomed the girls and they told her that they loved us. The girls went crazy over the food. They each had two large plate full of food. The one thing they loved the most was the sticky rice. We have made pot stickers, fried rice, lots of different noodles, but no plain rice at home for them. Now we know! They passed up the fried rice and the fried noodles. Anna got the oysters on the shell and told the oysters how much she loved them. I hope they gained about three pounds each just from this one visit!
The girls are doing well and we hope they are happy. We really truly blessed!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mia and Anna Receive a Package from Aunt Denise.

Mia and Anna received their first package! And what a package! The gifts were packed in a copy paper box. Yes, it was that big. When we opened it without them in the room, we were amazed at all that it contained. The girls were having a lot of upsetting moments because of doctor visits, dentists, blood drawn for testing, etc. Having all this to do, the thoughtful gift from Aunt Denise was both welcomed and exciting. We explained who it was from and showed them their Aunt Denise's picture on the computer. They seemed to have forgotten that when they opened it and thanked us! We then explained to them again who it was from and they were thanking their Aunt Denise. Denise, if you hear "thank you Denise ayi", they are saying Aunt Denise in Chinese. They loved everything in their gift bags. They haven't "unpacked" their gift bags yet. They even put a few more of their other things in it. They did color their little purses and when a friend from church came over they put the hair clips in her hair and stickers on her hand. Did I mention that this friend was over 80 years old. I told them that I will help them with their scrapbooks. We have a lot of photos that we can put in them already. Some of the pictures are from when they were still at the orphanage. We sent disposable cameras to the orphanages and they sent these back with us. They are going to be thrilled once they have their scrapbooks started! We can't thank you enough Denise, so I will let the girls do that. Here is the video we took of them and I have also included a few photos!



Mia, Aunt Denise, and Anna

New shirt!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Baba!

It amazes us how much English Anna knows. She can sing a few songs in English, such as, Old McDonald Had a Farm and Happy Birthday. We told the girls that it was Baba's birthday and had shown them his birthday cake. Since we have only been home a few days, I didn't have time to really prepare for his birthday. Needless to say it was pretty lame except for the part where the girls sang "Happy Birthday" to Baba. What a surprise when Anna understood what she was to do when the cake came out. She has such a raspy voice. We saw a video of her when she was about six years old and we thought she had a cold because of her deep, raspy voice. Not so. Mia also tried to follow Anna's lead and sang some of it in English as well. So here is the video.

video

Saturday, December 8, 2012

We're Home!

We flew out of Guangzhou to Shanghai leaving the hotel at 6:15 in the morning. We had everything packed up the night before and just transferred our pajamas to our carry-ons in case we had to stay over night in Detroit. We had a couple hour wait in Guangzhou before getting to Shanghai. We had a long layover in Shanghai lasting about 6 hours. Anna had a total melt down over a piece of candy no bigger than a small jelly bean! I had purchased a small box of candy for each of the girls so they had something to keep them happy. Anna goes through her candy faster than Mia. Even though Anna still had some left she asked Mia for some of hers. Mia told her no and the yelling, screaming, finger pointing was on. I had to hold her down to try and get her under control. We had a few people come over and it wasn't long before we caught the attention of the local police. Once Mia explained what happened, they were all smiling but still standing around watching. I love being the center of a freak show! Where was Phil you ask? He went to find a restroom. He said he could hear her yelling from across the airport. Nice. Yes, she has a set of lungs and isn't afraid to use them. Once we got on our flight, both girls fell asleep and slept on and off. We didn't expect that! Mia's eyes would light up whenever she saw the tray with food and drinks coming! That had to be her highlight. Anna's was playing this stupid game on the back of each seat. This particular game would lock up that system and so she went through two of them. I didn't get to enjoy movies or anything. Our connection in Detroit was 1hr 20 minutes. That meant getting through customs, immigration, baggage claim, baggage check, and bathroom break. We made it with three minutes to spare! Once we got to the Peoria Airport we were greeted by Ruthi and Claude and all eight of their beautiful and thoughtful daughters! We love you and thank you for the warm welcome and ride home!!! All your advice has paid off and we have the girls home! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! We stopped at McDonald's on the way home. Once we got home it was very simple, we ate, got baths, and went to bed! Anna and Mia have made such a production in the hotel each night on where they were going to get to sleep. They had to have lights on and mama next to them in bed. Once they saw their rooms and their beds it was nothing but squeals and I love you's! They both jumped into their own beds, Mia with the lights on and Anna with them off. Go figure! No mama, no baba! (Thank goodness). We will see how the other nights go!! We did show the girls where all the food was and they were in disbelief! Trust me, we don't have anymore than any one else, but to them a full fridge, cabinets, and freezer just sent them into squeals of delight. What a sight! Glad to be home!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mia and Anna's Friends in the States!

Today, Wednesday December 5, was the girls consulate appointment. We really had a nice officer who called us first and then help with Anna's little snafu. We were able to take care of it right then and left shortly after arriving. The girls were up early so they were a bit tired and grouchy so we came back to the hotel for some rest. They are doing much better now. It seems like when we are with the guide, the girls start complaining about the plane ride, the little arguments they had earlier between each other, and then they feed off each other. It is a shouting match from the back seat of the car with Mama in between. No fun at all. Once they are away from our guide it is all smooth sailing!
We have two of Mia's friends who live in the States that we said she could talk to once we are home. She was a little confused about her friend who came her a few years back that she doesn't speak Chinese anymore so we will have an interpreter. Her other friend came to the States a few months ago.
Anna was told today that her very best friend, Sherry, was also adopted in the States and she will get to call and talk to her once we are home. Sherry was also adopted just a few months ago. The girls talk about what they will do when they are home. I just hope they don't have any melt downs while we are at the airport. We can only ask for more prayers that they are not afraid and will enjoy the airplane ride. We all need to be home to help make this adjustment. We did stock up on Chinese food, including hot sauce, but Anna doesn't like anything hot. Mia keeps ordering the hamburger with cheese and fries. They told us that Anna's favorite food is fried rice but she always turns it down. People have commented on how well adjusted they are with us already. We feel very comfortable with them and I think they are as comfortable with us. I am amazed that they both let me bath them and wash their hair for them on day 1. They willing wear the clothes we brought them except for the bell bottoms that we had for Mia. Apparently she hates bell bottoms and prefers straight legged pants. We'll learn! 


Our view from the hotel room!

Eating at Lucy's and shopping.

The girl's TB test came back good. They can come home as schedule! The girls are getting along and becoming close friends. They found out yesterday that they both came from orphanages and we picked them up within a few days of each other. They have their little spats but with "google translate" we can explain to them what we would like for them to do. To use kind words, no hitting, and we still need to explain to Anna not to hug and kiss on Mia when she really doesn't want her to. Anna can be a bit forceful! Learning boundaries will be a work in progress well after we are home.
We have been doing a little more exploring the last few days. The other evening we decided to go to McDonald's for dinner. We walked about a mile or more it seemed. There were thousands of people in the streets and at least that many at McDonald's. No place to sit so we went outside to one of the tables from another restaurant. One of the waiters came up to Phil and told him we couldn't sit here unless we order something. Phil told him unless he was able to physically pick him up and move him that he was staying right here. The waiter asked Phil if he had ordered something earlier and Phil said yes. This is just another example of "saving face" in China.
We went back to the market area the next day with the Poole's and our guide, Richard. He took us to experience the squid, octopus, fish balls, and chicken on a stick. The girls had chicken and I passed. We saw an area that had pets for sale. Lots of kittens, puppies, and hamsters. Just like home. Mia asked if she could have a puppy when we get home. I left that one to Baba! Anna is really partial to kittens!
We went for dinner at Lucy's last night and Mia ordered the cheeseburger and fries. It is amazing what these two will eat. Anna had a rice dish that was really huge and so she split her portion in half and asked if she could just eat half. We said yes. She did eat what she said she was going to. The girls really like sharing their food. They will even share their food with other dinners (little  kids). It will be a while before we venture out in restaurants at home! I'm not sure what other parents would think of a strange child feeding their kids. Here are a few pics from the last few days. Thank you again for all your prayers. We just really want to be home.
Anna eating McDonald's





Live Scorpions (for breakfast?)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Day at Dexter's, Medical, and Shopping!

What a great time with the Dexter family on Friday night. Pat, Stacy, Joy, Grace, and Hope were so very sweet! Anna and Mia really enjoyed themselves. When we were leaving they asked us if we could come back tomorrow. The girls had a great time talking to them in their own language. Joy and I had a good talk with the girls. I was able to ask them questions and they felt very comfortable talking to her. I really needed to know if Mia had started her period so I would be better able to provide for her. Guys, if you are reading this then skip to the next paragraph. Mia said she had never heard of it but Anna said she had heard of it. Joy proceeded to explain to them about monthly bleeding and having to use the bathroom. Anna said she understood and said she bled once here on her arm. Then Anna said that she knew, you go to the bathroom, turn on the light, go potty, flush, turn off the light. I am not sure what got lost in the translation but I did get my original question answered. That one will go down in the books. I then asked Joy to explain to the girls that we love them and will take care of them. We care about their safety so they need to hold our hand and stay with us. We don't want them talking to strangers. Anna said you shouldn't talk to anybody except for Mama and Baba. Anna remembered that conversation for about three minutes. She hasn't stopped talking to strangers! The airport will be fun! Seven hour layover in Shanghai - it doesn't get much better than that!
Phil and I really enjoyed the spaghetti dinner. We ate so much and both agreed it was the best spaghetti we have ever had. The sauce was rich and the noodles were perfect, not too mushy and not too hard. The salad was beautiful! I haven't had any lettuce since I have been to China so this was a huge treat! We also had garlic bread and then to top if off they served chocolate chip cookies! This is a big deal because of the small ovens and stoves that are in China. Thank you so much Pat, Stacy, Joy and girls. We all felt at home and the girls really had a great time! Thank you!
We spent Saturday morning with the girls at medical. While we were there, Phil noticed a woman who looked familiar and asked her if she was Sandy Bishop. She was a little amazed and said yes. Then he explained that we are on the same FB group and remembered her. She said she also knew who we were. This world is so small. How many people can go 7,000 miles and then recognize someone from back home. The girls did great with shots and TB tests! They were a little scared but we did get through it quickly. Once we were finished with medical we went back to the hotel and our guide, Richard, went over our paperwork for our final appointment here in China. We will meet with the Consulate on December 5 and then all will be finished here in China. What a journey!!! We never thought we would be seeing this day with all the bumps in the road along the way.
After our paperwork we met up with Noah, Amy, and Bryan Poole and Amy's sweet, sweet mother from Illinois. You have to laugh when you think about two families from Illinois meeting up in China. Noah is such a sweet, quiet, and precious little guy. He has the most infectious smile with the cutest dimples! We couldn't believe how well he used chopsticks. We tried the pigeon, sweet and sour pork, and beef with vegetables. They also serve it with rice and noodles. Anna loved the pigeon and had three large pieces. This girl can eat chicken wings and only leave the bone. She will even eat the grisel. Our girls were in rare form (and you can't blame them much after their medical). They were uncooperative at times and pouting. Once we got back to the hotel and relaxed they were much more like themselves! You have to keep wondering what is going through their minds? Here are a few photos of our time here so far. We will have more exciting photos tomorrow after visiting Safari Park.

Impress with the music coming from the Piano. Great little Pianists!

She thinks she can play!


Pat, Joy, and girls! Can you guess who their favorites were?
Joy and Mia. (Mia wanted her photo with Joy by herself)

The Poole's with their little guy, Noah with his chopsticks!

Anna eating with chopsticks

Mia eating with chopsticks

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Anna's Gotcha Day . . . Whooooooo!!!

On November 28th we went to meet with Anna at the Civil Affairs office in Guangzhou. We walked into the office and immediately heard her voice from the other room. We recognized her voice from a video we had when she was six years old. While we were sitting and filling out paperwork, Anna came sneaking into the room and waved, blew kisses, and smiled, then went back into the other room. Soon after they did bring her in to meet us. Baba held out her little lamb and she hit it away at first, not sure what it was! Now she sleeps with it. Anna did cry after her caretakers left for about 20 minutes or so and then she was fine. We let the girls have their own bed and it was girl talk for hours!  Anna had her camera and we could hear them going through the photos and naming all the people in them, Mama, Baba, Mia, Anna. Anna even had to take a picture of Baba snoring! She thought that was the best. Anna and Mia are opposites in many ways which work as sisters. Anna does the talking for Mia and helps make sure that we understand what Mia is asking us. Anna will demonstrate for us what Mia is wanting until we understand. This is really working out better than expected! They are each others best friend and can still reach out for Mama and Baba. (Little more Mama than Baba, but we are working on evening up the affection). They both offer hugs and kisses for us all day long. While eating they will even stop eating and reach out for a hug and a kiss, which we happily oblige.
Today we went back to the Civil Affairs office and we were worried that Anna would have another breakdown, but she was being silly, happy, and loving the whole time. Go figure! When we leave the hotel room, Anna will quiet everyone down and then proceed to tiptoe down the hall. She is a little production! We did go walking and took a few more pictures of the girls. I just hope the rest of our time here goes like it did today!!! Everyone was happy and relaxed!





Monday, November 26, 2012

One Way or Another I'm Gonna Gitcha, Gitcha, Gitcha ....

It is officially "gotcha day" for Mia. The moment she walked in I knew it was her. I ran over to her and gave her the biggest hug. She had on the largest smile possible and hasn't stopped since. We went back to our hotel room and have been showing Benqin her new clothes and such. She is so appreciative of it all. She has been sharing all her food and snacks with us! It is so funny. There has been so many special moments! When we went down to each lunch, Benqin told the waiter that we were her mama and baba and the she loved us. The waiter was very sweet and told us what she had said. He asked her what she wanted to eat and she told him that she will eat the same thing that her mama eats. I so wanted to order spaghetti, but I didn't know if she would like it or not so I ordered a sandwich and fries. She loved the fries with ketchup. She holds both our hands and even ran over and across the lobby calling baba. She is very sweet, funny, and affectionate. She has the sweetest voice and even sang a song for me. She is taller than we expected and wears a size 10. Thank goodness we brought a few of those with us. She had a blast trying on clothes and then realizing they were all for her.
When we first walked in the room and she say the beds, she said that her and mama would sleep in this bed and baba in that bed. How funny!!!  What a joy!
We did give Benqin the letter from her friend Zoe and she remembered her! She called her by her Chinese name as well as the little boy in the picture. She did read the letter and was very happy after reading it! 





Saturday, November 24, 2012

We are in Ch*na!

We did make it to Ch*na on Friday. I remember everyone stating that they would make it to Ch*na but they forgot to mention how long the journey really was (or did they?). We couldn't sleep on the plane coming over (14 hour flight) so that made for a long day. We only had one incident where we thought our checked bags were going straight to Hefei, but that wasn't the case. We didn't find out that we were suppose to pick up our luggage at Terminal 2 until we got to Terminal 1 at the Shanghai airport. We had walked over (about a 20 minute ordeal). There was a young Chinese man who saw our confusion and stopped to ask if he could help. We told him we were trying to get back to the other Terminal to pick up our luggage and wanted to know how we can take the Shuttle. He pointed us in the right direction and off we went. Once we made it over to the other Terminal, we again were wondering around and in our confusion this same young man came over and helped us to get back over through security and then over to baggage claims. What a day! I was just happy to see our luggage was still there. Our hotel room is very nice. We have everything that we need. They are building a highrise outside of our window and that has kept Phil entertained, as well as the traffic. He loves watching the families on bikes and mopeds skirt through traffic. It is truly amazing how much they can carry on a bike and what they carry.
We will be meeting Mia on Monday and will post again then!
View from our hotel window

Mopeds and bikes are abundant, even in 30 degree weather!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

We Received a letter from Mia's friend, Zoe!

Mia had many friends in the orphanage who were adopted over the years. She has been there 11 years. She has gotten close to many of the children over the years and then one day they leave with their new family. There was one very special little girl who was friends with Mia several years ago. Her American name is Zoe and she currently lives with her mom, dad, three brothers, and her dog. Zoe found out several months ago that Mia was going to be adopted and that she would be coming to America. To show how sweet Zoe's heart is, she wrote a letter to Mia that we are taking with us to China. Zoe offers encouragement to Mia about being adopted, living in America, and learning English. She lets her know that English isn't all that hard to learn. She tells her how awesome it is that she will be coming to America and how wonderful it is that she will have a family forever. Zoe mentioned to Mia how great it is that she is getting a sister and hopes they have fun together! I know we are hoping the same thing!

We had Zoe's letter translated to Chinese and added a photo of the girls on the day that Zoe left with her new family. This special photo was given to us by Zoe's mother, Monica. What a treasure for Mia to have as a keepsake!  Thank you so much Zoe! How can anyone forget a smile like yours! Thanks to Monica for taking so many pictures of that day (which had Mia in almost all of them) and for contacting us and sharing your story!

Zoe is in the middle, Mia on the right.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

TRAVEL APPROVAL!!

We received travel approval from Ch*na on Thursday, November 8. Our agency called in the morning and told us that it had come in. The next process was to send an email to the US consulate to schedule our consulate appointment. We received the consulate appointment that night (because of the time difference). We thought we would be traveling a week earlier than what we are, but one week off is not bad! The bad news is that we will most likely be leaving on Thanksgiving Day! No turkey, no stuffing, no corn casserole, no baked beans (yes, baked beans), and no cranberry sauce, no mashed potatoes or Phil's gravy! But most of all we will miss our family on Thanksgiving! It has been a tradition to cook at home for any of our kids and their families who were able to join us. The family up North have been faithful in keeping us company through this special holiday. We will miss all of you very much and we will be thinking of you! Rest assured, we won't be missing Thanksgiving next year! Jen, be sure and tell Kadina, Austin, and Matthew that we will have turkey for them next year, and tell Mark that he will have his stuffing too!
Our plans are to leave on November 22 and return on December 6. We will be meeting Mia on Anna's birthday, November 26 and then be meeting Anna a week later. We were really trying to get to Anna before her birthday, but just missed it! This will be the last birthday she will spend in an orphanage!
So much more to do . . . so much more to think about. All the unknowns to face. Our family and friends have prepared us as best as they could up to this point and we will rely on them to get us the rest of the way. We can't begin to thank all of our family and friends for their prayers, love, and support during the last few years! We know just how blessed we are!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

New Pictures of Mia With Her Hair Down!

We have been very blessed to have met a family on our "Chuzhou Yahoo Group". They adopted a little girl at the age of 18 months from the same orphanage that Mia is at. Their daughter, Ella, is a year younger than Mia so it has been several years that Ella had been adopted. They made a visit in October to visit Ella's orphanage. Ella's family is from New-Zealand and with that said, this world just got really small. As you will see from the pictures, Ella has grown into a very beautiful, healthy, and well adjusted little lady. We thank you for your kindness to Mia!

While they were visiting Mia's orphanage in October, they were able to observe a few things and make a few comments about Mia and her surroundings. They had emailed us while they were in China and told us they think they just met our daughter but was not sure. They told us about her smile and about how she was excited to show them her "bed". Once they said this we knew that this was Mia! In Mia's referral it stated that she was always so excited to show visitors her "bed". We emailed a photo of Mia to them and they said that this was the same girl! They also gave Mia a globe from New-Zealand with a sheep in it. They said that she was happy when they gave it to her and completely unspoiled. They said that she had a beautiful smile and was a little shy. She is quite tall and very thin. She was with a group of children with severe special needs. The environment was without much stimulation for a bright healthy child. They said that the sooner we can get her the better, which is our feelings exactly. With love and care she will become a pretty and lively child. They told Mia that they were taking pictures for her American family and she didn't seem afraid about the idea of a new family at all. They noticed that the orphanage was very clean and well run and the staff seemed very kind and affectionate, but it is not very homey. We can't thank our friends from New-Zealand enough for all they have done for Mia.

Mia and Ella

Mia and Ella

The Barr Family with Mia



Saturday, October 27, 2012

We Are Getting Close to a Travel Date!

Our next big step in this process is called TA "travel approval" from Ch*na. We expect to receive TA at any time now. Usually TA comes between two and four weeks, so we will be in our second week on Tuesday, November 6. They have been coming quickly so we could receive TA this coming week. YIKES! We should be traveling by the middle of November. If there is a delay then it will be at the end of November. Our travel date, however, is contingent on when we receive our Consulate appointment. This we will receive after we receive TA. Anyone else confused? We do hope to be home with Mia and Anna by Christmas, but we will most likely miss Thanksgiving with our family. We will have to have our turkey for Christmas this year. We are also hoping to post while we are in Ch*na, but some families have had problems with this since Ch*na blocks internet activity. We will try and use a VPN and hope all goes well. Any advice for our trip would be greatly appreciated at this time!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

One For The Books!

We have been waiting for what they call Article 5. This process usually takes two weeks with no exceptions. We had a representative from our agency drop off our paperwork at the US consulate in China on September 26. China had a holiday during the first week of October and all official offices were closed for 8 days. This delayed our Article 5 by a week. Our representative went to pick up our Article 5 and he was told that they did not have it ready yet. They needed to have the family (us) contact them directly because we were adopting two children at the same time. Just to give you a little background on what we received as directions when you get to this part of the process from our agency - it went like this: NOTICE: The US Consulate-Guangzhou advises that adoptive families should NOT call or email them to check on the status of the Article 5. Contacting the consulate may result in a significant delay or decline in issuing your paperwork. 
We asked our agency if this has ever happened before and she told us that she had never heard of it before. We also asked several other people who have adopted from China and they told us the same thing. Well I was urged by our agency to email the consulate and ask them what the delay of our paperwork is and what we can do to help. It is their Friday so we are hoping they respond with something positive. Just another bump in the road on our journey. Please continue to keep us in our prayers. We are still hoping to travel sometime in November (note to China: of this year).

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Our DTC "Secret Pal" Strikes Again!

We just received a very special gift for Mia and Anna from our DTC Spring/Summer "Secret Pal" and her daughter. They sent us two handcrafted drawstring bags each with two hair clips to match. These are absolutely adorable and I know Mia and Anna will love them. We will be sure to take them to China with us and have the girls take them when we go shopping. These little bags are perfect for shopping trips and can them be carried like a backpack. The girls can be hands free and still be able to carry their own purchases. Sometimes when parents go to China to bring home their child, the first things they receive from their parents are the first things that are theirs alone. They don't "own" anything that they can call their very own. A lot of times the parents will bring a bag filled with items just for their child. Something they can call their own. These bags will just be another special item that they can call their own. Thank you again to our "Secret pal" and her beautiful daughter. May God bless you and keep you safe!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Waiting for Article 5 and then TA (Travel Approval).

Like all International Adoptions, we are almost through the mountain of paperwork. I don't want to discourage anyone who is considering adopting so I will say this much; you do a lot of paperwork, but it is over the span of a year or so. About a month ago we sent in our I-800 and was recently approved. Once we have this approval then the I-800s for both girls are sent to the National Visa Center to be entered into the "system". We then receive the NVC letter (or in our case an email) with a .pdf attached. We forwarded this to our agency and they send it to their representative in China who hand delivers it to the US Consulate in China. Now we wait for Article 5 for both girls. This is just one step before travel approval. I can't believe we have made it this far in the process.

The problem now is that China has a holiday and all the government offices are closed from October 1 through October 8. This will delay our Article 5 by 1 week. It usually takes two weeks to receive Article 5 so we are anticipating a three week wait.

We are still hoping to bring home both girls by the end of November but with this delay we may not make it. Anna's birthday is November 26. She turns 9 years old. We are hoping that she doesn't have to spend another birthday in China knowing she has a family waiting for her.

We ask that you keep us in your prayers. We thank all of you who continue to keep us in your prayers. We wouldn't be where we are today without the help of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Our thanks and praise to our Lord and God now and forever!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More Photos of Mia!!

We received more photos of Mia and would like to share them. The email said that her best friend, Chu Benjie, is being adopted this week by an American family. We will have to find out where she is so they can stay in contact. They also said that Mia is very happy to be coming to America soon. We sent her and Anna a care package that will be delivered by the end of the week. We are hoping to have our "10 Questions" for each girl answered. We asked if Mia already had an English name. Anna's English name is Anna so we kept it. We also know that Anna's favorite colors are pink, yellow, and blue. Her favorite foods are grapes and a Chinese fruit called lichi. I will have to look for these. I do know that the Chinese store carries them.

Mia's Best Friend, Benjie, and Mia





Thursday, September 13, 2012

Update is here for Mia!

We just received the update on Mia today. What a wait it has been. They sent us two photos and also a three page report on her. She is doing well and is healthy. She likes being outdoors and doing activities like mountain climbing, playing in the park, and dancing. She gets along well with her classmates and teachers. It says she likes toy cars and rag dolls. It says that she is cute and quiet. We love the information and the pictures. What a smile!!




Friday, September 7, 2012

This Month's Secret Pal Gift!

Our Secret Pal just sent us beautiful handmade hair bows, one for each of the girls, Mia and Anna. This will be the first of a two-part gift. I can't wait to see the girls wearing the beautiful bows. It seems hair bows, ribbons, headbands, and clips are making a huge comeback. Our Secret Pal reminded us that sometimes the girls in orphanages have their hair cut very, very, short either due to lice or it is easier for the caretakers. This will help the girls feel a little more like they fit in when they get to America. This is a very thoughtful gift. Thank you so much for such a sweet gift!

Monday, August 20, 2012

LOA Today!

Our agency called today to say that we had LOA. LOA stands for "Letter of Acceptance". Which means that all our paperwork has been approved by the Chinese government. We should be traveling in November! What a feeling! This means we really have to kick in hard with the fundraising and number crunching! The only thing that could have topped this was an update on Mia!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mia & Anna's Adoption Fundraiser! WOW!


The fundraiser was a huge success! We had the most beautiful volunteers show up for the evening. WOW! All of Claude and Ruthi Coats' daughters came all dressed up, long hair curled with head bands, brightly colored clothes that would fit right in with the 70's "flower power" child. A very good friend, Margie DuBois came early and didn't leave until she knew we were in good shape. She knows the church hall like the back of her hand. Our daughters, Jen and Julie, and grandsons, Austin (6) and Matthew (4) came early and stayed late! The little boys kept the girls busy with their "super hero" stories! Vicky was especially sweet and patient with the boys. The girls were so enthusiastic about there jobs and went right to it. Some of the other special highlights was when Morgan came in from walking down to Casey's for an ice cream cone and told Phil that he was going to be proud of her for giving someone directions on how to get here to the event. Phil later found out that Morgan had given directions to his mom and sister. Penny sat next to me at the ticket table and handed out "live auction" numbers and expertly wrote down their information. She welcomed everyone who came in and smiled so sweetly! She said she felt so important with a clipboard! Kate wanted to handle the raffle tickets and was so excited! She would get bored and get up to socialize but while she was gone someone would come up and Penny or Gracie would help them out! When Kate would come back they would tell her she had a customer. This went on for most of the night. Gracie sat quietly at the end of the ticket table. I would look over at her and she would give me her sweet little smile! Ruthi had Kim, Judy, and Addie helping her with the dessert table. They would help everyone pick out their desserts while flashing their smiles and showing their charm. They were a lot sweeter then the desserts!
Speaking of desserts, we had so many beautiful desserts from family, friends, and the community! There was a lemon meringue and coconut meringue pies, apple pies that were "heavenly", an ultimate lemon cake, key lime bundt cake, pecan pies, and all kinds of chocolate!
I think everyone got to go home with something either from the raffles, silent auction, or live auction. I had some of the younger kids pulling out names for the raffle and Kate ended up pulling out her own number. She was so excited! Those moments are what makes for a successful evening. We had so much fun!
The live auction was done by Joe Orwig. He has to be the best auctioneer in the country! He would "egg" them on and tease while the prices of things climbed! He played husbands against wives, bidders against bidders, and sisters against sisters (especially when it came to an IPod Touch).
Clean up went fast! The only hitch in the evening is when we went to lock up and had no key. We stopped by the home of a neighbor to call someone with a key and they came out to lock up. You can't think of everything!

Friday, August 3, 2012

This was sent to us today from our "Secret Pal"!

We received a special package today! Phil opened it and then gave me a call to let me know that we received something from our "Spring/Summer DTC Group". Once he got a good look at what was inside, he gave me a call and told me to stop off and pick up more Kleenexes because we were going to need them. He wouldn't tell me what was waiting for me at home, only that we received a package. The package had two handmade necklaces. And if that wasn't special enough, one necklace said "Big Sister" and the other "Little Sister" both in English and Chinese. And if you looked really closely, you could make out a map outline of China. Once I got home and saw them for myself, we were both crying and absolutely amazed at what we were looking at. We know that Mia and Anna will be our daughters, but to think about them as sisters comes to the forefront when you glimpse the necklaces. This special person was so detailed in this design. We love it and I know the girls will love it! Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

LID - July 9th!!!

One step closer for us to be,
we have gotten LID!
Hang on girls
were on our way.
It won't be long
for LOA!

We did receive notice from China that they received ALL our paperwork and have officially logged it in. The date that the Chinese government logged in our paperwork was on July 9th. Why is this so important? Because from July 9 we start the countdown for LOA (Letter Of Acceptance). This usually takes anywhere from 6 weeks to 4 months. I thought I had completed all the paperwork that we needed to have completed by the time we receive LOA so I wouldn't be scrambling at the last minute. I completed all the necessary paperwork and sent it to our agency to proofread. It was all okay. Now the Chinese government decided to add a new policy for families traveling after August 1, 2012. The demands were tight so we decided to fill out yet more paperwork and apply for our Visa's before August 1. We sent everything to Denise Hope to hand deliver our Visa's to the Chinese Consulate in Chicago on July 30th. We will see what happens from there. Now I truly believe that all the paperwork is complete until after LOA has been sent in. Why do we have to send in our LOA you ask? So we can be granted travel approval. Sound confusing? No, not at all (yeah right).
We also wanted to share a few more pics of the girls. 
"Anna"

"Mia"

Saturday, July 21, 2012

We Sold The Boat and Missed the HS Reunion!



Phil and I were preparing to go to Phil's 35th High School Reunion on Friday when we received a call about a half hour before we were to leave that someone wanted to come and look at the boat. We decided it was more important to take a chance on more money coming into Mia and Anna adoption account. We decided that we would arrive late for the reunion. We went right out and pulled the boat up in the driveway in order to show that it starts. Phil hooked up the water to the motor and went to turn the key only to find out that the batteries were dead. I went to get the extension cord and started to charge up the batteries when he noticed that the gas wasn't getting pumped into the engine. An o-ring had been replaced a week ago and we never tested it to see if it was going to work. Well guess what, as the guy was driving from 30 miles away we decided to call him to let him know that we couldn't get it started. He and his wife decided to come look at it anyway. Once they got here we talked for a while and the guys went back and forth on a price. Once the deal was made they tried hooking it up to their truck only to find out that the wire connections were both "female" and we had to cut off our connection to our truck and give him that one to splice into the boat end of the wire connection. From the time we received the call to the time when the boat was leaving our driveway took about two hours. We started picking up and putting things away when we noticed a part that was needed in order to hook up the water to the motor. Phil grabbed it and went racing down the road to catch them (in his truck). He caught them about 4 miles up the road at the stop sign. We ended up missing the reunion (Phil always wanted to go to a class reunion, but for some reason they never had any reunions officially set up before this one). We are happy the boat sold and we can continue to push forward. Phil's comment about the whole situation was, "God put those people in front of us for a reason. I'm glad we had said yes." I know he was really disappointed in missing his reunion. I also know that a lot of people enjoy seeing him and spending time with him. Maybe they will decide to have one every 5 years instead of every 35 years!  We knew there would be sacrifices and know that the smiling faces in the photos of Mia and Anna will all be worth it!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Our Auction was a success!

Last month we went through our house and anything that wasn't being used on a regular basis or needed for future use was put into an auction. Yes, even the tanning bed went. We sold guns, filing cabinets, desks, letter folder, baseball cards, kerosene heater, peanut dispenser, paper drill, light table, fishing stuff, dog kennel, just to name a few. We had almost 4 pages of items we sold at an auction yesterday. We really did quite well in spite of the temperature being over 100 degrees. It wasn't a surprise when our kerosene heater went for just $10.00. I am not sure what we were thinking! I am not sure what the tanning bed sold for yet, but based on what the heater sold for, I would guess about the same. We had a few people hanging around the filing cabinets the entire day and they were the last of our things to be auctioned off. We couldn't give these things away before the auction! The 4-drawer vertical filing cabinets went for over $100.00 a piece (we had four for sale). You can buy them new for this much. It's always amazing at what you think something is worth and what it actually sells for. Here are a few pictures of what we sold at our auction.




Friday, June 29, 2012


Doing The Chicken dance
We are now finally Dossier to China (DTC). This means that all of our paperwork was sent to China today. This has been such a long process. We thank God for getting us this far! We are that much closer to bring home our two innocent angels.
Please go to the link below and see Anna doing the chicken dance when she was with Asia. She is the tallest one who is on the right hand side. This is a must-see! 
http://asiahope.blogspot.com/2010/08/chicken-dance-mark-henry-jimmy-annaoh.html#links