Sunday, March 20, 2011

Going to Journey to Me

I thought I was all set to go! I thought that once again I had out smarted the Ch*nese Govt! BUT I was wrong!
I have a VPN but can't get it to hook up anywhere ;-(

Wish they wouldn't have blocked the blogs. We need our friends back home and others that are adopting need to see what happens while on the adoption journey. Friends and families need to follow along BUT NOOOOoooooo that cannot happen as long as blogger is blocked.

I am sure that some of you could figure this out but I am technically challenged and don't have a clue what to do. So I have decided to problem solve and move while we are in China to -  click on journals and then click on "Our Journey to Ava Marie and Samuel Jacob"

I'm sorry friends that I couldn't figure it out but I need to journal this wonderful experience and share with those that are interested! 

It's therapeutic for me to write about the days activities, joys and challenges.

I hope that you can follow along with us on the Journey to Me site!

I am really going to miss not being able to see your blogs ;-(
I was planning to do that in the evening after the kids went to bed.
I will try to catch up once we are home!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

We're in Beijing!

We got to the airport on Thursday in time to find out that our flight was going to leave 4 hours late, which meant we would not make our connection in Seattle. They were able to rebook us on a flight that went from Chicago to Beijing! We arrived 2.5 hours later than originally planned and everything went as smooth as could be!! So very thankful!!

Today was spent visiting friends and the children at their care center!

This little guy is up for adoption! I hear he is on the CCAI waiting child list! He is as cute as can be!

So is this sweetie but I am not sure which agency or list. If you have seen her please let us know so we can get the word out! She is so cute, has a ton of hair and kissable cheeks!

Sarah loved all the babies! As soon as we left she said she wanted to go back again!

Jet lag set in during the late afternoon so we had to call it a day.
If you have not visited the Morning Star blog- please do- it is on my sidebar! It is so amazing to see these children who have been so sick, who would have surely died but are now thriving, joyful children waiting for families. Only God could have done this!

A day before leaving I came down with a cold. God was so good and took away the body aches but now it has turned into laryngitis- there is nothing left of my voice and we meet Ava and Sam in less than 48 hours. Please pray that my voice returns and that I am back to myself as soon as possible!

Thank you and God Bless you!

(Sally is blogging for me! Thank you Sally!! The VPN is not working- so bummed. Hoping it will work in GZ!)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Last Post From Home... Maybe!

I have never downloaded a video- so I am hoping this works out okay! Ava is in the front row in a pink jacket! Oh my- I love that little girl!! Her smile is contagious! Be still my heart!

Okay- you guys are hysterical- Iam lovin the van comments!  

I would happily advertise feminine hygiene products on the van for $500/ month - the older kids already won't go near it and the younger kids have no clue ;-)

The van is growing on me, kinda... Once we have 6 it will grow on me even more!!

Are we ready to go to China???

NO! Hubby hasn't even started packing but no worries- he says he can pack in 2 hours! Yikes, I hope so!

My oh my, things have changed- we were ultra ready for Anna... very ready for Sarah... ready for Emma and Ellie... ahhhhh, we'll be just fine this time! Ready?? When we leave for the airport we will be ready or not!!

The dog- Mia... has decided to eat some non edible item and throw up every hour. We're takin her in to the vet tomorrow morning, (since we have so much extra time on our hands... not)!

Johnny feels like he needs to take Vanna to school- as in carpool with umteen kids! Kinda like the clowns endlessly leaving the  VW beetle! I'm thinking I have perfectly installed all carseats and we should leave her as is... I am guessing I'm gonna lose this one!

Daylight savings time has not worked well for us- I was all excited to gain an hour until I found out we don't gain an hour- we lose one! Oh my I'm guessing I will not do well with gaining... how many hours... 13... or are we losing 13 hours?! Yikes, either way!

Hubby and I have started a new thing- instead of a written list of thing to do! I just endlessly call him and leave messages of items to add to the list!! We'll see if it works! ;-)

Okay- off to bed- tomorrow is a new day... the last full day and we have to be ready!!

Thank you for your prayers!! They are so appreciated!!
I will be blogging on my blog while in China. It may not work as well as hoped from the province capital but we will try!! Can't wait!! Anna says she will be a big sister to Ava and Sam... ahhh,  no Ava is older than you honey BUT you can help her learn English! Whatever!

I was not able to organize travel blogs this time. I am so sorry- just doin our best with all there is to do! Excited to meet some new families in China!! WooHooo!
Thank you Jesus!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Crazy and Wonderful!

This weekend was crazy and wonderful at the same time! We are trying to pack, get the house and the schedule ready and get all the paperwork. Johnny has two out of town soccer tournaments and spring break during the time we are gone. Everything needs to be worked out ahead of time- we will be for the most part unavailable.

This weekend he had an end of the season Basketball tourney- they won the championship!! 

Mark came home for part of his spring break and we celebrated Billy's b-day!

Anna only left her jammies in time for dinner!

WE picked up the VAN! I think we will name he Vanna (White ;-). After all she is a saVanna!
We are going to love it! It will allow us to bring home more children and ride comfortably!! My heart has changed to being grateful! The kids are very excited and we already have Ava and Sam's carseat in there!!

When we got to the dealership- Hubby looked at the van in front of ours and said "Oh Honey, they added some green paint to it and now they are selling sandwiches from it! Ha- very funny!!

Everybody is starting to get used to the idea that SHE is OURS!

On Sunday evening we celebrated Billy's B-day. It's on Tuesday but that is much too close to the big travel day for me- so we got together on the weekend instead while Mark was home!

The girls are always so thrilled to see Mark! He is a novelty since he is at college and rarely gets home.
He is such a kid at heart but after awhile they wear him down!

It is so heartwarming to have the kids home! We were missing big bro Matt and Caitlin. Wish they could have been here but they are on Colorado.

We all sat in the porch and chatted and played! It's our favorite gathering place!
It's so nice to have this time before we leave for China!

Happy 23rd Birthday Billy! 
We love you!!

The weekend was wonderful but crazy busy!
I wouldn't have changed a thing!
Thank you Jesus!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Families Traveling to China!?!

Do you know of anyone that is in China now or will be traveling soon? I'd love to list blogs of traveling families on my sidebar!

I hope to meet some bloggy friends while we are there!

Please leave the name of the blog in the comment section and I will post the list!

Thank you!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

No Guarantees!

As we prepare to bring Sam and Ava home I am reminded of the fact that these two children do not know each other... at all!

Last time we adopted two that knew each other very well- bio sibs. We were shocked at how they easily pushed each other aside for love and attention. All blood ties went out the window in order to obtain a premier spot in their new family. 

It was sad. At the same time neither could stand it if the other was hurting... It was a conglomeration of emotions intertwined and very tangled...

What will we see this time as we greet 2 children that could care less about each other?
I really don't know what to expect but my mind is continuously thinking of the different scenarios that could become our reality.

To us it is perfect! Two darling children wanting and needing a family! two parents passionate about the children, eager to welcome more into our home!

Why would I think it would go smoothly? Why would we even dream that they may remotely like each other? Why would I ever think they will even understand what exactly is going on? Two kids? Are these new parents going to choose between us??

Children in China know at a young age that boys are preferred and yet our Sam has not had an easy life.  Boys with disabilities are the lowest of the low. Chances of us even knowing his current health status are slim. We have not been able to get an update on him for quite awhile. 

Ava is in a small foster/orphanage setting. We believe she has been moved round quite a bit but have recently heard she is happy with her latest home.

There is going to be a plethora of feelings! Initially and throughout our time in China.

There are a few things we know-
Two adorable children are about to get a family!
They need a family, a future, love, health care and healthy food!
They need to be free to be children and to get an education!
They need to know their Savior- Jesus!

So despite the challenges that are ahead- 
Through God's blessings we can give them what they need and we can show they what it means to have a family, to have love and to have faith!

Please pray for them, for us, for the challenges and uncertainties that are ahead of all of us.
Please pray that God's presence will be evident and felt.
That we will feel his comfort in times of stress and need.
That we will walk with Him every step of the way!
Please pray for our sweet new children as this will be one of the most stressful things they have ever been through- after all who on earth are these crazy lookin people (us)!
(Sarah, Emma and Ellie still talk about it- let's face it- we are scary to orphans from China!)

Their are no guarantees in life and certainly none in adoption. We deeply thank you for your prayers. We know our heavenly Father will hear them and help our sweet children as they begin a journey like no other.

Praying that you two can like and accept each other and in time will learn to love one another!

(this is a younger pics of Sam)


We have our itinerary!! WoooHoooo!!

3/17- leave for China (Happy St Patricks Day)

3/18- 9:00pm arrive in Beijing

3/19- Visit friends in Beijing! Hopefully see an acrobats show in the evening!

3/20- Fly to Zhengzhou

3/21- GOTCHA day! 

3/22- Complete adoption!

3/23- Free Day/Optional tours

3/24- Free day/ Optional tours

3/25- Receive passports and off to GZ!!

3/26- White Swan BKF! Physicals and Visa Photos

3/27- Organize paperwork/ Free day

3/28- TB test read/ Free day

3/29- Free Day/ Optional tours

3/30- Consulate Appt!

3/31- 9:00pm Leave GZ for LAX. Layover and try to sleep!

4/1- Flight from LA to MSP! Home Sweet Home!! 

We are leaving 6 days! There is still so much to do- packing, preparing for the sitter, packing, yadda yadda yadda.
Since we have been to China a few times and seen the tourist type things we hope to do fun things with the kids on of free/optional days. If you have any ideas of things to do in Zhengzhou or GZ- please mention them in the comment section!

I was just thinking the other night- of course it was in the middle of the night that I got thinking and didn't fall back asleep- what if they went ahead and gave Sam the surgery we asked them not to. It is completely possible- they don't always listen to the perspective parents. We asked our agency to inquire about it- so hopefully we will have an answer before we leave. We may be bringing pull ups instead of ostomy supplies?

This is what we have so far for the boys room. The pic is just resting on the headboard. We need to do the finishing touches BUT to be honest that will happen once we get back! Right now we just need to focus on getting to China and getting home! And just an FYI those are waves on the night stands NOT scallops! Waves are much more manly! 

The double bed works great for guests but at some point we will be putting bunks in here, too! How many? Dunno?

We are coming to get you Ava and Sam!! Can't wait!

Okay- it's back to work for me!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Church Van...

The time is near. The church van is just about ready for us to pick up. I'm struggling with it, a little. Okay, okay, I'll be honest- a lot! Yes, it's nice and all. We have put a few upgrades in it but some things they just couldn't do to it. Like the sun roof or larger tires, or a heated steering wheel and the list goes on! 

It will fit our ever growing family BUT there is not one thing about it that is cool. 
I guess that is okay. I wasn't cool before so why should I be cool now!

My family... mainly the older kids are having quite a good time laughing at me and have made it very clear they will not be riding in it... because they are too busy laughing.

When I tell friends I usually say- go ahead laugh, it's okay. I can handle it... and then they go right ahead and laugh.

Just wait people when our little treasures come pouring out of that thing! Your gonna wish you had one too... filled with little treasures!

Friday or Saturday I'll be sayin goodbye to the Yukon XL and hello to the church van!

sniff, sniff

Monday, March 7, 2011

Do You Fear Different Disabilities?

I most certainly do!
I see them listed and immediately say no.
We/I cannot do that. Not interested in that one. It's not a fit for our family. The older children would struggle with it...

I have heard myself say this over and over again.
I am not too proud to say that I am scared to meet our new children.
Within moments of meeting Sam we will have to talk about and see his colostomy- it is not a pretty sight.
I have learned how to care for it and I'm sure I will have at least two hot flashes while changing the bag... There will be a lot of trial and error on my part. And probably a fair amount of dirty clothes due to my lack of expertise. I can only hope it will be bonding!

Do you think you can't handle it? Well, your probably right... you can't...

But God can! He can give you the tools you need to be able to handle it and to be successful at it!

It may be the best journey of your life!

It is so interesting, some of the disabilities that are on the waiting child lists I have thought were easy and yet I have had to rely on God way more than I thought I would have had to... 
Others, that were an immediate no and we have been able to deal with just fine. 

Yes, we have mourned and felt sad for our children's situations BUT loving them and being able to cope have come much easier than expected through prayer.

Don't try to out think yourself. YOUR child may have a disability that you thought you couldn't cope with- don't miss out on God's plan for your family! Step out in faith!
There is only one person that knows YOU better than you know yourself- trust HIM, He will not let you down!

He has a GREAT plan for you!!
A plan that will bring you closer to what HE has intended you to be!
Step out of your comfort zone!
Live life with reckless abandon and put your full trust in him!
It's an awesome ride!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Birthday Girl!

Today was Sarah's birthday! She has been talking about it for months and counting down the days!!
It began with us going to a pancake breakfast for our local girls soccer team.

Our friend Kelsey brought out pancakes with candles in them! The whole soccer team sand Happy Birthday to her!

Kelsey Is Karen's daughter. Karen will watch the kids while we are in China! All of our girls love them- they are like family!

Then we ran a few China errands and got balloons!

In the afternoon we where off to a multi cultural adoption celebration through CHSFS- the agency that we used for the four girls!

We ran  into a group of friends that we traveled with when we brought anna home. I didn't get a pic because Anna was feeling shy but it was so fun to see them and their beautiful children!

In the evening we all went out to dinner at Sarah's favorite restaurant!

We all had a wonderful time!

I can't believe Sarah is already 11 yrs old. The time has gone too fast.
She is an incredible daughter!
Such a blessing!

She is a wonderful big sister! She enjoys helping around the house! She is patient and kind ti her younger sibs and adores the older sibs!

I think she had a wonderful day today!

Emma and Ellie can hardly wait until their b-day. It was during our flight home from China last July and they had no clue what was going on.

She loved her presents! Earings, am. girl doll clothes, an outfit and a scooter!

And a watch from Katie!
Anntie Barb gave her a gift card to Claires! They plan to go shopping together and out for lunch!

Happy 11th Birthday sweet girl!

How did God know that you would be a perfect fit for our family!
You have brought us so much joy!

We love you so much!

Who knew that only 11 candles would cause that much smoke!

We hope you had a fantastic Birthday!

Friday, March 4, 2011

It is what it is...

We had our big appointment today. The one with the neuropsychologist. The one we have been waiting for- the appointment that was to going to give us all the answers.

For a moment I wondered if I really wanted to know all the answers- sometimes maybe, it's good to live with possibilities not answers.

The Dr. was excellent. Both girls were tested, it was pretty painless (they were glad there were no shots)!

There was no rocket science diagnosis, no quick fix and nothing that was completely shocking.

Basically the girls currently have low IQs and language delays. As we know IQs can change and language can be learned! It is most likely due to their previous environmental issues - malnutrition, neglect and no prenatal care.

So, now that we have this information what do we do?
Exactly what we have been doing. The girls are making forward progress in everything- so keep doing it. 
They have been home 8 months. Give them more time to learn the necessary skills. 

We both feel comfortable that the girls will improve when we return to the Doctor 6 months from now.

Our plan-
We will check into the school district for next year regarding special services BUT we will not stop homeschooling. We believe they are way better off with homeschooling. We may do a few hours a day of special services- maybe or maybe not, we will see? 

We have two beautiful daughters that love having a forever family, they love to be loved and valued, they love to learn even if it is at a slower pace, they are happy and always skipping around the house.
We are blessed to have them in our family! They are a precious gift from God!! We are so thankful they are ours!

This has been a journey that I never expected to be on. This is one journey that was planned by HIM! God is calling the shots and we go where he leads us! Wonder where he is going to take us next!?!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

CA and Waiting Children!

WE have CA!!! Wooo Hooo! More info on travel coming soon!!

Does this sweet girl remind you of anybody??

To me - she looks so much like our dear Sarah!

In fact she is even named Sara!

She is 9 years old and she is a waiting child.

There are so many children that are waiting!

Please hop over to our friend Annie's blog and see them!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Waiting for CA, The Bunk Beds and a BIG win in Phoenix!

No CA yet. I have been hovering over my emails in hopes it would arrive. They are expecting it tomorrow. 
I am just so grateful to God that we are heading to China to get these two darlins!!

The three sets of bunks are all set up and almost ready!
We still need to get a quilt on Ava's bed but will get that done soon. So are you thinking green on her bed... or pink... or green with polkas dots... or pink with polka dots?? Now you are understanding why it takes me longer than most to get anything done! We get the chamois duvets from PBK and they are so soft and easy to make- which is necessary when dealing with bunk beds! The bunk beds are from Hayneedle dot com and are very reasonably priced!

Samuel will sleep in the blue bed on the left and Sarah will be above him. Ava is straight ahead and Emma is above her. Ellie is on the top over to the right and Anna is under her!

I mentioned to them that they could split up into different rooms if they wanted too and they all shouted NO!

We had to take out the reading chair- there just wasn't enough room. To be honest- we can't fit enough kids on it anymore anyways. It has moved to the playroom.

When I read to the children I usually sit on the floor and two sit next to me and two sit behind me and look over my shoulder. Not sure what the new sitting arrangement will be with 6 but it always seems to work out! Sarah is also reading to the kids now, too! She does a great job and is very proud of herself!

The boy room is in progress. I am painting a stripe around the room... not sure how it is going to turn out? So I'm thinking even if it doesn't turn out good feel free to lie to me and say it's wonderful! ;-)

You know it will be boy(s) in there soooo if your boys are like my boys - they won't even notice how good it is or isn't!

I forgot to mention two weeks ago when we were in Phoenix for a soccer tournament- our team won! The whole thing! Pretty cool!!

The boys were thrilled! It was a big tournament to win!

As you can see they are jumping for joy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What do ya think?

I think they will love them! The boys shoes light up! The girls sparkle day and night!

I am so excited for these two pairs of shoes to be filled!!

Oh my, am I busy!
I am running around like a crazy woman trying to get things done! I went to pack Ava and Sam and they didn't have enough clothes for even the time in China! Back to the store I go!

I may have already said this but Hubby, Sarah and I will be traveling. Emma, Ellie and Anna (and Johnny) will be staying at home with a friend/ sitter. They know Karen very well and love her. We anticipate things going pretty smoothly- other than everyone missing each other. I am sure we will have challenges as we transition back home with two new little ones.

No more matching clothes! Well maybe a little BUT very little! Just can't get myself that organized or spend the money! We are getting to the point where we are happy if we have gotten out of our jammies and into our clothes for the day, let alone matching. 

Sarah is all packed. ME? you ask? that is a process! Hubby says he can be packed in less than two hours... I just want to know, how do they do that?

Over a month ago we thought we had the rooms all figured out. All the kids would sleep in one room and we would have another room designated as the boys room. But then we got side tracked- we wanted to move to a home and a yard that fit this family of ours. After a few declined offers we decided it just wasn't meant to be and we are once again clamoring to get the rooms done! It is a little this and that and that and this right now- I have some painting to get done like yesterday but hopefully they will look better soon!

Wish I could show you a finished room right now BUT I can't! Next week- hopefully!