Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Only TWO more days until Happy Birthday Jesus!!!! Abby is SOOO very excited. But, not for Santa. Nope, not for presents. And no, not even for yummy holiday food. She's pumped because she gets "Happy Birthday Jesus cake." She has been asking for His cake for days now!
I'm just giddy. For the first time since childhood, I have that twinkling, fluttery feeling inside. Every Christmas is special. Last year was super special because it was with my girls for the first time. But this year is different. Abby and Laney get it. They get the idea behind it. Yeah, yeah, Santa and all that jazz...but Jesus' story too. At least they get it at a two (soon-to-be-three) year old level. It has been such fun!
Next year might be downright perfect though, when some family that is out of town returns. We'll all be together and we will all be TOTALLY be pumped. :) We miss them terribly.
Don't forget to celebrate Jesus' birthday. This holiday is, afterall, all about Him! Hug your family tight and thank Jesus for them. And don't forget to pray for those who have nothing to celebrate. They might not have family (nearby) or the money to celebrate. Or they might not know the love of our God (yet). Pray for those kiddos who won't let themselves get excited because they are expecting disappointment. Pray for those kiddos who do not have families to call their own. Especially for those kiddos. Christmas is just another day on the calendar for them. Nothing special. Please pray for them. Thank you for being faithful!
OK, ok, I'm super emotional right now, can you tell??? We'll post again after our fun celebrations. I just wanted to take a minute to pop on here and with you the merriest of Christmases!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Today I'm thankful that one of my kiddos has had this flu/virus thingy. OK, not exactly THANKFUL, but glad I got to be the one to take care of her.
Laney started out Tuesday night not eating dinner. Um, hello? Something has to be wrong, my Mama's intuition told me. Then, Tony pulled her on his lap whereupon her lunch made it's first reappearance. Mama's intuition kept going off saying, "Nope, this isn't the last we've seen of beef and noodles." Heheh. She got sick a few more times that evening, but then was just sluggish.
The reason I'm thankful is because Laney is our little independent one. From day one, she's kind of kept us at arm's length. Now mind you, she's randomly told us a thousand times that she loves us and hugs all over us, etc. She even told me she really missed me after spending their first night at Mimi's house. Just what a Mama wants to hear! But when she is sick or stubborn, she seems kind of aloof. (My mom says she has an old soul that can see right through you...I agree!) Well, on Tuesday night, after the third clothing change, she crawled up in my lap to snuggle. It was downright lovely. We watched Charlie Brown and just enjoyed each other.
Fortunately, we had a snow, or rather ice day, on Wednesday so I got to stay home with both cuties all day. It was great. They were both in good moods and we played and played. When they asked if they had to go to the sitter and I said no, Abby said, "We stay here with you, Mama?" and I said yes. Laney said, "That makes me happy." Awwww, melt this mother's heart! Heheh, then Abby added, "It makes me happy too!!!!" Not to be left out!
Now, I'm NOT so thankful that now Tony has this same bug. He was sick all night last night so it was all me getting the girls ready to go to the sitter today. We have five minutes till we absolutely had to be out the door and Laney started complaining about her tummy again. After many tears and no evidence of her tummy hurting, this Mama had to go to work. My mother-in-law (a.k.a. savior today) came and took over for a bit before heading to work. I feel bad...maybe Laney just wanted to stay home together again. I wish I could have. I was a bit snappy with her because of the time and situation. Looking back, she was probably just trying to get us to stay home. Bummer. I wish I could have.
Only one more day girls. Mama has only one more day at school then TWO WEEKS we get to spend together!
I'm excited. I miss them when I'm not with them. NOT that they don't drive me nuts, but that's their job right? To just be two smart, beautiful, ornery kids. Oh Father in heaven, I am SO thankful for them.
Finally, I'm thankful I'm from a family and set of friends that pray for us. Please pray that Tony gets well (he went to work late b/c he had MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR meetings today he had to be at...ugh) and that Abby and I avoid this bug. I see a major Lysol coating coming!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I'm tired of some people thinking I'm just another person with a "passion" that they'll humor listening to for a while. I'm tired of some people thinking that yes, my girls were orphans at one point, but that now they're not so we should move on. I'm tired of some people thinking that this orphan business doesn't affect their lives, so why should it matter? I'm tired of some people thinking I'll get bored with this and move on to something else. I'm tired of some people thinking they'd rather donate money to buy a child locally a toy, instead of donating blankets in Russia, or a heart surgery to save a life. Who said it was an either/or question? Why not do both? A child is a child. They all need us.
And bigger than that, we need them. We need them to know the love of God. A God so huge he cares enough orchestrate events to help us with employment. A God so huge he cares enough to pave the way for for a future surgeon to help heal an ailing loved one. A God huge enough to unite families that lived on two separate continents and several oceans apart. This is MY God. This is YOUR God. Aren't we blessed?
I'm SO blessed that I try do what God says. I try to be a good child. Am I perfect? No. Do I stumble? Yes. Fortunately my God loves me unconditionally and picks me up each time. He knows I try. One way I try is by following his instructions. James 1:27 says, Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. I can do that. I can't do much, but I CAN look after orphans. It doesn't mean adopt every child (though I would if He told me to!), it just means be faithful by them. As a friend of mine Linny typed, "Till my last breath" I want to know I have done all I can for those children that are the face of MY children.
I'm tired of a lot...but I'm thankful for a lot too. I'm thankful for the beatiful family God raised me in and blessed me with. I am thankful for the Godly man I am married to. I'm thankful for his Godly family as well. I'm thankful for my perfect children that not only God created in His image, but that He loaned them to me! I'm thankful for a loving and supportive family who understands the needs out there and are willing to follow me (or my blog) to the ends of the earth while I try to do what I can. I'm thankful for friends who listen to my endless hopes, dreams, and wishes and challenge me to try. I am just so stinkin' thankful.
Regarding God's command...it's hard to wrap our minds around that ridiculous number of 143,000,000 orphans that there are worldwide. Here's a YouTube video to watch to help us get a handle on it. It's time my friends, to get real.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Friday, December 05, 2008
Ok, a great new blogger friend Linny (and her family) just got approval to bring their two newest cuties home from Uganda!!!!!!! YAY GOD! You will SO want to check out their story! They are living, breathing testimonies of God's word!
You'll be home soon Elisabeth and Elijah!
Ok friends and family...do you think Laney and Abby are ready for a sister or brother? How about from Africa? (Yes, I just gave Tony another gray hair!)
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Look at the artwork - it is incredible.
Monday, November 17, 2008
OK...I promise I won't get all emotional...I won't get all nostalgic...I won't gush...I won't...I promise...oh, who am I kidding?!
A year ago tomorrow (actually, in Ch*na time it was just a few hours from now) our lives changed forever. We became the parents to two gorgeous, smart, opinionated, challening, joyous, dramatic, lovable, ticklish, perfect daughters. Our labor room was a chilly, wooden-clad room on an upper floor of the Civil Affairs Office in Nanchang, Ch*na. Our doctors were a petite agency guide and the director and assistant director of the girls' SWI. Our videographer and photographer was two wonderful women we met while on this adventure, who would later meet their daughter and niece in that same room.
There were tears, there was a camera rolling, there was rapid-fire Mandrin being spoken where all we could understand was Mama and Baba. Mama and Baba. Our new names. Forever Mama and Baba. The girls did not know it yet, but they were so loved, so prayed for, so wanted. All they knew was when they woke up that morning, it was business as usual...then their world turned upside down.
We have been enjoying this time of celebration with the girls. Since it is our first anniversary as a family, we wanted it to be special. This weekend, we had both sets of grandparents over and we ate Chinese food and watched our Ch*na videos. It was the first time either set of grandparents had ever seen them. Abby sat riveted to the screen. Laney, chose to play. When I asked her if she remembered Ch*na, she said yes. When I asked her what she remembered, she said, "I don't want to remember." It's ok baby. You don't have to.
Everyone had fun though. We all celebrated and loved on these two little ones till we thought our hearts would burst. Thank our Lord Almighty we had such a good reason to celebrate. We have been so blessed!
Tomorrow just Mama and Baba have some special things planned for the girls. I'm not promising every year will be this elaborate, but we wanted a first anniversary to remember.
Stay tuned because we will be doing a final update to the website we used when we traveled. We will be sure to link it for you as long as you promise to sign the guestbook there. It will be posted in the next week or so.
Ok, I promised not to get too emotional. So I better go. :)
Happy one year family anniversary baby girls! It is a day forever etched in our minds. Thank you God for giving us these girls.
(If you want to read what we posted on this day a year ago, click here.)
Friday, November 14, 2008
Last night I stood up and stretched. My whole body was tired. As I surveyed the damage in the living room, I started to cry. It was one year ago on November 13 that Tony and I were furiously packing for our biggest adventure yet. The next morning at we would head to the airport to fly to
Last year on this very night, our house was spotless. Someone before that day had casually said to take a picture of our clean house now, because it would never be the same. That was the understatement of the year! Last night, there were dolls, and monster trucks, and Magna-Doodles, and other miscellaneous toys strewn about. I had to step carefully to avoid falling over. Yes, we should have picked them up, but why? It was evidence that we had two little gorgeous, smart, funny, dramatic little girls sleeping down the hall.
Last year, we packed what we thought a two year old would want to play with. We packed snacks we hoped they’d eat so they'd never feel hungry. We packed a bottle in case they needed it. We packed blankets to snuggle with and feel secure. We packed clothes to help them feel warm. We packed pajamas with feet to help them feel secure. The invisible things we packed were fears, anticipation, love, expectations, joy, intimidation, passion, God’s security, prayers, and family.
Last night we softly walked down the hall toward the girls’ room. They were both snuggled under their blankets that we chose for them. Tony and I just looked at each other. It seemed so surreal. A year ago, we looked around our house, and specifically, their room to try and visualize what it would be like. We would try to picture these two little bodies in their beds dreaming of wonderful things. Never, in a million years, had we imagined it this good.
A year ago, on the morning of our biggest adventure, our families came to take us to the airport. They had shuffled out the suitcases and Tony and I stood in our kitchen and looked at each other. I said, “You realize that when we walk out that door, we leave as a couple…but we return as a family.” A year later, that family is the most important thing in my life.
Follow the beginning of our story by clicking here. We will definitely post more as our anniversary of Family Day approaches. We have several special things planned for the girls and our family this weekend and next week. We’ll let you in on our joy and celebration!
Buckle up…memory lane tends to get a bit bumpy!
Monday, November 10, 2008
So...please read Sarah's blog. It explains what our church is doing and how you can help!
If you love our girls (and I KNOW YOU DO) then hop over to her blog and see what impact you can make in the life of an orphan!
(Stay tuned...I'll give you an update on how the project is going! Also, soon we'll be celebrating our ONEYEAR ANNIVERSARY as a family...yep, I'm crying already!)
Monday, November 03, 2008
Life was good with Laney until the top of the pumpkin came off. Then she was all girl and grossed out!
With Abby, the messier the better! She was fascinated with the colors and textures!
Friday, October 31, 2008
Ok, you NEED, NEED, NEED to read this blog: The Journey
It is about an amazing young woman who...well...you're just going to have to go and read it. She's simply amazing. And I am WAY humbled by how God is using her. I know it may seem long, but go back to 2007 when she started it. Who am I kidding? You'll read two posts and want to go back just to get the full story.
IF you do your homework and read this blog (notice I said, IF) then I'll reward you with pictures of the girls' first pumpkin carving experiences and Halloween. Ok, now go and do your assignment!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
- Abby's all-time favorite song is "Five Little Monkeys" and she sings it with such joy and enthusiasm, that one cannot help but sing along, She LOVES the part where the doctor says, "NO MORE MONKEYS JUMPING ON THE BED!" and we know she loves it because it is often recited at level 10 volume and with such inflection. It's a riot. That's not even the best part though. The best part is when she says doctor. All you hear is the "ct" part. Ok, say doctor aloud. The "ct" part sounds throaty and German. Like a "kt". Well she gets into it and you hear, "Mama called the "kt-r" and the "kt-r" said...you know the rest. Tony and I were in TEARS the other day at this little Chinese American girl in our backseat emphatically singing this song sounding SO German! If I can figure out how to upload a video, we'll post it. You, too, will laugh.
- Another Abby-ism. The girls both want to take a turn praying before lunch and bedtime. Well, Laney got smart and asks to pray first for lunch. She figures she'll get to eat sometime that same day if she prays first. See, Abby is our little preacher. She's a walking-talking-two-year-old Holy Spirit. She prays...and is SO thankful for everything. Her prayers are about 10 minutes long (ok, I exaggerate, but they're long). At bedtime, she always says, "Thank you Jesus for my bamily (family). Thank you for Doug, Theresa, Evelyn, Carter, Jessica, Jiselle, Mickey Mouse, Tigger, Gigi, Mimi..." You get the picture. Sometimes, even Mama and Baba get remembered! And I say she's a little Holy Spirit because she convicts you if you forget a part of your prayer. When Tony and I pray before or after them, Abby always chastises us if we forget to say thank you for our family. Goodness, that little sweetheart. She is amazing and I pray that she, and Laney, grow up into powerful women of God. God's gotta be thrilled that she's showing us the way already!
- How's Laney doing, you might ask? I'll share two Laney-isms. Of course the girls are two, AND sisters so they're bound to argue. Well, when they fight, we have been dealing with a four letter word flying from their mouths. (I KNOW! And I was just talking about how holy they are!) Well, this four letter word is "MINE!" So, Tony and I have been responding, "No, now, mine is an ugly word. We do not use that here. Besides, that toy (doll, etc.) isn't 'mine', it's ours! We share!" Oh that Laney-Mei. She uses that against us at every opportunity. The other day Tony had some candy or something and she reached for it. He said, "No, Laney, that's mine." She immediately responded, "No Baba, it's not mine, it's OURS!" HOW the world can you argue with that?
- She has also been surprising us with some of her newly learned manners. She is getting really good at asking politely for something, or to do something. She will sweetly say "May I sit there?" or "May I help you LaLa?" or "May I have that please?" She especially turns on the charm when it's something she wants and was told she couldn't have. We're in big trouble with that girl. She's two, remember?
- Life in the big girl beds is slowly taking shape. When Tony took off the side of Laney's crib, she yelled, "Oh no! Baba broke the bed!" :) I'll be honest, when we set the cribs up (ok, Tony set them up, I cried) I was really sweating it. Everyone gave us horror stories. Now, mind you, I'm not naive. I know that there will be a time we'll smack ourselves for not leaving them in cribs till they're 20, but for now, it has been great. In the mornings when they wake up, how great is it to just yell, "Good morning! Come in Mama and Baba's bed!" and NOT get up? And bless their hearts. Other than that first night of telling them not to get out of bed without letting us know, we haven't mentioned it. Well, Abby chucked her glow worm out the other day and would NOT get out of bed to get it. So I just told her, no, you threw it out, so it's out. (I didn't remind her that she could get up to get it.) Laney just told her, "La La, Baby Bug is sleeping on the floor tonight!" And tonight, it was too funny because one of them was yelling from their room, "Where is my ribbon blanket?" I told them to look for it, and within a minute we heard in a sing-song voice "Ribbon blanket, where aaaarrrrreeee youuuuu?" Yep, we both laughed aloud. How cute is that?
Here's Abby showing off her big girl bed!
- Tony wanted me to document that Laney is becoming more and more like her Mama. The other day when he was taking them to the sitter (which he does every day--gets them dressed too! THANK YOU LORD, for this man) they pulled up to a stoplight. Well, evidently Laney thought they had waited long enough and yelled, "GO Baba!" He had to explain how he had to wait until the light turned green. Hehe, so she doesn't have the patience of a saint, neither do I!
- One last thing. The girls are starting to get that they were born in China. Occasionally we'll ask them where they were born and they'll say, "In a airplane. Baba got sick" Heheh. Yeah, well.... :) But recently, when a friend of ours, Patti, had her mom and dad here, the girls really took to them. At church this past weekend, they asked for hugs from the girls because they were going home. I told Abby they had to drive back home to Canada, where they are from. She looked at me funny, so I asked her, where are you from? She said, "China!" YAY! And if you ask Laney where she lives now, she'll say, "In-knee-ana" YAY!
Laney LOVES the little rails on her bed! Abby's bed style didn't have them. Good thing both beds are low to the ground!
Well, that's it for now. We'll have more to post soon because we're slowly approaching the one year anniversary for our Family Day. The day God chose to unite us in China. I am super emotional about it, and about everything tonight, so it's good that I'm not posting about it. I'd be a blubbering fool. I just wanted to get these fun, growing up moments down on paper. :)
Abby came out of the restroom the other day looking like this. Can you see what's a little off in this picture? Yes, yes, the belly is adorable and kissable! However, look closer. She put her jeans on backwards! To some of you, big deal, but in our family, it's a hoot! The girls' Aunt Nae Nae use to do that when she was younger. If she had jeans on that didn't have front pockets, she'd problem solve! Turn those babies around! I immediately had to snap a picture for Renee! Love you Renee!
Monday, October 20, 2008
Well, this is my first time of playing "Blogger Tag". I guess we will have to see how I do. I was tagged by JEN, at to list 7 random/weird facts about myself. Oh my, I feel so vulnerable!
1. I LOVE avocados! I would eat them like apples if the outside wasn't so yucky!
2. I know just about every line to the movie, "Pretty Woman"--sad, huh?
3. My underclothes MUST match my outer clothes! :)
4. I would secretly love to be a speaker at conferences. About what? Not sure, so guess that won't work!
5. My alarm is set for 5:15, but I don't get up until 6:30 (or whenever the girls get me up) and I STILL run late!
6. I'm ultra competitive and spoiled, therefore I cheat. I cheat at checkers, Monopoly, and whatever game I'm challenged in. Anyone up for some UNO?
7. I am obsessed with my daughters looking nice! No, I mean it. I need therapy, I swear!
Ok, there they are. Seven revealing facts about yours truly! Now, my goal is to get Tony to do this too.
So now I must tag 7 others..............
Sarah-Are We There Yet?
April-Miles and Miles to Mylei
Beth-Not of This World
Robin-Journey to Lyra
Vickie-Expanding our Family
Mary Mia-Salsa in China
Melissa-It's All About Caitlyn
Friday, October 10, 2008
Ok, I took some adorable pics of the girls enjoying some popsicles a few days ago, but those can be saved for chilly day in December. We have some way better pics to share.
We are lucky enough to have traveled to China with several wonderful families We have stayed in contact with several of them and really treasure their friendships. One family, Scott and Tina Ferrell were traveling to bring home their second daughter when we went to China! It was so nice to have their expertise in Guangzhou. They hooked us up with a laundry service, and they showed us the path to the cheap, wait, affordable squeaky shoes!
More than that, they've been available to listen to our questions, and rejoice in our victories. Well, their greatness doesn't end there. They also just happen to be phenomenal photogs! Since they were traveling to Indy (from Ohio) to do several other photo shoots, they offered to stop by and snap some pics of the girls and catch up. The slide show you see below are those pics. Some are posed, some are just spur-of-the-moment shots. Honestly, I love them. If I didn't, you'd never see them. I usually hate myself in pics, but there's just something about being in a picture with my family. My girls. My husband. It helps ease the self-loathing.
So, thank you Scott and Tina! We had big fun playing at the park with you. We need to do it more often! Want to see their other work? Check out: http://capturedmemoriesphotography.zenfolio.com/
(To the family---you WILL get copies!!! Relax!!!)
If it doesn't load, click "View all pictures" you'll see them there.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
A few weeks ago I received a call from our Congressman's office. The gentleman on the line said that Congressman Pence had nominated us to be recognized as Angels in Adoption through the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. As a result, we were invited to D.C. to attend a series of events and be recognized as Angels in Adoption along with about 179 others from across the United States. Since we had about a week or two to plan for the trip we spent a ton of time on the web researching flights, hotels and etc... We finally decided to drive (the Jeep got an impressive 22 mpg, not bad for an "evil gas guzzler" SUV) and stay over on the way there and way back.
We made the trek there and we stayed at the Hyatt on Capitol Hill per a recommendation from Debbie in the Congressman's office. It was a perfect place to stay. We could see Union Station from our hotel and when we walked out the front door we could see the Capitol Building. This was convenient because all of our events took place in the general area (and Union Station had plenty of shopping and food all within walking distance).
We arrived on Sunday and walked around the area and ate at Union Station. On Monday we took an open air double decker bus tour. We were able to see all the sights in a very convenient way. On Monday afternoon we learned that there was a change in venue for the Monday evening event that we had planned to attend. Unfortunately, due to the change, we could not bring the girls. But it all worked out for the best. Our good friends Tony and Treva took a train in to D.C. from Baltimore to have dinner with us. We had a great time and we appreciate them taking the time to do this.
On the bus getting ready for the tour.
On Tuesday we took a cab to the Hart Senate Office Building where the main event was held where all of the Angels were to receive their certificate and pin. This too ended up being changed to another location, luckily to the Russel Senate Office Building next door. As a result, we were able to cruise around two Senate office buildings (and the tunnels below them). The event was fun and the girls were very well behaved.
The tour of the Capitol Building was great. It was nice having a personal tour with just two other families. We met the Congressman on the steps of the Capitol for photos. Once inside he took us on part of the tour. Cool stuff!! We were able to sit in the gallery of the House chambers and watch the debate on the proposed offshore drilling bill. We were able to see and learn many unique things about the Capitol.
On the way out we had a brush with a celebrity, sort of... Everyone was very nice and held doors for us since we were pushing a double stroller with sleeping twins. As we exited the Capitol some nice people held the door for us. When we arrived at the bottom of the ramp, Ryan, the Congressman's staffer, asked if we saw who held the door open for us? We said no, we were trying to get the girls maneuvered out the door. He informed us that Jeff Gordon (the driver of the #24 Dupont Chevrolet) held the door open for us! I hopped on a nascar website later and there was a story about Gordon being at the Capitol Building that same day...it was Jeff Gordon.
The trip was great and the recognition was an honor! Thank you Congressman Pence. Although the girls may not remember the trip, we took tons of pictures and we will tell them about the royal treatment they received when they get older.
Shifting gears...we have some other exciting news. Last Friday we went to Indy to our home study agency. We met with them so they could complete our final post placement report. It is due on the date we met the girls so we had to meet now so the report could be generated, translated and sent to China. It is hard to believe it has almost been a year with the girls!
Below are some photos of our trip. Enjoy. We promise to provide the next update in a more timely manner. Thanks for stopping in...
The girls wondering what the big deal is...a bunch of old buildings?
The trip is fun, but we like the simple things in life like a good book.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Mama and Baba asked us to pop on here and let you know that we're all still living. Well, duh Baba! They said something about life being very busy and so that's why they have been lazy, wait, they didn't say lazy, they said distracted and haven't blogged. We do have to admit that we have been keeping them on their toes. We're spotting new things to get into daily, and we aren't exactly the best listeners when they tell us "No." We have also let them in on our little secret...we can talk...um, lots. We are chatting so much it wears their ears out, they say. So, I guess that's why they haven't blogged. They fall asleep minutes after they think we have!
Right now we're in this place called Washington, D.C. Baba is not feeling too well, but he sure is happy to be here. He said something about it being special to us, now that we're Americans. Mama parked our stroller on this side walk in front of a building called "The Capitol" and Baba took a picture. I'm sure when they post you'll see how excited WE are to be here. All I know is they promised us a vacation and all we have gotten to do is ride in a car! We learned really fast how to get them to let us out of the car though. We took turns yelling, "Mama! My tummy hurts!" or "Baba, POTTY!!!!" The louder you yell it, or the sadder you sound, the faster they stop that Jeep! It gives us a few minutes to stretch our legs and get a snack usually! DO NOT tell them we told you about this!
Ok, well, it's late. Baba is in bed snoring. Pray he feels better soon. He wants to be here so badly, and we just hope he gets to enjoy it. Tomorrow Mama said we get to go to a White House. Not sure why it's white. White is so boring. We prefer everything in pink. A pink house. Now wouldn't that be nice?
Hugs to you, from us!
Abby and Laney
P.S. Thank you Mimi for feeding Kyler! And thank you Jordan and Ben, for playing with her and spending time at our house! We'll be home soon!
Monday, August 25, 2008
First of all...please read the post below! Tony posted all about what a special day yesterday was for us. After you read that and comment, come back and read this!
OK, so yesterday marked the one year anniversary since we got our first ultrasound picture (ok, actual pictures) of our amazing daughters. Since this is our first (of many) anniversaries of this special day, I HAD to give my perspective of how that day went. You all already know Tony got the news while driving home from Indy (HOW he managed to keep the car on the road, I'll never know!) So now it's my turn to tell you about how my day went the day I found out about our sweeties!
Tony and I knew that we might be getting a call from Maury, our coordinator, regarding a kiddo. We also knew that there might be a possibility we would not be able to accept that child's referral (medical condition, etc.). So needless to say, we were a bundle of nerves for about two weeks before we got, "The Call".
We had just gotten back from a wonderful vacation, and I had started school. If I'm going to be honest, then I must tell you, I was suffering some all-time lows about the wait for our child. I knew the end result would be worth it, and I had given the entire situation to God...um, about a hundred times, because I kept taking it back. So, when school started, I was just glad to be doing something to take my mind off of the empty nursery.
So I am in my classroom just teaching away. Thankfully, I left my cell phone on (heheh, actually, I forgot to turn it off). When it rung, I dove toward my desk to shut if off. The sixth graders in class thought it was funny though. So I looked, first, to see who it was. When I saw Tony's name and number show up, I asked one of my co-teachers to watch the class while I stepped out into the hall. (THANKS Lauren!)
When I answered, my heart jumped because I KNEW this had to be it. Here's how it went...
(As close to the real convo as I can get)
Tony: How are you (or something to this equivalent)
Me: Um, ok...where are you? Did Maury call?
Tony: On my way home from Indy, and yes
Me: And? Tony, you're killing me here...
Tony: She said there's a unique situation.
Me: Unique? Huh? How?
Tony: They have twins.
Me: Oh my gosh...oh my gosh...
Blah blah blah...here we both got a little choked up...I asked a few q's about the girls and he gave me the basics of what he knew (age, medicals, etc.)
Me: Have you seen their information? (Mind you, I'm trying SO hard not to freak, faint, or cry)
Tony: No, she's emailing it to you.
Me: OH MY GOSH...to my school account? This is for real...
Tony: I have a Dr.'s appointment at 2:20 anyway, so I can take their paperwork with me for him to look at. Can you print it off and I'll swing by and get it?
Me: Um, yeah...OH MY GOSH...twins...
Tony: Yeah....twins! I'll be by shortly.
Me: Ok, I love you.
Tony: I love you too.
(How about that Dr.'s appointment? Tony was feeling sick so he had scheduled it before we ever got the call! Can we say "God orchestrated"!?!?!?
I stumbled back into my classroom in a daze. My students were still there. What in the world? I just whispered to Lauren (co-teacher) that Tony got the call from our agency. I told her I needed to check my email. She kept right on teaching like a champ.
My knees were literally knocking as I sat at my desk to pull up my email. When I saw our coordinator's name appear with her email, my heart literally was in my throat. I opened her email and read the text. Then I did what I was most nervous about. I started opening the attached pictures. I did NOT want to fall in love with these kiddos. I wanted to be objective. I wanted to be fair.
When Zhuang LuLa's picture first appeared, I think I gasped. I know I cried. One of my students caught my eye and said, "Mrs. Foster, did you just see your daughter's picture for the first time?" She's a great little girl. I winked, and said, "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Well, it was too late. Zhuang LuLa, and then Zhuang LuMei had stolen my heart. Here were two little girls on the other side of the planet that had NO idea that a Mama was just born.
Tony got to school and I met him in the hall downstairs. I took a deep breath and asked him if he wanted to see the pics. He said yes and when I revealed them, he grinned. His guarded, but loving heart melted too. "Cuties..." he whispered. From there, he was off to the doctor.
Although we weren't supposed to share the news (good grief, I had only had their information 10 minutes) I just HAD to call my mom! She cried! I cried! What a mess!
I immediately called my principal who was very understanding and let me leave early. (Thanks again Lauren, for covering my class!) I was able to buzz across town to go to Tony's appointment. They let me go right back to the office where Tony was sitting alone. I breathlessly asked him if he had shown the files to the doctor and he he said yes. He said the doctor said they looked good. It didn't matter...by this time we knew those girls were meant to be ours.
We stood in the parking lot and hugged and cried. We shared the news with a few immediate family members (China didn't even know us at this point). We immediately got working on our LOI (Letter of Intent) saying we wanted to adopt these beautiful girls. And then, we set about the business of naming our second daughter.
So much more happened that Friday, and the days that followed, but it's best saved for our family memories. I let you in on a lotof my emotions, actions, and thoughts from that day. What an amazing day. One of the best memories was sharing the news with my MIL, Kyna. We showed her Abby (she cried) and then when we got to Laney, she said, "We get both? Both little girls are ours?" Yes, Kyna. They're ours. Forever.
Those sad-faced little girls so many miles from us would soon become Abrielle LuLa and Delaney LuMei. We would work our hardest to get them smiling and loving life and God.
So, my friends. Where were you, what were YOU doing when you found out we had twins?
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Meet Abrielle LuLa (Zhaung Lu La) and Delaney LuMei (Zhaung Lu Mei).
Abby and Laney were born January 2nd, 2006 and currently reside in the Yifeng SWI in Jiangxi Province. Hopefully they will be home with us by the end of this year.
On Friday, August 24th, I was driving back from a workshop in Crawfordsville. I left early because I was not feeling well and was able to schedule a 2:20 Dr. appointment. While cruising along I-70 in downtown Indianapolis I received a call from our FTIA (Families Thru International Adoption) coordinator, Maury (she is great by the way). Maury said "Tony, we have a unique situation." I said ok, having no clue what she was going to say next.
She said "we have twins".
The rest is history.
This was truly a God thing. Maury immediately emailed the girls' files to us. Rett downloaded their files and I picked them up on the way back from Indy. Since I had a Dr. appointment, I then took the files to my Dr. and he reviewed their files. Everything looked good. (We would not have cared if there was an issue, they are our girls and will do whatever it takes to take care of them.)
This was perfect timing. Our next step was to send in "Letters of Intent" (LOI) and other documents which required our explanation of medical review of their files. The letters, which were tweaked a couple of times since twins are rare and FTIA wanted everything to be perfect, were submitted to the CCAA (China Center for Adoption Affairs) on August 30th, one day after my Mom's birthday. (We still owe Mom a birthday gift, we kind of lost all focus after getting that call.)
Then the wait began, AGAIN!!!! We needed to wait for pre-approval from the CCAA to be assured that they would allow us to adopt the girls. FTIA said it could be 3 to 10 weeks for pre-approval. We recieved pre-approval today, only 16 days later!!!!!
We let the cat out of the bag and told a few people (family) what was going on....we were supposed to keep it quiet until our LOI was submitted and pre-approval was received.
So, now more waiting again. Next is Letter of Approval, then travel approval then we travel. Best case scenario, we meet our girls face to face in December. Worst case scenario, we meet our girls the 1st of 2008.
God continues to work. Rett found additional pictures of our girls on a Yahoo Groups site for their orphanage. We have been in contact with a very nice man that posted some of the photos and even has video footage of our girls. He saw them earlier this year when he visited their orphanage when picking up his daughter. Imagine that, we see our girls' faces for the first time, and two weeks later find someone (in the New England area) who has held our daughters.
With all of this said, we definitely appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers. Please keep them coming. We still have mounds of paperwork ahead of us, travel preparation, travel, meeting our girls, getting them to like us and starting our lives with them. We cannot wait.
Now, a few more pictures (aren't you glad that I like to post pictures?) of the world's cutest little girls...If you want to see more photos, you will have to track us down. We will be happy to share them with you. Thank for stopping by.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
...we officially became a family of four!!
It's true, time flies when you're having fun!
It seems like we've been a family for so much longer than that though!
That's because we were! God was knitting our hearts together from even before the girls were born! We serve a mighty God!
We love you baby girls!!!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Uugh, school starts tomorrow. Two teacher days, then the students come. Don't get me wrong. I have a great job. Heck, I even like it most days. But I do love my girls more. I will miss them so much. Luckily, they'll be going to a good friend's house for some fun and lovin'.
Blech, school starts tomorrow. Here are some pics to cheer me (and you, now) up.
Here the girls are being silly in their "princess" dresses. (Princess according to them - but I agree!)
This was our first ever board game type game. We played "Memory". It was big fun, actually. Laney caught on pretty quickly, but would get irritated if she didn't get a match. So she'd turn her two cards over, then quickly grab a third to see if it matched! Abby caught on too, but at first she always turned over the same two Laney did. SURELY they became matches in the 0.67 seconds since Laney flipped them over! Ahh well, at least we practiced taking turns!
One cute little Olympic side note. First of all, the opening ceremonies were AWESOME! We taped it, yup, VHS style. Hope the girls can still play that when they get older. But anyway, tonight, gymnastics were on. The girls watched for about a minute (the floor exercises) and immediately dropped down and started doing tumbles and dancing. I couldn't get the video camera out fast enough, DANG! Or as they say in China, DANG!
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Ok, more catching up to do...
This, my friends, is a Barbie Jeep. It's all awash in pink, purple, and lime green. It's quite the ride, if you ask me. It also comes standard with a real working radio!
Well, the girls didn't know what to think the next day when they got to ride in it. Yes, the NEXT day because the stinkin' battery takes 16 some hours to charge! How horrible for a parent, I mean kid to have to wait all that time!!!
So we rolled it out into the yard, put the girls in, explained how it worked, blah, blah, blah. On to the cuteness...
Aren't they stylin' in their new set of wheels? This, by the way, is how you will almost always see the girls sitting. Laney prefers for Abby to drive. Why? I'm totally unsure because THIS is how Abby drives...
She ALWAYS gets distracted and doesn't pay attention to where she's going!
Drives while having a death grip on the windshield...NOT the wheel...
She is playing with the radio. (Which is pretty cool by the way) But look, Laney is totally unfazed! Do you want to know why Laney is totally cool with her sister's crazy driving habits? It's because she's figured out how to push the gas herself...from the passenger's seat. She lets Abby FEEL like she's in control, all the while, knowing she can take her own foot off the gas pedal to avoid certain danger! HA!
Hindsight? The wheel is too stiff for them to turn, so we look quite comical chasing them down as they try to maneuver it. Maybe we should have waited.
"That was the most expensive radio I have ever purchased."
Monday, July 21, 2008
Ok, did you get my Will Smith throwback? I used to love this song. Truth be told, I still do. It reminds me of how much fun summer is. However, I must say it has been way more fun this year.
Well, settle in, my friends. This might end up a long post. We have lots to report!
We were blessed to take a nice family vacation to Tennessee this summer. It was the first time we had taken the girls on a big adventure since China. What's funny is, we packed WAY more for this five-day trip than we did for China. We should have imposed weight limits!
Here the girls are just getting acquainted with the water. Aren't they the cutest?
Behind Robby and Ally's Jeep...getting closer!
Our cabin home.
--Side note #2--Bless the girls' hearts. Every time we got in the car they'd say, "Home?" Sometimes you could tell they were hoping we would say yes, and other times you could tell they were hoping we'd say no. But it was cute. By the end of the trip, they were calling our cabin their "Cabin home".
While we were there we did some shopping and the girls shopped like champs. At the Disney outlet, Tony had them pick out a stuffed animal (great, just what they need!) and Laney picked out a Tigger (after some serious contemplation about how disappointed Mickey Mouse would be if she left him behind). Abby, happily chose Mickey Mouse over the pyramid of characters. This made Laney both happy to see him come home with us, and stressed because she knew she couldn't get her hands on that Mickey rightfully because Abby had chosen him. What I thought would be just another stuffed animal has developed into beloved friends. They snuggle with them in their beds and they went everywhere with us on vacation. Good call, Baba!
Ok, before I launch into the next part of our trip, I have to clarify. We do NOT mind when friends, family, or friends of friends, or friends of family ask us the following questions. It was just tough because we were stopped at least fifty times by total strangers. And the questions are not always asked politely or as innocently by these strangers. You'll see why it wore us down after you read on...Other than the relaxing time of shopping and sightseeing, we did participate in a rather new sport with our family. It was called Chinese Twin Spotting. These are the rules: if you see a set of Chinese twins you're supposed to stare intensely as you pass. If the twins or the parents do not feel your stare enough, find your husband and child and circle around to look at them again. Extra points are earned if you can stop in the middle of a store and, while staring, you get to see the twin girls do something cute like yell for the thousandth time, "What IS IT?" as they point to yet ANOTHER stuffed black bear. Can you guess which players we are in this game?
It is perfectly acceptable to approach said twins (and family) and proceed to ask the pre-approved list of questions. In no particular order, they include:
- Are they twins?
- How long have you had them?
- Where are they from?
- How old are they?
- Do they speak English?
- What are their names?
- Are they identical?
- Yes. (That's why I painstakingly dress them alike)
- We've been a family for 8 months. (Had them? Like new shoes? Good grief!)
- China. (No need to name province, they have NO idea.)
- Two and a half (Pretend to smile as they say, "That's what I figured!")
- Yes they speak English. (Didn't you hear them say "What IS IT?" Or "Potty Baba!" when you were staring at us two aisles ago?
- They usually ask the girls their names, to which the girls stare or reply LaLa or MeiMei. Talk about totally confusing. All this does is prolong a conversation I hoped would end 10 minutes ago
- No, they're not identical. (To which they reply, "Are you sure? They sure look alike." We acknowledge that they do, and reassure them they're not identical.)
Ok, so please don't get me wrong. I LOVE that our girls are so adorable and that we appear friendly enough for everyone to approach, but it does get tiresome. I love that our girls are cute enough you don't want to take your eyes off them. We can't take our eyes off them either! (Hehehe, for other reasons too!) We have had only a couple of inappropriate comments, thankfully, and I worry about that. It isn't a problem right now because the girls pretty much ignore them, but I do worry about what it will be like as they get older.
If it were someone who wanted to know about them because they were adopting or someone in their family was adopting, we would be thrilled to launch into their story. We are proud adoptive parents! And the girls will be proud of their story too, hopefully. But we know there will come a time when they just want to be regular kids enjoying their family vacation.One really neat thing was that we ran into a large group of girls (and boys) that appeared to be adopted. What tipped us off? The kids appeared Chinese and they were all shopping with Caucasian males whom they referred to as Dad. Well, one father stopped us and asked about the girls. He explained the big group he was with was an adoptive group from 12 years ago. The kids were all 13 and each year the group reunites and vacations together. The girls were all from Nanning, China. How cool is that? They were beautiful (and the boys handsome) and looked like they were having a good time. The moms had taken a day trip to the Biltmore and so it was up to the dads to corral the kids. They were all so friendly and interested in where the girls were from. Now THAT was a great experience!
We made the long trek home and it went well. I have to admit, at one point, the girls were singing so loud and I was suffering from some serious car sickness. About 15 miles south of here when we stopped to refuel, I jumped out of the car and asked my in-laws to ride with them the rest of the way home. Mama needed silence. I mean, it's not all roses and rainbows all the time here, right?
Overall, the trip was pretty darn near perfect. The girls were jewels and we had a great time sharing a special place that Tony and I had come to love as a couple. Now we celebrated there as a family.
Next post...NEW Jeep and FTIA reunion picnic!