Monday, August 25, 2008

The Mama's Perspective

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, 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: Hey...
Me: Hi!
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 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 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 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

One year ago today...

One year ago today we received news that we would be receiving a tremendous gift from God, TWO beautiful daughters. It is hard to believe it has been one year since we received the news (recapped below) and everything that has transpired since then. It is hard to put it all into words. But, I think the post from last September is a reminder of the excitement and the journey we had had since receiving the news on 8-24-07. (as you may recall, we had to wait to tell the world of our great news until we had pre-approval from the CCAA, that is why the date of the post announcing the news was 9-14-07).
Please re-read the big announcement. Our next big anniversary is in November, our one year anniversary of becoming a family!!!!

The photo above is of the girls a few weeks ago at the FTIA picnic with Maury, our wonderful coordinator, that helped make all of this happen. This was the first time we were able to meet Maury in person. Thanks again Maury!!!
On a side note, we are sitting here as a family (yes the girls should be in bed) watching the closing ceremony of the Olympics. You may recall from our travel blog that we had the opportunity to drive through the Olympic Village while in Beijing. It is amazing the differences a year makes...
Thanks for stopping in.

(Post from 9-14-08)

Yes, you read that right. TWINS!!!!

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

Nine Months Ago...

...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

Yes, that's me you hear crying...

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!)

Awww, here, they're just plain pretty!

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!