An invisible red thread connects those that are destined to meet,regardless of time,place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break.~Ancient Chinese Proverb

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Her first and last Birthday alone....

On Sunday, our sweet baby girl turned 1.
What a bittersweet day. I think back to the first Birthday's of both of my Boys. Big parties with family and friends. Gifts galore, cake, balloons, the works.
Instead on this little girl's first Birthday, she spent the day in an Orphanage. Where I don't know how much she was held, how often she was fed, changed, and heck..I don't even know if the Orphanage workers even realized that it WAS her Birthday.
I thought about our sweet girl allday long. I prayed for her, that she may somehow feel the comfort and peace that I was sending her through my thoughts. I can't wait to hold her and make up for every single second that she was alone. We have alot of time to catch up on. Alot of kisses to give, alot of snuggles to get, alot of smiles to see and a BIG Birthday to make up for.
Today, we celebrated in our own way. We had a cake made for her. Lit a candle and made a wish for our sweet girl. We hoped and wished that she knows how loved she is and that she has a family coming for her.
We celebrated that night at one of our favorite Asian restaurants. This is the restaurant where I received the fortune cookie saying.." A pleasant surprise is in your future" just 3 days before we got the call about her file! So, it was obvious that this is where we would come to celebrate her special day. We were joined by some close friends who have known and supported us through our adoption since the very beginning. They are like family to us, and can't wait until she is here, in person, to celebrate with.

On this day, like many others, my mind drifted to another woman, on the other side of the world. My Daughter's birth mother. I will never know or meet this woman but yet I am so curious about her. I wonder if she remembered this special day. Did her heart ache? Does she look back on that day with sadness? Does she wonder about this little girl? I can't imagine having to give my sweet, tiny baby up at only a few days old. I don't think I would ever forget that day. I can't help but feel an overwhelming sadness for this lady, but an extreme gratitude for choosing LIFE for her sweet girl. Even though she would be uncertain of her Daughter's future, she gave her a chance..and for that, my heart overflows with appreciation and love.
My hope is that somehow, someway, this woman will feel peace when she thinks of the little girl she gave life to. I pray that she will feel contentment in her heart and believe that her girl has found a family who is able to care for her, the way that she was unable to. This is my prayer as our sweet girl turns 1.........

Happy Birthday, sweet one. Your last Birthday without the arms of a loving family.....

A Day to Give Thanks

This year, just as we have the last few years, we traveled to the Coast to spend Thanksgiving with my dear Grandparents. I grew up with them always nearby, and so to have them a state apart the last 10 years or so has been so hard. I miss not being able to hop in the car and see them in a matter of minutes. I love them both more than anything and can't imagine the day when I won't get to spend this Holiday with them. The Boys adore their G-G and Pop-Pop, and we are so fortunate to have them know their Great-Grandparents. My one hope is that Mia will get the chance to meet them both, and be held by them, too.
The day was beautiful. We played outside, swung, even played a little game of touch football in the backyard. The food was plentiful, and the company was even better.

I hope you all spent your Thanksgiving reflecting on the many blessings in YOUR life!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Finding a piece of her past....

When we accepted the file of our sweet girl, we were given as much information on her past as is known. We know where she was found, who found her, how she was found and how old she was when she was found. While this makes her WHO she is, we feel that some of those details should be kept private, shared with her at a later time. Something that we were told we may be able to locate was called a "Finding Ad". When children are found abandoned, the City issues what is called a "finding ad" in the newspaper. It is exactly what it sound like...a photo of the child, telling where the child was found, how old they approximate the child to be and asks for anyone who knows the relatives of this child to come forward. No one ever does. Because of China's "One Child Rule", parents are forced to give up their second child, or even their first, if it happens to be a girl or a child born with an impairment. Boys are preferred because they will one day work for the family and make money for them. A stigma is attached to those born with deformities or impairments and so those children are also cast aside. While we will never know the reason behind our girl's abandonment, we can assume that it was either gender related or more likely related to her cleft lip.Parents do not have the money it takes to repair this condition and so many cleft babies are found abandoned. Luckily for us, this is a VERY treatable condition, and one that IS afforded, due to the excellent medical coverage provided here in the States.
In my research, I was given the name of a man who was known for tracking down old archives and finding these ads for adoptive parents. While we have very little birth info on our girl, this would be something huge to have. I sent him an email with all of her information...where, when and how she was found...
later that day I had an email from him. He had found her finding ad..and could even provide me with the actual newspaper of that day!! What a gift!
Well, yesterday it arrived.
I'm not sure I was ready for the impact it would have on me.
Holding that newspaper...seeing her face...reading the details (yes, he translated it for me!)
I was overwhelmed with emotion. I hadn't hadn't really "ached" for her until now.
She was abandoned, found, given care, and now she has a family waiting to love her...She NEEDS to come home. She no longer deserves to be alone, waiting to be held, fed and loved on. She needs to be HERE, NOW..

While the way her life began, will not shape who she may offer her a glimpse one day into her past. After all, anything we can find of her is to be, info...anything..
We were fortunate that the City Orphanage had her cleft lip repaired around 9 months old. We feel that they were getting her " ready" to be presented to a family for possible adoption. Luckily for us, WE were the ones given her file in October. While we were told that she had had her lip repaired a month prior, and her photos indicated the surgery, we also received many photos of her before her surgery. While many people would shy away form looking at a cleft baby, I instantly fell in love that sweet big ole smile. I ached for her, because I knew of the difficulties that a cleft can bring, but I loved her just as much. Even though we have current photos now, and the difference is astonishing, I still find myself looking at her earlier photos..wanting to see her baby face. Studying every inch of her tender face. This is how I know that I was destined to be her Momma. Where most would see the imperfection, I see God's beauty at work..HIS design...and the sweetest face that pulls at my soul.I love her...cleft..or no cleft.
I love hearing our Boys talk about her photos. They have seen her baby pictures and know the difference in her appearance now, because of the surgery. I love hearing them point to her baby photo and say..."This is when Xin had a boo-boo on her lip". "And now the Doctors fixed it..But she still has a LITTLE boo boo..right??" They are so concerned for her..How did she eat? Did she hurt? Never judging...only concerned. They see that we are not all born perfect, but are just as deserving of love..
And LOVED, she IS......

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Abundant Blessings

Well, it's that time of year again. Time to reflect on all of the many blessings we have. It is my hope that we are raising thankful, gracious children, who know how truly blessed they are and to never take any of those blessings for granted. One way we remind ourselves of those blessings is by making a "Thankfulness Tree". We gather sticks from our yard, make paper leaves, and then write down our many blessings, and hang them on our tree. Hearing the Boys ramble on about the things that THEY are thankful for is amusing. Nick is thankful for clean water, while Alex is thankful for band-aids. Nick is thankful for healthy food while Alex is thankful for Legos. You can see where age and maturity come into play. But let's not forget...they are BOTH  thankful for IPADS!!!

We also celebrated Thanksgiving at Alex's preschool with a short program. He sang loudly and grinned from ear to ear..definitely this Momma's blessing!!! Afterwards, we got to make a small Blessing Feast.

Sometimes I am amazed at just HOW much God has provided us with. We are so fortunate for all that we have. What are your BLESSINGS??? I am so thankful for my loving husband, my 2 amazing sweet Boys, chocolate, our health, my Church, my Family, our car, our warm home, full bellies, water to bathe in, Girlfriends, Funny movies, my husbands wonderful job that allows us the privilege for me to stay home with our Boys, bountiful food, our beloved pooch, soft beds, the gift of adoption, excellent medical care, the sound of laughter, a loyal partner and most of all..a forgiving, merciful GOD, who is with me wherever I go.

It is my hope that each of you take the time to count YOUR blessings, share them with others and give THANKS to the ONE who makes it all possible....


Thursday, November 15, 2012

An Update and Pictures!!!

When you are adopting, the wait is dreadful!!! You WAIT to be "approved" to WAIT to be matched with your child..and then you WAIT to travel. I had heard how hard the wait between being matched and getting travel approval was, but I really had no idea...until recently. I have seen her face, started her bedroom, shopped for her, sent her care packages, pray for her daily..but I can't hold her.
Throughout the process you are told that you MAY get updates. Some are voluntarily given, some you have to search out..regardless of how you get them, they overwhelm you with joy, and give you a little "wind in your sail" during your wait.
Last week we found out that our dossier was finally Out Of Translation. This is good news and another step towards travel. If China had ANY questions or last minute doubts about us adopting our Daughter, this is where they would come into play..and we sailed through and are currently in the matching room where our file is being matched with hers. It will then be reviewed one last time and sent back to the States to our Agency. Even though this would seem like a pretty quick step, (I mean after all, it's been translated!), it still seems to take awhile to complete the review, just due to the back up of files waiting. They are estimating it can take another 5 weeks to get the coveted LOA we need to send to Customs. That would put us receiving it around Dec. 20th...103 days after being "logged in" with China. We are praying that it comes then (or sooner!) What a wonderful Christmas present! Then the remaining paperwork would move rather quickly and we would have a better idea of travel. I am thinking early this point
Now...onto this update!!
I woke up this morning to receive 4 new photos and updated measurements of our girl!! she is currently 17.6 lbs (not sure if this is WITH the 3 layered snowsuit on). Last month she was 14.7 lbs, so that is a big jump for a child in an orphanage, and one who has an open palate!! She also has made some major developmental jumps. Last month she was not able to sit on her own..this month..completely sitting unassisted and even looking like she is starting to crawl!! She has 4 teeth (2 up top, 2 on the bottom). She is described as a good eater, but does not ever smile.This makes me sad to hear. I wonder why she doesn't smile....In her earlier photos, before she had her cleft lip repaired, she was ALL smiles. Big ole grin. The cutest thing you have ever much personality. Ever since her surgery, the Nannies report that she doesn't smile. Is she sad? Does her lip still hurt from surgery? These are things that a Mother worries about. How I long to get a hold of her and MAKE her smile. You WILL smile, pretty girl!! I promise you!
Here is our girl!!!

I have never prayed for time to hurry up. For days, weeks and months to fly by...but I do now. I have 2 Boys who are at the cutest age right now. The things they are saying and doing are priceless. I should want to freeze time. Make it stand still. Instead I want to close my eyes, click my heels and fast forward to February, where we will be making plans to travel. Our family is just not complete with this sweet girl missing. Part of my heart is half way across the Ocean. I tear up every single time I glance at her photo.

TIME..........please fly!!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

What the HECK are we waiting for???

The question I get asked daily....."When do you get to go get your girl??"

Oh, if I only knew!! That is the million dollar question around here!

Now that we have found our Daughter, we are waiting on a VERY important document from China, know to us in the adoption world, as the LOA. This is the formal letter of acceptance from China for us to adopt Xin Xin. We need this document before we can apply to US Homeland Security for travel approval and for our Visas.

So..when is this LOA coming? The wait for this is one of the lengthiest parts of this process . (Except for us, who took almost a whopping 7 months to complete our dossier...yikes!!!). They tell us to prepare to wait 3 mos (90 days)from when your dossier is logged in, and if you are really unlucky, you will get to enter the "Century Club" where the wait takes over 100 days (we are desperately praying that this is NOT US!!).
We are currently on Day 65....YES, we are counting...
We are hoping for the LOA to come by 90 days, or early December. (But China....if you want to send it so!!)
Once we get this document, we have a few more steps that are fairly quick in timeframes to complete, before we get to board a 797 to China. Those last few steps to travel take about 2 mos.
When we do the math in our heads, we would optimistically love to travel in late February, but realize with potential delays, that it could be March.

And so, we wait patiently, faithfully and know that we will see her soon.

We also pray for updates on our little girl. Our agency will call the Orphanage for an update at Day 90 of our wait, or when we receive the LOA, whichever comes first. They cannot promise that the orphanage will comply and send an update. We just have to hope they will. We also are paying for her Sponsorship (care) in the Orphanage. They promised to give us an update every 4 months. We received one right after taking over her sponsorship in October, so that wouldnt mean we would get another one for that until February. That's a long time to see my girl.
I have had the priviledge of meeting several Moms on facebook who also have a little one waiting on them in the SAME orphanage. They will travel before us, and they have graciously offered to find our Daughter for us, while they tour the Orphanage, and get some photos for us!! One special friend has even offered to let me send her some special things and she will pack them and take them with her, to deliver to our Daughter. These are truly the best gifts we could receive during this process. The wait (especially without updates) is torture, and these friends get this....I absolutely promise to pay it forward to another Mom waiting , when it is our turn to travel.

And so..that is where we are, in a nutshell.....
waiting for LOA...

You will know when we receive this precious document!! You will hear me shouting from the rooftop!!

A Birthday Package, full of LOVE

This month our sweet girl will turn 1...

When I think of this Special Occasion, my heart is heavy and full. We so desperately wish that we were with her to celebrate this special day.
But, since that isn't possible, we did the next best thing...we sent her a care package.

For this package, we picked out a sweet pink 2 piece outfit (that just brought tears to my eyes every time i would look at it). Its just so pink and girly, and I can just SEE her wearing it. Even though she is adorable just  the way she is (drab orphanage clothes and all), she still needs some FRILLS!!

We also sent another disposable camera (hoping it will be filled with pictures!!), a Birthday Bib,another photo album introducing us as her new family, rattles, and snack treats.
We sent a large bag of goodies for the Nannies, including tea bags,rice cakes, ginger candies and some other yummies, suggested by a friend of mine, who happens to be Asian..(Thanks, Gina!!)

Brian's Mom and my Step-Parents also sent some lovies for her, just from them!

We hope that she will somehow feel the love that we have for her, when she receives our package. We hope that the Nannies will show her our photos and tell her how loved and wanted she is....

We promise, sweet girl, that these care packages, and "love in a box" will soon be a thing of the past. We are waiting patiently and faithfully, knowing that we will get to hold you in our arms soon...

we love you sweet girl!!!

Showering Mia

This weekend, I was blessed with a sweet Shower for Mia. I am so fortunate to have super supportive friends, who have rallied behind us, ever since we told them of our plans to adopt. They never once have asked us those dreadful questions, that others may ask.."Why don't you just have more of your OWN kids? Why don't you adopt HERE in the States?"...No questions...just unwavering support. The best quality you can find in a friend. And so, we gathered together on Saturday to celebrate the sweet little girl who is, in every since of the word, my Daughter.

It was a fun day, but also one I found to be bittersweet. Throughout this process, I have been flooded with all sorts of emotions. Some, I knew would come, Some, I was unaware of. On the day of the shower I found myself overcome with emotions. One one hand I was so extremely happy. I was laughing, celebrating with my friends and family. But then my mind would drift across the world, to the little girl at the center of this celebration..and my heart would begin to ache. I felt guilty for having this fun, while MY little girl, is so far away.
BUT......we must push these thoughts out of our head...and CELEBRATE!!!

And so, it was all things Asian.....the food (sushi, noodles, egg rolls and fortune cookies) was de-lish, games of passing things around with chopsticks, trying to find tiny tiny safety pins in a bowl of rice, with your eyes closed, and the old give up your safety pin if you say...MIA!! I won!! I was listening hard!!
It was a great day, and I left with SO MUCH stuff for our princess!!! Already spoiled...just as she should be!!!

Alex couldn't believe all of the things we came home with!!!

And so from all of us....THANK YOU!!!!!

Blessings, Angie

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


The quilt is done!!!
I am so humbled and honored by all those who graciously gave a square and a well wish for our sweet girl's quilt! I was able to collect way more than I expected!
My Mother in law was kind enough to offer to stitch the quilt for me. And so, I wrapped up the 100 squares, mailed them to her..and TA is the finished project!!!

It turned out just beautiful!!! I am so happy to have this treasure for Mia. When she is older we will explain the meaning of this quilt and read to her each well wish that came along from each square. It will be fun to flip through the book of wishes and help her hunt for the matching square. As I look at the finished project, I instantly recognize certain squares..and seeing them come together for this quilt makes my heart overflow with happiness.
Since we received MORE than 100 squares, my Mother-in-law is currently working on a second, much smaller lap quilt, which we can use on trips (like China!!!) and in her crib. I will post a photo of the second quilt once it is complete.

Again, thank you SO much for being part of this special labor of love...this sweet girl already has so many people that care for her!! We are so fortunate to have such amazing friends and family!



Yesterday, we bundled up and hit the polls to cast our VOTE!!

It was such a treat to take the Boys with me. We have spent the past month explaining to them how rules and laws are made, and how WE, as Americans, have the privilege and right to help decide on these laws, as well as our leaders. What a blessing that is! We explained how many people all over the world, live in places where they have NO voice, no say-so. People fought hard for us to have those rights, and we must never take them for granted.
It was so cute to see the Boys playing a friendly game of "Presidential Rivalry". All week they would banter with each other.."Mitt is going to win!!"..."NO! Obama is going to win!"..They have no idea about either candidate (and we are the kind of parents that feel it is best to KEEP it that way! They are children, after all!). Anyway, it was cute...they were split down the middle, as to who THEY were going to vote for. (Pretty much like our Country)..

And so, we cast Mom's vote...and headed back home..knowing that we would wake up to the results.
Regardless of your political stance, you HAD to be excited about this election! I found my stomach in knots as the votes were coming in. As hard as I tried, I just couldn't hang on to hear the results. That's OK....I had pleasant dreams, anyway...

The Boys were excited to wake up this morning and to find out if THEIR candidate had won. Obviously, one was really was not...

We explained that whether or not YOUR candidate won, we are still ONE nation under GOD indivisible, with LIBERTY and JUSTICE for ALL----and for that, we should be ETERNALLY grateful!! We have a voice!!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

While we wait......

While we are waiting for our sweet Mia, we thought it would be nice to document our wait and how excited we are for her to join our family, by doing a photo shoot.
A sweet friend of mine came over and took the photos at our home. The day was sunny, weather was beautiful, and our hearts were full of love...what a perfect day for these pictures!!!
We can;'t wait to look back on these pictures with Mia when she is older and show her just how much we were longing to have her here.....

Here are a few of my favorites!!

tRicKS anD TReAts.....

This past week we celebrated Halloween!!
The Boys love picking out their costumes. It wasn't any surprise when they both announced that hey wanted to be SUPERHEROS......of course...what else???

And so, they were Thor and SpiderMan...

Our Church does a trunk-or-treat, and so we decorated our car and gave out candy at Church. Our car theme was Jake and the Neverland of our favorite cartoons on the Disney channel. The Boys got into helping decorate the car and really enjoyed giving out candy. And yes....they made the rounds, too..and got PLENTY of candy, themselves...

Now listen folks...I realize that Halloween is now over, but we still have another Holiday BEFORE let's focus on that one!!! It seems that as soon as the pumpkins disappear..out come the Christmas trees.......noooo!!!! let's take this slow. I'm just not ready for Christmas yet. Let's celebrate these holidays in order...
And so this month in our house, we will spend the WHOLE month talking about Thanksgiving, and why we celebrate this holiday. It truly is the one month of the year that is devoted to family, gratefulness and giving blessings to others. So, why would we want to rush over it, just to get to tinsel and eggnog?? We all have so much to be thankful for...we should relish in it...for a whole 30 days!!!