The BEST Birthday Gift

May 28th, 2010

Merrie

Life has been so incredibly busy over the past two weeks.  We’ve hardly seen Warren as he’s had a major project at work requiring early mornings and late nights.  Miah and I have been busy, too, helping Grandma out as she recovers from her knee surgery, running errands, and chauffeuring her to PT, etc.  But it’s fun to help out, because that includes collecting the eggs, watering her flowers, and reading books with Grandma.

So it was nice to have some family time, with Daddy, for my birthday, and a helper to blow out the candle before heading up to bed.  (We were too full from dinner to eat any cake.)

Oh, and one of my “gifts” was an email from our agency saying our Article *5 had been picked up from the consulate and sent to the CC*AA!  We can expect them to issue our TA now anywhere from 2-6 weeks.  So we are finally in the last stages of our wait!

Then today I got a belated gift.  UPDATES!!  Here is our dear Ami.  She has grown so much since her initial information 6 months ago.  She is in the 5th-10th% for size, which is consistent with her earlier reports, so that is good.  (That may seem small, but many of these children are not even on the charts, especially if they are cleft babies.)  For comparison, at this age, Miah was 3″ taller and 3# heavier.  Upon seeing Ami’s pictures, Miah said, “She looks sad.”  And later, “Can we go get her, Mom?”  (As in, NOW!)  It’s hard for us to wait, too, Miah.  And, Ami, thank-you for the new pictures.  We’re coming as soon as we can!

Ami

Dreaming of Diving

May 22nd, 2010

shells

It’s happened.  Miah has figured out how to open the drawers to one of the shell cabinets.  She loves playing with the shells (can’t blame her), lining them up, organizing them, etc.  I guess I should take advantage of this teaching opportunity.  It probably wouldn’t take much for her to learn their scientific names.  She already asks me the names of the different varieties.  And being the little organizer that she is, they all go back in the drawers they came out of when I ask her to put them away!  This is a tiger cowrie, by the way, or cypraea tigris, that we found in Guam.  Judging by the size of it, I’m thinking it was found off Orote Point, Shark’s Pit area.

shells2

This week has been a busy one.  Mom/Grandma had total knee replacement, so we’ve been spending a bit of time visiting her in rehab at the hospital.  We (I should say, Warren) have also been busy painting a couple rooms in her house while she’s not there.  Miah really loves her Grandma, and is anxious to see her back on her feet!  Get Well Soon!

gma2

Posted in Family, Life, Miah | No Comments »

Dear Ami,

May 20th, 2010

I’ve been wanting to share more about our journey to Ami, but I’m just not finding any time to spend on our blog.  The following was written for Ami’s lifebook over a month ago.  Since I haven’t shared much here, I’ll post this as (hopefully) the first installment with more details to come.

Xue'er2

3/13/10            Dear Xue’er, (This was before we chose the name, Ami)

I’m sitting here in the sunshine thinking of you far across the ocean.  Daddy and Miah are taking a nap upstairs.  We wonder what you are doing right now, and wish we could come to bring you home faster, but we have to wait on all the paper work.  We love you and miss you so much, even though you don’t know about us yet.  We pray for you several times a day, and we know that God and your guardian angels are watching over you even though we can’t be there.  You also have nannies who love you and take care of you the best they can, but they are very busy with a lot of little children to take care of.

It has been one month since we found out about you.  But we’ve been praying for you longer than that.  When we traveled to bring Miah, your jie jie home, we thought that we’d like to come back to China again for her little sister.  After we’d been home with Miah for a little over a year, we started all the paperwork and background checks for another little girl in China.  It took us almost eight months before we got our LID (log-in-date, Dossier to China).  We wanted everything to move faster, but we trusted God’s timing so that we would be matched with just the right child for our family.  Only God knew that was you, so we waited patiently and kept praying for you, and wondered if you had been born yet.  In October, you were born.  This was while we were in the middle of “paper chasing”.

A few days after you were born, your “tummy mommy” left you where someone would find you and take you to an orphanage.  You had an opening on your lip and mouth that made it hard for you to eat.  I am sure she loved you and wanted to take care of you, but most of the people in China are very poor, and they probably couldn’t afford to get you the surgeries that you needed.

On the other side of the world, we decided we wanted to adopt a little girl who needed surgery.  We waited a few months to make sure we had enough money in the bank, and we spent that time researching different needs that babies in China might have.  Then we signed up with the Wait*ing Child program.  (This program is for older children and for children who have medical needs, or are harder to place.) But we still weren’t very specific in our application.

In November, you were now a year old, your orphanage took your picture and prepared paperwork for you to be adopted.  Shortly after this was about the time that I, your Mommy, started feeling an urgency to be more specific on our paperwork.  (It was also the time that Miah stopped sleeping through the night -for about a four month period- and I found myself with lots of wakeful hours during the night as I helped her get back to sleep.  Many of those hours were spent talking with God in prayer.)  We had checked lots of “maybe”s on the list, and a few “yes”es, but we wanted to be able to review the referral before “locking-in” a file.  We found one we were interested in, but someone else beat us to it.  Our agency showed us another one, but we decided that was not the right child for us.  Unfortunately with the needs we were willing to consider, and for a girl under two years old, there were other people who were locking-in their files faster than the time we needed to review them.

In January we decided to make some changes on the WC application, and we set up a doctor appointment to go over the list with him so we could make these changes.  Then we heard a new shared list was coming out before our appointment with the doctor.  We let our family coordinator at our agency know our intent, and we changed some of the “maybe”s to “yes”es, but we couldn’t sign the “statement of strong preference” (for our agency to lock in a child’s file for us before we reviewed it*) until we met with the doctor.

[*Different agencies deal with this differently.  Some agencies make the matches for you, others let you view the file before making a decision.  Our Christian agency is very ethical and will only make a match (lock a file) for you if you sign a “statement of strong preference” of what needs you will accept.]

The list came out.  We got no calls.  We met with the doctor.  We were preparing to sign the “statement” for the next group of referrals.  (They come about once a month.) We got a call from our agency, and they had locked-in your file for us, on a gut-feeling (“God-feeling”), realizing this was our intent, even without our signed statement, and we had no obligation to proceed with the referral.  We viewed your file and agreed to proceed, especially because of the way this had all happened.  It felt like God had dropped this referral in our lap. We got the call at 7:00 p.m. (10:00 p.m. in our agency’s time zone). We had less than 24 hours to get a doctor’s review, write a Request and Nurture Plan for you, and submit other paperwork for our Electronic Acceptance (EA, also called LOI, Letter of Intent)Technically one has 48 hours to accept a locked-in file before it will be “taken” from you and made available to others.  We don’t know how much time had transpired between our agency locking the file and us receiving the call.  We were entering a weekend, and this was also the Eve of Chinese New Year, when everyone at the CC*AA would be going on vacation.  Also, our agency needed time to electronically submit our paperwork before the deadline, so that’s why they requested our information in a shorter length of time. I stayed up most of the night preparing paperwork.

(On a side note, earlier that week I had written on my FB status, “Looking forward to what this week will bring”.  I haven’t spent any time on FB, nor updated my status since.)

It is so good to have assurance from God that He is in control here, and that YOU are meant for THIS FAMILY.  I’ve never been a “date” person, but:  You share a birthday with Aunty Tisha.  We got your referral call on Aunty Nancy’s birthday.  And we got our PA (pre-approval) on March 5th, the same date that, three years earlier, we received Miah’s referral call.  I’m doing everything I can to make our travel dates sooner rather than later, but for the most part it is totally out of our control.  Again, we’ve just got to trust God, and know you are in his care.


Posted in Adoption, Ami | 2 Comments »

Our Wild Side

May 15th, 2010

grouse1

Aren’t these photographs spectacular?!

grouse

We were amazed at how close this grouse let Warren get to him.  It was a real treat watching him strut his stuff and listening to his booming call.  He was definitely sticking to his territory.

grouse2

The past three weeks we’ve gone morel hunting (successfully) in an undisclosed location around these parts.  That is where we encountered the grouse, and also these geese with their goslings.

goslings

A week later, in the same location, we saw them again, with all eight goslings.  They seem to have grown a bit.

goslings1

Much to Miah’s delight, we also encountered snow.

LWsnow

And I better post these pictures from last month’s excursion to Oregon.

cows

We all enjoyed seeing the new calf, and watching him outrun poor Sundance.

cows1

Miah also enjoyed getting to feed Ruby again.  It was a fun weekend.

cows2

Posted in Life, Miah | No Comments »

Has It Really Been Three Years?

May 7th, 2010

Gotcha01

May 8, 2007 was a life-changing day for our family.  It’s amazing to see how far Miah has come, from an inconsolable 9 month old, to a fun and happy 3 1/2 year old.

Gotcha04

Thankfully, her distress on Day 1 didn’t last beyond the Civil Affairs Office.

Gotcha02

Gotcha03

Miah loves to look at our China pictures and tell us her version of her story, basically what she’s heard us tell her, with this one added point:  When she sees photos of Warren and I “pre-Miah,” her comment is, “Mommy and Daddy were looking for Baby Miah.”

Gotcha05

Yes, honey, we were.  And now we’re looking for Baby Ami.

Xue'er1

Posted in Adoption, Miah | 1 Comment »