Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hoops, Touchdowns and Travel . . .



It has been some time since I posted, although I did start this post on September 14th and then got interrupted and several weeks just flew by. That seems to happen on most things I intend to do. September and October were busy months…

Doug thinks having a little girl is very nice. He thinks having a little girl who loves watching football and shooting hoops with her daddy will be GREAT. So Journey’s training has begun. The Saturday of Labor Day weekend we got up early, ate breakfast, and headed to the park. Doug packed his new basketball in the car; I took care of the diaper bag, getting Journey dressed, applying the sunscreen, finding a hat for her to wear, packing a few snacks, getting our water and making sure Pooh was with us. Finally we were off, first stop the basketball court. Doug did a great job demonstrating how to toss the ball through the hoop and then let Journey have a go at it. Unfortunately she was unable to pick up the basketball and, frankly, was more interested in walking in the grass. So Doug practiced his shots a bit more and I chased Journey around the court. Finally we decided that was enough for the first training session and we spent the rest of our time walking in the park and looking at the ducks.

On Labor Day we had planned to go to the Dallas World Aquarium, but while getting ready to leave we heard that Trinity High School football team was playing at Cowboys Stadium along with three other schools. I had been wanting to watch Trinity play (they were State champs last year) and I really wanted to see the new stadium, so it wasn’t difficult to talk Doug into changing our plans and going to the game. And it was an excellent opportunity to get Journey started as a football fan. The stadium was very impressive. She didn’t really show that much interest in football but she loved being able to yell with the crowd, say hi to lots of people and lay down on the marble tiles. While her first football “training session” wasn’t a big success, Doug has had her watch the Cowboy games with him, pointing out the very few touchdowns that have been made in their 6 games, and helping her overcome her serious disappointment when they have lost.

In September we took our first trip to visit family and traveled to Montana to see my mom, sisters, and lots of extended family. Our travel days were long and Journey was not happy to have to be contained while the seatbelt sign was on (let’s just say that I hope we don’t have to fly again for a long, long time), but the week in Billings was great. The weather cooperated and we had warm, sunny days and nice cool nights – a wonderful break from the heat in Texas. Besides being able to spend time with my family, a childhood friend flew in from Seattle and we were able to get together one evening and catch up on the last 30 years. While Journey was a big hit with the family and did really well meeting so many new people, the trip itself was a little unsettling for her and she had trouble sleeping while there and for several weeks after we returned home. She has just started sleeping through the night, but we will soon be taking another trip to visit Doug’s dad in Nashville. The very best thing about the trip was that Doug and Journey were able to finally bond. In the mornings she would sit on his lap and they would look at pictures on the computer while I took a shower. Before the trip she wouldn’t let me out of her sight so this was definitely answered prayer. Since we have been home they have grown even closer and have actually gone on daddy-daughter dates to the park without me. Thank you, Lord.

Journey continues to grow in her new environment and learn new words. Her teething is getting better and so she is eating more and even willing to try tasting a few new things. She is still VERY busy and keeps us hopping, but we’re having the time of our lives.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Journey Girl





Today is a special day – Journey celebrates her 19-month birthday and we celebrate our 2 month anniversary of adding Journey to our family. And what a difference two months makes. I think back on the first day we had her and how much she slept and how quiet she was. Now she is constantly in motion (even when she sleeps) and chatters up a storm. I now understand a few of her words – cracker, shoes, milk, thank you, monkey, and duck, just to name some of them. Nobody else would probably get what she is saying and I do have to translate for Doug. But to be fair, he just returned from a 10-day business trip to Europe so he is trying to catch up. A good friend gave her a Winnie the Pooh bear about a week ago and Pooh is now her constant companion. She started out calling him “Poop” but now usually refers to him as “Peesch”. I’m not sure where that is coming from. They have great conversations together, especially in the morning when they first wake up and during nap time. She enjoys being around a lot of people but still doesn’t want them to get too close, touch her, or try to pick her up. She and Doug are making great headway, even with him being gone for so long. One of their favorite activities is throwing the ball and they also wrestle around on the floor. She is such a happy little thing, smiles most of the time and loves to laugh. She is still getting teeth so her appetite is sporadic and we’re still supplementing with formula. She definitely has a mind of her own and can quickly spot anything that she shouldn’t get into. We have implemented “time-out” for a few of the more hazardous things she likes to explore and I’m praying that it is an effective form of discipline.

Mom has learned some very important lessons during these two months, also. First and foremost is never, ever leave her diaper off, even if it’s just for a minute. It took me three times to get this lesson. Secondly, it is critical to make sure the baby gates are closed and the toilet lids down. I’m still learning this one and it is a very messy lesson. Third, never ask her to whisper or be quiet; it is one sure way to get her to crank up the volume. Fourth, the carpet will need to be cleaned very frequently. There are more, but you get the picture. We will soon be traveling to visit family and I’m sure more lessons will come from those trips.

Our life is quite the whirlwind now, not at all like the quiet, peaceful environment we used to enjoy. But we wouldn’t change a thing. God has blessed us beyond our expectations and His gift to us is good and perfect in every way.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Small package, BIG personality . . .



Journey is taking a nap so thought I would give an update on how we all are doing. But where to start…

Journey has quite the personality, and while she is not willing to let anyone pick her up except her mama, she is very generous with smiles and throwing kisses. This includes people in the stores who happen to look her way and give her a smile. She is learning how to use her spoon, stack blocks and use the remote for the tv. She loves to talk on the phone and if there isn’t one available, anything that might slightly resemble a phone is used. She is learning new words and can now say “hello, hi, baby, bye, mama and dada”. She understands quite a bit and will mimic many words.

She had her first social outing last Saturday when we took her to a BBQ restaurant where a friend from church was playing with her band. They were playing out on the patio and Journey danced, clapped and visited with people sitting nearby. She really slept well that night so we have learned that if we take her out partying before going to bed, we will get a good night’s sleep. She did so well on Saturday evening that we decided to try our first visit to church on Sunday. She was a little overwhelmed by the number of people who greeted her, but did very well and was comfortable enough by the end of the service to venture off my lap. Several people offered to hold her but she would just shake her head no and grab on tight to mom. She did give many people smiles as long as they kept their distance.

Journey had her first doctor appointment last week and so far the results have been good. We took her to International Adoption Clinic at Children’s Medical Center as they have experience with seeing the medical differences in children coming from other countries and can determine what is “normal” for them rather than different from U.S. kids. On the U.S. growth charts Journey is in the 5th percentile for weight and the 45th for height. The doctor told us that generally internationally adopted kids from institutions are about 3 months behind in skills (motor, verbal, walking, etc.) but Journey seems to be close to her age group with the exception of the verbal skills, which was to be expected since she did not hear any English until she met us. She was surprised that Journey was already saying and understanding English words. We are still waiting for the results from some other lab tests, but overall she is doing well.

Mom and Dad have been learning lots of new things, too. Opening and closing our new stroller presented a challenge but we were able to master it within just a few hours. My second learning experience with the stroller was while shopping at the mall and trying to figure out how to get it (and her) up and down the escalator. We did make it up but I elected to use the elevator to go down. We’re also getting slightly better at recognizing when the crying means hunger, tired, mad, I don’t like this food (used along with flinging it off her plate) or frustrated. They all sound the same but generally we use the process of elimination to narrow down the cause. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that addressing the problem stops the crying. But we do realize that she is going through quite an adjustment and it will take a good while for her to become comfortable in her new environment. We try to patiently meet her needs and give her lots of love and kisses. The crying and temper tantrums are less frequent and we spend lots of time playing and laughing – her laughing because she’s having fun playing; me laughing at her funny personality and the things she does. We’re generally exhausted by the end of the day but it’s well worth it.

The wailing from the bedroom tells me that naptime is over, so more later.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Busy Days . . .




We are having so much fun! That doesn’t mean that we haven’t encountered a few issues, but Journey is such a character and her personality continues to emerge. We had sleep problems from the first night. She would go to bed around 8 or 9pm but then wake up several times during the night and wail. I would finally get up with her, usually about 2 or 3am, and hold her. She would drift off but as soon as I tried to put her in bed, she was wide awake. This made for very long days and extremely short nights. Finally, on Monday, my brilliant husband suggested that she might not be sleeping because she’s not used to being alone in a room and we should try moving her bed into our room. So we did and while we’ve not had cry-free nights yet, the episodes are few and short-lived. She will wake up, see that we’re there and usually go back to sleep within a very short time. We’re hopeful that sometime in the near future we’ll have an uninterrupted night.

It amazes me how quickly Journey is understanding what we say to her since she was not exposed to English until she came to us. I can tell her to pick up a toy or shut the door, and she does it. She also likes to wave and say bye-bye and throw kisses. She finds it very entertaining to make faces and sounds and have me copy her, and she’s very good at mimicking me when I make faces at her. She’s not saying a lot of words but she does have lots of baby babble and does well playing by herself. She loves music and will dance whenever she hears any, and she has some great moves! She’s also learning to do Pattycake (we practice A LOT), but won’t say any of the words yet. She and her daddy are still working on bonding, but if I’m holding her she will give him the sweetest smiles. When we want to take her picture, she will wait until she sees the flash indicator come on and then give us a big smile. She has been a trooper about being strapped in to her stroller and car seat and really enjoys going somewhere in both. Today she and I went shopping and she tolerated it for about four hours before she let me know she was ready for lunch. But that was okay ~ it was 1:30 and I was hungry, too.

Overall, I think we’re doing pretty well. We appreciate all the prayers that have come our way. Please continue to pray for Journey as she adjusts to her new home and for wisdom for Doug and me to know how to meet her needs.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Home at last




Sunday update: We arrived home from China on the 15th and we’re still trying to adjust to the time difference. Journey is busy discovering her new home and becoming acquainted with her toys. She has been sticking pretty close to me but today she was willing to venture into other rooms by herself and actually let me out of her sight for a few minutes at a time.

As our friend Lauren wrote on our blog, our computer crashed and we were unable to blog or check email, so I thought I’d share some of our experiences in Guangzhou. We flew from Nanning to Guangzhou on Friday night, the 9th. Our hotel was absolutely beautiful. We arrived late on Friday and had to be up early on Saturday for medical exams for the babies. That was quite the experience, lots and lots of babies getting poked, prodded and measured and not enjoying it one bit. Journey was quite the trooper even after she had to get 5 shots. The heat and humidity followed us to Guangzhou so we didn’t venture out of the hotel very much. We did visit the zoo on Tuesday morning and it was very beautiful with an abundance of trees, plants and flowers. Unfortunately, because of the heat, most of the animals stayed in their covered areas and probably thought all the visitors were crazy to be wandering around in such hot weather. Tuesday afternoon we had an official trip to the US Consulate where we had to take an oath swearing the information we provided was true and that we would take good care of our little girl. This visit was also part of getting Journey’s immigrant visa and our last official business before returning home.

We were able to see more of Journey’s personality during the second week of our trip, which was quite an eye-opener. During the first 5 days she was pretty docile and slept a good part of the time. After arriving in Guangzhou she began to come out of her shell and we experienced a couple of episodes where our sweet little girl became a crazed demon. We found out she can throw a very impressive temper tantrum, but this usually only happens when she’s tired. We also saw more smiles. One evening we visited the swimming pool and she really enjoyed playing in the water and gave us her first laugh.

The flights home were long. We flew to Beijing on Wednesday night and didn’t check in to our hotel until 11:30 pm and then had to leave for the airport at 5:15 am on Thursday. We were able to use our miles on American and get seats in business class so we would have a little more room on the long flight from Beijing to Chicago. We even got 3 seats so Journey could sleep in one and we wouldn’t have to hold her for hours. Unfortunately, she didn’t like that idea and insisted on sitting in my lap the entire trip. When we changed planes in Chicago, she became a happy child and was smiling and really charming the other passengers and flight attendants. Journey officially became a U.S. citizen when we touched down in Chicago.

Overall, our adjustment to our new lives is going well ~ Journey is getting used to her new surroundings and Doug and I are building up our stamina in order to keep up with one very busy little girl. More later . . .

Saturday, July 10, 2010

An update from China ... all is well

Just heard from Debby ... it appears their computer has crashed leaving
them cut-off from the internet world. She has asked me to give a quick
update, so here goes ...

First, and most importantly, everyone is doing just fine. Journey is
adjusting well to her new family and has rediscovered her smile. She's a
good little sleeper in that she sleeps through the night with no problem
at all and she even lets Debby know by pointing at the crib when she's
tired and needs a nap.

Journey still doesn't quite know what to make of Doug as she cries when he
appears in the room after being absent for a while. She does eventually
relax and allows him to pick her up and walk with her ... and these crying
episodes seem to be getting shorter each day. I do believe Doug is
adjusting well and he is a little more at ease, too.

If all goes as planned, they will be traveling home next week ... and they
look forward to introducing their new daughter to everyone.

Prayers and best wishes ...
Lauren

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Gotcha Day Video

A short video from Gotcha Day on July 5th.
video

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A quiet day

It's Wednesday evening here so thought I would do a quick update. We had a free day today so Journey and I stayed in the hotel room and she slept most of the day after sleeping 9 hours last night. She is running a slight fever and is fussy when she's awake. I think she is getting teeth on both the top and bottom. She definitely wants to be held and she wants you to hold her standing up, and she really is persistent in letting you know she is unhappy when you don't do what she wants. She goes to bed very easily at night and is a sound sleeper, for which I'm greatful. We have a very small room and usually have the tv on when she goes down and she doesn't fuss at all. We hope that continues. Doug took her on a couple of walks inside the hotel today to give me a break so they are having some good bonding time. We are enjoying getting to know her personality even though we could do with less wailing. She has the most beautiful black eyes and long lashes and such a sweet mouth, which we are looking forward to seeing smile one of these days. Can't wait for all of you to meet her.

We ate at Pizza Hut last night and it was pretty good. Then we went to Walmart - OMG! It is 3 stories and had more people in it than any Walmart on Christmas eve in the US. You wheel your carts from floor to floor by using an escalator with no stairs, just a ramp that locks the wheels in place to prevent hundreds of run-away carts. I'm hoping we don't have to go back there ;o)

Doug had a good laugh this morning. Journey has hardly eaten anything since we got her, so last night I bought some baby food fruit that I thought would appeal to her. I was feeding her this morning and she was doing well, eating about 6 spoonfuls and drinking some water. All of a sudden she just upchucked this orange applesauce-carrot concoction all over me. A lot more came out than went in! I was stunned and it took Doug by surprise, too, and then he started laughing. He was trying very hard not to, but just couldn't manage it. It was pretty funny, especially when I just handed him Journey and went to take a shower. He wasn't sure how to protect himself from another explosion. Such a great way to start the day.

We will have another easy day tomorrow and Friday and then leave for Guangzhou on Friday night. Hopefully Journey will be feeling better soon. Please continue to pray for her health and her transition to us.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Gotcha Day!

It's Tuesday about 1pm here and we have taken care of all of our official business for the day and Journey is now officially ours.  Our Gotcha Day was on Monday and we met her for the first time at about 4pm.  Picture this:  A small room with little air conditioning and very hot, 2 or 3 other families also receiving their children, none of which are very happy, me soaking wet from sweating, Doug getting the camera ready.  They bring in Journey and she looks exactly like her picture.  She decides she's not as happy to see us as we are to see her and starts wailing.  I finally take her and she and I walk around the room for a bit and she moves from wailing to whimpering and occasionally wailing.  She's not too sure about Doug and decides I'm the lesser of two evils.  We are only at this location for about 30 minutes (it seemed longer), then we head back to our hotel for the "Harmonious period."  I say that with tongue- in- cheek as it is anything but harmonious, but it is supposed to be the time we get to know each other and decide if we want to adopt her.  We will have to give an answer to the officials on Tuesday morning.  She does quit crying pretty quickly and does well as long as we are holding her, but only if we're standing up.  We go to dinner at the hotel restaurant and she won't eat and doesn't want us to eat either.  We pass her back and forth trying to give each other an opportunity to shovel some food down so we can leave.  I'm sure the other restaurant customers were happy to see us go.

When we returned to our room, we all had a shower and got ready for bed and it was only about 8pm.  I fixed Journey a bottle and she did take it and was fast asleep by 8:30.  We were prepared for a sleepless night but she was so exhausted that she slept until about 5:30 this morning.  I actually woke up before she did as I was asleep about 2 minutes after she was the night before.  On top of all the trauma of being with people she doesn't know, I think she is also teething as she has a slight fever.

We were able to talk to the director of the children's center at the orphanage and she gave us information about Journey's personality.  She said Journey is "spoiled", which I think means she likes to be held and won't take no for an answer; she climbs all over things and likes to climb high; she's emotional and very intelligent; she's shy and will not go to anyone she doesn't know well.  I think we're in for the ride of our life.  After returning from the Registration office today, she has actually been playing on the floor and talking to herself, both of which she had not done yet.  It's like she knows there is no hope of her going back to her old life so she might as well make the most of the situation.  She has actually fallen asleep on the floor which is why I'm writing this now.  This evening we are going to go to the Walmart shopping center to shop and then have pizza at the Pizza Hut there.  This will be the first western food we've had since arriving in China last Thursday.  I'm really looking forward to it!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Ming Tombs and the Great Wall

Day two of our great adventure in Beijing started out sunny, warm and humid and then quickly progressed to HOT and HUMID.  We met up with our guide and driver at 9am and drove out to a location about 30 miles north of Beijing for a tour of the Ming Tombs.  The Ming Dynasty ruled from 1368 to 1644.  This is the resting place for 13 of the 16 Ming emperors.  Where the other 3 are is a long story, best left for another time.  The 13 tombs are spread over a 15 sq mile area, so needless to say, there was much left unexplored.  As it turned out, we really didn't see any of the tombs.  Instead our guide took us down a long road, known as the main Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs.  It was part of a 4-mile ceremonial route that the emperor's funeral procession took on their way to the burial place.  It is in fact a peaceful, tree-lined, stone paved "street" with 12 large statues of various animals (some real and some mythical) placed at regular intervals.   The ¾ mile section we walked down ended at a monument pavilion containing a large stone stele covered with Chinese characters extolling the virtuous exploits of the particular emperor responsible for it's construction (imagine that).  As the day was heating up and we still had much to do (even though there were no tombs in sight), we called it good and moved on.

 

After lunch, and a nice 90 minute drive into the lush, green mountains north of Beijing, we eventually arrived at Mutianyu.  This 20km section of the wall was restored in recent times, and is the 2nd most frequented site along the Great Wall.  By 2:30pm, when we arrived, the sun was shining and the temperature must have been 99+ deg F, so only the brave, desperate and foolish tourists were to be found.  In other words, there were very few people there.  In fact, the local souvenir vendors had us outnumbered by at least 5 to 1.   The approach to this section of the wall is quite steep, so after a rather strenuous walk up a stone paved lane (being harassed every step of the way by the souvenir vendors), you finally reach a cable car which takes you up the final 500 – 600 vertical feet to the wall.  After bravely enduring this portion of the hike/climb in the heat, Debby was ready to call it quits, and retreated to a bench in the shade to "admire" the wall from below.  Having come this far, I pushed on, and climbed the last flight of stairs to go up onto the wall.  I had wanted to see the Great Wall ever since I was a kid and had first seen pictures of it.  I was not disappointed, the Great Wall is an impressive example of ancient engineering, audacity and sheer man power.  As you stand there, gazing in the distance as the wall stretches before you, rising and falling and finally disappearing over the distant mountaintops, you cannot even  imagine the incredible human effort required for such a gargantuan construction project, in the most the most inaccessible of places.  It makes you tired just to think about it.   If you ever get to Beijing, visiting the wall is definitely a must (just try to avoid visiting in July).

 

Sunday morning we depart for Nanning, and our rendezvous with Journey.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hello from Beijing

We arrived in Beijing on Thursday evening after a very L O N G flight.  Even though it is extremely hot and humid, we have spent most of our time outdoors doing some sightseeing with a guide.  On Friday we visited the Summer Palace and went to a hutong.  A hutong is an ancient neighborhood with small narrow streets and best seen via a rickshaw ride.  Most of the hutongs have been torn down to make room for new modern  buildings but fortunately the Chinese have realized the value of preserving these neighborhoods and are taking measures to make sure they are cared for.  We were able to go into one residence and visit with the woman who lives there.  Her husband's family has lived in that home for 150 years.
 
Today we are going to the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs.  We are learning a great deal about Chinese history as our guide, Jerry, is very knowledgeable.  I will post some pictures later as my tech guy is out trying to find a fan for me (a hand fan, not electric ;o)  Really, the heat and humidity are brutal.  Even the people who live here are miserable.
 
Please pray for Doug as it seems he has a pulled muscle in his shoulder and is really suffering.  Fortunately I brought my pain pills as I am usually the one to hurt my back and they seem to help slightly.  Also, because of the long flight and the heat, my hands, legs and feet are really swollen and are not getting better.  Any suggestions?  Email me if you can help.
 
I am having to post this via email as we cannot access blogger directly from China, so I hope it works!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The adventure begins . . .

Our bags are packed and we’re ready to go! We leave tomorrow morning and arrive in Beijing on Thursday afternoon. We plan on seeing lots of sights in Beijing, including the Great Wall. I checked the weather today and it’s supposed to be 104 on Thursday. We’ll feel right at home (well, at least weather-wise), and what perfect weather for sightseeing... We are scheduled to meet Journey at 3pm on Monday, which will be 3am Monday at home. She will be taking a 3.5 hour trip to get from her orphanage to us. We are praying that the trip isn’t too hard on her and she will not be unhappy when she meets us.

Thank you, as always, for your prayers. Please continue to pray for good health for all three of us and that the transition for Journey will be an easy one.

Next update from China.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

China Bound

Tickets are booked, camcorder purchased (now to figure out how to use it), drawer and cabinet locks installed (almost), still trying to determine how to fit everything into two suitcases and still have room for our clothes (seriously)…

Our departure date is getting closer. We thought we would be leaving on June 23 but that date was dependent upon confirmation of a visa appointment on a specific date during the week of July 5. That didn’t happen and so our trip was pushed back by one week. We are now confirmed to leave on 6/30 and will return on 7/15. We will be flying to Beijing and spending a couple of days sightseeing before flying on to Nanning on Sunday, July 4th. That is where we will FINALLY be united with our girl. Our Gotcha Day will be July 5th. I think 5 has become my favorite number – we were logged in to China on 4/5/06, Journey was born on 2/5/09 and we will finally get to hold her on 7/5. We will be in Nanning (Guangxi province) until Friday taking care of the adoption process with the local government. On Friday evening we fly to Guangzhou where we will have various appointments for medical exams and finishing up paperwork to bring Journey home. Back to Beijing the evening of the 14th and then catch an early morning flight on Thursday to Dallas. I think the travel time to and from China is about 20 hours each way.

The past three weeks have gone by pretty quickly. Doug and I celebrated our 15th anniversary on May 26th and he surprised me with tickets to see Brooks and Dunn at an outdoor concert in Dallas. I’m not a big country music fan but I became hooked on this duo several years ago when I happened to hear their song ‘Neon Moon’ on the radio. The concert was very entertaining, including the performers. The amphitheater’s record-breaking crowd consisted of hundreds of beer-drinking, hootin’-and-hollerin’ rednecks (not meant in a derogatory way – after all, I am from Montana and I’m blessed to have several lovable rednecks in the family) who started the party early in the afternoon by tailgating in the back of their pickup trucks. Leaving the parking lot after the concert was an adventure, too, one I would liken to riding in bumper cars. Really, it was a pretty great time, sitting on the grass on a balmy Texas evening listening to some good music. Doug did suggest, however, that next time we just buy the dvd. ;o)

We had an opportunity to take a weekend trip to Albuquerque with some good friends the week before our anniversary and had a wonderful time sightseeing there and in Santa Fe. The weather was perfect for being out-and-about for two days and it was extra special for me to visit Albuquerque - I had spent some time there as a teenager after my best friend’s family moved there. It brought back some very good memories.

This past week or so we have been baby-proofing, booking tickets, getting together the paperwork we need to take with us, and gathering all the recommended items to bring for Journey, which are mostly medications. Lots and lots of OTC medications. I think we’ll almost be ready when it’s time to leave…

Thank you for all the prayers and support we have received from our friends and family. Please be praying for Journey – that she will have an easy transition and quick bonding to us, and that all three of us will stay healthy during our time in China

Friday, April 23, 2010

Still Waiting and Baby Stuff




We have done some paperwork, had our fingerprints taken, again, (do they change?) and received our travel visa to China. Now we are just waiting for China to give us some travel dates. It still appears that it will be in June.

Some great news, though. I was able to get some updated pictures of Journey, as well as updated weight and height. Her original pictures were taken when she was 9 months old, so I knew she had changed since then. Her new pictures show her at 14 months and they say she weighs about 21 lbs and is about 30 inches tall. She looks very healthy, although still very serious. I am really looking forward to seeing her smile.

We have been receiving lots of fun packages from friends and family ~ mostly clothing, although my mom did give her a sweet little doll with Asian features and my sister Robyn sent her a beautiful little bracelet from Hawaii. One of Doug’s friends is having a group of guys get together for a “guy baby shower” and everyone is supposed to bring a book that they either enjoyed reading to their kids or enjoyed themselves as a kid. I thought this was a great idea and a wonderful way to build a library for Journey. One beautiful book we received from a very special couple is titled “I Love You Like Crazy Cakes” and was written by a mom who also adopted from China. It will be a great book to help tell Journey the story of her adoption.

I am also starting to gather all the stuff we will need to take with us to China, mostly for Journey. It is amazing how much is required for such a little person, and, I have to say, very baffling to shop for many of these things. Just looking for diapers can be overwhelming! Fortunately, I have several friends who have little ones, even a few who have recently returned from China, and they have been a great help.

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for us and giving us words of encouragement. And a very special thank you to those of you who have offered to baby sit.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Waiting to travel and good friends

Our adoption agency's guess about when we'll travel is sometime in June.  Many families who received their referrals when we did will be traveling sooner, but because we are adopting under the new Hague convention it is taking longer to get our travel approval.  It's complicated so I won't go into details.  However, we are keeping busy doing paperwork, figuring out what we need to take with us, what we need at home.  Some friends are planning a baby shower so I need to get registered someplace.  I was wandering through the baby section at Target to get some ideas of what I might need.  Also, some new friends who are also new adoptive moms gave me some great suggestions (thank you, Deana and Becky!).  I've also been learning how to post to Blogger from China as it is apparently blocked there.  This post will be a test using email.
 
Our very good friends (and great next-door neighbors), Andy and Lauren, have been such an encouragement to us from the get-go.  Lauren had some prints from Journey's referral pictures made up and framed and they are now displayed in the living room so we can look at her often.  Lauren is also crocheting a blanket for Journey using the pink and orange colors of the nursery.  It is beautiful!   As you might guess, Lauren is a woman of many talents.  Sunday morning, at Doug's men's group, another friend, Jim, gave Doug a beautiful frame with a picture of Journey and a picture of us.  Our first "family" picture.  We have some great friends.
 
So, back to paperwork and all the other stuff.   We'll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A different kind of Journey

It can be a challenge to decide on a name for a child. I had a list of names that I liked ~ actually about 130 names. I love unique names; Doug tends to be a little more traditional. We would discuss names periodically but had not come to any decision. Then one day, as I was reading a book, I came across the name “Journey.” I liked it right away and thought how appropriate it would be for both the baby and for us. I planned to run it by Doug and see what he thought. That evening Doug came home from work and one of the first things he said was “I heard a really cool name today.” I told him I did, too, and asked him what name he had heard. His reply was “Journey.” I was so shocked and he couldn’t believe it either when I told him that was the same name I found.

Many cultures choose a name based on a characteristic or something external that may be relevant during the birth of a child. We’ve heard Chinese names that translate to Snow or Ocean. And it has been quite the journey for us and for our little one. So it is with great pleasure that we introduce our daughter, Journey Ming Le Logsdon.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

FINALLY! The Call ...

It is with great joy that we announce the referral of our daughter, Lu Ming Le. She is almost 13 months old and is currently in the Luchuan orphanage in the Guangxi province. Lu is her last name and represents the location of the orphanage. Ming Le means “bright and happy”.

Monday, March 1, was quite a day. I had heard a few rumors on Friday that China had sent out referrals and the agencies would receive them on Monday. I really didn’t allow myself to get too excited for fear that the rumors weren’t true or that our referral would not be included. Our agency called at 2pm with the great news and emailed me a picture right away. It was amazing to finally see our daughter's face and know her name. I forwarded the picture to Doug’s work email and called him with the good news. Wouldn’t you know, he was in the car returning to work from an appointment. As soon as he arrived at his office, he called me back as he opened the message with her picture. His first comment was that she has the same hair style that he does.

We don’t know when we will travel to China to bring her home, but hopefully it will be in 8-10 weeks. We have mountains of paperwork to do before we leave, so I will be kept busy doing that. I also need to figure out what I need to take to China and how I can get it to fit in one suitcase. That is going to be tricky... I’m thinking Doug will need to share his suitcase with me. I have a feeling the time will fly by.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Misfiled. . .

Our adoption agency called today with an explanation for why we did not receive our referral on Monday. All dossiers go through a review process and then are either approved or rejected based on the information submitted. The dossiers for our LID were probably in review during the spring of 2007 and, because of my medical history, ours was pulled and China requested additional medical information from my doctor. The information was submitted and ultimately we were approved to adopt. Our dossier should have been refiled with the other 4/5/06 dossiers, but, unfortunately, it was put in the wrong slot. So when the 4/5/06 batch came up for matching, ours wasn’t part of the group. Now, my thought is that China would say “Oops, we messed up. We’ll just match you right now and send your referral off tomorrow (or at least in the next few days).” But that’s not to be. The good news is they did find our dossier; the bad news is they will just include it with the next batch of referrals. It is unknown when the next batch will come out ~ maybe sometime in March, or even April. So we continue to wait and hope that nothing else goes wrong in the process. Thanks to everyone for your words of encouragement, especially during these past few days. We are so fortunate to have such great friends and family.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” Ecc. 3:1 (NIV)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

You've got to be kidding...

It has been an interesting two days. Monday morning, after getting my coffee, I decided to check an adoption message board/website that seems to have referral information before anyone else. Imagine my surprise when I saw that agencies in Europe were announcing that China had finished a batch of referrals through April 5, 2006. This was our date! As the morning progressed, several people in the US started reporting that they had received calls from their agency with a referral and were posting pictures of their babies. I knew our call would be coming soon and we would finally get information about our new daughter. Well, the call came about noon, but not with the information we were hoping for. Our agency did receive a package of referrals for the 4/5/06 LID, but ours was not included. They don’t know why and are checking into it. We were hoping to have an explanation today but, as of 5pm CST, they had not heard back from China. So maybe tomorrow we’ll know something. We are so disappointed and frustrated, and even a little sad. Please pray that this was a minor glitch and we will have our referral this week. We’ll keep you posted.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

How did we get here?

Many people have asked us why we decided to adopt from China, so I thought I would tell our story…

One day I received an email telling us that our friends Ken and Lisa were going to China to bring home their new daughter. A link to their blog was included so we could follow their journey. Early in our marriage Doug and I had talked about possibly adopting from an Asian country so, of course, I was very interested in reading their posts.

Ken and Lisa did a great job in describing their days in China and included many pictures of the places they visited, and most of all, their daughter. She was beautiful. Each day I looked forward to their new updates. One day I was reading their journal and a thought popped into my head – “We should adopt a little girl from China.” Where did that come from! I laughed ~ there were so many reasons why we should NOT adopt a child. Our age, to begin with, or at least my age. I was 53 at the time, way too old to be thinking about being a first-time mom. Also, I was only one year out from my cancer recurrence and a very grim prognosis. I thought who would even consider adopting a child when they were not sure they would even be around in the next few years. Besides, Doug and I were very happy with our life together and didn’t feel that we were lacking because we didn’t have children.

As I read Ken and Lisa’s updates each day, I started looking at blogs written by other people who were in China adopting a child. And that voice continued to whisper to me. Finally, I said “God, if this is You telling me we should adopt, you have got to be crazy! There are way too many reasons why this is a bad idea.” But God had other plans and continued to speak to me and change my heart. Finally, I decided to talk to Doug. Our conversation went something like this:

ME: Doug, I think God is telling me that we should look into adopting a little girl from China.
DOUG: What!!! He’s not saying anything to me! And besides, I really like our life the way it is.
ME: Well, I keep hearing this voice in my head telling me we should do this. I wasn’t really crazy about the idea either, but I can’t stop thinking about it. Why don’t we pray about it and see where God leads us.

Well, needless to say, God directed our steps to the Gladney Center for Adoption where we attended an informational meeting about adopting from China and we began the “paperchase” - a long process of collecting documents, filling out forms and having a home study done by a social worker. Finally, in March, 2006, our stack of paperwork was sent to China and on April 5, 2006, we were logged in to their system as a family desiring to adopt a child from their country.

All along the way, we have prayed that God would shut the door if this is not meant to be. Before we even started the paperchase, we sought counsel from many people whose opinion we valued and whom we felt would give us an honest answer when we asked if they felt we should pursue an adoption. Not one person felt we should not move forward. Of course, most of them have children, mostly grown, and I think they want us to experience the same “joy” of raising kids as they have ;o)

In spite of our age and my health, China approved us to adopt. They required several letters from my doctors, updating them on my health status. In fact, not too many months after we were logged in, China tightened the requirements for new applicants and we would not have qualified under those new requirements. Never would we have believed that the wait would be almost four years; when we started the process, it was about 12 to 15 months. But in a way, the wait has been a blessing. We continue to ask God to step in if this is not what we should be doing. I am now six years out from my last cancer treatment and the likelihood of a recurrence is minimal. Doug’s biggest fear as we considered adoption was that he would either be trying to care for an invalid wife and a baby daughter, or he would be a single dad. I think God knew we would need this time to be assured that I was healed. It has given us time to read lots of books on parenting, as well as clean out the storage room and turn it into a nursery. It has taught us patience. And trust – we have no control over the process or the timing. We have requested a baby girl but China may decide we should have a boy who is a toddler. But, most importantly for me, I have learned that it’s not about us. This won’t be convenient or easy; our lifestyle may change ~ instead of a trip to Europe, we’ll probably be going to Orlando, or Six Flags here at home; most of our friends are grandparents and we will need to form new relationships with people who have young children; we will be incredibly exhausted and our house will almost always need to be cleaned. But… there is a precious child who, for one reason or another, was abandoned by its parents and who yearns for a Forever Family. And, if it’s God’s will, we have been entrusted to love and cherish this child. There is a verse in 1 John that says we love because God first loved us (4:19). Amen to that! It will require more than we can provide on our own, but we know our source of love and strength. And, even though we don’t know what the future holds, we do know who holds the future ~ and that is enough.