Sunday, June 29, 2008
Instead, one boy didn't feel well and ended up staying in the vehicle and sleeping for a couple of hours. One wished he was at a different mall and in different stores. And one had quite a hard time being in ANY store in which we weren't purchasing for him: "This is the 7th time we've been to a store and it didn't have ANYTHING in it for me!" Oh well, so much for family bonding.... We did end up getting quite a lot done, despite our differing levels of interest, and it has all been dumped in various and sundry places in our home.
Speaking of our home, one might think that a bomb exploded in here. :-) Multi-tasker I am not, so when I have ONE project to focus on, everything around that project seems to crumble. And the last few days, my focus has been on Ahna's room, which we are so close to finishing.
17 days 'til departure!! Off to get a little sleep before the new day forces itself upon me, with its very long laundry-list of things to do.
Friday, June 27, 2008
We are THRILLED at how quickly things have come together for us in the past few weeks! A friend said a few days ago, "You've been waiting all this time and now you're leaving in 3 weeks." Actually, we're leaving in 18 days!!
Here are some highlights of our week:
Monday: We received our TA!! This was HUGE news! That is our official Travel Approval from China. Now we wait for Consulate appointments in Guangzhou. Word should come this week. Tentative departure date for our travel group? JULY 17!
Tuesday: We had our first Ahna Shower! Husband Bill's gracious coworkers prepared a yummy luncheon, provided a beautiful cake, and presented us with lovely, lovely baby gifts.
Friday: Consulate appointments have been secured for our travel group!! Well, not for us - for some reason there was a glitch in the fax machine when our paperwork was going through...... our Travel Coordinator assures us that this will be taken care of, and we are given the go-ahead to make flight arrangements.
OH MY GOODNESS!!
We depart for China to get our Ahna on JULY 15!!!
Also Friday: Dumped approximately 80% of a gallon of PINK paint on the carpet in Ahna's room, when I so gracefully fell off the stool I was standing on. A crazy mess. Fortunately, Husband was close by to begin the clean-up, while I hobbled to the tub to wash my pink foot.
I will try to keep the blog updated, as we prepare for travel, etc. There is so much going on. I am finding that I am still not comfortable in this place, jotting out thoughts and happenings for the world to see!
But, we want to let our family and friends "join us" as we go to China, so while we're away this will be the window that you can look through, to keep up with everything we're doing.
If you've "stopped in," I'd love for you to leave a comment and say hello.
Until next time, zai jian! (goodbye!)
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
One is just on the edge of becoming a man, responsible and solid; seeming mature beyond his years at times, then as a little boy who needs our guidance, at other times. He is trying to find HIS way in life, music and creativity literally paving the path before him.
One is struggling to grow up, seeking independence and often demanding it; stepping over boundary lines in an effort to break free from authority. Yet a child, his eyes tell the story of who he really is : a boy wanting but not ready, to be a man. He is all-heart, but doesn't want to admit it...... just put a baby in his arms and watch his face.
And there is One who is still all-boy, who even now plays in the basement with neighborhood friends, in a majestic fort built with blankets and chairs, and lots of painter's tape. His life, a glorious ride at an amusement park: like The Scrambler, the one that goes giddily this way and that, back and forth, sweeping around in the breeze. No cares. Only fun.
We have one daughter: in still another stage of life. I haven't yet met her, but I know her in my heart. Seeing her picture for the first time just over two weeks ago, there was such recognition. I remember being surprised at my lack of strong emotion when I caught my first glimse. I didn't burst into tears or squeal or almost faint. I simply gazed upon her and thought, "Oh, THERE you are...... I've been looking for you and waiting for you and you are just exactly....... mine." It was as if I already knew that face, those eyes, the precious cheeks, the sweet curve of her lips.
May I be the mama that my children need, in whatever stage they are in: setting boundaries in an effort to build their character and not control their lives; and sprinkling grace along every step.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
We received our Referral on 6-9-08, Monday. On the following day, at 2 p.m., we got our first and only photos of Ahna, along with an official Letter of Acceptance that we had to sign and return that same day.
Now we wait for our travel approval. The China Center for Adoption Affairs has to receive and approve our signed Letter of Acceptance, and then they will inform our agency that we have the OK to travel. This usually happens between 3 and 5 weeks of receiving a referral. We are hopeful at this point, that we will depart for China as early as July 17.
Since June 9, our time has been consumed by one gigantic crash-course in all things China. China travel information, airline information, orphanage information , Nanchang information, applying for China visas, filling out travel paperwork, packing care packages for the orphanage, preparing for baby showers, deciding what we will pack, and many other countless things have overtaken our lives.
But, it is really all about Ahna. Her name was such a chore. We played a long game, almost 2 and a half years trying to decide what this dear one would be named. It was always harder for me, since it always seemed so surreal. But as the days inched ever closer, the urgency of the situation spurred us to action. We solicited ideas from family, friends, playmates of Eli, and anyone who would throw in an idea. We even went to a bookstore with some friends and stood in the aisle reading baby name books. The only thing we left any of those discussions with was confusion. Why was it so hard?
Then, within 24 hours of seeing her adorable face, we just knew. Her name was Ahna. Its a form of Anna, which is a form of Hannah. Its a biblical name meaning grace. In the book of Luke the prohetess Anna was in the temple when Mary and Joseph visited Jerusalem with their son, Jesus. Ahna means "Grace".
Zhen, is a Chinese name and word which means, treasure and cherish. Our daughter is both of these things to us, though we have yet to meet her. She is already our treasure and we will cherish her forever. Zhen is pronounced, jin, and is very short.
Eva is our daughter's next name and perhaps the most precious. Eva is a Hebrew derived name which in English is Eve. Eve literally means breath, and by extension, life. But, Eva was Cindi's grandmother's name. She passed away before I had the blessing of meeting her, in February of 1986. Though I never knew her, I know what she meant to my wife. She was a woman who impacted my wife in so many ways, and still does. Having three boys, we had been unable to honor her legacy, and then came Ahna. I know it makes Cindi glad somewhere in a deep place. So in turn, it makes me smile, knowing my wife is being blessed in this way.
So, we wait, we pack, we google all things China, and we think every day of Ahna Zhen Eva. Oh, in case you forgot what she looked like, here she is.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Friends told me that I would have a baby shower, but in some sort of weird denial, I would think, "Nah - not me." No one will give me a baby shower. It was almost as if I thought baby equipment and gadgetry would just fall from the sky. Just a tiny bit of me was probably trying to keep the heart guarded, just in case...... Plus, our boys are 17, 14, and 10. My goodness, it's not like I even know HOW to shop for a baby anymore! Maybe for someone else's baby. But mine? You mean, we're having a baby? Really?
So, 10-year old Eli and I go to Target, waltz up to the Customer Service desk, and get instructions on how to make this Baby Registry thing happen. Eli is SO excited, because we get to carry a GUN-thingy to scan each item that we choose for our registry. Only to Eli, it's a deadly rifle that he proceeds to aim and pretend-shoot at all kinds of things.
For over 2 hours we walk up and down those baby aisles, Eli armed and ready to scan everything we see. Me? I am in a stupor-like condition, as if lost in a vast wilderness. I can't even decide between Pampers or Huggies or Luvs before consulting with my dear friend who has an 8-month old! The choices surrounding me were nothing short of paralyzing! We did end up scanning around 20 items, much to Eli's chagrin, since he was fully prepared to scan one of everything in the store. And, we did go back the next day to complete the registry. Kind-of. With dear friend and her 8-month old in tow to offer counsel. :-)
What in the world would I have done if we'd gone to Baby's R Us?!
Monday, June 16, 2008
By anyone else's standards, it's a simple, nondescript, outdated crib. The Crib has "lived" in 3 states, 4 homes, and has been taken apart and put back together more than once.
It started out in the upstairs loft of our tiny rental home, just across the landing from our bedroom. It was the haven of rest for our first boy for well over two years.
Soon after its first occupant moved on, The Crib became the lodging place for our 2nd son. It had been moved from the loft of our rental home, to the nursery of the first home we purchased.
Another state and another house later, The Crib was put together again, this time to house our 3rd son. It was still sturdy and well able to enclose and protect another child.
Once the 3rd son had graduated to a big bed, The Crib was taken apart, its nuts and bolts placed in a plastic bag. And it has sat for many, many years: first in an attic gathering dust, then in an unfinished basement absorbing moisture. I always knew it wasn't an option to get rid of this piece of furniture where all our boys had their beginnings. What I didn't know was that it would be the dwelling of a 4th child, this time a sweet girl.
Husband claimed he didn't think The Crib could be put back togehter. Surely we didn't have all its parts. I said we'd try. He said that our daughter needed a beautiful new crib..... he'd even gone into a Baby's R Us store while away on a business trip, and had looked at lovely baby furniture. I said "No, thank you. She must sleep in The Crib." The IKEA store came to our area: another opportunity for Husband to purchase a new crib. I politely declined. A friend has offered me a beautiful crib that one of her daughters slept in for just a year. It is much prettier than The Crib, much newer, much more stylish. And it probably doesn't have teeth marks in the wood and extra holes drilled into its legs so that the mattress can be dropped, in an effort to keep a little one inside.
Even I can't quite seem to grasp why our daughter must sleep in The Crib. Maybe it's because in my heart, I feel like that worn piece of furniture has been annointed with the love of three brothers. Maybe it's because I want to hum to her at its side, her head rested drowsily on my shoulder. And maybe it's because I'm just plain sentimental. It turns out that all the parts were found, and in fact, The Crib was able to be put back together. So after a coat of primer and new paint, The Crib stands yet again, in all its simple and much-used glory. And it waits for Occupant Number Four. May she place her special mark on it, feel comforted by its embrace, and have many months of restful sleep, there.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Though I will never meet my daughter's birth mother, our lives have been indelibly connected. And so I wrote of her...
I think of you today.
I think of you today, and wonder if you are grieving. Does your heart break every time you think of the excruciating decision you had to make all those months ago?
Do you know that she was found? Were you there when a bystander just happened to glance her way, realizing that a precious one was left? Alone. Did you see him pick her up, look this way and that in a frantic search to find a note, a semblance of evidence as to her plight?
I think of you today. Did you burst into tears when someone finally reached for her sweet, tiny form and held her close? Did you feel like the very life was being ebbed out of you? I wonder if you followed close behind, dodging behind buildings or trees or people, in case a furtive glance by the one who found her, might somehow connect the two of you.
Have you waited outside the orphanage gates, just in case you might glimpse the beauty of her smile, or the flutter of an eyelash? Do you fear that you would no longer recognize her? Do you hope with ever fiber of your being, that she is safe and warm and happy?
I think of you today. You can not understand the amazing things that God has planned for your daughter. She is a priceless jewel, a treasured possession, a cherished one. And He has seen fit to let our family take the next step of her journey, with her.
I thank you for your sacrifice. I grieve with you, your loss. My heart breaks when I think of the excrutiating decision that you had to make all those months ago.
And I promise that the one you left, has been found. My daughter will never be alone again.
So I think of you today.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Remember wind-up toys? Seems that nowadays, everything is push-button, battery-operated, and automatic. But there used to be wind-up toys. Our boys used to love laying on their bellies (in toddler years), watching with glee as I wound and wound and wound, then released! And the little car or animal or gadget would do its thing frantically for a few seconds, then
s l o w l y start winding down.
Can I just say that I feel like a wind-up toy? It has been an amazing and wonderful and indescribable few days in this household. Utter joy. But now I feel like it's time to wind down just a bit. Real life, after all, must continue. So I will try with all my might to
w i n d d o w n, return to earth from cloud-living, and maybe even do a little laundry.
Monday, June 9, 2008
- Gan-Yi-Nan - her given Chinese name
- June 22, 2007 - her birth date - she is 11 months old!!
- 26 pounds, 27 inches - her measurements
As I was just realizing that I had not posted our info. on this little-viewed blog, I noticed our 10-yr. old Eli had typed up and printed off some sweet words to hang in his room while he waits for his sister. He speaks much better than I at this point, as I am quite SPENT and exhausted. Satisfied and happy, but exhausted.
"Today, Monday June 9, 2008, we got a phone call with all the information about my little baby sister from China. We will hope to be going to get her the middle to end of July. Tomorrow we will get a package having some info. and 2 of her pictures. We have been waiting for 2 years, 4 months, and 27 days for this day and it has finally come. It has been an amazing experience and I truly believe that my sister will be amazing."
"You are good and what you do is good." Ps. 119:68
So it's ok to stop looking for adoption rumors and news, and just go to sleep for a few hours. The Call will not come at 2 a.m.
Friday, June 6, 2008
When I was around 38 weeks pregnant with our 1st child, I had such a significant amount of Braxton-Hicks contractions that my husband and I were quite certain that this was the REAL THING. We watched the clock, we paid attention to the strength and duration of the episodes, we recorded the time of every little cramp that my bulging tummy was experiencing. Oh, the thrill! I had called our obstetrician's office, spoken with a nurse, and was given instructions that we were to make our way on to the hospital. We just knew we would be seeing our baby's face within hours!
Off we went, packed bags in hand, to birth our precious son. We were checked into The Women's Pavilion and sent to a room within minutes after arriving. I was hooked up to all the necessary monitors, and the wait began. It took less than an hour for my obstetrician to explain to the expectant couple, that we were experiencing a "false alarm."
SO, monitors were unplugged, packed bags were retrieved, and the now-much-embarrassed-and-disappointed-couple were officially released from The Women's Pavilion. Mind you, we were given instructions as to what to continue to watch and wait for, and we were assured that our baby would eventually come out and join us!
I was all the more embarrassed, since I was a Miss Know-It-All Registered Nurse, myself. AND since, just as we were walking to our car, family members began to arrive in the parking lot. We ended up going out for a nice dinner that evening, and less than 2 weeks later our sweet baby did join us.
Last week, I felt those false labor contractions all over again! In my heart, this time. Without being POSITIVE (one can never be positive of anything on this adoption journey), we were quite hopeful and even expectant, that we would get The Call about our daughter. The rumors were floating and the news seemed to support our hopes. Yet the end of the week came, without communication from our adoption agency.
The disappointment I felt seemed to be almost tangible, though it lasted only a moment. Surely we know by now, that in God's most perfect timing, the news of our Precious One will come. It will.
There were no bags packed this time, only a few phone calls to be made. And just as we left that hospital all those years ago to WAIT some more, we are doing so again. The labor pains continue, but we know that very soon we will hear of and rejoice over, our newest family member.
Hebrews 6:15 "And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised."
And so will we.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Meaning en route to our agencies from China.
Meaning we could get a call telling us about our daughter by this evening, or maybe tomorrow.
Be still, my heart.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
My soul needs quieting today. A journey of nearly 3 years may take a drastic turn this week, possibly even today, as we await an impending phone call from our adoption agency, letting us know of the child we have been "matched" with. Our story, I will delve into more in later posts, but this is where we are now.
After months of paperwork gathering, our official dossier was logged into the Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) on January 13, 2006. Also known as LID (Log-In-Date). That means that at that time, our family was fully approved to adopt a baby from China. So, almost two and a half years later, it is finally "our turn" to get a phone call. Mind-boggling. It has been a long wait.
What now? Our call will come from our Family Coordinator at the agency, and she will give us basic information about the child that has been chosen for us. As part of our requirement, we requested a child "as young as possible," but that doesn't necessarily mean we'll be adopting a baby. She (he) could be as young as 7 months old, or she could be 3 years old. Once we receive "The Call," we will then respond back to our agency with our LOA (Letter of Acceptance), which will be forwarded to the CCAA. Then a few weeks pass and we receive Travel Approval (TA), and after that travel plans can be made, etc. We are praying for travel before the Olympics, so around mid-July. Trusting in God to bring that to pass.... we want to bring her home!
A sort-of blog-addict I have become: secretly lurking, prying into lives that bear some similarity to mine, keeping up with friends who blog, thinking that I, too, need to write. To share. To put snippets and glimses of our lives "out there." Yet I have not, until now.
Several weeks ago, my 14-year old was looking over my shoulder as I was reading a certain adoption blog. Our conversation went like this:
He asked, "Hey, don't you have a blog?"
"Nope, not yet."
"Yep. Got any suggestions for me?"
"Yeah. GET OVER IT. Just do it. I never DIDN'T do something because I was chicken."
"OK. So I'll consider your advice. Thanks."
Guess you could say our simple little conversation inspired me. So, welcome to a peek into the path that I am currently on. Welcome to teenager stories, grade-school ramblings, and starting it all over again with a tot in diapers. (we think!)