Friday, February 29, 2008

Kaeleb pix!!!

Look at our gorgeous little guy! Here are two of the pix taken by JP ~ thank you so much! I realize I will hold him in less than 48 hours - and this is the reason I can't sleep!


Yes, we made it and are checked into the Marriott! After being awake 30+ hours, we are beyond exhausted ... but I wanted to let my precious kiddos know we have arrived safely, including luggage, and I have 5 new pix of Kaeleb from JP, who visited the SWI yesterday (I think). April did great, and Kambry was a dream. Our connections were smooth, and no delays. We will tour the Great Wall and Hutong tour tomorrow and I'll have lots of pix to post then. Thanks for your prayers!
Happy girl on the flight from Dallas to Tokyo.
Made it to Tokyo! (April and Kambry kicking back)
Where, oh where, is our plane?
All smiles in the hotel lobby.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Until Beijing ...

Please be fairly warned ~ this will be a long post :) We are soooo ready to go. This week started out with a few hurdles, leaving me two days behind schedule, but it was nothing God couldn't handle, and nothing worth sharing the details over now. This morning I asked the Lord to multiply my energy and the hours in this day, and feel He has answered that prayers. This is done:
The work is done!
When I started this day, I really didn't know if I'd have the time or energy to turn this into anything edible.
But Monday night I cooked a little (or lot) of meat.
Today I chopped a few veggies, added some more ingredients ...
... and we have a few week's of meals. Inquiring minds want to know: We have homemade spaghetti and meatballs, chicken and noodles, chicken licken, chicken enchiladas, beef enchiladas, cheeseburger soup, sloppy joes, BBQ beef, chicken pot pie, 3 stouffer's lasagnas and 4 frozen pizzas.
The house is even clean, or was until Daddy brought Kambry home for lunch.
A praise is the Hill Family received the same CA and will join us in GZ toward the end of our trip! And now I am prepared for three weeks of drinks without ice, unidentifiable meat dishes, chasing two 20 something month old toddlers, spending much quality time with my husband and my dear, sweet friend April. Thank you for your emails, comments, text messages and phone calls! They have been such an encouragement to me. I hope you enjoy our journey, and we would love to hear from you!
Prayer requests:
Easy flight connections
Smooth air travel
Ladena and all the kids
all the families pitching in
David, Ashley and Kaylee (April's family)
Uneventful touring
That Kaeleb would quickly learn to trust and depend on us
We will be without our church family for three weeks
My mom as she cares for my dad
That my dad would accept Christ
God bless you all!


We are down to the wire with less than 24 hours! We don't have a written itenerary, but it will go something like this:
Depart DFW mid morning and land in Beijing Friday night (Friday morning here)
Great Wall and Hutong tour on Saturady, the 1st
City Tour on Sunday
Arrive at airport for 4:15 departure to Guangzhou
Land in Guangzhou at 7:05 p.m. and begin the real journey!
Receive Kaeleb Monday morning
Then ... well, who cares, right?? We'll have Kaeleb. Seriously, we'll post more as we know it. I've been so busy putting out "fires" the last 2 days I've forgotten the real purpose of this journey, and that is to bring our son home. I will post later today when I have more news ...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesday's here!

Two days till Thursday! Whew, I'm glad Monday is over. It was a very productive but emotional day. Now the girls and I have two days to prepare the freezable meals and clean the house. Oh, we have to make one more Wal-Mart run, and get the "new" bills, and ... you get the idea. We're up for it! And for those of you keeping an eye on this post, you'll notice the list is nearly checked off!
I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 1 Sam 1:27

Monday, February 25, 2008

It's Monday!

Three days and two and a half sleeps till we leave! Somebody pinch me ~ in one week I will hold my son! Four of us will begin a 24-hour journey around the world, leaving a total of 6 kids behind (April's 2 and our 4), and yet we are all at peace. There are so many people making this journey with us in a special way. There is the family keeping our children, there is the family tending our animals, there are the families willing to step in in an emergency (which there will not be :), there is our pastor and his family, there are those who have committed to pray for us daily, there are those who will meet us at the airport even though it will be late, there are those who have given financially to make this journey possible, there are the lifelong friends we've been blessed with through the miracle of adoption, and there are those who have chosen to remain behind the scenes but without whose prayers and support would make this a very frightening journey. I don't say it enough, but I am so grateful for our church family! We love you, and we thank you for your overwhelming love, prayers and support. We couldn't do this without you ~ we are all in this together!
We spent the afternoon with my parents yesterday, and I'm so glad we did. My dad knew all of us and was overjoyed to see the kids, but fortunately he doesn't know where he is. He's looking very tired and weak. He's having frequent headaches and repeating himself. We weren't able to have much conversation, just sit and chat. My heart is so heavily burdened for his lostness. We will continue to pray.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Yep, four days till we leave!
This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psa 118.24

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Haircuts and Happy Birthday!

Kenzie had a very low-key (but not low-noise) birthday party.Kambry is always ready to celebrate!
Daddy's helper today.
Sporting her new 'do'
We accomplished a lot today! The groceries are bought, and now if I can just find the time to fix the food! Tomorrow right after church we're going to make the drive to spend the afternoon with my dad. It's really hard leaving for three weeks, not knowing if I'll ever see him this side of Glory. I do pray he'd make the decision to assure we'll see each other again! Have a blessed Sunday!

Kaeleb's SWI

This is Kaeleb's Social Welfare Institute in Foshan Nanhai, Guangdong, China. It appears to be very clean, and the staff is open to visitors and allows families to take a few pictures of the children waiting for their Forever Families. We don't have a solid itenerary yet, but our Gotcha Day is scheduled for Monday, March 3, and we plan to visit the SWI on Thursday, March 6.

From the Nanhai Social Welfare Center:
Brief introduction of children welfare department
----Children welfare department belongs to Nanhai welfare center of Nanhai district. The main function of the department is adopting deserted orphans, finding parents for those abandoned babies, healing and educating the handicapped children, developing the virtue of helping the weak, educating the young, assisting the handicapped, curing the sick.----The department was run at June first, 2002, the department building occupies 3000 centiare of building area and 200 beds. In order to ensure the habitation and condition for the children, there are lawn, flower, outdoor activity field, alcove and corridor et al. around the department building. The fitment inside the building is neat, bright and gentle. Establishment for cordially life have washing room, room for preparing milk, dining room et al.

---In order to ensure the need of hospitalizing for the children, a separated care unit, an infirmary and a therapy unit are set up in the department, and there equip phlegm absorbing machine, oxygen absorbing equipment, air sterilizing machine, ambulance, transfusion equipment and medicine-chest et al. There are full time doctors and nurses on duty day and night, they can cure common diseases and frequently occurred diseases in time.----In order to ensure those orphan and crippled obtain healing and primary education, there are habilitating doctors and special teachers in the department, they carry out systematic habilitation for children with brain paralysis, weak intelligent, limp crippled, give special education to different characters, and offer outdoor activity, primary study, habilitating exercitation. ----In order to give the children opportunity to obtain their families and live happily, the adopting project is developed domestically.
---We develop our Chinese traditional virtue of helping the weak, educating the young, assisting the handicapped, curing the sick, we develop assisting and adopting activity in the department, so enthusiastic people in society can give their affection to these orphan and crippled children, they give their help hand and foster these orphan and crippled children.----In order to solve the problem of taking care of crippled children for some families, we welfare department especially set up family consigning service, there equip a group of high quality special teacher, habilitating doctors, nutrition, alimentation doctors, doctors and nurses and managers. They can help needed children to enhancing life ability and language ability, help them adapt society early and grow healthily.-----we acknowledge wholeheartedly favors and affection from all circles of society, the orphan and crippled children can recept happy life.

It is located here:
Indoor play area
Outdoor play area

Friday, February 22, 2008

More preparations

This is not working for me :)
Pretty sure she's making a longer list for mom!
This is what I'm dealing with ~ turn my back one second and she's "helping" me pack - on the table! No complaints, it may just take longer to pack.
I have 3 huge praise reports today! We received an email from Karla saying our "Gotcha Day" will likely be Monday the 3rd ~ that's one week from Monday! Also, the Hill family's TA is on its way, and they are going to request the same CA, so we might get to meet up in Guangzhou after all! Third, we just received a call that our refi is approved and our house appraised MUCH higher than we expected! God is so very good, all the time!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Travel itenerary, etc.

It's been a loooong day, but I'm happy to say we have booked flights and scheduled our Beijing tours! We will depart very early next Thursday, February 28, and return home late Wednesday, March 19. Not sure whether the "to-do" list is getting shorter or longer. Above is my menu and shopping list for over 21 meals to prepare and freeze over the weekend. And below is Kenzie holding the very simple announcement I designed for Kaeleb's homecoming. I already have one packed and ready to mail home from China. As for packing, I have so much "help," I'm about to give up!


It's official ~ we're going to China! Our Consulate Appointment is March 17, the first date we requested. The only issue is that the Guangdong province requires a longer stay to process the adoption paperwork, and sometimes they will allow families to pay a fee to expedite paperwork and waive the extra stay. Not so this time. We will have a three-week trip. We are working on flights right now, but we're looking at departure next Thursday. More to come ...

Did I mention ...

... that yesterday while I was frantically cleaning house, making travel plans and expecting the appraiser, our septic system was being reworked?!? We've had these little surprise "floods" for a while now. We built our home 9 years ago, but apparently there was a major flaw in the drainage system, and we became aware of it the day before leaving for China last March. Seems when we'd run the dishwasher, washing machine and a shower, we'd get a laundry room full of clear water. Yes, it was clear, but it was water where it wasn't supposed to be. We had some work done the day before my family arrived for Christmas, thinking that would solve the problem, once and for all. Surprise! Yesterday morning after I'd cleaned the laundry room ... I had to clean it again! But now the problem is fixed and we're good. Enough complaining already :)
I am hoping to receive a call from Karla this morning with our CA! This afternoon I'm spending with my dad. Please continue to pray for our conversation. I think I mentioned getting ready for Kenzie's 10th birthday - Mama has lost her mind! She will be 11!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Stop and breathe

Oh my, the appraiser arrived as I was cleaning the last bathroom! For some reason, I thought making tentative plans with our travel agent was more important. Especially if we get the first CA we're requesting, which would have us leaving a week from tomorrow. I really need to take a moment. I feel like my heart is beating out of my chest , my feet are running in circles and my brain ... well, I'm not sure where it is. We could know our CA as early as tomorrow, but it might be Friday. I will post as soon as I know for sure. If we can nail down our travel dates at the same time, we'll book the flights the same day. I need to plan Kenzie's 10th birthday party, and plan for spring break away from 4 of my kids. Oh, poor Ladena, 3 extra kids over spring break! But we should be home for Easter! It just dawned on me that I will be holding my son in less than 2 weeks :) I praise God for His perfect timing and His amazing plans. Never in my wildest imagination would I have dreamed my life could be so rich!

You guessed it!

Oh yeah! We have the news we've been waiting for, and tomorrow or Friday we'll know our Consulate Appointment. Until then, I seriously have a large list of things to do! Praise the Lord for good news!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

To digress

This is how I feel :) On one hand we have received the best news we could expect at this phase of our adoption journey. On the other hand, my dad's health continues to decline, and he will not accept Christ. I know the Lord doesn't need my help. It's completely up to Him to change hearts. I just want to be obedient and share the Gospel, as He has called all believers to do. Will you continue to pray for my dad?

And then there's life. In the midst of everything else (oh, I need to add this to my to-do list), we are doing a refi on our home to take advantage of lower interest rates, and we just found out the apprasier is coming ... tomorrow! Good grief. I'm going to be in two different cities taking depositions today, and I'm expecting to have tentative travel dates tomorrow morning, and we haven't gotten to the 'house cleaning' part of the list yet!

We have become friends with another family we hope to travel with. Our prayer is that their TA would also come this week and we'd be able to travel together. We are remembering you! In other news, our travel companion has started a blog to share the adoption journey through her eyes. It will be a new perspective for us. There is a link in the right margin of my blog, or check it out here.

Thank you for your prayers and many words of encouragement. They mean so much to our family!
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psa 46:1

Monday, February 18, 2008

TA on its way!

...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:6

Happy Dancing our way to China! Lifeline should have our TA (Travel Approval) in hand Wednesday or Thursday. Then what happens? They will request an appointment with the US Consulate in Guangzhou. That appointment date should be confirmed within 24 to 48 hours, so hopefully by Friday we will be booking flights! Meanwhile, I need to get rid of a zillion sticky notes, so I'll post my "to-do" list here:

Order travel prescriptions ~ check

Purchase OTC meds ~ check

Complete Kuyler's FAFSA for sophomore college year ~ check

Renew I-171H ~ check

Get Visas ~ check

Eye exams and new glasses and contacts ~ check

Get vehicle that holds the family ~ check!!

Double check Skype ~ check

Medical Authorization for family keeping kids ~ check

Stock up on diapers ~ check

Organize rooms and closets for one more child - yeah - check

File taxes ~ check

Set up Kaeleb's bed ~ he'll have a pack n' play in Mommy and Daddy's room till he develops a sleep pattern

Arrange to have carpet cleaned while we're gone ~ check

Clean house ~ check, uncheck, recheck

Notify travel agent of dates and let her have the migraine ~ check

Haircuts for 7 people ~ check

Update wills ~ check

Freeze 3 weeks of meals

Schedule Kaeleb's first doctor appointment

Notify family of travel dates ~ check

Prepare travel docs ~ check

Get "new" or "like new" bills for spending in China

Design Kaeleb's announcement and take 1 to China for mailing home ~ check

Purchase daily surprise gifts for kids while we're gone ~ check

Revise packing list ~ check

Pack carry-ons

Pack checked luggage

Pack for kids to Ladena's ~ check

Service car ~ check

Install Kaeleb's carseat ~ check

Clear all work off my desk ~ check

Pre-pay bills

That should do it for now!

Better get a move on!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Hug Away Foundation

Jumping with joy here! We just received word from this organization that they have awarded us a $1,200 grant to be sent to our agency and applied to our adoption fees! We are ecstatic about what God is doing and how He is providing. We are so grateful to the faithful response of those He calls to service. Now we are praying for TA news early this week so we can make firm travel plans.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rainy day project

We didn't go to the hospital today for several reasons. Dad had a rough night and was really confused this morning, the weather was bad, and there are many people hospitalized with the flu, something we definitely don't need. So ... what to do? Umm, does this count as packing?
We de-cluttered closets, drawers and toy boxes. This goes to goodwill, and there were six bags that went to the trash!
Kolton and Kaeleb's closet after a lot of cleaning :)

More of the same. Kambry's closet after getting rid of lots of clothes.
We have our very own marching band. This is indicative of the normal noise level in our house!
As I was taking pictures I noticed all my furniture is knick-knack free. Kambry has either hidden or broken most of the items :) Oh well, clutter really overwhelms me. We had a very productive day. All in all, we're acting like we might be leaving in a few weeks. The suitcases are in the boys' room with all those wal-mart sacks thrown in them! Now, come on TA already!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Another "waiting" weekend

Ready ... set ... go! Go pack, go call the travel agent, go crazy, go to China! I think CCAA has had ample time to get back to work and process our TA, but they haven't indicated on the agency-access website that they've done so. And so we wait.
I spent the afternoon with my dad, and I'm heartbroken over his response, or lack thereof. I prayed that God would give him clarity for quality conversation, and that prayer was answered. However, he simply refuses to make a decision for Christ. It's as if he's saying, "I'm not going to die today, so I don't need to decide today." I reminded him of the abundant mercy God has shown him over the past 61 years, and he agreed. I reminded him that none of us knows when we'll take our last breath, and he agreed. I told him that to accept Jesus is not throwing in the towel, but rather living life to the fullest and realizing this life and this tired body is not all there is! And as my God would have it, Pastor Doug made a surprise visit while I was there. We all chatted some more, and Doug asked Dad if he'd like to make a decision right now, to which he replied, "No, not today."
I just want to cry. Monday, Dad is being moved to the nursing home, and I can't begin to tell you how I feel about that. I think it will be a good thing though because he will receive physical therepy five days a week, and my mom will stay with him. We're going to take the kids to visit tomorrow, and that will brighten his day. We've got a busy weekend with another livestock show and plenty to do ... but not so busy I forget I need to hold my son!
..."My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."... 2 Cor. 12:9

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

To all of you, Happy Valentine's Day! Thank you for lurking, commenting, praying and encouraging. May this day be a gift full of blessings!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

So very cool!

This picture has nothing to do with what I'm about to share except that she's cool and what happened today was cool! We made it to OSBI (with the help of Garmin), they did my criminal history check (still no record, praise the Lord!), and we were out of there in 20 minutes. Then at 12:55 we arrived at CIS for my 1:00 appointment, with all three clearance letters in hand. I was sworn in, signed an affidavit and the officer surpised me by telling me she would process my new I-171H on the spot! Yes, I walked out of CIS offices 1 hour later with a valid 71H! Unheard of. Only my God could do such a thing. And then we shopped for everything we need for the trip ... so now I am ready to go! Come on, TA. The good news is CCAA is now reopened after the holiday.

Out of the office ...

... so I can be at theirs today :) First to OSBI for a criminal history clearance, then lunch, then to CIS to present the clearances for a new I-171H so I can bring my boy home. Then a little shopping for the trip. Maybe while I'm out the laundry fairy will clear my dining table of the 15 loads that I can't decide whether to pack to put away!

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