Thursday, December 29, 2011

I-800A Approval

We had a fabulous Christmas, made even better by getting our I-800A approval in the mail a few days before it.  This means we officially have approval from the US government to adopt Internationally.  When we get a referral we have some more paperwork (big surprise, I know) to get their approval to adopt the specific child China has chosen for us.  

Now we wait for our referral...and it might be in this next month.  Rumor Queen says so...but then she back-tracked and said it will be the 14th or 15th...given that we are the 15th that one day difference can be the world.

I should probably mention that when we get our referral it will not appear on the blog right away...and I'm not sure if I'll share her picture or not (until she is home, than of course, I will).   We have several family members personally that will expect us to share with them before we tell the world.  Given how many siblings and real life friends we have, it could take several days.  I know!  Of course, I'm closer to my on-line, bloggy adoption friends then real life people, but you cannot tell them that!

On the other hand, just because my blog is silent for a week or this last cannot assume we have a referral.  I could just have a new DS game.  Oh, and my husband and kids home all week for fun, food, and fights sweet fellowship.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Not Exactly the News for which I was Hoping

So there is a new rumor.  It isn't isn't isn't even more than a teeny-tiny rumor.  The rumor is that matches are coming for families with LID 8/8, 8/9, and 8/10.  Usually I wait to talk about the rumor until they are confirmed, but as we get closer to our login, I get more and more emotionally involved.

I have been telling most people we will most probably won't receive our referral in this batch or maybe even the next, meaning we will receive our match February or March, but based on my response to this heart of hearts was hoping for this batch (though that would be 8 days of matches.)  

If we got a referral now we might be traveling by March at the same time as a bloggy friend, but I would miss my church's women's conference. 

If we got our referral now we could tell everyone at Christmas and have a photo soon, but we might be delayed by having not gotten our i800A.

If we got our referral now it would be God's plan, but if we don't, it is not.

Really, it is as simple as that...and saying it, speaking always helps me.

Now this rumor is only and itsy-bitsy rumor, but my experience is they seem to grow into if it doesn't, if China does send matches all the way through the 15th, I will know who to thank, who will deserve the praise and honor.

In the meantime...

1 Peter 1:3-9:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to obtain inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,  so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;  and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls."

Oh, and if you just want to be encouraged by how powerful and loving God really is check out the links at Linny's Memorial Box Monday.  Some of the stories will bless your socks off. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Happy Annivirthday!

Today is my 14th wedding my friend whose birthday  is today reminded me.  We did go out to celebrate on was the only evening not planned in the whole month of December.  Okay, that is an exaggeration; I believe we have the evening of the 28th free.  Of course we could free up other days if anyone in Texas or Colorado wanted to visit.

Anyway, since I'm going out tonight with my MOPS table and I've spent the last 3 days straight working on photos from a friend's party (my first, and possibly last, paying photography job), I thought I should give a shout out to my incredible husband who encourages me, watches the kids, cooks, does laundry, works, laughs at my jokes, takes babies to the doctor to have staples removed (happening Friday), and overall is just a wonderful man.

I think he could do better...but I certainly can't.  Happy Anniversary, Oak.  May the next 14 years be filled with laughter.
By the way, tomorrow is his birthday...and I don't have a present for that either.  Maybe between Bible study, lunch with a friend, printing photos, and AWANA/Financial Peace class...

Friday, December 9, 2011

No Stitches

If you ask Sunflower to tell the story, she says, "They gave me apple juice in a CAN not a box!"

If you ask Huckleberry, he looks confused and furtive at the same time and says, "didn't Daddy tell you?"

If you ask SnapDragon, he says, "I was lying on the floor on my tummy relaxing when Sunflower jumped from the rocking chair onto my side...which hurt for just a second...and bounced into the green chair."

If you ask Oak, he says, "Sunflower jumped off the rocking chair, bounced off SnapDragon, and cracked her head on the brown chair.  She was just crying and running her hands through her hair when I realized they were bloody.  I very calmly put the served ice cream back in the freezer, told the boys to get their shoes and game boys (which are actually dsLites), and took her to Urgent Care. The Doctor pressed the injury together a few times and said, 'sorry, we can't glue this one.'  So they strapped her down and gave her 3 staples.  She cried a lot less than I expected.  Then they gave her some apple juice."

She did like the sound the stapler made and is now saying it every once in awhile out of the blue.
 "Chee, chee, chee...why is it in a CAN?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas is Coming...

There is a Holiday Bokeh Party going on...and I want to play.  Since I already posted this photo on my photo blog, I'm linking up here.

Merry Christmas! 
holiday lights bokeh party
Once we get our tree up I plan to be swimming in Holiday Bokeh shots...that is after I finish editing the pictures from a party I attended Sunday.

Always on My Mind

I don't think of myself as particularly sensitive when it comes to word choice or up on all the politically correct phrases, particularly when some phrases are correct or not depending on with whom you are talking.  Adoption language is the same way for me.  Yes, I've heard a lot of phrases, some of which I understand, some not, but most of which I try to avoid because it doesn't cost me anything and some people seem to really, really care.  Plus perhaps someday the person who will really, really care will be my daughter.

So this isn't about whether some phrases are appropriate or not, because I don't know, or even about me being offended, because I wasn't. 

This morning after my Bible study a friend was commenting on her 3 year old daughter's hair--"look how bad it is, it looks like she is an orphan."  This led to a discussion about how bad my children's hair always the extent that I got a "compliment" on their Christmas picture of their "sleepy heads."  (This also did not hurt my feelings.)

Then another woman chimed in that she calls her bed head "teriyaki hair" because it looks like she has chopsticks everywhere.

So I "know of" people on-line who would be offended that the plight of the orphan was trivialized or that another person would make a racists comment.  A part of me pondered those responses, but all I felt was sad...and I couldn't figure out why since I knew the speakers hearts' and intent and they are not offensive.

But you know what I figured out?  I'm sad for a few reasons.  One more intellectual sadness is that I'm pretty sure they would have not have said those comments if my daughter (who is not yet here) was on my hip.  I think they would have been conscious that at one point she was an orphan and that she is from China and would have held back potentially problematic phrases...or immediately retreated with embarrassment afterwards.  I don't know what that says about our culture or the actual appropriateness of certain language, but I know it makes me sad.  Partly because it shows she is not on their mind right now (which I find completely understandable).

But a larger part, the more emotional part, is sad because even in the most pessimistic of scenarios (aside from the never adopting scenario) we should be home with a 1 year old in less than 7 months (probably sooner).  That means somewhere in China today there is a baby who is between 2-8 months old...ALREADY an orphan...who has to wait 4-7 months to meet her new family, her plan B. 

And that makes me sad.  

Some part of me each day as I snap pictures, go to MOPs and my photography classes, as I play games with my children, as we go to Nativity plays, dinner with friends, as I enjoy life, a small part of me is always a little sad.  When the timeline was impossibly long and unpredictable, I did not feel this so frequently.  But knowing she has to have be born, has to have been taken to an orphanage, that possibly her caregiver or foster mom are falling in love with her knowing she will someday leave them, that she is hearing a language that should be hers but will be lost, that... 

It makes me sad.  (Maybe a little less sad when I'm arguing homework with my middle child...)

Now, I don't actually want this sadness to go away.  I don't want to go about life and forget her.  I believe this feeling will only help me have compassion for her, particularly during the transition if I can remember what she lost while I lived a life of privilege and joy.

I just do not know how intense it must be for the moms and dads who already know who is going to join their family but are still waiting and waiting to travel.  Someday soon, hopefully, that will be where we are at, so then I'll know.  Even though I expect it to be hard, I cannot wait.

In the meantime, we got 3 little children passports in the mail today...only one should be needed when we travel to China...but 3 passports means we are one step closer to being a family of 6, to bringing home our child and begin healing the wounds created by 1 year as an orphan.

Friday, December 2, 2011

My Kids

My kids might just be tired of me taking pictures of them.

 But I just can't help it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sunday Snapshot -- The Zoo...again

We go to the zoo a lot.  An annual pass makes it "free" and it is a great place to practice taking pictures--a win-win for all!  So Black Friday, instead of shopping or staying home feeling like we "should do something," we went to the zoo.

The nice thing about cold overcast days is that means a lot of the animals are prowling about.
Clouded Leopard
Even if they are mostly behind glass.
The sunniest part of the day was when Oak and the kids went into the aquarium and I waited outside to take pictures at my leisure with my non-fogged up lens.
The Peacock was quite the poser, which is not something I can say for my children.
Thankfully our zoo has some beautiful foliage to enjoy even if I didn't get any great pictures of the kids.
Plus there is always the age old question of "what is the difference between a penguin...
...and a Puffin?" to entertain us all.
The zoo labels most...if not all...of their plants, but I almost never remember to read the label.  Oh, well, I think it is pretty.
The Polar Bear had moved away from the pond by the time I had my turn at the window, so I tried to make do.  My son said my first attempt looked like a human foot, so I tried again.  Some lady with a cell phone has the full view shot.
Red Wolf
I filled my card while taking pictures of this guy.  They have a nice, new habitat and zoos across the country are bringing these animals back from the brink of extinction.
But then I saw these purple thankful for back up memory cards.  But now Thanksgiving weekend is almost over...
...time to start celebrating Christmas!

(If anyone wants to visit us, we have 3 guest passes each time we visit the zoo...and ZooLights is quite beautiful.)

Ni Hao Yall


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a most fabulous Thanksgiving!  It is so nice for me to be able to see family and have my husband and kids home for 4 whole days.  Dinner with Oak's family last night, breakfast with them all here this morning, and dinner with my family tonight...then 3 days as a family (except for one "shoot" of a friend's family!)

Also, we are one step...a little step...closer to China.  It appears they matched families with LID 8/3/2006-8/7/2006...5 days.  I was hoping for more, but the fact that they sent a batch at all is great news.  Rumor Queen actually has us in the next batch...and her predictions have been fairly accurate even when I thought she was being hopelessly optimistic.  China can match 8/8/2006-8/15/2006 in one batch.  That would be the best Christmas present ever...better than the 70-200 f/2.8 camera lens which at $2499 is even less likely (as in impossible) than seeing my daughter's face before the new year.

Why do I feel like this?
SnapDragon is always up for a giggle!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

If You Spill It

We finally got a desk so we can bring our main computer downstairs and out of our bedroom.  Hopefully it will make it more accessible to the boys as they start to need it more often, but more likely it'll just mean I'm on the computer even more frequently (if that was even possible.) 

Oak was putting it together when Sunflower spilled his glass of coke (only to be expected as it was on the floor next to the interesting parts Sunflower kept trying to steal.)  

I took the glass and got the carpet cleaner.  Then I sat down on the floor to cuddle Sunflower--partly to comfort her as she was upset and partly to keep her away from the mess.  

After a little while Oak handed the wet rags towards me and asked, "Can you rinse these out for me?"

Sunflower lifted her head off of my shoulder, looked at the rags, and said, "No.  I can't.  I'm holding Mom."

Monday, November 21, 2011

No Good News?

I should be doing something cleaning, folding laundry, or at minimum organizing/deleting photos.  Instead I'm watching Doras with Sunflower and checking China Adopt Talk for the latest news.

The current rumor is that referrals should be arriving this week and maybe August 8th is included...maybe not...maybe more.  August 8 would be 6 days matched leaving us 7 more days in front of us.  Really, it is silly.

Whether China matches to the 8, 9, or 10th doesn't make a difference to us.  Our odds of being matched in December is still low, but possible, and our more probable date of seeing our daughter's face is still February/March...and you know, those months are coming really soon anyway.

So clicking and clicking to find the latest news does not change anything...but it does waste time and give me a headache.  I should really turn off Dora and hunt down Sunflower...last I saw her she was heading up the stairs without clothes on and a pile of clothes in her arms to pack.

I guess because we took all three children on Friday to apply for passports she thinks she is going to China with us.  Oak figured we should get them all case we forget to find them childcare for while we are gone or have a need to flee to Canada.  

We got our passports at the start of the process...thank goodness adult passports are good for 10 years or we would have to renew them already.

On a side, related note, at one point I started panicking because we had talked to various people who might watch SnapDragon and Sunflower while we are gone, but I realized I hadn't asked anyone about Huckleberry.  That's because he is traveling to China with us...I hope I remember that when the time comes.

Monday, November 14, 2011


We decided to try to walk-in and have our fingerprints taken today.  Our friend took Sunflower last night so we could hit the road after dropping the boys at school and hopefully make it back in time for the school bell.  I had gotten very little sleep last night, so I was anxious about spending the day at the Department of Homeland Security waiting, waiting, and waiting.  However, several things came together to make it happen and God's fingerprints were definitely in the details.

First, even though I was exhausted, I had recently decided my hair was driving me nuts.  This led to my usual next step, splurging to buy the slightly more expensive shampoo and conditioner my best friend uses on her gorgeous hair.  I am convinced that if I use it frequently enough I, too, will have thick, beautiful, red hair.  By the end of a bottle I am usually happier with my hair as it is healthier and softer, but discouraged by the lack of red and thickness I go back to my bad hair care product purchase habits.  

Anyway, this time, I couldn't remember exactly which line of the product she buys, so I bought the "invigorating" one.  I figured it was just a marketing tool.   Well, no.  Imagine putting medicated chapstick on your scalp.  Kind of tingly and it really does wake you up.  Can I admit I kind of like it?

Then we made good time getting to the office and after going through security with no annoying beeps (last time we were there Oak had his micro-leatherman confiscated not to be returned) the next line was surprising short...3-4 be told to go to window 11 to find out if they would accept walk-ins today...his sad smile and doubtful head shake was quite discouraging.

The next lady at the head of the next quite a bit longer line was the one who would say yes or no.  There were several signs stating aht walk-ins are not welcome.  SOMETIMES our office takes walk-ins, but only when they are not busy, and they were clearly busy today.   She looked stressed and on the verge of a no but we'd prayed for those in power to find favor on us...and it was clear she didn't WANT to turn us away.  

So she gave us some papers and told us to fill it out and get back to the end of her line again.  Fast forward to the front of her line again and she gives us a number.  Then we wait a little longer and our number is called.  Then we go into the fingerprint room and wait in line one last time.  At each time I felt afraid that they would turn us away, but we continued on until completion...and while waiting we heard other walk-ins being turned away by the lady who had replaced our kind-hearted lady.

After only a little over two hours in the office, big happy sigh, it is done!  Now we can spend the day after Thanksgiving as God!  Just kidding, spending it with family being we do have so much for which to be thankful!

Friday, November 11, 2011

11 on 11/11/11

I am thankful for:

1.   My God
2.   My family
3.   My friends--real and on-line
4.   My warm fuzzy blanket
5.   My house
6.   My reliably running cars
7.   My camera and all its fun accessories and photography
8.   My access to food
9.   My husband's job
10.  My activities--MOPS, Jeremiah Bible Study, Photography class, etc.
11.  All the Veterans and their families who sacrifice for My freedom
     (Thank you Captain...soon to be Major...Awesome)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Our Trip

We spent last weekend down South with Oak's brother and his (Oak's brother's) wife.  It was a great weekend of good conversation, excellent food, and slightly wild children.

Of course we did spend time at the Science Museum since our annual pass in not yet expired.  There are more Science Museum photos on my photography blog.
  They have lots of interesting things for the kids to try out.
And I tried the instruction from my photography class to take pictures from no higher than 3 feet.  My teacher said fashion photographers never take pictures from higher than that.
Doesn't it make Oak look like a fashion model...even if he did move away before I could play with my exposure more.  I've known to get down on eye level with the kids, but had never tried it with adults.
SnapDragon did excellently well on this math puzzle.  I am very proud of his math abilities...if not his hair cut.
We did have Sunflower use the bathroom before playing in the water...first dry trip at the Science Center...though Sunflower did try to take her shirt off because "it is wet!"
Then burritos for lunch, trip to the camera store, and an evening at the house which included some delicious homemade pizza and a movie.
Sunday Breakfast was smoothies and a scrumptious lemon, blueberry coffee cake.  Aunt H is a very good cook.
Are you ready to play yet, Aunt H?  Are you done yet?
Time for the second game of Settlers.  Poor, Uncle B, he just cannot understand the illogical thinking of 7 year olds.  Aunt H crushed them all.
We ended the visit with lunch at the best Vietnamese restaurant ever.  The owner will even make a bowl of plain noodles for those picky little 7 year olds...and grill a chicken breast to go with the noodles for little sister.
This is why my mother refused to watch us eat noodle soup when I was a child, but what is one to do with chop sticks?
Then good-byes in the parking lot though I was so busy taking pictures I didn't realize I'd left my purse.  Uncle B will pick it up and mail it to me...thankfully I have my wallet with my driver's lisence. I would have so much trouble breaking the rules or staying home for this next week.
Then we made a beeline for Oak's sister's church to see our niece get we couldn't stop and let me take pictures of the beautiful sky behind us.  That's mirrors are fun.
Ended the evening celebrating at the church with coaco and snacks.  
Huckleberry even had a chance to show his saxaphone (school rental) to his musically gifted Cousin J.  And I got a chance to practice more night photography...take off the glasses is my tip of the day.
Sweet Shot Day