Monday, July 26, 2010

We got an update!!!!!

Thanks to our amazing new friends who are volunteers in Finley's orphanage, we were able to get an update with a bunch of pictures in record time!!!! We are so thrilled with this level of communication and again, we feel like we won the lottery!!!

We sent many questions to the director of the SWI and received great information in response.

Here are the questions and responses-- we cant believe how perfect this is!

1. Has Haoyi had any additional surgeries since her original surgery in 10-07? If so, what surgery?


2. Has Haoyi had an updated MRI since the last one in May 08? If so, can we get the results?


3. Does Haoyi have control of her bowels and urinary function (potty trained or incontinent)?

Yes, she can and she has been potty trained. (This is huge as Spina Bifida kids this is a big unknown and to know she is potty trained, we just cant believe it!)

4. Does Haoyi have adequate leg strength in compared to her same age peers?

Yes, she does. Normal growth.

5. Can she run, jump and walk up stairs at the same level of her peers?

Yes, she can run, jump and walk up stairs just like her peers. (Again, big deal with SB kids. Shows her lower extremities are not affected-- totally big deal)

6. Has her condition diminished or progressed negatively from her report in June 2009?

She has been doing good, and normal growth. (Also a big deal as SB kids can diminish if they have a thing called "tethered cord" which it sounds like she does not)

7. Is her intellectual development progressing well?

Yes good intelligence.

8. Is Haoyi’s language progressing well in compared to her peers? In the report dated June 2009 it indicated her language was limited. Is her language now at a low, average or high level as compared to her age peers?

It’s true that her language was limited then because there was little communication at the orphanage and the kids here usually have a later start in the development of language. But now she can basically express herself and communicate with others. She can say sentences of 2 or 3 words. Compared with her peers, her language level is average. (guess were going to be learning Mandarin:)

We are thrilled!!!!! She really is the best case scenario for an SB kid. We just cant believe this and want to get her NOW!!!!!

So, now for the updated pictures!! She is precious and has the most beautiful eyes and lips-- I just love them! Kind of sad they cut her hair but we will let it grow and she looks beautiful no matter what!! She is now 2.7 years old and she looks bigger than Mia who is 3.7. That is what she looks like in pictures, but when you actually see her in person, often they are smaller than they look in photos.

This was a couple months ago before they cut her hair

Oh the concentration- again, a couple months ago

Taken just a few days ago after they cut her hair

So adorable!!! Looks like she is spinning or something like that!

Even though they cut her hair, they still are putting clippies in it-- good for them!!

Love her eyes in this picture!! They are so big and beautiful!!

Nice outfit and love the pouty lips!

Again, we cant be happier and to get this kind of information on our daughter is so rare-- we feel so blessed!!!

I'm going to send a care package this week and we will hopefully get pictures from that. I will keep all of you informed.

We need to get our immigration paperwork in this week so pray for things to go smooth and that the process will be FAST!!! We want our girl!!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

We would like to Introduce our daughter Finley Haoyi!!!

It is official!! We have submitted our Letter of Intent (LOI) for our new daughter Finley Haoyi who is currently 2.7 years old residing in Fushun SWI in the Laioning province above Bejing (norhtern girl)! We are over the moon with complete excitement and even better, we just got our Pre Approval (PA) back from China TODAY (hence the reason we can now post her info)!!! They processed our LOI and returned our PA in record time of only 4 days---GOOD WORK CCAA!!!!!!!

So, here is our beautiful girl!!!

Finley is the little one-- the older one, Betty is an amazing girl who was just adopted 5 weeks ago into a family who I am in contact with who has given me a ton of info on our daughter-- story is at the bottom of email-- amazing story-- great reading!!!!

Here is our beautiful little girls referral picture-- she is about 21 months in this picture

Another referral picture-- she is so precious I cant stand it!!!

Look at this baby picture of Finley at about 10 months and look at her about 8 months ago-- she looks exactly the same-- just older-- so amazingly beautiful!!!!

We have been so fortunate to get so much info about our little girl including a ton of pictures from when she was little. This is one of the groups that regularly visit and work in Finleys orphanage. Read the story below-- totally amazing work totally 100% orchistraited by GOD!!!!

So here is the story. Totally amazing and totally GOD!!! We are thrilled and cant wait to get our girl home-- prbably about 6 to 7 months from now!!

Finley's Story-- Thus Far

We just accepted a referral for Haoyi (soon to be Finley) who is from Northern China in the Laioning (sp?) province in Fushun SWI. This is on the border of north Korea so this is totally a different part of china then what we expected. She is 2.7 years old and just about the cutest thing in the world. She will be almost exactly 1 year younger than Mia which is exactly what I had hoped for. The story of how we found her is totally God-- really 100% God.

I saw a baby on Rainbow kids that was an agency only kid with CCAI. I called about her and spoke with their waiting child person Deniece. In the midst of the conversation we discussed that we were open to looking at more scary diagnosis that may look scary but may not impact the child very much-- but that most people would not look at because it appears like a scary SN. Anyway, we just spoke for a few and after we hung up the phone, about 15 minutes later she emailed me and said she had a file on her desk that just for some reason she thought might be good for us. She emailed me the basic general info with just a quick picture and said if you are interested we would have to do an application with CCAI and then she could show us the file. We did just that because we were smitten at first glance. It took 2 days but she sent the file and we just fell in love.

She is a repaired Spina Bifida (meningicyl) but seems to be the best case scenario according to the info. She is 2.7 years in Fushun SWI. As you can see from the pictures, she is BEAUTIFUL and has a great personality!!

OK, so we decide to move forward with her but didn't want to switch agencies so I call our agency (Nightlight Christian in So cal) and they are able to find her on the shared list so we lock her file. So totally odd how we found her with another agency just by random chance-- totally God!! She had been on the shared list for a while so we probably would never had seen her.

So we lock her file on Friday but worry we wouldn't be able to get her info to a ped neurosurgeon before our lock runs out on Monday. All of her info was a year old so there could have been a lot that could have happened to her in a year depending on her care so we needed to get some sort of confirmation that she ok at the last update so we didn't worry so much about deterioration. We call the top Spina Bifida clinic about 20 min from our house and they tell us to email their chief ped neurosuregeon the info and he will try to respond. So we did and on Saturday afternoon he actually calls my cell phone to discuss Haoyi. We talk about everything which is all totally amazingly positive. He said, and I quote, "she is the best case scenerio for a SB kid". I was thrilled and on cloud 9. That was confirmation from God that we needed in order to move forward no matter what.

Then that night another online mom emailed me a link to a blog of a lady who is adopting her son from the same SWI. Their SWI has only done a handful of international adoptions and has very few little ones and mostly older kids. Anyway, from her blog I found a link to another blog of a couple who volunteers at her SWI 2 time a year since 2006. There were a ton of pics on their blog and it turned out the SWI is amazing!!! It is literally one of the best. They do so much enrichment and they all care so well for the kids. Our daughter has long hair and they put it in pigtails everyday and overall, they care for the children VERY well!! I was so impressed and didn't know SWI's existed in China like that (mia was foster care). The best part was while looking through the slide shows on his blog I found a picture of our daughter from when she was only about 10 months. She was adorable!!!!

So, I email this wonderful couple and they immediately reply and offer to help try to get pictures. They are very close to the SWI director and consider him a close friend. Furthermore, their daughter just adopted one of the older girls from the SWI who is 13. They just came home 5 weeks ago. Anyway, this couple offered to show our daughters picture to her to see if she remembered her. The SWI has about 50 kids and only about 15 are kids 3 and under so most of the older kids know the little ones and play and interact with them regularly. Anyway, their new granddaughter only speaks mandarin so it turns out that we are currently hosting Chinese students form Changdu so I suggested having their granddaughter talk with my chinese boys to tell us about Haoyi. So, Monday morning she called and spoke with my chinese boys and they asked her a ton of questions-- all of which turned out to be AMAZING!!! She indicated HAoyi is very beautiful and very smart- much smarter than the other kids (according to this girl- not sure what that is based on but that's what she said). She indicated she was shy and did not speak that much (which worried me a bit but our boys said that many little girls do not speak much-- more of a cultural thing-- have you heard of this?) but is social and loves to play with other kids. They said she is happy and she runs and jumps (which is good considering her SB) and that she is potty trained (which is even better with the SB). She said that Haoyi is well liked and that she has only had the one surgery at birth-- no more since. She said she is a typical kid!

I could not believe that our chinese exchange boys were talking to a girl who intimately knows our daughter and has since she was born. I feel like we won the lottery. Furthermore, she is doing great and all the areas of concern (continence, lower leg strength) is great!!! I know it is info from a 13 year old but this is a 13 year old who has known our daughter since she was found. I am thrilled and cant believe we get a peek into her past a bit. I also cant believe we are having this girls grandpa speak with his close friend who is the director of the SWI to get more info on our daughter. Furthermore, we got more pictures of our daughter when she was about 10 months from this couple- they looked through some old trip pictures and found about 5 adorable pictures of our daughter and we got the first picture that Betty had found of the two of them. Who would have ever thought!!! I cant imagine a better scenario. I feel so blessed and that God had totally arranged all of these events so that we could find our daughter. AMAZING CONFIRMATION!!!!

We submitted our Letter of Intent (LOI) Tuesday and this afternoon (Friday) we received our Pre Approval (PA) that we are pre approved to adopt our daughter. We are THRILLED beyond belief and cant wait to get to China.

I will post soon about the next steps but for now-- this is it!!! YAAAAAAA!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lots happening!!!!

I'm sorry-- I'm sorry :( I know I have been totally missing but after Haiti I had so much to catch up with and just totally buried with court assessments and other stuff. Happily, I will say I have hired an assistant that is going to help me with my private practice so I am not doing things that take time that others can do for me-- soooo happy about that decision. BUT, with that said we have made another decision that is monumental!!! I cant share much yet but I will the second I can-- soon, really soon!!! And yes, it has something to do with little Miss Finley-- oh ya it does!!!!

Anyway, cant wait to tell you what is up!!!

With that said, here are some of the things that have been up since I have become a blogger bum!

Owen's Birthday is not till July 25, but he wanted to have his pals from school come to the party this year as he has never had a school party because his birthday is in summer. So, before school was out we picked a date and sent invitations. He is at summer camp in the mountains this week and every other weekend is booked so we had to do the birthday early--

so, Happy Early 10th Birthday Owen!!

I love the way Mia is looking at him in this picture!

The massive jumper that burnt our grass because the company didn't pick it up till the next afternoon after the party-- kids loved it-- the grass didn't!

We are hosting Chinese students through our church like we have for many years in the past. This year we have 2 boys and they are just great!! They are both from Chengdu Seszchun (sp?). They are with us for 13 days.

We had an adoption picnic on Saturday so we took the boys-- it was fun!

There was a watermelon eating contest-- Mia loves watermelon!

Picture of all Nightlight Adopted Children from So Cal!

Ethan loved the watermelon too!

Pretty girl

Digging in

Owen showing how his belly talks-- such a dork!!!

We are having fun with the Chinese boys here and Mia is in heaven because they are so nice to her. She asks all the time if she can play with HER Chinese boys!! Too cute!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Anniversary Honey- 16 years-- wow!!

Yesterday was Kevin and my 16th wedding anniversary. I cant believe we have been married for so long. It seems like not too long ago that he was the cute new guy in our church youth group that I had a crush on. It doesn't seem possible that was 22 years ago and that we have now been married 16!!! WOW!!! We have been through a lot together and have created an amazing life with our 3 kids- soon to be 4. Kevin is a truly amazing man that I feel blessed everyday to have in my life. He is a man of many talents and most importantly, a man of God who is constantly seeking the Lords will in his life. He is a strong spiritual leader and I feel blessed to call him not only my best friend but also my husband!
I love you honey!! Happy 16!!!
PS- I fell asleep last night at 7pm and slept till 9am this am- crazy tired- so we have yet to celebrate but we will soon!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

We are home safe and sound!!!

WE ARE HOME!!! So happy to be home but mixed emotions about leaving. First off I want to do a few thank yous to the people who helped make this happen. First off to my sister Cassie who basically took over being mom to the kids. She moved into our house and basically became mom to the kids for 11 days. It was a huge responsibility as the kids had many activities they had to attend and Cass had to keep up with all of that. Besides watching the kids, she also managed to single handedly clean and organize our entire house. We came home to a clean and wonderfully organized home with our closet and bathroom and kids room clean and totally organized-- something I have needed to do for a long time but have not because the task seems overwhelming. She did the monumental task for me and I soooooo appreciate it!!! Cass was the main reason this trip was possible and I greatly thank her from the bottom of my heart-- and Kev's too-- for being so willing to step in when we need. Thanks Cass!!! You are amazing and the kids love you like a mom!! WE LOVE YOU!!!!
The next thanks is for Laila. Lai was our scribe and poster and I so appreciate her maintaining our blog so people could follow our amazing journey. She was always so willing to help at any hour and her helping blessed many people who were able to see what these wonderful people have to live with and how much need there is. Thanks Lai for everything!!! WE LOVE YOU TOO!!!!
Another thanks to Don and Mary (Gma and Gpa) and my mom and dad for their help. Don and Mary did dinner for the kids many times and took them to Disneyland twice!! Lots of work and we appreciated it!!! Thanks to my parents for chipping in with the kids but also taking us to LAX and picking us up and driving us home. We really appreciated it! Also to Brad and Amy for letting the kids come to the farm and the boys spending the night. They had a blast- as always and I appreciate your willingness to help!
Life started back up this morning but we were thrilled to see the kids. Mia was taken when she came into our room this morning and saw it was not Cassie but mom and dad. She was so excited!! The boys waited up for us last night so we got to see them then although it was later as we got home from the airport around 11:30pm. It was fun seeing the kids and we missed them a ton!!
This morning I have been going through about 400 emails and trying to get things done. It is amazing how fast reality hits you and frankly being over in Haiti gave us a taste of slow life and I miss that. In the US we live a much faster pace life but here is southern California we live an even faster life than most. Really we do-- it is very fast paced and it leaves little down time. I want that to change a bit. I'm on summer vacation and only have my private practice to deal with so life should slow to an extent but I really want our lives to slow even during the school year. We need to do that!
I have some major reflections to do over our trip. It was a bag of mixed emotions and mixed experiences. It is hard to put into words what we experienced but it was tremendous! I will post more pictures with reflections and our plans for Daniel and Maxi soon. We are so excited about our plans Lo, Kev and I came up with and we have got a ton of buy in from Lai and my family. Its exciting but will share when I have time to post pics along with our plan.
I will try to post tomorrow but thanks so much for following and praying for our journey.