Friday, September 24, 2010

Oak Glen--

We went to Oak Glen -- apple area in the hills of Southern California-- last weekend and had a great time. Our pal Lia took her nice camera and took some pictures.

One of the family-- gotta do the family shot at Oak Glen

Owen and his best pal Judah. They are such great friends and I love their cute relationship~~

Love this picture of Mia. She looks so pretty!!!

Had to post this one-- love Kevin-- too funny!!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Another amazing update on Finley!!!!!

I cannot tell you how fortunate we are to have such an amazing contact at Finley’s orphanage. Remember the wonderful retired couple that visits Finley’s orphanage often. Well, their guide, Maggie, is an exceptional woman who they know well and consider family. When I first began communicating with the retired couple, they immediately put me in contact with Maggie. Actually they forwarded her a bunch of questions I had about our daughter and she was able not only to get me an update (the very first update we received) but also was able to get me a ton of pictures. This was not through our agency but simply because I knew the amazing Maggie. Anyway, throughout this process, I have stayed in contact with Maggie and she has been very helpful. Most recently she is helping arrange a birthday celebration for Finley and has been in contact with a sweet Nanny at the orphanage who likes Finley a lot and is willing to help with the birthday. Anyway, this wonderful nanny is helping with everything and I decided just 2 days ago to send Maggie some questions just to see if she might be able to get them answered. I knew there was a chance my questions would go unanswered but amazingly one day after I asked the questions, here is what I got!!!!!

1. What do they call Hao Yi? Do they have a nick name for her?

Just Hao Yi. No other nick names.

2. Is she close to one particular Nanny? Who is she closest to?

The nannies who took care of her have left and now they’ve got new nannies. We haven’t found any particular nanny who Hao Yi is closest to. Hao Yi is very easy to get along with. (Awwww!!! I’m so happy they think she is easy to get along with)

3. Has she received our gift with the photo album, pillow, blanket and other things? Have they been telling Hao Yi about her family in America and that we are coming to get her soon? If not, can they please do so? We really want her prepared so she is not surprised.

Yes, she has received everything. The pillow and blanket have been used for her for a little while, and she likes them a lot. The photo album has been showed to her too, with the nannies and teachers telling her about you. But she is too little to understand the meaning of family because of the fact that she has never had the experience. (That makes me sad- but I understand) But Ms Wang promised to tell her about you every day, to help her better prepared for the adoption. (Yaaaaa!!! So happy they are preparing her)

4. Does Hao Yi speak in full sentences? Is her Chinese good?

Hao Yi was very late to begin to speak and she has just learned to express herself with the language, usually sentences of 3 to 5 words, and is able to understand the nannies. (They had told me in a previous update that most children speak late in the SWI so Finley was similar to all other children) Hao Yi is very smart and has very brilliant eyes. (Oh that make me so happy) She is understanding and ready to help. For example, she will stop those who are being naughty by calling their names, or report to the nanny for help, and she would hold the dust collector for the nanny when she is sweeping the floor, etc. (that made me laugh out loud when I read that—little tattle tale!!)

5. Does Hao Yi wear diapers at night? Is she potty trained at night?

No, she doesn’t. She is potty trained but has to be woken up once by the nanny during the night. (This is absolutely amazing!!! She is a year younger than Mia and Mia isn’t potty trained at night yet!!! It is crazy because this is totally amazing for a spina bifida kid to have complete control of their bowel and urination- this shows how healed she is- wow!!)

6. Does she show affection and how does she show it?

Yes, by the expression of her eyes and laughing.

7. Does she have a favorite playmate?

Yes, Zhao Shi Hao.

8. What does she like to do? or play with?

She likes to play with toys or play outside. She likes fruit and food. She often plays with Liang Liang and Shi Hao. (I love that she has good friends-- yaaa)

9. What is her favorite toy? (we would like to bring her toys she enjoys playing with)

Whatever toys, but she seems to like dolls most.(her and Mia are going to get along very well!!! Dolls are a favorite)

10. What makes her happy?

Playing outside and eating goodies.

11. What makes her angry?

She is angry when the others grab her things. (interesting—Mia and her are going to have some fun learning to share!!)

12. Is she afraid of anything?

Not yet since she is never exposed to the outside and there is nothing unsafe indoors. But she might be afraid of the dark, thunder, or being alone, or animals.

13. What makes her stop crying?

Hold her in your arms and give her a hug, or give her something to eat, such as fruit or crackers.(awwww!!!!)

14. Do her toes point in or are her feel straight? (pigeon toed)

No toes don't point- in. Normal. (this is totally amazing!! A big sign of a child with Spina Bifida having tethered cord syndrome is that their toes begin to point in. It is something we have to watch for and to know right now that her toes are straight—is amazing!!! That helps us believe, along with other great reports, that she is not tethered and seems to be doing sooooo well)

15. Does she walk and run like an average child or is she slower?

Normal.(again, this is a wonderful report as Spina Bifida kids often are slower and have trouble with walking and running—just amazing news)

16. Is she clumsy or fall or trip often?

She is very flexible. She can run and jump quickly and she won’t fall. (again, this is tremendous news—can’t believe she is so unaffected by the SB)

I had also asked that Maggie give the nanny some messages for me. One was to make sure they tell Finley about us and her family waiting for her and how much we love her. The second was to not cut her hair. If you recall, they surprisingly cut her hair a few months ago so I wanted to ask for them to let it grow before we picked her up!! This was the response from my requests:

Ms Wang (the nanny) has promised to celebrate her birthday with a cake and a little present and take as many pictures as possible as you wish. And she will tell her about your family while looking at the photo album. And she will also tell the nannies not to cut her hair, so she will keep very beautiful long hair.

I just can’t tell you how thrilled I am to get all these questions answered. I feel like I have an inside track to our little girl and I feel blessed to have that. I know she is being well taken care of and that she is well loved. This means the world to us!!! I am beside myself with happiness right now. I just love my little girl and I want to get her now. I thank God that these people have been assembled around her to care and protect her. We are so blessed!!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WE ARE LID!!!!!!

For all you non- adoption folk, I will explain. We worked hard to get our documents or dossier together over the last 3 months. We finally got it all together and sent it to China on 9-3-10. Once it gets to China you wait to hear what day they logged you in (LID). This is a very important date as it determines a lot of your processing time-- the earlier the better. So, most people wait about 2 weeks to get logged in but AMAZINGLY, the day China actually received our dossier (9-7-10) was the day they logged us in !!!!!!! We got our LID the same day they got our dossier!!!! That is hugely rare and totally exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!

So we are LID- 9-7-10

Which means we are now 7 days into our wait for our official Letter of Approval (LOA) from China. The process is that we submitted our Letter of Intent (LOI) to adopt Finley. China sent us back a Pre-Approval (PA) that said that we can go ahead and submit our paperwork for Finley. So, we did all our paperwork, sent it in- we are now logged in-- and now we wait for China's official acceptance that they are going to allow us to be parents to Finely (which they will). After we get our letter of Acceptance (LOA) from China then we have to wait for our travel approval (TA) and then we can travel.

The basic trend in timelines are as follows:

Wait for LOA from LID is around 30 to 40 days-- we are 7 days into that wait

Wait for TA from LOA is around 60 days

These are good times but our process could go quicker (we hope) or slower (we pray not). As things have been going along, we have sped through this process so my prayer is we are trending towards the faster side of things but we will see. So, if we trend towards the fast side, we could be in China in December!!!! I can not imagine that!! I would be thrilled but I am not holding my breath for that because if that were the case, things would have to literally work our PERFECTLY and if anyone knows China adoption, that does not always happen. So, I will hope for January and if things go fast and we end up getting December--- I will celebrate while being in Shock!!!

So, that is where we are. I can not be any happier right now knowing we may only be 3 to 4 months from holding our little girl!!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

My 2 Girls!!!

Please excuse the quality of the pictures but they were taken on my phone last night before bed. I heard Mia upstairs making some noise in my closet and when I got up there she was trying on all my high heels. She loves heels (just like her momma) and the ones she is wearing in the picture are the ones she deemed her favorites because they are silver and "match my outfit". The girl has a good eye!!!

A tutu and high heels-- what can be more girlie!!
And to keep Finley's beautiful face in every ones thoughts, here is my second daughter!! Could she be anymore beautiful!! I am sooooooo in love!!!

She has the most perfect features. Look at those lips-- gorgeous!!!

Just the sweetest little personality in this picture. I am just smitten!!!
As an update on our process, our dossier went to China and officially arrived Tuesday of this week. We now get to wait for our Log in Date (LID) which should be soon and then we wait for our Letter of Approval (LOA). The average wait for an LOA is about 45 to 60 days so we have a bit of a wait but I'm hoping we will be on the shorter end of things. Once we get our LOA we then have a bunch more steps but I will get into those later-- there are a bunch of small confusing steps. Anyway, all this to say that we moved through the paper work phase (dossier) quickly and had record time on getting our immigration approval. We are ahead of the game right now and we pray there are no snags that will slow us down. Right now we are looking at possible travel in January (if we keep moving really fast-- this is absolute best case scenario) or February (this is average speed) or March (if we get some slow downs which we hope we don't). So my hopes are to be in China in January-- cold!!! She is from northern China so it will be very cold but I will take any level of cold to get my little girl!!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

First Day of School

This past Monday was the boys first day of school. Before school on the first day our school has a worship and prayer time to kick the school year off right. This year was a great time and it was fun to see all the kids and families again!

My big 7th grader

A time of prayer and worship

Kev and Mia

My 5th grader!!

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