Sunday, November 28, 2010


Tradition in our family is to travel to the Central Valley of California each Thanksgiving to visit my dads side of the family. We have been doing this for years and it is a tradition we love and look forward to each year. We have a ton of cousins and it's the one time a year we get to see each other. We only live 3 hours away from each other but with our busy lives it is just hard to get up there more often.

The central valley is beautiful and our family owns quite a bit of land up there. Each Thanksgiving we go to the land and pick pomegranates, shoot guns and take the hike to the Owen monument. The monument has been weathered heavily but still stands. We add new family member names each year (this year we had 2 births and of course we had to add Finley) but it was so weathered that none of the names were visible. So, we decided we would have a professional sign made and erected next year.

This is a picture of my parents with all the Owen grandchildren at the monument

My sweet girl! She loves running all over the place up there!!

I thought this was a cool picture with the rays of sun. My handsome hubby!!

My mom with the 3 girls-- 4 next year!!!

All the Owen grand kids on the monument

Taking a walk on the land. I love it there-- open, beautiful-- awwww!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I800 Approval!!!!!

I forgot to post this as it has been a crazy busy week but on Tuesday 11-16 we got our I800 approval-- yaaaaaa!!!! What that basically means is that Finley has been approved to become a US Citizen upon arrival in the USA!! So, now our file is 2nd day aired to The National Visa Center (NVC) where they do something-- no one really knows but it takes about a week to 10 days for them to do this and then they send a cable to the US Consulate in Guangzhou that your file is coming. Our agency reps in China then hand delivers the file and some other papers to the Consulate and then we wait exactly 2 weeks. Once the 2 weeks pass, they pick up our Article 5 from the consulate and then they deliver the finalized papers to China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA) where we then wait for our Travel Approval. Travel Approvals (TA) are taking about 2 weeks right now-- sometimes longer, sometimes shorter. Once our TA comes we could literally be on a plane within a week to pick up Finley. We wont know when we travel until right before we leave but the way it is looking, we will probably be traveling right at the new year. For sure January and probably early January!!! We are sooo close to our beautiful little girl!! I cant wait!! Finley-- we are coming very soon!!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Spina Bifida

Many within the adoption community are scared of the words "SPINA BIFIDA". I know I was scared to death of the disability thinking children with spina bifida were in wheel chairs and were cognitively impaired. This preconceived notion could not be farther from the truth. When we completed our special needs check list that indicated the disabilities we were willing to take and those we were unwilling to take, spina bifida was defiantly a disability we were NOT willing to take. It scared me and I didn't really give it a second thought. Then, Finley found us. We didn't go looking for her-- instead through divine arrangement of circumstances, she was placed in our laps and it was so obviously God's leading that we knew she was our daughter-- EVEN WITH THE DIAGNOSIS OF SPINA BIFIDA!!! Finley is about the best case scenario of a child with spina bifida but there are things that could come up in the future that may require action on our part and even possibly surgery. We knew Finley was our daughter and even if she was affected more with her special need, we would have dealt with is-- she was our daughter God had given us!!!

Anyway, this is a video explaining spina bifida and what life is like living with this special need. The first mom on the video is a mom who gave me lots of info when we first found Finley and she made me realize spina bifda was not scary and could easily be managed. She is a wonderful mom and this video is a great resource for those who want more info on SB. There are many many children and babies on the China special needs list with spina bifida and many of them sit there for long periods of time because people are scared of the disability. These are highly desirable children-- beautiful-- many are very young-- bright as can be-- but they sit on the list and are not adopted because people have the same view of spina bifida that I once had. I try to advocate for these kids and let people know this is not a scary need and that people should open their hearts to these children. SB can be an extremely minimal need!!

Thanks for watching the video.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

More Video and Pictures of Finley

I posted that we sent another care package to Finley. This time we actually sent it from us rather than going through an agency in China. I am so glad we did because not only did Finley get the package but Ms. Wang took pictures and video of her in the cute outfit we sent. I am thrilled and I am so happy to have more video and pictures of our little girl.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing
I love how Finley is running in this video. That is huge for a child with Spina Bifida. She moves very well and many SB kids have trouble with lower extremities so we are thrilled to see her running!!

Finley is wearing the dress we sent her and every single clip we sent as well. They put all 5 in her hair at once-- too cute!!!

Look at all those clips-- she looks so cute!

She is beautiful!! I love the look on her face!

Gotta love the shoes!

Bouncing around

Finley with the new care package. Looking at the lady bug book. She was just unwrapping the gift-- too cool!!

One thing we did notice from Finley wearing the outfit we sent is that she is pretty good size. The dress was a 2T and fit her well but I think she is going to be pretty big and maybe even tall. Not sure but it just looks that way to me.

We are thrilled to get this awesome treat!! We are so in love with our little girl and just want to get to China NOW to get her!!!!

Thank you so much Ms. Wang!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday Mia!!!

Mia celebrated her 4th birthday with a small tea put on by a friend from Church who does this on the side. She did an amazing job with the tea and had the 10 girls in the palm of her hand the whole time. I was amazed-- she was so organized and made the food and cupcakes and brought everything. I literally just had some food for the parents. It was a great party and Mia had a blast!!!

Monique putting "pixie dust" on the girls eyes

The food table

The tea table

Pixie dust on Mia's eyes. You could have heard a pin drop

Then she individually dressed each girl-- it was amazingly cute

Mia all dressed up

Watching the others get dressed in their princess dresses

Beautiful Ava

Too cute

The whole group all dressed up ready for their tea party

Monique made me pose with the girls

Then they had a princess fashion show where they had boas, wands and all the princess stuff

So pretty!!

Ava after her walk down the stairs

And Mia modeling her princess outfit

So cute

Georgie and Mia-- our beautiful Chinese princesses

Starting the tea party

Beautiful Ava

Beautiful Georgie

The girls had a lesson on tea etiquette

Drinking their tea in the eloquent way they were taught

Pretty Birthday girl!!!!

Mom and dad with the beautiful birthday princess

Singing happy birthday! The cupcakes were amazing!!


Opening the wonderful gifts!

People were so generous and Mia loved her gifts

Love the dolls!!!

It was a wonderful party and Mia had a great 4th birthday party!!!!