Friday, December 30, 2005

A Few Christmas Pictures

I'm having the most exciting Friday night.... right. Same ole , same ole so I decided to play around with some of our Christmas photos. I wish I had some more. I guess I got caught up in the confusion and excitement. I even missed getting some shots of my parents. I'm hoping Carolyn got some.

Lexi Jars

I thought I'd share one of the fun things we have been doing as a family. When started the adoption process back in the summer, I came up with the idea of having a "change" party after all, we are in for quite a bit of change. Well, the tall jar is my mom's jar. The other one is ours. Carolyn has one too. I just haven't taken a picture of it yet. One day, before we go to China, I guess we'll get around to the party. All of these things we do in preparation for Lexi's arrival just make us feel like she is already a part of our family. It's also so wonderful to see and feel the support of our family.


Yesterday, I took our big notebook of adoption documents so that I could go through it and put notes on the pages to remind me of what needed to be done. Some of the pages need to be signed by us and notarized. You'd be amazed how many times documents must be authenticated, signed and what not. When I finished I had about 5 questions and emailed Mei at CWA. Well, earlier in the month, she had given the name of a woman who I thought was a courier. I got her number out and called her and WOW did I get an education! She actually has a dossier service and takes your documents and makes sure they are authenticated by the right people, basically checked and double checked. I thought putting the dossier together was easy... no such luck! I truly believe that had we tried to do this on our own, we would be delaying the process even longer. Needless to say, she's hired. She also told me that the Georgia turn around after fingerprinting is about 3 weeks so hopefully, ours will come in next week. She was very nice, bubbly and full of information and lives in Jacksonville. She even told me about an organization that she is a member of Families With Children from China (or something like that). I'm going to look into that. I don't know why they don't just tell you up from all the ins and outs of adoption. Someone should write a book of tried and true tricks of the trade.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Scrapbook Pages

As Geoff worked on the financial statement and the adoption statement for the dossier, I worked on the photo pages for the dossier. They say you can send up to three 8 1/2 X 11 pages along with the dossier. So I went to work will all of my new scrapbooking supplies. The idea is to send 6-8 photos of your house inside and out, a photo of the us as a couple and family gathering photos with short captions for each. Now that said imagine how that can be accomplised with 6 or even 8 photos! I ended up printing smaller photos. I really got into it and created some really nice pages. I typed out my captions so that I could fit more words on the page. They say you can send a color copy of the pages because you will not get them back but I think we are going to just send them because they won't fit in my 12X12 book anyhow. All in all, I probably spent about 6 hours working on these three pages. I hope that when I begin working on Lexi's life book I'll get better and be able to spend less time on the printing part. Otherwise, I'll never get anything done at all.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Catching up after the holidays!

I can't believe Christmas has come and gone! Worse still, I can't believe my days off of work are slipping away so quickly! The holidays were so nice this year. It's not that the past ones haven't been nice but after the past 3 years of being ... Consumed (for lack of a better word) with becoming a family, this year I just knew in my heart that by next Christmas we will finally have the baby we have longed for for so long. When I miscarried two years ago this past Oct., I didn't even want to put up a Christmas tree. I know this sounds pathetic because Christmas isn't all about us but rather about the birth of Jesus and our celebration of his life. But it is one time when you can count on coming together as a family be it in person or on the phone and let them know that you love them. This Christmas when we were at my mom's I couldn't help but think how different things were going to be next year. We'll have two babies crawling around! Children seem to make the season so much more enjoyable.

I enjoyed the entire evening but one thing did happen to surprise me beyond any expectations! Geoff and I got a gift from Sara, Chris, Jenna and Charlie. Inside was a beautiful scrapbook that they had made. It detailed a project they had worked on since last August! Apparently when I told Sara about the adoption I mentioned that we didn't have all of the money but I wasn't worried about that because I knew God would help up find a way. Well she got her mind to work and found a fundraising website called A Mother's Love Fundraising. It is a site founded by a woman who also has adopted and now she organizes fundraisers for others who need help finding the money to adopt. Sara and Jenna quietly went about fundraising over the past months. Sara even sent out letters to friends and family telling them what we were doing. She received orders for products and donations from friends and family. Some of the most touching responses came from Chris' family whom I have only met once at their wedding. One woman wrote us a beautiful poem. All of the cards, letters, emails, receipts, and bank statements are in the scrapbook. As Geoff and I flipped through the book on Christmas Eve, I was so touched by their kindness and everyone's response that I just teared up and continued to cry throughout the entire book. They presented us with a check of $700, which actually would have been $1200 but the communication with John in Iraq was lost in translation and he just told Carolyn to give us a check for $500. That money is already in our Lexi Savings Account. One can only imagine how proud I am of Sara for coming up with the idea. A mother could not ask for a more thoughtful daughter. I'm also taken aback when I think of Jenna's contribution because just after they began the project is when she was diagnosed with cancer but yet she continued to help Sara. These girls are true blessings. And anyone reading this post that contributed, we'd like you to know that we really appreciate your help in making Sara's act of kindness successful. It's true, God does guide the way and we all will be blessed by Lexi's presence in our lives one day soon.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Two more things off the list..

This Christmas I have been busy anyway. Resting up for the beginning of tax season, and studying for CPA exam. Plus, I finished our financial statement and personal statement to China. One thing left for me to get and then we are waiting on the I-600A approval only. See we are not waiting on me only. Unlike many other times when I am the reason for the delay, it looks like this time I will not.

Well back to studying (just added that for you mom!).

Outfits for the Girls!

After looking at the dogs in there "sweatsuits", Wanda told me she hoped Lexi would get here soon so I wouldn't torture the dogs anymore.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Check! One more task down.

We went back to the photographer that did our passport photos today and got the necessary 5 extra photos that will be sent along with the dossier. I am determined that once the I600 form comes in, we will be ready to start sending the documents here and there. Earlier in the week, I went to the CWA forum and posted a question to those from Georgia about how long it took for them to hear from USCIS. One woman wrote me back and said that it was just under a month. So I'm thinking that we should have ours early in January. I am allowing for holidays to slow things down a bit but I think that we should definitely be able to have the dossier on its way to China by the end of January. That's my plan... We'll see if the "powers" that matter also see it that way.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Treasure From Melaine

This is a little book that my friend Melaine gave me. I just love it! It's just precious. Each page is made on bamboo paper and it's filled with all kinds of inspirations. I look at it all the time and read the little bits of time tested advice. In fact, the book is on our coffee table so that I can look at it often. You know, you never know how much a simple act of kindness can mean so much to someone but I truly value my friendship with Melaine.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Farmer Geoff!

Tonight Geoff was graced with the company of all of the animals at once. It is so funny to see them all in one place since the cats don't really like the dogs and the dogs just like to harass the cats. As the cats ate, Sable did her usual pitiful act and waited longingly to lick their bowls! This is part of the reason she is such a "healthy" cocker spaniel!

A Day of Work

Today was another day of milestones. We finally .... FINALLY got the kitchen floor replaced. This means that the water leak in the slab from 3 years ago and the aftermath is finally over. (okay, well we do have to finish some shoe molding). It looks so great! I'm totally happy with the new floor. While the men were working, I worked on the getting the study organized so that I can work on my dissertation without being distracted by clutter and then I moved into Lexi's room. Any day now the furniture should all be in and I've wanted to get anything out that was being stored in the room. Now anything in the room is just Lexi's. It's so plain now but as soon as the furniture gets here, the pictures will go on the walls, books will come out of the closet and be placed on her hutch, her bedding will be in place and I'll be able to check one more thing off of my list. These are some before pictures. I can't wait to post some after ones.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

This seasons' Salt and Pepper Shakers

I know it's a bit weird but I just love seasonal Salt and Pepper shakers. This is my new Christmas one. I thought he was adorable!

What's next in the process

So what's next on the adoption process . . . yesterday I picked up my employment verification letter from the board office. This is one more document that we need for the dossier. On Tuesday we went to the police station to get letters for each of us stating that we were good citizens with no warrants or arrests.

This is all we are waiting for at this point . . .
1. Geoff's letter of employment. (Geoff)
2. The letter to the Chinese government explaining why we want to adopt. (Geoff)
3. The financial statement for the dossier. (Geoff)
4. 5 passport photos of each of us for the dossier (both of us)
5. The approval from Immigration
6. Authentication of the documents from our local Clerk of court, then the Secretary of State, and the the Chinese Consulant.
7. Then the dossier will be mailed to China (or called DTC by the adoption community)
8. Then we will receive a logged in date (LID)
9. Then we begin the wait

As you can see, we have very little to do ourselves. I truly hope we will begin the waiting by the end of January. I have calmed down a bit lately as far as the waiting and the disappointment in the longer waiting time. I've really got plenty of things to do to prepare and lots of things to be grateful for. I just keep praying for our little girl and know that God has the perfect little one picked out for us.

Christmas break is here!

Today was the last day of school for the kids for the holidays. One of my very special students from last year stopped by with his mom. He was funny about my room being so different. I have tables set up for when I teach the teachers and most of my "cute kidsy" stuff is now on my friend Susan's wall instead of mine. He said, "you know even though the room is not warm and cozy like it was last year, I still have warm and cozy memories of second grade". Melt my heart! That's what I miss about teaching students.

I've got tons to do over the break. Number one... work on the dissertation!! I'm also hoping to spend some time with one of the girls at work to make the cards to send out to everyone for the quilt project. One of the ladies at church has been working on the design for me and until she is finished, I won't know what size material to ask for. And it wouldn't be the holidays if I didn't do some holiday baking. So looks like my next two weeks are full!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Christmas Decorating Finally Completed!!

Okay, so the picture is not so good but it does give you an idea. With the HELP (yes, help) from my dear husband, we finished decorating the house tonight the way I have envisioned it to be. While I was on top of the roof catching plastic hooks because I didn't bring enough in my pockets before I crawled on the roof, I decided that maybe I could even be on Survivor ... you know, I did conquer my fear of heights by being up there... only because I just knew he would catch me if I fell down).

Geoff even bought me some "deer" that light up. It looks so nice outside. The only thing is, if we leave the lights on during the night, poor ole' Sable doesn't sleep through the night anymore. I guess the whole place being lit up confuses her.

I failed to mention that Lexi has 4 presents under our tree (3 from Santa... aka Geoff, and one from Sara and Chris). I have one so far and there is one for my parents. We are shipping presents to most out of town relatives because we are not able to come up this Christmas. I can't wait for the blessing we will experience in the coming year.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Scrap-booking Group

I joined a scrap-booking group tonight. Tonight was only a 3 hour session. We made Christmas cards. It was so much fun. I can't wait to begin actually working on a scrapbook for Lexi. I have a lot of ideas and after this weekend, plenty of items to begin with. About a month ago I ordered her an album from a former student's mom who sales Creative Memories merchandise. Now if only we could have a day to get started!!

New Toys for Lexi

When we got home last night from Atlanta, there was a new book on the table. It was a musical book of Bible Songs from my Mother. I just love it! Me and Geoff had to try it out. Needless to say I make a beautiful "noise" while Geoff actually sings.

Sara also brought a present for Lexi. It's this cute little lamb that plays a lullaby. It's totally cute. Have I said lately how much I love my daughter??

Sunday, December 11, 2005

FBI Fingerprints... check!

Well, we made it!! We got the FBI fingerprints completed last Friday. You know I had this picture in my mind of how things would go but I was totally off-base! I thought we would go downtown Atlanta and walk up to a huge skyscraper building with an FBI emblem out front. We even brought our camera to take a picture. Well... NOT. It ended up being a beat up old building with a paper sign out front that said, "Immigration help". We were there roughly one hour and 20 minutes. In that time frame, I showed 3 different people my fingers to prove that I had no cuts on my hands. The man who did my prints told me that within 15 minutes the FBI would have my prints and that then within 2 hours I would be approved or not. So I have new hope that the I600 form will come back sooner than I thought. After we left, we went to the Mall of Georgia and did some Christmas shopping. Then finally met up with Samantha and Dan.
On Saturday, Samantha and I went scrapbook shopping! Whew! They have so many cool places to buy scrapbooking supplies in Atlanta. Now I am anxious to go back and do some scrapbooking with Samantha because she is the master scrapbooker! Dan and Geoff went to watch his cousin, Chris, play in a basketball tournament. Then later that evening, we had dinner with Neaners and Charlie. It was so nice to see them.
I couldn't convince Geoff to go do more shopping before we came home so when we did get home we began working on fixing the lights on the house. Of course by this time, he was wishing we had gone shopping instead!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Christmas Decorating Update!

Last night I was positively too ill to post! I came home from work tired and ready to just lay low but I convinced myself I had to finish the lights on the house. So I dragged myself outside, filled my pockets with light hooks for the roof, took the ladder out, grabbed some more lights and got busy. The first thing I noticed was that it was COLDER and the little plastic hooks took more elbow grease to get the cord secure and that my hands were freezing! Well, I got one more stand up and was about to embark on the another area of the house that would put my courage to the test. I had to kick off my shoes because I was afraid I would slip when I stepped onto the roof. I sat there and prayed that I wouldn't fall off the roof and that God would keep me safe. The next thing I knew, ALL THE LIGHTS WENT OFF!!! I thought maybe the plug had come out or something but NO, they were all fine. I tried every troubleshooting angle possible to no avail. About this time Geoff called and I told him just how ticked off I was. Now not only did I not have lights on the house, I HAD lights that worked just for one night. He came home and checked it out and it turns out that you can only link so many lights together before you blow a fuse! Why did they omit that on the box?? So now, I'm back to no lights, it has begun to rain so there is no chance of getting these lights lit up until Sunday afternoon ... if then. All I could think of was that stupid Christmas song to the tune of "The Twelve Days Of Christmas" where you hear the voice of Archie Bunker screaming "these lights!!". I need serious help! I've decided that any future house I live in will have a lower roof so that I can use one of those tools they sell at Lowe's that gets the lights up with NO LADDER!

What does one wear to be fingerprinted by the FBI?

We leave tomorrow to go to Atlanta to be fingerprinted by the FBI. I'm excited about being able to check one more thing off of our list. I've got pack because we are making a weekend of it. We're going to stay Friday night with my dear friend Samantha and her wonderful husband... and NOT only that, they are named in our homestudy as the "Guardians", aka... God Parents, of our Lexi. In fact, after we asked Samantha and Dan to consider doing this for us, we received this nice card in the mail the following week.

You could never tell that Samantha is a scrapbooker could you! She so talented in all that she does and I do miss having her close by and teaching with her. But you couldn't ask for a sweeter friend!

After we spend the night with Samantha and Dan, we are going to meet up with Geoff's Aunt Diane and Uncle Charlie and his cousin Chris. They live in Virginia but just so happen to be in Atlanta this week at a basketball tournament for Chris. We thought this was too good of an opportunity to pass up so we are staying an extra night to be able to spend some time with them.

Now my dilemma is what to wear???? What does one wear to get fingerprinted by the FBI? Will what we wear effect the processing of it? I wonder if I plead with the person who fingerprints us to expedite it, if it will even matter. I know... these are crazy thoughts but what else am I supposed to do?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Lexi's First Outfit!

Well, I'm actually amazed it took THIS long! Geoff returned home tonight with Lexi's very first outfit. It's a little mouse outfit from Gymboree. I just love it! It has little mice on the shirt and sweater and of course, the pants have little bows! It even has a matching hat with mice on it! It's totally adorable!

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Back to Christmas Decorating...

Yes, I've been at it again. Well, Geoff was out of town and what else was I do to? Those of you who know me, know that a few years ago (the one and ONLY time the house had lights on it) I surprised my dear husband one evening when he came home with lights on the house. It was an even bigger surprise when I tricked him into believing that I had fallen off of the ladder and broken my leg during the process. I'm not usually such a dishonest woman but for some reason I couldn't resist. And it was funny by the way. But tonight I rushed home and thought I would surprise Geoff with lights on the house when he returned home. It didn't take but ONE trip up the ladder to refresh my memory as to WHY I could pull off such a trick. It's a LONG way up to the top of our roof! And it's slanted which makes it even harder to balance the ladder! At one point, the ladder was shaking more that I was. I did manage to get at least half of the front done before it got too dark and if I MUST say myself, it looks even better than before. Now ... do you think I can get Dear Geoff to help me with the rest??? I'll try to get some pictures of it when it is finished. This is just practice for next year when Lexi will be here to see the lights. She will just love it!

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Special Delivery!

This is the first look at our plan for Lexi's room! While we are still waiting for the delivery of the crib bedding, the other items arrived! We got the valance, matching pillow, and lamp shade. I'm so ready for Punch and Judy to call and tell us that the furniture and the bedding are ready. I know we don't need to have the room totally ready yet but we want to include a picture in the dossier. I'm sure it will also become a daydream spot for me during the wait. I also got my scrapbooking supplies for Lexi's book today. I can't wait for the next scrapbooking day so that I can begin. I've joined a group in town that meets once a month for an entire day. I think this will help pass the time as we wait.

My Southern Living Moment

I tried to post this picture yesterday, but eblogger was down. This is my finished product of my replication of a project I found in my latest Southern Living magazine. By the way, the picture does not do it justice and I embellished it quite a bit. I know I've gotten a bit fixated on decorating for holidays but that's not such a bad thing. I feel such an excitement about how Christmas will be with Lexi that I just can't help myself.

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Nice attempt but no cigar!

After reading Geoff's new post, I am convinced of two things....

1. He's great at diverting attention away from the subject at hand... (decorating the house for Christmas). Anyhow, by the way... I am still in the decorating process.


2. He's slowly turning into his father... (making comments that only he and his Dad will understand... does anyone else get the long legged chick joke??)

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Meet the Smith's and Soyka's

Almost two months ago, we made our most recent trip to Las Vegas. A big thank you the the Stardust Hotel (nice hotel, just didn't realize exactly how long the strip was) for our second official celebrity sighting, Rip Taylor. And not only did we see him once, but twice, the only time I have known my dad to not just go up an talk with someone. The first sighting was at the airport on the way home last Thanksgiving. As we were walking through the airport I noticed a fellow that look familiar, turns out it was the lead singer for Smashmouth (just like then, I still can't think of his name). He was sitting talking with two other guys, we sat down and listened for a little bit. He seemed like a real down to earth, enjoyable guy. Flat Stanley, however, was a bit nervous and couldn't muster up the courage to ask for a picture.
This past trip we met up with my brother and his new wife, my sister and her husband, and my mom and dad. The last night in town we were headed down to Freemont Street (for those of you who haven't been, the older section of Vegas, a much better trip if made at night) and we got to ride in style. The first and probably last time I will ever be in a Limo, and an Excursion Limo at that (and just think, we thought Mom's Excursion was huge!). We had no trouble fitting in, and I believe about eight more of us could have fit as well. I would suggest to eat dinner before going down to Freemont Street though, we ate at a buffet, that my dad classified as "the worst buffet he has ever eaten at". Wanda highly recommends the $.99 shrimp cocktails, at a hotel I can't remember right now. I recommend a visit to the Barbary Coast Hotel and Casino. In the mid-afternoon times they have lounge acts. One is Big Elvis (very good voice), and the other one we have seen is Dean Martin (very entertaining). We saw his show twice this summer. It has the older feel of Freemont Street, but is located in the middle of the Strip. We have found that the shows are great as well. Wanda recommends the Queen musical "We Will Rock You" at the Paris Hotel, I prefer "Mamma Mia" at Mandalay Bay. Enough about my trips though.
This will be my last post for a while, my mom will be proud. As listed in the profile, I am working on being a CPA. I have wasted enough time now, and with the pending adoption it is time to get my self in gear. Studying and preparation will involve most of my time for the next little while. Perhaps I will be able to add a few lines here and there to keep my mom informed of my progress.
As my dad once said maybe you'll find that chick with long legs who will agree with everything you say (hahahahaha). And Kelley, we will include your "Robert" story in a future post, just remember I warned you before you went.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Getting Into the Christmas Spirit

I'm finally posting an update of the flowerbed that everyone helped with on Labor Day. I really enjoyed Mr. Scarecrow during the fall but after Thanksgiving, he had to go. I really want lights on the house but I'm having trouble convincing my nice sweet husband that it is worth this effort. I keep telling him that once Lexi is here it will not be an option. I can't begin to tell you wonderful memories I have as a child going around with my Mom and Dad to see everyone's Christmas lights. I mean think about it.... you don't really remember things like riding in the car to go shopping, or if you do, it's a memory of riding in the car for what seemed like decades to get where you were going. Or WORSE going shopping with your Mom for her to pick out something like sewing patterns. THOSE kinds of things you did with family just don't stand out. Christmas time at my house, always involved everyone helping to decorate and enjoying not only our decorations but riding around to see others as well. I want to do the same for Lexi. (this is one post that I need comments! I want to know if I am the only one who feels this way. I'd like to know what other's think of when you think of your childhood Christmas'.) Sneaky me... soliciting the help of others in changing the way my husband views this decorating thing. heehee

Oh... and this is Robert. He's on the front porch. (There's a whole another story about this little guy!!)

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My sweet husband

I promise, this will be my last post tonight. I had to share how sweet my husband can be. Last night, he knew how disappointed I was in the news of the longer referral times and he just let me take it all in. Later, around 9:00, I decided I'd go to the bedroom to watch tv and wind down. This is when he decided to "go to the store to get a Dr. Pepper". I thought it was odd that late at night but told him okay. Well, when he came back he had a box. He handed it to me and I opened it. It was an iPod Shuffle. I tried to act happy about it and told him that I had been wanting one and thanked him. He left the room and a few minutes later comes back with a little cloth jewelry case and handed it to me. I opened it to find the silver charm that he ordered for me a few weeks back that was supposed to be on back order until Oct. 07. Apparently, they decided anyone who would not cancel an order that wouldn't be in for a year, should have it no matter what. He's had it ... it probably would have been my Christmas present. I guess he thought it would mean more now than at Christmas and I think it does. I wore it to school today and thought of it's meaning over and over(the first symbol means mother and the second, daughter). I think all that we are going through will make our adoption even more special and meaningful. I realize that it's not patience that I need to pray for... it's strength and faithfulness.

What else can you expect but... ANOTHER DELAY

When Geoff came home tonight, he had a new letter from the Homeland Security office. When we got the first letter, Geoff told me that they do not take fingerprints on Mondays. Well.... turns out, my dear husband was correct! We got a corrected copy today. Our new appointment is December the 9th. If nothing else, I'm learning that this adoption process is nothing but hurry up and wait... delay... delay... delay... hurry up and wait... wait... wait...

So as I try to remain postive, I thought of two more things that could be good about the wait... I definitatly WILL be COMPLETELY finished with my dissertation by then. And maybe I'll be back to my skinner days.

My invisible thread ties me to Lexi

"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break." -Chinese Proverb
I think this Chinese Proverb is something I need to remember all the time. Today was a rough day. I was a bit depressed last night and then had trouble sleeping. Those who know me know that lack of sleep is not a good thing for me... when I got to work today, I stopped in to tell my friend Susan the news of the delay. Being sleep deprived, disappointed, and depressed, I had a mini melt down. (It's been so long since I cried sad tears) Well, over the course of the day, I've made myself have an attitude adjustment and this proverb seems especially fitting right now. Regardless of time... we will go get Lexi. As I talked to several friends today, I keep hearing their attempts to cheer me up. I heard, "have you thought of another country... have you thought of adopting from the local department of family and children services, have you thought of a surrogate?" I know my friends mean well. Most of them have been through this baby journey with me over the past 3 years. And their questions did enable me to think a bit more clearly through my disappointed mood. I feel so strongly that it is God's plan for us to adopt from China. I feel a connection to this child who has yet to be born. I feel this IS our destiny. So after having my day and a half of pouting, I've decided to look at the positive things of having the wait longer.
1. If we end up going next December like I suspect, I will get two extra weeks of leave (teacher's winter holidays fall then) and will not spend two of my adoption leave weeks in China. (This realization came from my dear friend Samantha).
2. If we end up going in January of '07, maybe we will get to see Chinese New Year in China!
3. I will have plenty of time to spoil my grandchild before becoming spoiling my new baby. (That is totally weird)
4. I'll be around when the grandchild is born and will be able to help my daughter through the first few weeks and months.
5. We just might see snow in China.
Now ... how is that for seeing the glass half-full ??

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Not a good day for news

I learned today that the Chinese government has increased the wait time from 6 months to 8. I just don't get it.... orphanages full of babies and they make the wait longer!! Now my best "guessimation" of our trip to go get Lexi may very well be December of 06. I just pray that they will reverse this wait time again soon.

Friday, November 25, 2005

A Wonderful sight !!!!

Houston, we have lift-off! Or in our terms... Houston, we have an FBI fingerprint date!! (warning to Samantha and Dan... we'll be inviting ourselves to your humble abode on Dec. 4th for the night!) We will be fingerprinted at 1:00 pm on the 5th in the great capital city of Georgia! After we returned home from shopping, Geoff went to check the mail and found a letter advising us of our appointment. People in the adoption community know how important it is to make this date... rescheduling means MORE WAITING TIME!! And even with my new quote about Patience, I just couldn't bare to have to wait some more. Now, if only when we get there the fingerprint clearance will not take forever! Everyone, please... Pray. Pray for patience (for me), pray for blessings from above, and pray of our baby Lexi.

New Christmas Ornament Additions...

Every year, I try to find at least one ornament that has some significance to us. Well, while Geoff was busy trying to surprise me with the framed quote, I was looking at ornaments. I found several that I thought would be very appropriate for this year. You know, they don't make "waiting for the baby from China" ornaments. Although, if they did, I'd have a tree full of them. I actually thought of decorating a tree with just items relating to the adoption but ran out of ideas quickly. So these two additions will just have to do for this year.

Hopefully, next year the new ornament will say "Baby's first Christmas!"


Today, being the greatest shopping day of all Christmas season required a change in our schedule. We got up at the crack of dawn (well actually way before the crack of dawn) and went Christmas shopping with my mom and sister, Carolyn. This was a FIRST for Geoff! We thought he would be a great chauffeur and as it turns out he WAS!! I don't know what we would have done without my sweet husband at our beck and call. He delivered us right to the door of where ever we wanted to go, picked us up when we were loaded down with packages, bought us breakfast and ran errands to the bad ole' Best Buy (we would have never went there ourselves... too much of a man thing). It was a good ole day of more family good times! At one point in the day, Geoff surprised me with the framed saying above that he only knows to well applies to me. I thought it was just perfect and the fact he was able to put the frame together with the quote while I was in the same store was just incredibly sneaky. I just so love this man.

Of course, before the day was out, we went to our favorite children's store (Punch and Judy)just to dream a bit. We are still waiting for the furniture and bedding to arrive but I did see a beautiful rocker that would be perfect in her room. Does the song... "Santa Claus is coming to town" mean anything?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Missing John

Carolyn and Brittany

Thankful for family

Thanksgiving is time of thinking of all the things that we have to be thankful for. This Thanksgiving I have so much to be thankful for... our pending adoption, my future grandbaby, my wonderful family, my adorable husband, my mother's delicious cooking!, my strong niece who is fighting her battle with cancer with great spirits(oh, how I admire her!), my brave brother in law, our freedom, and most of all our heavenly Father who provides so graciously for us.

We all met at mom's today for Thanksgiving dinner. We missed John greatly but know he is doing his duty for our country and wouldn't have it any other way. We took a picture of the group for the dossier to China. We have so much to be thankful for and yet, so much to look forward to between now and next year.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Quilt Project to keep us all busy...

Time on my hands lets the creative juices flow... or as Geoff would like to say.. it gets me into trouble! :) I've decided to begin a new project that everyone can help with. Please go to the following link to see my plan.
I've also posted a link to this page on the left side of our blog under "Our Adoption Links". Here I will keep everyone up to date on Lexi's quilt.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Lexi in Chinese

I found Lexi's name in Chinese on Amazing the things you do while procrastinating.

Patience is relevant!

Patience seems to be a word that reoccurs over and over in my lifetime. When I was old enough to babysit, my mom discovered that I had very little of it. I'd go off to babysit and quickly end up calling her to come help me. When I decided to become a teacher, I prayed for patience to help me deal with my students. Over the years, I have developed patience in certain areas. I'm a very patient teacher with my students. I'm NOT a very patient consumer when I have to wait and wait in a very long WalMart or Kroger line just because the management doesn't have enough employees working. I mean afterall, I am trying to give them my money. I AM very patient with Geoff and his lack of filing ability although he promises me he will do better every time I take the notion to clean up his piles of papers. I am finding that even though I WANT to be patient with the adoption process, I AM NOT. I find it very annoying knowing that there are so many babies over there waiting for families and yet there is this long bureaucratic paper-trail. Today I decided to help myself see our progress by making a timeline of our adoption process. This did help because I saw all the things we HAVE done in the past 4 months. I may have a few dates off by a day or so but most of it is pretty complete.

And then today as I wasted some down time I found an article of a little girl named Kaitlyn. She was adopted just this past June from China. Her mom was arrested for child abuse last Friday. It is people like this that make the waiting necessary even though they do fall through the cracks. I pray that this incident doesn't have a negative effect on the adoption community. I also pray for this little child and those who are caring for her.

Kaitlyn's Story

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Waiting and Waiting Some More

(Tonight we will use a different color and font, perhaps only Wanda can appreciate this.)

I would say things have been progressing on my end of the baby journey, but I am in the same boat as Wanda. The paperwork has been sent and now we are waiting once again. Of course as you go back and read all of the paperwork we were given at the beginning again, it seems as if we should have sent off the I600-A form at the very beginning. A misunderstanding between me and the paperwork or me and CWA evidently prevented this from happening. Not much we can do now, but I believe Wanda is determined that when our application finally is approved we not have to wait for anything else to be completed. Tomorrow it is off to the Probate Court to get a copy of the marriage certificate. Then this weekend a story of why we want to adopt, you would think that it wouldn't be hard to write but it is. Then copies of our local police records and employment letters. And after that all the paperwork will be in place, waiting on the visa approval, and ready to be sent to various locations to be certified. Patience, Patience, Patience........................................

I did have a surprise I was going to get Wanda for Christmas. She told me she wanted to get Lexi's name written in Chinese to put in her room. Searching around one Sunday night I found a gallery and artist in Connecticut that would be able to prepare the "artwork" for us. I provided all the information to them about what we wanted. The following Monday, I had a voicemail waiting for me at the house... the artist had passed away the night before I place my order. I have yet to be able to find another place that will prepare what we are looking for.

I didn't tell Wanda this one, but I found a place on the internet that had chinese jewelry. I found a pendant that had mother and daughter written in Chinese. I decided I would order it and purchase a necklace for it in town. I received an email from them letting me know the pendant was on backorder... until October 2006! They suggested I find something else to purchase instead. I believe I will.

Good news though, the Baby Bjorn came in this week. I was getting a little nervous because it was taking so long. But I have already figured it out.. just need something to carry around in it. In addition, I made my way back to Sunday school for the first time since the "incident". I am happy to report, no such problems today. I just might go back again next week.

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Geoff's newest purchase.

I think I will post tonight in pink in honor of Geoff's newest purchase for Lexi. Geoff went to Savannah by himself on Saturday (which can mean be a bad thing... because he does like to shop without me) and came home with a stroller for Lexi. I just love it! Pink is perfect for a baby girl! The only thing that bothers me is that now I have a stroller and still have to wait to put a baby in it. All of the baby furniture is not in yet, nor is the bedding for the crib. I hope it comes soon so that when we do our pictures for the dossier, we can take some pictures of her room.

By the way... those of you who know Sable, should know that she does NOT approve of the stroller any more than she approves of our suitcases, the ironing board, the vacuum cleaner or even her toys falling too close to any kind of cord in the house. It's going to be interesting to see how she reacts to some real competiton in the house. :)

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Amist all the excitement last night, my sister Carolyn dropped by with a very special gift. This handmade artwork by a man named Larry Meyer out of Terra Ceia, Fla. It has an ancient version of the Chinese symbol for Love on it. The card that came with it says...

"The character for the Love that one person feels for another suggests that although the word is now used as freely in China as everywhere, love was once considered a highly spiritual emotion. some sages believed it to be a from of giving that should be extended to the society at large, as well as to intimates. In the center, the "heart" pictogram, :above and below, the characters for "breath" and "graceful movement". Love, therefore, can be seen as a kind of inspiration. It breathes life into the heart, and brings grace to the body."

Thank you Carolyn, for such a thoughtful meaningful gift.

Aunt Lexi, Granny Smith and Carlos!

Oh, my gosh... what news I have to today! Geoff and I are going to be GRANDPARENTS! Sara is 5 weeks pregnant! I attended the Ga Technology Conference this week in Atlanta and when I came home last night Sara was waiting at the house. She had a gift bag on the table for us and I thought nothing of it because she so often does sweet little things for us and others. I figured she had found another little gift for us for Lexi. Well, I have to say... I had a totally blonde moment! I opened the card that was shaped like a baby outfit and inside it said "Congratulations!" Love, Sara and Chris. Okay... then on to the bag. There were two little bibs inside. I was like, "oh, I love bibs!". They said "I love my Grandma" and "I love my Grandpa". This totally threw me off guard. I got silent and the thoughts running through my head were... "I'm not going to be Lexi's grandma... how confused is my child giving me this?????" Then it sunk in after the blonde met the highlights! I turned to Sara and said, "Are you pregnant?" Of course, the answer is YES! Geoff told her he needed proof, so she runs out and gets the paper with the results. I almost cried! I can't believe I'm going to be a mom again and a grandmother too! When Lexi gets here, she will already be an aunt! How funny is that!

We were sitting around the table later on and Geoff laughs and says, "YOU'RE going to be GRANNY SMITH!"... now that earlier post certainly came back to bite me in the butt! Then he says very seriously, "I'm going to be Carlos. That was what they called me in Spanish class in high school." I'm married to a nut I tell you! Later on he told me that he has to dye his hair now. I thought he was talking about covering the gray now that he will have the "Grand" title but no... he said he needed to be ALL gray since he was going to be a granddad.

I'm going to have to start another blog ... I've taken a couple of shots of her skinny self and of course, I want to remember every moment of this experience.

I've been concerned that our adoption paperwork is taking too long. I wanted to go to China next June or July. I've been complaining that it seems more realistic that it will be August or September. Well, with a due date of July 16th, I'll be upset if I am gone. I must be there for the birth of my grandchild. I'm so torn because, I want Lexi... I wanted her 4 months ago! But I can't miss this time in Sara's life too. You know, when I got pregnant with her at 19, I was thrilled and excited to be a young mom because I'd still be young when she was in her 20's. I realized later in life that to a child, your parents are always "old". Now, I'll be an older mom and young grandma all at the same time. I guess now I have a reason to be more patient and hopefully it will work out just fine. Life can be so much fun now can't it!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Who said 2 years olds should play with wooden blocks?

Geoff and I were tortured today. We had nursery duty at church and kept the two year olds. We were at a ratio of 10 to 2. They won! The extra fun part for me was that I also had them for Sunday School so by the time Geoff arrived I had learned some lessons and less than 5 minutes after he arrived, we learned some more. Here's my top 10 list of things I learned from watching 2 year olds today.

1. Always bring your child a spill proof sippy cup unless you want them covered in their drink.

2. If you don't bring a sippy cup, bring them a change of clothes.

3. Grow eyes in the back of your head, because they will crawl onto the tables, stand in the chairs and crawl all over any standing structure in general.

4. Wooden blocks should be used with older kids... I have blue lump on my forehead from a
randomly tossed block.

5. No need to dress up, you will be slobbered on.

6. Watch your step... or else you will knock over a precious child and fall out of your shoes (and in fact... tennis shoes are probably the best choice).

7. Watch out for "boogers".... they will flick them on you (sorry Geoff).

8. Always have extra pull ups handy.

9. Klennex, wet wipes, and lysol spray are a mom's best friend.

And best of all...
10. Geoff will be a great daddy. I wished I had a camera to catch him entertaining 5 of
them at once with the blocks.

We also met two year old Grace. She is a darling little girl from China. I also met her mom who told me that they will be moving to China next August to teach English. It was so nice to make a local contact. There is another couple that I have not met yet that also have adopted from China. I hope to meet them soon.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Nursery will soon be furnished!

We went to Savannah today and ordered the nursery furniture! We decided to go with the white instead of the cinnamon. We also found the crib set that we like and it's ON SALE but the funny thing was they didn't know how much it was to begin with so they have to call us on Monday to tell us how much it is! Then on the way home we stopped by Target and we found a couple of pictures to put up in the room. We keep running into the problem of the patterns and colors we like matching the walls. I painted the room "hint of mint" a couple of years ago when we were trying to get pregnant. Now I'm sort of wishing it was a very light pink. We've practically painted every square inch of this house and to be honest I'd rather not have to paint again but... we'll see.

As I type this, Geoff is on eBay bidding on a "gently used" Baby Bjorn carrier. It's amazing how much they want for these things brand new. It's so much fun to watch him get into preparing for the baby. And by the way, I have the sweetest husband in the whole world. He ran out for a paper this morning and returned with my favorite breakfast... a Western omelet from the Waffle House. I better enjoy my pampering while I can. I have a feeling that once Lexi gets here, I'll be last in line.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

One "baby" step closer!

This week has just flown by! Work was especially busy and it just seemed to disappear. Monday, I made a visit to DFACS to get the prized "CPS" form in the works. Before I left, I felt as if I had made a connection with the social worker(she gave me magnetic signs that give you 100 ways to praise a child and even hugged me when I left). Wednesday, I finally got a call from my dissertation advisor so I've got TONS to do in the evenings on my study but at least I'm heading in the right direction. By Thursday, the homestudy draft was emailed to CWA to our China Case Worker who had in turn reviewed it and made suggestions to them for wording to change. TODAY, we got a call from the homestudy agency letting us know that the final draft of the homestudy had been faxed to CWA. Here it is Oct. 29th. Our first home study visit was August 27th. At that time, our homestudy counselor told us that she liked to have the homestudy complete within 30 days. So much for 30 days!

You can't even begin to imagine how freaked out I was about the first home study. Of course, I only found out the DAY BEFORE that she was coming and the first thing I did was call my mother and ask her if she had any plans for that afternoon. (This is one time that Geoff's mother is probably thankful that they live 10 hours away!) About an hour and a half later, there was Mom with her cleaning stuff at my door to help. By mid-afternoon, my Dad comes over with cabinet baby locks. (Those things are awful! Mom helped Daddy and it still took about 4 hours to install them all over the house!) Now tell me WHY did I feel the need to go as far to clean out the refrigerator and the freezer?? By the end of the night, I was so sore from cleaning that I could barely move! The next morning, I missed church and mowed the front yard (praying the whole time for God to forgive me for working on his day of rest... Mom and Daddy taught me better), made Geoff clean the garage (but he couldn't put any trash by the road as he usually does because I didn't want her KNOW we had been cleaning!), called my sister, Carolyn, who in turn brought me some of her very own beautiful hanging baskets to decorate the outside, went to Lowe's and bought flowers to put in the wagon out front and when poor Sara dropped by I sent her BACK to Lowe's to get us a green astro-turf carpet to put on the back porch. OBSESSIVE... yes! Poor Geoff! He makes piles and I want to organize them. In hind sight, you might ask if I would do it the same all over again... YES! YES! YES! And it is that perfectionism that made me scrub the back porch brick in my turtle boots. (And by the way, those were my choice Jenna... not his. I have wanted a pair of rubber boots for tramping around in the back yard forever!)

It will be so worth it! It seems to be taking longer than we first thought it would but who knows maybe the next step which is getting the approval from UCIS (immigration) will not take too long. All we can do at this point is pray that God brings us to her and keeps her safe.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

One Decision Down... How many more?

Well we have reached a final decision... the furniture will be white. It is amazing the relief that comes from finally making a decision. I will say that from our point of view this is a major decision, granted we have probably a good eight months at least before we need the furniture but it will be nice to have it in the room waiting for Lexi. We are making progress on the crib bedding as well (my choice is still in the lead.) If this continues I am going to wonder if Wanda is just giving in to what I want (maybe she isn't feeling well?)

We are still waiting on what my mom would like to be called as a grandmother. The candidates are (we are open to suggestions also):
1. Nanny
2. Gran Gran
3. Granny Smith (Wanda laughs at that one all the time)

I was going to share a joke with everyone from my dad tonight, but I was informed that this is supposed to be about Lexi, so as my wife would say you have all been saved. Speaking of my dad he is supposed to be coming down soon to assist with some home repairs. Some of the wood siding is beginning to rot and needs to be replaced. We will share some pictures of the rest of the family at a later date.. too much could be written.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Beware... I'm getting mushy!

This morning, we had a guest preacher, Dr. Chuck Lawless, at church. Many times in my life, I've felt the message given by the pastor was like an arrow into my heart and a window to my soul. It was like that for me today. He was here this weekend as the speaker of a "Spiritual Warfare" conference. Today he spoke of the many times in our life that we've been ready to give up and wonder if God is at work in our life. This touched me so deeply. I immediately thought of our experiences of trying to have a baby and then our adoption journey. This past summer, I WAS ready to give up and I really began to think that I was forcing the issue with God and that he did not have plans for Geoff and I to be parents together. It was then that he began to open my eyes and begin to reveal our purpose. Every since we have opened our hearts to adopting from China, the stars in our part of the universe seem to be lining up. I remember telling my mom when we went for the first IVF treatment, that it was faith issue and that I was praying that God would bless us with a child. Getting pregnant and then losing the baby was one of the darkest days of my life. I couldn't understand why God would allow such a thing but I tried so hard to use my faith to get me through. It was revealed to me later that the miscarriage was God working through a rough time to bring Geoff to him. He was saved and baptized about four months after the miscarriage. What a blessing! I just knew we were on the right track, doing the right things and following God's purpose. After the 3 more tries and many heartbreaking months, I was finally able to give up. This is when adopting came up. We felt maybe it work for us this way. Of course in my earlier posts I've revealed how frustrating that became. I guess the point I'm getting to is that God was sending a message again this morning through Dr. Lawless. I have to patient and let God reveal things in HIS timeframe and that YES, he is at work looking after us. I feel that this long process will result in JUST the right child that needs us. And we NEED her too. I've pondered the pastor's message all day and as I was playing around tonight looking into "all things China", I came across an online video. When I first started watching it, my first reaction was to think "oh no, not another way to trash the women in China" but as the video continued, It tugged at my heart especially when the child singing begins to sing "Jesus Loves Me". It made my whole day go full circle. The message this morning... the message in the video... all revealing to me Jesus loves a child in China who is meant for us.

To view the video go to this url-

And please, everyone continue to pray for us and our child.

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