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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I hate to say I told her so...

I don't know how I do it. I saw this from the book Wanda brought home and immediately liked it. Wanda on the other hand did not. So yesterday when we visited Punch & Judy (give the store a plug) it was the last one we found in the store, but Wanda immediately liked it. You would think that by now I know what I am talking about, but she still doubts me every now and then. We also found the baby bedding I found on the internet I liked. And of course in person she likes it as well. Two for Two. Now I just need to convince her that it matches the color of the bedroom. Just give me some more time...

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Baby Furniture and Baldy

Today began like most Saturdays... sleeping later than usual and the dogs amusing me in our bed after Geoff let them out of their kennels (Sable is the cocker spaniel and Patches is the beagle/terrier mix). As Sable did her usual silly antics in our bed, I could only wonder how the dogs will adjust to having Lexi share their spotlight. Since Sara moved out, the dogs have been our "children". Geoff had a optomologist appointment today in Savannah but first I went to Jenna's Buzz Party. For those of you who do not know, Jenna is my niece. She has breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy just a few weeks ago. She has handled this ordeal with amazing strength and is an inspiration for us all. She began chemo this week and decided to have a buzz party to prepare herself for her hair falling out. I honestly did not want to watch but went in support. It was amazing to see all of the people who turned out on her behalf and it was really a good time. Jenna dyed her hair pink about a week ago and it looked really cool on her but after seeing her with a shaved head, I think she looks more beautiful than ever. Her husband, Charlie also shaved his head. They are a baldy cute couple now! (to learn more about Jenna follow the link on our blog) I had to leave before they were finished but I did leave feeling blessed to have such a strong young woman in our family. As soon as I came home, we went to Savannah for Geoff's eye appointment. Afterwards, we went to a store to look at baby furniture. It was fun to look at the different cribs but the amazing thing was the crib Geoff wanted to see was not one that I cared for very much in the store's catalog but once I saw it in person it turned out to be the one we want to get for Lexi. I'm so ready to begin decorating and furnishing her room. We've dreamed for so long of having a baby, setting up the room will make it even more real... it's just a matter of time before we bring our daughter home.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Most Precious Book...

Okay… so I bought a few books for Lexi! It IS the teacher in me. She must have books. I have to admit that one of the 3 Geoff bought is the best. The title is I Love You Like Crazy Cakes. I was totally amazed that he had found such a great book before me. I’m the book guru! I have it out so we can see it along with the other things around the house we have begun to buy for her. Anyone adopting from China must have it.

We finally, got the missing form from the homestudy agency yesterday and had a friend who has a friend that works at DFACS turn it in to the proper person. That’s a bit crazy isn’t it? The homestudy agency says they faxed it to DFACS 3 times. Of course, they also told us they faxed it to Geoff’s office about 3 times. I’m wondering if someone really knows how to use a fax machine. We could have gotten the form faster through snail mail. At least we finally have it and hopefully, DFACS will complete it in a timely manner and the homestudy will be complete. One small accomplishment in the sea of paperwork!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The First Toy

It's odd how you go about buying some things. Most of the time when I buy things, as Wanda could probably tell you (Don't ask about the meat from the freezer in the back of a rundown truck) is on impulse. Same goes for the dog and blanket. Last year one of Wanda's friends had a baby and as a gift we bought her a blanket from Macy's. If they could only make adult blankets that soft. So we knew when we decided to go ahead and pursue the adoption we had to have a blanket of our own. We went back to Macy's a couple of months ago to buy a birthday present for Wanda's same friend and ran across the blankets again. Then not leaving soon enough I came across the stuffed dogs. One idea they gave us during the original meeting was sending a stuffed animal/toy to the children in the orphanage and it would beneficial for the child. So.. I picked up the dog. Very soft as well. The dog purchase seemed to lead in to a theme.. the bathroom is now done in dogs and cats. Just need to do something with that wallpaper.

We now have a room ready (no furniture yet, but Wanda can tell I am getting the itch to go look), a toy and blanket, some books for her (3 from me, 50 from Wanda - she says its the teacher in her, I think she just wanted to out do my 3!). One item we are still debating is the crib bedding as well. My choices seem to be different from hers. I have been told I am not allowed to pick out any items by myself ever again. It has something to do with the paint sampling I did for our bedroom. It was supposed to be a burnt orange color, didn't turn out that way. The lime green that was on the other half of the wall was not supposed to be that lime either. I will say that after a week the orange was starting to grow on me. Wanda sometimes refers to me as different or eccentric or maybe it was color blind.

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And I thought Wanda was crazy for buying these boots with turtle's on them. Silly me.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It was a labor of love...

These are pictures of our "newly" relandscaped front flower bed. After our first homestudy and upon learning that we were going to have to take pictures of our house and family for the dossier, we were finally motivated to do some landscaping to improve the looks of things around here. I came up with the idea of inviting the family over on Labor Day to help with the relandscaping. The idea was to have everyone plant something before eating a Labor Day Grill Out Feast. It turned out great! We ended up with Sara and Chris, Carolyn and Britney (we even heard from John in Iraq), Jenna, Charlie, and Joshua, Mom, Dad and Richard, and even Chris' Mom and Don. This is the finished product with a few added additions. Now I find myself wondering how I can "redecorate" it for each new season. It was so nice to have everyone pull together to make things nicer for Lexi. It was also fun to do it on Labor Day. Labor Day was already a special day for me because it is a yearly reminder of Sara's birthday. She was actually born on Monday, Sept. 6th on Labor Day. Although she is grown, happily married and out on her own, she is totally supportive of us adopting her a little sister and will gladly give up the title of "only child" to make room for Lexi.

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Monday, October 17, 2005

Here Kitty, Kitty

Well, everything went fine with the homestudy yesterday. Hopefully we can get the CPS document completed this week from the local DFACS. On our first home visit, we were afraid that Sable and Patches would jump all over the counselor (Linda) so we put them in their crate. Sable barked and acted out a good bit of the time. So this time I left them out. They showered her with affection when she arrived but then settled right down. You know as part of the home study, we had to get documentation from the vet that all of our animals shots were up to date. And Linda had to take a look at them too. Well, the both cats cleared out during the first home visit so this time I had to make sure she saw them. This was torture for Smokey. It interfered with his routine of hanging out around the yard. Muffin didn't mind so much but when the dogs started to bark at the door, she took off and hid IN the recliner. The funny thing is that Smokey actually came out and socialized. He hardly EVER does this unless he wants the water to be turned on in the sink so he can get a drink, or is hungry. Finally Muffin came out of the recliner on her own. So now, Linda has met all of the animals who will suffer from not being the center of attention around here once Lexi comes home.

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Friday, October 14, 2005

Final Home Study Visit on the Way ...

This Sunday at 1:00 we will have our final home study visit. Of course, it is Friday evening and I'm fretting over getting everything just perfect around the house. I know it is not a big deal. She is not going to be using a white glove to sweep over our base-boards but I still find myself wanting the house as clean as possible. Even though I still have a lot to do to make myself feel "prepared" for the final visit, I have to admit I'm more irritated with our local Department of Family and Children Services. They hold the LAST piece of the puzzle in our home study: The CPS form. This is the Child Protection Services form. I guess it lets the home study agency know that we have not been reported to have abused any children locally. Again our local DFACS agency lets me down (remember we did try to become foster parents). Our agency has faxed the form to them twice with no response. I even called them and got no response. I've realized that it's all about perception... we want someone to feel it is as important as we do... and they are just doing their job with no concern about us. This IS such a big deal! I feel so connected to Lexi. We talk about her as if she is with us already. I have a vision of this child and she is already such a huge part of our life. I just wish I could get this point across to all of those who have to push paperwork for us!
One good thing did happen this week though. I received my passport. Geoff's came back a few weeks ago. He had one previously from when he interned at the National Center for Missing Children but I have never had one. We were worried that I would have to reapply after hurricane Katrina. All of the passports from Georgia are sent to New Orleans. We were advised that our passport information may be lost. I was so happy to learn that it was not floating around in the flood waters of New Orleans.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

And so I begin...

I finally decided that I must... MUST get started posting on our blog. It has become a part of my day when I come home to check on Gwen (from the blog Journey to Gwen). Today I found yet another couple who are in the process of adopting from China who also visit the site frequently. Part of what has stopped me from beginning to post is knowing where to begin since we are already several months into the process. I decided that I should just begin by telling how we managed to find ourselves in this adoption journey.
We've been through so much the past three years. Just deciding to begin to start a family was difficult with us. At this point, we have been through 4 IvF cycles. The first cycle worked but I miscarried after only 7 weeks. I just couldn't give up so quickly, and I just knew God wanted us to be parents together so we attemped 3 more cycles. After the total of 4 we just couldn't do it anymore. Then after going to a church Fall Festival and meeting a couple who were adopting two babies from the local Department of Family and Children Services, we decided to put our paperwork in to become foster parents with the desire to adopt a baby. Amazingly, we NEVER heard from them despite our many attempts. In the meantime, we decided to begin working with a domestic adoption company. Again... despite our efforts after handing in paperwork for about 8 months received the news this past July that the agency did NOT service our area. I was totally heartbroken and cried all day after learning this news. At this point, I was ready to close my mind to the idea of having children forever. A few days later, Geoff came home for lunch and asked me if I wanted to go to Charleston the following Saturday for an International Adoption Seminar. I agreed on the basis that we were not going to adopt internationally but would go only for the information. I talked Geoff into going to Hilton Head for a one night stay after it was over and quite frankly, was more excited about staying in Hilton Head than going to the seminar. We were going to be at the beach {which I totally love} and were going to go eat at our favorite restaurant {The Wild Wing Cafe} and just chill out. Never in my wildest dreams did I know what was in store for me! Once we finally found the place in downtown Charleston, we began the meeting with two other couples. The longer we sat there, the more sure I was that we were supposed to be there! They explained all of the countries that they worked with, but I was immediately drawn to China. After the seminar was over, we talked in the car on the way to Hilton Head. I had a strange feeling that our life was about to change and wondered if Geoff had gotten me to agree to go the meeting with the idea of changing my mind about international adoption (turns out I was right). We both wanted a girl and after meeting a beautiful little Chinese girl named Maizy, we decided that we would think about it.
That night after our dinner at the Wild Wing, we walked on the beach in the moonlight and decided that we both wanted to adopt from China. That beautiful night was July 16th! On the way home the next day, we stopped at the Barnes and Nobel and I picked out a journal with an ancient cherry blossom painting on the front so that we could write to our little girl. We also decided then and there that her name would be Lexi. Every since that night, we dream of Lexi and anxiously await the day when we finally meet. The timing has been so perfect. We came home the next day, submitted our application online, and heard from the agency the next day. By end of the week, we had submitted our formal application along with half of the agency fee and had located an agency to do our home study. The ease of completion of the process as been a gift from God. After all of the hardship we have been through, we feel as if we are on the right path finally.

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Monday, October 03, 2005

After discovering several blogs about other people's adoption stories, I've decided to begin to document our story for our family and friends but mostly for Lexi.