Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ladybug Birthday Fun - Part 2

Life is a little hectic lately, but I have been thinking about what I will write about next. About a month ago I shared photos from the Ladybug's 4th birthday, part 1 of it anyway, and I promised that I would share photos from her party.

The Bug requested to celebrate with a select few friends at Chuck E. Cheese, not exactly my first choice, but we don't really have a lot of choices out here. During the month of March, there is still snow on the ground, and the temperatures linger in the 30s and 40s. Not quite good enough for an outdoor party at the park. Since we live in a pretty small city, the Cheese place is about the only choice - other than a party at our home - that we have, the Cheese place it was!

After seeing the movie, "The Princess and the Frog" recently, the Ladybug decided that she wanted that to be her theme. Being that she was the birthday girl, she decided to don a new Princess Tiana dress (received from her Nana K.), crown and all. When she walked in the room, her eyes popped and she smiled with glee as she looked at the decorations set up just for her.

The bug looked gorgeous in her dress. We took the time to curl her hair and pin it up around her crown. She definitely looked the part.

The party started with the girls playing in the "park" area of the restaurant. They all enjoyed themselves thoroughly, especially since we arrived early enough that we were the only ones in the place! It was a very fun day for everyone. The girls enjoyed a great time, and the Ladybug loved her party. The photos below show the Bug and her friends enjoying their time at the Cheese place. Enjoy!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Baby Butterfly

Today is a day where I am filled with mixed emotions. One year ago today our little baby girl was born in Guizhou, China. We know very little of her story from those first few days. However, she was found one month later by a passerby in her town. She was named "Glorious Morning."

Now, one year later, she has a family half-way around the world, eagerly waiting to meet her and bring her home. This is a day where I am a little sad. We are still waiting to bring her home. We are so close to being at the end of this journey, yet still about two months away from travel. Feeling a little sad that we are not there to share this important milestone with her.

But... I am so happy that we have a little baby girl in China who now has a forever family. We will be traveling soon to bring her home. We are nearing the homestretch of this adoption. We are so close, and I am happy about that. We will be a family of 4 soon. The little Ladybug is so proud that she will soon be a big sister. She cannot wait to finally touch her, hold her, feed her, and play with her. I am happy that we are almost there.

As a family, we are going to celebrate her birthday, just the three of us. The Ladybug suggested that we go to dinner, Chinese food of course. I love the idea, and we will take some photos to document out little celebration.

Mixed emotions, both happy and sad... yup, I have those.

Happy Birthday baby girl. We will be there to bring you home soon.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

So, Where are we in the Process?


I know that many of you are asking that question... I ask myself that question every day. The short answer, we are still waiting.

For those who do not know, the adption process is long, daunting process with many, many, many unexpected twists and turns. For those who need a visual to understand this process better, the photo below illustrates the simplified version of our adoption... keep in mind, we are not following the simplified path this time around.

When I compare the Butterfly's adoption to when we brought home the Ladybug in 2006, there is a vast difference in wait time, and thus a vast difference in the anxiousness that we feel just waiting to hold the Butterfly in our arms for the first time.

This biggest difference between then and now is that in 2006, after we received our referral for the Ladybug, we left for China just seven weeks later, and I had her in my arms one week after that, on my birthday (just an extra special birthday present!). This time though, with all of the added steps, we will likely wait between five to six months before travel. To give you an idea of where we are in the process, I have included a timeline below. We received our referral on January 19, so we have been waiting about three months so far. Hopefully (keeping my fingers crossed) we will be on our way to China within two months.

Here is our timeline so far:

DTC: 9/11/09 (Dossier to China)
LID: 9/27/09 (Dossier Logged-in in China)
LOI: 1/20/10 (Letter of Intent, sent the day after referral)
PA: 1/26/10 (Pre-Approval for us to adopt the Butterfly)
LOA: 3/01/10 (Letter of Approval, China says "yes" to us)
I-800 Approval: 3/25/10 (U.S. Immigration says "yes" to us)
Cable: 3/31/10 (US National Visa Center sent a cable to China)
NVC letter: 4/04/10 (Letter confirming the cable was sent to China)
Article 5???

So, as you can see, we are only a few steps away from finally holding our little Butterfly in our arms, but we are still unsure as to when we will travel. Anything at this point is speculation, but we are keeping our fingers crossed for travel in early to mid-June.

So, what are we doing to keep ourselves busy in the mean time? Here is my checklist:

• It is springtime, so a good Spring cleaning of the house (started).
• Deciding which items should go to the Salvation Army (started).
• Soon we will be buying the Butterfly a bed, so we will be setting that up and getting the room ready for her (not started yet).
• Packing the baby's things (started... barely).
• Packing our things (not even close to starting this one)
• Work, work, work (in full force).
• Trying to contact the Ladybug's foster mother, we hope to meet up with her while in Guizhou (more on that to come, but started).
• Get our visas (done!)
• Get the rest of our travel paperwork together (in progress).
• Purchase gifts for the orphanage staff and the Ladybug's foster mother (not started yet).
• Work, work, work (still in full force).
• Arrange our travel (not started yet, cannot do until TA).
• Get the Ladybug's immunizations up to date (this week).

Off the top of my head, the list above is all I can think of that we need to do before travel. Since I have been through this before, I know very well that many more things will be piled on top of these as we get closer to travel. Despite the frenzy that will definitely ensue, and I cannot wait to get there.

In the mean time, we wait...

... and wait...

... and wait... Yo!


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter - God in 3-D!

Happy Easter to everyone! I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful day. As with most parents on a holiday, we were awakened at the crack of dawn by our little Ladybug. Of course the irony of this is that we were awakened by her at a time that is long before we are usually able to get her out of bed on most school mornings. Ahhhhhh, the life of a parent.

We made out way upstairs and saw all that the Easter Bunny had left her. Lucky little girl! After going through her basket and opening a few little gifts (and even modeling the fun feather boa), she set off on the hunt for eggs the Bunny has scattered throughout the room. She giggled and squealed her way from one hidden egg to the next, gathering almost 2-dozen plastic eggs filled with coins and treats.

Following the morning fun, we all dressed in our Sunday best for the Easter service at church. For the Ladybug, this is the day she has been eagerly waiting to arrive for weeks. As you know, the Ladybug celebrated her 4th birthday a few weeks ago. One special present she received from her Nana F. was a beautiful spring-time dress. The dress is adorable and she was looking forward to wearing it soon, but made the dress so much more appealing to our little 4 year old was that it came with a matching dolly dress. When she opened the gift of a new dolly, dressed in a matching Sunday dress, she squealed with excitement and couldn't wait for an opportunity to go out on the town in her new duds. We decided that Easter Sunday was the perfect day.

Once we arrived at church we settled ourselves into one of the pews. Because the Ladybug has had a little cough the last few days, I rummaged through my purse to find a lollypop for her in case she started coughing... a Mommy is always ready! While searching for the sweet treat, I came across a pair of 3-D glasses. Yes, you heard me correctly, a pair of 3-D glasses. Last Friday we went to see the movie, How to Train Your Dragon, and I accidentally walked out with a pair of the glasses at the end of the show. The Ladybug saw the glasses and asked what they were. I told her what they were and continued my rummaging.

A few minutes later the Ladybug was asking about God and heaven. I explained that heaven is where Papa F. and Papa K. now are, and that God is there too. That seemed to satisfy her for a little bit, but then she asked what God looked like. I explained that we cannot see him until we get to heaven, but that we also see him in everything we see (yes, I know... a bit confusing for a 4 year old). She pondered that thought for about a minute, then exclaimed,
"Mommy, give me your glasses. I want to see God in 3-D!!!"

Yup, we enjoyed a great Easter service and a wonderful day. Thank you Lord for blessing us with this wonderful little girl. Our lives are truly blessed... and to become even more so soon, with a sister for the Ladybug.

The Ladybug looking at her beautiful, matching dolly.

Sitting on the steps, hanging out with her dolly, Tiana.

Discussing the wonderful Easter Sunday they enjoyed together.

Giving kisses to her dolly Tiana, and practicing for when her baby sister comes home from China.