Friday, February 17, 2006

Must Stay Busy...

(january 2006) call me crazy, but i needed something that would occupy my time while waiting on that referral. well, training for a half-marathon did just that! kevin and i trained for the PF Chang's Rock N Roll half marathon back in 2004, but three days before the race, my doctor told me that i could do it as long as i kept my heart rate below 140. (due to a fertility procedure) WHAT?! i couldn't even walk 13 miles and keep my HR that low! so, kevin ran it as i watched...not fun at all when you've done all the training! so this year, i decided i needed to "check that box" and get one of these under my belt. so, off i ran. i'm glad i did it, but i can't really say i enjoyed it. from now on, i'll be totally satisfied with getting my exercise by chasing a little one around!

Our New Friend

this is alesha, she manages the local mail center and she is awesome! we saw her on a regular basis while we were getting everything apostilled and certifed and over-nited here and over-nited there. this was the final copy of the dossier-ready to go, so she Fed-Ex'd it FREE for us as our 'congrats!' we probably should have considered naming myah after her for all her work she did for us!

Yessss! The Dossier is Complete!

talk about relief! the dossier was complete, we were done and now it was time to Fed Ex it to our agency, America World Adoption Association in Virginia........ aaaahhhh! it feeels so nice, yippee!

Ahhhh, the I-171H

one of the requirements for the dossier is to be fingerprinted and then to wait, however long that may be, for this document to come back from immigration/naturalization. we were reading from some states, it was taking up to four months to get this form back! praise the Lord, we got ours back in just 2 weeks! like i said before, God does some amazing things when you submit your will to Him and let Him take the reigns! this was our last form that we had to notorize, certify and apostile. whew!

Read, Read, Read

the paperchase began in february of 2005. background checks, fingerprints, birth certificates, financial statements, guardianship letters, marriage license copies, home studies, physicals, shots, recommendation letters, auto-biographies. you name it-they wanted to know! i was just waiting for the day they asked my bra size! : ) fortunately, they never did!

it only took 2 months to complete our "dossier" which is actually considered quick! we were "DTC" (Dossier To China) on 22 april '05....that was a HUGE relief and a milestone in the adoption process. a few weeks later, on 10 may 2005, our documents had reached the CCAA (China Center for Adoption Affairs) and was logged into their system, another milestone, called the LID (Log In Date) for the loooong wait.

at the time, the time from being 'logged in" to the chinese system and receiving the referral was about 6-8 months. that should have put us being 'matched' and receiving our referral around november, december, january-ish of '04-'05. well, as i'm writing this, it's february 17th, 2006 and we just got our referral on january 25th. one very important lesson learned in adoption process, and a lot like the military: NEVER believe it til ya see it!

there were a few times i cried, esp when i realized we would not be receiving our referral when we thought we would; and it got SO OLD telling the same ole answer to those who asked, "so what's the latest w/ myah?" and we'd say over and over again, "no clue!" there were times we felt we weren't even adopting anymore b/c you go from doing a million things for the dossier, to absolute nothing! we were totally at the CCAA's mercy and just had to wait it out. but, i must say, God! you ARE a God of more than enough! everytime i got down, He'd lift me back up-with more strenght and peace than before! there were (and still are) many days i don't think that much about her! it's like God has built a super-fortress around my heart to protect me from being disappointed. it's amazing what He will do when you submit to HIS WILL!

anyway, during the wait-which seemed so far off back in may of 2005, and now as we look back, just TOTALLY flew, we learned so much about china, adopting, parenting and being thankful; even in the waiting. this picture of kevin reading (The Lost Daughters of China) is a pretty good visual of what we did a lot of during those months! that and talking with so many neat familes on our agency's yahoo group web board. thank the Lord for modern technology! : )

The Beginning Stages

(march 2005) this was us at our mandatory 'adoption course' that is required by the home study agency. at this point, we'd already completed our 3 home study visits. it was a 2 day course that covered practically everything about adoption, esp foreign adoptions. we learned so much! our group had about 9 couples in it, so we were able to make new friends that were in our same 'boat.' one couple's first chinese adopted daughter, they named maya!

Christmas 2005

here we are, spending our last Christmas as just kevin and jenn. yippee! i am so excited about the Christmases to come! happy birthday, Jesus!

Jennifer's 32nd Bday

since my bday fell the day after thanksgiving, we were going to celebrate it with our friends, the newells (as well as thanksgiving). their kids ended up getting sick and couldn't make the trip-so kevin and i enjoyed the cake! the best thing about this last one without a baby!

Kevin's 32nd Bday

kevin and i celebrated his actual bday (feb 3) at famous dave's BBQ. a few nites later, we went with the stitzels and kings to pizza picazzo in tempe to celebrate both kevin and susan's bdays. yummy!
just under two weeks later, the stitzels went to russia to adopt their son and daughter!!!

Surprise!!! (III)

in that big ole gift bag was a petunia picklebottom diaper bag!!!!
i'd been eye-ing it for quite a while and silly ole kristin knew it, so she went out and bought it! what a generous heart!
by the way, their sweet daughter, lily, came into the world 3 days after this surprise shower! yea!

Surprise!!! (II)

Surprise!!! (I)

our good friends, scott and kristin poteet came to pick us up for dinner one night in september...i opened the door to this! they were throwing us a 'surprise shower' since they knew they'd be moving before i would have a baby shower! they had flowers, balloons, cards that said "a star is born," scotch-a-roos (kristin's specialty), a big ole gift bag and a card that said WHAT: a surprise baby shower WHEN: now WHERE: at the gordon's and at oregano's restaurant !!!!

Our 9th Anniversary...

on january 3rd, 2006-we celebrated 9 years of marraige. we've been so blessed! myah, after 9 years with no other children...i hope we don't spoil you rotten! we are oh so ready to have you as part of our family! this anniversary was even more exciting; knowing that this was the last one we'd celebrate as 'non-parents!' thank you, Jesus!

After the Shower...

the nite after the shower, we came back from dinner and went thru all the gifts we'd gotten. wow! the grandmas read all the sweet books, kevin put together all the toys and i was being my nesting-little self; putting everything in its place! myah's toybox doesn't even close-and she's not even here yet! thank you, friends!

Grandmas at the Baby Shower

in early december, my military friends threw me a baby shower. at that time, it was still a possibility that we may be travelling to china in jan/feb. both kevin's mom, patsy and my mom, betty flew out for the big day. a friend from church made me this shirt and i wore matching chopsticks in my hair. it was so fun! the shower was beautiful! i'm pretty sure everyone there was crying at some point! my mom finally told me to 'quit reading the cards,' b/c it just made me cry even harder. what a special day; to spend it with friends and the 'grandmas,' who've prayed for and supported us on this journey for so long!

Special Delivery

kevin's dad found a website just for families who are adopting babies from hubei, china. we've learned some amazing things from families who've previously adopted babies from there. we also learned that we could send a box to myah's foster family. here's what we sent: a small photo album with pictures of us, her bed, her nursery, our home, and our cats; a rattle/teeter (we learned that she has one tooth!) a stuffed animal, a warm sleeper, a very soft pink blanket given by a friend, and a bath & body works lotion for her foster mom, whom myah is said to call 'mama,' and a letter in mandarin to the foster parents. man! it was so hard to find things that didn't say MADE IN CHINA! this little box cost $37 to send, but she's worth it. we just really hope it finds its way to her!

An Amazing "God thing..."

(jennifer) my mom gave me an idea way back in October 2004 when we decided to adopt. she told me to keep a journal. i have been writing to myah and inserting picutres, fortune cookie sayings, cards from friends, etc ever since. when we got the referral call on Jan 25, 2006-i decided to look back at the journal to see if i'd written anything down on Jan 25 of 2005. this is what i found....
(a bit of history first; we'd submitted the initial adoption paperwork in Oct '04, but took a few months' off of more paperwork while we tried IVF. the first round was not successful, so we prayed for wisdom in what to do next; to keep using all the embryos first and then adopt, or adopt first and then go back to the embryos. we finally decided to keep using all the embryos first.)
recorded on year earlier, on Jan 25, 2005 i had purchased airline tickets back to CA (where our embryos are) and had just received all the meds i was to begin taking the next day, Jan 26 to get my body ready for the second embryo transfer. well, that nite, a great friend of ours, brian vaughn called to tell us that he'd been praying for us. (he had no idea we'd decided to move forward with the IVF first.) he told us that he felt the Lord was telling him to call us right then and tell us we were supposed to adopt first! now tell me that wasn't God!

so that is what i found in my journal-EXACTLY one year ago! and look! Jan 25, 2006-we received our referral of our beautiful daughter! I LOVE IT!

All Bundled Up!

The Referral Packet

here is the actual referral packet delivered by the Fed Ex man.
this was our first look at our daughter, Fu Lian Xue. God is good!

Map of Hubei Orphanages

Myah is from the Hubei province, in Wuxue City.
This map is of all the (known) orphanages in the
Hubei province alone!

Say Cheese!

we love this picture! it looks like she's thinking, "hmmmm...what is
that black thing you're holding up to your face and pointing at me?"
i also love how they took the time to brush her hair to make her
all pretty for her picture!

Translating her biography page...

this is right after we received the referral;
kevin listening to the singapore pilot trans-
late her biography.

Look at Me, I'm so big!

A Bit of her Story...

we took the 'biography' section of the packet to the nice pilots in the singapore squadron on base. they translated it for us; here's a bit of her story...
-was found outside a blood donation center
-was 5 pounds when found
-weighs 14.8 pounds, is 25.4" long as of Dec '05
-laughs out loud
-likes to watch people on bikes (kevin said i can hold her and he'll ride his bike in the driveway!)
-likes her soother (pacifier)
-cries when her favorite toy is taken away (we MUST find out what that toy is!)
-has a lot of hair (b/c the orphanages shave the babies; foster families do not)
-enjoys bath time
-likes to be held, YEA!
-likes music and looking at herself in the mirror

Why so many clothes?

in the winter, the orphanage workers, (aka 'nannies') bundle up the babies with layers and layers of clothes due to lack of heaters. in the summer, without adequate a/c the babies heads are shaved; to keep them cooler and to reduce lice.
even though myah is not in an orpahange, we believe in these pictures-she was at the orpahanage that she's associated with (possibly for 'picture day!'). we can't wait to keep her warm in our arms!

Celebrating at Panda Express, hee.hee.

Neighbor of the Year Award Winner!

The delivery man, nicholas...

Awaiting the Referral

(jennifer) as soon as we woke up, we got on the Fed Ex website to see where our package was. it said the delivery time would be 12 noon. but, at 11:15, as we were both sitting at the computer, i heard a truck, then our doorbell!!! i bolted down the hall, threw open the door (does this sound like the nite before Christmas?!) and started waving my arms and yelling for the delivery guy to stop. (we wanted to take a picture with him!) out to my right, i could see was amy, our neighbor! she had heard the truck too and was actually getting ready so that she could go sit out in her driveway and wait for our noon arrival....she had wet hair, half her make-up on, her mascara tube in hand and was barely dressed! SO FUNNY! she was running towards our house, also trying to flag down the Fed Ex man, barefoot! he was so nice, but in all the excitement, we forgot to actually pick up the package to hold in the picture!!!! oh happy day!
we came inside and opened it up to see our BEAUTIFUL baby girl; we now have a face to the daughter we've never seen! kevin and i were so excited, and i was sure i'd cried all my tears out the day prior-so amy did the crying for us....we just kept laughing! God, you are so good!

Theeee phone call!!!

(jennifer) i was at starbucks with a very good friend, sue (who, by the way helped us spell myah the way we do-as well as gave us the idea of 'hope' as a middle name and the bible verse romans 15:13). i couldn't have asked for anyone better to be with when i got the call. she handed me napkins to wipe my face (i was bawling!!!) and held the paper as i wrote down myah's information that our family coordinator was telling me. i will always remember those moments, especially when i was told myah has been in foster care, not an orphanage! i quickly called kevin and our families, and then made my way to buy something PINK at target, no less! i ended up being on the phone so much that day, that the cartlidge in both ears was so sore and i was completely wiped out by early evening. i couldn't believe it was FINALLY our turn! praise the Lord! by the way, in all of the excitement, i forgot to take a picture at starbucks with my friend and the paper which i wrote everything down!