Thursday, January 31, 2008

Praying for China

Have you heard about the wild weather going on in China right now? They are having blizzards and ice and it is a mess. Today I got a message that Chenzhou, where Sage lived is without electricity and water!!!! Here was the message:

"Like many other places in Chenzhou, the orphanage lost electricity and tapwater forabout a week .Now ,the orphanage use coal and wood to make heat and carry waterbyhand .2)The orphanage bought some food ,clothes and other stuff before the most storesclosed.Now most stores are closed .Even if there are a few stores openoccasionally,the stuffwould be very expensive3)The orphanage is not able to receive anything or money from the outside sincethetransportation is blocked and post offices and banks are closed .4)Director said he can't think out what kind of help the orphanage need fromthefamilies now since they can't receive package or money from the outside and evenif theyhave money ,they don't have place to buy stuff.4)Director let me say thanks to all families who care about the orphanage.He said sofar the orphanage is doing good but he doens't know how much time it could lastif thesituation is getting worse ."

This is really a big deal. Babies, LOTS of babies and children, my heart just worries. My daughter is sitting in an orphanage right now. I have not been able to find out what is going on in her area of Jinhua, but I know it is cold. And I will assume, as most of the orphanges in china, they do not have heat.

Also, Chinese New Year is about to begin. That means that people all over china are trying to get home to their families. But they are not able. I have read blogs of adoptive families over there now who are stranded in airports w/ babies, or not even able to get to their babies province.

So I just ask you to please say a prayer tonight. That Mavery is warm. That she is healthy. For all the children there and families who are cold and trying to make their way home.

I know one thing, we are certainly thankful for the thought of traveling in a heat wave to china vs a blizzard!

Monday, January 28, 2008

New Recipe & a Good day!

Still have sore throats and something going through our house, but no fevers so that is good.

Our Home study was already approved from our agency today and on to the next step! Our Social Worker told me to just wait about 10 days and apply for INS so that is GREAT news!

I started a "freezer supper club" with 9 other girls and we did a round last month. It was really nice. We each made one recipe 9 times. So you took 9 pans of something and came home with that many different frozen dinners. I LOVE not cooking and having a homemade dinner! We are getting ready for round 2, and here is what I am bringing to the table. VERY yummy!

Caesar Chicken Casserole Freezer Recipe

2 lbs cooked chicken breasts cut into chunks
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped(I left out when making and and it was still good!)
1/2 cup green onions
1/3 cup light creamy caesar dressing
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese, grated
1 12-oz package tubed pasta (such as penne or macaroni), cooked and drained
1/4 cup croutons
Combine all ingredients but croutons, mixing well, in a 2 quart baking dish. Allow to cool and freeze.
From freezer: Thaw casserole. Top with crushed croutons and bake in 350F preheated oven for 30 minutes or until topping is browned and casserole is bubbly

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Well we are happy to report that we are not criminals and have been cleared by the FBI. PRAISE THE LORD! Both for the fact that Mark is not a closet criminal on me AND that these FINALLY came! hehe! So... Monday we take this little piece of paper to our Social Worker, she submits our home study to our agency, they approve it, then our SW submits it DCFS(division of family services, I "think" this is an Illinois only thing? ). And we get to WAIT some more. I think she told me it could take 3-6 weeks to hear from dcfs. Once approved by them, we get to move on to the INS, which is taking 8-10 WEEKS!!!!!!! I am not going there yet. One wait at a time.
The really dumb thing? These fingerprints don't count for INS. We get to do those AGAIN for them. I tell you, I have been fingerprinted more in my adoption lifetime than I care to count. I don't understand, fingerprints don't change. You would think there is like a national fingerprint system somewhere that they could just pull these things up online wouldn't you? Sigh..
At least things are moving forward. Last week this little paper was officially holding us up. So I am thankful it is here! My social worker told me last week to SLOW DOWN, BE PATIENT! I asked her if we forgot to warn her that I am NOT a patient mommy in waiting!??!! She had no idea what she was getting into when she agreed to work with us! HA!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Malaine has BIG dreams!

Tonight Mark asked Malaine what she wants to be when she grows up. Without missing a beat she said "I want to be a mommy, or a fireman or a princess."
I advised her to go for the princess!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Things we don't share w/ our Social Worker..Part 2

Sage is still sick, and Malaine has joined her. But Sage IS on the mend, the "sparky(sparkly) lipstick" all over her today is proof that she is getting back to her spicy self!

Still no sign of the hamster. Obviously he is a smart hamster, what did we expect, it is a CHINESE dwarf hamster! hehehe! My mother is terrified we are going to bring in the cat(that we do not really own) and let her loose down there to find hamster. I don't need THAT on my conscience!

So a few days before Christmas, not many days after we found out Mavery was ours, we had a kitten on our back porch. The kids of course were thrilled as they have begged for a cat for a long time. You might remember how we used to get to listen to Sawyers cat song? We tried to ignore the kitten for awhile thinking it would run home to it's family, but apparently we are her family because she was not leaving. Makenna began feeding her because she was looking very pitiful. Eventually we went out and bought cat food and even started letting her in the garage at night, we are such suckers!

Fast forward to our homestudy visit. And while I was less stressed than our last homestudies, I still gave the children the warning talk, no fighting, no doing gymnastics on the furniture, no screaming, you know, do NOT act like you normally do here! We asked Makenna to please be in charge of Sage, because as you can imagine, a spicy girl is not going to be on her best behavior no matter what you threaten. She will just be spicy! Everything is going just fine, until Makenna gets bored of playing w/ Sage and figures out the adult conversation would be much more interesting to listen to. We are sitting there talking, Sage has disappeared and I ask Makenna to check on her. Well she lets out that girly girl SCREAM and says, "SAGE IS ON TOP OF THE DRYER AND IS EATING CAT FOOD!!!!" So I go and grab her and say, oh she is not eating it, she just has it in her hands, she wants to feed the cat. (the cat we have said it NOT really our cat) So I open the back door and take her outside on the back porch and she then SPITS OUT a mouthful of food as EVERYONE watches and THEN the cat EATS that! And of course Makenna is making a HUGE deal out of this. But thankfully we still got a home study and she did not tell us we are insane for adding a "twin" with our spicy girl! Oh and she was fine with the "cage" we added on Sage's bed. Of course after seeing Sage in action, who could blame us!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sage is Sick

Sage has been sick, but I am not sure she has been quite this sick before. A sick spicy girl is very sad! It is so not normal to see her like this. Still, and quiet. She went to the doctor today, and they think it is just a virus, but went ahead and put her on a zpac. She is running a fever and as you can see, her whole face is swollen, everything is running and she is just miserable. She just wants to lay in bed w/ bear and watch "dia". (dora) She keeps coming over and blinking her eyes fast and saying, "eyes, wawa"(water) because they are just dripping like a faucet. Please pray that our sweet girl will make a quick recovery. Sawyer is also on a zpac, but he is still bouncing around and acts fine besides a horrible cough. Tis the season I suppose!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Things we don't share w/ our Social Worker..

Now this might be going a little overboard in our sense of niceness... Remember this wonderful brilliant idea that Santa had LAST Christmas? the Chinese hamster? He was a fine critter, that Mark got stuck dealing with, as we housed him in his CAGE in the basement. Fast forward to Vacation in October to the beach. Let me remind you, getting ready for the beach, packing for FOUR children, homeschooling, organizing a vacation for 27 people, I could go on. I managed to remember to get the dog kenneled, that must count for something? But i forgot about the hamster, as did every other human being living in my house. Never even entered our minds, till I walked in the door home from vacation and it hit me, WE FORGOT WE HAD A HAMSTER!! So we send Mark to see, expecting to find a DEAD starved hamster. But no sign of hamster. The cage is empty. What? Did he evaporate? We figured he escaped. In our basement, which is, well, a basement. FULL of junk. (see next post below to get an idea) How in the world would you ever find something the size of a mouse down there? Winter came and we smelled burning a few times w/ the furnace and thought, is that him cooking? (oh that is just so gross!) Then comes time to start cleaning out our storage for the yard sale. As we begin pulling out stuff, we begin finding PILES of dog food behind shelves. in places that the dog can't get to, nor would anyone else. We are talking BIG piles. After pulling EVERYTHING out, we figured we found about 4 pounds of dog food stockpiled down there. Either this hamster is set for winter, or we have something else large down there. DISGUSTING! We cleaned out ALL dog food, and set a trap. We read to make a ramp into a bucket of food, they will drop in and not get out. We set this a week ago. no sign of hamster. Or anything else. But then tonight........ Makenna ran down to let Hershey out of her cage and began SCREAMING in that girly girl screaming way. The hamster was just walking around by Hersheys cage. Well THANK GOODNESS we now know it is a hamster and not a rat or anything! (hey, if you saw these huge piles of food, you would fear to!) Did Makenna, who is the HAMSTER OWNER, try to catch the hamster? No, she runs off screaming! And I am not about to go down there, I don't do rodents. SO, any ideas on how to catch him, PLEASE help us!
I like to think we are nice people, we have compassion on helpless things and all, but for goodness sakes, I have my limits and letting the hamster have the RUN of the basement is beyond those limits! Let me add free run for THREE MONTHS!! Can you even imagine had he ran by the social worker during her visit? That visit was fun enough w/ Sage coming out eating CAT FOOD for the CAT we don't own! ( i will save that for another post)
Maybe for our yard sale we will have a hamster cage out there. With or Without hamster, to be determined!

Mavery Madness??

Well, as every other family in adoption world(and most of us w/ kids NOT in adoption world) we need cash. Plane tickets alone to China are not going to be pretty. So we are working on a yard sale. YIKES! I have only had one yard sale in my life and I said NEVER AGAIN! Yet I feel it is the ONLY way I can contribute to $. I can only envision cute ideas for bows and clothes, can't sew for sure. And I have not figured out any other talent that is going to bring in cash, so a yard sale it is. We have had some very gracious friends already bringing us things which we are so thankful for. As you can see, we have our work cut out for us, and this is w/ only a few who promised donations! Mark just keeps rolling his eyes at the growing piles, but with a promise of green, he will cooperate!
The sale is going to be on Saturday April 5th. If you want to come out and help me that day, let me know! Or just stop by to shop. OR if you want to come over and price anytime between now and then, PLEASE come! I am not a yardsaler and I look at the pile w/ NO CLUE of where to begin! Some have told me to only expect to make a couple hundred dollars, others have said they made over $1000. Regardless of what we make, at least we are cleaning out our own junk AND keeping busy as the days pass.

Friday, January 18, 2008


One piece of paper that we were told to expect to hold us up an extra 3 weeks came in less than 5 DAYS today!! Our Social Worker was surprised, but we are THRILLED and reminded again of WHO is in control of this paperwork! I got a call from the FBI guy who has been so patient w/ me to let me know that our file was cleared so we should have that SOON! Which means that PRAYERFULLY we can get our homestudy finished up next week and off to DCFS. (which is who the paper came from today, so PLEASE let them work that fast w/ our homestudy!)
Please keep on praying. I just want the paperwork out of my hands and sitting in China!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

He Knows My Name

Today our church celebrated Sanctity of Life. And while our pastor spoke on abortion and the horrifying statistics, I was reminded of how blessed we are to parent Sage and Mavery both. While we have no idea the circumstances surrounding their birth or WHY their birth mother made a choice, we know this. She made a choice. She chose life. Regardless of the reasons, they chose to carry my daughters and deliver them. So many other choices they could have made. As I listened to those numbers today, of babies that never know life because of the choice their mothers made, I whispered up prayers of thanks to our Heavenly Father for these mothers.
We sang this song , He knows my name, twice in church today. I have had this on my blog for awhile, but singing it today and thinking of these birth mothers and my heart has been so heavy with thoughts of Mavery the words just calmed my heart. This baby girl, who waits half a world away, He knows her. He knew her when He knit her together in a mothers womb. He holds her in His hands. When she lies down at night, with out a mothers arms to hold her or kiss her goodnight, HE is there. When she wakes up alone, when she gets hurt and no one comes running, when she is lonely and I am not there, HE is! And while we know that on December 18th, 2007 Mavery went to bed for the first time in China no longer an orphan, but matched with her family! We know that God has had His hand on her LONG before then.
It is hard, waiting is frustrating! I am mad at anyone from the FBI, to the doctors office for not working as fast as I want them to work. Yet then God whispers, "I never promised it would be easy, I just promised you your daughter was waiting. And I promised you that I formed your daughter, she if first MINE, and when I say you can have her, you will have her. " So while I am still not happy and thinking of her sitting over there breaks my heart, I refuse to wish away our lives now. We will enjoy our time now, and trust that God is leading us through this wait, just as he did with Sage. We will walk it out, not running and pushing and stomping and crying.(though I am sure there will be many days we will WANT to do ALL of those things!) Our Heavenly Father knows Mavery's name. He KNOWS the date I will hold her in my arms, He has already written it in His book!
So today I spend in Thanksgiving. For 2 women who chose life, and for God allowing me to parent those beautiful children that came from that choice.
Psalm 139:13-17 (New International Version)
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Adoption 101

So this is everything you NEVER wanted to know about what it takes to adopt a baby! ;-) This is the process when you are going for a child you find on a list. Or a child that finds you! I will post more on the actual paperwork part soon. Which is what we are buried in right now. Please keep praying! I will post specific prayer requests as we have them. Right now it is those fbi clearances, you can read in the next post. AND as this is our first time to go this route, I may not be exactly right on some things. But I think this is how it all goes...

LOI=Letter of Intent- This was our first step. We write a letter to China stating that we want to adopt Jin Cong and that we understand her heart condition and that we promise to always love her and never abandon her etc and so on. During our wait for PA we begin the paperchasing.

PA=Pre Approval. We wait to hear from China stating that they agree to let us move forward with the adoption, meaning we have to turn in our dossier.

The dossier is your life on paper. You have a social worker do your homestudy. Since we have adopted once, we get an update, but so far, I see no difference between our first homestudy and our updated homestudy, though they are telling me an update is cheaper. (not really compared to last time, but that is besides the point) A homestudy is basically EVERYTHING about you. Your past, your present and your future. What your parents were like, what your marriage is like, what your siblings do for a living, etc and so on. I have often said, when I birthed a baby, before they let me take them from the hospital, they just wanted to make sure I had a carseat for the kid. To adopt a child with no home, I must prove myself worthy. And I will gladly do it for our daughters. But it is rather annoying. However, this is the rule and the only way to bring her home, so we work as fast as we possibly can. After our Social Worker is done writing about us, we apply for all these things, get fingerprinted a whole bunch of times, and wait for all the applied things to come back to us. THEN we have a dossier. The agency then translates it all from English to Chinese. Once the dossier is complete we are…

DTC=Dossier to China. China glances over it and we get a LID.

LID-Log in Date. Remember with Sage, the coveted LID? 6/20/05, a date forever etched in our hearts? They look at dossiers in date order. But waiting children are in a different batch I suppose than our dossier was last time?

We wait and we wait and we wait. I think about 3 months?

LOA=Letter of Approval-This means China has read our dossier and approved us to adopt Mavery Jin-Raye. We sign this letter stating YES we still want to adopt her! Wait about 2-3 weeks.

TA=Travel Approval, Our signed LOA goes back to China and we wait for Travel Approval. Our agency requests a CA(Consulate Appointment for us in China)

We get our appointment, we make all our travel plans and we GET MAVREY!
They told me typically it takes about 9 months from start to finish, like a typical pregnancy. Unlike a typical adoption where I could have birthed twice before I held Sage! And those poor mommies waiting now, I think they could literally birth THREE times in their wait. Sigh..

They say the summer Olympics which are in August in CHINA won’t hold things up, but we will see. Last time we had our Dossier done in in 3 months, but I hear some of the paperwork(that is out of our hands) is taking longer. PRAY! Please pray! We want things to go faster than humanly possible. Our daughter waits and we are working as fast as we can!

FBI Clearance

Still working on a post to help everyone understand the process, but for right now we are waiting on our FBI clearance. We had our fingerprints done at our local police station, they were sent off to the FBI. I tried to contact them yesterday and all they would say is they are still not in their data base and they could not confirm anything due to the high volume of work they have. As soon as we get this clearance, we can move on to another step of waiting in the home study process. SO.. I am asking that you join us in praying that our file would just happen to pop up on their desks today and that we would get our clearance so that next week we can move forward to another step of waiting. We have been told that INS is taking 8-10 WEEKS for clearance(this will be our last step before paperwork can go to china) so we are rushing as fast as we can just to get to that wait.
We have no doubt that God is in control and that He can hear our prayers. He is mightier than ANY person in charge of this paper chase that is for sure. I trust in His plan and His timing on when I will hold Mavrey for the first time. Just praying that His plan is sooner than WE can even imagine!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A Quiet Sage is not a Good Sage

It has been a long day, and Sage has just been especially spicy. We took down Christmas, and you know that is a job. I was sitting on the couch reading to Malaine and I asked, anyone seen Sage? I call out for her and I hear back, "What" which just cracks me up when she talks so big. She comes running down the hall and this is what I see..

TOOTHPASTE being used as SOAP! She said "washing hands". Well at least our spicy girl is a clean girl. And smelling quite Minty tonight I might add!
I reminded myself that I do get a 2 week vacation later this year! hehe! My mom has already said she is buying Sage a leash while we are gone, Probably not a bad idea!

Friday, January 04, 2008

TU TWO Cute!

Mark is SO going to kill me! But who can resist TWO little girls wearing pink Tutu's! I mean come on, in her pictures, Mavrey is wearing BOY clothes! She needs some frills that is for sure! Buying 2 of everything to match is going to break the bank no doubt. Actually, buying for FOUR girls, oh poor Mark...
Isn't the new daisy on the header great? Many thanks to Verna the blogfairy for adding in our sweet girl! And my brother in law cleaned up her photo for us, no more scratch through her head. He is amazing w/ the photos!
I am working on a post about the "adoption Waiting Child Process", but right now, NOTHING is happening! Well we do have our 2nd homestudy visit on Tuesday, so I guess things are moving, but not fast enough for me of course! Paperwork is just no fun. Not even the paperwork part, the waiting part. The wondering, the wishing.. Sigh...
And spelling her name.... It IS just 2 syllables. So...
  • Mavrey
  • Mavree
  • Mavrie

I am thinking the first one Mavrey. Still not sure though, I write it out different each time! We have plenty of time to figure it out.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

No Shocker..

First, I will demonstrate my favorite activity, climbing. And notice my shirt is backwards, I now insist on dressing myself. TaDa is my new word!
Well, if i can't climb on that side, I will get a little help from my Dora chair.
Come on Mommy, help a girl out!
So, now that I am in, let me show you how i get OUT! One foot over...
OOPS, maybe not... Don't worry though, try, try again.

We have been surprised that Sage had not started climbing out of her crib, and VERY thankful. She is such a good sleeper, as long as she is in her own bed. But yesterday after naptime she threw herself over the side. And this morning, early, VERY early, she came running into our room. This is not good when you are a spicy girl. She is no where near ready to be in a big girl bed, and we are FOR SURE not ready for that move! I do not trust her to be free! So, I am searching for a crib tent, before she manages to hurt herself. Any ideas let me know!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2008 The Year of MAVRY!

As the calendar turns and we look back on the memories that make 2007 I just can't believe how fast it has gone! I heard someone say not long ago, How is it days go so slow but years go so fast? How true is that? Wasn't it just yesterday...

  • someone started WALKING
  • And then burned her hand on the fireplace? (not a memory i like to remember!)
  • One graduated kindergarten
  • First Haircuts, & lost teeth
  • met up w/ old friends and new friends
  • Parties lots of parties
  • Dedications, Jesus grew in young hearts
  • graduated one from speech therapy
  • Traveling, so many memories and
  • A beach family vacation!
  • Said Goodbye to school &
  • Began the adventure of HOMESCHOOLING!
  • Sent one off to preschool!
  • and ended the year with a peek at what the next would hold

God is so good and I am so thankful for every day of 2007. It is the year that Sage settled into our family. It has definately been a year of growing and changing in our house and that is OK. My prayer always is that God would NEVER leave us as we are. That He would always be molding us, changing us and stretching us. And most important that we would be willing to let Him, each one of us. So goodbye to 2007 and hello to 2008, the year of our newest daughter! Once again we grow, we stretch and we change in ways we can't even begin to imagine. We can't wait!