Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A wonderful Weekend!

This weekend we received THIS! :)
Our I800A approval! :) Almost DTC!!! We also received these!
The last one is of our daughter and her very best friend, Jane. They are always together and we are so fortunate to already be in touch with Jane's soon to be Mom and Dad:) All in was a very GOOD WEEKEND:)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Care Package and new picture!

Our Madeline is at Starfish Foster home in Xian, China ( check them out here, she goes by Charlotte). It's such a wonderful place that provides all that she needs to enjoy a healthy and loving life until we can bring her home. That said, We still wanted to send her a little something for her Birthday and Christmas so we hired Lady Bugs in Love to put together a package for us. We sent her a picture of us to give to our daughter, a letter that she translated, candies for the nannies and money to buy a little doll. Here is what she put together for us:)

We love the pillow, and hopefully it will help our faces not seem so foreign to her on adoption day ( That is the hope of course:). The Foster home is providing a cake for her birthday.

To some, this may seem normal. But in the adoption world, the care and treatment our daughter is getting isn't :) She is so very blessed to be at Starfish:)

Amanda, the founder and director of Starfish, posted this picture on her Face book last night ( I'm sure she wouldn't mind me stealing it:). The date stamp is wrong, as it was just taken yesterday, but isn't it the most precious? That is our Madeline in the back holding the bottle and her best friend Jane trying to feed the new little baby. Our hearts MELTED seeing this:)

**Note for those whom may be concerned about her coloring...our cardiologist said it is completely normal and no harm is happening. It will go away once she is home and has her surgery*

But, we had to send her a little something for her Birthday and Christmas.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pitter Patter

Early (WAY EARLY) Sunday morning, I awoke with a start! As I sat straight up in my bed, I heard the pitter patter of little feet bolt across my bedroom.

I reached onto my bedside table, (half way awake, confused and groggy) and quickly grabbed my camera phone. I pointed it in the general direction of where the sound was coming from, and this is what I captured:)

**Side Note :Forgive the laundry on the chair. I had just not "felt" like putting it away the night before**

I stared at the picture blinking for a few moments as I entered into the conscious world:) Then I heard the pitter patter of little covered feet run across the room and stop right next to me. I immediately turned my phone and aimed it at my bedside.

As soon as the camera flashed and the picture was captured. The CUTEST.LITTLE.MAN with the CUTEST.LITTLE.GIGGLE started laughing and running all around the room. Unfortunately, the giggle awoke our little doggies Bridgette and Aspen. They were alerted to a foreign intruder in their midst and hence commenced a barking session :) I jumped up to turn on the "hall to the master bath" light so they could see who it was:) (and not wake Lee up) :)

:) My little nephew had come over with his Mom and Dad that night while I was asleep. They live three hours away and we were doing the tree farm the next day.

Then it dawned on me as I watched him run back and forth taunting Bridgette to chase him and play:)
Someday, those pitter pattering feet will be of our little Madeline.

That the little shadow of a child playing, (WAY TOO EARLY) :-), will mean our little girl is home...with us :-)

Oh, HOW I CAN NOT WAIT!! :) Hurry up I800A approval...PLEASE :-)

Monday, November 28, 2011

100 Good Wishes

In Northern China there is a tradition to make a Bai Jia Bei, or "100 Good wishes quilt". It's customary to invite friends and family to participate by sending in a 8x8 (prefer 100 percent cotton) piece of fabric. The fabric is then sewn together into a quilt that will wrap the child in luck, energy and good wishes. :) These quilts are passed down from generation to generation. (Disclaimer: Found these pictures online, this is not my quilt)

Along with the piece of fabric, a wish for Madeline:) It can be a Bible Verse, a prayer...anything :). This part can be written on a sticky note, or you can go very elaborate with a deocrated notecard. Anything works:) These "Good wishes" are put into a book for Madeline. Each card will correspond with a square on the quilt ( if your fabric and wish card don't match, I will cut a small piece of the fabric and attach :-)

Lee and I would love for you all to participate:) Message me on facebook, or here and I can send you my address:)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Madeline's little heart

We finally had our appointment with a cardiologist about our little Madeline's heart.

And hearing about it broke mine.

Although from researching and a few brief passings with cardiologists about her condition we had some inkling of what we may hear...

We weren't quite expecting to hear what we heard.

She's gone through so much in her short life.

But we know God can heal all :)

She will have the best Doctors "Money can buy ( or in our blessed case, Insurance) :-)

And all our love :-)!

And that combination...There's no beating that:)

Madeline, we are so blessed to be your Mommy and Baba(Daddy). We can't wait to bring you home and help your little heart begin to heal physically...and emotionally.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Our Daughter :-) Madeline Qian VanGrunsven

We are smitten:-) Her birthday is December 25th 2009, our little Christmas blessing from God!

I can't wait to tell you all about her, but for now here are the pictures of our little Madeline:) As you can see, she is in a WONDERFUL place run by a even more WONDERFUL woman...I'll share more on the next blog post because it would take to long to write it all up, and I'm just too excited to share:) We shared this on Facebook too, but we know not everyone has Facebook:)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Homestudys, Fortune Cookies and Garage Sales

Our Homestudy WAS APPROVED by our agency! Woot woot! That means we get to fill out the I800A (thx Mary!) Form (Application for Determination of Suitability to adopt a child from a Convention Country form). This is a form we send to the American Government. It's currently a 2-3 month wait for approval.One more step closer! :-) Forgive the image quality. I took a picture of my computer screen and had to lighten it enough for you to read...making it a bit distorted:)

Also,I firmly believe that God can use crunchy pieces of goodness to deliver encouragment! Panda Express is a weakness of mine, but that was okay because the closest one to my house was 40 minutes round trip(making it difficult to indulge) Well,one was opened in my hometown right next to my other addiction(Starbucks!!!). Literally right next store. I was one happy girl. So, needless to say, my husband begrudgingly has been dragged there for dinner on more than one occasion. Each time I cracked that yummy fortune cookie I would ask God for maybe some special little fortunre for us about this adoption. Sure enough, he has delivered on more than one occassion! :-) Okay, I know these were pre-made...but out of the million of fortune cookies in their storage room, we got this one! This one really made us jump for joy...believe what you want, but I think it was divine :-)

And lastly! We had some things to get rid of. While normally we would just give them away or take them to the Goodwill, we decided to sell them at a Garage sale to help offset some of the expenses.

We had it at my In-Laws. I can't thank them enough! They went ABOVE and beyond anything I expected:) My Father in Law power washed his Driveway, trimmed the "Evil Cherry Tree" and made sure we have plenty of Tables. My inlaws also went and purchased a really nice White Canopy tent for my friends and I to sit under to escape the Heat ( It was pretty hot those days) My Mom in law priced, organized, and really made it all come together beautifully! Thanks Mom and Dad VanG!

I also wanted to thank my Mommy, she donated so many wonderful things. My sister Katie for all the toys, My Aunt in Law Gina for the Puzzles, My Mother in Law for all her misc. Items and Aunt in Law Aunt Judi for allowing us to sell some of her things for her to make our sale bigger:) And for my In-Laws neighbor Stacey who is just a Angel :-)

And, last but not Least, Amalia and Janeen. They sat out there with me in the Heat, and Amalia worked a crowd like no other. These two were pretty great considering I'm a sucker and can't stand my ground when it came to price bartering. These two really ROCKED! Here's me and Amalia on Saturday, Janeen was on Sunday. By Sunday I was too worn out and feeling oh so not pretty and avoided pix like the plague:-)

We still aren't matched yet, but it's coming! :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Seems to be the nature of Chinese adoptions:) But I know it will be worth it:) In the mean time, we are keeping busy enjoy the summer with friends, and finishing up some last little details in decorating our home. I find myself wandering into what will be Madelines room and daydreaming about actually SEEING her in there:)
I've already got her room all planned out, we just need to know who and how old she will be:) We originally were going to have her in the larger bonus room, but decided instead that the room at the front of the house is much cuter...even though half the size, and alot girly'er. Well, and ALOT less work for the Dad to be to prep. No installing closets or closing off "windows".

For those of you who have asked where we are at in the process...:)
Our Homestudy is back in the hands of our social worker for edits and additions. Once that's done, and our agency approves it, We fill out a I800A form...and wait another 2 plus months for approval on that. I'll post a timeline on my next blog entry :) But...almost there:)!

In the mean time, we are enjoying Quality time with our Canine Kids :) Who were SCARED TO DEATH that they were about to get a bath in that river on our hike. Aren't dog's supposed to love water?

Monday, July 25, 2011

One more step :-)

Our homestudy! We just completed it and it's at our agency for review! YAY:)! We still have documents to mail for certification and then again for authentication...and a few more forms to fill out, but this is one step closer to bringing home our little one:)

We gathered our pictures for our dossier that goes to China. They want to see what we look like, our lifestyle...(etc) to better match us with a child. I put a few of them below that my Dad took for us yesturday. These will go in the batch we are sending of other misc. pictures ( I.E us with friends, us doing activites, and various other "snapshots" of our lives:)

Here is us in front of our house!

And here is a picture of us in front of one of our Fireplaces

and one for fun because we were DIE HARD HOT...and heat makes us goofy. Safe to say, this picture isn't going to China:)

Again..Too China:

and..Not to China ( I'm telling you...for Washingtonians...IT WAS HOT :)

This was the only usable one as it's been 10 years and 70 pounds ago since I've rollerbladed. All the others I have a look on my face of PURE FEAR, and I think a few tears too :) I"m determined to get comfortable on Rollerblades again:)

And the one of our faces Close up :) There are a few more we are sending, but these are the ones of mostly just us( Don't want to post other peoples pix without their permission:)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What's in a Name?

Call off the adoption! We have reached a point of contention... Lee won't give, I won't give. It's all over! We can't agree on the most serious issue of all!

Her Name.


The SPELLING of her name :)

I know...really serious issue right? Well, if you had access to our Work Email inbox's today, you would think so, we just can't agree:)!

A special little girl named Cara Madeline told Lee and I years ago that we should name our daughter Madeline ( we were telling her how once Sarah turns 30 we were adopting a little girl). We had already had it on our list of narrowed down names and when Cara made the suggestion, we just had to do it:) It was so cute:)

Well, here comes the hard part... How do we spell it?!?!? :-) Lee likes the traditional Madeline, I was thinking Madelyn. Neither of us are backing down...and I have a feeling until we board that plane to of us is going to hope the other gives in:)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Can't Adopt? You still can help!

Did you know that there are over 140 million orphans? I didn't until I started our journey of adoption. Can you imagine, 140 million babies and children?!? Heartbreaking! It seems like so many, where do you start in helping them?

If you see the link on the right of my web page, there is a WONDERFUL organization called an Orphans wish. They are having a "Summer Wish" drive until the 30th of this month, trying to raise enough monthly sponsors to cover expenses. You also get a pretty cool teeshirt :)

I encourage everyone to click on over. I know times are tough, and sponsoring a child right now isn't financially practical for some, but even if you can't sponsor a child there are so many other ways you can help.
Check out their Igive link. It's pretty neat! Or maybe check out their supply needs, or a one time donation( even a few dollars add's up).

I have a few other links on my blog as well. Check them all out:) Even if you can't offer money or supplies, prayers can move mountains as well! :)
God bless you all!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Much A'Do about nothing

Nothing really new to post about our adoption. Just drudging through all the paperwork. There was a particular little toddler we had hoped to adopt, however, the moment her file was listed, a family quickly locked it. To say we were disappointed would be an understatement ( as we have watched her grow over the last year...sent money for her to go on field trips ETC...) But, in the end, the peace is that God placed her in the family HE intended for her.

We are making good progress on our paperwork, but our homestudy is still ( in sorts) frozen. Our social worker wants to hold off on proceeding until he receives the FBI finger print clearance. But, even if we are DTC ( Dossier to China) September, we for sure won't be able to travel until Jan-March of next year. That's only 6-9 months away, but it feels like a lifetime!

We are still toying with ideas for her room. I found this ADORABLE bed, and had this grand idea about a castle theme room with chandelier's, silk curtains, ETC. I found the perfect bed...until I saw the price
$23,000.00 FOR A BED??? ARE THEY NUTS? I guess it's safe to say this room
idea is OUT :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

And so it begins:)

We had our first Home study visit on Monday the 2nd. My nerves were shattered and I sat there in the formal living room just contemplating all the things that could go wrong. What if he didn't like us? What if he thought I would be a bad Mom..what if what if....:) In the end it was just fine :) Well, with the exception that I broke one of our formal dining room chairs as I tried to scoot it up to the table with too much pressure. The loud crack as the nail broke the wood made it fall embarrassingly silent, as both Lee and the social worker stared at me. I could feel my cheeks turn cherry red! Not exactly what one would want to follow a conversation on China's BMI requirements and how my weight was pushing them ( Note to self: Increase running from 2 times a week, to 7:-) My lovable husband quickly quipped in and directed the attention back to the current topic ( taking the attention off what just happened) But other than everything else was a cake walk:)
We haven't started Madeline's room yet, given we won't know her age. We decided to use our bonus room that is at the top of our stairs since it's the larger of the 3 rooms we had been contemplating on. But we have to wall it off as it has decorative cutouts. Here is the before pictures, I'll post the after when they are done:)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The long, but oh so worth it, process:)

*** Disclaimer: Incredibly long read, if you aren't interested in our next steps, back out now LOL :) ******

We are so blessed to have so many wonderful Friends and Family curious about where we are in our adoption process. I thought I might take a quick moment and post the next steps and a general outline of what happens next:)

We are currently starting our "paper chase" phase for our adoption. This is called our "Dossier". I won't go into the long list of documents that are needed, but most of the documents, after we request and receive them, will need to be notarized, certified and authenticated. The most difficult part is that some documents expire. Once we receive each document (if not already notarized, get it notarized) we send it to a government agency for Certification. Then once they certify it, they send it back. Then we have to send it to another government agency for Authentication. Then they authenticate it and send it back. Seems easy enough except certain documents have certain expiration dates, and trying to make all these get done in their correct time frame takes some effort:). We will have to have a notary travel with us to some things. Such as our doctors appointments for our health checks. A notary has to be there with us and notarize our doctors statements. Uncomfortable:) LOL :)

There are also forms that we have to fill out and send to various government agencies etc... I don't know all the details on this one yet since we are just getting started:). Our agency has a guide to help walk us through this difficult process. From all the wonderful mothers I have met that have adopted Children from China, this was their least favorite part. It's time consuming:)

While this is being assembled, we will be doing our Homestudy ( Homestudy goes in the Dossier to China). This generally takes about 2 months to complete. An agent comes to our home and they conduct personal interviews, interview our families and friends, review our finances and our home etc...

We are expecting to be done assembling our dossier and home study by September 1st. Then we submit our paperwork to our agency. They review it, and if everything is good to go, it will be translated and sent to the CCAA. Once the Chinese government reviews our documents and approves us, we will receive a LID ( log in Date). We are expecting our LID date to be sometime in September/October. This LID is what determines when the CCAA will match you with your child. Right now, if you are wanting to adopt a child with no needs, the wait is pushing 5 years. It's essentially "take your number and take a seat". The wait time for China's "Waiting Children" is signifcantly less. That isn't why we are adopting a waiting child, but it is a nice benefit!

Our agency will work on matching us with a child based on the needs we stated we would be able to handle, and we were approved for in our Home Study report. However, we do have access to the Waiting Child list. So, while our agency is looking for us, we can look ourselves as well:) If we find a little one that we want to adopt, we can request her file. Once we receive her file, we take it to a doctor for review...then decide if we want to move forward. If we do move forward, there are a few additional steps ( I'll go into that too when it comes) but generally it's 2-4 months until we fly to China to pickup our little one!

So, we could be matched and on our way to China in November/December. It all depends on how quickly we are matched or find our little girl:)

Wherever, Whoever, and how long we wait is all in God's hands, and we know since HE has control, it will go exactly as it's meant too :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Faith, Why is it so difficult at times?

If you are anything like Lee and I, sometimes you find God's direction for your life being relayed to you in a whisper..or in subtle hints and signs of what you are to do.

For us in this adoption... its more like a trumpet being blown through a Bull horn...Amplified by the strongest speaker. One would think that would be all we need right? Nope, not us.

LONG story short... After the agency told us there was no guarantee, we allowed fear and doubt to seep in. We never sent in our contract with the check to get the process really going. We sat on it for a week. Then, this past weekend, our wonderful, amazing God decided to step in and calm our fears..and remind us that he is in control of this.

Three seperate times this weekend, God told us that this is a test of our Faith.

First was Saturday morning, in a video Lee and I watched. At the end, a screen popped up with these simple BUT OH SO POWERFUL words.
" Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Wow. That about sums up the feeling we had..

Second- We are taking off on a little trip to Vegas ( for GOOD CLEAN fun) this weekend. Although we had gotten a pretty powerful message that morning, fear was starting to return. Gosh, so many things we could do with this money, the adoption might not even happen! We DESPERATLY want to adopt, but were we prepared to deal with the fact China may come back and say no? After all this time, money and mostly heart invested?
Then that afternoon, two checks came in the mail totaling 800 dollars. One we had never expected to see, and the other was from an item we had just recently sold, the person hadn't even collected the item yet! They even included 50 dollars more than the sale price, and told us to enjoy our trip! Again, God was not giving our fears a way out.

Third- On our way to Church Sunday, we talked about how, in all honestly, scared we both were that this would all fall through. We knew it was God's will and plan for us, but still so much fear. Then, the pastor gave a sermon, we feel, directed to us. He spoke of how Jesus was saying " JUST TRUST ME". Let go of your fears and just trust in the Lord! How many more signs does he need to give you, how many more ways does he need to tell you what to do. Trust trust trust.

And after Church...We went STRAIGHT to Blu C sushi, signed our app, and mailed it off Monday morning ( from Sarah's work).

No more fear, worries, wonderings, only Hope, Faith and trust.