Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ni Hao from China! Albeit a bit late...:-)

Here is a blog post I am just now seeing! I wrote it while in China, just a few days after we got Madeline:-) My memory of our first days is fading, and instead if trying to recapture all that I wrote before, I figured I would go ahead and just publish it. Although I don't have the photos to upload as they are on another machine, I figured you can see where I typed in (INSERT PHOTO).
Wow, so many details I have already forgotten! Warning, it's a long read LOL :-) I have a new computer now( Microsoft Surface...amazing!) So as I upload photos  really hope to rekindle this blog!

I have been trying to get on here and blog about our journey, but it seems the days are escaping me with no free time:) Madeline is sound asleep, Lee went to get Orange juice and I find I have a few minutes here to update everyone:-)

First I have wanted to thank everyone for all the loving messages and words of encouragement these last few days(via Facebook...emails). Your prayers have been felt all the way here in China and we have witnessed God's unfailing love and faithfulness time and time again:-) If there is ever a moment in my life where I doubt the power of prayer, I will always look back on these days in China!

 So, now onto our trip! :-) ( Okay, for those of you who don't care about the part BEFORE Madeline...and I don't blame you...scroll to the bottom LOL).

We started our journey on Thursday last week at 8:15 PM. My mother showed up at our house after work and helped calm me down from my frazzled state. I'm a neat freak, OCD, and the fact that I didn't get the chance to vacuum was just going to "ruin my entire day!". Yes, a bit dramatic I know:) She gave us a wonderful gift, a Camera! Believe it or not, we actually didn't own one. The one we had purchased had broken and since I always just use my cell phone, we left it at that. These pictures are courtesy of said camera...Thanks MOM! :-)

We loaded up our suitcases and off we went! We were so excited that Delta upgraded us for free to Economy comfort. We almost paid the fee's to do so ourselves, but when you are adopting, every penny get's a second glance before being spent:-)

We got into Beijing, China on Friday night right about Midnight. Our driver picked us up and our guide met us at the hotel. It was about 1 Am and we had to be up and ready in the lobby at 8 Am for a day of tours. But, that didn't stop Lee! He has buddies in Beijing he was looking forward to seeing, so as I went upstairs to unpack, he went out for a quick bite to eat. Beijing truly is the city that never sleeps! :-)

The next day was PACKED full of stuff to do. Although our minds and hearts were already in Xi'an and our Gotcha day the next day, we met some pretty cool people (Steve and Lisa) and had the pleasure of visiting with them the whole day during our sight seeing.

We saw Tin Amen square

We saw the Forbidden City

Then it was off to lunch! It was SOOO nice to get in AC. It wasn't terribly hot in China
(90 maybe), but the humidity makes you sweat the moment you step outside.


From there, it was the Great Wall!! It truly is spectacular to see in real life.

This is about as far as I made it...Lee on the other hand, went for Gold in true Lee fashion:-) He practically sprinted up the steps. They are large, uneven, and felt seriously dangerous to someone as uncoordinated as I:-) Lee came down with 1 minute to spare before we had to load into our Van...He was red faced and glowing. Anyone who knows Lee knows he loves a challenge.:-)

While waiting for Lee I visited with Lisa( Who had made it up to the first tower with her husband and decided to turn around) and I saw this. I'll let the picture speak for itself...but it really really touched me:)

Then it was back to our hotel and to quickly get dressed for dinner! Hsun Ming ( one of Lee's friends he had gone out with the night before) parent's had reserved a wonderful authentic dinner for us. It was amazing. You walk through all these courtyards. Then surrounding each courtyard were private little rooms for the guests to eat in. We had a wonderful time, and ate some super yummy food, and got to see Hsun Ming, His parents, Won Leung( I know I"m not spelling that right), HM parent's friends, and some other friends of HM's that had moved to Beijing from Seattle ( also work at Microsoft!). It was a lovely time, and even though we were beat tired, I'm very glad we did it:).


Then, the next morning we were off in a rush to the airport, on our way to Xi'an! Our nerves were in knots, and I had butterflies, today was the day we got Madeline!

We arrived, met our guide, got to our hotel and had 2 hours to fresh up before we went and got Madeline. Lee was trying to figure out our internet so I could get in touch with those back home and I desperately tried to get my flat iron or curling iron plugged in(epic fail...). Alas I resorted to a quick braid to calm the humidity frizz, washed my mascara off( It was going to come off anyway) and off we went!!

We pulled up and at the front doors of the civil affairs office was MADELINE! My heart stopped momentarily, and I instantly started crying. There is a feeling that washes over you when you see your child for the first time. I wanted to run up and hug her, to pick her up, to swing her around and yell "WE ARE FINALLY HERE!" but I saw a look on her face that seemed confused. It took everything in me to bottle up my excitement and to approach her calmly and slowly. She was okay, we said hello and went upstairs to the office where there were other families receiving their children.

And then it clicked for her. We were taking her away from her "mama's". She screamed,she cried, she didn't want either of us to touch her. I was the one that took her out of their arms and she instantly reeled back from me, screaming, crying, arching her back and reaching her arms out to her mama's. She was so upset she threw up. It broke my heart, not for me, but for her. Part of me wanted to hand her back and say NO simply because I couldn't watch her in this much pain. Thoughts raced through my head, could she go back and then we visit a lot before taking her? Would China allow that? Would Lee's work give him time off? I knew the answer was already no, but I wanted to make her pain stop. I said a prayer begging for help as she was still crying and screaming all the way to the car, the office for her pictures and our hotel. She didn't stop once.


Once we got to the room, Lee ran to get us dinner and Madeline and I stayed behind. She seemed to be calm in down and even fell asleep on me. By the time Lee got back, we were doing pretty good! She even seemed to want to go in her stroller and go outside


So out we went! I thought it would be good for Lee to hold her hand while she was in the stroller to help with bonding. Oops. From that moment on, she clung to Lee. If I came near her, it was a repeat of that afternoon at the Civil affairs office.

The next morning( Our first full day with her) we took her down to breakfast.I saw that she was attaching to Lee, but looked at me with hesitation. If I tried to touch her when she was with Lee, she would cling to him, call him Mama and cry. I didn't know what really to do as I didn't want to cause her anymore pain. I decided to become the caretaker. I bathed her, I fed her, I dressed her, I changed her diaper. Pretty soon, she really warmed up to me. She would talk, laugh, giggle, everything!:) But I was not allowed to hold her, only Lee was. Especially when we left the room, she would get really upset if Lee didn't hold her hand and if I came near her.

It also didn't help that our guide seemed to be very attached to her. I don't want to come across harsh, but I got extremely upset at her on several occasions. Madeline would cling to anyone, even strangers, if they were Chinese women. She was comfortable with them, they were familiar to her. I appreciate her love for the children, and I don't want to diminish that at all. But I think she does need some training  on what is appropriate and in-approriate to do. Madeline only cried in my arms, and since we didn't want her anymore upset than she already was, we would let her stay in Lee's arms. She was comfortable there, and I was in no rush to force her to bond with me and cause her any more distress. But pretty soon our guide insisted on holding her,hugging her, kissing her, carrying her, feeding her candys etc.... Pretty much allowing Madeline to attach to her as the woman in her life instead of me. At first I had to check my feelings, was I being reasonable? Was my irritation founded or just that of a hurt mom seeing her child bond to another woman. But when we were walking into the police station and Madeline was okay with me for a second and she whisked her in her arms and carried her off( even after Lee asked for her back and she said no she had her) I got angry. I canceled all but one of our remaining journeys with her and I am so glad I did. The two days we spent sans guide Madeline and I have made huge strides in our bonding:) I think me caring for her solely( Feeding, dressing, bathing) really helped.

Now flash forward ( I don't really want to relive those painful first few days anymore, so I'm skipping a TON...) and she is doing so well. She calls me momma, laughs ALOT, we sing ( she has the most beautiful little voice!) we tickle, we run and play. She hugs me, kisses me, laughs and cuddles. I can even hold her outside:) She still, at times, will want Lee, but it takes her just a few seconds to resolve that I'm what she will have and then she is okay!:) Last night, she wanted my hand while she was in the stroller!! It hurt my back leaning and walking like that, I stubbed my toe, I bumped probably more people than I want to think about, but I was happy. No aching back was going to stop me from loving that moment:)

I truly believe the last few days have been because of our loving friends and family. Your prayers have truly come to fruition. I'm in awe at God's work here, again, in this adoption. Everytime I think things look bleak, I am reminded to keep my heart in his hands and to give him all, good and bad. His love is truly felt here in China by Lee and I.

Friday, November 30, 2012

3 months...

We have had our little Madeline for 3 months:) It's hard to remeber a time without her! I wish I could say it was an easy and smooth transistion for all of us...

I didn't get around to blogging because these last 3 months have been soley focused on Madeline adapting to her new environment ( and Lee and I adapting to being parents).

So, I figured I would start with a little history over the last three months! :-)

We LOVED China. Well, we didn't when we were there. It was dirty, it smelled funny, and the people weren't as friendly as we are used to. But after our intial culture shock, we grew to love everything about China. We are so longing to go back ( and hopefully for a particular little girl who has been waiting for a family for over a year) :-)  But more on that later...:)

Here are some pictures of our journey to Beijing! It was a frantic last minute dash, we were by no means prepared which is odd for Lee and I given we are both fanatic planners:-)

 A dear high school friend of mine was at the airport too! She was on her way to take a trip to Idaho to visit some friends and came over to see us for just a moment. I can't tell you how much my heart was warmed. I love this girl!

Me as my mom came into the door. You can't see it, but I was in TEARS. I hadn't scrubbed the toilets, I hadn't put on my makeup, we still had to stop by Kinkos to make copys of some paperwork, the car seat wasn't in the car yet ( nor was the car detailed). She cheered me right up though! She took this picture with a camera she bought for us. She buys them as a gift for all her daughters when they are welcoming their first child! It meant so much to me that she did it for us too :-)
 My mom and I as Lee drives us to the airport. I could hardly contain my nerves! I wish I could say I was happy and so excited, but at this point, I just needed sleep and something for the anxiety I was going through.
 This is Lee...sleeping on the plane. I was so jealous. I was up the entire flight. Darn those nerves!
 Once we arrived at our hotel, Lee got a message from his friend who was also in Beijing visiting his parents:) The guys went out for a drink while I went to the room to try to get a few hours of sleep. The next morning ( well, actually that morning, since it was 1 Am by the time we got to our room) we had a full day of tours!
More pictures to come as I want to remember everything before anymore of this journey escapes me!:)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I can't believe it

I am sitting here at work, one week away from Take off, and I still can't wrap my mind around what is about to happen.:-)!

It feels like the next week is going to drag on and on, but I can say in 10 days I hold our daughter for the first time..Wow:)

We will be blogging while in China ( even though I have really neglected it lately...thanks FB:-). I think I remember how to post a link to my blog on my FB wall...? Oh well, I'm sure I"ll figure it out:-)

Picture from our Skype session earlier this year:-)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

TA, CA and Tickets!

This has been a crazy blessed week:-)!!!

We received our TA on Tuesday...

Our CA confirmed Wednesday...

and our tickets bought TODAY!! :-)

Gotcha day is scheduled for the 12th!!! :-)

Now comes the task of trying to pack our stuff into small carry ons since donations ate alot of our suitcase room:-)!!!

Two weeks from today, we will be heading to the airport, ready to embark on the journey of a lifetime! :-)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's been awhile...

It's been awhile since I have participated in the Blog world. I can't wait to get caught up on all my favorite blogs :-)

It's been a hectic 5-6 weeks. Madeline should be coming home next month ( our A5 should have picked up this last Friday). I had my toddler shower ( I'll post pics later:-) and we  have her bedroom and bathroom all done! We have clothes, toys and lots of love waiting for her.:)

But, even in this time of celebration, we have suffered a devastating loss. Amanda De Lange. A woman whom touched so many lives.

She is the Founder/Director of Starfish foster home (where our daughter resides). Earlier this year she was found to have cancer. She fought, and she fought hard, but in the end the Lord wanted her home. She passed away last weekend...Saturday morning in Tennessee( she came from China to receive her treatments).

 Only just a few short months ago there was a Starfish family reunion. Since Amanda was in the States for treatment, families whom had adopted children from this Foster home came from all over to celebrate. I mentioned in a Face book comment that I wish we could have joined, but our little Star fishy wasn't home yet. Amanda  told us we should still come, that she considered us apart of this family.

We didn't go.

We never got to thank her for saving our Daughters life ( In person, we had exchanged several emails since last September).

I never got to give her that hug and to say Thank you, face to face.

I never got to meet her, in person, the woman who saved our daughter.
And that hurts.

What hurts worse is we could have financially pulled it off. It would have been tight, but it could have been done. But, we talked it over and decided that there would probably be another reunion next year...we would go to that one. We were sure Amanda would be around still...and we were wrong.

Amanda, you will always have such a big place in our Hearts. I have saved each and every email exchanged between us for Madeline in her baby book. I will be sure to raise her to know the Lord, to serve others before herself, and to love...unconditionally.

Amanda's last words to her Starfish Babies:  "To the babies of Starfish, I want you to know that I have given it my best effort, my all. My life has been to care for and love you. Wherever you go in your lives IO wish you the very best. May you always be drawn to those in need and may you never forget that at a very critical time in your life there was someone there at the door to welcome you into the house. Be the change you want to see in the world." Amanda De Lange 1961-2012

Friday, June 1, 2012


Between facebook and a great group of ladies on our DTC Winter group, I keep forgetting to update my blog! :-)

We received LOA last week Monday, and are currently awaiting our I800 approval!!! :-)

I'll have to post some new pictures of Madeline that we received. I just can't believe it, within just 8-10 weeks we will be on that plane!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waiting and Waiting

We are still waiting on our LOA from China. The Letter of Authorization is a big step, and once received we travel in 9-12 weeks. The wait is painful only because there is no pattern to it.

Some people wait 30 days (rare..but happens)

Some people wait 120 plus days (sadly, this isn't as rare as one would hope)

And we are on day 57...Yep. Only 57.

Tick ...Tock... Tick... Tock...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter (Be-lated:-)

Next year we can't wait to celebrate the rising of our Savior with the worlds cutest little bunny:)
**Thank you to all the volunteers at Starfish that have showered us with photos:-) **

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Secret Pal and Reality

I am part of an amazing Facebook group for parents on the same time line as Lee and I. One of the Mom's proposed an idea where we all put our name in and each gets assigned a secret pal. I have one that I mail things too and I have one that surprises me!:-)

I got an adorable little security tab blankey that's already packed in her luggage to go, a congratulations card when we were DTC and most recently, an item that made me cry like a baby!

A book ( I've read about 3 times through now LOL)

and a cute toothbrush and paste. Yep, I lost it when I saw that toothbrush and toothpaste. Full on sobbing mess pulling into my garage :-)

The reality hit me...little things like this. I am going to be a Mom...I'm going to be buying things like toothbrushes, toothpaste and all the other ends and outs of mommy-hood!

I ran straight upstairs and put it in Madeline's soon to be bathroom...yes, still sobbing:)

I don't think my secret pal knew the effect it would have on me :-) Just a few short months and she will be home...and I'll be making sure she brushes her teeth before tucking her in at night:-)

And BTW: Secret Pal, I don't know if you read my blog, BUT THANK YOU :-)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Boys Boys Boys!!:-)

My family needs cute twirly dresses and pretty hairbows doesn't it?:-)

Our Madeline will be the first girl for our family:) These are my three sisters and their husbands children...I can't
wait to see Madeline in the group:)

Left to right:
Riley (Laura and Bens son)
Gavin(Katie and Ben S.'s son)
Liam( Katie and Ben S.'s son)
Logan (Janeen and David's son)
Wyatt (Laura and Bens son)

Soon we will have to reserve a room just to go out to dinner as a family:-)

Saturday, March 10, 2012


How did I get to be so blessed!??

Today is my 31st birthday and a volunteer(who I now
Call friend:-) at my Daughters foster home heard it was my birthday and sent this!!

I feel so incredibly blessed!:-)

Friday, March 9, 2012

We met Madeline!

                                        I've been waiting to write this blog post for awhile...

But I just haven't been able to bring my head out of the clouds!!

We had the WONDERFUL & AMAZING opportunity to meet our daughter Via Skype!

To summarize,a friend of a friend saw me on Facebook and recognized Madeline as one of the little girls at Starfish that she had met when she had volunteered there. She was there several months before we were matched with Madeline! Such a small world :)

We were able to connect with her and learn so much about our little girl:) Her daughter was planning on going back to Starfish in Feb. of this year to volunteer again. She promised to love on our girl for us:).

February had come and we received a few pictures. Every time I opened my email and saw RM's name I shrieked with joy. I knew what was going to be in that email...A new Picture!! Then one afternoon,along with a picture, she asked if we would like to Skype with her! She even mentioned that Madeline might be awake and we could see her! My heart was racing and I was almost in TEARS when I called Lee! I was excited to get to talk to RM over skype, as I wanted to thank her "in person" for the pictures, but the thought that I might see my daughter?!?!? I can't even begin to describe the emotions! :-)

It was 11 Pm  our time, but we were wide awake ( Thank you my dear Keurig...).

The sound wasn't working and when I tried to capture a picture on Skype, it would disconnect :(. But RM told us that she called us Momma and Babba quite a few times :)!!  We were on the call for about 20 minutes and got to watch her run and play:-)

I only have a few pictures of our first meeting:) I grabbed my phone and took a picture of the computer screen a few times, but it is forever engraved in my heart:)

I saved my favorite photo for last. It was the first time she actually saw us. She looked at us and gave us a HUGE SMILE as if she recognized us:) It still brings tears to my eyes!

We are so so so lucky to have been given the blessing to be her Mom and Dad:)

Now, Please LOA, Hurry up!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

Chinese New Year!

Okay, I am  Super a bit late posting this. But the truth is since we are waiting on LID and LOA I have nothing fun to post about :-)

Lee and I decided to go to the Seattle Chinese New Year celebration! We wanted to get a taste of Madeline's culture ( well, as good as you can in Seattle, Washington).

 BOY.OH.BOY it was CROWDED. As in, people are pushing and shoving. If you have a personal bubble I would recommend watching from the side lines:)

***Please forgive the quality of pictures...I don't own a camera anymore, only the one on my phone:-) ***

We really loved the decorations everywhere. I didn't capture them all, but lots of lanterns and dragons!

The Dragon Parade!

The childrens Costume contest ( My personal favorite part...SO CUTE!)

And I didn't get pictures of this much, but they had alot of sword fights, kung fu etc...This little boy was DARLING!! He literally had the crowd wrapped around his little finger!

And, My first experience with Dim Sum! I was so confused. They came with a cart, and I was waiting for a menu. Then they started lifting lids off things and asking me what I wanted.  I just kept nodding yes to everything they said until our table was too full. It was our first experience as our usual exposure to Chinese food is Panda Express :-) This one that is cut in half that I'm showing was SO SO GOOD. It was a bit greasy, but it was fried, doughy, had a sweet but meaty taste? Not sure what it was, but I've been craving it since!

And, I noticed something. Lettuce. Yep, that's right. Lettuce. Hanging in front of doors?!?!?!? Lee and I probably looked so goofy standing there scratching our heads:)

It was a great experience. We can't wait to take Madeline next year!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I'm trying not to look at the calendar and calculate just how far we may be from LOA. Especially since it FEELS like we were DTC months ago...but then I was only last Friday. Patience has never been my best quality:) So, in the mean time, we have been getting alot of questions that I thought instead of bombarding my facebook, I would answer them here:)!!

Q: When do you travel?

A:Oh I so wish we knew when:). Right now, we are waiting for LOA and it's a very unpredictable process. We receive LOA 30 days to 120 days. And from there, well I just don't know yet:)

Q: Are you both going to China

 A: At this point, No :( We had a major unexpected event happen last month that pretty much ate my ticket costs. I'm doing well on the items I'm making so who knows, maybe I'll sell enough that I will get to go. Either way, she's coming home:) ( I'm even trying to see if I can get into a Saturday market...still trying to figure it all out:-)

Q: What is Madelines Heart Condition? Is she expected to have a normal lifespan?

A: Define normal. There's no guarantee to ANYONE's lifespan. We are all here as long as God wants us to be. She could live 1 year, she could live 100...As to her heart condition, it is severe, but her day to day life will not be too far off any other childs.

Q: Are you keeping her Chinese name?

A: Sort of. We are making it her middle name:)

There are a few bigger questions that have been asked, like Why China... why are you adopting etc... but those are much longer answers. I've written and re-written the answers a million times. But the simple truth is, Madeline is in China. So, to China we go. We felt drawn, and called, to adopt from China.

As to why we are adopting, we decided years ago that instead of spending the money on treatments to have a biological child, why not take that money and adopt a child that was waiting for a Mom and Dad? And how OH.SO.VERY happy we are we made that decision! Many people have said Madeline is so lucky...the truth is, Lee and I are so lucky to be getting her! God chose us to be her forever parents and it's such an honor the He is trusting us with such a special gift. Lee and I are the lucky ones:)

Here are some pictures from Lee's friend and co-worker Hsun Ming. Hsun Ming went to China last month to visit his parents, and then went to Xian to visit a friend. He took some medical supplies from us to Starfish and got to meet our daughter. She had a high fever and wasn't in the best of spirits, but all I wanted to do was hop on a plane and cuddle that sweet baby until she felt better!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


There seems to be an endless road of obstacles. Once we conquer one, another presents itself. It should have been pretty easy. We met the requirments, no arrest's, stable ( or was at the time of our homestudy...but that's another hic-cup)'s just this darn authentication paperwork. We have had our I797 now for over a month! But, today we got the call from Caring Hands that the paperwork is done and she is sending it to us today via Fed ex! I'm hoping this means we will should be dossier to China next Friday. So much relief that this process is almost done. I didn't think authenticating would present this many challenges:) Next will come the LOA wait. Here's praying this goes fast! :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


We received all our documents back from the Chinese Embassy right after Christmas. They didn't Authenticate them because we didn't send in photocopies. Okay, we can deal with that. We made the copies and sent it off again. This time, desperatly hoping for them to come soon enough that we could be dossier to China by Chinese New Year. But just a few days ago, that little big envelope came back, with all our documents, again declined. But this time they put a note saying we are to seperate everything and send it in individually? Huh? The biggest rule of paperwork is not to remove the staple! I emailed a copy of it to our agency, and still awaiting their reply. So our dreams of being DTC before Chinese New Year was just that, a dream. We both know the Lord has everything in His timing, and we have learned many times again that His will/timing is always perfect. But it still hurt just a bit opening that envelope and seeing the documents returned again. In the mean time I am starting on Madelines 100 good wishes quilt. And, we are almost done with her room ( I'll post pics soon!) That should keep my mind occupied since I can't sew to save my life:)