Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Me & Kristen

Simone & Mama

Once a princess, always a princess! My very dear friend came for the weekend from Florida with her boyfriend, who B-T-W is very cool. We had a great time with them and, well, it didn't take much to convince her to don a crown and be a princess. (I obviously didn't have to be coaxed much either). And Kristen reminded me of the crowns we all used to have at work, for when you just needed a "princess moment"...or maybe a "Queen B" moment. Isn't it amazing that you have these friends in life, you know the ones, you don't see each other for a very long time and when you get together it's just like old times, you haven't missed a beat and you just have a great time with them. Well, that's how it is with my girl Kristen. It was a fun and relaxing weekend, and Simone has absolutely fallen in love with both Kristen & Patrick. Below, to carry on the princess theme, is how Simone went to school on Friday...as Princess Leia, from Star Wars. She's never seen it, but we thought her hair looked awfully cute like that.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The life of a dog

Emmerson Van der Lukenhiemerschmidt (aka Emma) and Sir Oliver Bolliver (aka Ollie) have decided that "the life of a dog" is not all it's cracked up to be. You see, once upon a time it was their world, they had it all! And now, well now they consider themselves the "victims" in this whole thing. A bit dramatic, I know, I do, but that's how they feel. I mean, it used to be beach on Sunday for a little frisbee and digging, nightly walks to the park, sleeping in late without any interruptions and scrambled egg Saturdays. But it just hasn't been the same since "that creature", whom we call Simone, came home almost 4 years ago. And yes, they have put forth an effort to become sorta friends, but its been hard. Poor Ollie has to endure being dressed like a princess...not to mention he has to move over in the mornings when she comes in the bed to snuggle with his Mama & Dad. And Poor Emma, she has had all sorts of new rules imposed like -don't pop that ball, don't chew her barbies, stay away from her crackers, oh the list goes on... And to think, another little thing is coming home soon! They know, because the crib hasn't been taken down yet, and there's all this talk of "the baby" this and "the baby" that. Plus, there is an air of tension followed by moments elation floating around, that always means trouble...Ugh! What will this one be like? Perhaps this one will be a little messier at meal time, floor scraps are just as good as food in the bowl, sometime even better. Maybe this one will actually play when the chewed up, slimy toys are dropped on him- and the response won't be "Oh, gross". Hey, he may even enjoy hours of back yard frisbee and tromping through the woods, whoopee! The life of a dog is looking up...
Obviously I need something fun (or maybe dumb, it's all perspective) to take my mind off all things Taiwan adoption related for a bit.
Still waiting to go on the wait list... just heard that the home study will be sent to "the person in charge of putting you on the wait list" person today. Hopefully we'll hear before Thanksgiving that we are officially "waiting", especially since we have tons of family coming for turkey day and it would be totally cool to have a real whopper of an "I am Thankful for....".
On a good note, there have been a few referrals though our agency this past week, it's very exciting stuff! And some updates for those with referrals, very adorable little guys & girls! And some even got some hearings and there were two final rulings for families to travel in December! Yay! I love good baby news. But seriously, its MY turn next! J

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Finding joy

We have come to that time of year again, the Holiday Season is upon us! It's the time that we regroup and think of what we are thankful for, we take a look back at the year we've had and prepare ourselves for a new one. (Not to mention Santa comes soon, woohoo!)
Wow, do I have a lot to be thankful for. I think about it often, all I have- not monetary items- but things that can't be seen. Love, life, health, friendship, joy... I started to read an article in the waiting room at the doctor this week titled "7 ways to improve your life". I thought, cool- I can always use some improvement, bring it on! Well, I got as far as number 1 "find joy in everyday things". The dictionary says "joy: the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation". OK, got me thinking. I do have so much joy in my life, maybe taking a look at it more closely and more often is in order. I have my family, we are happy and goofy and we have fun together. I think of all the things we've done together as a family, from big things like going to China to become a family or moving to Tennessee together, to small things like making scrambled eggs on a Saturday morning or flying a kite at the park. And in adding to our family with our next little bundle, I am so thankful to have this opportunity once again (although the process is not exactly joyful, but the outcome sure will be). And there are so many other things that give me joy- time spent with my parents and extended family, the mountain views we have of the great Smokey's, the sunshine waking me in the morning (ya, I like to sleep till the sun rises!), each change of season, the pooches curled up with us on the couch at night, Sunday phone calls with my loved ones and each new step taken towards our next adoption. So in this month of giving thanks I realize we just have to take a few moments to "find the joy in everyday things" -big, small or in between, and we can find so many things to be thankful for, and maybe appreciate them even more...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Meet the neigh-bors

Yep, that's right...our neighbors are four-legged and live in a barn. We try to walk up to the barn a few times a week and they all come over, looking for a rub or some grass to eat. We had no idea when we first looked at the house that they were next door but we sure were happy to discover them. We've become fast friends with the horses (and their owners too) since.
Levi is the alpha horse, and he'll chase the other three away to get all the rubbing. Duke is a handsome guy and a real sweet horse. The other two are great too, Moe is black and has a great personality and Casey is a blond that just loves to get rubs. Simone really likes her horse pals and loves to give them grass and hay. She won't ride them though, she told the owner she prefers to ride camels...go figure!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Our Home Study is APPROVED!

Oh Ya!! Sing it with me, Our Home Study is Approved! La la la la!

Well, I'm pretty excited, this is really good news! This means as soon as JOH gets notarized copies of the home study from our S.W. here in Tenn we will be notified that we are on the WAIT LIST! (thanks to all my JOH buddies for assuring me that is in fact the next step!) I should have more of an idea of what the wait time for a referral may be once that happens. We're getting closer to baby #2! Yay and Yippee! And, not to elicit any Happy's here, but it is my birthday today so what a fantastic gift.

And on another note, my story reading to Simone's class went well, I think. I mean, there were no tomatoes thrown so I'd consider it a success. Simone asked me to read "The Three Names of Me" by Mary Cummings and I chose "My Family is Forever" by Nancy Carlson. She had a great big grin on the whole time I was reading. And she even thanked me later that night for reading to her class. What a girl! J

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My big-little girl

We put the crib up to take a picture for our photo pages for the adoption. Simone decided it made a nice "tent" and brought her pillow and a quilt in, and took a nap. She actually camped out there for two naps over Halloween weekend and two nights that week, eventually deciding that her room was actually comfier. It sure brought back memories of my baby Simone, though she was a bit smaller back then! They sure do grow up fast and become such interesting creatures. j


Monday, November 10, 2008

I've been inspired

Yep, by my friend Lisa and her beautiful post about adoption awareness on her blog.

November is "National Adoption Awareness" month. It's got me thinking of all that adoption has meant to me in my life, and how many people it touches daily. We go through so much to bring our babies home. We do it because we want a child, a family, and we have chosen adoption as the way to create that family. Adoption is not perfect, there is grief, often for the parents before they come to choose this, both birth parents and adoptive, and always for the child-for all they they have lost and choices beyond them that were made. In order to adopt you have to first go through whatever it is that brought you to this point, which often is painful and difficult. Adam and I realized we had to overcome the losses we had faced, that we needed to be wholly committed not only to each other, but to adoption and to raising a child that is not "flesh of our flesh". We also needed strong family support and acceptance. And, of course, there had to be a baby in need of a home, a family and love... One of my favorite song verses about adoption goes like this, "They are gifts to those who love them, by those who just could not. Acts of hope and faith and love, we never will forget." It reminds me of the amazing gifts we are given as adoptive parents, and also that it is our duty to raise our children to know how cherished and special they are to us, and to know their whole story. We are not just raising children, we are raising adopted children.

And every day I am grateful that I was chosen to be a mom, a mom to my dear daughter, and hopefully to her sibling soon. I remember the moment we got the call saying, "We have your referral. Gao, QingLu is your daughter". I cried tears of joy and awe (I still do). And the referral picture... bald as a bowling ball, but cute as can be! My heart ached at the distance we'd come, and the distance away she still was. And the moment she was placed in my arms I finally felt whole, this was God's plan, this was what I was meant to be all along, her mom. And I know that I have been given the most wonderful gifts ever in adoption, both by being adopted by my parents, and in being able to adopt my own. Adoption has changed my life, not once but twice - and soon three times. In this month of celebrating adoption I will try to pay-back the gifts adoption has brought to my life if I can, and I will strive to do more each year to raise the awareness that adoption is special, and it is forever. This year I'll start small, I'm going to read some adoption books at story time to Simone's class on Wednesday (wish me luck, 4 year olds can be a tough crowd). I'll consider it my practice run. Next year I'll try more, maybe to organize a reading at the local library, maybe to get an "adopt-a-......" changed to "sponsor-a-....", or maybe I'll feel pulled to some other awareness raising task.

For us adoption will always be a part of who we are, how we came to be a family and a reason to celebrate. What a truly amazing gift! J

Thursday, November 6, 2008

So I've got no creative juices flowing these days. Could be the weather, or the time change, or the election (they obviously forgot to count my vote there...) or it could even have something to do with the sneaky suspicion I have that these red itchy bumps mean I've developed poison ivy - oh yes, once again. But whatever it is I have nothing exciting to write, yet I still want to play on my blog. Soooooo, I loaded some random pics that I found interesting.

Below, the lovely Simone QingLu models her fabulous new scarf & hat ensemble.
And here is an obviously professional portrait of me, Adam and the pooches. Simone took this while we were on our nightly walk a few weeks ago during a warm spell we had. You can see we're not too sure where the camera is aiming, or if we are even in the picture. Emma is still looking for the yellow barn kitty...

Yep, geek that I am I took a picture of our finger printing location. Hey, it was a big day for us!
Here's a cute picture of the cousins on Adam's side with Simone. Goofy little imps- none are smiling, in fact they are all making faces. I think they had that planned!
This one is from the summer at my parents house. I call it "Simone in motion".
And speaking of the folks...here they are at their antique store located in the great NorthEast Kingdom. Can you tell she loves her grandparents!
And finally... Lions & Tigers & ... goats?? Oh my.
Have a great day! J

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Haunting!

Well, she finally decided on her costume...Gold Medal Olympic Gymnast!
She was thrilled because she got to wear lipstick & eyeshadow. Ooh la la, how fancy!

And below is the gang all dressed up! We had a great time at our friends house, the kids got tons of candy and really had lots of fun together. The adults had a blast too!

She was all posed out after a long night of Trick or Treating!

And here are the pumpkins she chose to paint instead of carve. Note the hair, it's grass she "glued on" using paint. Creative little thing! Maybe now that Halloween is over I can get to those pumpkin seeds, finally...
Hope you all had a spooktacular Halloween and your little ones got lots of treats!
Oh, and our finger printing went off without a hitch, and our revised home study was sent to JOH on Tuesday of last week. We hope to hear back on that this week sometime, so there are two more steps done! Check and Check. J