Monday, March 31, 2008


For those of you familiar with the adoption terminology, enough said!!

For those of you who may not be , that means I received my travel approval (TA) today! That's it as far as China is concerned. They have said "Come get your child!". All that's left is to find out my consulate appointment date (with the U.S. consulate in China). That has to do with getting Sadie's immigration paperwork and visa done so she can come to the United States with me. The moment she steps off the plane in the U.S., she will be an American citizen. I should know my consulate appointment date in the next day or two. Then, I will begin making plane reservations! whoo hoo! Right now, it looks like we may be leaving towards the end of April.
Check back in the next few days for updates! I might even know something tomorrow! :-)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I'm hoping that that this:

will bring a smile to the face of this little one:

I mailed Sadie's care package this week. Hannah and I had so much fun picking things out to send. Of course, Hannah's big contribution was the musical "magic wand" toy. I'm sure the orphanage will love that! ha! I'm praying that Sadie gets the package soon and will feel an inkling of the love we have for her and how much we want her in our family!

Friday, March 21, 2008


I know my last few posts haven't had pictures. Oh well - I guess I had a lot to say. Here's some pictures though of the last week. Happy Easter!

Enjoying the beautiful weather in the backyard

Spiderman Punching Bag: Hannah's proud purchase with the $5 papa gave her last weekend

Zoo: Hannah is trying to make a "mean tiger face". We also rode the camels (new at the zoo this year!) but unfortunately didn't get a picture.

Making cupcakes for Nana's birthday

Happy Birthday Nana!

Day of surgery: in pre-op

Day of surgery: post-op

Day after surgery: playing at home

Thursday, March 20, 2008


We're home. Hannah did GREAT. She is napping now (where I'm heading too in a minute) but has been playing, coloring, etc. She slept all night (never even woke up when the nurses came in to check vital signs), has not been in much pain at all, and has handled it all well. Of course, she did take one look at the anesthesiologist who came in pre-surgery with her gown and mask and calmly announced "I don't like you". She told Dr. Grant the same thing (who she loves when he's not in his surgical gear!)

I have some pictures from the past week I'll post soon. But right now, my own bed is calling to me! Oh, but I do have to tell Laine - YES, Dr. Grant was absolutely right - this one is SO much easier than the palate surgery! Hannah has been eating whatever she wants (grilled cheese last night, sausage and eggs this morning, etc.), and has not had any prescription pain medicine. She took ibuprofen right after the surgery and tylenol before bed last night. She had nothing else through the night and has not had anything today and she's doing great! And, the biggest difference - she slept all night long! :-) Oh, and Mandy was our nurse in the OR. I didn't actually meet her, but when she called from the OR to give reports and said "this is Mandy" I figured it was the same one who helped Quan.

Speaking of Mandy, she said that when Hannah was going to sleep in the OR, she was telling her that she had a sister in China named Sadie.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Kairos: God's Special Time AND upcoming surgery

Wow! What can I say? The word "Kairos" is greek and means God's special time. And once again, our Kairos weekend at the prison was exactly that. It was an amazing weekend that can't quite be put into words. Thank you for your prayers, and cookies, and donations, and letters. The response I received was incredible. I even had people I didn't know even read the blog coming up to me with checks and cookies! Please know that your gifts and prayers truly made a difference. I know they made a difference for the 36 women God sent us for the retreat. My prayer and hope is that long term it makes a difference for the other hundreds of women there who didn't have the opportunity to participate. It's kind of cool that on Thursday afternoon we ask the women why they wanted to come to Kairos. We got some of the standard answers "I heard about the food", "People said I had to experience it" and the one they thought we wanted to hear "I want to be closer to God". But my favorite answer was the people who said things like "My friend came to Kairos last time and I wanted the change of heart she got". That's one of our goals, that the women we meet with with become positive leaders in the prison. Another goal of our ministry is that the women will form Christian community inside the prison. It was neat to watch the dynamics unfol where on Thursday and Friday, they looked to us, the team from outside the prison, for everything. And then by Saturday, they started looking towards one another, comforting one another when someone cried, encouraging one another, etc. I'd appreciate your prayers for the women still. They returned yesterday to their regular environment of life in classes, work, on the yard, in the dining hall, etc. And while I don't know exactly what they face and can't completely understand, I've been in there long enough to know it's a harsh environment they return to. Trust is someting not given easily by any of us, but it's almost unheard of in that type of enviornment. We spent all weekend encouraging them to trust God, but also to be vulnerable enough to trust one another and form community. They left with the resolve to try..but I know it's being put to the test BIG TIME this week. But I also know it's not an impossible task...with God's grace, Christian community inside the prison can happen. I've seen it happen.

As far as Hannah, she did great with my parents this weekend. She had a great time playing, shopping, building a bird house, flying a kite, and more. She slept well and only cried when she woke up from her nap in the car as my mom was bringing her home. She was happy to go to grandma's house and happy to come home. What more can I ask?

So, now we switch gears and prepare for surgery Wed. We appreciate your prayers. Hannah has a cold now, so I'm praying that does not affect the surgery. I'm going to have to call her surgeon tomorrow and update him on her. We will be in the hospital 1 night.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Quick Update - Hannah

We went for our cleft clinic appointment Thursday. This was also Hannah's pre-op appointment. It went well and was uneventful. Hannah got a good report from speech, ENT, and audiology. Her tubes are clear and look great. Her hearing tested normal for the 3rd time in a row (our 1st two visits showed some very mild loss at some frequencies - thought to be fluid). Because it was her 3rd normal test, she doesn't have to have her hearing tested at the next visit as long as her tympanogram is normal (which measures fluid). The visit with Dr. Grant was good. He will be doing a revision of her lip / nose surgery that was done in China on Wednesday, the 19th. We will stay one night in the hospital. Sometime in the first couple weeks after the surgery, he'll want to see her for a post-op visit, but then, I *think* we may get to go a whole year before we go back to the cleft clinic. Don't get me wrong - we love the people there and are thankful to have them, but well..the visits are quite long. :-) I'm very thankful particularly that her speech is coming along so well (of course, I'm sure it's because she practices talking..umm. ALL THE TIME!! ha!). But, I'm also thankful her tubes are in and look good. It's been 18 months since they were placed and I'm a little suprised they haven't had to be replaced yet (but glad!)

Meanwhile, Hannah's getting ready for a 3 night stay with Grandma and Grandpa at the end of this week while I go to prison (see 2 previous posts before you get to concerned about this comment!) If you committed to being on our prayer chain for the prison ministry weekend, please pray for us March 13 - 15 (and if you didn't - well, you can still pray.) And please pray for Hannah while she's at my parents. oh, well, actually, you may want to pray for my parents too - they may not realize how much *energy* is coming their way.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Yep - it's here. I have my LOA! (Letter of Acceptance). This is not the final step..but it's getting close. I'm heading to lifeline to sign my LOA tomorrow after school. It will be sent back to China and I'll wait 2-4 weeks for a Travel Approval (TA). At that point, my agency will make me a consulate appointment and then I can begin making travel plans! Yep - I could be going mid-end April possibly! Wow!

Karla called yesterday while I was in target..and I think I was in shock. I just *knew* she was calling to tell me I had my Pre-approval. Or, actually I was hoping that's why she was calling. No - I'm not getting a PA. China skipped right over that step for me and sent my LOA instead. Almost exactly two months from the time my LOI (letter of intent to adopt Sadie) went to China. That's FAST!

So, what did I do in response to the news? I shopped of course! ha! I forgot all about what I had originally come to target to get and instead walked around looking for fun things to put in Sadie's care package I get to send soon. Fun!

So, it's going to be an incredibly crazy few weeks! I'm working like crazy this week to finish a part of my National Boards project by Friday's deadline..then next week I'm heading to prison (see post below), then the following week is spring break and Hannah's having her next surgery (more on that later) and I'm also hoping to finish the rest of my school project about my national boards that week and get it in the mail. AND THEN, things will settle down a little. well, not really, but I'll be busy getting ready to go to China and getting ready for Sadie, which is way more fun than some of the stuff I've got to get finished now. :-)

Getting this news is truly a big praise!! It means several things. Most important - I can go before too long to pick up Sadie!! But also, we can travel at the end of the school year and I won't have to go back this year and I'll have the whole summer off with Sadie. (worked out that way with Hannah too - God's good with the details!). I may also get to go early enough that when we come back, I can send Hannah back to school for a couple weeks and get to have a little one on one time with Sadie. And, I get to travel before airline prices skyrocket for the olympics. AND, I get to travel and get home before my current fingerprints expire on June 6. Which isn't a huge deal - but it's one less thing to have to manage.

Prayer requests...

Pray for my travel approval to come timely

Pray for God to prepare all three of our hearts to be a family

Pray for transitions

Pray for my craziness in the next few weeks!

Pray for finances..we're getting closer but not there yet. I basically think I have enough to cover the rest of my agency fees and china fees, although I won't know exact amounts for a little while yet. I do not have the finances for travel at this point. But, I'm not really worried. God came through BIG time last time and remember - He's said He's going to do it again!

Pray for Hannah's upcoming surgery..I'll post more on that probably next week

Pray for my time in prison (see previous post!)

It's time for me to buckle my seatbelt and get ready for the amazing adventure God has planned! Can't wait! I can't wait to hold Sadie and get to know her. I have a little competition though. I've already had to have the conversation with Hannah that even though she gets to be the big sister, *I* still get to be the mommy to both of them. Hannah informed me last week that "I'm the big sister. Sadie's the little sister. We get Sadie and I be grown-up. I be in charge. I cook supper for Sadie". HA! We've got a little to work on in the next few weeks!