Monday, January 30, 2006

Guang Hai Fat Choi...

..Hmm well at least I think that's how you spell it!! We went to a Chinese New Year celebration on Saturday night put on by the local Families with Children from China group. Oh how fun it is to walk in and see a ton of little Chinese girls running around!! I never knew there were so many in our area- I would say there were close to 50 little girls from China and their families there. When we first arrived, Emma was a bit guarded and not sure what was going on. I held her as my mom was talking to some friends and I could see she was watching all of the little girls running around, not sure what to think of them. But after a bit, she was her usual self and was happy to be playing around with all the girls!! The food was fabulous (best Chinese food I've had in a long time!) and I noticed how almost all the little girls slurped their noodles the same way Emma does!! =)

There were quite a few older girls (around age 7 or 8) there and of course, the beautiful new babies!! Emma was 18 months old when we got her and not much of a baby, so I love watching the little babies from China. It makes me wish we could have gotten Emma as a baby!! I wish we could get a "baby" but.. I don't think our family has the patience for a little one. (Gues I got to look forward to adopting my own babies when I'm older!!)

We had a wonderful time with all the families and it was neat to be able to share our journey and experience with others who have witnessed the same thing! We met up with some friends who just turned in their dossier to their agency and are waiting for a referral!! They remind me so much of us when we were waiting!! (Hi Don & Be!)

Anyways, enjoy the cute pics!! Happy Chinese New Year!!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Brown Envelope!!!

We rec'd our brown envelope from the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou yesterday!! It was great to see that wonderful BROWN envelope sitting on the table!

Still waiting for TA! At this point, I don't expect it to come until close to Valentine's Day. Our agency rec'd referrals and TA's for their NSN families, but no TA's for us. It's unlikely the CCAA will send them before they go on break for Chinese New Year on the 28th. Then they will be closed until the 4th of February. Give them about a week to get everything approved and printed and maybe we'll get it around a week later. And then I PRAY we get a Consulate Appointment VERY soon after that.. and leave sometime by the end of February. But these are just guestimates.

Here's Emma waiting on her "I I." ("I, I- sounds like "eye eye" is what Emma calls Esther. No idea where she came up with that name.. but it's stuck!)

On Day 51 of TA wait!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Why the name Esther?

(Well, since we're 6 weeks into the wait for TA and there is nothing else to say-except that we're still waiting- I thought I'd try to post something interesting.)

Why did we choose the name Esther?

Well, first off, it wasn't on the top of my list. Earlier this year when we had decided to pursue her adoption, it was right after we had found out we couldn't adopt a little girl we had fallen in love with and were searching for. We had met this little girl when we were in China and she was absolutely beautiful. She was the inspiration for us adopting a special needs child from China. The foster home she lived in called her "Esther." When we found out we couldn't adopt her, we were devastated, but happy she would have a family. Things may not always work out the way you think they will. I just KNEW we would adopt this little girl (Esther #1 as I called her) and when we couldn't.. it threw me for a loop. But.. things may not work out, because there is a reason behind it. Obviousley, God had intended for this little girl to have her own family, because our Esther was meant for us.

When we found our Esther, she was nicknamed "Brittany" by our adoption agency. We weren't too crazy about that name, and it didn't really fit with our names. (It kinda rhymes-Sera, Elena, Kayla, Emma, etc) When we were waiting to see if we would be approved by China, my mom told me she wanted to name her Esther. I was thinking no way! Number 1, I was still getting over the fact we couldn't adopt Esther #1. Number 2, it would be too confusing for her to be named Esther, after the little girl we wanted to adopt and couldn't. Number 3, it didn't really work well with our names. I wanted to call her Eden, as it kinda went with Emma and Ian. (Mom wasn't too crazy about that one!) But, she is the MOTHER and was the one to make the executive decision. So Esther it was.

Mom chose the middle name "Joy" for her, since it goes with "Grace" (Emma's middle name) and she would be a joy to us. I did like Joy and thought it was very appropriate for her. I still wasn't crazy about the name and told Mom I would call her Joy.. or come up with some kind of nickname for her!

After we got our approval from the agency, we found out her Chinese Name. It is Shen, Xiao Tian. "Shen" is her last name and all of the children from this orphanage have this last name, after Shenzhen CWI. "Xiao Tian" meant "understanding the sky." When I saw this.. the red threads were swirling!! Emma's Chinese Name, "Xi Yun Na" means "slender and graceful CLOUD", which goes with sky! Also, it jumped out at me that Esther #1 had "Shen" and "Tian" in her Chinese name too. I thought that was interesting.

But back in August while we were on vacation, I was browsing through some shop's in Pennsylvania with my aunt, cousin and Emma. We noticed they had those little plaque's with names and their meanings, so we started looking through them. My aunt was looking for her boys' names, and I was looking for my siblings. I found Emma's, but didn't think I would find Esther's. At first I didn't. My aunt kept looking and actually found one for Esther. She handed it to me and as I read it, I couldn't believe what I was reading. It said, "Esther: meaning star." Star.. goes with sky! Another red thread!! I knew then that her name was definitely Esther, and I couldn't imagine her being any other name.

She is Esther, and everyone know's her by that. If she doesn't like her name, she can change it sometime in the future. The orphanage calls her by her chinese name "Tian" so we can call her that too. (Goes with IAN)

I used to think our Esther would feel sad at the fact she was named after Esther #1 and that we couldn't adopt her, but she won't because I think of our Esther being named after Esther #1 because she (Esther #1) was the one who inspired us to adopt a special needs child. (See.. it gets confusing after awhile!)

So that's how we chose Esther's name. And.. if ever there is a little brother added to the family (which I sure hope will happen) I have already been kicking around the name "Asher." Which ironically would be after a little boy that we met nicknamed Asher at the foster home in China. He was Esther #1's best friend. These two were the ones who inspired us to adopt. Little Asher is missing three fingers on one of his hands, but when I met him.. I did not even notice he was missing those fingers. He was the funniest, happiest little guy I've ever seen and wasn't bothered by the fact he was missing fingers. He got along fine without them. I just looked up the name Asher on one of those baby name meaning site's and it means: fortunate, blessed, lucky, happy. Hmmmmm.........

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Can you help make a difference in the life of an orphan?

Meet Benaiah-He will be a year old on my mom's birthday and as you can see he has a repaired cleft lip and palate. But as you can also see he has the most kissable cheeks and is absolutely adorable. He is the little boy we sponsor at Philip Hayden Foundation's Langfang Children's Village.

PHF is a foster home run by Christian missionary families. They take in abandoned and sick children from nearby overcrowded orphanage's and provide them with the surgeries and rehabilitation they need, and lots of love and nourishment. I have seen personally how they take in very sick orphans and just by providing love and stimulation, the kids grow to be strong and healthy.

In July 2004 we were sent an e-mail from PHF about a baby girl they had just received named Fayth. She was very sick with a severe heart defect, but has eyes that grab ahold of you and won't let you go. In August, I got to meet baby Fayth when we visited Langfang Children's village. When she first entered the room, she was dark blue and seemed very lathargic. But when she saw that she had visitors, she turned completely pink, perked right up and gave us the biggest smile I have ever seen. (She even started flirting with my dad!) She was beautiful and I really enjoyed being able to spend some time with her. They told us that they didn't expect Fayth to live very long. She would probably die because her heart defect was so severe and no surgeon would touch her. The only thing we could hope for was a miracle.

Well baby Fayth is still alive and doing well. She is weak, but she is a fighter. Recently, we were told that a surgeon has been found who can hopefully provide Fayth with the lifesaving heart surgery she needs. Her surgery will cost around $7500 and Langfang will have to raise all the money for her surgery. If you have a few extra dollar lying around or have some money to give, please consider donating for Fayth's surgery. You can donate by going here:
and click on "Our Current Needs." Then scroll down to Fayth's picture and click "Donate."

I don't make much money between babysitting and odd jobs here and there, but I am able to give a little bit that will help. I've found that just by cleaning out the change that collects everywhere, it all adds up. It may not be much (I counted about $9 in change) but a little bit here and a little bit there will all add up to the final goal. And that will lead to hopefully saving the life of a little girl in need of a miracle. =)

Sponsorship for the children at PHF is $35 a month, so about $1 a day. They have 55 children right now in need of sponsors, so please be sure to visit their website and consider sponsoring one of the children!! And spread the word!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Soon, is what they are telling us!

We are coming towards the home stretch of our wait for Travel Approval! Tomorrow marks 5 weeks since our Log in Date, and we are expecting another 4-5 week wait from here. Our agency, Lifeline Children's Services got Travel Approval for a family with an 11/7 LID yesterday! However, the CCAA takes off for awhile during Chinese New Year which starts on Jan 28th, and they will be back to work on Feb 5th. Our agency thinks we won't get TA til after CNY, so that puts us somewhere near Valentine's Day. But things can always change, so we'll see. I'm secretly hoping the CCAA will "work ahead" and send out our TA before CNY! I can hope, can't I?!

Also, Lifeline received their new special needs list! They have 15 waiting children from China, who are just adorable!! There are girls and boys ranging in age from around a year old-almost four and special needs from repaired cleft lip & palate- Hep B and several others that are quite manageable! For more information about the waiting children, please visit their website at:
Click on "Waiting Children from China." You will need to contact them for a password to view the list. Lifeline is a Christian adoption agency and are just wonderful! We have really enjoyed working with them. The waiting children are precious and I am in love with a little boy named "Max." He has a repaired cleft lip & palate, is a year old and is absolutely adorable!!!! He even looks like a little "Max." Now if only we could get another family size waiver, a time waiver and a reluctant parent's waiver, we'd be set and Ian would have a brother!!! =)

If you want information on little Max or are interested in the other waiting children, please e-mail me as I'd love to tell you about them!! =)

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I was bored...

So I created another movie, this time of Emma's Baptism Day. I've had the video clips on my computer for awhile, and some extra time, and it all came together quite nicely! I love making these little video's.

Enjoy! =)

Emma's Baptism Movie

Thursday, January 05, 2006

It's January 6, 2006

It's just after 9 am on January 6th in Shenzhen, China and a little girl is waking up. She probably doesn't know it, but today is her 3rd birthday. She's probably waking up to the same old routine she goes through each day. Wakes up, eat's breakfast, changes into some clothes and maybe plays with her friends. Does she know what a special day this is?

At the same time, somewhere in China is a mother who is also waking up. She's knows what day this is.. the day that three years ago brought the birth of her daughter. She probably gasped in horror as her child was born that day, looking at the face of her baby girl, born with a birth defect where her lip has not closed all the way. Faced with an uncertain future for this child, she does what countless other mothers have done, and leaves her baby girl near the side of a road, outside of a village.

Halfway around the world, I sit here typing this up, wondering many things. Wondering what Esther is doing right now, if her special day is being celebrated or if it's just forgotten. I also wonder about her birth mother and what she must be going through. The pain and aching of wondering what ever happened to the child you abandoned three years ago must be unbearable. As I think about these thoughts, I also know that we sit here as a family thinking of Esther on her special day and wishing we could be there to celebrate her. But I do know that God is watching over Esther and sending his angels to comfort her. Pretty soon, we will be there to hug and hold her and love her forever.

So Happy Birthday to my sweet sister on your special day. Birthday hugs & kisses are being sent your way! Know that God is watching over you and will be keeping you safe until we can come and get you! We plan on celebrating your birthday with us once you are home!

KISSES IN THE WIND (for Esther Joy Xiao Tian in China)

I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.
You are here each day with me, at least that's how it seems.

I know you wonder where we are... what's taking us so long.
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.

Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.
I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.

Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.
--- Unknown

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

ICE in the South

This past week we went to one of the local resort's and checked out a wonderful display called ICE. It's a bunch of beautiful ice sculptures, and amazing to see what people can carve with ice! It was quite chilly at 9 DEGREES! Something us Southerners, are not used to at all! We had parka's on, but our fingers were frozen and felt like they would fall off! The whole exhibit took about 30 minutes to get through, but it was really neat and a lot of fun. Here are some pictures we took:

I've decided to password protect our page, so please e-mail me if you would like the password. If I don't know you, I will ask you a few questions before I give out the password, just so I know *who* is looking at our pictures!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Starting off 2006...

One of the mothers of a Shenzhen daughter was in Shenzhen to visit the SWI this past week. We asked if she could possibly meet Esther, say hi and give her a hug for us. Well, she surprised us earlier this week with a bunch of pictures of Esther!! She was able to meet, hug and hold Esther and take pictures for us!! What a wonderful surprise!! Here is a little bit of the e-mail she sent: (BTW- Esther's Chinese Name is Tian)

"...I was allowed to see hug and hold Tian. She was very bemused by what was going on, but liked my kids. She is able to say hello, goodbye and thanks in English but what she really wanted was to be held. She
held my children very tightly, and she let me hold her hand.
She is a joy.

Joy to you"

Oh my heart!! How precious is that?! How appropriate too, since her middle name will be 'Joy.'

Today we got a few more pictures. I didn't ask permission to post her daughter's pictures, so I cropped her girls out.

The woman in pink is Esther's care taker

Oooh boy! Look at that face! The other half of the picture is (I'm assuming) the woman's husband, and he is shaking her hand. She doesn't look too impressed! I wonder if she'll do this to Dad!

I noticed that she looks much older in these recent pictures (take on 12/27) than the ones we got last week. So I'm assuming the ones we got from our adoption agency were actually taken in October or November, when her care package was delivered. I'm so glad to see they didn't cut her hair though!! Yaye!! I think they are using some of the hair twistee's we sent in the care package to do her hair! Geez I can't wait to kiss those sweet cheeks!! =)

Well, 2006 is FINALLY here and boy I can't wait for what's in store. Not looking forward to school starting back next week-I'm really enjoying this winter beak! But I know it's necessary because it means we're that much closer to China!! And then, who know's what we'll be up to this year? I know it will be a WONDERFUL year though!! Lookin' forward to all that's in store!



Wow, I'm so glad Donna let me know that her comments weren't showing up!! I just realized I have to approve all of the comments, and I hadn't been doing that because I wasn't told I had any comments! Geez! So now I know to approve comments! But I just wanted to say thank you to those of you who have left comments on my blog! They keep me going through this oh-so-long wait! I really appreciate it, and am so glad to see that people read my blog! For awhile, I was wondering if anyone ever read it!! =) So now I have some more blogs to check out!!!


Jie Jie to Emma Grace YunNa
b) 2/14/03 a) 8/24/04 from Beijing CWI, China
and Waiting for Esther Joy Xiao Tian
b) 1/6/03 a) 3?/??/06 from Shenzhen CWI, Guangdong, China