Monday, July 31, 2006

Leaving the Day after tomorrow

Leaving on a jet plane! Yahoooooo!!
Getting closer and closer to our Sophie and Sage.
Everything is arranged at home. Everyone is so wonderful and willing to help, it is very comforting to know all will go well while we're gone.
I'll miss the children in the primary, and the wonderful people I work with.
Three weeks seems like such a long time to be away, but I'm sure it will go by fast. Keep us in your prayers, especially the girls.

Our boys are just as thrilled as we are and have been packed for days. This is a great opportunity for them. I'm so glad my parents and boys get to share this trip with us (wish we could take Pauls mom and Uncle Mike).

Grandmas homemade quilts

My mom just finished these handmade quilts for the girls room. Wow! They are beautiful and look great in their room. Such vibrant colors and fun patterns, I'm sure Sophie and Sage will love them! Mom, I know all the time and care put into these quilts, time you didn't really have. These were made with love and they look great, we sure appreciate all you do! Ellie, thanks for your help on the ruffles and pillow shams, you're such a good seamstress, they are beautiful!
I sat in this room the other night for about 1/2 hour, dreaming and contemplating of it soon being filled with two precious sisters, our daughters. I still have to pinch myself, just can't wait!! I am so grateful and feel so blessed!

Friday, July 28, 2006

A note to Dianne...

I must admit, I thought you were nuts! When you first started talking about this 3 years ago, I didn't think you were serious. I thought this was just a passing thought that would not come up again. I dismissed it in my mind, knowing (I thought) that we had all the children we would ever have.

Over the next couple of years you would talk about adoption and I could see the longing in your heart for a daughter. So many times I wanted to just say "ok, let's do it" but I knew it would have just been to make you happy, and that wouldn't be fair to the child.

In your patient, loving way, you gave me all the space I needed. I know now that must have been tearing you up inside. But, God, in his infinite wisdom must have been preparing this all along. When you showed me the pictures and read the post on Sophie and Sage, something inside me started to soften up. I knew something was right about them, but didn't want to or couldn't admit it. The day you came out in the yard and told me that the agency was placing the twins tonight and that you wanted me to "pray fast" about them, I instantly had my answer... I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, these were our girls and I said, "if we submit papers on these twins, they're coming home... You know that don't you?" I was not surprised at all when Stefani called me that evening to talk. I was not surprised at all when the call came later that night, that they were placing the girls with our family. It was meant to be.

Now, in the evening of our wait, I am so thrilled to be blessed with these little girls. I can not stop thinking of them. I go to sleep thinking of them. I wake up thinking of them. Every break in the hustle and bustle of my day I think of them. And, I think of you... My wonderful wife. You are the most incredible person I have ever met. Patient, Loving, humble, peaceful, faithful, charitable; to me, you are an angel and I love you. These precious girls don't know how lucky they are to have you as their mother. You will bless their lives, as you have blessed mine.

Thank you for being patient and letting me come along at my own pace. Thanks for not pushing when it must have hurt you inside to wait. This is the right time, these are the right girls, and I am ready.

Thank you for being my wife.
With all my love,

Thanks to my husband

Yesterday, as I did the BIG transaction at the bank- $$$ for the adoption fees, BOIT, and traveling expenses, and seeing it all in one lump sum, I had to call my husband and full heartedly thank him for for his full support and sacrafice in this adoption. He works hard and takes good care of his family, and has put some things on hold that he has wanted, for this wonderful opportunity. Thank you, thank you, thank you Paul!!! It will all be worth it! I know it's not about the money, but I just have to tell you how grateful I am for all you do for us!
All my love, Di

Thursday, July 27, 2006

6 More Days!!

After all this waiting, now we are rushing making sure we have everything ready, and all the arrangements made while we're gone. So far, so good! We are so thankful for friends and family helping out and filling in while we're away. Don't know what we'd do without you!
We are overjoyed to be getting our girls soon!!!

Since I don't have new pics of our girls yet, and this blog needs pictures, this is what we've been up to in between packing...

Josh's Surprise B-day Party

We'll be gone on Josh's birthday, so we threw him a surprise b-day party yesterday. He had no idea, it was great!

Everyone who knows Josh just loves him, he's such a nice kid. My boys have wonderful friends and fun cousins!

Enjoying their diving classes this summer,
great way to beat the heat!

Josh doing a back dive

Trevor (8) jumping off second platform

Nick diving off second platform- ouch...

They're braver then I am.
All three boys took 2nd in the dive meet last Sat- Yae!

Trevor and Addy

I enjoyed watching my friends little girl the other night, isn't she a doll! It got me even more excited for my own girls. She adores Trevor, and Trevor thinks she is pretty cool. He'll be an awesome big brother. It's great that our girls will have good friends like Addy nearby, she's only a year younger then Sophie and Sage.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Our Itinerary!!

This is a trip of a lifetime and we are delighted to be able to experience so much of China, and get a taste of the culture and heritage of our girls birth place... Since they are 3, and we are there for an extra week, we have the opportunity to see and do many interesting things.

Wed Aug.02: Leave SLC-Los Angeles-Guangzhou-Beijing
Fri Aug.04: Family arrive in Beijing at 10:55 AM
Stay at the Chang'An Grand Hotel
Visit the Summer Palace, lunch
Sat Aug.05: Sightsee the Great Wall with lunch
Sun Aug.06: Forbidden City and Tian’an Men Square. Lunch.
Fly from Beijing to Guangzhou- arrive at 8:30 PM
Stay at the Shi Fu Holiday Inn (Beautiful 5 star Hotel)
Get some rest before we get our girls (as if I can sleep this night)
Mon Aug.07: Go to the Civil Affairs to meet Sophie and Sage, WOW!!!
and sign the adoption agreement.
Tues Aug.08: Go to the Civil Affairs for the adoption registration,
notarization in the morning. Bonding alone time with our girls...
Wed Aug.09: Free.
Thurs Aug.10: Visit the Six Banyan Temple and the Temple of Family Chen.
Fri Aug.11: Pick up the adoption certificate
and apply for the child’s passport.
Sat Aug.12: Sightsee the White Cloud Mountain.
Sun Aug.13: Visit the Zoo.
Mon Aug.14: Pearl River Cruise at night.
Tues Aug.15: Train ride to Hong Kong.
Wed Aug.16: Parents and our boys will leave Guangzhou for home,
we'll miss ya.
Thurs Aug.17: The guide help family for visa photo.
Fri Aug.18: Pick up passport
Sat Aug.19: Guangzhou Childrens Park
Sun Aug.20: Free.
Mon Aug.21: Go to U.S. Consulate for visa appointment.
Tues Aug.22: Pick up visa. Leave Guangzhou for home, layover in LA
(maybe we can hit the beach)
Wed Aug. 23: Arrive home at 12:32 PM

It looks close to perfect on paper, of course the most important part is getting our girls, so we will be flexible in all aspects of this trip and hope for the best but prepare for the unexpected. Their needs will be the upmost importance and we will adjust as needed.
Please continue to pray for us and especially them, as they leave everything they've ever known. We hope they got our packages with pictures and are prepared for our family that can't wait to hug them, love them, and care for them!! We feel all will go well!!
Now I better get packing...

Friday, July 21, 2006

Timeline to Sophie and Sage

8/22/05 Group 12 arrives, new children!! (Waiting Child List)
8/26/05 First chance to look at group. Busy, busy time...
8/28/05 Showed Kimi & Kyrie to Paul
(temporary names given by agency, cute huh)
8/30/05 Wrote agency about Kimi & Kyrie
(couldn't get them out of mind)
8/30/05 Yahoooo! Selected to be new family to Kimi & Kyrie!!!
On cloud 9!!!
9/19/05 Mailed registration to Children's House International
9/19/05 Mailed out LOI to agency
10/4/05 LOI on it's way to China!!
10/12/05 First Home Study Appointment with Anne
10/23/05 1st Online Adoption Class
"Let's Talk Adoption: A Lifetime of Family Conversations"
10/23/05 Ordered Certified Birth (6) & Marriage Certificates (2)
10/24/05 2nd Online Adoption Class
11/8/05 "With Eyes Wide Open: A Preparation Guide to International Adoption"
10/26/05 Second Home Study Appointment with Anne
11/3/05 PA!! Prior Approval from China. It's official!
11/9/05 Third Home Study Appointment with Anne
11/15/05 3rd Online Adoption Class
"Conspicuous Families; Race, Culture, and Adoption"
11/25/05 4th Online Adoption Class
"The Journey of Attachment"
11/30/05 Fourth Home Study Appointment with Anne
12/14/05 Applied for Passport (takes 6-7 weeks)
1/11/06 Submitted I-600 A form & got fingerprinted
02/11/06 Received I-171H form from CIS. Hooray!!
02/15/06 State of Utah, Notary Public (dropped off dossier)
02/16/06 Sent Birth certificates out to get certified
02/17/06 State of Utah, Dossier Certified!
02/27/16 Dossier sent to Department of State & Chinese Embassy
3/6/06 Sent rest of dossier & check to CHI
3/10/06 DTC Yahoooo!!! Received in Beijing on 3/13
3/22/06 LID
5/12/06 Received our "brown envelope" - paperwork for Consulate
7/18/06 TA~Yahoooo!! 6:38 got call, Phew, 119 days from LID
8/7/06 Gotcha Day (What a birthday for mom!!)
8/21/06 CA

LOI- Letter of Intent
PA- Pre-approval
DTC- Dossier to China
LID- Log in Date
TA- Travel Approval. Start making travel arrangements.
CA- Consulate Appointment (exactly 2 weeks after we get the girls)
GD- Gotcha Date!!! Yae! Day we get the girls.

It's been a lot of work and taken longer then expected, but I know it will all be worth it! Most things that we cherish and are worthwhile in life take sacrafice and hard work. We feel so blessed! Everything is falling into place now. We got the Consulate Appointment we wanted, earliest one available. We finalized our travel arrangements yesterday and I can't believe we leave in 10 days!! I'll share our itinerary when I hear back from BOIT.
Now to start packing, we are all counting down. (Trevor made a paper chain and hung it in his room to count down until we go :))

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Celebrating... Yahoo!!

We celebrated last night at this great Chinese Restaurant, it was perfect for the occasion. Thanks hon, great dinner, so thoughtful of you! After, we picked up our boys and went shopping. They each chose a gift for their new sisters, their choice. Nick chose a cute furry dog placed in a charming purple purse, Josh picked a soft cuddly teddy bear (we're told Sophie loves teddy bears), and Trevor first wanted to get them some princess dresses, then he picked a soft Mickey Mouse puppet/wash cloth to use in the tub. They're not used to shopping in the girls section, it was fun, of course they made sure I carried all the fluffy pink stuff until it was bagged...
I'm sure the girls will like these, especially coming from their brothers.

We ran into Fong, a favorite waitress that had served us before. She was so happy to hear that we are going to China soon to get our girls. We had discussed name choices with her about a month ago when she was serving us. Last night when we told her the names we chose, she wrote them out for us...

The top name is Sophie and the bottom name is Sage. How neat!! We promised to take our girls in her restauraunt when they come home.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

We got our TA!!!!

Did you hear the scream? Our TA came!! I shouldn't be surprised, so many of you were praying for this. It just had to come today! As the evening came, I tried not to lose hope and figured we would get the call early tomorrow, I'm used to waiting by now. Then the call came at 6:38 pm with the wonderful news. We have approval to go get our girls from China. Yahoo!!! Although I was expecting this, I almost had to pinch myself. We have waited so long for this approval and we are just thrilled to have it actually happen. I have to thank our family and friends again for their strength and prayers, and especially our Heavenly Father, for allowing this to happen. We're not sure why it was delayed so long, but in the end, their is a reason for it all and the timing will be great!
We are shooting for a Consulate Appointment of Aug. 21, that's the earliest one, since we "get" to be their for 3 weeks now. That get's the boys home in time for school, and will give me time to bond, love, enjoy, teach, and be their for our girls.
Sweet Sophie and Sage, it won't be much longer. Your family will be there soon!!
We are so happy for all the other families that received their TA's today also. It's so neat to see so many children connected to their family and recieve a home.

Waiting by phone...

I am staying close by the phone today. So far no word. Stefani has all the numbers we can be reached and I jump everytime the phone rings. It's got to come today!!
It has to, has to, has to!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Family & Friends Support...

What an amazing family that support each other!

This was 2 weeks ago at Trevor's baptism.
Older sis was home sick this day, missed you guys!

As we were wondering why our travel approval was so delayed (expected it 2 months ago), and worried about our girls, we put everything in the Lord's hands. Yesterday morning I decided to fast, with my already numerous prayers, and of course Paul had those same feelings. We called both our parents, and they were very supportive and more then happy to join us. I was so touched when our whole family (all who live close) rallied around us, and some dear friends, in fasting and prayer for our approval to go to China. I can't express my gratitude for their support and encouragement, and for the faith and strength of numbers. It worked!! This morning when I checked our email, I read that we will be getting our TA tomorrow! Nine of them were sent out on Friday and should be coming tomorrow! I am so grateful and close to tears as I think about finally going to get them.
Thank you family and friends, you're the best! Most importantly, I must thank my Heavenly Father for watching over us and allowing this to happen.
You might want to plug your ears tomorrow when we receive our TA.
Hope for an early CA (Consulate Appointment)!

Friday, July 14, 2006

While we wait...

Just can't get our girls off my mind and hoping all is well. I am staying busy during this long delay. Not waiting by the phone, too painful, although it is close by my side at all times and I am checking my email way too often. Sure wish I had more photo's of them, there is only so much you can do with 6 photos. Plus, I would love some updated info and pictures. The ones I have were taken over a year ago. We are still positive and confident all is well!!

Enjoying our Summer...

Trevor and friends at Harry Potter Camp

Josh at Camp Tracy

What a fun week, enjoying day camp with my boys in the mountains. Sure love my boy souts! Thanks Teresa and Allen- what great scout leaders you are!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Everything's Ready, but TA...

Their room is ready!

Playset ready!

Backyard ready! Brothers and Friends ready!

TA ready??? Wishful thinking. Keep praying for us. What a delay, trying to be patient. We just got word of a new policy starting Aug. 1, extends our travel time in Guangdong from 2 weeks to 3 weeks.
Can you say STRESS... This extra time will effect Pauls work, boys school, my commitments at home. We'll do what it takes and make the best out of it. The extra time in China could be really nice! We just want our TA's.

BTW, A few of you were concerned about the open pool, it is safer then it appears above, it is always covered and locked, unless in use, with a cover you can walk on, even drive a car on (I'm told, never actually tried this). We are very cautious and already have lifejackets for the girls, can't wait to teach them to swim.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A Note To My Husband~ Best Friend

I know you were hesitant at first, thinking our family was complete. I knew it wasn't. I didn't want to push you, but I encouraged the adoption idea and gave you time, hoping you would feel just as good about it as I. And you did! When that time came, we didn't waste anytime and everything happened so fast. You have been solid ever since, wanting them home as bad as I do. I can't thank you enough for taking this journey and stepping out in faith to see what Heavenly Father has for us. Thank you for opening your heart and our home and letting our family grow. It should be just a few more days to find out when we will be traveling to China. You have been so patient. I know you will be a wonderful father to these girls, like you are to our boys, and I can't wait to see you hold them in your arms for the first time. Thank you for loving me unconditionally and being my best friend, and for the wonderful father and husband you are. I love you so much! Forever, Di

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Giving Back...

It tears at my heart to see these children in the orphanage go with so little. Our hearts go out to the caretakers and nannies, what special people they are, who dedicate their lives to care for and love these dear children.

We also wanted to do our little part. Many of these children have no mattresses or even blankets in their cribs, just the wood base. Can you imagine. The backs of their heads get flat from lying on them so long.

Our dear primary put together a service project and made some soft, warm, fleece blankets for us to hand deliver to our girls orphanage in Xin Yi. I am so thankful for all the children who came to help and sent their best wishes, and thank you Holly for overseeing and preparing all the blankets, that was a big job, and they are delightful!! Thanks Terri and Jen for all your help! You guys are awesome!

My oldest son also got a group together and made some very cute dolls for the children in the orphanage as part of his Eagle project. They cut, glued, curled, and painted faces on these adorable dolls. It was great seeing a group of teenage boys making dolls:), they were very helpful, although they kept sneeking off to play basketball in the gym, what can you expect. The primary kids enjoyed helping with the faces and hair, it was hard for some of them to give up their doll, but they did and knew it was for a good cause. Thank you Sally and Grandma B. for all your sewing and cutting help, what a big task, and much appreciated! I'll have to locate the pictures and post them later.

We ended up with 40 blankets, all packaged and ready to go, and 20 dolls (some need a makeover on the face, but it was fun having the kids help). I was very pleased with the projects and know they will be very appreciated, can't wait to hand deliver them!

I also have all our Thank You gifts ready to go, everything from T-shirts to Treats- Pepperidge Farm sweets and home grown honey, and nice pens and stationary. I think they'll like them. These go to the caretakers at the orphanage, our guide, driver, CCAA officials, etc.

Still no word of our TA, trying not to dwell on it. Pray for us, cross your fingers, send us your wishes that it will be here soon.
Sweet Sophie and Sage, shouldn't be much longer.

Friday, July 07, 2006

What's in a name?

We finally chose their names!

Sophie Mei and Sage Li

Sophie means "wisdom", Mei means "beautiful" (pronounced May)
Sage means "wise", Li means "mighty" (pronounced Lee)
Their last name means "Bright"
We love it!

I had many different names I was considering, but these seem to fit so well. I have always wanted to use Sage (after one of my students) and we love the name Sophie.

Sorry mom B. & D., they would've been honored to be named after you, and in a way they are- you are both beautiful, mighty, and wise. They are lucky to have such wonderful grandma's. We really want to hold on to their heritage so, for a start, we chose some Chinese middle names.

The orphanage named them-
Xin Hong, Kang & Xin Hong, Jian
And the agency called them- Kimmi & Kyrie
(These will always be special names)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Waiting for Sophie & Sage

I can't complain, everything went incredibly smooth and fast in the beginning, and we know this is meant to be. We now have the chance to strengthen our patience :)...

Our homestudy went great and we hustled to get the mounds of paperwork complete, signed, certified, authenticated, and sent off to the CCAA. Making sure to cross our T's and dot our I's, everything was perfect. We used a courier to speed up the process. A group of families right before us got their TA in record time, 1 month after LID (Log in Date, our's was on 3-22). That was awesome, although I tried not to get my hopes up (average time is 2 months). Encouraged by my husband, I quit my job a little early to get everything ready (teaching 3rd grade- part time, they found a good sub to finish up the last month, although it was hard to say good-bye to my students).
To make a long story short, we expected to travel in June, possibly even May, and we are still here, waiting word of our TA. Our dossier got misplaced in China (MIA):(, it was found but still had to go through review. Last week we were told that our TA is in the printing room :). Yahoo!!

I have to admit, this part has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. We have stayed positive and optimistic that all will go well and we will get our TA soon to get these girls home. They most likely know they have a family from the packages I sent them with photo albums, and are waiting for us to come get them. It is hard to see them get older, but I know it's in the Lord's hands and it shouldn't be much longer. I pray daily that they are being loved and cared for in the orphanage, and I know that they are being watched over.
They will be very blessed to have 3 wonderful brothers, loving grandma's and grandpa's, aunts, uncles and cousins, great neighbors and friends, and especially a mom and dad who miss them and love them already!

Nick, Josh, and Trevor
Waiting for sisters...

They'll be such great big brothers!!

Thanks boys for teaching me the in's and out's of blogging. I still have a lot to learn, but this is a good start.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

When we got the news...

On August 23, 2005, our family was selected to adopt twin girls from XinYi, China. We have been on cloud 9 ever since and have been working hard to get them home. It shouldn't be much longer before we get our Travel Approval :)

Let me tell you our story...
This is something I've wanted to do for a long time. We have 3 wonderful boys, and I wanted to add a girl (or 2) to our family. I have had a soft spot for these precious children from China. It took a little while, but as soon as Paul started getting used to the idea and was coming around, I started researching and looking at different agencies and talking to friends who have adopted. A dear friend that was in the process of adopting, told me about new children coming soon on a "Waiting Child" list from her agency, Children's House International. When I saw the girls, I felt so good about them and couldn't get them out of my mind, but I figured the chances were close to impossible because we weren't paper ready or even registered with an agency yet, and I knew a lot of people would be interested in them. It was a busy time, but I couldn't get them out of my mind. Paul was coming around so I took the next step and emailed CHI to let them know how interested we were in these girls and how perfect they would be for our family. Later that day, Ginger called me and after pre-qualifying me over the phone, told me we would make good candidates but we would have to pre-register by 5:00, because they were placing the girls that day!!! She also told me that many families were interested in these girls, but they didn't feel really strong about a family yet. I ran out and told Paul to "pray fast, because, remember those girls I showed you a few days ago, they are placing them today". You should've seen the look on his face. Well, he got his answers, and at 4:45 we faxed over our pre-application. As soon as it was faxed, Paul said he knew we would be the new family.
That evening, Paul got a call first from the agency, they wanted to make sure he was on board with me. And he was! He had a chance to think about everything (one of the girls has Hep. B), and get the information he needed. They said he jumped through all the hoops and answered all their questions with surity (I'm not surprised). Later that night, they called me and told us that we were the new family to these sweet sisters. I was elated!
I will never forget that day. We celebrated with family and friends and everyone has been so happy for us. The next day, after sharing the news at work (school), it hit me on my way home, and I couldn't hold back the tears of joy. I am so grateful!!! And Paul has felt good about it ever since. He has the girls pictures displayed at work and wants them home as bad as I do. He is the best!

Sophie on bike

Sophie likes to drive

Sage crouching