Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Preschool Christmas Pageant...

We had so much fun watching all of the little preschoolers tell the story of the birth of Baby Jesus at Eli and Sophia's preschool. Sophia was a little angel and Eli was a shepherd. They did a wonderful job!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Merry Christmas....To The Families Still Waiting

This Christmas is so very special to me. This is the first Christmas in over three years where our family is complete. No one is missing. Our daughter is home. After over three long heartbreaking baby is home for Christmas.
When we put up our Christmas tree, each child has ornaments that belong exclusively to them. I add to each of their collections every year. Three years ago I held Sophia's first ornament in my hand and through my tears, placed it on the tree. I did not believe at the time that she had been born yet, but she was alive...a baby in China.
I placed my order for 2007. The ornament held great significance to me. Believe. I had to keep believing that my daughter was out there somewhere. That year I knew she was alive, I knew she was waiting in China. We were hitting road block after road block. The wait time was getting longer, we weren't allowed into the SN program until our LID was through review. I was in tears when I opened the box and saw the word 'Believe'. I put it on the tree, my second Christmas without my daughter. I prayed that she was warm, that she had a blanket and adequate food. I prayed that God would send someone to smile at her and pick her up.
Christmas 2008, we had hope. We were actively reviewing SN files. Our daughter was near, we just didn't know it. I placed another ornament on the tree. Eli and I prayed that God would send angels to keep his sister safe and to tell her that we loved her. I knew without a doubt that my daughter was alive and that I just needed to find her. I was begging God to bring our daughter to us.
Christmas 2009, I sat on the couch in front of our tree with tears pouring down my face as I took out three ornaments and handed them to my daughter. Choking back sobs, I watched her place them on the tree for the first time. My husband and sons just stood in silence and watched. There were no words, just an understanding of the impact of that moment. I thanked God that my baby was home.
TO YOU WHO WAIT....They say that you forget once they place your child in your arms. My daughter has been home since July and I have not forgotten. I have not forgotten the pain and the worry and the hole in my soul that only my daughter could fill. The anguish of the wait is still etched in my heart and mind.
My heart is with you this year. I know that many of you will be placing your "Waiting for" ornaments on your trees. God Bless you and your families and your children who you have yet to find. This year I will pray for you.

Monday, December 07, 2009

I Need Addresses From Everyone Participating in the Christmas Ornament and Card Exchanges!

Hello Everyone! I need addresses from everyone who is participating in the Christmas Ornament and Card Exchanges.
Please e-mail them to me at
ALSO, please confirm if you want to participate in the card exchange, ornament exchange or both.
Thank You!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Seventh Diamond Christmas Card & Ornament Exchange

I have had quite a few people asking if I am going to host the Christmas Card and Christmas Ornament Exchange again this year and yes I am!
You can participate in one or both. Please leave a comment, or e-mail me as to which one you would like to participate in. I will have your Christmas Card Lists and Christmas Ornament Exchange partners e-mailed to you by December 5th.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Fun in the Sun...One Last Time

Today was absolutely gorgeous outside. We had a wonderful afternoon. I put away all of our outdoor Halloween decorations. Eli, Tyler and Tim played baseball. Sophia scootered. It was just perfect. I am so glad we got out because our forcast for next weekend includes the possibility for snow.
Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers. My father's sister has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer that began in the breast and has traveled to her side and lungs. She was admitted to the hospital for congestive heart failure last week and her cancer was unknown to us all at that time. My Aunt has lived the majority of her life with my Grandmother. My Grandfather just passed away last month. I am just so devastated for my Grandmother. She will face two huge losses in a short amount of time.
This year has brought tremendous loss and at the same time the gift of my daughter.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Weekend!

It is absolutely pouring rain outside and we aren't going to have very good weather for Trick or Treating, but we are going to make the best of it! We are off to a party at the Kenward's tonight. Sophia is dancing with her friends from dancing in the pavilion at the park in our town on Halloween day and then we will be walking around our small neighborhood Trick or Treating. Tyler has a costume party this weekend too and is wearing his werewolf mask. I LOVE bring on the fun!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Crazy Week!

Our main bathroom is out of service. Hopefully it will be tiled soon :)
I have to get the kids' costumes on to make sure everything fits.
Two Halloween parties on the same night this weekend. One for us and the twins, one for Tyler.
Trying to decide on whether or not to get the H1N1 mist for the kids on Thursday.
Working on some joint projects with Robin at Red Thread Stitches.

Lunch today with Steffie...some girlfriend conversation...priceless.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

4 month update...

Sophia is fluent in English. She fully understands who her family is and loves us. She is comfortable in her home. She sleeps through the night in her own bed, no tears no fears. She enjoys preschool. She LOVES ballerina class. She is making friends. She eats normally. She runs, skips, giggles and tries to tell jokes. She has her little sister job mastered; loving her brothers one minute and tattling on them the next. She has her Daddy wrapped around her little finger. She is her Mama's princess. She is an absolute joy and we are so blessed.

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Family Photos

Steffie Beckering is a wonderful friend of mine. She took these photos of our family. I am so happy with them. I think they are just beautiful. She took 150 shots of our family and had 50 that are wonderful. If you live in Michigan and need a photographer, you should schedule some time with her. Her blog is 'Never Too Many'.

Tyler always struggles with photos, he has a hard time finding his true smile. Steffie took the most wonderful photo of him smiling. He left relaxed and happy instead of stressed and really likes his picture.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Sophia's First Night In Her Room...In Her Big Girl Bed...Eli Too!

Please cross your fingers and say a little prayer. Tonight is the first night that Sophia will try to sleep in her room in her big girl bed. She has been in a toddler bed in our room since July 3rd. We tried VERY UNSUCCESSFULLY to have her sleep in her own room and bed when we got home, but she just wasn't ready.
Now, we have also had issues with Eli since we came home. He wakes up all throughout the night and gets out of bed and tries to climb into bed with whoever will take him. This has been going on for three months.
So tonight I am putting them both on the bottom bunk at each end. I am hoping that they will be comforted by each other and sleep in their room all night long.

We made very special preparations for tonight. Eli got a new Transformers poster that I put on his end of the bed and Sophia got a new Tinkerbell poster for her end. We also put glow in the dark stars on the wood that supports the top matress, so that when they look up they will see them.

Oh my word...I am so nervous. I HOPE THIS WORKS!!!

Why Did You Bring Me Home?...This Morning's Conversation with Sophia.

This morning Sophia was looking at her Baby Be Blessed doll. I told her she was a very special doll because Mama took her with her to China when she went to get Sophia. Sophia looked at me and said "China?". I said yes, "I went to China to bring you home". She then asked, "Why did you bring me home?". I said, "Because I am your Mama and I love you." And she looked deep in my eyes and said, "Thank you Mama".

Ballet Photos...

I had a request to take some photos of Sophia at Ballet last night. Miss Kelly has a pretty strict policy of no one peeking in when the doors are closed, but here are the shots I got.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Starfish Needs Some Help...Children's Tylenol & Motrin Need to be Shipped Out ASAP.

There is a bacterial infection going through the orphanage in Xian where Amanda's children come from. Some of her children are starting to come down with fever and she is low on Children's Tylenol and Children's Motrin.
Please, if you are willing to send a small package with a bottle of each, let me know. If you ship via the US Postal Service, it should be pretty inexpensive.
She needs the meds now.

Please leave a comment and I will get you her address. If you are traveling to China soon and are willing to bring some meds and mail them from there, let me know.

Thank you.

Kim's Bow Swap....

Kim at 'Isabella Bison' is hosting a bow swap. Head on over to her blog and sign up :) If you order your bows for the swap from Sophia Jane Boutique, send me an e-mail and let me know what message you would like to send to your person and I will ship your bows directly to whoever you are matched with. I will also throw in a bonus bow!!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Chinese Moon Festival 09

We had a wonderful time celebrating Chinese Moon Festival with Kim K. and her family and friends. The children made paper lanterns and decorated moon cookies and then we went to eat at a Chinese restaurant. We re-connected with some families we have known and met some new families too.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Chinese Moon Festival...

Happy Moon Festival!

Friday, October 02, 2009


I have been asked to be a contributor to 'No Hands But Ours'. So, my mind has been filled with ideas of things to write about based on my adoption experience. Let me know what you think about this one.


I have a passion for adoption. I have one child adopted from China. I don’t know if I will ever go back. But I want to do more. I want to be a part of helping children come home. I want to be an enabler. This is where I am right now and I have heard from a lot of women in the same place.

This is the story of how people enabled me to bring my daughter home. This is how I know that I can still play an important role in the lives of families and children. These are some things that can be done to support the families who are still on the journey to their child:

When we first started talking about adoption, I didn’t know very many people who had adopted. My blog changed all of that. It became a lifeline for me.

I was a little nervous about telling our family when we made the decision to adopt. I didn’t know how they would react. I thought that they would be supportive but I didn’t know for sure. My anxiety was a waste of energy because our family has been wonderful, but some families are not as accepting. If someone in your family makes the decision to adopt, be their supporter and champion to the rest of the family.

I didn’t know a lot about what to expect or how the paperwork flowed, or what I needed to do. My agency was helpful, but truthfully my information came from women on-line. When I had a question, I would post it and I would receive the information that I needed.
This was a tremendous help and kept me on top of the things I needed to know. Reach out to adopting families and be a source of knowledge to those who are following in your footsteps.

I am a working mother with a large family, so I need help to care for my children and to keep my household running the way that it should. The key to my success in this is one woman. One woman who cares for my family and believes in Sophia’s adoption. Daycare person is not an adequate title for Lynn. She is my friend and enables me to be the type of mother that I want to be. When I approached her about the adoption, she was so positive about it and willing to take care of our new daughter. As time marched on and we decided to go the SN route, I talked with her about it and again her response was so positive. She was willing to be there for our family and care for Sophia, special needs was not an issue. When I received a file that we were looking at closely, I would go over it with her. She always had an open heart. She was willing to get her family vaccinated for hep B if we went that route, she was willing to care for a child with spina bifida. It brought me such peace to know that my new little one would be in wonderful hands while I was working. I needed Lynn’s support to be able to make this work. If you are in a position to play a role in the lives of families by providing care for their children, please be open to adopting families and understand that these little ones may need special concessions.

We waited a long time for Sophia. It was not a happy journey for us. Our agency kept changing the rules and providing us with information that honestly was just plain untrue. There is no doubt that I had to fight to bring my daughter home. I was in constant contact with my social worker. I was always two steps ahead of my agency in knowing what changes were coming down the pike. I knew so much more than they wanted me to about what they were doing (thanks to all of my waiting moms in blogland). There were times when I didn’t think I could make it to the finish line. There were times when I just sat and cried. My children had lost hope that this would ever happen. If it were not for my friends, the women who came out of cyberspace to support and love and pray for me, I don’t know if I could have made it. I was infused with their strength and it kept me going. Some of my closest friends now are a result of this experience. When you sit in a restaurant face to face with another woman just as sad and desperate for her baby as you are and she reaches for your hand and through her tears tells you she hopes you have your child first (and you know she truly means it), you are bonded forever. If you have the opportunity to pray for, befriend or emotionally support someone who is waiting for their child, please do it. They need you.

After we received our referral, there were so many things that we needed to do…it was just a whirlwind. We had a lot of fees that we were not aware of initially that came to light and had to be paid immediately. We didn’t have the cash to cover all of these fees. We needed to raise funds and I decided that an on-line auction was the best way to try to do it. I had never used my blog to ask for funds for myself, so I was a little nervous about it. The outpouring of love and support was overwhelming. A dear girlfriend of mine designed a gorgeous site exclusively for the auction. Women flooded my e-mail with offers to help and items to be sold. . I received so many donation items to auction, so many beautiful things. I also received checks in the mail from women I had never seen face to face. I put them in a box in my room and cashed them when we had a fee due. There were times when I was so touched that my eyes just filled with tears. All of these women wanted to help. They wanted to be a part of enabling us to bring our daughter home. And they were. We raised close to $5.000. All of our up-front fees were covered. It was such a weight off of my shoulders, the stress just left me and I was able to focus on getting things ready for travel and for our daughter. The only way I can re-pay these women is to pay it forward. If you are in a position to help a family raise funds for their adoption, please do it. No effort is too small, everything adds up to a miracle.

Sophia turned four years old shortly after we came home. I could tell that she was very intelligent, every bit as smart and able as her four year old brother Eli. I had Eli scheduled to start preschool and soccer in the fall and I thought Sophia could be in preschool and an activity too. It has been my hope that she will be ready to start kindergarten on-schedule. For this to happen, I would have to get her into preschool. I didn’t know if they would take her, she didn’t speak much English and I did not know what level she was at as far as education was concerned. There was also the issue of separation anxiety which we were dealing with. I called the preschool and explained our special situation. Without hesitation, they told me they would let her in. They had never had a child who did not speak fluent English, but they were willing to try. I will be honest, the first week of preschool was rough for Sophia, but after that she has had a wonderful time and her language skills are unbelievable. She is picking up English very quickly. Next came the issue of an extra-curricular activity. Sophia’s gross motor skills needed work. I don’t think she ever spent much time off of the floor of her orphanage. When we first got her, she took steps one at a time like a toddler and was a slow runner and was very cautious on play equipment. The dance school in our town has a class for 4 year olds, ballet/tap/tumbling. I called to see if they would be willing to work with Sophia and her special situation. Miss Kelly who owns the school agreed to allow Sophia into the little girl’s class and pays special attention to helping her. Sophia loves her ‘ballerina school’. Last night I sat with tears in my eyes while I peaked through the studio door and watched my little girl walking on her toes and trying to plie. If you are a teacher or a coach, open your heart to these kiddos.

People on the ‘front lines’ of adoption need people behind them to support them and help them. If you are done growing your family, it doesn’t mean you can’t play a vital role in the adoption movement. Enable the people around you to complete their journeys, sponsor children who need help. Donate to organizations to pay for supplies and surgeries for children in need. Someone paid to heal my daughter’s heart, a surgeon somewhere in the world volunteered his time to give her a fuller life. I don’t know who these people are, but I owe them a debt that can never be paid. All I can do is pay it forward. I can be an enabler.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Zach's Homecoming 2009

Tonight Zach took Isabel to homecoming. I think they look fabulous together!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The 3rd Annual Halloween Blog Contest!

Oh's that time again. Time for the 3rd Annual Halloween Blog Contest. I need contestants and secret judges.

If you would like to be a contestant, please leave a comment below. If you would like to be a judge, please e-mail me at so no one knows who you are.

As always, there will be a VERY COOL prize for the winner.

This has been a lot of fun each year. I hope that we have a lot of entries this year. GOOD LUCK!