Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What Are We Doing?

You might be asking, “What exactly have we been up to?” Well, we have been extremely busy!!! I bought out half of Wal-Mart and Target; I’ve been trying to get some packing done and I’m getting over a finger print snafu. Long story short, we had our fingerprints renewed on April 11th. Our agency advised us to follow up with the National Visa Center to make sure CIS had in fact forwarded our prints and then had them sent on to China. After calling for an hour I finally talked to someone who told me they had not received anything. The next day I contacted our Senator who then got on the ball very quickly. It seems that by the time it was all said and done the snafu lay with the Visa Center and not the CIS office. The good news is that it’s over now and everything has been forwarded to China. If it had not been for the involvement of Senator Lindsay Graham we would still be in limbo with our prints. I cannot say enough great things about how Senator Graham and his staff responded; I never once had to leave a message or punch any numbers to talk to a live person. He will continue to get my vote!!!

We also had a baby shower hosted by all the great people at the school where Rusty works and Gracie attends. It was a gift card/money shower and we were so touched by everyone’s generosity. There is such a great sense of community among everyone. Thank you RBE! You really outdid yourselves.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thankful Thursday

This will probably be my last Thankful Thursday until we return home. I have so much to be thankful for!!

Even if I don’t agree with their politics I am thankful to the country of China because they have given me the opportunity to be a mother.

I am thankful for a daughter that I don’t even know yet but already love dearly.

I am thankful that Gracie will get to visit her birth country and she gets to be involved in an important part of her sisters adoption. I’m looking forward to becoming a family of four without a lot of outside interruptions. The only thing we have to worry about during our trip is each other.

I’m thankful for all the people at our church who are stepping up and filling in during our absence. Rusty and I both have asked various people in our congregation to take on extra duties and they have done so with a smile on their faces and I know they are more than willing to do whatever we ask of them.

I’m thankful for all the prayers so many people are lifting up for us. If I have experienced even a hint of anxiety it leaves me as quickly as it came. I know that the prayers of our church family, extended family and our friends are also preparing Laurie Alice’s heart to receive us.

I am thankful for the beautiful bedroom my mother is creating for our girls. This is her gift to us and it is greatly appreciated. She bought new furniture; painted walls, will be hanging a chandelier and putting all the finishing touches in the room while we are gone. I’m also thankful she is taking some time off work when we return so we can get some much needed sleep!

Of course, I am thankful that I get to travel with and raise two girls with my husband. I can’t imagine having this experience with anyone else.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

Projected Plan

Here is what we should be doing while in China.

5/1 Leave the U.S. for Hong Kong

5/2 Arrive in Hong Kong

5/3 Free time. Rest. Shop. Tour

5/4 Leave Hong Kong for Chongqing

5/5 At 8:00 a.m. go to Chongqing Orphanage **** Gotcha Day **** Laurie Alice Day!!!!

5/6 Complete Adoption Registration and Notarization

5/7 Rest and Relax in the morning. Shop for baby supplies. Wait for adoption paperwork to be processed.

5/8 Half-day city tour to the Chongqing Zoo to see the pandas (I'm looking forward to this)

5/9 Rest & optional half-day city tour to the old town - CiQiKou

5/10 Receive Laurie Alice's adoption registration certificate and notary paperwork in the morning. Receive her passport that afternoon. Rest and start packing.

5/11 Leave Chongqing for Guangzhou

5/12 Have Laurie Alice's visa physical and visa photo taken.

5/13 - 5/14 Free Time. Rest. Shop


5/16 Go to the U.S. Consulate to take the oath in the afternoon. This is where we promise not to sell our child or abandon her. Of course we promise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5/17 Check out of our room and RETURN HOME TO THE U.S.A.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5/18 - 5/31 SLEEP, SLEEP, SLEEP, and then SLEEP some more, and oh yes, drink lots of COLD Diet Cokes!!!!!!!!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Love This

"For finding your mother, there's one certain test. You must look for the creature who loves you the best."

From "Little Miss Spider" by David Kirk

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful that our Travel Approval came last Wednesday!!! I still can’t believe we are leaving May 1st for China.

I am thankful that we used a travel agent to book our flights to China. Last time VJ and I did it ourselves, or rather VJ did, and although it wasn’t rocket science to book them, it is one less thing we have to worry about.

I am thankful for the price of our tickets. We thought it would be about $1,400 each but as it turns out it’s about $941. A great savings!!!!

I am thankful that Gracie is so excited about this trip and her sister. Her teacher sent an email and said that is all she talks about and writes about. Gracie has written two books about her sister and both of them made me cry. I will have to scan them and post them. I know there will be ups and downs to sisterhood but I really think Gracie is going to be a wonderful big sister.

I am thankful that I am not worried to death about this trip. I wish I could have said that last time around but there were so many “unknowns”. I’d never been a mother or traveled to another country so it was a bit overwhelming. This time around I feel much more confident in my parenting abilities. Like, if LA runs a fever I’ll know we don’t have to rush to the ER, instead I’ll just alternate Tylenol and Advil. Crying will not cause a child’s head to pop off. If something is swallowed that shouldn’t have been, no doubt you are going to see it again. China is the largest country so obviously people are surviving over there and we will too.

I am thankful that this mothers day I will have both my girls with me and my family will be complete (for now anyway). I’m thankful that Rusty will have access to the best pearl and jade markets so he and the girls can get me a fabulous gift (hint, hint, sweetie).

I am EXTREMELY thankful for all the prayers we are receiving. I know that every leg of this trip is going to be bathed in prayer. I know that should something come against us I’ve got people in the USA interceding for us and whatever the obstacle should be it will have to be removed. I have so much reassurance that the Holy Spirit is already in China awaiting our trip. I know this because of something that happened last time we traveled. We had landed in China and both Rusty and I were tired and felt a bit overwhelmed. Here we were in Communist China where Christians are still persecuted all the time (but you will never here that on the news). We felt alone and China felt very big with all its strange sounds, smells and sights. As we entered the hotel where we would spend the next couple of days I prayed very simply “Lord, we need to feel your presence here with us”. As we sat in the lobby waiting while our guide got our rooms situated we heard the most beautiful piano music and looked over to see a beautiful young Chinese girl playing. Rusty got the biggest smile on his face and asked “do you hear what she’s playing” I was so tired that I had not paid attention but she was playing the powerful song “Shout to the Lord” sung by congregations everywhere in the US. I honestly believe this girl was a Christian and the Lord had her in that place playing that song for an American couple who needed to know that He was there in the midst of all the unknowns.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

And the winner is..........

I am so happy that Amanda won!!! She recently moved to OK and has been thinking about starting a blog so her family and friends can keep up with her and her husband and little boy.

Gracie drew the name at exactly 3:00, which is the time that Rusty and I got married. I thought that would be a good idea since today is our anniversay.

I wish everyone could have won. Thanks to everyone who participated!!!!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Sorry to interrupt Wordless Wednesday but I just got a call from our agency and we received our travel approval today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We leave May 1st and will receive Laurie Alice on May 5th!!!!!!! I am so excited!!!!. You know this day is coming but it still surprises and excites you!!! I will have both of my girls with me on Mother’s Day. I can’t think of a better gift.

Keep us in your prayers as we finalize everything.


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Hannah Montana

My husband did something a few weeks ago that I still can’t believe. He bought Gracie a Hannah Montana t-shirt!! Now I don’t want to offend anyone because what you do is your business but I personally loathe shirts with rock stars. I really don’t even like character shirts but I particularly hate shirts with pictures of real people. When Gracie was a baby I wouldn’t even buy the Pampers brand diapers because of the Disney characters that are on them. I know, I have issues, I’m very aware of my weirdness. I’m not the only one like this though because both my sisters feel the same way. I also have bad feelings about bedazzled clothes.

My friends and I had a lively discussion about all the fashion booboo’s we made as tweens and teens. I owned my fair share of air brushed t-shirts and my friend Fiona pointed out that she used to wear a t-shirt with one of those iron on kitties. Remember those; they hung in the windows of every t-shirt shop in Myrtle Beach. My friend Kim and I could hardly wait to go on our annual youth group trip to the beach so we could buy matching iron on shirts. Yep, those were the days. We couldn’t get enough big hair and ugly shirts. I was reminded that I owned both a Shawn Cassidy and Leif Garrett t-shirt. Correct me if I’m wrong but they were totally hot, I mean please there is a big difference here!

So what’s a mom to do? I’m going to do what my mother suggested and us it to my advantage, use it as leverage, like for instance if you will go to bed like a big girl for a week you can wear the HM shirt or if you don’t stop talking back to us then you can’t wear the HM shirt for a week. Yeah, this could work out pretty well. So here she is in all of her Hannah Montana t-shirt glory (notice she is only wearing it to bed)!! I still haven’t figured out how Rusty is going to pay for this but mark my words he will.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for my sweet nephew Brayden. He will turn 6 on April 9th. Happy Birthday Brayden I love you!!

I am thankful for the girls in my Wednesday night class. I teach a class of 3rd – 5th grade girls at church and they are a hoot to say the least. I find out all kinds of interesting tid bits from them. It’s wild to hear there take on boys, friendships, school, family, God. This age is VERY different from when I was there. They deal with problems that I didn’t have to worry about until I was in Middle School. I’m glad I have the opportunity to be with them and I learn as much from them as they do from me.

I am so thankful for the rain today!!!!!! It would be fine with me if it rained all the way through the weekend. I, along with all South Carolinians, have been suffering this Spring with allergies and it’s so nice to see all the pollen being washed away.

I am thankful for all the people who have contributed to our adoption. The generosity is overwhelming. Just as with our adoption for Gracie people have given unselfishly and because of that it makes our burden lighter. When I wrote thank you notes 5 years ago I included that I looked forward to sharing with Gracie how so many people helped bring her home. I will also share this with Laurie Alice. Through both processes we have been able to witness many miracles one of those being the financial aspect of adoption. I know both my girls were meant to be with us and I thank God on a weekly basis that He allowed Rusty and me this experience. He took a very sad time in our lives and turned it into the greatest thing we could experience.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

This and That

It’s been one of those busy weeks again so I haven’t had much time to blog. I really want to blog 2-3 times a week but sometimes it’s just not possible. I’m getting REALLY excited about our trip. Even though we still haven’t received travel approval I’m pretty confident we will travel the first part of May. That’s like only 6-7 weeks from now! WOW! I can’t believe we are finally in the home stretch. I can’t believe that very soon we will be a family of four. It’s going to be so exciting to see how the family dynamics change. I’m sure there are going to be some major adjustments for all of us but there is no way the adjustments can outweigh the positives.

We went to Jimmy and Ronette’s this past weekend for a fish fry and had a really nice time. Rusty’s cousin Carl and his wife Angie were there. It was nice to see them. Gracie plays so good with her cousins, Carrie and Allie. Carrie is almost 9 and Gracie thinks she is the coolest. If I’m ever trying to get Gracie to do or wear something at the house and she shows any resistance all I have to say is “you know I think Carrie wears a dress like this” or “you know if I’m not mistaken I believe Carrie picks up her room” I can pretty much consider it done. Will, our 11 year old nephew went to a friends house so he wasn’t there but we found out that he earned a badge from the RA group at his church for remembering and reciting 75 bible verses. Way to go Will!!!!!! I can’t imagine being able to do that. I can barely remember what I have to do each day.

This is Carrie and Allie. (Sorry Will, I promise I'll get one of you on here soon)

Last night I spoke at our Women’s Ministry meeting and all in all I think I did okay. Public Speaking is not what I do best but I think I was able to pull it off and hopefully someone in the group gleaned something from what I had to say.

I wanted to give everyone an update on our fund raising efforts. The ChipIn doesn’t reflect all the money we have received. Some folks preferred to send us checks so $800.00 has been raised not counting what appears in our ChipIn. The money raised will go towards our $3,000.00 donation towards Laurie Alice’s orphanage. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far. There are not enough words to express our gratitude for helping us bring our girl home. Don’t forget that the drawing for the Spiffy Blog will be held on Sunday, April 13th. I’m going to let Gracie draw the name.

I guess that’s all for now. Come back tomorrow and check out all the things I’m thankful for.