Friday, February 24, 2012

We have our TA!!!

Finally, we are nearing the end of our paperchase alphabet soup. We just received notice that we have received our Travel Approval, meaning we are welcome to travel anytime to pick up our dear little Peter. We have one more step before booking our tickets, we have to make a Consulate Appointment which will finalize Peter's American citizenship.

Right now we are being given two travel options and really hoping for the first. The first option means dh will leave in about 10 days. It will put them home around one month from now. In one short month that precious boy could be home with his family. The second option means waiting a few more weeks and puts them home right around Easter, with a strong possibility of being a day or so after Easter. For so many reasons we are praying for that first option.

We should have definite travel dates in a few days. Please continue to pray for Peter and our family. For those IRL friends and family, please understand if I seem a little overwhelmed, frazzled, and such the next few weeks. The long wait finally ends with absolute chaos as we prepare for this trip and the arrival of the newest family member. Why, oh why did I leave so much to the last minute? Suitcases to pack, locate clothes for the new boy, find a dresser, move bedrooms, prepare travelers, prepare for weeks without dh... the list goes on and on.

In the end, God willing, this little boy will be home with a family that loves him dearly-- and that is worth much more than the waiting, the endless paperwork, and the ensuing chaos.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Juju's Fourth Birthday

Last year on Juju's birthday I blogged about how hard it had been to celebrate her birthday because it seems every year we are battling some bug. This year we were fortunate enough that everyone in our immediate family was for the most part healthy-- extended family, well not so much.

Grandpa was healthy and he stopped over for yet another yellow cake. This girl really has a thing for yellow, although purple is quickly gaining ground. Dh was kind enough to make meatloaf instead of the planned ham and asparagus dinner. Most four year olds I know would prefer meatloaf and Juliana certainly did, although if really given her choice I think we all would have had cereal (yo-yo-yo in Juju speak) for Sunday dinner.
I know this is a horribly out of focus picture, but I didn't get a good one of Grandpa. Although the picture quality leaves something to be desired there is a cute baby belly to make up for it. Plus you get a glimpse of Banana's new bangs...

She enjoyed the day and all the attention lavished on her especially by her older sisters. They each wanted to pick something out for her birthday. She got a new t-shirt, a new box of crayons, and a pair of pink sunglasses. All of which were a big hit with her.

On her birthday, I pray for those girls in her native country still waiting for families, for those who care for them, for those working to bring home a new child, for those involved in the endless paperwork, for those who shared our journey, and especially those who gave Juliana the gift of life. She is such a blessing to our family.

This sweet girl has grown so much this year. We call her our noisy cricket because despite her small size (Gabriel weighs more than she does), she makes quite the racket. She talks, and sings, and chatters, and makes noise. She lights up a room with her smile, especially when she sweetly says, "I love you very much!"

Monday, February 20, 2012


Five stitches for our sweetest five year old and it only took five hours to get them...

I knew with six (going on eight) children, sooner or later we were bound to have someone need stitches. If asked a week ago, I would have put my sweet five-year old Sophia at the bottom of the list of the child who would be the first to need them.

What started as an evening of fun, a house full of good friends, an ice cream bar full of fancy toppings, and favorite board games, and a movie to keep all those girls somewhat quiet, ended in a trip to the emergency room. Apparently even a Shirley Temple movie requires ambiance and the girls had dimmed the lights, when the movie was over, poor Sophia tripped and hit her head on a bookcase.

The girls tell me she was upset she hit her head, but didn't really cry. Then they all noticed the blood. There was lots of blood. Preteen girls and blood don't mix and all I heard was the clamor all the way up the stairs and lots of high pitched chatter as it seemed all of them were trying to tell me what happened. Once I had something to stop the bleeding and had cleaned her up a little, I sent a few girls upstairs for Dad. I gave them strict instructions to be very calm and tell him that I need him to take a look at Sophia.

He came down and said he'd see me in a few hours. Of course since it was 9 PM on a Friday night, all the Urgent Care facilities had closed for the night. His only option was the ER. Apparently the ER on a Friday night is a very happening place and a five year old with a small head wound isn't a high priority. It was after 2 AM when sweet Sophia came jumping into my bed to tell me all about her adventure. Time is relative to her because she said they waited so so so long, like an hour and a half. She jumped at the first stitch, but never cried. She was a real trooper according to Dad.

She seems to be healing well now. The girls remarked the doctor could have at least used pink thread for our very girly Sophia. Mom and Dad are not recovering as well from the lack of sleep...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Article 5

After some delays for New Year celebrations, today we received notice that our Article 5 is ready. This leaves just two more steps before we move forward with travel plans. We wait now for our Travel Approval, then our agency can make a Consulate Appointment, and then we book plane tickets. If all goes well, dh and Bear will leave sometime in early March.

Now reality sets in for me. In the next few weeks I begin the monumental task of packing for this trip. Airlines within China only allow one suitcase per traveler (they will have two in-China flights) that can only weigh 40 pounds each. In those two suitcases I have to pack everything needed for almost three weeks, along with all the clothing and essentials for a one year old little boy I've never met. I will have to guess at his size and send a few things a little bigger and a little smaller. I will also pack a small pharmacy trying to anticipate any maladies my travelers might encounter, not to mention medications for the little one. We also have to pack 7-8 gifts to be given to officials. I, thankfully, found some great boxes of chocolates on sale after Christmas.

Packing is further complicated by the fact that in their three week stay they will travel to three different climates. They will need winter clothing for their first stop, spring/fall clothing for their second city, and summer clothes for the final stop. Then there is also dh's lack of packing organization. I pack and put everything in a certain spot. I fold things tightly, organize them by type, put things you need first on top, etc. He sort of throws it all together. Trying to explain my packing methods to him is like a Frenchman giving instructions to a Russian. He nods and agrees, but I know he isn't getting it. There is no better proof of this than the Gotcha Day photos of Banana during Joseph's adoption trip. When I asked what was going on with her hair he responded they hadn't been able to find the hair brush for two or three days.

Despite the multitude of tasks, and more paperwork, and the craziness of trying to get Bear ahead in school so that her three week absence won't throw off our summer, I am thankful things finally seem to be coming together. We are another step closer to our dear Peter.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012