Friday, December 30, 2011

Family Time

We had dinner at my mom’s house on what my brother likes to call “Christmas Adam – it comes before Eve.”

We played a game called How-many-marshmallows-can-you-get-through-the-Christmas-wreath-in-a-minute.  Not as much fun as the marshmallow wars of Christmas Eve 2003, but entertaining none-the-less.

Here are some hi-lights of the evening.  I am quite sure you don’t want to see all 314 shots we took that evening.  Can you say, “playing with the new camera?”me and dadabby me and hannah karen and girls

sarahJoey abbyMicahLydia did pretty good!sorry Timmy, there was a weird camera angle for this oneHannah and Marriana trying to intimidate Jordanmarrianathis is how Hannah won billylindajudah is saying... are we done yet???we know how much they were enjoying the game!look!  a marshmallow in mid air! nanapapa shows some concentration!

the Beanthe Ham

Thursday, December 29, 2011

One week from today…

…we’re leaving for China! 

We have waited for this day for well over a year.  Our initial inquiry to the adoption agency was in May of 2010, but I really didn’t start the paperwork in earnest until that fall.  The process of paperwork has gotten longer – waiting for others (state agencies) to do their part can take up to 3 months in some cases.  Also, the new laws and regulations required more training and extra time with a social worker. 

Last Christmas, we were sure that we would have a new family member to celebrate with us for Christmas 2011.  We were still trying to finish up the international dossier and get every thing signed and notarized, etc.  We finally received our referral at the end of May 2011.  Little Dong Baozhen was available for adoption and we accepted.   He was 13 months old at the time of the referral.

At that time, the agency said that “if all goes well” we would travel in 4 to 6 months.  We were hoping to be closer to four.  Alas, it has stretched to the seven month mark.  As many in the adoption community knows, it’s hard to answer the many questions of , “have you heard anything yet?” We waited for our Letter of Acceptance and then the Travel Approval. By November, we knew that Tommy would not be home for Christmas and it was very sad for us.  But we knew the ultimate goal of bringing home our son was the most important thing.  By the time we did receive our TA on December 16, it was almost anti-climactic.  But we were still very excited!

With Christmas only days away, and programs and church events on the calendar, my mind was very much torn between thoughts of China and being present for my girls to make Christmas special for them. 

Now that Christmas is over, I am in high-gear getting things checked off my list!  My mom and dad helped us take our tree down after we put the girls to bed on Christmas night.  Everything else was packed and cleaned up the next day.  Now I’m making lists for my Aunt who will be staying with the girls while we’re gone.  This is going to be a harder trip being away from my girls for so long.  Good thing we have Skype.

We are flying out on January 5 and coming back on January 20.  Some people have asked us, “why does it take so long in China?”  Well, it doesn’t take as long as some other countries (Russia & Guatemala with their multiple trips back and forth) but on the other hand, it wouldn’t be international adoption if there wasn’t some paperwork to do every. step. of. the. way.

For those who are interested, here’s what we’ll be doing during those two weeks:

Jan 5 – leave our house at 6 am to go to the airport, spend 16+ hours flight time (15 consecutive) and 5 hours waiting in airports.  Lose one day of our lives.

Jan 6 – arrive in Hong Kong in the evening and go to hotel and crash – but wake up way too early in the morning cause our bodies are still on Eastern time. (China is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time)

Jan 7 – spend time in Hong Kong seeing the sights while we can still walk upright and hold our eyes open.

Jan 8 – see some more of HK and then go by train to mainland China – Guangzhou.


Jan 10 – Do adoption registration paper work.  Tommy is officially ours on his Daddy’s 40th birthday!!

Jan 11 – more paperwork at the local police station (I believe)

Jan 12 – site-seeing/shopping

Jan 13 – get Tommy’s Chinese passport – do medical exam required by US Embassy

Jan 14 – US visa paperwork (I thought we did this already)

Jan 15 – Museum (Sometime this week, I think we might go to Tommy’s orphanage and meet his care-taker.  We’ve never done this before so it will be a new experience for us.)

Jan 16 – Jade and Pearl market (any requests?)

Jan 17 – Zoo

Jan 18 – FINALLY our US visa appointment @ 10:00 am. (we had to wait a couple extra days because they were closed for MLK Jr. day)

Jan 19 – Packing to go home – Zhou to pick up the visas.

Jan 20 – leave for airport at 5:30am and arrive in Ohio at 3:30pm the same day – only that day will be 36 or 37 hours long!


So, only 6 more days to pack and organize and re-pack and clean and organize some more! This is the third time we’ve done this, but it doesn’t get any easier.

Abby’s school program

Abby’s school had their Christmas program on December 20.  Each class sang songs and some of the children recited Christmas poems.

Before the program officially began, some of the children who take private music lessons shared a Christmas song on the piano or violin.1 musicians

Abby played Joy to the World accompanied by her cousin Timmy on the piano.2 abby

Abby’s class sang “Over the River and Through the Woods” and “I’m Gettin' Nuttin’ For Christmas.”3 first and second

Abby also sang a little poem about a candle.4 candle

All the classes took part in reciting Luke 2.  The First and Second Grade class did great!  They were very enthusiastic.5 luke 2

Abby and her teacher, Mrs. A.  Sorry the flash was too bright.  Ugh.6 mrs a

This is the last event that I took pictures with our old, scratched up Kodak Easy Share camera.  We got a new camera with some Christmas money and are now taking a crash course in learning to use it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sarah’s First Christmas Program

Tonight was Sarah’s first official stage production.  Her preschool class sang eight songs for a packed café-torium.  It was so cute.

second from the left on the topthe ligthing was horrible!posing by the Christmas treeCookies!  a reward for a job well done.She even stood in line to sit on Santa's lap

Hover over the pictures to see the captions.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

Or… the Party that never ends.

Wednesday, after Abby’s birthday party, we travelled to Marietta to attend a 50th Wedding Anniversary party for some of my parents dearest friends.  Mike and Mollie Haught are like second parents to me and my siblings and so we were honored to be there to celebrate with them.

My sister’s family was traveling from North Carolina.  My brother’s family was traveling from Maryland and my Aunt was traveling from West Virginia so we all met up in Marietta for the first party of the weekend.  Hannah made everyone a spaghetti dinner in her apartment. That is a total of 25 people and one dog (not mine) in her apartment/dorm room.  Fun times!  Hannah did a great job.

Marietta nov 2011

Karen and I made those turkey shirts (and hair accessories) for the girls and Judah a few weeks before Thanksgiving.

Thursday morning, we had brunch at my mom’s house and I didn’t take my camera to that event.  But I took a lot of pictures with Rachel’s camera – maybe she’ll share them on her blog.

Then that afternoon, we had a Girls-Only Tea Party at my house that my Aunt Linda organized and made everything for. She had cut out the special bread and fillings and we put them together.Tea Time Nov 2011

On Friday, we had our family Thanksgiving dinner.  Karen fit a total of 17 people at her table.  We each contributed to the meal with our favorite dishes.  That was some GOOD food!!!thanksgiving table 1

The other end of the table…thanksgiving table 2

The kids table was set up in the hall way.thanksgiving table kids

On Saturday, everyone came over to our house for Birthday Party #2 that included Uncle Rob.  His birthday is the same day as Abby.  We had chili and taco soup and cheesecake for dessert.Birthday Party #2 nov 2011

Later that evening, the adults had our Christmas Gift Exchange.  More food and presents!!  Not all presents are pictured here.  Let’s just say the younger members got a little initiation into the group.grown up gift exchange nov 2011

Sunday morning, my brother preached at our church and talked about how the Kingdom of God is like a bottle of beer.  You can hear the message here by clicking on the Nov 27 date.


After everyone left to travel home, Billy and I took a nap… mine was much longer than his.  It was such a fun weekend – so good to reconnect with family.

As always, click on any picture to view larger.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Birthday Party

Today is Abby’s eighth birthday.  She is growing up too fast! 

Abby was out of school for the Thanksgiving break, so we had her girl friends over for a party last Wednesday morning.  She had requested that everyone wear a costume.  Abby wanted to be an Egyptian princess.  I looked online for some ideas and then raided my sister’s fabric closet.  We came up with some ideas and Karen sewed them together.  I love having a creative seamstress for a sister who can execute my costume ideas!

She even does makeup!make-up

Look at those eyelashes!  They are not fake.  How I wish my eyelashes were that long!eyelashes

All but the crown.  Billy mentioned that he’ll be perfecting  his  aim with the rifle when he saw her all made up like this.egyptian princess

All the girls… Sarah declined to put a costume on for the party, even though there was much pleading from Abby. all the girls

We played a few games and they also ran around and enjoyed playing with Abby’s

Abby helped Nana make this big cookie for her birthday “cake.”  Abby doesn’t really like cake but she loves her Nana’s cookies so we came up with the idea to make a big one to share with everyone.big cookie

Cookies and ice cream!table

Presents! presents

Abby enjoyed her birthday party and I was glad we have not reached the stage for a sleep-over!  Smile