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 cafĂ©-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.