Saturday, December 15, 2007

The 13th

The 13th of December marked 21 months since our LID. The CCAA has never taken longer than 15 months from LID to referral before now. No, it isn't just us! This is happening to all families adopting from China. I would put a cute number "21" on this page, but I can't even find any cute numbers that high!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

CCAA Update

The CCAA has finished the review of the adoption application documents registered with our office before September 30, 2006.

The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before December 14, 2005.

So the CCAA took another MONTH to process a WEEK of paperwork. If they continue at this pace we will not get our referral for another year or so. You can guess how we feel about that.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Conversation with June

Our dog, June, will only talk to Mommy...

We don't know why she won't talk to me like that.

(I like to think it's because she likes me more, but don't tell Dawn I said that!)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Winter's Here!

It's the first snow of the season!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Winter's on Its Way!

I was working my sales territory in Madison, Wisconsin, when I noticed a massive amount of geese flying overhead. Every time I turned around, I saw more coming, so I grabbed my camera and shot this:

I thought it was fitting to post a video of geese flying south as we're gearing up for our first snowstorm of the season. We're actually under a winter storm warning, and they're predicting that the Twin Cities will probably get 6-12 inches of snow and freezing rain.

I hope it's a doozy! The woodpile is well-stocked!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Grand Night for Singing

I have the privilege of singing with the Great Northern Union Chorus, and on November 17 we had our season finale concert. Fortunately, someone's camera was rolling, so here are a couple of selections for your listening enjoyment. (Oh, yeah. I'm on the far right in the fourth row.):

    That Ever I Saw

    Loch Lomond
By the way, you can order a copy of our new CD here.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sheldon Family

As we celebrate Thanksgiving today my heart is with Sandi Sheldon. I am thankful that she has her daughter, Hannah, and that they were able to come home. Sandi's husband, Dennis, was cremated in China after his passing in Guangzhou.

Sandi worked part-time at Wal-Mart, so finances will be tight. If you would like to help, donations may be sent by check to Hope For Hannah, Fifth Third Bank, 6446 S. Cedar St., Lansing, MI 48911.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Something to Think About

Here's a touching audio clip from the Morning Show with Mike and Susan, which airs on KSBJ 89.3 FM in Houston, Texas. Logan is a 13-year-old who listens to the show online because he lives in a small town in Nebraska. He called in to share his thoughts after having to put down a young calf on his family's ranch:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

Update on the Sheldon Family

Lansing Woman OK'd to Return Home with Adopted Chinese Daughter
By JAMES PRICHARD Associated Press Writer

A woman whose husband unexpectedly died in China while they were there to pick up their newly adopted daughter is expected to return home Saturday with the child, a spokeswoman for a Michigan congressman says.Sylvia Warner said Friday that Sandi and Dennis Sheldon of Lansing, Mich., left for China on Oct. 30 to get the 17-month-old girl, whom they named Hannah. They originally had planned to return home this Saturday.But only days after the adoption process was completed, Dennis Sheldon suddenly died. The family was told that he apparently suffered heart failure, said Darlene Hill, Sandi Sheldon's mother.

Because the family's status had changed and Sandi Sheldon had become a single mother, the U.S. consulate in China told her that she could not leave that country with the toddler until new family-status paperwork had been filed. The process normally takes weeks.U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers and his staff learned of the situation on Thursday, when they were inundated with e-mails and more than 500 telephone calls from an online adoption community that knew what was happening.

The authors of several adoption Web logs that were following the situation posted telephone numbers for the offices of Rogers, other elected officials and various government agencies, encouraging readers to ask them for help.Rogers, a Brighton Republican, called the consulate late that evening -- first thing in the morning in China -- and worked out a resolution that involved fast-tracking the filing of the proper paperwork."Through the congressman's call to them and that ensuing discussion, they were able to move the process along," said Warner, his spokeswoman.Rogers' office was notified around 4 a.m. Friday that Sheldon, who had been staying in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, was cleared to return home with her daughter, Warner said.

Dennis and Sandi Sheldon were married for 19 years and Hannah is their first child, said Hill, who lives in Lansing with her husband, Herbert, and is now the grandmother of 13 children. Sandi, 42, works part time at a Wal-Mart store and Dennis, 46, was a custodian for Lansing Public Schools. Hill said family members, while still grieving their loss, were excited to learn that Hannah will accompany her new mother home."We got that news about 12:30 last night," Hill said Friday. "It's the best telephone call we've had in two weeks."

The Sheldons applied to adopt a child from China through Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Bethany Christian Services, one of the nation's largest adoption agencies. The process usually takes two to two-and-a-half years, said John Van Valkenburg, a Bethany spokesman. He called the pending homecoming a "bittersweet time" for the Sheldon family."We are very ecstatic that both mother and daughter are able to return home and join the rest of the family," Van Valkenburg said. "At the same time, our hearts and prayers go out to them for the loss of a father, husband and son."Dennis Sheldon's body was cremated in China and his ashes were returning home with his widow, Hill said. A memorial service for him will take place Nov. 30 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Lansing.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sad News from China

From WILX News in Michigan:

    This picture, taken just days ago, shows an overjoyed Sandi and Dennis Sheldon, who have just adopted Hannah, a 17-month old special needs child in China.

    This picture will now be one of the few memories the family will ever have together.

    Dennis Sheldon died in China this week from diabetic shock, just days after being united with his new daughter.

    "These are one of those emotional things that just tear your heart out. It's hard enough losing a husband, now you have a baby who won't know their father," says Congressman Mike Rogers.

    If that weren't tragic enough, now the U.S. government is saying the family's status has changed, and they won't let Sandi bring the baby back home to Lansing until brand new paperwork has been filed.

    (Full story and video here.)
Dawn knows Sandi Sheldon through an online group of couples who are adopting from China, so this story hit close to home. Please remember this family in your prayers.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Ron Paul Video Primer

The 2008 presidential election is a year away, but the first primaries are coming up in a couple of months. So, with that in mind, I thought I'd introduce you to the only candidate who has consistently honored his oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States":

For more information, check out his campaign web site at Or, better yet, simply read the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

20 Months Since LID (3-13-06)

I got nothing to say, folks!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

CCAA Update

The CCAA has finished the review of the adoption application documents registered with our office before August 31, 2006.

The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before December 8, 2005.

Based on this current pace of one week of paperwork processed per month, with no speed-ups or slow-downs, I estimate (I think I did my math right), that we may receive our referral in September of 2008. That will be 30 months since log-in...far different than our original 6-8 month time-frame. Don't count on this, though, as we have clearly seen that there are no guarantees in this process!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Our New Friends Have Their Baby!!

We met our new friends, Adam and Tracy, a few weeks ago at a Minnesota Red Thread get together. Before that, we were cyber-pals, introduced by a former customer of mine! We have been waiting with them and following their journey. They got their referral after a 21 month wait. They are currently in China and just got their baby, Charlotte! The picture right above is the moment Charlotte is being handed to her Mommy! She is 13 months old, is already walking and has 8 teeth!
Here is a link to their blog:
Here is a link to Flickr where they have some wonderful pictures posted:
Congratulations guys!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

California Fire Update

Dawn's brother, Larry, had some great news in his last e-mail:

    A worship song that went through my head repeatedly through the week, though I barely dared to claim its promise, has these words, based on Isaiah 43:2:

      "Fear not, for I am with you,"
      "Fear not, for I am with you,"
      "Fear not, for I am with you,"
      Says the Lord.

      "I have redeemed you, I have called you by name.
      Child, you are mine.
      When you walk through the waters,
      I will be there,
      And through the flame --
      You'll not be drowned!
      You'll not be burned!
      For I am with you."

    Needless to say, I put it into tomorrow's worship order for our church (Faith Community Church by the Sea). Kay and I won't be the only ones there who felt the fear of great loss this week. The fires raged into many populated areas of northern San Diego County, and about 1/3 of our church attenders were evacuated. To my knowledge, none actually lost their homes, but the prospect itself was truly terrifying. It is my prayer that this song will be part of the healing we all need.

    Speaking of a promise, I was about to take a nap this afternoon and was closing the blinds in our bedroom when I noticed color in the sky. No, not the glow of a fire. It was a rainbow!

    The direction I was looking was the same one from which the monstrous Cedar Fire came in 2003 and destroyed our original house. I'd hardly even noticed how much the weather had changed since the Santa Ana winds raked our county these recent days. There was now actually enough moisture in the air to fall in light rain over our mountains and form this beautiful sight.

    Let it speak for our sense of relief and renewed reliance on God's hand of provision and protection.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Talk about Discrimination

I ran across this sad story of a Christian couple in the U.K. who had their foster son taken away from them because they refused to teach him about homosexuality. Unfortunately, I fear it's only a matter of time before Christians will have to deal with this kind of discrimination in the U.S.:

    They are devoted foster parents with an unblemished record of caring for almost 30 vulnerable children.

    But Vincent and Pauline Matherick will this week have their latest foster son taken away because they have refused to sign new sexual equality regulations.

    To do so, they claim, would force them to promote homosexuality and go against their Christian faith.

    The 11-year-old boy, who has been in their care for two years, will be placed in a council hostel this week and the Mathericks will no longer be given children to look after.

    The devastated couple, who have three grown up children of their own, became foster parents in 2001 and have since cared for 28 children at their home in Chard, Somerset.

    Earlier this year, Somerset County Council's social services department asked them to sign a contract to implement Labour's new Sexual Orientation Regulations, part of the Equality Act 2006, which make discrimination on the grounds of sexuality illegal.

    Officials told the couple that under the regulations they would be required to discuss same-sex relationships with children as young as 11 and tell them that gay partnerships were just as acceptable as heterosexual marriages.

    They could also be required to take teenagers to gay association meetings.

    When the Mathericks objected, they were told they would be taken off the register of foster parents.

    The Mathericks have decided to resign rather than face the humiliation of being expelled.

    Mr Matherick, a 65-year-old retired travel agent and a primary school governor, said: "I simply could not agree to do it because it is against my central beliefs.

    "We have never discriminated against anybody but I cannot preach the benefits of homosexuality when I believe it is against the word of God."

    Mrs Matherick, 61, said they had asked if they could continue looking after their foster son until he is found a permanent home, but officials refused and he will be placed in a council hostel on Friday.

    (Full article)
I pray that day will never come.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Michael is home! (or, some good news to share for once!)

My niece Melinda got married last February and had only six weeks with her new hubby before he left for the Middle East. He just got home and they were able to move into their new home in spite of the fires. We are praying that the fires STAY away from them, as well as my brother and sister. I also have a couple of cousins on watch, too. So far, so good.

It is good to have Michael back in the states! And he got home just in time to help the family deal and cope with all of this!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fire Update

This is an image (click to enlarge) that shows how close the fires are to my sister and brother. She is at Mount Helix, he is in El Cajon in Harbison Canyon. Last I heard, the info they had was that Harbison Canyon was under a VOLUNTARY evacuation, contrary to what this shows. We got an email from Larry and they are staying at their house tonight. Janie and Chris are ok, too, and all are on watch.

California Wildfires

Four years ago, my brother Larry and his wife Kay lost their home in the Cedar Fire of 2003 in San Diego. These pictures are all from that time. Kay is pictured here searching through what was left of their home in Harbison Canyon.

They rebuilt - a beautiful new home - and moved in last year. Unbelievably, they are facing this situation again and have evacuated. I just can't imagine that they had to pack up their cars once more...waiting, wondering and praying.

Please pray for all those facing this now in Southern California and for my family. My sister and her family live in La Mesa and are watching and waiting.

The Mom Song

This is for all you moms and moms-to-be out there...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

19 Months and Counting

It has been 19 months into our 6-8 month wait! That means we are 25 months pregnant!!

Here are the answers to a few more commonly asked questions:

What is the CCAA? China Center for Adoption Affairs.

What is a referral? WHAT WE ARE WAITING FOR! A referral is when the CCAA actually matches us to a child, and then we receive information on Olivia - what province she is from, how old she is, her picture, etc.

What is an LID? Log In Date - When the CCAA logs you into their system.

What is your LID again? Our LID is 3-13-06 - the time-frame counts down from this date - so when it was 6-8 months, we could "estimate" when we might get a referral. Because of the unpredictable wait, we are no longer able to estimate that.

When do you think you will be going to China? AHHH, the million dollar question...we still have no idea, but what we are now hoping to get our referral by Spring. Then, we have a 6-8 week wait before we travel.

PLEASE PRAY that China will not shut down adoptions because of the OLYMPICS!! We also don't really want to travel around that time since it will likely be crowded and much more expensive, but at this point we will go whenever we can!!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

ok, they DID get through November

I had a few emails from folks who really thought that the CCAA made it all the way through November, but I wanted to wait until they updated their website before I posted again.

The CCAA has finished the review of the adoption application documents registered with our office before August 31, 2006.
The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before November 30, 2005.
The rumors have long said that November was a heavy month, so HOPEFULLY, PRAYERFULLY the next few months have less log in dates and we can SOON get to our DAUGHTER!!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

This is Getting Ridiculous

The CCAA* has finished the review of the adoption application documents registered with our office before August 31, 2006. The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before November 25, 2005.

SO from August to October, they have process FOUR DAYS of paperwork. Instead of our hope that things would speed up, there is an even greater slowdown. At this pace we will be lucky if we get Olivia home by the end of 2008! I need some good news, people!!

*ccaa - china center for adoption affairs

Sunday, September 30, 2007

I Cut My Hair

Well, my friend did. My friend Sindy was my hair stylist for years before we realized we were soul sisters. She was hanging out at my house a few weeks ago and we decided to cut my hair at about 11:30 at night! The reason? We were talking about my mom and how she likes my hair short, so we cut it. Plus, I've been thinking, if my mom has to lose her hair, I can lose five inches of mine. The funniest part was seeing my mom at the hospital the next day for her appointment and she said, "I liked your hair the way it was yesterday!" Oh well. It is a nice change and has been a distraction of sorts.

When Sindy was cutting my hair I asked her, "How much is on the floor?" and she said, "Mmmm, a small dog." So, we took a picture of the little dog...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Treatment Update

I decided not to title this a "cancer update", but a "treatment update". The first day of chemo went fine but was long, longer than we expected. From the time we got the hospital to the time we left was nearly nine hours, but aside from the tape they removed from her arm when removing the IV, it was pain free. Overall, it was a very good day and she felt good enough to go shopping for hats afterward.

Some of my friends from the adoption community have asked her name, since I always refer to her as "my mom"! Her name is Pauline. Thanks to EVERYONE praying for her!

Mom is doing well, feeling well, so that is good! We pray for the chemo to attack only what it should, that her health will be strong through this, and that the long list of side effects for these meds will stay away!!! (This picture was taken on my parent's 59th anniversary, last month.)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

"Congratulations, You Have Ovarian Cancer"

That is what my mom heard from her doctor last Friday. He was genuinely happy, because in the grand scheme of things, this is good news. If they were unable to narrow down the primary origin of her cancer, then we would be facing a far more difficult prognosis. He also said that if she was going to have to deal with cancer, this is the one to have as it is far easier to treat than other abdominal primaries.

She starts chemotherapy this Tuesday. Our family is of strong faith and has prayers pouring over us, which is wonderful. We are still a bit in shock, and we are definitely learning more about cancer and treatment than we ever dreamed, but we are rallying, too! My mom said she is determined to face it.

If you are praying for my mom, can you please post a comment here or email me and tell me the city and state in which you live? I'd like to add you to our "Prayer Map", a project I am working on to give me something to do and to give my mom a "visual" of how many people are praying for her. If you live in a small town, please list the town and the nearest big city, too. THANK YOU!

One of her dear friends said, "Maybe this is why you are having to wait for Olivia...God knew your mom needed you to take care of her right now." As I was growing up, when I was burdened about something, my mom told me to visualize placing that burden on God's lap. Right now, I am placing our burden there, but I am also visualizing God's arms around my dear, sweet Mama, lifting her up and holding her close.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

More on "Bail and Sail"

I had to post this beautiful email we got from my cousin. Please make sure you read my post from September 12 before you read this.

Dear Dawn and family,

In recent days I have been reading and rereading the story of the storm, the disciples, and Jesus. It must have been one terrific storm for even the fishermen to be afraid. I wonder what they woke Jesus up for. It seems that they might have wanted to blame him as he suggested the trip. It seems that they might have just wanted Him to worry with them, for when He answered their fears by calming the storm immediately, they were more terrified of His power than they were the storm. I think they finally began to realize just whom they were dealing with and that it wasn't just about them, but for His glory. My prayer for you all today is that that same Jesus will be so near to you today that you will physically as well as spiritually feel His presence and experience His answers. I pray for incredible and deep wisdom for the doctors as they look into this situation with Aunt Pauline. I suppose that it wouldn't hurt all of us to be reminded that Jesus doesn't need to sleep anymore. God bless you all as you go through this time.

Much love,

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I wonder when I will run out of cute numbers! Today it has been 18 months since our paperwork was logged in (LID) to China's system. To an original time-line of 6-8 months. The last batch of referrals came in at 21 months from LID so perhaps we are actually getting closer. We refuse to hold our breaths on the 21 month idea though it would be a wonderful Christmas present. Right now our energy is focused on my Mama. (See one post prior.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bail & Sail

(here are the five kids with Mom and Dad at our family reunion 07-07-07)

The evening of our adoptiversary (09-06-07) was devastating. I had waited with my dad in the hospital for the surgeons to come and tell us how my mom's surgery went. When the time went longer than we expected, my imagination went wild. "What if something really serious happened? What if she doesn't do well during surgery?" I was relieved and excited to see the two surgeons come around the corner. They were familiar - they were the same men that operated on my dad for prostate cancer just last year. The relief lasted only seconds. One said, "The surgery went well, she did great...but we found some cancer while we were in there."

These are words that have definitely changed the lives of the Wilson clan. We found out Saturday the 8th that it is inoperable. My sweet mama, my dear mama, has inoperable cancer! How? Why? What in the world? Well, if you know my mom, you will not be surprised that she is being positive. She went from being shocked and saying, "I just can't believe it" and wondering, "Why me?" on Saturday to saying, "Why not me? Millions of people deal with illness all the time - why should I be exempt?" on Sunday. I think that is remarkable to come to terms with it that much, that fast.

I called my brother Paul early this morning. He reminded me of the story of the Sea of Galilee when the disciples were afraid on their boat, caught in the sudden storm. Jesus was sleeping. They woke him up and accused Him of not caring about what happened to them. Jesus calmed the storm and He asked them, "Why are you so afraid? Where is your faith?"

As the disciples were afraid, with the water rising and filling the boat, my fears are also swelling. I am trying to follow my parents' remarkable example of strong, amazing faith in God and I am grateful to my brother for reminding me of this story. He said, "We are in a storm and we need to bail and sail."

After other tests this week, we will find out on Friday if they can narrow down the primary origin of the cancer so that they will know how to best treat it and what the prognosis is.

Please pray for our family as we bail and sail and deal with the news to come and the continuing changes that are ahead.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Two Years and Counting...

Exactly two years ago today we decided to adopt. That is a 24 month pregnancy so far. The one thing I can guarantee you in all of this is that Lee and I never thought that this adoption would take from 2005 to 2008 to complete. We know people who have had two kids during that time!

We wanted to use this post to answer some FAQs:

1. We are not the only waiting family affected by the wait (how flattering, though…)

2. It will NOT help us to change agencies. We have a wonderful Christian agency ( and the wait is NOT their fault.

3. We could change to another country that our agency works with, but we do NOT choose to do this, because now, as before, we believe the Lord has a daughter for us in China.

4. We don’t know why it is taking so long. That is the million dollar question. Our personal theory is that it is related to the Olympics somehow.

5. The soonest we will get a referral as of right now is JANUARY. It will more likely be closer to MAY.

6. No, it is not an option for us to cease this adoption for any reason. As difficult as this may be for some to understand, we are emotionally attached to our CHINESE daughter. Even though we still have a desire to have a child biologically, this is the path we started on, and we are finishing the race. I am saddened to be asked if it would “matter” if we didn’t adopt. Isn’t getting pregnant what we want anyway? We will see what happens with that when we get home from China, but adoption is not a last resort for us.

7. Yes, the longer we wait, the more the costs increase (all updates with the U.S. Government) Already the delays have cost us an additional $1100, just in the last six months.

8. Yes, it is stretching our faith and patience. YES, it is hard. But we trust in God for the “right” child for us and in His perfect timing.

9. Yes, please pray for the millions of orphans and children needing homes waiting around the world.

10. Yes, please pray for the three of us. For Olivia, for our finances, and for us to all be together very soon.

Thanks to all who have been praying for us and supporting us during this time. We greatly appreciate it!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Time is Nothing to God

The CCAA has finished the review of the adoption application documents registered with our office before June 30, 2006.
The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before November 21, 2005.

From our agency:
America World received 9 healthy referrals from the Hunan Province on Friday, July 6th. The babies ranged in age from 7- 8 months old. The families receiving referrals were logged in on 11/9/05. The current wait time still remains at around 22 months from LID to referral. Unfortunately, the trend over the past year and a half has been for the wait to increase, and it is very likely that this trend could continue. Families are encouraged to continue checking the Weekly Update for the most recent information on the wait time as it fluctuates. As always, America World staff continues to lift families up in prayer through the difficult wait.

Well, at least the Sesame Street numbers keep going and going right along with us...I kind of feel like eating 17 cookies right now!! No, I am doing fine with the wait, most of the time...I came across this the other day and thought I would post it:

How many times can my heart break? How many times can our dreams die? We feel the excitement of a small child and what that child will do to change our lives, but the change it brought was not what we hoped. I once again pack up the baby blankets, decorations and clothes I have waited so long to use, and put my faith and my hope where my little baby God's hands. My devotional for October 11 says,
"God will give you the blessings you ask if you will not go any further without them; but his silence is the sign that he is bringing you into a marvelous understanding of Himself. Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? You will find that God has trusted you in the most intimate way possible, with an absolute silence, not of despair, but of pleasure, because He saw that you could stand a bigger revelation. If God has given you a silence, praise Him, He is bringing you into the great run of His purposes. The manifestation of the answer in time is a matter of God's sovereignty. Time is nothing to God. For while you said, 'I asked God to give me bread and He gave me a stone,' He did not, and today you will find that He gave you the bread of life. His stillness gets into you and you become perfectly confident, 'I know God has heard me.'
While presently I feel as though we asked for bread and received a stone, since time is nothing to God we will find one day that we have the bread that we have waited for."

I wrote that in October 1996, right after a miscarriage, (following a molar pregnancy in 1994). So here we are, in 2007, still waiting for that bread. Never imagined that! But we know that time IS nothing to God and we thank Him for the grace that He has given us! We realize that God has a different path for us, or different bread...and He will give it to us in HIS time. This adoption is not in the hands of China's Adoption Center and it's officials. It is safely in the hands of our God.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Our Friends Have Their Son!

Check out

Bridge Collapse Update

As of today, the count stands at 5 dead, 8 missing, and about 100 injured, of whom 5 are in critical condition. Let's remember to pray for those whose lives have been affected by this tragedy.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Update on Bridge Collapse

The latest report this morning is 4, 6, or 7 people confirmed dead (depending on which channel you're watching), around 60 injured, and about 20 missing. Also, video from a security camera showing the bridge as it collapsed has been released:

Continuous updates can be found here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bridge Collapses in Minneapolis During Rush Hour

Local and national news outlets are reporting the collapse of a section of the I-35W bridge near downtown Minneapolis, about 10 minutes from our house. From WCCO News:
    Both the northbound and southbound lanes of 35W are lying in the Mississippi River.

    There are multiple cars in the river and a couple cars on fire. According to one witness, there was a school bus full of children on the bridge.

    Cars are still on the bridge.

    There was no immediate word on injuries, but dozens of rescue vehicles were there. Divers were also in the water.

    Tons of concrete have collapsed and people are injured. Survivors are being carried up the riverbank.

    Some people are stranded on parts of the bridge that aren't completely in the water.

    A tractor-trailer is on fire at the collapse scene.

    Some cars are still precariously perched on the bridge. Sections of the bridge are mangled, some are pointing up in the air and some are in the river.

    "My truck got completely torn in half," said Gary Bavanaugh, who was on the bridge when it collapsed. "The bridge started shaking and it went down fast."

    Bavanaugh said he was headed northbound on I-35W when he heard a huge rumbling and he saw a huge cloud of white dust as the bridge collapsed. He had his seatbelt on and said if he hadn't, his head would have gone through the windshield.

    Bavanaugh said a school bus full of children was ahead of him. He got on the bus and helped children, who he estimated to be 8-12 years old, off the bus and off the bridge.

    "It is just horrific," said witness Marilyn Franzen, who saw the bridge collapse. Franzen said she saw a school bus that managed to stop before the going over the edge of the bridge that she said was carrying 20-30 children between the ages of 8 and 12 years old.

    According to witnesses, cars are crushed and mangled under the bridge where it collapsed onto the shore of the river. Street signs also crushed cars.

    The road has been under construction since the beginning of the summer.
Here's what the scene looked like shortly before this post:

We live in St. Paul, but drive on this section of highway all the time. It's one of the most heavily traveled in the Twin Cities.

So far, no fatalities have been reported. Our prayers are with those involved.

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Canadian 4th of July

Here's the fireworks finale Dawn and I saw at Niagara Falls a few weeks ago:
This is also my first YouTube upload! I thought this would be a good test run.

Friday, July 13, 2007

16 Months Down, woohoo

It is the 13th again…so now what??? 16 months past our Log In Date. A sarcastic YIPPEE!!! Ok, ok, I will “adopt” a better attitude! The Rumor Queen site says that we may get a referral next April. We won’t count on that, but that would mean travel before the Olympics, something we would like! It ultimately won’t matter to us WHEN we go, we will just be happy TO go, but after all the additional expenses with the delay, it would be nice to avoid the Olympics since the flights and hotels and who knows what else will be priced higher.

We are officially past the longest time China has ever taken from Log In to referral since the country opened to international adoption in 1991 - 15 months - which was during the SARS pandemic.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

One Month Passes, One Week of Paperwork Processed

The CCAA (Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs) has finished the review of the adoption application documents registered with our office before May 31, 2006.

The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before November 14, 2005.
This has been a pattern for the last three months, that the CCAA is taking one month to process one week of paperwork. This is an improvement from what was happening before, and hopefully this pattern will either continue OR it would be ok with us if they SPEED UP, too!
Here is a common sight, from what we have seen and heard - babies in cribs with no mattresses. At least this little one has a mat - some of the photos we have seen have babies lying on wood in the bottom of the cribs.
The most recent update from our agency:

America World is pleased to announce that we received 9 healthy referrals from the Hunan Province on Friday, July 6th. The babies ranged in age from 7- 8 months old. The families receiving referrals were logged in on 11/9/05. As of today, the CCAA has posted the referral cut-off date on their website. The website states that families who are logged in on or before November 14, 2005 have been matched with a referral. America World's next log in date is November 16, 2005.
A reminder that our Log In Date is 3-13-06...

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Just a Few Pics

Hey! We are STILL on vacation! The first picture is in the UP of Michigan. The second is on Mackinac Island. The last two are in Niagara Falls. We had a Wilson family reunion today that was long overdue. It was absolutely wonderful!! Tomorrow we continue!!

More pics will follow.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

the month of JUNE

Ahhhh, June. Not just a month on the calendar...but my beloved beast. We just passed her two year anniversary - actually, in MAY, not June. She has brought a lot of joy into our lives, a lot of humor and she has definitely tested our patience. Tonight, she ate my dinner. **sigh** Hope she liked that grilled chicken. I had raisin bran.

Actually, if you look at this picture, carefully look at will see all there is to know about June. Look at those eyes...she thinks she is smarter than you, doesn't she? That smarmy look on her face. And she is licking her chops...undoubtedly she probably had just scarfed something else down when this was taken. She is such a pain. But she is also a comfort. When I am not feeling well, she is the one who snuggles me. She has also been a good distraction as we wait for Olivia since she has taken so much discipline -- true, consistent discipline, which takes time! She has changed so much since we got her and is so much more calm and well behaved. But I still had raisin bran for dinner. Ahhhhh, June.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

15 Months Down - One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

China opened it's doors to international adoption in 1991. Up until just a few months ago, the longest that CCAA had ever taken from LID to referral was 15 months, and that was during the SARS pandemic. And so we wait.
wait verb (used without object)
1. to remain inactive or in a state of repose, as until something expected happens (often fol. by for, till, or until)
2. (of things) to be available or in readiness
3. to remain neglected for a time
4. to postpone or delay something or to be postponed or delayed
5. to look forward to eagerly
6. to continue as one is in expectation of; await
7. to postpone or delay in expectation
8. Archaic. (of things) to be in readiness for; be reserved for; await
9. Archaic. to attend upon or escort, esp. as a sign of respect. –noun
10. an act or instance of waiting or awaiting; delay; halt
11. a period or interval of waiting

Friday, June 08, 2007

Never Good News!!!!! Whatevah!!

The CCAA has finished the review of the adoption application documents registered with our office before March 31, 2006.

The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before November 7, 2005.

We had to write out a check today for $545.00 for the US Government since more things are expiring. We have spent more than $1,100 in the last six months for fees of items that "expire" or need to be updated. All for OUR government.

On April 10 I posted a depressing update from our agency that the wait had increased to 18-19 months. In that short time it has now increased to 22 months. This now means that the earliest we will get a referral is January 2008. I wonder if it will get to the point where it is so completely ridiculous that we start to laugh!? Hmmm...nope, not there yet!

Monday, June 04, 2007

I Have Sew Much to Say...

I didn’t realize when I started Olivia’s Bai Jia Bei, or 100 Wishes Quilt, all the things I would learn along the way. It is surprising to me the similarities between waiting for Olivia to come home and making her quilt.

1) It has been a journey. I just received my last piece of fabric and I am partially excited that I can finish the quilt now and partially sad that the anticipated walks to the mail box are done.

2) It has tested my patience to wait on people to send me fabric just as the wait for Olivia is testing my patience! And now the wait for the rest of the cards begins…
3) It has been a learning experience. I have a quilting teacher from who has helped me all along the way. It reminds me of the “teach a man to fish” proverb. I didn’t hire someone to make the quilt for me, but I am learning HOW to make a quilt, something I have wanted to learn for years.

4) I have had to give up control. When you have 100 very different pieces of fabric and are piecing them together like a puzzle, you can drive yourself crazy trying to get them in the “right order”. I finally had to just let go and let it be a piece of art. I also had to go easy on myself that it will undoubtedly NOT be perfect, but it will definitely be made with love.
Funny how those things also describe parenting! A journey where your patience is tested, a learning experience where you have to give up control…hmmm…

The quilt has been a WONDERFUL project to keep me busy during the wait and I am so grateful for it. It has given me something tangible to work on, something to look forward to, and something that our daughter will have forever. Thanks so much to everyone who contributed. I picture Olivia looking through her book of wishes years from now and talking about the different people who contributed to her quilt. It is that image in my mind that brings me peace during this agonizing wait for her arrival.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Daughter's Return Trip to China

Martha Osborne chronicles the journey:
    Coming of Age...A China Adoptee Returns to the Land of Her Birth

    Although China has been open to international adoption since the early 1990's, it wasn't until 1994/5 that the wave of adoptive parents first gathered gale-force as the door of adoption in China swung open farther and families lined up to parent the waiting children living in orphanages.

    Like many adoptive parents, when the idea of international adoption first was being explored as an option to build our family, I had a very strong attraction to particular countries. Always fascinated with the history and cultures of Asia, and sharing that interest with my husband, we explored adoption from China and South Korea. Over the years our family has grown with the addition of children from both countries.

    We adopted a toddler from China in 1996. Another toddler, this time from South Korea, in 1997. Then in 1998 we saw a photo of a wide-smiled 8-year-old on a waiting child list. There were two lines only to describe her, and no further information could be obtained:

    "Wu Qin works hard. She has had open heart surgery."

    That was it. Her entire information included a photo of a girl with two pony-tails, one enormous smile, and two lines of information. Of course we decided to adopt her immediately.
Read the full article here.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A Mish-Mash

It is funny to me that Mother's Day was the 13th of the month and I didn't even realize that marked another month passing since our LID. I used to count down the days until the 13th and this time I didn't even realize it. I do hope and pray that Mother's Day 2007 is indeed my last Mother's Day without Olivia.

Well, we got a new camera in February and we are finally uploading our pictures. Here are just a few. They start from the most recent and go back to Feb.

The rows of Olivia's 100 Wishes quilt. A work in progress!

Our first official BBQ in our new home. We had the Rieck's and the Woyke's (from our America World China travel group) over to pray for our daughters in China and for the process to speed up.

At the airport with my new nephew, Michael, visiting with him before he heads off to the Middle East for six months with the Navy. He had a three hour layover at MSP airport.

Our crazy dog, June, yawning.

With the Woyke's celebrating our shared LID-iversary and also Jen's birthday. We met a Chinese restaurant and then came back to our house for dessert. Pictured below is their son, Barak and daughter Celia, and the ladybug cake that I baked and Lee decorated.

Our cats in a rare moment of bliss. Within five minutes of this picture they were fighting again.

Snow clear to the top of the upstairs window.

Ezra and June sharing a nap.

Abby and June sitting together on the trunk.

We went to San Diego in February for my niece Melinda's wedding. Here we are with her and Michael.

And here we are on the beach!

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