Thursday, July 31, 2008

Foody Friday - CPK

Tonight was girls night out!! We had a great time! Jenny has a foreign exchange student living with them for a month and her name is Nana. She is from Shanghai! We went to see Mamma Mia! It was pretty good! Didn't expect it to be so quirky and funny. THEN we went to California Pizza Kitchen. Yum. SO excited. They brought back my favorite pizza: Pear Gorgonzola pizza. And it has a salad on top of it. You might think it doesn't sound very good, but it. is. awesome. Oh, by the way, the theme this week is, "What did you cook last week?" So, once again, I am not following the rules.

We were so hungry everyone grabbed slices before I took a picture.

Jenny says, "MMMMMMMM"

She liked it so much she had another (a little protective of it, too!)

Nana said, "This is splendid!"

Ahhh, soooo good!

Jenny and Nana admiring the Tiramisu. Nummy.

Me and Nana right before we said night-night.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Well, I actually got the call on Wednesday, but by the time y'all read this it will be Thursday so whatevah!

My Dad (ain't he a cutie?) had his latest tests and his PSA numbers are still down so HURRAY - the radiation seemed to do the trick! Both parents still cancer free. I am thankful for this, but with Dad's already returning once and Mom almost taking a permanent trip to see Jesus, I can't say that I am not fearful of the ugly C-word returning to our lives. I know I am not supposed to be afraid. I know about the verse, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10). I know. But this is my Mama and Daddy we are talking about here. It is hard not to worry.

While I am so thankful to hear of my father's well-being, I found out tonight that a fellow Chinese adoptive mom and friend of mine, Kristi, lost her father this morning (Wednesday, as I write). It was a long battle as he struggled with memory issues. Please pray for her and her family as they celebrate his life and mourn his loss. I know that this can be a Thankful Thursday for Kristi as well as I know she is thankful for her father, his life, that he passed peacefully and that he is now with our heavenly Father. Thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


My entire life I have seen and heard things about UNICEF, always thinking that they were a great organization. "Trick or treat for UNICEF" is a phrase that I recall. I have recently learned much more...and they were in Haiti last week meeting with government officials, which has made many waiting Haiti parents a bit nervous. They say that they only put pressure on governments to pass laws that comply with the international conventions, but it seems that it goes much further than that. Many attribute recent delays in Guatemala and Haiti to UNICEF. When you hear that there are adoption delays in a country, do a little digging - it may be due to the influence of UNICEF. (Let me clarify that this is not the case for China's delays.)

Here is a quote from a Palm Beach Post article, regarding the newly orphaned children of the tsunami in 2005: "'If a child has already lost everything, we feel there is no point in making things worse by imposing a new country, customs and language on it,' said Marc Vergara, another UNICEF official." Here is a link to UNICEF's statement regarding international adoption.

Interesting that I happened to post on dirt cookies/mud cakes last week, because an article was just published this week on the topic. There are more details of how Haiti has landed in this crisis situation. I fully recognize that similar things are happening in Ethiopia, Africa and other places. There is just something about Haiti being a two hour flight from Miami that makes it more sickening to me. That Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas. That it is the only Caribbean island that is not a vacation destination. (Try to find a travel book on Haiti at the local library or bookstore.) That when you hear about starving children and poverty, you don't hear about Haiti; you hear about Africa. Haiti, in my estimation, is overlooked, both by those reporting the news and by those adopting.

We were one of the couples who didn't even think of Haiti when we discussed adoption. We found these blogs from Greg and Cara before we were even adopting from Haiti. We didn't pick the country and then decide to adopt though. God simply directed us to Patricia (and then Philippe), who just happen to be in Haiti. It isn't a short process, and people want a short process. I don't blame them. I hear that Ethiopia is growing in popularity for international adoption because of the short waits. I just pray that there is far more to their decision than the speed of the adoption process...

Anyhoo, if you don't have time or interest to read the article, please just look at the photos and ask yourself if you would like to live in Haiti. I wonder if UNICEF officials would like to live there! I will leave you with one last story. People we knew from our former church adopted from Ethiopia. Their car broke down in a village on their way to the airport. When people in the village realized that they were adopting a little girl and taking her to America, they pushed their children up to the car and asked if they could take their kids to America, too. It is not that the parents don't love their children. It is that they love them so much that they would let them go, so that they can have hope, opportunity and so much more.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Some Summer Stuff...

My nephew, Alecks, in Soitsambu, Masailand. He is back home now in San Diego after several months in England, Kenya and Tanzania, serving with YWAM.
Lee's aunt and uncle gave us a giftcard for Applebee's, so off we went for his birthday dinner!

Yes, we registered at Babies R Us. I know it is early, but I decided I had waited long enough. It was a fun date, actually, and I felt very loved and quite delighted that Lee pulled into this parking spot...

My great-nieces slept over this weekend...Ava's first sleepover at our house. All went well except for when she realized she was ACTUALLY sleeping over! We went to the park. I love the determined walk that the girls take on when they are excited about something. One of the fun things that Ava said was, "I need to have a turn leashing the dog."

Corene and her buddy

Unta Wee and Ava

There were too many fun and funny moments to share, but I HAVE to share one story. Early in the morning I awoke to a loud sing-songy call from Corene. "Aunt Daaaaaaaawwwnnn" over and over. I went into the room. I said, "Sshh...what's the matter?" And she whispered back, "Umm, I have to go to the bathroom, but I'm afraid that the flushing will be too loud and I will wake everybody up!" I had to laugh as the calling out already did wake everybody up! I just love the way kids process things!

We took the girls to the lake and had a great time

We got this picture today of Patricia from another waiting family. It is always such a gift to get a new picture! I think she is quite photogenic.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I was raised by God-fearing, Bible-believing folks who were themselves raised during the Depression. I am already quite frugal, am grateful for what the Lord has provided for me and do believe that I am not one to take things for granted, for the most part. But come on, we are Americans. There are things we take for granted that we don't even realize we take for granted. Water coming from our faucet. Heat when we need it. Cool air when we need it. Soft beds. Jobs (how often do you complain about yours?). Medical care. Children. Resources to raise them. Food in the fridge...the freezer...the cupboards...not what you're in the mood for? Go to the store. Or better yet, go out to eat. Get there in your car. I could type all day.

We have been in the adoption process for nearly three years but the decision to adopt from Haiti has been a significant life change for me. We have heard it all our lives: "Eat your vegetables, children are starving out there." But the children were never MY children. The children suffering from malnutrition are now MY children. The pictures of the naked kids with empty tummies are from my children's homeland. The 300,000 restaveks (child slaves) are my kids' ages or younger. It has changed me. I can't hear the stories and then forget and move on with the rest of my day anymore. In a way, I wish I could. Ignorance IS bliss, to be sure.

I have heard people say, "I want to help, I just don't know where to start." I provide several names of places to start and then it is quiet after that. They perhaps ponder it for a moment while they drive to Starbucks, and then move on with their day. I am not trying to judge here or be holier-than-thou. I just have such a heavy burden on my heart. I need to share it to lighten the load a bit for me, but also to perhaps make an impact on you as well. All I know is that there are 143 million orphans in the world who need moms and dads, a hug, Jesus, love, and food in their bellies. Our orphanage turns away 80 children a month because of funding. 80 more kids who could have gotten an education. 80 more kids who could have had three meals a day and clean water to drink. 80 more kids who could have found forever families and be adopted. Both of our children were turned away. It is by the grace of God that they are where they are right now and it will be by the grace of God that they come home.

SOOOOO, I am thankful for all the blessings we have in our cushy, easy lives. But this all just came out when I started typing! I intended to write today about being thankful for the Haiti Nurse, Lori. I warn you up front that you may not want to visit this site if you are squeamish. I AM squeamish, but I visit anyway, to see what the people of Haiti are dealing with, to pray, and to see what Haiti Nurse is up to. She is an American living in Haiti and doing the best she can every day to help. They see sometimes hundreds of people in one day. I think she needs encouragement. I know she needs prayer. I left a comment on her blog and was surprised to receive a very long email from her. At the very least, the next time you have to wait in your paper gown in the freezing cold room waiting for the doctor to come in, instead of complaining, could you whisper a prayer of gratitude?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

A woman makes dirt cookies in Haiti

Please pray.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, My Calm and Steady Hubby!

We learned from a DVD sent to us in January from our agency that Patricia had a brother. We were in Des Moines in February when we learned that Philippe was available for adoption. The American and Haitian directors from the orphanage were in Iowa, speaking at various churches. We were staying at our friend's house, and that night my brother Paul called me. I told him about Philippe. We kind of both had nervous laughs at the beginning, but then he said that when he felt that he should move his family to Mexico, he found this verse: "But my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." (Hebrews 38:10)

Paul said we could shrink back in fear, or have faith and move forward. We knew we would move forward even before he called, but I can't say I wasn't freaked out at all about three adoptions at once. I definitely felt fear. Lee, on the other hand, was remarkably calm. While I kept pacing and repeating, "Oh my gosh! We have a son!" He said, with his classic matter-of-factness, "Yup, we do!" He said that he had been praying for a son. We had discussed adopting a boy later on, so that we could close the gap a bit between the girls. We had discussed how much easier it would be for Patricia if she had someone else from her orphanage to come home with her. God just (uh-huh) once again, (yup) had something else in mind for our journey. It would be now. It would be Philippe.

Throughout this process, and throughout the entire time I have known him, actually, Lee has been my calm and steady. He rarely gets mad (but of course I am the one who can draw that out of him); hardly anything phases him (except political and social injustices); he is a wonderful chef; he is a hard worker; is remarkably intelligent (is an analytical thinker and quite the theologian); he is witty; he has many talents, and he takes great care of this house, the critters and me. He is eager to take care of our kids and will be an excellent father. I am very grateful that when we both know which turn God is directing us to take, we both have the same strong sense of peace...adopting three kids at once, for example!

So Happy Birthday, calm and steady! We all know that someone as bouncy and hyper as you-know-who needs that as a counterbalance!

The Secret to a Happy Marriage

Comedian Tim Hawkins on the things you don't say to your wife...

A Homeschool Family

Whether you're a homeschool family or not, this is funny stuff...

(From comedian Tim Hawkins.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Feline Friday (Just kidding!)


Ok, so I wasn't patient enough! I admit it. I think I was just taken aback at the number of days it was taking for the paperwork clearance but all I had to do was wait a few more hours before I posted!

Jul 17, 2008
2:19 PM

8:30 AM
Int'l shipment release

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dossier in Port-au-Prince...

Our dossier is in Haiti...the journey for this package was a lot shorter than that of our China dossier, but it is taking longer to be delivered...??? We are still waiting for it to go through customs. How many days can it take to clear a box of paperwork? So like I said before, I guess we wait. I should find out what the Creole and Mandarin words are for PATIENCE. And maybe the words NEED SOME.

Starts from the bottom up:

Jul 14, 2008
4:00 PM
Clearance in progress

3:30 PM
In transit
Package available for clearance

7:06 AM
In transit

Jul 12, 2008
8:36 AM
In transit

6:36 AM
At dest sort facility

3:58 AM
Departed FedEx location

12:53 AM
Departed FedEx location

Jul 11, 2008
11:01 PM
Arrived at FedEx location

8:14 PM
Left FedEx origin facility

6:40 PM
Picked up

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Family Fun!!

We got together with some of my cousins on Sunday and wouldn't ya know that the ones visiting from Washington D.C. left before we talked about getting a picture!! Stink!!

Here I am with the hotties

My cousin, Pete, goofing around


Today we had dinner over at my folks' house and Jenny made the dinner. She might have to put this recipe on for Foody Friday, it was so good! July has the most birthdays for our family. My brother-in-law who lives in CA also has a July birthday and Philippe's is the same day. In the picture below is Matt, Ava, Me, Lee and Corene - pictured in the order of our b-days, all exactly a week apart except Ava, who slipped in the middle there. When Philippe comes home, he will be between Matt and Ava! :) Today just happened to be mine! I don't really want any more birthdays without my kiddos home, so let's get GOING!!!

The girls going through their loot

Visiting at my parents' new place. My brother and his wife flew in from San Diego last night, so that was another reason for today's get together.

**SIGH** Good times, good times.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

28 Months Since LID

Well, today marks 28 months to our 6-8 month wait! Hardee har har! If adopting from China has taught us anything, we have learned to be skeptical patient and realize that in life you just can't have expectations, really. Think about it. If you have low or no expectations (with, say, pretty much anything) things are good! People certainly don't disappoint if you don't project your expectations upon them and happenings and events in your life can have the same result.

We do believe that while we know China puts great effort into their matches (they don't just take the next family in line and match them with the next child in line), we have faith in our Lord that ultimately HE is charge of this process and who our daughter is, and yes, even when she will come home!

Phil 1:6 "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

So they have given referrals to those registered before 1-25-06. Our documents were registered on 3-13-06. Most projections still have us getting our referral in January, some say March. The next few months will be very telling as we get past the Olympics. It would be fabulous if after the Olympics things speed up. The reason for the delay that we have received from China is that there are not enough babies, so if that is accurate, there will likely not be a speed-up.

Our friends with a November 2005 LID got their baby in October 2007. Our friends with a January 2006 LID will be traveling in August 2008. Those two families only had two months between their log ins, but 10 months between travel times.

So I guess what I am saying is that we still don't know anything!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Recent Celebrations

On the 4th of July, we had some friends over and watched the Roseville city fireworks from our deck! It was so great! We could see other firework displays also, but they were really small. I wish I would have gotten pics of everyone who came, but the kids were the ones bouncing around and therefore, captured the most camera time! Here we are with Beau and Zoe. Sparkler time!

Today we went to the Dragon Boat Festival with our MN Red Thread Group. We had perfect weather and enjoyed visiting, playing, eating, and watching the ceremonies.

Our friends Adam, Tracy and Charlotte
Charlotte swinging with her Daddy
Lee tickling Charlotte
Our friends Dan and Karen just got their referral and will be traveling soon to meet their daughter, Danika! We had a wonderful day!!
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