Saturday, August 29, 2009

Last Chance for the AWESOME Bracelet Raffle - COME ON!!!

Ok, we conclude our adoption fundraising raffle on Monday, August 31! Don't you want to have a chance to win this great customized bracelet? Your photos inside and your choice of fabric for the outside. For you or for your wife, your mom, a friend...Let's get 'er done! We only have 6 entries after 6 weeks! (CORRECTION - I MEANT 6 PEOPLE ENTERED, NOT ACTUAL ENTRIES). I know we have more readers than that...and come on, how many trips to Starbucks have you made in 6 weeks? One entry is only $5!

Click HERE to learn how it works. Good luck!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Olivia Update

Here is an update on our Miss O:
  • She seems to have adjusted very well overall
  • She has gained 1 lb, 2ozs and a half an inch in length in just under three weeks
  • She has caught on to the fact that if she drops something from her highchair, the dogs pick it up, so sometimes, just for fun she drops Cheerios for them - oh, and she sometimes lets them lick her hands...
  • She (YAY!) sleeps about 10 hours straight
  • She is crawling really fast and walking while holding two hands to help
  • She is used to the dogs and crawls right under them, and they walk right around or over her. They seem to have a good understanding of each other

  • She regularly says Mama, Dada, dogga, all-da (all done), hi, ha-o (hello) and has been heard to say Gamma, ge-ta (gentle), tayo (thank you), mo (more) and hi-go (here ya go)
  • She has four teeth on top now (and of course the two little ones on the bottom that she came to us with!) She continues to drool teethe, so there must be more on the way!

We are officially in love. She is a sweet little peanut and we love her to bits. We show her Patricia and Philippe's picture every day. We miss them terribly. My heart ached when Lee said, "I thought having her home would make it easier, but it just makes me want them home all the more". We know they will be home when it is right, we know, we know, but waaaaaaah.

Ok, so I gotta end this on a positive note...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Urgent Call to Action for Haiti Adoptions - PLEASE HELP

This is lengthy, but for Patricia and Philippe and their fellow Haitians, PLEASE READ AND PLEASE ACT! It will only take a few minutes. Phone calls should be made today if possible, but don't have to be, and letters sent this week. PLEASE send an email to UNICEF - there is a sample below, just cut and paste and sign your name. This could directly impact when Patricia and Philippe come home!

Joint Council Haitian Children & Families Initiative

Dear Friends,

Over the past three years, the processing of adoptions in Haiti have slowed to a crawl. Abandoned children are enduring adoption processes lasting two or three years before being united with adoptive families. Not only is such lasting institutional care damaging to the children who wait and wait, but the slowed process has had a negative effect on the many desperately needy children of Haiti who are not waiting in orphanages. Orphanages in Haiti have traditionally been providers of humanitarian aid to their communities. Many support free medical clinics, schools, feeding programs and family preservation programs. Orphanages have been a resource for temporary care for children following a family crisis, such as a fire or illness. But now that children are languishing in orphanage care for years, orphanage directors report that the beds are full, the food and medicine supplies are insufficient, and the children needing temporary care are left on the streets with little prospect for life.

In a laudable effort to move towards transparent and democratic government, Haitian officials are now adhering to the Haitian Constitutional law regarding adoption, written in 1974 by Jean Claude Duvalier. While the law of 1974 places severe limitations on the size and age of those who may adopt, it does allow for Presidential Dispensation for those not meeting the family size or age limitations. Unfortunately, Haiti lacks an organized and transparent system for obtaining Dispensations. This confusion along with the absence of a sense of urgency regarding institutionalized children has caused extensive delays in the adoption process and further victimizes children who have already lost much. Haiti has a pending solution to this legal logjam. A newly proposed adoption law will clarify who may adopt, increase protections for Haitian children, their birth parents, and adoptive families, and streamline the adoption process. This legislation is supported by the United States and French governments along with the NGO community and UNICEF. The children of Haiti, the crèche directors who serve them and the adoptive families who wish to raise them need your help. We must encourage the Haitian government to pass the new adoption law and efficiently grant Dispensations in the interim.


Make five simple phone calls and write one letter.

1. Call your U.S. Senator. You can find your Senators’ phone numbers at Ask to speak with the Legislative Director or Chief of Staff

2. Call your second U.S. Senator.

3. Call your representative to the U.S. House of Representative.

You can find your representative at Ask to speak with the Legislative Director or Chief of Staff

4. Call or fax UNICEF Haiti, or more simply, email! Ask to speak with Julie Bergeron. Their number is 011-509- 2245-3525.Their fax number is 011-502- 2245-1877. Her email address is (Please note that calls and faxes to Haiti are international calls)

5. Write letters for the Haitian Prime Minister, President of the Haitian Senate, and the Minister of Social Welfare. Your letter can contain the same information as specified below. If you are an adoptive family or are close to a Haitian-born adopted child, insert a picture of the child or your family in your letter. Describe your family’s commitment to Haitian culture and the country’s well being as a result of your contact with a Haitian-born adopted child.

Mail your letter to Holt International, which has volunteered to collect letters and transport them to Haiti for hand delivery to the above government officials. Holt International Haitian Children & Families Initiative P.O. Box 2880 Eugene, OR 97402

6. Forward this message to everyone you know who cares about the welfare of abandoned children in Haiti. Individuals need not be personally involved in a Haitian adoption to let their voices be heard on behalf of children who have no one to speak for them!

When should you call? August 17th THAT IS TODAY!!!!!

What should you say or write to member of the U.S. Congress? Speak from your heart and give them the following information. Inform them that you are calling regarding Joint Council Haitian Children & Families Initiative. Inform them that the Haitian international adoption process is unreasonably delayed. Inform them that children referred to U.S. families are languishing in institutions. Inform them that the backlog of children in the process of adoption is preventing orphanages, who serve as local humanitarian aid providers, from continuing to assist their communities. Inform them that due to the interruption of services provided by the orphanages, Haitian children outside the orphanages are needlessly dying. Ask that their office to sign the Dear Colleague letter regarding the pending Haitian adoption law, sponsored by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Senator Sam Brownback. The letter asks that adoptions currently in process be speedily granted Presidential Dispensation and that the new adoption law be passed.

Sample Statement

Hello, We are calling/writing on behalf of the Haitian Children & Families Initiative. We, as your constituents, are asking that the Senator/Congressperson sign the Dear Colleague letter regarding the pending Haitian adoption law, sponsored by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Senator Sam Brownback. As you may be aware, the Haitian adoption process is unreasonably delayed. Children already matched with adoptive families are languishing in orphanages for two and three years. The orphanages, which have traditionally served as humanitarian aid outreach centers, have run out of resources and are no longer able to offer assistance to their communities. Haitian children outside the orphanages are dying needlessly as a direct result of the delayed adoptions. Your office must get involved and sign the Dear Colleague letter to support the Haitian government in their effort to assist the homeless and abandoned children of Haiti.


(your name and contact info)

What should you say or write to UNICEF? Speak from your heart and give them the following information. Inform them that you are calling regarding the Joint Council Haitian Children & Families Initiative. Ask them to support the rights of children and lend their considerable influence to ensuring that intercountry adoptions currently in-process be speedily processed to completion under the existing Presidential Dispensation clause. Inform them that many adoptions are taking two or three years to process, during which time children languish in orphanages. Inform them that due to the overextension of their resources, orphanages are no longer able to provide their traditional humanitarian aid services to their communities, such as free schools, medical care, temporary child care for families in crisis, and family preservation programs. Inform them that as a direct result of the orphanage’s inability to provide humanitarian aid due to overly taxed resources, children are needlessly dying in the streets outside the orphanages. Ask them again for their support of the Presidential Dispensation and the swift passage of the new adoption law.

Sample Statement


We are calling/writing on behalf of the Joint Council Haitian Children & Families Initiative. As financial supporters of UNICEF (through our tax dollars), we are asking that UNICEF lends its support and considerable influence to the Joint Council Haitian Children & Families Initiative. As you may be aware, the Haitian adoption process is unreasonably delayed. Children already matched with adoptive families are languishing in orphanages for two and three years. The orphanages, which have traditionally served as humanitarian aid outreach centers, have run out of resources and are no longer able to offer assistance to their communities. Haitian children outside the orphanages are dying needlessly as a direct result of the delayed adoptions. UNICEF must get involved to ensure that adoptions in process be speedily granted Presidential Dispensation so that they can be completed in a timely manner, and that the new adoption law be passed.


Can you explain the problem behind the current crisis? Here is some additional information…The current constitutional law, written in 1974 by Jean Claude Duvalier, severely restricts who may adopt from Haiti. The only method by which the Haitian government may permit adoptions to non-conforming families is via Presidential Dispensation. The lack of a defined and efficient Dispensation process has caused delays of up to three years for children in the adoption process. Prolonged institutionalization has been scientifically proven to be highly detrimental to children. As orphanages expend their limited resources caring for children in the process of adoption over extended periods, they are unable to provide their traditional humanitarian aid programs to their communities. The existing adoption law provides almost no protection for the rights of abandoned children, their birth parents, or adoptive families. It offers no safe guards against human trafficking. A proposed adoption law will alleviate the crisis by standardizing and streamlining adoptions, and will far better protect abandoned Haitian children from child trafficking.

What else can you do? In addition to your primary calls to U.S. Congress and UNICEF, you can call the Haitian Embassy: Embassy of Haiti in the U.S. 2311 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20008

Office Phone 1-202-332-4090. Office Fax 1- 202-745-7215

Please share the message – post it to your blog, email it to your friends, add it to your Facebook page. It is time to act on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of homeless and abandoned children of Haiti.

With love,
Dawn and Lee Shelton

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Road Trip to Des Moines!

Our friends, Brian and Jen Gibson, have been in the Haitian adoption process for 29 months and they came home today with their three kids!! We just had to be there for this momentous occasion! We left our house at 7:20 am and drove to Des Moines. Before we went to the homecoming at the airport, we had lunch with former Minnesotans Chris and Linda Wilde and their daughter Ellie. It was fun seeing them, too, and they really enjoyed meeting our comic relief, Olivia.Here is the sign I made (made with more love than artistic skill) Here we are with Gibson's beautiful son, Christopher, who is friends with Patricia and Philippe. All three Gibson kids were from P and P's orphanage. We didn't count how many people were there to greet them, but I would guess 75 or so!
Here we all are! It was such a joy, such a blessing and such a miracle to witness this lovely, long-awaited for, prayed-over event!! It was our first airport party for a Haitian adoption and it brought us great comfort to know that Haitian kids DO COME HOME!!! WAHOO!! So happy for you, Gibsons!!!
Olivia did great the whole day. We knew she would after doing so well flying from Hong Kong to Tokyo to Seattle to the Twin Cities with hardly a fuss. She had breakfast and her morning nap in the car and her afternoon nap and dinner in the car, and she had a great time playing with Mama in the backseat.
Here is one of the many goofy faces...
Olivia waves hello and goodbye, gives high fives, does "SO BIG" and now, plays peek-a-boo.

Laughing, or shall I say squealing with delight over this wonderful game :)
And then, no less than two seconds after this picture -

Hmm, this looks like a good teether...
We got home at 7:20pm, exactly 12 hours to the minute from when we left! We had a great day and a fun drive. Olivia had fun crawling around for a while and playing with Daddy before she was ready for bed. She crawled over to me and wanted up and that was that! What a sweetie. Have I mentioned that we loooooove her??


The 13th marked one month since we got our baby O! Time goes alot faster on this side of things... It is interesting that our Gotcha Day was on the 13th since that was our Log In Date!
We celebrated by going out for Chinese food, our first meal out with just the three of us. We had a great time but one goofy thing happened. The owner of the restaurant (whom we have met before, but...) scooped her up and took her into the kitchen to meet her husband. It was a bit disconcerting to have her go out of our eyesight, even for a second! (This happened in China, too. A store clerk grabbed her out of my arms and starting walking away from me. I nervously followed and tried to take her back as soon as I could. She just wanted to show Olivia to her co-worker, but again, it was unnerving!)
Anyway, we couldn't be more thrilled with our "match". She is a pure joy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

In China
On the way home
A nap on Patricia's bed, while Mama unpacked on the floor
In her own bed, sporting a faux-hawk

Thank you, Jesus, that our house isn't so quiet anymore and when I go up to bed and walk past that room, our baby is IN HER BED. HOME.

Psalm 27:14
Wait for the Lord;be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Monday, August 10, 2009

More "Welcome Home" and The Many Faces of O

Our super sweet neighbor, Mary, did all this work on our driveway to surprise us as we came home from China. It must have taken a loooooong time to do all of this! She did it the Tuesday evening before we came home because she had to work on Wednesday. She was so happy when she woke up on Wednesday and it hadn't rained! Unfortunately, within the hour of us pulling in the driveway, it poured and the rain washed it all away. It literally rained for a matter of minutes and was done by the time we got home, but it was too late :( Thank you, Mary, for the thought and effort and we are SO glad you took pictures!


And now for some of Miss O's different expressions...

Saturday, August 08, 2009

P & P Update Photos!

Here are the most recent photos that we received of Patricia and Philippe.

There were families visiting Haiti while we were in China and our online friend, Katy, read the kids the letters we sent explaining that we were picking up their little sister. We have video of it. Katy also printed off pictures that we emailed from China, including this one.

The day of the video was Philippe's birthday and he seems pretty happy, but we were told that Patricia had a very hard time understanding why we weren't there. You can see in the video that she is not very responsive, but she often behaves that way when she is sad, taking in new information, or when she is the center of attention, and in the video it is all of the above.

We miss our kids so much and can't wait until they are here for good!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Our Wonderful "Welcome Home"!!

We keep getting requests for more blog posts and more pictures and updates on how our sweet Olivia is doing. We admit that we are totally behind on blogging! In fact we still have China pictures and videos we want to post, but if YOU had this little sweetheart to play with would YOU want to blog? :)

To answer your questions, Olivia is doing amazingly. When we think of how significantly her life has changed in the last three weeks we can't believe how well she has adjusted. She has a big personality in a little 17 lb. body! She is over her ear infection and doing great. She is a peanut in size 6 month clothing!! We hardly had anything that small so most of her clothes are a bit big on her. I hit the thrift stores so she has a few things that fit now! :)


Charlotte, whose dad took many of these great airport pictures, and Isaac and Ava (my great-nephew and niece) had fun playing while they waited for us to get there (special thank you to Val and Kirk for your photos, too!)
So sweet....watching for us to come down the escalator. It is this sight that made me choke up - there were even more kids lined up at the glass...
Here we come!
We completely blocked the area where people read which baggage claim is theirs! :) Our god-daughter, Kiah, with her sign

My precious Mama, meeting Olivia. With our friend's photos, we got it from both angles!
Words can't express my joy that my mom was here for this moment! What a miracle and a blessing!

We flew home on Lee's 40th birthday

My niece, Jenny, brought birthday cake!

Jenny, meeting Miss O

Our friend Sirene gave us beautiful flowers

And a balloon from the Emanoffs

Grandma Marsha holding Miss O for the first time!

Grandpa Wilson holding Miss O. They have become good pals!

Now this one tops everything...Our dear friends, the Brennans, are in transition - currently staying with relatives in Indiana. Fred was a meteoroloist for NWA which is now owned by Delta, and they just sold their home in Bloomington, soon to be relocated to Atlanta. They ALL flew in on standby just to be there for our arrival. They have been great mentors to us and we love the entire family. We miss them so much already and are still trying to get our brains around the fact that we can't just pop in for pizza and lay around on the floor playing games, telling stories and end up laugh-laugh-laughing. LOVE YOU, BRENNANS! Dang Delta!!! Stink!

Miss Sandy got to hold Miss O since she flew all the way from Indiana!!
Miss Tracy got to hold Miss O because she drove all the way from Eagan.... :) She was threatening to babysit in a week or something crazy like that! :D
Isaac and Olivia meeting for the first time...

Corene got a smile from Olivia

We LOVE our baby! We can't believe it, even now, that she is home. She exceeds our wildest imaginations for everything. She is a great eater, sleeps through the night, has a fun personality, and seems to be super-dee-duper-smart. We can't believe how we are blessed. Our friend Jenna said it better than I could (for you grandparents, click on "Jenna" :) )

First time in the carseat. She fussed for a minute and then stopped. Probably because she was looking at me and listening to me cough all the way home!

Thank you for all the cards, emails, facebook notes, gifts, calls, visits, and all the love, prayers and support for this long journey to Olivia. She has been prayed over and longed for - two years before she was even born. The painful wait for Olivia is what brought us to our Patricia and then Philippe. I will say again that having Patricia and Philippe in our hearts helped us get through the last year to O and O will help us through the last year to them. God knows what he is doing as he knits the tapestry of our family together. We have learned to be content with each day, each stage of waiting for our family, even while watching the families of those around us grow. While we look up at the tapestry from the underside, all we can see is the knots and strings going every which way. We can't see the picture!! What is it? What does it look like? We know that God's plan is better than anything we could have come up with and that the complete picture is very clear to Him.
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