Monday, February 28, 2011

It's Here!!!

The long awaited travel approval is here.  I'm so excited and all of a sudden scared, too.  We will know Thursday whether we will travel March 17 or 24.  Yes, that's 2 weeks we could be on our way to getting Lilly.  All of a sudden it feels like there is so much to do and I'm not sure where to start.

I guess we will have to start thinking about what weather we will face.  Our tentative itinerary will look something like this...Thursday fly to Beijing (weather like Chicago or New York) from Chicago, Detroit, Newark. or DC., getting there around lunch Friday.  Sightseeing for the next 2 days leaving sometime mid day Sunday to fly to Wuhan City (weather like Atlanta).  Later that afternoon Lilly will be brought to us at our hotel.  Monday Heather & Brian will start the process in WC to get a Chinese passport and sign the adoption papers for Lilly.  With that in hand we will travel on Friday to Guangzhou (weather like Miami).  We hope to travel there by the new "Harmony Express", which is the new "bullet" train that travels at around 350 miles an hour.  Monday would start a new round of medical exams and application for an American passport and Visa to travel to USA.  Hopefully they can sign her papers at the American Embassy on Thursday and we should start home on Friday via Hong Kong or Shanghai.  A full two weeks of paperwork and waiting, with lots of sightseeing sandwiched in between.

Hang on Lilly, we are on our way very soon....these little sweet animals and dolls are waiting for you in your bed...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Giraffes and other thoughts!

When Heather was a baby we lived in the house in town we called the "Stover House", because the Stover family built it in the 1930's.  We loved the house and yard and actually lived there almost 19 years and remodeled 3 times.  It had very small almost non existent closets, so in order to have somewhere to hang Heather's baby clothes I bought a wooden giraffe that had pegs.  It was pink and white and I used it for both girls. After our move to our present home the giraffe has been patiently waiting for a new home while stashed in the attic.

As you can see by the pictures the little giraffe, we must give her a name, has a new paint job and home.  Thanks to the wonderful talents of Kathy Love.  Kathy and I made a sneaky visit to Lilly's room a few weeks ago and actually came out with the paint chips that Heather had used to paint the room.  I cleaned up the giraffe and gave it a light sanding and sent her home with Kathy so she could do her magic.

 Wednesday I slipped her into Lilly's room while Heather was at school.  She looked right at home.  I wondered how long it would take Heather to see her.  Later that afternoon, Heather came into the kitchen at church beaming her beautiful smile and said, "I love the giraffe, and was just thinking several weeks ago that I needed to get the giraffe out of the attic and get it painted for Lilly's room".  Sometimes we Mama's do something right.

Now we just need our sweet Lilly in that room.  No news on the travel approval.  Maybe this week.  We read of another family that got their TA last week and their paperwork was filed after ours.  So we are getting anxious about what is the status of our TA.

Please continue to pray for our travel approval and for Lilly as we prepare to unite her with her "forever family".

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Happy Happy Day

It is hard to imagine that something as simple as two little photos can bring such joy, but I tell you when Heather got an e-mail Friday with two new pictures of Lilly, this was one happy Mammy.  I'm not sure who was the most thrilled in the whole family.

Heather had asked for an update on Lilly in January.  When nothing had come to her in early February, she had given up hope that she would get any news on her until after Chinese New Year ended on the 17th.  On Wednesday, she received an update, but no pictures.  While it was great to get new heights and weights, we really wanted to see new pictures.

So on Friday morning she called Randy and I and told us to check my e-mail.  Don't you know just when you are so excited, the download is sooooo slllowww.  Finally there she was, smiling up at us with her doll in one hand and her family photo album in the other.

Just look at that sweet little face.  I think I see Walker's impish grin.  I've analyzed this picture over and over.  I keep looking, hoping each time I'll see something new.  Gene Crews and I think she might have dimples.  What do you think?  She has on a pink jacket with some type of over sleeve on her lower arm, a black scarf with red embroidery and red and black boots or shoes.  We were so happy to see that her hair has not been cut.  The little doll is a gift from Barbara Davis, from Heaven to Seven.  The photo album has pictures of all of us with a Chinese translation of our names with each photo.  What a relief to know she received her package from home.

We are still waiting for our travel approval.  Please pray that it comes in the next week or so.  Right now our tentative travel date is April 7th.  In December that seemed so far away, but now it is only 6 weeks away.  We are so focused on that date, that if we get a delay now we will all be crushed.  I'll post more soon on our travel plans.  For now just enjoy with us the smiling doll....

Monday, February 7, 2011

Gung Hay Fat Choy!!

Gung Hay Fat Choy means "Best wishes and Congratulations. Have a prosperous and good year."

Until this year I never really paid much attention to the Chinese New Year Celebration.  With our impending trip to China, I have heard more and more about this celebration.  Our concern is not so much the celebration, but what it has meant to our trip. 

The celebration begins February 3rd and continues for 2 weeks.  During that time basically everything shuts down.  Government, manufacturing, retail, etc.  Families travel back to their homes to celebrate with their families.

Before the new year, families settle debts and buy new clothes. The house is cleaned and food is prepared.  Homes are filled with flowers and fruit. Oranges, tangerines, and pomeloes are picked and displayed. The colors symbolize good luck and joy. 

Children behave impeccably because they are warned that what happens the first day of the year may decide events for the coming year.  Everyone takes care to say and do the right things and think good thoughts.

On the seventh day of the New Year everyone adds a year to their age no matter when they were born.  In traditional China individual birthdays were not considered as important as this New Year’s date.

So does that mean that Lilly has never celebrated a birthday?  I had hoped that with her living with a foster family maybe they had acknowledged her birthday.  Guess I have a lot more to learn.  I assure you that she will know her birthday in October this year.

We now have our Chinese Visas.  All that is left is our travel approval….the coveted TA.  With that in hand an appointment with the Embassy can be scheduled.  Pray that gets done in the next few weeks amid all the government shut down