Friday, January 29, 2010

Surprises from China

Hi everyone! I've been in Las Vegas attending a National Sales Meeting. I work as a medical representative for Genentech, a biologics pharmaceutical company. They are a very innovative, wonderful company to work for and they are so good to all of us. I am so thankful during these trying economical times for a job with such an amazing company. What a blessing this has been for my family. Anyway... I'll share a little more about that in another post. But, the good news is... we got new photos of Mia yesterday. A family from my adoption agency is in China now getting their baby girl. Their girl and Mia are in the same orphanage. When my friends visitied the orphanage on Thursday, the orphanage workers took pictures of Mia for us. My friend was really nice and emailed them to me almost immediately... despite the sixteen hour time difference. Mia continues to look beautiful, healthy, and happy. I absolutely can't wait to get my hands on that precious baby. I think I'm going to have to fight to be first between Griff and my mom. :)

Our dossier is being sent to the United States Consulate in Houston today and should be back to my agency by mid-week next week. It is my hope that we can get the dossier DHLd to China by end of next week. Not sure if that will happen, but we can hope and pray.


Monday, January 25, 2010

You Get One Life... Live It

Hi everybody. It's been several days since my last post. It's been extremely hectic around our house. I am very busy with work right now... as a matter of fact, I'm on a flight right now to the Las Vegas for a week-long meeting. This flight is allowing me some quiet, thinking time and I guess I might as well fill you in on what's swirling around in that brain of mine.

First, we said goodbye to my great-aunt Ruby, my grandad's sister, on Saturday. Aunt Ruby lived down the road from me all my life. She was a gifted cook, a wonderful seamstress, and loved her family. It made her day, her week even, when we stopped by with the boys. She always bought their favorite Hershey bars for Halloween every year. My grandad took great care of her, as she lived alone for the majority of her adult life. He called her every morning, brought her paper to her, picked up her mail every day, and she was the last phone call he made every night. Aunt Ruby is with God, and I'm so happy for her. But it kills me to see my grandad so sad. He is lost right now. At her funeral on Saturday, it just struck me... you get one life... you might as well live it. No regrets... do the things you love, reach for the stars, take risks, love your family. Times like these help me realize the stuff that really matters; and the importance of not putting off doing things. Live a life of purpose, so that when you stand before your Maker, you can thank Him for the gift of this life. And He can say... "Atta girl.."

A family from our adoption agency is in China right now and they got their baby girl, Lily, today. Their daughter was actually in the same orphanage as Mia; in fact, she was sitting at the table with Mia as she celebrated her first birthday. She is the baby that is sitting to Mia's right... wearing the red sweater. Isn't that something? It is surreal to watch these unions on the internet and I just wonder how Griff, me, and my mom are going to react when these strangers hand over our Mia. I believe I may fall on my knees in gratitude for finally getting to that moment. We will see...

Our dossier is being authenticated in Houston this week and will then be sent by DHL to China for review. We are hoping to have the dossier to CCAA by the end of next week. Unfortunately, we are fast approaching Chinese New Year, which is a very important holiday in China. EVERYONE is off from work... and that means CCAA will not be working. Right now, they are processing paperwork quickly and we are so praying that they keep that up.

As I drove to Atlanta in the wee hours of this morning, I listened to a Sidewalk Prophet's song that I love so much... the lyrics are so fitting for this day. Here's just a few: "Be strong in the Lord and never give up hope. You're gonna do great things, I already know. God's got a hand on you so don't live life in fear. Forgive and forget and don't forget why you're here. Take your time and pray... these are the words I would say..."

Now... I'm heading to Vegas. Viva Las Vegas. Until next time... love you all.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

One step closer...

For those of you that are interested in the exhausting details of our adoption paperchase to Mia... the last piece of the U.S. approval puzzle was placed on Thursday! Griff and I had to submit yet another set of fingerprints to get the 1800a approval. Our case officer with USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services)emailed us that afternoon with news that our application had been APPROVED! Now... we can have all of the paperwork couriered to Houston to the Consulate office to be authenticated (an official U.S. stamp of approval) and THEN we can send it all to China. China is waiting to get our paperwork and we've been waiting on the United States. So, we are one step closer to sweet Mia.

Now what? Once China receives our paperwork (called a dossier), we wait. The average wait right now is 80 days but we are seeing some families getting the nod from China in less days than that. So, that's where YOU come in... :)

Pray for the person who is responsible for processing our dossier.... that they will find favor on us and will process us quickly. We want to give God the glory for fast turnaround; because I am learning that God is everpresent in the little details of everyday life.

We are beginning to hear from so many of you that read our blog. It is such a source of encouragement to know that people care about us, and more importantly this precious orphaned baby in Shantou City, China. We covet your prayers... we definitely note the effectiveness of your prayers. We love you all so much.

"The prayer of a righteous one is powerful and effective." James 5:16

Monday, January 11, 2010

More Fun Snow Pics

Here's some more photos of the boys enjoying the snow. Snow is such a rare occurrence in these parts... it's been fun.

F is for Fun... T is for Tough...

Yesterday, our good friends Chris and Kelly Brown, invited us over to enjoy some sledding. Chris has set up a snow machine and blown in snow on his hilly backyard. So, an instant slope was made! My boys loved sliding down that hill... especially Nolan. I had fun watching them laugh and smile. Cole and Nolan rode together in a sled and Garrett did his thing solo... It was a great afternoon.

Later on, I was cooking dinner and Nolan came in the kitchen and said he had "somethin' sticky" in his hair. When I looked all I saw was a big patch of bloody hair. I tried not to overreact and said we'd wash it really good in the bathtub... as it looked then like a scratch that had bled. Well, fast forward to the bathtub... it was a gash on my baby's head. He had hit his head once when he slid off into the grass, but he didn't complain about it and jumped up and kept playing. So, it appears now, that he played all afternoon with that big gash in his head and didn't say anything because he was having so much fun. Needless to say we made a quick trip to the ER where our sweet friend, Dr. Echeverri, met us and stitched him up. He took it like a man. I was really proud of him for being so brave.

My friend Kelly was obiously upset that Nolan had hurt himself and all I could say was "But we sure did have fun!!!" :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Can I get a Roll Tide?

For those of my blog friends that don't know, my family and I are BIG Alabama football fans. At times throughout any given year, I get the distinct feeling that I fall somewhere around #3 and #4 on my husband's priority lists... with Alabama football and recruiting, and golf ranking #1 and #2! We go to all of the home games in Tuscaloosa. We have so much fun tailgating with family and good friends and every summer I get so excited knowing that Saturdays in Tuscaloosa are right around the corner. The roar of the Tide fans in Bryant Denny Stadium is deafening and the Million Dollar Band gives me chillbumps when I hear the fight song. Cole has developed an intense love of Alabama sports in general, so going to the Rose Bowl is a dream come true for him. Griff was able to get two tickets and they flew to California early this morning. I know that this will be a lasting memory for Cole... getting to watch Alabama play at the Rose Bowl and hopefully witnessing them win the 13th National Championship. Anyway... today's photo of my sweet Cole at an October tailgate in 2006. He is so precious. Much love and... ROLL TIDE ROLL...

P.S... I hate to admit that chanting "Yellow Hammer" at the end of a victory is my favorite part... especially when we've just beaten Tennesee or LSU... :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

More updates from China!!!

First, I apologize to all my blog friends for no recent posts. I have been in a little bit of a "funk"... This whole adoption process is a roller-coaster ride mentally. I feel really up and then I feel really down. It's just hard knowing that I have a baby girl that needs a mama and a daddy and some sweet brothers and I can't get to her. That frustrates the heck out of me. Right now, to be honest, I don't feel like we're going to ever get there, even though I know we will. Another thing I'm struggling with is knowing that she is growing every day and we are missing it. That stinks... But, then my next thought is that God is controlling this situation and He has the timing worked out perfectly. I must wait... so, I've decided I will pray every time I feel frustrated and sad, I will pray for Mia, for the USCIS who is currently processing our paperwork, and for the nannies and workers at Shantou who are taking care of Mia right now. That will be enough. I was reading in Hebrews last night and I felt like God was talking to me even as I read...

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perserverence the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

Griff and Cole are readying themselves for a trip to California on Thursday morning to watch our Crimson Tide play Texas. The weather gurus are predicting snow and I pray that they can arrive in California with no major delays... to say that they are cutting it close is an understatement as their plane lands five hours from kickoff... This makes me really nervous. Roll Tide!

So... on to why you've really visited...:) new updates from Shantou!!! Mia received our birthday box full of clothes and toys. In the pics, she is wearing an outfit my mom bought her. I sent a letter telling the nannies how much I loved hairbows and I thought it was sweet that they put one in her hair for the photos. She looks cute as ever and I miss her more and more. We got height and weight updates also... she's weighing in at a massive sixteen pounds and 27 inches long. A little ladybug she is. I hope you enjoy her new pictures as much as we have. Love to all of you and please keep praying for expediency in our paperwork process. God IS listening.