Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pizza Pizza = Tired Tired

Whew! I remember thinking when Carla brought up the idea of a pizza sale as a fundraiser that I was concerned about getting them all delivered on the night they came. Now I know why. Boy, tonight was some serious work.

The pizza delivery truck came about 5:40. I was very sad to see that it did not have Little Caesar's on the side of the truck, but I took a photo anyway. *surprise!*


The boys, Josh, Bryce and Chris, were really excited about helping unload the truck. Carla had everything printed out and organized so each type of kit got put in the correct place, a thank you note was taped onto the box and we began to "fill" orders. Two hours and 205 items later, the last car left the lot to head for deliveries.


I am so thankful to all those who sold and who came to help distribute (we could have NEVER done this alone and without Carla's expertise).



I got home at 9:00 and we had a Family Meal Kit (less the cookies) for dinner. I did add some additional toppings to our kits, but here is the finished product.


Kevin has now gone to his office to put more pizza kits and cookie dough in the refrigerator there. We have pizzas in our refrigerator, freezer, on ice in coolers and stashed at my mothers and the church. They are EVERYWHERE! This is in addition to all the folks who picked their orders up tonight and are delivering them. We are thankful, though, that this brings us one step closer.


I truly hope everyone enjoys their Pizza-Pizza as much as we did.

An added blessing tonight was that a call to our agency to ask some paperwork questions yielded more information on where we are on "the list". Apparently, our agency is expecting three referrals in the next little while so we could feasibly be #2 on the list in the next week.

We are in a mad dash to try to figure out where the last bit of funds will come from, figure out what we will do about missing school for Joshua if our referral comes early and we have to travel before school is out, and how we will "get it all together". Oh well, God will take care of the details if we will just listen for His voice in the crazy, exciting madness of it all. We're getting REALLY close now.

Science Project

The science fair is a yearly tradition at our school. Third and fourth grade students are required to participate and the first and second graders all do a class project.

This year Josh and his dad came up with the idea to make homemade weather instruments to see if you could predict the weather without professional equipment. I reserve the right as blog author to comment that people have, for centuries, predicted weather without professional equipment simply by walking outside, looking at the sky, smelling the air and saying, "I think it's going to rain." However, apparently that does not qualify as meeting the standards of the "scientific method" so more effort was required at our house.

Kevin and Josh looked on the internet to find out how to make a barometer and an anemometer. For those, like me, who are scientifically challenged, a barometer measures atmospheric pressure and an anemometer measures wind speed. Here are their homemade versions of these pieces of equipment. (I will admit that I don't have a clue what the professional versions would look like -- you'll have to research that on your own). Also included are some "Photoshopped" versions that include what the used to make them.

Data was gathered each morning and each evening and entered into Joshua's "log book" (to make it more cool for him, Kevin brought one home like he uses in the field).

At the end of their data gathering period, they compiled their information and Joshua typed it up on the computer, emailed it to me for formatting and we printed it, he cut it out, matted it using construction paper and we all helped him tape it down on the board.

VIOLA -- finished project. How come it sounds so much more simple in words than it really was? How come we felt like we were nailing jello to the wall trying to get Joshua to finish this project? Anyway... here's what it looked like before it got sent to school.

He was unable to attend the judging this evening as we were unloading and delivering pizzas (it WAS his choice to stay there instead of going to the fair), but I called another mom and found out that he won 2nd place in his Earth Sciences division. He came in behind his friend, Kaitlin. Ironically, when they were about six months old, they were both in a baby pageant. Kaitlin won first place and Joshua won second. When I told him about getting second and Kaitlin getting first, he said, "I'm always coming in second place to her!" *smile*

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Snow

Yeah, we got the snow day I wished for. Josh is STILL running a fever, albeit much lower than before. We are down in the 99-100 range now. He was distraught that several of his friends called for him to come play in the snow and I wouldn't let him go "spread the love" (aka the flu) with them.

I relented and we did go out for about 15 minutes and he got to sled a little. I'm sure it wasn't good sound medical advice, but, hey, he has the flu, it can't get a lot worse (well, I guess it COULD). He's also a ten-year-old-boy and this was a pretty good snow. I only managed to capture a few photos. I was too busy sledding with him.

Tonight I feel funky. I'm a bit achy (a lot achy) and my head hurts. I'm off to bed because I absolutely have to work in the field tomorrow.

Humor: I have found my illness

I got this from my friend Susan. After she read it to me, I asked her, "What I want to know is why whoever wrote this has been following me around and taking notes of my day!"

Enjoy.

A.A.A.D.D.

Thank goodness there's a name for this disorder. Somehow I feel better, even though I have it!!

Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. - Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. This is how it manifests:

I decide to water my garden. As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide it needs washing. As I start toward the garage, I notice mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full. So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first.
But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Coke I'd been drinking. I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. The Coke is getting warm, and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need water. I put the Coke on the counter and discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning. I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table. I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I'll be looking for the remote but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers. I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day: the car isn't washed, the bills aren't paid, there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter, the flowers don't have enough water, there is still only 1 check in my check book, I can't find the remote, I can't find my glasses, and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day, and I'm really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail (or update my blog)....

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Checks

We've been gathering money for pizzas for a few days now and have just been putting them in an envelope on the fridge. Today, we got a package from Susan with checks and then I met Carla tonight to get her checks. I decided I should sit down and calculate the checks, start to make the deposits and see if I still needed to collect any more.

I told Carla Sunday night that at some random point in the next week I would burst into tears as the impact of this sale hit me. And it just did. I had to quit adding up the checks because as I sat here seeing name of friends I knew and loved and the names of people in our community that I don't know, who had written "Latham Adoption Fund" on their checks, I became overwhelmed with gratitude that strangers would support our adoption of a little girl in another country.

Latham Adoption Fund -- that's us. This is real. This is unreal. This is close.

There are checks from all over a five county area. I realize that each slip of paper I held is tangile proof of a promise fulfilled from God that He would provide for us when He called us back in August 2005. It makes me feel so humble, so awed at a God who provides for our hearts' desires as well as our needs and appreciative beyond what words can adequately express for the support of those who gave of their money to buy pizzas and cookie dough to give a little girl a better life.

Thank you, everyone of you.

Flu

Because Josh was out of school for two days, I knew we would need a doctor's note. He also continued to have fever (since Saturday) so I made an appointment this morning to take him in to the doctor this afternoon.

BLOW ME DOWN when the doctor says he has the flu! They swabbed his nose and did the test and it was positive. Since he's had it so long, Tamiflu wouldn't be any help. By the time we got back home he was exhausted.

He's back on the couch with some books, a few movies from the Red Box, Puffs (with Vicks Vapo-Rub -- cool things!!) and potato soup on the stove (his favorite food). There is nothing better when you are sick or when it's cold than a warm bowl of loaded potato soup with some crispy french bread -- yummmm!

I asked the doctor how long before I could consider Kevin and myself "safe". We were told that if we didn't have it by Saturday, we were ok. Saturday is a long way off. I think I'm having some hypochondriac symptoms already. :-)

As I sit here and write, the most beautiful snow flakes are falling outside. The neighbors' roofs are already white. Hopefully, there will be no school tomorrow and we won't have to miss another day of school.

Ellie's Bedding Came!



I LOVE Ellie's bedding. It is so soft and feminine. I have now begun to stencil (doesn't that sound so 80s??) a Bible verse on her wall. MAN, that takes a lot of time. I should have picked a shorter verse. :-) I've got one of three lines done, but I really like it. I will post photos when I'm done. Mama is going to look for a valance/curtain or materials to make them tomorrow when she goes into town.

I still need to paint my grandmother's small chest that we are going to use for a side table beside the glider/chair and I need to either stain or paint the cradle that will hold her baby dolls. There's always something to do around here. Kevin is working diligently every night on raising the floor in the garage/office so that it will be at the same level as the rest of the house. There will be NO PHOTOS of this for a while. It's TOO BIG of a mess.

Thank you mama and daddy for the bedding!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Fourteen Months - LID for China Anniversary

While we are working feverishly to complete an adoption from Kyrgyzstan, it remains in the back of my mind that our dossier is sitting in China -- waiting. Today is our 14 month "anniversary" of our log-in-date for our China adoption. When we began, the wait time was at fourteen months. Now, when I go to the China Adoption Forecast website and check their forecast for our referral date from China, I get:

Our prediction for LID 2006-12-25

If China did all future referrals at the exact same speed as they did this month: 2011-12-10

Our best guess - a weighted average of recent CCAA velocities, guessing that CCAA will perform about as well in the future as they are performing now, but might return to previous trends: 2011-07-08

That's our best guess for when you might receive your referral. Just at a guess, we can suppose that the CCAA either speeds up or slows down significantly, and show you those dates. If they speed up: 2009-09-30. And if they slow down: 2014-09-19.
"
Since China generally sends out referrals in a batch about once per month, your referral date could easily vary +/- one month depending on whether you just get included or just get missed in a particular batch.
"

So, based on this information, our wait will be 5.5 years if we continue down this path. It will be a minimum of 41 more months to referral.
Our social worker asked, while updating our homestudy, if we will still continue with our China adoption when we finalize our adoption from Krygyzstan. I told her that I didn't know. And, I don't think we know. God is good enough to only reveal as much as we can deal with at a time. I'm sure, once we are past this adoption, we will know what we need to do. I suspect, after the Olympics in Beijing are finished this summer, there might be movement in China's adoption process. They have been positioning themselves for a long time to be a country promoted in a positive spotlight. Being high on the list of international adoption sources would not be considered positive in their country. It remains to be seen what will happen with that country as well with our continued attempts to adopt from there. My heart still feels the call from there. The significance of our log-in-date is not lost on me. Time will tell.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Portrait of a Sick Boy

I was sitting on the couch working tonight and looked over at Joshua. Bless his heart. He was the portrait of pitiful. I don't think he ever knew I took his picture. Note the following:

1. Wet rag to cool forehead.
2. Blankets to cuddle up in.
3. Lots of pillows.
4. Stuffed kitty
and, most important,
5. REMOTE CONTROL (it's a man thing that starts early!)

Oh, and the brown stuff around his mouth -- remains of the chocolate chip cookies I felt like a sick boy should have. We are still battling a fever off and on. One minute he's hot, the next he's got chills. He's got a hacky cough. I'm suspecting that there is more than strep going on here -- maybe an underlying viral infection too. Needless to say, there is not going to be a school day in his future tomorrow.

Thank you Pizza-Selling Friends!!!!

I can't say how appreciative I am to each of the people who have taken their (precious) time and energy to sell pizza kits for us. I am SO EXCITED to report that at final total all of these wonderful people sold

204 Pizza Kits!!

I honestly was worried that we'd make 100 kits and we more than doubled that. Of course, this would not have been possible without the work of many people selling and many more people buying. So, I hope I don't leave out anyone who sold, but if I did, I am very sorry!
Thank you to:
Carla, Sale Organizer
Tracey, who sold the MOST kits!!
Carlyona
Carlinda
Karla
Trish
Mike and Maggie
Susan
Jennifer
Stoney
Iris
and all the people at church who helped out!

We are that much closer to bringing Ellie home! I will never forget all the help we have received in this process.

And, on the paperwork/dossier front, we have made photos of the kitchen and dining areas. Hopefully, I can get the living room in order this week (after my sick little man gets well and moves off the couch) and then the three bedrooms upstairs. We have photos of the front and rear of the house and our family photos so that portion of the dossier can be done.

I wonder if Ellie has been born? I wonder how her birth mom is doing? I wonder what her (the birth mom's) life is like. I know she cannot fathom what a community on the other side of the world is doing to welcome her daughter to their country. I can't begin to imagine the decisions she is making right now and how she is feeling. I sit here wondering if across the world it is Monday morning and she is waking up and feeling Ellie move around in her. I wonder if she has a job, a family, a home. I wonder when she knew the decision she would have to make about her daughter. I hope, somehow, she could know how much her daughter is wanted and loved already. I wish she could see in my heart to know how much I will love, cherish and care for her daughter and how much I know this sacrifice is costing her emotionally.

I wish she didn't have to hurt and lose in order for me to gain and love.

Strep - Hopefully our Last Time

Little man has strep -- again. When I picked him up from school on Friday, he said that he didn't feel good and that they had taken his temperature at school but it was normal. We went into town for me to complete an inspection and then went over to Hobby Lobby to pick up his board for his science project. He told me that his throat had a spot that was itchy and sore, but he didn't have a headache or stomachache or fever. I debated taking him on over to the urgent care place next door, but decided we'd wait and see.

Saturday, AFTER playing basketball (I'm so sorry teammates!), he complained of being really tired, his throat still hurting and he wasn't hungry. Now, if my little man isn't hungry and is tired, he is sick because I never hear complaints about tiredness and lack of hunger!

We took a trip out to the urgent care and spent TWO HOURS there to get a strep test. We were the second person on the list when we got there so I can't imagine how long others waited. Bless his heart, he threw up after we got to the back and we had to be moved to another room. He fell asleep on the bed waiting to see the doctor. His little cheeks were so rosy with fever.

The doctor confirmed strep and gave us ten days' worth of antibiotics. That will take us up to seven days before we have his tonsils removed on March 12. As I told him, hopefully, this will be the last case of strep throat he has to endure.

Friday, February 22, 2008

In Memory of Samantha

My dear friend Heather, who is adopting from Vietnam, got word today that her sweet baby, Samantha, passed away yesterday. She was born November 5, 2007. Her photo taken for referral was made on Christmas Day, 2007. She was laying on the sweetest heart-shaped pink pillow that made her look like she had wings. She does now.

God loved Samantha more than anyone here on earth ever could, and while I KNOW that the Fields are heartbroken today, I know that Samantha is dancing with the angels and worshipping God and knows no pain, no heartbreak, no sinful world and no loneliness. She joins another of her friends from the orphanage who died just two days before. There are still multiple babies from this orphanage in the hospital. Please pray that other adoptive families will be spared the pain of losing their child.

My heart and love and prayers go to my friends, Heather, Charley, Kristen, Kalee, Bradley and Cody.

Here are some verses I found, hopefully, to comfort and remind who is in charge, who loves us and who comforts us in times such as these. Hopefully, these will be helpful to Heather, Charley and their children:

2 Samuel 22:7
In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.

Psalm 10:17
You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,


Psalm 18:6
In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
(similar to the verse in 2 Samuel, also written by King David)

Psalm 22:24
For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.

Psalm 34:15
The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their cry;

Psalm 119:147
I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in your word.

Psalm 119:169
May my cry come before you, O LORD;
give me understanding according to your word.

Psalm 142:5
I cry to you, O LORD; I say,
"You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living."

Revelation 21:4
He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away."

Jeremiah 31:13
Then maidens will dance and be glad,
young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.

Romans 12:15
Rejoice with those who rejoice;
mourn with those who mourn.

Psalm 119:2
Blessed are they who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart.

Luke 6:21
Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

Deuteronomy 32:4
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, '
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.

Isaiah 55:8-11 - The Message
"I don't think the way you think.
The way you work isn't the way I work."
"For as the sky soars high above earth
so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
and don't go back until they've watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
not come back empty-handed.
They'll do the work I sent them to do,
they'll complete the assignment I gave them.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pizza Fundraiser Coming to an End


As many of you know, over the last month, we have been selling Little Caesar's Pizza Kits as one of our adoption fundraisers. We are coming near the end of the fundraiser and will be collecting order forms and money this Sunday and Monday and turning in our order for delievery on Thursday.

We were required to sell 100 kits, and I don't know for certain how many we have sold yet as I have fliers here, there and everywhere. I feel certain we have sold 85. There are several people, however, I don't have a number for so we are VERY CLOSE to our goal of selling 100 kits.

If you are interested in purchasing a pizza kit before our deadline, there is a link here (this is a PDF file of the flier that we are handing out -- scroll down a couple of pages to get to the form)that shows what kits are available (there is also cookie dough, pie kits, cheesy bread, dip kits, gourmet spice kit and gourmet salad kits. Each pizza kit (unless it's personal pan pizzas) makes three pizzas. And while we are selling these, I will say this is my FAVORITE product to buy. Anytime anyone is selling these I get several kits. They are easy to make, taste good and are reasonably priced. Each kit has three pizzas and a pepperoni kit is $18. It's very comparable to what I would pay for pizzas from the grocery. The cheesy garlic bread (Crazy Bread, I think it is called) is probably sinful, it tastes so good. I have not tried the cookie dough, so I cannot comment on that, but if it is as good as the pizza kits, it is a good product.

You can email me at mblatham@charter.net if you need/want more information. A special thank you to each person who sold or purchased a product and a very special thank you to Carla C. who suggested the sale and has co-ordinated all of it for me (which has made it a VERY enjoyable fundraiser!).

Ellie is truly a lucky girl to have an entire community working so hard to bring her to our country to be part of our lives. And we are more lucky to call all these people friends.

18 - 98

Ok, so I had a "freak out" moment in the car rider line picking up Joshua today. Something made me think that we are pretty close to March. Then my mind rambled over to the fact that there is a small possibility that we could get a referral in March. You'll remember my post about the window of when we might get a referral (March 10-May 5).

THEN... I calculated how many days we have in our window. We are between 18 and 98 days to a referral.

OF COURSE, my dossier is not complete so that's not going to be very helpful. I'm going to take a day next week to go around and gather up all the last pieces of paper I need, take them for notarization and authentication just so we can be done.

Then, there are the photos that we have to make of each room in the house. That is going to be a problem. Every room in my house right now has things in it that don't belong there. It all started when we decided to start working on Ellie's room. Scrapbook/craft things went in tubs that went to the garage/office. Toys went to Joshua's room, but there are 4 tubs of things to go in the yard sale. They are sitting in his room. The shelf they were sitting on (formerly in Ellie's room) is going in the yard sale and it's sitting in the hall. There is barely enough room to walk through the upstairs hallway. The bedding we bought LAST YEAR for our room has left Ellie's room and now sits in OUR room waiting for someone (read, "ME") to strip the wallpaper border and paint the room. The living room has boxes of cabinets that are waiting to be put in the garage/office when the floor is framed. Kevin is starting on that this weekend. Everything in the garage/office will have to come out and go somewhere else until that is done. WHERE??? And, so, HOW am I supposed to take lovely photos of my (not-so) clean house for the Krygyzstan government officials to review when I don't HAVE a clean house right now????

Now, granted, when all this rearranging/re-doing is done, it will be MUCH nicer and we will be much more organized, but OH the CHAOS we are living in right now is just too much some days.

I checked the UPS site and Ellie's bedding should arrive tomorrow. I also checked to see if our newest grant application had arrived yet. The USPS site is only updated in the evening, so while I suspect it got there today, the site isn't updated to reflect that yet. We truly could use that grant. We are on the downhill slide, but the reality is, that even with the upcoming concession stand we're working at the community Easter egg hunt, donut sale and yard sale, we are still short the funds we will need to fully complete this adoption. I still am standing firm in the fact that God will provide it when we need it. The peace over this and the lack of worry I have had is such a blessing and I thank Him every day for taking that worry from me. I am, however, tired of fundraising and I know my friends are both tired of fundraising and OF ME!! I don't blame them. I'm wearing out my own welcome in my own home, so I can imagine how they feel! :-)

18-98 days???? You've GOT to be kidding me.

But, I can't wait!!

Prayers for Samantha

I've been so blessed during our adoption journey to be allowed to become part of so many lives I would have never been part of had we not "met" through adoption.

I've had the opportunity to pray for and see the successful heart transplant of Brea Wusterbarth (China). What a BLESSING that was. It is the reason that when I renewed my driver's license this year I chose to be an organ donor.

I have had the privilege of praying for a speedy homecoming for Reed Land (Taiwan). Following his journey as "Flat Reed" and now following as he grows up (and has over 6000 photos taken in 5 months or so) has been such a blessing to me.

I have been privileged to form friendships with Heather from Texas and follow along as she waits to bring home Samantha from Vietnam. Many of you got an email from me a few days ago asking for prayer for Samantha and her parents-to-be Heather and Charley. Samantha is in critical care in a hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam for pneumonia and other respiratory problems. Eleven more children from her orphanage are also hospitalized. One, I am sad to report, died a few days ago. WHAT A PRIVILEGE it is to be allowed to pray for this baby's health. I have continually prayed for this tiny child in a third world country who is battling for her life.

Who are we that we are not in her place? Why are we privileged to be born in a country with adequeate healthcare? Were Samantha here, she would be sick, yes, but this would not be life threatening like it is there. Each day her parents wait to hear something about her condition.

Please pray for Samantha and her parents. Let God bless you as much as he has me by praying for these children.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Where would we be without moms?

Ok, so I got to thinking about how ironic it is that the two people who are most responsible for bringing Ellie home are my mom and Kevin's mom. Ellie's name was chosen a LONG time ago and it was for both of these women. My mom, Lois, and Kevin's mom, Mary Elizabeth were the names we used to come up with Lois Elisabeth Latham. L.E. are her first initials and we are calling her Ellie.

Both our parents have given sacrificially to make this happen. We would never have been able to do this without them. My mom actually has also paid for Ellie's bedding and is going to make her curtains as well. Both women have been untiring prayer warriors for us and it means so much to us to know that they (along with my dad, too, of course) are so supportive of us.

So, a BIG THANK YOU to Ellie's (and Joshua's) grandmothers!!

These photos are from last Easter, but they are all I had of the grandparents.

Kevin and his mom

Me with my parents

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Nursery Update

I'm in "batch blogging" mode tonight. I have borrowed this phrase from Jeff over at Land Life. I've gotten behind due to working on the nursery this weekend.


We went by Lowe's after Joshua's basketball game on Saturday. As an aside, Joshua's team won 23-9. Josh scored the first three points of the game and was so pumped up. They have really come a long way as a team this year. Their coach is such a kid at heart! He gets really, REALLY excited during their games.
Anyway, our bedding won't be in until mid-week next week so we went out on a BIG limb and picked a paint color that we think will match. Keep your fingers crossed because we aren't painting again. (Well, don't tell Kevin, but if it's really, really ugly, we will). Kevin picked the paint color. It's called Cream Rose. It's a beautiful shade of pink. I've tried to think all weekend of something to compare it to, but I can't. It's just a hint of pink and it's very creamy looking. I LOVE the color. Kevin says he's just surprised to be painting anything pink.

This is the bedding we've ordered. It's called Ella Grace.


Kevin is EXCELLENT at painting around the ceiling -- and he doesn't even have to use tape!




























This is the color we choose - Cream Rose. I would have probably called it Hint of Pink.

We borrowed this idea from our church and our Sunday school teachers and wrote Bible verses on the walls -- verses that have applied to our adoption or that are special to us. While others might not know they are there, Ellie will be surrounded by God's word under her pink walls.


Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4














Do not be afraid for I AM with you. I will bring your children from the East and gather you from the west.


Isaiah 43:5


Joshua writes his favorite verse: John 3:16

Josh helped paint some, but from the looks of the photos, he had been smelling the fumes WAY too long.

We finished up late Saturday night. We still need to paint the window and doors but will do that later. We are more concerned with photos for the dossier at this point since she likely won't come home until June or July.


Today, Kevin, Josh and I (mostly Kevin) put together the changing table and crib. We didn't get the mattress down from the attic. We are going to wait until the bedding comes. Being a little anxious to see that it would look like, I put in a quilt that we were going to use but decided to just use as a fun blanket for Ellie.




And, last, but certainly not least, I got Ellie a cute outfit at Old Navy this weekend. I'm a HUGE clearance freak and am pleased to report, all items were clearanced. Got the little peach jeans for $3.94.

EXHAUSTED - Adoption Updates

So most of you who read this just really want to know what's going on in adoption world, so I'll hit the highlights and move on to the details later.

  • USCIS has received our I600A Petition to Adopt. We have received our receipt and hope to receive a letter with our fingerprint appointment the first of next week. Our receipt indicates it could take up to 8 weeks after fingerprinting to get our I171H.
  • We have requested police clearance letters (they are at Dianne's house), medical forms for Kevin and I and will drop off Joshua's this week, and we will request new employment letters this week. When these three things are done, we will have all the documents we need for our dossier (with the exception of the above mentioned I171H from USCIS). We will take all the documents to have them notarized.
  • We got Ellie's room pretty much done this weekend -- the big stuff, that is. Her room is painted, furniture is assembled and arranged in the room. We have ordered the bedding nad expect to receive it mid week this week. Because we have to have photos of it for our dossier, we will take the photos and then continue to use it for storage while the floor is built in the office and the cabinets that are sitting in boxes throughout the house(some in the living room, some in the garage, some here, some there) are installed. Then we can move my craft things to the office (former garage) and Ellie's room will be ready. Kevin is figuring what we will need to build the floor up to the same level as the rest of the house. I suppose that will be our next pressing project. We just need this all to be DONE so when she comes home all we have to do is LOVE ON HER!!!

There are boxes of stuff all over the house. I'm just exhausted with it all. I know Kevin is too. We have to climb around boxes to get anywhere. I'm told it gets worse before it gets better -- oh, yeah.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Snow ?? Day

This morning at 5 a.m. we got a call from our school system's new automated calling system letting us know school would be out today. WOW! So early. I think I'm the only person who even woke up when the phone rang. I partially listened and went right back to sleep.

Now, those of you who live up north, PLEASE try to contain your laughter at this photo of the amount of snow that has cancelled school today. Granted, the roads were probably icy early this morning but Kevin made it to work fine and around lunch I made it to the doctor's office just fine. We are going two hours late tomorrow. Fortunately, they called tonight on this one.

So, Joshua and two of his friends spent the whole morning playing in what little white stuff they could find. When I got Joshua to come home to shower before we had to leave, his entire body was beet red. I think he should have come in a little sooner.

I dropped off our medical forms at the doctor's office this afternoon and got that ball rolling. Our police clearance letters are ready to be picked up. Check! I need to draft Kevin's employment letter as well as mine and email those off for signatures. Hopefully, we can get those by mid-week nex week. I also hav to send off Joshua's medical letter request to his pediatrician so they can get started on that. Should I be really efficient, I might be able to gather all of these items next week. That's the goal.

We are moving along....

So to follow the story along the sideline. In the first photo we have Joshua all bundled up to begin the snow day.


Photo two shows "the crew". Don't they just LOOK like trouble waiting to happen?

Photo three shows lots of excitement about sledding but NOT a lot of snow -- which is imperative for sledding.

Finally, in photo four, they have given up and have taken to ROLLING themelves down the hill.
This basically only resulted in muddy clothes and really, really cold bodies!

Ah, to be ten again.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Attachment

Since we began our adoption process, we have heard over and over about how important attachment is. Attachment is defined as:
  • Attachment is a reciprocal process by which an emotional connection develops between an infant and his/her primary caretaker
  • An attachment may be defined as an affectional tie that one person or animal forms between himself and another specific one - a tie that binds them together
  • The term, "attachment parenting", was conceived by pediatrician William Sears and his wife Martha, to describe a highly responsive, attentive style of caring for a child. Attachment parenting promotes physical and emotional closeness between parent and child.

And so while we understood the value and importance Ellie and us forming a strong attachment early on, by such things as "wearing" her (in a carrier vs. stroller), lots of one-on-one time, holding, reading, not letting others hold her for a while, making sure we are the primary caregivers, etc., I don't think I ever truly understood it from Ellie's perspective.

While I was on the Rumor Queen's site, a site for updates on the China program, I saw a link she had to a site she recommends parents read before bringing their chid home. It is on attachment which is something she is a strong advocate for so I clicked over to A 4Ever Family and found the following article. I have been able to think of little else since then. I'm copying it here with full credit to the authors for their work.

Put yourself in Ellie's shoes. Read the following analogy.

Imagine for a moment… You have met the person you've dreamed about all your life. He has every quality that you desire in a spouse. You plan for the wedding, enjoying every free moment with your fiancĂ©e. You love his touch, his smell, the way he looks into your eyes. For the first time in your life, you understand what is meant by "soul mate," for this person understands you in a way that no one else does. Your heart beats in rhythm with his. Your emotions are intimately tied to his every joy, his every sorrow.

The wedding comes. It is a happy celebration, but the best part is that you are finally the wife of this wonderful man. You fall asleep that night, exhausted from the day's events, but relaxed and joyful in the knowledge that you are next to the person who loves you more than anyone in the world…the person who will be with you for the rest of your life.

The next morning you wake up, nestled in your partner's arms. You open your eyes and immediately look for his face.

But IT'S NOT HIM! You are in the arms of another man. You recoil in horror. Who is this man? Where is your beloved?

You ask questions of the new man, but it quickly becomes apparent that he doesn't understand you. You search every room in the house, calling and calling for your husband. The new guy follows you around, trying to hug you, pat you on the back,...even trying to stroke your arm, acting like everything is okay. But you know that nothing is okay.

Your beloved is gone. Where is he? Will he return? When? What has happened to him?

Weeks pass. You cry and cry over the loss of your beloved. Sometimes you ache silently, in shock over what has happened. The new guy tries to comfort you. You appreciate his attempts, but he doesn't speak your language-either verbally or emotionally. He doesn't seem to realize the terrible thing that has happened...that your sweetheart is gone.

You find it difficult to sleep. The new guy tries to comfort you at bedtime with soft words and gentle touches, but you avoid him, preferring to sleep alone, away from him and any intimate words or contact.

Months later, you still ache for your beloved, but gradually you are learning to trust this new guy. He's finally learned that you like your coffee black, not doctored up with cream and sugar. Although you still don't understand his bedtime songs, you like the lilt of his voice and take some comfort in it.

More time passes. One morning, you wake up to find a full suitcase sitting next to the front door. You try to ask him about it, but he just takes you by the hand and leads you to the car. You drive and drive and drive. Nothing is familiar. Where are you? Where is he taking you?

You pull up to a large building. He leads you to an elevator and up to a room filled with people. Many are crying. Some are ecstatic with joy. You are confused. And worried.

The man leads you over to the corner. Another man opens his arms and sweeps you up in an embrace. He rubs your back and kisses your cheeks, obviously thrilled to see you.

You are anything but thrilled to see him. Who in the world is he? Where is your beloved? You reach for the man who brought you, but he just smiles (although he seems to be tearing up, which concerns you), pats you on the back, and puts your hand in the hands of the new guy. The new guy picks up your suitcase and leads you to the door. The familiar face starts openly crying, waving and waving as the elevator doors close on you and the new guy.

The new guy drives you to an airport and you follow him, not knowing what else to do. Sometimes you cry, but then the new guy tries to make you smile, so you grin back, wanting to "get along." You board a plane. The flight is long. You sleep a lot, wanting to mentally escape from the situation.

Hours later, the plane touches down. The new guy is very excited and leads you into the airport where dozens of people are there to greet you. Light bulbs flash as your photo is taken again and again. The new guy takes you to another guy who hugs you. Who is this one? You smile at him. Then you are taken to another man who pats your back and kisses your cheek. Then yet another fellow gives you a big hug and messes your hair.

Finally, someone (which guy is this?) pulls you into his arms with the biggest hug you've ever had. He kisses you all over your cheeks and croons to you in some language you've never heard before.

He leads you to a car and drives you to another location. Everything here looks different. The climate is not what you're used to. The smells are strange. Nothing tastes familiar, except for the black coffee. You wonder if someone told him that you like your coffee black.

You find it nearly impossible to sleep. Sometimes you lie in bed for hours, staring into the blackness, furious with your husband for leaving you, yet aching from the loss. The new guy checks on you. He seems concerned and tries to comfort you with soft words and a mug of warm milk. You turn away, pretending to go to asleep.

People come to the house. You can feel the anxiety start to bubble over as you look into the faces of all the new people. You tightly grasp the new guy's hand. He pulls you closer. People smile and nudge one other, marveling at how quickly you've fallen in love. Strangers reach for you, wanting to be a part of the happiness.

Each time a man hugs you, you wonder if he will be the one to take you away. Just in case, you keep your suitcase packed and ready. Although the man at this house is nice and you're hanging on for dear life, you've learned from experience that men come and go, so you just wait in expectation for the next one to come along.

Each morning, the new guy hands you a cup of coffee and looks at you expectantly. A couple of times the pain and anger for your husband is so great that you lash out, sending hot coffee across the room, causing the new guy to yelp in pain. He just looks at you, bewildered. But most of the time you calmly take the cup. You give him a smile. And wait. And wait. And wait.

--Written by Cynthia Hockman-Chupp, analogy courtesy of Dr. Kali Miller

Homestudy Updated - Check

I feel like Suzanne over at Straight down the Mountain, whose blog I read a lot. She is adopting from Kyrgyzstan as well. Each job she gets done gets a great big checkmark.

SO..... it is with GREAT excitement that I announce that our homestudy is DONE and waiting to be picked up. As soon as I pick up Joshua, we are zooming into Nashville to pick it up. I filled out a couple of grant applications last night and we will mail those off this week. These would surely help with that last little bit we need to put a big check mark beside "financing". I know God will provide just as He has so far.

Our social worker is overnighting our I-600A application so they will get it tomorrow. We will have to be re-fingerprinted and then will wait anxiously on our I171H. That is the only foreseeable hold-up at this point. I don't know how long USCIS will take to process it.

Still need to gather medicals, police clearances and employment letters (Again) and get everything notarized and authenticated and I'll be ready to type, "Dossier - CHECK". :-)

In other news, the "K" key is missing on my computer. It popped up and I've had the HARDEST time trying to get it back on so I'm without "k". Do you know how many words have the letter "K" in them? Kyrgyzstan??? Kevin???? *sigh*

And then, yesterday, the modem for our internet went out. It's seven years old so it was probaby time, but being without internet has been a bit challenging -- even for 24 hours.

I am down to ony 42 more jobs to enter from my 770 from the South Carolina trip. I will be so glad to have that done so I can more on to other things.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Transitioning a Junk Room to a Nursery

As I mentioned earlier, some of the photos we have to include in our dossier are to be of Ellie's room. Since her room is currently the toy storage/craft/ironing board/junk storage room, it was not a project I really was looking forward to. Now, mind you, I'm all about getting her room ready, but the daunting task of figuring where to PUT all this stuff was more than I wanted to do.

However, today, I jumped in head first. Actually, it was body first because I needed more than just a head to tackle this room. I really should NOT include before photos of the room because it's quite embarrasssing to show the world what this room looks like but the "Ooohs and Aaahs" after completion can't be as fun if there is no "before".

Now, there will not be an "after" for a while. This is much more than a one day project. It took the one day to just box up the crafts and sort through the clothes that I've been buying Ellie for three years. All the items that are bigger than 12 months have now been put in a storage box for later. There are a LOT because when I thought Ellie was coming from China, I thought she would be close to a year old so we bought nothing smaller than 12 months. We hope to assemble her furniture and paint over the next week to two weeks.

Many of the things I've been purchasing, I had forgotten about, but amazingly enough I remember where I got each one, what stage of the adoption we were in and my feelings as I bought each one. I remember purchasing some onesies, baby blanket and bib from TJ Maxx right after we decided to go with a domestic adoption and when we thought we would be bringing home a baby of any gender. Then when we moved on to the China adoption, I purchased a cute little ladybug outfit for her. I have found secret pal gifts from over the three years that I had forgotten about getting, but that are so special to me now that I have unearthed them again.

As I held each item that I had purchased through the years, I knew that soon the Ellie that we had not imagined, but God had, will soon be home and wearing the clothes, playing with the toys, fulfilling the dream that we have carried around of her for years.

I had been so reticent of taking out the things before and going through them all because it made the pain of not having her home so much harder. But now, it is so exciting to go through it all and make it ready for her. It was such a sweet time to hold these things and remember and walk back through the past year and know that we are close. There is something permanent about removing tags and taking toys out of boxes that makes it seem "real."

So, in an effort of full disclosure, here are some "befores".



I took some of the most special things and put them on the shelves of the armoire just to enjoy looking at them while I work on the room. Kevin's comment was that it was pretty, but "not really practical." Ah ... my practical husband. *smile*


Girls Night Out

Tonight was girls night out. We went to Jennifer's house for Partylite candle party. I don't think I've laughed so much in months.

Partylife consultant, Joe W. and I



Jennifer got a new puppy and she (Casey) is the sweetest little puppy. She loves to snuggle up with you. Of course, she had just left her mommy so that was probably part of it.

Isn't she a cuddlebug?

Here are some photos from the night. You will note that no GNO is complete without food which is why in many photos SOMEONE is eating!






I think this was something about Burl Ives! You had to be there.