Saturday, November 24, 2012


Yesterday we celebrated our girl's first birthday.  We celebrated with happiness, not sadness knowing that although she is not yet in our arms, this is the last birthday she will be alone.  She will never again have a birthday without her family. 

To honor her day, we sent a package which contained a birthday cake, stuffed toy, photo album of our family and a disposable camera so hopefully we can have some party pictures.
Here at home, we wanted to celebrate our girl as well in a simple yet meaningful way.  We decided to do a balloon release with the kids.  They each drew a picture for her and we tied them to a balloon and let it go to China.  We plan to continue this each year on Olivia's birthday but, will send a balloon to her birth mother in China.

  After our balloon release, the kids celebrated with cupcakes in Olivia's honor.  Even cousin Lillie, Aunt Kat, Uncle Josh, Nana and Poppie were there since it was the day after Thanksgiving.

Earlier in the day, we received the sweetest gift from my dear friend Ashley.  She gathered letters, poems, children's artwork and bible verses composed by all of our dear friends who have endlessly been praying for Olivia.  She placed them all into a butterfly box knowing that butterflies are our prayer trigger for Olivia.  Ashley even made an ABC book with bible verses for each letter of the alphabet.  One of my favorite quotes from all the gifts we received was from our sweet friend Shannon who is a member of our old life group.  She said, "you now have over 21 brothers and sisters and 20 mothers and fathers who love you endlessly".
How could I be sad on a day like this?  In the words of Kyrie, "Mommy are you crying happy tears?".  To which I responded, "Yes, the happiest of tears."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Too much excitement for one night

We got word last week that our LOA was at the office to be issued.  Our agency was not being clear AT ALL about how fast it would take to actually be sent but, I was content knowing that at least it would be sooner than later.  After dinner last night, Brad took the kids up to bath while I cleaned up.  I decided to check my email quickly before heading upstairs to help with bath time.  There it was....the email we had waited for for 48 days!  Yes, I counted and yes, I read Psalms every most days.  We received LOA and boy was it a beautiful sight to see our names printed on an official Chinese document that also contained our daughter's name. 

Things couldn't have been much more exciting until I checked my mail during a movie that Brad and I were watching.  I had an email that said pictures from H.... SWI (not putting the name for obvious reasons).  I couldn't believe it.  It wasn't from the person who we ordered the care package from.  I opened the email and it was from another adoptive mom who found me on a forum.  She had pictures from her daughter's birthday party and thought Olivia might be in them.  We of course were beyond thrilled and asked for her to please send the pictures.  Sure enough, we recognized our sweet girl immediately.  It was so nice to see her looking healthy and most of all well cared for.  The nannies were smiling and looked so engaged with the children.  Of course the wooden/metal cribs break my heart.  We are beyond excited that the birthday girl is just a few months older than Olivia and hopefully they can remain in contact through childhood because in the pictures they appear to be buds.  As only God would orchestrate, Olivia is wearing a lamb shirt in her photos.  My mom's gift to all new babies in our family is a stuffed lamb.  Could it be any more appropriate?

Because we still can't post pictures of our beautiful little one, I will share a sweet picture of Brooks and Kyrie mailing our I800 form bright and early this morning.  This form claims Olivia as an immediate member of our family and is just one step closer to our TA which we hope is in January.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A package

Next week our newest little princess will turn 1. It will be a day of mixed emotions for our family. We will rejoice that it's her last birthday as an orphan but, be saddened that we can't spend her special day with her. In hopes of her feeling special on her big day, we sent a care package through a wonderful lady that spends her life connecting adoptive families with their new children. The package we chose contained a stuffed animal, a disposable camera which hopefully the nannies will fill with pictures of our baby, a soft photo album with 6 pictures of our family and a birthday cake. We don't expect that Olivia will get to eat any of the cake because as far as we know she just drinks formula and eats Congee (Chinese porridge). We hope that that older children in the orphange enjoy the special treat in Olivia's honor. In addition to the care package, we were allowed to write a letter to the nannies and ask a few questions about our little one. This was the hard part. To me it was very stressful coming up with the questions and making sure that we didn't leave any important ones out. We limited it to about 10 questions hoping we wouldn't overwhelm the nannies. In addition, we thanked them for caring for our girl, asking them to let her know how much she is loved and letting them know how much we desire to meet them in person when we travel to China. We are anxiously awaiting some feedback about our package and our letters. Some new pictures of our sweet girl letting us know that she is healthy and well would be music to my soul. This is the newest family photo we sent to Olivia. Brad and I plan to wear these shirts the day we meet her in hopes she recognizes us through the shirts.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Adoption through our Kids Eye's

We are asked all the time what our kids think about bringing their new sister home. Up until yesterday, my answer was "Kyrie is over the moon excited but, I'm not sure Brooks really gets it".
 Well, then Brooks and I took the walk pictured above.  He was sick all week and we both needed to get out of the house.  I put him in the new Ergo baby carrier I scored for Olivia at a local consignment sale.  As I strapped him he, he said "Hey mama, this is my baby sister's carrier.  She doesn't have a mommy yet."  Our conversation continued: Me:"I know buddy but, who is Olivia's mommy going to be?"  B: "You"  Me: "And who will her brother and sister be?" B: "Me and Kyrie".  Me:  "Where is Olivia now?"  B:  "In China!"
I guess our boy knows more than we give him credit for.
Oh and then there is my sweet Kyrie.  We have been very open in discussing our adoption process with Kyrie since day 1.  She has asked a lot of questions but, mostly has been completely exciting in anticipating being a big sister again.  Last year, a mother from preschool told me that her daughter too asked if she could, "buy a sister from China".  I was a bit mortified that possibly Kyrie was misunderstanding this whole adoption thing.  Then I realized that initially a lot of our efforts were related to fundraising.  She was involved and helped with our yard sale, lemonade stand and even the Wild Olive tees.  We have always explained to her that the purpose of fundraising it to help us travel far to get Olivia home.  This year at school, her teachers tell me that when the students have individual time to pray out loud, Kyrie's prays always are for her sissy in China.  At home, Olivia has become part of our daily conversations, especially now that we have her picture and she is ours.  Each child has a framed photo of their sister next to their bed (thanks to Daddy who did this day 1 of receiving her file).  Often when I go in to kiss Kyrie before I go to bed I find her hugging Olivia's picture.  At night, when she says grace it often goes like this, "Dear Jesus, I pray for Olivia because she doesn't have her mommy right now.  I pray that she isn't scared and that she sleeps well tonight.  Please protect her and keep her healthy".  I am utterly amazed by this child!
During the day at home, Kyrie will look at the clock and tell me based on the schedule the orphanage gave us for Olivia what she is doing at the time.  For example, we are eating dinner at 6:00 and she says, "Hey mommy, it's 6:00, Olivia is waking up now.  It's morning in China".  Her teacher tells me that she does the same thing at school.  She even taught her teacher about 12 hr time difference in China. 
Two weeks ago, we had our community yard sale.  I took Kyrie shopping and gave her the only cash we had in the house: $10.  Guess what she bought?  Nothing for herself, but a push toy for her sister. 
I know this is a bit wordy but, I just have to document Kyrie's heart and how much a part of our lives our sweet Olivia is and we haven't even met her yet.  
I can not wait to see the love these sisters have.  I pray daily that Olivia's heart will immediately be accepting of Kyrie.  She wants so badly to have her sister here and I pray that their bond is instantaneous. 
These are some tidbits Kyrie and I have collected for Olivia.  An Asian baby doll and "God Found Us You"  (the adoption version of one of my favorite stories I read to the kids)  Will post more pictures of her room in another post.