Tuesday, December 31, 2013


So before I get back to China, we had the weirdest moment happen this past weekend...

And turns out, I really didnt need to worry about Willow... she started speaking, out of the blue, yall!, in complete sentences... so apparently, its just her personality to be quiet and not talk much, but she is taking it all in, it seems...

Anyway, as we were getting ready to leave the house on Saturday, I took Wallace to go potty and we just left the door open and Willow walked by... and she said "Shi-Wing go potty" and my head snapped around because surely she did not just say what I thought she said, and then she repeated it "Shi-Wing go potty"

Wait a minute.


She has never in her life heard anyone call Wallace by his Chinese name (which is Shi-Wing).... and in fact, she loves to boss Wallace around by his English name of Wallace - its one of her favorite words.

So I have no idea where she got it from or why she said it at that time (instead of Wallace) - and she said it very clearly, two times in a row...

Thats just a little bit weird, right?


I cant believe this year is almost over.... craziness!

Daniel and I were marveling yesterday at how fast its gone and how much has happened in just a year... to put it in perspective, we were just sending our dossier to China at this point last year... and now Willow is here and it feels like she has always been here...

We are really going to try to make 2014 simplified and intentional.... we will see how long that lasts... hope yall all have a great New Years Eve and New Years Day!  Thanks for hanging in there with us.

Monday, December 23, 2013


I just realized this morning I really havent told you much about China... my brain gets so forgetful most days... :)

You will have to wait on pics though - they are on my laptop, so just the stories for now will have to do.

China was so amazing and beautiful.... we loved it.  I wish I could go back and visit (and Hong Kong too!) at least once a year, but then Daniel and I love traveling - we just like walking around, watching people and experiencing the culture first hand.  So amazing.

Anyway, I wanted to remember this story before I forgot it forever... :)

When we left for our trip, we went to Beijing first - they like for you to ahead and do the touristy stuff before you have your child so you can actually enjoy it and experience some of the Chinese culture... while in Beijing, we ate at a little authentic noodle shop (so good!), went to the Great Wall and Tienamen Square.... after that, we spent 5 days in Nanning, which is the capital city of the province that Willow was from, and then after that, we spent a week in Guangzhou for all the official paperwork and such.

I think we loved Nanning the best... it was mostly just me and Daniel and Willow... we ate breakfast every morning at the hotel, then walked around (there were two malls and a walmart within walking distance), back to the hotel where we had ramen for lunch, then willow and I would take a nap, then more walking around, and then maybe some KFC in the room for dinner and then a movie on tv, bath and bedtime.... it was such a sweet time that I know both Daniel and I will treasure.

Anyway.... :)

When we were leaving Nanning to go to Guangzhou, we met up with the 2 other couples who had adopted in our province and we got to chatting in the airport as we waited for our flight... we got to see how everyone was doing.  One of the couples had adopted a little 12 month old boy who had a cleft lip and poor thing, he was just grieving, he had been crying for 3 days straight... the other little girl was also a cleft lip but boy was she spunky and all over the place... and then there was willow - just sitting nice and quiet in the chair... she made us look good, I tell ya!

Anyway... we were all sitting there chatting, waiting on the plane in this tiny airport... and there was a guy who looked to be in his 20s sitting next to all of us... after awhile, he just got up and left and we wondered if he was maybe offended by the kids moving around and being kids... but he returned about 5 minutes later - with a kids yogurt drink - he gave it to us and told us it was for the babies.  Yall!  It was the sweetest thing.... especially in a culture where orphans (especially ones with visible disabilities like cleft) are discarded and usually thought of as a curse.  (just for the record, we did make sure it was still sealed and untampered with).... and it was even more of a blessing than we knew, because shortly after he gave it to us, we found out our plane would be delayed for an hour - which meant that we would be in the super crowded airport without having anything to eat or drink for 3-4 hours, which makes for some cranky kids.... So yeah, that guy was such a blessing to some tired, worn out parents who really needed just a bit of kindness... :)

We did later get the kids something to eat... but that is a whole other (very funny) story... :)

In case I dont blog again before then... hope everyone has a great Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Guess what day it is?


I guess I need to start writing more because my thoughts get all jumbled up and I can never remember what I want to write about or what I have written about... so forgive the rambling.

Anyway... still taking Willow to daycare and every day that I pick her up, they say she had a great day... she is no longer crying when we get there, but she doesnt really want to go in either... I guess its all still new.  I dont know if the 2 week Christmas break at home will help or hurt her progress at daycare.

Her teacher asked me yesterday if we played outside much because she is so scared of the playground and will not play at all.  Did I tell yall that Willow had never been on a playground before she was with us - she had no idea what do or how to play.  I physically had to pick her up - kicking and screaming - and put her on a small slide... and she thought it was fun.... same thing with a swing, or even climbing up a small ladder... she has no idea... so I was not surprised at what the teacher said.... of course, Daniel and I are those mean, mean parents who make our kids do things.

We did the same thing to Wallace too.... I physically dragged him all through the McDonalds playground every single time we went there (which admittedly was not a whole lot) until he started doing it on his own.... he would go limp noodle, and kick and scream and cry because he didnt want to do it.... but we made him do it anyway - because we knew it was the best thing for him.... and now, he climbs as high as he can go with no fear.

So we do the same thing to/for Willow.... and she is one of the best/loudest fit-throwers Ive ever met.... so yeah, we get lots of dirty looks because it seems we are torturing our children.... but really, we know its the best thing for her.... her first reaction with anything new (trying ice cream closing the car door, getting her temp taken, etc) - is to have an out and out fit - kicking and screaming and going limp on the floor.... trying ice cream yall!

She will get there though.... and hopefully wont hate us when she is older... :)

Otherwise in our house...

Its almost Christmas break - Friday is the last day for Daniel and the kids at school and then they are off for two weeks.... so Im sure that will be fun.

Emma is still in cheer and we just went to a competition in Birmingham - and their team got 1st place.... we were so proud.  She really puts alot of hard work into it.

Gabe and Wallace mostly just hang out and watch tv.... we are cool with that (homework and chores have to be done before tv)

Daniel and I have really been thinking about this year and how busy its been and we are hoping to slow things down a little next year.... and just simplify.... I hope we are able to make that happen.

So tell me whats going on with you lately...

Thursday, December 12, 2013


I know I said I was going to post more... but honestly, Im struggling a bit with this blog.  There is alot I want to really talk about and dig into, but feel because there are some specific people reading this blog, I cant go into it... which makes me feel bad because I cant be honest and I have to keep things bottled in.... blech.

But Willow is doing better at daycare - she goes in with no crying and her teacher tells me every day that she had a great day... and she is even happy to see me when I pick her up now.

She still is not using hardly any english at all... she will copy the kids when they tell her a word, but she barely uses any english and will just talk to us in chinese.... she does have a really cute pronunciation though when she does use english words.  Although we may have some speech therapy in our future - she drops the last sound off every word, which is very typical for Chinese speakers, but it will make her harder to understand in the future so we try to work on it.

She is doing great, but honestly, she is about the laziest child Ive ever met - she has no motivation to do anything - and if you try to get her to do anything she will throw a fit and a tantrum... I mean like little things like push the car door closed or take her seatbelt off or hang her coat up - all things that she is perfectly capable of doing and has done before... so that becomes frustrating because she causes alot of extra work for everyone else... plus, listening to someone cry/scream for 20 minutes over nothing wears a bit on every one's nerves.  And most of the time, she just refuses to learn anything you want to teach her - we will go over and over and over and over (usually spending 20-60 minutes on something as simple as turning on the light switch) and she just refuses to learn how to do it and throws a fit... and then after about an hour of going over it and over it and over it, she finally may accidentally get it and she sees it work - that she could actually turn the light off and on without having to wait on someone else, and then she does it fine.

I know that probably sounds cute and like a typical 2 year old, but yeah, you can think that until youve actually heard a child screaming for 20 minutes at full volume, stomping their feet - because you are putting your hand over theirs to turn on the light.... and then it all of a sudden just stops

Otherwise, we are doing really well... the kids especially love her and I think she has brought alot of healing to our family and we are very thankful for that.

Besides that, we are just trying to stay warm and spend time together - thankfully this week hasnt been overwhelmingly busy, but next week looks like it wants to...

Hope yall are having a great Christmas season!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Willow's teacher said she quit crying about 2 minutes after I left yesterday morning and from then on had a great day.

I was expecting her to be a little bit happy when I went to pick her up in the afternoon, but she really didnt want me... so yeah, that kind of hurt my feelings, but I guess it is what it is.

She cried again this morning... but her daddy is picking her up this afternoon, and Im sure she will be excited to see him.

Not too much else going on with us right now, still trying to get back into the normal routine...

Monday, December 2, 2013


Ok, trying to get into a routine again and I will be trying to post alot more regularly now...

China was great, and Daniel and I loved it - we love traveling and getting off the beaten path and just enjoying the culture, so that was really fun... we did really miss Gabe, Emma and Wallace though - and we hope that when they are older, we can all return to China and Hong Kong - they are such beautiful places.

Willow is doing well and seems to be bonding with all of us.... the kids especially adore her, even Gabe, who is his mama's son and very much an introvert, so thats a bit of a small miracle.  Even Wallace has found a playmate in her.  She has brought much needed healing to our family and we are so, so thankful and feel so blessed.

This morning was not a good morning for Willow though...

Today was her first day of daycare... and she was not having it!  At all!

Daniel took her there a couple days last week to visit and get used to the place and what was happening and especially her teacher.... and when I took her in this morning, she knew where she was and she didnt like it.

She threw a fit, stomped her feet, layed out on the floor and just cried... and cried... and cried.

I felt bad for her teacher, but we both knew today would be hard, and we love her teacher and she is amazing and great with kids (Emma had her too).... so hopefully by the end of the week, she will start getting into the groove of things.

She doesnt like change at all, but once she realizes that its ok, she usually settles down and starts going with the flow.

Hopefully she will like me again when I go pick her up this afternoon... :)

Anyone still reading?  Anyone have any questions?

Thursday, November 7, 2013


I know I've been slacking, but being out of a routine is killing my drive to do anything productive... I will get back here eventually

We are doing fantastic though... Willow is doing amazing and is a natural part of the family... It's just been a dream for us, I can't get over it... And if this is how other people's adoptions go, then I can understand why people do it again so quickly... But no, we have no plans to do this again anytime soon... Four kids is enough for right now... :)

Willow is really tall so we are having a different dilemma with clothes for her than we've ever had.... She has a tiny waist but super long legs, so all pants look like capris on her.... So I'm thinking she is going to be a dress and leggings sort of girl... :)

But we are doing well... And we fell really so blessed and are so thankful... Especially for y'all, our readers...

I promise I'll get more regular and with pics sometime soon... In the meantime, next week, Emma turns seven and Wallace wll be nine... I can't believe it!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


We are home!!!

I am jetlagged and havent downloaded all the pics from the trip yet, but will be blogging about the trip soon...

yall are awesome - thanks for hanging in there with us!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Final Countdown

Tomorrow we will be on a flight to detroit and then soon on a flight to china...

The kids and I watched Face/Off last night, which is "our" show - they were very dismayed that they would have to miss it for 2 weeks... :)   I reminded Emma that last night was the last night to sleep at the house before Willow got here - I dont think anyone really realized that and we were all a bit sad... goodness, my heart already aches over missing them... Im sure they will be fine and do better than us.

Today, after I get off, I have to run a few last minute errands and then home where I can hopefully get some last minute stuff done.... then we are having a favorite dinner and then taking the kids to family swim at the Y, then they will spend the night at Daniel's parents house.... Daniel and I will continue to get everything ready and we had hoped to get in bed a little early but I dont think its really going to happen... :)

Daniel's dad will be at our house in the morning to drive us to the airport and we leave at 4 AM - so yeah, early morning... and a loooooooooong day... :)

We do have pretty much everything ready to go, so hopefully this afternoon wont be too chaotic

As for yesterday - we went to the bank and exchanged the money... the teller was alright, but didnt really care that we didnt like some of the bills saying there wasnt anything she could really do about it - what, you mean like asking the teller next to you to go through her drawer?  But anyway, we will pray that all the money will be accepted with no problems.

After that, I got to go see Mr James Meredith speak in person.... he was very interesting and I enjoyed it....

After that, I cooked pancakes for dinner.... which for some reason, didnt turn out that good, but everyone smiled and ate them anyway, so I guess they werent that bad.

So now I just have to survive the work day and then all the fun starts... here we go!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


So we got alot done yesterday - all the grocery shopping for the kids for the 2 weeks we will be gone.

Last week, I had Daniel go to the bank to get the money we will need for travel - it has to be in crisp, new $100 bills or they wont exchange them in China... I took the money out last night to divide it into the different payments and such so it would all be organized and I found out that my version of "crisp, new $100 bills" was different from Daniel and the bank tellers - I probably rejected over half of it... so we will go to the bank today and try to exchange those again

Also, we have to pack for the kids tonight and get everything together for them

I still have to sort the carryon stuff and get all of that in a good order.... and we still have to change the sheets on the bed and get things ready for when we return.  Thankfully, my sister is house sitting for us, so hopefully she will be able to keep everything up, so it will be nice for when we return - the non-stress of a clean house will definitely help with the jetlag to some degree.

I cant believe we leave in 2 days.... it just isnt real yet.... eeek!

Monday, October 7, 2013


We had a great weekend and it definitely helped release some of that built up tension. 

Friday, I had a picture session (with a couple who is from China and is going back soon for their wedding - how cool is that!) and I locked my keys in my car - so my husband had to drive 30 minutes to come rescue me - and he did it willingly - best husband ever....

Afterwards, my mom took us and my sister out to dinner and then she bought the kids their halloween costumes - thanks mom!   So that was a pretty nice evening, besides the whole key thing... :)

Saturday, we spent the whole day with the kids - we went to the pumpkin patch and to chic fila and sonic for happy hour slushes, and we got Iron Man 3 from the redbox.... I am hoping that we made alot of good memories and they will keep them for awhile

Sunday, we went to church (yes, even me), then to a homecoming lunch at my moms church.... and yesterday afternoon, some friends threw me a shower for Willow - it was the sweetest and we got lots of super nice things.  It felt really good to be loved!

Today is Monday and still freaking out about all the last minute things that need to happen, but I know it will all be ok... and we are just days away from traveling.... goodness!

Friday, October 4, 2013


Daniel and I have so much pent up stress and anxiety, its best to walk on eggshells around us - the tiniest thing has us jumping on the closest person nearby.

Dont get us wrong, we are so, so excited to finally be going to china and even more to be getting willow!

But this is NOT a vacation.... its very emotionally draining.  Being a foreign place where no one speaks your language, everyone is starting at you, your child is grieving (which can be ignoring you, tantruming, crying incessantly, hitting, etc)...... but more than anything - its hitting both Daniel and I that we are going to be away from our other 3 kids for over two weeks.

It is killing us. 

Our kids are our world and being without them for 2 weeks is like having a piece of your heart cut out of your chest.... it actually physically aches.

We do, however, have a nice weekend planned to just get some time in with the kids.... so I am hoping this will help alleviate alot of the stress and frustration that we have been holding onto...

So yeah, prayers needed.... especially for the kids... and us... :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

1 week

A week from today, Daniel and I will be in a plane flying to detroit... getting ready to board a plane for china....

And both Daniel and I are completely stressed out.... I mean for real... the smallest things are making us go crazy.... we are insane people lately. 

So we have pretty much cut out any non-essential activities and just have hunkered down at the house... tensions are rising high and we are just ready to go.

My heart is breaking/aching for the three we are leaving behind for 2 weeks - that seems like an eternity because we really do love our children and loving being around them, so Im sure we will go through some sort of withdrawals.

We are looking forward to being in China, itself, though - we absolutely adore other cultures and there is nothing like experiencing it first hand..... with the person you love.  And picking up a new little one too!

So its a see-saw of emotion around here - up, down, up, down..... and well, the human heart and body werent meant for such instability.... so we are all going a little mad.

I think it will settle down once we actually begin the journey next Thursday, but until then.... I hope we all survive... :)

Monday, September 30, 2013

The weekend

Well, the last post was a bit premature on what all we had going on.... this past weekend was crazy busy... :)

A friend of ours had gifted us a night at a local bed and breakfast, which was nice, but we thought that it might go to waste since there was no way Daniel and I could use it before we left for China and we arent going to be able to go anywhere alone after China for a long, long time.... but I had the idea of using it for a girls night - so Friday, Emma and I left the house shortly after she got home from school and checked into the b&b, after a little bit, we met the boys for pizza and then we went back to the b&b - we got to sleep in a huge bed, play with some little puppies, we ate ice cream straight out of the carton and I let her pick what we watched on tv... and we got waffles for breakfast the next morning.  (I heard the boys watched some Star Wars).... oh, Im so glad we got to take this opportunity - although I know Emma is probably going to handle this huge change better than anyone, but I know its also going to be harder on her than anyone else... she has been the only little girl in our house, the only sister - she has never really had to share that role... she has always been the baby.  And soon that will change - for the first time ever, she will be the big sister.... and I know she is going to be amazing at it.  She is my mama hen and loves to take care of everything and everyone... but it will still be an adjustment, Im sure.  Im so glad I got that one on one time with her -I hope its a happy memory for her for years to come - I know it will be for me.

Saturday morning, the boys left early and headed over to my grandparents house where Daniel is helping my mom redo my grandparents bathroom to make it easier for them.... so Emma and I pretty much had the house to ourselves.... which meant she got to play video games and play with the dogs.... and wow - the weather was gorgeous Saturday.  So while she played, I got to packing.... and I got us all packed for China!  Everything in 2 large suitcases and 2 backpacks.... we will take the bags to get weighed this afternoon - the suitcases have to be 44 pounds each or less.... Im not sure we are going to make it (try fitting 2 weeks worth of stuff for 3 people in 2 suiticases at 44 pounds or less each!) so I might have to do some rearranging and repacking this week... :)

Sunday, we all were at my grandparents house.... and about 4:00, Daniel sliced open one of his fingers with a drywall knife... so off we headed to the emergency room.  I had to leave around 6:30 to meet my mom with the kids at home.... Daniel got home about 8:40 - with 5 stitches.  He said it would take about 8 days to heal (so thankful!) and it was ok this morning... so thankful it wasnt worse.

After all the drama last night, Friday felt a week away already.... so busy, busy weekend.... and busy, busy week!  This is the last full week we will have, so we need to be getting everything done... :)

Prayers appreciated!

Friday, September 27, 2013

I know, I know

I feel like Im cheating you, dear readers, because all I talk about any more is the adoption and the upcoming trip.... but Im sorry, its all I have on my mind lately - night and day, its all I think about....

And speaking of.... its officially less than 2 weeks before we leave.

But really, we do have alot of things going on at our house....
- everyone is enjoying school and doing well
- Wallace had one really bad week behavior wise a few weeks back - awful!! But he was just testing, which is normal for him - BUT! - the teachers actually listened to us, didnt give in, and he got better... so thankful!
- Emma is still on her cheerleading squad and is doing fantastic - she, of course, is a flyer - and is on top of everything.... which makes me so excited.... their first competition is in November
- I only have one more photo thing before we go - Ive had lots of requests, but just didnt feel I could give them the time and attention that they needed or deserved... but Ill have lots to keep me busy when we get home
- still bummed about halloween, but getting over it.... going to let the kids pick out costumes soon
- trying to spend as much one on one time with each kid as possible
- trying to get to the Y and work off as much of this stress weight that Ive gained lately as I can (ugh!)

We have scaled back all commitments and activities to the minimum.... we want to be fully involved with our kids and the adoption as we can right now... thats all thats important..... our lives are about to change in a HUGE way and I am hoping the transition is easy as it can be.

If you get a spare minute and if you wouldnt mind, please say a prayer for willow and her transition and that her heart would be prepared to let us in, the foster family that is having to say goodbye after raising her for a year (so thankful for them), and also, for Gabe, Emma and Wallace who will be staying with family but still in a foreign environment without mom and dad for over 2 weeks - my heart aches for them - weve never been apart that long...

One day closer... :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

2 weeks/1 month

Two weeks from today, we will have everything packed and ready to go... hopefully getting in a fun afternoon with our kids and a nice dinner around the table.... it will probably be  hard to fall asleep and morning will come too early.  We have to be leaving the house around 4 AM to make it to our flight.  Hopefully, I will sleep the 2 hour drive to the airport, but I know once there, I wont sleep any more.... I know I should sleep on the 13+ hour plane ride, but I know I wont.... excitement will win out.

And exactly a month from today, we will be flying back to the US.  I cant believe it - in a month, this whole process of waiting for our daughter to get here will be over, and the life of a family of 6 will begin.  Im betting I sleep alot on the plane home... and even more on the car ride back home.

Exhausted doesnt even begin to describe how my body deals with jetlag.

The adoption is all I can think of - every day, all day.... Im finally letting myself start to believe that all of this is real... :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

3 weeks

3 weeks from this very moment, we will be winging our way to detroit, getting close to land... :)

We have a 2 hour layover in Detroit and then we start the 13-14 hour to China.... which seems like a long time, but the plane to HK was 16 hours, so not quite as long.... plus, I actually really like to fly and being on that big of a plane, you cant feel anything, plus my own personal tv and space - being an introvert, this is pretty good living for me... :)

we will get to China on the afternoon of the 25th and have the whole day to ourselves - its been a LONG, LONG, LONG time since it was just me and Daniel for more than a couple of hours together, so we are looking forward to just being able to focus on each other for a minute.... although Im betting 5 minutes after we are there (probably sooner!), we will be missing our kids. 

We will have a few days in Beijing for the touristy stuff like the Great Wall and Tienamen Square and such and then we fly out on Monday

And Monday is when we meet and get to take Willow with us.  I cant even tell you the feeling.

The rest of the trip is spent going to parks, a little shopping, lots of paperwork and then we fly home.

3 weeks yall!!!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


3 weeks from today and everything has to be ready to go.... we fly out early Thursday morning.

Its all starting to sink in, and I go back and forth between wondering if I have enough time to get it all done to thinking it cant come quick enough.... I dont want to lose even another single day of my daughter's life.

So many emotions going through my heart and head right now... and Daniel's too, and thats saying something because normally he is cool as a cucumber...

I know I havent been writing as often lately, but I am holding my cards close to my chest right now.... so afraid that if I even let one little bit show, it will all be taken away from me.... and we are so close.

In other news, some friends are throwing a shower for Willow.... just the thought of it makes me want to burst out in a smile.... someone is actually happy for us.... its such a weird feeling.  I think I should pinch myself sometime just to see if its a dream, but I wouldnt dare b/c Id rather it be a dream than happen, then wake up and realize it wasnt so.

A huge thank you to everyone who has helped us get this far - I feel like my words on a computer screen dont mean much, but I want you to know how grateful we really are.  You are helping give us our daughter.

Ill keep writing until we leave, but I dont see how I am going to blog while in China - I just dont see that opportunity being there, but if so, I will take it.... and Ill be sure and update when we get back... :)

Thanks for hanging in there with us..... 3 more weeks!!!!  I cant stand it!

Thursday, September 12, 2013


So after the initial shock and disappointment were over, Daniel and I were ok.... its not the plan that we wanted, but its what weve got, and its better than november, I guess.

But there are some drawbacks to going in October.... for one, there is a big trade fair over in China most of October, which means planes and hotels are more expensive... guess its good weve got a month to save up a little bit more before we go.

But the biggest letdown was that we are going to miss most of the halloween festivities that we go to.... I know that seems like not a big deal, but halloween is pretty much bigger than Christmas in our house.... Ive been working on our costumes since March..... March, yall!..... because we always dress up as a family - I even had Willow's costume ready b/c we thought she would be here.  We go to tons of parties and festivals all throughout the month, and the kids always have the best time (us too!)... so we told them the news earlier this week and they were quite disappointed - especially Emma, who said that if she couldnt do the family costume then she didnt want to dress up... poor thing... I finally told both that we would go through my costume boxes on Saturday and see what they could find and I bet we could come up with something fun for them to dress up as.... and we will just drive them around to a few houses and let them trick or treat.... Daniel, I and Willow will just stay in the car - Im pretty sure we are still going to be jetlagged and I think all of this may be a bit overwhelming for Willow as she will just have come home shortly before.

So I guess I have our costumes ready for next year already....

Anyway.... we are taking this month to really get prepped... things we need to do
- pack our bags, including stuff for Willow... and making sure its all under the weight limit
- pack the kids bags as they spend the time away with Daniel's parents
- make sure the dogs and cat are taken care of while we are gone
- get anything we still need to get for the trip
- clean the house... thoroughly.... its so much less stressful when you can come home to a clean house
- stock the pantry and fridge - we dont have the freezer space for a bunch of pre-made meals, but it will be alot easier if we already have everything we need to throw a few easy meals together
- get the girls' room ready
- get as much time (especially one on one time) with the kids as we can
- save up some extra money

Im sure there is a ton of other stuff to do, and hopefully we can get it all done in a month.... we are so super excited... :)

Any questions before we go?

Monday, September 9, 2013


We got TA on Friday with a proposed CA (consulate appointment date) of October 23... we found out this morning that we were accepted for that date.... I didnt want to post anything here until it was for sure and final

And Friday.... I had a big, ol, ugly cry.

Yes, I was happy to get a travel date... but it was a full month later than I wanted to go.

I know looking from the outside in, a month doesnt seem like much time.... but if you put yourself in our shoes - thats another month of a 2 year olds life without parents, without a family... that we dont get to know her.... we will never, ever get that month back.

So yeah, I had it out on Friday afternoon, in Daniel's arms, and I just melted.... probably for a good 30 minutes, and even though I could have gone on and cried all weekend, I realized that I had gotten the disappointment out of the way, now we have to start looking towards October.

I am quite a bit disappointed and heartbroken, honestly still... but I am happy to have a real date.  A month feels like forever, but I know it will get her eventually and all I have to do is focus on getting through today, then tomorrow is one day closer to seeing her.

As it stands now, we will fly out on October 10, get there Oct 11, get Willow on Oct 14, and fly back home on Oct 25.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Today is day 14 for our TA wait.... its killing me yall.  If we dont get a phone call today, then there's practically no way we can travel next week... and if we cant travel next week, then there is a slight chance, we may have to wait until October to travel.  There is a slight chance we could go the week after next week, but if we cant go then, then we probably wont be in China until at least the second week of October because of upcoming Chinese holidays

Yeah, over a month away.

Im pretty heartbroken over the whole thing, but I am holding on to hope with a deathgrip that we get that phone call today

but every hour that slips by loosens that grip a little more.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013


You will notice that I dont post as often... mostly b/c we are on that last step of waiting for travel dates and its leaving me an emotional wreck lately, and I think its probably best to not post when Im like that.

I watched The Little Couple last night and it was a re-run of when they got Will from China... and it just made me bawl.  My heart is aching right now waiting for that phone call.  My daughter is out there, but she has no idea who I am.  I am so thankful that she is so loved and taken care of right now, but I would be lying if it said it didnt break my heart a little.

So we wait... and wait... and wait.... and each day that hole grows a little bit bigger... Im trying to hold it together, but each day leaves me a little bit more frazzled at the ends.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Nothing much going on.... we are still waiting... on pins and needles. 

Right now, we are trying to get through Daniel's play - he is one of the leads in a big play that everyone is talking about and excited... if you are local, I hope you go get to see it.

Also, if you are local, Im part of the Downtown Art Walk on Sept 5 - I got paired with Deep South Pout, so that should be fun. 

Once the art walk and the play is over (next weekend), then we can fully concentrate on the adoption - and hopefully we are getting our travel approval soon... Daniel and I cannot wait!

We still have to get the house clean, stock the pantry and finish packing and then we should be ready to go... :)



Friday, August 23, 2013


Since no one commented on the last post, I guess no one is really reading anymore.... which is fine, I guess.... I use this for myself anyway, to keep track of dates and such.

We found out that our Article 5 was picked up yesterday, and we should get our notice on Monday - yall!  that is the final piece of paper before we travel, so now we are waiting on our travel approval and it could be anywhere from 2-4 weeks, so yeah, I think we are traveling in September.

Im so super excited.... yay..... soon, we will be traveling.

Still tons to do before we leave though - finish packing, finish getting what we need for the trip, double check all paperwork, clean the house, stock the pantry and get everything ready for when we will be gone.

Crazy... and I cant wait!

Friday, August 16, 2013

New pics!

We just got this new pic.... isnt she gorgeous and hasnt she grown?!!! 

From her updated measurements, she hasnt really grown that much, but she does look less like a baby and much more like a toddler... :)

We got our Visas back yesterday... awesome!

So now all we are waiting for is the Article 5 which should come next week and then we get travel dates... we are so excited.... :)

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Nine years ago today, I was in a hospital room.... its Gabe's birthday... my first born, and I cant believe he is 9 today.... crazy!!!

I sure do love that boy and he is such a little man after my own heart.

Besides that, the kids have been in school for almost a week - and they seem to be liking it so far... and for anyone that was wondering - yes, we transfered them all to a new school - the elementary where their daddy teaches and its been really good so far.

I asked for another update on Willow today so hopefully that will come soon - I cant wait to see how much she has changed since the last pictures, oh my heart!

Gotta make this quick... its busy today but didnt want to go a whole week without blogging again... :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


I cant believe its been so long since Ive blogged... I promise Im not ignoring yall, its just been so crazy lately... :)

Today was Daniel and the kid's first day back to school... Im hoping it goes well - I cant wait to hear about it when they get home.

Also, Friday, my work gave us a shower for Willow and it was one of the most amazing experiences Ive had - we felt very loved in that moment and it was just amazing to have people really be happy for us... we kind of missed out on that with Wallace's adoption, so to have it this time was just wonderful.

Also, my mom actually took Wallace for a few hours... that was pretty great too.

So far, no word on the Article 5 or our Visas, but we are holding steady.... still thinking we are traveling in September - and August is fastly filling up with things to do before we leave, but its mostly great stuff, so we are excited.

 Am hoping to get most of our stuff packed this weekend - it will make me feel better to have everything ready to go beforehand, so I can think about anything we might have missed and still have time to pack it before we go.

We have had so much good in our lives lately... we feel beyond blessed and we are so excited that we are getting so close to our new daughter being in our arms.... eek!!!!!

Thanks for hanging in there with us... I will try not to go so long between blogging next time... any questions for us?

Monday, July 29, 2013


The weekend was good... I got my computer back and spent pretty much every waking hour working on all the wedding pics that needed caught up on editing - Im about halfway done now, and if I keep working every free minute this week, then hopefully I will be done by this weekend and that will be one less thing for me to worry about.... but man, it was so good to have my normal computer back!

Wallace had a dr appointment for his kidneys today and everything looked good... nothing has gotten worse, so thats great news!

I cant believe Daniel and the kids go back to school next week... I cant believe August starts this week.... its all so crazy!

I am mailing in our VISA application today - they will take our passports and put a China stamp in them and send them back and they will be ready to go when we are.

Also, I probably wont be blogging while we are in China - they have a strict internet policy over there, and it just seems easier not to worry about it since we will be so stressed anyway... but I will be blogging when we get back home!

In other news.... Im a blog-aholic... I love blogs and follow over 200, so the death of google reader just about killed me.... for real.... so I found another feed reader and migrated all my links over (which took forever) and was all happy - well, today, my new reader has announced that its calling it quits.... and I cannot find anothe reader that I like (dont say feedly, its blocked here at work) - so Im open to any and all suggestions... I dont know what Im going to do - blogs are the way I stay up with people b/c facebook is the devil for me.... ugh

well, hope everyone is having a good Monday... :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

NVC notice

Yesterday was a pretty good day, all in all... :)

We got a letter saying that our NVC letter was being forwarded to China... and I got my laptop back... and Emma did amazing in cheer practice... and my mom bought new backpacks and shoes for the kids.

Good day.... and I sure needed one...

And now that I have my laptop back, I am looking forward to editing all weekend - I knew its work, but I still love it and not being able to do it for a whole week has left me wondering what to do with myself.... but I know the break was good for my soul too

Daniel and I have recently found Downton Abbey at the library so we have been watching that and I have to admit, its way better than I thought it was going to be.... but if you are watching it, dont spoil anything... we just stared season 2.

So glad its Friday.... happy weekend!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


There is nothing like getting a few hours work into a wedding to have your computer crash on you... and then crash again and again.


The last few days have been super stressful with my computer crashing... I have all my programs and work on there, so it has been crazy.  I know everyone thinks being a photographer is all fun and no work and no overhead costs - you just get a nice enough camera, start shooting, and burn a cd - but thats mostly just a pipe dream.  Being a real photographer costs way more money than you could ever make from it.

And its one thing to have a computer crash on your own personal photos... its another thing entirely to have them crash on someone's wedding photos.

Ive been so stressed out for the last 2 days, its made me physically ill.

So Daniel is taking it into a shop today - hoping its only there a day or two and doesnt cost an arm and a leg.

Its funny though b/c I was actually thinking of quitting this whole business - its become too much, and like I said, its expensive to keep up.... but I had the wedding from this past weekend and then a wedding in August and I was going to be done for awhile so I could concentrate on Willow and our family..... and it happens now - right before I wanted to be done, at the worst possible time.




In other news..... I learned that family from my other side also see Wallace as less

Remember, my VBS post a few posts back.... my aunt put a pic of her grandson/my cousin on facebook, and I mentioned that I wished our kids could go, but that they didnt have a place for Wallace.... her daughter/my cousin then commented that we should just bring Gabe and Emma

I just wish our family loved Wallace for real, instead of just being nice about it.

(yes, I know Im touchy)


In other news.... :)     Daniel and the kids start back to school in 2 weeks... this summer has flown by... I cant believe the school year is about to start.... crazy!

Well, I hope yall had a much more relaxing weekend than I did.... and lets hope my computer is just a minor fix and can be back in my hands soon!!!!

Friday, July 19, 2013


Im so glad its Friday.... :)

Our information is going to China today and should be there on Monday - Im super excited b/c we are getting closer every day.... our NVC letter will hopefully be here soon and that will be another step down.

I really do see us traveling in September, which excites me to no end.... no end!

Anyway... :)

Yesterday, Emma had an afternoon cheer camp with her team in another town an hour away, so we all loaded up and went, dropped her off at the gym and then mama (thats me) got to go to the big thrift store.... where I found quite a few awesome deals and maybe a Christmas/birthday present or two.... and nothing was over $5... yes!

And as a treat, after we picked up Emma, we stopped by Mcdonalds - where kids meals were only $1.99 on Thursdays.... awesome..... so we got some minions.

And someone had left another different one on a neighboring table, so we snagged that one too.... and then the kids found a different one on the playground enclosure floor - so I snagged an umbrella that was laying against the wall and finagled around and finally got that one... then another kid on the playground alerted us to a different one on the other side (actually 3 of the same ones), so I tried with the umbrella but dropped it in the enclosure, so I borrowed a broom and got the umbrella and all 3 toys (we gave one to the boy who told us about them).... so yes, we came in and got one, but left with 4 different ones.... so now Im on the hunt to get the other 4.

Because, yall, I am crazy.... :)

And its like our favorite movie ever.... :)

And I hope my kids forever have the memory of their grown mother (with bright red hair), laying on the Mcdonalds floor with a broom trying to fish out cheap happy meal toys.

Seriously... I did that.

My mom would probably be so embarrased... :)

So I hope yall have a happy Friday and a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Got everything together and fed-exed our DS230 packet back to our agency yesterday... just got word that it was delivered this morning!

Im so excited at how things are speeding along now....

ok, so whats left
- Article 5
- travel dates given
- consulate date given

Thats all thats left.... woo hoo!!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Good Weekend

This past weekend was good.... so good.

I discovered at 9 AM on Friday morning that it was Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-a, so we scrambled to get stuff together and we all dressed up as cows - yes, Daniel and I too - and went to eat at a busy lunchtime at a popular restaurant at lunchtime..... and we all got free food... :)

So we decided why not get a free dinner too... so we drove to a neighboring town and dressed up there and got a free dinner... yay.... while we were there, we visited the flea market and got some exercise walking around.

Saturday, they were having a kids film festival at the local movie theater and someone gave us tickets, so my sister and I took the kids and got to see Escape from Planet Earth and Rise of the Guardians.... I enjoyed both and it was definitely a treat for all of us. 

And in the mail that day - we got our I800 approval.... I really thought it was going to take a bit longer, but it came, so we were excited!  Daniel had also gone to the library earlier that week and rented (for free!) the first season of Downton Abby, so him and I watched a bit of that on Saturday night.

Sunday morning, I had an amazing, amazing shoot - so fun.... then we came home, I got a nap, we did some grocery shopping and then headed out to my grandparents - where they fed us... :)

So yes, an awesome weekend to be sure... :)

I am gathering everything up today and mail out some more of our documents and money to our agency - it will be fed-exed overnight, so another step out of the way.... I still see us traveling in September and that makes me so excited - I cant believe its almost August!

Hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, July 12, 2013


So Im about to become one of those mamas for a minute... one of those who has a kid with special needs who is offended... maybe im just overly sensitive, I dont know.... but this is where Im at today, so if you dont feel like reading, then dont worry about todays post... :)

So we heard a local church was doing VBS soon... they are a big church with a good reputation for being involved in the community, plus this VBS had a morning session and an afternoon session, so we thought it would be fun for the kids.... so Daniel called them to see if they had a class for Wallace as well as Gabe and Emma.  The person in charge wasnt there so they told him they would call back.

Well, when they called back, I was the one to answer the phone because Daniel wasnt there, so the lady talked to me.

She told me that since Wallace has down syndrome and they didnt know how he would behave, he could come on the first day and then they could decide if he would be allowed to come back the rest of the week... they could just take it day by day.  And also, they didnt have anyone who could spend one on one time with him during the afternoon or remind him to go to the bathroom, so he couldnt come in the afternoons at all.

Ok, I get that I am probably oversensitive, but really?  Just because he has down syndrome, you dont think you could handle that - they didnt even ask about his personality or what he can do - they just stuck a down syndrome label on him and automatically deemed him to hard to handle.  But what really got to me was the afternoon issue - Wallace does not need a one on one aid to stand beside him constantly, and he is potty trained mostly, he just needs reminders (about every 2 hours, not every 5 minutes) to go - Im sorry, but they arent going to have kindergarteners at their VBS - same thing.

I just think its weird that a church that big who has their reputation for being out in the community cant handle one kid.... last time I checked, if you have "church" in your name, it means you are supposed to be reaching out to the ones that need love/support the most... but then again, "church" is not a good word in my mind anymore - due in part, to incidences like this.

I dont know... it just seems weird that a church this size doesnt have any youth volunteers that could be a one on one aid for Wallace since that is what the church thinks he needs.

Like I said, Im probably being oversensitive, but if you have ever met Wallace, then you know we arent asking that much from the church.... he is super capable, he can physically do everything that Gabe and Emma can, he can sit still and listen for longer periods of time, he is mostly potty trained, he eats nicely, he isnt overly aggressive.... he can get a bit testy, but its nothing that a normal 5 year old wouldnt do.... I just dont see the big issue, but then again, Im his mom, so....

I just cant believe that a church this big doesnt have any people with special needs going there.... oh wait, yes, I can...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Is it really Tuesday already... I feel like I havent blogged in forever... :)

Last week was pretty fun with the 4th thrown in there... we went and saw Despicable Me 2, which is the one movie weve been waiting and planning all year to go see since we love the first one so much and have probably seen it at least 100 times.... so that was fun, even if it was raining when we got out of the theater.  Later that evening, friends came over, Daniel grilled burgers and we got to watch a free fireworks show from our driveway.... yes!

The weekend was pretty awesome too.... Friday night for another treat, we hit the RedBox and rented Oz, which the kids enjoyed.... good movie but for me, it lacks the magic of the original.... and personally, I love the hard to find Return to Oz as well....

Saturday, we hit the Farmers Market, where Gabe won second place in the watermelon seed spitting contest - that was fun.... then b/c I was having withdrawals, we hit the thrift store - and I found a full tuxedo - with a tails jacket - for $17.... unreal!!!!  I was super excited.... and since we needed groceries, we drove to the big town a little bit away for a change of pace and loaded up on some essentials, and while we were there, we visted their Dirt Cheap and got a covered clothing rack for less than $6 - original price of about $60.... yes!  Super score on that one... :)

Sunday, we just kind of hung around the house.... nice... :)

So we have been busy having a good time, although probably not what the average person's idea of fun is.... but we were together as a family and just enjoyed each other...

I have also been majorly nesting lately... I cant believe we will probably travel in about 2 months... Im super excited.

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Book Review

So I read Marla Taviano's blog, she loves cambodia, missions, has 3 adorable girls, her husband is a photographer and she is a writer... and she introduced me to the writings of Rachel Held Evans, so yeah, sounds good, and no wonder I read her blog..... well, a while ago, she made an offer - if you will give an honest review of her book "Is That All He Thinks About?", then she would give you a copy for free..... which in all honesty, sounded like a good deal - Im all about some free books yall - and seriously, its a Christian book so it couldnt go that deep into the sex thing, so I wouldnt be too embarrassed to write a review for yall....

Well, I was kind wrong... it does go into the sex thing (in a married sense), but since this is a family friendly blog, Im not going to get into the nitty gritty of it... :) 

And since Im being totally honest here.... the book did not start out on a good note for me.  I felt it toe-ing the line dangerously close to "the submissive wife" role - and you guys know I dont play that game.... and she quoted from The Message - ugh, Ill admit Im a complete Bible snob and the message, well, I honestly want to throw it across the room.... :), hey just being honest here, thats why you love me, right?

Anyway... it did do a good job of showing how much sex is a need for a man, not just a want like it is for most women, and how easy it is to get lazy with things that arent a need for us....

As a bonus, my husband picked it up and read it and he also said he would give his thoughts about the book as well, so now Ill have to get on to him to do that... :)   But he did make a really good point that this book would be even better if it had a companion book speaking to men about what women want and need....

Overall, I think this book would be a good fit for someone who has been married for about 4-7 years - past that newlywed stage, but still feeling each other out and learning how to work on a marriage together.... :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Well, not too much going on in our lives right now... just more waiting.... we sent off our I800 last week, and that usually takes about 2 weeks or so.

Daniel and the kids are enjoying the summer and have found a good groove, I think... they are getting used to the slower pace.

Oh, I did go and have a blue streak put in Emma's hair - Ill have to post a pic for yall to see... it looks so good and she loves it.... of course it will come out when school starts, but I figure its summer and theres no harm in that.

Blah.... we are boring.... but boring is good right now.... :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


So yesterday we got our LSC in - we got to hold it in our hands and actually check the box that says we accepted Willow's referral.... elation!

After we got the kids to bed, Daniel and I took everything out of the packet that our agency sent us, went over everything, signed everything and put it back in the packet.  This morning, I scanned and copied everything and it is now sitting on the shelf waiting for fed-x to pick it up and overnight it to the lockbox for I800 approval.

This will probably take a few weeks.... we are so, so excited to be on this next step! 

It honestly feels like a dream and I keep debating if I should pinch myself or not... but I dont want to risk waking up so I dont.

A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us through this journey... words cant say how much you have truly encouraged us.  We are so humbled and excited by you.... thank you!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Meet Willow

Meet our daughter, Willow..... yes, we got word today that our agency got our LOA/LSC in today - they are overnighting it to us, so it should be in our hands tomorrow.... 97 day wait, just one day short of 14 weeks.

Color us excited!!!!

And we are still doing our puzzle fundraiser, so if you havent gotten your piece, now is the time....

Thank you!!!

Rush Hour

Apparently, Daniel and I have some weird connection to the Rush Hour movies... :)

The second one takes place in Hong Kong which is where Wallace is from, so its always fun to catch that one and reminisce about being there...

So last night, we turned on the tv while laying in the bed and Rush Hour 3 was on, so we started watching it b/c well, Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker... yeah.... and its at a part when Jackie Chan is fighting the bad guy, who turns out to be a guy that he grew up together with as kids... and bad guy mentions to him that they were both from Qinzhou - which is where Willow is from.

Yall, this town is tiny by China standards, and I dont know of anyone who is adopting from there right now... its a small city on a bay right by the Vietnamese border... so its odd that anyone would decide to use that Chinese city in a movie.... :)

I just jabbered on about the coincidences while Daniel rolled his eyes.... Im really starting to feel the need to nest (like in a pregnancy) and Daniel just isnt there yet.... Im actually ready to start packing so the bags will be ready when we are... :)

I know we are going to get good news this week, so my excitement is building, I cant help it.... September is only 2 1/2 months away and our world is going to change forever.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


We are now at 13 weeks of waiting for LOA... its official, we have gone over the normal waiting period.

Not much else to say... :(

Besides that, the kids are really enjoying their summer, and Im thankful to have a husband who is a great daddy and is willing to take on the kids all summer.  I am certainly blessed.

Thankfully, we are done with baseball now, so we can actually be at home a few nights during the week... I think we were all getting a bit ragged from being at the park so often.... but now, hopefully things will slow down a bit and everyone can get into a good routine.

Sorry... boring post, but really... not much going on right now besides just waiting

Friday, June 14, 2013


This week has definitely had its ups and downs....

The 12 week waiting mark came and went without so much of a peep.... and yesterday that hit me hard. 

I know I say it over and over, but its really all I have to go on.... when we first started this wait for LOA, our agency lady said the wait was 5-12 weeks... and I was really hoping for a miracle to get it at 7 weeks so we could travel in July... especially since everything had been sailing along so far.  As the 7 week mark went by, I told myself "any day now".... and "the closer we get to that 12 week mark, the less we have to wait"....

And here we are now... past the 12 week mark.

Im angry... and hurt... and upset.... and just plain out confused.   I dont understand why this is happening.

I understand that if youve never adopted, then this just sounds like whining.... but if you have adopted, then you know the true heartache this is causing.

It is what it is.

And I cant change it....


Thankfully, Wednesday (the day before it all went downhill).... Wednesday was good.

The kids have been going to VBS at the local mega-church.... and Wednesday night was their night to show us what they have learned and such.

I love my kids.... but I will just admit outright that it took a lot of willpower to behave in church.... but I did alright and hey, we got a free dinner out of it, so yay... :)

But as we got back to the car, Gabe got distracted by the culvert at we were parked in front of.... its a nice, deep concrete culvert with a bridge you can walk over.... so I joined him on the bridge and looked over the edge into the 2" of water.... we saw tadpoles on one side and watched them for a minute, then I went to the other side and looked at the minnows darting around.... and then I saw it  - and gasped.... a snake - a baby.... no, wait a minute, thats not a snake.... it was a worm.... an earthworm.

And yall, this thing was HUGE.

Seriously, I just stared at it for probably a whole minute before I could actually get the words out to tell the rest of my family to come look at this miracle.

Yall, it was at least a foot long and thick as a finger.... no lie!

I watched it fascinated.... b/c yall, it was inching up the culvert under 2" of water.... I didnt know worms could do that?

As I watched it though, I started noticing something else... the minnows! - they were coming up and hitting it with their mouth and then dart off... and the poor worm would recoil at each one.

So I looked at Daniel and told him with a pitiful look on my face and told him that the minnows were trying to eat the huge worm.  I think he might have rolled his eyes.... especially since it was about 96 degrees outside and he had already started the car and was ready to go.

But yall, my heart bled for that huge worm taking small hits from those minnows... and I couldnt just leave it, could I?

So Gabe volunteered to go down and get it... so Daniel helped him down, and Gabe gently pulled up the worm out of the water, cupped him in his hands, and brought him up to the grass on the other side, and layed him gently down.... in a flash, the worm had already found the dirt and was getting while the getting was good.

And then we all drove home happy... :)


Today is Friday.... so Im still having lingering sad spots where yesterday left off - knowing that we arent going to hear anything today or the weekend, and next week will be 13 weeks of waiting.... and that just breaks my heart open all over again.

but tonight, I have a wedding rehearsal to go to.... and then Gabe's last ball game with pizza and cupcakes afterward.... so its all about sucesses and starting something fresh and new.

I seem to be a ball of mixed feelings lately.... we could definitely use some prayers at our house... as the wait becomes longer, the tensions become higher, and well, being human, things to boil over... and even though we know the root cause (waiting, waiting, waiting), it still takes work to make everything run smoothly.

Here's crossing our fingers for next week.

Monday, June 10, 2013


I cant say too much, but please keep the Hammond family in your thoughts and prayers... they are going through a very rough time right now.... I think my last post relates to this one more than I ever could have imagined.

Friday, June 7, 2013


Daniel has a shir that says "Some people are praying for the things you are taking for granted"

Its true... and if I think about it too long, it usually shifts my perspective back around.

We have heard nothing else from our agency lady.... hoping to hear that we have LOA/LSC next week, which will be 12 weeks of waiting - which we were told at the beginning of this wait, that no one waits that long.... sigh.

I have talked to others who are in the process or who have been in this process, and they have told me that everything is happening as it should, but our wait is incredibly much longer than most - especially since we already have PA (pre approval to adopt our daughter) - most people who wait this long are waiting for a referral (to be matched with a child).... looks like we got the short end of the stick.

So I have been weeping and gnashing my teeth (seriously, ask Daniel, it wasnt pretty).... but lately, Ive just been thinking about that shirt Daniel has... and really, if waiting is the worst of it, then we have it pretty good.

I know of others who have lost their child during the adoption preocess, who are being seriously spiritually attacked, and going through other things..... we, on the other hand, have a perfectly healthy, young little girl waiting on the other side of the world - and she has no idea who we are, so she isnt greiving or hurting or anything - how could I ask for anything else for my daughter.

And I guess it gives us even more time to raise the money that we need.

Its kind of a weird feeling to be looking on the bright side or trying to find the silver lining.... thats always been Daniel's half of our relationship (meanwhile, Im sitting back being the realist and getting things ready for what I know is about to happen).

So Im trying to be patient... although its really, really hard.   But I know its going to work out.  It has too.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


So here is the latest word on our adoption that I got this morning...

It is is the Matching room now and the LSC will be sent out soom.

So I guess we will still be waiting for a little while longer.... this is very disheartening.

We hit 11 weeks of waiting today.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday Monday

Its been a busy week... you know, besides in the adoption world... ahem.... but as they say, life goes on... :)

Let me give you a sneak peek of last week and this week and the next week... :) (it all includes me working 8 hours every day as well)
Monday, May 27th - memorial day - we cleaned the house and cut the grass... yay us!
Tuesday - dr's appt, Gabe practice
Wednesday - photoshoot
Thursday - Emma practice 4-6, Gabe game 6-7
Friday - photoshoot
Saturday - fundraising carwash for cheerleader 9-12, clean house, rained out photoshoot (decided after there), friends over for dinner (yay!)
Sunday - Daniel church, editing pics, Daniel play audition, 2 hours to Birmingham, Jennifer Knapp concert, dinner, 2 hours home - home around midnight

This week
Monday - Wallace appt 1:00, Gabe team pics 6:00, Gabe game 7:00
Tuesday - library reading program starts 10:00, Emma practice 4-6
Wednesday - photoshoot
Thursday - dentist 3:00, Emma practice 4-6, photoshoot, Gabe game 6:00
Friday - Gabe game 7:00
Saturday - time with family
Sunday - time with family

Next week
Monday - hair appt 3:30, Gabe game 7:00
Tuesday - library 10:0, Emma practice 4-6, Gabe game 6:00
Wednesday - photoshoot
Thursday - Emma practice 4-6
Friday - wedding rehearsal, Gabe game 6:00
Saturday - wedding all day
Sunday - Fathers day

Whew... if you actually read all that, then Im impressed... but once we get past next week, things will start settling into a real summer routine and that will be nice.

So yes, last night, Daniel, Wallace and I went to see Jennifer Knapp - we got to meet and talk for a minute and since we worked her merch table, we got in free - awesome!  And music is always my favorite date.... it means that we didnt get home until midnight though, so I was tired when I had to be at work at 6:30 this morning, but so worth it.

As for the adoption - still no word on LOA and we hit 11 weeks tomorrow, which is pretty unheard of - thats a long wait since most people are getting theirs between 6-9 weeks.... I had an email into our agency lady almost 2 weeks ago, but she hasnt gotten back to me yet, so I emailed her again this morning.... and I keep planning to email her every day... yeah, not super happy about it - hey, I havent emailed her for 10 weeks, I was doing good, but now, Im just kind of needing some answers

I totaled everything up - expenses and savings and right now, we will still need about $3600 before we travel in September (and thats with scrimping through summer)... so I am open to any and all ideas!  And thanks to everyone who has given to us - we appreciate that so much!  Yall are awesome

And yeah... thats about it... need to get back to work.... have a good day!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Is it Wednesday already?

We hit 10 weeks of waiting on LOA yesterday... still no word from our agency lady who said she would get back to me.... but the Chinese embassy is closed this week anyway, so nothing is going to happen anyway, so next week, I will be bugging her to death b/c an 11 week wait is pretty unheard of.... I still would not be surprised if we got it a month ago and she never bothered to check her email for it....

*snark, snark... might as well be my middle name... :)

Watched The Little Couple last night get their son in China and I cried.... it brought back so many memories - good and bad - of being in that place with Wallace... I dont know if we are more prepared or less prepared for this new one.  It blows my mind to think we will have 4 kids - I think we are crazy sometimes, but I know our family isnt complete until she gets here.

Our memorial day weekend was good... we didnt really do too much... we visited with family, and I spent the majority of the 3 days working on photo props... b/c Im crazy.

This week and the next two weeks are pretty crazy.... either we are at the ballfield for Gabe's practice or games, we are the gym for Emma's practice or Im doing photo shoots.   But then, its always like this as summer starts gearing up.  July should be pretty laidback since we hadnt planned anything since we were hoping to travel then.  September is still the projected month to travel and we are looking forward to it.

Im actually trying to talk Daniel into letting us go ahead and start at least gathering everything we need for the trip now, so when it comes time to actually pack, it will all be one spot... sounds like a good plan to me.

Anyway... nothing new to report.... still waiting.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Im so happy its Friday and that its a 3 day weekend... :)

But not so happy as in our adoption agency lady was supposed to be finding out where we were in the LOA wait, but I havent heard from her since earlier this week when I first emailed her.... in other not-so-great news - a friend recently found out that the Chinese part of the adoption phase is integrating a new computer system, which means nothing will get done all of next week in any Chinese adoptions.

So yeah... breaks my heart a little bit... lets just cross our fingers that it doesnt hugely affect the rest of the process.


In other news, Emma made cheerleader.  She is sure excited... and oh my goodness, yall is she the cutest thing out there.  She is the smallest so will definitley be a flyer (girl on top).  And this girl has been working hard!

Yes... I am one of those moms who is living vicariously through my daughter.... dont care... :)

And since all the kids are out of school now, we now have a 1st grader, a 4th grader and wallace.... I cant believe they are turning 9, 9, and 7 this year.


Daniel gets out at lunch today and him and Wallace are taking me out to lunch... hurray.  I am super duper excited.... such a rare treat!

The next 2-3 weeks are busy, busy... so Im hoping that will help take my mind and heart off this whole adoption wait.... and really September is only 3 months away, thats not too long, right?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Still waiting

Blah, blah, blah... nothing new to say.

Except Im kind of losing faith in our new agency worker - the one we had for our dossier was amazing and awesome.... but the one for this step... well, not so much.  She didnt even tell us we were LID until we asked about it and that was 2 weeks after we got it.

Recently, I found out that quite a few people got LOA on Monday... people that were LID a month after us.  That seems weird.  So I emailed our worker 2 days ago to see if she had heard anything about hers, but hadnt heard anything this morning, so I emailed her again, and she finally emailed back saying the typical wait was 5-16 weeks.  Originally, she told me (9 weeks ago) that typical wait was 5-12 weeks.   So Im kind of losing faith in her "expertise" in this area.  I am truly wondering if we have attracted another scatterbrained adoption worker.

Yall dont get me wrong, she is really nice.... but she really seems to lack the understanding of the urgency of the situation and the importance of keeping us updated.... which is really frustrating.

Honestly, I wonder if we are going to have a repeat of the LID situation where she emails me something along the lines of "oh, you had LOA for 2 weeks now, they have been waiting on you to send back your LSC stuff"... which will be good b/c we actually have it, but bad b/c we will have lost 2 weeks that we cant regain.

But who knows.... who honestly knows why China doesnt process things in order, or what is going on.

Trying to really believe that everything works out in the right time... its hard to hear that though when my daughter is waiting on the other side of the world and Im not allowed to go snatch her up yet.

Anyway... long story short.... we are still waiting and havent heard anything.

In other news, Gabe had his awards day yesterday and he got an award for highest average in math - which is awesome, since he was only 1 of 4 kids in his class to get an award.... proud mom.

And today is the last day of class for all 3 kids - they get out at 11 today and boy have they been looking forward to it, I cant even tell you.  And poor Daniel has two more days before he is out for the summer.  Must be hard (ha ha, sense the sarcasm from someone who works in a cubicle 40 hours a week, regardless of the season).... no doubt though I am happy - all 4 of them have worked really hard and will definitely have a lot of fun this summer.  Maybe they will come and take me out to lunch every once in awhile even.

The weather has finally decided to stay warm here, so this past weekend, Daniel and I decided to switch out seasonal clothes for the kids.... Daniel took on the boys and Emma and I took on her closet, which had become a mess - but she was a trooper and such a help and we got it all done.  It severely made me want to nest for Willow though so my patience is wearing a little thinner every day... but I promise I am trying.

At least its Wednesday and this weekend is a 4 day weekend.... :)

Friday, May 17, 2013


 (her daddy had to leave in the middle to get back to work so he met her when her class lined up)

Today was Emma's kindergarten awards day... and boy did that girl shine... :)  She won everything but the perfect attendance award, but thats alright too. 

So still no LOA this week... 9 weeks waiting on Tuesday - never imagined it would be this long, but it just means the wait for LOA cannot be too much longer... so nervous and excited!

Hope yall have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


So we hit 8 weeks of waiting for LOA today... so sad I still cant show you pictures yet.  Honestly, I did not think it would take so long for this step b/c besides a little snag with the home study being written up, everything else has been sailing along.  Well, I am getting a good lesson in patience, I guess.

So Friday night, Gabe had a baseball game and his team came so close to winning... heartbreaking b/c they played so well... nevertheless, they had a huge cheering section... :)

Saturday, we went to a birthday party and it was even warm enough (which is weird to say for MS in May) that the kids could play in some water - they had a blast.

And then Saturday night, Daniel and I had a real date night... it will probably be our last one for another year or so, so we figured we better make it good.  So we went and saw Gatsby, which I loved b/c it was very true to the book, the acting was good, the scenery was brilliant, Baz Lurhman is amazing and the soundtrack fun.... after that, we went and got a late dinner and then a 1/2 price milkshake from Sonic to top it all off.... how fun.

Sunday was Mothers Day, so the kids made me cards, which was so sweet... and then off we went to the zoo, which is one of our favorit-est places to be, and the weather was just perfect.  That afternoon, I had an engagement shoot (total goth/steampunk - score me!) so Daniel and the kids visited Target and 2nd & Charles.... we also visited World Market, where Daniel and the kids got me a silicone spiked bracelet, which Emma found and knew I would love - love how my kids are ok with my goth/punk self.... :)  The kids voted to eat dinner at Cracker Barrel, where they were complimented by the waitress on how well behaved and polite they were - which was also a nice mothers day present to me... :)

We didnt get in until late, and everyone hit the bed around 10:30 (kids) and 11:00 (mom & dad)... so we were all quite tired when we had to get up at 6 on Monday.... but we survived.

The weekend was so fun and amazing so that will definitely be a source of good memories when I need something to hang onto in the ebb and flow of life that always happens.

So we are doing good.... :)

Hopefully, we will get LOA soon b/c that would be awesome... we still plan to travel in September... and we still need around $6-9K before we travel... its all so crazy, but we will make it, I guess.

If nothing else, Daniel and the kids will soon be out for summer and that will make everything seem better... Hope you are having a great week!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy Friday!

Yay, I finally get pictures up on this blog.... you would never even know I was a photographer, would you?

Anyway.... today was Wallace's kindergarten awards day at school.... he got a drama award, a music award and a star student award.... His class did a couple of songs and motions with them, and although he wasnt really singing, he did mouth all the words and did all the motions correctly with everyone else.  When he came in, he went straight to his spot and stood there quietly.... when they called his names for awards, he stood up, and then sat back down nicely when his turn was over.... so in other words, he did amazing today.  I was super impressed - he was so good and seemed genuinely happy that his family was there (A, you were missed!)

Its hard to believe that Wallace is 2-3 years older than the rest of his class.... he is getting so big though and is such a big boy! 

Cant believe that school is almost out.... the kids are all ready, Daniel is too!  And finally the weather has finally decided to turn warm... now if it would just quit raining... :)

I hope all of you have a great weekend... and to all the women out there - happy mothers day!

This is for you!

Monday, May 6, 2013


Happy Monday to all of you, my dear readers... hope you had a great weekend.

Well, we didnt win the Disney contest, but it was so much fun to be a part of it, and thank you so much if you voted and if you shared - yall are awesome.... and I cant be too disappointed about it, a sweet family who lost their husband/dad won - so I wish them the best and hope they make a bunch of great memories.

Well, we did not get LOA last week... which means that we are pretty much resigned to traveling in September.... we might could get travel dates in August, but I have a big wedding in August that I am already committed to, so even if we got August dates, we would have to wait until September anyway.

And both Daniel and I have come to peace with it and are actually kind of excited about it.  September actually really works out well - Daniel will be settled into the school year enough that it wont be too much of a burden to leave for 2 weeks.  There are no holidays or birthdays to miss and the weather is usually nice which means it should be nice where Willow lives as well, which will make it easier to pack.  It also gives us another month or two to fundraise and save, which we still have a good bit still needed, but we will get there, Im sure.

And if you think about it, thats only 4 months away.... only 4 months and our lives will change forever!  Thats just so crazy to me.

But with hindsight from Wallace's adoption, I have learned to cherish this "quiet before the storm"  b/c yes, it will be a storm when it all goes down.... and we will probably feel like we are dying.... but it will pass too... so I have learned to savor this time when I am just a mother of three, when life is quiet (or as quiet as it can be with 3 kids), when life is ordinary and we have this one last summer of peace before everything breaks loose.

So right now, since we have a sort of date in our head... I am beginning to enter the nesting stage a bit.  Trying to make lists (I love lists! they complete me.) - figuring out what to pack with the 44 lb weight limit, figuring out what we will need for 2 weeks - for us, for Willow, for our kids who will be still here.... what our 3 here will need while we are gone..... what we need to take for gifts in country and for willow.... what we need to buy to put in our pantry and fridge so when we get home, we dont have to get out.

There is still so much to be done.... but we are growing excited as we are about to enter our "third trimester"... its so exciting.

Thank you for loving us and supporting us through this wonderful time in our lives... :)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Disney giveaway!

Hey, our family made the 3 finalists for a Disney giveaway - if you have a minute, could you visit https://www.facebook.com/2cutiepatootiespersonallyforyou?fref=ts - and click on the Talley family - I think once your pic shows up next to it, then thats good!

We would love to win... and the kids would absolutley love to fly on a plane to get there... so could you vote - and maybe share?

(anyone have any idea where we stand in that - I cant check fb from work, and last night we were still down by about 500 votes or so)


So still no LOA today, so Im guessing we are traveling in September, which is just as good - it means we wont miss any birthdays, weddings or holidays and the weather should be nice.

Hope everyone has a great weekend... thanks for voting for us!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


We hit 6 weeks of waiting for LOA yesterday.... if we dont get it this week, then we probably wont travel in July, which kind of breaks my heart.  If not this week, then it will most likely be September before we travel.

The Little Couple on TLC are adopting a little boy from China and the first of that journey was shown last night.... it was exciting to see someone else going through the same things.  I cried quite a few times for them b/c the emotions that I felt being in their shoes were so overwhelming.

If you havent been through it, then that probably makes no sense.

They did make the comment though that what they were going through was kind of like being in the pregnancy stage.... having done both (carried 2 and adopted), adoption is way, way harder.... but their parents were super excited about being grandparents, so I guess I lived vicariously through them on that part.

To be honest, I havent allowed myself to call myself Willow's mother yet... I havent allowed myself to feel that attachment or that mother bear instict.  I know she is being cared for lovingly, so I have to know that that is enough.  I made the mistake of believing in my heart that Wallace was mine from the first time I saw his picture - that resulted in my heart being ripped out of my chest and repeatedly being tortured.  I still have the scars and even some of the wounds havent healed yet from that.  So Im trying not to make that mistake again so it will extend my patience.... hopefully.

Adoption is hard... and you never fully get it until youve been through it and are standing on the other side.


So I just got back from Wallace's play.... which I know all of you have been wondering about.

And Ill say.... I have mixed feelings about it.

There was another little girl who was also handing out programs, and she did not seem special needs... but - we all had to sign the guest registry where there was a stack of programs that we all could have just gotten.  So in essence, "handing out programs" was not a real role in the play nor was it necessary - heck, they did it out in the hallways, not even in the same room as the play.  After all the parents came in, Wallace and the girl walked down the aisle to sit in their seats that was, thankfully, at the front with some of the other students.

And the other special needs kids were actually in the play, one with a major role, so that was really great to see and his teachers did a great job there.

There were only 2 speaking parts.... and one speaking/reading part that was given to a child who was not even in their class (there were others that were not in the class that were helping as well).... most of the kids got to wear a costume, walk down the aisle and stand in one spot the whole time.

Wallace could have easily done that - so Im not sure why they couldnt have added one more bridesmaid and groomsman to the cast.  And actually, I think he would have enjoyed that much better than handing out programs to a bunch of strangers.

So mixed feelings.... I think the teachers and school did a good job including the kids with special needs, but I think they could have actually included Wallace in the play itself.

Props to the teachers and principal though - I know with me coming it could have been a tense situation, but they carried on as normal, which was nice....

So between the Little Couple episode last night, knowing that it we may not travel until September, and Wallace not really being in the play.... my emotions are leaning towards the weepy side today.  Trying to hold off b/c I have plenty of good things going on in my life... but I really want to just find a corner and cry it out and let it go.

Methinks that really isnt going to happen... so I guess I will just deal with it... :)