Thursday, December 14, 2006

We Fish You a Hairy Christmas and a Hippo New Year!


Things have been pretty hairy around here lately.

YES, that's our decorated Christmas tree laying on the living room floor! And that's the second time it's fallen. At least Miyah is excited that she gets to decorate the tree every day!

Yesterday was just one of those days! Besides the tree we had many other problems which I won't even mention.

Then Miyah came down with the same virus that keeps revisiting her. The phlegmy (sp?) cough is what she has. Today she had a fever so I finally took her to the doctor just to be sure that what we think is a virus resurfacing every month is really a virus and not something else.

The doctor asked the nurse to swab her nose to test for the flu and so I explained to Miyah that the nurse would put a q-tip like thing in her nose. Well, she says, "Are they going to take the corn out?". I just laughed. I'd forgotten all about the popcorn kernel she claims she stuck up her nose last weekend. Sad that she didn't get rushed to the ER like my first two would have. In all fairness, she sort of changed her story a time or two and said she didn't have a kernel up there "anymore". We've had a talk about not sticking things up her nose before(remember the coffee bean incident earlier this year?).

Anyway, the doctor didn't see anything so we think her attempt at sticking "corn" up her nose was unsuccessful.

And the doctor claims it's just a nasty virus and she sent us home with more cough medicine.

Anyway, this week was supposed to be the calm and relaxed week after last weeks craziness. There always seems to be one week every Christmas season that is really busy and last week was it.

As of last night, we are officially done with all of our parties and programs and recitals.

Here are a few photos from recent Christmas parties, recitals, and visits with santa.

(Megan playing at her recital. She played beautifully.)

(Miyah with Santa #1)

(Miyah with Santa #2)

Our area FCC "Waiting Parents" Group (couples in various stages of adopting from China) had its annual Christmas party last week. It's always fun to see the new little ones from China and visit with all the families waiting or just returned from China. This year we were able to get Santa to visit. I'm so surprised, but my stranger-shy (especially of men) daughter actually wanted to visit with Santa....for the second time. This Santa was great! He had a real beard and the most incredible Old World Santa suit. He sat and talked with each of the kids for a long time.

Earlier that day we had a little party with some of our playgroup friends. They exchanged gifts after crafts and lunch.

(Elizabeth, Isabella, and Miyah)

The next morning Megan and Miyah had their Community Bible Study Christmas program. Each class sang songs and recited memory verses.

(Megan and Hannah during the Christmas program.)

( Miyah singing during the Christmas program)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Catching Up on November

Happy Thanksgiving! I know....I'm a little late. I do hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and/or friends. We had a very nice Thanksgiving at home with my parents.
For days before my parents came for Thanksgiving I had been telling Miyah that we would decorate the gingerbread house with Grandma and Papa when they came. Then we forgot all about it! The day after they left I asked her if she wanted to decorate the "candy house" and her little face lit up and she asked, "Are Grandma and Papa coming?".
Miyah's eaten nearly ALL of the candy off of the gingerbread house already.

The middle of November was parent observation day at Megan's ballet studio and can you believe I forgot my camera???? I was SO mad!!

Anyway, after Miyah and I watched Megan's ballet class we talked about how Megan and all the students listened to the teacher and did what the teacher told them to do (participation). I knew she had Chinese school that weekend so I used this to my advantage. We talked about the job of teachers and students and by Saturday she was so proud and excited to be a good student that she did wonderfully at Chinese school. She participated and did what the teacher told her to do.

They made little things to dance with and then learned some Chinese dances. It was a lot of fun.
(Miyah's in the forefront in a green shirt)

Miyah and her Chinese teacher, Miss Josephine

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Kids Say (and Do) the Funniest Things

Over the past several months Miyah has been so funny. Children this age do and say the cutest things. I only hope I can remember them all when she's grown.

Maybe they won't seem as funny when she's older, but I don't think I'll ever regret keeping these memories. I think part of the cuteness is the way she says them in her sweet little voice.

I've a little collection of photos I've taken of Miyah doing silly and sweet things. I've also tried to write them down.

Here's a few:

For a while after Megan got her pointe shoes Miyah made pointe shoes out of everything from her socks pulled just right to her wash cloth in the bath tub. The big sister "worship" is so sweet. She wants to be like Megan so badly.

Which is probably a good thing since SHE'S now a big sister. And big sisterhood has been very empowering. We're regularly told she can do _____ because she's a big sister now.

And like her older siblings, Miyah thinks she knows more than me sometimes. Take this conversation for instance....

Miyah (holding broken banana): It broke, IT BROKE, FIX IT!! (in her best Whinese)

Mommmy: I can't fix it. It's okay, you can eat it that way. That's how monkeys eat them.

Miyah: No, they eat trees. Mouses eat bananas.

Mommy: No, monkeys eat bananas; mice eat....cheese?
(and then I think, maybe she's right?).
Then there's her imagination...

Miyah: I'm going to turn into a big, big black fishy and swim in the ocean and you're going to miss me.

Mommy: Well, then I'm going to get a big huge net and scoop you up and I'm going to give you a big fish kiss.
She thought that was funny and now asks me what I'm going to do when she turns into a big black fishy.
Or there's the time a few months ago when we were at the fabric store and she picked up two shoulder pads and held them up to her chest while announcing to all the customers waiting for their fabric to be cut, "Look, my bra!". Megan and I were dying...those are the moments you wish you had a camcorder.
She also has a habit of grouping everything into families; things both living and inanimate...cups, crackers, crayons, and the worms she found in the sandbox. Several times a day you'll hear her say, "Here's the daddy one, this is the mommy, and there's the brother and sister, and this is the baby". Everything has to be in a family unit. I have a picture of the mommy and daddy worm from the sandbox.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Technical Difficulties and Just Plain Busyness!

Thank you to everyone who has sent us congratulations about Mei Lin to our personal email. We've had numerous tech problems with our computer in the last few weeks so I appologize if we've not replied. I was checking emails on Matt's laptop, but had just enough time for a quick reply here and there.

Please know that even if we didn't reply, we really, really appreciate hearing from you and love it when you send emails or leave comments. We'll save all these comments to share with Mei Lin. Emails we received when we got Miyah's referrals are in her lifebook. I'v read her some of what family and friends said when they saw her picture or heard what her name meant, etc. and she LOVES those little quotes.

Anyway, the good news is that our computer is back and nothing was lost (phew), though even with the new hard drive we're still having some problems.

I wish I had updates on Mei Lin, but I have nothing...sigh. I've heard her orphanage isn't good at sending information so it may be that we never get an update (but we can pray we do!).

I've learned a lot about her orphanage and the area of Kunming. I'll share some of that in an upcoming post along with some photos. It looks like a great facility....for an orphanage (or "baby home" as we call them around Miyah).

In case you didn't notice I have a new ticker at the top which is our new wait for travel approval (TA) from China. Our Letter of Intent (LOI) was sent to China on 11.30.06, so we start our count to TA from there, I guess. A Letter of Intent is a rather long letter stating why we want to adopt her, how we plan to care for her special need, etc.

Something I found strange is that China wants you to HAND PRINT the entire 3 page (or more) letter of intent! With computers now, I NEVER write anything that long by hand and so major carpal tunnel was setting in by page two. I rarely print besides, so it just looked messy to me.

Anyway, the entire time I was writing it, I was trying to figure out why it was to be handwritten. All I could come up with in my paranoid mind is that the new special needs program requirements (they just came out with some new ones) now includes passing handwriting analysis.

So, I kept wondering what it meant when I dotted my "i" to one side, or varied the way I wrote my capital 'A' (like a teepee or a larger version of the small "a" - I don't have a preference), and so on...

Paranoid? Perhaps.

This whole special needs route is still somewhat of a mystery to me. We probably won't hear anything from China until TA, which could be four or more months from now! Excrutiating!! Although....someone from our agency with a March log-in-date (like us) DID just get travel approval (TA) after ONLY 2 MONTHS!! WOW! That would be incredible, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up....but that would be great!

I'll post again soon...when/if life slows down a bit.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Here She Is!!

Bummer...I had to take Mei Lin's pictures and information off of my blog because apparently China doesn't want her personal info out there until we have preapproval to adopt her. I thought it was okay because we were told we wouldn't need to get preapproval...but I had to take them off anyway. I hope to post them in about a month when we are officially "approved".

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

We've Found Our New Daughter!!

We are extremely excited to announce the newest addition to our family!!

We chose Mei Lin from our agency's waiting child list. She will be one in January and has a minor heart defect, otherwise she is said to be healthy.

Unfortunately we can't post her information yet, but hope to by next month.

Please pray with us for little Mei Lin as she waits for her family. We are hoping to travel by March '07. God is so good!

Here’s how the last week has unfolded.....

Our agency posted its Waiting Child list on Friday (11.10.06). A waiting Child list is a list of children with special needs and the process for adopting one of these children is entirely different than the non-special needs adoption (Miyah was NSN).

Well, there were many beautiful children on the list with very minor special needs, but I was immediately drawn to a tiny little girl with big dark eyes and the sweetest little lips. I clicked on her photo for more information to find that she had an atrial septum defect ("ASD" is a hole in her heart) and tricuspid incompetence. To be completely honest, heart disease was a gray area I wasn't certain we would consider...until I saw this little girl. For some reason all apprehension left me and I just knew she was to be our Mei Lin.

So, when Pat asked about the waiting child list I told him about the little girl with the sweet face and heart defect. I was stunned when he said, “Well, that JUST means she may need surgery.” Just?

And that’s what I said to him, “JUST....doesn’t that mean like, open heart surgery?” I was encouraged and extremely surprised by his response, but we both knew we needed to do a lot of praying before we made such an important decision. Pat lost his brother to cancer when he was in high school and he knows the toll terminal illness takes on a family, so he wanted to proceed cautiously.

We had until Monday morning at 10 am to decide if we were going to put in a request to review her file.

We discussed it at dinner Sunday night and as we drove home from dinner Steven Curtis Chapman was on the radio talking about National Adoption Month. He mentioned that his third daughter adopted from China was on a special needs list with a heart defect but when they brought her home she was perfectly healthy. I couldn’t help but give Pat a little nudge. A sign from God? Absolutely! Isn’t God amazing?

By Monday morning we had both agreed that we would look at the child’s file, but figured it was a long-shot. It’s a crazy race to be first to review a file...kind of like trying to get an Xbox 360 on the day after Thanksgiving (bad analogy, but you get the idea).

At 9:50 Monday morning, I was poised in front of the computer, praying and waiting for 10:00 so I could click on the link and post our request. By 10:00 there were so many people attempting to request files that the server was bogged down and sooo excrutiatingly slow. When we tried to submit the form it would say “website is busy, please try again”. Arghh! Even though I knew God was in control I wasn't feeling it at that moment and severe frustration was taking hold of me. By 10:10 I finally got a confirmation and then our computer began crashing (something it’s been doing often lately – double arghh).

I stepped away from the computer and told God it was all up to him now; close the door if she isn't to be ours and help me to be okay with that.

A half hour later I got the call from my agency saying we were first in line to review C410’s (her number) file. I was stunned, laughing and crying at the same time!

The rest of that week we completed the translation of her medical records (thanks, Richard!) and had them reviewed by the pediatric cardiologists. With Pat out of town we had only scant moments to talk about this big decision, but we both prayed constantly for clarity.

By the end of the week we had made our decision to adopt her!

And we've received excellent reports on her medical. Two cardiologists confirmed that she has very minor congenital heart disease. Her medical exam and echocardiogram were done at 4 months of age. At that time she had a 3 mm hole in her atrial septum, which is quite small and may close on its own if it hasn’t already. There is a small possibility that she would need surgery to close it, but even that could possibly be done without open heart surgery.

Of course, we have to be prepared that her condition could be more serious than her medical report states, but we're praying for her complete healing.

We know she was destined to be ours and we can’t wait to bring her home.

We have so much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Happy 3rd Birthday, Elizabeth!

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Last week Miyah and a few friends helped Elizabeth celebrate her third birthday! Here are a few photos from the party.
Elizabeth is getting a little help from Isabella (far right).

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Miyah woke up from her nap one afternoon, and came into the room we were all in, laid down on the couch, fell asleep, rolled off the couch, and continued to sleep in this position for a good half hour.

Family Day Photos

These are just a couple of photos I couldn't get on the previous post.

Miyah with her Family Day gift...dolls from China.

The whole family at PF Changs

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Happy Family Day, Miyah!!

*****November 7, 2004 We hold Miyah for the very first time!*****

******Back at the hotel; bathed and ready to play (12 months)*****

**********************And Miyah today (3 years)**********************

***********Miyah's referral picture (about six months old)**********

It's hard to believe that two years ago today we were standing in that little room in Guangzhou, China holding our daughter for the first time.

An AMAZING moment that I wish everyone could experience.

But, what is even more amazing is every moment since then. We're now blessed to spend every day with her...getting to know her and falling more in love with her each day.

She really has brought so much joy to our home. We didn't think we were missing any joy before she came, but now we can't imagine life without her. She's as sweet, smart, spirited and cute as can be.

I love her imagination and to watch her pretend and learn new things.
I love night time when she gets silly and hyper.
I love that at one moment she's a princess and the next she's a dinosaur.
I love it when she says she needs snuggles.
I love playing the "pretend I'm a pillow" game.
I love when she tells me she loves me soooooooooooooo much.
I love butterfly, eskimo, and fishy kisses.
I love her ballet dancing in her tutu.

We celebrated Family Day yesterday instead of today because Megan was gone to ballet and Pat to ministry school tonight. We went out for Chinese and Miyah got a doll we bought for her in China.

This second year at home I think she began to understand "family". After so many transitions in her first year, I hope she finally understands the permanence of family. She often says, "This is my family right here", pointing to all of us and sometimes adding "always and forever"; and "I like my family". Tonight we were talking about the meaning of adoption and she repeated, "You apdopped...adopped...adopted me?". I told her yes and that adoption meant she was part of our family forever and she said, "I love my family". Even though we talk about adoption fairly often, it was really the first time she mentioned the word.

By the way, November is National Adoption Month! I'm always recommending adoption. There are few things in life more rewarding...I guarantee.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


As of last week's win, Matt's football team became the undefeated, STATE CHAMPIONS! Last night's win in Birmingham made them the NCSC NATIONAL CHAMPS!!

What a game! One of only two close games all year, but they won 32 to 46 in the end.

Matt has done so well this year, playing most of every game and we are so proud of him and his team...and his great team of coaches. Well done, Knights!!

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3 Year Check Up...and Beefing Up

I've never seen a child so excited to go to the doctor! We recently changed doctors and she loves her new (female) doctor. Her first doctor was a male and she's still very leery of strange men. She'd bury her head in my chest the moment Dr. E walked into the room. Now, with Dr. H, she's chatty and happy through the whole exam.

Now for the part where I feel guilty....I suspected the doctor would offer a flu shot, but I wasn't sure so I didn't even mention injections in our daily talks about the upcoming doctor visit. After all the excitement and happily chatting with the doctor and doing so well when the doctor wanted to clean the mound of wax out of her ear (more on that later), she was totally shocked when the shot came. Right before the nurse came in with the shot, I told her she was going to get an injection but it would only be a pinch. Well, her reaction was pitiful. She acted so betrayed. She favored her leg for hours with a look that kept saying to me, "Just a pinch, hey?". I was feeling quite awful.

Anyway, we were ordered to start "beefing her up". Like lots of butter, peanut butter, whole milk, etc. Today's lunch was grilled cheese with loads of butter on both sides of both slices of bread and lots of cheese. Gosh, how did she get so lucky! I'll most likely gain the ten pounds just nibbling on all the yummy food she gets to eat.

So, her stats once again show that she doesn't come close to making it on the American charts. But she does make it in the lower percentiles of the Southern Chinese Girls growth chart and probably most feline growth charts. I guess what concerned us both was that she has lost a pound in the last couple of months.

On the Chinese growth charts she's at 10% for height (34 in) and almost 25% for weight (24.5 lbs). Her head circumference did make it on the American chart, but that's just because she's so smart :). The nurse had to eyeball her height because her head didn't reach the little arm that swings down from the scale.

Oh, and the ear cleaning...apparently she makes enough wax to start her own candle factory. I guess this is common in Asians? At least many other adoptive parents have mentioned their Chinese children have the same problem. I wanted them cleaned out because she says, "Huh?" all the time now. Charming, isn't it? I figure we either need to find out if she's hearing okay or teach her to say "excuse me" because the "huh?" gets annoying. You should have seen the gob of wax the doctor pulled out of her little ear! Another thing for me to feel guilty about is that I haven't been flushing out her ears. The alcohol and vinegar the doctor said to use to flush out her ears was AWFUL smelling and Miyah and I hated it, so we haven't done it in a while. We're going to use peroxide instead.

Anyway, she does seem to hear a little better now, but the doctor wants to have her hearing checked AND....this should be fun...another round of stool samples to make sure parasites aren't the cause of the weight issue. (Eww..parasites make me think of the slug I stepped on (without shoes on) in the garage the other night...grossest thing that has ever happened to me).

With all the curiosity about the human body and her love for the doctor Miyah also loves to play doctor at home. Her toy stethoscope broke a while back, so when my friend, Michelle, asked what she'd like for her birthday I told her a doctor set. Well! You should see how she loves the new doctor set (Thanks Michelle and family!). Michelle also sent her two boxes of bandaids and a fruit Lip Smackers...which rank right up there with candy in Miyah's book. She goes around asking who needs a check up, giving the exam, injection (reassuring that "it's just pretend") then puts a Curious George bandaid on her patient. She proudly tells us she's going to be a doctor like Dr. H when she grows big. And I'm sure she could!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

More CHI Trick or Treating and Fall Pictures

I still can't get the photos to upload in the "Trick or Tree" post I'm posting them here. You'll have to scroll down and read the "Trick or Tree" post to know what these are about.

Trick or Treating at Children's Hope International (our adoption agency)

~~~~~~~~~~Miyah with Amanda, our social worker~~~~~~~~~

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Finally Getting to that Pointe!

The day every ballerina waits for is the day she gets her first pointe shoes. And Megan is certainly no exception. She was so excited to get her pointe shoes last Wednesday. She immediately came home and wore them around the house. I cringe every time I see her on her toes. Actually, I didn't think much of it at first, but then I became curious about what it feels like. Since my foot is only slightly larger I slipped one on and tried to balance on my toes....OOUUCH! There is no way I could dance en pointe! Megan's teacher has prepared them by doing a lot of excercises in class and she uses her theraband to exercise her toes at home. But still, I now have a new appreciation for ballet...I mean, I always appreciated it and love to watch it; and I've always heard how painful it can be, but now I can actually feel the pain when I see someone dance en pointe.

Oh, and here's Miyah the morning after Megan got her pointe shoes. She immediately went into her room to get her "ballet slippers" and demonstrated her pointework. Megan has been teaching her ballet and she's anxious to show us her arabesque, first and second position, and releve, etc. A ballerina in the making...who also can't wait for her first pointe shoes.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Trick or Tree"

I LOVE fall. I love all the smells and the coolness. And I love that it usually means a slightly slower pace of life. Well, life didn't slow down this year, but I still love it.

We carved pumpkins last week and Miyah loved pulling the guts out of the pumpkins and eating the roasted pumpkin seeds. Megan carved a pumpkin while I carved Matt's since he had a big presentation at school to prepare for.

On Halloween, Miyah and I met some friends over at our adoption agency, Children's Hope (CHI,)to do some "Trick or Treeing" as Miyah was calling it at first. Miyah was a so excited to wear the ladybug costume that had been in her closet for well over a year. She LOVES that costume and wears it about once a week at home. She was so proud that she could wear it all day...and in public. Here are a few pictures from CHI....
Elizabeth, the clown and Miyah, the ladybug

(Well, I have more photos, but Blogger is having problems tonight. I'll post some more later)

We usually go to our church for a Fall Festival on Halloween, but the weather was iffy with rain on and off throughout the day. We decided to stay home this year, so this was Miyah's first year trick or treating. We missed being at the festival, but Miyah had a ball! She can be shy with strangers so I wondered if she'd say "Trick or Treat". But once she saw the reward, she was all over being shy. I think candy is like the currency of childhood. It is the ultimate motivator.

Miyah really got into skeletons and bones during this Halloween season. Kinda morbid, I know. It all started when we were shopping at the party store for her birthday party. Party City had the most gruesome decorations all over the store. I probably should have left...I was certain Miyah would have nightmares for weeks, but she took it all in stride for the most part (should I be concerned?). I told her it was all pretend and so she just repeatedly reassured herself that it was all pretend. But she was really fascinated when she discovered that she has bones just like the skeletons hanging around the store. She kept feeling the bones in her hands and announcing that she had bones too! Well, this just began a fascination with the human body. I pulled a few elementary science books from the shelves and we started reading...she is fascinated by the heart and blood, and the whole thing. I hate to perpetuate the stereotype, but the girl is Chinese and loves science! Hey, there are worse things.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Cinderella Birthday(s)!

******************************I'M THREE!!************************

After talking about it for at least six months, the day for Miyah's Cinderella birthday party finally had come last weekend. We must have heard something about her party a dozen times a day. She was so excited!

Miyah's friend, Hannah, who is two days older had her party that same day so it was a double-header birthday party day. Coincidentally they both wanted a Cinderella birthday. That's a lot of purple and pink for one day! The girls had so much fun, though! Here are some photos from Hannah's party:

And from Miyah's party....

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The girls had fun decorating purses and tiaras, played "find Cinderella's slipper", got surprises from the pinata, and had cake and ice cream. Miyah is still talking about it all.