Sunday, January 30, 2011


I received the perfect gift on my birthday Friday--notification that our Article 5 has been processed! Now, we await travel approval from China. This is the last step before...planning travel!!! Yes--it is still possible that we will be drinking green beer in China for St. Patty's Day.

To celebrate this year, we decided to head down to Boca with Bubba and Grandpa to show Madi the ballroom and courtyard where our wedding reception took place years ago. There was an AFLAC event taking place that evening and the doors were locked since they were still setting up. We found a nice woman who took us into the ballroom for a sneak peek. I think Madi was thrown off by the massive 3D duck logo plastered across the wall. You could see that she looked slightly confused and maybe a bit disappointed that the room looked less romantic than she expected!

We had planned to have dinner at an "upscale" Chinese restaurant in the same plaza. Though the food was amazingly tasty, our experience was less than authentic. No little crunchy noodles on the table, no hot tea offered to us, and when Madi politely asked for a fortune cookie at the end our our meal, we were told that they don't have fortune cookies there! Oh well, we still managed to have some laughs and enjoy a fun evening of celebrating so many milestones.

Last year, I spent my birthday bonding with Daniel and looking forward to sharing many more with him. We had been together only 4 days. Just another reminder how precious and fragile our lives are. Live them to the fullest...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sling Girls

A week or so ago, Madi was playing around with Bubba and yanked her just a little too hard. Usually, Bubba is prepared for Madi's quick and strong moves, but on this night Bubba was caught a bit off guard. She lost her footing and long story short--ended up with a fractured collarbone.

Last night, Bubba and Grandpa came for dinner. Madi insisted on digging out Daniel's sling from her doctor kit, so she could be the same as Bubba and try to get an idea of what she's going through. Madi seemed to grasp the picture very quickly and began to understand how difficult such restraint must be.

Bubba has been assigned to her sling for about six weeks. And if you don't know Bubba, this is sheer torture for her. Suffice it to say, she's a female MacGyver and handles most every project around the house. Oh well, time to sit back for a while and smell the roses--just get mobile by the time Charlie gets home please!!!:)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gotcha Daniel

Today is Daniel's Gotcha Day. One year ago, we arrived in Daniel's home city of Nanchang and anxiously unpacked our belongings as we waited for our call that he was in the hotel. We were so excited to get our hands on him. That sentiment turned to extreme concern when we realized the condition he was in. The poor baby was so sick with bronchitis and a double ear infection. Thank God we had Motrin and antibiotics with us. I think he quickly understood that we were there to help him and to love him unconditionally.

Sweet Daniel...forever in our hearts.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Waiting for Article 5

It's all coming back to me now. The closer you get in the adoption process, the longer everything seems to take. This is when your patience is truly tested. Could it be compared to the third trimester of a pregnancy when that baby can't be born soon enough?

Our NVC letter was sent to China on 1/13, so it's only been a week, but wow--it feels like a month! We are hopeful that we will receive our Article 5 on or about January 31st and then we wait for travel approval.

This is going to be a reminiscent couple of weeks for us, so I am going to focus on our journey to Daniel and maybe that will speed things up for our journey to Charlie. This time last year, we were in Beijing anxiously awaiting our union with that precious, crazy little guy. In the blink of an eye, our little shooting star has come and gone.It's so hard to believe that so much has happened since then and that soon we will go back. All in God's time...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lessons of Color

On Friday, Madi's preschool teacher spent some time teaching the children about Dr. Martin Luther King and Monday's holiday to honor him. It was evident through Madi's detail about the event that took his life and all the prejudices that existed during that time. She told us various accounts of prejudice and how the black people had to sit in the back of the bus.

She followed that up by asking, "I'm black, right?"

Jimmy and I chuckled for a quick second and asked why she would think that. She indicated that it was the color of her skin. We explained to her that she is Chinese and took the opportunity to expose how silly the labels of color really are.

I asked her if we really look white. Don't Mommy and Daddy, in fact, look more pink than white? We explained that Chinese people are sometimes labeled "Yellow" and asked her if she thinks she's yellow. Clearly, she's a beautiful shade of mocha--not yellow. And what about the "Red" Indians? They don't look red to us. They are usually pretty brown too! And finally, back to what started our discussion in the first place--the "Black" people. They too, do not look "Black" but rather a darker, richer shade of brown.

It was an interesting dinner conversation that taught our daughter an important lesson. The bottom line that Madi grasped is that skin color doesn't matter or shouldn't anyway. Thank you, Dr. Martin Luther King.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Little Lamb Dan

This Summer, I began writing a book about Daniel, about faith and about our entire journey, really. I felt a sense of urgency to get it all out of my head before I forgot a single detail. I think I just about covered our blessed year with Daniel during the Fall.

The Holy Spirit had prompted me to reach out to a parishioner from our church who has written several successful books. I really felt like there was a match when I found out that this publisher handles the Chicken Soup for the soul books and many spiritual type stories.

After a few months, and a few follow-ups, the publisher has decided not to take on our project. They already have a memoir on their 2011 roster about a parent losing a child and they are unable to support two books of the same nature. They were very kind about Daniel's story, and I feel so honored that they took so much time and thought when reviewing what they called "such precious work".

I am strongly considering the self-publishing option now. I spent much time this Fall researching self-publishing companies and have identified the one I think I would like to work with. I am hoping that through our network of friends, church community, adoptive community, facebook, book clubs, bloggers and Yahoo groups that we can get Daniel's message out into the world to inspire and touch people in many different ways.

I welcome any suggestions or publishing options that any of you may be able to assist with. I hope that soon you'll be able to have your own copy of Little Lamb Dan to enjoy and share:)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Adoption Update

Yesterday, we received our approval letter from the National Visa Center and Holt sent it to China. It still looks like maybe March for travel (fingers crossed). We are hoping that they speed up our paperwork and issue our travel approval before Chinese New Year, which starts on February 3rd. Could we be spending St. Patrick's Day with the Chinese Leprechauns this year? Here's the latest update from Holt:

I sent your NVC Letter to our staff in China today, one step closer! Based on current processing averages, we estimate that your travel approval will arrive in our Eugene office from the CCAA within five weeks and that your China arrival will be between four and six weeks later. The Chinese New Year holiday could impact the TA issuing by either speeding it up or delaying it a bit. We’ve seen both happen in the past so cross your fingers they’re in a slate-clearing mood before the holiday!

Here is what happens next with your paperwork:

1. Our Guangzhou staff will review your documents to ensure every detail follows Consulate guidelines. If necessary, they will ask for or make revisions based on changes in Consulate procedures we may not yet be aware of. These steps may take time but are critically important because if we submit forms that do not conform to guidelines the Consulate may not inform us for several weeks that changes are needed. After this careful review, your documents will be submitted to the Consulate.

2. About three weeks after the Consulate accepts the forms they should issue a document called an “Article 5” for your case. The Article 5 will be forwarded to the CCAA and notifies them that the Consulate has accepted your paperwork and invites them to issue your travel approval. Jamie Miller will email you when we hear of your Article 5.

3. After receiving the Article 5, the CCAA usually sends travel approval approximately 3 weeks later via DHL directly to our Eugene office.

4. When your travel approval arrives we will let you know by email, then double check the paperwork we have to provide to the Consulate to apply for your visa appointment.

5. After consulting our China staff we will apply for your visa appointment.

6. The Consulate usually confirms appointment requests within a few days. When they do, we will identify your travel dates. Most families arrive in China about four to six weeks after travel approvals arrive in our office.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Our Little Star Madi

With all the excitement of Christmas, I neglected to focus on a couple of milestones for Madi. She graduated from her speech class with Miss Dana and Miss Debra. They have been such angels and we have been so blessed to have such an awesome program right in our neighborhood school. I attended her little graduation celebration along with Jimmy, Bubba and Grandpa. She was very pleased to draw such a crowd. Since it was her 'special day', they allowed her to be the leader with some of the daily activities. Oh, how she enjoys being the leader:-)

Madi also finished off her pre-k 4 term with a glowing progress report. The kind and heartfelt words of her teacher, Mrs. Avogardo, brought tears to my eyes (doesn't take much...:). We are so proud of Madi and all of her accomplishments.

She is thrilled to have Tuesday and Thursday mornings freed up, so she will be readily available to help care for her little brother. She's already told me that I can still do my emails, and she will take care of him!

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Archive

Howdy folks,

If you missed the interview this morning about Daniel, you can still listen to the archive at your convenience. Daniel's story is included under "Recent Shows" and was recorded on 1/3/11.

The recording can also be downloaded on itunes! Please rate and comment on the show for Mary Beth Wells, the host, if you download the recording from itunes.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Radio Interview about Daniel

Tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. (EST), I will be speaking on an internet radio program about Daniel and how he touched our lives. If you would like to listen live, please click on this link:

The homepage will come up and on the right hand side it will say 'Listen Live'. The interview will also be available on the website to listen to later tomorrow.

This is a first for me. I must admit, I'm a bit nervous, but the subject matter is very near and dear to my heart:)