Monday, October 31, 2005

Pumpkin Carving Party & Halloween...

Yesterday evening was the big pumpkin carving party. It was a beautiful day at the park, the weather was perfect, we had plenty of food and everyone had a great time. After everyone carves their pumpkins, we line them all up and light them. The kids (and adults too) love admiring everyone's hard work. Here are a couple of my favorites, plus Emily working hard on her pumpkin.

My nephew had fun with this Mr. Pumpkin Head pirate kit. It worked out great for him.

Today I went straight to my brother's place after work to see the kids in their costumes before they went out trick or treating. Katie, Emily and Josh were all Star Wars characters and Katie's friend, Kyle, had a really cute witch outfit.

Even Chardonnay got into the act with her little doggie dress.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Halloween Treats...

Every year since I can remember my friend Jennifer has a pumpkin carving party, and the night before a few of us get together to dip caramel apples for the party. A couple of years ago my nieces came along and we started making little "kid friendly" treats too. Last night was our get together and the kids made frankenstein cupcakes and mummies.

Later on, Emily decides to play around with the cat toy (which is a big tube) and pose for a photo (notice the stuffed rat coming out of the bottom hole. As you can see, she's a ham. Today is the pumpkin carving party and this year it's at one of the city parks. Hopefully the weather will cooperate with us. It's supposed to be in the high 80's today...sure wish it would cool down a bit.

Friday, October 28, 2005

It's a Mystery...

Today we received an adorable children's book in the mail. The mystery is that I didn't order it and it has no packing slip or receipt. The return address label says "Best Sells" in Sacramento, CA. This company name doesn't come up on a Goggle search, it doesn't come up on the on-line yellow pages, and we don't know anyone in Sacramento.

It's an over-sized board book called Counting Kisses and the illustrations are really cute. The funny thing is that the author is Karen Katz, who is also the author of the flip books I bought for Lauren and posted a while back. Check those out here. Well, if anyone can solve the mystery, please let me know! If anyone out there sent it as a gift, I LOVE it!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

New Guest Book...

I added a guest book to our blog today. You'll see the links on the upper right side of the screen. Please feel free to make an entry...we love to hear from everyone!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ancestral Journey...

A good friend of mine from high school, Colleen, got interested in researching her family tree last year while sorting through old family photos. She showed me a scrapbook she started with a bunch of old photos that she had identified most of the relatives in. She's done a bunch of research and has started a blog to track her progress. You can check it out here. She has some great, old family photos on her blog.

Colleen, good luck with your ancestral search!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Legacy of an Adopted Child...

Once there were two women who never knew each other.
One you do not remember, the other you call Mother.

Two different lives shaped to make you one.
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.

The first one gave you life, and the second taught you to live it.
The first gave you a need for love. The second was there to give it.

One gave you a nationality. The other gave you a name.
One gave you a talent. The other gave you aim.

One gave you emotions. The other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile. The other dried your tears.

One sought for you a home that she could not provide.
The other prayed for a child and her hope was not denied.

And now you ask me, through your tears,
the age-old question unanswered through the years.

Heredity or environment, which are you a product of?
Neither, my darling. Neither. Just two different kinds of Love.

Author Unknown

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Home Study on It's Way!

I just found out today that our Home Study was officially forwarded to court for the judge's approval on October 18th. Our home study agency estimates 4-8 weeks for court certification. Let's say it takes 6 weeks, then we are looking at the end of November. Once we get this approval, we send a copy of our approved Home Study to BCIS (Immigration), get our FBI fingerprints, then get the I-171H form (the final document).

We were hoping to be DTC (dossier to China) by Jan 1st, but if the court takes 6 weeks and then another month plus for BCIS it may be closer to the end of January. Let's all keep our fingers crossed for a quick turn a round from the court.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Shopping Spree...

We picked up some things for Lauren's room this weekend. Check it out here.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Peanut Butter...

Here's what happens if you give a greyhound peanut butter. I never knew her tongue was that long!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Adoption Blogs...

Adoption blogging is a strange thing...peeking into other peoples lives and following them on their greatest journey of a life time. It's a wonderful thing for waiting parents to be able to experience through journaling and photos from other families what to expect down the line. I've been following quite a few blogs myself and wanted to share a couple of my favorites that I check on a regular basis.

I've been following Karen's and Scott's journey to baby Gwen for quite some time now and they have her one month today. Gwen was a very sick little girl when they got her in China, but with their strength, love and perseverance, she is doing very well now. Check out their journey here.

I've also been following Shana's blog on their journey to Sophie Lu. She's home over 3 months now. It's amazing to see how well these two beautiful little girls are adjusting.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Letter to China...

There is one item I've been procrastinating on that I need to prepare for our dossier. It's the cover letter written to the CCAA (China Center of Adoption Affairs). I just can't imagine coming up with the proper way to ask China to entrust one of their precious daughters to us.

Knowing that their adoption program is in place because of their one-child policy and overpopulation of girls, makes me wonder if they realize the gift they are giving so many child-less couples like us. This program allows their daughters a chance at a happy, productive life in the U.S., but it gives us so much more.

Our agency provides us with a sample cover letter and a bulleted list of items to cover. I really could just fill in the blanks and use the form letter, but I don't want to do that and now I'm stuck on just what to say. One of the bulleted items says that the letter must contain a promise not to abandon, abuse, or mistreat your child. It makes me sad to think that this is something they need to mention, as if any adoptive parent, after going through this entire process, would ever consider such a thing.

I just want to be sure I properly express our deep appreciation to the CCAA and our promise to care for Lauren and raise her to be a loving, honest, respectful and truly beautiful person inside and out. Well, I think I'm ready to give this a try....wish me luck.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Adorable Baby Dolls...

Check out these adorable Asian baby dolls. Aren't they sweet?
They will definitely have to be on my list for Lauren. I found them at Live and Learn.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I posted an update on Lauren's room today. Also, our Social Worker forwarded our final home study report to A Helping Hand (our agency) this morning. I've heard they can take up to a week to review it. Once they approve it, it's off to our home study agency's home office to file it with the courts. The court approval with take about a month or so. Once we get the court approval, it will be another month or so for fingerprinting and immigration approval.

On another note, I exchanged the size 6 month outfits (shown below) for size 12 month. I was able to switch out all the outfits, and I'm glad they had them all because they are so darn cute. Thanks to those who set me straight on the sizes. What do I know....I don't have any little ones yet! ;)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Update on Dossier Paperwork...

Well, the paperchase continues but soon there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. Our social worker is finalizing our Home Study report this week. Once it's final, it gets submitted to the Court for approval. Once our Home Study is approved it's submitted to BCIS (Immigration) and they will send us for FBI fingerprinting. Once we pass the FBI check, we are issued the I-171H form (our permission to adopt an orphan from China). The I-171H is the last form we need for our dossier, and once we have that in hand, all our certified and notarized documents will be couriered to the Washington, DC Chinese consulate office for authentication.

Joe and I both applied for our passports this week, which is about a 6 week turn-around. We also need to finish taking our dossier photos and have a couple of last forms notarized.

We are still on target for reaching our goal of being DTC (dossier to China) by January 1st. If we make that goal, we can expect to travel to China next August/September.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Quote of the Day...

A hundred years from now it will not matter how large my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. What will matter is that I was important in the life of a child.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Attitude Shirts...

Tonight we celebrated my brother's birthday, so Jim, Stephanie, the kids and my Mom all came over for dinner and cake. I figured we would go ahead and take a group photo for our dossier while they were here (we need to take photos to submit to our agency with all our paperwork). I had called my brother earlier today to give him a heads up about the photo and suggest that the kids don't wear those "attitude" shirts that are so popular right now. I figured it's NOT a good idea to have those in our dossier photos!

Well, they decided since I requested no attitude shirts, that they would deck themselves out using masking tape with their own sayings. When they showed up at our place for dinner, the kids got a kick out of showing off their shirts so I had to take some pictures.
Katie's shirt said "Moody & Dumb" on the front and "Saw it, wanted it, had a fit, got it" on the back. Emily's said "Flippin Sweet" on the front and "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Vote for Pedro" on the back.Once they tore the tape off, we did end up getting a shot for our dossier.
The photo on the left is Joe and I with my brother and his family. Below is us with my Mom.