Monday, December 29, 2008

Updated photo...

Our agency surprised us with an updated photo and measurements this morning. What a nice way to start off the week! Look how great she looks...clean, healthy and well cared for...
Age: 21 months
Height: 32.3"
Weight: 20.9lbs
Number of Teeth: 16!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Living in the moment...

is something we haven't done much of over the past several years. Driving home from work on Christmas Eve, I got to thinking about how great next Christmas will be once we have Lauren home. Then I started thinking about all the times I've had that same thought. It seems that since we filed our adoption paperwork back on August 8, 2005, our time has been spent looking forward at what's ahead instead of living in the moment. This crazy long wait kind of robs you of the present and puts your thoughts to the future.

It dawned on me during my ride home, that starting on January 8th when we take off for our journey we will need to switch gears and learn to live in the moment again. I'm thinking that changing gears after all this time may be a little easier said than done. I'm pretty sure though, that once we meet Lauren and can hold her and love her we will be planted firmly in the moment from that point forward. This is what I am hoping for.

On another note, we have just about everything we need for our trip. Everything is in bins and bags and scatttered all over the nursery and playroom right now. We are both home on New Years day, so we are going to organize everything and start packing. My last day at work for a while is this coming Friday. I hope to have everything packed and ready to go by Monday so we can relax for a few days before we leave.

Monday, December 22, 2008

We have our itinerary...

Thursday, Jan. 8th
8:20am - Depart from Phoenix to San Francisco (2 hrs, 19 min)
11am - Depart from San Francisco to Beijing (12 hrs, 35 min)

Friday, Jan. 9th
3:35pm - Arrive in Beijing - stay at the Beijing Traders Hotel

Saturday, Jan. 10th
8am - Tian An Men Square, Forbidden City, Olympic Park and Great Wall

Sunday, Jan. 11th
8:45am - Depart from Beijing to Guangzhou (2 hrs, 50 min)
Stay at the Victory Hotel

Monday, Jan. 12th
2pm - Bus to civil affairs office to MEET LAUREN!!! Oh my God, we're parents!!! (Phoenix time: Sunday, 11pm)

Tuesday, Jan. 13th
8:30am - Bus to civil affairs office to do registration and notary

Wednesday, Jan. 14th
Apply for Lauren's passport

Thursday, Jan. 15th
9:30am - Family Chen's Temple and Yuntai Botanical Garden

Friday, Jan. 16th
9:30am - King Yue's Museum

Saturday, Jan. 17th
9:30am - Lauren's visa photo and medical checkup, complete consulate forms

Sunday, Jan. 18th
10:30am - Sunday sermon at a nearby church and visit the Guangzhou Zoo

Monday, Jan. 19th
9:30am - Shopping at pearl and jade wholesale market

Tuesday, Jan. 20th
3pm - Red couch group photo

Wednesday, Jan. 21st
9:30am - Agency guide goes to U.S. Consulate to send visa documents

Thursday, Jan. 22nd
2:45pm - Take oath at U.S. Consulate
8pm - Depart from Guangzhou to Beijing (2 hrs, 55 min)
Spend the night at the Beijin Rosedale Hotel

Friday, Jan. 23rd
1:40pm - Depart from Beijing to San Francisco (11 hrs, 24 min)
1:10pm - Depart from San Francisco to Phoenix (2 hrs)

Arrive home on Friday, Jan. 23rd at 4:11pm, United flight UA0500, Terminal 2

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bathroom done...

Just a super quick post to show some pics of the bathroom (click collage to enlarge)...

Oh, and...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thanks, everyone, for all the great advice on our packing list! We went to Walmart this morning to pick up a few items that were suggested. We got a powder formula dispenser, plastic tongs for removing items from hot water when cleaning, travel squeeze bottle for liquid dish soap, Gerber baby prunes and apple/prune juice, and one 4 oz bottle for juice. We will also added ziplocs and a syringe for medicine dispensing to our list. Oh, and we'll only take enough diapers and a travel size wipes for the 1st day and the trip back...we'll buy diapers and wipes there.

We're going to work on decorating the bath room today. I'll post a picture later on.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Packing list...

I've been working on our packing list this evening. How in the world we're going to fit all this stuff into two 40 lb suitcases and two backpacks I have NO clue at the moment!

I would really appreciate it if those who have already traveled could take a quick look at my list and let me know if there is something missing or something on the list that we don't need. There are three pages below. This is just my first crack at it, so I know it's not finished yet.

Oh, and only...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Travel approval...

Yesterday we got our official approval from the CCAA to travel to China to adopt our daughter! My eyes filled with tears when I pulled the document out of the Fed-ex envelope, saw Lauren's picture on it and read the words: "...we agreed that the child, Nan Qi Qing be placed with you for adoption." This document has been a LONG time coming...

Be the way, there are...

Monday, December 15, 2008

All I have to say today is...

Yeah! I'll be counting down the number of nights left until we leave to get our sweet girl! There's been 1,030 nights so far since our LID, so I think I can do the last 24 standing on my head. No problem!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


We finished Lauren's playroom and I promised some pictures. Pretty much everything but the toys are from IKEA. We went with a really bright color, because her nursery colors are so soft. I wanted her playroom to be bright and fun. I think it all ties together very well. What do you think?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Where do I much going on since I posted last week. Well, we've been really busy getting ready to travel. Joe worked SO hard getting the playroom ready and we're almost there. I'll post photos as soon as we're done. We did some shopping over the weekend for the basic essentials that we didn't have yet...diapers, wipes, bottles, medications for the trip, highchair, car seat, cabinet latches, outlet covers, etc.

My sister-in-law, Stephanie, hosted a fabulous shower for me this past Sunday. The buffet table setting was so pretty with red table cloths, Chinese fans, chopsticks, and special adoption poems printed and mounted on beautiful Asian themed paper. The poems were displayed on little easels on the tables. My friend, Jennifer, made the most beautiful coasters from tiles. She hand-stamped each one with panda and bamboo images using a special stamp pad then baked them in the oven to set the ink. Everyone received one as a favor and I got a whole set! I love them. We played games, ate great food and had a really nice time.

On Tuesday we booked our flights! We are leaving on Thursday, January 8th and coming home on Friday, January 23rd. Any of our local friends are more than welcome to greet us at the airport when we come in. We will be dog tired, but SO happy to see all the familiar faces after two weeks away. Here's the info on our return flight: United Flight 500 from San Francisco to Phx arriving in Terminal 2 at 4:11pm. If there are any changes and I can still access my blog, I'll be sure to post. The entire trip is 6,550 miles...when I saw the mileage it really hit me just how far away Lauren is!

Now we are waiting for our agency to pull together our in-China flights, hotel rooms, etc. It won't be long now before we have our entire trip itinerary and we'll find out exactly when we'll meet Lauren. I'm thinking it will be the afternoon of January 11th, but I'm not sure yet.

Friday, December 05, 2008

A sweet surprise...

Thanks to our friend, Catherine, Lauren has her very own pretty little taggie blanket! It was such a nice surprise to receive another package addressed to Miss Lauren.

Catherine used the prettiest grosgrain ribbons in the softest pinks and greens. I absolutely love it and it's coming to China with us in hopes of giving Lauren some much needed comfort in those first few days with us.

Catherine, thanks again for such a sweet surprise! You have one of the biggest hearts in Blogville!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Look at her now!

We have updated photos of our daughter thanks to Ann at Red Thread China! Click on image to enlarge.

Doesn't she look like the sweetest little girl? Part of me wants to just scoop her up and bring her home to the family who is waiting so patiently for her and part of me feels so guilty for what we are about to put her through. This may sound strange for those of you still waiting for your referrals, but once you know who your daughter is and can stare endlessly at her photos you start to feel sad about turning her little life upside down. I know that she will have a much better life with a family of her own who will love her unconditionally, but right now at the age of 20 months she thinks the orphanage is home and the nannies are her caregivers. The idea of what she will have to go through those first couple of weeks with us in China grieving for her home and caregivers tears my heart out. I wish there was a way for her to transition more slowly to our family without all the heart ache.

It's amazing to see how much Lauren has changed from her first photo to the one we just got. It's wonderful to see her looking so healthy and cared for in all her photos.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Yes, this is the word from our agency today! For friends and family who aren't familiar with adoption lingo, this means that the CCAA has approved us to travel to China to get our daughter. Now our agency can request our appointment with the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou to complete Lauren's immigration paperwork and obtain her visa. Once that appointment is scheduled, our flights can be booked!! According to our agency we are still on target to travel on January 8th.

Next month...

our lives will change forever. I can't believe that it is already December and we can say that we are bringing Lauren home NEXT MONTH!! It felt that we would never get to this point, but we finally have. It's actually starting to sink in that next month I will meet the sweet little girl that will eventually call me "mommy". It's exciting and scary all mixed into one BIG emotion!

Yesterday Joe and I did some Target shopping for some of the non-prescription medical items that our international adoption (IA) doctor has recommended we bring to China. We have more items to get, plus we have a prescription for an antibiotic and scabies medication to fill. I'm so glad we'll be able to take these prescription meds with us for a little peace of mind. Also, part of our IA doc's service includes a phone number to reach her 24/7 while we are traveling...this really makes me feel good since we are clueless, first time parents!

On Saturday we were out for a while and when we got home there were two big bags at our front door. The bags were filled with all kinds of toys from Kim & Scott. They are friends of ours from our FCC waiting families group who have been home with their twin girls for about two years now. These are all toys that the twins are done playing with and now they will be a very welcome addition to Lauren's new playroom!

Thank you so much Kim, Scott, Jenna and Jadyn! These toys are appreciated more than you know!

Joe and I are serious Black Friday shoppers and we got the booty below at the Kohl's 50% off all toys sale at 4am...

I know you may think we're crazy, but we actually have fun battling the crowds for those great Black Friday deals! Oh, also...while we were in the toy department there was a women who kept looking at me kind of funny. Finally she said "is that your referral photo?" while pointing to the pendant that Julie gave me of Lauren. I burst out in a huge smile and say "yes it's our daughter in China waiting for us". It turns out she has also adopted, but from Korea. She went on to congratulate us and gush about the happy times we have ahead of us. It made me feel really good. :)

I KNOW we have too many clothes as it is, but these two dresses jumped right off the clearance rack at Naartjie and into my hands as I was walking through the store. They are even in Lauren's size...imagine that...and they are WAY too cute! ;) I love Naartjie...they are one of my favorites!

This Thursday Joe has the day off work and we are both off on Friday, so this is our chance to get the junk room cleared out and start working on the playroom. Now that we have toys and the stuff we bought at IKEA, I'm really excited to get started on that.

Also, I still need to convert our guest bathroom into a girly bathroom for's right across the hall from her bedroom. Here's the stuff I've gathered, some of which I've had for a couple of years now!

So much to do and SO little time now! Hey, can you tell I'm getting excited?? HA!

Monday, November 24, 2008

This and that...

This past Saturday Joe and I headed over to IKEA to pick up some fun stuff to turn our spare bedroom (aka...junk room) into a play room for Lauren and a place to store her toys. This pile will help turn the room into a bright, fun place for her to be creative and play...

We are going to use IKEA's Trofast system for toy storage. I like the idea of pulling the bins out to carry into other rooms and then being able to put the mess away and tuck the bins back into place.

We got flower and ladybug lights that mount on the wall and a couple of these big leaves to hang on the wall as a canopy.

Joe has a few use or loose vacation days that need to be taken in December, so he is going to clear out the junk and paint the walls. I'm really excited about this project and can't wait to see it done. I'm looking forward to hours of playing with Lauren in that room while I'm on maternity leave.

On another note, I finally ordered a KozyPal. I had ordered one a while back, but had a change of heart on the fabric and cancelled the order. By the time I finally decided to place an order, they had closed down their custom order site for the holidays. They have new fabric choices coming in January, but since they had a special on in-stock, pre-made cart covers with free shipping I decided to order now and save a little money. Here's the one I got...there will be no chance of missing us in a store!

I like the way the cover rolls up and the safety belt is used as a handle to sling it over your shoulder.

One last picture for today since I couldn't help but snap this picture of Lucy all curled up on her bed...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Care package...

This evening Joe and I went shopping for Lauren's care package. I will be packing the items up and sending my box to Ann at Red Thread China. She is going to translate our letter to the orphanage staff and mail our box to Lauren's orphanage.

I love the soft, baby photo album we found at Target. It even has Chinese characters on the front and a spot for Lauren's picture so they will remember who's album it is. Thanks, Michele, those extra little photos you gave me came in really handy for this! We filled the album with family photos and a picture of our furbaby, Lucy (click to enlarge)...

I also love the Discovery Ladybug. We received two as gifts, so I'm sending one in the package. It makes crinkly noises when you touch the ladybug wings and the bottom is a soft book with fun little things to touch and play with...

We are also including a nice soft blanket, two disposable cameras and a couple packages of Jelly Belly candies for the nannies. It was so much fun picking out the items and putting this package together. I'll be sending it off to Ann early next week. I still need to write a letter to the orphanage staff for her to translate.

Ann is also going to help us try to get updated photos of Lauren and measurements. She will contact the orphanage and see if they will agree to this. I can't wait to find out if we'll get updated pictures! I was on the phone with our friend, Karen (from our travel group), when her updated pictures of Kaelie came through. Oh my gosh, it was SO exciting. Karen, my ears are still ringing! Ha! ;)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Great weekend...

I'm sitting here thinking about how very lucky we are to have such good friends. We have a small group of local waiting families who have shared this wait with us for so long. Several families in our group have brought their children home and now it's finally our turn! Michele and Ava hosted a shower for us this afternoon and it was such a nice time.

Check out these great favors she had for everyone. Dipped pretzel rods and fortune cookies, little framed pictures of Lauren and aprons in a great ladybug print. Michele, you are so creative and sweet to do all this!
Here we are with the cake...

Michele embroidered Lauren's name on this totally adorable outfit. I can't wait to see her in this...

Lauren now has her very own little kitchen to play with (thanks Nancy, Brian and Lily). It has lots of little buttons to press with fun sights and sounds.

We got some great bibs, including this "Bumkins" bib (thanks Kim, Scott and kids) which is super big to cover up the whole shirt. It should help out a lot if Lauren is a messy eater!

Michele, thank you SO much for hosting our are the perfect hostess and we had a great time visiting with everyone.

I received a special gift this past week. Julie and Tess sent me this beautiful pendant of Lauren's photo. I LOVE it and have gotten quite a few compliments on it already! I can keep Lauren close while we wait these final weeks.
We also received a special package addressed to Lauren from Lisa. It's a beautiful hand-made bear and he's wearing a red thread bracelet for Lauren...

Lisa, I LOVE this bear and the bracelet. I'm bringing the bracelet to China for Lauren to wear, but the bear will be safely tucked away in her crib waiting for us to get home. It goes great with the nursery colors. Thank you SO much!

There are only 7 more full weeks until we leave to get Lauren! Oh my God, I guess it's time to get ready! Ha!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Any resemblance?

A while back we were chatting on my Yahoo group about how they match the babies and we were talking about them matching to our passport photos. We challenged each other to post our passport photos with our referral photo to see if there is any resemblance. Keep in mind that our photos were taken back in August 2005 and I've packed on 20 stress pounds since then and now...sad, but true.

So, do you see any resemblance? Click on image to enlarge.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Referral day and video...

Several people have asked where Lauren's province is in China. You can see on this map, where the Guangdong province is and where Maoming is.

Here are some recent photos I found of her social welfare institute...

Last week, when the call came in it felt like it was out of nowhere. That morning there were rumors that referrals were starting to arrive in Europe, so I figured our call would come the next day. I got off work at 12n and stopped to pick up some lunch. By the time I got home and turned the laptop on it was about 1pm. The first message I saw was from Stephe saying that she just got her call!! Since she's with our agency, I knew this was it. After running around for a few minutes thinking...OMG, OMG, OMG...I called answer...called answer. OMG, am I going to get the call all alone?? What the heck...they are supposed to be on red alert! Finally, I get my mom on the phone and all I had to say was "Stephe got her call...get over here". She was here in a flash. I finally got Joe on the phone and said "this is it, you've got to get home". About 10 minutes later, the phone rings and the caller ID is the agency!! OMG, this is it!!! I picked up the phone and mom started the video. My agency was able to conference Joe in on his cell while he was on the way home. As soon as our agency rep said "you have a daughter", everything after that was a blur! It was so surreal and thank goodness I have my notes and the video so I actually know what he said after that.

Once he was done with the details he had, he said "I just e-mailed you photos"...OMG, OMG, of our daughter and Joe isn't here yet! Luckily, by this time he was only about 5 minutes from home. As soon as he walked in the door, I was pulling up the e-mail and mom had the video rolling...

After we stared at the photos for a little while, I started making phone calls. My brother and his family came over and my sister-in-law brought everything to make dinner for us. My nieces and nephew brought a gift for Lauren...a panda they made at Build-a-Bear named Precious Joy. My niece, Emily, brought me a special gift she had been waiting to give me. It's the Angel of Patience from Willow Tree. We placed it in the nursery watching over a photo of Lauren.

It was such an amazing day that I will never forget! We feel so blessed to have been matched with Nan Qi Qing and can't wait to hold her in our arms.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Weekend stuff...

Well, this weekend Joe and I signed the letter officially accepting Lauren as our daughter! I'm overnighting that, along with some other paperwork, back to our agency tomorrow morning. The next step is our travel conference call on Monday the 17th. We should find out lots of details about our trip at that point. All I really know at this point is that we are traveling with 8 or 9 other families including our friends Stephe and Karen.

Joe and I went on a little shopping spree for cold weather clothes in Lauren's size. We think that while we're in China she will be about 32" tall and weigh about 20lbs. We bought everything in 12-18 month size. Check out the shirt and matching pants with the panda face on the back. How cute is that!

I ended up clearing some things out of Lauren's closet...all the items smaller than 12 months. Luckily, it didn't put that big a dent in her clothes selection...I've had LOTS of fun shopping over the past three years! I still have lots of 12/18 month clothes in the closet, but we didn't have any cold weather stuff yet.

We are still on cloud 9 and I haven't quite come down to earth yet. I still can't believe we have a daughter and are traveling to China in 2 months!!! It was so much more fun to shop for her today with the image of her sweet face in my head. With all the things we still need to do and the holidays, the time is going to fly by!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

It's been a whirlwind since we received our referral! I'll be updating with more details later. I took off today to wait for the "stork" and he finally landed about 11:30. Here's the sign he was greeted with at the door...

My mom caught a glimpse of him through the window while I scrambled for the camera and she saw him snickering. Here he is...

He was really funny and didn't mind the photo one bit. He said he's been called many things, but never the stork!!! I bet he has a good story for his wife tonight!

Here's all the photos we received with our referral...for your viewing pleasure. Double click on the image to enlarge it.

I can't stop staring at her pictures! I went out to lunch today and even took her along! ;)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Oh my God, my heart is beating out of my chest right now and I'm still shaking. We have a daughter!!!! I can't believe I just typed that!

Here's the info:

Name: Nan Qi Qing
Age: 19 months
Province: Guangdong (a southern gal)
City: Maoming
Orphange: Maonan District
Height: 30.7"
Weight: 18.9 lbs

And I didn't mention yet, that she's BEAUTIFUL!!!! We fell in love at first sight!

As you can see, I'm going to work on changing up my blog. I had all this done last week, but I still need to finish up my sidebar.

Oh my God...we have a daughter!!! After three plus years our dreams have come true. Oh, and did I mention that she's beautiful? ;)