Friday, May 30, 2008

And So It Begins!

It all started 2 weeks ago when the boys and I were shopping at the Gift Shop on base. Nate came over to me carrying a little silk purse that he wanted to purchase for Lilymei. He felt strongly that she would "need" a purse to put all her "things" in to. Drew didn't want to be outdone so while we were grocery shopping he begged me to buy the 2 pack Snuggle fabric softener that had a Snuggle bear packaged with it. Now the Snuggle bear is living inside the purse waiting for Lilymei to come home. Last week I was in the BX, browsing the book section like I always do, when I came across a few board books for baby with the soft, thick covers. I picked out the "Happy Baby Words" book and thought, what a perfect item to bring along with us to China. I mentioned to Scott that he was the only one in the family who hadn't picked out something for Lilymei yet. Not to be outdone, yesterday Scott came home with the cutest little pink OshKosh onesie and floral jumper. As you will see below, this shopping frenzy has gained momentum (even for Guam!). Look at what found it's way home from the mall today....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

5 More Days....But Who's Counting?

I am! Well, so are the boys. 5 more days until the school year is officially over. I KNOW we are all ready for a break. The past month has seen the boys frantically working to plow through Easy Grammar, time test their way out of Saxon Math, and memorize those state capitals and South American countries. We still have 9 more chapters to read in History (that's only 9 days worth of reading) and Nate has a little more Science and Geography work to cover is almost over! I know some moms are dreading to think of school being let out for the summer but many homeschooling moms I know are just as thrilled as the kids for summer break to arrive. Funny how that works!

I have so many plans for the summer:
#1) Get ready to bring Lilymei home. I can't even fathom how much that will entail with getting travel visas, packing and repacking those few suitcases that we are allowed to bring, making sure we have all the paperwork packed and ready to travel; let alone purchasing all those necessary items toddlers need while baby proofing the house again.
#2) Figure out what curriculum I want to purchase for next year. Nate has asked for a few changes in some of his subjects and I am in agreement, for the most part. There are so many great programs to choose from it might take me all summer to get a few new things picked out, ordered, and have it shipped on time for school to resume.
#3) Tackle the photo albums. I haven't put photos in albums since arriving on Guam. I haven't ordered ANY pictures in over a year! I need a better system and I think Scott and I have come up with a plan. I'll let you know if that turns out.
#4) Read all those adoption books I've been meaning to. First I have to find them. I keep forgetting to check and see what the library here has available. Then I will have to ask for inter-library loans, if available. Also, I will have to check with the few bookstores on island and see what is available for purchase. So many books, so little time!
#5) Relax! I almost forgot that one. Does a mom ever really relax? I'm going to give it my best shot this summer and then hang up that idea for the next, oh 17 years or so!

Well, I know there are 101 more things I want to do this summer but for right now I think I'll go start reading a new book!

Friday, May 23, 2008

We would like to introduce Lilymei Liying!

At 2:27 a.m. on Tuesday, May 20th we received THE phone call from our agency (see our post below) stating our referral for Lilymei had arrived from China! We were told our packet of information and forms that we needed to sign would be overnighted to us from St. Louis.
A few days later (darn international dateline) the DHL driver made Jean very happy. Our referral packet arrived just before noon on the 22nd. We had to sign the documents, but most importantly we had to name our new daughter. We didn't know we were going to have to name her immediately on the spot yesterday. Fortunately we had a pretty good idea of what we were going to name her: Lilymei Liying. We have always loved the name Lily and that is what we have been calling her since the beginning of this journey. Mei is the Chinese version of Mae, which is Jean's maternal grandmother's middle name. Liying is a combination of Li and Ying, both of Lilymei's Chinese names given to her by the orphanage.
Lilymei is currently 16.5 months old and is living with a foster family in the city of Hohhot, Peoples Republic of China, Inner Mongolia. We are hoping for updated photos and medical information from the agency as soon as possible. Unfortunately we will not be traveling until after the Olympic Games, which are, of course, beginning on 8/8/2008!
Here is Scott signing the official document that we FedExd back to Beijing today, on his Birthday!

The whole family is very excited and we would like to thank everyone for their continued prayers and thoughts. We will keep everyone up to date as we get more information on our newest little one.

Monday, May 19, 2008

She's Ours!!!!

It is 2 am our time and our agency just called with our SCL (seeking confirmation letter) notification and Lilymei is officially ours!! We will be traveling to China, but not until after the Olympic games.
We were happy to wake up this early for such great news. We will post more once we "officially" wake up. Thank you all for the love and prayers.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Scott Survived the Ohio Cold & Vegas Charm!

To all of the people I got a chance to see on my trip back to the States, thank you! I had a great time, especially playing with the kids. I can't believe how big everyone is getting. The weather could have been a little more conducive to not causing me to freeze, no 65 degrees is NOT warm! We hope to be able to visit again soon and miss you all.
I also had (yes had) to stop in Vegas on the way home to see some of my friends "Jim" and Alan. We had a great time, but I am not sure I could have survived another night on the town. The Hot Hot Slots paid off well for one of us, let's just say it wasn't me. Thanks for all of the great times to everyone involved in the trip back.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Adoption Update

We received an update from our adoption agency this morning. No, we haven't received our referral. :-( More on that in just a minute. It has been 8 weeks since we received our pre-approval from China to adopt a now 16 month old baby girl. The China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA) has just started using a new computer system which is supposed to "speed" the process along. Our adoption agency expected us to receive our official "Seeking Confirmation Letter (SCL)" OR "Referral" from China within 6-8 weeks from the date of our pre-approval, which was March 12, 2008. Every night for the past month we have gone to bed hoping to be awakened with a phone call from our agency. Every morning we wake up with the realization that "THE" phone call did not happen. How frustrating!!!

Well, last night Scott emailed our agency in St. Louis to see if they had any news for us. They promptly replied to our email with the information that there is nothing we can do but wait for the CCAA to review our dossier (the tremendous pile of documents that took us 6 months to accumulate, have notarized, certified, and authenticated that tells our complete life stories). Apparently, because our Log In Date (LID), the date the CCAA logged us into their system, is Oct. 26, 2007, there are other families like us who have chosen a Waiting Child but their LID is earlier than ours and they are receiving their SCL's before us.

What that all means is that our agency thinks we will have to wait another 1-2 MONTHS before we receive our referral. I guess we can count on getting a few more full nights of sleep between now and then. Our best estimate now as to when we think we will be traveling is September or October. Sighhhhhh.

As always, we promise to update you all whenever we hear something! Let's hope it's sooner rather than later!

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mothers out there!

Lilymei joined our family...

Lilymei was born...

Drew is...

Nate is...

Jean and Scott have been married....