Thursday, February 18, 2016

Bedroom Before & After + Pic Updates

Little ¨M¨s Bedroom Before 
This was actually my messy craft room :-)  You can see the sewing machine, crochet thread, yarn, scissors, hobby lobby sack.....all of my crafting things all over in a big mess....

Little ¨M¨s Bedroom After

I want to give a little explanation of the decorations in Little ¨M¨s bedroom because they all have meaning.  Her room isn´t finished, but it is getting close.

The painting at the head of her bed -  Painted by Daddy
Dave actually painted this beautiful picture of a little girl several years ago and we thought it would be beautiful in her room.  We did not plan the colors around this painting but it fit beautifully in her room!

The Bed - This bed is at least 30 years old and has been sitting in Dave´s parents basement for years.  It is an old brass bed, we took it and purchased paint suitable to use on metal and we painted it a beautiful white.

The Dresser -    

Looking at this picture brings back so many memories......This is Kenzi when she was 2 1/2 years old helping Daddy paint her new dresser they found at a yard sale.  This was Kenzi´s dresser until she was about 14 years old.  This dresser was being stored in Grammy´s basement and we picked it up, repainted it the color of the walls in Little ¨M¨s room and it is now hers.

The blanket draped on the Dresser -  Knitted by Mommy   I hand knitted this blanket and just finished it about two weeks ago.  It is called ¨The Tree of Life¨ blanket.  

I hope you can see the beautiful texture in this blanket, it was a lot of fun to knit and has a beautiful leaf edging.  I am also working on a knitted blanket with her name and part of the song ¨You are my Sunshine¨  I will post pictures of that blanket when I finish it.  

The Quilt on Her Bed -    Here it is as we were beginning to sew all the rows together
This quilt was handmade by Me (Mommy), Big sister Kenzi, Aunt Trisha, and Grandma Gerber.  We selected each fabric together at the fabric store, we went back to grandmas and cut each square, we spent an afternoon arranging them in a pattern we liked, pinned them, sewed them all together.  Then Daddy and I went to the store and picked the backing for the quilt and we put it on the quilt frames and tied it.  It isn´t finished yet.......I still have to hand stitch around the edges of the blanket.  This quilt was made with much love and will sit on her bed and wait to snuggle her tight when she comes home.

It brings tears to my eyes as I look at her room and all the history, memories, and work of love that has gone into the decoration of her room.  We spent weeks with paint samples trying to pick just the right colors.....Dave spent hours and hours removing the wallpaper border and painting the room.  We all have put a lot of love and work into her lovely room.  It has been a very helpful process as we wait to be able to pick her up and bring her home.  

I will not lie, it is not an easy wait.....but we know that it will all be worth it when we are finally able to bring her home. 

Little M Picture Update

We are SO grateful to the staff at the Orphanage who continually update us and send us pictures of Little ¨M¨.  I cannot even explain how this puts a big smile on our faces and makes this long wait just a little easier....well easier and a little harder too.  We see that sweet little face and we just want to scoop her up in our arms and take her home.  

Adoption Process Update

Our paperwork is currently at the Chinese Consulate in Washington D.C. being authenticated.  It isn´t always easy to wait.....but we are getting close to our date to China.....that is the next step we are looking forward to.  

We are Learning Mandarin!!

I am about to finish the Level I Rosetta Stone Mandarin....and I have finished the Hello Chinese app.  One thing we say all the time at home is Wo Ai Ni which means I love you.  The other day we went to the Temple open house and there was a beautiful painting and my first thought was Pi was a horse!  I thought wow....the Mandarin words are sticking.

I can tell you, learning Mandarin is NOT easy and there are times I wonder if I will ever figure it out.  When I say sentences I have the bad habit of trying to phrase them like English....but in Mandarin it is often backward but amongst the frustration I know it will come together and I know we will be glad we know basic Mandarin when Little M comes home....we just want her to be as comfortable as she can be. 

I continue to work on this knitted blanket that I designed for is the way that I fill my days as I wait for her.  It is my way of showing my love, I show my love for others by putting my heart into hand-making them something from the heart.....and this little blanket I designed has already taken me 40 or 50 hours of design and knitting.....but it helps me pass the time.

We love you little M and we can´t wait to bring you home.....

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Our Adoption Timeline so far....

Adoption Update

I know many people continue to ask us about our adoption and want to know when we will be traveling.  Often they seem surprised when we say we still have several months ahead of us. I realize that it is hard for people to understand that this is a LONG process.  Think of it in terms of pregnancy, pregnancy takes roughly 9 months...I say roughly because each baby, mother, and pregnancy is different and there is a wide range of normal but that is a story for another day.

International adoption is NOT a quick fact 15 months is considered unusually short for an international adoption.  The typical time frame when adopting a special needs child from any country is about 15-24 months.   Couples who will only accept a specific gender or a child with NO health issues at all can even wait up to 9 years to receive a referral and pick up their child.  

Why Does International Adoption Take So Long?

There have obviously been times I have complained about the long wait and it can be difficult.  There have been times I thought.....¨Why can´t they do this faster?¨  ¨Why are there SO MANY requirements?¨

As I continued to ponder and think about why this is an expensive and lengthy process I started to realize the state of the world that we currently live in and it started to make sense.  As unsavory of a topic as it is human trafficking is an enormous problem.  Along with human trafficking infants and children in poverty stricken areas are being kidnapped and sold through adoption rings.  

Human trafficking is such a problem in our world, these children can end up in the most horrific situations that would probably be beyond what most of us can possibly comprehend.  

As I started to think about the evil that is so pervasive in our world I became grateful that governments are implementing a lengthy process to protect these innocent children from people who would harm them.  

The process is long, all documents are authenticated by both the U.S. government and the Chinese government they want to make sure that all documents are accurate and that the adoptive parents do not have a criminal record etc....  

Essentially, the lengthy process allows the governments to properly authenticate documents and do background checks on prospective adoptive parents for the safety of the children!   

So, when I tell you we still have about 4-5 months left...crossing my fingers!  Understand that we are simply going through this lengthy process for the protection of Little ¨M¨.  

Our Adoption Timeline So Far....

October 30th 2015 -  Application for Adpotion sent to Agency
November 4th 2015 - We received Little ¨Ms¨ file including her medical history
November 19th 2015 - Our Letter of Intent to adopt little ¨M¨ sent to CCCWA in China
November 24th 2015 - Pre-approval received from CCCWA in China to accept our Dossier for Little ¨M¨
December 8th 2015 - Homestudy Complete
January 25th 2016 - USCIS Fingerprinting appointment
February 1st 2016 - USCIS Approval

Ya gotta love Utah.....out of all 50 states Utah is one of only TWO States that does not have a Secretary of State!!!  So our documents had to be sent to D.C. to the Secretary of State to be authenticated, then they will be sent to the Chinese Consulate in D.C. to be authenticated.  This is where we are at.....just waiting for authentication of these final documents so our Dossier will be complete and ready to send to the CCCWA in China.

Lately I have run into a lot of comments and situations that have really made me think about how closed minded people can be and how this process has really opened my eyes to the attitudes of others...... a post for another day....

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Little ¨M¨ Received her Birthday Package on Monday!!!

Little ¨M¨ Finally Receives Her Birthday Package......

We received the pictures of little ¨M¨ opening her birthday gifts and eating  her birthday cake today!  The picture above is a pillow with a picture of our family on it.  We know that she cannot see the photo of us, but the orphanage staff can see it and tell her about us.   We know that the orphanage does not tell the children that they have a family until they receive the final Letter of Approval from the Chinese government but they told her that a ´sponsor´ family that loves her wanted to send her a birthday cake and some gifts.   The adoption process is long and so it can be hard for the children so we understand that they have a standard for when they tell the children about their families.   We are getting really close to sending our Dossier to China!

This is little ¨M¨ with the panda bear that came with her package, it has a Momma panda and a baby panda :-)   We hope she liked the gifts in her package.  I wish that we could have customized the package a little bit but this one came with the birthday cake and so we thought it was the best one for her birthday.   We will send her a customized package when we receive our LOA so that we can tell her that we are her family and that we will be coming to get her soon.

Eating Yummy Cake....

Is that not the cutest cake eating face you have ever seen?!?  So cute!  It looks like she is really enjoying the birthday cake we sent for her.   We have been waiting since December 28th to see these pictures!  I was just thinking about her today and wondering when she would receive her package.......I was so excited this afternoon when I opened my gmail and saw an email from the adoption agency with the title...she received her birthday package!

I love this picture of her, it is just so adorable!  We love seeing updated pictures but it also makes us so anxious to be able to just hurry and travel to pick her up......We are coming as fast as we can little one!

Adoption Process Update:

On Monday we received our USCIS approval letter....Dave was seriously standing at the window waiting for the mailman to come.  I was rolling my eyes and kept telling him, they told us it would take 3 weeks, you are going to have to relax!   

Well, apparently I was wrong because when the mailman drove away after delivering the mail and Dave went rushing out the door.....the USCIS approval was in the mailbox!  We were shocked, it only took one week from the time we had our fingerprinting appointment to receive our approval!  We were so excited!

Unfortunately our excitement didn´t last too long before we found out that we were NOT ready to send our Dossier to China just yet....   The Chinese consulate in the U.S. must authenticate all the documents in our second mailer, the U.S. government must also authenticate all the documents before they can be sent to China and this process can take up to three weeks....... 

This did dampen our excitement a bit as we both have been so excited to just have our Dossier sent into China and wait for our FINAL approval and travel date!  We were grateful however that our USCIS approval came two weeks before we were expecting and so the delay was really minor in reality, but still, every delay or unexpected waiting is still hard.  

Our documents arrived to our Dossier specialist this afternoon and she should send them off soon for the next hurdle is receiving the notice that all our documents have been authenticated and are ready to be sent to China.........  Another wait begins......

Wo men ai ni....little ¨M¨

We are learning Mandarin....this means We love you little M.. (Well there are some accents that I do not have on my keyboard so I can´t use them but this is the best I could do :-)