Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I just revisited my earlier post and I think I need to shift my thinking. We are so blessed in our lives with family and friends, a secure and loving home, and our needs (and most wants) are able to be met. Our collective health, while not perfect, is very manageable and doesn't overtly affect our day to day. We have so much to be thankful for in our lives it feels very selfish whining about something that we have control over (emotional control, not so much).

Phil and I met while students at Virginia Tech and were both members of the national service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. Giving and helping others is something that is a mutual joy. Whenever I felt stressed or was having a difficult week with classes (or roommates, lol) going and working on a service project, just giving to others, was such a boost.

In that boost-needing light, I'm taking an idea from fellow blogger Lori and am having an Advent Calendar Giveaway. I know that my timing is a bit off for this year, but to be honest I've had this one (plus 3) since purchased while living in France. I stashed them away with my holiday decorations vowing to keep one for me (someday, someday I might have a daughter) and send the others to various friends with daughters. Well, each year I open the tub of Christmas decorations, see the calendars, and sigh "next year".

The calendar is really far more charming than the pictures portray, a lovely raspberry color (not fuscia) and the detail on the fairies is lovely. If you would like to be part of the giveaway please leave a comment letting me know. I'll have Alex pick the winner December 10th!


What should have been so joyfully wonderful has opened such a can of worms . . . we received a video of our little guy last Monday afternoon. We knew it was coming; we had actually thought it would have arrived earlier. We couldn't wait to see him in action and hear his little voice. It turns out that the orphanage was not entirely up front with his medical information and we are now trying to decide how to proceed. Our agency is not satisfied with the initial response from the orphanage regarding the undisclosed medical status and is requesting more clarification. Of course, if we do not proceed with his adoption they will be trying to place him with another family and having accurate information is imperative.

This whole thing is just breaking my heart into pieces. I watch the video of him and an so enamoured and cannot imagine him not being part of our family, but the potential degenerative nature of his condition is more than what we had agreed we could knowingly handle. I vascilate between feeling like a horrible person for not continuing with his adoption, and a horrible parent for not considering the potential impact on Alex and his world.

Then, two days after we receive the video, we get an email from Alex' school that their building was sold to a consortium of banks and they need to find a new location. Not since our homeschooling days has Alex so flourished with his education. The school director is confident that there are many positives regarding the move and that the mission of the charter school will remain unchanged. They will be allowed to remain for the entire school year, but will need to have a new home in the fall.

I really hope it's not true that bad news comes in threes. I'm rapidly running out of tears.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving MySpace Glitter Graphics

We're heading to Chicago for the holiday. We are so excited and so thankful for the wonderful year we've had, the time we've shared with family and friends and the son we have waiting for us in China.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Small World

Yesterday I joined a yahoo group for families who have or are going to adopt children from the same children's welfare institute in Luoyang City, Henan Province. I immediately got an email from a woman who lives an hour away who has a six and a half year old son and a thirteen yo daughter from GuoXin's CWI! The son was adopted one year ago and the daughter just came here in September. I was amazed to learn that this family has adopted 3 children from China in 22 months!

Plus, we saw photos on the group site posted by families who traveled there in the past year, photos that included him! Apparently through this group we can make contact with families who are traveling there and they can look specifically for him and give us some first hand updates and photos.

The best part in looking at the pictures posted was seeing the orphanage and the children. It looks like a clean, cheerful place and the children seem to be happy and well engaged in school and play activities. It's comforting to know that he's in a good place.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Was there Life before You Tube?

I just love You Tube! It's amazing the things you can track down there, and then you find yourself skipping along memory lane! I'm not sure why I was visiting Sesame Street, but I found several clips that I loved as a kid and will be posting here on the blog.

Seemed like the Ladybug Picnic would be a fitting first video to post.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Shallots Are Lurking . . .

and Matt Damon??? No offense to all those Mr. Damon fans, but really??? Sexiest man alive???

We enjoyed a lovely dinner of chicken satay with grilled red onions, couscous with feta, cranberries and sundried tomatoes, and fresh green beans topped with toasted almonds, balsamic reduction and shallots. As Alex was commenting on the engineering marvel that is the green bean, he remarked "ahh, the shallots are lurking".

Parlez-Vous Mandarin?

Seeing as how we only have 4 to 8 months to get ready for meeting Sir Guo Xin, figured no time like the present to shell out the big bucks for the China travel guides and the language tutorials which promise that you'll speak like a (developmentally delayed) native. Actually I don't think Living Language promised that (especially the dd part), but they do sound rather optimistic on their packaging.

Last night I did some online browsing on Guo Xin's current city of residence, Luoyang. We can travel by train via Xi'an (Terracotta Warriors) from Beijing (we so love trains) so perhaps we can go that route when traveling to bring him home. I'd love a chance to see some of China's countryside; make it a bit more of a vacation instead of just this dream come true, life changing meeting our child journey.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lizard Update

The lizard was deemed healthy enough to be released into the wild yesterday and hopefully has reunited with his friends and family. He will be missed (by one large, grey kitty).

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Corn Maze

So we pulled up into the parking lot for our day of fun at the corn maze. Remember, we've been under a severe drought now for months. Resevoirs are disappearing, brown lawns and dirty cars are a badge of honor. We looked out across the field of waist-high corn and thought, oh yeah, this is going to be a challenge.

It was planned a few weeks ago, a picnic lunch and an afternoon enjoying the maze and other diversions at the Dunn CornMaze. I guess a few weeks ago there was still some hope that we'd get that much needed rain and a miracle growth spurt would occur. Nope. Didn't happen.

Once we finished our picnic, we bought our tickets and got our instructions for the maze. There were seven mailboxes in the maze, each with an ink stamp. Each group was given a card with their start time. You had to go around the maze, find each mailbox and stamp your card. Once finished, you take your card to the Country Store to have them record your finish time and total time in the maze.

Amazingly, it was really tough!! Especially frustrating was when there was a row of corn seperating you from a mailbox, but couldn't easily get to it. You could almost reach it . . .but almost isn't good enough.

The weather was perfect and the kids and parents also enjoyed the various smaller, haybale mazes that we wrongly assumed at first were for toddlers and were actually very difficult, rule specific mazes. One you could only make right turns in (I was feeling a little dizzy after that one) and the other had you continue straight until you hit a wall; only then could you turn right or left. There was also trike racing, pumpkin chuckers and hayrack rides.

Definately something to remember for next fall. Perhaps the corn will be taller, but even if it's not we'll still plan a visit.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Our New Pet

A lizard has been found. An injured lizard that needs to be nursed back to health. I'm not sure that we're truly capable of such care as both his back legs appear to be broken. He also has two suspicious round grayish marks (burns?) on his back.

Some quick lizard research was done and we believe he is an anole, which apparently are carnivorous. I was really hoping he would turn out to be a vegetarian. I don't mind finding and storing food for a plantasaurus. But crickets and mealworms, LIVE ones at that. Ugh. We'll see how long he lasts.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

It's Out Of Our Hands

Our first batch of paperwork needed for Guo Xin is on its way to St. Louis! In addition to what is already in China, we needed to send paperwork specific for this child indicating that we've researched his condition and have a plan in place for his care. Once China has had a chance to review it they will get our appointment for the American Consulate visit in Guangzhou and let us know when we have been approved to travel.

So now we wait.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Dang Guo Xin

We have a son!! Dang Guo Xin is waiting for us in the Henan province of China! He turned seven on the 4th and has a brother in America eagerly getting a Yu Gi Oh deck assembled for his young padawan (I'm sure I misspelled that; I'll need to consult with the Jedi Master)!

I'm not allowed to post photos until we've received our Seeking Confirmation Letter which could be anywhere from 2 to 4 months from now, so you'll just have to take my word that he's got a charming smile and happy eyes (which so completely amazes us considering everything he's been through)!

Now I'm glad that I hadn't gone on that crazed shopping spree that I'd been so longing to do! Just a few yards of pink fabric . . . I'm thinking a pink guest room?