February 29, 2008

Avery is 10 months old!!!

Since February does not have a 30th, I wasn't sure if I should post this today or tomorrow. I am sure you get the idea!!

Hopefully we can have her safe at home before she turns 11 months!!!

Hang on baby girl, mommy and daddy are coming as fast as we can.

Still no word on Travel Approval, surely.....surely it will come early next week!!!!!

February 27, 2008

Our little inspirations......

Over two years ago at an informational meeting about Chinese adoption, Paul and I met two couples that had adopted from China. Little did we know at the time that these families would become very near and dear to our hearts. Throughout the wait for Avery, Paul and I would both have moments of questioning if our dreams of a daughter would ever come to fruition. At the hardest times one of us would look at the other and say "I need a kid fix". It was at these times that we would get together with our friends Erin and Kelley (along with others) and soak up all these darling little girls would share. From adventures in bounce houses, to family vacations to water parks, to just spending evenings together these little girls kept our hopes and dreams alive. All 3 of them have showered us with hugs, given us priceless smiles, and even now ask us "when is Avery coming home?"

So for Emily, Mollianne, and Mia....thank you!! Thank you for reminding us what a wonderful prize is at the end of this journey!!!

For Kelley & Chuck and Erin & Bob....thank you!! Thank you for sharing your daughters with us!!!

Now come on Travel Approval so we can get our girl home!!!!

February 26, 2008

There just might be a child moving in here.....

We had our pediatrician visit last week and he was kind enough to give us some prescriptions for Avery to take to China with us. Man, it really feels "real" when I look at these prescription bottles with HER name on them...

It's like she a real little person living in our house.

This weekend Paul and I did some straightening up in Avery's room and some rearranging of some of her things. We moved some stuff into the living and dining rooms in preparation or her arrival. Our main goal was to get her room ready, unfortunately now her room looks like half nursery half packing zone. Hopefully the packing stuff will come out very soon!!

Is it a nursery with some luggage, or a packing zone with a few nursery items???

The door to a princess's room:

This was all her Papa's idea and I think it is adorable!!

She even gets her own space in the kitchen cabinets for bottles and such!!

The high chair (courtesy of my posse) is ready to go in the dining room!!!

And last but certainly not least:

Her own corner of the living room!!!!

Our home is definitely changing form and pretty soon we should be "kid ready".

No word yet on our Travel Approval but we hope to hear something this week and then travel dates should follow.

Hope everyone is having a great week!!!

February 23, 2008

We are ALL Mommy's now!!!!!!!

Yesterday a little miracle occurred!!! My dear friend Christie received her referral for her adorable little baby boy in Ethiopia. This is truly a GOD thing because she and Anton's dossier was only registered TWO weeks ago. Now, the Ethiopia adoption process is very different from China. There are many steps that must take place after referral before they can travel to pick up little Quint but hopefully these too will move at lightning speed and they will be able to travel between April and June. One of the big differences is that Christie is not allowed to post or publicize pictures of Quint so she won't be able to put one on her blog but I have seen the photos and believe me he is adorable!!!

Christie and Anton started out on their China journey shortly after Paul and I and while they are waiting for Keira Joy to come home from China they decided to pursue Ethiopia at the same time. Yes, that's correct TWO international adoptions at the same time.....talk about adventurous!!! Paul and I are soooo excited for them and can't wait to meet Quint and welcome him into the crew!!!

With Christie receiving her referral it means that all the ladies in my M3 Posse are Mommy's now!!!!! When we started out together Erin and Kelley had their little Chinese jewels but Valerie, and Christie, and I all had to live vicariously through them to fulfill our mommy dreams. Valerie received her first miracle baby last year, then came Avery's referral earlier this month, and now Christie's is here. Yes, we are still waiting on Valerie's Aubriana, Erin's Meisey, and Christie's Keira from China but we can already see the dreams being fulfilled!!!!

Gas up the cars girls....there are many trips to the airport in our future!!!!

February 21, 2008

It's the going to sleep that gets to you......

Every since we recieved our referral sleep has been an issue for me. The moment I lay down my mind starts racing........

when can we go get our daughter?
is everything going to come together as planned?
is she warm enough?
did anyone hold her today?
does she have any idea how her life is about to change?
do WE have any idea how our lives are about to change?
will we make good parents?

These questions and many more plague me everytime I try to fall asleep. Sure we had those questions before, sure we said our prayers for her before but now.......NOW......when we say those things, think those those things, there is a face. A face that is engrained in my mind, a face that I have stared at so many times in the last 17 days that I should have every speck memorized. The face of my daughter, my dream come true.

Hold on baby girl, your mommy and daddy are coming, we think of you every minute of the day, and will get to you as fast as we possibly can!!!

February 19, 2008

We have a pedi appointment!!!

For the first time in our lives (at least as parents) we have the need for a pediatrician!!!!! There is a particular physician in our town who is the best pediatrician around but also very hard to get into to see. As a matter of fact he is not accepting new patients unless you have an "inside source". Thanks to my sister-in-law, Danette, we have broken in and now have an appointment to see him later this week!!!! Paul and I will go and meet him, take Avery's paperwork, and hopefully set up her first appointment for when she finally gets home!!

Oh our lives........they are changing!!!!!!!!!!

Weekend Recap....

I meant to post several times this weekend but never got around to it so I will just give you a brief recap of our weekend:

Friday - I attended a charity luncheon with some dear friends. It was a wonderful lunch and then the girls surprised me with gifts for Avery!! She received some adorable clothes and some wonderful toys. Thanks girls!! I spent the rest of the afternoon running errands and then concluded my day with an M3 gathering at Kelley's. I was surprised to find that while I thought we were having a regular "girls night" the girls had other plans. I had my own personal M3 shower with just the 5 of us!! We had a wonderful Asian dinner, some fabulous desserts, and even a personalized button to wear that said "I'm a Mom!!" I am so lucky to have such great friends in my life!! Now for the pictures:

Welcome to Avery Lane!!!

My "Chair of Honor"

The best friends a girl can have!!!

Avery's Fabulous gift!!

True to form we talked, laughed, and hung out until the wee hours of the morning. I don't think I wound up getting home until after 2am!!!

Saturday - It rained ALL day long. It was definitely a lazy day around our house. Paul and I just hung out together not doing alot of anything. We watched some TV, took afternoon naps, played with Rowdy, and just enjoyed our time together.

After watching the Dog Whisperer, Paul decided to try a little experiment and see if Rowdy would walk on the treadmill. Suprisingly enough he actually seemed to enjoy it after he figured it out!! Yep, that's how we spend rainy Saturdays!!

Sunday - was another busy day for us. I attended a baby shower and a birthday party. We also started gathering our paperwork that we needed to take to China. We are submitting our Visa applications this week so that when it's time to make our travel plans we are ready!!

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.

Now, come on Travel Approval, we are ready to go get our girl!!!

February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day Baby Girl!!!!

You are the best gift we could have ever recieved and we can't wait until we can kiss those precious cheeks for real!!!

Today we are sending all our Valentine's love and kisses across the world to our Avery!!!!

February 11, 2008

What happens next??

For all my followers out there that are not familiar with the Chinese adoption process, these are the next steps in the process to bring Avery home:

1. Send back our letter of Acceptance to the CCAA - DONE

2. Recieve Travel Approval (TA) from the CCAA to come pick up Avery. It usually takes 3-4 weeks for TA's to come in.

3. After TA is received our agency will make an appointment for us with the American Consulate. This appointment is the last thing that we must do during our trip.

4. After that appointment is confirmed the Agency will work backwards from the appt date to establish travel dates for us. It usually requires being in China 10-12 days prior to the Consulate Appointment to get all the paperwork in order.

5. The agency will give us our travel dates and we will book our trip!!

We should be receiving Avery 2-3 days after we arrive in China!!!!

Right now the agency projects us to have travel completed by March 31st. That means we should be leaving mid March. Of course all those projections rest on the TA being received quickly.

Thanks for following along with us!!!

February 10, 2008

What a whirlwind week!!!!

Since there was SO MUCH stuff that went on this week that I will have to break it down for you day by day. So sit back, relax, and relive the last week with us:

MONDAY - THE DAY!!!! We were pretty sure this would be the day that we would recieve our referral call. The morning started out by dragging by very slowly. At 12:31 we recieved the infamous email from GWCA stating "if you received this email we have your referral". When I read that I immediately got very emotional. Paul and just looked at each other and said "this is really happening?!?" At 12:37 the phone rang and the caller id indicated it was "THE CALL". I didn't even say hello, I answered by saying "Is this it?" I think I shocked the caller but she quickly replied "yes, this is it" I asked her to hold on while Paul joined me at the table and turned on the video camera on his way over. I then put her on speaker and Paul and I both heard all the information about our daughter together. The actual call probably lasted 10 minutes but I can't even tell you half of what was said. After we hung up with our agency and had a few moments to ourselves the marathon of phone calls began. We spent the next hour on the phone relaying the information to those near and dear to us (as well as updating the blog). We then had to wait an excrutiating 3 hours before Avery's pictures popped up in our email inbox. I think if I would have hit refresh or check mail one more time the computer would have spontaneously combusted.

We had an impromptu referral celebration at our house including my parents, Chris, Danette, Kelby, Kolin, my aunt Kathy, her husband Bill. They brought over a cake, balloons, a huge bear for Avery and we all just sat around talking about this long awaited event, not to mention printing out tons of pictures. We all then went out to a celebration dinner still reeling from the excitement.

Proud Mommy and Daddy with our celebration cake!! You have to excuse my appearance, I think I was pulling my hair out the whole time we were waiting for pictures!

Our first "family" portrait!

Kelby and Kolin can't wait for their cousin to arrive!!

Okay everyone, hold up a picture and smile!!

After our dinner Paul and I returned home and immediately got to work on our referral announcements. They went in the mailbox that night!!

TUESDAY - We both went to work carrying pictures of our daughter and showing them to everyone we saw.

WEDNESDAY - The infamous trip to the Fedex office to pick up the official paperwork. We came home and combed through the information still not quite believing this was actually happening. We both worked again that night and we both still carried and proudly displayed our pictures!!

THURSDAY - This is the day we signed the acceptance letters and sent them back to our agency!! Yes, we want this precious little jewel to be our daughter!!!

FRIDAY - Our accpetance left Texas and is officially on it's way to China. Paul's parents came over for another celebratory dinner. Even though we had spoken to them many times this week and they had received the pictures by email this was the first time we had seen them since referral. After dinner Sandra and I went through Avery's closet to pick out the clothes we would be taking on our trip. It was kind of weird cutting all the tags off these new clothes we had been collecting. I washed my first load of infant clothes and bought my first container of Dreft detergent. Oh the joys of motherhood!!

Cliff and Sandra proudly show off the picture of their first grandchild!!

SATURDAY - We went to our first Chinese New Year celebration. We joined Kelley and Erin's families and had a wonderful time. We can't wait to share these traditions with Avery. There were tons of crafts for the kids to make, a collection of Asian Art on display, as well as various demonstrations of Chinese traditions. We also saw our first Lion Dance and Dragon Parade. It was a great day that we ended with a fabulous Chinese meal complete with Avery's picture in the center of the table.

Emily, Mollianne, and Mia posing with Avery's picture. Proof that you can't get 3 little girls to look in the same direction at the same time and smile!

The red lion who Mia said was her favorite!!

The white lion. It was amazing to see the detail of movements of these characters.

The dragon leading the parade!!

I had no idea of the coordination and teamwork a dragon parade required.

SUNDAY - We started our morning at church, thanking God for the wonderful blessing we receive this week. After we got home it was time to get busy!!

I put Avery's care package together and it will be going out in the mail this week. We have been told by various people to not go overboard with the care package since there is a chance Avery won't receive it. So we just included a few things for her and some treats for the orphanage workers.

The contents of her care package. I was not sure if labeling the camera and photo album were necessary but I figured it couldn't hurt.

Labeled and ready to go!!!

For those of you that don't know we will also be accompanied on our trip to China by my mom and her sister (my Aunt Kathy). We are so excited for them to be making the trip with us and I know they are very excited to go!! I have been working on T-shirts for us all to wear on the plane to China. I finally got them finished today and I love the end product....

So if you happen to see us on our travels be sure and say Hi!!

That wraps up our week. Hopefully the next few will fly by so that we can finally hold our daughter in our arms!!!

February 8, 2008

New friends!!

Since we received our referral I have been able to "hook up" via the web with several other GWCA families that recieved referrals the same day as us. Since we have connected the emails have been flying!!! I have added a category to the left showcasing their blogs (the ones that have a blog) so that you can follow their journeys too. Even though are daughters are not all in the same provinces hopefully we will be able to meet on other portions of our trip.

February 7, 2008

Can't focus......

can't quite do anything but stare at Avery's picture!!! This is really our daughter!?!?

In other news....we sent our referral acceptance back to our agency today. If all goes well it should be on it's way back to China by tomorrow evening. Then we go into another "waiting" mode, however this one should only last a few weeks.

February 6, 2008

Why wait for Fedex when you can go to them?

Lisa and Teresa:
The storks at Fedex that "delivered" our baby!!

This morning when Paul and I got off work we researched the tracking number for our official package from GWCA with the referal acceptance forms in it. We luckily found out that our package had just arrived at the local Fedex office at 8:51am and they opened to the public at 9am. We jumped in the car and made a beeline for the office. Five minutes after they opened we walked in (carrying our camera) and asking if there was any way we could stop the package from getting on the truck and pick it up ourselves. The workers were so nice and said they would see if it had left yet. We even played the pity card and explained to them that our baby was in that package!! Lo and behold 5 minutes later out they came with our envelope!!

Proud Daddy!!

February 5, 2008

Just in case you wanted to see her one more time!!

My dear friend Kelley, is creating digital scrapbooking kits. So I decided to put her first kit to very good use!!!!

Have we told you lately that..........WE'RE PARENTS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

February 4, 2008

Even her "mug shot" is adorable!!!

Yes sir, that's our baby, already sticking her tongue out a little defiantly!! We are so overjoyed right now!!! Thanks for celebrating with us.

P.S. If you have sent us an email, please know that we are wading through them right now and will respond to everyone as soon as we can!!

What a wonderful day!!!

Still waiting on pictures....

Waiting for the pictures may be even harder when waiting for the phone call. It's just that I know someone 4 hours away has pictures of my daughter. We could have driven over half way there by now!!!!!!!!!


We recieved the call about an hour ago and have made 20+ phone calls since.

Shu Xian Zhu
DOB: 4-30-07
Jiangsu Province

We are expecting pictures in the next couple of hours and will post them tonight!!!!

Needless to say we are on cloud nine and can't wait to share her with everyone!!!

OMG!!!! OMG!!!!! OMG!!!!

Just received the following in an email from my agency:

The Stork Has Landed! If you have received this email we are pleased to announce that we have received your referral! Congratulations!

We are EXTREMELY busy getting everything prepared to contact you (sorting referrals, scanning your pictures, etc!) So, that all of you will have your child’s photo today! **We will contact each family by phone today and also email you your child’s photo!

Still nothing but.....

other agency referrals are starting to come in so surely we are not far behind!!!

Good thing we don't have carpet in the living room because I probably would have worn a path in it by now. Paul is all chilled out on the sofa channel surfing and I am attempting to do anything to distract myself but with very little success. I have tried to read (can't focus), tried to play a video game (lost bigtime) and am trying to only be on the computer every 20-30 minutes or so.

Gracious it is only 12:30 could this day go any slower???????

It's 10am....do you know where your child is????

Well we don't, but hopefully that is all about to change!!!

No news yet but don't worry we were told it would probably be afternoon. Paul just had a brilliant afterthought (too bad we didn't think of it earlier). My dad often travels to Austin (where our agency is located) for business, we should have sent him down there so he could stake out the place and tell us when a delivery arrived!!!! That way we would know instantly. Oh well, we should find out soon enough.

Paul will kill me when he reads this but I have the cutest story: This morning he was playing with Rowdy, kind of wrestling on the couch, and he kept repeating "you're going to be a big brother today!!!" Even Rowdy feels the excitement in the house.

I promise I won't tease by posting every hour or anything just rest assured that I will let you know as soon as we know ANYTHING!!!!

February 3, 2008

The stage is set!!!!

Alright people, bring on our referral!!! I cleared the table tonight and have my handy dandy "The Call" sheet, a map of China (so I can see exactly where Avery is), 2 brand new pens, and my laptop to get my first glimpse of my baby ready to go. We also set up to tripod and are currently charging the video camera. I even have a new blog header made that will be posted after I add Avery's picture. All we need now is the phone to ring!!! I am about to retire for the evening and let's all say a little prayer that this is the last night we go to sleep without having seen Avery's face.

Paul and I did an excellent job of keeping busy this weekend. Besides sleep, we have been home about 4 hours since Saturday morning. Nothing makes the time fly faster that being out and about.

Now on to a totally different topic:

DID YOU WATCH THE SUPERBOWL??? Now that, my friends, was a football game. Such a high adrenaline ending. We spent the evening with our dear friends, Valerie & Gary, and Christie & Anton. Valerie was such a good sport to host even though she detests football. We kind of conned her into it because she has the cool media room. We laughed a ton, ate too much, and now have sore throats from yelling too loud. I think it was about 15 minutes increments that either Val or Christie would look at me and say "you're getting your referral tomorrow" with little grins on their faces. It is wonderful to have such a good support system. Thanks for such a fun evening guys!!!!

Now I am off to bed.......I think I feel those labor pains starting!!!!

February 1, 2008

Things are looking up....

After a rough start this morning I wanted to assure everyone that we are okay. Paul of course, in typical "guy" fashion was oh well, it's just 3 more days. I on the other hand had a mini melt-down. It just hit me a little hard (even more than missing the cut-ff by one day) because I was so hopeful. But then I picked myself up, brushed myself off and went about my day. I was very productive: I ran some errands, stocked up on printer ink, had lunch with my wonderful husband and then went and got my hair done. So at least we did not have to sit around all day waiting for a call that never came. Now I am settling in for the night. Luckily we have a very busy weekend planned and then it's Monday.

Thanks for everyone that called, emailed, commented, etc.......It's nice to know so many people are thinking about us!!!!

Avery will come in her own time and there will be some major celebrating going on!!!!

Happy Friday!!!!


Just recieved and email from our agency that the package they were expecting today has been delayed in customs. The carrier assures the agency that it will be delivered on Monday.

After recieving the email I even called our agency and spoke with my very apologetic referral counselor. I just wanted to verify if there was ANY possibility the package could come today. She told me that she had pleaded with courier but the package is in an airplane right now somewhere over the ocean.

So I guess that mean one more weekend without seeing our baby's face. I feel like it is going to be a loooooooooooong one!!!

Thanks for hanging in there with us!!