Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's here! It's here!

The time is here! We are leaving for China in the morning. It doesn't seem real yet. I need someone to pinch me because I just can't believe it! In 5 days (less actually because China is 13 hours ahead) we will see this little face in person and hug that little body. It's a dream come true!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

For Rachel

The day we found out our confirmed travel dates for our China trip, our son, Aaron, wrote a poem for his Rachel. He wrote it in 5 minutes...he is talented like that. I have read it over and over and will continue to do so the rest of my life. It hangs in a frame in her bedroom, and someday she'll be able to read it for herself. Nothing tells us more how he feels about becoming a big brother to a little sister than the words he penned for her. Thanks, Aaron, we love you so much!

For Rachel

The time has come for frilly things,
For pink polka dots and golden rings.

The time has come for a grand adventure,
For soon comes a gift from God, a little sister.

Around the world there she is,
God is protecting her, her hand in His.

From a land so far, but a love so near,
A new addition, a girl so dear.

Very soon on that September day,
We'll rejoice aloud and together pray:

The time has come for frilly things,
Pink polka dots and golden rings,

God bless us with your great love,
We thank you for our Rachel, sent from above.

By Aaron Krominga

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rachel's Dress Up Center

Well, Baba (Chinese word for daddy) has been hard at work again. He made a Dress Up Center for his little princess. I decorated it, and after a couple of failed attempts, I finally finished my part of it. It has wheels and she will be able to wheel it in and out of her closet. I can't wait to see it put to use!

This is the green side.

This is the pink side.

These are her princess dresses.

It also holds her accessories.

It fits nicely in the closet and can be wheeled out when she wants to use it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rachel's Bedroom

When I as a little girl I dreamed of a girly-girl room. One where I could play for hours and hours, or where I could bring friends to play dolls with me. I was definitely a doll-lover! When I was 8 my first niece was born, and I was in heaven when my sister gave me her newborn clothes, bottles, and blankets for my dolls!

Of course, bringing a daughter into our home was a chance for me to live some of my dreams and give her some of what I never had. I know it will change over time with her likes and dislikes. For instance, she may hate pink! But for now it is what I would have like when I was a little girl.

Here are some pictures of her room. I hope you will see how much love we put into every detail. 

View of her room looking toward the window and closet

Rachel's Disney Princess bed

This is a poem that our oldest son wrote for Rachel.

This is Rachel's walk-in closet.

I love the saying "Always Kiss Me Goodnight".

I've had a few people ask about where to get the Chinese name framed art. These are actually tin tiles that I painted using MSWord, tracing paper, paint, and black marker. I bought the tin tiles at Goodwill...and they were ugly....but I love how they turned out!

Every girl needs a place to hang her princess attire!

These are the shelves that will hold her toys and books.

The bow shelves will hopefully hold some China treasures when we return home.

This was an ugly brown dresser, but now it is fit for princess!

Before my mom died she told me over and over she wanted me to have this bed. Now it is Rachel's.

Notice the prayer shawl? It was made by a dear friend named Frannie.

We made this "crown" from an old, ugly, upside down planter.

Every girl needs a place to put ALL her shoes! The shoes here belonged to a very special little girl, some of which she never got to wear. Even if the shoes don't fit Rachel, I will treasure these pics that show that there was the possibility.

A peek in into Rachel's walk-in closet.

A view of her room...
Rachel's Grandpa made the chair, and we painted and decorated it!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Happy Disappointments

The disappointment is that we didn't get our wish of leaving on August 24th. The Civil Affairs office where our daughter lives is not always available to do a child hand off like many other provinces. The first date we could get was September 19th. So we will not be leaving until September 14th. We will first go to Beijing for orientation. Then on September 18th we'll fly to Taiyuan, Shanxi, China. The next day we will have Rachel in our arms and in our care! After 24 hours we will sign papers to make her ours forever. Then we will wait in her province until September 23rd for her passport to be ready. That day we will fly to Guangzhou. There we will do more paperwork for her Visa and she will have a medical exam in preparation for leaving China for the United States. Our Consulate Appointment, where we will swear to take care of her forever, is on September 27th. On the 28th we will take a train to Hong Kong and stay overnight. The next day we will fly out of Hong Kong for home! So we will be in China for about 2 weeks.

The happy part of leaving later is less expensive airline tickets. Also we are not having to rush through our travel plans, which have turned out to be more complicated than I imagined after all the research I've done over the past year and a half. It's amazing how many little details you don't think of until they hit you in the face. Oh well, that part is almost over and then the packing begins! We've already started a little of that, but there is a lot more to do. We are going to have to be very conservative in what we take because China domestic flights are much more restrictive of weight and quantity than international flights.

Oh, and we have finished our daughter's bedroom...I just need to get some pics taken and then I'll share! Here is a teaser.....


Friday, August 12, 2011

The long awaited....


...has arrived! TA stands for Travel Approval! 

We could be headed for China in 12 days! There are 2 provinces that must have confirmed Civil Affairs appointments before you can get a Consulate appointment in Guangzhou, and of course our daughter is in one of those provinces. So we have to wait until early next week to get appointments confirmed. IF we can get our Shanxi Civil Affairs' appointment on the 29th of August then we can leave on the 24th and come home on Sept. 9th. The next 2 dates would be Sept. 14th or Oct. 5th. We are most definitely praying for an August 24th departure...so please pray with us!


Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Big Questions

There are two questions that are asked of us more than any others about our adoption journey. The number one question is, "When are you going to China?" But surprisingly the second most asked question is "Does she know English?" The answer to the first question is, "We don't know, but soon." The answer to the second one takes a little longer to answer, but it is just as simple. Children in China who are part of the international adoption program (and not all Chinese orphans are) are adopted to families all over the world. The orphanages and foster homes don't know where the child will be adopted until they are within a few short months of the adoptive parents coming to get them. That isn't enough time to teach them the language of the country in which they will be living. Sadly too, some adoptions don't work out and then the child may become available again and be going to a different country. So even if the CCCW@ had the resources to teach the children a different language, they really wouldn't know which language to teach the child in time for them to learn even the basics.

The good news is that children are very resilient and learn language fairly quickly when young and immersed in it. I've read over and over again where children have been home for only one month and already they could understand almost anything that was spoken to them, and they were starting to use English phrases. We will try to learn some helpful Mandarin phrases (the language spoken in much of China),  and we are looking at some simple sign language to aid in communication to keep the frustration level down while she is learning English. You can help by using simple phrases and speaking clearly when talking to her.

We are not nearly as concerned about language as we are about her bonding with us. Attachment will be our main concern. Many people think that love is enough, but it isn't. There is so much more to it. A person has to not only receive love, but they have to know what to do with that love and how to reciprocate. Most of us think we are born knowing how to do that, but we aren't...we are shown that and it develops through our relationships with our family or caregivers. And for some in this world they have not had that example, or they've had a trauma (emotional or physical) that has blocked them from giving and receiving love. We may be very blessed with an easy transition, but we know if we aren't, God will help us work through anything that comes our way.

Rachel on a riding toy

Friday, July 29, 2011

We're getting there!

Today we received an email from our agency stating that our Article 5 has been picked up and delivered to the proper place. This is our paperwork and a letter that says that everything is in place for an international adoption to be completed and the US Embassy is aware of it. Now all our paperwork and approvals are at the China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption. They will determine when we are allowed to travel to pick up our daughter and complete the adoption. So we are now awaiting Travel Approval. This is the last step until we fly all the way to the other side of the earth to bring home the youngest member of our family...Rachel!

Rachel - in the lower right corner

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ready to Go!

We're ready to go to China to bring home our darling daughter, but unfortunately we have 2 more steps to go before we receive our travel dates. We should hear about the next step around July 29th. Then it could be 2-4 weeks until we receive travel approval. Once we have travel approval our China appointments and reservations can be made and we'll know when we can leave. Yippee! We're almost there!

Rachel receiving a book in June of 2010

I've been buying a few things here and there that we will need for the trip...travel size this and travel size that. We are limited as to how much luggage we can take, and I'm a little nervous about fitting all our necessities in the amount of luggage we are allowed. That doesn't even take into account things we will be bringing home. We want to bring a few things home that we can give to our daughter over the years on special occasions.

The best news of all.....we are fully funded! We have all the money we need for the trip! God is sooooooooo good!

Thank you all for your prayers and support. It means the world to us, and we hope you will continue to pray for us and think about us throughout the rest of this journey.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

So Much Beauty

Rachel is from the Shanxi Province in China. The name Shanxi literally means "Mountain's West", which refers to the province's location west of the Taihang Mountains. Shanxi is surrounded by mountains. East of Shanxi is the Yellow River. The scenery I have seen in pictures is absolutely beautiful and will take your breath away. I can't wait to see it.

The capital of Shanxi is Taiyuan City, Rachel's birth city. Taiyuan is the largest city in Northeastern China. It has a population of 4.3 million. Its name means "Great Plains". It is an ancient city having been formed in 859 B.C. It is one of the biggest stainless steel producers in the world. It is also one of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world. This could explain why Rachel has allergy symptoms.

It will be so exciting to take my own pictures to share on this blog in the near future!

Monday, June 27, 2011

What do I see? And where are we now?

Can you believe it? We received another update. This time the update was about Rachel's vision. It sounds as if her sight is even better than we had first imagined. They say she can see things close up as any child does. When she tries to look far away she squints her right eye, turns her head slightly to the right, and looks with her left eye. They also say the left eye opens larger than the right eye. Our guess is that she is definitely near sighted in her right eye, but it's possible that she has good vision in her left eye. Of course, we'll know more when we get her home and checked by a pediatric ophthalmologist. All in all it was a very encouraging update!

We're awaiting immigration approval at this time. The form which we filled out and mailed to homeland security is called the I-800....it is less than half the length of the previous immigration form, but it was still 10 pages long. We were approved in January to bring a child from China into the United States. Now we are asking to bring this particular child into the country. We're hoping to hear something very soon. We would appreciate prayers for a quick process.