Saturday, April 30, 2016

Strawberry Fields

The boys were off on a camping trip celebrating Pryce's upcoming, that left the girls and we all know that when the boys are away, the girls will play!  
 And play we did.  We spent the evening dining at Moe's - the girls LOVE Moes, then we visited Target where we purchased all sorts of crafting supplies, and then we came home and rode bikes and played with our neighbors well into the night.  
 Morning came and, after a morning stop for donuts, we were on our way to pick strawberries!  
 All of the girls were thrilled with this idea.  And as we approached our designated picking row, Maryn began calling, "Strawberries, where are you strawberries?"
She really is so cute.
 Maddox did not allow a berry to go overlooked.  
 She picked an entire bucket before she knew it!
 Meanwhile, little Maryn was more on the scale of "Eat a few, put one in the bucket"....
 And as Maryn ate a few, Maddox continued to collect the berries as she was told.
 Maryn wasn't so sure about their taste.
 She would take a bite and we would wait to see what face was going to follow!
 She never cried though this pic would make one wonder!  I believe this berry was a bit too sour for her liking, lol
 But sour tastes and all, this girl was all about the sampling.  Her method, grab the berry with great force from the plant, hold the berry by the stem, take a huge bite and then FLING the remainder behind you....I was so thankful no one was picking around us as she would have undoubtedly bombarded anyone around with half eaten strawberries!
 My girls.  MK wanted to know if we can do a girls only day one more time before the baby arrives.  Of course, I told her YES!  
Maddox proclaimed the weekend was her favorite time EVER!  
And Maryn just went with it and enjoyed her time as one of the bigs.....or at least thinking she was one of the bigs!

A Little Bit About Our Girl

For the last three months, we have worked as steadily and as diligently as we possibly could to process our paperwork quickly.  After a roller coaster kind of few days, last week we sent our entire packet of paperwork, minus on very important document, to our agency - 15 papers, all signed, sealed and authenticated and ready for mailing to China.  We received word on Friday that our final piece, the 16th, has been signed, sealed, authenticated is on its way to our agency!  Our dossier - compilation of 16 documents - should be mailed Monday, May 2 to China!  YAHOO!

Phew!  Now, we can sit back and wait.

And while we wait, we thought we would share a little about our Chapman.

*Chapman waits in an orphanage in the northern part of China.
*She is currently 20 months old.
*She was born in August, 2014, so she is exactly 2 years younger than Maryn.
*She is part of the Waiting Child program in China.  She was born with spinal meningocele (spina bifida).
*Her meningocele has not been repaired.
*She has a head full of hair and the the most angelic little lips.
*She seems to hearty, southern style liking for food - her file info mentions how she loves to eat     sausage and eggs, add some grits to that diet and she will be good to go!
*It is said that she is a deep sleeper and tends to suck on her fingers for comfort, sweet girl.
*It is also said that she is fairly extroverted, active, likes to play with toys, and she loves music!

We are currently hoping to receive and update on her development and, of course, updated pictures!
The next step?  We will likely wait for 2ish weeks to hear that our paperwork has been received (Log-In Date or DTC as it is referred to in adoption land).  From there we anticipate a three month wait or less on our Letter of Acceptance (official approval from China) and then we wait two more months for our invitation from China to travel and adopt our girl.
Or, in a shorter version, we have been told we will travel in 4-6 months.

One thing that I will note that is SO different from our previous adoptions is that this time we have a face.  MK, Maddox and Maryn were all matched to our family following our paperwork being finished and in China.  Having a face to look at, knowing that your daughter is in need of medical attention that she has not received, knowing that she is getting older by the day - well, it is just a different kind of experience. Many ask if the paperwork is easier.  No.  We are required to do every.single.document over from our birth certificates to our marriage license to everything.  Is it faster?  No.  Adopting from China means that you are working with the Chinese government and their laws as well as the US government and their, the timing of how fast or how slow an adoption from China takes is dependent upon these two entities.....and you have to wait on one to do their part in order for the other to do their part, they must work together and they cannot work ahead.  MK was adopted in two years.....Maddox was adopted in 10 months....Maryn was adopted in 14 months....hopefully Chapman will be home in time for a 10 month process.

We are thankful for the many prayers for our sweet girl and for our family.  We look forward to sharing photos as soon as we are able.....but, until then, know that she is adorable from the tips of her tiny little toes all the way up to her beautiful head full of black hair.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What We Have Been Up To!

This little one joined in on the family building of the girls' new playset.  We have been saying since we moved in our new home almost two years ago that we were going to get a new playset for them.  One thing has led to another and another thing has led to.....FINALLY, it is installed and all set for the girls and their friends to enjoy!
 I was sitting on our back porch one afternoon when I looked down to see Maryn just swinging back and forth and back and forth!  I could not believe my eyes!  So I asked, "Maryn, how are you going so high?" and Maddox shouted, "Maryn can swing!  I taught her how to do it all by herself yesterday!"  Amazing.  
 My sweet Maddox Ren
Oh, how she makes my heart so happy
She is a light to everyone she encounters!
On the way to her school this morning I was talking with her about our summer plans and how we are going to read the Bible like I did with her siblings.  She was so excited!  And then she said, "Mom, I dropped Genesis somewhere (the pages fell out?) but don't worry because I have that book memorized!  I can tell you every little thing about Genesis!"  
 To be a boy
P came to me in December complaining of an ingrown toenail.  We may have soaked it once or twice and we may have applied meds once or twice but we were not really the best at caring for this issue.  And it doesn't help that it is his big toe and the minute it would begin to heal, he would run into something or it would get stepped on, etc.
So, over Spring Break, P mentioned that his toe was really bothering him and I agreed it looked painful.  Off we went to the dr and then to the podiatrist.  Nothing a little antibiotics and removal of the nail couldn't handle!  Poor guy.  No worried though, he was on the baseball field within 24 hours of the procedure doing what he loves!
 MK had an art display at school.  She loves to draw and doodle and sketch so art has been a real blessing in her transition this year!  Her teacher is Asian and she is married to a Chinese man so she adores MK!  We are so thankful for her love of MK!
 Not only did Maddox teach Maryn how to swing by herself, but she also taught her the art of doing the spider together!
 Adoption Gathering
We have 12 families who typically get together every 6-8 weeks in our home....
we are so thankful for each of them and the "normalcy" our group brings to our daughters' lives.  Having families who have Chinese children (as well as families who have adopted and bio kiddos) had made all the difference in the world in our kiddos lives.  The children know this group is super special and the parents know that we are all in this together!  
 Our little Noah
This kiddo continuously amazes me
He has done PHENOMENAL in adjusting to his new family and we are beyond thankful for that huge answer to prayer!
 He clearly adores his momma and the feeling is obviously mutual!  I thank God everyday for our hosting experience last summer and for this little guy's life!
 Admittedly so, I was a bit concerned on how Noah would do visiting our home for the first time since he was here last summer.  Again, he rose to the occasion and took it all in stride never missing a beat!  And, he remembered the ever-so-famous Barbie car that he and Maryn always rode together in last summer!  Sadly, the battery was in desperate need of recharging so their driving adventure was cut a bit short!
 During our gathering, our fundraising raffle drawing was held.  Ipad Mini was won by a young girl of 12 years old who reached out to help us; a lovely wooden train was awarded to a family in our church; and our Yeti cup was gifted to our photographer/friend whom we adore!
 Many have asked if adoption is easier each time.
It really isn't.  It is a wee bit easier because I know the lingo and I know who to contact BUT there have still been hiccups along our way and it has left me a bit stressed at times.  Yesterday was one of those stressed out times and Pryce and I took matters to a whole new level when we made the spontaneous decision to drive to Atlanta to get the last document signed, sealed and delivered to the consulate today!  
 And when it Atlanta, do as the Drafts always do in Atlanta and go to dine at Cheesecake Factory.  And enjoy.  And breathe.
Maryn decided that black beans are the way to go!  And salad.  Lots of salad.
 And then there was this....16 documents+16 notaries+16seals+16authentications=ALL DONE!
Next up....DTC

Sunday, April 24, 2016


Today marks the day that this little one has lived with us longer than she without us!  
We are so thankful for this sweet girl!