Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Travel Dates

We have travel dates! Abigail and I will be leaving for China on Saturday the 2nd of January. I was so shocked when I was told our Gotcha Day was January 4th. I was thinking the middle of January. So now I feel so rushed. I have been running around doing paperwork and getting things notarized and trying to finish Christmas shopping. 

We arrive in China on Sunday night and then Monday we finally meet our daughter. I don't even know if she knows we are coming. We did send a photo book to her, but not sure if she got it or what she was told -- we sent the same book to both girls. We have to travel to another province to meet our second daugher and have her Gotcha Day. 

It is hard to believe that this is all coming to an end and we will finally have both girls very soon. I have never traveled to China to adopt so am a little apprehensive. But, I was blessed to have one of my blog readers email me and give me an email address for a friend of hers that is also getting ready to leave for China to adopt -- her sixth child. Her friend was able to give me some much appreciated advice and information. We spent an evening on the phone and she was such a help. At least now I feel like I am a little better prepared. 

On top of all this running around and trying to get everything done, we got a call from our CF clinic. I had tried to get Bethany into a clinical trial back in the fall and was told we would know if we got in by the end of November. It is very competitive. I asked several times and it didn't look good. Then as soon as I got the call with a Gotcha Day date for our daughter, I got the call from the hospital that Bethany was "in" and needed to be at the hospital on December 29th for an 8 hour appointment. So much to do and then an entire day spent at the hospital -- 4 days before we have to be on our flight. That's the way things happen, I guess. So, next week Bethany has her first appointment. Hopefully, she will remain in the trial -- there are some things that could change her status at her first appointment. 

I have been so busy that I haven't even taken any pictures this week and only had about 15 pictures in my camera from last week. So I just have a couple of Bella in one of her Christmas dresses on our front porch. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Travel Approval!

Today I got the call from our agency telling us we have TA! We are now waiting to see if one of the provinces will let us pick up one of the girls on a day other than Monday. That will determine if we can shorten our trip some. I'm having a hard time believing that we are almost done. Now we just wait on our travel dates. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Baking and Reading

Last Wednesday I asked Bethany what she would like to do before Christmas if she could do anything she wanted. She said she wanted to have a baking day and then after they baked, everyone could eat the goodies and listen to me read. So on Thursday we baked -- a lot. I think they had fun. But, it took so long to get started and then to finish baking that we barely had time to read. We have made up for it this weekend, though. 

I took pictures, as usual, and most of the kids joined in to bake some. Zola didn't do much as she usually likes to bake alone -- something I don't understand. She loves to bake and decorate but says she likes being alone when she does it. She will make fudge with everyone, though. I prefer to bake with other people myself, as do all the other kids. Bella mainly watched and Sophia didn't care much, though a couple of times she seemed a little interested in what was going on. She definitely doesn't want to eat any of the goodies. Bella, on the other hand, will eat until she is sick if you don't stop her. 

This year is extra exciting for us as we prepare for Christmas with our family and also plan a trip to China. I keep thinking that next year we will have two new daughters at Christmas. 

We are finished with school for this year and will take the time to enjoy this season as much as possible. Though it sometimes seems like a lot of work, I want to make memories for my children that they will remember throughout their lives. I have learned that these days go quickly and I want to have these memories for myself, as well as wanting my children to have them. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Getting Ready For Christmas

We have spent the past week or so getting out our Christmas decorations and putting some of them up. I think we are a little behind as we don't even have our big tree decorated yet -- just lights and beads so far. But, we have put up a few cottages and some little things around the house. It has actually been rather fun and stress free. I said this year I would not stress everything too much and I haven't -- except trying to get all the gifts I need to buy. I just can't seem to get everything bought early. 

Bethany put a tree in her room and did a really good job of putting the lights and ornaments on it.

Andrew seems to really like to help take things out of the attic and unpack them. He is always ready to run and get a box or two out of the shed or attic for me. He also enjoyed getting out all of the cottages and looking at them. I have had kids for the past 20 to 25 years that have loved to play with these Christmas cottages.

We found a place for a few of them in our family room and then Zola set some up in the library. 

Bella is just loving all of the fun things that seem to be going on. This is her third Christmas here.

I talked to our social worker at our agency today and she said that they are working on our trip to China now -- trying to shorten it a little, if possible, as I hate to leave Bethany for so long when she has so many treatments to do and a pretty stringent regiment. But, if necessary, we will be there for three weeks. We have family and friends to help.

We are expecting TA in the next week or two. Our worker said today that it shouldn't be too much longer. So, as soon as Christmas is over we will start preparing for our trip to China. But, for now I will enjoy this season with my children.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Article 5 Pick Up

Our Article 5 pick up was on Thursday, December 3. I woke up to an email letting me know that it had been processed. It will now be delivered to the CCCWA which will issue our TA (travel approval). We just wait now until our agency lets us know we have TA. I have no idea how long it takes since we have never adopted from China. It is definitely seeming like it won't be too long now. I am still thinking we will travel sometime the end of January or maybe the beginning of February. 

This is Abigail and she will be my travel companion for this adoption. Since we are adopting two girls from two different provinces, I think she will be a big help to me. Both girls are seven and a half and their birthdays are only a month apart. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

POA Sent

Today I finally mailed the POA for Bill to DC -- after having it notarized and authenticated. I have been saying we were going to get it done for weeks. Everytime I start to get all the forms together I find something else to do and have never made it to FedEx. Well, it is gone and I think this is the last thing we have to do -- other than airline tickets. We won't get those until we have travel approval. So, we just wait. It is really starting to feel so real now. 

We had a nice Thanksgiving. It was actually rather quiet. We missed our friends that always come -- all 10 of them -- but they had a sick child so it was just our family and a couple of close friends. I didn't even have to cook much as my oldest daughter contacted most of her siblings and made sure they were cooking several things to bring. Usually the kids at home and I do most of the cooking. It ended up I had almost nothing to do. I baked a cake with Sarah and did some small things, but other than the turkey that was pretty much it. It was really nice and relaxing. 

I took almost no pictures on Thanksgiving day. I'm not sure why as I always pull my camera out. I did get this picture of Michael with little sister Bethany. Michael made the stuffing -- Stove Top -- all 8 boxes of it and brought 10 cans of cranberry sauce and peas. 

Sophia was unusually quiet on Thanksgiving this year. Usually when a lot of people are here she just can't handle it. She yells and screams until I take her somewhere quiet -- her room most of the time. She doesn't like all the noise and confusion. When she gets really loud and upset the only place that quiets her is her room. Last year she was beside herself. She was so upset and so out of her comfort zone. This year she actually took most of it in stride. She even seemed a little interested in what was going on. 

It seems like almost every single year the day after Thanksgiving some of my girls end up in my room on my bed goofing off and talking to me. This year was no exception. Emily and Abigail came up and then Bethany and Bella joined them. Emily and Abigail were being silly and taking selfies with Bethany and Bella. I decided it was a good time to run get my camera as they seemed in a mood to let me get their picture -- it is always harder to get pictures of my older girls. 

Then Emily decided to call most of the girls up to the bedroom to get them all in a picture. Of course, not everyone was here. Katie was studying and Sophia was asleep and some of our girls couldn't make it for Thanksgiving,

Bella found an ornament I bought years ago that plays a Christmas song and has a little train that goes around the track and she loved it. She sat on my bed and watched it for almost 45 minutes -- and she was very gentle with it. She is such a sweet little girl. 

We got our tree the Friday after Thanksgiving and actually have it up now with lights only.

Grandson, Asher, with Megan -- our daughter from Georgia.

Reagan and Bella -- they are good friends. 

I almost forgot this picture I took of Katie and Bella on Thanksgiving day that I really like. Katie loves to take Bella places -- Starbucks, Target, etc.