Sunday, October 25, 2009

Picture of the baby coming.

I have always thought this sonogram picture was quite clever.

Also found this today...

"... Once our eyes are opened,we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act ..." -- ~Proverbs 24:12

Saturday, October 24, 2009

It has been a several weeks since I last made a post on this blog. We are in the midst of the paperchase, and had hit some snags. We even pulled back a little emotionally, in case the adoption falls through. But right now it hasn't, and we are focusing on that positive aspect, and are continuing to move forward until someone in authority tells us not to. We have not received all of our paperwork, and China's deadline for us is approaching. They normally do give extensions, so we are waiting to hear.
Chen Jie's birthday is listed in her files as October 27th. We arranged for a care package to be sent to her. It has a stuffed panda bear, candy for the nanny's and other children, a letter from us translated into Chinese, three pictures from us and a big birthday cake. It also includes a disposable camera, with the hopes that the nanny's will take pictures of Chen Jie and the other children. Let's keep our finger's crossed that the nanny's will take pictures and CJ will actually smile! I have a few pictures of her now, but none with a smile on her face.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Image Chef icon

This is a very cool image. I will probably be using several different designs from this website in the future.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Love Without Boundaries Video

I thought I would post this video from Love Without Boundaries. It is a wonderful charity that works in many regions all over China. They have created a video that helps encourage people to consider bringing a special needs (SN) child into their lives. They explain in a beautiful way how many of the SN are very manageable and/or easily correctable.

For example, our daughter has a small cleft palate in the back of her mouth, that will be very easy to fix through surgery. After her surgery, and perhaps speech therapy, she will live a totally healthy and normal life. Last week, I met a woman in Tallahassee who adopted a SN baby from China with a "heart defect." When she brought the child to a heart specialist here in the states, he said the hole in her heart was so tiny, that surgery wasn't necessary and her own heart would heal itself. So that woman thought she was bringing home a SN child, and actually came home with a healthy one.

Towards the end of the video, they show websites that can be of use to a pre-adoptive parent (PAP) in their research to determine if SN is the way for them to complete their family. At about 9:41 in the video they show the website, which is a website that lists SN children from all over the world, and the adoption agencies that are working to find them homes. It was from that list that we found Lu Chen Jie/Genevieve. In fact, her information was posted with the picture of her below in the pink dress.

Enjoy the video. If you are looking for a charity to support, this is a wonderful one that does so much good for so many children. Check out their website, and be amazed.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Trying to Decide on a Name.

I have had a few people ask me about our daughter's name and if we have also selected an American one. My brother wants me to put my explanation on the blog (so hear you go Keith).

Her Chinese name is Lu Chen Jie, mostly Chen Jie. Lu designates where she is from, LuAn city. Chen Jie means White Star, or Pure Star.

I have a personal belief that names are very powerful and important. I gave alot of thought to naming my sons, and have thus come up with certain "rules" regarding the naming of my children.
1. Both Alexander and Nathaniel have 9 letters in their names. I want 9 letters for hers.
2. A & N's middle names are family names, George and August.
3. She will have Rose has her American middle = family name.
4. The meanings of names are important to me....
Alexander means "leader of men." Nathaniel means "gift from God."

OK. So...
We have come up with two names:

The first one was Gabrielle, ie, Gabby. With the hopes it would inspire her to "talk more" as she is going to need surgery on her mouth and speech therapy.
Gabrielle means "God is my strength." Pretty good. It's a bit trendy, though.

The second one is Genevieve. This one we are leaning the most towards. We thought of Genevieve b/c it sounds like Chen Jie. If her nickname in China is Chen = Gen or more likely JieJie. Gigi is apparently a common nickname for Genevieve. I have always liked Evie, another nickname for Genevieve.

Genevieve means "woman of the people."

St. Genevieve is the patron saint of Paris. Dave proposed to me in Paris.

If you ask Nathan what his sister's name is, he'll say Genevieve.

Genevieve Rose Chen Jie

Chen Jie will be 5 by the time she comes home. We will, of course, use her Chinese name at first, and ask her if she wants an American name. Based on my research, and reading of adoption blogs, I have only come across one boy in this age range, who didn't want to give up his Chinese name. All the other children I have read about seem to want a name to help them fit in not only with their family, but to fit in with other people around them. I do believe, too, that China wants to know the name we select ahead of time, as a part of the endless paperwork that we have to provide, before we meet the child face-to-face to ask her.

So, that's the name story. Feel free to share your opinions.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Received our PA or IA today!

Good news on the adoption front. We received our Pre-Approval (PA) today, August 18th! Our agency called it an IA, so apparently China has changed its acronyms again, but so what, they mean the same thing. We are pre-approved to adopt our little girl!

Our application, LOI or Nurture Plan (name changing again) and family photo went to China on August 13th. Which means we got a response in less than a week! I think that has to be a record. Let's hope it is reflective of all the responses from China.

We now have to complete our homestudy and dossier. China has asked for it to be completed by November 18th. If we need an extension, they usually will grant one. Let's hope we don't. After our dossier is in China, it is 2-4 months for official approval, then 2-4 months after that for TA or travel approval.

Wow. It is so exciting for us, and potentially so terrifying for her. We can now contact her and send care packages and our photos so her orphanage (or CWI), can prepare her for the adoption. Her birthday is at the end of October, so we are also permitted to send her gifts and a birthday cake from her Mommy and Daddy (Mama & Baba).

Please keep praying for our family, but especially for her. I'll keep you all updated!

Now that I can post her pictures..... isn't she cute?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Beautiful Poem

The Waiting Child 
by Debbie Bodie

I saw you meet your child today
You kissed your baby joyfully
And as you walked away with her
I played pretend you'd chosen me.

I'm happy for the baby, yet
Inside I'm aching miserably
I want to plead as you go by,
"Does no-one want a child of three?"

I saw you meet your child today
In love with her before you met
And as I watched you take her out
I knew it wasn't my turn yet.

I recognize you from last year!
I knew I'd seen your face before!
But you came for a second babe.
Does no-one want a child of four?

I saw you meet your child today
But this time there was something new
A nurse came in and took MY hand
And then she gave my hand to you.

Can this be true? I'm almost six!
And there are infants here you see?
But then you kissed me and I knew
The child you chose this time was me.

Copyright 1997 DEBBIE BODIE

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I realized tonight that I don't have any pictures yet of my husband Dave on the blog. So I will attach some pictures of him being the good daddy that he is. Here's one where he is with Alex and Nathan in a teacup at Magic Kingdom in DisneyWorld.

Here is one where he is holding Nathan at Christmas
This is one with Alex on an airplane heading to
Pittsburgh to visit family.
Looking at these pictures is a happy reminder
of what a wonderful father he is, and I can't wait to see
him hold his new daughter.
What fun that will be! And he'll finally have a child with
dark hair like he has!

Monday, August 3, 2009

We Did It! We officially started our adoption! (OK, again..but this time for sure!)

... and here are her legs! Actually, they were probably her legs when she was three years old. The medical report I have seen is from 2008 when she was three, and her photos also look like a 3 y.o. She's 4 now, turning 5 at the end of October. She is about 6 months younger than the boys. We were always looking for a 3 or 4 year old, and I guess she technically is, but she will be 5 by the time we bring her home.

We are so excited! We have to begin our homestudy, and the agency has her on hold for us as we get the paperwork together. The first things we have to do is fill out an application for China, write a Letter of Intent (LOI) and send a family picture. From these items, China will determine if we are acceptable, and then they send us a Pre-Approval (PA). Once we get the PA, then I will be able to post her actual photo for y'all to see.
After we get our PA I will also be able to talk about her special need (SN). It's not one that we are worried about, and in most ways she's a perfectly healthy little girl, who just needs a family to love her. That's gonna be us.... ! We have also selected a name for her (we think) and I will share that then as well.
Since my older posts listed some other agencies we were thinking about during this whole "researching adoption" process. Here is the one we ARE
using, for sure this time...
AAC adoption and family network, located in Colorado. They have their own list given to them by the CCAA (China Center for Adoption Affairs), that is separate from the shared list that I have mentioned in a previous post. That's where I found my girl. Pray for us that everything works out and she is the one meant for our family.

Some major new beginnings are going on around here, maybe that means we have some good energy flowing............ ................... ................. ................

Just to throw in a spiritual nudge here... if you notice, the acronym for our adoption agency is AAC. If you go to my very first post, where I discuss the first adoption agency that we considered, their acronym is also AAC. If you are reading my blog, because you are interested in adoption and have already begun your research or processing, then you know that most agencies have individual acronyms which they do not share with other agencies. Is it a coincidence that of ALL the adoption agencies in America that I choose two with the same acronym? Or were my angels whispering in my ear the whole time about where I should go to find my daughter, and I misheard/misread the signals, until now? You decide...

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

Friday, July 31, 2009

The magazine is mine! Do they have copies in China?

GOSH! I didn't realize how long it's been since my last post. I guess I have been busier than I thought.

Well, the BIG news is the magazine is officially mine and August is my first issue! How exciting is that?! We are thrilled and inspired to grow this magazine and feel blessed that I have a business that not only makes money and allows me to work from home, but to be working in an area that I love and feel passionate about. It's a dream come true for me!

Here is a link to my Natural Awakenings magazine website. The magazine is available there and all over the Tallahassee region if you are looking for a hard copy.

In adoption news..... Last weekend, Dave and I went to a reunion picnic in Orlando, FL for families who have adopted their children with Ukranian Angels assistance. A good time was had by all, until Nathan "disappeared" for about 10 minutes. Dave and I and a few others were searching for him in the park. He was finally found by the restrooms, which were no where near our picnic pavillion! It was terrifying. I am not naturally an over-protective mother, but when we are out in public like that surrounded by many, many strangers.... I DO keep my children close, except for this particular escape-artist moment. It was so scary, but luckily it had a happy ending.

Dave enjoyed seeing the former Ukrainian children, as did I. But I have to admit, I didn't feel completely at peace about it. I've shared in previous posts, that Dave and I are looking for a daughter, under 5 years of age. Based on many things that I have read in my research, and some conversations with parents at the picnic, it is constantly brought up how Ukraine is very limited on referrals of girls under 6, who are not severely disabled. I am not opposed to a special needs child with mild, correctable issues, but we are hoping for a child as healthy as possible, as most parents do.

I have never brought up China in this blog before. Frankly, I pretty much avoided looking into a China adoption because I knew that China has practically halted their adoption program of healthy girl babies. It used to be pretty commonplace to see beautiful Chinese baby girls adopted by American families, but the Chinese program has slowed down so much that I know of one woman who has waited over 3 years for a referral, and an adoption professional that I talked to today, says the wait is more like 5 years! Can you imagine? Waiting 5 years to adopt a child?

The ironic twist (to my ever twisting adoption story), is that I have always wanted to adopt ever since I was a young girl, and I always imagined it would be a Chinese girl. When we began this process, and I heard about the difficulties parents were having with China, I just disregarded my old wishes and focused my mind elsewhere. But really, there are no difficulties with God and in the Universe. In both cases, God/the Universe/ or however you want to believe, has given me my dream of owning a magazine such as the one I now own AND the possibility of adopting a daughter from China. I know it's cliche, but God DOES work in mysterious ways. Look at the abundance of blessings that have befallen on us lately!

How this is able to happen for us now is because China is still allowing adoptions of special needs (SN) children and older children (also considered special needs). Last week by chance, I found a picture of a little girl who I am very interested in and have received her file and medical reports. I have talked to the agency "handling" her adoption and a local homestudy provider in Tallahassee who has worked on many adoptions out of China. I have sent out her medical files to a Dr. in Alabama who specializes in international adoption medical reviews, for her opinion on her health status. How's that for trying to move things along...?

The good news is, if we give the "go ahead," this particular agency can put a "HOLD" on her file and we would have 3 months to get all of our paperwork in order to adopt her. She is not on the "Shared List." This is a list sent from China to several agencies of SN children available for adoption, and you have to move faster if you find a child off of that list. Having the ability to have the 3 months to put our dossier together is a blessing that I received today.

I don't want to say more, as I don't want to completely jinx it. But say a prayer for us that she is the one and we can begin working on bringing her home. If we accept her and begin the process for this girl in particular I will fill you in on more facts. Until then... pray, pray, pray for us and the daughter we are hoping to find.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Magazine update and charity video!

Hi Everyone!

Things are moving along with the magazine. I met with the departing editor twice this week for training, and we are working to put together the August issue. MY first issue. It's totally amazing. I can't believe I'm going to be an editor and publisher of a magazine. Very cool. Dave and I went to the bank today and deposited our money into our business accounts. All we have to do now is wait for the checks to clear and then fill out the contracts. The magazine might be officially mine by the end of next week, or beginning of the following week.

My friend Ansley who is a professional photographer, will be taking my headshot this Saturday to put on the editorial page of the mag. Can't say that I am looking forward to that, as I have a bit of a phobia getting my picture taken. But I love Ansley, and if anyone can make me laugh and feel relaxed it will be her. Plus I think a bottle of Proseco will go along way with helping me get where I need to be! Cheers!

Here is Ansley's website. If you live in Tallahassee or Southern Georgia, please consider her for your wedding and portrait needs. She is incredibly talented and fun to be around.

I don't have any other adoption news other than this video that I have posted to my blog. There are all kinds of emotions that I have been experiencing while considering adopting a child, and sometimes the emotions are all over the place. For example,

1. My baseline emotion is that "my daughter is already born and out there."
This makes me emotional, like any Mom, that my child needs me and I'm not there.
2. Then there are times that I'm absolutely scared of the whole process, and
question whether or not I should do this.
3. I have twin, bio boys who are 5. Sometimes I wonder if I should be doing
this and disrupt the family dynamic that already exists between us.
4. Sometimes I wonder "what if my daughter is somewhere else rather than
5. Then the cycle continues and I'm back to emotion #1.

So, that's where I am at the present time. Even though sharing this information is a bit personal, I have included it for people who will be coming to my blog in search of adoption information or more specifically, Ukrainian adoption information. It also gives people who already know us, an indication where I/we are in our thought processes. How much have we considered what we are doing? The answer is "quite a bit." Me, more than Dave probably, but I think women in general think more about the emotional implications of all things related to their families. Dave right now is focused on the happy ending. He is supportive of the adoption and of having a little girl in his life, but he also hasn't done all of the research that I have done, nor read some of the horror stories that I have come across. Many happy stories, but not all, and Ukraine is not known for making things easy for American adoptive families. My hope is that God will have his presence in our lives as we go through the process, and then the wait and then the blessing of our daughter. This is what we pray for, and we hope what you are praying for on our behalf.

Friday, July 10, 2009

OK. Two posts on the same night. This one is about the adoption and magazine.

In previous posts, I mentioned that Dave and I *thought* we had chosen Russia to adopt our daughter. But for some reason, both of us had an uneasy feeling that we were headed in the wrong direction. Not that Russia and it's children aren't beautiful and wonderful, but Dave and I were trying to figure out what path God wanted us to take, and it just didn't feel like that was the one. So I did more research (what else is new) and we DID finally decide on something!

We have decided to do an Independent Adoption to Ukraine. This will save us thousands of dollars and Dave likes the idea of the "adventure" of it all. I'm not sure that I want to put the word *adventure* together with *adoption.* I prefer words like, *secure,* safe,* healthy,* peaceful, etc.* You get my drift.... Dave always says we like to do things that other people are afraid to do. I think doing an independent adoption to an Eastern European country certainly qualifies to be put in that category.

For those of you who have gone before us, and have brought home wonderful children, thank you for blazing the trail. For those of you reading this and wondering if an independent adoption to Ukraine is for you, feel free to jump on board and follow our *adventure* (peaceful, healthy adventure). I promise to keep up with my blog, and fill you in every step of the way. For those of you who are friends and family, please always keep us in your thoughts and prayers, so that we are able to bring home a healthy little girl, who will be the perfect addition to our family.

Based on my research, I came across a wonderful woman who lives in Florida and has adopted 8 children from Ukraine. Yep, you read that right, eight! She has dedicated her life since her earlier adoptions to help others do the same, and rescue some of the approximate 100,000(+) children who live in orphanages in Ukraine. She is the one who will assist us throughout our independent adoption. For those of you who are here to do adoption research, I have posted a picture of her website icon. Ukrainian Angels. She has some wonderful stories on her site for all to read. We have sent in our application and our first check, so it is OFFICIAL. WE HAVE BEGUN! It is only the beginning of the many pieces of paper we will have to fill out to accomplish our dream. But the first step has been made... One small step for us, one giant leap for adoption! (I think Neil Armstrong will allow me to paraphrase).

As far as the magazine, we are getting closer and closer. Without giving away too many banking details, we are on the last leg, waiting for some money to be rolled over into our new business accounts. We are hoping that all is falling into place. I am presently working with the departing editor this month, in preparation for my first issue to come out in August. Yippee! It's getting very exciting. And any way you look at it, there are many blessings in Tallahassee flowing our way.

Beautiful Boys!

I came on tonight to write an update on our adoption proceedings and the magazine. But I thought I would take a moment and post pictures of the boys. They LOVE taking pictures of themselves with the camera feature on Dave's Mac. Alex is very good at changing the different styles to get different artistic effects. Maybe he's another artist in the making! Nathan the painter and Alex the photographer....
Here are my beautiful (and silly) 5 year old boys...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

We're Obama supporters.... so we're all about Change!

Hi Everyone

I know my last post said I was being all decisive, and that we had selected an agency and a nation to adopt from. Nope. Incorrect. As much as I believe that AAC is a very good agency especially if you want a child from Russia, Dave and I are now looking into an independent adoption from the Ukraine.

Again, even after we made the AAC decision, something just didn't feel right. I depend too much on my intuition, and my intuition kept nudging me. So, more research I continued to do (which is also why I hadn't been adding to my blog). One of my dearest friends is originally from the Ukraine, and I kept going back to Ukraine, but all the agencies were saying that the Ukraine was only allowing older kids or special needs children. Through my research, I have discovered that many people go through independent adoptions in the Ukraine, and are getting younger, healthy children.

Nothing is for sure yet, but this is the way we are presently leaning and are focusing our (my) research. Some positives about an independent adoption include much, much less expensive, and shorter wait times for a referral. Some negatives include, going "blind" to the Ukraine and examining children offered to us as possibilities, not having medical information prior to flying over to Europe, no agency support if something happens overseas. We wouldn't be going over alone, there are English speaking facilitators that would work with us along the way, we just would not have the security of an American agency support.

So, that's our latest update. I guess I should learn not to say "we've figured it out for sure." Just thought I would keep you updated, and letting you know we are still in process, but have not yet made a decision.

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chose an Agency!

Hi Everyone-
We decided on an agency, and thus a location of birth for our child, and it is Adopt-a-Child out of Pittsburgh, PA and they do Russian adoptions. Today is June 25th, and I have filled out our initial application and the attached $250. This is only the first of many pages of paper to fill out in the upcoming year before we bring home our daughter.
I talked on the phone with Amy at AAC about my idea for a toddler as opposed to a baby, and believe it or not, a toddler may be more difficult to get than a baby. We will see what God provides. I really want a toddler. They also ask if we would be willing to consider an Eurasian child as well as Caucasian, and I said Yes. Alot of people who adopt from Russia just want the blonde hair, blue eyed babies they are known for, and the Russian people themselves are less likely to adopt or foster Eurasian children, so our little girl might be dark haired like her daddy. Since both boys took after me in their coloring, if might be nice for Dave to have a dark haired child....
This is getting really exciting. I know there is still a long road ahead, and for everyone wanting to adopt a child, the waiting is the worse part. But I love to make decisions, and I have been doing research for weeks, and now an important decision has been made in our process. Just in case you were wondering, Dave is as excited about this as I am (as excited as Dave can get anyway...). He talks about it all the time, too. So, I think it is a happy decision on our part and a fulfillment of destiny.

Steps in the magazine acquisition are slower than desired. We had originally hoped to close by June 20th, but our funds have not rolled over yet into our Guidant account, so it looks like we won't get the magazine until July. Oh well, whatever will be will be. I'm sure it will occur in the perfect time.

Friday, June 12, 2009

This blogging is fun.  I hope I keep up with it!
Today is June 12th, and although I really like the communication that I have had with the original adoption agency (and they have been very well reviewed by many people), I think we may be going with a different agency.
Dave and I *think* we have narrowed the country down to Russia.  For me, Bulgaria was too unsure, unpredictable and too lengthy a wait for a child.  Kazakhstan has a very good program, where the children are very well taken care of, and I have met a child here in Tallahassee from Kazakhstan and she is beautiful and intelligent.  We were leaning that way for awhile, but I kept having an uneasiness.  Those of you who know me, know that I make many of my decisions about life based on instinct and the "vibes" that I get about things.  I couldn't quell the uneasiness.  Another drawback for us, but is good in a different way for others, is the length of stay required for Kazakhstan.  Over 6 weeks!  That includes 2 weeks bonding time for you and the child prior to adoption proceedings.  Which is a very nice idea.  However, I just couldn't see being away from my boys that long, and Dave would have to travel with me for much of it as well.
So, then we said to ourselves, "what about Russia?"  So I started to do more research (as is my nature) and discovered that Russia did their own accreditation efforts in 2007, and have only accredited a small number of agencies to work with them.  As well reviewed as my original agency is, they were not on the Russia list.  When I asked them about this, they said they work with one of the agencies that is accredited.  My interpretation of that, is more people involved, more potential costs, potential increase in wait time.
In my research, I discovered an agency that Russia did choose, and they are out of Pittsburgh.  Again, for those of you who know us, most of Dave's family/clan are all in Pittsburgh!  We love Pittsburgh and the people who live there, so that was a big draw for us.
I actually called their offices today, instead of e-mailing, and will be receiving my first set of informational packets from them by mail.  My communication with the other agency was purely by e-mail.
So, that's where we are today with the adoption process.  Still very much in the beginning stages, but today I made a call, spoke with a human being, and will be receiving adoption items in the mail.  I think today counts as the first physical step towards adoption.  Previously, I had made intellectual and emotional steps towards the process.  Today I actually DID something.

In regards to our other journey, the magazine, today Dave and I signed some paperwork and will be calling an attorney for a conference call as some of the final stages in our incorporation procedures.  We have to be incorporated first, as Enlightened Florida Ventures, before officially buying the magazine.  But it is all falling into place.  What a year 2009 is going to be for us!

Monday, June 8, 2009

  I welcome anyone who has decided to come along and follow me on the newest journeys going on in my life.  The first adventure is about me becoming the new editor and publisher of a magazine.  The magazine is called Natural Awakenings, and is about all things natural, holistic, alternative and green.  We are joyful to have this kind of opportunity, to work on something that may be a benefit for our community, and something that will promote ideas that we believe in.  We are in the final stages of creating our corporation.  Once that is accomplished, then we will be able to sign the paperwork and take over the magazine.  Tentatively, the first issue under my heading will be August.  The month of my birth.  Fitting, I say.

The other adventure that we may be about to begin, is one of adoption.  Dave and I have talked about it on several occasions over the past couple of years.  I always seem to talk myself out of it for awhile, and then the idea comes up again.  It just won't seem to go away, so I am deciding to let the energy of the universe flow through me and see if this is a path the Universe/God wants me to go on.  

We are starting to get very excited!  We are looking into an international adoption and are still trying to decide on which country.  So if anyone has any ideas or opinions please feel free to share.  Right now, we are considering Bulgaria, Kazakhstan and Russia.  Today is June 9th and we started our correspondence with a particular agency on May 26th.  So, I guess that will be our start date.  How exciting is this!  We are hoping to bring a daughter into our lives, and a sister for our twin boys.

Thank you for stopping by and I look forward to my new adventures.

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