Tuesday, December 20, 2011

the other blog

In case you hadn’t noticed, we are blogging at the travel blog: www.Emakes5.blogspot.com.

The internet is so slow that uploading pics to both blogs is impossible while we’re here.

You’ve probably already figured that out but if not…..http://emakes5.blogspot.com/

Friday, December 16, 2011

its 8:30am on our last day in Beijing...

Julie went on the Great Wall tour today with our group. They are also going to Olympic stadium. After that they go to an acrobat show. Will and I are going to meet up with Julie and the group for the acrobat show, which I believe is indoors. I'm sitting here in our room with Will, where we will be spending the majority of our day. As I mentioned earlier, its far too cold out to have Will outside for another full day. The hotel does have a pool, so I'm planning on taking Will swimming for a bit. There's a Mcdonald's within walking distance of our hotel, and a 7-11, so its looking like cheeseburgers and fries and Big Gulps for lunch. (just kidding about the Big Gulps, though we will venture into the 7-11 for some snacks and drinks for our room.) Gonna run now. Julie took her camera with her today, and I cannot wait to see the pics she takes. I'm sure she will post some tonight. Tomorrow we fly to Ella's province. Absolutely can not wait...

Beijing tour, Day 1

Here's a few short video clips from our tour around Beijing earlier today. The weather was brutal and really took its toll on Will. His legs and feet were ice cold and we were all completely exhausted by the time we made it back to our room. We ended up having to wrap Will's legs in several layers of fleece and blankets, and put a heat pack under them as well. He fell asleep and by the time he woke up his legs had returned to normal temp. We were pretty scared there for a bit, to say the least. That, and the fact that Will's not digging the idea of eating much at all, hasn't made things easy. We're praying tomorrow will be better. Will and I are going to stay back at the room and skip the Great Wall & Olympic stadium tour tomorrow, as its supposed to be even colder out than it was today. I'm hoping Julie will still go with our travel group, so at least one of us can see everything. 
Other than touring Tiananmen Square & Forbidden City, we took a rickshaw ride through the city.  During that tour we stopped and toured one of the local's homes.  While we were there Will insisted he had to go potty.  Fortunately for us, the home owner was kind enough to let Will use their bathroom. We ate lunch at a traditional Chinese restaurant today.  Yes, Eddie, one of us did have some duck at lunch today, but it wasn't Will or Julie. It wasn't that bad, but I'd have to say I still prefer chicken.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

pics on the other blog

It is taking forever to upload pictures to the blog so I will not be re-posting on both blogs today.  Head over to Emakes5.blogspot.com to see our day.

here in beijing...


just going to post some notes i made over the last 24 hours... excuse the typo's, as there will be many i am sure!

1pm 11/14:
still sitting atthe airport, around 1pm... Our flight to beijing is delayed by 4 hours due to what is being referred to as 'airline servicing.' Not exactly what you want to hear before going on a 14-hour flight!  ...so if that delay holds, then we should arrive in beijing around 6am eastern tomorrow.  that's slightly more than 24 hours from when we flew out of chattanooga.   will keeps going back and forth between 'i want to go home,' 'i dont want to get on another plane ride,' and , 'i DO want to get on another plane ride.' at this point our day of travel isnt even at the halfway mark, so the rest of our day's journey should be interesting.

9pm 11/14:
we boarded the plane to beijing a little after 3:30pm and took off not long after.  our agent got us a free upgrade when booking our flight, so we are in business class, which is just behind first class.  getting seats that convert into a bed on a 14 hr flight is an absolute must.  we've never had this much room on a flight before.  amazing.  also amazing is that the airline gave us $400 in free vouchers to compensate for the flight delay, so we are definitely going to look into upgrading to bus. class on our return flight.   due to lack of sleep, and being 3, will didnt seem as taken with all the extra room.  this plane needs a gym for him to run and play until he deems its time to settle in for the evening.  its almost 9pm wednesday night and he finally turned in for the night.  julie went to sleep about an hour ago.  i couldnt sleep just yet, but will do so very soon i think.  i just cant stop thinking about the next several days ahead, and i'm also really missing  mr wyatt back home.   meeting ella in just 5 days.  we've come 5+ years, and now its down to just 5 days.  i have no idea how she is going to react to meeting us for the first time.  i'm praying it goes really well, and i know we've got tons of people praying for us back home, from people at our church, to family and friends, plus i think we've even got an entire classroom of students following our journey and praying for us on an almost daily basis (thanks sara and hanna!)  even though you aren't here with us, your prayers are felt, and i can definitely see them working in ways both large and small.   i think i'm going to do my best to fall asleep now.   we have a little over 4,700 miles before we reach beijing.  our flight monitor says we are over denmark right now, so that's as good a time as any...

6am 11/15:
we landed in beijing around 6am our time to 14 degree weather. brrrrrr. its nighttime here and will was asleep when we landed. i told him it was already night when we woke him up and the first thing he said was, "we still have time to pick up sister." in the room now and looking fwd to stretching our legs and getting some proper sleep. cant wait to start the rest of our journey!!!!! internet seems to working just fine so it looks like we can post updates without any problems.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

that's not the great wall of china, that's new jersey

3AM comes awfully early when you only have 4 hours of sleep preceding...we're in the air right now, just passed over d.c. about ten minutes ago. will is conked out right now, legs draped over my lap, his head in julie's. Very happy he fell asleep, as he threw a mini fit at the charlotte airport while we were on a soft sprint to our gate, located on the opposite end of the airport. whe wesaid we couldnt carry him, he just sat down right in the middle of the floor. keep in mind that this is the shortest connection time of our entire trip. a little stressful, indeed. we finally made it to our gate and had a few minutes for bathroom breaks.will also had a little moment back at chatt airport while we were going thru security, but we quickly overcame that one after explaining that you cant just leave the line to go check out Christmas displays nearby.despite the fits will is definitely enjoying geting up close and personal with these giant planes. our first plane was really small and blue. he said our next one would probably be white. he was right.gotta run, landing now in newark.more later... so far so good!

Monday, December 12, 2011

still packing

We spent last night till 1:30 and then again all day today trying to put all of this….

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And all of this…..

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Into this….

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We were somewhat successful.  But went out and bought another suitcase today.  We are 95% done.  But when I went over what was left to do I felt like we were only 50% done.  At least we still have Tuesday!

our early Christmas

Sunday, December 11, 2011

our prayer requests (and link)

So I lied, there's one tiny thing different between the two blogs.  I added a list of prayer requests, along with our itinerary.  We've had so many people ask how they can pray for us while we are gone so I created a list (and I confess I was inspired by another blogging family who made a list)

http://emakes5.blogspot.com/p/prayer-requestsitinerary.html

Saturday, December 10, 2011

sister has a bed

Sister now has a  place to lay her head at night.  We still have to see if she is ready for a twin bed or a crib.  We’ll find out once we’re back home, but either way we are ready!

Not sure the boys were keen on how we had to get the mattress home.  Good thing it was a quick ride.

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The new mattress is going on Will’s new bunk bed!  Sister may be sharing a room with Will.  We’re leaving everything up in the air at the moment and are going to wait see where she is most comfortable sleeping - bed/crib, alone, with Will, with us, etc.  We just want to be prepared for any scenario.  And in a year or so, when Wyatt goes to bed later, the W’s will share a room and the bunk beds.  For now, Will is excited about his new bed and the possibility of sharing a room with his baby sister.

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missing him already

As excited as we are to be heading to China Wednesday, it's starting to sink in just how much I'm going to miss Wyatt. He's really starting to let his personality shine at every given opportunity. He's becoming quite the ham, showman, giggle box, etc. He's even starting to repeat just about anything you ask him to say, or at least give it his best try. I know he's going to be in great hands while we're gone; not worried about that in the least. I just hate that he's too little to understand that we're only going away for a short while, and that we'll be back soon.

Friday, December 09, 2011

not packed and ready?

The basement is serving as the staging area.  Or rather, the holding room.  Anything that is bought or intended for the trip is carted downstairs and left, hoping someone will come along and pack it up.  It also holds items for Christmas.  Presents are not currently safe under our tree since Wyatt likes to unwrap.  So the windowsills currently hold our gifts.  There aren’t many because we stopped buying once we realized we were going to China.

It isn’t pretty, but it’s all there, minus the clothes.  Our plan this weekend is to finish the trip shopping, celebrate Christmas 3x over and pack.  Really, we have to pack!  We are running out of time!

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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

so this is Christmas….

I know I’ve already mentioned that we put up a tree with no ornaments this year.  Well, we have 3 ornaments up and a bow.  I did decorate the mantle and we put lights up outside.  The tree will come down after Saturdays Christmas.  The lights will probably stay up till Jan/Feb, no lie.  It’s a special Christmas this year but one I want to remember none the less.

There will be massive amounts of Christmas pictures taken this weekend.  And I plan to blog them before we leave…..like I’ve said a million times, if it’s not on the blog it’s like it never happened.  This is my memory keeper :)

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And one last decoration….. Chris’s prized leg lamp.  He got it at our Sunday School Christmas party.  There were 3 circulating but he finally snagged this one and “froze” it.  He was very proud of his genuine award.

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flights booked!

Our flights are booked.  And I have been told by 3 different people that our time between flights is less than ideal.  But there were just no options to be had at this time of year and where we are leaving from.  So please pray that we make all our US connections, specifically the Charlotte connection both ways.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

merry christmas!

We are on the ball in the T house this year.  Our cards are (mostly) in the mail and should be arriving soon.  (that alone should be recognized as a major accomplishment….) And for those of you that noticed that there is a new blog address on the card, no worries about switching or keeping up with a new blog….It is just for travel purposes only.  We will be posting the same exact goodies on both blogs.  I just like to keep everything all together for the trip.  And putting it on it’s own blog makes it neater (for me).  That will make life easier when I get around to scrapbooking or blog publishing.  (though don’t look too closely, things are a bit out of order compared to here)

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Monday, December 05, 2011

it’s official

We leave in 8-9 days!!!  And these weather forecasts are going to make for an interesting party in my suitcase!

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Looks like we are indeed leaving on 14th!

(more to follow...)

Sunday, December 04, 2011

spontaneous pictures

Not quite the Christmas pictures I had envisioned.  But I didn’t realize I was taking “Christmas pictures” till it happened.  We were dressed and ready, the light was pretty decent in front of the tree.  I plopped Wyatt in front to see what would happen…..

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Will surprisingly agreed to have his picture made too. (I wish I had brushed his hair now….).  He was all willing and happy to pose.

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The only thing Christmasy about these pictures is the tree.  Fitting since nothing about this holiday is traditional this year.  But just wait till next year……I have a feeling it will be over the top!

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Saturday, December 03, 2011

sample itinerary

We had hoped to hear back about our Consulate Appointment (CA) today but no such luck.  Praying we hear something Monday.  I’m anxious to know dates and really get to planning/packing.  If we are delayed another week then there’s not much I can do other than mentally pack.  But we’ve been asked about what our trip looks like so here is a quick snapshot of the trip details (from here)

  1. Wednesday: Leave for China!
  2. Thursday: Arrive in China
  3. Friday-Sunday: Tour Beijing
  4. Sunday Night: Fly to your child's province
  5. Monday: Gotcha Day!! Meet your child!
  6. Tuesday: Adoption Finalization
  7. Wednesday: Touring/Rest
  8. Thursday: Touring/Rest
  9. Friday: Get Child's passport - fly to Guangzhou.
  10. Saturday: Medical Exam for visa on Shamian Island/TB test
  11. Sunday: Free Day/Touring
  12. Monday: Get TB test read
  13. Tuesday: Consulate Appointment and Oath
  14. Wednesday: Get visa!
  15. Wednesday night or Thursday morning: Fly home!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

November Video Clips

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

we have TA!

We received an email today from our agency saying that we have received Travel Approval!!!!  And were told option 1 to leave was Dec 14 and option 2 was Dec 21.  They are hoping for option 1 and honestly we are too.  Yes, it is 2 weeks from today!!!!!   But it would guarantee that we finalized the adoption in 2011 which is a huge bonus for the adoption tax credit since the ‘11 credit is much better than the ‘12 one.

So that is our prayer request for today, option 1.

And now I’m going to go finish my panic attack, thank you very much.

Qian Chun Wei 08-03-11

Christmas in China?

Why not!

(details to follow...)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

midweek randoms

Get use to some random posts, my brain is slowly shrinking….

  • We are starting week 2 of the wait for our Travel Approval (TA).  We were told we’d hear something in 2-4 weeks.  Once we receive TA things are going to happen FAST.  As in we could find out that we have TA and that we are leaving in 5 days.  That may be a little extreme, but it happens too often to discount.  We keep telling ourselves “we could leave in 2 weeks…”. 
  • All of this excitement does not mean we’ve made any progress with packing.  I just opened up the travel list, looked at it and then closed it.  The list is so extensive and overwhelming that I just shutdown mentally.  I do have Ella’s bag packed, well, her clothes are in a bag.  Everything else I have purchased (mostly meds) are piled up on our dining room table and all over the basement. 
  • 80% of my Christmas shopping is done.  And well, the other 20% might not happen.  Speaking of Christmas, we’re telling Will that we are going to China after Christmas.  But Christmas may happen on the 20th this year.  Good thing he can’t read a calendar yet.  Hmm, hope he doesn’t learn to read the blog in the next 10 years.
  • We didn’t plan on putting the tree up until closer till Christmas but that was before we received “the call”.  We put the tree up Friday after T’giving this year.  Lights only, no ornaments.  Well, there are 2 ornaments on there that I bought for the boys back in Sept/Oct and they’ve been sitting out waiting.  And then I bought Ella an ornament.  The point of having a tree w/o ornaments is two fold (since you’re dying to know).  One, it’s obviously quicker to put away once we find out when we’re leaving.  And two, Wyatt is obsessed with balls and 90% of ornaments are balls.  No need to tempt him with a sparkly ball-covered tree.
  • Will and I got our travel shots yesterday.  It wasn’t pretty. (Have I mentioned that Will is going with us?  I will save that for another post)
  • 3 out of 4 of us are sick. Praying Will stays healthy.  Though he’s running a fever, I’m assuming it’s from the shots.

And what’s a post without a picture…..here’s another attempt at the sibling shot.  I’m known for beating a dead horse when it comes to pictures.

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where are we going….

Here is where we are headed. We hope to start our trip in Beijing, but that depends on our travel group.  So we may have to start in Hong Kong.  (Beijing is near the top on the right; it’s light pink.  HK is near the red arrow).  From our starting point we will then travel to Chongqing (see the blue arrow).  Ella is from this municipality. We will spend a week there and before traveling to Guangzhou (see the red arrow).  That is where we finish our trip before coming home.china-map1
And here is the specific area that we are headed….  We will stay in Chongqing (light pink in the middle).  Ella is actually from Qianjiang District.  (So the municipality is kind of like a state and QJ is the city). QJ is about a 7 hour (mountainous) ride away.
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Here is some good information on Chongqing, http://wikitravel.org/en/Chongqing.  And some pictures via the world of google images….File:Chongqingdlt.jpg
Chongqing, China

Monday, November 28, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

a new place to call home

Chris, being quite the detective, found out some new info on our sweet girls current home. She recently has been moved from Qianjiang SWI (orphanage) to Chongqing. We didn't have alot of details of her new home, just the name. Chris has googled for days about this place finding bits and pieces. Tonight he found an article and a video! The new facility is taking a new approach to orphan care and sounds wonderful and exciting. I hope this means Ella is getting extra hugs and kisses until we get there! (and no, she's not in the video....)



LARGEST CHILDHOOD WELFARE CENTER by tvnportal

Friday, November 25, 2011

for fun, driving directions….

Chris looked up the directions to Ch.ina.  Here are some of the highlights…..

 

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Will’s Thankful Thursday list

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In no particular order, this is Will’s list of thanksgiving:

  • my “shows”
  • the mailbox
  • little plants
  • big trees
  • Mommy
  • animals
  • Daddy’s i.Pad
  • my cousins

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

baking day….and random pictures

I try to limit my holiday contributions to baking only.  I am more of a baker than a cook so the outcome is a lot more certain if I’m in charge of desserts. 

THIS is in the oven now. And while I was searching for pumpkin-chocolate cheesecake recipe I found these photos.  Will’s old school was so good about sending pictures home (printed or on a disk).  I found these cute ones that never made it on the blog.

This one is one my favorites of all-time.  It’s been on our fridge since it was sent home.  I use to think he looked sad, but later realized this was his annoyed look.  I can only imagine what he was thinking when he realized he was getting his picture taken again.  He couldn’t escape the camera at home or school!

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Monday, November 21, 2011

this week in pictures…. (and it’s only Monday)

Here’s a quick peak at the last few days….

2 hours filling out Visa applications Saturday.  Only to re-do them on Monday.  They are safely in the mail now. But what a pain!

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Care package is going in the mail Tuesday. Being a good Mom I naturally forgot to take a picture before taping it shut.  Don’t think I didn’t consider unpacking it!  I sent an outfit, socks, doll, suckers for E’s friends, candies for the nannies, a disposable camera (please pray they take pictures and we get them back), and a photo book with pictures of us.

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Reading Will’s new book during snack time. 

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I’m a pretty big fan of the word believe.  It applies to a lot of things, especially now.  And especially at Christmas.  Hopefully our Christmas decorations will be more than this this year, but I’m not promising.

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october video clips!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

the next few steps….

I know everyone is curious about what is next for us.  Here is how I understand things (though I have so many steps and to-do lists in my head I might be confused on some of this….).

We received, signed and mailed back our Letter of Acceptance (LOA) on Thursday.  And once Ch.i.na receives our LOA we will wait for Travel Approval (TA).  This could come in the next 2-4 weeks. (TA means they are officially inviting is over to adopt a child.)  And we will leave approximately 2-3 weeks after TA is received.

Once our agency receives TA they will request a Consulate Appointment (CA).  The CA is what determines our travel dates. And the CA date we receive is near the END of our trip.  (The Consulate is where we apply for E’s US entry visa.)

All that summed up means that we will have 7-14 days notice on when we leave!!!  Let that sink in for a moment……. 

Now based on my math and looking at the timelines they gave us the earliest we could be in Ch.i.na is a few days before Christmas.  And on the longer side of things we might be there at the first of January.  All should work out to get us there and home before New Years in Ch.ina, which is at the end of Jan.  If we can’t get there 2 weeks before CNY starts then we would be pushed back to February (pray that doesn’t happen please).

We have always joked that traveling in January was the worst possible scenario for us (Chris works 6 day weeks and late nights in January), but thankfully he works with some amazing people that are more than happy to cover for him.

Okay, I know this was a boring post and with no pictures, but I knew a few were wondering what’s going on.  So that’s it in a nutshell today.  I have a lot more to post that’s actually interesting.  Hopefully I can do that soon!

the seal on our LOA

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Friday, November 18, 2011

oh dear….

Will is all about making sure everything is fair.  He is the fair police!  But I never expected this one…. this morning we were watching the news and there was a 10 year old on there. He asked if that was his big sister. I said no.  He pouted and said but Wyatt’s getting a big sister, I want one too!  I told him that he and Wyatt were both getting a sister.  He was not pleased.

Not sure who told him about Big Sisters and Little Sisters but that was a mistake.  He clearly prefers big sisters. 

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ralphie

The possibility of being in China for Christmas made me think of the restaurant scene at the end of "A Christmas Story." Though parts of the scene would probably be deemed 'politically incorrect' today, the whole scenario still cracks me up.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

LOA!

We just received our Letter of Acceptance (LOA).  Definitely record time in my books.  Our agency said we could travel in 5-8 weeks.  Christmas travel????

*Edited to add: We downloaded 40 pages of forms to sign, read, notarize and we are so overwhelmed I don't think I can read it tonight.  My head is not fond of all this spinning!  Speechless is what we are at the moment.  A good speechless, but still speechless.

Monday, November 14, 2011

1, 2, 3….doing the math…

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In case you are wondering about the math between kids…..

Will is 14 months older than Eleanor

Eleanor is 11 months older than Wyatt.

Currently that makes Will 3.5, Eleanor almost 2.5 and Wyatt almost 1.5.

For one month E & Wy will be the same age.  Though they will probably not be in the same grade at school.

And having a 1, 2 and 3 year old means 3 carseats in the back.  And to take one thing of my overwhelming long to-do list, Chris took the carseats out and put them all in, just to confirm that they do, in fact, fit back there.  (and then he graciously took them back out and returned them to their normal seating positions) We can even put one rear facing for awhile if we need to.  (Wyatt is still rear facing.)  Thankfully that stress is lifted and we do not need to run out and buy a new carseat!

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

some more details of the big day and our E

 We received THE CALL Halloween night, around 10:00!!!DSC06452

This was not the first time they had called us with a potential referral so we were kinda doubtful that this was “the one”.
There is more to that story that I may post about later.  Though if you are really curious you can email and I will explain.

Our coordinator told us we had been matched on the shared list that had been released that evening (that was a first for us), then she gave us her dob and her medical condition.  At this point I got pretty excited and told her to please email us her file and we would take a look.

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We looked at her file and pictures then quickly went to goo.gle and did some reading.  We stayed up insanely late reading.  We felt very comfortable with what we had read but knew we needed to hear from doctors first.  We contacted 3 different doctors Tuesday morning and waited patiently impatiently for them to call us back. The way we were matched meant we had to make a very quick decision. We had to have our documents back by Wednesday.  By Tuesday afternoon we had heard from all 3 doctors and felt confident with our decision.  We stayed up late again preparing our documents and letter of intent (LOI).  Everything was sent to the agency first thing Wednesday and then we waited, again.  We were told to expect our Pre-Approval (PA) within 1-2 weeks.  We were lucky in that it came back on Monday the 7th!
That just means that we can officially share with you! Of course, there are more steps ahead of us but we can talk about those later.

 

Now that you suffered thru the boring details, here are the exciting details.

Her name is Qian Chun Wei
pronounced: Chyan Ch┼źn Way

Soon to be Eleanor ChunWei

Birthday is Aug 5 (the day after my Nana’s)

*E* lives in Qianjiang, Chongqing

And we hope to travel in January or February!!!!
Another benefit of being logged in for so long, quick travel times!

 

And here is what her nannies have to say about her:

  • She can say Mama and Papa clearly.
  • Loves food. 
  • Can point to nose, eyes, etc. 
  • She is shy but likes to play with kids and likes toys with music.
  • She is delicate, fair skin, thick hair, black eyes, long eyelashes, dimples and a ready smile.
  • She is compliant, healthy, active and restless. And very adorable.
  • Is timid, gets along well with others, fond of quietness (poor girl, not around here)
  • Fond of toys and music
  • Deep sleeper, sucks fingers
  • Goes up and downstairs w/o help, jumps with both feet, draws lines, knows "big" and "small"
  • Favorite activity- watching TV (she’s perfect for our family!)
  • Favorite toy - cloth dolls

Qian Chun Wei1 6-3-11

Friday, November 11, 2011

We’ve been in a complete haze of amazement and wonder since we got the call from our agency on 10/31. For the past several days I’ve arrived at work with a headache from holding back tears, because I’ve somehow managed to relate every single song that comes on the radio to all we’ve been through to get to where we are right now. (What can I say, I’m 100% cheeseball when it comes to that.) After starting this process several years ago (5+ years qualifies as ‘several,’ right?!), it’s just so hard to believe that we’ve gotten to the point where we no longer have to use our stock answer of “two more years.” To be able to think in terms of months (or possibly weeks!) is truly a great feeling. In the past few weeks God has been revealing to us, on an almost daily basis, just how much He has been in control all along. We can’t wait to share the details, and we look forward to doing so very soon!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

sweet E

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We received Pre-Approval (PA) on Monday, just 2 days after submitting our Letter of Intent (LOI).  All of that boils down to the fact that we can share her face with you…..

More of the details coming soon!