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…’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.
Here is some good information on 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....)


Friday, November 25, 2011

for fun, driving directions….

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






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!


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!



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 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 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


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


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


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!


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.


We looked at her file and pictures then quickly went to 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

Qian Chun Wei 08-03-11

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!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

sibling pictures {the extra special edition}


Hey brother, what is that in your hand…..

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What, this picture frame?

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Yeah, who is in that picture frame? 

Let me see, really... a sister!

It’s our SISTER!

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Can you believe that?  We have a SISTER!

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Monday, November 07, 2011

15 month check-up (Wyatt)


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I forgot to post about Wyatt’s 15 month check-up.  The doctor declared Wyatt right on track and perfectly “normal”.  Even the things/behaviors that I don’t find very normal are apparently normal….and this too shall pass. We talked about his lack of eating and she sympathized with me saying she also had a picky eater.  There are no secrets for picky eaters you just have to go with the flow and hope for the best.  (She did suggest trying Carnation Good Start mix for his milk.  Naturally he refused to drink it.)

Wyatt weighed in at 27lbs 2oz and 33 inches.  That puts him in the 90% for weight and 97% for height.  And his noggin, well, his head didn’t even register on the charts.  At this point Wyatt is handing down hats to Will!

Wyatt had to have 3 shots and a flu shot.  (Will had a flu shot too and let’s not talk about how fun it was to have two boys getting shots at the same time….)  But as usual, Wyatt cried for about a second and all was right in the world again.

We are cleared for a few more months and will be back for an 18 month visit.  Not that we won’t be back before then for a random illness or something. 

*Notice the bump, bruise and scab on his forehead.  Wyatt is never without an embellishment on his forehead.  He is constantly falling, rolling, or running into something.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

sibling shot, part two!

After the failed pumpkin shots I had high hopes for a leaves shot.  I did find a beautiful pile of leaves.  And did get a few pictures.  But the brothers picture failed me again.  It’s the age, or the timing, or the fact that they are unbribeable.  I had candy for Will and he said he didn’t want any candy.  He makes this picture taking job very hard.  Oh well, when they’re older I’m sure I can find something to bribe them with!

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Wyatt isn’t bribable yet but he is pretty happy to hold a (wrapped) sucker in his hand….that is until Will takes it from him.  Not because he wanted to eat it, he just wanted to hold it.

Now I have it!

Saturday, November 05, 2011


Thursday, November 03, 2011

iPad, iPad, get your iPad!

The adoption/blogging community is pretty amazing and the friendships made are pretty incredible.  Someday soon I will tell you how I met Sandra, and how we became friends.  But until then, trust me when I say she has been an amazing part of our adoption journey and I am blessed to call her a friend.  Please stop by her blog, I Just Haven’t Met You Yet, and take a peek at her adorable daughter Kylie who is waiting in China for her family.  Kylie’s family is fundraising for the remaining adoption expenses by giving away an iPad2!  So head on over and buy a dozen or so raffle tickets (or just one).  Be a part of uniting a child with her forever family!!!!


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

trick or treat!

Monday was an interesting day at our house.  The boys were in rare form and I wondered if we should just call of candy hunting that evening.  Thankfully they calmed down and Will agreed to go trick or treating. 

Oh, and earlier in the day Will asked if Santa was going to bring his presents after we went trick or treating.  Not sure if he mixed up the holidays or was believing in the Great Pumpkin.  Either way, he was disappointed.

Mimi came over to see the boys costumes and hand out candy while we went out.  Will was not in a posing mood so this is as close as he would get to Mom.

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But I managed to get a cute picture of him when he wasn’t looking.  Thank goodness for planes going overhead! (though now I see he needs a haircut again!)

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We finally headed down the street to start ringing doorbells.  Will has been practicing that part for months.  We had to remind him several times to only ring it once.  But he did so good….saying Trick or Treat and then Thank You.  At some point he added in “can I have some candy for my baby brother?”.  We could have done without that part, but he was so excited to bring Wyatt some candy.  Wyatt only went to one front door.  Chris carried him to a few more and then we just stood there and let Will go on his own.

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Will raced to the front doors and excitedly waited.  I can’t believe he was brave enough to go alone!

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We only hit about 10 houses and Will decided he was done.  It was very cold out (and we might have been under dressed), and we had to hike up that big ole hill.  So I’m glad it was a short night.  Will spent a little while at home handing out candy to the kids….he managed to go thru an entire bag of candy on one set of kids.   We weren’t supervising close enough, he was giving out fistfuls!!!

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We had a great night with Peter Pan and Super Wy! 

(Will got called Tinkerbelle and Kermit once…..thankfully he didn’t notice.)