Friday, June 29, 2007


If you haven't checked out Laney yet, today would be a good day. It is so amazing to see so many families getting their daughters on the other side of the world. I never imagined how many different types of people chose Chinese adoption. As you can see from the group picture, all different kinds of families are now blessed with Chinese daughters. I can't wait to be one of those families sitting on a red couch holding my baby girl!

I thought it might be interesting to show where all the paperwork is being handled in China. I believe this segment of the government moved into their new facility last year and that it is seven stories high. One photo is the view from one of the windows at the CCAA. Above this one you can see one of the rooms where our file could possibly waiting for its turn to be processed. There is quite a lot of paperwork to be done both in China and in the US. As you can see the CCAA has lots and lots of people's files waiting to be processed. We are waiting and waiting to have our finalization of ours so we can go get our girl.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Letter to Friends and Family

I have posted today the letter that I emailed out a long time ago to our friends and family. I felt it was important to repost so that anyone who did not receive it could be informed as well.

Dear friends and family it is with great pleasure that I introduce to you Miss Shelby Ann Fu Straight! She was born on September 11, 2005 in Nanning City, Guangxi, People’s Republic of China. She is currently 20 months old and weighs around 20 lbs. She was born with a cleft lip and palate (hole in the roof of her mouth). She has already received surgery to close her lip, and we will have surgery done here in the US once she is home. She is currently in care of a foster family that she has been with since she was 2 months old. We hope to travel to China to get her in October or November of this year! We can’t wait to bring her home!!

As some of you know, the process of adopting a baby girl from China is complex. Since we haven’t had a chance to tell all of you and those who do know have asked about our progress, we thought we would share some details. The adoption process from China has three major steps. (1)The first step is called the “PAPERCHASE” for obvious reasons. It involves applying to the agency of your choice, completing a home study (where your personal, professional, financial, and family life is thoroughly investigated) and applying to the immigration office to bring a foreign adopted child into the US which includes an FBI fingerprinting. What you end up with is a bulging file of dozens of documents. We have just completed this much and we just received our acceptance letter. Now we will need to send this small mountain of documents to various government agencies to have them notarized, certified, and authenticated. Our papers (or dossier) will then be sent to China where we will be given a log-in date...this will be a day of great celebration, as we are then DONE with the paperchase. But now is the hardest part...(2) The WAIT. Currently the waiting time lasts about 4-5 months. This is the time our papers are translated, processed, and shuffled around a bit in China. But, after the wait comes...(3) The TA. This is the final Travel Approval to travel to China for 14 days to bring her home.
This much information may be adequate for many of you. However, others may have questions about the myriad of issues that circle around the adoption issue. We are attaching some more information about Chinese adoption and our process for those who would like to know more.

Why Adopt? Why China?
We’ve been asked many times now, “Why did you decide to adopt?” and I always find it difficult to really put into a brief response something that has grown deeply in our hearts through the past few years. The simplest and truest answer I can give is that this is what we feel God has called us to do. I thought that this dream of mine would never come to reality; however, the stars aligned and now seemed like the perfect timing…God’s Timing!

Our initial reason for adopting was a mix of seeing the need and sensing a growing desire to add to our family. Our desire to adopt has deepened out of the research and information we‘ve read. The number of orphaned children is staggering, and as one author put it, “All it takes to bring the statistics to life is to look into the face of one small child. Then all the numbers come with faces--and they are not easy to look in the eye.” We were amazed to hear there are more than 30 million orphaned children around the world. Nearly 2 million of them are in China and it is estimated that only 2% of these children are ever given a mommy and/or daddy or a place to call home. Every year in China, hundreds of thousands of baby girls are put into orphanages. And of course, China is not alone. Many other countries have similar stories. Africa is estimated to have 5.5 million orphans and our own foster care system is flooded with children who are longing for a home. The numbers are compelling, making the feelings of loss and aloneness almost palpable for those who dare to read them.

An ancient Chinese belief reads, “An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break.” The proverb is said to refer to those we will one day marry, but many parents believe it applies to those children that God has birthed in their hearts, that will one day be theirs. Over the last year the thread has stretched and there may even be tangles in the coming months, but we’ve held tight to the promise that the thread will never break.

China Synopsis
If you have children, please use discretion in sharing some of the following information with them. To give our daughter the best chance of developing a healthy self-image, we will be very careful in how and when we tell her about the circumstances of her abandonment (to the extent that we will know them). While we plan to be very open and honest with her about her adoption from the very beginning, some issues need to be handled carefully and at the appropriate time. Please decide what to tell your children about her and the Chinese culture after you read the following pages, using gentle words that will not someday be fed back to our daughter in an unwittingly hurtful way (we‘ve heard of children innocently telling an adopted child their mother threw her away in the garbage because she didn‘t want her...obviously misunderstanding what she heard her parents saying.)

China Facts
China is the most populous country in the world with 1.2 billion people (22% of the world’s population). The one-child policy is enforced in varying degrees in different regions of the country. In some places, a couple must apply to the government and receive an authorized schedule of when it is “their turn” to try for pregnancy. The penalties for having unauthorized children are severe if discovered and can consist of being fined a year’s wages, the loss of a job, imprisonment, social ostracism, etc. Forced abortion has been a common practice to both eliminate an unauthorized pregnancy or a baby girl.

Preference for Boys
China is primarily an agricultural country where hard labor is necessary for survival, and therefore there is a need for men and boys. Cultural practices are also at work in the desire for sons. The sons take care of aging parents and carry on the family name and farm. A son is “social security” where there is no government care, 401(k) or pensions on the rural farmlands of China. As a Chinese girl grows up and marries, she goes to the home of her in-laws to live and serve there. If one only has a daughter, there is no security in retirement. When one father was asked why the quest for a son after having seven daughters, he said, “My girls will belong to someone else. Only my son will feed me rice when I am old.”

Abandonment of Baby Girls
It is illegal in most of China to give birth to a second child. It is also illegal to abandon a child, though many have no other choice since there is no system where a parent can place a child for adoption. This is a Catch-22 for birthparents because they can neither keep the child, nor make an adoption plan for the child, so most are forced to leave their child anonymously. Birthmothers typically leave their baby girl in a conspicuous public place where they know she’ll be found and cared for, like the a busy public market or the gate of an orphanage. Some birthmothers leave a note of the child’s birth date with possibly a little more information and a brief reason why the child has been left. Fortunately, Shelby was left with her birthday on a note. But, for many there is no birth record or history to be traced. The orphanage will determine how old they believe the child to be and give him/her a birth date and name.

Chinese Orphanages
There are about 1,000 orphan facilities in China, and only 250 are licensed for international adoption. This means they (the licensed facilities) have income from adoption fees that allow them to provide a relatively good environment for the children. According to everything we have read, the children receive relatively good care and love from the orphanage staff. Although many orphanages are short of resources and cannot give each child adequate personal attention, the caregivers - called nannies - do become quite attached to the children. Because of the love and care received in most of the orphanages, babies from China, in general, are not showing significant attachment problems. Furthermore, the health of the Chinese adoptive children is predominantly good. They may be malnourished, and some may be somewhat delayed in their gross motor skills, but these issues are usually easily and quickly rectified after a short time with their families. There are organizations such as “Half the Sky Foundation” that are training orphanage staff about child development and the importance of nurturing (esp. physical contact) to help children develop physically and emotionally healthy. In the last few years, due to the efforts of these organizations, many of these orphanages have beautiful play rooms where the children play and receive much physical interaction with their nannies. Despite the strides made in updating and educating orphanages, there is, of course, a natural concern about the emotional and physical safety of any child who has spent up to a year or more in any orphanage. Yet, we know that this is what God has called us to do and He will give us the strength and resources to deal with any issues that may arise (which most times are few or none). Please join with us, as I know many of you have already, in praying for the health and safety of Shelby and all children without homes.

The saddest part of this story are the remaining (750) orphanages who have little resources (because they do not get any income from international adoption) and are unable to provide basic services like nutrition, medical care, education, or even heat for the lost children in their care who most likely will never leave. At the end of this letter I have listed information for organizations if you’re interested in finding out how you can help these children left in the orphanages.

Chinese Foster Care
Some of the orphanages’ children are in foster care, which is usually better for the child’s care but heart-rending at separation because the foster mother and father are typically devoted and attached to the child. Shelby is one of the few lucky ones who is currently blessed with a foster family.

The Referral
We have chosen a child with a cleft lip and cleft palate. She had her lip closed in China and as you can see, she is beautiful. We will have her palate closed when she comes home. Just like having a biological child, there are no guarantees our child will look a certain way or be completely healthy. We do however, have some choices in adoption. We have requested this baby girl who is currently 20 months of age.

We are excited to share the news with you all. What we know now is her name is Ning Fu Hong, her name (given by the orphanage). Sometimes the children will have what is referred to as an orphanage haircut. With so many children to care for and to keep lice at a minimum, the orphanages will often times keep the hair very short or on occasion, shaved. And many times referral photos show a small child bundled in as many as six layers of clothing, making it difficult to really see the size of the child. We are thrilled to finally put a face to our dreams and to see the little one God has chosen for us.

Our Trip
Our family will travel to China for about two weeks (we‘ve decided that the whole family will go). We will probably first travel to Beijing for a couple of days to meet our guide and the rest of our travel group. There we will visit the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square. Next we will fly to the area near our daughter’s orphanage, usually in the provincial city, where adoption paperwork is processed. Normally, on the first or second day in the province the children are brought to the adopting parents at their hotel. Once the adoption paperwork is processed in the local province, we will travel to Guangzhou (AKA Canton) just north of Hong Kong, for medical exams, completion of the child’s passport, and submission of application for the child’s visa into the U.S. at the U.S. Consulate. Upon receipt of the visa and passport, we will return home.

Attitude of the Chinese Toward American Adoptive Parents
All reports from those who have made the trip are the same. The Chinese people are quite friendly, and when they learn that you have adopted a Chinese child, they react with great delight and believe the babies are extremely fortunate. One of the things the people say in English is “Lucky baby”. But we know we are the ones who are blessed!

When We Return-Bonding
Because children will naturally attach to those who take care of them and meet their needs, many adopted children go through a grieving period due to the loss of their caretaker. This grieving indicates a healthy ability to attach and attaching is an important social/emotional issue. We know of few problems with children (especially young children) bonding to their adoptive parents, although the amount of time it takes varies; usually the child warms up to his/her parents over a couple of days and bonds in a short period. It still may take a while for her to feel and know that we are her family. Because we will be sensitive to this issue, it will be important for us to have family time and wait to do a lot of traveling and visiting until we feel well adjusted as a family. It’s important for us to remember that she will most likely never have been outside of the orphanage and the sights, sounds, and all the people who look different (her world virtually turned upside down) may be overwhelming to her the first week or so. Therefore, we ask that you understand if she is shy and reluctant to be passed around....after a short period of adjustment she’ll transition into being a normal kid.

Being Open about Her Adoption
Through our actions and love we’ll have to teach her that we are her real parents and that she is our real daughter and that Caleb and Travis are her real siblings. Talking often about the fact that she is adopted and telling her things such as, “I’m so glad we adopted you” and “I love your beautiful dark eyes and black hair” from the time she is tiny, will help her to always know that there is nothing wrong with being adopted or looking different than her other family members. This way, she will not have an abrupt revelation of her adoption that may make her feel awkward or betrayed. We feel like honesty is the best policy, though we realize many issues will need to be handled delicately.

Her Birthparents and “Abandonment”
We will teach our daughter to honor her birthparents in China. Although we will know nothing about them or the circumstances of the abandonment, it is likely that giving her up was extremely difficult. It can be easy to be judgmental of anyone who abandons a child, but the circumstances in China are different than we can imagine and we will give them the benefit of the doubt. We will probably choose to tell her that her birth mother could not care for her, so she left her at the orphanage so someone could find her where she would be cared for until we could bring her home.

Honoring Her Chinese Culture
There have been some important lessons to be learned from the previous decades of adoptive parents and children. One of these lessons comes from the (now adult) children adopted from Korea in the 1950s. At that time it was more important for adoptees to assimilate or “fit in” rather than keep a connection to their birth culture. Many times in defending the “realness” of their family, these adoptive parents tried to pretend they were like everyone else and denied any differences, leaving a great feeling of loss and confusion for the Korean adoptees. Today most people feel it is important to embrace the differences that exist in an intercultural family. It’s a very complex issue; as one family therapist put it, “Adoption itself carries a primal kind of loss. Add the loss of original country and culture, and you can see the magnitude of the problem.” It is our desire to provide our daughter with as much opportunity to honor her heritage and pursue any interest she may have of her culture. It is likely she won’t be terribly interested in Chinese culture until she is older and more mature and less focused on “fitting in”. Cultivating respect for her culture and offering as much information as possible during her childhood is our way of keeping that door open should she someday choose to step through.
Our greatest desire is that our daughter will know other families and children that look like her and that we can find the balance between celebrating that she is a normal American kid and honoring and celebrating her heritage. We have met many families who have or are adopting from China through groups such as Families with Children from China (FCC) which has a local chapter in our area and the adoption support group that we have been blessed to find right off 41 . We’ve already received a wealth of information through several Chinese adoption email groups, one with 12,000 families all at different stages of adoption and many who’ve been through the process several times.

Dealing with Comments from Others
One of the most important things we will deal with in public is responding to remarks by strangers who are interested, curious, intrusive, or even rude. It is enlightening to hear those with Chinese daughters tell stories about the comments they receive. We will all have to learn how to respond to comments, most of which are kind, but some of which may be inappropriate. We don’t want to be among the oversensitive, and more important than our personal feelings when people express comments in our daughter’s hearing, is responding in a way that helps her develop a positive self-image. Here’s a sample of some of the more insensitive comments our e-mail friends have received in front of their child:
Stranger to crying Chinese child: “You’d better stop crying or you’ll get sent back where you came from.”
“Why did you adopt her from China when there are so many kids right here who need parents?”
“Why would you want to adopt from a Communist country?”
“How much did you pay for her?”
“Do you know who her real parents are?” “That isn’t her real sister/brother is it?” (when people don’t realize adoption makes a real family...we will be her real parents, real siblings)
“Isn’t it terrible how they throw away their girls?”
There’s so much more we could share with you but I feel we’ve highlighted most of the areas. If you have any questions, are interested in adoption, or know of anyone interested in adoption, we would love to help in any way we can. I don’t believe that God has called us all to adopt, but I do know that He has called us ALL to help orphans in every way we are able. James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” The mandate is clear and yet many people don‘t know what they can do. There are many organizations that work with orphans. I have also listed some resources on the right side for anyone who would like to read more about adoption and/or specifically, Chinese adoption.

Thank you so much for your time....I know it turned into more of a book than a letter and I apologize. If you ever have a question we’ve overlooked, be sure to ask us. We greatly value and appreciate your support.
CJ, Donna, Caleb & Travis

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I finally received our official LID (log in date) yesterday....JUNE 13, 2007!! WOOHOO! Now the countdown to LOA begins. It usually takes about 100 days to receive your LOA (Letter of Approval) from your LID. Once we receive our LOA, then we will receive our TA (Travel Approval) about 3 weeks after the LOA. So needless to say we are still hoping to travel around the first week of November. Keep praying for our little girl to be home soon :)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Place Shelby was found

Someone posted on my Yahoo group today some pictures they just took of the orphanage that Shelby belongs to. Here are great pictures of the Yongning Social Welfare Institute. Shelby's paperwork said that she was found at the gate of this SWI when she was 2 weeks old. These pictures are great for her scrapbook as we will probably not get to visit there in person when we go to China. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Weekend Recap

We have had a busy weekend, but of course a fun one. We started off with 3 different birthday parties yesterday. We had one at 11am, 2pm, and 5pm. Needless to say we were pooped when we made it home last night. It is great to spend the day surrounded by friends and family having parties! We are very blessed to have so many people we care about so close to us :)

Today was a BIG BIG day for our church. We had our first service in our brand new facility that we just built across the street from our old church. The building project has been in full force for about a year, and today was the big day to move in. We have 3 services and all 3 were packed today for the big event. The whole service I sat there just imagining that this would be the place that Travis and Shelby would come to know our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We were very blessed to have Caleb baptized just recently in our old facility. I know that we will soon be able to witness that same great miracle for our two littlest family members when their time is right. I pray that all of our children will come to know the love of Jesus and how truly blessed they all are!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Fishing Trip for Caleb

No new Shelby news, so I thought I would show off my big fisherman this past weekend. Caleb was allowed to go visit for 4 whole days with Frank and Betty at their house boat. This was the longest I had ever been away from him :( As you can see from the pics, I don't think he missed me! Thanks F&B for being such great buddies to my boys and bringing JOY to our lives :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cleft Repair

I know a lot of people are concerned about Shelby's "special need". She had a cleft lip that she already had surgery on when she was 8 months old. However, she still has a cleft palate now. What this means is that she has a whole or split in the roof of her mouth. I found this very detailed blog about another little girl and her palate surgery. You can click here to read about it. This little girl's mouth/palate before her surgery looks very much like the picture I have of Shelby's palate. According to my research, Shelby's surgery will go much like the details in this blog. Once I receive our LOA then I plan to go ahead and make an appointment with the specialist Cleft Team at Scottish Rite. We will even have personalized service from a nurse that is also adopting when we have her surgery done. I plan to wait to have her surgery until she has been home for at least a month or so. It is very important to have a solid attachment in place before such a dramatic experience. Shelby will be just fine to wait a few months for the surgery as she has survived 2 years with an open palate already. She should be able to eat just about anything that you and I eat even though she has an open palate. Some of the "weird" things that others may notice different about her will be some extra drooling and maybe some things coming out of her nose when she eats. I know that sounds strange but I feel it is important for others to be informed BEFORE she comes home. I don't want anyone freaking out at the dinner table if they see this happening with her. I will simply wipe the food away and go on about eating-no big deal ;)

So know you have a little information about her condition and I plan to keep informing everyone a little bit at a time. Knowledge is power, and I hope to keep gaining more and more knowledge as I wait for her to come home.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future." - Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Little Laney has finally met her mommy and daddy today! I am so jealous as I read about Jay and Angela's marvelous Gotcha Day today. I can't wait until the day we get to meet Shelby in person. Jay and Angela have been waiting a long long time to finally get their baby girl. I am very happy for the new family. They look very happy and amazingly perfect together at last. I am very hopeful that our day will come soon.

I received an awesome email today from Misty at China Babies that was titled "We finally have approval for the report on your daughter!" We are very excited and hopeful to get this report in about a month or so. It will have current photos and all kinds of information about her current life in China. I know this report will be priceless to her as she gets older and wants to know about her past. Here is a list of some of the questions they ask for the report:

These are some examples of the questions they ask during the interview process:
Information on the caregivers and pictures of any that you can get.
If it is a foster family, what do they do? What is their daily life/routine like?
What are the child's likes and dislikes?
Who are they most attached to of their caregivers?
What do they eat?
When and where do they sleep? (pictures of this if possible) Are they with other children?
How long have they been with the family or at the orphanage?
How are they bathed and do they like baths?
What is their personality like? Happy? Stubborn? Quiet? Shy? etc Describe the child to the best of your ability.
Try to get pictures of anything that has to do with the child and their current living condition.
Have they been ill? If so, with what?
Are there any concerns that the foster family or orphanage has regarding the child?
If it is a foster family, would they like communication from the adoptive family?
Do they seem bonded with the child?
Have they fostered other children or have other children in the home?
What is your perception of the foster family and their relationship with the child?
What are the child's measurements? Head, chest, waist, height, weight, foot size?
Does the child speak? Understand when spoken to? crawl? Walk? Jump? Sit up? Play? Feed herself? Take a bottle? etc.
Do they have any nicknames for the child or what do they call them?

And did I mention PICTURES?! Yes, we hope to have pictures of Shelby soon. Stay tuned.

Big Bargains

This may be a little off topic, but I wanted to tell everyone in Georgia about some great deals. Eckerd Drug Store is being purchased by Rite Aid, so they have a special right now on all their Eckerd brand products. You can get ANY Eckerd brand product for 50% off! (BTW-I am not affiliated with them at all) This includes things we all need like diapers, baby soap, baby oil powders, especially meds like Tylenol, Benadryls, Pepto (for the trip to China!), and did I mention DIAPERS at 50% off! So get there today and use the coupon in the circular in the store.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Shelby's Package

Check out all the pictures and stuff we are sending to Shelby. I have this package ready to mail out tomorrow. Let's hope our trusty USPS will get it there soon. You would think I would have some preferential treament there (any help mom?!) This package is sent special delivery with lots of love. We hope to see this little pink bunny in person again soon with Shelby attached to it!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Best Dads

Happy Father's Day to all the great men out there! We had a great day hanging out with my own dad today swimming at his house. I have been blessed with a terrific father and I am very grateful to have him so close to my house (and my heart!) I am always being told that I am "just like your father", and I take that as a compliment. So Happy Father's Day Daddy!!

Now I wanted to take a moment to reflect on another great dad that is in my life, my husband. CJ is the greatest dad that I could have ever dreamed up for my kids. He is patient, attentive, loving, and above all a FUN DAD! (BTW-He will probably shoot me for posting all of this ;) I just can't say enough about how lucky and blessed that my kids are to have him for their father. Shelby will be no exception. CJ has always wanted a daughter, and now Shelby will finally be fullfilling that dream. Happy Father's Day Sweetie!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Rock A Bye Baby

Well we did survive the Friday afternoon traffic yesterday and made over to the 3rd Friday meeting last night. CJ and Travis were able to go with me. It was nice for them to meet some of the people we might be traveling to China with soon. The meeting was great and very informative. Barbara Fisher was the speaker from The Center of Attachment Resources and Enrichment. It was great to hear from a professional about some of the possible attachment issues Shelby may encounter. I believe knowledge is power, so it was great to get this FREE information that was provided by the Vance's. They are very generous to open their home every month.

One thing that I quickly added to my "to-do" list was to get a rocking chair for Shelby's room. Barbara told us that we need to remember that even though our children may be what we would consider "too old" to be rocked to sleep, most of the children from an institution have not EVER had this luxury. So I fully intend to give Shelby all the rocking she needs once she is home. I rocked both of my boys to sleep every night for their first year, so Shelby will be no different even though she will be 2 years old. She deserves a good rocking every night just like her brothers received. I remembered that I had tried to sell my boys' rocking chair at a yard sale a couple of years ago at my mom's house. CJ quickly reminded me that my mom did not sell the chair, and she kept it for herself in her spare bedroom. Call it what you will, but I now believe that God must have already had other plans for that good ole rocking chair, SHELBY! So I went to my mom's tonight, and yes there was the rocking chair that I had rocked my other babies in. My mom was quick to release it back to her grand-daughter's room. Now I just need Shelby home for a good night's rocking!!

Friday, June 15, 2007

3rd Friday Meeting Tonight

I am looking forward to tonight for a adoption meeting called 3rd Friday. I was able to go last week and meet a few other families that are adopting their children from the same Waiting Child List as Shelby. The meeting is open to anyone who is interested in adoption, has adopted, or is waiting to adopt. There is going to be a great topic tonight about Attachment Disorders, along with a special speaker. Here is the information about the meeting if you want to go:

Ron and Kim Vance will be hosting a monthly adoption open house at their home on the third Friday of each month, which will be for adopting families, waiting families and anyone else interested in adoption. There is no charge, childcare is provided, and light refreshments will be served. Dress is very casual. Please help us spread the word to anyone you think might be interested in attending. Please contact Sue Mathis or Kim Vance, 770-962-2073, for details.

The next meeting at the Vance's home will be on Friday, June 15, 2007, at 7:30pm.
We're excited about the topics lined up for this summer's Third Fridays! We've chosen topics that we think will be helpful to you while you wait. Please make plans to join us.

Friday, June 15 Guest speaker, Barbara Fisher, therapist at the Center for Attachment Disorder
Friday, July 20 Guest speaker, Kay Graap, Author of "Lifebook Writing Guide" Learn how to organize adoption photos and documents, get ideas how to write about your child's early life in China, and turn your child's life story into a readable, fun, and interesting story!

The Third Friday summer series will be held at 7:30pm at Ron and Kim Vance's home. Their address is 1700 President's Drive, Lawrenceville, GA 30043.

I hope to see some familiar faces tonight at the meeting and of course meet some new people as well. Looking forward to a great evening.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Just received the official Pre-Approval Letter from our agency! It states:

"Through the examination of the basic condition of the adoptive family C and D Straight and plan of treatment and rehabilitation for the child NING FU HONG from Guangxi Nanning welfare institute, it is agreed that the adoption will be carried out through the procedure for adopting children of special needs after the submission fo application documents of the adopters according to their wish.
(Sealed) Administration Department, China Center of Adoption Affairs"

I am so excited to receive something from China that officially states she will be ours providing that we meet all their rules and regulations. This is just pre-approval, so now we will wait for our official Letter Seeking Confirmation (Letter of Approval LOA). That will be the final letter stating that they have reviewed our complete dossier file and we are completely approved to adopt her. We are hoping to receive that letter in about 3 months.

WOOHOO- Doing the PA Woohoo Dancing!!!!!! All smiles knowing we are one more step closer to bringing Shelby home!

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Oh Man...

I just received this information from Adele:

Hi Donna,
My contact has called the orphanage about the cameras for you. The orphanage prefers to give cameras back to you at adoption time. My contact asked them if they could email some digital photos of your child to him. They agreed to do so. If he does receive some digital photos of your child from the orphanage, I will email you as soon as possible.

I am very dissappointed about not getting the cameras back until we go to China. However, I will continue to pray that they will at least send a couple of recent photos via email. We will just have to sit and wait...

People are Strange...

The Stupid Things People Say - Comic Relief!

Lady in grocery store to my husband with our daughter in the shopping cart: "What is she?" Husband replied: "A girl!"

A lady who my husband sees frequently with his job asked him the other day, "So how is her English coming along?" Our daughter is now 5 3/4 and in kindergarten, she came home at 10 months of age! My husband replied, "A lot better than her Chinese!"

White man to my 8 year old (adopted from China): "You speak English very well." My 8 year old: "Thanks, I practice alot.”

A: "is she able to eat american food?" Me: "uhhhh...yes?" A: "really? and she's okay on it??" as if we have to feed her rice and egg rolls or else she'll implode. Has anyone ever asked the mother of an american toddler if their child was able to eat chinese food and if so, were they okay

"Will the chinese always be in her?" nah, we're having it surgically removed next week

S : "she's awful clingy to you" Me: "yeah, she won't let me put her down" S: "were your other 3 like that?" Me: "no" S: "I wonder why she is and they weren't??" *HMMM lets see...what could it be that makes Mia act different than my bio kids. Lets think, what is the difference? Oh, it must be cause she's chinese. This conclusion leads to her next comment...* S: "are all chinese kids like that?"

"It's going to be so weird to see an oriental baby calling YOU mama!"

"Well, at least she's cute"

"I wish I could just go buy a baby" - someone who was pregnant at the time

"I thought she'd be some crackbaby or something"

"Its sad how they just throw them away"

"I never thought I'd see the day when you could buy babies on the internet"

Lady at the cash register at Walmart when we bought Mia her first outfits: "Are these clothes for a baby?" Me: "yes, we're adopting" Her: "Really? What color?" Me: "Excuse me?" Her: "You know, white, black, mexican?" Me: "She's chinese" Her: "Oh! thats cool!"
"Do they know you're adopting?" Cashier at Walmart, pointing at Mason and my kids. Same cashier as above.

"I just don't think I could raise someone else's kid"

"They kill the girls there, you know. Strangle 'em, suffocate 'em, take 'em out and shoot 'em!" -

MIL: "Can I send Mia a valentine's day card?" me: "to her orphanage?" MIL: "Yes, I want to send her a card" me: "Uhm, well, I don't think they'd be able to read it" MIL: "I know that, but she can get her mom to read it to her" me: "uhm, she doesn't have a mom there else she wouldn't be up for adoption and I meant the fact that they speak chinese there...they can't read the english card to her" MIL: "oh. nevermind then!"

person: Have you ever wanted to have another kid but you didn't want to have another baby? me: yes... we're adopting Mia person: No, I meant a real kid

person: What if you get all the way to China and they give you a different kid? Would you even know it? me: well yeah, I have pictures of her, I know what she looks like person: no I mean, could you really tell its her? I mean, they all look alike me: uhhhh....I know what my daughter looks like, I could pick her out of all of China person: no way, they all look the same

"A: I want to have another baby, I wish *hubby* hadn't had a vasectomy Me: Have you considered adopting?? A: I want my OWN kid Me: Mia IS my OWN kid A: no she's not Me: yes, yes she is A: not really though she's not Me: no really she is A: whatever

"You know she's a chinese girl, right?!" - waitress at the chinese restaurant after we showed her Mia's picture and told her we were adopting her

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Details on Shelby

A lot of people have asked for more details about Shelby. Here is all of the information we received when we got her referral. This report was completed in December 2006 when she was 15 months old. I am sure she has changed since then, but this is all I know about her life at this moment. Enjoy!

Admission Process: name given by the Institute: Ning Fu Hong; female; born September 11, 2005.
On September 24, 2005, infant was found abandoned at the gate of Yongning District Social
Welfare District. Nanning City’s Public Security Bureau’s Chengguan Police were sent to locate
birth parents, but were unsuccessful. On the same day after being approved by Yongning District
Public Security Bureau, Chengguan Police brought her to our institute for caretaking. At
discovery, a birth note was found with her, stating “lunar calendar birthday, equivalent to the
Gregorian calendar: September 11, 2005”

Physical Condition: admission physical examination as follows – Temp: 36.1°C; respirations: 35
bpm; pulse: 140 bpm; weight: 3 kg; head circumference 32 cm; chest circumference 31 cm; length:
50 cm; infant was conscious, alert and had congenital cleft lip and palate; robust cry, good
suckling reflex, supple skin and medium nutritious condition; left lip cleft and palate cleft III°.
Ears and eyes normal with no secretion; neck supple; symmetrical chest; heart, lungs on
stethoscopic evaluation normal; abdomen soft; liver and spleen not palpable; umbilical cord
detached; area no secretion of fluids; spine, four limbs no deformity; movement good; anus and
outer reproductive organs, no deformity; “embrace” reflex exists.
On April 28, 2006, under general anesthesia, patient underwent single side complete cleft lip
repair surgery and initial nasal deformity repair surgery. Incision has healed well.

Intellect Development: under the diligent care of the foster family, Ning Fu Hong’s development
is good; in the first and second month, she slept most of the time. On November 6, 2005, she was
brought to the foster family. Between four and five months, when held by her thighs, Ning Fu
Hong could sit. She could raise her head up and reacted directionally appropriate to sounds;
when hearing music, she’d show excitement by kicking her legs and waving her hands.
When played with, little Ning Fu Hong makes lovely “ge ge” giggles. She can easily raise her head.

Between 6 and 7 months, when held under her arms, Ning Fu Hong could stand up and do kicking
motions; she could roll from lying on her back to rolling to her belly. Both her hands could grab
toys effortlessly. When handed a small play block, she can hold onto it and shake it. Ning Fu
Hong places her hands into her mouth and then playfully takes it out again; she loves to wave her
hands gleefully. Her legs kick vigorously and alternating left and right. She loves to vocalize with
“ye ye ya ya” sounds.

Between 8 and 9 months, Ning Fu Hong could crawl, sit by herself, and play with toys by herself.
She could stand while holding onto a railing, or sit down and change to a lying position. She can
reach her arms out to “ask” adults to hold her. She shows preference to familiar people. Ning Fu
Hong started vocalizing specifically towards familiar people.

At 10-11 months, when brought outdoors to play, Ning Fu Hong shows excitement. When she sees
food, she’ll “demand” it! If she’s not given it right away, she’ll get impatient and fuss. When she
sees toys or colorful objects, Ning Fu Hong will play or touch it with interest. When her name is
called, Ning Fu Hong appears very happy and smiles broadly towards you. When asked, “where
are your eyes, where is your mouth?” she can point them out to you. When held by both hands,
Ning Fu Hong can walk. Ning Fu Hong can imitate adults movements, such as waving goodbye.

Between 12 and 13 months, Ning Fu Hong can walk well, can tussle toys from her peers and when
taught to recognize characters on a picture book, she can already identify them by pointing her
finger at them when prompted. Sometimes, when she plays outdoors, Ning Fu Hong will yell
eagerly, “ba, ma!” Now she can imitate more adults’ movements such as nodding her head,
waving her hands and winking.

Life habits and character: since admission, Ning Fu Hong has enjoyed a good life schedule and
1. Diet: 7 meals per day; 7:00 a.m., (milk); 8:00 a.m., (bone soup with rice gruel); 10:20 a.m.,
(milk); 12 noon (vegetable, pork and gruel); 3:00 p.m. (milk); 6:00 p.m. (pork liver,
vegetable and gruel); 9:00 p.m. (milk)
2. Sleep: 9:00 p.m. goes to bed; 6:40 a.m. gets up; 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. has nap
3. Bathing: twice per day, summer at 9:00 a.m. and winter at 4:00 p.m.
4. Bowel habits: one to two bowel movements daily; 8-10 urinations daily

Monday, June 11, 2007

In China finally

I just tracked our dossier and YES it has officially arrived in China today on our lucky day the 11th. Today Shelby is 21 months old and we are missing her more and more each day. I took some pictures of her room that we are going to be mailing her. I am putting together a photo albulm to send to her of her house and extended family. I believe that her foster family should be able to get an idea of where Shelby is going to be living the rest of her life. So even though Shelby might not understand the pictures, I feel like her foster family will enjoy them.

We spent the weekend at the lake camping with the boys. We love to do the lake thing-fishing, camping, boating. I couldn't resist posting this pic of my boys and their BIG catch!

Thursday, June 7, 2007


Can you believe it...our paperwork is finally COMPLETE and off to China courtesy of FedEx! Yes, we are officially DTC (Dossier To China) Today and I cannot even tell you how happy I am to reach this very important milestone. I received the following from Hope today:

"CONGRATULATIONS...your dossier is going to China TODAY, June 7, 2007, via FedEx International Priority! You can track the package at and find out exactly when it arrives in China at the China Center of Adoption Affairs. Attached are photos of your dossier so you'll know exactly what this bundle of special documents (that you have worked so hard on for the past several months) looks like as it goes off to your child's homeland! Today is your official "DTC" date (Dossier to China). Congratulations on getting this far!! Once your dossier is received and logged in, it is approximately 3 to 4 months from your official log in date that we would receive your Letter of Seeking Confirmation. It then takes approximately 1 to 3 weeks after we send your official acceptance of the referral back to China to receive approval to travel. Families usually travel within 2 - 4 weeks after receiving their Travel Approval.The countdown of approximately 3 to 4 months will begin once we receive your official log-in date from the CCAA, which we receive via postal mail approximately 4-6 weeks after your dossier arrives in China. As soon as I receive your log-in date ("LID"), I will email it to you, but if you do not hear from me, it simply means I have not received it yet. "
So now the next step will be to finally get an official LID (Log in Date) back from the CCAA. I am so excited. Here is the final pic of our docs that went today.
Officially DTC 6/7/07

She can finally see us!

I just received this email from Adele at BlessedKids:

Dear Donna,
My contact has called the orphanage about your package. The orphanage confirmed that they had passed your package to your child in foster care on the same day when the package arrived at the orphanage.

It is a great feeling to know that Shelby can finally see who her mommy and daddy and big brothers are. Hang on little one, we'll be there to get you soon!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Good News for Friends

I received 2 great emails from 2 different families today. The first family was the family who is waiting on their little boy from China. Sheridan's dad sent the following...

"The phone rang from Colorado and we have been given Pre-Approval again. They got a call last night from CCAA (China Center of Adoption Affairs) giving a verbal pre-approval based on the documentation we sent concerning Mama’s bi-polar medications. We are now just waiting for the paperwork to be done. The next few weeks will be just waiting and not worrying. That is such a big difference. God be blessed for his hands are at work on this earth. Thank you to all who have been praying as they have been answered. Please keep us in your prayers as we just wait for the LOA and TA and CA until we journey to China to get Sheridan."

This is awesome news as I can only imagine how difficult this past month has been for them. You can visit their blog at

I also heard from Lucy today whose little girl is on the same waiting child list as Shelby. She sent her LOI in on the same day (even same package) as Shelby's LOI. Today Lucy received her actual LOA! This is the official confirmation from China that you are approved to adopt your specific child. This is absolutely amazing and GREAT news to see that CCAA (China) seems to be moving at record speed (at least for Ally's sake). I can only dream that our journey to Shelby will be so fast. Congratulations to both families!!

June Stork Delivers Today

Looks like the stork delivered the June babies today from China. Every month a new batch of referrals arrive and today was the day for many happy families. China sent referrals today for people who have a LID (log in date) between November 2-7, 2005. Fortunately we will not have to wait as long as these couples did to receive their new child!

The link below is to a short video of other families receiving their babies. This typically happens within the first day or so after arriving in China. The meeting is usually held in the government center of the province that the baby is from. Enjoy!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Package Should Arrive Today

A lot of people have asked if we can send anything to Shelby while we wait. The answer is yes, and yes I already have. The package should actually arrive to the orphanage today. It will be up to the orphanage to get the package to her in her foster home. I hope and pray that they deliver it to her soon. I used Adele Hall at Blessed Kids to send the package. It included a letter written in Chinese explaining who we are and that we hope to come for Shelby in the Fall. I was also able to include 4 pictures of us along with some goodies for her. Adele also sent 2 disposable cameras in the package. The letter explains for them to take the pictures and then return the cameras to her contact in China. This way we are more likely to get the cameras mailed sooner rather than waiting until we go to China. IF the foster family does mail the cameras to her contact in China, then Adele will then be able to email me the pictures. I really really really hope they send the cameras as asked. I would LOVE to see some recent pics of Shelby.

Here is the email I received from Blessed Kids last week:
"I faxed the letter and package information to my contact. I have emailed your photos to China to be printed as regular photos so that he can include them in the package. He will send the package to the orphanage around May 25. I will email you around June 4 about the package arrival. I will keep you updated about the camera retrieval service. It is a joy to do the translation for you. I look forward to working as a translator for you again in the future. I have attached a flyer about my services for adoptive parents. It will be great if you can do me a favor to pass this information and my web site to your adoption agency and other adoptive parents. I will really appreciate it."

Friday, June 1, 2007

Energizing Meeting

We just got back from the 1st Friday meeting and it was as great as expected! There were alot of people there tonight from all different stages of adoption. I finally got to meet the famous Lily and she was just as adorable as imagined. We were happy to be able to show the boys how big Shelby is now. They are slowly getting used to the idea that their "baby" sister isn't really a baby. It is great for them to see a living example of what their sister is going to be like when she comes home.

We received an update on another couple that just received their referral to their little girl Laney. They are going to be traveling to China in 2-3 weeks. I can only imagine how excited they are to bring their little girl home. We hope they have a great trip and hope to see Laney in person in a couple of months.

Another couple was there that is also a waiting child family. They are actually getting to adopt a cute little BOY from China. Yes, China does have boys too! Please pray for them to get their final LOA (letter of approval) they have been waiting to receive. Unfortunately they have been delayed in the official CCAA Review Room. I am sure that everything will come together in God's timing. I hope they hear something from China soon!

As usual the meeting was terrific and it is something I have grown to look forward to every month. There are people there from different agencies too. So if you have any interest in China adoption, feel free to join us at one of these meetings :)

PS: I was able to show off Shelby's new baby book as well. It is designed just for Chinese Adoption. Now I guess I will actually have to fill it out ;)

1st Friday (June)

We get to go to the Chapman's 1st Friday meeting tonight at 7pm in Acworth. This is a monthly adoption group meeting that has been invaluable to me since we started the process. I am very excited that we get to officially announce Shelby! There are people there from all different stages of China adoption. I love seeing all the children and imaging what Shelby looks like today and how big she is now. The Chapman's are great for opening their home every month and providing a special way for everyone to come together. We are looking forward to a great evening!