Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Bit Too Many

I do believe that my girls have WAY too many socks! This is just a big pile of the unmatched ones. Oh my goodness, and to think about all the kids around the world without ONE pair of socks. Man, we are lucky to live the way we do...or are we?!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

And they're off!

I am so excited for our friends and members of our group who left out for China yesterday.

Heidi, Tiffany, and Heather are in China now about to bring home 3 new toddlers home!! I absolutely can't wait to see them with their new additions FINALLY in their arms. It has been a very long journey for all of them and in just a few days their new lives will begin :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Stuck in China

Here is the blog of a poor family that is stuck in China and hasn't even been able to get to their new child yet. The Swine Flu has China in a panic mode and it is now affected a lot of US travelers including the ones going over to adopt. This is a very real thing, and I can't possibly imagine being quarantined in China without my husband or children :( Please pray for 3 very special families that just left this morning headed out for China to bring home their children. I will post their blogs tomorrow so you can follow them along on their journey. Let's hope theirs isn't near as "exciting" as this other family!

Here was her post today on another site:

HI everyone!

Thank you for all the good wishes. We're fine. It's sort of a cross between a really lame vacation and Groundhog Day, is all. We're told we'll be out Saturday, and we're getting there. Rob feels fine but sadly yesterday's culture was still positive, so he's in until Friday at least. He was never really sick--he's said that if we were at home, he wouldn't have noticed.

The rest of us should be out of the woods today. Our CDC thinks incubation is 1-4 days, and today's the 4th solid day since they pulled rob from our merry band, and 7 since the plane flight--and we'd hardly catch anything here!!! They are NOT checking in-country flights, so once we're done, we're done. I'll be fearing the knock on the door for a while, though.

I know lots of you are now wondering whether to bring your kids, and I don't have a solid rec. Ours are, against all odds, mostly still having a good time. There's always toast, so even if they weren't adventurous eaters (they're ok), they wouldn't starve. we have a movie for every night, and when the day's at it's hottest (right now!) they're oddly amused by Chinese cartoons, and I can even pretend it's educational. It's the HOSPITAL that frightens me, and the randomness of it all. If we had hit up against a really hard-headed official, I can see our embassy as giving up, say, my mother and 7-year-old son but insisting that I stay with the youngest. And then what if my mom got sick? What if my husband and I had BOTH been sick? Do I think our embassy will allow parents and kids to be separated for 7 days under those circs? No. Do I think there might be some frightening hours while it's getting sorted out? I do. Say, for example, that my mom was sick and alone with my older son. They would take them both downstairs, and rush her into one ambulance and him into another. She might not even realize it was happening--that's pretty much what happened with us and Rob, and we had our kindly Hyatt manager with us, translating. She also doesn't have a cell phone, or the embassy's number. Would it get sorted out? I'm sure it would. Would Sam have some frightening hours? Yes.

Nothing awful is going to happen, barring a tragedy with the flu. The hospital's not great. They don't have kid-sized needles, we're told, and they take all temps under-arm because they don't want to sterilize the thermometers (real glass mercury ones!). The food, as you can see on my blog, sometimes has heads and teeth. But I'm not kidding myself that they couldn't, or wouldn't, send a whole squad of haz-mat suited folks in here, pick up kids, rush us all around and do whatever they think is necessary even while I'm dialing the embassy. If they thought taking Wyatt away and shooting him full of Tamiflu without me would keep H1N1 limited in this country, they'd do it in a heartbeat. It's hard to really believe it until you're in it, but it's true.

None of that happened, of course. And I don't think it will, to us or to you. They don't mean to be unkind or frightening. It's just different. But it COULD.

Good luck!



Busy Summer Fun

Trying to catch up here on the blog, so you get the fast post bullet style-but of course with pics!

  • We have been enjoying the nice air conditioned playroom at DacKids at least once a week.
  • The kids and I took a road trip with Rhonda (my cousin) and her girls this past weekend.
  • We went up north to Dahlonega and did some panning for gold and gemstones
  • The boys LOVED that part-Caleb enjoyed this almost as much as he does fishing!
  • Then we did the girl thing and visited the Babyland General to witness the actual birth of a Cabbage Patch babydoll
  • We are still talking about that tree giving birth-HA!
  • Travis wasn't impressed
  • Shelby didn't want to purchase a doll, so she left with a small puppy instead ;)
  • I think Faith's favorite part of the trip was the wagon ride looking at all the farm animals
  • Rhonda then took us over to Coleman River to play in the creek
  • This is the famous river that we both grew up camping together in
  • My mom and her sister (Rhonda's mom) used to take their families camping together all the time-Wonder where Sheila and I got that idea?!
  • We used to come up camping here ALL the time as kids, so it was pretty neat to see our children playing in the same creek
  • We all had a great adventurous weekend hanging out together
  • I took lots of pics! .....so hope you enjoy :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Maybe Tomorrow

Hopefully I will have more time to post tomorrow with pics from the weekend and such. Work is crazy and of course home life is ALWAYS crazy! Hold your breath (like Faith) until tomorrow...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Recession Camping

Yep, you know we can't go long without a camping trip in our family. Well considering that CJ doesn't get home now until around 10PM every night, he is pretty wiped out. Also with our budget being a little tighter than normal, I decided that we could just pull out the camper and our tent and have an old fashion camping trip right in the backyard!

Our friends came over (who normally only tent camp) and they had a treat sleeping in our camper. My boys (who normally only camper camp) pitched a tent and slept in the tent with their dad all night. We roasted hotdogs on the campfire, and of course enjoyed smores all night long. Faith was good with some chips and baby marshmallows all night. Oh and of course me and girls "roughed it" sleeping in the comfort of our air-conditioned bedrooms-HA!
It was a fun evening and didn't cost any extra $$$$. Good memories were made and that is what counts the most :) Hope you all try it one day soon, your kids will love it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


No not the kind you find in your pocket, the kind that life brings you...change. Well for most children change is not usually a big deal. If you have children that you have raised since birth, change is just part of life and most kids just go with the flow. Well if you have children that are adopted, that one little word "change" means oh so much more. Change has come to be a part of their life, but it has not always been a welcome change.

My Shelby has some BIG issues with change. In her life she has experienced some very dramatic change. She was with her birth mom for only 2 weeks, then change. She lived inside an orphanage for 2 months, then change. She lived with her foster mom for 2 years, then change. Then changed to 2 different hotel stays, changed to 2 different airplanes, then finally her home was forever changed!
So as you can see, not all of Shelby's change has been good change. This is why my little one is SO scared of change. Shelby asks me everyday, literally about 10 times everyday, "What are we doing tomorrow?" She wants to be fully prepared for what the next day will bring. So I tell her everyday (about 10 different times) the schedule for the next day. We always end the day with a complete run down of the next day's schedule. This is what Shelby still needs everyday even though she has been home for 19 months now. I hope and pray that she will one day NOT fear change; however, I don't know after all that she has been through how change will ever come easy to her :(
I suppose one of the most memorable changes for Shelby is apparent to her when she simply looks in the mirror. She has seen alot of pictures of her as a baby and she is very much aware that her lip is different than others. It has to be a reminder to her everyday that things have changed in her life. Obviously some of her changes have been good, but not all of them. I hope to continue to help Shelby change the way she sees "change". I hope one day she will embrace change as just a regular part of life, although I do realize that my sweet baby girl isn't just a regular kind of kid :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Busy Week

It has been a busy week since we have had Vacation Bible School all week every night. I am really starting to miss my kids since I haven't seen them much during this week. I am teaching Faith's class, so at least I get to spend each evening with her (and 5 other 2 year olds!). Anyhow, tonight is the last night, so we will be back to our Straight normal soon. Here are some random pics for your enjoyment :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

6 Months Officially

Can you believe it??! Six months ago today we officially became Faith's family! It is quite strange when you adopt since sometimes you feel like you just got her, then other times you feel like she has always been with us. It is hard to believe that we missed out on the first 16 months of her life. She fits in so well with our family and is definitely one of the Straight Goods!

Faith has completed our family and she is blossoming more and more everyday. She seems to have turned the corner in her eating skills, so her diet has a lot more variety in it these days which is a good thing. She will eat french fries and chicken nuggets just like the rest of my crew :) Faith has started using more words now so she seems to be moving into a true toddler now and not so much "baby" anymore. She definitely has an attitude when she wants to but she is so darn sweet most of the time it is hard to put her down.

Oh and of course those CHEEKS, who can resist loving on her sweet cheeks!! I can really see the difference in only the 6 months we have had her. I can't believe she will already be starting her preschool class in just a few months. Wow baby to toddler in just a few short months!

We are so very lucky to have been blessed with this beautiful child :)

PS: If you read our post from 6 months ago, you may recall the OBVIOUS sign from God that Faith was meant to be my daughter. Funny thing is that Faith stopped sucking her fingers about a week after we got home. Some would call that very strange, I call it a God thing ;) He just wanted to make sure that all of my "doubts" about choosing the right child, were answered. What a beautiful testimony Faith is that God is alive and well and at work in our lives everyday!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Old Fashion Fun

We had some good old fashion fun this weekend playing in the creek. Yep, we found a great country creek in the big city of East Cobb at none other than the actual East Cobb City Park! We have been there several times, but we haven't been lately and haven't been to just go and play in the creek. Well this time we were prepared and had a great time hanging out by the creek. No one else really goes there to hang out in the creek except for us good ole rednecks! So we basically had it to ourselves :)

PS- Sheila stole Faith from me the day I had the camera here. So no Faith pics although she did get to go the day before and had a blast in the sand and the water!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Malia's Story

One year ago today a special little girl died and went home to be with her real Father in heaven. I was unable to post about this special little girl last year publicly in fear of hurting other children at her orphanage. So today is the day I will honor her by telling "Malia's Story".

On June 12, 2008, I received a call from Aisha at Hope for Children who simply said, "Donna, you just have to see this file!". At that time CJ and I had already decided that we would be adopting again; however, we had thought that we would just...take our time. Needless to say this was speeding up things for sure. But of course I couldn't help myself but to say...OK I will look at at.

Now at that time we had been researching several different special needs and we were deciding on issues that we could or could not handle in a new child. Well I personally was convinced that my next child one only have one arm! I know that sounds strange, but it was as strong of a feeling as I had before Shelby knowing that she would be cleft affected. Anyhow, you might think that finding a one armed child would be pretty simple, but turns out CJ wasn't so sure about bringing home a child with only one arm.

Anyhow, so the file arrived and I opened it up to find a beautiful little 13 month old baby girl staring at me. It was her!! I got that dizzy feeling in the pit of my stomach and immediately started researching her special need that was listed as "post-operative lymphangioma under right arm pit". She had already had a cyst removed and looked completely healed. I decided that she was probably our next daughter, but of course I had to show the file to CJ.
That afternoon is when I realized that she was the ONE. When I laid her printed file down in the passenger seat of my van to take home to CJ, I looked over and saw my "One armed baby"! The picture looked like she only had one arm since her hand was inside her shirt. This was HER!

CJ agreed that night and we were off and running with the paperchase to bring home Malia Hope Straight. About a month went by and on July 3, I was told the most imaginable news, she had died.
Fortunately I had hired Lady Bugs N Love to do an orphanage phone call to just call and ask some questions about Malia. They were the ones who were told that Malia had passed away while she was in foster care. Lady Bugs N Love then contacted Aisha at my agency, who of course then called China to confirm. The CCAA was not aware of this until my agency notified them of the tragic news. Aisha told me the news on July 3 when I went to the agency to give them my final papers. I was devastated.
Now the crazy thing is that Malia had already died before I ever saw her face for the first time. I suppose that is what made this a little less traumatic than I would have thought it would have been. Yes, it is awful that Malia died and lived such a short life. I was told she was in foster care, so I rested feeling like she did at least get to know the love of having a family care for her. I don't feel like I lost a child because she was never really mine while she was alive. She belonged to China at that time and ultimately to God where she went home to be with him. She is now at peace.
I truly feel like her "file" was meant to be ours, no doubt at all in my mind about that. No other way to explain my one-armed baby feeling other than her file was put in our hands to simply pave the way for Faith to be in our family. If we had not started the paperwork the day that Malia's file came to me, then there would have been no way that we could have brought Faith home! So Malia will always have a special place in our hearts as she is what brought Faith to us...literally!! May little Wang Gai Li, also known as Malia Hope Straight, rest in peace in her heavenly home.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

1st Tuesday of the Month

I get to attend another Triad meeting tonight and I am really looking forward to it! My dad and Sandy get to wrangle all 4 kids tonight, so I am sure that will be exciting :) So see ya...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Still Here

Don't worry we are all alive and well, just not much time for blogging these days. We had a busy weekend that included attending my nephew Blake's High School Graduation ceremony on Saturday. We were all very proud of him and the boys really enjoyed the ceremony. This was their first graduation, so I hope it was memorable for them as something they have to look forward to. I really don't know how all the mommies there don't just cry their eyes out the whole time watching their babies walk across the stage! I guess I still have a few years to get a hold of my emotions ;)

Well here are some adorable kid pics just to hold you over until I have something else to say.