Monday, January 31, 2011

Palate Surgery Healing

I found this very interesting. It is written by an adult who recently had another palate repair done on herself. Coincidently she also has a child who has experienced palate surgery as well. Gives you a little insight into Shelby's world...

I am forwarding this with the author's permission.


I would like to share a perspective from some one who has had a
similar operation as an adult. I had many surgeries in my life mostly
related to my cleft. I recently had my palate repaired again and will
retry again in April.

To me, the most bothersome thing with the palate surgery is the
feeling of the palate as it heals. The palate feels like a hairy
crumbled piece of plastic (due to the stitches) which is dry all the
time. It is colder than the rest of the mouth and a bit sore. To top
it you can't touch it, yet the natural instinct is to remove something
foreign in your mouth. At first I thought I had a plastic cap
protecting the palate. I asked my surgeon about when the cap would be
removed and we both had a confused moment. It was the palate and he
proceeded to tell me to stop playing with it with my tongue :)

I have to admit that my memories of the surgeries from my childhood
were not as vivid as this and it took me by surprise how weird it
feels. It was not very painful but i seem to handle pain better than
most (may be because of all the surgeries?). It is a bit frustrating
if the food is not liquid enough since this type of food seems to
stick to the stitches.

When my son had his palate repair I had no recollection on how it
felt. He woke up more frustrated than any thing. Now (after my recent
surgery) I can understand his frustration.

I hope this helps you understand what your son may feel as he heals.
As a parent, i helped my son with his recovery and we discovered what
helped him as best (cold liquids was the trick for him). The best
tool he has is you and how caring you are. In my personal experience
it helped a lot to have my loved ones trying to aid me when I need it.


Saturday, January 29, 2011


Make us smile!

Friday, January 28, 2011

On Their Own

Just read a very heartfelt message from Amy with Love Without Boundaries. Here are some of her words...

"When many people think of an orphanage, I think they often envision babies and toddlers. I used to be one of those people myself. On my many trips to China, however, I began meeting and falling in love with the older children who have grown up in institutions, many who never had any true chance of finding a permanent home. Their faces and stories are in my heart forever now, and sadly many of my memories of these great kids involve tears. Tears from Jenny, who broke down on her 14th birthday when she realized that she had aged out of the adoption system without being chosen. The final realization that she would never know what it meant to have a mom or dad of her own caused her to fall into a deep depression. Tears from Lily, a 17-year-old girl whom I had given my jacket after she admired it. When she refused to accept it initially, I put my hand on her shoulder and said, “But of course you have to take it because you are like family to me.” And it was at that one word, “family,” that this normally stoic young lady broke down and sobbed uncontrollably, as it is the one thing that she longed for."

Click here to read the rest of her post. Heartbreaking :(

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Elise's Song

All of my girls happen to have a song that helped me get through this dreaded long wait to bring them home. One way or another each song "spoke to me" everytime I heard it waiting for that particular child. Shelby's was East to West, Faith's was Mighty to Save. Here is Elise's song that we all sing as loud as we can every time it comes on the radio!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baby Steps

I received this text/email message this morning at 1:15am from the lockbox of the USCIS in Texas:

Dear Applicant/Petitioner:

Your USCIS application/petition has been received and routed to the National Benefit Center for processing. Within 7-10 days by standard mail you will receive your official Receipt Notice (Form I-797) with your Receipt Number SIM1111500005. If you have any questions please contact the Hague Unit at (877) 424-8374 or NBC.HAGUE@DHS.GOV


Yeah I know not much progress, but in this waiting game every little baby step counts!

Here is a basic breakdown of the rest of the steps involved in getting our final Travel Approval to be able to go get our baby girl:

When you get your LOA, you sent off your I800 application to USCIS, and they process it. It takes a few weeks for the officer assigned to your case to actually GET it and review the documents, but then they approve you. ---->The notice today was the "proof" they received our I800 application at USCIS

Once you are approved they will print a letter and mail it to you, then they forward your approval to the National Visa Center.

After about 4-5 days you'll get the 800 approval in the mail.

About that same time frame the National Visa Center will "cable" your paperwork to the Consulate in Guangzhou and issue a paper letter saying you've been cabled.

About 4-5 days later you will get that letter from the National Visa Center in the mail. AS SOON AS YOU GET THIS PAPER scan it in and email it to (YOUR AGENCY REP) who will email it to Lily who will print it out...

That letter along with your DS230 and copy of LOA will be taken, by (YOUR AGENCY REP IN CHINA), into the Consulate for (YOUR CHILD's) paperwork to be looked at (and matched up with a copy of your Dossier that the Consulate has). This will "pre-issue" his/her Visa.

The Consulate will issue the Article 5 letter 2 weeks exactly AFTER the paperwork is taken into the Consulate (and they only accept the papers on Mondays and Thursdays).

The Article 5 letter basically means that the United States says that all the paperwork is in order for this child to be issued a visa and there is nothing "lagging" with it.

Once the Article 5 letter is completed, it is sent with the signed LOA back to the CCAA, who then starts the process for the Travel Approval. This step has them contacting the province to verify all is in order with the child's paperwork and the child is ready.

Once they get this notification that the child is ready, they will then issue Travel Approval.-WHEW

Still hoping to spend our 15th Wedding Anniversary (April 27th) in an airplane with 4 kids for 20 hours! I know sounds SO romantic doesn't it??!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thinking Of Her Today

Well I think of her EVERY day, but for some reason a lot this morning...
And really wondering how much longer she will have to go to bed like this...sigh

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Want to Get a $13K Refund

Check this out and see how you too can get a $13,000 REFUND from the IRS next year!!
Adoption Tax Credit is explained "in a nutshell" in this video that is must see for families considering adopting.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

LOA is Here! - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

It's official, China has reviewed all our documents and they have officiallly granted us the approval to adopt our little Miss Elise!! LOA (Letter of Approval) arrived today, and it was even about 2 weeks early :) Still hoping to travel late April/early May!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hope For Orphans Class

I am gearing up for facilitating a new class at Piedmont Church about adoption. It starts this Wednesday night at 6:30pm at the church, and will last 6 weeks on Wednesday nights. I am excited about the prospect of meeting new people who are interested in making a difference in the life of an orphan. Here is some more info on the class:

Hope for Orphan’s If You Were Mine Workshop has come alongside thousands of families nationwide to invite them to investigate adoption from a biblical and practical perspective. Now available as a video workshop, If You Were Mine is perfect for small groups, a one-day event, or for individual families. This comprehensive resource explores the following topics:

God’s heart for the orphan
The processes and challenges of adoption
Agency selection and funding options
How to prepare yourself, your family, and your home
What to expect when your child comes home

If You Were Mine will help you and your church encourage families toward wise, loving decisions and healthy expectations about adoption.

Please consider this your open invitation to join me there this Wednesday!! Give me a call if you have any questions: 678-296-9975.

New Favorite Quote

Adoption requires that a ransom be paid, not a price.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Eight Today

Hard to believe my baby boy is now 8 years old. In some ways he seems so much older, but yet in other ways (like still cuddling with his mommy) I am reminded of his young age. Travis certainly keeps me on my toes, and is the FUN in our family. I know he is going to give me some grief as he grows into a young man, but oh I can't wait to see what a fabulous person he grows up to be. God has some great things in store for my baby boy. We are so happy to have him in our family :)

Oh and I have to mention what a good brother he is too. Travis and Faith are like two peas in a pod, both so strong willed, yet so good together. Travis is always right there by Caleb's side and doesn't want to do anything unless his brother gets to do it too. He is also already Elise's biggest fan and he asked about her a bunch. What a good heart my baby boy truly has:)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my favorite Travis in the whole world!

Friday, January 14, 2011

30 Down, 100 to Go

Today officially marks us 30 days into our wait for LOA, since LID. That means we are hopefully only about 100 more days away from our final Travel Approval to go get our little Miss Elise!!
I sent her a little something today to help her celebrate a Happy Chinese New Year. Now let's just hope I get some new pics back to help make my new year a happy one :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Days

Yes, I said snow dayS! We are in Atlanta and received about 6 inches of snow and ice on Sunday night. That has put us all at home for some fun time off. No school or work for any of us and it doesn't even appear there will be any melting going on before Friday. Hmmmm...not sure what we will do if we are stuck at home until Friday?!!? Anyhow, we are enjoying our time together right now. The kids get all bundled up, then they come in soaking wet, rinse and repeat :)