Monday, April 30, 2012

Advice Needed

I asked a good friend of mine, Liz Steinberger, who just happens to be a developmental/attachment specialist, what her best advice for me is for Ian's integration with our family.  She was kind enough to allow me to post her email here on my blog, as I told her it might help someone else as well.  Thanks Liz, lots to process :)

At this age- I would focus on games- Skipbo, Go Fish. Cards- A special project to do together- By 8 everything needs to focus on age appropriate activities. You can not take away the years of pain and loneliness, you can just focus on the present and the future.  You might find with the boys- he is all grown up, but with the girls, he lets a little bit of the baby in him out. I'll be curious if that is the case- let me know. 

A few things
  •     let him know the rules of your home - in simple terms or pictures
  •     Stick with a good schedule- he is more likely used to a schedule and will do better with one than not
  •     Expect a honeymoon period and enjoy it
  •     When the honeymoon is over- there may be some testing- (with everyone- not just Ian- your oldest, your second, the girls) be patient, allow a little pouting with everyone, including yourself.
  •     Expect hording and hiding of food and items - when at home (it may not happen, but be prepared when it does)
  •     Expect some jealousy and potential hiding of others items that are coveted

You may want to do Christmas in the Summer of used gifts- let everyone find something from their private stash that they love and would love to give to Ian- Take Ian shopping at goodwill to find items for everyone else. Then play Christmas in the Summer- Where Ian can be Santa for the day. Show him he has something to give.  I think this would be a good team family moral booster and give him an idea of what it feels like to give and to take- plus I would love to see the pictures of this with your cute cute family. 

Ask each kid what memory they would like to create with Ian- Their own special Ian date- for example- Shelby and Ian make cupcakes together, or one of boys has a day at the races with Ian - on bikes, take pics and build an Ian memory page so he can look back and see what a great memory he had with that sibling. 
Recognize - kids will hook up to their favorite - expect him to pair up, and recognize that one left out might feel rejected, that is where the Ian date night would come in handy.  Ian may bond quicker to one of the kids than to you as his parents. Recognize this, accept and remember God is in this -, so he knows what you can handle.

Find a way for Ian to skype with his friends in China- and maybe write to them.  He may experience survivor guilt and feel guilty that he was chosen and some of his friends are still in the orphanage.  This may be one of the most difficult things to overcome.  Let me know if you see signs of this- he may not share his feelings about that. He may ask you to adopt one of his friends (don't be surprised). 

If you see a severe tantrum ( for some reason I do not think you will) let me know and you can always call me.  You may see more nail biting, food hoarding, stealing, etc (the typical stuff) I think for some reason, you are not going to see any of this- I just get the feeling that this kid is awesome, sweet, and will just fit right in. I never say that easily, but sometimes you just get a feeling about a kid. How does he do in school?

Thanks for asking - it makes me feel like I give back a little - You truly are amazing and I know God is smiling on your family.


So I am all ears for anyone else who has BTDT in adopting the "older child".  Any great advice?!?!

He is in The Details

Just yesterday I was reminded once again that He is in this.  It was my last day in church before we leave and of course they sing "Ian's song" for me. 

Now I don't have any special connections at the church to get them to play Ian's song.  Just my connection to the big man upstairs!  Again, He has got this, I am so blessed :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Stocked Up

Well I have CJ and the kids stocked up for my absence!!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Adoption Ignorance

by: Klinzy

Unfortunately these conversations aren't pretend...sigh.
This is why I love to talk about adoption, to help educate people who truly do not understand the adoption processes.  Now the just plain nosy and nasty folks, well unfortunately I have "talk" to them too.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Life Story


Some would gather money along the path of life,
Some would gather roses and rest from worldly strife

But I would gather children from among the thorns of sin
I would seek a little child with a big and toothless grin

For money cannot enter in the land of endless day
And roses that are gathered soon wilt along the way

But oh, the laughing children as I cross the sunset sea
As the gates swing wide to Heaven, I can take them in with me!

PB&J for 16 Years

Celebrating 16 years of marriage today with my forever friend and partner through life.  As weird as it sounds, I always relate our marriage to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (maybe because I can't cook).  The sandwich and our lives are very much alike you see:

Two very different ingredients, yet make a perfect match
Once stuck together, very difficult to split apart
A little sticky sometimes
Can be a bit messy
Withstands the test of time-oldie but goody
Simple and yet oh so sweet

Thrilled to be stuck for life to my other half :)  Happy Anniversary honey!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Countdown of Sleeps

Only 6 more sleeps until we board that plane!

The Miracles

There have been so so many "little" things during this adoption that have really made my head spin.  Honestly, every single one reminded me that God has got this!  I wanted to document and try to remember all the times I have seen God show up in our process to Ian.  Here are a few that come to mind today:

  • A teenager in Ireland with a true heart of gold determined to find Ian a family
  • Another teenager here in America willing to help find Ian a family
  • An adoptive mother (Kelly) able to use her writing and blogging skills to help find Ian a home
  • Seeing the video for the first time, my heart skipped a beat literally- I had to catch my breath
  • Realizing that this was just one random child in China, how would I ever find his adoption file?  Within 30 minutes, it was in my inbox.
  • I refused to think it was possible.  Too crazy to even consider.  Then that night, I simply clicked around from my regular blogs here and there.  I landed on a page that had Kelly's full name as a testimony at the bottom of this random jewerly page.  Again, reminded of Ian.
  • Knowing that we had no extra money until we received tax credit back the next year for Elise's adoption, costs were a big concern.  After just 2 emails, I found  a new adoption agency-CAWLI- that was willing to reduce their fees by $5,000.
  • Called the USCIS to discover that indeed my "loophole" I discovered to speed up the process and delay extra fees, was indeed legal and allowable.
  • CJ's schedule freeing up the very next day and he called to take me to lunch. Very rare event.
  • The heavy feeling on my heart that Ian was my son, even when nothing made logical sense.
  • CJ's miraculous sign from his little old lady tow.  He kicked that door wide open!
  • CJ agreeing that Ian should be our son.
  • After having a doctor review his file, discovered that his very scary "special need" on his paperwork, wasn't so scary after all
  • Locking his file from the shared list even though he was being advocated for in many places
  • Given permission from China to use my current social worker, even though the rules had recently changed in China adoptions.  This saved me about $3K and 2 months of time.
  • My agency allowing me to use my current 797, saved me another month of time.
  • The teenager in Ireland sending me Kobe's contact information
  • Kobe agreeing to visit my son every weekend for 6 months until I get to him
  • Receiving a Skype video call from my son on Christmas Day
  • Getting weekly updates on how Ian is doing and how his heart is slowing being changed
  • Ian going to church in China!
  • Every single dime paid in full throughout the adoption process.  Literally every time a payment was due, the money was there. (Thank you to all who donated)
  • Not being audited by the IRS for Elise's refund.  About 90% of adopting tax returns are audited, delaying the refund. 
  • Receiving our tax refund just in time to pay ALL our travel expenses
  • Getting to go to China in perfect timing...right after CRCTs and we will be home just in time for Ian to get to stay home for 2 months before having to go off to school
I am sure I am leaving out a few more of Ian's miracles, so I will just come back and update as I think of them.  So so many times, I am reminded that yes indeed...GOD has got this!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Flight Details

Here are the details of our upcoming flights:

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Traveling to Xi'an
flight Fri 4-May-12
Atlanta (ATL)
Depart 12:30 am
to Seoul (ICN)
Arrive 4:20 am +1 day
7,157 mi
(11,518 km)
Duration: 14hr 50mn
Korean Air
Flight: 34

Economy/Coach Class , 772 - BOEING 777/200
flight Sat 5-May-12
Seoul (ICN)
Depart 8:35 am
to Xi'an (XIY)
Arrive 10:40 am
Terminal 2
1,008 mi
(1,622 km)
Duration: 3hr 5mn
Korean Air
Flight: 807

Economy/Coach Class , BOEING 737-800 (WINGLETS) PASSENGER

Total distance: 8,165 mi (13,140 km) Total duration: 17hr 55mn (22hr 10mn with connections)
Traveling to Atlanta
flight Sat 19-May-12
Guangzhou (CAN)
Depart 12:40 pm
to Seoul (ICN)
Arrive 5:05 pm
1,253 mi
(2,017 km)
Duration: 3hr 25mn
Korean Air
Flight: 866

Economy/Coach Class , AIRBUS INDUSTRIE A330-300

Seoul (ICN)
Depart 6:00 pm
to Atlanta (ATL)
Arrive 6:40 pm
7,157 mi
(11,518 km)
Duration: 13hr 40mn
Korean Air
Flight: 33

Economy/Coach Class , BOEING 777-300ER

Total distance: 8,410 mi (13,535 km) Total duration: 17hr 5mn (18hr 0mn with connections)

Monday, April 23, 2012

God's Plan

There have been SO many miracles surrounding this adoption.  Every time I tell a piece of Ian's story I am reminded over and over again just how many times God has shown his presence in this adoption. 

I truly believe this adoption will be the HARDEST thing our family has ever done.  I think it will be tough on everyone in our entire family.  Days will be long, weary, sad, and just plain tough in the beginning.  And by beginning, I mean the entire first year.  I am not going into this adoption with rose colored glasses on, I know it will be tough.

I also know that this is 100% without a doubt what God wants for our family.  This child is most definitely been hand picked by God to come live with our family.  Sometimes I get a bit overwhelmed when I think of all the "signs" from God we have experienced over the last 7 months surrounding Ian's addition to our family.  (Will post later all of the signs)  It makes me really wonder what Ian's future looks like, as I know God has some big big plans for him.

Knowing that this is what our family is supposed to do makes this adoption "easy" to enter into. I may be scared to death to board that plane next week, but I know God has got my back on this one, I know without a doubt this is what I am supposed to do-easy or NOT.  I am firm believer now that God does not call the equipped, but He equips the called.  I will most certainly be looking to Him to get our family through this in one forever family.

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 a future. --Jeremiah 9:11

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Growing up oh so fast. Sometimes I feel like this last pic-things moving so fast it gets blurry. How can I slow him down?!?!?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Self Portraits

This is what I found on my iPhone after a certain someone was playing on it. I must say....beautiful!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Travel Schedule

Ready to go!!!  (well not really, but trying to convince myself I am-LOL)  Our plane takes off in exactly TWO weeks.
Here is my final day by day itinerary:

Arrive in Xian

KE 807, arrive in Xian 10:40 am

Meet your local guide at Xian airport
Aurum International Hotel (Suite)
Tel: 029-87672888
FAX:  029- 87672666
Adoption date. Meeting child at the Provincial government building
Government building
Adoption process – registration and notary
Civil Affairs Building. Guide will have details

Terra Cotta Museum

One day Sightseeing
Orphanage visit - Xi’an SWI, Xi’s Hospital
Ancient City Wall, Muslim Markets
 Afternoon receive passport.
Depart Xian for Guangzhou in evening  (flight: ZH9554

Meet your local guide at airport and transfer to Hotel
Holiday Inn Shifu (with Perks)
Phone: 011-86-20-
Visa physical examination
Physical Examination Center

Safari Park
Get physical examination reports

Sight seeing
Liu Hua Park
Visa appointment
US Consulate in Guangzhou
Visa Interview and Oath.
Get Visa around 4:00pm


Leave Guangzhou
KE 866, leave 12:40 pm.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Candy Addict

This is the life of living with a candy addiction...UGH

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Introducing the new Stra8's new ride...the BUS!! 

As you can see, I am pretty sure we will all be able to fit in our new little ride :)  Excited to see our family growing very very soon.  Only 16 days until takeoff for our new little treasure!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tea Time

Mother daughter tea time today at church. Shelby made sure to let me know that she only wanted me and her to go to the party. Guess she wanted some "grown up" girl time together.
Sheila was nice to offer to take the littles so Shelby could get her wish.
We had a great time sharing some quality time together!!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Good Artist

Here is Ian showing off his latest artwork from Sunday School. Can't wait to meet this creative kiddo!