Thursday, September 30, 2010

Addendum to Day 45 & Counting

Ironically, right after I finished typing up today's blog entry, I received some emails from Angela at LadybugsNLove (through whom we've been sending Shaling's care packagas). The books she selected for Shaling are pictured below. However, even more exciting is that she said she already has pictures from the orphanage of Shaling enjoying her birthday cake. Her emails were getting bounced back, but she's found a way around that now. After I've had a chance to peruse the pictures and get them shared with family, I'll post those as well (probably later tonight).

The orphanage decided to celebrate Shaling's birthday early, due to the Fall Moon Festival being such a big focus in China next week.

Day 45 & Counting

Well, we are on Day 45 of our wait to get our LOA (Letter of Acceptance). To review, that is a form that China will send us after completing their review of our dossier. It asks us to sign it and return it, verifying that we still want this specific child.

We should have had an LID (Log In Date) by now, but it looks like we’re going to be like a handful of other families that doesn’t get an LID until we receive our LOA. Our LID probably occurred during the last week of August, considering we were DTC (Dossier-To-China) on August 17.

I got excited last week because a family who was DTC on August 11 got their LOA and I thought we might get ours this week. That doesn’t look likely now, because with the time change “today” is almost over in China and tomorrow, most offices will close for the Fall Moon Festival, with most of them not reopening until next Friday.

In the mean time, our patience is being tested daily. I found the following Hebrew Bible verse in a daily devotional this morning. It seemed quite pertinent to our situation.

“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
-Lamentations 3:25-26

Next Tuesday, our little girl will turn 9-years-old. When we first started this process (in January), we thought there was a decent chance we would be celebrating this day with her. Of course, I’m disappointed that we’re not, but we did send her another care package. If you’d like to read the letter that will accompany it, I included it in a previous blog entry:

She will also be receiving a cake at some point (hopefully on her birthday, but that isn’t guaranteed). Most of the gifts we selected for her are pictured below (new dress, disposable camera, 3 more pictures of us, two Chinese yo-yos), but she will also get a variety of children’s books that are not pictured:

I’ve been itching to blog more, but with not much happening, except waiting on that elusive LOA, there hasn’t been much to say. However, I do want to leave you today with a quote given to me by a friend of mine, Sarah Engelbrecht. She and her husband Seth are coworkers of me and Brock and have a beautiful internationally adopted daughter, as well as a handsome son. They are a great resource for us.

"Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes." (quote from "Radical" by David Platt)

Monday, September 27, 2010


At one of our Chinese classes, our instructor, James Wang, emphasized to us that the most important phrase we could remember is "wo ai ni". It is pronounced like : "wa-eye-knee" (say the "wa" as in water). It means "I love you".

I can't help but think of that special phrase over and over when I review the videos we were so blessed to receive from our adoption agency after they returned from visiting Shaling's orphanage this past April. Here is one of my favorites (she is the one in the white turtleneck):

Shaling from Amy Reynolds on Vimeo.

Her smile is just so natural and bright. It warms my heart to see her be a little clingy with one of her caregivers and I so hope she has retained that desire to be hugged and held by the time we get her.

Preston, like us, is so anxious to get her that he tries not to think about it often, so as not to get too discouraged that it is taking so long for us to become a family of four. However, I enjoyed this story that "Miss Beth" from Rochester United Methodist Church shared with me. Apparently, one little boy was complaining about his sister and said that because she was so annoying, he just didn't pay any attention to her. Miss Beth teasingly asked the entire group of kids, "you don't treat your sisters like that, do you?"

Preston responded, "I can't pay attention to my sister; she's in China."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Travel Changes, Good Wishes & a Poem

We found out yesterday that our adoption agency has made some sweeping changes to the way they are handling their clients’ travel. Originally, we were going to be responsible for booking our own flights from the United States to China, but they were going to handle just about everything else: booking our hotel, getting us a guide, and our in-country travel. We would have sent them a large payment towards estimated traveling costs ahead of time and then once all the booking was complete, we would have paid the difference or been sent a refund.

Now, we will have to be in direct contact with a woman in Beijing (at BOCITS – Beijing Oriental Century International Travel Service) ourselves. We will be responsible for getting everything arranged. We will also be sending payment directly to BOCITS.

I don’t fully understand the reasons for the change, but it is expected that this change will make things smoother and perhaps quicker. Apparently, some clients have been concerned about prepaying estimated travel costs as well.

I, myself, am a bit nervous about being responsible for booking all of our own stuff. I found comfort in knowing that someone with so much experience was going to be handling it. I plan to continue keeping up with other adoptive families on my Yahoo groups and see how this works for them. Hopefully, I’ll get some good pointers on what and what not to do.


I haven’t started putting the scrapbook pages together for the book that goes with Shaling’s “Good Wishes” quilt yet, but I will soon. Last night, I laminated the last few cards that I’ve received. I bought an inexpensive laminating machine a couple of months ago and it works great. I think that laminating all of the cards before putting them in her book will help preserve it. Thanks to my Aunt Betty (who laminated her own cards) for the idea!

If you contributed a square to the quilt, but have not yet gotten your “wish card” into me, please try and do so by the end of October. Just take an index card, attach a scrap of your fabric to it and then write a favorite quote, Bible verse, music lyric, or simply a personal message to Shaling.

I’m quite pleased with the variety of fabric and good wishes she’s received.

We had to make a change with the quilt. Brock’s Great Aunt Annabelle is no longer up to doing the quilting. I cannot thank Brock’s mom Nancy enough. She finished sewing all of the squares together and attached the backing to the quilt, but not the binding. The quilt is now in the hands of my Aunt Ann, who has been a God send and also has my eternal gratefulness. She will finish the quilt (hasn’t decided yet whether to stitch or tie it). Additionally, she has all of the extra quilt squares and hopes to make a matching pillow and also a doll blanket to go with an American Girl doll that Brock’s parents have purchased for Shaling.


Finally, I leave you today with a poem that really spoke to me. It was written by Tim, who is adopting Star, a 9-year-old girl in the same welfare district as Shaling. I believe he wrote it in honor of another family in one of our Yahoo groups, who is adopting a little girl named Autumn. Tim perfectly reflects many of the feelings I am experiencing as I become more and more anxious to get my arms around my little girl. Note: Baba is Chinese for “Dad”.


Autumn comes,
I see your face.
The miles separate us.
I yearn to hold you.

You do not know me,
I know you from afar.
Your sweetness captured my heart,
Would that we would never part.

We came together from different paths,
Our lives meet, we travel together,
Hand in hand for awhile,
Then we part our separate ways.

You will always be a part of me,
I will always be a part of you.
Though death take me,
I love you my children.


Tim - 9.21.10

Saturday, September 18, 2010

More pictures of Shaling when she was younger

Thanks to Tim Stowell again for sharing his successful treasure hunting. We've now got 3 more pictures of Shaling when she was younger. If you missed the first two, please see my previous blog; they are adorable!

The last two pictures were from 2007; I'm not sure when these three were taken. In the first picture, she's 4th from the left and in the second one, 4th from the left (pink background on the card with Chinese characters). In the bottom picture, she's squatting, second from the left.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pictures: quilt progress & a younger Shaling?

My mother-in-law, Nancy, has all of the squares sewn together for the quilt, as well as the red border that I selected. She is considering finding a way to make it a bit longer, but the sewing portion is either done or mostly done. I love the hodge-podge of materials included. Next, it will go to Brock's Great Aunt Annabelle for the quilting portion.

Tim Stowell and his wife are in the midst of their 3rd international adoption. They live in Tennessee and are adopting Star, who is part of the same welfare district (orphanage) as Shaling and in fact, has been part of the same "pod" of 8 kids there. Tim is amazing at searching for pictures of the kids. He recently found some photos from a field trip that the Longgang Welfare District (where our girls live) went on in either 2006 or 2007. Shaling would have been 5 or 6 years old. I'm thinking the little girl in the pink t-shirt & yellow shorts is her. The cheeks, nose, and lips all look the same to me.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Our Response to Shaling

Sha Ling,

We were so happy to receive a letter from you. You brought a smile to our faces. We hope to come to China to get you very soon. We only have a few more things we are waiting to have happen before we have permission to come to China.

When we come to China, we’re going to be there for about 12 days and you’ll get to stay in a hotel with us. Hopefully we’ll get to do some fun things together before we come home, such as go to a zoo.

Your big brother, Preston, may not come to China with us, because he has to go to school. However, he is very excited for you to join us here in America. He wishes it wouldn’t take so long for you to get here.

We liked the pictures that you drew for us and we were excited to see that you know your English letters. Keep practicing, because soon you will be using them every day! We are also trying to learn some Chinese words. When you get here, there is a man from China named Mr. Wang that lives here in America now. He has promised to help you learn English. He is very nice.

There are two boys from your orphanage that are coming to live in the same town and go to the same school as you and your big brother, Preston. Those two boys are Long Xiao Xiong and Huang Guang Hui. We saw those boys in some pictures and videos with you. Their new parents are really nice and they’ll have two new big brothers when they get here.

There was also a little girl named Heng Xin in some of your pictures and videos. It looks like you play with her a lot. We found out where she is going to live and it’s not very close to us, but you will be able to stay in touch with her with the computer and telephone. We hope to meet her and her new family some time after you’ve been here for awhile.

When you get here, it will be during the winter and it will be very cold outside. In fact, there might be snow on the ground. Have you ever seen snow? Preston might like to teach you how to make a snowman some time.

Your birthday is coming up soon and we wish we could be there with you. We are sending you some birthday gifts so you know we are thinking about you. We’re also sending you a camera so you can take pictures of whatever you want on your birthday. Keep your camera and we’ll get the pictures off of it when we come to China. We’re also sending you an envelope so that you can write back to us. We like to eat cake on our birthdays, so we’re also sending you another cake. We hope you enjoy it.

While we’re in China, we’ll do some shopping and get you a new outfit and perhaps a new toy to bring home. Hopefully we can find something red since you like red!

Preston is playing the drums in the school band and singing in the chorus. Since you like music, hopefully you can join the chorus and find an instrument you’d like to play in the band.

Have a beautiful and blessed birthday, Sha Ling. We can’t wait for next year when we can celebrate it with you.

Mom, Dad & Preston

She won't receive this letter for a few weeks, because we asked Angela at ladybugsnlove to please send it around October 5, Shaling's birthday. We're also sending her a new outfit, a new toy (we asked Angela to try & find one of the yo-yos that Shaling likes), and 3 new pictures of us (shown below). We're sending her a return stamped envelope again, but considering how long it took her last response to get to us, we may not get her response to this one until after we have her home.

Preston & Dad in a cave we explored this summer

Preston on his bunk bed when we dropped him off for a week of camp

Mom & Preston on Grandpa Reynolds' boat

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Some explanations about yesterday's letter

First of all, the age discrepancy -- it actually comes from two things. In many areas of China, the time the baby is in utero counts as part of their age. Therefore, on what we would consider their first birthday, they turn 2-years-old. Additionally, many Chinese consider the Chinese New Year (February) as the time that they turn a year older, rather than on their birthday. Therefore, since Shaling was born on October 5, 2001, she considers 2010 the year she turns 10, but instead of waiting for October 5, in her mind, she turned 10 during this past February.

Next, thanks to one of the other adoptive families I interact with on Yahoo, I've discovered that when Shaling mentioned liking yo-yos, she didn't mean American yo-yos. Apparently, in China, yo-yos (also known as diabolos) come with two sticks that you use to roll the discs up and down the large string. I'm including some pictures below to show what they look like. This will be something we can buy for Shaling during our stay in China. I've been pondering what sort of Chinese items we could bring home to help her retain her cultural heritage. Looks like I found one.