Monday, August 30, 2010

We're off!

I can't believe that I am writing that we are (almost!) all packed up and ready to go! We leave tomorrow around 11am to head to Richmond. My dad is driving Brad, Sierra, and I to the airport so we'll be able to avoid parking fees! And be greeted by smiling faces on arrival home! We have a couple of stops & lunch then head to the airport for our flight (fingers crossed all is on time). I think we've managed to get ourselves packed into 2 big suitcases and one small one. We'll see if we fit on the way home! In one week we'll have Cadence in our arms!!

Thank you so much for all of your well wishes and support. We are lucky enough to have an amazing family and group of friends who have seen us through this journey! We love you!

Timeline and Intinerary info

China itinerary

August 31 - Depart Richmond 4:50pm, connect to Chicago, leave Chicago at 9:25pm to fly over north pole!

Sept. 1 - Arrive in Beijing at 11:55pm (yep, we lose a whole day!)

Sept. 2 - free day in Beijing

Sept. 3 - Tour Beijing - Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Hutong Tour, maybe acrobatics show.

Sept. 4 - Tour Beijing - Great Wall & Ming Tombs.

Sept. 5 - Leave Beijing and fly to Hohhot, Inner Mongolia.

Sept 6 - GOTCHA DAY!!!! Cadence is in our arms!!

Sept. 7 - Adoption registration & notarization. At this point we can't "relinquish" Cadence in China - like we would!

Sept. 8 - "optional shopping trip to local department store"!

Sept. 9 - Wait for paperwork.

Sept. 10 - Receive Cadence's passport. Leave Hohhot and fly to Guangzhou.

Sept. 11 - Cadence's physical & shots :-(

Sept. 12 - free day

Sept. 13 - Consulate Appointment! (CA)

Sept. 14 - Take oath at US Consulate

Sept. 15 - Get Cadence's visa (AKA - our ticket home!)

Sept. 16 - Leave Guangzhou at 10am for Beijing

Sept. 17 - GO HOME!!! Leave Beijing at 6:55am, arrive in Richmond at 1:45pm!!


LID 06-10-09

MCC 07-01-09

Referral 04-23-10

LOI 04-25-10

Pre-approval 05-05-10

LOA 06-02-10

I-800 Prov. App. 06-28-10

Cabled 07-12-10

Article 5 07-26-10

Travel approval!!! 08-13-10

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Sierra wanted to do something for the other children in Cadence's orphanage, so she sent a letter to a fabulous friend of ours who heads up a knitting group - K1D2. The wonderful women in her group made some adorable toys for us to donate to the orphanage! We cannot wait do bring some joy to the kiddos! Check out the link below to see some of the items.

Sierra is celebrating her 8th birthday this weekend! Every year, for her birthday party with friends, she has chosen someplace to donate her "gifts". The first year it was items for the animal shelter, later on books to the library, and then bingo prizes for a nursing home. It has always been fun deciding what to do each year and we've always come up with a way for Sierra to take an active part in the giving process (ie. being able to actually drop the items off herself). Of course, she still gets plenty of presents from family & close friends, but she enjoys the giving too!

It was obvious what she would do this year... something for the orphans in China. Sierra wanted to collect toys & clothes to take with us, but luggage space is at a premium. So, we are collecting monetary donations for any party-goers who wants to participate and plan to buy items when we get over to China. Sierra is very excited about the things we will be able to give to the children who won't be coming home with us!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Gift of life

I have been a mess of emotions lately. Quite similar to how I felt at the end of each pregnancy. I am so excited to be meeting Cadence! I want to know what she looks like, what she likes to eat, how her laugh sounds. I want to know what makes her happy & laugh, how to comfort her when she cries, the sound of her breath as she sleeps. I know these next 2 weeks will fly by with all that needs to be done, but on the other hand they feel like the longest 2 weeks of my life! Again, quite similar to how I felt at the end of each pregnancy. I love this little girl who, right now, is on the other side of the world, asleep in her crib. I can't believe she will soon be in our arms! I found this poem on another blog... it's short but says so much.

The Gift of Life

I didn't give you the gift of life,
but in my heart I know
The love I feel is deep and real,
as if it had been so.

For us to have each other
is like a dream come true!
No, I didn't give you the gift of life
Life gave me the gift of you.

-Author unknown

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Flight reservations made!

I woke up today around 1:30pm (only getting to bed at 9am) and Brad said that we had our consulate appointment. There was no way I was getting back to sleep without making our plane reservations! As it stands, we are leaving Tuesday August 31st and returning Friday September 17th. We will travel to Inner Mongolia on Sept. 5th and meet Cadence that day or the next! We are so excited but I'm already anxious about being away from Laurel for so long. I know she'll be in good hands and having fun with her friends... but that is a long time to be away from her. She is so excited that her little sister will be coming home to her!

Sunday, August 15, 2010


To say that the last week and a half has been overwhelming would be an understatement! We'll start with Thursday the 5th... we put an official contract on 24 acres of land to buy & I took the girls to meet their new teachers. On Friday Brad passed his nursing boards! After 3 of the most difficult years of our marriage it was overwhelming to know that it his schooling finally over and he is a CRNA. Never again to I have to hear the words "I can't do that, I have to study"! We were just so relieved it is over we barely had the energy to celebrate. Last Sunday I started to feel a little sick and managed to muddle through 2 nights of work. Sierra started school on Tuesday the 10th (3rd grade!). I felt awful on Tuesday so I didn't go to work that night but was there to see Laurel off on Wednesday morning for her first day of kindergarten. Proceeded to miss a tea party/shower and slept for most of the day on Wednesday. I spent Thursday with Laurel and friends having one last day off before she goes to school full time (kindergartners stagger their first day so she was off that day) - still feeling very hazy and tired. Friday was spent at Sam's club & various shopping to cover the weekend events... and also the wonderful day we got our travel approval (and incidentally forgot my mother-in-law's birthday). Saturday started with a baby shower in Richmond for a family who just came home from China with their daughter, Sierra went to a birthday sleepover, Laurel went to a friend's house and on to her swim banquet, and Brad & I had a mini date night to a friend's surprise birthday party. Sunday was spent cleaning the house & starting to get this lined up for our trip to China!

I'm worn out just writing about it! So while I managed to get the kids where they needed to go and appropriate gifts bought, I only managed about 50% on the actual celebrations. Sigh. Very frustrating that I cannot keep on top of everything and I apologize to everyone in advance for any of my oversights. That said, I need to get back to my packing list for China, schedule & arrangements for Laurel while we're in China, looking at house plans, planning Sierra's birthday party (the weekend before we leave) & getting her gifts!

Friday, August 13, 2010


We got our travel approval today!!! I am so excited I can barely sit still to write this! We still need our consulate appointment before we make flight reservations, but our agency plans for us to leave September 1st or 2nd. That means Cadence may be in our arms by the 5th!! Thank you for all of your good thoughts and prayers!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

News to expect news

I just opened the best email... well, the second best (TA would be the best!). Wait, actually, our referral was the best, so make this third best. Anyway, I was told by our adoption agency that they are expecting to hear about our travel approval (TA) within the next few days!! They wanted to confirm that we could leave Sept. 1st or 2nd! This is really what I had been planning on for "best case scenario" that was going through my head. So I am very happy! Just wanted to share the news that we should be getting news soon!

Monday, August 9, 2010


I've officially become a stalker! I check my emails CONSTANTLY! I have suddenly become desperate to get our TA. I think part of it is now that Brad officially has a job and our life is getting on track it is time for Cadence to be here! Another big part, though, is that I recently found out about some happenings in China. Their Moon Festival happens in September and their national holiday is early October. Basically China shuts down for these events. Now once we get our travel approval we need to get our consulate appointment to make things official before we can bring Cadence home. This consulate appointment is usually 2'ish weeks after you get TA, but could be a bit longer. Therefore, if we don't get TA until early September these holidays could cause quite a delay for our consulate appt... thus causing quite a delay before we can travel. Ugh!

All of this has caused me to become borderline paranoid that we won't get our TA in time and hence, won't end up traveling until October! I know, the pessimist in me is winning over a bit. So keep fingers crossed and prayers coming that we get our TA soon!! (as in - this week!)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

This has been a big week! Last Saturday (I know, technically that was last week) Sierra swam in the JSL Championships. She had great swim times and took 3rd in her heat for butterfly. She had a great time and we are all a little sad to see swim season end. Although swim practice was daily and Wednesday night meets are 5-6 hours long it has been a fun summer of friends, playing, and hanging out - for me... the girls just swam! J/K - they have had a lot of fun too!

On Thursday two exciting things happened. We went to the elementary school to meet the girls' teachers. I have to say that I really liked both of the teachers! Both were very friendly, warm, and inviting, giving the girls hugs before they left the classrooms. Laurel seemed more excited about kindergarden than she's been so far and Sierra's best friend from 1st grade is in her class this year again. Despite Sierra being in a "learning cottage" again (read: trailer) I left the school having a very good feeling about this school year!

The second exciting event is that we have purchased some land. Twenty-four acres that is still in our county and only about 10 minutes from the neighborhood we live in now. Brad has been itching to get back to "country living" and desperately wants a tractor. He's been getting the girls psyched at the prospect of chickens, baby goats, and a pony! We'll see how it all shakes out! Besides being close to my friends and family I am very excited that there is a neighborhood right across the street where we can take walks and ride bikes. I think it is a good balance for what both of us want.

Then on Friday Brad took his boards. For those who don't know, we have endured 3 VERY LONG years of Brad going to school full-time+ and me working to support our family. Brad has often been out of state to do clinicals and when he was home he studied constantly... all 3 years! I can literally count on my hands the number of days we have spent as a family in those 3 years and didn't have "studying" to do at some point in the day. Brad is now a CRNA!!! (nurse anesthetist) I am so proud of all he's done and SO happy it's finally over!

As for Cadence we are still waiting for our travel approval. Some families who received their Article 5 two weeks before us just got their TA on Friday. It's thrilling to think that we may be making plane reservations in 2 weeks! While I still have things to do I cannot wait to get her home. I worry about her all the time and wonder if someone is holding her, hugging her, keeping her comfortable. I am so ready to have her in my arms! I remember when I was pregnant and had some very bizarre dreams. I always chalked it up to pregnancy hormones. I had a dream last week that someone came to the house and said they had brought Cadence to us. We were introduced to "Cadence", a 14-year-old Russian girl... oops! I politely told them that she is actually 14 months old, not years, and that she is Chinese. They said they'd fix it! Hormones? I think not!

Monday, August 2, 2010


For anyone who wants to know why did we decided to adopt, check out the link below. It is a blog from a foster home in China and highlights the day of a child who was just matched with a family. Actually it highlights the excitement of another boy who is so thrilled that this child will have a mom & dad. I have thought about this little boy (Robert) often since reading this and pray that one day he will find out that he has a forever family too.