Friday, March 31, 2006

Travel Journal on The Story of You

When I began this blog I had hoped that I would be able to use it as a way to journal and send pictures back home when we traveled to get Katie Starr. Unfortunately, it can be hard to access Blogger in at least one of the provinces that we will be in so we decided to make things easier on ourselves and to post on The Story of You. The Story of You is a very popular journaling website that makes it EASY for adoptive parents to document their trip and to send pictures for everyone to see back home. Please bookmark this link and please feel free to check it out now. Tina even made the cartoon people look like us :)

We hope to announce our travel dates in the next 2 weeks and we would love you all to follow our journey to our precious girl.

Monday, March 27, 2006

I am such a lucky woman!

This picture of me and my son Justin was taken last weekend at our Century 21 Annual Awards Banquet. The office that I own with my father won a very prestigious award that we had been trying to attain for 12 years. This was on the very night that I received my referral picture of Katie Starr. Justin was home from college on Spring Break and was able to share in our joy.

I look at this photo and it just plain ol makes me grin from ear to ear.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

And soon they will be Four....

Tonight we had dinner with our wonderful friends Shannon, Alan, their son Ryan and Shannon's mom, Pattie. We wanted to spend a little time together before Alan and Shannon left for China to pick up their daughter, Mia. Of course, being the mushy girls that we are we had parting gifts for each other. Shannon gave me a ceramic jewelry keepsake box with "Wish upon a Star" written on top of it for our Star, Katie Starr as well as an adorable ladybug pin that she made. I gave Shannon a statue of two women holding hands called "Sisters of the heart". Shannon and I feel very strongly that fate has brought us together in a very special friendship that unites us, our families and our daughters. We know in our hearts that our daughters will share our special bond.

When we parted there was so much emotion in saying goodbye. We know that a very emotional and wonderful two weeks lay ahead for them. They are so eager to unite with their daughter and so sad to be away from their son. Ryan will be home surrounded by his grandparents love so he will be fine but it is so hard to be away from him for such an extended period of time.

Marc and I love them very much and will be sharing very special time with their parents and Ryan while they are away. We will also be eagerly searching on a daily basis for their updates on from 3/24 through 4/8.

Shannon and Alan: We love you very much and look forward to the day that Aunty Lori and Uncle Marc will be at the airport with your loving family and friends to welcome you and Mia home forever.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Presenting Miss Katie Starr!!

Wow..what a day it was! GWCA received the final 26 referrals on Friday at 11:30 am. Marc and I had always hoped and dreamed that we would look at our daughters face for the first time together but it wasn't meant to be that way. It seems that there have been many twists and turns on our path and this day would be no different.

Several days ago, we had informed our referral counselor that Marc had to leave by Friday at 3:00 for a large corporate event where he was entertaining. I, also was receiving an award at the same event that evening, so I had to leave soon after he did. As the clock ticked away Marc began to get more and more upset as others in our group were receiving their pictures and we still had not. We had been assured that we would have the picture before 3:00. Finally, Marc called and found out that the computer server was having problems and it may take some time to work it out. After 3 weeks and 2 false labors, this was the final straw for us!  I just sat there and cried and Marc looked absolutely despondent. Expectations were dashed again!! Marc then left and my Mom and I stayed there looking for the e-mail; willing it to come through. Finally, one of the other employees tried again and the picture came through. Marc said before he left, that if the picture came through, then to open it and bring it to him at the event.

My Mom and I sat in front of the computer and I said "Are you ready?" She said "Yes!"  I clicked and in an instant all of the pain of the last 3 weeks melted away. I felt all of the things that I had prayed I would feel when I saw my daughter's image for the first time. It was a good thing that my Mom was there; she held me while I cried with happiness. Katie Starr's face brought me such joy. I felt like she was mine immediately and I was thrilled with the light and happiness that I saw in her eyes. I then rushed to bring the picture to Marc and my son, who was at the event as well. We met in a private area to view Katie's picture and there it was again...Instant love!

Even though it was not the way we planned at all; seeing Katie for the first time was one of the most awesome moments of our lives and worth every minute of the wait.

Of course, now we cannot wait to go get our daughter!!  I am also very happy to report that Justin has told us that he wants to come and experience this with us. I cannot express the happiness that this has brought us. Our family will be together when Katie Starr joins us. As far as I am concerned, it doesn't get any better than this!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Stork is Flying Again for the GWCA Lost 26!!

I am happy to report that the stork is flying again for the last 26 from Great Wall. We should have a passport size photo of our daughters in hand by Friday and finally be able to accept our referral. I can't wait to share Katie Starr with all of you that have been so supportive for the past 3 weeks. Here is hoping that the stork has a good sense of direction this time and flaps as fast as he can :)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

What the coming week may bring for the final GWCA 26

We received word from GWCA yesterday that the CCAA is having a difficult time having all of the orphanages and foster homes comply in a timely manner in getting new referral pictures to the CCAA. GWCA has asked the CCAA to send us referral packages with the one scanned passport shot that they use in the matching process (I kept wondering about that). If they agree we should have our referral package this week :)

Please keep your fingers and toes crossed for us.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I don't think we would do well in Vegas these days.....

Well folks, even though the odds were in our favor we have again not received a referral in the newest package of 38 that were found. We both were very sad but we do have a small silver lining.

In China when a child is abandoned the authorities place an ad in a local newspaper in most provinces. This is usually the earliest photo taken of the baby. There are a couple of services that search archives of these records for adoptive families and you can purchase this picture which is referred to as a finding ad. It usually takes about a month to hear word back as to whether there is an ad for your child. Some do not have them or sometimes they cannot locate them. When I received Katie's information I immediately placed an order for that ad. Well last night I found out that Brian Stuy, the owner of
Research China heard about our situation and offered the families a very quick turn around on the photo. Last night he called me from China to tell me that he found Katie's ad and sent it to me by 5:00 am. I was very moved that he would do this for us. Because the quality of this photo is very poor until they digitally enhance it Marc and I made the decision to wait and see if the referral photo came in today. If it did not then we would look at the finding ad. After we receieved the bad news and we composed ourselves we looked at the photo. We both fell in love. The image is poor but our Katie is beautiful. I am not going to be able to post it here as it just would never come through properly. I cannot wait to be able to proudly introduce Katie Starr HongShan Weinstock to all of you.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Saga Continues....

This morning we received the good and the bad news. The good news is that DHL found 38 of the lost dossiers; the bad news is that 26 are still missing. Tomorrow the package arrives at our agency's headquarters and then by early afternoon we will hear whether we are in the fortuate 38 or whether we are two time losers...LOL. You have to keep laughing I say!! I hope to be able to report that tomorrow is the day that we see Katie Starr for the first time and begin the process of accepting her referral.

I have posted before about the kind of friends that Marc and I have made though this journey. Yesterday, came another shining example of the type and quality of people that are creating their families through adoption. I told my FCC Group that since I was probably not going to be able to bring Katie Starr's picture to our monthly dinner on Thursday that I would use my imagination and draw a picture of what Marc and I think that she may look like knowing that the CCAA trys to match a child to their parents. We would bring that picture to the dinner. Well, of course that brought about a flurry of comments that were touching, funny and supportive. Then comes the very best part. My good friend Shannon, who is adopting the beautiful Mia, posts to our group that she thinks that it would be wonderful if we all took part in this undertaking and at the dinner all of the attendees and their children would draw a picture of what they think Katie Starr will look like. Now, even people who will not be able to attend are taking part in this. Shannon is going to compile all of these drawings and do a scrapbook for Katie Starr to see later on. She will know how wanted she really is; not only to us but to our whole community of friends. I love my life!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Woooohoooo! Another Piece of the Puzzle

We still have not received our daughter's picture but what we did receive today was her translated growth report. This report outlines her life from the time that she was abandoned until seven months old. She is now 10.5 months old. I won't discuss the particulars of her abandonment as that is her private story that her family will share with her one day when she is ready to know about it. When and if she feels that she can share that with others will be up to her.

Her growth report states that Katie Starr laughs a lot, likes touching, shaking and throwing things..oh boy!! She loves eating and gets excited when she sees food (like her mother) She likes to clap her hands and loves the outdoors. She sleeps deeply for 12-15 hours daily!!! She was sitting on her own at six months and crawling at 7 months old. The most wonderful thing as far as we are concerned is that she has been in foster care since she was 4 months old. We are overjoyed to hear that!! When we read all of the information I began to shake and did so for quite awhile. It is so moving to know so much about our little girl and unfortunately she is so far away from us. It may also take us quite awhile to travel as we have to have original documents in order to accept the referral and while DHL is still looking for them the CCAA is trying to reconstruct the packages and get new pictures to us. This may take quite awhile. Patience is something that every adoptive parent must learn if it is not already a natural virtue of theirs. Patience was never a virtue of mine so the last 14 months has trained me well...LOL

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Best Things Come to Those Who Wait!!

Marc and Lori Weinstock along with their son Justin Ortega announce with great pride and joy the referral of our daughter, Katie Starr Weinstock

Chinese Name: Wu Hong Shan
DOB: 4/13/05
Presently residing at Wuwei Social Welfare Institute in Gansu Province, China.

At 7 months old she weighed 17.17 lbs and was 31 inches tall (tall and thin like her daddy)
She is healthy.

We do not have a photo or further info as yet; due to the fact that The DHL package was lost between China and our adoption agency. It has been a tough 3 days since we found that bit of info out.