Tuesday, February 27, 2007

One Year Ago Today......

We were waiting with 90 other GWCA families for our referral. Once we received the Stork Alert we flew home from Las Vegas to receive our referral together with family and friends. The excitement was overwhelming. We prepared for the moment that we had waited with such anticipation. We taped a message to Katie. Marc brought me a dozen roses. We stocked the house with goodies as family and friends were going to be stopping by to share on our joy. We tracked the package that was delivered to Great Wall and just when we thought we could wait no longer we received the following e-mail from our agency:

I am writing to inform you that we received one package of referrals today, but we did not receive both packages with all 90 referrals. The package we received today contained 26 referrals. If we received your referral, we have already notified those families via email, if you are receiving this email, we do not expect delivery of your referral today. I know that this will be difficult news, but we will be following up with the CCAA as soon as they reopen.

Unfortunately, the CCAA will not reopen until this evening, but I assure you that we will be in touch with them to learn more about the arrival of the second package. I cannot imagine your disappointment, but we will quickly address this situation and will follow up with you as soon as possible.

DHL lost our referral!!???!! I could hardly see though my tears and thankfully my friend Shannon sent out e-mails to everyone about what had happened as I could not bring myself to do that. After waiting 10 months (which at the time felt like an eternity) I thought that there was no way that we could wait another day to see our sweet Katie Starr's face; but wait we did.

GWCA was able to get 3 pieces of identifying info three days later on our daughter: Name, DOB and Province (Gansu Province; where the heck is that? :) but our referral was never found by DHL and it took 3 weeks to have a duplicate one issued by the CCAA. When all was said and done; even though we thought that we could not wait another day let alone 3 more weeks we did and even though we never thought that we would have to wait almost 3 months to travel; we did. This daughter that we both waited our whole lives for was more than worth every crazy moment that we endured. She is everything that we has dreamt of and more. The proof of that is now we are in the wait for her brother.

I write this for two reasons tonight. The first is that I wanted to mark the year anniversary of that day as we will mark 3/17 when we finally saw her beautiful face and as we will mark 5/14 when we wrapped our arms and love around her forever. The second reason that I write this is for those of you that wait and wait and wait some more. This is a glimpse into your sweet future. All of the pain of this insane wait will fall away when your child finally is revealed to you and your lives will forever be changed in the best way possible. You have much to look forward to, as we do now, as we wait for our Ethan.

Monday, February 26, 2007

We are Blessed by Friendship

It is amazing how many wonderful friends have come into our life through the adoption process. Friend's for Marc and I and friends for Katie and for Ethan when he comes home. Katie even had a ready made best friend before she even stepped foot on American Soil. The lovely Mia is that friend and of course her mommy and daddy, Shannon and Alan, are two of Marc and my closest friends and we met them through this process..amazing!!

On Saturday we had our FCC Playgroup that our good friends Candy and David host and we took the opportunity to take some pictures for our dossier. Our agency asks us to take some pictures of Katie with friends and we had quite a few of them right there. It was challanging to get all of the kiddos to settle down long enough to take picture but it was lots of fun as well. There were a few friends that came after this pic was taken but we struck while we felt the iron was hot and took it. We were also lucky enough to have
Julie and Kacey in visiting with Nana and PopPop; what fun!!

Sunday we saw our friends
Dawn, Jacob and Lily at our Chinese New Year Festival here in Miami. We were so happy to see them. Their daughter Lily is a sweetheart!!

Today I took the opportunity to visit Kacey with Katie Starr. We had a great time. They fed the ducks some bread by the lake and of course ate some bread at the same time, they sat on the hammock, they had a tea party, played with play dough (Katie still thinks it is food and attempts to eat it), played magna doodle and then topped off the visit with lunch out at Pollo Tropical. We hope to see Julie and Kacey again soon and a huge thanks to Nana Susan and PopPop Jim for your hospitality and friendship. Your granddaughter is scrumpdelyicious!!

I could go on and on with this subject. Marc and I had special friends before this process and are lucky enough now to have even more friendship in our lives. The adoption community is amazing and we consider ourselves very blessed to be a part of it.

This was the last and best shot - From L to R Julie holding Kacey, Me holding Katie Starr with Marc behind me, Sandy and the Poko Pack scattered throughout, behind Sandy is Candy and David, and in front of Candy is Lisa holding Lauren.

Scenes from a Tea Party

Let's have a tea party

OK Kacey, as long as I can still eat my Cheezits

I will be right back after I finish eating

C'mon Katie put them down so we can drink our tea ....

Fine; I will sit here with PopPop while you eat!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Here Comes Trouble!!

One of my friends sent me a picture taken at the Florida GWCA Chinese New Year event. These four cutie patooties sat (kinda) for this mini reunion shot. As you can see Miss Starr is looking off in the distance and probably thinking about the next way that she can get into trouble (oops I mean her next parental challenge exercise :) Gotta be PC!!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Xin Nein Kuai Le!

Happy Year of the Golden Boar!! We celebrated at two events this year. Last week was the Florida Great Wall CNY event in Tampa where Marc emcee'd the event. There were 350 in attendance and it was a total blast. We even got to see four families that we traveled to China with and their beautiful daughters. It has been 9 months since our adoption journey and it was amazing to get back together again. There was a photo taken by a couple of the families of the girls together but I still need to track that photo down. The second event was this evening. We celebrated with our FCC - South Florida Family and that was wonderful as well.

Both events had Lion Dancers and our FCC event even had fireworks. Katie Starr was very brave for both; even when the lion actually placed his mouth over Katie and my heads after I fed him his red envelope. She screamed but never cried. She even clapped with excitement when they were a comfortable distance away. Justin, my parents and my best friend Kira came with Katie and me to the FCC event. Marc was unable to attend.

This very lucky year of the Golden Boar is starting out wonderfully; full of fun, family and my children together. This is also the year we will complete our family with Ethan so it will be a lucky one indeed! Enjoy the pics....

Pictures from the Florida GWCA CNY Celebration

Katie and Mommy

Katie climbing up on stage - just like daddy!!

Katie and Daddy

Our family with Snow Wu - The President of GWCA

Mommy with Katie watching Marc perform

Pictures from FCC-South Florida CNY Celebration

Oh, how I love these children of mine!!

Lion Dancers

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Masochist Elmo?? Turn up your volume for this one

In order to get TMX Elmo to laugh you have to give it a push on it's stomach. Katie cannot yet push it hard enough to get it started. We think the technique that she used is very resourceful. Listen hard in the middle and you can hear Elmo saying.... Again! Again! This boy likes it rough :) We caught this little gem this morning on tape.

Friday, February 16, 2007

A Couple of Cute Pics

Here are a couple of cute pictures from the past week. Last weekend we attended the Florida GWCA Chinese New Year Celebration in Tampa and had a ball. I will post those pictures when I receive a few more from some Friends who were nice enough to take some as I only took a couple.

Here is Katie Starr with her two friends (from left to right) Erin and Olivia at our monthly social dinner sucking away on their push pops

Today we took Katie Starr to the Doctor for more shots and tests as well as an early 2 year old check up. Katie was not too happy and decided during the exam that she would put her pants on and leave. As you can see she would not have gotten very far with both of her legs in the one pant leg :)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Big Shoes to Fill

Our Starr is always trying to walk around in my shoes. Here she is with my old flip flops trying to walk around. This was no small feet (feat) LOL as I wear a size 10 shoe. Justin lovingly calls me Sasquatch. Please link to Double Happiness to see other FFFF Wild Card Entries. This is my wild card entry and it is video so it is really wild :)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Faith and Destiny - The Story of Ethan

An interesting thing happened on the way to Taiwan.....seriously though; here is the story.....

When we first decided to adopt again back in November we knew that we were open to a child with certain special needs. We looked at many lists through many different agencies (My friend Mary Rodin, another adoptive mom forwarded many of them to me) and quite frankly there is a feeding frenzy going on out there due to the rule changes and long wait. That climate really turned us off so we decided to look at our options and a very good one was Taiwan. The evening that we made the announcement that we would be adopting from Taiwan we received a phone call from Mary about a waiting child that CCAI had on their list. This child was from Katie's Orphanage. The initial description of his special need was very vague but he was a sweet and captivating child so we decided to ask about him. We thought that maybe he may be our son but would need to know if his special need was one that we felt capable of handling. After review of his info and consultation with a specialist we sadly found out that his special need was not one we felt comfortable with handling so we knew he was not our son. Thankfully, there was a family just after us that will most likely adopt him.

That evening, I received word on my DTC Yahoo group from our adoption of Katie Starr that a child that I had seen in November that had been on hold for a family was available for adoption. The family that had been pursuing his adoption was not able to adopt him so he was back on the list again as the rule changes had made it impossible for them to proceed. When I saw him back in November I was very drawn to him and had been disappointed to see that he was not available for adoption. Marc and I decided to ask to review his file. We received it along with several other families and had it reviewed by our pediatrician and a Pediatric cardiologist that came highly recommended by other families in our FCC Group. Both doctors felt that the operation on Ethan's heart in China had been a success. They both gave us us the thumbs up and admonished us to put a little meat on his bones when we got him home (no problem at all in our family ;0). Now, we had a decision to make. We had a path to Taiwan that the groundwork had already been laid; in fact our dossier was almost complete. We were requesting a girl and this was a boy; this child was almost Katie's age and we had already plunked down a large amount of money with the Taiwan Program. We were very drawn to him but quite honestly it felt so complicated and scary. We decided to think it through over the weekend. Saturday evening Marc and I were coming home from dinner and I looked on my blackberry (OK, stop snickering Mary and Kim). I saw a post from Mary on our FCC group about the same boy that we had been reviewing. What?!? Are you kidding?!? Why is Mary posting that? She never posts about waiting children on our group?!? Now, I felt two things: This is the third time that this boy has been shown to me and the second thing I felt was, OMG, I do not want anyone else to have our son!! I told Marc and he agreed that this was our son. It did not matter about the money or the uncertainty or even the chance of getting an infant girl in Taiwan. Xiao Zhiqing was our son and we needed to get him. The next day (on Sunday at 9am Hawaii Time) we called the cell phone for the rep from the agency and asked if he was still available and if he was we wanted to adopt him. The rest as they say is history or at least it will be once we get him home.

The moral of this story is that you cannot deny your destiny or the red thread that connects you to those that you are destined to be with. Sometimes our human failings place barriers in the way but we all need to stay open to the possibilities that are there; right before our eyes waiting to be seen. We are all connected by the red thread and now I find that even the connections that we have made in the adoption community have moved mountains to secure our destiny.

Thank you again to all of you for your support and love. A special thank you to Mary Rodin who made sure that our red thread to Ethan was untangled.

Monday, February 05, 2007

We have a son from China!!!!

"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break."

Name: Xiao Zhi Qing soon to be Ethan Frederick Zhiqinq

Born: 7/6/05 -- 19 months old ~ just under 3 months younger than his Jie Jie, Katie Starr ~
Virtual Twins!

XiaJiang SWI, Jiangxi, PRC

Special Need: VSD Repaired

Agency: Hawaii International Child

He is described as excited when seeing delicious food (love that), lovely, fond of toys, often laughs, active, restless, likes to watch TV and is close to his caretaker. We think he is a beautiful child.

The Red Thread took quite some time to untangle and our loving and supportive friend Mary Rodin was the person who completely untangled it for our family. Thank you Mary!!

I will save the story of of how all of this came about for our next post.

We are ecstatic and cannot wait to bring him home forever!!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Some Video and Pictures from a Lovely Day

Today we spent a part of the day at a festival that benefitted a local charity. It was a beautiful day and Katie Starr got to visit her first petting zoo and ride her first pony among many other fun things. Later in the day we visited Marc's folks with Justin and Katie and celebrated my FIL's birthday.

Here are some video and pictures:

At the Petting Zoo

Katie had some corn pops before petting the animals and the remnants left on her shirt had the animals clamoring for her...

First Pony Ride

In the Park

Playing horsey with Grandma