Thursday, December 27, 2007

This Christmas, I found myself with a new unexpected challenge. I "fostered" this cute little puppy for an entire month so that my nephew would have a big surprise from Santa on Christmas morning. I thought the challenge would be to feed, house train, and clean up after this little guy, but the real challenge was letting him go! It's amazing how attached I got in such a short time. I think he helped me get through most of the holiday season without thinking too much about not having Micalee here; he just kept me too busy and helped fill that empty space in my heart. But now that he's gone from our home, that emptiness is back, stronger than ever before! It also made me realize what Micalee's birth mother will be going through, and yes I know there's a big difference between a puppy and a baby, and maybe I shouldn't compare the two, but it did make me think of the pain she will be experiencing (and on such a larger scale). I have never cried so hard as when I had to leave this little guy on at my sister's doorstep. My heart was breaking. Maybe I'm just too emotional! At least I can see this puppy grow, and I know he's happy and loved in his new home. She'll always just wonder, but never know for sure. I know I'll always be grateful to her for her ultimate sacrifice.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

21 Months and counting...

Blackjack?! Well, it is now officially (as of yesterday) 21 months since our LID for Micalee! How many more to go?! Well, if I knew that, things would be alot easier! Will she be home, or will we at least have a picture of her, by NEXT Christmas!? The way things are looking now, the answer is no, but I'm still holding on to hope that things in China will speed up, and we'll have her home in 2008! If you look at numbers, only, it doesn't look to hopeful. But the thing is, there was a time when the wait got up to 18 months (and yes, we're way beyond that now!), and then things starting speeding up and got back down to 6 months, so anything is possible. So for now, we're just concentrating on having the best Christmas possible, knowing that it's another one without our little girl home with us. But we have the best, most supportive family, and we know we'll have a very special Christmas, and we know that we will eventually have our little girl here to help us celebrate the holidays and enjoy all the little things that go along with them!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Today, and everyday, I am thankful for my family: from the family I was born into, to the family I chose. I am thankful for getting the opportunity to complete my family through adoption. I am thankful for the love and support we have received from family and friends during this unexpected growing wait. I am thankful for how open everyone has been to accept Micalee into our family, with no reservations. (You'd be surprised by what some folk's family members say to them!) I'm thankful for my Millie and Harmo, who show such unconditional love. I am truly thankful the most wonderful, loving husband that anyone could have ever asked for! I never doubt that I am loved! Especially with all the little things he does for me: warming up my truck and leaving a mug of hot chocolate on cold days; washing my hair for me after I had a wreck and was too sore to lift my arms; holding my hair back when I throw up; coming home early from an always sacred fishing trip, just because I felt sad that day! The list goes on and on...and will never be forgotten!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Anniversary Vacation...

Well, it took us until the very last minute to decide what to do on our Anniversary (9th year!) off this year. We thought we'd just end up staying at home and working on projects around the house, but after I won a little friendly fishing competition (I'm sure David will eventually post the huge, nearly 6 pound bass I caught!), I chose to go to Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas. We spent two nights in two different cabins because we made last minute reservations (the day before we left!) for one night, and then were lucky to have a cancellation and get to stay a 2nd night! It was SO beautiful! We love the Arkansas State Park system, and I've always wanted to check out Petit Jean! WOW! We had the best time hiking! This picture is from the most "strenuous" trail. It was only 2 miles, but the beginning took us down 200 feet into the canyon. That wasn't too bad, but coming back up?!?! OMG!!! It just reminded us how out of shape we are! But it was all worth it! Even though Cedar Falls was down to a "trickle", it was still unbelievable! I can't imagine it when it's in full force! It must be deafening in that canyon! The water fall is pictured behind us (it's about 90 feet high). Pictures don't to it, or the rest of the park, justice. The trip, overall, was somewhat rejuvenating and helped to restore my spirit! The Cedar Falls hike, to me, reflected our adoption. It seemed to take forever to reach to Falls, and the climb back up was painful to say the least, but it all so very much worth it! And to top it all off, we were sitting on a bench, trying to catch our breath after the climb back out of the canyon, just enjoying the amazing view, and suddenly a family with two little Asian girls walked onto the bluff. It was as if God himself was trying to tell us something. Just hang on, it will happen! The next night, I unfolded a blanket from the cabin and found a red thread. Just more verification that this will eventually happen. I can't wait to be able to share these kind of places with Micalee. These mountains and streams just fill me with a peace and calm! Kinda like my latest mantra I've been reciting in my head anytime I start feeling overwhelmed by this slowing adoption process, or anything else in my life: Courage, Faith, Patience, Peace.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Another month of waiting is behind us...
Happy 20th month LIDversary to us! It's totally unbelievable how long this wait has grown! I can't believe I've lasted this long, and in someways, maybe I haven't! But, we've come WAY too far to give up now. There's nothing to do but wait, and we are becoming the world's foremost expert in that! I'm trying to remain positive and say these will be the last holidays without Micalee, but honestly, I'm not so sure! I would have never dreamed she wouldn't be home by Christmas 2008, but here we are! Who knows what the future holds!?! I do know that we will be digging deep inside to keep up the Christmas spirit this year. I want to be able to enjoy the holidays, but I know Micalee will be on my mind. Just how many more Thanksgivings, Christmases, New Years, Easters, Mother's & Father's get the idea....without our little girl?! Will 2008 be our year!? The number 8 in considered lucky in China, and Jeanie, that's your lucky number, too, so maybe so! Come on 2008....bring Micalee home! Hurry before we get any older, and she has to change our diapers as soon as she is out of them herself!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!!
Check out our pumpkin! We carved the Chinese symbol for "good fortune", called Fu. Hopefully, it will help bring a huge group of referrals this month! Anything we can do to help! We are exactly 100 days of LID's from ours, but I calculated that at a rate of 10 days of LID's per month (and at this point, that is wishful thinking!), we are 10 months away from a referral (August 2008). If only CCAA would speed up! We could be closer; of course, we could also (and most people believe) be further away. If the 15 day per month some have been predicting would only come to be, then we would be 7 months away (June 2008)! That, I could handle! I could probably handle just about anything that is definite! It's the not knowing that drives me crazy! That's why we carved a "good fortune" pumpkin; I've really been feeling like we need some!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It was been called to my attention (you know who you are!) that I am falling down on my "posting duties". So, here it is! Well, we've now been "officially" waiting for 19 months. That's 19 month since the Chinese officials logged in our paperwork. How much longer? Well, no one can seem to answer that. There's still speculation of a speed up, but when and how much of a speed up? No one knows! All we can do is wait, and we've had alot of practice with that, so we should be able to that without any problem. Then why is it getting harder!? Practice makes perfect, right?! Well, not in this case! Hopefully, it won't be another 19 months of waiting, but I guess we know what that feels like already, right?! I'm still hanging my hopes, dreams and prayers on a early Summer 2008 referral. I just want to be back with our little girl before the Olympics starts (August 8th). I'm afraid if we're not, that will be another slow-down. The song "Slow Boat to China" comes to mind! I wonder why!
Well, on a happier note, we have finished the nursery! I posted a couple of before and after pictures on the "Micalee's Room" blog, so if you get a chance, check them out. Pictures don't quite do it justice (can you tell we're proud!?), so all you "local folks" need to come by and check it out! There are plenty of toys you can play with while you're here!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Happy Moon Festival!

Happy Moon Festival, Everyone!!!

We're going to celebrate tomorrow, because David is working tonight. But, we have our Mooncakes ready, and I'm going to cook something round to celebrate. Then we'll go outside and eat our Mooncakes while gazing at the full moon! I'm sure, like last year, we'll be dreaming of Micalee and wondering if she was taken outside to see the full moon, too. I'm sure her birth family will be looking into the moon and wondering what her future will be like. I hope they know how much we appreciate the opportunity they are giving us. Because of their decision to leave their little girl in safe place to be found, we will be a family! We can never thank them enough, and we will always be grateful. And each Moon Festival, we will be thinking of them.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Peek into Micalee's room...

Hey everybody! I created a link to a new blog that will be all about Micalee's room! So far, I have pictures of some of her clothes and toys. I may post before and after pictures, eventually, but for now, it's mostly a look into her closet and dresser! Be sure to check it out, and keep checking back for additions to the site. If I did this correctly, you should be able to click on this doll. If that doesn't work, there is link over to the left, just below the picture of Millie and her own blog (have you checked out Millie's site?!). I hope you enjoy this sneak peek!

Monday, September 10, 2007

18 months many more to go?

Well, it's official! We've been LID'd for 18 months! Do you know how much can & has happened in 18 months!?! At Jacob's party, I was reminded of just what 18 months looks like. The day after we sent in our application to our adoption agency, my sister, Jeanie, announced she was pregnant. During her pregnacny, we were in the midst of our paper chase (the begining or our "paper pregnancy"). Jace (Jacob's little brother) was born Feb. 27, 2006, just 10 days after our dossier was sent to China and 11 days before we were officially logged in (LID). Now he's an adorable 18 month old toddler, and a constant reminder of how long we've been waiting and the days of Micalee's early childhood that we will miss. When Jeanie announced she was pregnant, we all thought Jace & Micalee would possible be arriving in our family about the same time, but of course, that hasn't been the case. But now, she will most likely fall in the "correct birth order" and will have 2 wonderful cousins close to her age that I know will be like big brothers!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Happy Birthday, Jacob!!!

Happy Birthday, Jacob!!!!!! We love you so very much!!!!!!!
Today is my nephew Jacob's 5th birthday! I can't believe how much he has grown since that 3 pound 4 ounce little premature baby 5 years ago! He is the sweetest, funniest little boy! He is so smart and full of so much personality! And he says the funniest and "beyond his years" things! His birthday party is Saturday, which makes me think of the phone conversation I had with him just one year ago on his 4th birthday. I was sitting right here at this very computer, talking to him on the phone before going to his party. He asked me if we were bringing Micalee to his birthday party. I tried to explain to him that Micalee was still somewhere in China, and he said, "why did David leave Micalee in China?"! I couldn't help laugh; I must always make everything seem David's fault! He assumed that if Micalee was still in China, it must have been because of something David did! I also remember telling him that although Micalee wouldn't be coming to his party that day, she would definitely be there for his 5th birthday party. Boy, was I wrong! I would have never dreamed a year ago, that things were going to slow down to the point it has! As the "Rumor Queen" so graciously pointed out, there were only four months worth of referrals matched in the last year! But, on a good note, if it stays at the same turtle's pace, we should have our referral by this time next year, as we're less than four months of LID's behind the last batch of referrals. I'm still hoping for a slight speed up, so we can get our referral earlier in 2008, so MAYBE Micalee will be here for Jacob's 6th birthday party!!!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

In Memory of David's Mother...

For those of you that do not already know, David's mother, Evelyn Wrightson, passed away this past Monday, August 27th. She's finally where she's wanted to be for the past 14 years, with her beloved husband. David was able to make it to Florida the Friday before, and had the chance to say good-bye. I have seen that something good can come from tragedy. This has brought David and his family closer together and has helped mend ties that have not been so strong through the years. I know this is something his mother is very proud of. I also had the pleasure of meeting some of David's family that I had never had the opportunity to meet. Just like my immediate family, there are some unique personalities (you know who you are!), and I truly felt like part of the family. I wish I could take some of the pain away that David and his family are feeling, but I know it's just part of the grieving process. It will just take some time. And listening to them all talk about their memories of their mother and father, I know they will get through this. Again, please keep them in your prayers. And to Howard and Evelyn Wrightson, thank you for your wonderful son, David. You raised a wonderful, loving and caring man, and I will always be grateful to both of you.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

When it rains, it pours!

Wow, what a week it's been! First, our central A/C went out, just when we start having record high temps (over 100, with heat index over 110)! We put in a couple of window units which helped, but in the process, David drilled through the coils of one and ruined it, so we had to go buy a new one! I had to laugh (there was nothing else to do but laugh), but David didn't find it too fuuny! We had to replace the entire unit (A/C and heat), so that was a huge insult to the savings account. But with the rate of the referrals, we should be able to save that amount back up before we travel to China! We went four days without A/C, but it's in and blowing COLD!!! David had to have a "procedure" and is still very sore, but everything went well. However, his mother, who has been in the hospital for about a week, has just been diagnosed with Small Cell Carcinoma (cancer) of the lungs, and has been given 6 to 8 weeks to live. David is still recovering and is trying to figure out when he can make the trip to Florida. I can't stand to see him so upset and worry so much, and I'm not sure what to do for him. I'm usually good at this kind of thing (with family members of my patients), but when it comes to family, I can't seem to find the right words. I'm just trying to be there for him. He's taking all of this pretty hard. Please keep him and his family in your prayers!

Friday, August 10, 2007

17 Months many more to go?

I can't beleive it's been 17 months since our log in date (LID)!!! I had planned on losing lots of weight and getting in shape, and I've had more than plenty of time! I guess it's never too late to start! Hopefully, it won't be another 17 months of waiting....surely not....right?!?!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Wait...

Well, I see there have been a few optimists voting on the current poll!!! Our agency received referrals today, and the CCAA has officially matched through Nov 21, 2005. That's 7 days worth of LID's since the last batch of referrals. For those on you who read this blog that aren't in the adoption process (my family!), That means were are 109 LID days behind the current referrals (number of days between Nov 21, 2005 and March 10, 2006 - our Log In Date). If the CCAA continues to match only 7 days worth each month, that means we'd expect to wait for another 15 months (109 left divided by 7 days worth per month = 15 months), which would mean a referral for us in November 2008! However, the CCAA has matched as little as 2 days, and a long time ago, a month's worth or more per month, and no one can predict what will happen. The rumor is that things are going to speed up once they are past November (which was supposedly a huge LID month). If so, and they start to match 1/2 months of LID's per month, then we could get a referral in April or May 2008. It's really just a guessing game, and only time will tell!!! I used to stress out every month that referrals came out, but I finally reached the point in realizing I have no control over it (and you know how much I hate NOT having control!), and maybe there really is a reason for this long wait. Maybe people are right that say we will be matched with the perfect little girl for us! I just can't wait to find that out for myself!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What's new?

What's new since I created this blog?! Well, I'm officially off of orientation in Day Surgery. It's quite a change from SICU; MUCH LESS STRESSFUL!!! I'm getting used to getting up at 5 AM, and getting off at 2:30 everyday is great! My first weekend of call was terrible, but I hear that was unusual, so we'll wait and see. I miss having the same schedule as David, and I think he misses it even more! But we're adjusting. This was the long term plan, and the hours will be great once Micalee is home. Now we need to get David on days and things will be even better! Jeanie asked me the other day if I could tell her when we thought we might travel to China. I've been thinking about it, and it's still very hard to say. My "best guess" is that we'll get our referral in May 2008 and travel in July 2008 (unless the Olympics becomes a problem, but my "hope" is a referral in Feb (my birthday month) and travel in April (David's birthday month). We'll just have to wait and see!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Making of Micalee's Room

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China Ghosts

For Father's Day, I got David a book about Adoption from China. It's from a Father's perspective, but he says it's a "must read". It's Called China Ghosts. The author belongs to one of our Yahoo groups. He and his wife have adopted two little girls, using the same agency we're using.

Micalee's Room

We haven't done too much in Micalee's room recently. We still need to some painting, but I think we have plenty of time. I need to sort through all of the clothes! We've picked up alot when we see things on sale or something we just can't do without. The problem is that we have no idea what size she'll be wearing, so we have quite a variety, from 9 months up to 2T. Jeanie keeps picking up things every now and then, too!

Our Timeline

May 17, 2005: Met with Social Worker to discuss adoption and Home Study
July 8, 2005: Application sent to GWCA
July 27, 2005: Contract returned to GWCA
Aug 4, 2005: Paperchase Started (Sent for Marriage License and Daddy's birth certificate, Got copies of Mommy’s birth certificates, Got Local Police Criminal Clearance Letters, Had Passport pictures made, Sent for Mommy’s passport and Daddy’s passport renewal)
Aug 12, 2005: Picked up Mommy and Daddy’s Employment Letters
Aug 13, 2005: Met Social Worker again; Criminal background check request sent
Aug 23, 2005: Mommy and Daddy’s physicals and blood work done
Sept 1, 2005: Wrote letter to CCAA (Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs) requesting permission to adopt from China
Sept 9, 2005: Met Traveling Notary at Doctor's office to pick up completed, notarized Certificates of Physical Exams
Sept 20, 2005: Home Study home visit; Daddy’s birth certificate sent to Maryland Secretary of State for certification
Sept 30, 2005: Received Mommy’s passport
Oct 6, 2005: Received Daddy’s passport
Oct 12, 2005: Daddy’s birth certificate sent to U.S. Dept of State for certification and the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. for authentication; Financial Statement complete and notarized
Oct 17, 2005: Picked up completed Home Study
Oct 18, 2005: Sent Home Study and I600-A application to the USCIS office in Memphis, TN (for immigration approval)
Oct 26, 2005: Received Daddy’s certified and authenticated birth certificate
Nov 2, 2005: Received fingerprinting notice from USCIS
Nov 4, 2005: Got notarized copy of Daddy’s retirement pay statement
Dec 6, 2005: Mommy and Daddy fingerprinted in Jackson, MS
Dec 28, 2005: Spoke with Memphis USCIS officer to check on I600-A status; fingerprints have cleared; just waiting on approval
Jan 6, 2006: USCIS called- should receive 171-H (approval notice) in 60 days maximum
Jan 16, 2006: Sent all notarized documents to LA Secretary of State for certification
Jan 20, 2006: Received certified documents; sent all to Chinese Consulate in Houston for authentication
Jan 24, 2006: Left message with the Memphis USCIS office, checking on our I600-A approval
Jan 25, 2006: Memphis USCIS office called to confirm our I600-A was approved and we should receive our 171-H this week!
Jan 29, 2006: Chinese New Year begins! Year of the Dog. We finished our Lifestyle photos today and got our last set of passport pictures made.
Jan 30, 2006: Received our I-171-H in the mail today!!!
Jan 31, 2006: Had our I-171-H copy notarized and sent it to the LA Secretary of State’s office for certification. We got our FedEx envelope back from the Houston Chinese Consulate with all of our other documents authenticated. We’re almost done!
Feb 1, 2006: Mommy’s birthday! Daddy got me a beautiful Mother-Daughter figurine. We spent most of the day looking a cribs for you. We’re just now figuring out what we would like to get for you.
Feb 2, 2006: Today we made copies of our entire Dossier (except the I-171-H we’re waiting to come back from the Sec. Of State’s office and then send to the Houston Chinese Consulate). We will have everything ready for when we do get it back! We’re hoping our DTC date will be Feb 17th.
Feb 7, 2006: We received our SOS certification for our I-171-H today, and Fed-ex’d it to the Houston Chinese Consulate for authentication. We sent it overnight, asked for same day processing, and sent an overnight return airbill, so hopefully we’ll have it back by Friday, and then be able to send everything to GWCA!!!!
Feb 11, 2006: We put your crib on lay-a-way today!
Feb 13, 2006: We got back our I-171-H from the Houston Chinese Consulate! We packed up our finally completed Dossier and Fed-ex’d it to GWCA!!!! They should have it tomorrow, and as long as there is no problem with any of the documents, they will be sending it to China this Friday!!!
Feb 17, 2006: GWCA called….our Dossier was approved and will be sent to China today!!!! Now we just wait!!!!
March 30, 2006: We just found out our LID is March 10th!!!! We’re official!!! We can only hope the wait shortens from what is currently projected (12 months). We would love to have Micalee home for Christmas!
June 27, 2006: Referrals are coming in and the wait is still holding at 12 months. Hopefully it will shorten some! But just in case, Mommy just sent letters to the USCIS and Senators Landrieu and Vitter and Congressmen McCrery and Jindal to try to get the expiration dates extended for fingerprinting and the I-171H. Maybe it’ll do some good, if not for us, for families down the road! We are having SO much fun getting your room ready! We’re taking our time so everything will be just perfect for you!
Aug 3, 2006: We finally got our “Brown Envelope” today from the U.S. Consulate in China!!! It seems so real to see it in writing. Now all we’re waiting for is you!!! This week’s referrals only covered through July 13 (2005), so the wait is definitely still lengthening. Right now, it’s about 12.5 months from LID to Referral. Hopefully, things will speed up. We just can’t wait to get you home! We are working on your tree in your room right now! It’s so cool! We can’t wait for you to see it!!!
Nov 15, 2006: Well…We went to Disney World (got back last week) and we saw SO many little girls that had been adopted from China! We can’t wait to be able to take you! We are now officially being reviewed by the CCAA, and I can’t wait to get past that Review Room! I’ve been so nervous that they would find something wrong with us or our paperwork! The holidays are coming quick, and I’m having trouble getting into the spirit. When we started this process, we thought you’d be home for Christmas this year. Now we’ll be lucky if it’s by next Christmas! Good things come to those who wait……
Dec 24, 2006: Another Christmas without our little Micalee…..maybe you’ll be home by next Christmas! We got so many cool gifts from the rest of the family just for you! They made us cry! It’s all waiting for you in your almost finished room! Just a few details left, that I think I may be leaving left undone on purpose (at least in the back of my mind). It’ll give us something to do during the rest of this long wait!
Feb 2, 2007: CCAA finally updated their website….We are officially out of Review!!! Now we just wait…and wait…for our referral!
Feb 15, 2007: We got our first HepA Vaccinations today….OUCH!
Mar 16, 2007: The Social Worker is mailing our Home Study Update to us today, so we will be able to refile with USCIS as soon as we get it!
Mar 24, 2007: We have our new I600-A application filled out and ready to go! Hopefullyly, we can get fingerprinted quickly and get our new 171-H, then get you before it expires again!
Mar 27, 2007: We mailed our I600-A application to the USCIS office in Metarie, LA. Hopefully we’ll hear something soon!
Apr 4, 2007: We received our Fingerprinting Notice today! That was quick! We’ll be fingerprinted Apr 17th in Dallas, TX. It’s my lucky day; I won the March of Dimes Easter Basket, too! Could this be your birthday, too?!?
Apr 17, 2007: Today we were re-fingerprinted in Dallas. We liked it much better than the Jackson office. We went to the Grapevine Mills Mall afterwards and bought you the cutest little set of overalls (green with daisies) and a matching hat. We can’t wait to see you in it! Hopefully, referrals will speed up. CCAA only referred 2 days worth of LID’s this month (not good!).
May 25, 2007: We got our new 171-H today! Now we’re all official, again! There are rumors of there being a huge batch of referrals this month, so hopefully that will lead to a speed-up!
June 13, 2007: I started a ”day job” in preparation for when we have you home! Well, things haven’t sped up, and now it’s looking like we’ll be very lucky to get matched with you before the Olympics! It looks like it will be another Christmas without our little girl. I believe we will get our referral around my birthday and travel around your Daddy’s birthday (but now, even that’s just wishful thinking!). I also think you may have been born on May 7, 2007 (those are the numbers on the back of the adoption bands Daddy got us). Whenever you were or will be born, I just hope we get you home soon! We are SO anxious to have you here!
July 1, 2007: Mommy has decided to try this blogging thing! Hopefully, it will look okay and help pass the time while we wait. At least everyone can stay informed!
August 27, 2007: David's mother passed away today. She's finally where she's always wanted to be, with David's father. I like to believe they, along with other family that have passed away, will be helping in guiding you towards us, and they will be smiling down on you when we finally get you home.
Sept 21, 2007: Today, we got our 2nd Hep A vaccination…Ouch, again! But so worth it. We can’t wait to have you home. This wait HAS to eventually end!