Thursday, January 31, 2008

3 Years Ago today......

I was going nuts. I knew that the China referrals were here from our agency and that my friends Jill and Robin had already gotten their calls! I received the most wonderful phone call! All were were told was this.....

A baby girl was waiting in Guiping City, Guangxi, China.
She was born Feb.17, 2004 and her name was JIN YAN YI! That is about all we knew for the next couple of days.

We were logged into the China CCAA on Aug. 17, 2004 and we waited just 5.5 months for the referral. Sad since today, people are waiting over 2 years.

So, that is that. We got three pictures of JIN YAN YI a couple of days later, as well as the medical reports and other information. We were then asked by Lifelink if we were going to accept the referral of this sweet little baby that China had chosen for our family. Of course we did and we gave her the name Anna YanYi. Anna was just 11.5 months old then and we had to wait 2 more months until we left for China to get her.

Hard to believe that it has been 3 years. After the phone call, I called Barry through my tears....I set the video camera up so Barry could see the call. Then I called Michelle and told her about the baby. We knew almost all of our travel group at this time from our online group, so we were all so excited to get our calls and share the news with each other.

Was that Movie in Black and White?!?!?!?

Classic comment from Brandon......
We are pretty sure that there is no school tomorrow because of the amount of snow we are getting and the winter storm advisory, etc. We decided to watch the Triology of Indiana Jones Movies this winter and thought we would start tonight. I was mentioning that I remember seeing the Temple of Doom at the theater for Karna Pruiett's birthday party in 7th of 8th grade. Brandon says..

Was that movie in black and white?

Um.....that was 1984 and NO! I was 13 years old!

Kids always know just how to make us feel young.

Oh...and I found out from my friend Sara that there are Indiana Jones Legos. How cool! Well, we have a Ps3 and Indiana Jones made his debut in the ps3 Lego game. It is funny to see the Star Wars lego people with Indiana Jones! We had to go rent the movie again tonight since there will probably be no school tomorrow!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

NO School for Martin Luther King Day......

So we went bowling!
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Well, my 3 days of Jury Duty are over. Didn't really do too much there. I got called into the Jury Box one time to answer questions, but didn't get picked for the case. SO, today, when the computer didn't pull my name out, I got to go home. It was a pain,though, to set up people to watch Anna and shuffle the kids to and from things, so I am glad to not have to go in there tomorrow! I am safe for at least another 3 years! At least I knew some people there to talk with, which is probably why I didn't get picked. Out of 14 people in the Jury Box for questioning, I knew two people. So, I got my BIG check....$10 a day plus mileage! Give me a break. So, I got a whopping $34.20. I am not sure where they buy gas, but I am pretty sure that it cost me more than $4.20 to drive in and out of town!

Friday, January 18, 2008

WOO HOOO...Jill has baby Max!

My friend is in South Korea and she was able to meet up with baby Maxwell today/yesterday. He is so cute and it seems like the trip is going just as planned. Jill was in our travel group to China and has little Julia and they have another daughter Sophia, too, that they adopted from the US. Little Max is going to get plenty of kisses when he gets home. Jill also has the oppurtuntity to see the Eckert's son, Theo, who is waiting in S. Korea for them. What a gift it will be for them to see pictures and video. The Eckert's were in our travel group to China, too. And yet another Lifelink family is expanding here in my town. They just received their referral for a baby, too. What cute little guys these are!

Check out Jill's blog for pictures at

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New book

This is wonderful and it is exactly what I need with Anna right now. Since most of you that read this blog are adoptive parents yourselves or have been touched by adoption through our own little Anna, you will see why. Anna is turning 4 soon and in the last year, we have had a lot of questions already about China from her. It is no secret that for a year that she has asked for a baby sister from China. Since that isn't going to happen, we move on in telling her her own story in how she came to be in our family. We have always told her that she was "born in our heart with love", but now I feel that she truly feels that my heart opened up and she popped out. We have a lot of adoption books that I have had to put away, simply because I become a blubbering idiot while reading them. I have begun to work on Anna's lifebook. It will be like a scrapbook, but it is going to be so different than anything I have done before. This is for Anna's story and only for her. It will take forever to complete, but it is something that I have to do. There are some really wonderful sites out there to help me in this journey of making the Lifebook. For now, books like this can ease in the questions that arise.

Click here or just click at the top of my post on NEW BOOK and it will take you there,too. Then click on Play and don't forget the tissue. I am such a sap.Oh...and it can be ordered through Amazon for $11.99, but check out the site below for other great books...then just shop through Amazon!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Anna collage


I was playing around taking pictures last week (Hmmmm...imagine that one!). I was trying to take some without having the flash glare in Anna's glasses. I took these by being up a little higher and they weren't too bad. Then I played with the saturation and got that look. She actually had a red shirt and red bow on. Just playing around tonight while Logan is camping and Anna and Brandon are already asleep. Barry is watching THE JAGS play.
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If you want to know anything about Webkinz just ask a third least MY third grader. I think that the Webkinz have temporarily taken over my almost 9 year old son's brain. He is hooked! Big Time! Hooked? Or Obsessed? Definately obsessed! These are furry little creatures that you buy at Hallmark stores that come with this magic code. You take the code and log onto the Official Webkinz Website to "adopt" your furry little friend and uleash the entire new world of Webkinz.....or as we say.....the madness. Brandon hardly goes one sentence without mentioning these things. For him, he doesn't even necessily need to always be playing the games, but he carries ALL of these furry creatures around the house at all times. He has always loved stuffed animals. I am sure that someday we will be onto a new phase, but for now, in the eyes of my third grader, it is ALL about the Webkinz World!

When I was a preteen, I was sooooo into SMURFS. I have a TON and looked forward to going to Spencer's at the mall and getting more. Barry was into them to and his sister would often bring them back for him when she came home from college. My nieces were HUGE into the whole beanie baby phase and my boys have had their share of those, too. I am wondering when a webkinz cartoon will be made for TV!

Logan went camping...brrrrr!

Logan left at 6:15 am to go camping with Scouts. It is for the Klondike Derby. They apparently race sleds in the snow and freeze to death. BRRRRRRRRR! A vote was taken to determine if the Scouts would sleep in cabins or tents. Logan voted for cabins, but the majority said tents. So, tents in the 30 degree weather it is! It is supposed to be 46 today,but 28 tonight. Logan was excited to be going. I don't like least not in this state. I am a warmer weathered bird. A friend of his isn't spending the night at the campground because he has a ball game, so we did give Logan the option of comeing home this afternoon. I am sure he will spend the night. We got him a Carhart jacket last night since he has been needing a coat like that for all of these trips and selling Christmas Trees, etc. He was VERY excited to have that manly new coat!

So, I am taking Brandon and Anna to see the new Veggie Tales Movie with some people from church. I am not a huge Veggie Tale fan, but I am sure it will be cute and I do love that their shows have some sort of Christian theme to them.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

LWB Blog

I religiously read the Love Without Boundries Blog. Many of you know the wonderful work they do to help the orphans in China and they helped facititate the crib project for Anna's orphanage before we met Anna. I love to read the blog and read about all of the kids that they have helped. It is such a wonderful organization and 100% of all monies raised goes to the orphans. There are no salaries to pay that I am aware of. Jill volunteered for them (Biehl family on the Max) and the list goes on and on with the wonderful things that they do to help others. I guess if I had a list of things I would love to do before I die, it would definately be to go to China and participate in one of the LWB trips. I would love to work in the orphanages for a week and simply hold the babies and toddlers who don't get the constant attention that they seek and need. China gave us the gift of Anna and I hope that we can give back to China in some small or large way. I guess I will start that list today. Next on my list is to go to Liberia. Our church has been assisting with funds for children to go to Liberia and our pastor went there in the fall. It sounds like some wonderful things are happening there, too. One small starfish in the sea at a time, right?

The following is a past post from Aug on their and can be found there at


I think that this speaks beautifully what many who care for children and love children who are not biologically their own feel...


There have been many moments in my life that I have had deep realizations of truth. I remember vividly the moment I realized that there was absolutely no difference between the love I felt for my biological kids and those who were adopted. My realization: that love has nothing to do with genetics but everything to do with your heart. What a wonderful truth to discover.

I remember just as well the moment I stood over a tiny baby’s crib in China and knew he needed heart surgery as quickly as possible and that I was one of the only people who knew that he did. My realization that day: that we can never allow our own fears of taking a risk and failing stop us from action. I was heart pounding scared to ask my friends to help him, but I learned the very real truth that we can accomplish amazing things when we step out in faith.

Not all truths bring joy, however. Some cause real sadness. But I believe all truths bring a clearer understanding of life. I have been struggling the last few months with the truth that my two youngest children lived as orphans. Of course I knew that….since that is the only way they can be in my family today. But recently, this truth has become much clearer to me, as recently I became a grandmother, and I have been able to see every day what a newborn baby wants and needs.

My grandson Asher is a total “tub of love”, and I would be happy holding him up to my cheek all day long if I could, just breathing in his babyness. We live to serve him, and to hear him cry even for a few minutes causes my heart pain. It seems like the second he makes noise, his mom moves into action. When he is hungry, he gets fed. When he is tired, he is rocked to sleep with a silk blankey and a lullaby. We spend hours gently talking to him, making eye contact, and letting him know that he is absolutely, 100% cherished.

In my great love for this child, however, I have had to face the deep realization of what my own two youngest children missed completely. My children never knew what it felt like to be an infant with a devoted mom. Even with the most loving of caregivers, I know my children knew hunger, knew loneliness, and knew bewilderment and frustration that their needs weren’t being met when they cried for help. They were orphans…in a room filled with babies and one lone woman trying to meet their most basic of needs. Of course I knew this somewhere inside of me because of my work, but the full knowledge of it didn't take root until the arrival of my grandson. This realization has caused me great pain, because I love my children so completely. How I wish no child had to be alone. Every baby deserves someone to come when they call.

I look at my grandson, who has never known a moment of pain since his birth, and give such thanks that he is with us. And I look at my own beautiful Chinese children and am amazed and awed by the strength they probably don’t even realize they have. They are such incredible kids, filled with joy and laughter and hope, even after living as orphans. My newfound truth is that children have an unbelievable capacity to trust us, even when adults have let them down in the past, and even when no one had time to come when they called. My latest realization is that all of our children who have faced a portion of their lives as babies without mothers, never being tenderly cradled or rocked to sleep with a song…..all of those children are heroes to me. Their ability to trust again humbles me, and the love they so purely give to us shows me every day the absolute strength of the human spirit.

Let us all keep working to help those who still wait. Truly, they deserve all we have to give.

Amy Eldridge

Executive Director, LWB

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

More ramblings....

That post was getting long and I must be long winded today, so I started another post.

On the subject of Gulf Shores...our Condo is right across the street from Hooters. Doesn't take 2 boys in this house to figure out what that means. Of course, Logan was happy to inform Brandon (without my permission) what HOOTERS were. We will be gone on Barry's birthday, but we will not be taking the family there. Barry and dad may have to go over there for some wings or something during the week, though. We haven't been to Gulf Shores since Logan was 6 and Brandon was 3, so it will be so neat to see them at the beach again. They have been dying to go to the ocean again since then. We went to Michigan 2 summers ago and the Lake Michigan was so rough that it seemed like the ocean, but the gulf will be neat for them to be at and play in the sand, etc. We can't wait.

Ok...the war has begun on helping Anna not suck her fingers anymore. It is driving me crazy that she is almost 4 and still sucks her fingers. Usually it is just when she is tired, but lately it has been becoming more often. I think it is holiday related or something, too. So, the war has begun. I really do regret in some ways even allowing her to do this when we met her in China, but how could I take away the one constant thing in her life and the only things of comfort in her world. After all, we did take her away from every familiar smell, the Chinese language that she was learning and all that was familiar in her life in the Social Welfare Institute. For a VERY independent and smart girl who potty trained herself before age 2.5, I am hoping that kicking this habit will come soon. However..I did say how independent she is and also very headstrong. She kept wanting to suck her fingers at a basketball game Saturday and also at church on Sunday. I know there are worse things in the world, but how appropriate is it for someone to still be sucking fingers a month shy of age 4. Any suggestions on helping her kick the habit? I can only do things to help her stop in the daytime. When she is sleeping...who knows how to stop that. I am trying to explain to her that germs get in her mouth from sucking them, that she is a big girl and big girls don't suck on their fingers and that her teeth are moving in the wrong direction because she sucks her fingers. Anyone remember this little girl we met in China and moments after getting on our travel bus we discovered she sucked her fingers in the I LOVE YOU sign? And she always had a way to suck and cover it up. Many of the girls in our travel group did this we think as their way to hide it from the Nannies in China. Many still suck their fingers today like Anna.

Beach Girl Wanna Be and Various ramblings

We booked a condo for Gulf Shores right after school is out and the kids are so excited. I picked Anna up a swimsuit and she keeps wearing it around the house. In this picture, she was practicing on her invisible surf board, but she kept calling it an invisible skate board. The things she comes up with! And yes, her legs are as long in person as they look in this picture! My parents will be heading down to Alabama with us, but they have decided to take their pop up camper. They do this quite often and enjoy the outdoors. Besides, it will give them some peace and quiet away from all of us. My house is pretty noisy!

Today she is running around the house in it and keeps calling herself Anna Banana Montana. Or just Anna Montana. She likes watching the Hannah Montana show on TV. She is a hoot this week.

GOOD friend who has Julia from Anna's Orphanage (see Biehl family or Max on the left) is getting closer to going to S.Korea for baby Max! The Eckert's from our China Travel group are also going to get baby Theo from S. Korea in teh near future! And if that wasn't enough, a friend called me last night and said she got a referral for a boy from S. Korea, too. The Korea adoption Program with Lifelink is going soo fast right now and it is just amazing. China is taking forever (2-3 years to get a referral...unlike the 5.5 months we waited for Anna.) These families that signed up with Korea are as shocked as Lifelink is. It is like lightening speed. Families are signing up and getting a phone call less than 2 months later! And oh my goodness, these babies are adorable. Travel after referral is taking a few months. Some families choose to travel to Korea, but most families meet their babies at the Airport in the US and a Korean escort gets the babies to the States. It is all so different from China and it is so interesting to hear how the program works.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Day trip

Yesterday we headed to the OCDF office to meet other people from Lifelink. There were lots of little girls for Anna to play with and an adorable little boy, too, all adopted from China. Logan and Brandon got to hang out with other siblings and do Chinese crafts. Believe it or not...I forgot to take pictures. We went to the Children's Museum and I snapped pictures of my kids, but ran out of batteries before snapping the other cuties. We had a fun day getting away from home for a bit.
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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Still playing catch up!

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Christmas morning was a blast with the kids. Santa did actually come Christmas Eve, so they had fun seeing what they had gotten. My parents came over for brunch, too.

We went to my parents in the afternoon for a yummy meal and presents.
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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Holidays were busy!

The Holidays have flown by so far, but yet have gone pretty slow at the same time. Anna got sick the day after Christmas with Croup and a lower respiratory infection. She was one sick little girl. Two of the days and nights were very rough and I was pretty worried. We were in between doctors since our dr. retired THAT week. It was a battle, but she was seen and luckily the strep test was negative. She has bounced back in full now. I am still keeping her calm and not doing a whole lot. The boys seem pretty bummed out with their Christmas vacation and LACK of activities. It is soooo cold and we are just hibernating. We may go bowling or something soon. They are still home until Monday, Jan. 7.

Here are some pictures from our Christmas here in town at Barry's parents' house. It was a wonderful Christmas Eve, as usual. We had a giant and yummy lunch, relaxed in the afternoon with gift opening and went to church that evening.