Counting the days until we bring you home...

Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Sweet Gift...first photo

The earliest photos we have of Emma Lynn are her referral photos likely taken around her first birthday, November 2008 and after her cleft was repaired. Today I received the earliest photo I know to exist from her finding add, I am not sure of the details as far as timing and her age at this point, but look at her sweet face and then see how she has changed...

You Jing Jing (prior to cleft repair)

Date unknown at this time

You Jing Jing likely November 2008 1 year old, after cleft repair

Emma Lynn, May 17th 2010 Safely in Daddy's Arms

Emma Lynn June 12, 2008, at home 2 weeks, 2 1/2 years old

Emma Lynn 2 1/2 years old...HOME AT LAST!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Our Website for Emma Lynn

We have an adoption website for Emma Lynn where we will journal our adoption journey and one day the site will be made into a keepsake cd for Emma....follow us here and leave Emma a message and encourage us as we are united as a family.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

We are in Guilin...

We arrived into Guangzhou at about 5 am China time on Thursday May 13th after about 27 hours of travel. Then connected on a flight to Guilin and arrived at our hotel around noon...34 hours of travel and our awesome guide Lily offered to show us around...plan A was to crash plan B was to allow Lily to show us around. She took us to the South China Sea Pearl Museum and we had a private lesson on pearls and a "pearl fashion show" then we entered into the sales floor and it was a Walmart sized room of pearls...fresh water and sea pearls all from this area. We had fun!

Then I wanted to experience a Chinese department store...after a detour to KFC...let's just say I can now say I am a member of the "squatty potty club" we went thru a 7 story department store and it was something, but it is so hard to buy something I don't know how they sell a thing. Lily helped me and made it much easier to purchase 2 cute pairs of shoes for the "girls". We are now "resting" and will leave in a bit for dinner with Lily and then the acrobat show. I will upload a few photos when we return...we have had a great trip so far and have many funnies to share..but right now you just want to know we made it and we did...will update more later.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In 20 days...

In twenty days I will hold you in my arms for the very first time. I have tried to imagine this moment for nearly a year. I hope that I can comfort you and that you know...we will be with you forever. I hope that I can understand you and meet your needs. I hope that in time your little heart can open up and begin to trust us and eventually love us...we already love you. I hope that we can learn about your early life and learn to know what comforts you and what you like and what makes you smile and your favorite toy and I just can't wait to read to you and blow bubbles and make silly noises and blow rasberries on your tummy and tickle your piggies...we have so many first to experience and we have so much to learn about each much to look forward to.
I pray that somehow at almost 2 1/2 your foster family is trying to prepare you for your family, we pray that we are able to meet them, either way we will keep them in your life thru letters and phone calls. In twenty short days, you will be placed in our arms and we just can't wait.

Our Itinerary...for Emma Lynn

We have received our Visas which allow us to enter China. We now have our travel itinerary and in 14 short days we will be leaving for this journey that we never thought was possible and thru extraordinary events has been made possible...we are so ready and just can't wait to leave. Please join us as we travel to meet our newest daughter Emma Lynn...

We also are a bit nervous leaving Ellie Lu but she will be in GREAT hands, Aunt Sheshee will be caring for her and she will have her own adventure on the "farm: while Momma and Daddy bring Cissy home...pray for us ALL we have only been away from her for 1 night since June 22nd 2008...just typing it takes my breath away...pray that she is happy and content and doesn't even notice we are away...pray for health for us all...just pray!

May 11th: depart Chattanooga 2:10 pm est for our 2nd Journey of A Lifetime
Fly to Los Angeles and connect with China Southern departing 11:40 pm
pst to Guangzhou

May 13th: arrive Guangzhou 6:20 am(6:20 pm est May 12th) connect with China
Southern flight and arrive in Guilin 10:40 am

May 13th: private transfer to hotel, Guilin Lijiang Waterfall Hotel rest up and sightsee on
our own

Guilin Lijiang Waterfall Hotel

May 14th: meet our guide after breakfast and go to the Guilin City SWI and take photos of outside of orphanage, then travel by private driver to Quanzhou County to visit finding location of You Jing Jing and tour the Xiangshan Temple.

May 15th: after breakfast meet our guide and driver to embark on the Li River Cruise, arrive in Yangshuo late afternoon check into River View Hotel and shop for “Wedding ball” for each girl, then watch the evening water show Impression Liusanjie Show.

River View Hotel Yangshuo Bilian

May 16th: enjoy early morning in Yangshuo, take private transfer to Nanning via Guilin on the highway, arrive Nanning between 5-6 pm local time check into the Majestic Hotel, rest up and prepare for Emma Day!

Majestic Hotel (Mingyuan Xindu) in Nanning China

May 17th: Emma Lynn Day and Daddy’s 56th Birthday and Emma’s 2 ½ birthday! We will meet Emma Lynn at 3:30pm local time (3:30 am est) at the local Civil Affairs Office.

May 18th: Adoption registration and notarization at the local Civil Affairs Office, in the afternoon shopping for children’s supplies.

May 19th: Baby bonding…Optional sightseeing activity, offered by local guide TBA.

May 20th: Baby bonding…Optional sightseeing activity, offered by local guide TBA.

May 21st: Late check out and travel to Guangzhou arriving via China Southern arriving at 7:55 pm local time. Check into the White Swan hotel.

White Swan Hotel, Guangzhou, China

May 22nd: Medical and TB Test for Emma Lynn

May 23rd: Church and free day…sightseeing, shopping

May 24th: TB results and shop

May 25th: VISA appointment

May 26th : Oath taking ceremony

May 27th: Pick up Visa for Emma Lynn

May 28th: Free day late checkout depart Guangzhou 9 pm local time and arrive LA May 28th
6:50 pm Emma Lynn becomes a US Citizen.

May 29th: Depart LA 1:40 am pst arrive Memphis 7:22 am central and depart for
Chattanooga 9:15 am Delta flight 5176 arriving in Chattanooga
11:22 am est (if you want to welcome us home please do...we would love to see you ALL)

May 29th: Arrive Home!!!!!

May 30th: Travel to Knoxville to pick up Ellie Lu and bring her home to meet her sister…family bonding time…..adjusting to being a family of FOUR!!!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

TA...delivered by the Fedex Lady

My doorbell rang on Monday mid day and not expecting anything I almost didn't answer...truth be known there was a knock on Friday that I didn't answer...same package. Turns out the actual TA arrived by I had to hunt down my camera and document its arrival...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Confirmed dates...finally

In am not sure when I will learn this, but life would not be life if everything worked exactly like we expected or needed it to and it seems at times to be the worst thing that could possibly be happening, but all in all things do work out.

We leave for China in 28 days.....more later

Monday, April 5, 2010


Beach custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more -
It only took 106 days to get here and let's not mention the chocolate that was consumed and the sleepless nights and imagining for some reason it would not come...oh and the phone call last week to our agency fearing they would run out of "spots" and we would not get to travel until June.

So now we wait to here when our consulate appointment will be and then they schedule our actual travel...hope it will be first week of May, but at this point...just tell us when and we will be there.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 93 since LOA...

It has been 90 days since we received our LOA and back in December....the average was 90 days and you would be in China...well we ran into multiple holidays and the trade fair and a new process added so here we sit at day 93 with no word on TA and hopefully we will be traveling the first week of May.

Of course we still have tons to do and who really gets it all done before leaving RIGHT, but right now all I am thinking is I can't wait to hold my Emma Lynn and give her a big smooch....COME ON TA...WANT TO FINALIZE PLANS AND GET OUR GIRL...It has been 19 days since notification of article 5...could we hear something this week?
Check Spelling

When Ellie Lu saw this photo she thought it was a photo of funny

Anticipated Timeline:

TA - by April 1

Emma Lynn Day - May 10

CA - May 19

Arrive home - May 21st pm

Travel Dates May 4 - May 21

Monday, March 8, 2010

VISAS...arrived today...

One more thing checked off the list our VISA's arrived today...we must enter China by September 3, 2010....which we should be there and back and then some long before then. So now we wait on Travel Approval and really I don't think there is any way we are leaving any sooner than the first of May with the other various obstacles in our fair, staff training etc and I have accepted it will be about 30 additional days until we hold our sweet little Emma...what keeps me going is forever...we will have forever and we really have no we wait! This is a new photo she not the cutest thing...I wonder if they have cut her hair?

Emma Lynn "Jing Jing" taken on November 20th, 2009

Friday, March 5, 2010

An Update....Finally

On January 22nd I went ahead and sent in the 5 questions we were allowed to ask sensing we would be leaving for China by March I thought...well I checked back several times over the last few weeks only to be told that due to all the holidays in such nothing had arrived. Yesterday after getting the news of our article 5 I asked again and today I got an email indicating I should have gotten an email on February 4th, but I had not...overdue but an update is good anytime. Look at how our little ladybug II is growing.

1. The last photos and measurements we have are from May 2009, could we get updated measurements and photos with respect to her size?
Weight: 11kg =24.2 pounds Height: 81cm =31.9 inches Head circumference: 46cm =18.1 Chest circumference: 45cm =17.7 Feet length: 13cm =5.1 inches Teeth number: 15
Update photos please see the attachment. The last we had heard she only weighed just over 20 pounds...yeah she is close to 25 pounds. She is 1 1/2 inches taller,her chest and head about the same,her foot is slightly bigger and she has lost one tooth...maybe a miscount last time she had 16 :).

2. Does she still have asthma and what medications does she take to control or manage her symptoms?
No, and she health is much better than before. This is great news...we had worried some if she still had asthma and how it might limit her...praise the Lord!

3. What is her diet now and is she still drinking formula from a bottle or cup?
She eats rice, noodle, vegetable, meat and fruit. She likes drinking milk with cup, and adults help her to hold the cup. I still plan to give her the next step formula for 6 months to help her catch up.

4. Her medical indicated she was on target developmentally at one year, now that she is 2 is she walking and talking, how has she continued to develop?
She can speak baba(dad), mama(mom), yeye(grandpa), nainai(grandma), and she can speak two-words-sentence like come here, want water. She can count the number from one to ten. She walks freely and goes up and down stairs by self. She draws on the paper without meaning. She also can pick up a nut and take off her clothes. This is so exciting and I can't wait to hear her first words and to say some words she might understand.

5. How is she being prepared for her adoption? Will she stay with her foster family or be returned to the SWI?
She will stay in foster family before adoption, and the orphanage staff will tell her foster parents when the girl will be adopted. During the period, the foster parents will tell Jing Jing about the family members of adopted family and other information they knew.
We sent a photo album of our family and it has stickers with both the English and Mandarin Chinese identifying each photo.

Since we won't be there for another...66 days this was food for this Momma's soul. I really do not know how I have endured this wait knowing our daughter is in China and growing up without us..I just keep thinking we have forever and that is what I hold too and I do know she is loved and cared for...and there is not much else that I can do. Now this is what you have been waiting taken on January 7th of this year.
Our Precious Ladybug II in her Volunteer Orange...Precious!

So Proud...

I can't wait to see her first steps she seems assured...

**Tante we need scarves like this for Emma and Ellie Lu...Mommy too!...hint hint!

Update: I asked Ellie Lu who these new photos were and she looked puzzled and hesitantly said "Ellie Lu"...and I said no honey they are Jing Jing and she said Cissy looks like Ellie Lu...oh my words to my heart...she has never said she doesn't look like Mommy or Daddy but I am happy she will have a family member she looks like...God is good!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Article 5...

We received notice today that our Article 5 was sent to the CCAA today. Typically after Article 5 notification your TA arrives in 3 -4 weeks. You can see my guesstimate here from a few weeks ago. It doesn't look possible at this point that we would leave prior to April and since the trade fair is in Guangzhou nearly the whole month of April and then the last week our agency has staff training it is unlikely we will be in China prior to the first week of May...disappointed...YES, but what can you do...nothing but get prepared. So prepare we will...let the all out packing begin and finalize the girls room and purge anything that is not needed...the time will pass quickly.

I think we will get notice of TA by March26th and then we will depart for China on May 5th...looks like we will celebrate Mel's birthday in China...gotcha will likely be on May 10th. Still waiting on an update of our girl and answers to our questions....maybe those will come in the next day or two.

Emma Lynn November 2009

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Something Special...for the red couch...

Right before we left for China in 2008 I found the most exquisite outfit for Ellie Lu. I loved it for many me it was very "baby" and looked like the type of outfit my Mother would have made to bring her children home from the hospital in. Well I don't think any of my Mother's creations are around and even if they were...they wouldn't fit a then 10 month old baby. So I was thrilled to find this special outfit and decided we would have Ellie Lu's red couch photo in it. Mind you white is not the color of choice in China, and most would have the traditional Chinese dress, but I thought "my find" was a nice mix of both.

Fast forward 2 years and once we received our LOA I began to think about packing and what our little ladybug II would wear on red couch photo day. I looked and looked for something sweet for a 2 year old and found nothing...nada. I will clarify nothing that met both criteria ...sweet and "Asian" like in design. So I found the manufacturer of our first outfit and called them and I was just going to inquire where I might buy something in a size 18 month or 2. Sadly no retailer would have that we chatted a bit more and I mentioned I might find someone to make something special for me...and "Rita" said we do custom work. Imagine my delight...we talked back and forth and at first I was only going to get ladybug II an outfit and then Rita suggested it might be nice for the girls to have a photo done together in them....that was in December...this week I got an email they are done and on their way. I can't wait to see them! They arrived today...

Here is a little reminder of what Ellie Lu looked like on the red couch, so sweet...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 58 Since LOA...

So today is day 59 since LOA...our I800 provisional has come, our NVC letter has come...all were sent to China on January we have been waiting on Article 5 for 20 days....most families have their TA by day where does that leave us? I am thinking on February 22nd our article 5 will leave the consulate and then 2 weeks later we will get notification of TA...that would be March 8th.....

Our agency is very conservative and families don't often leave for China less than 3 weeks after TA so that would put us leaving for China by the week of March 29th....with the trade fair coming up in April I am thinking if we don't leave by then ....we will have to wait until May. Come on Article 5 and TA our girl is waiting....

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sleeping Arrangements...

At first I thought each child must have their OWN room. Then it occurred to me that they likely would prefer to be together. So I asked around...twin Moms, Moms of children close in age and most said yes sharing a room is best and I suppose at some point if it is not working out we can separate. So it is settled they will share a room.

So then do we get another crib/toddler bed or do we get 2 new toddler beds alike and migrate Ellie Lu to a new bed prior to leaving for China. My thoughts were it is unlikely that Emma has slept in a crib, most likely she has slept with her foster Mom or another child in the home. So I thought a crib might be confining to her. Keep in mind Ellie Lu loves her bed it is her "palace" and has not tried to climb out and just has slept so well in not really looking forward to her being able to get out of bed and run around and all that comes with a toddler bed, but she is 2 1/2 so I suppose it is time.

I loved this bed for many reason Jenny Lind Dream on Me in White...classic!but for some reason it has been on back order forever and it appears it is now no longer made in white. I also liked this bed, but it only had one side rail and was a little too "fru fru" this is the bed I settled on and I hope it works out for the girls. I ordered 2 and they should arrive soon. They came on February 5th...still need to get mattresses and bedding asap.

I still need to get mattresses and bedding. I asked Ellie Lu what color bedding she wanted...choices were light green, pink or a pale yellow in the minky dot...she wanted pink for her and "Jing Jing". I found a nice set at Penney's then read the review and it said it was lined with some polyester whatever so now looking for a nice Minky dot with maybe cotton or jersey or just some kind of soft lining. Otherwise the room will still look mostly the same...sans diaper changing table and possibly the rocker. I am thinking of putting both in the room next door in case I need to rock someone in the middle of the night and man I just love the changer it will be hard to let that go.

The view from the door

Of course the crib will go and her special things will move to the toddler bed

The bathroom will be the same

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Just a few goodies...

We have been pre-packing Emma's clothes and here are a few of the sweet goodies we have for her. She has some new things and also some sweet things that were Cissy's...enjoy!

Sweet little layette line from Gymboree "Lovebug"

Some of big Cissy's "goodies" just for Emma

Ellie Lu hardly wore this group from Gymboree with it

Big Cissy's cuties again from Straasburg, Gymboree...too cute not to pass along

More pink...more big Cissy's ...more dots or ladybugs...I see a trend

All new from the Gymboree layette line "Love bug"

I have also bought some sweet matching and coordinating outfits for the girls. I have read when adding another child to the home dressing them alike or similar makes them feel apart of each other. Of course right now there is a big difference in there sizes Ellie Lu is nearly 36 inches tall and 32 pounds and last info on Emma she was 30 inches talll and 20 pounds. Can't wait to hold them both in my arms at one time....:)

Friday, January 29, 2010


On Thursday I sent a little photo book I made for little Emma to our agency to be forwarded on. I hope it makes it to her in time for her to see it and have it be used to help her recognize us. I just can't even imagine what this transition is going to be like for her. We love her already, we know about her and we have already thought about how our lives will change with her...I pray she is resilient, that she is adventurous, that she has loved and loves, that she is determined and that she is flexible, that she is patient...actually I just sweet it will be to finally hold her and share our love for her. Even before we started this "paperwork trail" we always wanted more than 1 child and ideally she has been loved for years, before we knew she was possible, before we saw her face, before we knew her name...she was wanted and loved.

The photo book has her on the front and on the inside cover our family photo from the beach, then a photo of our house, then a photo of Mommy and Daddy, then just Big Cissy and on the back our cats. I also have a photo book where I can put 24 photos and record messages with them. I think I will put that together and take with us as we can tape Ellie Lu's voice and ours to get her used to us and also include photos of extended family and friends.

We have our letter...

The letter arrived yesterday and today we got word that our LOA, I-800 Pre-Approval, DS-230 and our NVC letter all went to Guangzhou today. So where does that leave us least 2 weeks until Article 5...So earliest Febuary 5th and more than likely the following week...the 8th or so and then 2-4 weeks until TA, but since the CCAA is likely closed between Febuary 13th until the end of February I am thinking March 1 is as soon as we might expect TA if then...very slim chance of traveling before the trade show in April in my mind at this point...I sure hope we are able to...I would love to leave March 30 or March 31st...prayers please....that would get us home before "tax day"...heee,heee,heee!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

No Letter Yet...

How many times can you check the mail in a week...well not really a week but um 5 days. Come on letter we need you to arrive asap. On a lighter note I put most of Emma's clothes in zip lock bags and organized them we had washed them a week or so ago. Ellie Lu was home from school sick and she said "Momma I help with Cissy's clothes". I don't know for sure if she really understands...but I hope when the time comes...the transition is smooth...for both.

**just so you know our 2 year old insist on helping with everything

Friday, January 22, 2010

NVC Letter...

This is a new step in an already "paper laden" process. Because it is new nobody knows...well I say it is new...the letter is now required for your information to go to the consulate which actually begins the process leading to travel approval. So today I call the "number' busy, busy, busy,busy, busy well finally I get a ring and then hold, hold, hold, hold and finally another ring and a person. She says something like can I get your "ticket number" not that but something like that...we there are no less than 4 or 5 numbers on my I800 so I begin to recite them and she says "we have no record of this case" "you need to call USCIS". Now I am like hold on trigger I haven't called gillion times and waited on hold for then I give her this one last number some number that begins with 3 letters and then she grilles me, petitioner name, beneficiary name, blah, blah, blah...she found us. Then says "if you don't have your letter in a week call us back". WHAT...I just know one thing that letter better come in a week, cause they don't want to hear from me....that is all I gotta say....keeping my eye on what is important...Emma Lynn...enjoy!

This was from back in May (I think)...look how determined she looks one of my favorite photos of it

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Announcing our Little Ladybug...Emma Lynn

**thanks Donna for making this special little announcment for us.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I-800 Preliminary Approval...

Well today I went to the mailbox and much to my surprise....I-800 Pre-approval. We had gotten a notice a day or so ago that they had received our now we wait for the letter from the National Visa Center and then our agency will send our LOA, I-800 and the DS-230 and send to Guangzhou to begin the process for travel approval. Beginning January 15th a new step was added...which requires this letter from the National Visa is unclear whether it will add to the amount of time it takes to get travel approval, but the thought is it could. Currently if all goes well....this is what we are thinking...
LOA:December 21,2009
I-800 approved: January 14, 2010
Letter: January 21, 2010
Cable: January 30, 2010
Article 5: March 5, 2010
TA: March 16, 2010
Travel Dates: March 30 – April 14, 2010
** Everything in light purple is a guestimate
So there is very little room to spare to get us in and out of China prior to the trade fair may be May before we much to do...

Friday, January 1, 2010

What Now....

Well the LOA is signed and will arrive at our agency on Monday January 4th, it is my understanding it will sit their until we get our 1800 back. It has also been sent off and should arrive Monday January 4th to be processed. I have heard mixed things expect 2 weeks/month for processing so we shall see. Basically we are at day 11 since LOA and nothing has happened because we have had back to back holidays the wreck havoc on getting anything in really I think Monday January 4th will be our day 1 and I believe by February 1 something will have happened and hopefully our I800 processes without the need for any additional information...with that my best guesstimate right now is we will be in and our of China prior to the trade fair which I believe begins April 14th.

To those who may stop by who have "been there done that" as in traveled to China to adopt or specifically Nanning and Guangxi and or Guilin...we would love any advice you have our little one will be 28 months old when we meet in China...the same age our "first bug" is right now.