Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Fun

What a great Christmas we have had here in NYC!  Crazy to think that this is our final one and we haven't even made it over to Manhattan to do all the traditional things.  I suspect that my night watches have caused us to break tradition!  Well, we still have a few more days to fit a little in. ;)
Here's a few glimpses into our Christmas Week...
Decorating Outside!!  We were the last on the block to get ours up, but we finally did!!

I let Matt & Katelynn upon the big present I surprised both of them with on Christmas Eve!!  It was a hit for sure!  The new WiiU is really fun, very innovative actually.  There's a whole new method of game play on the Nintendo World game alone...  Looking forward to the fun family time we will have playing it!!

Santa brought her the Sugar Rush girls that she loves!!

Daddy with the present Kate made him at school.

 After a Christmas Eve night of Nintendo World play on the WiiU, they opened another surprise from me on Christmas Day!
One of my favorite pictures, here is Katelynn and her new McKenna doll.  This was a special pic she took to show her Nanny!

The best part of this Christmas was knowing that this is the last Christmas our other little girl will spend as an orphan in China!!!  God willing, our sweet girl will be home before next Christmas!!  I thought of her all day and night.  I already find it hard to be without her, and I don't even know that I have seen her precious face yet...

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas too!!  I look forward to seeing all the pictures!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Adoption Update & A Visit to Santa- Sunday Snapshot

Well, we've done a lot this week!  First- the adoption news!!
We've mailed off multiple packages of paperwork... This package to the agency, that one to Oklahoma Secretary of State's office, this one to TX for a child abuse clearance... Oh so many packages have been sent off.  We're working on the home study paperwork and the dossier paperwork all at once in an effort to get things done as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Katelynn's been involved in it all, as usual!  Here's a pic of her happily waiting at the post office to mail off another package for the adoption.  So cute!

Yesterday we had our first home study visit.  After the events in CT the day before, we honestly didn't even clean up for it... We spent the night before snuggling our little girl, saddened by the knowledge that many moms and dads only a few hours away were not having that opportunity.  I had to pull myself out of the funk and focus on the positive of our life and what we were doing.  The visit went great and we were able to get our next visit scheduled for right after Christmas.  During that visit will review a draft of our home study, and we're hoping all the clearances will be back so that we have home study approval in early-mid January!

This week we also made our annual trip to visit Santa.  Here's a few pictures.

She's such an outgoing kid, but gets a little shy around "famous people" (as she explains it)!!

I find myself feeling incredibly grateful lately.  How could I not??? I am one lucky mommy!!!  I've got a great little girl and another one in China!  I can't wait to see the beautiful face of our second child!  Getting closer!!!

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Thought Provoking Read!

A few weeks ago, I asked to see the file of a four year old girl that has a few needs, but perhaps most significantly, she has a severe deformity of her right foot.  It is remarkable to me that she can walk on it!  Many conversations in the house since then have centered around this little girl and whether or not she is our daughter.  Her cute little smile and infectious laugh is fully implanted on my heart.  I don't know that we are the best family for her.  After all, we are both active duty Coast Guard members!  My husband is right when he says that she needs a stay at home mom that can help her in ways that I cannot.  I just know that little one needs a family!  She needs a mommy and daddy to love her, advocate for her.  Parents who will go to the ends of the earth to help her walk without pain and set her up for the best possible life she can have!  So, I put her little face on my cell phone and every time I go to unlock it, I see her and pray to God that she finds the family she deserves.
Not long after reading her file, we were looking for a book in the children's section of our local book store when I came across this.  Intrigued, I read the inner panel and decided it may be a great read for Katelynn and I.  I ended up reading the entire book in one night on my own before ever beginning it with Katie!!  I could not put it down!!!
This book tugged at my heart in so many ways.  This tells the story of a newly adopted "older child" and her quest to find a family for her best friend, whom she left behind.  It tells the story of her life as she adjusts to her new family and becomes more and more determined to find her friend, who was never lucky enough to have her club foot repaired, into a family of her own before she ages out.
I keep thinking of this little girl, the real life one, who has never had the opportunity to have her foot repaired.  Who has other things in her file that could scare off potential families, the same way it does mine.  What is to come of her?  Who will take the leap of faith and decide to love her no matter what?  There's just something about that little girl.  This book made me fearful for her.  What if she doesn't find a family?  After reading this book, I knew that I can do something for her... I can pray. 
So that's what I do!  I pray for her...  EVERY DAY.  She may not be my daughter, but she deserves to have someone out there praying for her every day.  Praying that she has enough to eat, praying that she is getting the physical therapy she needs, praying that she gets her surgery, praying that the orphanage allows her to start her education when its time, and praying that her family finds her soon.
Read the book, I know all you big hearted families will love it!!!

Progress, Family, & the Homestudy

The last week has been filled with paperwork & time with family.  My mother-in-law came in for a few days from Oklahoma and it was great to spend time with her!  Katelynn even got to show her around one of her favorite places in New York City, the American Girl store!

Kate & Nanny in the Café.

Ready to be Nanny's tour guide!

Helping Kanani with her water. :)

One last fall picture before the leaves are gone!!
I've made progress on all of our home study paperwork in a very big way!!  I have all of our paperwork complete and ready to send out with the exception of our medical paperwork which will go out on Tuesday!  Here's a picture of all the paperwork we've completed!  It is on it's way to the agency!!

Best of all, our first home study visit is scheduled for Saturday, Dec 15th!!  PROGRESS!!
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Our last Macy's Parade!

Our final Thanksgiving in NYC was wonderful!  We had family come visit, cooked tons of food, and stayed so much busier than usual for a Thanksgiving... I'm actually pretty tired after all the fun and excitement!  I'm also so incredibly thankful for so many new blessings and so excited for the future.  It's so crazy to think that after all these years in NYC we will be somewhere completely different next Thanksgiving.  Even better, we could just have that little mei mei with us by then!! :)

Ready for our last Macy's Parade!  Enjoying our Meemaw's first Macy's Parade from her room!

Let the Macy's Parade begin!  Why "Hello Kitty"!!!

Looking up Central Park West for a preview of balloons to come!

We were on the 8th floor & Po was all the way up there!

Doing some family viewing from the street outside the hotel. :)

Buzzzzzzz Lightyear!!!

Katie & Daddy checking out the floats & balloons!

Me & Katie doing some waterfront sight seeing with family the next day!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Let the homestudy begin!!

This week we officially decided to do our homestudy in New York and submitted our application. We received our packet of paperwork yesterday and I dove in! All the forms are filled out awaiting hubby signature. My autobiography is complete. Our very long childcare plan is complete. All of my adoption training courses required for the homestudy are complete. Progress? Absolutely! Now if only my husband had 12 hr night watches during a cold fall in NYC we'd ha e his paperwork and training completed quickly too!! Oh well, we'll slowly but surely get his all knocked out before the New Year!

In addition to adoption paperwork I am about to begin a week off work and boy do I have some projects planned! Holiday decorating, clearing out storage, & lots of fun filled family time... Before I become fully engrossed in the holiday season, here's a few favorite iPhone pics from Fall 2012. :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fall Pictures

A few weeks ago, before Hurricane Sandy came to NYC, I did some practice shots with Kate in preparation for fall photos I had planned to take in a beautiful park the coming weekend...

Then Sandy came... She blew all the beautiful leaves off the trees, tore down trees in the park, and made a general mess of things!

So, the shots I thought were for practice are now our official fall photos!!

They're not as perfect or picturesque as I would've liked.  However, they are real life!!  Since Sandy came, our Coast Guard family has been incredibly busy with clean up around the port and we've been clearing the house of clothes that are too small and could be used by one of the MANY families around here who lost their homes.
In the end, we are lucky.  The waves came over the sea wall, crossed the Belt Parkway and edged closer and closer to our house... but then, they began to recede.  We never even lost power! So with that, we are very lucky!  If you have the ability to give a few dollars to the Red Cross, please do.  So many people have lost their homes here and every little bit helps.
God Bless,
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Monday, October 29, 2012

Keeping busy and preparing!

In the last few weeks we have been busy!! Very busy! We took a family trip down to Floridnder the weekend and were amazed at how many families were staying at Art of Animation that had adopted kiddos! It was nice for my hubby to see how absolutely normal these families seem since the home study training can be a little scary if you aren't an avid blog reader actively researching all things China special needs on a daily basis like me! Haha!

After arriving back in NYC and having the night watch at the Coast Guard base for a few weeks now, I've completed all my training and the autobiography.  Hopefully I can get my hubby on it while we sit at home for the next few days waiting for Hurricane Sandy to pass by!

Now the questions begin... Should we complete a home study now and update it once we move? Should we choose a child on the shared list now or wait for a referral once we are LID?  It's hard to know what to do when you will be moving to an unknown state in May.  For now we'll just continue to pray and research until we know what God wants or until a child becomes available that we just know is supposed to be ours! It's all in God's timing, if there's anything I've learned in the last few years, it is that!

We do seem to have family consensus on a name, but we'll keep that to ourselves until we have a beautiful little face to accompany that announcement!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A room for two

For years we've been talking about 'when your sister comes'... When Katelynn picked out her big girl bed at age 4 she insisted on bunk beds so that her sister would have a bed too. Three years later the bed for her sister is still empty... The timing hasn't been right for what feels like forever!

Thankfully that is finally going to change! I have the package from the adoption agency in hand, and I spent the weekend filling out the forms I can, just leaving out the address since I don't actually know where we are going to be living when I turn this in. I started on the autobiography section, which should take a few weeks to get just right. Now that Matt is in full agreement I just have to feel like progress is being made. Slow but steady progress until we get our orders in February and things will hopefully begin to speed up.

Here's hoping that this time next year we will at least have a glimpse of the precious face that will be waking up every morning in that room for two!