We got it!!!!! We got our LSC-Letter Seeking Confirmation. This is basically our referral -aka- like the day we got Jaida's picture and tid-bit of info. This states that the Chinese govt. recognizes us as his parents and is proceeding with final adoption requirements. Day 66 and we weren't counting at all-ha! The really cool thing is that I prayed that we would get something, anything be it more info or updates on him or the LSC for Christmas and I was a little sad Christmas day that my little guy was still a little elusive. Well, guess what our awesome God did? He had the Chinese govt. sign off on the paper work Dec. 24th- Christmas Eve and it arrived across the ocean today!!!!! He is so very GOOD! We are so excited and estimates on travel are March. Now, more prayers in the works as we have a 3 week span that we can not travel due to Will's work schedule but I know God is fully aware of this small detail! So without further ado we welcome with great joy our newest family member..... Xinran Martin Hatcher. We will call him Xin (Shin). He is in the Beijing Children's Welfare Institute in Beijing and is 3 years old. He was born February 1st 2006. Xin was born with VSD which is a hole in the ventricle of his heart and a cleft lip/palate. His heart was repaired in July 2008 and we found out a little bit ago that his lip/palate were repaired in June of this year. My heart breaks to know that my baby went through such major surgeries without a family there to love and care for him; however,we feel very confident in the care he has received thus far and have been told his orphanage is really quite impressive, as far as orphanages go that is! OK, now on to the next phase which is more paperwork-rush, rush paperwork- and then we hurry up and wait for final travel approval from both governments! We are truly blessed by this news and the anticipation of our new son/brother!!!!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The kids were invited to our sweet new neighbors' house to decorate gingerbread,aka graham cracker, houses. We live in a very small neighborhood with only 8 houses and over the past year it has become rich and full with children as new folks have moved in! I love to watch and listen as they play, laugh, squabble, and just basically "be kids". The ages range from 3 to 13 and it is amazing how well they mix and mingle. What a blessing! It was a fun afternoon and the kids came up with some really creative houses complete with swimming pools and snowmen. They decorated cookies too and it was a fabulous way to celebrate this special season. Thank you Gibbs family for a wonderful afternoon!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.As you can see there are 6 stockings, well 8 if you count the bunny's and the dog's. All I want for Christmas is my son! St. Nicholas, can you deliver? It is amazing how much you can miss and love someone you have never met. I am feeling it even more over the holidays because I feel his absence, like someone is missing from our clan. Today is day 60 from LID-log-in-date, and I am praying we get our LSC-letter seeking confirmation-before Christmas. I want to know that 6th stocking is officially ours. Really, in all honesty, I want his little body in my arms, I want to kiss his little cheeks and watch the joy on his face as he is opening his presents too along with his brother and sisters. I know he is being well cared for, the Lord has given me great comfort regarding that, but he belongs with his forever family and I miss him! Merry Christmas my sweet little boy. Mama loves you and I pray God holds you in His arms, whispers to your heart, and comforts your soul.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Every year since the kids were tiny, they have spent a special weekend with Nana and Poppy at the lake. We drop them off and they spend the day playing, decorating cookies and then head to the Ritz Carlton to see the lights and gingerbread house. Then they have movies and popcorn, ice cream floats and hopefully go to bed at a decent hour! The next day they have breakfast and more adventures before they come back home. The kids have decided that Jaida can spend part of the day but that's it. She is sort of a time and attention stealer and a little high maintenance at this point-- I must say. So, she comes home with us and has special time by herself with Mommy and Daddy. I think next year when Xin is here we will have to split the kids up and let the older ones go one night and the little ones another. They love this special time and look forward to it every year. The Christmas decorations looked so beautiful at my parents house and made it so warm and cozy inside that I wanted to be a kid again and stay and enjoy the festivities! Thanks Nana and Poppy for creating such lovey memories for our children. We love you!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Each year we visit the zoo at Christmas to enjoy the Christmas lights adorning everything except the animals! It is so pretty and very festive and this year cold! Yeah! For those of you up north you are thinking about this time I am nuts for "cheering on" the cold but Christmas lights and sweat just don't match up! Last year was very warm and it just seems to steal a little something from the season. So hats, coats, gloves and off we went! It was a great time and another tradition that we enjoy as a family, creating memories that we hope will last a lifetime!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I am a morning person. I set my clock to get up early before my household "stirs" so that I might have my quiet time with the Lord. This is my favorite part of the day! I get my cup of hot steaming coffee and dive in. I am reading through a chronological bible and I always have some additional Christian literature I read as well, and then I say my prayers. It is so peaceful and still and I feel God there with me. I don't want it to end! This morning as I finished my prayers and opened my eyes I saw the Christmas tree before me all lit up and beautiful and green. Behind it was the window which revealed a wet, foggy and barren landscape. Such a contrast! Julia had just done some research on the Christmas tree and how it has become a part of our holiday traditions. She discovered that the evergreen is used to represent hope,strength, and life as it survived through the harsh winters, much like our Lord and Savior survives and represents life. As I gazed upon this site I was struck by the reality of this statement. There in that room with me was God, alive and vibrant, full of light and life, and beyond was the world, cold, barren and foggy. Which will I choose? The choice was obvious! But so many times I choose the ways of the world- dead and hopeless, help me Lord to choose you and yours ways, hopeful and full of life!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday Julia and I went to our annual Christmas Tea. Up until this year when we decided to home school, our children attended a private school with a relatively small class size. Each year since the girls were in 3rd grade a dear lady and her daughter host a Christmas Tea for the girls and their moms of the class. The hope is to go all they way through until they graduate. It is such a special time to share with the wonderful women and their precious daughters we have gotten to know over the years. We were so glad we were included in this celebration since we no longer attend this school but forever hold the friendships near and dear to our hearts! We had such a great time and it was so good to visit with everybody and to watch how these little girls are becoming beautiful pre-teens! Thank you to our special hostesses for a wonderful, and YUMMY, day! We are truly blessed by your friendships!
The three best gifts I could ask for under my tree!
Ok, this actually took place, our annual trip to the Christmas Tree Farm, the Sunday after Thanksgiving but I am JUST now getting around to posting-so lame! Anyway, each year we go to a cut-down-your-own-tree farm to get our Christmas tree. It is one of our favorite traditions! We start out by climbing on board the wagon for a ride out to the trees. Next, we have to play hide-and-seek amongst the gianormous trees. Of course the kids always hide better than Mommy and Daddy and never want to stop playing! We then move on to the choosing of the tree and then the ride back. We are by no means done. We must then spend way too much money on cookies, popcorn, boiled peanuts, and hot chocolate-keep in mind it is usually quite warm and we are all a little sweaty at this point to which the HOT chocolate seems a little out of place, but hey, it is Christmas and it ought to be cold! Finally, I get a picture of the kids by the wooden tree to see how tall they have grown! Before we had Jiada we would say, "Won't it be great when Jaida is with us?" How blessed we are that she is now with us. Again this year though we found ourselves saying,"Won't it be great next year when Xin is with us?" How we look forward to that day when he is included in our tradition!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Happy Thanksgiving! This is truly my very favorite holiday because it is about what really matters most in life. It is simple. No big flashy decorations or too much money being spent-just spending time with those you love and remembering how very blessed we truly are. We have so much fun preparing and setting up and "pickin" on Daddy's YUMMY turkey. Then we all look so forward to the day- just being together, catching up and making wonderful memories that will stay with us forever. This year Nana and Poppy came along with Aunt LeeLee, Uncle Judd and Hamilton. We ate too much, the kids played and played, watched football, played football, took a walk and then ate desssert! I thought about my little guy today over in China and not here with us-his family. I know he doesn't know what he is missing nor do they even celebrate Thanksgiving, but he is a part of our family and oh how I wish he were here! May the Lord bless you and may you always be thankful and grateful for those things in life that truly matter most.
Check below for more pictures!
Will always smokes a turkey and it is delicious!!!! Great job again! Thanksgiving is also not complete without football? So, out to the front yard they went after dinner and a game ensued-even Aunt LeeLee played! Just so it is perfectly clear that our home did NOT have the picture-perfect magazine look, the not-so-lived-in look..........ta-da..chaos- AKA good ole lived-in, lotsa fun and love goin on and memories being made! Note the dog pen in there too-he still "pottys" in the house so hence the pen! Last but not least, all month long starting November 1st, we each say what we are thankful for that day. In the past I have just written these on note cards or fall leaves and put them in a basket but this year we put them all up on a tree I made for our pantry door. Wow! Look at all we have to be thankful for. It was a great way for the kids, and parents too, to "see" how we are truly blessed!!!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Well, today we took a field trip to the Riverbanks Zoo with some friends. Two of the 6 kids took a class for homeschoolers that is offered on different subjects every Monday. Our science thus far has involved the 5 kingdoms of living things and I had the kids fill out a worksheet as we visited the many different exhibits. It was neat to see how they all fell into the different classifications- from Animalia down to Monera. We love this zoo-perfect size and fairly close-about an hour away and we have a family membership. It was a cold misty day which was perfect because there was NOBODY there(everybody is still in school!) and the animals were quite active in that kind of weather. The kids had a ball and the moms enjoyed the adult conversation!!!! I have just loved our 1st year of homeschooling and so have the kids-we really are enjoying the time we now get to spend together with each other. Thank you Lord for laying it on my heart!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
We spent this past weekend at my parent's house at the lake. It was a beautiful fall weekend complete with color and cool temps! We started off by going on a field trip Friday to the Creation Museum in Social Circle, Ga. This was a wonderful little museum that my parents found and we all enjoyed taking in all the interesting and fascinating sights that our awesome Creator put here on this earth! We followed that with lunch at an old fashioned 50's diner complete with "poodle skirts" and juke boxes and milk shakes! The kids thought it was interesting to see what Nana and Poppy grew up with! Later that night Will joined us and he and I enjoyed an actual DATE!!!! We had a fabulous dinner in town in one of our favorite little restaurants while the kids stayed back at the lake and went on "The Haunted Trail". Sam is big into "scary things" and he didn't get to attend a Halloween party he had been invited to that involved a haunted trail. So, he requested Poppy make one for him. Well, if you know Poppy, he went all out! It was so cute/scary/creepy-right up a 7 year old little boy's alley!!!! They had a great time-of course Jaida was sound asleep during the creepy part of the night. We also celebrated Poppy's birthday-Happy Birthday Dad-I love you! I did manage to get a little shopping in at the great little shops in Madison. I love these places because they get my creative juices flowing!!! I just wish I had time to create more. Will and my dad then attended the Georgia-Auburn game in Athens while the kids and I and Nana "played" some more and then headed home. It was a wonderful weekend and enjoyed by all!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Well over the past month or so at our house, we have celebrated/experienced several milestones. First of all we re-did Sam's room to accommodate 2 boys instead of 1! We are all ready for a little brother and the other bed looks so lonely without little Xin in it. While we were moving beds into the attic, we decided it was time for Jiada to sleep in her big-girl bed so the crib was packed away. We did not rush this event and yes, she was too old to be in a crib but she LOVED her crib so why change a great thing? Besides, I realized this will probably be my last child to sleep in a crib. So that little task was done with a few tears shed (by me, NOT Jaida). Next came Will's 45th birthday! The kids just LOVE birthdays and numbers mean nothing to them so we enjoyed that celebration! The next day we learned our dossier was sent to China!!!! One step closer to our Xin. Shortly after that Sam finally lost his top tooth! He did not get a tooth until he was 15 months old so he has been very slow to lose them. He looks so darn cute with that big gap on top now! We also experienced our first set of stitches as Julia took that honor. She rode her bike into a mailbox and gashed her finger open-YUK! Will was the lucky parent to attend that ordeal because I would have then required stitches in MY head as I would have fainted right there in the exam room! All in all it was a busy month and an event filled month and a blessed month! Thank you Lord!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Well, most of the fall weekends have been taken up with soccer. Sam and Julia both play soccer and Julia did a club team this year. We have held out on this type of sport for as long as we could but this is her "thing" and she loves it!!!!! This means 3 practices a week and 3-4 games a weekend! Some are 2 hours away. It is quite an undertaking but as I said , she LOVES it! Sam and Will managed to squeeze in a UGA football game one Saturday-Will doesn't get to as many as those as he would like these days. Jaida, bless her heart, faithfully but not always cheerfully, attends most all the games and has become quite a fan of the "big" girls. She yells their names and cheers for them. She also whines and asks constantly"We go home now?" All in all, it makes for a packed weekend and I am so grateful for the home schooling because with that my kids get time to just play in the afternoons before the furious flight of driving 2 kids to 2 different practices in 2 different locations begins!
Saturday, October 3, 2009
My baby is 3! Or as Jaida says "free". On September 27th my baby became a "big girl" according to her (if we could only get her to agree big girls don't need passys). She was so excited about this day! We had donuts, church and a short nap and off to Funsville we went. She choose to go to Yo Pizza for dinner but alas they are closed on Sundays so we went to the old stand-by favorite-Mexican. She loved all the attention, cause you know she gets NONE any other time! We always have a birthday chair for the birthday child. It is decorated, and you ,as the birthday child, sit in it and open presents, eat cake, etc. She was quite protective of her chair and relished in this much anticipated perching point. Her big gift was a bike and she pedals those little legs as fast as she can. It was a great day! I am sad in a way that my baby is growing up but there is a season for everything. She is such an adorable little girl, full of life-smart, smart , smart, funny, precocious, loving, athletic, creative and cute as a button. We all adore her to no end! As I rocked her that night, I was flooded with emotion for her birth mother. I so often forget that I did NOT birth her but that night as I held her against me and took every part of her in, I cried for the woman who gave her life. I am so BLESSED God chose me to be her Mommy and I get to watch her grow up and love her, kiss her, laugh with her, dry her tears and tuck her in every single day. She does not-she would be so proud of her! I hope somehow God can give her the peace in her heart she needs to know that her baby is loved beyond words! I will be forever grateful to this woman for giving me this amazing gift-her child, my child, God's child. Happy Birthday my sweet Jaida!!!
Friday, September 25, 2009
Well, we went to Atlanta for our USCIS fingerprints(the last stage in this process) on Set. 11th and arrived 40 minutes early for our appointment, but they let us in early and we were in and out of there in 8 minutes!!!!!! For those of you that know this process, it is usually about 1-2 hours-YEAH! So we then got our approval about 10 days later and notarized the copy of our I-797(the document that gives us permission to bring an orphaned child into the USA) and Off It Went...... to our agency who will then send it off for final authentication. After THAT, then it goes to China for our official LID Log-in-Date. We will still have to wait 6-8 months until we actually have our sweet child in our arms-BUMMER but all in God's timing!!!!!!! I really am not stressing too bad about this which is quite unusual for me. It is so hard to see his face and know we still can't hold him for quite some time. I pray God will use this time for His glory in all of us. It is amazing how many months all that paper work takes! That is why they call it "paper pregnant" I guess. It sure does feel good to get that thing out of my hands-whew! Ok, on to preparing a care package for our new brother so that he can know someone ,halfway around the world ,is loving him!!!!!
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
There is "nothin better" to me than the smell of baby lotion. Just plain ole, old-fashioned baby lotion! When we first brought Jaida home I made a point to rub her with lotion after her bath. I had read that touch is so important to babies, seeing that I didn't know just how much "touch" she had received, I would rub her little body with yummy baby lotion. She would stare into my eyes as I did this and I would fall more and more in love with her. She still asks me occasionally to "do yotion Mama" so tonight after her bath I "did yotion". Of course now she has to help because "i a big dirl now". As I read, rocked and sang to her I took in that delicious scent and savored the moment remembering back to my 1st baby and 2nd baby and how I had done the same with them. I feel so blessed to be able to still hold and rock a baby covered in baby lotion 11 years later. It doesn't get better than that!!!!!!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
We had our China Travel Group reunion this year in our home city. Last year we all went to Austin, Texas. There were 7 of the 9 families that came this year and it was so good to see everyone! We are blessed to have traveled with such an amazing group of people. We had a very large group in China with 4 Grandmothers, 2 Grandfathers and 4 siblings that also made the trip. We will forever share that incredible experience with these 9 families, some of them becoming parents for the 1st time! The girls are all precious and at such a cute age! We had everyone over to our house Friday night for dinner and catching up and lots of playing, Saturday we swam in the hotel pool and Saturday night we had pizza at our favorite pizza place-Yo Pizza. We then went to get ice cream and to the hotel for more photos on a couch that just happened to be RED!!!! It was amazing to see how much the girls had changed since that 1st "red couch" picture in Guangzhou, China in July 07. My family was very sad the next morning knowing everyone was headed home. We feel so amazingly blessed to have gone on the adoption journey-the joys we have encountered along the way are far greater than we could ever have imagined. We are already looking forward to next year's reunion in Orlando Florida!!!!!! Thank you to all our travel buddies for making the trip and for greatly enriching our lives!
Monday, August 17, 2009
Forever Family Day is the day we were blessed with Jaida joining our family. We celebrated 2 years on July 22. Wow! Time sure does fly by! We do little gifts and have a Chinese dinner and then choose an event to do as a family. This year we went to Mimi and Papa Bill's house and then onto the beach. We can't imagine our family without Jaida. She has added so much joy to all our lives!!! She is funny, smart, bossy, sensitive, caring, loving and of course..... adorable!!!!!!! I thank God daily for laying adoption on our hearts and for the courage He gave us to step out in faith on this wonderful journey. I love you my sweet Jaida and I am so blessed to be your Mommy!!!!!