cherry blossom baby

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12 Join the joyous journey to my baby in China!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Move Over American Idol Contestants

Oh my goodness, the check out the Tolman Twins. Click on my sidebar to watch their Wheels on the Bus video and read about their raccoon/Halloween candy incident. They are so entertaining!

Abbey's Purse

Amanda and Mailee brought this little minature purse and American Girl wallet to church for Abbey. Perfect for my little Chinese American girl!

I am envisioning this for her first big night out on the town, which will probably be Chinese New Year.

Sweet Emma

Lisa just got her adorable Emma! She is precious!

Mama, Baba, and Baby Gracie!

Angel and Rodney got Gracie yesterday and she is the sweetest little thing. Watch this clip of her first giggle. Click on Dropshots in the upper right corner. She is sooooooo cute! Congratulations Angel and Rodney!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Send Off Prayers

Today my wonderful church family prayed me off and on my way! My two main prayer requests are:
- for my brother and I and Abbey to all stay well for the trip
- for Abbey to "know" me as her mom and feel safe

It was awesome. It makes me laugh to think that the social worker wanted to know if I had a support system. I have a support army! My dear BIL, Bob, is my pastor and he shared a little with everyone about being sensitive to the transitions that Abbey and I will be going through. I shared Psalm 27:10 "Even if my mother and father abandon me, the Lord will hold me close." I just know that God has been with Abbey and watching over her from before she was born.
After church a group of really powerful ladies took me aside and prayed again. These were definitely the kind of prayers that "avail much". They literally stormed the gates of heaven and prayed so many wonderful things for Abbey and I. It was one of the most amazing times in prayer of my whole life. I feel so strengthened and empowered to go out now.

"Now this is the confidence we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions we have asked of Him." 1 John 5:14-15

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Journey of a Lifetime

My brother Gene and I will be leaving for Beijing on Tuesday, October 31st. We are bringing a laptop and plan on blogging all the way. If we have problems my sister will post for me. After touring for a few days in Beijing we will fly to Guangdong to get Abbey. We will be based there the the rest of the trip and hope to take a few side trips. Abbey is in the province of Guangdong all the way down south near the South China Sea in Yangdong. If you look at the map and find the yellow province for Guangdong and then look further down the tip, south of Hong Kong, that's where she is.

November 2 Arrive in Beijing (it takes a day to get there and you lose a day)
November 3 Tour Hutong (traditional streets of Beijing) Visit a kindergarten class!
Tour the Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace
November 4 Tour the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and Tian An Men Square
November 5 Fly to Guangzhou and stay at the fabulous White Swan Hotel
November 6 Get our babies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
November 7 Civil Affairs Bureau and Public Notary offices to do adoption paperwork
November 8 Shopping for baby supplies (diapers, formula, etc)
November 9 Tour Chen Family Temple
November 10 Tour Zhong Shan Memorial Hall
November 11 Tour Zoo
November 12 Tour Six Banyan Trees Temple
November 13 Travel 3 1/2 hours south of Guangzhou to Yangdong to visit Abbey's orphanage and see where she was found (at the fruit market)
November 14 Babies visa pictures and medical exams
November 15 Process INS forms and get Abbey's passport
November 16 Our guide turns in all our paperwork at the American Consulate
November 17 American Consulate for Abbey's visa and then fly home that night

Between the 9th and the 12th we are hoping to go to Shenzen and visit friends of mine who have just opened a new school.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

From the Heart

Well I am feeling very loved and supported tonight. I am amazed at the network of friends waiting for my dear daughter. To think that this little sweetie is sitting in an orphanage with no clue that a huge audience is awaiting her appearance! After opening the two packages from Donna and Selima I opened a card with a lovely poem from the mom of one of my former students.

"As you begin one of life's new journeys
and cross the wide blue sea,
You'll come across a child
You will soon know as Abbey.
And when you've reached
Your point of destination,
Your heart will fill anew.
For now you have a child,
And that child has been
blessed with you."

Thank you Linda and Kimberly! I can't wait for her to meet the two of you.


My sweet friend Selima sent me a package today with so many gifts!
Cool formula bags that dispense right into the bottle
Powdered Crystal Light for the trip
A onesie and sweatpants
Hair doo-dads
A very fun calendar that you put photos in each month and it has little seasonal borders
A Mommy quote book
A baby bath book
Lots of baby socks
And last but not least Hello Kitty Princess toothpaste
Thank you so much for always being the kindest friend Selima.


Tonight I came home to several heartwarming surprises. Tears of joy rolled down my cheeks as I openned this incredible gift from Donna. I don't know how I will be able to take it off to wash it because I want to wear it for my last day at school Friday, church on Sunday, on the airplane Tuesday, on the Great Wall Friday! It is just so incredibly thoughtful and creative. I've always so admired Donna's artistic skills and am so blessed to be on the receiving end.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Rebecca, aka my fairy godmother, made me this little bracelet last week and I love to wear it. You can't tell from this picture but it is very sparkly. Abbey Zhuozhuo I am coming to get you in 8 days!


I am starting to envision little Abbey around my house all the time. I open a drawer in the kitchen and think about her taking everything out of it and playing. I sit down on the couch and think how good it will feel when I've just put her to bed. I look at her high chair and see her in it. I can't really explain it but I am starting to feel her materializing here. I really believe I can already hear her giggles and see her smile. A friend took me to a new pizza place the other day and all I could think about was how much fun Abbey and I will have going there. It almost like she's already with me. My dreams are coming true.

A spoon full of sugar...

This is a small fraction of the med's that we are taking but I thought a little sharing might be helpful to those who wait. It's against the law for the pediatrician to write out the perscriptions in your name, they have to be made out in your child's name. Some families with children are able to get them written out in their other children's names and I am sure some people were able to get their own physicians to write atleast the pink eye and scabies med's out to them directly. Since our babies don't have insurance cards yet you just need to pay for the perscriptions outright, therefore go to some place like Costco for the best prices. I went to my little private pharmacy and asked for generic. Here's the run down:

Tobramycin, for pink eye $21
Nystatin, for infected diaper rash $12
Permethrin, for scabies $40
Azithromycin, powdered antibiotic $39 (originally $50 and I talked them into a discount)

Knowing you have these items if you need them.....Priceless!

I will show you all the OTC med's later. They take up 1/2 my suitcase!

Saturday, October 21, 2006


This is beautiful Pismo Beach from whence I've just returned. I attended a leadership conference with a team of people from my church. It was very hard to get away in the midst of parent conferences and everything I need to do to get ready for China, but I just knew that I needed to press through and have this time away for spiritual renewal. It was as awesome as I had hoped it would be. The worship, teaching, and time with others were a huge deposit into my spirit and that is just what I was hoping for before I embark on my journey. I hope that all that needs to be accomplished this week will be, and that I will just let go of the other things.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I came home from a long day of parent conferences and errands to find this very sweet outfit in my mailbox. It's from my online friend Kathleen. I can't wait to put Abbey in it! Thank you so much Kathleen, you made my day. Your day will come, as it will for all of you waiting.

I leave two weeks from today!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Happy Heart

A mom who is in China right now got to visit Yangdong orphanage this week and she saw my daughter!! Here is what she had to say....
"Christi, I didn't get your email until this evening. I did see your Zhuozhuo though! I remember her!! She is beautiful, strikingly beautiful. When we arrived at the SWI and were escorted up to the room, the girls were all standing or sitting in the center of the room. Two were still in their cribs because they were just waking up and Zhuozhuo was one of the girls still in the crib. Gosh, I wish I had gotten a photo for you. She is so pretty and was just happily standing there waiting her turn and looking at us as we arrived at the doorway. I will post tonight about the orphanage. I hope you get your trip date soon. These girls all need to be home with their forever families! They are all very pretty girls and very sweet. There are a couple that were naughty we were told, but all of the other girls are sweet, easy going, happy, and gentle! "

Of course I was clinging to every word. It seems so amazing that she saw my baby this week! Her later posts about the orphanage were very difficult. There were no pictures allowed inside. They said it was very hard to see, process, and absorb it all. My agency had said that we couldn't go because it's over three hours away, but a few of us were determined so our travel agency has made arrangements. I know it will be very hard but I just feel very strongly that I need to go there and see it all.

Now I am having sweet dreams of my happy baby standing in her crib. Mommy is coming soon!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Happy Camper

When I posted a couple of days ago and said that the surgery went amazingly well I was on a lot of drugs. Once those wore off I was very uncomfortable. Thankfully today the torture device (aka a stint) was removed. I am back on my vicoden and feeling good again. The worst is over.
I did some very unwise things yesterday that contributed to my hardships. Please glean what you can from my mistakes. I learned that:

1. The paperwork hassles are not over at referral. They extend into the horizon with post-placement, re-adoption, SS cards, etc. Be prepared for the long-haul.
2. Although being stubborn is not good, perservering is.
3. Do not try to save money in this process, it will only cause you needless pain and suffering.

Although I could barely walk, much less sit in the car, I decided that I needed to pay my agency for my trip right away, the deadline is Monday. You can easily do this by credit card, but I wanted to save $100 by paying cash and getting a discount. I hobbled to the car and gingerly sat to drive to the Post Office for a money order. After waiting through the line I was informed that there is a $1k limit on money orders, therefore I would need to get 4. I would also need to fill out a special form and show picture ID. I then realized I had removed my ID for the surgery and it was now at home. Still cheerful, I ventured back home and painstakinly went up the stairs and got the ID. Upon my return back to the Post Office I saw that my teller was gone, so I waited through the line again. This time I had a new gal who had never handled money orders this big. After some assistance we were finally able to get it worked out only to have my swiped card DECLINED! Boy, is that embarrassing. It has never happened to me before. I limped out to the car to get the bank's phone number and my cell phone. They informed me that I have a limit on how much I can spend point-of-sale each day, even if the money is in my account. I then drove to the bank. At this point I shifted into bulldog mode...I am going to send this money today by hook or by crook, even if I have to crawl! The teller was very nice and was able to do one cashier's check rather than four money orders. It was also free because of my accounts. I then struggle to get back to the Post Office one more time. As I walk in a Chinese clerk calls out, "Third time is a charm!" and ushers for me to cut the line. When he saw the address and my baby's picture in my daytimer he told me that he is from Anhui province. His two children go to our Saturday Chinese school and he takes them to China once a year. He says that all the babies that come to America are very lucky and that he looks forward to seeing my daughter. He was so nice. Mission Accomplished! Time to lay down and rest.


One day post-op a package appeared on my doorstep. It was from Amy and Ruby Cate! Inside was a soft hand-knit scart in the national colors of China, a beautiful picture of Ruby, and a video of their trip to China. It has been so fun to watch their journey as I've been recuperating and I think it has better prepared me for my trip.
Thank you kind friends!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Princess and the Pea

How could one tiny stone cause so much trouble? Yea! It's gone now! The surgery went amazingly well. Everyone was so nice at the hospital. Everytime I meet great nurses I just want them to know how incredibly much it means that they are kind. I have the highest admiration and respect for them. Other than lots of throwing up it's been great. I am definitely on the mend and hoping to use this rest time to get mentally organized and make some to do lists so that I can be more strategic in preparing for the trip.
We leave in 20 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And for those of you concerned that I bought all that "stuff" for Abbey I have to say it was not me. That would be all my friends, and I am thrilled to have gifts from so many special people.
Okay, I did buy a little bit of it, but only a fraction.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Surgery Tomorrow

My Dr. and I decided that it was time for the kidney stone to come out. I just can't go through that pain on an international flight, or in China, and I want to be able to give all my attention to Miss You-Know-Who. I am actually feeling happy because I will be on the other side of this and know that it's been taken care of. Today I stocked up on groceries, bought a magazine, checked out some China videos at the library, and got all my substitute notes and plans together. I am now ready for a few days of bed rest. My mom will be coming to stay with me. I'm off to do my hardest workout schedule of the week (legs) so that as I feel better at the end of the week I will just have the easier ones (ab's and arms) to do. Coach Laura will be happy to hear this. I will not be slacking due to surgery.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Ready to Roll

I got caught up in the back to school spirit in August and bought her a lunch pail. I had to refrain myself from getting her a backpack too. (she already has a Hello Kitty one thanks to Carolyn). I know she isn't going to school for a while, but we can use it for little outtings. I love these bibs where the velcro tabs allow you to open the pocket and clean it all out.

Close Ups

For those of you who like details....

Got Food?

For some reason I hadn't gotten Abbey a highchair yet. This hit me like a lightening bolt late the other night. I had looked at them early on but never saw one that I really wanted. I went on line the next day and ordered this from Target. I don't have any time right now to go shopping.
I've got quite a bit of feeding gear stockpiled. I hope this girl is ready to eat!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Finding Happiness

Now for my favorite reading material...
As you may remember, Love's Journey, from Love Without Boundaries is my favorite adoption book, but this is my runner up. I am reading it for the second time after having loaned it to a couple of friends. There are 29 different stories of single mothers who have adopted from China. It is simply amazing to hear their heartwarming stories. I feel so much better prepared for my trip because of all that they shared. If you are a single mom adopting from China it is a must read. I would loan you mine but it's about to fall apart from over use. If you don't read much or are very busy it's perfect because you can just read a story before bed or waiting for an appointment. They are short but wonderful!
Lots of resources are included.
Contact Our Chinese Daughters Foundation to order.

Mama's Wish, Daughter's Wish

I just wanted to share my favorite adoption picture book. My friend Teresa gave me Mama's Wish, Daughter's Wish early on in my journey and I just love it. The book has two stories, one starts on the front cover and the other on the back. The first one is told by the mama who is wishing for a baby and the other is told by the baby wishing for her mama. Each page has a red ribbon running through it with the Mandarin translation. I love the illustrations.

This one shows the CCAA worker rejoicing over having matched mama and daughter.

This one is of the mama with copies of her referral picture plastered all over her house and she is laying on the couch staring at it. This is SO how it really is!

Right now you can order this book and a portion of the proceeds will go to China Care, a wonderful organization helping children in orphanages.

I love this book!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Paradigm Shift

When I first began thinking about adoption 3 1/2 years ago I went through many changes in my thinking. I never realized I had a lot of preconceived notions, but I did. In my mind every family needed a stay at home mom, and a dad, and a white picket fence. I really wrestled with the idea of being a single working mom. One day I my thinking was transformed. I had always clung to a verse in Psalms 68:6 that says, "God sets the solitary in families." Feeling very solitary, I kept waiting and hoping that God was going to set me in a family with a husband and children. As I was praying about adoption I felt like God spoke to me one day and said, "You are the family, and I will set the solitary in you." It really turned my perspective around and I realized I could be the family someone needs. Why the diamond? The word solitary always reminded me of a loose diamond, and the part about God setting the solitary in families reminded me of a diamond being set. Now Abbey is the jewel that is being set into my life.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

It's October!

Well, since today is October 1, and since we moved our flight out up to October 31st, I can finally say that this is the month I go to get my baby! I can hardly believe it and there is so much to do. Thanks to a travelmate we found out that we could leave a day earlier to go to Beijing and get some extra tours in. We will be visiting a Hutong. These are neighborhood areas in Beijing, some from the 8th century. Rickshaws are used and the housing is traditional with courtyards and alleyways. Some of these areas will be torn down for the Olympics so this may be the last chance to see them. We will also get to see the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace. I did not want miss that. Can you believe I bought a lap ticket for an 18 mo. old for the return 14 hr. flight? Neither can I! But it was $182 instead of $688. I told myself that I can do anything for one day. Needless to say, it will be an adventure!