This blog covers our wait, travel, and adjustment to our 4 year old adopted Chinese daughter Sarah Shui Qing from Nanjing. There are over 1000 posts. I have moved my blog to Catching Butterflies 2. I hope you will enjoy reading this blog. It has alot of information on Special needs adoption. Follow us to our new address Catching Butterflies 2! Thank you for reading!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Just for fun!

Friday, July 28, 2006

I got a phone call from the US Embassy in Frankfurt. Our I 171 H visa has finally been approved. We will get the official notice in the mail early next week. I guess our papers can finally be sent to China (hopefully within two weeks, maybe less). I'm still guessing we will be allowed to travel by November. If we travel earlier, it will be a really great surprise.
The kids start their summer vacation next week (August 3rd). We will hang around the house for 4 weeks, and then go to Thailand for the last 2 weeks of their vacation. By the time we get back from Thailand, we should almost have our Travel Approval. It is super great to have the trip to Thailand to distract me! I could go mad from waiting!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Philips drawings from today!

Hi, I just read that Adoption Advocates International, the great agency we used when we adopted Philip and Thomas has a new list of waiting Chinese children. They are a really great agency to work with. If you are thinking about stepping out on the great path of parenthood by adoption, you might want to ask them about their new list of waiting kids! Who knows, you may see your next child on the list?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I look at what is happening in the Middle East, and I am sad. Our family visited Israel last year. We loved it there. It is an amazing country with wonderful, hard working and creative people. We have even thought to move there for awhile. My husbands company does development in Israel. I feel really sorry this war is happening. I feel so sorry for the people in Israel and Lebanon. But is this the beginning of the "END"? I am no expert on Bible prophecy. I know a little, but I'm no expert! I saw a news story on CNN that talked about this question. I guess allot of churches are preaching that this is it! I have a question I would like to ask. If this is the end we are living in, why do so many Christians live their lives like it was not the end? Why do you see so many people with no clear purpose? They have the will and desire to hide in a cave, and live out the rest of their days in "style" and "comfort". They look for the life boat that will carry them to safety, but care nothing for all the others in this world who are, or will drown! I know I'm getting a little "preachy", but hear me out. Are you living your days with purpose? I can not tell if we are living in the "End", but all our days are numbered, and God never intended any of us to spend those days "hiding"!!
I took these photos in Northern Israel last May. This is not the first time Israel has had to fight a war!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Boy! It is hot in Germany! It is so hot I can not sleep! So hot, my cloths stick to my sweaty skin, and I just took a shower 2 mins ago. Man, I hate this weather!!! A good friend of mine called me today and told me how angry she was at America for causing this global warming! I said I couldn’t take the credit for this heat; I haven’t lived in the USA for the last 10 years. But when I think about it, maybe it is my fault! We have two cars to drive our 4 (soon to be 5) children around. We are flying all the way to Thailand for a vacation, when we could have driven one hour to the Black Forest. We have to fly to China to pick up Sarah. I even have to travel to the USA to make her a citizen. Yes, I guess you could say the global warming is my fault! That doesn't make me feel any better! I am still too hot to sleep!

Hi, I am trying to get rid of some of the massive amounts of clutter in our house. This should make Juergen happy. Maybe he will read my blog and find out I am actually throwing some of his stuff away! We reorganized the boy’s room this weekend. I left them with only the toys the actually play with. Everything else got tossed. Now they have a much easier time cleaning their room! I was getting rid of some old women's magazines, and I ran across an article on getting rid of clutter (very timely). The article asked a funny question. I thought I would write it down before I tossed the magazine.
Which character more resembles you?
A) Martha Stewart, weaving her own carpets from dryer lint, then dyeing them with berries grown in a greenhouse she built using discarded toothpicks.
B) Homer Simpson, laying in his underwear, eating pork rinds he found under the couch cushions, while the kids throw candy wrappers on the floor and Marge reads a magazine called "Better homes than yours".

And who am I? Call me Homer Stewart or Martha Simpson. I am a little bit of both.

Hi, I am reprinting this story with is a story of how God can provide what we need!

Hello Friends!

I MUST share an amazing miracle that occurred to us on Friday.
Every time I think that God can't amaze me anymore, he blows me away
with His love. It's a bit long, but I really hope you read it
because I am still in awe at what happened. Here's our story:

Prior to coming home with Kai, we had contacted our insurance
company to make sure that they would cover any necessary medical
treatment he would need to repair his still open cleft palate. They
said problem. We arrived home with Kai on April 14, Good
Friday. On Monday, April 17, I called one of the very few cleft
teams in Florida who happens to work out of Ft. Myers, so that I can
have them evaluate Kai for his palate surgery. This evaluation is
state funded. It is a group of doctors including a pediatric
surgeon who specializes in craniofacial surgery, a dentist, an
orthodontist, a pediatrician, and an ear, nose and throat
specialist. When I called, I was told the soonest appt. would be
July 10, almost 3 months wait. I was disappointed because I wanted
Kai to be seen right away, but I had read so much about this team
that it was worth the wait.

On July 10, we took Kai in for his evaluation at the local
children's hospital. The lead surgeon was amazing. Scott and I
were taken back by his knowledge, bedside manner, experience and
genuine sincerity. We thought he was great and agreed to see him in
his office the following week, July 21, to schedule Kai's surgery.

The day before our appointment, I receive a phone call from the
surgeon's office. The girl confirmed the appt. and I said we would
absolutely be there. A few minutes later, I receive another phone
call, this time from the office manager. She asks for me and then
proceeds to confirm that I will be attending again. I say yes, that
someone had already called me and then she continues on to tell me
that unfortunately she has some bad news and she wanted to make sure
I was aware before proceeding with the appt. So, I waited for the
other shoe to drop. She then tells me that the doctor is not under
our insurance plan and not even the office visits are covered. The
first office visit, depending on tests, ranges about $400. I bit my
lip so that I wouldn't cry on the phone and reiterated with her what
she had just told me. She said, "Yes, I'm sorry. Your son's
surgery will be an out of pocket expense." I asked how much....she
said "thousands". At that point, I didn't even bother to ask HOW
MANY thousands. I felt deflated. I told her I'd call her back.

I sat on the bed after hanging up the phone and just tried to absorb
it all. I couldn't believe that we waited 3 months to get in to see
this team to only find out now that he was not covered by our
insurance. He is the ONLY doctor here that specializes in pediatric
cleft palate surgery. I call the insurance company and the lady
says to me. "Oh yes, we do cover that surgery, but it must be done
by an oral surgeon on your list of providers." I said, "Yes, but
an oral surgeon is someone who pulls wisdom teeth and does dentistry
work. Granted, they can do this type of surgery but they don't
specialize in it." I then went on to tell her that the success of
this surgery would determine if my son could ever speak properly or
not. She then apologized and said that there was nothing that could
be done. That they did not have any contracts with pediatric
craniofacial surgeons. I hung up and took a few deep breaths
wondering what were we going to do. How could we raise who knows
how many thousands of dollars for this baby's surgery, or should we
just go ahead and use one of the oral surgeons the insurance company
covered. I decided that I'd call the drs. office back and cancel
the appt. until I could speak to Scott in depth about it and
pray...pray hard for an answer on what to do!

When I called the drs. office, the girl insisted that I keep my
appt. I told her that we really couldn't afford to spend $400 on a
visit for a dr. that we may not even use. She said she would speak
to the dr. about trying to negotiate something with the insurance
company and that she would also speak to him about discounting the
office visit the next day so that I could keep the appt. She would
call me back.

As it usually happens, by that time it was 3 pm. Five o'clock
rolled around and no phone call. That night, while putting Kai to
bed, I prayed harder than usual. I asked God that whatever His will
was, let it be done. The next morning, after Kai has his morning
snack, I laid him down next to me for his nap. While he slept, I
again prayed and did a rosary. I asked the Blessed Mother to
intercede for us at the appt. Kai woke up an hour later. I dressed
him and we were off to the doctor's office.

I arrive at the office and ask for Mary, that's the girl who was
going to contact the insurance company. I was told Mary was not in
that she had called in sick. I felt a pit in my stomach. I then
asked if she had made any arrangements for that visit, the girl
responded with "I don't see any notes in the file". Then she
walked out of the room. As I sat there looking at my adorable
little guy eat his cheerios without a care in the world, I was
thinking about the $400 I would be shelling out in a little bit.
Tears started welling up. I bit my lip and hugged Kai. A few
minutes later, the doctor comes into the room. He was as cheerful
as the first time we met him. He played with Kai for a couple of
minutes asking him for high fives, etc. Then he turned to me and
said, "How's he doing, Mom?" I said..."Great!" He turns and
pulls out a pencil and a pad out of a drawer, then proceeds to draw
a diagram of Kai's upper jaw and teeth. I sat there a bit confused
watching. He then starts talking about what the procedure will
entail. After about 30 seconds, I interrupt him and said, "Dr., I
don't think you are aware. We have a bit of a problem. Mary is not
here today. Your office does not take our insurance and she was
going to speak to you about trying to work something out with the
insurance company." He looked up from his pad and pencil as if he
took in what I was saying and then continued explaining the surgical
procedure. By that point, I was a getting pretty anxious at the
thought that not only was sitting there costing us $400, but that I
was about to schedule a surgery that was going to costs us thousands
that we didn't have. So, I interrupted him once again, this time I
was seeing him rather blurry through the tears that were once again
building up. I said, "Dr. You don't understand....we REALLY need
to know how much the surgery is going to cost before we proceed with
discussing any procedure." He then stopped his drawing again and
looked up....this time with total compassion in his face and he said
to me, "the surgery is not going to cost you anything. If I can get
$400. out of the insurance company then that will be my payment, if
I get nothing....then it is my pleasure to donate the surgery to
Kai. You will not receive a bill from my office." I almost fell
out of my chair. I didn't know if I should hug him or shake his
hand. I just sat there bawling. I thanked him over and over and
he looked at me and said, "I have 3 adopted daughters myself. I do
this for the children, not for the money. I travel to So. America 3
times a years doing cleft surgeries on children in orphanages in
Ecuador and Bolivia. That is why I just joined the cleft team 1
month ago, because my schedule up to now has been so busy that I was
not able to be a part of it." I just sat there dumbfounded.

All the pieces of the puzzle God was forming suddenly fell into
place. The 3 month wait for the appt.? Had I gotten any appt.
earlier than that, I would have seen an older surgeon, one who just
retired from the team, and from what I've heard not very
compassionate. God had EVERY intention for us to see THIS doctor,
but he wasn't ready to see us yet. God knew we were going to
encounter the financial issue. And he found a doctor who's heart
was close to orphans and who does charity work around the world. I
know I've said it 1,000 times but His plans are always so perfect
and yet we don't learn to step back and just let Him have control.
Again, we give God the glory for showing us yet ANOTHER miracle in
our lives. We are so very blessed!

In His Name,


Sunday, July 23, 2006

I have written allot about our son Thomas lately, but not much about Philip. Philip was adopted from Thailand when he was 2 years old. He is now almost 8 years old. About2 days before we were supposed to travel to Thailand I got an e-mail from them saying we should not come. They said they were missing some part of our paperwork, and we should wait until this was cleared up. This happened to be on the 29th of December (just before New Years). I tried calling them, but know one was there. They had all left for the holiday! We had 5 airline tickets (non changeable and non-refundable). I gathered the piece of paper they said they needed, and in faith we took our flight to Thailand. When we got there, we contacted the social worker who was handling (or should I say mishandling) our case. She was kind of upset to hear from us. She said we would not be allowed to meet with the board. We would not even be allowed to meet Philip. We would need to go home and come again when they called us! We are not made of money! We could not "just come again". Besides, it was a nightmare flying with Jessica. We were not ready to put her through another 12 hour flight so soon.( We hope we can manage our upcoming trip to Thailand)! Anyway, we waited until the day the board met. We expected her to present our case, but she never mentioned us. We where stunned! We had spent two weeks in Thailand, and had not even met Philip. The board, who only meets two times per month never even, heard we were there (at their invitation I might add). Juergen made an appointment with the director of international adoptions. He mainly just wanted to tell her how disappointed we were, and ask if only one of us could come to meet the board. We could not afford to bring the whole family again, and we did to want to bring Jessica again! I made a phone call to a young woman who had been an exchange student in the USA. My parents were her host family 10 years before. She now worked in the Thai government. Her boss was "best friends" with the prime minister of Thailand. She (her name is Mind) called her boss. When Juergen met the national director of international adoptions she was kissing his feet and begging his forgiveness. We think she got a call from the prime minister! We ended up having to stay one extra week in Thailand. They scheduled a special board meeting just for us. They let us meet Philip right away. I also learned that even when the body is dead and in the grave, God can raise the dead! I am also very blessed to know that God used the kindness my parents showed to Mind 10 years before to bless us! You reap what you sow (and sometimes your children also reap what you sow)!

Yesterday Juergen and I worked really hard getting a few things done around the house. When we went to bed, we were exhausted, but really happy. We felt the feeling of satisfaction that only comes when you have accomplished something. When our son Thomas joined our family two years ago, he was like a 3 year old baby in the body of a 7 year old boy. He almost did not know how to do anything for himself. He could not spread butter on bread (the nannies did that). He could not dress himself the nannies did that). He couldn't even properly wipe his own bottom after he used the toilet. He did not like me for a very long time, because I made him spread his own butter, and wipe his own bottom! I could have made things easy for Thomas. I could have gotten him Velcro shoes. I bought him shoes with laces. I felt a 7 year old should know how to tie his own shoes. He cried when he saw his new shoes. He cried harder when I wouldn't tie them for him. I sat with him for hours helping him learn to tie his shoes, but I refused to do it for him! I remember the day he came out of school running to tell me the great news. His shoes had come undone during school time, and he tied them himself. He experienced (maybe for the first time in his life) this feeling of satisfaction that comes when you accomplish something! I don't blame the nannies for doing everything for him. When you have 300 kids to take care of, it is just easier to do it yourself. It takes allot of time to teach a child life skills. This is one reason why I believe the best orphanage could never replace a family. Good parents take the time to teach their children what they need to know. Unfortunate their are too many people in this world treating their kids like orphans. They deprive them of this amazing feeling of satisfaction that comes with true accomplishment!

PS. Thomas is doing really well and I am very proud of him!

Friday, July 21, 2006

I read this today, and thought it was cute...

"We childproofed our home, but they are still getting in."

Hi, I had a very underwhelming show of support towards my blogathon idea, so I decided not to stay up 24 hours and blog for Love with out Boundaries Tuan Yuan adoption grant project. Maybe I will do it next year? Anyway, I wanted to tell you about this great project anyway. The Tuan Yuan grant is $3000 given to a waiting child who will have its file returned shortly to China. The hope is the grant will help generate more interest in the child. I realize many more people would be more then willing to adopt, if the barrier of money was not there. This grant lowers that barrier, and may help a child find the great gift of a family. Because I believe even a good SWI does not replace a family, I want to help kids get a family. If you want to donate money to the Tuan Yuan grant then go to this link . They will take your donation, and perhaps it will be what made all the difference for the one who was waiting!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hi, While we wait to bring home our new daughter, I thought I might try to raise some money to help another family adopt. There is a thing called the Blogathon. It takes place for 24 hours July 29-30. I want to raise grant money for Love with out Boundaries program Tuan Yuan adoption grant. This program offers a $3,000 grant to a waiting child whose file is about to be returned. The hope is the extra money will help generate more interest in the child...and help a family move forward with the adoption. Anyway, if I blog for 24 hours (I need to post on my blog every 30 mins for 24 hours) my sponsors pay money to the Tuan Yuan fund. I figure I need 120 people to sponsor me for just $1 per hour pulse give an extra $1 (a $25 total) and we could raise the money for one grant. I don't have any interest in bloging for 24 hours if I can not find sponsors. By the way, all money goes directly to LWB, I don't get it, and I don't want it. I am posting this letter to see if anyone would be interested in sponsoring me. If I get good feedback, I will go ahead and blog! I also want to say, sponsors are not required to read my blog...that is optional.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Rubbish collector helps reunite babies with parents
(Chongqing Morning Post)
Updated: 2006-07-19 08:55

A 50-year-old rubbish collector in Kunming has adopted 21 abandoned babies in the past 13 years and has helped 17 of them to find their parents.

Hu's former wife divorced him because she could not understand his actions. Hu said he did not regret adopting the babies, as he "could not bear seeing the disappearance of these young lives."

Hi, this is Seth! He lives in China. He may not know it yet, but his life is a miracle! His waiting family already has a house full of kids (14 kids). China generally doesn’t allow families to adopt if they have more then 5 kids. His parents took a giant leap of faith and applied for him anyway... and the amazing (we are talking AMAZING with a capital A) thing is, China said yes! Now that would be AMAZING enough, but then something wonderful happened…someone gave them $10,000 towards the adoption of Seth. It is clear to me God wants Seth to grow up with the Wallis family. Isn’t he beautiful!!! What a sweet face! I just want to praise God for this kid!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My mom wrote me an e-mail. She said going to Thailand with Thomas (one of our adopted sons) might be part of what we need to do to get ready or Sarah to come. Well, Juergen and I agree. We both feel Thomas really needs to work through some of his past feelings of rejection. He waited so long for a family. He lived in an orphanage from the time he was 5 days old until he was almost 7 years old. That is allot of years wondering "what is wrong with me"? "Why doesn't anyone want me"? The truth is nothing was wrong with him. It is just sad he had to wait. He trys to reject Thailand, and everything Thai. Maybe it is because he felt rejected by Thailand, or because he wants to be German so we will fully accept him. We can only guess what is going on. I am sure he does not even understand it! The talk about Sarahs adoption has brought allot o his insecurity up to the surface. I feel its best to face it now. Maybe going to Thailand, and walking through his adoption process with a different perspective will help him see his whole life from a new angle. Maybe he can grieve some of what he has lost, and feel more sure of what he has gained. Adoption is always a story of loss and gain. Thomas lost his birth family, his culture, he looks different then most of the people around him. He gained a family, opportunity,and education. It isn't all good or all bad. It just is both. So we got our tickets today. God willing we are taking the whole family to Thailand Sept.. 2-14th. We are pretty excited about going on vacation. Mostly I hope it helps heal my sons wounded identity. None of us can build a future ...without making some peace with our past. Thomas will celebrate his 9th birthday in Bangkok, the city of his birth. I pray every year from now on will be better and better. I pray he will learn to really love the amazing person God created him to be. And he was born Thai....and that is great!

He has a family!!!!!! I think this kid is so special, and I am very glad some other family thinks so too!!!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A picture is worth a 1000 words. I have been studying the new pictures of Sarah. Here are some of my thoughts. First, she is eating in her bed, not at a table like we do in our family. Even my sons (both adopted from a large children s home in Thailand) sat at tables to eat. She has her head shaved. It is very hot in Nanjing in the summer time. I wonder if they have air conditioning? I know they also shave their heads to control lice. She is wearing rags for a diaper. Is she toilet trained? She looks clean and pretty healthy. She does have what looks like bites on her ankles. Maybe Mosquitoes? She also has drawings on the wall behind her. My daughter Nicole (now almost 13 years old) drew on walls when she was 3 years old.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Our far! They cut off her beautiful hair, but they can't hide her beauty!

New pictures of Sarah taken by a traveling family today!!!

Monday, July 10, 2006

I need (want) a vacation!!! The wait goes on for my visa. At this point, I think there is very little chance we will be traveling to China during the kids summer vacation (Aug 3-Sept 16). We have not sent our documents to China, and the average wait for travel approval (after the documents go to China) is about 70 days. It is getting more realistic to think we travel in November. So we are faced with a question...what do we do during the kids summer vacation? Should we stay home, and try to take the kids out of school during the school year so they can travel with us to get Sarah? Should we go some place (and I am really wanting to take the boys to Thailand) during the vacation, and not take them to China later? I think it would actually be cheaper to take our family for two weeks to Thailand then to take them with us to China. Our agency said Juergen could travel to China alone, meet Sarah, sign the papers, return home to watch the kids while I go and get Sarah. I've read so many stories lately about the ruff transitions some of the Chinese kids are having. They go through days of grief and loss. Right now we are so tired...China is sounding less and less like a vacation! I am sure I can handle the transition with Sarah, but I really want a vacation now! On the one hand, I don't want them to miss the chance of going to China and getting their sister. I would also be a bit sad about not getting Sarah without Juergen. It would be like being alone at a birth. Still, our whole family might overwhelm Sarah. Maybe the transition would be easier with just me (and maybe my mom)? I also really want to take the boys to Thailand. I think it would be very good for their identity. It may even bring some closer to some things (especially for Thomas). I think adopting Sarah could make Thomas insecure. Walking him through his own adoption story might help him find some more peace. It is only now (and he's been two years home) that Thomas has shown any interest in Thailand. I want him to love his home land. It is part of who he is. To hate Thailand is to hate a big part of himself. Philip loves all things Asian. Thomas still wants me to color his hair blond! I guess the main thing is I want a vacation. Maybe I need some rest before I take on a 5th child! I don't have to rest on a beach in Thailand...but that is what my desire is.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The final game of the world cup was very dramatic and a bit tragic! Zinedine Zidane of France ended his career with a red card. So sad for France! They played so well! They probably would have still lost in over time to Italy. Still, to have their best player kicked out of the game for hitting an Italian player... that was so stupid and tragic! He ended his football career in disgrace! The winners feel so much joy, and he losers such great loss! What a drama! Germany won their "little final" yesterday. The whole country is super proud of their team. I would hate to be in France tonight!A major Congratulations to the World football champions Italy! We will celebrate tomorrow by buying Italian ice cream at the Italian ice dealer at the end of our street! They make the worlds best ice cream!!!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Hi, I am copying this letter (long letter) from Amy Eldrige of Love Without Boundaries on her view on disrupting an adoption. I think she has some very wise thoughts. Very worth reading...
I have been so saddened by this situation. I most definitely
wish there
was a way to educate ALL adoptive parents about the truths of
care, however I have come to realize in my daily work that just
as many
parents are not online reading everything they can find on
adoption as
There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of parents out
there who have
no idea what life is like for a child in an orphanage, and who
to pick up their "China doll" only to be handed a baby who is
thin, unable to eat..and on and on and on. While adopting my son
month, I walked several times over to the White Swan to talk to
parents, and
over and over I spoke with moms and dads who had no clue
whatsoever about
the issues their kids were having. I heard so many times things
"she won't eat solid foods" (oral aversion), "she has no muscle
(muscle atrophy from lying in a crib all day), "she won't smile"
grieving from being taken from her foster mom). I guess since I
China 24/7, I assume everyone adopting does, too, which is not
the case.
I talked to at least a dozen parents who didn't even know their
orphanage name, and while I gently said "you might want to
that for
your child's sake", at the same time I was trying to process how
parents get all the way to China without ever reading about
post-institutional issues. It was sobering to me. Babies in the
NSN as
well as the SN path can have issues with attachment, motor
issues and more. I think all of us on the WCC list acknowledge
that, while
also acknowledging that all children (whether bio or not) can
have these
same issues. Living in an orphanage of course increases the

I think the easy out is to say that agencies have to do more, as
well as
social workers, but I do think that most of them do try to give
to the parents but often parents don't want to hear it or else
think it
won't happen to them. Again, I am often surprised to talk to
leaving soon and to realize they are not prepared. One family
was adopting
from our foster care program, and when I told them that the
child was
attached to the mom, the father said, "guess she might cry for
an hour
or so
then?" An hour or so? She had been in foster care for over a
year! I
tried to explain that this little girl was about ready to lose
she had ever known, and that they should not expect her to be
and full of personality after an hour. I told them to please
remember the
72 hour rule.......that after 72 hours they would probably see
her spark,
but that she would probably grieve for a long time after that as

I think for many adoptive parents, they just don't want to read
the "bad
stuff", and so I do think that is the parents who
are at
for not doing more to educate themselves. There certainly are
books galore
out there about post-institutional issues. I equate this to when
I was
pregnant with my kids and I would read "What to Expect When
Expecting", and
I would get to the C-section part and always skip it. Each and
time I
would jump to the next chapter as "that wasn't going to happen
to me".
Well, on my fifth baby, when they were rushing me in for an
emergency C
section, I sure was wishing I had read that section earlier! But
at that
point in the OR, while they were strapping my hands down to the
table, it
was too late, and so I felt complete panic when I could have
I think adoption from China is very similar to giving birth.. it
is much
more rosy to only read the happy stories on APC, but I now
encourage every
family I meet to read the harder ones as well, because if you
are the
who is handed a child that is limp and listless and who looks
autistic, what
you have learned in the past will help you make the right
decision for
family during those very emotional first few days.

I have been called many times in the last few years by parents
in China
worried about their children. I agree that having a support
network to
you through the initial time is essential. Everyone should go to
with at least one phone number of someone they can call if they
upon meeting their new child. I remember feeling so alone when I
handed my daughter and she was so tiny and limp. Because our
often helps with the kids who have been disrupted, I am aware
there are children who have much more serious issues than
reported..and that is such a hard thing for a parent to get to
China and
then discover their child is truly autistic or has serious
delays. I
think everyone on both the China and international side would
that it
is absolutely wrong of an orphanage to not be honest in their
reports, and
no one would excuse that, but I also know without a doubt that
of kids who are disrupted are just suffering from institutional
issues and
would catch up quickly in a loving home. It is always a very sad
day for
the orphanage and everyone involved when a child that they know
absolutely fine, but perhaps thin and grieving, is returned by
their new
parents for being "delayed".

I think far too many people believe their child's life is going
begin the
moment they meet them. The truth is, and everyone must realize
child's life is going on RIGHT NOW in China, and all of their
are shaping who they are. The vast majority of aunties that I
have met in
China are such kind and caring people, but it absolutely is not
same as
having a mom and dad at your beck and call. I have had new
parents call
and say "we didn't think living in an orphanage would affect her
at all",
and those statements truly puzzle me. How could they not
contemplate life
in an orphanage? Walk through Babies R Us and you will see every
known to man to make our children's lives here as ideal as
possible. Now
Americans have two way video monitors, so that when baby awakens
not only
can mommy see when to immediately rush in and comfort him, but
she can
to baby so that he doesn't even have one single second where he
How many new parents would have a newborn and then put that baby
in a crib
22 hours a day on their own? How many would only feed their
baby, even if
they were really crying hard, every 8 hours? Or prop the bottle
in her
crib and then not watch to see if she ever really ate? Of course
no one
would do that..we feed newborns on demand, comfort on demand,
continuously..and whether people want to recognize it or not,
that is NOT
the life of an orphan in an institution. ...even when the
aunties are as
good as gold. I remember one night when I took some volunteers
in for the
night shift in an orphanage, when normally just a few aunties
are working.
One mom looked at me with tears in her eyes as she slowly
realized that it
was absolutely impossible with just two hands to feed every
child, to
comfort every child, to soothe every baby who was crying. She
said her
heart was aching to realize that her own daughter most likely
many, many
times where she cried without someone to comfort her.....and she
told me
that for the first time she finally understood why her daughter
had such a
deep seated fear of being out of her mom's sight.

The aunties are trying their absolute best, but that doesn't
mother/child care. I remember being in an orphanage in the north
past winter and the aunties were so proud of how they had 6-8
layers of
clothes and blankets on every baby to keep them warm. They were
swaddled so
tight that they couldn't move, but it was freezing in the
orphanage and so
the aunties wanted the babies to stay as warm as possible. What
alternative did they have? It really was freezing there..I was
cold in my
wool coat, so the babies couldn't be up and about with just 1-2
layers on,
with the ability to move their arms and legs. To stay warm they
had to be
immobile, and so of course all of those kids have weak muscle
tone. But
the aunties were truly trying their best, and when a parent is
one of
those beautiful children on adoption day, I am sure they will go
back to
their room with concern and say "she can't sit up by
can't put
weight on her legs". That is absolutely the truth, but she also
10 degree weather in a very cold province and she will catch up
with parents to encourage her.

To not acknowledge that living in orphanage circumstances can
cause lower
body weights, low muscle tone, inability to make good eye
contact is very
sad to me. Can it be overcome? Most definitely! The one thing I
learned over and over again about the kids in China is that they
fighters and survivors. But for some reason, people seem to want
to ignore
these issues in public forums.

Recently, one of our medical babies that we had met several
times in
was adopted, and we all knew that this child was a "spitfire".
When the
family arrived and spent a few days with her, they decided she
was too
of a handful for them and they wanted to disrupt. She absolutely
was not
what they expected. When they called their agency, they were
told they had
two choices: adopt the child, bring her to the US, and change
expectations of what they were hoping for, or adopt the child,
her to
the US and the agency would have a family waiting at the airport
to adopt
her locally. Option three of leaving the child in China was
never once
given. I admire that agency so much, as they were thinking of
child and
the child alone. The family followed through with the adoption
and handed
the little girl to a new family upon her arrival in the US. As
and tragic and emotional as it was for everyone involved...I
still feel
this was the right decision for the agency to make. It was done
in the
absolute best interest of the child, who had waited a long, long
for a
family. I wish more agencies would advocate for the rights of
the child,
instead of always seeming to give in to the parents, especially
in those
cases when they know with absolute certainty that nothing is
wrong with the child. Recently with another disruption, the
agency I spoke
with told me that it was "easier" to just get the family a new
Sometimes easier does not equal right. The first baby who was
rejected has
now been labeled "mentally challenged" even though the agency
knew the
was really going to be okay.

I think all of us, who do realize that delays occur and that
babies can
usually overcome them, should be these children's advocates by
trying to educate new parents on what to expect in China. By
helping them
be better prepared, we just might help stop a disruption in the
future. I
love Chinese adoption with my whole heart, and it is my life's
work..but I
also want every family who goes to get their baby to go with
eyes open
and to be as emotionally prepared as possible, for the child's

Amy E"

A really large butterfly landed on the front of my house today. It just hung on the house for a long while. Many people in the Chinese adoption community see lady bugs as a sign of Chinese adoption. For me the sign is butterflies...and this one was very special. Maybe it is a sign that I will finally get the visa I am waiting for. All our other papers are ready to send to China.

Friday, July 07, 2006

I am reading (on one of the yahoo adoption web groups) a tread about a family that just "disrupted" their adoption of a 6 year old girl from Nanjing, China. They think the girl is developmentally delayed, maybe even with autism. I guess I can see both sides of this coin. My oldest daughter Jessica has autism (she is biological), and I am adopting for the 3rd time. When you have a baby, there are allot of unknowns. Jessica had 4 heart problems, tumors in her ears and autism. I had a healthy pregnancy. I did every thing right with her. Still, she has been very sick. It has been really hard! Still, she has taught me more then any thing or any one. Her name means" God's gift". I did not choose her autism, but I would never,NEVER send her back! She is mine, completely and totally MINE!!! When do people determine if an adopted child is theirs? For Juergen and I it was the moment we faxed our PA (that is Pre Approval) letter to our agency. Commitment is an act of the will. I would be sad if Sarah was developmentally delayed. My commitment to her is there..She is MINE! I am sorry that this family that disrupted the adoption of this amazingly beautiful 6 year old(who I actually doubt has autism) did not share my views on when commitment starts. They decided they would not commit to her...and so she remains with out a family. They may have lost the greatest gift God could have ever offered them! I realize many people would defend the family. But would you defend them if they decided to leave their sick child (biological child) in the hospital because they did not want to handle their needs? I really understand the shock they must have felt if this girl they decided to adopt was so much more delayed then they had expected. I guess I just see adoption as all about the child s needs....

Thursday, July 06, 2006

"As the U.S. population speeds toward 300 million, the growth is producing headaches for Americans fed up with traffic congestion, sprawl and dwindling natural resources.

But the alternatives are pretty scary, too. Just look at Europe and Japan, which are on the verge of such big population losses that several countries are practically begging women to have babies."

I just read this news story. We live in Germany, and our very "BIG" family does stand out! You would think the people would be holding a parade in our honor! We will soon have 5 children. That is like 5x's the national average! We pay 50% of our income in taxes, and we are single handily raising the next generation of Germans. The government does not give us a refund or tax break for adopting. They make headaches over the paperwork. They don't provide German as a second language classes for my sons.... but they promise me my boys are headed for the lowest level of high school in the future if their German does not improve! I am pretty sure God wants us to stay here, but I could sure use some wisdom about the education of my two adopted sons! I am sure the population growth does bother some Americans, but living with a negative growth rate is really more trouble! Children are our future! We should support families, adoption, and education. Children are our future!!!

China is having really bad weather. Please pray for the protection of Sarah and the other children. Last year I read about at least one orphanage that got flooded. Nanjing is right on a river. Her area is being badly hit!

Tornado, rains kill at least 30 in China

By ELAINE KURTENBACH, Associated Press WriterThu Jul 6, 6:43 AM ET

Torrential rains and a tornado killed at least 30 people as storms battered eastern China this week, with millions more affected by flooding and other storm damage, state media and officials said Thursday.

Twenty-seven people were reported dead in Jiangsu province(this is Sarah's province) west of Shanghai, and about 40,000 were evacuated, said Li Qiubao, an official of the Jiangsu Civil Affairs Bureau. Newspapers showed residents using makeshift rafts to ferry through flooded streets.

A tornado also smashed through the town of Dafeng in Jiangsu, killing three people, the official newspaper China Daily reported....

China suffers hundreds of rain deaths every summer. The impact of flooding has been worsened by heavy farming and tree-cutting that has left cleared hillsides unable to trap rain. Major cities are shielded by flood dikes but small towns, especially in mountainous areas, are vulnerable to deadly flash floods.

China is expected to suffer from more typhoons than usual this year due to an unusually warm current off its Pacific and high temperatures over the Tibetan plateau.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Well, all Germany is crying tonight! They just lost their game to Italy in over time 2-0. Really, Italy made two goals in the last two minutes of over time! The first goal was earned, the second goal happened while Germany was in shock! Italy plays in the final game on Sunday, Germany will play for 3rd and 4th place on Saturday. We are all really sad!!!! I need my visa, or some new pictures of my daughter to pick me up! I know, America didn't even realize the world cup was being played. They fought a good fight...Italy must be exploding with excitement. We are crying...oh so sad!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th of July!!! There are two days a year that make it a bit strange or even hard living in Europe. The 4th of July and Thanksgiving. Everyone here is at work. The topic of the day is Germany' s world cup game with Italy tonight. We plan to have a barbecue tonight before the big game. Across the big pound I know Americans are gathering for BQ's and family get togethers. My family will also gather together. I again will be absent. My kids have never been to a 4th of July parade or picnic. They may never experience a watermelon eating contest or 3 legged race. Tonight I will paint their faces with the colors of the German flag. We are now cheering for the Germans to win the world cup! I do remember my home... and I do pray that our God continues to bless her on her 230th Birthday! I wish I was there! Eat a big piece of apple pie for me!

God Bless America

by Irving Berlin

"While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.

God Bless America.
Land that I love
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies ,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America
My home sweet home."

Monday, July 03, 2006

Guess who loves Sarah's new bed? Two minutes after Juergen set the bed up, Jessica climbed in it and has been sleeping there every night since. Jessica is 14 years old with Autism. She can not talk, but she can write. We asked her teacher to have Jessica write about the bed. This is what she wrote,
"I am happy my parents have bought me the great big bed. I have comfortable sleeping feelings".

Well, I might need to find Sarah a new bed. I don't think Jess will consider giving up her new bed!!! The real trouble is were do I put Sarah's bed? Jessica likes the room too!!!

This is Nanjing, Sarah's home town!It looks like Bangkok. I got the photo from the web site of one family who is picking their new son Hank up today. You can follow that adoption journey Here. I also read today about making phone calls from China using Skype. I need to get a head set, and maybe even a web cam. Then I can make cheap phone calls using my lap top in China. You can sign up for Skype Here.Skype is now owned by e-bay one of my favorite "stores"!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

"The cup" by Nicole Heymann
July 2, 2006

Brazil lost to France in the world cup! I guess we are cheering for Germany now! This is best. Juergen and I didn't enjoy being for separate teams. If Germany played Brazil in the final could have gotten ugly around here. Let me quote CNN...
"Despite the sadness, some Brazilians vowed to keep their barbecues and parties going all night."
Now that's courage!!!