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!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Seriously, I have been pretty low the past few days. I am trying to keep busy, and trying not to fall into a pit of self pity! I was praying this afternoon. I had the impression there was some sort of dam, or back log of adoption cases in China. I have only heard of one TA(travel approval)in the past two weeks. Now just because I have not hear of TA's does not mean people are not getting them. Generally you read of at least some! I know there are people who have waited 2 times as long as us for a TA! The last SC forms (seeking confirmation)I read about where sent back to China almost two weeks ago. I feel we must pray for this dam to break! Everything stands still the last two weeks of February because of the Chinese New Years. Until then, I hope we see a real shower of TA's and SC forms being sent out! Something has to start moving. And let's also pray for Pa's (Pre-approvals) and referrals too!
Wanted: Nice New Year's girlfriend

A desperate Chinese university student wants to "rent" a girlfriend for 10 days so he can show her off to his parents over the Lunar New Year holiday, state media reported Wednesday.

The physics student, who gave his name as Zhu Lijie, posted a notice on a bulletin board at Peking University offering 1,000 yuan ($130) to a woman who would pose as his girlfriend for the trip home for the holiday, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The advertisement said the woman should be "an honest, kind and similar-aged girl with a diploma."

The Lunar New Year holiday, which starts February 18 this year, is the most important family holiday in China.

Xinhua said Zhu had told his parents, who were pressuring him to get a girlfriend, that he had been studying too hard and had no time to meet a potential partner.

Peking University officials and the police have warned women to be wary of such advertisements.

Wang Jisheng, a professor with the Psychology Institution of the Chinese Academy Sciences, was quoted as saying Zhu was trying to show filial piety to his parents but was only cheating them.
One of my favorite quotes...
The difference between fiction and reality?
Fiction has to make sense.
Tom Clancy

I thought our characters needed some hair...and a Happy face! Am I beginning to lose it? Oh God ,please have mercy on me..a waiting Mom!!!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I feel like everything has slowed way down!!!I tried to think about what picture represented slow. I thought of American Gothic. So here is Juergen and I waiting, watching the grass grow!

Monday, January 29, 2007

If you are American adopting from China you will need to go to Guangzhou to do your American paperwork. Almost all Americans stay on or visit Shamian Island when they are in Guangzhou.HERE is an interactive map of Shamian Island . It shows the major shops, hotels and places to eat.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Chinese women's soccer

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Coping with a child's tantrum on a plane
Digging To China

Love Without Boundaries has a Chinese New Years sale on E-bay. Buy something nice for yourself or a child. All the money goes to Love Without Boundaries. Love Without Boundaries provides medical care, nutrition, education, and foster care to some of the world's most vulnerable children.

You know your adoption is almost final when...
The dentist tells you two of your kids need braces.
Your 16 year old car needs "some work".
Your dishwasher finally breaths it's last.

And yes I do need a new I'm going to do dishes for 7 people by hand!

Friday, January 26, 2007

This ad is beautiful!
And this is an amazing commercial!

My favorite TV commercial! It is so funny!!!

Today I finally received one of my Christmas gifts. Juergen got me a copy of the 1958 movie "The inn of the sixth happiness" with Ingrid Bergman. It took 6 weeks to get here, but it was worth the wait. Amazon says this about the film...

"All her life Englishwoman Gladys Aylward knew that China was the place where she belonged. Not qualified to be sent there as a missionary, Gladys works as a domestic to earn the money to send herself to a poor, remote village. There she eventually lives a full and happy life: running the inn, acting as "foot inspector", advising the local Mandarin and even winning the heart of mixed race Captain Lin Nan. But Gladys discovers her real destiny when the country is invaded by Japan and the Chinese children need her to save their lives. Based on a true story."

It is a tear jurker for anyone who loves China, and the beautiful children of China.
The movie was based on a book called The Small Woman by Alan Burgess. Now I've got to get a copy of this book! I just love what God is able to do through small people with big dreams!

Update: I found a used copy of The small women on just now for only
9 Euro! It must be my day!!! Maybe I will save it to read on the airplane to China!

I want to keep before you the eyes of this beautiful baby boy Cao XiaoCao. He just turned 1 years old in Nanjing, China. He is in the same orphanage as Sarah. Many people have seen him, and say he is wonderful! IAAP has waived their adoption fees for this sweetheart. There are grants that could cover all other adoption costs. He has a giant nevus on his lower trunk and thighs, and many "satellites" scattered over his body. They may hide some of his skin...but they cannot hide his loving personality and sweet soul! Please, if you are looking at Chinese adoption, please consider this adorable child. Other wise pray...pray for a family to come forward. If eyes are the window to the soul, this boy has the most beautiful soul! He needs treatment for his skin, and a loving family for an amazing future!
For more information contact IAPP about Cao XiaoCao. If you adopt him, I will go out of my way to get you update photos and a personal report of him when we pick Sarah up. God willing, I plan on meeting him!

Here are some Chinese signs with funny English translations.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I wrote this poem in May of 2006. If you click on the picture it will get larger.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Just killing a little time making digital scrapbook pages from last years photos.

HERE is a link to Half the skys video.

Changing children’s lives does not require new facilities or expensive playthings or complicated new procedures. Human contact is the most important ingredient, and caretakers can make a huge difference—just by taking an extra moment whenever possible to hold the babies, talk to the children, hug them all, and assure them that someone cares.
—For the Children, Half the Sky’s training manual

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I took this picture of Juergen with Philip (adopted from Thailand in 2001) last night. Our oldest daughter Jessica, who is autistic once wrote " My dad is a super man, and a wonder of nature". Juergen is a super hero! It is a well known fact that all good dads are super hero's!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Update- I won the bid!!!

I just bid on a stroller on e-bay. It is by Hauck, and it was the model of the year 2006. It's called the Jeep! I know allot of people buy strollers in China. Generally I think a 4 year old should walk, and not even use a stroller, but we want to do allot of walking. I think we would be more flexible if we had a stroller. I have also read that allot of people don't even bother using their strollers because the sidewalks are so uneven. This is why I thought if I want a stroller, I had better bring a very good stroller, that can handle the "off road " conditions!

It is late here in Germany and I need to go to bed. I just saw our TA wait counter move to 2 months! I am feeling really happy! The time is flying by. We are getting ready to go. We have not had much of a winter here in Europe. We actually have crocuses and daffodils’ starting to come up. I am still expecting to be hit with winter. I feel like the winter of my wait is almost over! The season is about to change! I am sure Sarah will be home in a matter of 6 to 8 weeks! I am so happy that our wait is almost over…and happy to see my beautiful daughter.

" See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land. "
Song of Solomon 2.11-12

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Very encouraging news...
Some of the first families who sent back their SC (Seeking Confirmation) forms only a week ago are now receiving their TA's(travel approval). We were thinking it would take 3 weeks or more to get TA's after these forms were sent in. We don't know yet what will be the average or normal time, but one week is very unexpected and fast!
Pregnant women from mainland China who are near their due date will be turned away at Hong Kong borders if they cannot prove they have appointments in the city's hospitals, officials said Tuesday.

The number of births by mainland Chinese women in Hong Kong nearly doubled in 2005 -- from 10,128 in 2003 to 19,538 -- according to the city's Hospital Authority. Many come to evade China's one-child policy, take advantage of higher quality health care or earn Hong Kong residency rights for their babies.

The former British colony of Hong Kong is now under Chinese rule, but it remains separately governed and maintains immigration controls. Hong Kong residency, which is required to live in the city, is coveted by mainland Chinese because of the higher standard of living here and prospect of a better education for their children.

Starting in February, mainland Chinese women who are more than seven months pregnant cannot enter Hong Kong if they cannot prove that a Hong Kong hospital has confirmed arrangements for their admission, said Patrick Nip, deputy secretary for the Health, Welfare and Food department.

Many mainland women currently do not make bookings or provide prenatal records to Hong Kong hospitals, choosing instead to rush to emergency wards at the last minute to give birth. Some leave behind large hospital debts when they return to China.

As part of the new rules, mainland Chinese mothers will have to pay double the normal fee to give birth in Hong Kong hospitals. Medical staff stationed at border control points will help officials step up checks on women who appear far along in their pregnancies, an immigration official said.
I just added a long list of adoption grants and loans (on the side bar). If you need money to adopt, here is a good place to start.

Managers of China's vast Forbidden City palace are deciding whether to close a Starbucks outlet on its grounds after protests led by a state TV personality, a news report said Thursday.
The decision will be made as part of a palace renovation that already has seen one-third of its shops removed.
Whether or not Starbucks remains depends on the entire design plan that will be released in the first half of the year.
A news anchor for Chinese state television has led an online campaign to remove Starbucks from the vermilion-walled palace, arguing that it tarnishes traditional Chinese culture.
The anchorman, Rui Chenggang, wrote a blog for the broadcaster that Starbucks' presence "undermined the Forbidden City's solemnity and trampled over Chinese culture."
Starbucks opened its Forbidden City outlet in 2000 at the invitation of palace managers, who are under pressure to raise money to help maintain the vast, vermilion-walled complex.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Here is an update on Kailee Wells. She was adopted as a baby from China. She almost bled to death 5 years ago when her family found out she had Severe Aplastic Anemia . She has had a number of transplants, and for awhile it looked like she would be OK. But she is not OK, and her last chance for life is another transplant on Feb 3. Please pray for Kailee and her amazing parents. She is a beautiful, and courageous girl
and I hope by Gods grace she lives a very long and healthy life!!!
I just got good news. One of the families I have contact with just got their SC form (Seeking Confirmation)today. They have a daughter in Sarah's children's home, and they are using the same adoption agency (IAAP). They have the sweetest, cutest little girl! I actually begged Juergen to try to adopt her too(sometimes China lets you adopt two kids from the same children's home at once). He said "no"! It is a good thing because she got a great family. They are only a few weeks ahead of us in the process, so I guess our day will come soon! I hope we at least get that SC form by Chinese New Year, then we can probably travel by Easter vacation , April 2-14.

Here are a list of articles written to waiting adoptive parents.

I was listening to Joyce Meyer speak this morning. She told a story about a teacup. A teacup begins like a lump of clay. It is pounded, molded and shaped (a painful process). When it finally takes shape, it needs to sit and dry out (waiting), then the master potter paints glaze on it and sticks it in a hot oven for a first firing, once out of this fire it is placed on a shelf to wait some more (more waiting), finally another very thick and stinky glaze is painted on the cup and it is placed in an even hotter oven for a final fire. The result is a beautiful teacup…but the process was not pleasant. I am going to buy a special teacup in China to remind me of this process that brought me to my daughter! It was stinky, hot, and pounding…but I am confident the results will be a beautiful work of art!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I am preparing to send another care package to Sarah. I have two new collages of photos of our family. Juergen made large prints, and I covered them with lamination paper, so she can handle them. I bought her an electronic book that has 6 different German children's songs. I am including extra batteries. I hope they let her have the book.It might help her get a bit use to this strange new language...the sound of it. I am sending 200 balloons, and allot of candy for all the kids. I am also packing some good chocolate for the nannies and other workers.
There are new out breaks of the bird flu in many Asian countries. I am praying they manage to control the spread of the disease. China promised to close its borders if there is an outbreak there. This could be a night mare for all waiting adoptive families. Oh God, we really do live in your mercy and grace! Protect our children and lead them quickly home to us! Amen!!!
A retired Chinese couple have advertised for a "daughter" to look after them in place of their son who has emigrated to Canada -- and more than 100 candidates signed up to try their luck, a newspaper said on Tuesday.

Tian Zhendong and Ding Shuhui, a former construction expert and a university professor from central Wuhan, felt "lonely and lost" after their only son moved to Canada with his wife, even though he called home every week, the Guangzhou Daily said.

But he didn't want to come back to China.

"I regret letting him leave," the newspaper quoted mother Ding as saying.

The couple used to visit their son in Canada, but they could not get used to life there, it said.

After six years of loneliness, the couple decided to seek a daughter to be with them and look after them, who would be given an apartment if she passed the trial period of three years.

"We are not looking for a maid, but someone to be with us until we are dead," father Tian was quoted as saying.

The "fierce competition" was entering its final stage as the couple were expected to choose the final winner from the last five candidates soon, the newspaper said.

Monday, January 15, 2007

I can not watch this program in Germany. I may buy it on DVD someday. I thought some of you might be interested in seeing this PBS program called China from the inside!

Friday, January 12, 2007

These are the beautiful eyes of a 1 year old boy named XiaoCao. He is in the same children's home as Sarah, Nanjing SWI. He has a skin condition called nevus . This is both large and small moles on his face and body. He is listed with IAAP, and his agency fees have been waved. The remainder of his adoption fees could be covered by a grant to qualified families. His moles have not changed over the year. Many of these moles could be removed. If you are thinking about adopting a child from China, and money is an issue...XiaoCao might be the child for you. XiaoCao has been well-loved by the nannies, and it shows in his easy going attitude and interest in everything around him. His development is very good! If you can see past his moles, and see the beautiful kid that just needs a family!
Yesterday I was pretty sad (understatement). The new SC rule hit me pretty hard! A few posts ago I wrote that I felt like a snow ball rolling down a long hill gathering momentum. Well, the snow ball hit the Great Wall of China...and the wall won! Juergen has big shoulders...and I ended up crying. I figure it is OK to cry when you have missed yet another month of your child's life. I will not be there for her 4TH birthday, and I have missed her whole 3RD year! But don't worry; I am not planning on parking the car here! We will send Sarah a new care package. We will send her new photos of her room, and the family. It is all I can do! Today I will stand up again and keep moving forwards. We are going to finish our trip to China. Sarah is waiting for us.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

OK, if I don't laugh I am going to cry! Please feel free to send me your best jokes or funny video links (please make them clean). I just had a month added to my adoption process today (imagine telling a women who is 8 1/2 months pregnant she has to wait an extra month or two)...I need to be cheered up!

OK, first I need to apologize to my agency for getting mad about not telling me about the new requirements. It seems they were just as "in the dark" as everyone else. China just started sending the forms out this week! I guess they did not warn anyone! My kids have a two week vacation April 2-14. Maybe I should just set my mind on going then. I realize I won't be able to find a hotel room in Guangzhou, but Hong Kong is only 2 hours away by train. I would rather spend a week with my family in Hong Kong anyway, and just take the train to Guangzhou to do paperwork! What is the difference between panic attack and sadness? For a hour or so I began to panic, but now I know I am just really sad this is taking so long. I started this process with so many families who are already home enjoying their new children. I know I will get there too...I am feeling kicked again. It is OK, I am a big girl. I will get up. But darn hurts to be kicked again!

I need more then chocolate, I am going to need some prayer! I am reading about a new requirement added to the adoption process. It is called a SC form (Seeking Confirmation). I have not heard about this from my own agency,but read about it on the adoption web groups. I am pretty sure It will add an extra 2-3 weeks to our process.I guess China sends this letter or form to our agency seeking to confirm we still want our child (please)! We have to fill the form out, and notarize it, fed-ex it to the USA, they fed-ex it to China...and we wait again! OK, April in China? But wait...there are the trade shows in Guangzhou and know one travels in April!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ok, this is what desperate moms do besides watching the grass grow (and trust me it does not grow fast in the winter time)! Today we are on day 51 of our TA wait, in one week (Jan 17TH) we will be on day 58, one week more (Jan 24TH) it will be day 65, one week more (Jan 31) is day 72(getting exciting) a week more (Feb 7) is day 79...Feb 7TH is also Sarah's 4TH birthday, one week more is Feb 14TH and also the last week before Chinese New Years shuts everything down it is day 86 of our TA wait, one week more and it's day 93 on Feb 21, one more week is Feb 28th and day number 100. I would love that TA to come by Sarah’s birthday (Feb 7TH). Even if we can not travel before the Chinese New Years (and I am trying to prepare myself for this because that is how it looks right now), I would love to at least have everything set up to go right after the New Years shut down. Maybe I will make a TA calendar, sort of like an advent calendar. I will put a dollar (Euro) into a jar for each day I wait out this TA.Then I will buy myself a gift to celebrate when it finally comes! Today I have 51 Euros.......Maybe I had better give myself 2 Euros a day?

I just told Nicole(my 13 year old daughter) I needed to get off the computer..."a watched pot never boils"! She is a big Farside fan, and she told me about this Farside take off of that saying. It made me laugh out loud, and I made her find it for you to read! I am afraid I just want to camp out by my computer day and night...just hoping for some news from China. I probably need to wait for another month for a TA, but some people get them early (around 45 days). We are at day I figure it could come any time. Most likely in a month...but I am hoping for sooner!
Nanjing, China

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

So far today I have no news, and no new pictures. I do know our package to Sarah was delivered, and we may get new photos from the director. A few waiting families on our Nanjing group already got new photos this week! In the mean time, I am playing with digital scrap book templates. Here is a picture I made with some of the pictures I have of Sarah. I buy my digital scrapbook templates at SCRAPBOOK-BYTES.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Here is an article on China's Sweeping Policy Changes. It will affect many people. The biggest change being no single people can adopt.

I was driving my 15 year old daughter towards the old town of Heidelberg. We like to walk in the city and window shop. I had an overwhelming feeling of joy hit me like a wave! I am beginning to really feel like we are on the last leg of our adoption wait. I feel like a small snow ball that has just begun it's race down a very long hill! I can not explain it...but some how the thought of finally traveling has taken hold of me. This wonderful thought is gathering momentum. I am not a runner who will crawl exhausted to the finish line (at least I hope not). I want to race ahead...I am ready to finish this race! Our day is coming, I can feel it in my spirit!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

OK, I don't have new photos of Sarah to share, so I took pictures of some of the toys she has waiting for her! She has Dora who speaks both English and German. The doll high chair has butterflies on it just for our little butterfly! I was in a second hand shop and found this beautiful baby bassinet. It is solid oak. I figured Sarah could lay her dolls in it, and one day my grandchildren can sleep in it! I also got her a wooden pirate ship. She will have allot of fun with her older brothers. She has of course already stolen my heart!
Hi, I have good news and bad news.The good news is my online friend Hedda got her beautiful daughter Maddie. The first 24 hours were a little ruff. Maddie was sad, and afraid. It is such a big thing to take a child away from all that she knows! She is now doing better. She is smiling and even laughing.The bad news is they won't be allowed to visit the SWI(social welfare institute). Sometimes they let families visit, other times they don't. I am pretty sure they will find a way to pass Sarah's princess dress on to her. I am sorry she won't also be receiving a hug from me! I may or may not get photos from the director. This is disappointing...but I already have many more photos then most people get! It really is OK!
We are trying to come up with a travel plan for when we travel. We are still thinking of taking all the kids. There is a direct flight (over night) from Frankfurt to Shanghai.An over night direct flight is the only way to fly with our autistic daughter Jessica. We think we may go to Shanghai for 5 days or so and stay at a full service apartment. We would basically get over the jet lag, and do some early shopping and sight seeing (who knows what we can do once we get Sarah). Then we would take the train to Nanjing (only two hours away). We would get Sarah, and finalize the adoption.
Then Juergen would take all but Sarah back to Germany, and I would stay and finish the American part of the adoption(this includes traveling to Guangzhou in the South of China, and a trip to the USA). My mom wants to come to China with us, so I will not be alone! We need to figure out when she can meet us. Anyway, the ideas are flying, we are dreaming,and I guess at some point we will finalize our plans! Sorry again for not getting new pictures. Somethings are out of my control...but you know I will keep trying!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

I've always loved this song. I use to (try) to sing it just like Judy Garland in the wizard of Oz. Adopting Sarah is a dream to me, but someday over the rainbow, that dream really will come true! It seems so long and far away...but I know it will happen! I tried to find a good copy of Judy singing this song...but you'll have to settle for Barbra Streisand.

How to raise a compassionate child

Reject rudeness, Say "I'm sorry", Enforce rules, Provide structure, Expect her to help, and Outlaw name-calling!

We finally got our official Log In Date (LID) and it took awhile to log us in! We are not as far along as I would have hoped! I guess we need to wait until March or April to travel! I guess I will get sad about this, but for right now I am just happy to actually have a real date! I guess China will be prettier to see in the spring time! I am trusting God does have a plan! For today, I am excited to be reading the blog of my friend Hedda. She received her beautiful daughter Maddie today. Maddie might be Sarah's "best" friend. We always see them together in many photos. Today I am happy Maddie has her family. I think it's realistic to be thinking we will travel in March. If we are blessed to go any earlier,well I would be pleasantly surprised! OK,pray for me,I am going to go cry over the lateness of our TA! I am pretty sure I will have peace after a good cry and maybe some chocolate ice cream!

PS. do not kick me...I am honestly sad, but I know this is not the end of the world!
NTDTV - Chinese New Year Spectacular Highlights

Monday, January 01, 2007

I just read one person traveling with a toddler on the flight from China took play-doh on the plane,and a thing called Table toppers. These are place mats that are disposable and stick in place. This sounded like a good tip! As you can guess, I am starting to pack for our long trip. I not only travel to China, but also to the USA to get Sarah's American passport. I think we are going to apply for our Chinese visas this week. We have to go to the Chinese embassy in Frankfurt to do this. The visas are only good for 3 months, but I am pretty sure that will be OK. I am going to pack the stuff for Sarah, and the gifts for the orphanage...and make a list for everything else. I welcome your ideas. It will be a very long trip!

Writing in Chinese!