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, February 28, 2007

This was my week to buy myself something new. I was at toys R us and I found this cute little ladybug to hang on my cellphone. It is adorable, and it didn't break the bank (about 2 dollars)! Now if I could just remeber to charge my phone!!!

Nicole drew this for me (click on it to make it larger).

Has anyone ever used skype to make phone calls while they traveled?
How did you like it? I've read it is very cheep, and you can call all over the world for pennies. My dad will probably want to talk to my mom for an hour a day, so I think we had better look into this!

When you visit an orphanage, it is always nice to bring small gifts for the Nanny's. I found these cute boxes of Ladybug chocolates in my local food store today. I bought 8 boxes, but maybe I should bring more. I am also bringing packages of potpourri that smells like lavender. I've read they love pretty smelling things.

I got these new photos of Sarah today.She looks like she has been a little sick. All the kids have had the chickenpox's. At least she has that behind her. Her hair is growing. Maybe we will get our Seeking Confirmation letter tomorrow!

Update: The women who took these pictures today,Denise,wrote that Sarah is sick. She also says her foot hurts. Sarah lay on a mat outside while the other kids played. It is probably the chickenpox's. A strong case of chickenpox's gives the immune system a good workout. Many kids have a big developmental surge after the chickenpox's. It will be a good time to get her! I wish I could hold her, and comfort her, but she probably feels more comfortable being in China right now. I'm only a stranger to her.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Here is an article on digital scrap booking for adoptive families. It is sort of a "how to make a life book" digitally.

Here is another article on digital scrap booking.
And an article on life books.

My favorite digital scrapbook store is Scrapbook bytes.

I wrote last week (EBay week) I would bid on something old. Well, I lost the bid on the old Chinese tea pot but won a bid on some old dollhouse furniture. This week I am looking for something New. For new stuff I think I will be skipping EBay, and just going into town!

I got a few e-mails about a comment I made concerning Sarah's hair and beauty. First you need to understand; in our western eyes we think Sarah is absolutely gorgeous!!! Feel free to agree!!! The comments made that she "looks like a boy", and "she is ugly" came from real Chinese people. The "she is ugly" came from an honest 5 year old! Perhaps in China, as in many other places, a women's glory is in her hair. What is the USA's obsession with Britney's new hair all about anyway? It is after all “JUST HAIR"!!! Sarah is a smart 4 year old who can speak and understand Chinese. If she leaves the protective walls of her orphanage, and hears honest comments from Chinese people, she may end up with a low self esteem. In my experience, it is the people who have low self esteem that are obsessed with their looks. People who feel good about themselves relax and value what is real! Thomas came home from Thailand and wanted his hair dyed blond. For a long time, he hated his looks. He is by far the vainest one of my children. All of this comes from a low self esteem. Thank God his self worth is improving...and with the improvement comes less obsession with his looks! I want no comments, or good comments from Chinese people towards Sarah. I don't want to spend a few years trying to repair a damaged self-worth just because her hair was short!!! I have not decided if we will get fake ponytails for her, but if we do you will know it was just to protect her! In my eyes she could not be more beautiful!

Here is an article about Chinese beauty. This is a list of traits Chinese people consider beautiful....
"Very specific traits constitute beauty in China. Here is a list of attractive qualities I have gathered from my colleagues: big eyes, high nose, small mouth, thin figure, white teeth, duck-egg-shaped face, almond-shaped eyes, long eyelashes, dark irises, dimples, small waist, long straight hair, long legs, white smooth skin, no moles or freckles, and double eyelids."

Sarah has a few special ladybugs. I bought her a ladybug suitcase for all her toys when we travel to China. It has wheels on it. I am filling it with toys to keep her busy on the trip. I bought her a ladybug hat, gloves, and scarf. She also has a hand me down ladybug sweater, and ladybug winter boots.

I got this letter from a friend of mine here in Germany. If he wins "best post " I will have to find a special Chinese ladybug for his sweet little ladybug Emma! Thanks Peter!!!

Dear Amy,

I can't send you a picture, but only the description of a small incident that happened just yesterday.
Every year around February / March a pastor from the Evangelische Landeskirche in Rosbach (just a bit north of Frankfurt) puts a Gospel-choir together. About 130 singers this year, young and old. They play two concerts in their church and the church is always very crowded. Since a few years the band is always the same - and I'm the bass player of it.
Now yesterday during the rehearsal for the second concert I took the music-sheet of the just sung song off my music-stand and put it on the ground and there was a ladybug - sitting on the pile of the previously laid down sheets. I was surprised: what is a ladybug doing on this time of the year in an old lutheran church on my music-sheets????? And of course I had to think about you immediately. I didn't have time to watch the bug, because I had to concentrate on playing the bass guitar (and being a man means I can concentrate only on one thing at a time!). When I looked again on my sheets, the bug was gone....may it really be a sign of great luck to your adoption process.

Dear regards,

Monday, February 26, 2007

Leda from China to California also got her new daughter today! The pigtails are fake, but they sure look real! I'm going to find some fake hair for Sarah. A Chinese friend of mine looked at Sarah's picture this weekend and said, "she looks like a boy"! Her daughter (5 years old) said, "I think she is ugly"! I said, "well, I think she is beautiful"! I guess hair is important to the Chinese, and while we are in China maybe Sarah should wear fake pigtails? Maybe? Anyway you can follow Leda's blog, it's on my links.

You can find many ladybugs in my house. There is a ladybug in my window, a ladybug lamp in Sarah's bedroom, a cute picture of Ladybugs Jessica made in school a few years ago, and a ladybug bank on the top shelf in my kitchen.

It's been a good day for one of my online friends The Graddon Family. They got their beautiful new daughter Abby Jade today in Nanjing. She was a friend of Sarah! She is already smiling! Congratulations on your beautiful new sweetheart!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ladybug, Ladybug Fly Away Home
Nighttime is coming, the sunshine has gone
Your family awaits, no more to be said
It's time little Ladybugs were tucked up in bed!

Five little ladybugs sitting in a tree.
The first one said, "I’m glad I’m me."
The second one said, "I feel great too."
The third one said, "How about you?"
The fourth one said, "It’s time to fly away."
The fifth one said, "We’ll talk another day

How brave a ladybug must be!
Each drop of rain is big as she.
Can you imagine what you'd do,
If raindrops fell as big as you?

For the best ladybug photos and or stories, I bought these German Ladybugs. First is a hanging Ladybug out of felt, chocolate ladybugs, ladybug cloths hanger clips (they are smaller then pictured) perfect for scrapbooks, or invitations or thank you notes, and a ladybug iron on patch.I really love your pictures, so please keep them coming!!!

I have a tiny ladybug on my winter coat. It has been on my coat or hat for about ten years. I bought it at a jewelry party of a good friends. I am not really a big jewelry wearer. I also hate to wear shoes. I could spend my whole life barefoot! My friend was selling jewelry as a job,and I wanted to be supportive of her, so I bought the bug. I had no idea it would be a connection to Chinese adoption!

The life cycle of the ladybug is between four to six weeks. In the spring the adults lay up to three hundred eggs in a colony. The eggs hatch in two to five days. The newly hatched larvae feed on aphids for up to three weeks, and then they enter the pupa stage. The adult ladybug emerges about a week later. However, they usually do not have their spots for their first 24 hours of adulthood. So, if you catch one in your garden without spots, you may have found a brand new adult. There may be as many as six generations of ladybugs hatched in a year. The Asian Ladybug can live up to 2-3 years if the conditions are right.
Our beautiful new lady bug came from Kimberly at Seventh Diamond. She is also has a great adoption blog. Right now they are caught in a snow storm,but still managed to post. Amazing!!!

We also got a few pictures from Jill at Waala house of fun. They adopted an older child last year.As you can see from her earring photo, Macie is doing GREAT!!!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Thanks Mommy spice for the great pictures of the ladybug birthday party. If you have photos of your special ladybug, or ladybug collection,please send them to my yahoo account (on the sidebar above the links)and I will add them to the slide show!

The 7-spot ladybug is one of the most common ladybugs. Gardeners love ladybugs because they eat a lot of insects that hurt gardens and crops. A grown ladybug can eat anywhere between 30 to 60 insects each and every day! They will eat aphids, mealybugs, spider mites and the eggs of other insects.

In Sweden, folks believe that if a ladybug lands on a young maiden's hand, she will soon be getting married.
If you find a ladybug in your house, count the number of spots and that is how many dollars you will soon receive.

In England, finding a ladybug means that you will have a good harvest.

In France, if you are sick and a ladybug lands on you, when it flies away, it will take the sickness with it.

(Warning, a bragging post)
Nicole planned on going to her kindergarten caravel party dressed as a cowboy. At the last minute the teacher announced that the whole class should dress in ladybug outfits. I had to scramble to make one! Juergen and I cut this costume out of cardboard, and painted it with finger paints. Juergen designed the ladybug hat from Nicole's cowboy hat! She was 5 years old. I warn you, ladybugs grow up very fast! She is now 13 and taller then me. She looks like a German super model, but wants to be a crop scientist. Her desire is to develop plants that help either feed poor populations, or provide crops that produce a marketable income for the poor. In her spare time, my ladybug Nicole writes children's books. We are looking for a publishing agent!

Friday, February 23, 2007

I've decided since I am the all powerful keeper of this blog (it's nice to have some control over something in this adoption process) I would proclaim this ladybug week. The ladybug is considered a sign of good luck. In Germany they are even called "gluckskafer" or Lucky bugs. Many people in the Chinese adoption community collect these lucky bugs. I do too! And this week I want to hear about your ladybug collections, and have you e-mail me pictures of your special ladybugs. The pictures can be sent to our yahoo account . Our yahoo e-mail address is always on the sidebar right above the links. I will put together a slide show of your ladybug collections (that's if I actually get any photos). In the mean time, I'm going to show you some of my ladybugs. I will also post fun facts about ladybugs (if I can manage to find any). Oh, and to motivate you to send in your photos and stories, I have a small collection of German ladybugs for the best story or picture.

I think the good news has just begun to come! I just read this on IAAP's site,
Cao XiaoCao - boy - 1/18/2005, LOOK LOOK LOOK......HE HAS A FAMILY AT LAST!!!!
Praise God! I feel like the big bad wolf when I say "Oh, what beautiful eyes he has"!!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Hi, I want to highlight a comment from of of my readers. It's really a testimony of how they raised over $7000 towards an adoption. I thought if you don't actually read the comments, you might want to have me point this out. I thought is was really great to hear about her whole community standing behind them! What a blessing!!!

Denna said...
"Amy, First we are in a small community where it seems like everybody knows everybody. I also have tons of church friends. Everybody was very supportive of our adoption. I truly have to say God's hand was on our adoption and He allowed the money to come. When God is in something, he will not leave you in the dark to take care of it by yourself.
My dad and one of his friends cooked Barbecue. Others pitched in and made baked beans, slaw,potato salad. They then sold barbecue plates. People in our community knew that my dad and this other man made the best barbecue. It did not take people long to find out, and orders started coming in. The day of the sale, was wonderful. It brings tears to my eyes now. We sold the plates for $6.00. People would come and if the order came up to $12.00, they would throw a $20.00 in. Many would give $100.00 or $200.00. Most of these was our friends, but many was just community people who knew my dad.
My parents had two fundraisers. A fish fry, and a barbecue. (everybody loves my dads fish) I also had two friends that did a Yard Sale for us. Those two sales brought a good bit of money in. Our church gave us a love offering to help us out. It was truly amazing to see the love of my community, church, family, and friends."

Denna,I think it is great that so many people stood behind you in your adoption, and helped you raise money.I think most of us have more support then we realize, we just need to be willing to ask! Denna has her own blog. It's called Two Little Darlings.
Thank's Denna! BTW, I asked her if I could put her in the spot light!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

OK!!! Thank you for your good ideas on cheering up. I think the wisest advice came from my mom. She e-mailed me privately and wrote, “My thought on cheering yourself up without chocolate is to not focus on being cheerful, just keep busy. If you sit down, have something in your hands .... Being cheerful is nice, but it can be something like riding the top of a wave. Life has many valleys. These valleys are where we grow”. God willing, my mom will travel with us to China.

You advised me to...
1. Take a hot bath.
2 read a good book.
3. Take it to God (always a good answer).
4. Drink some wine, or whisky. I personally do not drink alcohol, but I'm not offended by it either. I live in Europe where almost everyone (Christian and non-Christian alike) drinks.
5. Watch an old movie.
6. Drive down a country road and sing out the windows at the top of your lungs. I'll have to give this one a try.

I'm surprised no one wrote that exercise helps, having a good cry is good, cleaning or scrubbing floors also helps, call a good friend, and do something creative like scrap booking, cooking, or blogging and try to help someone else (get your mind off yourself).
At the last minute I got this post from Kristen, she wrote...
"When I am down about not receiving PA after 81 days I surf the net for things for our new little one. I will go on eBay and put a whole bunch of things in my watch list. I will also go to Gymboree and Disney and put things in my shopping cart. I rarely buy anything but it is fun dreaming of all the things I would like to buy her."
I think many of us enjoy a little retail therapy. I think her idea to book mark stuff and dream but not buy is very good! I also love to bookmark stuff on e-bay, but I book mark antique furniture. I think this idea deserves a special prize, and it's going to be a spring surprise (it's even a surprise to me because I have not bought it yet). I am going to keep it a surprise so Kristen has something to look forwards to besides a PA (81 days...killer)!!!

My honest to goodness favorite post (BTW,it was a comment not on the forum but I have the power to judge it my favorite anyway) was from Mommy Spice who wrote,” I’m sorry; I would be of no help to you. I say, eat the chocolate!! I just finished off some Ben and Jerry's The Gobfather. It was outstanding!! I was actually going to blog about it...still may." Many of you echoed her response, but somehow she made me laugh, and laughter and chocolate are both very good medicine!!! The prize this week goes to Laura and her less then spiritual post! You'll all be happy to know that Juergen and I have given up sugar and alcohol for lent (the 6 weeks before Easter). I will have a new question and prize for you tomorrow. Thank you for your prayers. I can feel Gods arms covering me like a blanket.

I was on E-bay looking at all the quilt tops (E-bay USA, not Germany). One quilt dealer also sells Princess potty chairs. I will not be buying one of these thrones for Sarah (Sarah means princess) but I thought they were really cute!!!

Ideas on raising money for adoption

I think one of the main reasons people decide not to pursue international adoption is the cost (between $10,000 and $30,000). A tax credit is given for adoption. The information for this is on the sidebar of this page. There are also a number of links listed for grants and loans. Among the links,is an organization called Kingdom Kids. if you contact them then you maybe able to set up a tax deductible account that your friends and family would be allowed to donate to. They would receive a tax deduction, and you get the money for your adoption. If you have not set up an account with kingdom kids, this would be a good place to start! There is a yahoo group to help generate fund raising ideas for adoption. That link is HERE. Some people design items to sell on cafe press. You e-mail them a jpg of your design,and they put it on t-shirts, handbags,baseball caps etc. I don't think they actually print anything until it is ordered. They send you a small share of the profits. I'm not sure how much money this would bring in,but if you have a number of friends and family willing to buy a t-shirt for your cause it may help a little! I am no graphic artist, but I would love to help some of you design a t-shirt for cafe press. Some people make a Quilt and then sell raffle tickets for it,setting up an account on pay pal.If you don't sew maybe you know someone who does? Quilts are very popular in the adoption community, and if you put an off topic post on yahoo groups announcing your raffle you may get a good response! E-bay has very nice Quilt tops for great prices. If you win the bid on a quilt top, and just have friends help you with putting a back on the quilt it will save you both time and money! The chief thing you need to know is adoption is at the heart of God. Not many people are willing to step out of the boat and try to adopt. If you have taken this step,and are a stable loving person willing to commit your self to raise an orphan then the money is the small part! Contact Kingdom Kids and also the Yahoo fund raising group.

PS. Please tell everyone how you have raised money for adoption. Your good ideas may help kids around the world find a way home to a family!!! Post your ideas on the forum.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

How to post on Amy's adoption forum. Maybe some of you don't know how to use my new forum. Here is how it's done...
On the sidebar to the right of the page you find a message board. You will need to give your e-mail address once to register. I am not interested in selling your address or anything. That's just how it works. If you post a 2ND time, you won't need to go through the hassle of re-registering. You post your comment, or respond to a post. Finally you must fill in this stupid code or it will not record your post. I do think it's a bit of trouble but you're able to ask direct questions, and also encourage each other. I get to hear your testimonies. It can be great! I hope you'll take the trouble to register, and read other peoples insights on adoption, and other stuff!!!

Tomorrow is the last day to get your posts in on the question " How do you cheer your self up"? So far Deb is the only one who has answered the question on Amy's Adoption Forum. Deb won last weeks question (and the 3 bars of good German Chocolate). I hope some of you try to give her a run for the money! You have until Wednesday night to submit your reply,and I will announce a winner on Thursday! I'm giving up Chocolate for Lent,so I'm going to need some other ideas!

My autistic daughter Jessica loves snow globes, so I was looking at them on e-bay about 6 weeks before Christmas(this was a few years ago). I thought I would get her a few snow globes for Christmas. I saw that someone was selling 4700 snow globes and the price was only 15 Euro. At the time the Euro was almost equal to the US dollar. The shipping would be almost $300 . I talked Juergen into buying them, and giving them away to people for donations to AAI's children's home in Ethiopia. We asked our Church to help. People took boxes to work and school to give away. They where "free", we really wanted to get rid of them. Some people just took them but others donated money. We ended up raising over $4000 for Ethiopia. Then we gave the left over globes to an International school, and they made another $800 to help send a teacher to South America to help poor children. I am wondering what we can do this year?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Speaking of E-bay, what is the strangest thing you ever bought on E-bay? I once bought 5000 snow globes on E-bay for about $300 including shipping. What did I do with 5000 christmas snow globes you might ask? I will tell you tomorrow! What is the strangest thing you ever bought on e-bay or a garage sale or whatever?

I love to shop on E-bay. I decided for the next few weeks (until we get our TA) I would try to win a few gifts for myself on E-bay. I am going to follow a theme...something old, something new...I don't know about borrowed...and something blue! This week it will be old. I just bid on an old Chinese tea pot. I have a small collection of these tea pots (3 so far). We are going for number 4!!!

In India the economy is booming but some 35 million of the one billion population are orphans and around 300 million people are living on less than $1 a day -- of whom 140 million are children.

Here is a CNN article on an outreach to the children.

is a good source of information about adoption from India.

Parent Qualifications: Guidelines in India are flexible based on the needs of the child. Married couples and single women may adopt. There must be no more than three children already in your home. Couples adopting infants must have a combined age no greater than 90, and neither parent should be older than 55. (This rule is flexible for couples who wish to adopt older children.).

Travel: Travel is usually 3-5 days.

Time line: You may wait 0-6 months for a referral once your home study has been approved.

China will not allow singles to adopt after May of this year, so India may be a good option for some!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

On Saturday I found something new in our store. It's an ice cream called Jack's Premium Chocolate Shock. It is very dark chocolate ice cream with chocolate brownie chunks and Carmel sauce. This stuff is so addictive the store should not be allowed to sell it without a Dr's prescription!!! And where are my cyber friends with their good advice about constructive ways to cheer myself up? Come on people...don't you understand another 430 grams of chocolate shock might kill me!!! All I can say is I'm giving up chocolate for lent! Thank God for lent! What an evil carton of sugar my local market has unleashed on society!