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!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

So, we are going on a trip and I'm going to try to be blogging from Holland. I think I'm going to be posting the whole trip on our family site. Look for us HERE! Please pray for our safe travel. I think the weather will be wet...Oh well! We have each other and that's all that matters.

Wij hopen u allen een prachtige en heilige week hebt!

Juergen just came to take our dog Mickey to his doggy hotel. He took all 5 kids with him. I made him promise to take his time, and eat dinner out. It's hard to imagine how quite the house gets when the dog, and kids are gone. It is a very loud quite! I could just sit here and listen to this stillness! If you took the time to vote for our family this week (weather they counted your vote or not) I want to thank you from the depths of my heart. You honor me. I am grateful for your support!!!

Is it just me, or does getting ready to go on vacation with your kids also put you over the edge? Juergen was going to take today off, but of course he also has mega stuff to do so he can even leave for a week! The kids are very anxious and don't seem to know what to do with themselves. They have been mostly good all summer vacation, but at each others trouts all day. Sarah is insecure, so she has been crying and pushing me! Jessica has had her shoes in her hands begging to go for a drive. I finally took her to IKEA to get some catalogs. She loves to sit in front of her TV and rip IKEA catalogs page by page. They were suppose to have the new catalog in the store today, but didn't. They did give me 5 of the old ones, so I have some for the vacation. Nicole has been a real blessing. She wrapped all of Thomas' birthday gifts, and put batteries in all the CD players, and the leapster. I bought snacks and drinks for the long drive, magazines and playing cards for the kids. Hopefully the long drive , 8 hours will pass OK. The laundry is almost done. The kitchen is clean. Juergen, if you are reading this please take the kids to McDonald's tonight. I don't want to do any more dishes! Just think, our Sarah sunshine will be in the land of wooden shoes and windmills tomorrow. We will go swimming every day for a week. I may even convince Juergen to let me take the kids into Amsterdam to see the Van Gogh, Museum. I definitely plan to buy some tulip bulbs! Thinking about the trip makes me happy. Sometimes I feel I could die under the Mountain of to do's...but I am going to Holland! OK, back to work!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I got this in the mail from my friend Jill. I thought I would post it here. Feel free to answer it yourself. Leave me a comment if you want me to read your answers.

4 Things About Me

Four jobs I have had in my life

1. Driving Instructor

2. House cleaner

3. Camp store manager

4. Campus Pastor

Four Places I have lived.

1. Phoenix, Arizona

2. Corvallis,Oregon

3. San Diego, Cal

4. Heidelberg, Germany

Four places I have vacationed

1. Holland

2. France

3. Southern Cal.


Four of my favorite foods:


2. Mexican Food

3. Chinese Food

4. Thai food

Four places you would rather be right now:

1. Thailand

2. Thailand

3. Thailand

4. Thailand

Now I'm about to go to Holland on friday, and I'm sure I'll have a great time...but Holliand is no Thailand! I just love Thailand!!!
I was looking at Philip's adoption video on you tube. I noticed it had been linked to a Swedish adoption web site. The site has allot of adoption information and blog links, and adoption videos. Philip's video was the number two most popular video on the site. It gets 5 stars and was watched 1500 times. I thought that was cool! This adoption video was the number one video. It's about a girl adopted from China. It's really lovely.

Juergen said good bye to Sarah this morning. Normally I'm still in bed. Today I was up early (more about that here). I sat at my computer and showed Philip, Thomas and Sarah the video and pictures I had taken the night before. Afterwards the boys asked Sarah to come play. She said no. Instead, she grabbed my hand and said "come Mama". She lead me to my bed so we could have a cuddle time. So sweet!!! We hugged, tickled and laughed for another half hour. Then we had breakfast.

The Most successful pirate was a Chinese women.
Click here for a CNN story.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I really don't know if the voting works from outside Germany. Please just keep trying just in case...and thank you! You are making me feel loved even if we don't win!
Here are some photos and a video of the kids doing Karate! Thomas and Sarah are having allot of fun but Philip is seriously good!!! He can be my body guard any day of the week!

I took Sarah to get her hair trimmed and to get a passport photo taken. She gets her German passport (Praise God) tomorrow. That is so cool! I can breath a very deep sign of relief!!! I also got Sarah and Nicole's white dresses in the mail. I won them on e-bay. They are perfect. Now I'm waiting for Jessica's dress and we are set for "that" beach photo! I'm doing laundry and watering plants. We are working through our to do list getting ready for our vacation. We red they have Internet in the rental houses so I will most likely be blogging. If you live in Germany please keep voting for us on "Der Wert Award". We have fallen to 5Th place and your daily votes count.
Sarah was shopping again with me today. She seems more and more interested in other kids. I do believe she is nearly ready for kindergarten. I don't think I can get her a place in kindergarten until January, but I'm pretty sure she will be ready by then. She has made amazing progress over the past few weeks. I think allot of that progress comes because she understands us more, and can communicate better. She is a girl with a strong opinion about things. She gets frustrated if she is not understood. I guess I can understand that!

Monday, August 27, 2007

I have good news! The waiting girl I posted about this past week (the one that looks like Lucy Lui) just got matched with a family! It's very good...I could imagine myself begging Juergen to let me adopt her! Man is she just the cutest thing!!!

We are in the dust! I look at the on line count on the "Der Wert Award", and we have moved down to 3rd place. The 1st place person has almost 2 times the votes we have, and 2ND place has over 300 more votes just in one day. I'm pretty sure they are only letting people in Germany vote. I have allot of my support from around the world, but I just don't think they are counting those votes! Nearly everyone we know in Germany has summer vacation right now. We have done basically all we feel comfortable doing to ask for votes. I think on the one hand I really don't care about awards, and who is to say what person deserves an award more then the next? They sound like amazingly wonderful people who are up for this award. It really is an honor our friend Claudia thought enough to even nominate us. I could turn around and nominate Claudia. She is a single mom of two great kids. She was brave to quit her job and go back to school. I don't know anyone that works so hard! I'm also very grateful for every person who has taken the time to vote even one time (even if you could vote every day). I'm trying to prepare myself for the idea of not winning. The sad thing to me is I would love to give the money to Ethiopia. If I don't win (a very likely possibility) we are going to have to figure another way to raise some money for Aids orphans. I guess I can live with that.
I just got tagged by Beverly, and here are the rules...

1) Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don't have a middle name, use the middle name that you wish you had.

2) When tagged, you need to write your own blog post containing your own middle name facts.

3) At the end of your blog post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don't forget to leave a comment telling them that they're tagged and to read your blog.

OK, this is easy. My middle name is ANN. I was named after my Grandmothers.My first name- Amy is a nick name for Amelia who is my Dads mom, and Ann is short for Annabell , my Moms mom.

A- Always tired
N- Nice
N- Not neat, not organized, not good at languages, not thin, not allot of things. Oh well, we can not all be everything!

I am going to tag Liz who hasn't written much on her blog , and Leda who has also been pretty quite but I love her scrap book pages, and Denna who never seems to mind if I tag her!

I spent most of the day shopping. One store had boys jeans and sweaters and winter jackets on sale. Another store had school supplies on sale. Still another store had really nice corduroy pants for Nicole and Jessica. Then I had to take an extra trip to toys r us for a certain soon to be 10 year old who circled in a catalog specific Lego he has been hoping to get for his birthday. Thomas turns ten years old when we are in Holland next week. I am one tired lady! You think about all the extra cooking, and cleaning you need to do when you have a big family. It's easy to forget the kids always need new shoes, cloths, and , and, and!
Sarah was sitting in the shopping cart as we were about to check out. Two little German girls started to ask her how old she was. She just stared at them. I told the girls she didn't speak good German, she spoke Chinese. Then Sarah began to sing loudly in Chinese. She basically entertained the whole crowd of folks waiting in line.

My Mom wrote a pretty good recap of our China trip from her perspective. I put it on a blog, and I will add her photos to this blog. The trip was very painful for me both physically because I sprained both my arms and emotionally because of Sarah's total rejection of me. I'm so 100% grateful to God my Mom came along. I'm also grateful she kept notes of what we actually did when we were there. I blogged it, but have mostly blocked the whole thing from my mind (sort of like a really painful birth experience). I have Sarah and that's all I care about. These details will become more important to me over time. It's long but if you want to read about our China trip from Grandma's perspective it's here. Her photos will be added in a few days.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

It's Sunday morning. The house is quite. Juergen has gone to church with the kids. I am home with Jessica (our soon to be 16 year old autistic daughter). Jessica will not sit still in church. She doesn't like loads of people around (how very autistic of her). Juergen and I take turns taking the other kids to church. Sometimes it seems so sad to me we can not go as a whole family. Other times I simply accept how it is, and praise God for all we do have. I praise God that Juergen and I manage to hold our marriage together, and that we still love each other after nearly 17 years together.
Sarah wanted to go swimming this morning. I said no. She needed to go to church. She will get to go swimming everyday for a week starting on Friday. We go to Holland on Friday morning. We are thinking of leaving early (like 5am) to avoid the traffic. It will take us 6-8 hours to drive there. We stay on an island in the North sea. I hope the weather is good. It really has been a wet summer. I think going away for a week, then coming home is good for Sarah. Perhaps it will help prepare her to go away to grandmas house knowing what it means to "come back home". It blesses me so much that she has a home. If I had it in my power, I would adopt at least one more time. After the difficult adjustment, it is so amazing to see the miracle of a child who had no family finally have one! It is like playing the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella. It is the power to really change a persons life for good! It is a wonderful feeling!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Juergen fixed the boys bikes today. They both had flat tires. Sarah got her first long bike ride. She LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it! Notice she still has on her VBS t-shirt. That vacation Bible school was such a hit with my kids!
Hey...Keep on voting! We have moved from 2ND place down to 3rd place in the "Der Wert Award". You are allowed to vote once a day until the 31st of August. The voting instructions are on the top of the sidebar. If you want to help us promote international adoption and also give money to Ethiopian Aids orphans then remember to keep casting your vote! Thank you!!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

I had to show you this picture. Jessica always takes a nap in my bed. It's the quietest nicest bed in the house. I laid down for a few minutes with Jessica. Sarah came into the room. She said "no nap". I said "OK, lets just cuddle". She has really gotten into cuddling with me this past week. She climbed into bed, and with in 5 minutes she was out. Jessica was so anxious to like Sarah before she came. Sarah of course rejected everyone except Juergen and Philip. This hurt Jessica deeply. Slowly the break between these two is healing. I pray they learn to be very close. They are so amazingly beautiful (all my children are)!
The wonder of 2 pencils

The kids have been going to vacation Bible school this week. Everyday they get to bring something small home. The first day it was tattoos. The boys put those on right away and have refused to take a shower since. They don't want to risk spoiling the tattoos. They all had balloons. My children have a game cube, a PC, Nintendo and Lego. Still the balloons captured their attention for many long hours this week. Yesterday Sarah got a small paper bag with stickers on it. She carried this bag around the house like it was gold. Finally we opened the bag today. There were 2 VBS pencils inside. We had to sharpen those pencils right away! Now she is drawing pictures with her new "special" pencils. All the kids are drawing. There must be some kind of blessing on the VBS pencils. My other pencils don't seem half as nice!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Juergen just read the bottom line on the legal paperwork sent to us from the German government. Sarah is indeed fully adopted (including a name change, it took us 3 years to get Thomas' adoption and name change). He will go to the passport office and apply for her German passport tomorrow. If I have the passport, I'll have no trouble returning to Germany. Praise God, this is better then anything we could have hoped for! Juergen of course said I don't need to travel to the US now...and I said "Oh yes I do"! Sarah will also have her US citizenship. My mother can tell you I went to a great deal of trouble to get her visa to America. I have my tickets, and I am coming to America!

Sarah took these cool photos at her Oma's 70TH birthday party. She is getting better with the camera. Please join our Friday photo challenge. Every week we give the camera to one of our kids and post a few photos from their perspective. If you want to add the link to your Childs photos, we welcome you to join this experiment.

It's actually pretty warm outside today, but I just bought Sarah this cute rain coat and rain pants. They are lined with flees and water proof. It should be perfect for Oregon! I'm getting excited about visiting home!
WOW! That was fast!!! I prayed for an answer about Sarah's visa, and a letter came in the mail one hour later. Germany recognizes Sarah's adoption and will give her full citizenship. The visa is no longer a problem! I can just relax when I visit my parents in Oregon. Sarah will be both German and American. Her adoption is considered final and strong! Praise God!!!
We need some prayer for a visa. The only reason I could adopt Sarah was because I am a US Citizen. Germans are not allowed to adopt from China. Juergen and I both had to go to China, and sign the adoption papers making Sarah our child. I had to go to Guangzhou to finish processing Sarah's US citizenship paperwork, and get a US visa. I'm very grateful that Germany did not force me to go directly to America with Sarah. That would have been stressful (understatement). I am traveling with Sarah and Philip to the USA on September 28TH God willing. Sarah becomes a US citizen when our airplane lands in Portland, Oregon. The trouble I now have is getting a visa to come back to Germany for the time it takes to process Sarah's passport. I don't believe the US is expediting passports in a week. It will probably take a few months for all the paperwork to be in my hands proving her US citizenship statues. I just need some prayer and wisdom to figure out this visa stuff.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

This weeks waiting child can be found on CHI's new waiting child list. She is 3 years old and had club feet. Her SN has already been corrected. I would adopt her in two seconds if I could. I'm sure she will be spoken for before I could beg Juergen and China to let me have her. You can find out more about her by asking for the pass word to the CHI waiting child list HERE.
She is living in the Hope Foster Home in Beijing. You can read more about the home and see more of her photos HERE. I've read she is a real sweetheart. I think she looks like Lucy Lui.

I'm one step closer to my "dream photo" of my kids wearing white on the beach. I won the bid on 3 white dresses on e-bay. I hope they look good on the girls. I also won a bid on one white shirt and tan shorts for Philip. Now I just need to go buy a white shirt for Thomas and we are set. If I can only get a nice morning in Holland, with the kids cooperating...

"Love's Journey 2: The Red Thread," is now available for presale. Sarah's photo is in this book and also a poem I wrote.

During the presale period, which will run through October, books are $55 each, plus shipping. After the presale period, they will be $60 each, plus shipping. All proceeds from the book will go to help LWB programs in China on behalf of orphaned children. They anticipate shipping books in November. More details about the book and ordering information can be found at the home page of our website: .

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The kids are going to VBS (vacation Bible School) this week. When I told Sarah it was time to put her VBS t-shirt on she got all excited. When we got to the church she ran with the boys into the church. I had to find her after I signed the kids in just to say good bye. I was day dreaming on the over stuffed chair in the living room. I was thinking maybe Sarah could go to kindergarten this fall. It felt so good to have a few "kid free" moments. I just stood up to go take a long bubble bath, and the phone rang. It was Nicole telling me that Sarah didn't want to stay. Oh well...maybe she will be ready for kindergarten by January?

I had an interesting talk with one of the neighbors grandsons. He is American and visits his German grandparents every summer for a week or so. He is maybe 13 years old. He kept asking about our adopted kids. He kept asking half educated questions like "what's that movie star that also adopts like a million kids"?, I said "Do you mean Angelina Jolie"?, He said "yes". Then he said she adopted the most ugly dying child from Ethiopia and made her beautiful (like Angelina Jolie is a miracle worker, and the child wasn't already beautiful). I personally think Ethiopians are very beautiful! He kept saying they almost adopted a North Korean child, but that's not possible. It's OK, I kept trying to set his facts straight. His dad is a vice president of a major soft ware company. He said they wanted to adopt but it cost too much. I told him about the tax credit for international adoption. He complained about the cost of cloths. Then he goes on to tell me about all the cool places he has traveled (South America, Africa, India). I guess International adoption might be too expensive for a software vice presidents families...especially if their children need to travel the globe observing the poor like they were pitiful creatures in some kind of zoo. Perhaps with all his exposure to the world, he will at some point realize these are human beings he is talking about, not trendy projects. Thomas and Philip were riding their scooters on the street outside his grandparents house. He seemed almost afraid to talk with them. They are just kids. They didn't have the same beginning as our birth children. They were abandoned because of poverty, but they are just kids. And now they are our kids...and we didn't "make them beautiful", they always were beautiful.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sarah was in her VBS class today. It is being held in English and she really loved it!
VBS is vacation Bible school. Nicole is one of the teachers in Sarah's class, so she wasn't at all afraid to stay. She was given a t-shirt. She was so proud of her shirt, and folded it nicely for tomorrow. All the kids except Jessica are in VBS this week. The church (Grace International Baptist church in Leimen Germany) has done a really amazing job pulling this VBS together. We are so blessed our kids could attend.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

We just got back from our trip to the North of Germany and Juergen's moms 70Th birthday party. I took allot of photos. I'll make a slide show tomorrow. Tonight we ordered pizza, and the kids are watching black beauty. I'm pretty tired, but it was really a wonderful reunion. The whole family was there, all her kids and their kids. It was emotional because she is sick & we all love her so dearly! I'll write more later. Here are a few photos.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I'm posting my Friday 5 fun fotos one day early. We are heading up to Northern Germany for a big family weekend. It's Juergen's mom's 7oth Birthday party. We get home late on Sunday night. I don't think I will be blogging until then. The 5 photos were taken by a guest kid photographer Louis K. His mom took my kids to a water playground in Heidelberg. Louis got to use the digital camera. He liked it so much, his mom is going to go buy one for their family! If you want to add your link to your 5 photos we would love to have you join our group. Each week we are giving the camera to one of the kids, and seeing the world from their perspective. Have a great weekend!

Oh, and I had to add this last photo I took of Kerstin and Sarah. Sarah loves Kerstin, and may be willing to stay with her so Juergen and I can have a date. Wouldn't that be so great!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

This weeks waiting child is 11 years old, smart, cute, and adjusts to new situations well. She also has a large grant available to help pay for her adoption. If you want more information about this girl look here. Older kids do come with challenges. Thomas has allot of anger and sadness in his heart from waiting so long for a family. They are also easier in some great ways. No diapers, life skills like dressing them selves, and feeding themselves. Kids "age out" meaning they can not be adopted past the age of 13 in China. Imagine never having a family! Please pray for this girl to find a family.

Monday, August 13, 2007

We go to Holland on vacation in two weeks. I was thinking about getting white sundresses for my girls and white shirts for the boys. I've always loved those beautiful photos families take of their kids on the beach wearing white. It's probable just a stupid dream. I can not get my kids all together in one photo! Someone always crosses their eyes, cries, or worse! It's this Moms romantic dream...OK! Maybe I can pull it off, but first I need to buy the right cloths. It’s not a crime to dream!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

This photo was taken today after church. Sarah was again great helping me out as I taught Sunday school. I just put her to bed. It looked like we were going to have a problem. She has been pretty jealous of Papa showing Philip the smallest bit of attention. Juergen was putting cream on some bug bites Philip has (it's the worst bites we have ever seen). I'm getting better at talking Sarah out of her temper tantrums. I try to distract her with other this case it was a shower, and blow drying her hair. She went to bed well!
If you haven't gotten enough of traveling families, take a look this week at Asher means Happy. Asher is a 7 year old boy from China who will be getting his family this week!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

It's Nicole's 14Th birthday. I will post photos of her big day later on our family blog. This morning at breakfast Thomas had the biggest frown on his face. You could hardly get him to sit down with us. He can not stand to watch another member of the family be celebrated. In the orphanage in Bangkok, if one kid got a party, they all did! They celebrated every ones birthday all together in one big party one time a year. It doesn't help to tell him his birthday is only one month away. He is as sour as a lemon! Sometimes cultural attitudes are impossible to change in a person. I feel the same way on my birthday. In America I had loads of friends calling me, taking me out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I did not throw a party for myself...they gave me a party. It isn't like that in Germany. Here I have to give myself a party. That's just the culture. I hate it! I hardly ever give myself a party because it just makes me feel like I have no friends. In my emotional self, if I had friends, they would invite me and I wouldn't need to invite them. I know in my mind that's just how things are in this culture...but that's not how it feels! I feel rejected on every one of my birthdays...and Thomas feels rejected too. The difference is I only feel like this on my own birthday...Thomas feels like this on everyone’s birthday except his own! Sarah wasn't happy to see us sing happy birthday to Nicole. I wonder if she ever had a birthday?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Now that Sarah is settling in, I feel I'm starting to feel some what normal again. I took 3 naps this week, and I'm not nearly as tired as I've been. My normal creative self is coming back. Also my passion for orphans. I guess you could say that's a good thing, but its also kind of dangerous. You see I'm reading more and more about the 5 million + orphans in Ethiopia. These are real orphans, not children abandoned because of poverty or a one child policy. HIV is on the rise in Ethiopia, and AIDS is claiming a great number of parents. It is like a tidal wave of need. I would probably be crazy enough to adopt again. I can not promise I won't. Perhaps God just wants me to help you cultivate a heart for adoption...perhaps from Ethiopia. It is one of the oldest cultures in the world. The people are unbelievably beautiful. They have large dark eyes and bright smiles. I've read time and time again of how loving and full of joy they are despite all the poverty and loss they endure. Here is one adoption video I found on you tube. AAI has a good Ethiopian adoption program. You can contact them for more information. There is a line from the Disney movie Robots, "see a need, fill a need". Maybe it's as simple as that!

Here are just some photos from the past 24 hours. Nicole helped put Sarah to bed last night. Juergen and I want to go out on a date. We are hoping Sarah will begin to at least accept Nicole's care. Sarah used her money to ride the motorcycle at the mall. Sarah and I are getting along really well Thank God!!!