The Crew

The Crew
Christina, Matthew, Joshua and Katie Grace XiHua

Saturday, December 25, 2010


We have had such a blessed Christmas! Christmas Eve Service at Church with carols and the Bible reading of our Lord's Birth. Home last night and enjoying presents, cookies, cheese, crackers, eggnog, hot cocoa, music. We awoke this morning to gifts from Santa, yummy breakfast, more gifts, friends stopping by, delicious meal, playing with toys and watching movies.

What a festive time! What a wonderful family time!

But there is a bittersweet tug. You see, we have a daughter. But she is not here. Everyday, I have been able to keep going along and perform our daily responsibilities and enjoy our family, but last night, it really hit home. She is there. We are here. She is SO little and SO far away. What is she doing? Do they have any sort of a Christmas celebration at the orphanage? Is she safe? Warm? Did she get a hug yesterday? Today?

Many families mention how, when they bring their adopted child home and begin to bond, they begin to grieve the loss of that child's young childhood they've missed. I can see how that will be.

Praying for our little girl tonight. Our little Xi Hua. Katie Grace. God, keep her in Your arms. Keep her safe from harm. Keep her healthy. Calm her fears. Dry her tears. Attend to her needs. Put joy in her heart. Let someone be hugging her and giving her positive words. Prepare her heart, in a way that only You can, for us.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! Some moments of our Holidays thus far. Hope you are blessed with Family, Love and Joy!

Joshua's Moment With Santa

Joshua and his best friend with Santa. Joshua is obviously thinking hard to answer Santa!

Santa also came to Joshua's Pre-K class!

The kids listening to Santa's story.

hmmm... what do I want??

Matthew's middle school Violin Christmas Concert. Here he is with 2 of his best buddies.

Christina dancing in her Christmas Recital - beautiful girl.

Joshua and Matthew with their good friend waiting for the Christmas Parade in our town!

Christina Marched with her HS Marching Band in the Christmas Parade!

Of course Santa at the end of the Parade is who everyone is waiting for!

We love to celebrate Christmas and especially to remember the reason Christmas is celebrated!

Isaiah 9

6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


First of all, I want to say that precious "Dalton", of whom I posted earlier, now has a family!! Yes, it is true, the little guy who said "I need a mama too", will now really have a mama! I am going to remove that post with his photos for their privacy, but just wanted to let you all know he will have a family!

Secondly, I have been blessed with new photos of our little girl we are adopting! Last week, another mom/friend from our orphanage's y*hoo group, was in China adopting her daughter. I had given her our little girl's name and asked if they might be able to see her while there. Not only did they see our little girl, but they took 6 beautiful photos of her!!! AND to top that her husband said he also got a video of her that he will send to us once they get home and he has a chance to upload it and email it to us! She is a tiny, precious girl, with a cute little pixie face, and I can't wait to share photos with you all. Once our dossier is in China and is logged in, I will share! Hopefully next month!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Our home study is approved, has been sent to the agency and for our I-800A approval. Our agency has had several of our documents authenticated and have sent the rest for authentication. We feel a great deal of relief as we complete the first major hurdle. Home Study and Dossier! One authenticated it will all be sent to China and then the wait for LOA (Letter of Acceptance) begins. It sounds as though that wait time for LOA can range from about 30 - 60 days. In the meantime, we have some other documents to work on.

So... we are happily moving along!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


These photos don't look like much is going on, but they do say a lot about what I am thankful for:

I am thankful that God gave me my family.
I am thankful for family coming to visit.
I am thankful for family time together... eating, laughing, sharing, giving, receiving, planning, talking, hoping.

So if I haven't mentioned before, we love football. If it isn't Matthew playing pee-wee football, or Christina in the marching band at the HS football games, then it is Auburn football season. I did not attend Auburn, but my husband and his family sure did and boy did I get hooked into the craziness. (ok, seriously.... maybe not as crazy as them.)

Thanksgiving weekend is the beginning of the bowl games and the biggest game this week was the age old rivalry of Auburn U and the U of Alabama. What a game!

First quarter, look at these faces.... not so good. Alabama came out like gangbusters and Auburn looked like they weren't sure what game they were playing.

End of the 1st half - Auburn decides to play some football! Did you happen to notice the new TV Jacob's parents gave us for our early Christmas present??!! What an amazing surprise! Thank you!!!

Happy faces as Auburn pulls ahead and holds the game, winning by 1 point! Undefeated this entire season. One more win and we go to the national championship!

I am thankful for many things. These happy faces give me a happy face. For that I am very thankful.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Just take a look at all of the paperwork we have completed! All lot of time, driving, filling out, notarizing and requesting went into these papers. We have completed our first big chunk and this is such a relief, but there will be more.....

By the way, it is exactly 2 years since I had the dream of a little Asian girl waiting for me. I know that by this time next year, we will be celebrating with her as a part of our family. What a joy that will be!

Friday, November 12, 2010


As I have mentioned on occasion, Jacob and I both work at Disney World. We have the wonderful perk of being able to visit the Disney Parks all the time. We rarely, however, get a chance to enjoy our neighboring park, Universal Studios. So we finally got some tickets and enjoyed a beautiful, finally pleasant weather, fun filled, exciting day there!

Our family at Harry Potter World. The ride was really amazing. Probably one of the best rides I have ever been on. Super cool effects.

Whoah! Hold on Matthew!!

Jacob and Joshua ready to go on the Spiderman ride. A really fantastic ride!!

AHHHH! T REX!!!! Jurassic Park! One of my all time favorite movies and well, Joshua LOVES dinosaurs!

Christina, her friend Paul, Joshua and Matthew.

Please Captain America, can you give me some of your super energy?? This mom needs it!

Joshua fascinated by the dinosaurs.

We loved the Beetle Juice Graveyard Review show! These were some fellow performers that we know and they did an awesome job singing and dancing in the show!

This made us laugh! Joshua was making zombie arms throughout much of the Beetle Juice show!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Jacob loves to carve pumpkins every year!

We had fun decorating as always. The kids put their homemade crafts in the window. We didn't go all the way this year with the boiling cauldron and black light, but it was still super festive!

Here I am, armed and ready with plenty of candy for the trick-or-treaters!

Here are the kids at our babysitter Jean's clubhouse. We always drive over to visit her on Halloween evening for a bit. Paul (Christina's boyfriend) and Christina did some last minute deadly make-up. Christina is the little girl form the Tower of Terror ride at Disney. Pretty creepy. Matthew looked awesome as a pirate! Joshua switched from being Spiderman the day before at Pre-K, to a Ninja on Halloween night. Good thing we keep all of Matthew's old costumes for plenty of options!

The kids and I. I was sad that Jacob had to work this Halloween. First time he had to miss one and it wasn't the same!

On Friday, Joshua's Pre-K class had a fall festival. Here they are frosting their cookies!

Joshua and his friends. Waiting for more treats!!

Joshua's Pre-K class singing songs. They are so cute!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Switching from Taiwan to a China adoption has meant what? More paper work? YES.

Here is what we have accomplished in the last 4 weeks:

Home Study Visits
Local Police clearances - notarized
FDLE Background checks - received
DCF Clearances
Previous States' DCF Clearances
Certified Financial Statement - notarized
Ordered extra original certified copies of our birth certificates and marriage license
Employment Verification Letters requested
4 New reference letters
Copies of past 3 years tax returns
Jacob's notarized medical form, complete with blood tests
Annie's notarized medical form, complete with blood tests
Downloaded the USCIS immigration I-800A and completed
Copies of passports
Collected family/home photos

This is just the beginning.

In addition to all of these, I have been working a lot of extra hours to pay for each step. God has blessed me with plenty of hours doing work that I enjoy!

According to most people, we are aloud to post photos of the little girl we are pursuing once we have Pre- Approval from China, which we do. But we are pretty sure we are going to wait for LOA (letter of approval) since we have not officially logged into China yet. So that won't be for another couple months.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


We have been so busy working on updating our adoption paperwork, I haven't had any time to blog! So I decided to just post some of our fall photos and leave it at that!

This is Jacob and I. Mom and Dad. Ready to take on the carpooling, practice, uniforms, costumes, games and shows!

Matthew. Focused and always ready to play at his best. He LOVES Football. He never says that he doesn't want to play. He is always ready to get out there and go, go go!

Let's just say it is HOT here in Florida. We can hardly make it through the game just watching. I don't know how the boys keep going out in the heat, but they do!

Matthew with some of his best buddies from school and from football. An awesome group of kids.

We went to Auburn Alabama for a quick weekend trip to attend Jacob's cousin's daughter's wedding. We had so much fun visiting with family. I was so happy we got a half way decent family photo with us all cleaned up nice! :)

We celebrated Joshua's birthday in Alabama. That cake was beautiful and delicious! Thanks Lolli!

What better thing to do in Auburn than to go to an Auburn University football game???!!!! Joshua was ready to go and ran ahead of us, dressed for the game, tail and all. GO TIGERS!

Matthew, Joshua and Christina waiting to enter the stadium.

We got to sit with the band! Jacob was the drum major for AU back in school!

Back at Jim and Kathey's house, the boys played in the yard in the beautiful Alabama fall weather. What did they play? What else... football.

Christina plays Alto Sax in her high school marching band. She loves it and has so much fun. She also still takes dance classes as well. We spend all week either at Pee Wee Football or High School Football.

Marching back from pre-game. I will have to go and get better pics with their hats on.

The band does and awesome job in their half time show!

Last, but certainly not least, Christina and her boyfriend, Paul, had a wonderful time at their homecoming dance! Aren't they cute?

Many hungry children near the boarder of Myanmar and Thailand-click on photo