Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter 2014

Today was a good day, other than the fact that I'm on day 4 or 5 of feeling utterly miserable with the cold from heck.  We had a wonderful Easter service at church, which included beautiful messages shared by one of my favorite families, and the song Gethsemane, sung by Sofie and Cora.  They did such a good job!  I meant to make an audio recording of it, but totally forgot until they came to sit down in our pew, dang it!  Anyway, it was very sweet, and at the end of the meeting when our bishop got up to speak briefly, he got choked up as he explained that those of us in the congregation couldn't see what he could see, and that was that Sofie and Cora linked fingers as they sang.  It made me get teary-eyed.  I love that my kids love each other.  They definitely have their moments when they bicker and argue, but it makes me happy to know that in times when they're nervous or need support, they feel safe in turning to each other.

Here are a few pictures from today.  I was busy cooking, so I handed the camera over to Teffy and Jonah which meant that they are conspicuously absent from the photos.  But bonus!  I'm not!  ;)  I had to weed through a few shots of rear ends and close ups of random objects, but there are a few good ones, including a rare one of Curtis avec canard-visage.  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cora's 9th birthday

Today was a great day.  We watched the 3rd and 4th sessions of General Conference with 2 of our 4 local missionaries and celebrated Cora's 9th birthday during lunch.  We had cheese enchiladas, refried beans and rice - Cora's request - and then chocolate birthday cake.  She got a new iPad case and charger, some new play food for her play kitchen, a giant black velvet coloring book and markers, another coloring book and crayons, some cash from one set of grandparents, and an iTunes card from another set of grandparents.  She was pretty excited.  Oh, and I braided Beck's hair during the second session of conference.   He'd been rocking his fro for about 4 weeks, so he needed it!

Friday, March 28, 2014

New pics and an update!

Since Yun Li's referral information was over a year old, I ordered a phone update through Ladybugs N Love a couple of days ago. They sent me the update FAST! I'm impressed!  Yun Li sounds like she is going to fit right in at our house. I can't wait to meet her!  I love her so much already!

Here are the questions I asked and the replies the orphanage gave:

1. What are YunLi's communication skills like? 
She can say some simple words, such as daddy, mommy, big sister, etc. she can understand adults.  
2. What does she learn in school? 
At preschool, she is learning language, numbers, art and crafts, gymnastics, etc.  
3. What does she like to eat and drink? 
She is not picky. She has good appetite. She likes to eat vegetable, fruit, cake, juice, etc. she loves them all.  
4. Does she have a nickname? 
Li Li. 
5. What does she like to do for fun? 
She loves to work. She loves to help teacher at preschool. She likes to help others. She likes to help foster mom to do chore.  
6. What is she good at? 
She is good at some simple work and chore.  
7. What things are challenging for her? 
Writing or learning school.  
8. What is her foster family like? 
There is a foster father, foster mother, and a big sister. There is also another little boy from the orphanage. They all love Yun Li.  
9. What is her personality like? 
She is active, restless, independent, and brave.  
10. Is she potty trained during the day and night? 
She is potty trained. Sometimes if she plays too hard and might have some accident. 
Her updated measurements:
Height: 103cm; Weight: 18kg; Head: 46cm; Foot: 17cm.

I need to plot her measurements on a Chinese growth chart, but she sounds like a tiny little peanut, like Thalia!  I'm loving that she isn't a picky eater, that she does gymnastics, and that she's active. Like I said, she's going to fit right in!  :)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Adoption education - DONE!

We received our adoption education certificates late last night, and I forwarded them to the agency.  That means all they're waiting on is two letters of reference, and then they can print our homestudy and I can send in our I800A. That has to be some kind of record!  Seriously!  Woohoo!

An update on Joshua, and a current address

I feel badly that I haven't been posting more information about Joshua.  I feel torn between wanting to share what he's up to and wanting to protect his privacy and that of the people he's working with.  I never use the names of his companions or the individuals/families in his life, but I still sometimes worry that someone might be able to recognize themselves in what is said and not feel comfortable with it.  In any case, I don't think I have shared that Joshua has been working as an assistant to the president for the last couple of months.  His companion is Elder B, who is from England, and Joshua says that everyone gets a kick out of the accent.  ;)  He misses being able to teach as much as he used to, but they've had some amazing teaching experiences in the last couple of weeks.  They have an investigator who has committed to be baptized but is really struggling with her family (who does not want her to be baptized).  Joshua says she is absolutely amazing and that she is always teaching others about the gospel even though she's not yet baptized herself.  She could really use our prayers for help finding peace with her family.  Also, his dear friend J who was baptized last year was able to receive the Melchizedek priesthood and is planning to go on a mission late this year.  He is so excited for his friend!

If you'd like to write a letter to Joshua, it can go directly to the mission office:

Elder Whicker
7111 W Edgerton Ave Ste 100
Greenfield WI 53220

Elder B and Elder Whicker

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Not the way I would have chosen to spend the day...

One of the requirements of a homestudy is that all people and pets in a household have had a recent medical exam.  Last time we adopted I tracked down all the providers that had seen any of our kids during the previous year and had them fill out the agency-provided medical form and get it notarized, and then made appointments for the remaining kids and for Curtis and me (who had to be seen by a physician rather than a PA or NP).  This proved to be a huge hassle, so I decided that this time, I'd just take everyone in for a quick check-up and get it all done at once so that we only had one provider to deal with.  Thankfully, with the help of a very kind nurse, we were able to arrange for one physician to see everyone, and for one notary to notarize all of the forms.  The kids did amazingly well in spite of the fact that it wasn't much fun for any of them.  You can see from this photo that the annoyance level increased with age.  ;)

Jackson wasn't seen this day because he got beaten up during recess a couple of days earlier (yes, really) and I'd had to take him to the clinic to be seen, so his form was filled out by someone else and was waiting for us when I picked up the others.  (He is OK, but he was very sore and the PA thought he had a mild concussion.  The joys of third grade...)  After the kids' visits, I had to take our dog and cat to the vet to get their immunizations done, and because I couldn't find our cat carrier, a brand new shirt that I was wearing is now in the trash thanks to my terrorized cat shredding the crud out of it.  Waaaaaahhhh!

The kids were seen on Monday, and Curtis and I had our doctor visits on Tuesday.  I made cookies for the nurse, doctor and notary that pulled all this together for us, picked up the forms, and mailed them off to our agency that afternoon.  Awesome!  I am amazed at how quickly this is all coming together!  The only thing our agency is still waiting on is our education certificates (which will be emailed to them tomorrow) and two letters of reference (which should hopefully get there this week).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pre-approval for Lydia :)

Today we received pre-approval from China to adopt Lydia, so I can finally post a couple of pictures.  Unfortunately, the only ones I have are a) embedded in the referral documents and b) more than a year old.  To celebrate getting our PA, I ordered a phone update through Ladybugs N Love which should also include some new photos.  They automatically request updated measurements on kids, but we were also able to ask 10 additional questions about Lydia.  We asked about her communication skills, activities she likes and is good at, things she has difficulty with, what her foster family is like, what her personality is like, etc.  I'm looking forward to getting to know more about her.