A blank slate for Vivian’s new room

Yesterday, I finished cleaning out the spare room.  Viv and I took apart the king size bed and put it out in the hall.  I also attached her fireplace mantel back to the wall.  We also swept it out, cleaned the baseboards and sealed her floor with some kind of special wood wax sealer.  It is a blank slate…ready for Viv to move in!  We have talked about adopting a little girl if all goes well with this adoption.  So, Vivian is always taking about future “sister”.  She wants bunk beds for her and sister to share.  I had a nice surprise yesterday, I posted on FB if anyone was selling a twin bed that I would be interested in it for Alex’s room.  One of my friends, Melendie, posted she had one and brought it to me yesterday.  When I got it home and Steven helped me assemble it, it was a bunk bed!  Hahaha…so…guess what?!  Vivian gets her wish.  We will put the bunk bed in her room and buy a twin bed for Alex’s room.  I have a toddler bed, but we are putting that in our room for him to sleep near us as he will most likely experience separation issues and we want to be close at hand.

I am going to paint Vivian’s bunk bed white, and on each end, there is this neat chain link type material on the bed.  Steven came up with the idea of attaching a chalkboard or memoboard to each end for each of the girls…what a fantastic idea!!!   I had a couple lying around, so immediately grabbed them and measured…they will fit perfect!  Can’t wait to get this baby painted and into Vivian’s room! I also need to paint white a chest of drawers I am going to put in her room. 

I just need to go shopping for Alex…a bed and a chest of drawers to match.  I already have his comforter and pillow set.  I am thinking about doing his room in transportation.  Since I just moved Viv out yesterday, I will have to touch up paint his room and redo his floor to look like Vivian’s.  Then I will be able to move in his furniture and decorate….so exciting!!!!!




Privacy Matters In Adoption (Reposted from RainbowKids)

Ok, after talking in an earlier post about people asking personal questions and my trying to balance what to say without being rude, I found this article on RainbowKids and feel like it has been a huge eyeopener.  I love how one of the adoptive moms, when asked personal questions about her son’s adoption, replied “That is not something we discuss outside of our family.”  WOW!  Love that response.  As the article says, most people do not realize that they are asking highly personal questions because they see an adopted child, they know he/she is different and they are curious.  Here is the article.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Privacy Matters In Adoption – Rainbowkids

Here is an excerpt:

People sometimes ask adoptive parents questions of a far more intimate nature than they’d ask a biological parent. From an adoptive parents’ point of view, “What do you know about the birthmother?” is a question just as presumptuous as asking a biological parent, “What did you use to get pregnant?” People who were adopted do not forgo their right to the same level of privacy as others. An adoptive child has no less of a right to privacy about his personal information than any grown-up or non-adoptive child.

That said, there is valid confusion about what is private adoption information and what is okay to ask about. The not-very-satisfying answer is that boundaries around privacy are likely different for every family and will differ from person to person.

Adoptive parents struggle with the public/private nature of adoption all the time. They are challenged to balance their family’s sometimes obvious public status as an adoptive family with the privacy of the family’s individuals. Most adoptive families are proud of their families and want to present a positive attitude about adoption to others, particularly their children. The precarious task for adoptive parents is to be open enough about adoption that their children don’t see adoption as a secret or as something to be ashamed of, while at the same time taking care not to compromise the right to privacy of everyone involved. So, even as they’re trying to protect their children’s privacy, adoptive parents are also trying to normalize adoption for their children and for others around them.

Just For Fun


OK.  Since I am over my upset regarding what I was asked yesterday.  I thought it would be fun to keep a list of the funny things that people have asked or said to me.  Again, the reason I am not posting this to my adoption blog is because I would really like to keep it positive.  I like to soapbox here on my family blog, so here is another post.  Some of the things people have asked me I have found humorous.  Some things they have said were in very poor taste, pervasive, personal and downright rude.  I try to determine why someone wants the information about our adoption.  Is it because they are considering adoption?  Or are they asking me these questions because they are about to educate me on how they would have done it? Anyway…here is a list of my favorite questions and comments that I have ACTUALLY had to listen to.  My first instinct is to be gracious and try to help them understand the process, or understand our decision.  However, most of the people who ask these questions are so socially inept and they don’t realize how stupid, rude or unnerving their questions are.  Steven says there is no fix for stupid.  So, here are the questions. If I hear ANY of them again, I will simply walk away.

1. Why aren’t you having your “own” children?  (this one bears no comment)

2. Do you have enough money to pay for that?  It is expensive!  (DUH)

3. Why are you adopting a child so old, don’t they have any babies? (we asked for that age)

4. My friend applied and it took her five years to get a baby from China, so there is no way you could have gotten  a match that quick. (Um, yes there is.  We applied for a special needs, waiting child.  Your friend applied to adopt a baby that had not even been born yet)

5. Why are you adopting from a communist country?  (I am sorry, I didn’t realize they issued communist memberships to two year olds, I will have to make sure his card is revoked before coming back to the US)

6. Why can’t you have anymore?  You had Vivian.  (This assumes that fertility is the issue, which it is not.  We decided to adopt.  Do we really have to explain our reasons other than we wanted to adopt? China’s program fit our family’s criteria at this time in our life.  It is a possibility as our children get older, that we will look at other countries/programs/ways to adopt)

7. Don’t you think you can find a doctor who will help you have more children? (Sigh…why does everyone want to “fix” me.  I don’t want to be fixed…hehe.  I am not a dog, nor a cat or an animal.  Why do you ask this question?  How will the knowledge of how my body works benefit your life?  I am not sad about it.  I am fine.  Again, fertility is not the issue. I have always wanted to adopt and am glad to have the opportunity at this time in my life to be able to adopt).

8. Do you speak Chinese?  How will you talk to him?  (Yes, I speak Chinese, I can say Ni Hao=hello.  Bu=No. and Xie Xie=Thank you.  What else do I need to know?  I am pretty certain at 2.5 he does not speak very good Chinese either…hehe)

9. It is so much cheaper to adopt in America, why have you not done that?  Or found a surrogate mother? 

(Who told you it was cheaper to adopt here?  Many children available for adoption in the US are above Vivian’s age.  If I adopt, I always want to adopt younger than the oldest child in the house.  You do not want to upset the birth order in the house.  As my kids age, adopting in the US may become a reality, it is not for us at this time.  I have checked into adopting from mother’s who are looking for families to adopt their babies.  I contacted some firms here in Louisiana.  Did you know that it costs $30,000 to adopt from a birth mother or surrogate mother????  Sometimes it is even more if you have to pay for housing or extensive medical bills.  The lawyer charges a very large fee and recruits young mothers to give up their babies.  I am not comfortable with that.  I would prefer to give a waiting child a home.  A child already in the orphanage who just needs a family to give him/her a better life.  I know people who have done the birth mother thing and I do not question their reasons and I perfectly understand that this was a good fit for their families.  That is cool!  It just simply was not our choice.)

10. It takes such a SPECIAL person to adopt a SPECIAL child.  God bless you. 

(Rolling my eyes…..I am soooo sorry, but this does grate my nerves.  It doesn’t take a special person, it just takes a person to love these babies.  Someone told me that the next time someone tells me that I should say:  Well, if he had to wait for people like you, then he would never be adopted.  But, alas, that would be a little rude and I have not gotten that tough yet.  In our church, school and places that I frequent everyday, I see people that have kids with “special” needs but you would never know it.  What China deems special needs and what we deem special needs are night and day.  Our baby has a limb difference.  In China, he will never be able to get good employment or have a good fulfilling life, he is marked by his limb difference.  In America, he is just another kid.  I am so thankful to live in America!)

OK, now that all of my friends are reading this and are now scared half to death to say anything to us about our adoption…hehehe…I will assure you that none of you have been insensitive or rude.  You have been kind, caring, supportive and loving.  I am aiming for the stupid people who will probably never read this.  Sigh…probably a futile task.  But, it did make me feel better and gave me some laughs this afternoon…remembering some of the silly things people have come up with to ask me.  I have not even brought our son into our home yet and I can only shrink to think about all the dumb things people are going to say to his face once he gets here.  Beware, it will be mama bear protecting her cub!

Oh well…Happy Memorial Day!  I hope you enjoyed it with your family or however you wanted to celebrate it!  I thank all of the men and women who died to protect our rights and to protect our great nation.  I pray for all the loved ones who have lost family members and friends in the recent wars.  May God’s peace rest in your life and may you know that your fellow Americans are thankful for your family or friend’s sacrifice.  It will not go unnoticed.  It will not go un-thanked.  God bless America!


Thoughtless People

**Warning:  this is a soap box post, so if you do not like reading those, my advice is to stop reading now.  🙂 ***

This morning, I was so proud to be able to bring a picture of my son to church and show some of my friends who our new son is going to be.  I cannot post any pictures or information online until we get permission.  So, I printed out a small photo and was just giddy with excitement regarding the new addition to our family….Alex.  My friends and family are so happy for me and I am so glad they are.  I guess it is the random  nosy person who happens to be close or hears our conversation and wants to get in on what is going on — that has been the thorn in my side.  Don’t get me wrong, these people are few and far between.  But when they pop up, it totally catches me off guard.  This morning, I was showing my picture to someone else and a lady sitting close to me looked at it and then proceeded to question me about why we chose an older child, why can’t we have anymore kids?  Why aren’t we going to try to have any more of our ‘own’ kids.  Why did you choose adoption?  I do not mind answering questions about our adoption.  I have talked to several people who are curious about  it.  I certainly don’t mind talking about the process or our decision. I certainly didn’t enter into adoption lightly or without thought.  This has been almost a year in the making.  What irritates me, I guess, is the know-it-all, (inject sarcasm here) you know the who has been with me during this whole  process and helped me fill out the paperwork, compile the dossier.  Yeah, the one who was right by my side last Auguest when we made the decision to adopt and started planning.  Whatever!  She just found out about it today and she is questioning whether we made the right decision and questioning our choice of country, our choice of age.  I was struggling to find something to say.  I was trying to answer her questions, but offended that I had to.  She was holding a picture of MY SON in her hands and she was already making me feel like I made an inferior choice and that if I would have asked her sooner (she has NEVER adopted) that she could have given me some sage advice on the subject…despite all the research I have done, books I have read and adoptive families I have interviewed…yeah…I definitely should have asked HER first.  I almost made that sarcastic remark.  That next time I decided to adopt, that I will call her first to get her permission.  But, thankfully, the gracious lady that was buried waaaaaaaaay deep in me somewhere came out and was kind to her.  It was hard.  Real hard.

Do I have to answer those questions?  Is it rude not to? I think it is rude for someone to ask me about my reproductive plans and question my adoption plans.  Is it not ok anymore to adopt because you just wanted to adopt?  What is the alternative?  That this little boy stay in an orphanage without a mom or dad?  Without someone to love him?  He is well taken care of at the orphanage and seems to be well adjusted and happy.  I am so thankful for that.  I am so thankful that I have the honor to adopt Alex and that he will call me mom.  I am so thankful to God for allowing everything to work out the way it did.  I am so thankful for a husband and daughter who shared the same vision of one day adopting.

So, just for fun, what should I have said?  Help me formulate some answers for nosy people.  Please keep it rated G.  I welcome any humorous responses too and if I really like it, I will use it!  I need a laugh!


PS. I posted this here and not on my adoption blog.  I am trying to keep my adoption blog upbeat, positive and happy.  So, I am soapboxing here… 🙂

Letter of Intent, Dossier Review, DTC and LID

If you have been following my other blog, you know that we are adopting.  We also made the announcement here a few months back.

What does it all mean?  Everyone has been asking me about the process.  So, in order to keep myself sane during the long wait we have ahead of us (waiting on paperwork), I will take some time and explain the process here.

As of last night, our Letter of Intent was translated and submitted to China.  It basically said we found our son on the waiting child list and these are the reasons we want to adopt him.  It takes anywhere from a couple days to two weeks in order to get a Preapproval back from China. 

In the meantime, we have 6 months to complete our dossier and submit it to China to adopt him.  The good thing is, our dossier is 99% complete (see our Adoption Timeline page).  The only one piece of paper I am lacking is the I 797 from USCIS.  We were fingerprinted over a week ago and it takes about 2 weeks from the fingerprinting appointment to receive the I 797 (Approval of Immigrant Visa Petition).  This is giving us approval to apply for a Visa for our son.  We have to send a copy of this with our dossier.

When I receive the I 797, I am going to send our entire dossier (there is picture posted a few posts down of our dossier documents, they are extensive), to our adoption agency for review to make sure we have everything and did it properly.  Once they Ok our dossier, they will submit it to China (DTC = Documents to China).  Since we are adopting a waiting child, our dossier will be put on the expedited fast track.  China takes about a month to review our dossier and once approved gives us a lock in date (LID). 

When we get our LID and our official approval that we can adopt our son, we are able to take that document and Petition the USCIS with an I800 (Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative) to bring our son back to the USA.  We also file for our son’s US Visa.  The I800, from what I understand, takes about 6 months to completely go its rounds.  It has to go to the USCIS, then to the National Benefits Center, then to the National Visa Center, then to China (it may go to the US Consulate, then to China…this process is somewhat new to me, I am still reading the paperwork on it.)  Then China issues us an appointment with the Consulate there.  All of these things have to be done because China is a Hague Convention Country.  Non Hague countries take about 2-4 months before travel.

So, once they issue our consulate appointments, China will invite us to travel and we will go and pick up our son.  The above does not sound like a lot, but the paperwork takes a while to process.  This is going to be the part that drives me nuts.  There is nothing I can do but wait.

Once we get our preapproval from China and get permission to post pictures and information, I will share more information about our new son.  Until then…..

Yours waiting,


Laundry Room

The laundry does not look much different today.  We kind of took a break for the holidays and to travel to Austin in connection with starting our adoption.  We have all of that behind us now.  I have finals this week and hope to start up work again this Saturday.  Steven installed our pocket door mechanism for the laundry room and found an old door upstairs that we are going to use.  I have to paint it though…bleh….I hate cold weather!  I may be able to talk my darling husband into setting up something in our great hall so I can stay warm while I paint!  I am a true southern girl!  I like the warmer weather.

We went to Ikea when we passed through Houston this past week.  I bought paper lantern shades for the laundry room and five new light fixtures for the kitchen.  I am very excited about this!  I bought the paper shades fully intending to cover them with white flowers or something girly.  However, after I got them mounted, I like the way they look plain.  I will have to post a picture to see what ya think.  I bought two of these shades:

REGOLIT Pendant lamp shade white Diameter: 17 ¾ "  Diameter: 45 cm

These are the ones for the kitchen:

OTTAVA Pendant lamp  Diameter: 11 ¾ " Max. height: 62 ¼ "  Diameter: 30 cm Max. height: 1 m 58 cm

They look pottery barnish.  Since the ceilings are so tall, we went for these.  We bought the super CFLs that give off a lot of light.  It has always been dark in the kitchen.  I hope these fix that.  I had another fixture in mind but, unfortunately, they were the pendant lights you plugged in.  These were one of the only pendants that could be hardwired.  I like them!

We had to get in and out of Ikea quick…otherwise I buy half the store.  Ha!  Since we are saving for our adoption, I did not think a long shopping trip in Ikea would be good for our finances 🙂

All right…back to work.  I am hoping that this weekend yields a new kitchen floor installed and the laundry room framed up.  Wish us luck!


Love my coffee! Cool mornings and the porch…..

I am happy that Fall is finally bringing cooler weather.  We don’t get a lot of that here in Louisiana!  I love to take a cup of coffee early in the morning, out to the back porch and just sit.  Before everyone wakes up…peaceful!

Some who follow us know that we have announced our plans to adopt internationally.  At present, we are trying to raise the International Home Study fee through fundraising.  Our initial goal was $2,000.00.  We spoke with the lady yesterday who is going to do our study.  Her fee is $1,200.00! Yay!  So, we have reduced our goal to $1,200.00.  Where does coffee fit in with this?  Just Love Coffee is having a fundraiser on our behalf.  They created a storefront for us and we receive a part of the proceeds from their sales.  So, if you like quality, fair trade coffees, check out this wonderful company.  They also support orphanges, other adoptive families and churches.  Make sure you visit the About Us page to read about this wonderful, giving family.  They have experienced International Adoption personally. Click here to visit our storefront.

Thank you and Thank you!

Steven, Andrea and Vivian

Just Love Coffee…must have coffee!

Hello all! 

Many of you are aware that we are starting the adoption process to adopt internationally.  We are looking at the Philippines program at present.  Our goal is to raise our home study fee.  This kick starts the process and we are kind of in limbo until then.  So, in order to get it “kick started”, we are rolling out a few fundraisers.

We have teamed up with Just Love Coffee.  If you like good, quality coffee, check them out!  You can purchase coffees a la carte, or you can sign up for their subscription service and have your choice coffee delivered to your door!

Make sure you check out their OUR STORY page.  These business owners have experienced adoption first hand, thus their motivation to help other adoptive families.  They also support orphanages in Ethiopia.  I hope you find something you like!

Thank you for being you!

Steven, Andrea and Warren