Sunday, December 30, 2007

What a wonderful Christmas

Christmas was really wonderful this year. It sounds strange to me to say that because we still do not have Sophia and really still have no idea when it will happen. We know for sure that she has been born and that we missed her first Christmas and that part WAS hard but the wisdom of a 6 year old put it all in prospective for me. Wendy's daughter Kate said to me don't worry kids in China don't think about Christmas they celebrate Chinese New Year... How cute.. out of the mouth's of babes.. Wendy and the girls got here on Friday evening. Early Sat morning we got up and went to Downtown Disney for the day. The girls had a great time riding the train and sitting on Santa's lap. We also had ice cream and did a little shopping, I think we all had a good time really. Sunday was filled with baking and relaxing over coffee. Monday we strolled through our downtown and then went to the Children's mass at our church. It was so beautiful.. They did a live Nativity and brought the animals right into the church. Wouldn't you know it both Kate and Claire fell asleep about one minute before they brought in the animals Oh well they got to see them outside after the mass... I have to share that at the moment when I turned to see Kate sleeping on Riz's chest I lost it. I had been very emotional all day and had been thinking about Sophia, Aidan and all our children still waiting for us and the sight of her sleeping on his chest sucking her little thumb pushed me over... Now Wendy and my mother took one look at me crying and started crying too.. we were a real mess but it was beautiful. Christmas eve the elves came and left new PJ's for the girls so they would be dressed nice for the Christmas morning pictures. Christmas morning was great, we could hear that the girls were up and just dieing to see if Santa had come. When they came downstairs their faces were priceless. The excitement was great and I have to say Kate and Claire are great at opening gifts. They both take their time and really look at what they got and then pick up the wrapping before moving on to the next gift. It was a good morning that only got better with the preparations for our dinner, prime rib all the trimmings and of course eggplant parmigiana. It was great and all the food was yummy. We opened gifts with the rest of our family that evening and were thrilled to see everyone open their gifts. We were thrilled to receive money from my mom and my in-laws to help with the trip to China for Sophia. My mom gave us the money belts we needed and we each received a travel pack for our flight it has a inflatable pillow, eye patch, ear plugs and a blanket. That will come in handy for sure on that long plan ride. One of the most special gifts this year was a hand made wooden high chair from my in-laws. They bought it while they were in North Carolina. It is beautiful and a real heirloom. . Because our family is so large so spread out we can't always get together at the same time but we heard from many on Christmas day and then on Thursday we spent an evening with my brothers, mother and niece. Friday we did our annual Christmas with our best friends Matt and Lisa and their children Ethan, Ashley and Allyson. We started doing this a few years ago waiting until after the holiday to get together it takes the pressure off of us and the kids know they still have something to look forward to. Matt and Lisa spoiled us this year and as always went over board. They also gave us a nice donation to our baby fund. They gave me the most beautiful painting of a
Chinese girl looking at a Christmas ornament. We were thrilled to death with everything and the generosity of our friends and family. We appreciate you all thinking about Sophia and including her in our celebration more then you all know. One day we will share with her just how much you all loved her before she was here with us to celebrate.
Kate and Claire

Claire working her magic on Papa

Go here for the artist

He is going to be a GREAT! dad....

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Martha Stewart or Jeff Foxworthy

I was recently asked by a good friend if our Christmas was more like a Martha Stewart or Jeff Fox worthy Christmas... I thought about it for a moment and decided that our Christmas is more like Martha Stewart meets the Sopranos... We try hard to live up to the Martha Stewart image of the Holidays but somehow fall short. I am not sure anyone can live up to that kind of detail although I love it and try every year... Our Christmas always includes family, gifts, tradition and most importantly food...
I always bake cookies some of my own recipes some I have gathered from friends and others that are old family recipes of Italian cookies. We always have the tradition holiday fair and no good Italian house hold would be complete at the holidays without a good Eggplant Parm (parmigiana that is on the table). My father in law honors us with that dish every year because he make the best Eggplant we have ever tasted. We will play music and graze on goodies all day and this year we feel very fortunate that our good friend Wendy will be joining us with her two girls Kate and Claire..... I love Christmas and all the trimmings.....

Friday, December 14, 2007


Today is my mother's birthday, although she tells everyone that she stopped having

birthdays at 29. She has be 29 my whole life LOL..... Mom Happy 29th birthday again.... Just think next year on your birthday you will have a new granddaughter to love. Riz and I want to thank you for everything you have done for us while we wait to bring Sophia home. We really appreciate all you do in both action and in words it means more then you know. We love you very much.... Happy Birthday....

Love Susan and Riz

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New yahoo group

We have decided to start a yahho group so that we can stay in touch while we are in China to get Sophia. We will still have the blog and will continue to post messages here, but blogger is not accessible in China. We want to stay in touch with family and friends while we are on the trip of our lives. We will be able to post messages and photos to the yahoo group. You will be able to leave us messages and view the photos. You will need to sign up for a free yahoo e-mail. It is easy and again free... If you have any trouble signing up for either yahoo e-mail or our yahoo group, please e-mail me at and I will help you. Once you are on the group take just a moment to introduce yourself to the other members. There will be a mix of family, friends, co-workers, and adoptive parents in all stages of the process on our group so feel free to get to know one another….

OK so go join....

Thanks for being interested

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Cheri and Shane

They left early this morning from Cleavland headed to Guangzhou China. You can follow their journey here.They will arrive in China tomorrow around 10:40pm our time. Then they will TRY (yeah right) and get a few hours of sleep. The next morning (our Tuesday Morning) they will finally have Hope in their arms. We are so very excited for them. Somehow, it makes this whole process seem more real to us . Cheri has also started a yahoo group just in case she can not access blogger from China (this has been known to happen). If you have not done so please join her yahoo group here (Layla Join the yahoo group).

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Referral Day

I just love it! Even tho they only made it through 6 days this time I just love referral day. The joy that all the families are feeling is amazing. The Dec.DTC2005 yahoo group is a buz with referrals.. It is wonderful to see some happiness at the end of this journey. Riz and I want to congratulate all the families who will be seeing their children for the first time in the next day or so. We share in your joy....

So this is where things stand for us... The CCAA matched families with LID's from Dec. 9 2005 through Dec. 14th 2005... That puts us within 30 of our LID of Jan. 10th 2006... That is a great feeling inside 30 days WOW less then a month away.... OK so we still don't know what that means for when we will get our turn for referral day, but it is coming and hopefully soon... What is soon you ask? Well soon could mean anywhere from Jan 2008 to well I am not going there but we truly believe that we will see our referral day most likely in March.... Come on March...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I have the best friends

I am so lucky to have wonderful friends..2 years ago I met my friend Julie Morris on an adoption website( We had just signed with our adoption agency and Julie saw me post on the group with our agency name. Julie quickly invited me to join ZHOUSKIDS (our adoption agency yahoo group). Julie and I waited together and then I followed he journey to her daughter Kennedy. Julie's group was one of the first groups I saw become families in China. Julie has been a life line for me and many days cheered me up when I was feeling blue. Julie has offered me parenting advice, adoption advice, and Traveling advice. Her friendship is priceless to me and I know that we will be part of each others lives for years to come because of this connection and because of our girls. Several months ago Julie mentioned to me that she had something special for me and for my friend Cheri (also a member of ZHOUSKIDS). She wanted to wait until we received our referrals before she sent it to us. Cheri received her referral Nov. 5 and Julie decided to send the gift... I am so glad she did... Let me just say Cheri and Julie have been torturing me all day with how wonderful the gift is and maybe I should have to wait to open it until I get Sophia's referral. Cheri even put a poll up on her blog asking people what they thought should I have to wait to open it or open it today. Well I did not listen and opened it as soon as I got home this afternoon...

Julie sent me the most beautiful Barbie Doll. It is a special addition Chinese New Year Barbie, It is so beautiful and oh so special to me. I love Barbie and I love dolls and I am really hoping that Sophia will love them as much as I do. I have already started a collection for her and this was one doll I wanted to add to her collection. Julie not only sent the doll but the sweetest letter that I will save for Sophia's scrapbook. I can't wait to share with Sophia the doll, the letter and the story of my friendship with Julie.

Thank you Julie you are the best....

Nothing, Nada, Zip, Zilch.... No matter how you say it there is just nothing out there about referrals. We are almost to the end of the month and there is nothing out there about how far the CCAA might have matched. We are really hoping that they get well into the middle of Dec., but we will have to wait and see. I guess that referrals will start arriving some time next week, at least I hope so. We are very interested to see how far they get because that will give us some idea how much longer we have to wait. This is for sure, after this group of referrals is released we will be less then 30 days from our referral... Now 30 days away could mean a referral any time between Jan and April we are really hoping for Feb. Whatever it is we feel like we are on the down side of the wait and that one day soon we will be a family... Riz Sophia and Me as a family... That is so fantastic to think about... :)

one other thing we know for sure is that Sophia has been born and is alive somewhere in China right now. We will be thinking of her this Holiday season and dreaming about the time when we will celebrate Holidays with her. We are looking forward to creating Holiday traditions with her.....

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm Lovin it

Well my good friend Sharon told me recently that it was like "Cool Creamy Crack" and guess what she was right "Cool Creamy Crack" Yummy.... That's all I can say...

Run now and get one, don't wait, do not pass go....If you like coffee get one now!
They come in Regular, Vanilla, and my favorite Hazelnut

"Cool Creamy Crack"

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


We are so thankful for so much. We have been blessed with so much in our lives, that giving thanks is easy to do. It is at this time of year that We are most grateful for all that we have. We look forward to the day when what we have to be grateful for includes our daughters laugh...

These are 10 things we are grateful for this year

1. We are grateful to China for allowing us to adopt one of their girls and To Sophia's Birth mother who choose life for her. It is because of these things that we will soon be mommy and daddy to our Sophia.

2. I am grateful for the love of my life. I have been with him more then half my life and I could not be more happy. and he tells me he is grateful for the same thing, well for me not for himself LOL.....

3. For our family (goes without saying)

4. For all of our friends near and far - old and new you all have helped us so much and we are so blessed to have you in our lives.

5. For a beautiful warm historic home in a beautiful little Florida town.

6. For our health and the health of our family and friend.

7. For the means to adopt and to provide for our daughter.

8. For the Internet (what is getting us through this wait for Sophia)

9. For being Catholic- we both love the tradition, the ceremony, the message (this is what is really getting us through the wait).

10. Our jobs because without those nothing else would be possible.

oh we almost forgot..........

11. For Lola our cat ( all of you who know her stop laughing) (Lola a forced to be reckoned with LOL)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mother Bridge of Love

I bought this book while we were at the East Meets West Conference... The book has Beautiful illustrations and a very sweet poem.... It celebrates adoption and the love of two mothers for one child....

You can go here and here the poem read by Amy Tan....

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Favorite time of year

You Are Fall!


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happy Birthday to Cheri and Shane

We want to wish Cheri and Shane a very happy birthday the first of many as Mommy and Daddy... Cheri's Birthday is today and Shane's is on the 19th of Nov. It is a very good month in the Hyland household..... We can't wait to celebrate our first birthday's as Mommy and Daddy but for now we will enjoy watching Cheri and Shane enjoy their first.....

We love you guys.....

Sunday, November 11, 2007

and the winner is !!!!

We just had the best weekend... As you read in my last post we went to the East meets West Adoption Conference in Tampa. It was wonderful and I would highly recommend attending it if you ever have the opportunity to. Riz and I met alot of very nice people who are in all stages of the adoption process. There were speakers that covered all areas of adoption, but the highlight by far was at the end when they had a foster family from China speak.

It was so moving and beautiful that words can't adequately describe the emotion that anyone that was in the room felt. The husband and wife took their seats at the front of the room along with a translator. The wife spoke from the heart when she talked about how they became involved in the foster care program in China. She talked about how they were led to help the orphans and about how each child that they have cared for will forever be in their hearts and in their minds. She said that they will never forget any of the children that they had cared for and how the children bring more joy to them then they can express. She talked about how much they respected the agencies that help families adopt the children of China. She expressed their respect and gratitude to all the adoptive parents for opening their hearts and homes to the orphans of China.... Everyone in the room was moved to tears (or at least I was). We all wanted them to know how grateful we are to them and the other foster families for opening their hearts and their homes to the children we wanted them to know that we would forever be grateful to them for the love and care that they provided for our children.....

Me and the foster mother

Very moving......We learned so much......

In addition to all of the wonderful classes that we attended and the foster parents the conference provided Breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack. There were vendor's with all sorts of neat things to buy. The organizers also arranged for door prizes. Several of the vendors donated things to be given away.

Books, CD's, Baby Clothes, and much more.. The foster parents brought with them several dolls that were all dressed in the native attire for the Guizhou Province. They were the most desired door prize and everyone was hoping that their number would be picked to win. I was very lucky and won one of the dolls.Our Friend Sharon also won a doll for her daughter Mary Alice.

I feel so lucky to have that to share with Sophia one day.

There was no real grand prize at the event ,but the one thing everyone kept eyeing all day was a beautiful handmade quilt made by an adoptive mother. The very last thing that was given away was the quilt. The suspense in the room was palpable and when they called the number the women who made the quilt number was picked it was so funny , of course she told them to draw another number and guess what? That's right my number was picked WOW! I was so lucky.... Riz had said at the beginning of the day we are going to win something with his ticket because the number on it was his employee number. I wish the pictures did the quilt justice but they just don't if you want to see it in person and get the full WOW factor you will have to come to my bedroom because that is were we are going to hang it on the wall... all in all it was a great weekend.

The Quilt

Me and Peggy (the mom who made the quilt) holding up the quilt

The detail is amazing

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

And we are off again

East Meets West Conference

To the East meets West Conference in Tampa Bay Florida this weekend. We have been really looking forward to this event. There will be a dinner on Friday night with a foster family from China and then Saturday there are several session to chose from. We will be able to interact with other families who are involved in International adoption as well as numerous adoption professionals. Some of the seminars that will be available will be

1.Institutionalization and the effects on attachment
2.Why are my eyes different? How and when to tell you child she's adopted
fostering open communication about adoption
3.The Dad's session the Unique role of the father
4.Support in the community- Dealing with questions from strangers
5.Finding the Missing pieces-Helping adopted children cope with grief and loss
6.Referrals: The waiting game,
7.Meet the adoptive parents and children
8.Gotcha Day ! what to expect
9.Understanding the adoption tax Credit
10.Cross cultural: Parenting A "How to" on making your child's culture a Part of your life.
11.The Journey of Chinese Adoption
12.Lifebooks: Creating and Documenting your child's Journey to your family
13.Post adoption Resources
14. Q&A with Chinese Foster Family/ Chinese Consulate Officials

They will be providing many speakers, Breakfast Lunch on Sat. and the Dinner on Friday....

We hope to learn a lot and meet some great people... and maybe feel closer to Sophia if even for a moment...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

~~~~CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cheri and Shane

Well it has happened our good friends Cheri and Shane got their referral yesterday.... Hope is Beautiful and somehow the CCAA found a baby that looks just like Shane, only more cute LOL no offence Shane you know we love you.... Go now and look at sweet baby Hope ... We love her already :)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Well it is official

December 8th is in...
Congratulations to all of the families that are about to see their children's faces for the first time, We could not be happier for you.
We want to say a very special congratulations to our friends Cheri and Shane. We are looking forward to hearing all about Hope....
CONGRATULATIONS................ you are Mommy and Daddy now....

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Day Dreaming

After all the months and years of dreaming of a baby... Their Baby .... Our Great friends Cheri and Shane are just hours from finally seeing their daughter Hope. They will no longer wonder If or when will they know who she is. They will never again wonder what she looks like, They will no longer wonder where she is.... Today Cheri and Shane found out that they are in this round of referral and will be notified in the next few days of all the details about their daughter Hope. Riz and I could not be happier for them right now. We are so excited for them that I jokingly said on our agency group today that you would think Hope was our Baby LOL... Cheri being her sweet self e-mailed me and said "she is your baby niece"... Thank you Cheri for sharing today and this moment with us.... We are over joyed for you and to be able to finally say WE ARE NEXT!!!!!!even if it is only Next with our agency LOL....

Stay tuned for more details about Hope and all the other December 2005 referrals

Thursday, October 25, 2007

To turn off the music that is playing click on the hash mars under the bird playing the guitar.

OK now more Random music that comes to mind....

This is from my all time favorite movie

The Wizard of OZ

Judy Garland singing Somewhere over the rainbow.

It is kind of how I have been feeling all day....

We once heard Liza Minnelli say she would never sing this song and has been asked many times to do so. She said that she feels that she could never do her mother justice.


OK, so, yesterday someone on the Dec. Yahoo group posted that on the Spanish Rumor site there was a rumor saying that the CCAA had matched through the 10th of Dec. This would be so fantastic because we have not seen this many days in a referral group for some time and this would mean Cheri and Shane would be getting Hope's referral. Then before the end of the day it was posted to the Spanish Rumor site (a blog run by someone in Spain who is in the adoption community) that they have now been told that it is possible that the cut off date MAY be the 12th or the 13th.. OMG even better... It is VERY hard not to get excited when we see this kind of information out there. We still don't know for sure and all of this is speculation until we actually see referrals start to arrive and hear who has the latest date either then or if the CCAA changes their site to reflect the ACTUAL cut off date. I tell you though I am WAY excited about the rumors.. I just hope that next week I am not super depressed because they are not true. In any case I have decided to enjoy this moment of bliss in the referral rumors and worry about the aftermath later... Riz has said for weeks that he has had a feeling that Cheri and Shane would be in this time and that the cut off would be the 10th so we will see... My prediction last month (October) while we were waiting for referrals to come was that they would do to Nov. 30th and then in Nov.07 do half of Dec 05 and then in Dec 07 do the last half of Dec. 05. I so hope I am right because that would give us our referral in Jan 08 it makes total sense to me because then they will be at a 2 year wait and will be starting a new year (2008) with the Jan 2006 LID group.

OK sorry I am excited and that was a lot of improper grammar and rambling but I wanted to put my thoughts down just in case they are right....Below is the post that is on the Rumor Queen Site this morning......

We wanted to take a moment to wish all of the Dec. 2005 people that we have been waiting with for 2 years now and who we have grown to know and love, luck we want you to know that our excitement for you is overwhelming. We are as excited for you as anyone can be congratulations to all of you who are about to become parents.

Now, Back to the wait...

"European Rumor
October 25th, 2007
A European site says the cut off will be the 12th, possibly the 13th. There is no information about where this information comes from. They say they are “confirming this”, they aren't treating it as a rumor but as fact.

I give it an R1 or an R2 at this point. I hope they are right, but I wouldn't take it to the bank just yet. "

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Check out this first Rumor of the month posted on Rumor Queen... Gosh I hope it is true for all our sakes but most especially for Cheri and Shane. If this is true then this means they are IN and will see Hopes face in a few short weeks......

"First Rumor
There is a rumor in the forum that says a family was told that the CCAA has made it to the 10th. I don’t believe the family was told the cut off will be the 10th, just that the CCAA has made it that far.

As for how to rate this one, I don’t think I have enough information to really rate it. I’ll just say it’s an early rumor, and early rumors are rarely right. Doesn’t mean this one is or is not correct, just means we don’t know. "

The above was copied form

Friday, October 19, 2007

Random Freaky songs that come to mind

..... anyone remember this?????

Stay tuned for more Random crazy music.....

OK for those of you who read and have never commented(Alice,Sandy,MOM) here is a lesson...We would love to hear what you have to say....

: I know some of you are afraid of blogs and do not know how to Comment. Here is a quick how to for those who don't blog! At the bottom of each post you will see a number with Comments . If you click on this you can read comments others have made AND add one of your own. Type your comment in the big box, click on the Other bubble, enter your name and finally the Publish Your Comment bubble. It is just that simple.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The song

Well we just felt like it LOL... If you don't want to hear it press the = sign under the bird at the right....

Doesn't this song just make you want to dance?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A song

I just saw this and thought it was pretty. I hope you enjoy it as well... I love how he sings in Chinese in the video.....
Steven Curtis Chapman "The Circle Game"

Monday, October 15, 2007

Martian Child

Staring both John and Joan Cusack who I love. The movie tells a story about a Science Fiction Writer who adopts a son as a single father. It looks to be a very touching movie that was based partly on the life experiences of the author David Gerrlod who adopted his son as a single father. It will be released on Nov. 2, 2007 I for one can't wait to go see it.....

Monday, October 08, 2007


FINALLY! the CCAA has finished November 2005. I have waited to post this until today because the CCAA has been on Holiday for the Autumn Moon Festival all week. They are back to work now and have changed their website to say this

It is official they finished November. We are all celebrating now even though they only made it through 5 days. It was a little hard to swallow at first but, I think most of us have moved on to the anticipation of the next round of referrals. We are SUPER excited because our friends Cheri and Shane who live in Ohio. They are using EAC and could be within a few weeks of seeing their little Hope's face. Riz and I are as excited for them as anyone could be. If Cheri and Shane get their referral this go around that will mean that the CCAA did 7 days worth of referrals. That would mean 2 things
1. A slight increase in referrals (they have been doing 4 and 5 days for months now).............
2. We will be the next group for our agency to get referrals. I can hardly believe that we may be on the verge of saying we are next.............

So, we say goodbye to November with great joy. I am hoping that in the next 6 months the CCAA is able to get through December and January.

We Will see....

Friday, October 05, 2007

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

September has come and gone part 3

The very next weekend we were invited to spend some time visiting our friends and travel buddies Susan and Jonathan Love in Atlanta. It just so happens that the Atlanta Zoo has several Giant Pandas
and the baby Mei Lan was having her first birthday. Susan and Jonathan invited us to come so we could attend the celebration.
We had a nice time at the Zoo with them. We were also able to meet their wonderful friends Derek and Marcia who happen to be their neighbors and who are also adopting from China. It was nice to spend some time around families who are sharing the same experience. Jonathan and Susan, Derek and Marcia took us to the Varsity
for lunch a tradition and a must stop in Atlanta. It was super crowded because of a football game that day but it was fun and the food was good although Riz's new Savannah t-shirt will never be the same again LOL lets just say Mustard and a white shirt don't mix LOL.. We spent the rest of the day exploring Atlanta with the Loves and got to see the site for their new home, just beautiful.
For dinner They took us to one of their favorite places a nice casual restaurant where you can sit outside and eat. We did just that and talked until the place was closed. It was a real pleasure getting to spend this time with the Loves. I think we all agree that it will make our trip to China even more special because we feel like we will be with old friends.
Oh I almost forgot to mention that while we were in Atlanta Susan arranged for us to have dinner with another EAC family who we met through our agency yahoo group. We all followed their journey to China when we first began our wait. Julie and Russ are fantastic people with a warm and generous spirit. They invited us into their home for a wonderful dinner and conversation that will always be appreciated. Russ and Julie have 5 Children Coleman the oldest greeted us at the door like a true gentleman, Jack the next oldest is one handsome kid and polite beyond words, Robby stole my husbands heart and made all of us smile with his adorable way, Emma well what can I say other then she is a beautiful child. and last but not least Sam he also captured all of our hearts with his playful happy manner. We really enjoyed following Russ and Julies journey to China for Emma and Sam. We are so grateful to Susan for setting up this dinner because we really enjoyed ourselves. Plus the Heddens have a Wii game that was to much fun. You should have seen Riz (Ribz) and Jonathan (Dr. Love) playing with the kids very cute. We had a fantastic weekend and hope that the next time we see the Loves it will be on our plane trip to China for Sophia and Lily Kate...