Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Some great stuff

The Diaper clutch...its awesome thanks Layla

my family, My journey A Memory Book A baby book for adoptive families...also awesome thanks Amy.

Twilight Ladybug... the best little nighty light... from my sweet.. husband thanks sweetie.

Legacy of an Adoptive Child .... My mother in law cross stitched this 2 years ago for us. It is beautiful ....thank you Mom...

just a few great things from my shower.........

Check out my Slide Show!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Baby Shower #2

All we can say is we are overwhelmed..... Overwhelmed by how lucky we are to be surrounded by the MOST amazing group of wonderful friends and family. The love and generosity that we were showered with yesterday was more then we ever dreamed of. We now know why they call it a Baby Shower... It is not because of the shower of wonderful gifts that you get when you are expecting, but because all of your loved ones who come together to celebrate with you in the joy that you are experiencing. Riz and I commented to each other through out the day how awesome it was to have all our friends (well most of our friends some could not be there) in one place. We had family, old work friends, new work friends, adoption friends and what we affectionately referred to as "REGULAR" friends all in one place at one time. I was emotional all day and was frequently brought to tears by the words and love that people showered over us all day long. We can not express how grateful we are to everyone that was there and to those of you who could not be there in person, but who were there in spirit for everything, most of all for being there for us through the past 28 month. We can not wait to share Sophia with all of those we love.........

OK, so, now we have to share the details of the shower.....

It was a warm, breeze, sunny day and our friends Pat and Denise opened their home to us for a wonderful Baby shower. They decorated their home and yard with white lights, pink, white and red Chinese lanterns. My Brother in Law Chris and wife Tabby brought a truck load of balloons and filled the yard with color. My mother decorated the tables with Chinese food boxes filled with rice and little white lights, fortune cookies, chop sticks and red rose petals. My wonderful Mother and Father in law and mother helped to get ready for the day by setting up with Pat and Denise. There was yummy Chinese food from our favorite Chinese restaurant (Tops China). My mom made cute favors for everyone to take home when they left. (My oldest Brother John)

Small Chinese Food take out boxes with candy and a "Red Thread Legend book marker in them. The cake was FANTASTIC! and all thanks to my wonderful best friend Lisa. She arranged to have a ladybug cake made and what seemed like a gazillion cupcakes that were the cutest things I had ever seen.. Small Sunflowers each with a tiny little ladybug and they were delicious too....Everything was delicious and beautiful.....

and then the gift giving began ....OH MY!, I don't even know what to say. We received so many wonderful gifts for Sophia. We feel so fortunate..... everything from toys (that we needed, no toys in our house) to Oh! so cute clothes. My mother in-law made Sophia a beautiful hand made pillowcase dress, embrodered with colorful flowers. Wendy gave us "THE" little white dress from Strasburg kids, I can't wait for beach photos in that dress. The Doctor Riz works for gave us a beautiful Irish wool cable knit sweater and A Kilt in the "official" Stewart tartin.... There were so many adorable things that I can't wait to put on Sophia. We received some really sweet sentimental gifts and some really great baby necessities like a stroller, baby monitor, Diaper pail and a baby swing. The generosity of Riz's Uncle Michael and Aunt Lurel will afford us to purchase the car seat we need (and want). We also received things for Sophia's room like sheets and blankets, toiletries, and hooded bath towels sets. The numerous gift cards that we recived will allow us to do a little shopping for a few more of the baby things we need .

Last but not least we were blessed with generous donations to our China baby fund from both Riz's parents and my mother. We can't thank them enough for helping us to bring home our baby girl.

We want to say a special Thank you to Matt and Amy Greeson for the wonderful baby book (adoption geared) and the target gift card they sent all the way from Ohio...

to Cheri and Shane for the wonderful box full of baby goodies it was the last thing I opened and I was so touched that you made the effort to send a gift for Sophia.

and to Jennifer and Patrick who could not be with us yesterday but who bought Sophia her first walker/toddler toy....

Riz and I want to express our deepest most heartfelt gratitude to all of our friends and family who help create the most wonderful day for us....a day that we will remember forever and will one day share with our beautiful baby girl.... we love you all.......

A few more pictures from the day

Nai Nai and Allyson (our beautiful god daughter) , Kate and Claire

My beautiful Niece Breanna

Sweet Macy Lane

Tom AKA Chowda Head

Uncle Chris

The Loot
and the perfect ending to a perfect day

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Baby Shower #1

Work Baby Shower

On Wednesday Night our wonderful co-workers gave us the nicest little baby shower. We had about 30 people in attendance from all areas of our company. It was over whelming to us that so many people cared enough to spend a few hours after work in the middle of the week celebrating our daughter Sophia. I told Riz that after so many years of giving baby showers for friends and family I was not sure how to act at my own. I have decided that opening gifts in front of people is just not a comfortable thing to do. I did not know if I should read all the cards or not. I did not want anyone to think I did not read their card but did not want people to think Geezz just read the cards later. I read some and did not read others at the shower but when we got home that night I read them all and really had a chance to enjoy each one. I was glad I read them at home because they all made me cry.... Something else they did was buy this little journal book and they have been passing it around for a few weeks writing things to Sophia about us. OMG I was super glad I read this at home.... We feel very lucky to work some wonderful people who care so much about us and now Sophia...

OK now the pictures.....

The cake was not only beautiful but yummy!!!!

The food table was pretty and the food was great!

A small sampling of gifts

They made me wear this all day

Riz our CEO Janet, my boss Wayman, Me and my favorite Pharmacist James Earl (Jim)

There are more pictures but I have to get my friend Sharon's Camera card so I can upload them (she is computer illiterate and would never be able to figure out how to send them to me in e-mail LOL but we love her anyway LOL)....

Riz and I want to thank everyone who attended the baby shower. It means so much to us that you all care not only for us but for Sophia as well.....

Sunday, April 13, 2008

3 crazy post!

The one Lone PINK paper clip......

For all of you who asked here it is the one lone PINK paperclip that has been hanging on the end of my long paperclip chain for 27 months now... I think I may leave it hang there to remind me of my daughter..

This and that

Some of this and that and what we have been doing to stay busy
beware this post is all over the place.....
it's our life right now ....LOL

Dinner Challenge

Stephe's dinner challenge make dinner with anything in your fridge that will go bad if you don't

I made Ziti with a tomato cream sauce, Salad with cucumbers and tomatoes Olive Oil and Balsamic dressing, Rice pudding and Cranberry Juice to drink... It was yummy and fun....

Sophie's Room
Sophie's room needed a few finishing touches so we hung curtains and took some new pictures
One of my most favorite thing in Sophie's room

Sophie's' Shelves

What a mess the changing table is the catch all for all things China travel

Sophie's room with the curtains

The Kitchen Remodel
(still in progress)
The windows after new paint and before curtains

and now with new curtains

New over the stove Microwave, cabinets and counter top...all unfinished

Cabinets all finished except we are going to add one more to the left of the stove but we had space issue and it needs to be custom fit so Riz will work on that in the next few weeks

For some reason we did not take a picture of the kitchen before the old counter, sink and cabinets were removed. I know I have pictures somewhere but I am to tired to look right now..The old cabinets looked like the top cabinets here which we are planning on replacing soon.......
New Cabinets in but unstained
New Cabinets in and stained
Riz still needs to finish my cabinet
for my baking sheets

Before cabinets and moving the fridge
and stove
Fridge and Stove moved
cabinets up but unstainedall done and stained..
I need a piece of Farmer art for over the fridge

A Disney Visit with the Hedden family
some of our most favorite people
Riz, me and Julie
Sam and Emma

More remodeling
Unpainted fireplace
After being Painted
And then back to Disney for a visit with the Harps
some more of our favorite people
Ken Shu Shu and Sharon
Shu Shu was not so sure about Mulan and Mushu

More of this and that

Sophie's new car, I mean our new van
AKA the Space Shuttle
Toyota Sienna EXL Limited

Sporty right?

Sophie's entertainment system

Sophie's throne

Thursday, April 10, 2008

deja vu

So when I posted last month about it being our 26th month of waiting anniversary and the last one we would celebrate, I really believed it to be true... goes to show you how much I know....

Well, today is our 27th month of waiting for Sophia's referral and "The last one we will celebrate" . We have big plans for tonight after work... LOL... We decide that tonight we would celebrate by taking a ride down the beach in our new mini Van (by the way Riz is calling it the Space Shuttle) and go out to dinner to one of our favorite Mexican places (great salsa).... I have on pink today in honor of Sophia ( I know Corny). We are about 3 weeks away from referrals again and the anticipation is building once again. I am not sure if everyone knows about my paperclip chain, but for the last two and a half years I have had a HUGE paperclip chain on my bulletin board at work. Each month when referrals were announced I take off the number of referrals that they did. I can't remember exactly how many we started with but I think it was somewhere around 250 paperclips, they represented how many days between what date the CCAA had referred up to when I started it and our LID of 1/10/06. The last 4 paperclips were two red, 1 yellow and the last being a pink one.... We are now down to One paperclip on the board, it looks kind of silly up there all alone but it has been a great visual to know we are getting closer and now when I look up and see that ONE PINK paperclip it makes me smile because I know FOR SURE we are next and Sophia is just a few weeks away....

I want to send well wishes to Susan and Jonathan and the rest of our great travel group, it wont be long and we will be having the time of our lives together in China...

Much Love

Susan and Riz

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

10 questions

1. Why a baby girl from China?
We came to the decision to adopt through international adoption quickly. There really was no other option for us once we looked into adoption to start our family. The reason this was our only option is because of the guarantee of a baby at the end. We wanted a baby so badly; we didn’t want to take the risk of going the domestic route as the birth mother could change her mind. Riz and I both
Knew that it would be China. We have a lot of connections to China we looked at each other and said “China” and that was it. It felt right, more right than anything ever before. A weight was lifted from our hearts and we were glowing...finally. Our baby was going to become a reality!

2. Do we know who she is yet?
We will not know who Sophia is until we receive her referral and picture at the beginning of May 2008.

3. Will we know who her biological parents were or how she was found?
It is illegal to abandon a baby in China, so the biological parents will not leave their names. They
will, however, sometimes leave a note with the baby’s date of birth. If not, the orphanage will
estimate her birthday, according to whether the umbilical cord is still attached or not along with
other medical information. We will be told where she was found, along with as much information
as is available. A friend was able to make a personal connection with her daughter’s caretaker from
the orphanage. They stay in touch with each other through e-mail and even spent time together
when our friend went to China to adopt her second daughter, this is really special.

4. What about Sophia’s Chinese name? Will she already have a name?
Sophia will have been given a Chinese name by her care-takers. Typically a portion of her name is
derived from the orphanage or town where she lives, allowing babies from the same orphanage to
connect online as they grow up. The rest of her name will have something to do with her personality
or physical characteristics. When we find out her name there will be three names the first will be
her given name and will be the one shared by all of the babies from that SWI. We know that all of
the babies in our travel group will have this same name as they will all be from the same SWI. The
other two names what we would consider her first and middle name. We plan on using part of this
name in Sophia’s American name, for example if her name is Fu (for Fuling a province in China)
Xiao Qiao (means Beautiful morning in the forest) then her name will be Sophia Joy (Xiao Qiao)

5. How do they match us up with a particular baby?
Many people say they match bone structure, birthdays, personalities, etc. Others believe there is
no official process...whichever baby they choose to match with us, will be our Sophia! Click HERE to read a post from Rumor Queen about how Matching is done.

6. How old will Sophia be when we get her?
We think between 6 and 12 months. Chinese law does not allow a child to be adopted until after
they are legal orphans for 6 months.

7. How long does the adoption process take?
When we started the process we anticipated 4 months for paperwork and 6 to 8 months for the
wait. Unfortunately the process has slowed down considerably. By the time we finally go to China
It will be roughly 34 months from the start of our process. This whole process has been a lesson

8. How much does international adoption cost?
A lot. but worth every penny. International adoption varies from country to country, however,
The travel portion is significant.. The cost is equivalent to a biological pregnancy and the birth of a
Biological child; however it is not covered by health insurance. Luckily the IRS allows for an
Adoption tax deduction to make it easier on the families.

9. Will we be traveling to China to get her?
We will be in China for at least 2 weeks. We start our China journey in Beijing, touring for a few
days, getting acquainted with the customs and adjusting to the time change. We then travel to the
province where Sophia is living and then head to Guangzhou, in the South, to wait for our
immigration paperwork to be finalized.

10. Do we like Chinese food?
Do you even have to ask? Ha just take one look at our bank account.

Monday, April 07, 2008

It's Official

CCAA Status

Reviewed through: October 31, 2006

Placed through: January 9, 2006

Well, we already knew this to be true but now it is official. Last week was hands down the hardest week of the wait, one of the hardest of our lives. We had a few really rough days were we would fluctuate between sadness and anger. I don't think I have cried that much since we were going through unsuccessful fertility treatments. This lasted until Wednesday when the fog started to lift and we began to accept that we missed this month by one day. We began to think of all the reasons why it was "GOOD" (yeah right) that we missed it by one day. More time to save money, More time to buy a second car, more time to finish the kitchen remodel Blgh, Blgh, Blgh..... all things we would have found the time to do even if we would have received our referral this month but we were rationalizing why it was OK... We had so many friends and family send us messages of support and love that it carried us through this very difficult time. We want to thank each and everyone of you for supporting us. One message in particular I want to say Thank you for came from Monica. Thank you Monica for sending me a Private message with your daughters story. Monica is a fellow adoptive mother from our agency Yahoo group. She also missed the cutoff by one day when she was waiting for her daughter. She offered me insight that I will be forever grateful for. In a nut shell she made me realize that this wait as horrible as it has been for us it has been for a reason that has not yet been made clear to us. We know that when Sophia is in our arms the pain of the wait will fade and we will know why we waited. We realize that why this is our greatest joy this is someone else greatest loss. We realize that even though we can't wait to see Sophia's referral that it might mean that she is experiencing her second biggest trauma in her little life, being taken from her foster home and brought back to the orphanage. Our hearts ache to know her, to love her and to have the wait be over, but they also ache for her and what she must be going through right now. Monica helped me to realize that this wait is not just about us and what we want but about Sophia and what she needs. We are here at the end of our wait. We are on the eve of the biggest joy in our lives, but somehow I am sad, sad for my daughter and what she has been through, for her birth mother and the choice she had to make and for all those people waiting for their children in line behind us. We hope that this month passes quickly and that we will soon know our daughter and we pray that god will watch over Sophia as she makes her way to us an to give us the strength as we make our way to her......