Monday, January 28, 2008

FedEx arrives - UPS goes out

I about wanted to hug the man when he handed this package into our eagerly waiting arms. As it was, I did try to take a picture of him holding our Referral Approval envelope, but found our camera to be unresponsive due to dead batteries. When I expressed my woes, I thought he Might be persuaded to wait while we changed out the old batteries. But he failed to grasp the import of the situation and merely said goodbye as he headed back to his truck. Too bad for Him. He could have been famous, here on our blog for all to see.

The fancy looking document above is the Referral Acceptance or Letter of Acceptance from China. We checked the little box that said 'We accept the adoptee mentioned above (Lu Jia Zhen)', signed our names, dated it, photocopied it, slipped it gingerly yet eagerly into the waiting UPS Next Day Air package, and Eric was off to give it to Tony (our friendly neighborhood UPS guy).

Since about 5:00pm I have been regularly checking the UPS website waiting for our package to show up in the system, to start making its way to the AWAA offices in McLean, VA. It hasn't shown up yet, but don't worry. I'm keeping my eye on it.

Eric signs his name. Good penmanship, honey!

Bye, bye pretty brown envelope!
Take good care of our LOA and deliver it safely to Melissa!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Waiting for the FedEx Man

Well, we were supposed to have received a package from AWAA via FedEx containing our LOA (Letter of Acceptance) on Saturday. This is the document we sign to say, "Yep, we STILL definitely want to adopt Lu Jia Zhen." Then we sign our names and send it back off to AWAA to be there in time for it to be sent to China on Tuesday. But it never arrived. Don't know what happened.

The FedEx website says it will arrive by "4:30pm on Monday". What?!? The closest FedEx facility is about an hour away, the only UPS facility in town usually has their evening pick-up between 4:30 and 5:00pm daily, and we have to have the package back to AWAA by Tuesday morning... Yikes!

Please, please pray that the FedEx man comes WELL before 4:30pm and that we are able to get it UPSed back to AWAA on time. Thanks!

Poor kitty

Today when we came home from church, one of our kittens, Rainie, was huddled, scared and shivering, out by our front door. We have no idea how she got out (our cats are all indoor cats). Her collar was missing and she had 'nasty yuck' all over her. Poor kitty.

Upon further investigation we discovered that she had gotten her head stuck in between the porch rungs, lost her collar (we're scared to even think how that happened), and soiled herself, apparently out of pure terror. Poor, poor kitty.

And to make matters worse, our other kitten, Stormie-too, now thinks Rainie is something bad and evil to be shunned from the house. She has been hissing and slapping and scratching at Rainie anytime she comes near. 'Hope that doesn't go on much longer.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Oh. My. Word.

It happened. Friday afternoon.

Melissa from America World called to tell us we received our Referral Approval from the CCAA to adopt Noelle. I'm still in shock. We waited only 37 days from when we turned in our Letter of Intent (to adopt Lu Jia Zhen). That's so amazingly fast!! We thought we'd be waiting at least until the end of February, but alas, God had other plans...

The whole thing is actually kind of a funny story. Earlier on Friday I was busy with some projects around my house when my cell rang. I was busy, so I figured the caller would leave a message. Then the home phone rings. I let the machine get it. But the caller left no message. Then my cell rings once again, yet still I don't pick up. Yeah, I know what you're thinking... I just didn't want to bothered. I'd call 'em back later.

So I go about what I'm doing, then head out the door to walk (in the freezing winter cold, I might add) to the local library down the street (Eric had the car) to fax in the first of our travel documents to AWAA for approval. When I get back home I finally remember to check my messages. Turns out, Melissa called to say she needed to speak with one of us today, but was now in a meeting, so could I call her back after 4pm. No biggie. I assumed she wanted to discuss our travel documents or something.

Then I decide to take a quick peek at a couple of my Yahoo Groups to see if anything interesting was happening. Well, lo and behold, one of my new online AWAA friends, posted to the AdoptedFromHefei group (this is the city where both of our daughters live) that she had received her referral approval that day.


I didn't think I was reading it correctly. But sure enough, she had gotten her RA! NOW I knew what Melissa had been calling about. We were getting the call, too. At this point I started bawling and bawling and thanking Jesus and jumping around - just generally making a goober of myself. And I couldn't even get ahold of Melissa until after her meeting ended to confirm my suspicions.

That was one of the longest 90 minute periods of my life!!!

Now what does all this mean? Well, it means that we will be traveling to bring our daughter home at the end of February or first of March!!! Wooeeeeee!!! China has a full one week celebration of their Chinese New Year, so this may indeed put us into March. Now we just need that travel approval (TA)... Bring it on, Lord!

I'm gonna be a mommy really, really soon!!!

Somebody pinch me. :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Coffee Bar, Rare Books, Fine Art, Antiquities, etc.

Enigma Rarities...

This is the shop I have been working in for the past 5 weeks. I am the morning "opener", arriving at 6:30 to get things ready for the first customers of the day. At 5am each morning when I climb out of bed, I remind myself that I took on this extra job to help raise the money needed to bring Noelle home from China. I smile at her picture on the bathroom mirror as I brush the sleep out of my eyes. She's definitely worth it! :)

A cosy place to sip a warm, frothy cappuccino while reading a rare first edition.

David, the owner, had the original floors refinished and the bar, crown molding, baseboards, etc. are all custom-made oak. He sure did this place up right - Beautiful!

Jennifer, "Super Barista Girl"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Enigma Rarities

Enigma Rarities.

Remember my new job? Well, this is the name of the establishment. Sound interesting? Wonder what it is? Wonder what I do there?


Well if I told you, it would no longer be an Enigma...

(Sorry, but I couldn't resist this teaser. Check back soon and I'll have pictures of the place and tell you all about my new job. BTW, don't bother looking it up online. It's a new business and the website isn't up yet. Remember - Enigma...)


On Friday January 11th, our agency coordinator Melissa contacted us to let us know that we had received our Pre-Approval from the China Center of Adoption Affairs. Yay! Another step in a long journey! It's a brief document that basically says that our new paperwork was received and everything appears to be in order. We are still waiting for China's official approval for us to adopt Lu Jia Zhen - the highly anticipated Referral Approval (RA) or Letter of Acceptance (LOA) - but it's good to know that things are moving along. Melissa said it would be around 2 months from when we submitted our new paperwork to China, so we are looking hopefully toward February 20th. Sooner would be nice, too! :)

I'm plum tuckered out, too!

You see that picture below of our sleeping kitty? Well that's how I feel these days. Ready to crash at a moment's notice. You see, recently I took on some extra employment to help raise more of the funds needed to bring our little girl home. It's a really cool job - I like it a lot - but adding an almost full-time job into my existing schedule has been quite an adjustment.

You see, I work 6:30am-1:00 or 2:00pm, 5 or 6 days a week. And for those of you who know me well - Jennifer, the night owl, who's brain and energy turn on after 7pm - getting up daily at 5:00am... Well, you get my drift. This is one of the reasons I haven't been blogging lately. Also, along with our church ministries and community activities, I still teach my music students and assist in our karate classes (when I can). But now we've added more adoption and travel related paperwork, duties, lists, and so forth that come with receiving a referral (ba-LIEVE me, I'm not complaining, I'm just sayin'...).

We have a couple fundraisers coming up this month and next, and one of them is a big benefit concert at the Eagleton Center here in Richmond. I've been stressing over the many details and even cried this morning on my way to work. My dear hubby Eric was driving me there (only one vehicle), and I was having a little freak-out.

Okay. Thanks for listening to me whine. I don't want to make a habit of it, though, because I am SO blessed in SO many ways! God is our amazing Provider and Sustainer, and He will always see us through!!

If you think about it, please pray for us as we are nearing the finishline in this adoption process. Pray that we're able to find the time and strength to 'get the job done' and that we (me, mostly) leave our concerns at the feet of Jesus and trust completely in Him. Thanks! :)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Plum tuckered out!

I was doing some work on the computer in our office the other day, and our kitty 'Stormie-too' konked out on the letter tray. It's one of those "aaaaawwwww" kind of photos and I wanted to share. :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Touches in Noelle's Room

While mom and dad were visiting over Christmas we had to, of course, visit a few baby stores. Mom and I oo'd and ah'd over the cutesy teddy bears and pink outfits while the guys hid yawns behind their hands... (actually, they did very well) They followed us around Target and BabiesRUs without even a whimper. I was quite impressed.

I was also impressed with how I exercised self-control by not blowing our budget on baby items. At the end of the day, our shopping bags contained only 3 items for Noelle's room. Can you spot the new items in the pictures below?

Looking in the doorway to her room-- Do you see the little white wall shelf? I've had that tucked away in the closet for a while, but Eric just put it up. I added the framed photo of Noelle, the doll baby, and the little flowered piggy bank. On the wall straight ahead where you see the 'home' plaque, we will be replacing that with Noelle's name in painted letters.

We didn't purchase this Precious Moments photo frame - it was actually a Christmas gift from my Aunt Nora - but I wanted to show off how cute our daughter's picture looks inside it. :)

Item #1 - The white plaque with the colorful flower hooks

Item #2 - The matching flower knobs for the furniture and closet doors

Item #3 - The matching light switch plate next to the closet (a bit difficult to see in this photo)

Christmas Family Photo

Friends and historians, this picture is the one surviving photo from that infamous Christmas of 2007...

Well actually, this photo was not even taken on Christmas. Our camera has no pictures from Christmas Day. This photo was taken on December 26th. You see, our camera chose to go missing about 2 days before Christmas and did not choose to resurface (from the deep, corner recesses of our squishy living room loveseat) until about 15 minutes before Alicia (my cousin David's wife and photo guru) and several other family members were about to head home to Kansas.

In the photo-- That's me with my cute hubby Eric and my parents Mary and Roger, or as they now prefer to be called, "Grammy" and "Granddad". (You know, it's that first-time-grandparent thing.)