Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Good news on New Year's Eve!

We ended 2014 with a bang. Praise the Lord, because Lord willing, we will have a daughter home in 2015! Our agency emailed this evening with news that the adoption contracts arrived in their office this afternoon. They don't yet have a report of the meeting with our girl but the contracts arriving means she said yes and we are moving forward!

We will receive the contracts and instructions for completing our dossier early next week. I am so excited to see what the next steps are and to find out what contact we will have with her next. Maybe a Skype call? Another care package? I'll be emailing my agency on Friday to find out what we can do next to start bonding with her.

I am so excited and can't wait to see what God brings our way in 2015. Hopefully we'll have a daughter home soon!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

18 months

Today marks 18 months since we officially started our adoption journey. I feel like so much has happened and yet I feel like, in some ways, we have made no progress at all. My husband and I talked about this tonight and agree that we have made progress but it sure doesn't feel like it! We have an up to date home study, approval from the US government to adopt a foreign born orphan, and approval from a Taiwan agency to be matched with one of their children. It's progress, but not much.

Hopefully we hear an update soon on the meeting with Cin-Ru so we know if this adoption attempt is going forward. I hope and pray that we will have a daughter home sometime in 2015!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Sunday, December 21, 2014

December Goals - Week Three

I don't have any pictures of my decluttering work this week but hope to have some next week. I was able to finish the bookshelf upstairs in our dining room, as well as some other small things upstairs. I cleaned the bathroom downstairs but that doesn't count toward my goal. My mother-in-law will be here in about five hours so I don't expect I will get much more work done this week. I want to relax and enjoy my time with her. I am pleased with the progress I've made, though I still have a long way to go.

I did make huge progress with my Chinese study goal, though. I studied over 8.5 hours this week and completed three grammar lessons. I only have three more grammar lessons to complete before the end of the month in order to make my goal.

Totals for the month:

Grammar lessons - 9 out of 12
Study hours - 20.25

I don't expect to keep up this pace all week, but hope to stay on top of my flashcards and at least make some forward progress. But if, just IF, I can be diligent about studying over the holidays, I will shatter my record of how many hours I've studied in one month (27 hours in September). Reachable goal or unattainable due to the holidays? We shall see!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Secret of Pembrooke Park - a book review

I have now read every single one of Julie Klassen's books. On her About Page on Goodreads is this description - "Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen." Yes! I can tell! So when I received an email from Bethany House that Klassen's latest book is available for review, I snatched it up and was not disappointed.

I started reading this book and could barely put it down. It's longer than most Christian historical fiction, coming in at 456 pages. Even being a longer book, I felt there wasn't much filler. The story was great, about a "spinster" whose family loses their fortune so they must move into the country. They move into an abandoned house, one filled with the servants' whispers of tragic events that happened years ago. The rumor is that there is a treasure hidden somewhere in the house. Is the rumor true? Is Abigail going to be a spinster or will she marry?

Parts of the book were cheesy, mainly Abigail's romantic interludes. But the treasure hunting aspect of the story and how Abigail seeks to uncover her home's past, were delightful. While I can't label this a classic that I'll be returning to, Klassen wrote another fantastic weekend read. I just discovered that she has another book scheduled to come out next summer and I can't wait!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December's Goals - Week Two

I made progress last week on both of my December goals. First up was lots of cleaning and decluttering.

Here's the wet bar, though we don't use it for that. We actually turned the water off to this faucet. I'm so confused about why this was installed right next to the fireplace, but what do I know? I think the neighbors have a book case in this location, which I would love to have!



I forgot to take a picture of our entertainment center before I started cleaning it. The top was covered with several stacks of paper, remotes, and five pumpkins! This picture gives an idea of how cluttered it was:




And, for fun, we put the Advent calendar there for the remainder of the holiday season, along with Cin-Ru's framed photo.

Here is my next project, to be tackled tomorrow.

Books, books, and more books

I also made some solid progress toward my Chinese goal (12 lessons completed before the end of the month). Last week I finished 2.5 lessons, which put me at 5.5/12 complete (I finished up the .5 lesson today). I studied 5.75 hours last week, which isn't too shabby. I just hope I can stay on top of everything when my Mother-in-law arrives on Sunday!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Touchdown in Taiwan!

Our photo album made it to Taiwan last Friday. As of this afternoon, they haven't met with Cin-Ru yet but plan to soon. I am sitting on pins and needles waiting for the report of what she thinks of our family.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Fun with a new Advent calendar

We found out that the social worker is meeting with Cin-Ru next week! Our coordinator has requested a report as soon as possible, as she's going on vacation at the end of next week. We're hoping to find out what Cin-Ru thinks about our family and about us adopting her. Hopefully it is good news!

We bought a Hello Kitty advent calendar to count down to Christmas. It's so cute! We'll share photos of it with Cin-Ru in one of our later care packages. I sure hope she likes Hello Kitty. They make such fun clothes!

Monday, December 8, 2014

December's goals - week one

I have two goals this month - to clean my house from top to bottom and to make significant progress in my Chinese class.

Cleaning - I'm not doing too bad but I need to pick up the pace. There have been several days of adoption excitement and that took precedence over my cleaning. I did declutter several areas last week but there is lots more to do. Tomorrow I'll be tackling my upstairs bathroom.

Chinese - This is where all of my progress lies. Last week I completed just under six solid hours of studying, plus about two hours of listening practice by watching Taiwanese television shows. I finished three lessons from YoyoChinese, which meets my goal requirements. I've already studied an hour today and might squeeze in a bit more before bed. With the adoption process moving forward, I need to keep studying. I don't want to be in Taiwan wishing that I had learned more!

In adoption news, our photo album was mailed off today. We sent a photo album, a stuffed animal, and a small interlocking hearts necklace. Hopefully she likes everything! I can't wait to hear back the report from the social worker's visit with her later this month.

Friday, December 5, 2014


We received our pre-approval today!! I'm so excited!!

I printed the photos at Walgreens and picked them up today. This weekend I have to finish assembling the photo album and we'll be mailing out the care package on Monday morning. It will be forwarded to Taiwan immediately because the social worker will be visiting with her the third week of December to show her our photos!

Over the next few weeks, I will be praying that her heart is prepared for a family. The social worker reports that she wants a family; hopefully she will want OUR family to be her family!

Baby steps




Whatever you want to call it, I'm very slowly plugging away at it. I've been convicted lately that if I can't keep my home clean, it's because I have too much stuff. It's crazy how stuff keeps trickling in, even if I don't realize it. We don't shop a lot, but we do shop some, especially for our adoption. We want our kiddo to see photos of our home and our life and see that we are eager to have her join us, that she will have fun here.

But there is still a lot of excess. We live in a 1,200 sqft home with a terrible layout and not much storage. We hope to adopt two girls while living here, so four people will be living in a house with a small dining room, a small living room, and two bedrooms. My husband works from home. I'll be curious to see how this plays out, since he has no office!

I digress. I've been working here and there this week, whatever strikes my fancy. I figure it all needs to be done so it doesn't really matter what order I tackle it.

Some before and after photos of my progress thus far:

My junk drawer

No more junk!

Tiny mountain of papers

A clean table

I'm also tackling a Huge Mountain of Papers but am not quite finished with it. There are a few things I just don't know what to do with. I have a feeling I will need to clean out my overflowing file folder so that I can find space to file the things I need to keep. A lot of it is adoption paperwork.

I look forward to a cleaner house, one step at a time.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

One last photo shoot

We finally got our Christmas tree! This is my first Christmas tree since I was a teenager. We bought a real one so our house smells divine. I just have to remember to water it every day!

Tonight we took a couple more photos to finish up Jenny's album. I still have to print the photos and put them in the album, but all the photos have been taken. The present in the photo is for her after she comes home. The fox is going in the care package. Hopefully we receive pre-approval soon so that we can send it to her!

Monday, December 1, 2014

December goals

This month I have two goals.

First - I want to clean my house from top to bottom. My mother-in-law is coming to stay with us for a week at Christmas. I don't want to leave the cleaning to the last minute and be scrambling to complete everything right before she arrives. I've done that before with other guests and it's not fun! This is the first time MIL is coming to see us in Seattle so I want to make sure we all enjoy her visit! Having the house clean will take a lot of the pressure off.

Second - I need to make some serious progress with my Chinese studies. At the beginning of October, with all of the bad news we received, my studies fell by the wayside. November was much better with 16.5 solid hours of study. However, I'm not making as much progress as I would like. I had stated earlier that my goal was to finish the Intermediate Level of YoyoChinese by the end of the year. That is not going to happen. I just finished lesson 13 of 50. The class schedule is to complete two lessons per week; I am aiming to finish three per week. This is completely doable if I stay on top of my studying. At that rate, I will finish the year with 25 of the 50 lessons complete. I will be happy with that amount of progress.

I have a couple incentives for finishing the Intermediate Course. I promised myself that I would buy myself several graded readers once I complete the course. Amazon has several fun ones like a Sherlock Holmes book and The Secret Garden in Chinese. I also told myself that as soon as I finish the Intermediate Course, I will start writing on the Lang-8 website. I may rethink this goal, as I may already have enough Chinese knowledge to start writing short blog posts. Maybe I will set aside one day this month to see if it's possible for me to write a paragraph in Chinese.

I'm sure it will be a busy month but I'm looking forward to it! I love the Christmas season and look forward to sharing it this year with my husband and his mom.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Goodreads winner!

On a complete whim, I decided to enter the drawing for the new book Petticoat Detective. I'm not very familiar with the author but thought that the premise sounded interesting enough, a woman detective who goes undercover as a lady companion. Hopefully it's good! I'm just excited I won a free book.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Bible stories in Chinese

I decided tonight that it was time to tackle some stories in Chinese. It took a bit of searching, but I finally found some children's Bible stories written in traditional Chinese characters. What's great about these stories is that you can read them in both English and Chinese to make sure you understood everything correctly.

All I studied was the first three sentences and found 13 new vocabulary words to learn. Some of these will probably be used repeatedly throughout the stories. Here are a few of the words I need to learn:

Hanzi / Pinyin / English meaning

上帝 / shàng dì / God
天地 / tiān dì / heaven and earth
因此 / yīn cǐ / thus, consequently, as a result
怎樣 / zěn yàng / how, why
這些 / zhè xiē / these

I need to learn all 13 of these words before moving on to the next paragraph. I'm excited to see how quickly I'll be able to understand what I am reading.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Note to self

When the Tofurkey directions state that the roast needs to defrost overnight in the refrigerator, do not leave it in the freezer until four hours before you plan to eat. Oops.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Kitchen shortcuts

This afternoon I decided to try a new method of cooking pumpkin in preparation for pie.

My normal method is to cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out all of the seeds, put the two halves face down in about half an inch of water, and bake for an hour. It works great, provides an easy method of peeling off the skin, but adds a lot of extra water to the pumpkin flesh. This means that it's harder to get a good consistency in my pie.

But today I found this method which is even easier! Wash the pumpkin, stab holes in it, bake it, and then cut it open to scoop out the innards and peel off the skin. It worked great! We'll see how my pie consistency turns out after the pie cools overnight in the fridge. I'm so excited about this new method of baking a pumpkin!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fun stuff!

Our agency expects that we will receive pre-approval to adopt Jenny sometime in December. If that is God's will for us, we are hoping that it will happen very soon! Once we receive pre-approval, we are allowed to send Jenny her first care package. In preparation, we ordered a photo album from Amazon this weekend.

We can record a 10 second message so that she'll be able to hear our voice while looking at our photos.

I love that there is space provided next to each photo to write a description.

And there's even a page to write an inscription to her.

We have to take a few new photos, primarily of her bedroom, before printing all the photos and filling out the descriptions. The care package is almost ready to go and I can't wait until we receive the word that we're ok to mail it off! I hope she enjoys this album!

Friday, November 21, 2014

God's secret

I recently finished reading Washington's Lady (Nancy Moser) and was really struck with how applicable one of the thoughts was.

"All things - fine or not - belonged to the Lord, and if He should choose to take them all away from us, I would grieve (and ponder why) but finally accept His will as superior to our own. George and I both believed the Almighty had His reasons for all things. We relished the occasion when He let us in on the secret" (pg 117).

Today we received the final refund check from the failed adoption attempt. I can finally close that door and face the future. I'm sure I will continue to miss the girl we thought was going to be our daughter. But I want to start looking forward and concentrate on the girl we're trying to adopt now.

I still don't know why God closed the door on our previous adoption but I will have to trust in Him. And maybe someday He will let us in on the secret.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cranberry orange muffins

When my husband bought me a muffin pan last month, I was so excited! I haven't made muffins in over two years since we left our rusted metal tins back in Arizona.

The very first batch of muffins I made was an old favorite, Cranberry Orange. This recipe is fantastic. It's a little bit more work than a boxed muffin mix but so worth the effort. I especially love adding the fresh orange zest. We only have two muffins left and I can't wait to make another dozen!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Waiting for God's promises

I haven't meant to ignore my blog but I also haven't felt up to posting. I still feel like I'm trying to get my feet back under me after having our first adoption process cancelled and my grandfather dying. I've been plugging away every day, trying to find joy again.

Yesterday I was praying that God would make His will known in our family, if we are supposed to keep trying to adopt. I'm frustrated that we've been working on adoption paperwork for almost a year and a half and still don't have a child. I thought I had heard God's voice clearly last year that adoption is the path He laid out for our family.

Well, I picked up my Bible and started reading where I last left off. The very first story I read was about Abraham and how God promised Abraham "I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you" (Genesis 17:6). Abraham had to wait for years to see God's promise fulfilled. Years! God didn't promise Abraham and then immediately open Sarah's womb. No, Abraham had to wait for 14 long years to see the fulfillment of God's promise of children.

To be truthful, the story is both encouraging and discouraging. It's discouraging because Abraham and Sarah had to wait so long for Isaac to be born. But it's also encouraging because God promised them children and did give them children. Granted, it wasn't in their timing. Both tried to find ways to force God's promise to come about. But God eventually did grant them a child. He followed through.

I do believe that God intends for us to adopt. I am trying to hold fast to my faith and pray that God will bring it to pass. I hope that I don't have to wait years and years like Abraham did. But I will try to have faith that God's way is ALWAYS best, even when I don't understand.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Last day for the giveaway

Last chance to enter the drawing to win a copy of Life Not Typical!

Just leave a comment on this post.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Book review - with a giveaway!

I'm so excited that I get to post a book review that includes a giveaway! Adams Group contacted me about reviewing the book Life Not Typical: How Special Needs Parenting Changed My Faith and My Song by Jennifer Shaw.

When I read the description, I knew this was a book I needed to read. Life Not Typical is a memoir about a parent who discovers that her son Toby has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Toby refused to walk on grass, screamed when he got wet, and hated the wind. Even though people told her that he would grow out of it, Jennifer fought to figure out exactly what was going on with her son. When he was diagnosed with SPD, he was able to get the therapy he needed and his life was changed.

Jennifer and I are different in that Toby is her biological son and we are adopting internationally. However, I still felt this book would be extremely beneficial to read. In international adoption, SPD is rarely diagnosed and listed in a child's adoption file but is often diagnosed after the children come home. I have read blog posts where parents talk about their children having SPD but didn't know much about it until I read Life Not Typical.

The book does deliver on both aspects of the subtitle. It talks about special needs parenting, what it's like to have a child who is challenged with sensory issues, how therapy worked for their family, and about how Toby was able to improve over time. Jennifer also talks about her music ministry, how God worked through both her music and her parenting to increase her faith in His guidance and care. I thought the book was a great overview of both SPD and how God builds our faith through life's trials. I do wish the book was longer, that it had covered both topics in more depth, but I thought it was a great overview.

Adams Group is offering a copy of the book to someone who reads my blog. Just leave me a comment and I will draw a winner on Tuesday (Nov. 11). Please make sure I have a way to contact you. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Surprise updates!

I was surprised this morning with an email from our agency. A five page update on the girl we're applying to adopt! It took less than a week for them to send us the update. And it even included two fairly recent photos.

I wish I could share more but don't feel comfortable doing so because we're not formally matched with her. As soon as we receive our pre-approval, I will be sharing her photo! She's beautiful.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lots of progress

Today was a very busy day.

We rolled out of bed, ate a quick breakfast, and headed off to the health clinic. On Tuesday we started the skin TB test. Today we went back to have the results read. Neither of us showed a reaction to the test. We emailed the test results over to our doctor so that she could finish up our medical clearance.

This afternoon, we heard a delivery truck pull up in front of the house. My first thought was, "please let that be the Fedex guy!" Sure enough, there was a knock on the door. By the time I got to the door, he was already in his truck but I was able to wave thanks. Our paperwork from Taiwan arrived!

After a quick email with our new agency to make sure I was scanning the right documents, I scanned in all 39 pages of our home study and the Mandarin translation. After emailing that to the agency, I received confirmation that it has been forwarded to St. Lucy's in Taiwan. Our pre-approval process has begun! The agency said they expect it will take about six weeks to receive our pre-approval. I'm praying we'll have good news by Christmas. That would be a wonderful present.

Yesterday we had a nice surprise. I emailed the agency to ask about St. Lucy's schedule in providing updates on the kids. Our coordinator said she would email and request an update with photos! We only have one photo of Jenny and would love to see more. She sent over all of the updates she's received since the agency started advocating for Jenny. There was one update in the batch that we hadn't seen before. It was old, from November 2013, but it still had a few tidbits of information we hadn't seen before. That was a really nice surprise. Then we found out this morning that the coordinator in Taiwan had already requested the update before our agency had sent the request! It's already in the works!

I'm slowly getting more excited about this adoption process as we make forward progress. I'm still guarding my emotions as we are not guaranteed to receive pre-approval. I expect we will since we have received pre-approval before to be matched with a child. But it's not guaranteed. I don't want to start getting attached to the idea of adopting Jenny before we're officially matched. Once we're matched, I'll throw my heart into the adoption and prepare for the Skype call and our first care package.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Social worker visit and medical appointment

I kinda feel like my cat some days.

Today we started working on our medical clearance for the adoption. Our naturopath is awesome. She had both of us in her office at once, taking turns with the various medical stuff. We thought we'd have to visit the hospital for the actual blood draw like we did last year. Nope! She did the blood draw today in her office. The results should be available tomorrow.

The only other thing we have left on the medical form is a TB test. We found a clinic that takes walk-ins for TB testing so we're going there first thing tomorrow morning. Then we wait for the results of that test, combine it with the results from the blood testing today, and then figure out how to get a notary to our doctor's office to notarize her signature.

Our home study visit yesterday went well. Our social worker was here for about 45 minutes, talking about what we've learned about older child adoption over the past year, the losses we've faced this year (hubby's dad, my grandpa, our first adoption). Then she asked if she could see the bedroom we put together. That was it! Quick visit and she said our new home study will be ready by the middle of November. She's just waiting for us to finish the medical clearance and for the state to mail back our child abuse clearances.

We're slowly making progress!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Home study update

I haven't posted much about our new adoption process because I'm really struggling with it on an emotional level. I'm having a hard time letting my heart get invested because I am so afraid that this one will fail as well. We have no reason to expect it to fail. St. Lucy's (the agency in Taiwan) knows about us already and seems interested in our family. Jenny still wants a family. But I expected the last adoption to succeed and my heart was broken when it didn't. At some point in the process, probably when we receive pre-approval, I will get excited. Until then, I'm just following my husband's lead, praying, and filling out paperwork.

We've had a lot of progress this week.

Thursday - Both of us were fingerprinted. I received my results back while hubby was still being fingerprinted! Unfortunately, it looks like his fingerprints didn't "take" and he will probably have to redo them. We also notarized our financial statement for the home study and dossier.

Sunday - We have a visit with our social worker. She's coming over for a short visit (around an hour) to get an update on our family.

Monday - We have appointments to start the medical clearance. We received permission to use our naturopath this time! Last time, the Taiwan agency (a different one) told us that our naturopath couldn't sign our clearance because she's an ND instead of an MD. But St. Lucy's gave us the ok to visit our naturopath, since she's our primary care doc. Hurray!

Once hubby's fingerprints get sorted out and we get the medical clearances completed, we'll just be waiting for our social worker to update our home study. She's only charging us $250 to get our home study updated and new copies printed! Such a blessing!

We also found out that our paperwork is on its way back from Taiwan and that the translation was included. We were afraid we would not be allowed to have the translation, even though I insisted they return it to us since we paid to have all of our paperwork translated. This is such a relief. Once the paperwork is here, we can scan a copy of our old home study with translation and email it to St. Lucy's. They will use the old home study to review us for pre-approval since it will save a bunch of time and money. Eventually, when we get the new home study, it will be translated and inserted into the dossier for use in court.

Our new agency told us that the approvals process will likely take 1-2 months starting from the time they receive our home study. So we are hoping to be formally matched with Jenny by the end of the year.

If anyone wants to chat about agencies, I'd be happy to share our experiences. Our old agency was Wasatch (in Utah), who works with Chung Yi in Taiwan. Our new agency is Heartsent (in CA), who works with St. Lucy's. And we have a fabulous social worker here in the Seattle area! If you live in this area, I'd recommend her in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Butterfly and the Violin - a book review

When I saw this book mentioned in a newsletter, I knew I had to read it. The Butterfly and the Violin is a debut novel by author Kristy Cambron. The description intrigued me.
A darling of the Austrian aristocracy of 1942, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.
This book includes two plot lines, both a modern day one and a historical one. In the modern day story, Sera passionately searches for a painting she was once as a child. Obsessed with this painting, she searches out information about the painting's subject - a "young violinist with piercing blue eyes."

The historical plot line tells the story of Adele. It is this plot line that I couldn't wait to read. A young girl decides to help Jews, gets caught, and lives in a concentration camp. So far, the plot has been done in a number of novels. However, Cambron includes an interesting twist - Adele is forced to play in a concentration camp orchestra. I had no idea that such things existed and was fascinated to read all about it!

The modern story felt a bit forced, but the WWII story was fantastic. It really was haunting. I have to admit that I cried near the end of the book.

I also thought Cambron has a beautiful writing style and can't wait to read her future novels. In fact, I just found out Cambron has a new book coming out in 2015 titled A Sparrow in Terezin! I definitely plan to read it!

Much thanks to Thomas Nelson and BookLook Bloggers for a free copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Grandpa and Grandma and I

I am back from the funeral and slowly recovering from the travel and stress of the past three weeks. While in Wyoming, I really enjoyed sitting at Grandma's kitchen table with our family, going through photo albums and reminiscing. I brought home a few old photos and wanted to share two of my favorites.

This is one of the last photos taken of my brother, grandmother, grandfather and I together.

This, as far as I know, is the very first photo taken of my grandparents and I.

I'm so glad that I still have my grandmother in my life but I will surely miss my grandfather. I can't wait to see him in heaven someday.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The start of something new

Way back, our social worker suggested that she approve us for two girls on our home study. We applied and were matched with Z. We kept looking for that second girl and found her in January. We asked for permission to add Jenny (not her real name) to our adoption but the agency in Taiwan said no. We decided it wasn't God's will for us at the time but prayed that God would find her a family if we weren't supposed to bring her home later as our second daughter.

When we received news that our adoption had been cancelled, we contacted the agency who is advocating for Jenny. "Has she found a family yet?" She has not. "Does she want to be adopted?" Yes! She has asked if she has been matched with a family yet.

Well, today we signed with her agency to try to bring Jenny home. We're praying that God will continue to open doors if this is His will or to let us know if we're on the wrong path. I can't wait to see where He leads. If Jenny does get matched with our family and agrees to be adopted, we'll have quite a story to share with her someday.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

2 losses in 2 days

The last 24 hours have been rather rough. Yesterday morning I received a call from my grandmother that my grandfather passed away. He was almost 88 years old and had Alzheimer's. I call my grandparents almost every single Saturday so was not surprised to hear the news. He was a believer in God so I hope to see him again someday. My grandpa's funeral is on the 13th so I'll be flying to Wyoming next week.

We also received news this morning that our girl has decided to stay in Taiwan. Our adoption process has been officially terminated. I've been crying a lot today over the realization that she won't be our daughter. I will continue to pray for her and hope that she finds a happy future in Taiwan.

My feelings are much too raw to talk about this in any more detail but I may post more in the near future. I'll just keep praying that God will show us what to do next and for Him to heal my broken heart.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Undetected - A Book Review

Have you read any of Dee Henderon's novels? Bethany House gave me the opportunity to read and review one of her latest books, titled Undetected.

From the back cover: Gina Gray would love to be married. She has always envisioned her life that way. A breakup she didn't see coming, though, has her focusing all her attention on what she does best--ocean science research. She's on the cusp of a major breakthrough, and she needs Mark Bishop's perspective and help. Because what she told the Navy she's figured out is only the beginning. If she's right, submarine warfare is about to enter a new and dangerous chapter.

What I expected: A classic Dee Henderson novel with strong characters, a fast-paced plot, and the opportunity to learn something about ocean science research.

What I found: Fairly perfect characters with few flaws, a slow moving plot, and a ton of information about ocean science research.

I love reading Henderson's early books about the O'Malley family. That series is about a family of cops, paramedics, firefighters, etc. The stories are very fast-paced as the characters face life-threatening situations while going about their jobs. The last couple of Henderson books I've read have been more character driven than plot driven. I miss the earlier stories, even as I recognize the strong writing that characterizes all of her novels.

This might not have been a favorite, but I did enjoy reading it. There was one particular paragraph that I loved:
I love listening to people. A book is someone taking time to develop a thought - create a hypothesis, present evidence, argue a point, draw a conclusion, make their case. Some do it primarily in mathematics, others in lecture format, while others present ideas and build reasons for their conclusion. Books are enjoyable hours of listening to experts on various subjects. I might not agree with everything, but that's a minor point to why I read what they've written. I like the fact they make me think (213).
I especially loved this line - "Books are enjoyable hours of listening to experts on various subjects." Yes! Books are enjoyable hours of listening!

If you like Dee Henderson or are interested in oceanography, this is an interesting read. Much thanks to Bethany House for a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Note - there is an Amazon affiliate link in this review. If you buy anything from Amazon after clicking on the link, all proceeds support our adoption. Thanks!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

15 months

Today marks 15 months since we found our girl's photo on Rainbow Kids.

We still have not received any news from our agency. We don't know if she has agreed to be our daughter or if our adoption will end any day now. It's a hard place to be but I'm trying to hold tight to God. Only He knows what will happen.

Every day I pray for my daughter. I know she's not legally my daughter, but she holds a special place in my heart. I pray that she will accept our offer of a family. If she says no, I pray that she'll be able to find her way to a happy life in Taiwan.

I'm hoping and praying for news this week. I'm ready to know what's going to happen!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

He shall sustain you!

I found another wonderful Bible promise this morning.

Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the
righteous to be moved.
Psalm 55:22

I'm so glad that I have a God who can sustain me. Without Him, I'd feel so hopeless right now.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pumkin season has begun!

I am so excited that pumpkin season is here! Last week I bought two pie pumpkins; today my husband bought me two more. I have a very long list of pumpkin dishes that I want to try this fall. Last week I asked my husband what he wanted me to make first. "Pumpkin pie, of course!"

My beautiful pumpkin

Scooping the seeds

Ready to bake

Pie ready for the oven

Ta-Da! First pie of the year

Beautiful pumpkin pie!

This was the very best vegan pumpkin pie I've ever baked. I love that the recipe did not use tofu. Quite honestly, I usually have issues with the consistency of vegan pumpkin pies. However, this one was already firming up an hour after I pulled it out of the oven. Leaving it in the refrigerator overnight gave it an even better texture.

I want to play around with the recipe to see if I can reduce the sugar. 3/4 of a cup is a lot! Any ideas? I also think it needs more cinnamon. I'm looking forward to making a second pie soon. Does anybody want to come over and help us eat it?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Psalm 128

This was my Bible reading this morning. I wanted to read something from Psalms so flipped through until I found the correct book and started reading at the top of the page. Oh, I do so hope that this is a promise that my daughter will come home.

How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
Who walks in His ways.
When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands,
You will be happy and it will be well with you.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
Within your house,
Your children like olive plants
Around your table.
Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed
Who fears the Lord.
The Lord bless you from Zion,
And may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
Indeed, may you see your children’s children.
Peace be upon Israel!
Psalm 128

Thursday, September 18, 2014


After a crazy weekend and a stress-filled couple of weekdays, my husband convinced me to take Thursday and Friday as vacation days. I know, it sounds weird to take vacation days as a homemaker. But the long period of waiting and wondering and praying about our adoption is very draining. I spent the first couple days this week trying desperately to be productive, failing at most of my attempts, and then beating myself up over my failures. That's not a very healthy attitude.

So, my husband convinced me to take two days off, followed by the Sabbath. I'm doing a couple needed things, like staying on top of the dishes and running one load of laundry today. Other than that, I'm relaxing. I'm an introvert and recharge by being at home so it's nice to be home and not busy with housework or other things. My husband even offered to go grocery shopping for me tomorrow and I'm taking him up on his offer. It should be a quick trip as we just need produce for the weekend and then I'll go shopping again on Monday.

What am I doing? Well, I finished two books that I had been reading. I've made a lot of progress on my current puzzle. I wrote letters to a couple of our sponsored kids. And I've been studying Chinese. All things I enjoy doing that are low pressure. I'm so grateful to have a husband who sees my stress and encourages me to slow down and relax.

I'm also trying to spend more time in God's Word. This period of waiting is so hard for me. There's nothing that can be done. No paperwork, no appointments. Just wait. I checked in with our agency this morning to see if there's been any news. Nothing yet. Just wait. So I will continue to do that.

Tomorrow I will study some more Chinese, finish my puzzle and hopefully start another. I may even bake my first pumpkin of the fall season, just because I can and because my husband loves pumpkin pie. Ah, sweet relaxation.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Thoughts as we wait

We received no adoption news this week, other than speculation from our coordinator that the Taiwan agency will not grant our request for a visit. So we sit and wait and pray.

Last week I purposed to pray unceasingly. I wanted to be the woman who wore out the judge. And for two days, I did just that. But as time passed with no news, my prayers slowed. I still prayed at mealtimes. I still prayed while laying in bed waiting to fall asleep. But I would forget during the day. All of a sudden I would realize that I hadn't prayed for two hours. I'm not in the habit of praying frequently and it showed.

The past few days, I have been much more intentional with my prayers, even if they are not as frequent as I would like. I've been asking God to forgive me for my wavering faith. It's hard to stay positive that God will bring my daughter home when the signs point toward her saying No. I want to believe that she will come home. I am committed to pursuing her adoption until someone tells me that they have closed our file. But my emotions do not always match my commitment. I pray that God understands just how human and frail I am and that He will move my daughter's heart regardless of my lack of faith.

Prayer. It's all that I can do. I pray that my daughter comes home. I pray that she says Yes to adoption. I pray that we are able to build faith until God shows us His plan.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Chinese studies

I have been working very hard lately at my Chinese lessons. I lost a bit of motivation in mid-August as we prepared for the Skype call and then anxiously awaited the results of that call. But toward the end of the month, my motivation and momentum picked up speed. Over the past week, I've been studying over an hour almost every single day (including weekends!).

This morning I decided to take a look at my learning logs to see how far I've come. I started the Beginner Conversational Course at Yoyo Chinese on February 4th. Due to an extended family emergency in April and May, I finished the six month course on September 6th. Not bad for missing an entire month in the middle of the course.

I started the Yoyo Chinese Intermediate Course on September 7th and have already finished the first week of assignments. I have an ambitious goal to finish the class by the end of the year but we'll see how well that works out. The Intermediate Course is definitely harder and more involved than the Beginner Course!

This week I also started trying to read materials written in Mandarin for native Mandarin speakers. Whew. I'm in way over my head but it's still encouraging to recognize words and very basic grammar. Unfortunately, most of what I've found to read uses very complicated grammar so I am completely lost.

Once we find out if we will be allowed to travel to Taiwan to meet our girl, I will order some grader readers in Chinese. This should, theoretically, allow me to start reading Chinese materials at my beginner level. I found one website that carries a Chinese version of The Secret Garden that is written specifically for beginners, as well as one of Sherlock Holmes' cases. I am loathe to order my first ever e-book but I will sacrifice my "hard copy only" policy so that I can learn to communicate more effectively with my future daughter!

I'm also hoping to start writing (typing) in Chinese! When I was learning Japanese, I used the website Lang-8 to exchange writing assignments with Japanese speakers. They would correct my Japanese and I would correct their English. I hope to soon start doing the same with Chinese.

Onward and upward! 加油!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Mid-autumn festival

Happy mid-autumn festival!

Tonight my hubby and I went for a walk to eat moon cakes and admire the moon. We enjoyed our moon cakes but it was too rainy to see the moon! We are hoping and praying that next year our girl will be home to enjoy this holiday with us.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"By continually coming she will wear me out."

I am this woman.
Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’

For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’”

And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
We received an update today. Our girl has still not agreed to the adoption. Our Skype call was successful in that she thought we were kind and "not scary" (love that!). However, she still wants to stay in Taiwan. She is comfortable in Taiwan.

I responded to my agency with two requests.

1 - That they will request permission for us to visit Taiwan and spend time with our girl.
2 - That they will translate and pass along a letter I wrote for her. In my letter, I told her that I want to be her mother and how much I love her. I told her that I will love her forever, long after she grows up and leaves our home. I explained that families offer a lifetime of love and support and that we want to give that to her.

Like the woman in the above passage, I will beg and beg and beg that my daughter will come home until God brings about justice and fulfills His promise to us. I will hold fast to my faith.

Lord, please bring my daughter home. Please change her heart. Please let her say yes.

Monday, September 1, 2014

8 days

It's been eight days since our Skype call. And yes, I am counting. I miss my girl. I know she's not sure what to think of us but we love her. I want to spend more time with her.

Both my husband and I are having a hard time with this particular period of waiting. We're both holding on to faith that God will bring our girl home. We stepped out in faith to adopt a child this old. I was scared and wanted to adopt a younger child, a girl around five or six. But God laid a 10 year old girl on our heart and asked us to have faith in Him. We did. She's now almost 12 and our adoption is at a standstill. But we're still trusting that God will finish what He started.

In the meantime, we try (and fail) not to stress. We have not heard anything from our agency, other than that they have no news to give us. At the end of July, the Taiwan agency contacted us and said our girl is still not on board, do we want to cancel the adoption? NO! They said that they would meet with her again at the end of August and discuss adoption with her. At that point, they might decide to cancel our adoption if she's not on board.

Is she wanting a family now? We don't know. Is she going to agree to being our daughter? We don't know. We can only pray. And wait. I wish I could say "patiently wait" but it's hard to be patient and not stress. Is our adoption moving forward? We believe it will. But no official word yet. Wait and pray. Pray and wait.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Our first Skype call

I have written and deleted this post several times. I'm trying to decide how much I can share without violating our girl's privacy. Our agency has given us no guidance on what we can and cannot share online. Instead, I ask myself this question - "If my girl comes across this post in the future, will she be embarrassed by what I wrote?"

I do want to share what we learned in hopes of helping other adoptive parents who are preparing for a Skype call.

Prepare as much as possible ahead of time. You will have no idea up front if the translator/social worker will take charge of the call or let you lead. On our call, the translator sat back and let us completely control the content and pacing of the call. We were not prepared for this. The translator may or may not be fluent in English. We were blessed; ours was great at translating our questions and our girl's responses but did not translate a lot of our commentary.

Do not assume that you will have the same experience as other adoptive parents. We were told that once you break the ice, you will be able to interact with your child. Our girl is shy and guarded her expressions and impressions of us. Be hopeful that your child will interact with you but prepare in case they will only give one word answers or refuse to answer at all.

Learn at least a few words or sentences in the language your child speaks. I introduced myself in Chinese and asked a question in Chinese. The translator was happy that I was making an effort to learn Mandarin. I'm not sure what my girl thought, but at least the translator could later reassure her that Mama is making an effort to make communication easier.

Be prepared for a bad Skype connection. The children's home had spotty internet and Skype kept dropping the call. That gave us a chance to quickly discuss what to try next to get her to relax but also made it harder to get any sort of momentum going.

What will we do different next time? We will be prepared to entertain her for at least the first 15 minutes of the call. That will remove the pressure on her to be involved and will hopefully allow her to relax. We've tossed around a few ideas like singing songs, performing magic tricks, reading books out loud, etc.

Next time, I hope to have a printed cheat sheet of Mandarin sentences that I know. I've been studying since last fall, have a pretty solid foundation, but completely blanked when the translator told me that our girl wanted to hear me say something else in Chinese.

I have not yet heard a report from my agency about what our girl thought of us after the call. My impression is that she will not say no after seeing us on Skype but that she's also not ready to say yes.

I do know that I love that kiddo an awfully lot and hope to be her mama. It was wonderful getting to see her smile on the call. I hope and pray that she will decide to become our daughter because I can't wait to start loving on her!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Our Skype call

What a blessing! Our Skype call was hard and rewarding. I'm still processing it all and hope to post about it tomorrow.

I did want to include a photo from our call. This is toward the very end of the call when she finally warmed up a tiny bit!

*I removed her pictures to protect her privacy.

I look forward to hearing what she thought of our Skype session!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

21.5 hours to go

Less than 24 hours to go until our Skype call! I am so excited!!

Tomorrow I have a bit of prep work to do. I need to tidy up the kitchen so that it doesn't look messy when we show her around the house. We need to go through the list of questions we've been compiling for months and order them according to importance. If we only get to ask a couple questions, we want to make sure they count!

We need to do another test run of a Skype call to make sure everything is working properly.

I need to prepare a couple things to say in Chinese. I'm going to do my best to not sound like a preschooler but there's probably not much I can do about that! I'm still a beginner.

And then we need to have fun!! We need to show her that she can have fun with us, that we are not scary.

Of course, we will be praying all day tomorrow, much the same as I've been praying for months. Please let her heart be softened. Please let us connect with her in some way. Please let her change her mind about adoption and agree to be our daughter!

I can't wait to see her and hear her voice! I'm so excited!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Upcoming Event

Date: Sunday, August 24
Time: 8:00 PM
Event: Skyping with our girl!!!!!!!!

I am over the moon thrilled that we finally have a Skype call scheduled. We have been laughing that we were told we would be given two weeks' advance notice. We've been given 72 hours!

Jeff and I are feeling fairly confident that our girl will be coming home. God promised that he who asks will receive. We've been asking that God will change our girl's heart, that she will want to be adopted and come home to us. God led us on this adoption path, to this particular child, and we believe that He will bring our girl home.

We'll be doing prep work for the call on Friday and Sunday. We have a lot of work to do but I am so glad to do it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A few random thoughts

Still no adoption news today...

I found this shirt at the mall. I kind of wish I could wear it on the Skype call to encourage my girl to want to be adopted.

aha moment, noun, a moment of sudden insight or realization at which something becomes clear

But I don't think the translator would appreciate my attempt at humor and my girl doesn't know enough English to understand the irony.

It's been rather warm lately (mid 80's) and my cat is miserable. Here he is plastered against the wall trying to find just a tiny piece of cool floor or wall to give him some relief. Silly cat...

Someone at church was handing out tomato plants earlier this year. I feel bad that I pretty much killed mine. I think it's because I don't have a garden to plant it in and my patio doesn't get enough sunlight. I thought the plant was completely dead when one day it sprouted tiny tomatoes. I waited for them to get a bit bigger. Because I have no idea what type of tomatoes these are supposed to be, I don't know how big they were supposed to get or if they were supposed to turn red. But they easily came off the vine today so I ate them. The two tiny ones weren't ripe yet but the biggest one tasted great!

Now I want to grow tomato plants so that I can eat my own tomatoes. It was highly satisfying to eat these three tiny tomatoes, even though it's the only produce I grew this year. I do hope to cultivate a garden someday.

Anyways, just a few of the tiny things I've been up to lately. Nothing insightful, just day to day life!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Skype? Maybe?

I haven't been posting much lately, because if I did, it would be a series of posts saying, "no news!"

We did hear from our agency on Thursday. A Skype call is in the works but has not been scheduled yet. Apparently they want to have the Skype call before the end of the month. We were told that they give two weeks' notice, but there are less than two weeks left in August! I'm still hoping and praying for a call in August. Our girl needs to see how much we love her so that she can come home!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lack of news

We still have no news of an upcoming Skype call. I am trying SO hard not to stress about it! Our girl agreed to a call but we don't have one scheduled yet. The social worker is supposed to visit her at the end of the month to see what she thinks about adoption. That visit may or may not end our adoption process, depending on how it goes.

I really, really, really hope that we will be able to Skype with her before any decisions are made. We have been begging for that call but have not heard anything yet.

The last few weeks have been a time of learning to lean on God. I know I am probably still failing miserably in my attempts to keep my faith high but I am trying. I am praying daily that God will help me to have faith in Him. "Lord, help my unbelief!" I am also praying that He melts my girl's heart so that she will want a family. We have so much love to give her, if only she knew!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Woman of Courage - A Book Review

I am the type of person who finishes almost every single book I start. I've given myself permission over the past year or so to not force myself to finish reading books that I don't like. Unfortunately for Barbour Publishing, Woman of Courage is a book that I just could not finish.

Woman of Courage is Wanda E. Brunstetter's newest novel. The premise is interesting. A Quaker woman decides that she is going to move to the Wild, Wild West to minister to the Nez Perce Indians. On her trip out west, everything goes wrong. Will she reach the mission outpost and begin her ministry or will she find a ministry in witnessing to a "trapper and his intriguing half-Indian friend [who] want nothing to do with Christians" (back cover).

I tried to like it. Truly I did. Maybe there is a fantastic story here but I could not get past the writing style. The final sentences in each chapter drove me crazy and often made me roll my eyes.

Several examples:

"As clearly as the full moon beamed through the parlor window, she knew she would never fall in love again" (prologue).
"What she didn't know was how she would go on without him" (chapter 1)."
"If he didn't get help soon, she could die" (chapter 7).
"Did she dare ask?" (chapter 10).
"Amanda hoped that was the case, because there was no way she could help Mary deliver her baby!" (chapter 13).

And a couple of award-winning lines:
"Wa-a-a! Wa-a-a! Wa-a-a!" (baby crying)
"Woof! Woof!" (dog barking)
"What was more, it was a comfort to have Thunder along, because Jim knew the dog would alert him to any danger that might be out there, lurking, because in the wilderness most anything could happen" (pg 159).

Brunstetter's book has another of my pet peeves, which is to use the title of the book several times in the story itself. I won't quote any of the lines because they could be considered spoilers, but nothing yanks me out of a story as fast as running across the title in the dialog.

I'm not sure that I would label this a "bad book" but it's definitely not to my taste. Hopefully someone else can enjoy it!

Many thanks to Barbour Publishing and Handlebar for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions. All thoughts are my own!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Tonight I finished lesson 100 of my Conversational Chinese class. I love this series of lessons! Everything builds on the previous lesson and is explained really well.

20 lessons to go and I'll be moving on the intermediate lessons.

I haven't gotten much conversational practice, as this is a video series. Once I finish the Conversational Chinese class, I hope to start using a forum for language exchange so that I can start practicing producing sentences, rather than just trying to understand what is being said. I used lang-8 to practice my written Japanese and will use it to practice Chinese as well.

Friday, August 1, 2014


On Wednesday, Jeff and I visited Kinokuniya, a bookstore over in Seattle. They carry a large selection of books in Japanese and a smaller selection in Chinese. I was very surprised to discover that almost everything I picked up is traditional Hanzi, which is what our girl can read. Mainland China uses simplified Hanzi, while Hong Kong and Taiwan use traditional.

I know most of my posts lately have been about buying stuff for our future daughter. It's one of the few ways I can feel close to her as we prayerfully await Chung Yi's decision about continuing our adoption process. Our part of the adoption process is done until everything is submitted to court and then processed by the judge. In the meantime, we wait, we pray, and we shop to prepare for her arrival home.

I had a lot of fun in the bookstore. I spent two years studying Japanese so can read a little bit. Unfortunately, I'm a bit rusty but I still had fun picking out words here and there at the bookstore. I'm now learning Chinese and can read a lot of basic sentences. So it was fun for me to explore a bookstore that I can read in tiny pieces.

My best find? Something I desperately wanted to bring home but left there for now.

Title: How to Cook Korean Food
Language: Chinese
Country purchased: United States

I loved how that book is basically circling the world! I would love to experience the irony of learning how to cook Korean food in America while reading a book in Chinese.

We ended up buying three different manga titles, either the first two or three in the series. A book of paper dolls. And an activity/sticker book about Minnie Mouse. I hope that having books in her own language will help Zhi Zhi feel like she won't be so lost here in the US. I can't wait to show her!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Clothes shopping - round two!

Jeff and I visited the other nearby mall last night and browsed the summer sales. I don't think we'll be buying anything else until we get a better idea of her taste in clothing and favorite colors, but we are having a lot of fun!

A pair of jeans and a t-shirt. The jeans were on sale for $13!

Two short sleeve shirts and one long sleeve shirt.

And another pair of pajamas because they were too cute to pass up! Zhi Zhi is wearing Hello Kitty in a lot of her photos but I'm not sure if she still likes it. I hope so, because we think it's really cute.

Everything has been folded and added to the dresser. I can't wait until our Skype call when I can show her everything we've bought for her. It's fun to shop for girls!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Clothes shopping!

Jeff and I debated for quite awhile about whether we should go clothes shopping now or closer to the end of the adoption process. Since we are waiting for a Skype call to be scheduled, and since it is vital for Zhi Zhi to see how much we want her to be our daughter, we decided that we should get a few things. Hopefully she likes everything!

I had to look up a few children's clothing charts online to determine what size she currently wears. Then we decided to buy a size too large in case she has a growth spurt between now and travel. Just in case we receive an growth update in the next 90 days, I kept the receipts.

First, Zhi Zhi's dresser arrived on Friday! I love it!

We bought Zhi Zhi a couple small things - a package of socks, a headband, two pairs of tights, and two pairs of leggings.

A pajama top (still need to find a pair of black pajama bottoms to go with it).

A pair of pajamas...

... and a matching hoodie.

Two tops that can be worn over jeans or a skirt.

A dress.

A fall-weight jacket with hoodie. (Apparently hoodies are really popular right now!)

A t-shirt.

A workout outfit. The bottoms can be worn long or rolled up into shorts. Her profile says Zhi Zhi loves to run so hopefully we can go running as a family!

The entire stack of clothes.

Everything has been folded and put into the dresser!

I had a LOT of fun shopping. First, I love shopping in general. Second, I was buying clothes for my future daughter!!

I look forward to buying more. This isn't nearly enough and is mostly summer clothes. Around here, we dress warmly 8-9 months out of the year so I usually focus on buying fall/winter clothing. Unfortunately, what's on clearance right now is summer clothing. Everything I bought was on sale except the dress and the purple jacket.

We do so hope that Zhi Zhi likes what we bought her! At least she'll know that we are preparing for her to come home. And if she doesn't like these clothes, we'll buy her more. Sounds like fun to me!