Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Adoption updates galore!

It has been a busy, busy week for adoption preparation.

First - We received an email saying that our coordinator has the adoption agreements in hand! That piece of paper that says that we have the guardian and the orphanage's permission to adopt Z has been signed and is in the United States! Our agency should have them today or tomorrow, will be doing a couple things on their end, and then overnighting the agreements to us. Once the agreements arrive, we rush to the bank to finish notarizing our dossier. Then we'll be making a day trip down to Olympia to start the authentication process. We are making progress!

Second - Our coordinator expects that she will have an update on Z any day now. She thought she would have it last week but it hadn't arrived when I checked with her on Friday. Our last update was from July last year so the information is old. I want to know how my future daughter is doing and pray that the agency in Taiwan included a photo with the update. She's growing up without us.

Third - We received an email on Sunday that requested that we put together a package to send to Z! The Taiwan agency said, "since Z is an older child, we want to start preparing her for adoption as soon as possible. Please send her a photo album, a video introducing yourselves, and a small gift." I am so excited!! I am nervous about the video, since I want to speak to Z a little bit in Chinese to show her I am learning her language. I had hoped that I would be able to complete more of my Chinese course before attempting to speak to her, but God's timing is best! I will trust that she will appreciate my humble early attempts at speaking Chinese, rather than it making her nervous that I still have a lot to learn.

Last night we went shopping, trying to find a photo album. We couldn't find anything at the mall, but we did buy a gift for Z. It's something we will either give her while in Taiwan or right after she comes home. We also bought her a disposable camera to send over now, so that she can take pictures with her friends. We'll get the photos developed as soon as we return home. Tonight we'll again try to find a photo album. I think we're going to visit a Hallmark store and see what they carry.

All of this is going on, plus we have an appointment tomorrow to speak with a financial planner and I have a parenting seminar on Friday. Busy, busy! If our adoption agreement arrives Thursday, I'll be skipping the seminar on Friday so that we can start our dossier authentication. But if it doesn't arrive until Friday or later, I'll be driving over to Seattle by myself, during rush hour for both directions. Eek! I'm going to be praying like crazy that God will protect this terrified driver as I attempt to learn more parenting techniques that will help our daughter overcome her childhood without a family.

It may be a crazy week, but I'm happy. I'm happy that we're making progress with the adoption. I'm happy that I might have an update on Z this week. And I'm nesting. If I deep clean our house, we'll be able to travel to Taiwan faster, right?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Smoothie time!

This morning I made the first smoothie of the season. Four bananas, a carton of strawberries, and a splash of water to make blending easier. It was delicious! A smoothie is not the best selection for a cold morning but the bananas were ripe and the strawberries were perfect. I split the smoothie with my husband and then toasted an English muffin. It was a great breakfast.

Today I finished a rather funny novel, The Homeschool Experiment by Charity Hawkins. It's about a Christian woman who decides to homeschool her three young children and all the misadventures they have over the course of a school year. I wouldn't classify it as Great Literature but it was a delightful read.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Odds and Ends

I've been taking my last blog post to heart, going through the house and weeding out things that I can let go of. I took a pair of boots and a bag of clothes and books out to the car. I just need to stop by a donation bin to drop them off.

We visited Target a couple days ago and I picked up two plastic storage bins. Can you believe that I was so excited to own two new $2.79 storage containers? We have very little storage in our house so things just lie around and drive me crazy. One bin is going to be used to store quilting fabric, as right now it's loose on a shelf in our closet. The other bin is now housing a bunch of electronic odds and ends, things we use but not everyday. Blank CDs, a thumb drive, our webcam (for talking with my nephews in England), a pair of headphones. It feels great to have that stuff off our kitchen counter!

Now I just need to find a pen container to hold all of the pens that are also on the kitchen counter. I looked at Target but they only had two and both were ugly.

It really is the small touches that bring a house together. Decluttering, practical storage, a place for everything and everything in its place.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


I often think about simplification. How will simplifying my life make it easier to fulfill my mission? What can I do to clear the way to doing what God wants me to do?

I am someone who relaxes when the house is clean and tidy. I stress when the kitchen is a mess and the house is cluttered. The status of my home really does affect my ability to maintain a calm outlook. Every so often, I try to reduce the clutter as it seems to pile up while I'm sleeping!

This article was really interesting. This paragraph in particular caught my attention:
Consider these statistics cited by professional organizer Regina Lark: The average U.S. household has 300,000 things, from paper clips to ironing boards. U.S. children make up 3.7% of children on the planet but have 47% of all toys and children's books.
300,000 things? Really? Do we need so much stuff? Do we buy bigger houses just to store the stuff? Why is it that I still have stuff in my spare bedroom, just sitting in a pile, that I brought with me from Arizona? If it's been sitting there for a year and a half, do I really need it? What am I going to do with the stuff when we decorate my daughter's room? It either needs to find a place in my home or it needs to go.

Here's a rather blunt way of looking at it. When I die, someone is going to have to sort through my stuff. Do I really want to leave my husband or my children such a big burden? And if Jesus returns before I die and cleanses the earth with fire, it's all going to burn. So I should loosen my hold on my stuff. I won't be taking it with me to heaven before or after I die.

Blunt, yes. But necessary. There's no point in cleaning around a bunch of stuff if I don't really use it. I need to just let it go!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Jesus Bible - A Book Review

I was really excited when I found The Jesus Bible available for review. I ordered it for my soon-to-be daughter. This Bible is recommended for ages 9-12. My daughter is 11 and will probably be 12 before she comes home, but as a new English learner, this Bible will be valuable to her for a few more years.

What I love about this version of the Bible -

I love that the devotionals are set up to point to Christ. Throughout the Bible, the devotionals discuss a verse or two and always tie it into the life or character or teachings of Christ.

I love that each book starts with a brief outline and answers the following questions: Where is Jesus in this book? Who wrote it? Why was it written? What happens? What do we learn about God in this book?

What I didn't love -

The devotionals and commentary could have used a bit more proofreading; I found a typo in one of the devotionals in Proverbs. And I wish that the highlighted verse didn't stand out of the text quite so much. It made the reading rather jarring.

Disclaimer -

Obviously I couldn't read the entire Bible and devotionals before reviewing it. I flipped through parts of the Bible, read Proverbs and Ecclesiastes in their entirety, and read part of Isaiah.

I'm glad I requested The Jesus Bible and hope that my daughter finds this version of the Bible useful in her journey toward God. Much thanks to BookLookBloggers for a free copy in exchange for my review. All thoughts are my own!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Exploring Washington

On Sunday, my husband and I explored a bit more of the eastside. We drove through Woodinville, Maltby, Monroe, Duvall, Cottage Lake, and Redmond. Washington is beautiful! We really liked most of the areas we drove through, enjoying all of the budding trees, the hills, and the lakes.

We even saw deer!

And our cats are definitely enjoying the sun's return.

If everything goes according to plan, we'll be wandering even further north this weekend. I can't wait!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Unhappy adoption news

Our agency finally gave us a time estimate. They expect that we will travel to pick up our daughter in the spring of 2015.

I can't believe it's taking so long. When I first received the email, I was in disbelief. Then I was angry. Then I cried. Then I was angry. Then I cried.

I feel I am grieving for the loss of another year with my child. If our agency's estimate is correct, we are missing another birthday. Another Christmas. Another Thanksgiving. Another year passes without her having a mom and dad.

It's upsetting. I want her to come home.