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!

Friday, July 25, 2014

What He has done for me

Come and hear,
all you who fear God;
let me tell you what He has done for me.

Psalm 66:16

This week has been challenging. My faith has been tested and I am seeking God more than ever.

13 months ago, we stepped out in faith when God called us to start the adoption process for a (then) 10 year old girl. We were intrigued by her and grew to love her as much as you can love a child you've never met. We have seen God work several miracles on our behalf, each of which added to our conviction that we are walking in God's will for our lives.

Then on Wednesday, we received an email we weren't expecting. The agency said that our child, the girl we've already started thinking of as daughter is still not agreeing to be adopted. The agency gave us two options: voluntarily terminate the adoption process now or wait until the end of August, at which time they will speak with her again. If she's still saying no, they may terminate our adoption.

We fell to our knees in prayer. We asked others to pray. Since the very first day we found her profile, we've been praying that our girl's heart will be softened toward us, that she will want to be adopted, that she will accept our love.

We sent several long emails to our agency, asking questions about the scant information we'd been provided and begging them to keep advocating for us. We told them that we will never give up on our girl, that we are fully committed to her adoption. We asked that they please try to get a Skype call scheduled so that we can talk to Zhi Zhi, let her ask us questions, and so that she can get an idea of who we are.

On Wednesday afternoon, we finally received the sheets for Zhi Zhi's bed. They have been on back order for two months. The very day we receive an email asking if we want to terminate the adoption process, we receive the final piece of Zhi Zhi's bed. Frame. Mattress. Sheets. Comforter. Pillow. Stuffed animal. It's all ready. Was the timing a matter of irony? Or a quiet reassurance that everything will be ok?

Thursday was a day of prayer.

And this morning, we receive a very welcomed email. Our agency reassured us that they want this adoption to succeed. They answered several of our questions, giving us more insight into how the adoption process works and what goes on behind the scenes. They inform us that a Skype call is in the works, that we will be given the opportunity to get to know our girl and to help her get to know us. And what was even better news to my ears? Zhi Zhi agreed to the Skype call. She isn't being forced into it. She agreed to it.

This evening, Zhi Zhi's dresser was delivered. We ordered it on July 4th and it arrives the very same day that we are given hope that our adoption process will continue. Irony? Or the hand of God again reassuring us that everything will be ok? I believe that God is at work in our adoption, that He is still working to bring our daughter home. We have seen evidence of God's hand guiding our adoption throughout the entire process, starting the day I heard a whisper saying that "this is the day you'll find your daughter" and continuing through today.

All I can do is continue to trust.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Urgent prayer request

Zhi Zhi is still against the idea of adoption. The social worker will continue to discuss the importance of family with her but they have said that if Zhi Zhi is not agreeable by the end of August, the agency in Taiwan may terminate our adoption process. Please pray that her heart will be softened toward us. That we can hold on to our faith and never let go. That ultimately God's will be done, both in Zhi Zhi's life and in ours.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Goofy? Me?? No, her!

Zhi Zhi's host family described her as "goofy." After rereading her updates and seeing the additional photos from the host program, I'd have to agree with that description. In preparation for our Skype call, we've been brainstorming various ideas to break the ice.

Like my new finger puppets? There are 10 total and they are really cute! I hope she finds them goofy and that we can make her laugh on the call.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Just 18 Summers - A Book Review

Just 18 Summers is the next review book in my stack. I read this entire book while sitting in the Chicago airport, waiting for a huge storm to blow over so that I could fly home to Seattle. It definitely filled the time well and helped me to forget that my flight was delayed several hours.

From the Amazon description: After the tragic death of Butch Browning’s wife, Jenny, four families begin to realize how precious—and fleeting—their time together is. Each is at a different stage in life: Butch is facing single parenthood. The O’Reillys are expecting their first child. The Andersons are approaching an empty nest, and the Buckleys are so focused on providing their children with everything that they’ve forgotten what they truly need. With just eighteen summers before their children are grown, how do they make the most of that time when life so often gets in the way?

I laughed. I cried. I rolled my eyes. I completely blocked out all the chaos of the busy airport and soaked up a story about love and family and regret and redemption.

This book reminded me of the importance of holding my daughter close, of treasuring each day with her and loving her to the best of my abilities. I pray for her daily, that God will keep her safe until we can travel to bring her home. The parents in this book had 18 summers to love their children. I will have much less, as my future daughter is already 11 years old. But I hope to pack an incredible amount of love into the years we do have together.

Thank you so much to Tyndale Fiction for the opportunity to read and review this book. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Shipped! Finally!

At the end of May, I ordered two comforters and two sets of sheets from Pottery Barn Kids. We received the comforters quickly but the sheets were on back order. Obviously we don't need them right away but I have still been anxious to finish making the beds. I've been checking the website every week to see if they were available yet.

They shipped today!!

The tracking website didn't yet have an estimated arrival date but it listed three day priority shipping, which would put them here Tuesday or Wednesday. I'm so excited!! I can't wait to finish making our girl's bed.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Busy week and a new recipe

This week was busy enough that I forgot to blog. Oops! I spent a few hours this week doing some deep spring organizing. I still have a few areas around the house where our belongings are not organized, just stacked into piles or shoved into corners. I want our house to look intentional! I'm still working through the last stack of papers and will then start sorting through our pantry.

No real adoption news this week, just some random shopping to decorate our home. I hope to post pictures once I finish the organizing.

I made a new Chinese recipe this week, Sexy Spiced ‘n ‘Ginger-ed Veg, Rice Noodles & Crispy Tofu. Whew! What a long recipe name. It was really good the first night but did not reheat well. We preferred the Lo Mein recipe from last week. However, we will definitely use the idea of including jiaozi (dumplings) in future stir-fry recipes. That was the best part!

I haven't picked out a recipe for next week but want to find something Taiwanese. Maybe a side dish instead of an entree. I'll have to search around and find a website with Taiwanese recipes. Happy cooking!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

House --> Home

Jeff and I are slowly turning our house into a home. We've ordered some long overdue furniture (a kitchen table) and are still adding to Zhi Zhi's room (a dresser is on order). We're also adding some small touches to the house, trying to make it look more inviting and homey.

Today we installed new curtains in our living room! The window has been bare for two years.

It is bare no longer!

I love these curtains. They aren't fancy, but I like them.

If the cats don't destroy them, we'll be buying the same curtains (but longer) for the patio doors in the dining room. I can't wait!

Friday, July 11, 2014

It is here!!

Our AIT letter arrived today.

I am so excited!! This was the last piece of paper we needed in order to submit our adoption paperwork to court in Taiwan. This also allows us to schedule a Skype call with our girl! Hopefully we'll be able to schedule that soon. We're waiting to hear how the scheduling process works.

We're making progress!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Speaking my love language

My love language is overwhelmingly Gifts. I love to give and I love to receive. It's not the cost that matters, only the thought behind the gift.

My husband loves me!

Tonight he came home with this lovely wok. Since we're going to be cooking more Chinese and Taiwanese dishes, he thought it best for me to have the correct kitchen tools.

I'll be using it tomorrow night to try out another new recipe!

I forgot to post the link to yesterday's delicious dish - Pork Lo Mein. We just subbed tofu for the pork. And if anyone has any favorite recipes to share, please do! I'm always on the lookout for more.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Project: New recipes

I have a new project. Each week, I am going to learn how to cook one new Chinese or Taiwanese meal. I'm hoping that by the time Zhi Zhi comes home, we'll have a binder of recipes to cook for her, ones that she might be familiar with and that will taste like her birth country. I know that when I am out of town, I eventually long for homecooked meals, recipes that I am familiar with and love. I'm sure Zhi Zhi will have the same challenge as she transitions into our family.

Today's new recipe was Pork Lo Mein. Of course, since we are vegetarian, we subbed tofu for the pork. It was delicious!

We're going to take pictures of the food so that we can send them to her in our next care package. I hope she recognizes how much we already love her!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Two hours of exercise... for chocolate?

A friend of mine is a health coach and she invited me to join a 28 day health challenge. It starts today and runs for 28 days. The goal is to lose 4% of your body weight by the end of the challenge. 4% seems like a lot to me for only 28 days. That means I have to lose just over 5.5 pounds in four weeks. Doable, yes. A stretch, definitely.

The challenge took me a bit out of my comfort zone because it had a $20 join fee that goes into a pot. If you make the goal and complete a certain percentage of the participation points, the pot is divided between those who were successful. I couldn't decide if this counted as gambling or if it was just a good motivation to make the goal. I thought it would be ok if I used my allowance money for this month and then will hopefully get my allowance back at the end of the challenge, plus maybe a bit more.

Well, tonight I decided to earn my dessert. I told myself that I had to burn more calories than the dessert. We decided to take the long route to Trader Joe's. After an hour of walking, we arrived at Trader Joe's to discover that it had closed 15 minutes earlier. Oops! We spent another 40 minutes walking home. Almost two hours of walking and no dessert!

Oh well. I definitely lost weight today!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

So faithful!

I found this text on an adoption blog and am claiming God's promise!

Faithful is He who calls you and He will bring it to pass.
1 Thessalonians 5:24

God called us to adopt our daughter. I have no doubts about that. So while we wait for that last piece of paperwork, I remind myself that He will bring to pass what He has called us to embrace!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Still waiting

We are still waiting for just one piece of paper! Our paperwork will continue to sit in Taiwan until the AIT letter arrives. It's frustrating for us to check the mail every day and discover that it was not delivered. We are impatient!

However, I remind myself that our girl is not 100% on board with the adoption. Maybe she needs these extra days or weeks to prepare herself so that she can tell the judge, "I want to be adopted!" I don't know what God is doing behind the scenes so I have to trust in His timing.

To help remind myself, I'm going to memorize this text:

Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him,
and he will act.
Psalm 37:4-5